Developing Habits into Ritual

I’ll be the first to admit that developing new habits into my daily routine is undeniably hard. I’m so attached to my daily routine that adding in something extra, or taking something away, or changing it in any way really throws me for a loop for a little while. That’s why working from home is sometimes a struggle, or teaching extra classes or lectures in the evening, or starting new exercise routines doesn’t always feel right. Sometimes (and I know this to be true to a lot of other people), we try to take on too much, making the habits unsustainable and therefore impossible to turn into our daily ritual. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately, because there are (seemingly) a lot of habits I want to curate at the change of the season as we enter into fall. Of course, my list of “imperatives” felt overwhelming. As I sat for several days trying to figure out how to make this sustainable, I feel like I’ve developed a pretty steadfast method to my habits —> routine madness. For all of you dealing with your list of imperatives, give this a go:

  1. Make a list of every new goal or habit that you’d like to implement in the next 2 months.
  2. Now beak this down into most important, to least important.
  3.  Starting at the top (most important), allow 2 weeks to implement for every single one, one at a time.
  4. Assign a time of day to each habit that will work with your schedule. Do one new habit every day at this time for 2 weeks before implementing the next, and then the next etc.
  5. After implementing a few of these new imperative habits, take an honest assessment of your daily schedule and remove one or two old activities/habits that are not serving you, or taking up/wasting your time. *We’re allowing extra space for down time, or to implement yet another new habit by removing stale old habits.
  6. Practice saying “No” if you’re taking on too much. This really helps clear the calendar clutter.

This plan, at least for me, is a way to get these new goals and habits into my scheduled daily routine, slowly but surely, in a way that develops them into my daily ritual. Rather than pile on more and more things, I need to take stock of what else I can eliminate that’s using up my time in an inefficient way. Or, ask for help to manage some of my responsibilities / delegate some tasks to others that doesn’t require my immediate oversight.

I find that the only way to really make new and lasting habits sustainable is to do them every single day, at the same time every single day in order to make them a lasting ritual that eventually starts to feel weird if you don’t do them. It’s a commitment to start a new ritual. You’re drive and desire has to be there (which makes often frivolous habits not very sustainable). It’s also helpful to have an accountability partner to hold you responsible for some of these too, especially for things like exercise, changing your diet, or reaching deadlines. It’s also helpful for some folks to keep a journal (which can be super simple) to note areas where you’re struggling and where you’re excelling. This helps you to figure out how to adjust your habits and lifestyle that will truly work for you to limit discouragement and enhance longevity of the ritual. Also, I can’t stress enough how helpful actually putting these goals into your daily calendar is (along with reminders if you need them). Almost 100% of people I talk to just don’t make the time for their daily needs and goals because they don’t devote specific time to it. Consider these to be just as important as your job, your deadlines or paying your bills. They just gotta happen. Don’t give yourself a choice to do them when the time comes around (because we all have a reason to skip that workout, order take-out instead of cooking, sit a home instead of going to yoga or put off responding those pesky emails until another day).

Making your life more ritualistic with goals and habits that you truly want to accomplish will help to empower you to balance work and life a little more evenly. Because usually our goals and habits are centered around health and wellness, we put them on the back burner to our jobs or other responsibilities when, in fact, they’re just as (if not MORE) important. I always feel like a shift in season is a great starting point to change our schedules or implement new habits, and we’ve got just a few more weeks to plan out our goals and new habits before fall hits! Get started!


Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN |

Talking ‘Craft Beer’ with Chris!


He is a busy man, in high demand for his extensive knowledge & passion for beer.  But this week, we managed to find a few minutes to pick Beer Buyer Chris Stevens’ brain about craft beer.  After all, it is Virginia Craft Beer Month!  We recommend filing these notes away for next time you’re perusing our Indulge Department.

Q & A

ET:  Has there been a craft beer that’s surprised you as a new summer favorite, of yours or our customers in general?

CHRIS:  For many years we have carried craft beers made by 21st Amendment Brewery out of San Leandro, CA.  They brew different seasonal styles but their Spring/Summer Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer flavored with watermelons has seen increased sales across diverse demographs in this market and elsewhere.


ET:  What’s your go-to local favorite that we carry?

CHRIS: Different people like different things.  That being said, currently I would have to say Full Nelson Pale Ale, in cans, made by Blue Mountain Brewery in Nelson County, and Pocahoptas I.P.A. made by C.O.T.U. Brewery in Ashland.  (If I could get it, D.C. Brau’s On the Wings of Armageddon I.P.A.)


ET:  For those in the “the hoppier the happier” camp, what are a few of your recommendations?

CHRIS:  Different Hops impart varying aromas and flavors across the smell and taste spectrums.  Sometimes I feel like drinking a citrusy and tropical Double or Triple I.P.A. and other times piney Doubles and Triples.  I enjoy Green Flash’s Palate Wrecker, Imperial I.P.A. and Green Bullet, Stone’s Enjoy By and Ruinten,  Flying Dog’s Double Dog,  Avery’s Maharaja and Founder’s Double Trouble.


ET:  If hoppy-ness isn’t you’re thing, what are a few craft brews that you would recommend?

CHRIS:  Try Devil’s Backbone Brewery’s Gold Leaf and Vienna Lagers, Flensberger’s pilsner and golden, North Coast’s Scrimshaw pilsner and Oskar Blues’ Momma’s Little Yellow Pils.


ET:  We’ve noticed growing interest in sour beers. What’s your opinion on a good craft option?

CHRIS:  Sour beers appear to be the new “it” style.  Here are a few that I enjoy: Oud Beersal Gueze, Oud Beersal Kriek, B.F.M. Abbaye de St. Bon Chien, Alvinne beers, Duchess de Borgogne, Vichtenaar, Ichtegem’s Rouge and Petrus Oud Brun.

Health: One Step at a Time

Changing health habits can be overwhelming. So much so, that most people give up before they even try. Thinking of all of the ways they want or need to change, from diet to lifestyle to exercise to stress reduction, creates an enormous and often unobtainable picture of “health” that is daunting to the average person. So what keeps people from starting to make a change? Here are few things I’ve heard over and over:

“I went on the internet to find information and everything I read was conflicting”

“I don’t know where to go to get good information”

“My family would never go for these dietary changes”

“I don’t have time to devote to yet another health fad”

“I don’t even know where to begin”

“I’m feeling pretty OK right now, I probably don’t need to make major changes unless my doctor tells me it will save my life”.

Here’s the pattern I usually see with these reasons: They’re almost always due to some external factor about why they can’t do these things. They hardly ever have a list of reasons about why they should, or give themselves credit for the things they already know. There’s an underlying feeling of helplessness that prevents them from beginning to make small changes, one step at a time. And for the people that really aren’t all that committed in the first place, these reasons are their excuse to stick with bad habits. Now I learned a while ago that I’m not ever going to twist anyones arm to start living a more mindful or healthier life. There always has to be a level of readiness to make changes in anything, and all health professionals can do is facilitate information. Taking action on them is up to the person.

So where to begin when you feel overwhelmed: I recommend starting small and branching out. Try setting a daily goal to eat 5 different colors a day. Or try 1 new vegetable every week. Or try just shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store for 2 weeks. Take your exercise goals one step at a time too. While you’re making these tangible changes, make a commitment to learn more about food to begin building your own education up around the concept of food. I recommend Michael Pollan’s books, or Eating on the Wild Side or Animal Vegetable Miracle. These are resources about different people’s experience with food, where food comes from, and not meant to scare you out of eating something. Quite often when you start exploring books like this, something will spark your interest further while you’re reading, and that will lead you to your next book, or next dietary change, or next lifestyle adjustment. It happens step by step, not all at once. Because there’s so much to know about food, food politics, preventative medicine, health and wellness… the list goes on and on.

Remember, you don’t have to obsess about health all the time. You don’t have to fret about always getting the highest quality food for every single meal. You don’t have to make your entire family change their habits just because you want to change some of yours. Focus on one goal at a time, and take your time getting there. Allow yourself a month even to implement one change and give yourself credit when you accomplish something new. Never beat yourself down for thinking “you could do better”. Turn that into a positive by making one small change, one step at a time.


Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN |

U. S. House of Representatives Vote to Ban States from Labeling GMO Foods

This past month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” See that if it became law, would prevent states from labeling products with Genetically Modified Organisms. Instead, this legislation would create a voluntary program for manufacturers who desire to do their own labeling of GMO on their food products. Any manufacturers who decide to voluntary disclose that their products contain GMOs would have to undergo a certification process through the Department of Agriculture. Given the enormous effort by food manufacturers to fight off GMO labeling, it is difficult to imagine any of them seeking to voluntarily disclose that their products contain GMOs.

While GMO labeling initiatives have failed in a number of states, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have passed GMO-labeling laws and if the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act became law, those states would have to repeal their current GMO Labeling laws. Food manufacturers are suing those states in the federal courts and this legislation is widely seen as an attempt to help food manufacturers fend off any other states who decide to pass GMO labeling laws.

Opponents of the legislation argued that citizens overwhelming support the labeling of GMO food products and pointed to the many other nations who already have GMO labeling laws. To see some of the prominent arguments by opponents to this legislation, who support GMO labeling, see the following video of the House debate:|577|63|4

In order to become law, the legislation must go to the United States Senate to be passed and then signed into law by the President. It in unclear whether or not the Senate will take up the House bill.