May 19, 2010
During the month of May, I took on a bunch of 30-day Challenges. Overall, I’ve been doing pretty well!
No Alcohol/Caffeine/Intoxicants Challenge:
In the past 19 days, I’ve only had drinks on two of them. May 7-9th I had planned a trip to New Mexico with my BFF, so I decided I would let myself “cheat” while there. Over the weekend I consumed two cups of coffee & four drinks. But aside from that, I have refrained from imbibing at nightclubs, Sunday brunches, birthday parties, on Cinco De Mayo, at dinner parties. I find the giving up of coffee more challenging in general, but at this point, I am really craving a glass of fine wine. Though I do appreciate the CLARITY and lack of hangovers or anxiety that go along with booze or caffeine. And the time I can put towards other pursuits (like writing) instead of having to recover or sleep in because I was up late partying. AND the amount of money I end up saving.
Last night my roommate and I got a 6 pack of non-alcoholic beer to go with a little feast we cooked. I had two, and it was actually pretty tasty, though it was a little odd drinking beer and not feeling any buzz at all. And I haven’t been drinking anything carbonated, beer or otherwise, so the bubbles made me feel really full and bloaty. Bleh. Well, that combined with the massive amounts of cheese I ingested. I “cheated” there too…
Ayurveda Challenge (No Dairy, No Citrus, No Acidic Foods, etc):
I love cheese. Love love love. Like, seriously. Robusto, Pecorino di Pienza, a nice dill Havarti, any kind of goat… mmmm. But my Ayurvedic doc says no dairy for me (fermented foods are acidic), so I’ve been staying away from it for the past few weeks. I’ve been resisting strong pizza cravings for this past week. I did, however, succumb to a wedge of Humbolt Fog last night……..and it was delicious. Humbolt Fog may be one of my most favoritest cheeses ever. Creamy, tangy, salty, YUM.
In general, I haven’t been eating dairy, or red meat, or sea food, or processed foods, or sugar. I HAVE been eating a lot of almonds, dates, apples, pears, and veggies: yams, kale, swiss chard, butternut squash & pumpkin soup, asparagus, artichokes, carrots, peas, etc. I’ve been trying to buy organics. I love eating a bunch of vegetables and not feeling full or bloated afterwards. However, I think I have a date addiction. W’NB! (See other blogs for definition of W’NB).
No Refined Sugar: I’ve stayed away from anything with sugar in it, except fruit. I’ve been eating tons of fruit. I have a serious sweet tooth, and I love cookies and chocolate almost as much as I love cheese. Bacon’s up there too. Wait, I’m not sure which I love more, cheese or chocolate…cheese or chocolate…hmmm that’s a toughie. Maybe cheese, just cuz there are so many varieties and ways to eat it. Anyways, during my cheat weekend in New Mexico, I ate, oh, three candy bars, a cinnamon twist pastry, some muffins, a bunch of honey, an incredible apple crisp with ice cream… Now that I think about it, I actually I don’t think I bought any cookies that weekend. So it’s been 19 days since I’ve had a cookie. I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than three. Last weekend I had some blueberry corncakes; they had syrup and powdered sugar on them. Considering how much sugar I usually eat (lots, every day), I am REALLY proud of myself on this. I’m sure stuff that I’ve ordered at restaurants has had some sugar in it, but I personally haven’t been buying most of the crap that I usually do. And I’ve even been good at work, despite donuts and a friggin’ CHEESECAKE PLATTER that was just left sitting out on the table for hours. I looked at it. Many times. But I did not eat it. (I just realized, that’s like a double whammy, CHEESE AND CAKE, united. Wow. I’m stronger than I realized).
On top of these I’ve kept up with my Blog-A-Day Challenge. I think I’m around 17:3. I’ve meditated every day, though two or three of the days I wasn’t able to hit the full twenty minutes. I let the Practice-Harmonica-Every-Day go for now – I couldn’t keep that up with everything else. Oh I also hit my Yoga-3-Times-A-Week goal last week.
OH and one of the 30-Day Challenges that I’m MOST proud of: I haven’t logged on to Facebook at work a single time this month. I’m trying to minimize Facebook as much as possible – I’d rather spend the time being productive, doing things that align with my life goals. I still check it occasionally on my phone, but I’m spending WAY less time there. So that’s a huge accomplishment.
Overall, I’ve been feeling great. Amazing, actually. I’ve been consistently super-happy. I’ve been clear-headed and focused and productive. I’ve been throughly enjoying life, and I haven’t been oscillating between ups and downs, highs and lows. It feels good. Most of these things that I’m avoiding give you a short-term high, and then a crash, or a hangover, or some kind of negative and opposite low. When you cut them out, you just stay high – provided that you’re doing other things that keep you there, like eating well, exercising, creating, meditating, reading, spending time with friends, laughing, getting lots of hugs – all of which I’ve been doing.
I still intend to write a long post on the various other WHYS that I do these Challenges, but basically it comes down to breaking old habits and forming new ones. Also, you don’t grow unless you’re challenged. I’m interested in growing. These Challenges are like games. I’d rather grow through self-imposed difficulties where I am able to exercise my ability to choose than to grow through some horrible events that are not of my (conscious) choosing. Like, say, cancer from poor eating or lifestyle habits, or a DUI, or whatever. Not that I might not get cancer anyways, since carcinogens are in our air and shampoo and water, and I’ve eaten crap food for most of my 31 years on this planet. But at least now I’m making choices where I can. I’m experimenting with my life. Some people think I’m crazy or weird because I’m choosing not to drink for 30 days. But it just depends on what angle you’re looking at it from. Mindless drinking, when you just drink because you drank before and everyone else drinks and it’s just expected (and believe me, it IS), is just as crazy. Everything is life is a choice. Everything. And for those few things that you don’t get to choose, that happen to you (cancer again), you can always choose how you react.
May 13, 2010
What a gorgeous day! 73, cloudless sky, slight breeze, & I’m sitting in the sunshine. I was gonna text that to my friend but instead I figured I’d turn it into a blog post from my phone while I’m waiting for a server…18 days to go on my Blog-a-Day Challenge!
There’s a spot called Bluebird Cafe about two blocks from my work. They recently added a huge patio, with trees between the tables & copius amonts of sunshine. It’s the perfect lunch spot – yummy food & some vitamin D (W’NB!). There’s also reggae. Usually I don’t like reggae but since today’s so beautiful, I don’t mind.
Though they have pretty good cupcakes here, but I’m resisting temptation, per my challenge (there was a cheesecake platter – A FRIGGIN CHEESECAKE PLATTER, WITH 5 FLAVORS – in the kitchen at work yesterday. Argh). For a minute I considered getting a smoothie – I asked, there’s just water, ice & juice – but I’m sure the juice has refined sugar. So not getting that either.
Lately, I’ve been eating a lot of almonds, dates, apples, pears, & figs. All of these are in my approved Ayurvedic foods list. Also been eating some smashed yams w cinnamin & nutmeg that I made a few days ago, pesto pasta, asparagus, & chicken. Last night I cooked kale for the first time in my life – I made kale chips!!! You just put some olive oil on the torn-up leaves & bake them on a sheet at 350 for about 10 mins. They get super crispy & actually taste pretty good! Though they end up flaking everywhere when you eat them since they’re so thin. They’re noisy to eat – it’s kinda like eating paper. Or a crinkly candy wrapper.
Also been drinking lots of water & tea, since I’m no-booze-no-caffeine. I did have some decaf coffee yesterday while I was getting a mani-pedi at Queen Bee. I know it has some caffeine, but they didn’t have any non-caffeinated tea, & they had one of those single-serving coffee makers! Those things rule!
My grilled veggie bowl is here. Nomnomnom!
Have you ever looked at what you’re eating (or drinking) and thought, “What’s in this??” A lot of what we choose to put into our mouths ends up making us sick.
For the month of May I’m attempting not to eat any processed food, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or any other intoxicants (I hadn’t thought of sugar as an intoxicant until someone pointed it out…but it does affect your mood!). Also, no dairy, except for goat milk. I’ve been seeing an Ayurvedic doctor for a few years – he practically cured my mother’s Multiple Sclerosis, and I went to him for recurring sinusitis/bronchitis. I don’t get either of those anymore.
I’d need to spend a few hours going into detail about Ayurveda, but I like to describe it as the Indian version of Chinese medicine. Ayurveda is all about keeping your body in balance by eating the right foods for your system. Imbalances cause disease. The whole premise is that if you eat right and keep your body in balance, you don’t need doctors. In the same way that Western Medicine/science is finally figuring out why Buddhists have been meditating for thousands of years (thickens your brain & gives you all kinds of emotional benefits – that’s a whole ‘nother blog post too), scientific research is finally starting to back up the things that Ayurvedic wisdom figured out 5,000 years ago…when people didn’t have anything else to do besides sit around and figure the best things to eat for your system. :)
Anyways, here’s what I’ll be eating for this month, according to the diet perscribed to me (it’s different for everyone, and the diet gets less restrictive as you get more in balance). I’ve tried to roughly stick to these guidelines for the past few years, but I’ve never tried it 100%. It’s not about eating vegan, or even raw – for me, everything’s supposed to be cooked (though I don’t cook my fruit…):
Spinach, Green Leafy Veggies, Carrot, Celery, Cucumber, Zucchini, Green Peas, Leek, Beets, Asparagus, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Endive, Artichoke, Kale, Eggplant, Radish, Sprouts, Turnips, Onion (cooked), Bittergourd, Cilantro, Dandelion
Apples, Pears, Persimmons, Dates, Figs
Almonds, Almond Milk, Hot Low-Fat Goat Milk, Honey
Kidney Beans, Lentil, Mung Beans, Masoor Beans
Garlic, Ginger, Basil, Pepper, Sage, Salt, Thyme, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Fenugreek, Mint, Mustard Seed, Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Turmeric
Whole Wheat, White rice (basmati), Brown Rice, Corn, Oats, Spelt, Kamut, Barley, Buckwheat, Millet, Rye
Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Corn Oil
Popcorn, Puff Wheat, Rice Cakes, Rice Chewies
Tea: Ginger, Peppermint, Black Tea, Breath Easy, Burdock, Chamomile, Dandelion, Eucalyptus, EMR, Eyebright, Fenugreek, Licorice, Mint, Sarsaparilla, Throat Coat, Uva Ursi, Valerian
Read this Dan Millman quote today:
“You are the expert on your body and life — who knows it better? Listen to others’ views — then find out what works best for you. Life is an ongoing experiment. We only reach a conclusion when we get tired of thinking.”
So, I’m experimenting. I got a psoriasis flare-up around Coachella; scientists don’t know what causes psoriasis but lack of sleep and acidic food/drink (coffee and alcohol) can be triggers. I’ve tried to make some small adjustments to my diet in the last few weeks but the psoriasis is sticking around. We’ll see if a month of this helps!