My Successes and Failures of 2014

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

Health Room, Successes and failures 2014, luke jones

2014 has been a pretty crazy year. So much has happened and so much has changed in a short space of time. I’ve taken risks, achieved goals, messed up a whole load of times, and learnt a lot about myself and the world around me. It’s been a great one.

As the year draws to a close, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on wins and losses over the past year. My intention definitely isn’t to boast, or to put myself down either. I just wanna look back to see where I’ve come from, and use it as an exercise to help me improve. Hopefully it will be interesting for you too, and it might even give you some lessons to take away.

This post is largely inspired by an article by Leo Babauta posted a couple of weeks ago on his blog  Zen Habits, and I highly recommend checking that out too.

So, here goes…

Continue reading

8 of the Best Free Guided Meditation Sites

Free guided meditation resources

By Luke Jones. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. 

It seems like we rarely go a day without hearing about the benefits of regular meditation. Reduced stress, better decision making, decreased blood pressure, improved mindfulness… There really isn’t that much it doesn’t help with.

We all know the benefits, and many of us try really hard to meditate regularly, but why is it such a struggle to do? Why is forming the habit of sitting still for 10-20 minutes a day way easier said than done?

Like many of you out there, I’ve been wrestling with meditation for quite a few years. Sometimes I go through phases where I’m on point, practising daily. Everything’s good, and I almost feel like a Jedi knight. Almost…

Other times (like over the past few weeks), I struggle. I’m really inconsistent with practising, and whenever I do make the time to sit quietly, my mind is racing and I just wanna be somewhere else. Anywhere else…

Recently, in an attempt get myself back on track and make the pesky meditation habit stick again, I started playing around with guided meditation. It turns out that having someone take you through the process can really pay off! Since starting, I’ve been on a roll, meditating daily without any problems.

It’s partly due to the massive amount of awesome free guided meditation resources I’ve stumbled across whilst delving through the depths of the internet. There’s so much out there! So many different styles, so many different teachers. And a lot of it is free! You’ve just got to know where to look…

Today I thought I’d share my favourites, so you don’t have to search far and wide like I did. For each resource I’ve listed the number of free guided meditation tracks, the different types of mediation available, the average length of each mediation, and whether the tracks are downloadable. Also, I’ve added a few little comments to share my thoughts.

Ready to get mindful? Let’s do it!

Free Guided Meditation Resources

1. Tara Brach

  • Number of tracks: 100+
  • Meditation styles: Loving kindness, mindfulness, forgiveness, sleep.
  • Length: 10 – 40 min. (average 25 min).
  • Download: Yes, free.

This is one of my favourites. Tara has a library of at least a hundred guided meditation tracks to keep you going, all various styles, with a new one added each week. The site is really user friendly, and the tracks are all good quality too. No music, just a calming voice guide you through. Nice and simple.

2. Fragrant Heart

  • Number of tracks: 50
  • Meditation styles: Loving kindness, mindfulness, forgiveness, sleep, mantra, healing, children.
  • Length: 1 – 30 min (average 15 min).
  • Download: Yes, paid.

Fragrant Heart is another one of my favourites, partly because of it’s cool name. The tracks are separated into clear categories, with lots of different styles. Each meditation is available with or without background music too, which is a nice touch. Some tracks are as short as a minute, which is great for beginners, and they also have free guided meditation courses too.

3. Do Yoga With Me

  • Number of tracks: 30
  • Meditation styles: Loving kindness, mindfulness, relaxation, sleep, healing, children.
  • Length: 9 to 60 min (average 20 min).
  • Download: Yes, paid.

Do Yoga with me is a great site. I’ve used it for a few years for their wicked collection of free yoga class videos (hip flexor heaven is a personal favourite). Along with yoga vids, they’ve got a great library of guided meditation tracks too. Again, a wide range of styles and high quality recordings. Namaste…

4. The Free Mindfulness Project

  • Number of tracks: 30
  • Meditation styles: Mindfulness, healing, gratitude, body scan, moving.
  • Length: 3 to 45 min (average 20 mins)
  • Download: Yes, download only (free)

Many different types of mindfulness mediation by various teachers. All tracks are free to download and distribute non-commercially, which is really cool. One slight downfall is you can’t listen to the meditations online – you have to download them. It just makes previewing the tracks slightly more difficult, but it’s not a big deal. It’s still a solid resource.

5. Chopra Centred Lifestyle

  • Number of tracks: 16
  • Meditation styles: Mindfulness, healing, gratitude, sleep.
  • Length: 5 to 60 min (average 15 min).
  • Download: Yep, free.

A good site with a wide range of meditation styles and high quality audio. The dude who guides you through the mediation has a gravely voice that I really wasn’t expecting at first, but you get used to it after a while.

6. UCLA Free Guided Meditation

  • Number of tracks: 8
  • Meditation styles: Loving kindness, mindfulness, sleep.
  • Length: 3 – 12 mins.
  • Download: Yes, free.

Simple and clear. Most tracks are quite short, but could be good for someone who’s just getting into forming the meditation habit. It’s really cool to see universities recognising the benefits of meditation and mindfulness!

7. Meditation Oasis

  • Number of tracks: 50
  • Meditation styles: Mindfulness, relaxation, healing, loving kindness, sleep.
  • Length: 8 to 25 min (average 18 mins).
  • Download: Yes, free.

One of the most popular meditation podcast on iTunes right now. It’s not updated all that regularly, but there’s still plenty to choose from. Again, there’s a wide variety of styles available. The ‘healthy body’ meditation is a good one to work up to.

8. The Meditation Podcast

  • Number of tracks: 28
  • Meditation styles: Mindfulness, relaxation, healing, grief, sleep.
  • Length: 8 to 25 min (average 20 mins)
  • Download: Yes, free

Another great podcast with lots of different meditation styles. Headphones are recommended, because the guys use binaural beats, which apparently affect your brainwaves and make you extra mindful. Groovy.


So that’s the list of free guided meditation resources I’ve been using lately! Hope you find it useful. If there’s any I missed out that you really like to use, let me know in the comments below!


Bottom Post2

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to support my work, the best way you can do so is by subscribing and sharing with others. If you want to take things a step further, if it feels right for to you, you can donate any amount of money via the paypal link below.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Black Friday Deal: No Meat Athlete Plant Based Fitness Bundle

No Meat Athlete Black Friday Bundle

Hi people, I’ve got something exciting for you!

Matt Frazier, from No Meat Athlete, got in touch with me last month to ask if I’d be interested in contributing to the No Meat Athlete Black Friday Bundle sale he was putting together.

Matt is one of the leaders of this plant based movement, and he’s someone I’ve looked up to and admired for years. He barely had to explain what the project actually was before I agreed to jump on board.

And I reckon you’ll probably be just as excited about it as I am. As far as I’m aware, it’s something that’s never been done in the plant-based community before, and I’m so grateful to be involved. It’s also time limited, so if I don’t tell you now it’ll probably be over by the time you hear about it…

So here’s the deal yo: The No Meat Athlete Black Friday Bundle includes 23 Plant-Based Fitness, Productivity, and Cooking Guides from 15 of the top plant-based authors and fitness & cooking experts online.

Including:

  • Marathon Roadmap, Half Marathon Roadmap, Triathlon Roadmap, 5K
    Roadmap, and Wake Up, all by Matt Frazier.
  • Jai Release Meditation and Jai Seed eCookbook by Rich Roll
  • Run Your BQ Essentials by Jason Fitzgerald and Matt Frazier
  • Discover Your Ultramarathon by Doug Hay
  • 3 Month Meal Plan from Heather Crosby
  • 28 Day Food Change Challenge by Nicole Antoinette
  • Body By Plants Bootcamp by Elena Wilkins
  • Conscious Evolution by Lyn Rose
  • Plant Based Diet 101 by me, Luke Jones
  • 7 Day Refresh by Christy Morgan
  • 47 Strategies by Jeff Sanders
  • Easy Everyday Tofu and We Love Quinoa by Nava Atlas
  • Mangia! and Don’t Have a Cow, Man by Patty Knudson
  • Eat Awesome by Paul Jarvis
  • Jacked on the Beanstalk by Samantha Shorkey

All told, that’s $539.35 worth of plant-based fitness and cooking products for a crazy low price of $97.

You just need to go check it out now, because the deal is gonna be over soon: so go take a look!

It’s an honour for me to be included amongst so many people that I consider role models and innovators in this field. As you can see from the list above, there’s no shortage of big names contributing to the project. To have my eBook up there with the work of people like Rich Roll, Matt Frazier, Doug Hay and all the other guys and girls really is surreal to me, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity..

When I was making the transition to eating a plant based diet, I actually used a few of the guides and eBooks above, and they definitely helped make the journey a little smoother. The Jai Seed cookbook in particular gave me some great recipe ideas when I was first starting out.

But if something like this whole bundle had been around when I decided to make the changes to my diet, things would have been even easier. It’s crazy that so many great resources have been grouped together for such a low price.

We’re nearing the new year, and many of you will be setting resolutions. If you’re reading this blog, I’d bet that some of your goals will be related to diet and fitness. Some of you may want to move towards a plant based diet, for improved health, or to lose weight. Others are probably aiming to run a 5k, to compete in a triathlon, or to build some muscle.

Whether you’re looking to be a competitive ultamarathoner or weekend jogger, fully vegan or just eating more plants; I really believe there’s something here for you. The resources in the bundle not only provide you with the basic information you need, they also show you how to put things into action. How to actually go about changing your habits, so they’re lasting and sustainable, and so you don’t have to add another entry to your list of failed new year’s resolutions.

Anyways, I really hope you enjoy the deal. Remember that it’s time limited, so get in there before it’s too late. I’m just about to get my copy, and I’m really excited to get stuck into Matt’s triathlon roadmap!

Have a great weekend, and stay healthy!

Luke


P.S. Just for transparency, the links in this article are affiliate links. That means if you decide to make a purchase of the The No Meat Athlete Black Friday Bundle, I’ll receive a percentage of the sale (at no extra cost to you). As I’ve said before, I’ll only ever get involved with projects that I believe in, and I’ll only promote products that are aligned with my values and my goals. And this fits right in with them!

Cowspiracy Infographic: Why Animal Agriculture Is the Most Destructive Industry Facing the Planet Today

Cowspiracy Infographic Header

Cowspiracy infographic. Scroll down for the full version.

“Cowspiracy may be the most important film made to inspire saving the planet.”
— Louie Psihoyos

I’ve watched my fair share of documentaries whilst on this plant based journey.

Like many others, I kicked things off a few years ago with Food Inc and Forks Over Knives. The classics. Then came Blackfish and Vegucated, shortly followed by Earthlings (not for the faint hearted).

There’s a long list of great films out there, and they’ve all had an impact on me in some shape or form. But there’s one that has influenced me way more than any of the above…

COWSPIRACY

Produced by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn (and backed by plant powered ultra-man Rich Roll), Cowspiracy shows us how our food choices impact the health of the planet we live on. More specifically, the film reveals how animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing the Earth today, and how many of the top environmental organisations in the world really don’t want to talk about it.

I wouldn’t describe myself as the activist type. Far from it in fact. I’m usually more of ‘share a few ideas, take what resonates with you’ sort of guy. But Cowspiracy moved me.

After watching the film, I decided that I wanted to use the little influence I have to help spread the message as much as possible. So I designed this infographic, highlighting the most important facts from the film. I’ve produced a couple before: one on the benefits of a plant based diet, and one on climate change. It’s quite fitting that for Cowspiracy I would combine the two…

Check it out:

Continue reading

Kate Wilson on Why She Eats a Plant Based Diet

kate wilson plant based diet

This week we’re back with another guest post from talented green living writer Kate Wilson. This time round, Kate shares her reasons for adopting a plant based diet. Check it out.

Why Eat a Plant-Based Diet?

You probably know someone who eats a plant-based diet, but maybe you’ve always wondered why. What could possibly entice someone to stop eating roasted meats and wheels of cheese?

Or maybe you’ve thought about trying it yourself just for curiosity’s sake, but haven’t yet mustered up the effort to make the switch. Either way, this post could be for you. Check out these benefits of eating a plant-based diet and learn how it could lead you to a better life.


Continue reading

Hearty Vegan Soup Recipe

Winter soup recipe

The hearty winter vegan soup recipe. Simple. Just like me.

I don’t know what the conditions are like where you’re living, but here in not so sunny South Wales, the nights are drawing in, the temperatures are dropping to single figures, and long bike rides are becoming less fun to endure.

For sure, Winter is coming…

In preparation, this week I’m bringing you a simple, hearty, vegan soup recipe. It’s one that you can make a big batch of, that will help get you through the cold days and nights to come.

I’ll admit, the soup isn’t exactly the most tantalising on the taste buds. I mean, it tastes good, but there’s hardly a whirlwind of flavours bursting through (especially when you compare it to this vegan curry).

But it’s warm, hearty and full of goodness. It really hits the spot on a cold day. Plus, it contains pearl barley, which used to be the food of the gladiators. So you know it’s legit.

On top of all that, it’s super easy to make, and inexpensive. The vegan soup recipe makes about 4 to 6 servings, depending on how many miles you’ve run…

So get your veggies ready, it’s about to go down.

Continue reading

10 Daily Habits of Those Who Live Mindfully

This is a guest post by green living writer Kate Wilson.Living mindfully

It’s true that we never use our full mental capacities – not by a long shot – and a lot of this is due to our daily routines. Everyday habits like taking showers, making meals and brushing our teeth are no coincidence. While habits help us to function with as little thought as possible, they also take away our daily control.

It may seem impossible, but breaking out of a rut of mindless habits and making the switch to more meaningful habits can be achieved. There are many positive habits, those that can help you be more focused, happy, aware, in control throughout the day.

Learn from these 10 daily habits of those who live mindfully and free yourself from the automation of your daily life.

Continue reading

Plant Powered Caramelised Onion Hummus Recipe (vgn) (gf)

Caramalised onion hummus recipe, luke jones, health room, herohealthroom.com

My caramelised onion hummus recipe. In a fancy bowl. Topped with smoked paprika. To make it look cool.

I’ve had an up and down relationship with hummus over the past few years.

We started out well, when I first embarked on this plant based journey. I’d have hummus with my sweet potato fries, hummus with my sandwiches, hummus with burritos. For a long time we were getting on just fine.

But last summer, I went through my low fat, raw food phase. Whilst the raw food eating itself only lasted a few weeks, the principles stuck in my head for a lot longer. I’ll admit, that after reading the the 80-10-10 diet and hearing all these fruitarian advocates, I was a little scared of fats…

For a while, I became what some people like to describe as a bit of a fat-nazi. If it didn’t fit my low fat, high carb criteria, I didn’t wanna know.

So me and hummus went through a bit of a rough patch. I stopped eating store bought varieties because of all the oil and tahini, scared I was gonna drop dead with a heart attack or get type-2. For a while, I opted instead for this homemade no fat recipe, which was okay, but I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t my finest work…

About a year on, things have changed slightly. I’ve relaxed a little, and I feel like I know a bit more about what my body wants and needs. Now that I’m training more frequently, I feel like I could do with a few more fats. But that’s just me. Do whatever feels right for you. Don’t listen to these health gurus without considering how you feel about it.

I still respect the fruitarian approach, and yeah it may be the optimum diet for health. But that’s not where I’m at right now. Maybe some time in the future, but we’ll have to see.

So what does that mean for hummus? I think you know the answer to that. It’s back on the cards, that’s what it means!

Hence, this week I’m bringing you my new plant powered caramelised onion hummus recipe, complete with tahini and even a little oil if you’re feeling crazy…

Go get some!

Continue reading

Matt Jager on Plant Based Nutrition and Creating Healthy Habits

Dont Lose The Cow

What’s up people!

I hope you’re ready to be inspired, because this week we’re back with another interview.

You may remember a couple of weeks ago when I brought to you the lovely Sarah Argo of Southern Blonde Vegan. Super-mum, vegan recipe blogger, and Instagram extraordinaire. I had some great feedback from that post, so I thought why not bring you another dose of positive energy!

Today we’re sticking with the plant powered theme, and I’m really happy to share with you a new friend of mine: Matt Jager.

Matt is a blogger, habit forming specialist, and just all round nice guy. We crossed paths not long ago, and I soon had him down as someone with a great message and story to share, and I wanted to get that across to you guys asap. So here we are!

In the interview we chat about his journey towards a plant-based diet, how he overcame the obstacles on the way, and Matt even drops some knowledge on what you can do to start developing healthy habits of your own…

It’s a cool interview, and I really think you’ll get something valuable from it.

So enough chit chat from me, let’s get to it!

Continue reading

100th Post! Free Health Room Starter Guide

Post

Here we go, blog post number 100!

It’s crazy to think I’ve now been running this site for over a year. It only feels like yesterday that I was buying the domain name, fumbling around with CSS coding and trying to figure out what the hell I was gonna write about…

A lot has changed since then! I’ve learnt a lot about myself, and my place in the world. I’ve gradually started to find my feet, and my voice too. I feel like I’ve grown up quite a bit, and Health Room has grown along with me.

As crazy as it sounds to me, blogging has transformed from a part-time personal project to my full-time profession! It’s morphed into something that’s much bigger than me, and it’s been cool to go along for the ride. Thank you to those of you who have been around from the start, and of course to those of you who have joined along the way.

The past few months in particular have been really busy. I’ve had opportunities pop up that I could never foresee – magazine articles, expos, interviews, webinars… It’s been amazing.

Aside from all that, one of the biggest projects I’ve been working on lately is one that I’m excited to share with you today: my new eBook, which I’m giving away free of charge. The book is called:

The Health Room Starter Guide – 40 ways to eat more plants, move freely, live mindfully and exist sustainably. 

It’s kind of a thank you gift to those of you who have subscribed to the blog, shared my ideas, and helped build what you see today. It’s also an incentive for others to join the Health Room community, to keep this movement growing…

Continue reading