Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Own Private Ramadan

Recently we got a bit of news that could have REALLY freaked me out.

Just a year ago I would have allowed myself to get completely wrapped up in drama and home-made stress (in fact, a year ago I was!). So I was very relieved, happy and proud of myself that my first response was *not* to go into a tail spin, but instead to breathe, pray, and trust.

The news came on a Saturday and I knew it would be difficult to resist the temptation to spend most of Sunday tearing garments and gnashing teeth. So I decided to spend the next three days fasting and praying -not exclusively, I had plenty of work appointments and house work to do- I needed a lot of guidance and to find and hold on to peace regarding the situation... FASTING TO THE RESCUE!

On Sunday I only had liquids and tried to spend a lot of time in quiet time (prayer, meditation, and scripture/inspirational reading). In the afternoon, right when I was really hungry and the house was full of the wonderful smells of Loren's cooking (he's been cooking a lot on Sundays for the rest of the week), I had a minor anxiety attack when I realized I had not set clearly defined parameters for my fast. There is nothing wrong with fasting by drinking only juice throughout the day and then having a moderate meal at night, my problem was I didn't define it ahead of time, so it felt like I was just giving in to the hunger.

I finally decided to allow myself a meal after sundown, and immediately started singing "my own private Ramadan" (you know, the B52's Your Own Private Idaho).

Monday and Tuesday went very well, with only one close call, which was saved by L2's reminder that I could not have a bite of her food (I have OFTEN broken or almost broken fasts because I simply *forgot* I couldn't eat!). I tried to fit in as much extra quiet time as I could, and I definitely felt a difference in my stress level.

I had already decided on Saturday to respond to the situation in a healthier, more mature and trusting way than I would have before, and while my behavior was such, internally I could feel the effects of the stress. But as the days of fasting progressed, I felt the stress level drop and then disappear!

I know the extra quiet time had a lot to do with it (prayer works for me, but it doesn't necessarily need to be a religious thing, the simple act of taking time to breathe and listen can connect us to the energy of Source), but the quiet time would not have been as effective, probably not effective at all!, if I had been over eating, indulging in sweet/fatty comfort foods, drinking too much caffeine, eating too many carbs, too much gluten, or drinking alcohol in excess. So, simply from a physical stand point, I could not have quieted the worried thoughts, nor calmed the tightness in my solar plexus without the conscious separation from certain foods. Also, from the more psychological standpoint, having to harness my impulses to eat helped me get into a mind set of discipline and sacrifice, which helped enormously in keeping me from succumbing to the bad habits of worry and melodrama.

Just one more experience to encourage you to try to add more raw food to your diet, it has done wonders for me!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm ba-aaaack!

It's already been 3 months since my last entry. So much has happenned!

Quick Recap:
I took the L's on a trip to Spain and Portugal, L2 got sick at the end of the trip and ended up leaving her appendix in the south of Portugal (more on this later, believe me!), we continued to work two farmer's markets on Saturdays, we are taking out the sailboat as much as possible, and continue our search for the perfect condo to buy (I am so done with renting!). The girls started school mid August and are very happy and already very busy. I have been getting a lot of interpreting work and have done a couple of fun auditions for acting jobs (I even drove to Pittsburgh for a call back for a role in a made-for-tv movie!).

This past weekend was a good example of what our life has been like for the better part of the last two years: We were busy with homework, chores and housework, worked two farmers markets, went to a cousin's wedding, and buried our 15 year old dog.

I know!
Important, emotional, meaningful, difficult, joyous, life-affecting as well as life-affirming events wedged in a flurry of every-day, time-consuming routines and tasks.

It feels like we hit the ground running as soon as we get out of bed, and we have to diligently remind ourselves to slow down, to breath, to remember what's important, to appreciate the little things and to delight in each other.

So the thought of adding blogging back into my schedule seems unrealistic at best, and at worst just plain insane, but I WANT to! Healthy eating is inseparable from healthy living, both physically and mentally. The only way I am able to overcome (and sometimes even thrive in!) my crazy busy schedule is by making healthy eating and other healthy practices my allies. I still have a lot to share and I think that taking the time to share it despite my lack of free time, simply shows how important it is.

So, this is my official declaration that the Reluctant Raw Blogger is back, eager and happy to share!

PS. Coming up next... 3 day fast.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

L2 (my 9 year old) goes RAW

So this week, first full week of summer vacation, L2 and I have been eating about 90-95% raw.

Last week I became convinced, sort of out of the blue (which, to me, simply confirms that it was Divine Inspiration) that she needed to "detox" by eating raw for a week, so I decided we would both do it.

I have not forced to eat ONLY raw, the point here is NOT to make her miserable (I do that in other ways... hehe) but to clean out her system. So I have let her add little things here and there, like ice cream (not necessarily cooked, but it does have processed sugars), tortilla chips or croutons or even some chicken on her salad, etc. But the processed or cooked food has only been about 10% (if that) of her daily intake.

The results were apparent almost immediately (day 2!) and they have been wonderful!
She has been happy, peaceful and almost completely drama free (this is normally our Emo child). Her energy level has been great, she has not been sleeping a lot but doesn't seem to be tired, but mostly, her attitude has been amazing! (Plus other things you would expect: she is eating a lot less, doesn't get hungry often and forgets to drink water because of it, has no cravings, etc).

Today she asked for cereal for breakfast (she's been having a smoothie) and I knew we would be having salads the rest of the day, so I figured it was no big deal. Then after church we stayed for "fellowship" and there she ate some chips and salsa and some cookies and brownies...

yup, you guessed it, by noon she was hungry, crabby and emotional because we went to Tractor Supply and the carry the little plastic animal figures she likes and she wanted to get a rooster to go with her chicken coop but she didn't bring her money because we hadn't told her we were going to the store and she had thought about bringing her money but mommy told her we were not going to the farmer's market so she didn't think there was a reason to bring it and daddy won't pay for the rooster and then let her pay her baaaack!!

Loren and I had to point out to her that this had been the first instance of whining for the entire week! and very obviously on the heels of the "crappy" stuff she had eaten that morning.

Just to make it clear how amazing this is, I should explain that L2 craves structure and we usually have a lot of trouble during vacations unless we create a routine for her. If I just let her sleep in and then have a free-form day of leisure, by noon we have a complete meltdown!! This week we have not seen that at all.

Alleluia! The Raw Diet triumphs again!

Needless to say, we have ALL been eating a lot more raw (75-90%) and collecting more reasons to keep this as our regular eating style.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Showing God that I'm paying attention

Alanis as God in Dogma
I have been thinking a lot about our experience with L2’s illness (remember the many posts about her fevers? if you didn't read them, this one will catch you up), trying to process the emotions and figure out what the lessons are. I realize that we were… you could call it blessed, lucky, or simply graced by the success of the strategies we put in place to strengthen her body against the mysterious fevers. I know God was trying to teach us something important and I want to show Her that a forceful nudge is all I need to pay attention; I’m not going to wallow in blissful oblivion forcing Her to use an iron skillet to the head.

As I look back at the events and emotional roller coaster of the last few months (complete with Lenten raw cleanse), now that I have the advantage of a few months of distance and perspective, I see that, while I learned –and am still learning— a lot of valuable, practical lessons about dealing with medical billing offices, medical office staff, doctors, nurses, and the Epic Fallibility of Western medicine, mostly the lessons were about myself.

I learned that as I learn to be a Grown Up, finally comfortable with the title and the complete responsibility it demands, and become more independent, strong, articulate and courageous in voicing my opinions, needs, concerns, and, especially, disagreements, I still can be reduced to a frightened heap of questions by the mere mention of the word leukemia. Leukemia became an overwhelmingly real foe when it claimed the life of my friend, colleague and hero, Raquel Ramirez (Google and YouTube her, she’s worth the time), and it is not a presence I want anywhere near my reality again, let alone my children.

I had been handling L2’s recurring high fevers and “tummy aches” with as much grace, courage, patience, and humor as I could muster. Loren and I had learned, 14 years ago when he had CMV (cytomegalovirus), that Western medicine can work very well if you are lucky enough to come down with something predictable, but if your case is rare and you let your doctors have all the control, you will simply be putting your fate in the hands of a bunch of well-meaning, over-prepared yet under-qualified, puzzled people, who will poke and prod you out of concern, helplessness, curiosity, and perhaps even a bit of embarrassment. We have also watched the ups and downs in Loren’s parents’ health and the devastating results of many of the well intentioned treatments to which they were subjected for years. Going into this I knew that we should not “give up our power” to the doctors; I was willing to educate myself, be proactive, and use their expert opinions as another source of information with which to make decisions.

But when I was hit on the face with the snow balls of “leukemia” and “lymphoma”, I was all too willing to give up the responsibility for my daughter’s health and well being because the alternative was too foreign, too unknown. I was also afraid of what the public opinion would be if we did not rush to the ER to start an expensive battery of tests. Would people see us as irresponsible? Would they be right?

While I stayed mostly, calm, cool and collected on the outside, and I tried to appear (mostly to myself) like I was weighing out the options and not rushing into anything, the truth is that I don’t think I would have had the courage or the presence of mind to take another route. If I had been the one facing a serious, life-threatening illness I would have been adamant about exploring all the “alternative” treatments before relinquishing my health to Western medicine, but this was my child, my baby, and her fever was rising, and no amount of Disney movies was distracting her from her pain, and nothing was bringing the color back to her cheeks.

As we learn to go into battle on our own, as adults, away from parental figures and domineering or sheltering partners, we build up an arsenal of coping skills, emotional strength, philosophies, faith, information, spiritual practices and physical disciplines with which to protect ourselves from life’s attacks. But when the enemy took my child hostage, I surrendered my weapons one by one until I found myself 50 feet from my bunker, naked, waving a white flag.

What I have learned is that I still have a long way to go before I can be fully responsible for my children’s well being, and before I can draw in ink the line between taking full responsibility and asking for help. I also learned that, if there is a next time, I will be much more ready to be held accountable –and to hold others accountable for their end of the deal— if I have been doing everything in my power to prevent a next time, either in their bodies or my own.

The last thing I am learning is that I am supposed to be aware, awake, paying attention (!) because there is a bigger picture here that I have not fully grasped and that is changing me, and possibly my path, forever.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Epiphany (Protecting my Inner Child Against Cheese Puffs)

I had a realization last night that made me cry, and I have been celebrating it ever since.

I have been talking about how I miss Lent, and I need to impose more limits on myself (not that I eat crap now, but it makes even more of a difference after you have cleaned up your system), so I have been thinking more about what I consume and how I feel about it.

Yesterday I was looking for something in a cupboard and I saw a bag of cheese puffs (DISCLAIMER: WE DO NOT, AS A GENERAL RULE, KEEP CHEESE PUFFS AT HOME. THESE WERE PURCHASED AS A TREAT FOR L2 AND SHE HAS TO ASK FOR PERMISSION EVERY TIME SHE WANTS TO HAVE SOME). It would have been very easy for me just to reach in and grab a couple and go on about my searching, but I resisted and when I walked away I felt relieved, grateful, moved.

These feelings surprised me and I took time to think about it as I did some laundry (which reminds me, I have a load in the washer!, be right back... OK). I told Loren that I wondered if this is what an alcoholic feels like when s/he is able to walk away from a drink.... relieved, comforted, safe! I explained that it had not been a huge deal, the cheese puffs were not that much of a temptation, but the threat had come instead from the habitualness of it (that word does exist, I looked it up), the danger was in how mindless a gesture poisoning myself has become.

I told him, "as little as it took to walk away, it feels like a lot. It feels comforting... There is a safety in it".

Then, as I took his shirts out to hang them, the answer appeared before me as if written in a book:

As a kid I didn't feel cared for and safe --not that I was abused or that I lacked for a basic necessity, because that was not the case, but I felt insecure most of the time and I had recurring dreams that ranged from anxiety about the first day of school to horrific nightmares about a nuclear war. I also did weird things like save the last little bit of thread that is left on a needle after you saw a button or something (because I might "need it"), and always play the same scenario with Barbies: there was a tornado/earthquake/war/epidemic/tragedy/apocalyptic event coming and the Barbies had to pack up the bare essentials into the Barbie car and lead foot it out of Barbie town before they were victims to it. I used to love repeating the scenario to try to improve my evacuation time-- so somewhere inside me still lives a little girl with a desperate need for security.

In that moment when I saw the cheese puffs and walked away, instead of simply following the mindless reflex of just popping them in my mouth...

my inner little girl felt PROTECTED

I protected her from myself, from the bad habits that hurt us, from the land mines my Ego has planted along our way, from mindlessness, from the sleep walking that leads to waking up in the middle of a nightmare that takes weeks or months to fix.

My inner girl deserves to feel safe and I'm ready to help her.

Blessings to all of you, may you feel safe and peaceful tonight.

I also thought about my session with the acupressurist and how she said that our body stores extra weight to create a shield in order to protect itself. Has my inner little girl been making herself a fortress in my hips?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I miss Lent

I really do, I miss Lent.

I miss the slight hunger, the constant self-awareness, the incessant examination of everything I ate, did and thought.

When I mentioned this to my family, L1 reminded me that towards the end I started to say "I can't wait for this to be over, this diet is messing with my brain" and she might be right. (Part of me feels I should go back and read my posts, the rest of me is telling that part to shut up because I'm enjoying the romanticism of this longing) But I miss... the self-denial maybe? I'm not even sure, but I want that feeling back.

Maybe it is on my mind more today because we went to church this morning and I walked out dissatisfied, again, with the lack of spiritual challenge (which, of course, is MY responsibility, not my preacher's) and -while I don't "need" the complication of searching for a more challenging doctrine right now- I really miss what the Lenten challenge did for me.

I guess part of it is that feeling hunger (physical or otherwise), discomfort, frustration, whatever! is better than feeling nothing at all, and the self indulgence I am allowing myself now leaves me feeling empty, complacent, less-than.

Ironic, in a way, but really rather obvious that the seemingly eternal 46 days of sacrifice were so satisfying, and now the supposed pleasures of "rewarding" myself with a caramel Frappuccino leave me feeling empty and cheap, like the morning after a night of casual sex.

I miss Lent. SO I have loaded up the pantry with dried fruits and nuts, Portobello mushrooms, guacamole, vegetables and fresh fruits. I am not going completely raw again, but I will be rewarding myself with self denial.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Weight and Measurements :)

I can't believe it's been almost a week since my last post!!

Time keeps rushing by! In fact, that was one of the reasons why I decided to learn how to meditate, because I thought it would help to slow time back down.

I have been doing well with my new resolution to meditate and exercise every day, and my weight and measurements have been holding well... in fact, they've improved a bit!!

Let's compare to before Lent and on Easter:
              Mardi Gras    April 24th          Now

Weight    183 lbs          168 lbs              169 lbs

Bust        39.5"             38.5"                 38.5"

Waist      35.75"            32"                    32"

Hips        43"                41.5"                 41"  (WOO HOO!)

Thigh      26.5"             25"                    25"

According to the tables in The Zone by Barry Sears (The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently : Reset Your Genetic Code : Prevent Disease : Achieve Maximum Physical Performance) since March 8th I have lost...

14.39 lbs of fat!!  so my lean body mass is 120.13 lbs. My body fat percentage went from 34.57 to 28.92 (it was 29.27% on Easter! yay). The cool thing is that I have lost an extra 0.30 lb of fat and *gained* 1.30lb of muscle since Easter! I guess it IS true that muscle burns calories even at rest!

I will make this short for today, Loren has a day job now (before he was gone 4 evenings a week) so I am still getting used to him being at home for dinner. After 3+ years of having his evenings at home be something special, I still feel a little guilty when he's home and I don't spend time with the family. Plus I still have to get stuff ready for tomorrow, eat dinner (salad and a bit of spaghetti), exercise, meditate AND try to get to bed by a decent hour!

I wish you all the best, have a wonderful night!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


This morning I was interpreting at a facility where people are treated for depression, addiction, attempted suicide, that sort of thing. I was told to get a key on my way in, because it had happened before that an interpreter was not able to get out because the staff thought he was a patient who was trying to escape!

So I went in with a little apprehension, not knowing what to expect. The place was great and the staff all seemed kind and efficient. The residents looked like a well varied collection of stereotypes, half of them walked around as if saying "I don't really belong here", the other half walked as if walking took everything they had.

I, of course, was walking around very happy about the fact that I didn't belong there, trying to seem nice in my superiority and hoping my nerves didn't show.

The first group was Art Therapy. The facilitator had everyone draw a symbol that would describe who they thought they were at the moment, but they had to draw it on a puzzle. She talked about how most residents there feel like the pieces of their puzzles have been thrown up in the air and are all in disarray. I looked around the room as everyone worked on their drawings and from the things the facilitator said I realized that most of them were in there because they had attempted suicide.

I also realized that I felt a connection to every person there. There was the woman who stopped her drawing to reach for a tissue and quietly burst into tears, the man who said he felt rested, the woman who put herself down under her breath the entire time she was drawing, the gorgeous young mom who carried herself like a confident professional, the alcoholic who had to be cracking jokes all the time, the quiet man who looked frail but was so strong in speaking about his vulnerabilities, the overweight woman whose mother had killed herself and she didn't want to leave her daughter with the same legacy, and the woman in the Jesus t-shirt who drew a cross inside a heart. In this room of broken puzzles I felt a deep sense of belonging, of acceptance, of compassion and love.

At first I was saddened by their presence there, and the stories I tried to imagine from the small clues left by their clothes, their voices, and their mannerisms. But I reminded myself that this was a place of healing, and realized how lucky they were to be there. I thought about the times in my life when I could have used a place like that, when I could have benefited so much from a group of fellow broken puzzles to talk to, when I would have given anything to be plucked out of (what I perceived as) my overwhelming life just to rest, think, recharge and regain myself.

I left before noon with so many thoughts and prayers swimming in my head that I forgot to turn my phone's ringer back on. It was my sixth sense that alerted me to L2's call from school. She said her spleen hurt a lot and she felt nauseated and wanted me to go pick her up. I felt overwhelmed again.

I had barely enough time to go get ice and cash for the lock box and to set up for our first farmers' market of the season (remember I told you about the free-range pork that we raise and sell?). Last night I had taken the time to update our website and Facebook page, to create events, and to send out an email to all the people on our database. I was supposed to go spend four hours peddling our pork and "visitn" with our regulars. I was not ready for L2 to be sick again (which she might not be! I am not trying to manifest another illness, but after the events of the last few months, I couldn't just say "hang in there honey, I'll see you at 7").

On the drive home I examined my options. I had one of those moments when I come face to face with the ugly side of my self-protective independence... I have no one to rely on.

Which isn't necessarily bad, mind you, I am not trying to get anyone to feel sorry for me. I have made my choices and continue to make them, hopefully ever more consciously each time.

I could ask for help from the people who are always sweet but later talk about me behind my back, or from the ultra polite friend who would never say no, I could call the neighbor who thought last time would be the last, or the acquaintance who could be a great friend to me -if she only thought I could be a great friend to her-, or I could force myself to ask the one who has slowly chipped away at my trust, I could even allow myself to worry about money enough to justify taking the sick child to the market, to sit in a folding chair in the muggy heat (in the shade of course, I'm not a monster!), or I could simply bring her home to sleep "cozy and comforty" (as L1 used to say) under her mother's watchful eye.

She's been sleeping soundly for hours.

PS. A guy came over to build a creek-rock edge for a couple of my flower beds. At one point he knocked on the door and gave me this one. He said the Native Americans used to say that colored rocks made you feel better. I think he gave it to me for L2, because I mentioned she wasn't feeling well, but I told him I "need it so much, should I just hold it or eat it?"
I washed it so the colors would show more; I ran my hands on it and it felt great against my palms. When I finally took it back outside I went barefoot so I could feel the grass and my body could "ground" itself (some people say by touching the earth with your bare skin you re-balance the energies in your own body. Yeah, yeah, I can hear you rolling your eyes all the way here, I don't care).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ARGH! (frustration, Dizzy Whizz, and poop)

No, it's not pirate day. I am just very frustrated.
I don't feel at liberty to share what is going on, but I do want to talk, briefly, about how it affects me (and then talk about food of course).

Someone let me down today, but see, this comes after a loooooong line of disappointments and I am just fed up. I feel like giving up on the relationship, but, instead, I give up on myself!

I realized tonight that:

1. Emotional upsets now get me physically upset as well (maybe this happened before but I didn't notice it as much because my system was not as clean?)

2. Feeling like I have been treated badly makes me want to treat myself badly (not exercise, eat the wrong things, stay up too late).

**********HOW STUPID IS THAT???**********************

So, I will be mulling that one over for a while (the good news is I did not mistreat nor neglect myself too much tonight, although it IS 11:26PM and I have to be up, again, at 5:45 --these long days are getting to me!).

Food wise today was a good day, yesterday... not so much.

I started with the obligatory (and beloved, don't get me wrong) smoothie, then had a salad with chicken and for dinner I was just going to have a small snack, go see L1 in a recital for school (she kicked BUTT) and then come back and eat some fruit.
The snack consisted of what I lovingly call a "constipation sandwich" (one slice of whole wheat bread (we get the kind with "double fiber" but wait till you hear what I put on it), cream cheese, and jalapeno pepper jelly).

But wait, it gets better. Then we picked up Loren and he had not eaten, and L2 said she was still hungry (she had a proper sandwich), and, honestly, I kind of was too, so we went to Dizzy Whizz (a Louisville institution) and I ate a double burger with American cheese (the really processed kind) and tartar sauce, amazing fries, and a coleslaw that tasted like it had butter in it.

At one point I even said "I wonder how on earth I am going to poop tomorrow!"

This morning my gut was very gurgley and it hurt a bit, but it was not as bad as I expected (I think all the grease helped slide it out). I had another smoothie this morning and that helped get the day started correctly.

I did skip lunch but instead snacked on dried soy nuts, dried apples, dried apricots, and fresh pineapple. It has been very hot and muggy today and I think that is why I was not hungry for dinner, so I just had a small spinach salad.

Ok, I have yawned three times in the last paragraph and I have another fuuuuuull day tomorrow. My goal for tomorrow is to be sweet and happy and to drink a lot more water than I did today.

Sleep well everyone and happy Wednesday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

Today was an amazing day, thank God.

I woke up to see Loren coming out of our walk-in closet wearing a pair of reading glasses that made him look like my dad, and pushing an empty grocery cart. I thought "hmm, it must have something to do with Mothers' Day", then I woke up.

A few minutes later he and the girls came in with a tray of Eggs Benedict, grapefruit and coffee. They gave me cards and L2 had made wonderful gifts for me at school.
This brooch

and two great things she wrote. I would love to share both but I need to get to bed, so here is the shorter one (grammar and spelling exactly as it appears):

Top 5 Reasons Why MY Mom is the Greatest!
1. You taught me to sing and sing well.
2. You help me come up with solutions when I have problems with friends.
3. You're smart and teaches me things I've never heard of but are intresting.
4. You are strickt and make sure I follow rules.
5. You're a health-monster, always makes sure I'm healthy, and when I'm sick you take care of me.

Isn't that precious?

Then we went to church, visited my mother in law and then --after a wonderful salad of red romaine lettuce, spinach, carrots, cucumber, tomato, Kalamata olives and feta cheese, with Loren's home made dressing-- we got to do what *I* wanted...


There was a lot of work that we have been needing to do, but between Papaw's passing and all the rain, we just had not gotten to it. So we went to pick up a few supplies and worked outside until it got dark (well, L2 had a lot of homework so she did not, but she did make us Gatorades).

It was awesome! We planted some baby trees, weeded and mulched one of the flower beds, moved compost from the pigs to the garden, and potted some volunteer sunflowers and a strawberry that came up in what will be the veggie garden (I did not put in spring crops this year, so it is still a field of weeds), I also transplanted some lilies from one flower bed to the other (photos coming soon!) and Loren ran the weed-eater.

For dinner I had a fruit salad (apple, banana, golden raisins, plain yogurt and honey) and the last egg Benedict (I couldn't resist).

All the gardening counted as my exercise for the day, believe me, I WILL be sore tomorrow!! (I was not today, by the way, I was a bit surprised), but now I must run to meditate and still try to turn off the light before eleven.

Have a wonderful week! and Happy Mothers' Day again!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Good report (and how to relax in seconds)

Just a quick post to report that today was a great day and I have been sticking to my new resolution.

I walked for 20 minutes yesterday with Leslie Sansone (Leslie Sansone: Walk Away The Pounds: Power Mile, my favorite exercise video because it is so quick and it always lifts my spirits. Today I kicked it up a notch and worked out with the cast from The Biggest Loser (The Biggest Loser Workout: Cardio Max), so I spent 40 minutes sweating and grunting and I might be a little sore tomorrow (pathetic! but I have not exercised consistently in so long).

As far as the meditation is concerned, today's was extra special because L1 wanted to join me. We used one of my favorite recordings (and apparently hers too, because she requested it) and the first one that I was ever able to use successfully to fully relax and eventually meditate. It is part of the Silva Life System, but you can get it with their free introductory (6 lesson) course. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone that would like to learn to relax physically in a few seconds, that's right, SECONDS.

I am not exaggerating, after doing it consistently for a few weeks you will become so conditioned that you will be able to relax in seconds, I used to carry all my stress in my neck and shoulders, now I can make them loosen up with just a few deep breaths (I don't have to be listening to the recording anymore). If you are also interested in meditation, this is a good way to get you started, but you may eventually want to do it on your own or listen to something else, the particular recording I am recommending is a great starter but has too much talking for someone with more experience. Click this link to get you to the free course (and you will eventually be linked to the entire program, which I also have and recommend... este es el enlace si le interesa en español).

The meditation turned into a snoring fest for her (so cute!) but I loved it and I felt very close to her, what a change from two nights ago!

Have a wonderful night and a great Mother's Day tomorrow!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Back with a new 40 day discipline (controlling brain chemistry and enjoying consistent happiness!)

A lot has happened since Easter, both in my life and around the world.

I have been tempted to write a post several times, sometimes because I thought I had something valuable to share, sometimes just to get a "fix" (I don't fancy myself a "creative writer" but writing these posts definitely feels like a creative activity and it helps enormously in lifting my spirits).

I don't think I'll go back to share the thoughts I had, although they may become pertinent again in the future, right now I need to focus on the next 40 days (not 46 like Easter, I'm making this one a true "cuaresma" or "cuarentena"!!). But first I need to explain where this idea came from with a shameful and somewhat scary confession.

I have to backtrack a bit, stay with me... I have struggled with chemical imbalances since I can remember, from feeling opposite emotions at the same time coupled with strange black and white images, to having an incessant soundtrack playing behind every thought for years, to getting an uplifting boost from holding on to an electric fence (on purpose) that would make anyone else cry, to a low-grade but long lasting depression that dipped dangerously low in my teens and mid twenties. Thankfully these are not things I experience anymore (not for a long time, thank God!), but I am keenly aware of what it took to get it under control.

Over many years of self destructive behavior due mostly to plain ol' ignorance I learned, sometimes through research, sometimes trial and error, that:
  1. My brain doesn't seem to want to work like everyone else's, but it CAN be taught new tricks.
  2. My hormones and emotions are controlled almost entirely by what I eat and drink.
  3. Sleep and exercise are essential to a healthy mind.
  4. If you don't control your thoughts they will control you (and NOT in a good way, the Ego is a nasty, sneaky tyrant).
  5. (and most importantly) I had to learn to love myself, "defective" brain and all, in order to stick to the healthy habits that made a peaceful brain and stable emotions possible.
That being said, sometimes we, nope, I can't assume you or anyone else does this, *I* don't stick to all the disciplines quite as well as I should and I find myself not living as healthy a life as I would like, physically, mentally or emotionally.

You might remember this post in which I spoke about my "default setting" being apathy and how I wanted my new mode to be HAPPY. Well last night was a very scary example of what that apathy extreme can look like.

I had told L1 to put something on her to-do list for today. I didn't say "I want you to do this", I specifically said "put this on your list" because we have been having A LOT of problems with her just blowing things off, usually because she's thinking about something else and doesn't switch gears or because she just forgets (I KNOW she's 14! I know I know, it doesn't help that it is age appropriate!). Later I asked where her list was because I was going to add something else and she said she had not started it and planned to write it in the morning. That's when I said "By what miracle do you expect to remember in the morning what I told you tonight?" in the most condescending tone I could muster...

I know.

This is the girl that gives me hugs "from Jesus" (remember that story?). This is, by anybody's standards, a GREAT teenager, straight A student, respectful, sweet, generous, hard working, funny, and well-behaved. I should go to Hell for that.

She ended up crying in her daddy's arms, he tried to talk about it, all I had to say was "she can try to turn this into "mommy's crabby and taking it out on me", but she just has to take responsibility for her actions". And, yes, maybe in principle that was right, but the scary thing was that I felt NOTHING.

I was not angry, frustrated, jealous, annoyed or sad. I felt N O T H I N G!
I remember thinking "why don't I feel anything?, this is strange" but, since I felt nothing, I didn't really feel concerned about that either. I just went to bed.

This morning I woke up and all of a sudden all of my thoughts and emotions rushed to that image of my gorgeous princess crying over what I, the evil witch mother, had done to her. I immediately wondered if she had slept well, I prayed that she had slept well, I prayed for God to protect her from me, for God to heal whatever scars I may have caused. I tried to talk to Loren about it and was so overcome by tears and the tightness in my throat that I couldn't finish the thought. It was as if all the emotions I should have felt last night and all through the night had finally caught up to me and were crashing into me one after the other.

See what I mean by "defective"? This is not normal.

Not that I am trying to excuse my behavior with "my brain is broken". I completely take responsibility for all my mistakes, shortcomings and displays of unabashed bitchiness. But I have to do something! this is not OK.

By the way, I cannot blame my diet (or my liver!) for this one. I had eaten mostly raw (a little chicken on the salad, a little popcorn for snack, a little hard boiled egg on the second salad). I have been doing pretty well since the Easter brunch fiasco, keeping my weight steady and even losing a little more off my hips!

But anyway... (I am finally getting to the point, you are so patient!) I know I don't want to go to a medical doctor with this, and before I start going to other people for help of any kind I KNOW there are things I should try first.

So, starting today, I will be exercising for at least 20 minutes every day and meditating for at least 15 minutes every day...

and trying very, VERY hard to be super nice, especially to L1.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Unexpected News

For the first time in years today we were all up together in the morning as we got ready for school and jobs. Loren started his 5 weeks of training for his new job and we were so excited about having our first Monday night dinner together as a family.

By 9:30AM everything had changed with the news of Loren's father's passing.

He was 83 and had been suffering from multiple health problems, which quickly intensified after a fall right before Thanksgiving. From what we were told, he had been spending his days sleeping and today "he just quit breathing". We had all been praying that he could be at peace with God and with his circumstances, and it sounds like this morning he truly found that peace.

May angels lead you into Paradise,
may the holy martyrs bless your arrival,
and Lazarus, who was poor,
bless your repose in holy, holy Jerusalem,
where the choirs sing the ending of sorrow...*

Rest in peace Papaw.

*(In paradisum deducant te angeli, anonymous Latin hymn, trans. Paul Ramsey)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Not So Happy Easter Meals and New Measurements

So in case you didn't read this, last night, shortly after midnight I had a rosemary pita bread with chicken salad (no, of course I didn't make it, I had brought it from a brunch at church) and it went pretty well. I had to burp a few times and I felt a little acid reflux but nothing major.

I was up late getting Easter stuff ready and I also had some pop corn L1 had made (she spices it up wonderfully). I had more than I should have because, at that point, I my judgment was impaired by my staying up so late and my new found freedom. I did stop before I had lost all dignity and I gave some serious thought to the idea of doing a late night fast (promising God that I will go to bed before 11pm for 40 days?).

I thought a lot about a Renegade Saints song, "Deep End" (from the Fear of the Sky CD, seriously one of my favorite CD's of all time).
Here's some band doing a cover of it, the original is much better but I couldn't find it --the link on the CD name will take you to it)

The part I thought about is:
"Never did I commit a sin that I did not love to commit,
always had my reasons for doing it (yes I did),
sometimes out of love, sometimes in hate,
never cuz I just got bored or stayed up too late"

I've always said that I wish this song were true for me, instead most of the sins I've committed in my life (most of them self-destructive to some degree) have been a direct result of simply staying up too late. So, you can bet on the fact that you'll be reading more about this in the days to come (if you're willing to keep reading now that Lent is over, I certainly am willing -and eager- to keep writing!).

But back to food. I went to bed late but feeling well, despite my fears of indigestion and nightmares. In the morning we had espresso with foam and everything! we added a little Frangelico and I even put chocolate shavings on my foam! I had some of the biscotti bites I ordered from Little Lyla's Bakery (delicious!) and even tried the wasabi peas that the Easter Bunny left in some of the eggs (hidden inside the house because of the rain).

No problem, so far so good! yay, took my measurements (I'll get to them in a minute! let me finish!) and went to church feeling great. After the service we went to brunch at a restaurant in the Highlands, I don't want to say the name because I don't want them associated with my bad experience. On the way there we had a conversation that made me upset, but by the time we got a table and I made my way to the omelet bar I thought I was calm enough to eat.

So, I don't know if it was being upset, or the cooked food, or the decaf with cream, but I (or should I blame my liver again?) proceeded to get totally sick very quickly. It reminded me of getting drunk in college, when you're sitting with your friends having fun and not really monitoring how many times you've refilled your beer mug and then getting up to go to the bathroom and your inner dialogue would go something like this:

"OH MY GOD! I am so drunk! Oh Lord, I didn't think I drank that much! I am so dizzy! Am I walking in a straight line? Walk in a straight line... shit! did I just stumble? I hope the bathroom is free, I think I am going to vomit, Oh God please don't let me vomit! not in front of all these cute guys, oh my Lord, I am SO SORRY, I will keep track of how much I drink next time, I promise, I am so sorry, and I feel SO sick, oh God help me, my head feels all buzzy, everything is SO LOUD, am I moving at a normal speed? I am having trouble breathing, why am I having trouble breathing? am I having a drunk heart attack? I can't wait much longer for this chick to get out, HURRY UP, I am going to either pass out or vomit right here, Oh God Help Me PLEEEEASE!"

I am NOT EXAGGERATING, the omelet I have fantasized about for days made me instantly sick. I went outside to get some fresh air (the restaurant was VERY stuffy), but I was afraid of passing out and hitting my head on the sidewalk so I went back in. I went to the bathroom and took off my Spanx, but that didn't help much. I drank cold water and wished I had not finished the omelet (it wasn't that good anyway, I just didn't want to waste food), I laid my head on the table, I breathed in slowly and heavily, and finally decided to go wait in the car. Walking seemed to help a bit and it made me burp a lot, I just felt like crying and my throat hurt (not as in a cold but as in tightness, L2 and I both feel the same thing before and during crying; sometimes it gets so tight it feels like we're choking). In the car I reclined and tried to rest.

Nutella  (Ferrero Nutella - 26.5 Ounces) the Easter Bunny left in my basket (by now you know I had a thing for hazelnuts, did I tell you how AWESOME they are raw?), and now I feel... well, not great.

I feel OK, but I feel bloated, not very clear headed and I have a tight spot in my solar plexus that just won't go away. 47 days ago I would have called this "normal" but now I know better. Tomorrow I am back to raw food, I will consider adding something cooked with dinner (hard boiled eggs? got plenty of those!) but I will proceed with caution.

Alright, now for the measurements from this morning!! (compared to the first set taken and last week's)

March 8th              April 16th      April 24th

Weight    183 lbs    169 lbs          168 lbs (Friday it was 167 :(  what happened?!!)

Bust        39.5"       38.25"          38.5" (probably holding in more breath)

Waist      35.75"     33.25"           32"!!!! (OK, I was really sucking it in, but I always suck it in, so there had to be quite a difference. Right now, that I'm feeling bloated, I get 32.5")

Hips        43"          41.5"            41.5"

Thigh      26.5"       25.25"          25"

So, since I first measured myself on Mardi Gras I have lost 15 lbs., 3.75" from my waist (or 3.25"), 1.5" from my hips, and 1.5" from my thighs. And, according to the tables in The Zone by Barry Sears (The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently : Reset Your Genetic Code : Prevent Disease : Achieve Maximum Physical Performance) in the last 46 days I have lost...

14.09 lbs of fat!! (13.79 if we use tonight's measurement) so my lean body mass is 118.83 lbs. My body fat percentage went from 34.57 to 29.27! Praise the Lord! and I am back to wearing LOTS of my old pants (not quite all of them yet, but I am on my way!).

Alright, it is 11:15 PM, I wake up at 6AM and this mild digestive discomfort is going to make sleep a bit of a challenge, so I will go to bed now and say a little prayer for you.
Thank you for stopping by (click on an ad please!) and have a wonderful night/day wherever you are.

PS. I am already looking forward to my smoothie in the morning, Alleluia!

Happy Easter (it's 12:14AM)

It's not that I stayed up to eat. I was up doing Easter stuff and noticed that midnight was approaching, and kept looking at the clock thinking about it. I thought I would open the box of biscotti I ordered, but I just didn't feel like eating something sweet at the moment.

But then I found, quite by chance, a rosemary pita bread filled with chicken salad (the kind with big grape chunks in it!) that I brought home from the post-Easter-egg-hunt-brunch at church this morning, and that did it!

It was awesome. I stood in front of my the altar I inherited from my grandmother, where I display the painting of the Divine Mercy given to me by my mother, and just sighed a huge thank you to God for the food I was eating and for the growth of the last 46 days.

It was delicious, but now I am a bit scared of how my body will react. I am already burpy and reflux is sure to follow, and, well, it is never I good idea to eat shortly before going to bed.

It's so silly, I knew better! But that's alright, it's been a long 46 days and I can allow myself a minor lapse of impulsiveness now. I will report tomorrow on the effects, and I will update my weight and measurements.  Good night and Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 45, (Only ONE More Day!) Good Friday Musings

Today has been a glorious day of spring rains, routine errands and family time. Today has not been what I would normally label a successful, productive, or particularly meaningful day, but today this feels perfect.

My mind works in very random, jumpy ways and I have spent most of my life denouncing it as defective. Because of this I have always craved routine, order and discipline, while, at the same time, avoiding, fearing and finding them unattainable. So, normally I would look for validation for my day by naming the things checked off my "to do" list, or by showing a gorgeous family picture and saying "LOOK, I have successfully spent quality time with my nearly-perfect children and husband" or by having a more-spiritual-than-thou day and embracing the chore-boycotting rain with a long meditation and a prayer of gratitude for the water cycle.

But today has been a mix of a little productivity, a little leisure time, a lot of family time, a little watching it rain, some quiet prayer time, and now some blogging time...

and I am so happy! There is no temptation to condemn the "wasting" of time, or to over-analyze the quiet time, or over-glorify the family time. There is just acceptance and joy (**gasps and holds hand over mouth** could this mean I am finally an Adult?).

Today I sat and prayed for an hour (at church we signed up to keep a prayer vigil for 24 hours) and during that time I was able to reflect on the experiences and growth the last 45 days have brought me. I spent time reflecting on why Jesus matters, and how I can relate this fast and what I've learned during these days to living a life that is more Christ-like every day. Well, I must correct myself... "why Jesus matters" is too big a topic for me to tackle in one blog post, but I can at least explain why He matters to me.

I think of Jesus as the greatest metaphysical teacher and spiritual leader of all time, and his teachings are the most practical tools for living a life that is respectful, loving, happy, fulfilled, and meaningful. Jesus teaches us how to free ourselves from our fears and our vices, He models a life of acceptance and meaning, and challenges us to be more, to do more, to matter more.

I used to think that when you gave up something for Lent, or you had to suffer through some unavoidable problem in your life, you would do it and "offer it to God" (as my mother used to say) so that someone somewhere would get some benefit from your suffering. To this day I am not sure that that is what my mother meant, but that's how I always interpreted it:

--My body would willingly hurt somebody for a tortilla chip right now.
--I don't eat the tortilla chip, nor hurt anyone, and I say a prayer offering this bothersome/uncomfortable/painful/annoying/scary/horrible situation to God "for" the hungry kids in Africa/the tsunami victims in Japan/the people with tortilla chip allergies.
--I try to find consolation for my unfulfilled craving in the vague notion that someone somewhere is bothered/uncomfortable/pained/annoyed/scared/horrified less because I just took on some of their plight.

... OK.

Yeah, OK, I still see how that makes sense, and it really is beautifully poetic and generous.

BUT, as I've gotten older I've realized (this year more clearly than ever) that if that is all we get out of our sacrifice, we are almost wasting our time. There is so much more that we can learn from facing our difficulties (be them self imposed or not) if we tackle them with the intention of growing, learning, improving, becoming a better tool for God! (if you don't believe in God, fine, it doesn't matter, replace that with "becoming a better member of society").

The last 45 days have been transformational not because I have said a quiet prayer for people with addictions every time I craved a latte, but because I was freed from my own addictions; not because I thanked God for having food when I was hungry, but because I was shown that I have the strength to handle hunger; not because I have prayed for obese people every time I stepped on the scales and there was no significant change, but because I have realized that the extra weight was self-destructive and I --a child of God made in Her image-- deserve to treat myself better than that. The last 45 days have made me a much better version of myself, and THAT'S what God wants from sacrifice. The better we are the better equipped we are to serve our fellow man!

(Yes, I do realize many of you are probably saying "WOW. She's 40 years old and she only figured that out NOW?" but as much as I am tempted to turn this post into something more self-flattering, I won't. I have always been a late bloomer and I am finally OK with that.)

So now that I am a better version of myself, the question remains... what drastic challenge am I going to give myself next to continue growing towards transcending "myself" and becoming a better person -period?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Will this work?
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone, powered by CREDO Mobile.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 43, Joy Returns

This will have to be a quick post. I have been busy, efficient, focused, and, most importantly, joyful again.

I credit my acupressure appointment for helping me detox the energetic toxins along with the physical ones, that one hour session made such a difference!

Now I can be tired, or annoyed about something, or even stressed, but underneath it all I am still joyous, happy, and passionate. I had been afraid for a number of days that my new default mood was going to be a weird (and sometimes unpredictable) mix of numb and crabby, now I am breathing a huge sigh of relief because I feel like myself again!

Food wise my body has been begging --no, more like desperately yelling-- for eggs. Sauteed vegetables would be awfully nice too! (I found portobello mushrooms on sale and bought 3 big packs, I am going to "grill the crap out of them" after Easter), tortilla chips are no longer a temptation, but sweet coffees continue to be (although much milder).

I have not craved a piece of bread at all, nor have I felt the need to have rice, potatoes (aside from a french fry weak moment) or most starches. So I plan not to have these items in my menu, except for special occasions.

My weight seems to be holding steady, which is frustrating (I really don't eat big portions!) but I would rather think of it as my body getting used to a new "set point" rather than just plateauing on the weight loss.

As I said, short and sweet, have to get to bed to dream of omelets!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 40, FOOOOOORTY! (only 6 more days, and lots of talk about self care)

So, L2 is sitting here reminding me of movie theater fake cheese and tortilla chips.

Wow, now it is not the tortilla chips I am fantasizing about, it's the plastic cheese.

OK, so this is when I say "Thank you God for all the blessings you surround me with, including the challenges, for freeing me from my food addictions, for showing me a way to be closer to you, and for helping me be happier in my body".

Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how that always helps.

This morning I had a scoop of protein powder in water and a grapefruit (did you know grapefruit is supposed to dissolve fat cells, not just reduce them but DISSOLVE them??), then I ate a few veggies from the veggie tray at church, then a Baja salad from Wendy's (I know it's getting OLD, but we had a lot to do in a short time), and since I got home I have been in front of the computer "doing the taxes" and snacking on nuts and drinking white wine. (Hmm. Maybe THAT'S why I'm not getting the taxes done!).

I CAN NOT believe we've been on this journey already 40 days! We are both ready to "eat normal", Loren more so than I am. He wants to eat everything, I just want some eggs and sauteed veggies.

I have decided to give myself the day off on Easter and then I will continue the raw diet, adding only a little bit of cooked things each day, being especially weary of refined sugars and starches, and only drinking coffee on special occasions.

I have been feeling GREAT in the last few days --focused, energized, positive and happy, and so many of my old pants are either fitting or aaaaalmost fitting!! (lots are not uncomfortable anymore but still not presentable enough to wear in public). I feel ready to take on the world, and I just want to keep riding this wave! So the idea of filling my body (and mind) with starches and sugars and caffeine again just repulses me. So, while I will allow myself a few treats on Easter, I am eager to continue on this journey.

However, don't get me wrong! I was not a Crap Eater before Ash Wednesday!
We started our journey towards Health Through Food (that might be the title for the e-book I'm thinking of writing, see this post for more info) over a decade ago. We avoid partially hydrogenated oils (as well as fully hydrogenated oils, for that matter!), MSG, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, corn syrup, and anything that we don't recognize. AND! (most importantly), we raise our own eggs and meat! how many people can say that!! We are so blessed to have our own land where we can raise our own ASH (antibiotic, steroid, hormones) free animals so we know 95% of our animal products are healthy and come from animals that have been treated well. Sure, we are not Nazi's about it, the kids can have crap candy at Halloween, but we figure, if we are eating healthy most of the time it balances out very well.

I guess the point I am trying to make is this: There is always room for more self care.
And, I can say this comfortably now that I am 40, self care is the basis for all care.

If you are not taking care of your body, your mind, and especially, your spirituality (whichever form that takes) you will not be taking good care of others or of other areas in your life (career, goals, etc). In fact, I am now willing to argue that you could neglect your mind, but taking care of your body and your spirit (it is taken me this long to realize that they actually do go together) is essential for a fully present and responsible life.

And by "responsible life" I mean a life in which you accept responsibility for EVERYTHING that happens. I don't know about you, but I find a lot of comfort in a life that --while being very challenging-- does not allow for me to blame anyone or anything else for what is "wrong" in my life.

OK, now I just sound preachy, and that was never my intent. I just hope this helps!

Good night everyone! blessings to you tonight and always!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 39, New Measurements and, Apparently, I'm Over Chips

My apologies for having skipped so many days this week. It's tax season.

Last year I managed to get the tax return done before we took our trip to the Winter Olympics (we needed the tax return money!), but this year I was otherwise occupied with L2's health issues, this blog, and resisting the temptation to eat tortilla chips.

Well, it seems it only took 39 days, but I am finally over those temptresses!

Last night we took L2 out for a late second dinner and the first thing we found was Moe's Southwest Grill (kind'a like Q'Doba?). She got a burrito and the guy gave her some tortilla chips for free. I was feeling masochistic so I grabbed the bag and stuck my nose in it to at least enjoy a whiff of their enticing aroma...

and... nothing!

Today I have been home aaaallll day (mostly working on the taxes) and the bag of tortilla chips has been sitting open on the kitchen island, about 10 feet from where I am sitting, and... that's right! NOTHING

SO, I WIN, ha ha ha HA!

Ok, so now on to the new numbers.
Comparing all the weeks doesn't fit nicely in the space here, so I will just compare to the day before I started and to last week, to see all the weeks in between click here

March 8th              April 8th       April 16th

Weight    183 lbs    171 lbs        169 lbs

Bust        39.5"       38.5"           38.25"

Waist      35.75"     33.5"           33.25"

Hips        43"          41.63" (5/8)  41.5"

Thigh      26.5"       25.5"            25.25"

So, no big impressive changes, but steady progress :)

The last thing I want to share is that both yesterday evening and all of today I have felt more positive and able to focus than I have in weeks! Hurray for a detoxed liver!

PS. Please consider clicking on one of the ads, the L2's medical bills are starting to arrive and every penny helps!

Day 38, Forgive me Father, For I Have Sinned


I had my smoothie for breakfast and that helped a bit, and I kept chewing gum because I ready that can make you feel alert. But as the morning progressed, so did my sleepiness and my inability to concentrate (I think it still has to do with my liver treatment yesterday). I went out and got my new favorite Wendy's item (yes, the Baja salad sans chili rides again) and I was supposed to go right back to work for a couple of possible cases in district court, and I just couldn't be yawning and asking the judge and the prosecutor to repeat themselves, and hoping they didn't complain to my boss, and agh!

SO I DID IT, I DID IT!!!! I got a cup of coffee...

with cream...

and I drank about a third of it,

trying not to enjoy it, I swear!

And I really kind of didn't, no, honestly, really, it wasn't that good! I drank it as I walked and I wish I could have recorded the guilty chatter in my brain... "hmm, it's ok, not that good, yes it's nice to be drinking it, but it's no hazelnut latte, you know, I just need a little bit of caffeine, I will check this docket, will they need me here?, see? I just had a sip and swallowed before I could really taste it at all! I am not really enjoying it! it's no big deal, it is just like the lukewarm Pepsi, no big deal, see? another mindless sip, I don't really like this, it is just like medicine"

I only had a little bit, then I left it in the office and went to ask the prosecutors if the Spanish speakers had appeared.

After looking around, and asking, and asking some more I finally became convinced I would not be needed, but left the prosecutors with my number just in case. Then I headed back downstairs to wait for that possible call before going home for the day...

all the way down all I could think of was that cup of coffee, its exact location on the desk, the fact that it was probably still warm, would the office smell like it? My brain: "NO NO NO, I was not enjoying it that much, in fact, when I go back I probably won't even drink any more of it, why am I thinking about it like it was Holy Water? C'mon! I'm just going to throw it away, no, no, I don't need to do THAT, I wasn't even enjoying it!"

So I went back and sat on a chair near the desk, looked at the coffee for a while and finally took another drink, only to discover that, indeed, it wasn't that good, and that's when I threw it away.

PS. For dinner I had a spinach salad with broccoli, red pepper, pepitas, cucumber and hummus.

Friday, April 15, 2011

In the air today... Sauteed garlic and onions. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 37, Blame the Liver (and Lunar PMS update)

Wow, I've been sitting here (Here: in bed in my pajamas with my laptop on my lap. It's only 7:48 --and I've already been Here a while! I am enjoying a rare evening of self care, feels decadent!) trying to start this post. I have started and deleted several times and, well, really, it's not my fault. It's my liver.

[First of all, let's the get tedious listing of the menu out of the way, and the obligatory mention of the fact that I did not write a post yesterday because I was working on the taxes. Yesterday: Smoothie, home made trail mix for snack, McDonald's Berry smoothie for "lunch", dried apples for snack, Big Beautiful salad for dinner.
(I will add a photo tomorrow when my brain is working again). Today, out of bananas, no smoothie (I've tried to make them without a banana, the texture is all wrong), buckwheat with plain yogurt, the last of the dried blueberries :( and agave nectar for breakfast, another Big Beautiful salad for lunch, because yesterday's was so good, but I couldn't finish this one, and for dinner a grapefruit and lots of water with cranberry juice --you'll understand soon]

This afternoon I had a session with an acupressurist (her name is Kolene Woodrum, and she is wonderful, if she had a website I would link you). The first thing she does is have you tell her why you are there (usually a physical issue) and she will ask you questions to figure out what the underlying problem actually is, since physical problems are a manifestation of an unbalance at the energetic level. I told her about this diet, about my desire to lose more inches, about the changes in my mood and motivation lately, etc.  I also told her that I have been feeling like my heart chakra is closed (for lack of a better way to put it) because I have been feeling very detached and not very passionate (except when I get angry).

She explained (and here I must add the disclaimer that if I say something that makes no sense at all, it is probably due to the fact that I am paraphrasing what she said and, while it made sense and it resonated with me while she explained it, I am having trouble explaining it... again, probably my liver's fault) that weight gain tends to be the body's way of creating a shield to protect itself (from an emotional threat), she mentioned that throat issues usually have to do with problems with self expression. She also said that the liver is the organ that deals with anger, and she said it also rules the thyroid and your eyesight. She said the raw diet is the best thing I could be doing to cleanse the liver of toxins and that it makes sense that emotional issues are coming out because they are still "stored" somewhere in my liver and they too need to be flushed.

The treatment was very relaxing and gentle, it was very interesting to feel the changes in my body as she would move from one area to the other. It was also very neat that a couple of times I felt like I wanted her to treat a different area and she would go there almost immediately. She played a very relaxing CD that she gave to me at the end of the session :)

After wards she explained that as soon as she started working on me my liver started clamoring "Me me me!" so she focused on it the most (obviously this is very intuitive work). She warned that I might feel "yucky" in the stomach, that I might feel more angry as more of the emotional issues got flushed out, and that I should not try to do much in the way of productivity or concentration (she specifically said "don't get on the computer") because I would probably have a really hard time concentrating.

Boy was she right on (it's 8:24, it's taken me this long to try to make sense of these few paragraphs). I have spent a lot of time in the bathroom since I got home, I had to wrap myself in a blanket because I got a little bit cold and I have been craving water with cranberry juice. I have not felt angry, thank God, but I have also been trying to avoid situations that would give me the slightest excuse to blow up at somebody (thus being in bed so early. L2 brought the other laptop so I would help her research something online and I lost my patience with her very quickly, in my defense however, later Loren tried to help her and he lost his patience too, so maybe that one was more about her than about my liver). I was hungry but everything sounded too heavy until Loren suggested a grapefruit. That was just what I needed and now I feel totally satisfied.

I am really out of it! I tried to read over what I have written and lost my concentration so many times I finally gave up! But there is one last thing I really need to mention!!

I'm on my period again and this time it actually caught me by surprise because I didn't have PMS at all.
(If you have not read it, I really recommend checking out the Important Lunar PMS post)
I had been feeling Crabby, which, when compared to Content or Happy, is not ideal. But when you consider that normally I would have been closer to Criminally Insane, it turns into a change worthy of mention. In fact, I am not even sure that the crabbiness had anything to do with my period at all, which allows for the possibility that A Life Without Mercurial Hormonal Changes does exist, and not just as a fluke that one time during Lent, but consistently.

I could not be more serious about recommending this for people who have life altering PMS symptoms. Please try going raw (even if just 75% raw) for 6 weeks or so, just long enough to experience 2 periods on it, or even just one week before your regular PMS days. I can't imagine that you would not experience a positive change.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 35, Warm dishes and rebellion

It is 10:14.

I feel a bit guilty because I did not report on my menu yesterday, and I haven't done it today either.

I'm trying to decide if I feel badly enough to actually do it... wow what a boring post!

Today's menu was a mix of boring and convoluted (read: due to lack of planning due to a slight rebelliousness towards having to eat raw, you know, it makes perfect sense right? I wish I could just grab something ready made and pop it in my mouth (you pipe in "like an apple?" and I growl back "shut up!"), but since I can't have cereal or granola bars or tortilla chips *sigh*, I protest by just not eating at all, until I am really hungry so I reach for the dried fruit and/or nuts (you pipe in "you mean the stuff that is just as ready made and ready to be popped into your mouth as an apple?" I shout "I AM GOING TO POP *YOU* IN THE MOUTH!"), and then I realize that I have successfully skipped a meal.

So today I skipped breakfast, or rather, I had about four bites of Loren's sprouted buckwheat with yogurt, honey and blueberries, which he had mixed ahead of time, which made it a lot easier on the jaw, and WARMED UP, which made it comforting. Oh! this was hours after having had another small lukewarm Pepsi (see Day 16) so that I could drive without putting our lives in danger, I was super sleepy so the effects were not as dramatic as the first time.

--Before I forget, I should give you yesterday's menu: Smoothie, Wendy's Baja salad without chili or tortilla chips, with extra guacamole and pico de gallo, a few random nuts and dried fruits as I worked at the computer in the evening (not hungry enough to make it an actual dinner). Notable moment of the day: warm cocoa! Loren has been making a few warm dishes lately and it inspired me to try a warm drink. It was a very cool afternoon after a rainy morning, so I wanted the luxury of a warm drink. I added 2 teaspoons of pure baking cocoa (I am not completely sure but I think it is acceptable) to a mug of almond milk and warmed it up in the microwave oven, just enough to take the chill off. YUM! If you try it I would recommend making it half a mug at a time because it cools off very quickly, so I ended up drinking it faster that I normally would have.

Back to today:
Through the day I nibbled at some homemade trail mix (raw hazelnuts, walnuts and raisins), for lunch I had lettuce wraps with raw hummus, red pepper, cucumber AND guacamole (yum), and around 5pm had an OJ and a small side salad (worse iceberg lettuce EVER) at a local fast food place. After taking L2 to soccer practice (she's slowly getting in shape) I had some spinach leaves with raw hummus warmed in the micro just long enough (10 seconds for a small plate) to say I did and make it "special"...

Funny what deprivation will do to you, lukewarm hummus becomes special and a lukewarm drink is a luxury.

Thank you God for allowing us to create lack in our lives, so that we can learn to truly appreciate the blessings when we allow them back in!

With that I am going to bed, BEFORE ELEVEN, be impressed!

I wish you the best :)

Good Night.

PS. I will be sharing Loren's warm recipes soon, one is a raw curry (using yogurt, so not 100% vegan raw), and the other is a mix of chopped almonds, chili powder and chopped tomatoes, sounds weird but he said it was awesome (I have not tried it yet).

Day 35, Sharing a beautiful video

I came across this video today and wept from the beauty of its message.

For a woman that has never really encountered violence or abuse in her relationships and has never felt the need to hear this apology, I was still greatly moved by it. I suspect that for women who have experienced such treatment watching this could be cathartic at the very least.

This video also reminded me that I have to allow my feminine side to be more present in my every day life. I don't mean in the superficial ways, flirting, giggling and wearing more make-up, which is what I thought femininity was about when I was younger (and the reason why I found it to be a gargantuan waste of time). I mean in the nurturing, intuitive, gentle, and quietly powerful ways that define a real woman.

I need more yin for my yang.

Here is the video, enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I had time between appointments, so I sat at Wendy's & worked on the taxes (ate a fresh fruit cup & drank OJ). I'm a masochist, it smelled like grilled heaven!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 33 Sunday and Taxes

Yes, I know, taxes are due this Friday. I am more behind this year than ever, ugh.

I partly blame this diet, I have had no motivation even when my energy level feels fine, which is closely related to the crabbiness of the last week or so. BUT, I got some insight into this and I am very excited into what will be coming....

I had a classmate back in graduate school, a no nonsense, pragmatic, serious sort of mezzo-soprano, who greatly surprised us when she returned from summer vacation 30+ pounds lighter and talking about becoming a massage therapist. To make a long story short she is now an "Intuitive Consultant" and "Spiritual Teacher" and had a very interesting explanation for the crabbiness (FYI, the summer I mentioned she went to a meditation retreat where she was also introduced to raw foodism, thus the weight loss).

This is what she said: "the crabbiness is definitely the diet! :-) "

To which I responded: "THANK YOU for assuring me that the crabbiness is from the diet! I was beginning to think I had found my inner bitch!"

Here is the really interesting part:
"Nope, it's just that as you eat raw, your physical body's vibration shifts. And then anything at the emotional level that's misaligned to that "upgraded" vibration has the opportunity to show up (lucky you). It helps to take baths with a tablespoon of sea salt and a little lavender. Think of all this as emotional body clearing ... unfortunately, you have to feel it to clear it"

Food for thought to say the least.

So, first of all I took a bath. I did not have sea salt, but I had Epsom salt, which I know will at least help clear physical toxins. I had been having this hunch that I should take a bath to help detox but had not listened to it. This added reminder was all I needed.

I was pretty crabby when I took it though, so it was not life changing by any means, but I did feel better afterward (and the whole house smelled like lavender).

Next I asked her (Andrea Hess) if she would be willing to guest blog by answering some more questions about this, and she agreed!

I am very excited about this. I feel like I have been neglecting the spiritual side of this discipline and when I don't I usually neglect to mention it here! So this will be a nice way to inject some of the less tangible, but just as important aspects of this lifestyle.

OK, as far as what I ate today...
Smoothie for breakfast (basic recipe plus a scoop of protein powder)
Gorgeous wraps (courtesy of Loren) for lunch!
Red Romaine, Raw Hummus, cucumber and red pepper slices.
And for dinner, since I was just doing the taxes, I slowly ate my second wrap from lunch and nibbled on some almonds with Wasabi and soy sauce (see Wasabi Soy Walnuts  int the recipe page), dried apples and fresh grapes (not all together!!).
I also had a couple of glasses of white wine (it was the TAXES! c'mon!)

Have a great night and a wonderful week! and if you want to start learning about Andrea's work, here is a plug:

Learn how to use YOUR intuition to create financial abundance in this FREE Video Training with Andrea Hess

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 32, Two fun new recipes

Today has been a good day. I am finding ways to stay positive and I realized that I have been telling myself a story I don't like and need to change it now (you know, the one about not being organized).

I had my smoothie for breakfast and a very nice salad for lunch, it had chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, cucumber, and carrots on a bed of spinach. I added slivered almonds, pine nuts, and a little bit of Cougar Cheese (made by Washington State University students) and some Italian dressing.

For dinner I had an awesome salad that I made up! (this is a big deal for me, I don't cook remember?)
It was delicious and I am very proud of it, and, of course, it is VERY EASY.

Spinach Fruit Salad:
Bed of spinach
2 dried mango slices (Trader Joe's sells the best, sweet but tangy) that have soaked in a bit of water overnight
3 fresh strawberries (small)
Pine nuts
Feta cheese
Raspberry vinaigrette (I use Newman's Own LIGHT RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE (10 - 1.5 oz Pouches) Dressing)

I also want to share some marinated mushrooms I made (as in made up the recipe, yay 2 in a week!) and devoured on Thursday.

Marinated Mushrooms:
Portobello mushrooms cut into 1/8's
Apple cider vinegar (just a sprinkle, a little goes a long way)
Lots of dehydrated onion flakes
A splash of soy sauce or Nama Shoyu
Dash of salt
Lime juice

You can find these recipes and more in my Recipes Page

Enjoy and have a great night!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Days 29 & 30 (and the start of 31) New measurements, and Why did I let myself get so far behind?

It is no coincidence that this is my third post in a row with a question for title.

I tend to question myself a lot, which is good, sure, don't want to live an unexamined life, but I tend to go a little overboard.

Maybe I could just let it be that the last couple of days have been busy (but they always are), and the kids are on spring break (though we've hardly done anything fun with them), and that some days I really don't feel inspired to write anything (but I hardly ever do, and I know the inspiration comes after I start typing)... See how my brain works?

Food wise the last couple of days have been a contrast of strong cravings and very satisfying salads. I have been saying for almost a week that I am sick of salads and need to make more hummus, or guacamole or something else interesting, and yet I have been eating two salads* a day (plus my smoothie in the AM) and feeling very satisfied (both physically and emotionally) by them. (Maybe this would be a good time to go back one post and see my "flaky" song video)

I feel like I have been eating bigger portions, and I have been trying to avoid getting way hungry before eating, and guess what? I weighed in at 171 this morning.

Go ahead and laugh, I did.

So I was temped to take my measurements and...

March 8th              March 15          March 22         March 30        April 8th (one month since first #'s)

Weight 183 lbs       179 lbs              175 lbs            173 lbs             171 lbs

Bust  39.5"             38.25"               38"                   38.5"                38.5"

Waist  35.75"         34.75"               33.75"             33.75"              33.5"

Hips 43"                42.25"               42"                   41.75"              41.63" (5/8) (it's almost silly to record that little difference, but I have to get my victories somewhere!)

Thigh 26.5"           26.25"               26"                    26"                   25.5"

So, since I first measured myself a month ago (on Mardi Gras) I have lost 12 lbs., 2.25" from my waist, 1.37" from my hips, and 1" from my thighs. And, according to the tables in The Zone by Barry Sears (The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently : Reset Your Genetic Code : Prevent Disease : Achieve Maximum Physical Performance in the last month I have lost...

11.69 lbs of fat!! and only 0.31 lb of lean body mass. My body fat percentage went from 34.57 to 30.16% Yay!

Now I must be off. I am still working on what feels like a thousand projects at once, and I am not making much progress on them. It is hard not to get discouraged and just keep focusing on how wonderful it is going to be when the whole house is done (and re-done! my friend Ana -of the blog Home Styling is decorating my room, which we had never quite finished, she is also going to do L1's new room in the loft and turn the girls' room into L2's room (and guest room), which means we are already re-decorating the first room I ever finished!). The taxes are also calling me... ugh

OK, thanks for reading, I will try to post an update tonight with my menu for the day (I had buckwheat with dried blueberries and almond milk for breakfast). Oh and I will post a new recipe I made up for Marinated Mushrooms (very yummy!).

* Salads: I have discovered that Wendy's will make me one of their Baja salads without the chili, and most of the time they are willing to add extra guacamole and pico de gallo in exchange. They are very nice and very filling (they "whole" size)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Days 27 & 28, Why am I crabby all the time?

*deep breath followed by a long sigh*

**(OK Ilse, remember what you posted on Sunday, all that BS stuff about having to be HAPPY all the time... count your blessings dang it!)**

Good News:

1. L2 is still fever free! She went to her first ever soccer practice tonight. She is mouthy, she has an attitude, she demands attention constantly, I am having to yank her chain waaaay back... in other words, MY BABY'S BACK!
2. I have not gained weight (I have not lost any either, I weighed in at 173 again this morning) (I was already too crabby to measure myself too)
3. I got to go earn money at a job.
4. L2 got to have a lymphatic massage.
5. The house did not burn down while we were out.
6. The house did not burn down with us inside.
7. I got to spend a nice night with my girls (thanks to a bit of Silva meditation and a cup of white wine)
8. We finally named my tranny-sounding character (call me Yolanda!)
and, the best part of the day,
9. I got to teach L2 to blow gum bubbles!!

Wow, it really does work, I feel a little better.

OK, now on to the nitty gritty that I hate to get into...
I think this diet is making me crabby. I have been feeling either completely blah (Mendingación Imperial or Agüevación General, as my uncle used to say. Sorry, no good translation) or pretty bitchy most of the time.

I didn't want to blame the diet right away, but, the last few days I have started to contemplate the fact that, despite how much I have been recommending it, this diet might not be a good idea for me long-term.
I could change my mind in a couple of days... (OK this one is auditory, so I'll add my first video, this is my best imitation of those 1950's girl bands)

but right now I think this is not the life-long choice for me. 
I thought I could just be having a bad couple of days, but I consulted with the girls today and they agreed that I have become increasingly impatient and/or upset as Lent has progressed.

So, am I going to quit before Easter? ABSOLUTELY NOT (even though my body called me a few nasty names tonight for not giving it tortilla chips)

Am I going to eat A LOT more raw food after Easter? ABSOLUTELY YES

Do I think this diet has helped me overcome some of my food obsessions (addiction is such a strong word)? MOST DEFINITELY
Am I glad I am doing it? YESSSSSS!

Will I continue to recommend it as a way to detox and get your body more alkaline? MOST DEFINITELY

Will I be glad Easter morning when I can make myself an omelet with lots of grilled mushrooms, red peppers and some of our Sweet Sixteen natural, free-range pork sausage, followed by some of Little Lyla's Bakery's biscotti bites with a cup of Costa Rican coffee? OH HECK YEAH!!

So there you have it, as much as I hate to come across as flaky (despite my amazingly performed song above), I committed to being honest during this process (what's the point of doing the blog otherwise?).

I will hurry up and post this before I change my mind and delete the video.