Friday, October 24, 2014

The Detox Series: Part 2

This post essentially has two parts, so stick with me.

Every day we face opportunities to make choices, choices we make without much consideration.  Choosing to listen to public radio vs. commercial-run top 40s.  Deciding to make coffee vs. buy it.  Taking the scenic route vs. the busy highway.  Or in our case last night, choosing to have Chinese take-out for dinner vs. make a homemade meal.

My posts the past couple of weeks have been about cleansing, detoxing, and making healthier choices all around.  I truly believe in this, but I know it is a process. You cannot be perfect every hour, of everyday.   Yesterday I made the choice to eat a Quest Bar (protein packed, gluten/sugar-free) for "lunch" because after teaching 5 classes, my business partner and I were preoccupied with getting our errands done for the Grand Opening on Saturday, and didn't have time for a real lunch before our workout.  This choice meant that by the time I got home at 6pm (left at 4:30am) I was mentally exhausted, physically hungry, and made another poor choice: Chinese takeout.  I choose the healthier options there, but knew that I would still feel less-than-great the next morning.  And it's true, I do feel a little groggy today.  However, this morning is a brand new day and the choices I made yesterday do not dictate today.

I woke up and chugged a big glass of water.  I made a fresh cup of coffee, added cinnamon and coconut milk, and let the yumminess warm me up.  Topped my gluten-free toast with crunchy, organic peanut butter with chia & flax seeds, and ate a perfectly ripe banana.  I practiced a quick yoga sequence that focused on detoxifying poses (another post to come!) and an hour later, feeling much better!  All too often we allow one poor choice to define us, control us, and cause us to lose direction of who we are and what we believe in.  Know that you have the power to change that!

Now the original goal of this post, Detox Series Part Duex, was to pass on to you a simple, yet effective trick I learned from my mother.  In my last post, I discussed how we can choose to minimize the negative effects social media has on our time and our lives.  But before we had social media, we had print, in the form of magazines, catalogs, etc and television.  Even though magazines are not has popular as they once were, they still exist and I still read them every once in a while.  I already discussed my recent disappointment in YogaJournal, and my subsequent discontinuation of my subscription, but I still have a few issues coming my way.  In addition, I like to treat myself to the occasional Vogue or InStyle.  But what I don't want to treat myself to are the ridiculous amount of advertisements in each issue.

When I was younger, I remember by mom collecting Better Homes & Garden magazines and putting together binders of her "dream home."  (This was the original way people did Pinterest.)  She would get a magazine and rip out all the advertisements first.  Without even looking at the stories.  For those tricky pages with articles on one side, she'd fold the ad in half to hide it.  It wasn't just Better Homes & Garden, it was all magazines.  When I was in high school and started buying the horrendous Cosmopolitan magazines, I didn't rip out the ads.  Instead, they made impressions on me, whether I knew it at the time or not.  (Buy this, look like this, you need this, blah blah blah--this is old news, we all know this and it's been discussed at nauseam.)  It continued until this summer when I received yet another YogaJournal magazine and I noticed it was so full of ads, that it was hard to distinguish between the ads and the articles.  I started ripping out all the ads.  It was fantastic.  No more opportunities to looks at supplements that claim to make you look younger, yoga pants to make your butt look better, etc.  Duh, and photoshopped images.

I started following in my mother's footsteps and now each time I pick up a magazine, the first thing I do is rip out all the pointless ads.  It works for all kinds of magazines and it feels awesome to do it.  Cut out the garbage and keep the stuff you really bought the magazine for.

As for watching television, try muting the TV during commercials.  Use the time to talk to the people around you, switch out the laundry, do a couple of air squats/push-ups/sit-ups, light a few of candles, etc.  When you're favorite show comes back on, simply un-mute.

It's a subtle change, but all these small choices we make during our day will help to detoxify our life.  We receive so much involuntary stimulation throughout the day, why not choose not to when we can?

Have a happy Friday!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Detox Series: Part 1

Every Wednesday morning I start my day by teaching 2 yoga classes before the sun even rises.  While there are other days during the week in which I rise before 5am, Wednesdays are by far my favorite (Sorry Monday and Thursday crew!) There is something wonderful about starting your day with your yoga practice.  A chance to enter the day with a clear mind and clear body.

This morning as I drove in, the rain softly showered the world around me.  It felt like a calm, slow morning, so I chose a yoga class that would gently energize the group.  Opening into backbends, opening our chests, and opening our hearts.  After each class, I felt more clear and more ready for the day.

It helped me to finally clear my head enough to write down what I've been thinking for the past couple of weeks.  After completing my last 21-day cleanse, I discovered that it was not just the way I eat that needed to be cleansed.  I found that when I really looked at the way I live my days, hours, etc that there were many opportunities for toxic behaviors, images, or thoughts to creep into my life.

The largest offender of toxic thoughts, often leading to envy, comparison, frustration, "boredom" and the like?  My stupid, stupid "smart" phone.   We all know this, this is not breaking news, but the iPhone is creeping into our lives, ruining our ability to connect to people in the same room as us.  It is interfering with our ability to be with our own thoughts.  It is warping us to live our lives in a way that we can document through social media.  If we don't post it to the world, did it really happen?!

I remember in the years before I had a cell phone (I got mine at 17 with no texting plans) I would be okay with waiting in waiting rooms.  I was content on long drives.  I wouldn't read books, but I would simply day dream. I would talk with my mom, my friends, whomever I was with.  I was fine with listening to music and really listening to the music.  As an introvert, being quiet or being in situations without a lot of stimulation is not boring.  There were moments of clarity.  There were moments of inspiration.  There were moments when I really got to know myself.

That was until the smart phone.  Now it's too easy to pick up my phone and "scroll."  Scrolling is now an activity.  Commenting on pointless content is now a sport.  Posting the perfect picture of yourself is now a "thing."  I'm an active participant in this toxic behavior and I know it must stop.  My husband and I do not get as much "free" time to just be with each other as other couples without kids do.  Yet there are nights when we are both home, in the same room, with the TV on and the phones in front of our faces.  I find this terrifying.  And what's worse, its a really hard habit to break.

Beyond it just being anti-social, we open ourselves up to all sorts of emotions we may not even encounter on a regular day basis.  We open up to envy--wanting what others have or seem to have.  We open ourselves up to comparison--deciding that what we do, what we have, who we are is in some way less than.  We bombard our minds with images, over and over again, without processing, or even thinking through what we see.  Worse, we aren't even deciding what we see--we see it all.

I don't want to be one of those people who say, "well, back when I was a kid,"or "things were so much better when," because I think that takes away my own responsibility for my actions.  But I will acknowledge that some of life's advances aren't necessarily good for me.  In order to be my best self, I don't need all the first-world modern conveniences, including the constant attachment to my phone.

Of course, the list goes on.  For instance, just because you can buy already made chicken soup, doesn't mean you should always buy it, right? How much better does it taste when you make it from scratch?  When you commit to something, focus on it, and make it yourself.  The sensation of comfort you get from smelling fresh rosemary.  The squirmish feeling you get from handling raw chicken, the physical reminder that this was once alive, so do not waste it.  The feeling of the steam on your face as you stir the soup.  It's all important.  It makes you mindful of what you're doing, where you are, and the time it takes to make something worth having.

Imagine all the time you would have to notice the beauty in each day if you didn't spend the 10 min in the morning scrolling Pinterest.  The 10 min waiting for the train scrolling Instagram, or the 30min after you eat lunch diving deep into a high school classmate's wedding photos.  Before you know it, more than an hour of your day--of your thoughts--is spent mindlessly scrolling.  Literally doing nothing, but scrolling.

Again.  Terrifying.

So, I'm getting the toxins out.  I'm vowing to put my phone away when I get home.  It's going to go in a "cell phone" jar and it's going to stay there, only to leave when someone texts or calls.  Even then, if it's not important, it can wait until tomorrow.  We can take our lives back, take our time back, and put the distractions away.  They say it takes 21 one days to create a new habit.

Here it goes.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Results of the Cleanse

Sooo… I was planning on sharing my results from the cleanse, but I was NOT planning on sharing my before and after pics.  After some back and forth with my insecurity, I thought, 'what the heck! who cares anyway!' Throughout the process I wanted to be completely honest and open, to encourage others who are struggling with their own health issues to begin healing themselves with food.  I truly believe that food is one of the most powerful tools to heal yourself of most of our emotional, mental, and physical ailments. Eating right, moving mindfully, and listening to yourself are crucial to triggering your HAPPY.

Making changes is tough though, and I think the biggest hurdle is the mental part.  We have to shed our emotional attachment to the food we eat, how we eat, and why we eat.  Again, it's TOUGH.  It's not supposed to be a cake walk, and you're definitely not allowed to eat cake.

So, in an effort to be honest and open, let me start with the beginning.  The VERY beginning.

This was me a year ago. I was about a year into marriage and was loving beers with dinner, sweets, late night snacks, etc.  The next day I started a challenge, which centered around a strict Paleo diet, which meant that I cut out all grains, dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes (beans), etc.  I lasted a month before I started cheating. It was such a strict diet that I found when I cheated, I cheated HARD.  Plus knowing the challenge was 2 months long was really tough mentally to get through.  It was more about what I couldn't eat verses, what I could.

I knew I wasn't officially overweight, but I felt overweight for me.  I felt heavy, sluggish, and not-sexy.  So, trying the challenge was a good first start.  But it wasn't successful. In January, my father-in-law offered us to try Isagenix, and we did, but again it wasn't successful because it was about eating/drinking shakes for meals.  It didn't fit our lifestyle and didn't make me feel good.  I wanted to eat real food and get my energy back.

So, through our very stressful winter, my eating habits were quite bad.  Not eating until 2pm, snacking at night, emotional eating/not-eating, etc. In June I decided to do my first cleanse with Liz.  It was about listening to my body and it changed the way I look at food.

I don't have any pictures from that, but the results are pretty much the same as below.  I decided to the SECOND cleanse because I had a really fun summer, with lots of travel, parties, weddings, etc.  I knew I had gotten out of the habit of cooking and I thought it would help.  And it did!

So here I am 3 weeks ago:

The very next day I cut out all the junk. I felt fine on Monday.  In fact, I felt great.  Tuesday, I felt like I was walking through a fog.  I had slow, tired thoughts.  I took a nap (which I never do) and stumbled over my words.  Wednesday was worse! I had crazy headaches, more tired and was SO HUNGRY.  I kept eating all day.  By Thursday I felt fine and continued to feel fine.

The following Monday I cut out animal protein.  It was supposed to be for the full week, but I shortened it to 5 days because I do CrossFit and coach it, and teach yoga, and practice it, all day long.  All of this had been discussed with Liz the first time around, so I knew I could do it.  Without the animal protein I was feeling like I had hardly any energy and my job requires I had energy!  But aside from that, I kept at it.

What did I eat?  A TON of nuts--borderline too much nuts--and fruit and beans and rice and spinach and broccoli and dried fruit (no sugar added) and tea and tea and tea and tea.  (Can you tell I missed coffee!?!?)  I worked out 4-5 times a week (my usual) and went to bed at 9:30pm when I had to wake up at 4am.  I ate 3 meals a day and allowed myself as many snacks as I wanted.

I completed 2 weeks without any "cheats" or changes to the cleanse.  Then this week, I added back in eggs for breakfast, as I had done the cleanse before and know that my body can handle 2 hard-boiled eggs in the morning.  Then, last night, my husband and I split a pumpkin beer.  I completed 18 full days of the 21-day cleanse.

What I continue to keep out of my diet (90% of the time) dairy, processed foods and sugar, nightshades, soy, gluten products, red meat, corn, and artificial sweeteners (I do like Stevia, so I have that.)  I am human, so there are times when I have gluten (beer) or dairy (ice cream) or sugar (chocolate) but I keep these to a minimum, as I know that a "treat" doesn't feel like a treat to my body.

Here are my results:

I wore the same swimsuit because that's what you do, right?!  Also, my weight-loss was not going to be major, so wearing clothes wouldn't have been effective to show change.  I also took the last pic in a different light to show that it's not the lighting.

Like I said, its not a MAJOR change in 3 weeks, but it IS major progress from my picture a year ago.

This is a year worth of work to not only find my food-happy, but find my LIFE happy.  It's not just removing the internal stress from the food we put in our bodies, it's also about figuring out what outside factors are causing us emotional or mental stress.  Learning to cope, to fight, to conquer, to listen, to love is what I attribute my major changes too.

Movement is medicine, food is medicine. Love is a cure all.

Interested in more information?  Reach out to me!