favorite snack

A new favorite snack!

Day 20: Past, Present and Future. There is a lot of discussion about these concepts in my business. The past is finished, the future is non-existent and the present is the only Truth we really have, so to live in the present moment is to live with happiness. Where this may seem oversimplified, I can verify its validity and significance in my personal life.

Dwelling in the past seems to be an absolute waste of time. There is nothing to be done about righting so-called wrongs or changing the occurrences of events. It happened. Move on. We can, however, learn from the past if we are willing to review it honestly thus helping us with present decisions based on habits and patterns that did or did not serve.

Dwelling in the future is a 3am-bolt-out-of-bed killer. When the mind starts to wander into parts unknown and the yet-determined, it walks into a land mine of worry and unnecessary anxiety. Don’t buy trouble. The future may or may not occur at all! Much less in a way that the mind is fantasizing about it.

Dwelling in the NOW is our only hope for real happiness. This can be verified when you recognize those moments and activities that have you totally absorbed; where time stands still and boundaries disappear into bliss: gardening, golfing, running, a lingering kiss…it hardly matters what the activity, it’s all about the feeling that envelops the experience, like no other. We call this integration and it feels good.

Something else that feels good is eating healthy. The body sings with energy and a lightness, literally not weighed down by inefficient food and extra substance. I do like this feeling.

Mmm..._inside_out_grilled_cheese_(6071900948)

This is what I am NOT eating. Oh, long-lost friend…

Day 19: Took some time to receive a session of holistic therapies. Acupuncture, cupping, body stimulus…an overall attention to the various layers of the body and then some special attention to what I now lovingly call, “Sad Toe”. My left great toe has some cysts in the joint which causes pressure and pain. I am opting into therapeutics instead of surgery for now as it has been deemed a manageable case and I like the idea of the body healing itself.

The thing about helping and changing the body organically is that it is usually not a quick fix, but a dedicated consistent practice of various kinds of therapeutics that address different aspects of the ailment. In my case, there is inflammation, nerve pain, pressure, decreased strength and misalignment. Fortunately, there are many things to help! Regular massage overall and to the specific area, yoga for strength and balance, creams and right diet for inflammation, orthodic for alignment and deep stretching of the calf, hip and back. Everything is connected! So spot therapy is not really the best approach because one thing out of balance affects so many others. Slow and steady attention and care is definitely the way to go.

I have faith in you, Sad Toe! Together, we will make things right. And if not, there is always surgery. One must stay open to all options.

Confession time: getting a little cranky about the eating. Where I am doing a great job on shopping for, preparing and finding things to eat that hold to the regimen, I do long for a relaxed meal served to me without any concern about gluten or dairy content. Just a human moment which too shall pass as I continue to stay true to my intention.

 

Fresh-mango-smoothie_01Day 18: Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. That is about as technical as eating should be in my humble opinion. I understand there is a wonderfully complex science behind food and eating the “right foods” serves you best. But when things get so complicated with don’t eat this with that and avoid this at all costs and only this food will do and that food is against the rules of nature…my head spins and I just want to eat something comforting.

In my business, the entire orientation of our awareness is to listen. We listen to the body in its infinite wisdom and it tells us exactly what it needs. Think about a baby who has not been inundated with outside cues or distractions toward what it thinks it needs, it just responds (and reacts) to the innate impulses inside. When she cries we either feed her, change her diaper, put her to sleep or give her love and attention. It really is no different when we are so-called adults. It’s just that we have been socialized into thinking too much about our needs instead of getting quiet and listening to what we need in each moment.

The practices of yoga, massage, meditation, breathing, acupuncture, sitting and listening to music, walking in nature…all act to give the mind a break and give us a chance to listen to that which is infinitely wiser than the mind (yes, I said it) and follow the intuitive knowing which always steers us in the right direction. I like chanting and have a practice of japa mantra which is simply a meditative repetition of a chant. I do it for 11 minutes -that’s supposed to be just the right amount of time to do its magic.

I’m bored with talking about food today. Working a lot and focusing on teaching others. (I did make a killer smoothie yesterday with fresh mango, banana, coconut milk, ice and a dash of maple syrup. Oh yeah. cool and delicious).

salad with chickenDay 17: First swim of the season. The pool was beautiful and cool and soothing. It feels really good to move my body in the water which is so therapeutic and great for my joints and also stretching and strengthening without the stress on my body. I love the water!

I know if I want to affect big changes in my body, I ought to be doing serious cardio exercise regularly and I hope to get back into the swing of that practice. I have a bit of a foot issue which has prevented me from impact and has inhibited my practice of walking and more aerobic exercise for some time. I’m getting some great therapy for it and looking forward to pain-free recovery, but for now I will just keep swimming.

It is common for us when we engage in a new regimen to “fall off the wagon” as soon as there is a stresser or event that distracts us from our commitment. The important thing that I have found is to begin again, right where we left off, and treat the new day as respectfully as all the rest, as opposed to a common phenomenon of quitting because we dropped the ball. It’s just a moment in the whole of the long practice and it doesn’t discount what has come before and certainly doesn’t mean we have to end our journey because of it.

In the words of Dory, from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”. Her short-term memory lifestyle was such a shining example of living in the moment as the past had no relevance, the only thing of meaning was what was presently at hand. We are all so perfectly human in our ability to falter and skip a beat; there is nothing weak about it. The only weakness is when we let that stop us from following through with our intention.

Eating lots of meals that consist of a salad with some protein in them. While delicious, I’m getting a little bored with it and long for a sandwich. There is a recipe for Paleo bread. I went out and got the ingredients and will attempt baking it this weekend.

 

 

arrowroot powderDay 16: My personality is such that I enjoy a weekend project. Once I sat with the tubs of photos stacked in the closet (if you are of my generation, you know you have them), bought beautiful albums and spent the whole weekend sorting and putting the pics into the binders. I did not cook any meals or engage in other activities, simply focused and finished. This is satisfying to me. I’ve painted the house many times, built furniture, redecorated, etc, all within a short time span. I am NOT the one to engage in a major home remodel (though I did a kitchen some years back). My patience for the before-and-after effect is short, and as such I like to see results right away. Funny then, that I continue to put myself into situations where perseverance is the only road to success. Like a startup business!

Yesterday, in the course of my work, I spoke to a nutritionist who advocates lifestyle change, not just food swapping as a method toward whole health, and she said she always “prescribes” a six-month plan for people. We discussed how these 21-day promise programs and packaged food protocols may yield results, but they do nothing for getting into the root of the issues around why we are making the choices we are that don’t serve us. I agree! And so, I have resolved in my mind to carry this regimen, in its austerity, over a 6-month period. So I will continue to place the 30-day calendar on the fridge and reward myself weekly (that’s a lot of reward- woohoo!) but not go looking for results right away. I confess today is one of those days.

Made a delicious stir-fry for me and my boys last night. Leftover chicken, lots of peppers, onions and garlic, sliced cabbage and celery, with chili paste and some coconut aminos (substitute for soy sauce). My boys had it over rice with some sliced almonds. I used the saute pan to make a sauce with more chili paste and coconut milk with a bit of arrowroot powder slurry for thickening. (Arrowroot is a way to thicken sauces and recipes without using flour or corn starch which are not on the plan.) We all enjoyed!

cherry pitter toolDays 14 and 15: The weekend. Mine always involves work which keeps me in the discipline mode, but there is the idea of having fun that permeates the air…and fun has always been equated with fun food. Now the challenge is to not feel a sense of loss for not indulging in some of those old delights, but to have fun with the new recipes and ideas from the books and internet that I am gathering.

I was really needing some chocolate, so I made a quick batch of Vitamix ice cream with ice, the beloved coconut milk, vanilla, cocoa powder, sliced frozen bananas + maple syrup. I let it go for a loud bit of time until it got thick. Then I folded in some freshly pitted cherries (I have a cherry pitter, my dears) and some sliced almonds. I just put it in a container in the freezer and stirred it every once in a while until it got a little firmer. (But I will tell you, the milkshake- like consistency in which it started out as was tempting me to pour it into a large glass and go for it). However, I waited patiently until after dinner when I knew I would want something sweet. Super yummy, and kind of fun!

Let’s face it, the mind gets bored. Especially in this day and age of want-it-now, need-to-know-now, can-have-just-about-anything-now, the mind can hardly sit still for a minute to contemplate or enjoy its surroundings. So we give it fun little things along the way to be entertained and stay positive so it will work for us when we need it to choose kale over pizza.

 

 

 

wedding-cake-639516_960_720Day 13: This day can be summed up in 2 words: wedding cake. Sorry regimen, but you are no match for this offering of freshly-frosted, tender-crumbed, perfectly sliced and lovingly offered delicacy. After nearly a month (remember there were 2 prep weeks before this actual routine began) of no sugar, etc, etc, I simply had to dip into the moment to help celebrate a young couple’s nuptials. It would have been rude not to! Wedding cake is my all time favorite dessert. Maybe because it represents some extra loving energy or maybe because it’s just damn good!

I do not feel guilty. I do not regret. I will say the first bite was eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head good, but then the sweetness began to permeate my clean being and I was happy to be done, not quite getting through to the last bite.

It is absolutely good to be disciplined and one can only achieve one’s goals by tons of dedicated hard work, and it is also absolutely good to indulge in life and enjoy a moment when offered. Everything in moderation, right? I do not want to be on my death bed regretting the fact that I avoided things that give me pleasure and delight, however trivial they may seem. It is all the little moments and adventures that add up to one beautiful life and I intend to enjoy mine whilst keeping my eye on the ball for what serves me and the world around me best.

Let us eat cake! (But just a little)

banana muffinsDay 12: How many times have I baked banana bread and banana muffins? Oh my, too many to count. Without butter and flour, could they be as satisfying? This day I baked the paleo version with coconut flour, lots of bananas, double the eggs, coconut oil and added dates and sliced almonds. A hit! Its hard to recreate items that we are used to eating with that full fat flavor and tender flour-driven texture, so some things you just don’t want to try, but this seems to be a delicious and guilt-free substitute. And come on, a life without baked goods is hardly one worth living.

It got me thinking about wanting one thing but having another. How can we be content with what is when we long for something different? What I have found is that I can’t be happy in that scenario. So there seems to be two ways to go to solve that: One, is to become comfortable and satisfied with what is and Two, to change the situation to suit you.

The tricky bit about number Two is that sometimes that urge to change is driven by the ego which can be wildly unreliable. Remember how it told you to drink all that tequila at that party in college? (Oh, wait, that’s me). So if that urge to change comes from a grounded, settled place and we set about with intention instead of charging forth from a sense of lack, then we have a good chance of optimizing and affecting a new scenario that is most helpful.

Solution number One, is the advanced practice. In yoga philosophy we call it Isvara Pranidhana, Surrendering to the Divine. In other words, we simply let go and receive exactly what is happening in each moment as it arises and move with awareness into the next moment. It’s a lifelong practice and when we move in this way, it yields a feeling for which there is simply no substitute.

smoked chickenDay 11: After a long day of work it sure is nice to come to a well-crafted dinner. I had that gift last night when someone else smoked a whole chicken and prepared some French green beans with garlic. So simple! So delicious! I’m so lucky! I’ve spent most of my life very comfortable giving my time and energy outward, it seems to be a natural flow, but when it came time to receive, oddly I was not so comfortable. I am not alone. In my profession of healers and teachers, there is an abundance of guiding and giving to others without a thought, but when tables are turned, the healer is not so ready to heal herself. A popular phenomenon.

As such, I have had to learn how to gracefully receive and have been wildly fortunate to have been given much opportunity of late. Think about the times when a friend or stranger pays you a compliment like, You look so nice today! . How do you respond? A simple, Thank you? Or does your reaction resemble some wild debate of,  No, no, no I’m having such a bad hair day, and this outfit is so old…”

Remember, when you reject someone’s compliment, you are denying them the opportunity to give you a gift. They are reaching out and you are shutting them down. Not a good feeling for either of you! I know, I’ve been there. But no more, my friends. If you tell me I look nice, I will smile and receive. If you compliment my teaching skills, I will receive. If you cook me dinner, I will receive! Do you receive it brother?! Give it a try.

Here’s a video on how to carve a roasted chicken:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft4oDhz6cuw

File_000Day 10: My dad used to say we as human beings are simply a culmination of our habits. One philosophy is: First the thought, then the act, then the man. So if we ascribe to this, then our habits are pretty central to our well-being and to our success. Developing a habit or routine toward affecting change, as in this new awareness toward food, reinforces healthy success. I feel as though this day-to-day attention is solidifying as a new way of life, not just a trendy trial. As such preparations and choices have become a bit more easy and even thoughts of “non-plan foods” are waning. Ten days isn’t that long, so I feel very good about being able to report this.

Another good eating for sure. The outdoor grill is such an amazing tool for eating healthy avoiding sauces and excessive oils with which to cook. Marinated grilled chicken breasts and some killer roasted vegetable. (I keep forgetting to take pictures of my food!) I will describe:

Roasted vegetables with creamy dressing:

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan I put some fresh green beans, halved brussel sprouts, a few whole garlic cloves, 2 zucchini thickly sliced. Drizzled olive oil salt and pepper and crushed red pepper on them and tossed until coated. Roasted for about 10 min and tossed, turned the heat down to 375 and roasted another few minutes until soft and brown. I mixed some of that homemade mayo with Italian seasoning and lemon juice and tossed them around in that. Outstanding.

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