Fear or Excitement?

As a child, did you ever have the dream where you went to school and discovered that you were completely naked?  I had that dream quite often and would wake up in a cold sweat, for in my dream I would feel completely vulnerable and open for judgement.  Teaching my first official yoga classes this week to groups of 25-30 women left me feeling very much the same way.

A wise person once told me that we all have a divine purpose on this earth, our “soul’s work” as she called it.  However, to bring that work to light we must first walk through the tunnel of our deepest fears and insecurities.  Many of us will never discover our purpose because our tunnel seems much too deep and dark and we are afraid to enter. Instead, we find something that seems safe to do, something that guarantees our success.  Although we may appear successful on the outside, inside we know that there is something more we should be doing and we are left feeling unsatisfied and full of discontentment.

By writing this blog and by teaching yoga, I have said yes to my divine purpose and have entered my own personal tunnel.  My tunnel is full of fear of failure, fear of talking in front of a group, fear of being in any type of spot light,  fear of being judged and found lacking, fear of being vulnerable and honest, and my biggest fear of all, the fear that I am unworthy and am not enough.

I have protected myself from being vulnerable my entire life by not allowing myself to get too close and by choosing situations that did not challenge me or make me uncomfortable.  Yet, here I am, standing a few feet inside my own personal tunnel of self doubt and fear.  I would be lying if I told you I never thought about turning around and getting out of the tunnel as quickly as possible, back to the safe side of my life.  But, I am reminded again and again that these doubts and fears are nothing but manifestations that I have created over the course of my life.  By taking one step at a time, I am conquering one fear, one monster, at a time and am moving that much closer to the other side of my tunnel.

I recently heard a story about a man who was going to jump out of an airplane for the first time.  He stood at the door with his parachute on his back, looking down at the earth 10,000 feet below him.  He had wanted to jump his entire life, yet his intense fear of heights kept him from trying.  Having finally worked up enough nerve, he literally stood at the edge of his own tunnel, paralyzed with fear.  The pilot simply said to him, “Fear or excitement?”  The man chose excitement, leaping from the plane.  He didn’t just land on the ground; he landed with a new outlook on life.

I am tired of allowing fears and doubts to keep me from following my passions.  Today, I am choosing to look fear in the eye, realizing that it is my own mind that created the fears in the first place.  I am not my thoughts.  I will no longer be controlled by their constant whispers of doubt.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me on the other side of my tunnel. I hope to find many of you over there as well.  Start by saying yes.  Then, walk into your own tunnel and face your personal demons.  Your dreams are waiting for you on the other side.  Fear or excitement?

~ala

Today’s entry is dedicated to JM.  Thank you for helping me learn this life lesson.

Anchor of Fear

We had a night away at a hotel this past weekend to celebrate my birthday.  It was peaceful and afforded us plenty of time to just talk with each other – one of our favorite activities.  Somehow, don’t ask me how, we began discussing her grandfather (Buddy).  He was a very successful man in business – President of a bank, knew everyone in town and was quite the popular man  (this was back-in-the-day when a banker was actually important – not on every street corner).  Hell, he even had a debit card named after him – The “Buddy” Card.  He passed away recently and, not having known him terribly well, I learned quite a bit about him and his many successes through the various eulogies delivered.

Once, while over at his house, his widow showed me a sheet of old, worthless stock options that he had framed and were in his bedside table (apparently they were hanging on the wall at their old house).  She told me the story of how Buddy had not cashed-in on millions of dollars worth of now defunct bank stock.  He had considered this his greatest failure.  This was a man who had accomplished so much in business; yet, he kept this constant reminder of failure in his bedside table!  How horrible that must have been to see every day – that constant negative reminder of doubt.  He never allowed himself to get past it; or at least that was the story told.

Why do we hold on to such negative reminders?!  How are we supposed to progress forward if we keep these anchors weighing us down?  We’ve got to be able to LET GO of the past.  Of the negativity in our lives.  Let go of the failures and learn from them.  Grow.  Move forward.  I wondered…at the end of his life, did he recall all of the wonderful things he had done in his life?  His wonderful family?  Or was he, even then, still burdened by his failure?

It’s something that I struggled with on a constant basis after the suicide of my brother…and it could be stifling.  How could I have missed the signs?  Failure.  How could I have misinterpreted cries for help?  Failure.  I was so afraid of failure.  Afraid to fail.  I’ve always been pretty good at most things that I try; however, I became so afraid to fail that it prevented me from actually trying something new.  We must untether these anchors in order to move forward and succeed.  Allow yourself to let go of whatever it is that is holding you back.  Forgive yourself.  Forgive others.  Reset your intent away from the past – it’s over.  Nothing can change it.  Refocus on the now.  On the present.  Allow yourself the opportunity to succeed.

~ka

The Cleansing Diet

Many of you have expressed an interest in trying The Cleansing Diet for yourselves.  Here is a collection of all of the notes and recipes that the original group used that you might find helpful.

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Why this cleanse?

I went to a Yoga Immersion class with Baron Baptiste in November.  If you haven’t heard of him, Baron is the creator of Baptiste Power Yoga and has trained many celebrities and athletes.  He is considered the “yoga guro” of the west and is considered “a spiritual master driving the yoga revolution.”  I purchased his book Journey Into Power which is where this particular cleanse came from.  He offers a Boot Camp and has used this cleanse to transform the lives of thousands of students.  The cleanse is based on the idea that natural, spontaneous healing and purification can happen when you put your usual habits on hold while consciously focusing on eating for intensive cleansing.  The chemicals that are in our foods stay in our bodies, causing body toxicity.  Body toxicity is the root cause of many ailments and diseases.  Once we get the junk out of our systems we will stop craving unhealthy things by being able to shift from unconscious to conscious eating.

Why am I personally doing this?

Yoga has tranformed my life and has put me more in touch with my body.  I have always considered myself a relatively healthy eater yet as I have become more mindful of what I put into my body, I realize there are certain habits and addictions that I need to break.  I usually completely run out of energy around 2:00 in the afternoon and I have a habit of using caffeine or processed sugars to try to boost my energy level back up.  I have realized that everything I put into my mouth can either sustain and energize me, or can serve as a burden that clogs and drains me.  So, in a nut shell, I want to retrain my body to crave foods that will nourish, replenish, and flush my system rather than pollute it.

Here are some of the results you can expect according to the book:

  1. The toxic debris that blocks your natural flow of energy will dissolve
  2. You’ll shed unwanted fat, cellulite, weight, and inches if that’s what needs to happen
  3. Your body will return to its authentic stature
  4. Your skin will radiate
  5. Stomachaches and intestinal problems disappear
  6. Your breath will be clean and sweet
  7. Problems like body odor, constipation, and general fatigue disappear
  8. You will have renewed energy and vitality
  9. Your emotions and moods will stabilize
  10. You will no longer have the midafternoon crash when you need coffee or a sugary snack as a pick-me-up

Basic Guidelines of the Cleanse

This is a 7 day commitment.  On all 7 days, we are to avoid caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, dairy, and artificial foods.  There are no restrictions on how much or when to eat.

  • On Days 1 & 2, we eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and tofu, chicken, or fish.
  • On Days 3, 4, & 5 we enter into a fruit fast.  We can have as much fresh, whole fruit or freshly squeezed juice as we want.  Avocados and tomatoes are fruits so we can eat these as well. (You might want to consider getting a juicer if you don’t have one.)
  • On Days 6 & 7, we eat just like we did for the first two days.

We are also encouraged to do the following things:

  • 30 minutes of yoga practice daily
  • Sweat every day (sauna, hot bath, aerobic exercise) to help release the toxins from our bodies
  • Sleep 7-9 hours each night
  • Eat when hungry
  • Attempt to detox your mind and emotions as well

What to expect during the Cleanse

  • If you usually eat heavy meals, you may feel lightheaded at first as your body’s energy is released from the burden of overtaxing digestion.
  • If you are used to superficial energy from white sugar and caffeine, you will realize how tired you really are and that you need to take better care of your body by resting.
  • During the fruit fast, you might experience bad breath, irritability, and an upset stomach as the toxicity is passing through your system.

All of these are normal signs and are temporary and prove that your body is detoxing.  In other words, the cleanse is working.  Drink more water and get extra rest as your body is working in a healing and cleansing mode.  It will be worth it in the end.

The cleanse will help us all to realize that we treat our cars better than we do our own bodies.  After the cleanse, we will hopefully be more mindful about how we fuel our bodies.  Our lifetime goal should be to strive for a water-rich diet, one filled with fresh fruits and veggies and their juices.  Digestion is a HUGE energy drain.  Eat light, feel light.  Water from living foods contains enzymes & nutrients that are transported into our intestinal environments where they are absorbed and used by our bodies.  Of all foods, fruit is the closest to nature and takes the least amount of energy to disgest.  When we eat light, we have more energy, fewer unhealthy cravings, and overall vitality.  We will strive to eliminate fake foods and chemicals from our normal diets.

Sample Schedule

This is an example of the schedule we will be following when NOT on the 3 day fruit fast; in other words, on Days 1, 2, 6 and 7.

Our diet during this time consists of organic fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and tofu, chicken, or fish.  Proteins are to be steamed, poached, or baked with no oil.  If eating salad, you can use vinegar and lemon with one teaspoon of olive oil for dressing.  You can also use natural seasonings and spices.  Remember, no caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, dairy, or artificial foods.  There are no rules on how much or when to eat.

Upon Awakening

Glass of hot purified water with fresh lemon squeezed into it.  Add honey to sweeten if you wish.  This helps flush waste matter from the digestive tract and keeps your breath sweet. (Your significant other will thank you).

Breakfast

Fresh fruit and freshly squeezed fruit juice (nothing with added sugar), organic yogurt (dairy is ok here I guess), chopped almonds or sliced fruit over the yogurt, and as much herbal tea as you want.  You can use honey as a sweetener.

Lunch

One serving (fist sized amount) of protein (tofu, fish, or skinless chicken breast) steamed, poached, or baked with no oil.  One serving of a whole grain such as brown rice.  As much veggies and salad as you’d like.  Lunch should be your biggest meal.

Snack

Fresh veggie or fruit

Dinner

Follow the same guidelines as lunch.  Dessert is okay as long as it is naturally low-fat, whole-grain, and dairy-free.  It is suggested to get recipes from a vegan cookbook.

The 3 Day Fruit Fast (Days 3, 4, and 5)

There is no sample scheule for days 3,4, and 5. The only guidelines are that the fruit needs to be fresh- either whole or freshly squeezed juice.   Here are the few suggestions:

  • Mash up a few bananas and freeze to make banana “ice cream”
  • Bake apples, using honey or cinnamon for flavoring
  • Poach pears and use honey or cider for sweetening

A fruit is defined as the ovary of a plant, or basically, anything with seeds.  Besides the typical fruits, you can also have non-traditional fruits such as tomatoes, avocados, squash, zucchini, egg plant, and cucumbers.  Oils from fruits such as olive oil are fine to use in small amounts as marinades.  Any natural herb or seasoning is fine as well.

Recipes Ideas Shared by the Original Group

Grilled Caribbean Chicken Breasts (For days 1,2, 6, or 7)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice (no added sugar)
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 TBS olive oil (I plan on leaving out for this, although it’s probably ok since we can use to make salad dressing)
1 TBS fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1. In a blender, combine orange juice, orange peel, olive oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, hot pepper sauce and oregano. Blend into marinade.
2. Place chicken breasts in a nonporous glass dish or bowl. Pour marinade over chicken, cover dish, and refrigerate to marinate for a least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
3. Preheat over to broil OR preheat grill to medium high heat.
4. Remove chicken from marinade and grill or broil 6 inches from the heat source for about 7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside.

*I plan on making this for dinner on Day 1 and making extra to put on a salad for lunch on Day 2.

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Honeysuckle Pineapple (For Fruit Fast Days)

4 slices of fresh pineapple wedges
1 1/2 TBS honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine honey and lemon juice in bowl. Mix and add pineapple wedges. Cover dish and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Cook pineapple directly on grill rack and grill 10 minutes, turning, until pineapple is hot & caramelized.
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Fruit Salad Smoothie

1/2 cup fresh orange juice (no sugar)
1 kiwi, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 medium banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 1/2 teaspoons of honey
Add water as needed to thin

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth and frothy.

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Greek Peasant Salad

1 pound cucumbers
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 medium tomatoes (Red and/ or yellow), cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Mix and toss ingredients together.

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 Chicken Salad with Mustard- Thyme Vinaigrette (For non-fruit fast days)

3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS Dijon mustard with seeds
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups of boiled white chicken breasts
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 bag baby spinach

1. Combine green onions (you can cook first for 1 minute if you wish), vinegar, oil, mustard, thyme, and salt.
2. In a large bowl, toss chicken, apples, and spinach.
3. Pour dressing over chicken until evenly coated.

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Tomato Salsa (Fruit Fast Day)

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 TBS fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

In bowl, combine ingredients until mixed well. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours if not serving right away.

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Grilled Eggplant, Peppers, Zucchini, and Summer Squash

3 TBS olive oil
2 TBS red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 medium red pepper, cut lengthwise into quarters, stem and seeds discarded
1 medium yellow pepper, cut lengthwise into quarters, stem and seeds discarded
4 baby eggplants (5 ounces each), cut lengthwise in half
4 small zucchini and/ or yellow summer squashes, each cut lengthwise in half

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
2. Mix oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped basil
3. Place red and yellow peppers, eggplants, and squashes on hot grill rack. Cover grill and cook until tender and browned, 7 to 10 minutes, turning and brushing with herb mixture occasionally.

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Butternut Squash Soup

Made the soup: simmered the dates on the stove in water, blood orange juice, honey, and clementine pieces (about 10 dates or so, cut into pieces, and an entire clementine, all the pieces), and threw in some turmeric and cayenne (and a little salt) — I probably used a cup of the blood orange juice and 2 cups or so of water.

While that was simmering, I roasted the butternut squash (cut into small pieces — I bought it pre-cut at Whole Foods) in the oven with rosemary, sage, blood orange juice, lemon juice, and honey for about half an hour at around 350-400.

Then, I put everything juices and all in a bowl and pureed it into a soup (you can do it in a blender), and voila. Soup for dinner. It was ridiculously easy.

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Avocado tomato salad
2 ripe avocados
2 large ripe beefsteak tomatoes
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Chop tomato and avocado and mix ingredients.

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Marinara Sauce (to use over spaghetti squash during fruit fast)
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBS chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups freshly made tomato puree
1 large basil stem, leaves removed
1 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of baking soda, if needed

Heating olive oil over moderate heat. Add parsley and garlic and cook briefly to release fragrance. Add tomatoes, basil, and salt. Simmer briskly until reduced to a sauce like consistency, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The timing will depend on the ripeness and meatiness of your tomatoes. If the sauce thickens too much before the flavors have developed, add a little water and continue cooking.

Taste and adjust seasoning. If the sauce tastes too acidic, add baking soda and cook 5 more minutes. Remove the basil stem before serving.

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Grilled Shrimp Salad. Serves 4. (We’re having for dinner during non fruit fast. Uses a lot of olive oil so I plan on trying with less)
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 wooden skewers
1 ripe avocado, peeled and quartered lengthwise, fanned out onto 4 plates
1 orange, peeled and sectioned (remove membranes
fresh cilantro sprigs

Whisk together lime juice, garlic, cilantro, 7 TBS olive oil, soy sauce and dried red pepper flakes. Using a measuring cup, remove 1/2 cup and set aside, refrigerated. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss to combine thoroughly with the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the skewers in a shallow tray and cover with hot water. Set aside until you are ready to grill the shrimp.

Preheat a grill or broiler to medium heat.

Place the shrimp on the soaked wooden skewers. Lightly pat dry with paper towels and, using a brush, lightly coat the shrimp on both sides with the remaining TBS of olive oil. Grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until shrimp are golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Place the shrimp on the fanned avocado slices and season with salt to taste. Top with the orange segments then divide the reserved dressing evenly among 4 plates and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve immediately.

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Raw Vegan Creamy “Pistachio Ice Cream” Kale Shake
1 cup curly green kale leaves (about 3 large leaves)
2 ripe bananas – fresh or frozen
2 cups ice (a little less ice if using frozen bananas)
1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 Tbsp raw agave nectar or 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates
1 tsp pure alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
pinch of Celtic sea salt
Throw all of the ingredients in your high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and puree until smooth and creamy. YUMMO!

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  • Chicken/ Turkey Meatballs

    1lb ground chicken or turkey
    1 glove garlic minced
    1 egg beaten
    1/2 bread crumbs or oatmeal ( I ground mine in my blender)
    1 tsp. sea salt
    1 tsp ground pepper
    zest of one lemon or lime
    Herbs to taste

    Mix all ingredients and form into balls. Meatballs can be baked, pan fried, or simmered in a soup or sauce.

    Heb ideas:
    Itallian meatballs- fresh oregano and bail
    Thai- ginger and green onions
    savory- thyme and rosemary

  • I simmered the chicken meatballs in my vegetable soup. i also used a very small ice cream scoop to help portion. I have made thai meatballs many times for parties and simmered them in a green coconut curry, yum!

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    Detox Bath Recipe

    Many of us took a 40 minute Detox Bath on Days 3 and 6 of the cleanse.  Highly recommended!

    1/3 cup sea salt (heals sores & blemishes)
    1/3 cup epsom salt (relieves aches and helps make you sweat)
    1/3 cup baking soda (eliminates chlorine in bath water and makes you nice and soft)
    1 cup apple cider vinegar (restores acid-alkaline balance in body)
    2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger (increases blood circulation and opens pores)
    You can also add natural oils such as lavender if you have some.

    Mix all ingredients except for vinegar in a bowl. Run a hot bath and add the dry ingredients and the vinegar as the water is running. The water may turn orange or yellow because of the ingredients. Soak for a full 40 minutes, rubbing your skin every so often to activate your lymphatic system. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your bath. This will make you very sleepy so do it right before bedtime. This bath will help eliminate toxins from your body and will make you feel very relaxed.

    Day-by-Day Summary

    If you’d like to see exactly what I ate and how I felt each day, please read the blog Food for Thought- Part 2.

Food for Thought- Part 2

Diet Breakdown

Day 1: Organic fresh fruits & veggies, whole grains, tofu, chicken, or fish, raw nuts and herbal tea. No caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, dairy, or artificial foods.

Breakfast: 1 banana. I had great intentions of making a smoothie but I woke up with a sinus infection and felt pretty miserable and didn’t have much of an appetite.

Lunch: Grilled chicken salad. We seasoned the chicken with salt & pepper and threw it on some lettuce mixed with grapes, apples, avocados, and walnuts. We made our own dressing using extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Afternoon snack: Pumpkin Spiced Tea, raw cashews, and apple slices

Dinner: Grilled salmon, grilled asparagus, grilled corn on the cob (with no butter), and brown rice

Today wasn’t bad at all, except for the fact that I feel pretty rotten thanks to my sinus infection. Walking into the pantry is a big temptation, and I’m sure that’s only going to get more challenging. The container of Hershey’s kisses and snack crackers were calling my name as I fixed my daughter’s snack. My husband went to the grocery store this afternoon for us since I wasn’t feeling great and came back with all fresh fruits and veggies. I currently have 3 baskets filled to the brim with produce sitting on my kitchen counters, some of which I have never before tasted. I am already nervous about Day 3, which is when we start the 3 day fruit fast. My mantra this week is “Eat to Live” instead of “Live to Eat.” My biggest craving came around 3:00, which is when I normally would do my heaviest snacking. I really had to mentally fight through the urge to give in but the tea and cashews really helped. I am feeling satisfied but not stuffed. 6 more days to go… I can and will do it. _________________________________________________________________________ Day 2: Same guidelines as Day 1

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie and Vanilla Spice tea

Lunch: Shrimp salad Snack: Raw cashews and carrot slices

Dinner: Grilled Caribbean Chicken, salad, green beans.

Dessert: Baked apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon

I could not fall asleep last night until after 4 am. This is not usual for me at all and I’m wondering if perhaps the allergy medicine I took an hour before heading to bed was the cause. I would have LOVED to have a cup (or 12) of coffee this morning and so it was very hard to settle for tea. I’m not feeling hungry but I’m not feeling full, either. Temptations were much stronger today. I am missing carbs (bread & salty snacks) more than anything. For most others, it’s the caffeine or the dairy. Tomorrow we are limited to eating fruit only, for 3 days. These days will prove to be the most challenging. I’m wondering if what we miss the most will change. Will I miss carbs or meat the most? It will be interesting to find out. Right now, I just feel tired. I plan on doing some yoga and then heading to bed pretty early. It is amazing to realize just how tired I actually am when I am unable to mask it with caffeine. _________________________________________________________________________ Day 3: Fruit Fast. Yep, all we can eat is fruit.

Breakfast: Fruit smoothie

Lunch: Tomato & Avocado Salad

Dinner: Grilled eggplant, zucchini, and squash

Snacks: Lots and lots of apples, bananas, grapes, and oranges

Before we began the fruit fast portion of the cleanse, we had to do some research to determine what constitutes a fruit. According to our research, a fruit is the matured ovary of a plant. A vegetable can be any edible part of the plant (roots, stems, leaves). The presence of seeds is one of the factors that differentiates fruits from veggies; therefore, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, squash, olives, zucchinis, etc. can technically be called a “fruit.” I feel better than I thought I would at the end of the day. Again, I’m not full but I’m satisfied. I definitely missed protein today and I am starting to crave cheese. I attended an advanced yoga class and felt REALLY good. When I was able to focus my mind on my body instead of on food I realized that my body really is thriving on all of this healthy food. I definitely had some moments where I wanted to quit the cleanse today, especially when I let myself think that I still have 4 days left. However, when I am able to stop focusing on future and shift my attention to the present it makes a huge difference: “Now I am eating an apple” verses “I will be eating apples and very little else for 2 more days.” Isn’t that true with life as well? Thinking of all we have to do in the future is overwhelming, yet when we can focus on what we are accomplishing NOW it totally reduces that sense of stress. Tomorrow, I begin again. _________________________________________________________________________ Day 4: Fruit Fast

Breakfast: Fruit Smoothie

Lunch: Fruit salad

Dinner: Greek Peasant Salad (marinated cucumbers and tomatoes)

Snacks: fruit, fruit, and more fruit

I woke up feeling great this morning. I met a friend for lunch and the delicious smells coming from the restaurant made my mouth water; however, I ordered a fruit salad and was satisfied. I often think that eating out is all about the food, but in all honestly, it is more about the company. It doesn’t really matter what I am eating, it’s more about the experience. I continued running errands all afternoon and came home famished. I should have thought to take some fruit with me in the car. My husband talked of ordering a pizza and it took all the resolve I had to stick with the planned menu of the Greek Peasant Salad, especially because I used to turn my nose up at cucumbers and tomatoes. I am surprised by how many foods I actually do like now that I’m giving them a chance as an adult. I can also tell that I am needing to eat less to feel satisfied. I still have a sinus infection and headache and am feeling a little nauseated. My mouth has a constant sweet taste to it, which I’m sure is a result of all of the fruit. _________________________________________________________________________ Day 5: Fruit Fast

Breakfast: banana

Lunch: Fruit smoothie

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with homemade marina

I did it! My last day of the fruit fast. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. Words can’t even begin to express how glad I am to be finished. Tonight was my first time ever to make or try spaghetti squash. It was delicious and a great alternative to using noodles. The homemade marina was also wonderful. My 3 year old had so much fun helping me cut up the tomatoes and pureeing them in the blender. I try to get her in the kitchen as much as possible, as she’s much more likely to sample food that she has helped prepare. Tomorrow we go back to eating how we did over the first two days of the cleanse. The official cleanse is for 7 days, but I don’t plan on stopping there. My intent is to continue eating clean with the occasional splurge. My cravings have gone, although I do long for more variety. 5 days to change my outlook and perspective on food; 5 days to create a lifetime of healthy eating habits. If you’re thinking about trying this, I would strongly encourage you to go for it. If not now, then when?

Summary of the Cleansing Diet

  • In the 5 days, my husband and I each lost a total of 5 pounds.  I now weigh less than I did in high school and my husband is just 3 pounds over his high school weight.
  • By eating clean and snacking on fruit, we both feel like our energy level stays constant throughout the day.  Neither of us feel the need for a “Starbucks run” or an energy drink in the afternoons.
  • My husband has suffered with irritable bowel syndrome since college.  The cleanse has drastically improved his digestion.
  • Before the cleanse, my skin was very dry due to the cold weather.  I have a much healthier glow about me now.
  • Snacking on fruit is convenient and fulfilling, plus it gives an almost instant energy boost.  Snacking on processed foods like goldfish would make me feel sluggish.
  • No bloating
  • We’ve learned to eat until we’re satisfied verses eating until we’re full.
  • We’ve learned just how addictive foods are.  Instead of eating to make ourselves feel better or to reward ourselves, we’ve shifted our thinking to see food as fuel.

~ala & ka

Food for Thought

The simple truth is, I’ve never actually given much thought to food at all.  I eat when I’m hungry; I stop when I’m full.  Since I naturally maintain a healthy weight, I have always just assumed that I am healthy.  It seems so basic, but I never gave much thought to the fact that food is one of the most basic elements to life.  In the West, we are blessed to have an abundance of food; however, as I become more mindful of what I’m putting into my body, I am realizing that just because I feed my body the correct amount of calories does not mean that I am giving my body the fuel that it needs to run efficiently.  My typical breakfast of coffee and an English muffin really offers no benefit.  A sandwich made with processed bread and meat isn’t much better for lunch.  Snacking is a big downfall- I eat so much goldfish that they really do deserve their own category in my own personal food pyramid. Dinner is my saving grace- usually a lean piece of meat (most often fish) with fresh veggies and fruit.  As I’ve become more mindful of my body, I’ve started to realize that I start to feel really tired and grumpy around 2:00 each day.   I am also noticing that I feel GREAT at night after dinner.  I have so much energy and get so much more accomplished than I do during the day.  It’s only taken me 37 years, but I have finally come to the realization that food isn’t meant to just fill me up; its main job is to nourish, replenish, and flush my body.  When I eat well, I feel well.  When I fill up on junk, I am polluting my body, clogging it and contaminating it.  It takes extra energy for my body to digest food that it wasn’t meant to digest which means that I feel sluggish and lethargic.

Realization is great but is pointless without action.  Today marks the last day of mindless eating for me.  Tomorrow morning a group of about 25 of us will begin a process to bring mindfulness to our eating by completing a 7 day Cleansing Diet created by Baron Baptiste in his book Journey Into Power. I know this will not be an easy journey.  I know I have many food addictions that I will have to overcome.  Just like an alcoholic has to go through detox, my body will have to go through a food detox which will cause some physical reactions.  This process will require strength, determination and encouragement.  It will require constant reminders that a few hard days will be worth having a clean and pure body; a fresh start.

My goal is to add to this entry each day during the 7 day cleanse.  I will be completely honest about thoughts, struggles, and victories.  My intention is to bring consciousness to what and how I eat and to intuitively know what my body needs in order to function at its peak-performance level;  a week of struggle for a lifetime of healthy, mindful eating.

~ala

I Think I’m Going to Need a Fork

A few years ago, my dad called and asked me to bring him some tacos from Taco Bell.  My parents live in a two story house about 10 minutes away from mine.  I believe my mom was gone that night and my dad was having some serious trouble with his feet, making the trip up and down the stairs almost impossible for him.  I was happy to help out.  I picked up the tacos through the drive-thru, let myself into the house, and tried to arrange my dad’s dinner the way that I know he likes it… I unwrapped the tacos and put them on a plate, I made him a drink, grabbed some napkins, and carried it all upstairs to him.  I placed the plate on the little table next to my dad, folded the napkin for him, and placed his drink on the coaster.  Before a “hello” or “thank you” had even escaped his lips, my father looked at me and said, “I think I’m going to need a fork.”  Looking back on this memory now, I have to laugh.  Even then it was funny.  I absolutely know he did not mean it the way it came out.  I know that he was appreciative and thankful, and truthfully, he really did need a fork.  However, his comment made my feel disappointed.  I had tried so hard to do everything they way that he liked and I felt like I had failed because I had forgotten a stupid fork.

I find myself having many “I think I’m going to need a fork” type of moments, especially now that I’m a wife and a mother.  I know that many of my girlfriends feel the same way.  We’ve almost all uttered these words or something close to them about our husbands: “No matter how helpful he is, it’s never enough.”  Believe me, I know how true this feels.  There are days when I don’t get to sit down, days where I am literally panting I’m running around so much.  But, read those words again: “No matter how helpful he is, it’s never enough.”  What that literally is saying is that no matter how much our husbands try to help us, no matter how hard they try to meet our expectations, they are always going to fall short.  We are always going to see them as FAILURES because there is no way they will ever meet the expectations and bar that we have set so high for them.  If I see my husband as a disappointment, it’s really hard to have that warm and loving feeling towards him.  Is this a fault of his?  Absolutely not.  It is a shift that I have to make towards my own thinking.  Here’s an example:

My husband gets up early every Thursday morning to go work out with a trainer.  When he gets home, he is starving and in need of some protein.  So, he’s gotten in the habit of making eggs and bacon for us for breakfast on these mornings.  Thursday mornings are also the mornings my housecleaner comes.  I am usually in a panic trying to straighten up the house and get myself and my daughter dressed and ready so that we can get her to school on time.  Although I love eating the breakfast he has prepared, I used to get resentful of the mess it would make in the kitchen.  I didn’t have time to scrub the pans and deal with the bacon grease splattered on my cooktop and countertops.  Instead of being appreciative of the wonderful meal he had prepared, I allowed myself to feel bitter over the mess that I had to clean up.  It became one more thing I had to do before I could leave the house.

As I’m sitting here, I can honestly think of many “I think I’m going to need a fork” type of moments.  I am a detailed driven person.  While this is a gift in some cases (organizing and managing) it is not an attribute that makes living with me easy.  I will see the one crumb that is left on the counter.  I will notice the drawer that isn’t shut all of the way.  Like all gifts, it is about finding the balance, learning how to turn this attribute on when it will serve a purpose but also learning to turn it off and let it go when it does not.  It is learning how to control these thought patterns by admitting to them and by becoming aware of them.  It is learning how to be appreciative of the small things.  As I have become mindful of these thoughts, I am able to see all of the little things that my husband does constantly for me.  I am still seeing and noticing the details, but instead of seeing all that I perceive as wrong or missing, I am noticing all that is right and lovely.  Being appreciative and saying thank you can make the world of difference to someone and will bless your life as well.

Living in a state of appreciation is so much more beautiful than living in a state of disappointment.  As you learn to be appreciative of those you hold closest to you, you will learn to be more appreciative of friends and strangers.  You will start to see all that is good and right in the world instead of focusing on all that is bad and wrong.  When we stop focusing on all of the negative things and become appreciative of all of the great things in our lives, we are able to realize how truly blessed we are.

~ala

No more resolutions; Now is all you have

As 2013 approaches, we challenge you to stop looking for happiness, peace, and enlightenment “in the future.”

Don’t fall into the trap of becoming a “seeker”, someone that is always looking for fulfillment over the horizon:

“I’ve been on the path to enlightenment for 20 years, and I’ve almost attained it.”

“I want to be happy, and a new [lover, job, thing] is all I need.”

“My life has been filled with conflict and drama…I just want all the negative people to go away so I can be at peace.”

“Seeking” is a trap of the mind.  It creates something “in the future” that you have to do or attain before you are complete.  The trap, though, is that you will never arrive at that future because, when you get there, there will always be something else “in the future” that you have to do or attain.  It is a never-ending cycle that feeds on itself, convincing you that you lack what you need right now.

How do you break out of the cycle?  You don’t… saying that you have to do something to break out of the cycle puts you into the “seeking” trap again:

“If I do this, I can break free of the cycle of thinking I need something in the future, and once I break the cycle I can be enlightened/happy/at peace.”

Read that again.  Do you understand you are still in the cycle?  If you don’t, read it again.

Now is all you have.

tad