Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Way of The HAPPY Woman...

Dear Diary,

I'm BACK!!! I feel like I truly am on my way to being a happy woman. I LOVE teaching my Yoga and am on my Doula path... I finally feel calm and centered, as if THIS is what I was searching for all along. I also feel like I am back on track with my 'diet'; knowing how vital it is for ME to EAT the RIGHT food(s) to feel my BEST. I am juicing TONS and getting very creative with smoothie-blending. I have also just discovered Nutivia 'Coconut Mana' my new healthy 'treat'. When I am craving something sweet (and know I can't have chocolate) I slather this spread all over a slice of sprouted/toasted bread! YUM!!!

I am also just starting to read The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover... Hugely inspirational and highly recommended. Oh, and last night I watched Crazy Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr... Another must see (and READ if you haven't read her book(s) yet!!!

All in all, LIFE is GOOD!!!

Happily Yours,


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blog-Absent no more...

Dear Diary,

I'd like to blame my blog-absence on 'being too busy'... But honesty, that's simply not a good enough excuse. I think if I am really truly honest with 'you' as well as myself; I have been blog-absent because I haven't really had anything to blog about. Seriously. I haven't had anything to blog about because I slowly slipped back into my habitual eating habits. It always seems to come back to that 'all or nothing' factor for me. I allowed myself to slip here and slide there and just simply not care as much because of a busy-life and hectic-schedule. There's no excuse; just consequence.

I feel like CRAP!

I am not going to bore you all the reasons I feel this way, nor throw myself a pity party. I am simply going to CHANT my mantra EXTRA LOUD today...

"It’s never too late, it’s never too bad, you’re never too old, you're never too sick to start from scratch once again, to be born once again." Bishu Gosh

I have to get it out of my head that this is an 'experiment'... I know it started out as one, but I realized very early on that this was a LIFE TRANSFORMING CHANGE and not simply an experiment. I have to stop creating 'challenges' (such as cleanses, detoxes, & fasts) and simple accept that eating this way is MY way of life. NO EXCEPTIONS! Now wait! Don't get me wrong... I don't mean 'no exceptions' like I am NEVER going to eat 'flesh'/fish, enjoy a latte, or indulge in a delicious desert (non-chocalate of course!) ever again. But I mean that I don't need to 'test' myself all the time. I don't need to challenge myself all the time. I just need to accept this as my BLISS and BE HERE NOW!!!

I know how I CAN feel (bones to skin)... I know how I CAN look (inside & out)... I know how I can reach my greatest health, and I am back on track!!!

Presently Yours, 


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Managing The Big Rocks

Dear Diary,
Just thought I'd stop in and tell you about my lovely week. It was kind of hectic and, as usual, I was stressing about how in the world to schedule everything that needs to get finished before the end of the semester. There was so much going on in my head that I couldn't focus on anything. After class on Thursday, my friend and practice partner invited me to join her in the lab on Friday morning to practice and then to attend a movie presentation in the afternoon. Drive back up to campus on my day off? Oh, Emma, I can't. But I also knew how much I needed the practice - and so finally, at the end of the day, I agreed to meet her.

I had a great morning. We spent the whole morning signing and even got in a little interpreting practice. The most important thing that happened though, was that I got out of my head for a few hours. It's been a little crazy in there lately! Emma even helped me work out a schedule for getting everything done - and I'm so grateful to her for that. The trick? Focus on one thing at a time.

I guess that's the theme for my week. Remember how I said last week that I just wanted to focus on four things? On walking, not eating wheat, drinking enough water, and taking my vitamins? Well, it's working. Since making that decision, I've walked every day. Even the morning it rained, (Luckily, I didn't realize it was raining until I was already up and dressed and half-way out the door, but by then, I thought, I'm doing this!) I only missed taking vitamins once and drank at least 8 glasses of water every day.  And wait, that's not even the best part. Without even setting the goal, I ate an almost completely vegetarian diet this week. I juiced every morning, ate a raw lunch every day, and had steamed or roasted veggies for dinner every night. Well, except for last night. We went out for dinner and I had a little bit of chicken, which actually made me wish I'd ordered the falafel.

woolly thyme like tumbling water
So, here's what I'm thinking. Do you know the story about putting the big rocks in first? I've often heard it and sometimes even used it to illustrate how we need to schedule the biggest, most important things first and let the little things fill in around the bigger ones. I always tried to make sense of that. I mean, it seems like it should make sense, doesn't it? But something else makes even more sense to me now, and that is to focus on the simple things. Not the minutia that wants to clutter our lives and cloud our thinking, but the simple things that sustain us. Simple things like getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating food that sustains us, not clogs us up and weighs us down. Doesn't it make sense that in giving priority to the simple things, like beginning and ending each day with a few quiet moments for ourselves, like taking a walk or laughing with a friend, that we create room for the bigger things to fall into place? I don't know if I want to try and manage those big rocks, or if I prefer just to be the water that flows around them.

That's what happened in my world this week.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Just not enough time...

Dear Diary... I miss you. Its been way too long. I promise I will be back (again) soon. Lots to chat about; I promise.

Too Busily Yours,


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pardon Me, This Way is a Very Nice Way

Dear Diary,
Wow, this has been one long week. I've been on spring break, but it certainly hasn't been the sun-drenched, sand-filled break the brochures promise. No, this has been a week filled with reading textbooks and writing papers, and catching up long-overdue paperwork. I'm happy to report that I now feel like the end is in sight.

Just before lights out every night, I read a few more pages in my copy of Crazy Sexy Diet. I have to say, I'm developing a real love/hate relationship with this book. I love the author's voice, I love all the wonderful information she crams into each chapter. What I hate is that I can't ignore it. The things I'm learning are going to require some real changes and as hard as it's going to be to put into practice, I just can't ignore it.

Pardon me, this is a very nice way.  It's pleasant down that way, too. 
Of course, some people do go both ways.
So I've been thinking all week about all this new information, about miscombining and protein sources, about animal products and factory farming, about wheat and gluten, about eating raw, eating vegan/vegetarian and eating right for your blood type .... I told my husband last night, I feel like I'm lost in a dietary wasteland. Maybe not a wasteland, maybe a better analogy is the image of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, pointing first this way and then that. Yeah, it's more like that.

There's a lot of information out there and I'm just not sure I can get my thoughts around all of it. I've finally come to the conclusion that while there are plenty of things I'm still figuring out, there are also things I already know and can do - even if I'm still trying to figure out all the rest. Here are a few of the things I know:
Hydrate: I need to drink 8 glasses of water every day without fail. I know this because the first place it shows up when I don't, is my sleep. I can't sleep when I'm dehydrated. 
Wheat: Here's something I need to face. I'm one of those people who needs to avoid wheat. I don't like it, but it's true and I just need to accept that about myself. Period.
Vitamins: I may not be in this place forever, but for the time being, I need to take them. Every day. Without them I feel crappy, I don't sleep. I'm a mess. Seems like a no-brainer. 
Juice: Gratefully, this is a habit I still love. 
Walking: Last on my list, but this may be the most important one for keeping me sane and for fueling the desire to follow through on the other four. I can make time to walk every day. Once upon a time, I walked four miles every day, but Once upon a time doesn't count. I did it then and I can do it now. There's just not any good reason not to.   
So, there you have it. It's not the sum total of my thoughts from this week, but it's a start - and that's really what I need. In our first month of this adventure, juicing became a habit. It was one small thing we agreed to do, and despite all the other things I'm ... still striving to figure out, juicing remains a constant. I'm now planning a month of drinking water, taking vitamins, kicking the wheat out of my diet, continuing my love affair with juicing, and taking daily walks. I may only catch up with you here once a week, but for the next month, I'd like to try and post my daily progress on The Constant In-Between. It's sure to be a real snoozer and more about accountability, so please don't expect any real page-turner. I suspect I'll need some encouragement, so if you have a thought to check in and leave some for me in the comment box, I'd love that.

That's it for me for now. I've still got papers to write and water to drink and a Scarecrow's directions to follow.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What's Up, Doc?

Dear Diary,

Hello, Stranger.  I know, it's been a while.  But I'm back.  We've been super sick around here.  One of the things you don't think about when starting a big family is (what I now call) the Domino Effect of Sickness.  We never all get sick at the same time; rather it's one goes down after the other after the other.  This lovely bout of influenza has been with us about two weeks now.  Yuck!

Also, we've been worried sick around here about one of our most beloved relatives who had a little "C-word" scare.  I'm happy to report that the biopsy results came back clear.  But it was pretty hairy around here until we heard the good word.

There's something about getting sick - and fearing getting Sick (ya know, "sick" with a capital "S") - that really gets a person thinking why?

When it's the kids getting sick, I tend to play this little game of How Did it Happen?  I start thinking: I knew I should have wiped that Target shopping cart or Every time I take the kids to the pediatrician for a well-child check up we end up...not well or I knew we shouldn't have had that play-date with little Joey, he's been coughing his head know, trying to find the culprit, trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Which, of course, it will.

And when you (or someone you love) gets Sick (or fears she is), that little mind game gets even worse.  In our situation, there was a lot of wondering why?  Not why me, just why?  Some of the top concerns were: Is it deodorant, is that the cause?  Or maybe standing too close to the microwave?  It's gotta be the cell phones;  all this technology is just not good for us.

And I get it, I played the same mind game when my mom got Sick.  And still do, in attempt to protect my children.  The problem is, there are a million things you can blame.  Is it the microwave, the deodorant, the cell phone?  No.  Yes.  Maybe.  Probably a little bit of each of those things and all the others we think of and those we don't think about.

I like to hope that the scientific advances and medical breakthroughs that have come with living in this Jetsons-like world of futuristic technology far outweigh the potential risks of having a cell phone or an iPad with us at all times.  But who knows?

What I do know is that no one is going to get Cancer from eating too much kale.  Or too many organic apples.  Scientists may determine deodorant is the Number One cancer causer in twenty years but I'm certain they won't say we should have laid off the veggies.

So, I'm going to avoid the stuff I already know is bad (from BPAs and pesticides to sticking a bobby pin in an electrical outlet) and I'm going to try not to worry about all the conspiracy theory stuff.  Instead, I'll just super load my body and my children's with as much of the good stuff as I can and hope, as I always do in my little optimistic mind, that the good guys always win.

On a happy note, I went to the eye doctor for the first time in five years last week, and guess what?!  It turns out I don't need glasses anymore (just when I had picked out the cutest replacement pair too!).  I've never heard of eyesight getting better with age (The twenty-something intern said at least three times, "This sometimes happens when you get older."  Ugh.).  Instead, I'm going to give all the credit to the carrots.  The abundance of carrots.  Hey, my Dad always said they were good for my eyes!

Talk soon,

Monday, March 12, 2012

I'm CRAZY, and NOT so Sexy...

Dear Diary,

Okay, its technically day twelve of my twenty-one day Crazy Sexy Diet cleanse... And its been a BUST! I just haven't had the will-power that I 'normally' have when taking on the challenge of a detox/cleanse. I am trying not to be too hard of myself though, and just going with 'it'. I have not missed one day of Green Lemonade in months... I am actually in the habit of making a mason jar of it first thing in the am to last me through-out the morning (75% of the time til lunch). Lunch is still 100% RAW, on occasion I'll have a sprouted wrap/bread. Its just dinner that throws me for a loop; especially when I don't have the afternoon to prepare.

Not that there's any real good excuse, but LIFE has just been a little crazy these past few weeks. Probably due in part to my in-laws leaving town and getting back into a rhythm without help/support. I am NOW really realizing how time-consuming it is to eat RAW 80% of the time. For the past 2 months, my son was either with Oma & Opa or napping when I was slicing & soaking. I was able to use my time very wisely and plan/prepare our RAW meals. But now, without any help and my son napping while I am teaching; I get NO time to be that RAW chef that I truly want to be.

We are moving this week as well, which has only exaggerated the chaos and lack of order in my kitchen... Nonetheless, I am NOT giving up. I am just going to have to adjust. As with ANYTHING... You just need to make the time. I used to say all too often, "I don't have time to read [books]". Well, that's just a bunch a bollox (wow, I can't believe that's a real word, lol). You just have to MAKE the time, adjust you life a little, set your priorities, and WHAM there you are half-way through the Hunger Games. Okay, more like quarter-way through The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (welcome to my world!) But, you get my point; I think...

No EXCUSES!!! I just have to make a conscious choice to be better. For who, MYSELF! No, its not easy. Yes, it would be a lot easier to just give-up. But where's the FUN in that? Where's the challenge in giving up on myself? If I stop caring, no-one else will. On the bright side, I get to start from scratch once again TOMORROW!!!

P.S. I went for a RUN this afternoon... I haven't run in months (and that's being generous). I am sore already! Isn't that supposed to kick in 'the morning after'? Thanks Beck for the inspiration, I think? I am going to kick your ASS if I can't get out of bed tomorrow, LOL!!!

P.S.S. Dates are my new best friend since finding out I am 'allergic' to Cacao... They seriously have SAVED me in many moments of desperation!!!

Sorely Yours,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Grilled Deliciousness

Dear Diary,
What do you do on a Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock when dinner's still a few hours away and breakfast was entirely too long ago? Here's what you do: Scavenge the zucchini out of the crisper, find the goat cheese hanging out behind the kale and fire up the grill. 

Head on over to Naked Recipes (You know about Naked Recipes, right? The tab in the green band above? Right next to The Constant In-Between?) Click over to check out Dara Michalski's spin on one of my favorite summertime foods. I know it's not summer yet, but a girl can dream, can't she?

I'll give you a little hint ...

Click here for grilled deliciousness.

So, what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dear John ... I Mean, Stress

Good morning, Diary!
Wow, I missed you last week. The end of my week had me a little overloaded. Friday morning, I had an interpreting assignment; Friday afternoon, a teaching assignment; Friday night, a trivia night (in which we took first place!) and followed that up on Saturday morning with another interpreting assignment. Yikes. I would have done well to leave at least one of those things out as my work on Saturday morning was not my best. It's not a bad thing to be reminded that I must take care of myself  - which is sort of what this adventure is all about, right?

Speaking of adventures, I received my copy of Crazy Sexy Diet on Friday. (Thank you, Becky!)  HOLY COW! I just don't even know where to begin. Way back when Maggie first mentioned it, I was a little skeptical over the title. (Yeah, big surprise there, right?) I didn't think I wanted a diet book. But a crazy sexy diet? Well, that might be a book of a different cover. And it is! There's just something about Kris Carr and her honest, forthright way of writing. There's nothing stressful or overwhelming about the idea of eating healthy in the way that Kris lays it out. Love this book and I'll undoubtedly write more as I make my way through it.

Back to trivia night. What a blast and we rocked it! We all had such a great time and the food this year was better than ever. Every year, we each bring a dish or two and have a feast that begins before the questions and lasts until we just can't eat any more, but this year, we had some rocking food! Two of our teammates are vegetarians while two are observing Lent, so there were five of us who contributed food that was fair game. We had savory corn muffins with quinoa and goat cheese, two big trays of fresh vegetables, a bowl of Natalia's raw peanut sauce, and an absolutely divine savory cheesecake with pesto and red peppers. Top that off with almond tortilla chips and whole grain crackers and we had a feast. Yes, there was some miscombining, but I thoroughly enjoyed all the delicious contributions and came home without that junk-food-induced headache, which has historically been a part of trivia night.

I'm beginning to realize something and here's what I'm thinking. Wading in to this new way of eating seems to be working a little better for me than diving in head first did. I don't know the reason, maybe it's not important to know the reason, only to acknowledge the reality. I'm still juicing every single morning and it has become an easy part of my life. I can't even imagine going back to beginning my day without it. And the processed food? I don't even shop for it any more. Not having it in the kitchen is a big part of not eating it, but really, the more important part is that there are so many other delicious recipes to try that I don't even miss it. I'm eating more real food and I just don't crave the 'junk' anymore. 

Free Printables from Green Submarine
I had originally hoped that being 'on the juice' and eating raw would immediately allow me to eliminate the vitamins. Last year, I began taking Standard Process vitamins as a part of a three-month cleanse and have continued taking them ever since. They're bloody expensive and I loved the idea that I could lose the expense and still feel great without them. It turns out that even with the juicing and eating more and more raw fruits and veggies, I just feel like crap without the supplements - sooooo, I'm back on them and I'm feeling pretty good. Not trying too hard to understand it at this point, because for me, that's a little too much like deciding if it's good or bad. I'm just accepting the reality that, for whatever reason, my body still needs those extra essentials, so I'm just going with it. 

Despite my jam-packed life on Friday and Saturday, I really caught a break on Sunday. We had no assigned coursework last week - no additional reading to speak of, no papers to write, no written text to interpret - yesterday was just completely blissful. Mark and I went out for breakfast and talked about how long our respective to-do lists have gotten. In the ease of our conversation, we talked about how to get some of those items knocked off that list, then we came home and actually got a couple of things done! We also had time to just hang out together. We had a fabulous dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and had a great night's sleep. 

Amazing what the absence of stress can allow us to create in our lives.

Okay, that's all for me for now. Talk soon.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Super-Size It!

Dear Diary,

Rather than write what I planned to write today, I think I'd like to respond to what my little sister Maggie said yesterday.  In the last few days, I've had all these thoughts spinning around in my head with regard to our mom's illness.  About how I've vacillated for years between an extremely healthy diet and a laissez faire attitude as a result of my feelings towards the fact that she battled - and lost! - brain cancer.

I think about how I bought this Champion juicer right after Mom's diagnosis, a couple weeks after my own wedding, determined to change our diets, convinced we could save her life.  I think about how I tried so hard to get Mom to do a 14-Day juice fast/cleanse with me and how mad I was when she didn't.  (I understand now that she just couldn't.  It was too foreign.  She was too scared.  It was too much, too fast and she didn't have the time to PAUSE.  Read, think, explore, decide.  She just had to act.  Fast.  To try to save her life in the best way she knew how, by listening to the "experts" and not second-guessing.)

In the meantime, I went on my own 10-month-long vegan journey until...and this is the sort of horrifying part...I got pregnant.  HORMONES and severe nausea had me craving "comfort food" and my first foray back into meat and cheese was (and I'm not kidding...) McDonald's.  That #2 combo meal.  Oh, those little cheeseburgers from my youth were just what the doctor ordered.  I felt good.  For about 5 minutes.  Then I wanted to barf.  And cry.  But I kept going back for more.

And so began the tick-tock of the pendulum.  Uber-healthy nothin' but organic because I WILL NOT GET CANCER.  Then, I don't give a shit, this is ridiculous, bring on the hotdogs and Miller Lite.  I KNOW HOW UNFAIR LIFE IS: I'LL SACRIFICE, EAT NOTHING BUT PERFECT NOURISHING FOODS AND EXERCISE...THEN GET HIT BY A BUS.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.

So...what have I learned from this?  One, that what we eat really, truly does affect almost every part of our health.  From the goofy (eek, my orange skin from carrot overdose) to the eyebrow raising (that eczema that not doctor could cure is miraculously GONE) to the amazing (my freight train husband no longer needs "help" sleeping, sleeps snore-free all night long without waking), IT DOES MATTER.

What else have I learned?  I CANNOT go over the top.  I CANNOT insist on perfect.  I CANNOT hold myself to an unreachable standard (aka, diving into the "deep end of the Raw Pool," as Natalia Rose would say) because if I do, I'll fail.  And I might just console myself with an entire box of Thin Mints.  Or Oreos.  I'm working on GOOD ENOUGH over here (you have no idea how hard that is for me).  And right now, with the exception of a rare night out, we are 100% unprocessed, unrefined, whole vegetarians.  It's not raw.  I'm certainly not perfect.  (Some days (um, last Monday), I have a I Miss Baked Goods Crisis and consume more homemade wholegrain muffins than I care to admit.) But it's pretty darn good.  GOOD ENOUGH?

Darn it, now I can't stop thinking about Thin Mints...maybe I better make that healthy "Shamrock Shake" sooner rather than later to ward off the cravings so I don't find myself weeping in the drive-thru lane.  I'll try it (with mint leaves instead of extract).  And if my palms turn green, you'll know I drank two!