How To Make Value Based Life Decisions

How to make value based life decisions

How to make value based life decisions

When it is time to make necessary life decisions it is important to make value based ones. Whether it is changing careers, changing your diet or implementing a new exercise routine, value based decisions will ensure that you are doing what is best for your overall happiness and satisfaction.

If you are struggling to make healthy new habits stick, getting clear on your values is the first step. Prioritizing those values is the next step and then living in alignment with those values is the final step.

So let’s start at the beginning.  By answering these questions honestly we can start to find out what are values are.

What is truly important to you?

What do you believe in or feel strongly about?

What inspires you?

What makes you happy?

What makes you fulfilled?

When have you felt the proudest? Why?

What makes you sad or angry?

When do you most feel like yourself?

When do you not feel like yourself?

Do you often have feelings of regret or longing? In what context?

Do other people know what you stand for?

Do you “stick to your guns” or follow the pack?

Now let’s take it a step further and get really specific on how you are currently making life decisions.

How do you spend your time?

– How much time do you spend each day on work, self-care, your social life     and with your family?

– Are you happy with those percentages? Why or why not?

What do you spend your money on?

– How much of it is on experiences and how much of it is on material         things?

– Which ones make you feel more fulfilled?

What do you eat?

– When you make food choices is the source more important or is cost? Why?

– How do you feel physically and mentally after you eat? Do you see any patterns with the types of food you are eating and how you feel afterward?

– How much time do you spend on sourcing, cooking and enjoying your food?

Are you happy at work?

– Why or why not?

– What about it could be better?

– How do you feel when you explain to others what you do for a living?

How is the quality of your relationships?

– How much time do you invest in them?

– Do you have many friends or just a few and why?

How much thought or care do you put into your appearance?

– Why? What is the outcome?

– How do you want others to perceive you? (Think about first impressions.)

And what about balance?

Often times when you are thriving in one part of your life you are not doing so well in another. This may be because you are avoiding certain areas of your life or believing a story that you do not have time for them. Balance is about self-diversification. Investing time in all of the areas of life that you value. Give yourself a reality check. How much time are you actually really spending in all of the areas of your life that you care about.

How to tell if you are being true to your values.

Do your values make you feel internally rewarded or is your reward coming from an external validation? Determine your values based on what makes you happy, proud and fulfilled.

Prioritize your values.

The phrase “I don’t have time” is often associated with things that are not at the top of our list of priorities. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day. The way you spend those hours is a personal choice.

When setting priorities ask yourself what is really true.

Are you working so many hours that you don’t have enough time for self-care? What would happen if you worked one less hour each day? Would you get fired from your job?

Is picking up take out instead of spending 10 minutes preparing your lunch at home before leaving for work actually saving you time?

Sometimes a simple act of re-organizing your schedule is enough to make time in your life for the things that you want to prioritize. If they truly are indeed a priority.

Living in alignment with your values.

When you are aligned with your values you enable yourself to live a happier more satisfied life. You are able to make clearer life decisions such as what job you should take, how to spend your time and who to spend your time with.

Although your own personal values may change over time, checking in on them and continuously prioritizing them can enable you to live a more balanced life and make healthy habits stick.

Values guide us to make clear life decisions with confidence and make time for the things that are important to us.

So what are yours?

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

Eating According to Your Dosha Type


Do you know which foods make you feel nourished? Fulfilled? Happy? Energetic? What about the foods that make you feel heavy? Cause bloating? Cause headaches? Eating according to your dosha type is a great way to give your body what it needs to feel good and thrive.

What’s all this dosha talk? In Ayurveda, the 5000 year old science of life, there are three doshas, or body types. Pitta, Kapha and Vata. Everyone has all three but you are more dominant in two which make up your primary and secondary dosha. For example I am a Vata-Pitta. Vata being my primary, which I am most of and Pitta being my secondary. Your primary dosha is based on genetics and doesn’t change your entire life. Knowing your dosha information will help you find the right diet and remedies that work best for you. But, being mindfull of all three doshas is important. When all three doshas are in balance you are in perfect health.

Find out your dosha type with this quiz 

The three doshas are….

Pitta – Represents fire + water. Pittas tend to run hot both physically and mentally. They have a medium athletic build, are very passionate and driven and tend to be perfectionists. One of their downsides is they create problems that don’t really exists when feeling too balanced. When out of balanced they can get irritable, angry and their body’s can get inflamed. They do best with sweet, hydrating, bitter and cooling foods and should avoid salty, heavy foods and stimulants like coffee and alcohol in excess. Relaxing activities, like yoga and fishing, that promote a sense of calmness are ideal for Pittas.

Kapha – Represents water + earth. Kaphas are nurturing, calm and loving. The tend to have a wider build and are very strong. When out of balance they tend to be congested, gain weight easily, lethargic and depressed. They do best with dry, warming foods, pungent-heating spices, light proteins and raw vegetables and should avoid high fat foods, heavy proteins like red meat, dairy, gluten, sweets, processed foods and starchy vegetables in excess. Kapha types benefit from having some cardio in their routine to get stagnant energy moving.

Vata – Represents space + air. Vatas tend to be dry, thin, anxious and scatter brained. They take on many projects at once and are very sensitive to cold weather. They do best with oily, grounding, hydrating and warming foods and should avoid iced drinks, cold foods, citrus, stimulants like sugar and alcohol and dry foods in excess. Grounding activities like yoga, pilates and weightlifting are ideal for Vata types.

How to eat according to your dosha –

Foods well suited for Vata are warm liquids and foods like teas, soups and stews, cooked vegetables, warm spices, good quality oils and whole grains. An example of a good menu for Vata is: Start out the day with warm lemon water, followed by warm oatmeal with fresh berries for breakfast. Lunch could be a hot Beef and vegetable soup with whole grain bread and grass-fed butter. Green tea and juicy fruits like peaches and nectarines are great snack options in the afternoon. A good dinner would be Tofu and vegetable curry over brown rice.

Pitta types do well with herbal teas, citrus, salads, sea vegetables, fresh fruit,  rice,  fresh herbs, seeds and light proteins like chicken and fish. An example of a good menu for Pitta is: An acai bowl for breakfast topped with berries, hemp and sunflower seeds, tuna-avocado sushi rolls with seaweed salad for lunch, lots of cool water throughout the day and an orange for a snack. A good dinner would be Chicken with lemon and herbs and a side of fennel salad and rice.

Kapha types do well with foods like beans, salads, warm teas, quinoa, ginger, cayenne, crunchy vegetables and light proteins like chicken and fish. An example of a good menu for Kapha is: A green juice or fruit smoothie for breakfast. A nice big kale salad with lots of crunchy vegetables for lunch, ginger tea with raw honey and a piece of fruit like an apple or a pear for a snack. A good dinner would be grilled fish with spicy stir fried vegetables over quinoa.

But don’t be too rigid with your diet. Just like you need to consider your dosha you also need to consider other things when it comes to your diet as well. The season, the climate and where you live can also dictate how you should eat.

The best way to choose the foods that will be best for you is to take it day by day. Every morning take a quick scan. How do you feel? What kind of mood are you in? What’s the weather like outside? What foods are in season? How is your digestion? Are you having any cravings? Your body and your surroundings know what you need, listen to them.

Just because my dominant dosha is Vata doesn’t mean I eat to balance Vata every single day. Some days I get up very congested and need to balance Kapha by removing cold wet foods from my breakfast like yogurt and adding in more heating spices like ginger throughout the day. Other days I get up and its very warm outside and I feel more in the mood for a cold smoothie or a refreshing salad to balance my Pitta. Its all about how you feel day to day, moment to moment that determines how you should eat.

Whatever your dosha type may be, eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods is always the most important thing. That being said don’t be too strict on yourself. Enjoy your life. Cheat from time to time. Have some pizza or that piece of chocolate cake if you want. If you try to live your life in balance most of the time it will know when it is ok to veer off track a little and when it’s time to get back on. So enjoy the ride.

Take some, leave some. There are many health systems and diets in the world that work for many people. For example, Ayurveda and Macrobiotics are complete lifestyles that are based in thousands of years of research. Then you have numerous diets like The Raw Diet, The Paleo Diet and The Zone Diet. They are all fascinating and all have truths to them. What is important is finding your truth and a lifestyle that works for you.

I tend to pick and choose which things work for me and not stick to any one system or diet in it’s entirety. I think you can learn a lot from all of them but that you should observe them for what they are from the outside while focusing on yourself from the inside.

Experiment on yourself. Know yourself. Eat accordingly.

Find a local Ayurveda Center…

If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda and how you can incorporate it into your life there is no better way than going to a local center and immersing yourself in it.

I found the Dhyana Center in Sebastopol by chance one day when I picked up an Ayurvedic cookbook at Whole Foods. The foreward was written by the owner of the Dhyana Center and since it was only located an hour away from where I live I decided to go check it out.

My first visit to the Dhyana center was a game changer. I took an introduction to Ayurveda class, my first kundalini yoga class, had my first Ayurveda massage (so much better than a regular old massage!), I used the self-care sanctuary where they have steam rooms, saunas and bathtubs and I tried my first “mocktail” at their apothecary bar. It was an experience I will never forget. I now bring family and friends there so I can share it with them. It is a truly special place.

Dhyana Center – A school, self-care center and community center for Ayurveda. There is also a retail shop where you can purchase many tools, spices and remedies used for the Ayurveda lifestyle.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.