The other day my neighbor came over for coffee. She seemed a bit down and out and told me she was thinking about running. She said she wanted to feel better about her body, and that losing some weight would make her feel better about herself. She told me she had never run before, and wanted to pick my brain on how to run. I smiled and said, “Go put on some running shoes and run! Don’t overthink it. Just go for a run. Don’t worry about how fast you are, how long your run is, or how many times you had to stop to catch your breath. Just go run.” I remember not being able to run ¼ mile without stopping. Now I run a full 8 miles without resting once. I started by simply putting one foot in front of the other. “But,” I also cautioned her, “it’s not the weight you lose from running that makes you feel good about yourself. Weight loss is an extrinsic motivator and will likely be a reason you stop running. Don’t seek to be a size two. Instead seek dedication, consistency, and persistence. They will make you feel better about yourself.” Change your vernacular and you will change your life.
Like yoga, running has changed my life. It’s become a way for me to quiet my mind. It is like a moving meditation. I focus solely on my breath and let go of all tension and thought. When I hit my stride, I feel like I could run forever. I achieve the same state when I stay in certain deep asanas, like pigeon, for a long time. It’s the best feeling in the world. If I am in a bad mood, anxious, stuck creatively, whatever is going on, I will go for a run, or do some flows. And when I’m done, all is well again.
When I look back over the last year, hell, over the last decade… I am proud to say I have accomplished much. I have gained a lot, learned a lot, but also forgotten much, and lost a lot. I have reached some goals that I never imagined possible, while I watched other dreams go up in smoke…but that, as they say “is life.” The “one foot in front of the other” mentality has served me well, until now. Lately, I feel fearful and uncertain about some big things in my life. And the truth is, I don’t really know why. Life has pretty much stayed the same. But then I think maybe that’s the reason I feel this way. The Buddha said, “There is no fear for one whose mind is not filled with desires.” I get it, I want more. But thinking about my future is almost paralyzing. It was the Buddha who said, “Overthinking is the greatest cause of unhappiness.” So perhaps silence is best. Who knows, maybe I’ll slow down and give silent meditation a try. Or maybe I’ll just go for a longer run. 🙂
With that, Happy New Year’s and Happy New Decade. May you have many abundant blessings, and may you get back all that you give. Remember to seek out joy, as it is always there for us. May you find peace in any given moment, and may you do hard and scary things! Grow abundantly! Namaste!
1. Our body needs a “balance” of healthy fats (Minimum of 10-20% of total calories), complex carbohydrates (55% of total calories), and complete proteins (less than <35% of total calories). (Percentages from WHO and The Institute Of Medicine)
a. Grapeseed Oil, Walnuts, Flax Seeds, and Avocados are examples of healthy fats.
b. Brown Rice, Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, are examples of complex carbohydrates.
c. Quinoa, Soybeans, Hemp-seed, and Chia are examples of complete proteins (contain all 9 essential amino acids and must come from food).
2. If you choose to eat meat, think of it as a condiment. Most people exceed their protein requirements by as much as 50%.
3. Do not eat after bedtime. Give yourself at least 12 hours of not eating. Your body needs time to do things other than digest food.
4. Begin everyday with at least 20 ounces of room temperature lemon water. I add half a lemon and a pinch of sea salt. You wake up dehydrated and water helps flush toxins, stimulates your metabolism, and increases blood flow to the brain. The lemon helps keep your body alkaline and the sea salt helps you retain the water.
5. Stay far away from processed man-made foods. Processed foods are high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar. And are low in vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
6. Eat organic. This is one of my absolutes. Organic food is grown in nutrient rich soil, making the plants strong and disease resistant. In other words, they do not need pesticides, artificial fertilizers or fungicides.
7. Eat whole foods. While juicing can be a good way to get the vital nutrients, you lose the fiber that is necessary for regulating blood sugar and cleansing the digestive system.
8. Sometimes a simple change in perspective is all that is needed. Think of the word “diet” as a noun and not a verb. Dieting as a verb implies restriction. Instead, say, “These are the foods I have in my diet.” Do not say, “I can’t have that, I am dieting.”
9. As much as 80% of weight loss begins at the plate, not the gym. While exercise is vital to a healthy lifestyle it’s not necessarily vital for weight loss.
10. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, and it takes time to accomplish. Small changes lead to big changes. The key is to keep making those changes.
Have you heard the one about the “Boiling Frog?” No? Let me share.
“If you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will immediately try to scramble out. But, if you place the frog in room temperature water, and don’t scare him, he’ll stay put. If the pot stays on the stove and if you gradually turn up the heat, something very interesting happens. As the temperature rises, the frog will do nothing. In fact, he may show signs of enjoying himself. As the temperature gradually rises, the frog will become groggier and groggier. Though there is nothing restraining him, the frog will sit there and boil. Why? Because the frog’s internal apparatus for sensing threats to survival is geared to sudden changes in the environment, not to slow and gradual changes.”
I like this anecdote. Specifically, how it relates to the concept of mindfulness. Ignoring his instinctual cues and basking in the comfort of the warm water, the frog was oblivious to the dangers of the water temperature rising in his little hot tub, and he paid the ultimate price. It made me realize that at one time, I too had been the frog in the pan. I was 35 pounds overweight, suffering from severe reflux and joint pain. Thankfully, I was mindful of the temperature rising, and I jumped out before it was too late. Sadly though, like our friend the frog, many people don’t.
Mindfulness has become my mantra lately. My journey into mindfulness began with my yoga practice. Most of my life, I have struggled with staying focused. I’m sure I have some degree of ADHD. Yoga Asanas (poses & posture) require constant mindfulness to keep balanced, and I have discovered the beauty of living in the present (thank you, Dede) and staying focused.
An article in “The Secret Life of Asana”, Sandra Anderson said it best… “By awakening and reorganizing inner life, [Hatha] yoga gives us the experience of being independent of – and free from – the knots in our psyches. Repeated practice and conscious awareness stabilize this experience of freedom and make it an increasingly more influential part of our being. As a result, we gradually restructure how we live our lives, including what we eat, what we find pleasure in, and how we treat our children. This must be an active, ongoing process. Otherwise, the deeply rutted road grabs the wheels, throwing us back to old and painful ways of being and the loneliness of alienation from our inner Self.”
Yoga isn’t the only way to practice mindfulness. It can be practiced a thousand ways, many times a day. I was at a party recently and was talking to a friend who was complaining about her weight. She had put on 48 pounds in the last few years and was feeling a little despondent. The doctor wants to run some tests at the beginning of the year for fibromyalgia, lupus and IBS. A self-proclaimed cheese addict, that evening I watched her eat almost an entire 3-quart cheese dip. BY HERSELF. Laughing, talking and mindlessly eating, she consumed nearly 2400 calories and 187 grams of fat in less than an hour. Sadly, the water is getting very warm for my friend.
We don’t just wake up one day 40 pounds heavier, or with heart disease, cancer or one of the countless autoimmune diseases. Instead, we slowly and gradually make our way toward these things. We eat heavily processed, sugar-laden, man-made foods that are calorically dense and nutritionally deficient. We are rearing an entire generation of kids on these foods, and because of it, they are not projected to live as long as their parents. We abide by the notion that we have time to change our ways, yet we never do. We trade long-term health and happiness for short-term instant gratification. We’re doing this over and over, day after day.
By being mindful of what we put in our bodies, by trading short-term gratification for long-term health and happiness, we can have our cake and eat it too. But we can’t eat the whole cake. I try to live by the 80/20 rule (most of the time it’s the 99/1 rule, aside from having ADHD, I am also a little obsessive). Most of the time I eat wonderfully healthy and delicious foods for nourishment. But, sometimes I will eat really decadent and delicious foods to indulge. And when I do, I’m very “mindful” of just how divine it is!
Welcome! This is your quick survival guide for the week! Thank you participating and please text me or contact me via Facebook if you need ANYTHING!
A few things to know:
You will NEVER find a vegan cheese at the grocery store that tastes exactly like cheese. So please keep an open mind. When I began my dairy free life, it was out of necessity. My first purchase of Daiya brand cheeze shreds (not a fan of any of their products) was not only disappointing, it was down right disgusting. Since then, I’ve had some amazing artisan nut cheeses at local veggie restaurants that inspired me to buy a book and begin making my own!
Here is the best sliced soy cheese I’ve found. The kids really like it and my two little ones don’t like much! You can buy it at Wal-mart and it melts well over medium heat. Give it a little longer than regular cheese to melt.
For me, cheese was definitely the hardest thing about being dairy-free. It was actually the rich creaminess that I missed, not necessarily the taste. So…some of the recipes that I have included, use things like creamy cashew sauces, rich avocado garlic sauces, and I’ve even included a Vegan Alfredo (my favorite)!
A word about Carrageenan: Carrageenan is commonly used to thicken and emulsify non-dairy based products. If you suffer from any digestive/intestinal issues please avoid all products with Carrageenan in them. There is a very strong link in the literature about the ingredient and gastrointestinal disease in lab animals, including ulcerative colitis, intestinal lesions, and colon cancer. So please avoid it.
Here is a link for products that DO NOT contain Carrageenan. Also, most “So Delicious” creamers are now Carrageenan free.
You may feel kinda crappy. It is not uncommon to have withdrawal and detoxification symptoms when you remove any kind of food from your diet. Dairy is particularly nasty because the casein protein binds to the same “opiod” receptor sites in the brain as heroin and other narcotics. So when people say they are addicted to “ice cream, cheese, etc.,” they probably are. You may have headaches, fatigue, mood swings, or what I commonly refer to as “The Bitch is Back”. It will pass, hopefully leaving you more energetic and clear thinking! That is why I want you drinking water. A LOT of water.
We will start every morning with a glass of “ROOM TEMP” water with ½ of a squeezed lemon, and a pinch of fine ground sea salt. Water helps move things through your system. When you detoxify, water is your friend. So please stay hydrated throughout the day. This is very important.
FUN FACT: When your body loses just 2% of it’s hydration you begin to feel tired. In the morning I drink 20oz of water, I have a smoothie for breakfast, and then a cup of coffee. I am super hydrated in the morning. But…by the afternoon I’ve slowed my water consumption, and I begin feeling tired. So, I drink about 8-12 oz of water, and then BOOM, I’m fine!
One final note. I would encourage you to write down how you feel. What do you notice on day one? Is it any different on day five? Measure yourself, weigh yourself, so you have some kind of baseline. My hope is that some of you will want to continue, making it a 14-day, or even a 21-day challenge!
GOOD LUCK! Remember you are NOT denying yourself anything. You are GAINING health benefits, learning some new things, and hopefully changing the way you think about food and health!
We are in the midst of a national health crisis. As American’s we are fatter and sicker than ever before. The latest CDC report estimates that approximately 3 out of 4 Americans are overweight, and nearly 2/3 of those who are overweight, are obese. To calculate if a person is overweight or obese, doctors use what is called a Body Mass Index or BMI measurement. Essentially, it’s the ratio of your height to your weight. (At the bottom of the page I have included a link to the CDC’s BMI calculator.)
United States Rankings with Overweight and Obese as Criterion:
Percent of adults age 20 years and over with overweight, including obesity: 70.7%
Percent of adults age 20 years and over with obesity: 37.9%
Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years with obesity: 20.6%
Percent of children age 6-11 years with obesity: 17.4%
And it’s not just adults who are suffering. One in three children born in the year’s 2000 and beyond will develop type 2 Diabetes. (1)And for thefirst time in our nation’s history, it is predicted that these kids will not live as long as their parents.(2)
When I was a kid in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes among children and adolescents was extremely low, and quite frankly very rare. Unfortunately, as processed foods and dollar menus at fast food restaurants have taken over that has changed.
And sadly, it’s not just children’s physical health that suffers. In a recent national survey of overweight sixth graders, 24 percent of the boys and 30 percent of the girls experienced daily teasing, bullying or rejection because of their size. (3) Tragic.
The United States is ranked number one in the world for crisis care. If you’ve been in a car accident, and you need to be put back together again, you’re in the right place. However, if you’re worried about your health, you may be in trouble.
The United States health care system ranked dead LAST in the developed world. (4)Yet, we spend the MORE on health care than anyone else in the world, (5) and we are still the sickest nation on earth. “We endure some of the worst rates of heart disease, lung disease, obesity, and diabetes in the world.” (6)
So why do we spend so much and get so little? In his book, “The China Study” Dr. T. Colin Campbell says it best, “Health care is really disease care, and it’s big business. Every year over a trillion dollars is riding on what we choose to eat and how we choose to treat sickness and promote health.” (7)
In the first quarter of this year, McDonald’s reported a profit of $1.1 billion. Yes, that’s 1.1 billion dollars in 3 months. Their gain equals our loss.
“The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion). (8)
Drug companies rely on the fact that Americans will eat poorly, get sick, take drugs, then get really sick. The two biggest culprits are heart disease and cancer. And guess what? When you put yourself in harms way you run the risk that own health care system will kill you.
Medical errors, which include misdiagnosis, or not treating the root cause, adverse drug reactions or interactions, improper transfusions, and mistaken patient identities, (What???) (9) are all too common, thus making our own health care system the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States. My own Dad spent 7 days in the hospital last month because of adverse drug interactions. One of the drugs he was given, he didn’t even need to take! I was once overdosed on morphine, (by a nurse who didn’t read my chart correctly) even though the doctor’s orders were for Tylenol.
PAY NOW OR PAY LATER:
We have a choice. We can choose how to spend our money. And we can choose what to put in our mouths. We are busy people. I am a mom of three kids, believe me, I know. Balancing school, work, sports, travel, and everything else we do, it would be really easy for me to drive thru somewhere and pick up food. Or throw a pre-made processed meal in the oven because I’m too tired to cook.
What you put in your body HAS TO BE A PRIORITY. What you feed your kids fuels their growth and their brains. It also sets the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. When nutrition becomes a priority, it becomes a conversation and a tool for learning. By the way, did you know there is as much protein in a nut (peanut, almond, cashew) butter and jelly sandwich as there is in a McDonald’s hamburger?
My kids know how to convert sugar from grams to teaspoons. When they want something sugary from the grocery store, they have to calculate the sugar content. Nine times out of ten when they know how much sugar is in something they voluntarily put it back.
I often hear people say that they can feed a family of 4 from the dollar menu way cheaper than they can feed them at home. Here’s why: The reason fresh organic fruits and vegetables are expensive is because the government doesn’t subsidize fruits and vegetables.
A subsidy is a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service remains low or competitive. A cheeseburger from McDonald’s is only a dollar, because our government subsidizes the wheat, dairy, and meat industries. They’re keeping us overweight and unhealthy.
THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN’
But Americans are getting smarter. Thanks to their Wild Oats Marketplace, Wal-Mart is now a viable competitor of Whole Foods. Whole Foods is now lowering their prices because the demand for healthy foods is at an all time high. Sales of organic foods in the U.S. jumped 11.3 percent, to $39.1 billion last year, according to the Organic Trade Association. (12) YES!!!
Doctors are NOT required to take courses in nutrition. So find a GOOD nutritionist and do what they say. I chose to adopt a plant-based diet, and in 4 months my blood pressure went from 126/170 to 116/58. My reflux and joint pain are gone, and in 6 months I had lost 34 pounds.
My doctor was amazed and asked me how I did it. I told him I was tired of not feeling good and didn’t want to be a slave to pills. So I decided to change my diet and exercise. I said, “No offense, Doc, but I don’t want to see you anymore.” He laughed and said, “On one hand, I wish all of my patients were like you, but on the other hand, I have to pay my bills.”