May 11, 2013
Aaaand I’m back!!!
Day 16 of my 30-day LightLiving simplifying-minimizing-decluttering challenge!
Lots of good stuff, clarity, new plans!
Today’s Five Releases:
1. Makeup brush
2. White Buddha tank
3. Green Ganesh tank
4. Basket I made
5. Vibrams with a hole in the soles
1. Red Buddha tank
2. Patagonia Geode necklace
(Going to focus more on the letting go as I’m planning to start traveling again – watch the video!)
April 13, 2013
Just in case you don’t already know this, Satan exists.
And its current name is Monsanto.
I’m now in a place (emotionally and spiritually) where I can hear/read about Monsanto without having a nervous breakdown (as I did in January 2011, though I probably didn’t mention it to you as it was a small one).
Why am I talking about this depressing topic? Well, the ElephantJournal article “Monsanto: The Most Evil Company in the Universe” showed up in my twitter feed today.
And you know what? I was ready. I was ready to face it. I feel strong enough in myself at this moment that I knew I wouldn’t start crying or get utterly depressed. I was ready to shift on this topic.
Though I’ve tried to avoid it the past year or two, I was actually thinking about Monsanto around the time of my birthday last month. I am doing Creative Life Coaching sessions with Lakshmi (she’s amazing) and she mentioned that the topics that upset us most can show us where our passions lie, and hence the direction to move in in our lives – our purpose for being here on the planet on this go-’round.
I wrote the word “Monsanto” in my notes; at the end of our session I copy/pasted/Skyped my responses to her questions and exercises and sent them back to her.
Lakshmi lives in Portugal; much of Portugal is GMO-Free, and Lakshmi hadn’t heard of the corporation Monsanto.
So when she saw the word she thought I was talking about the Portuguese town of Monsanto – which I, on the other hand, had never heard of, but had seen a photo of once.
Here’s some crazy synchronicity:
This town Monsanto in Portugal is pretty much THE COOLEST PLACE I HAVE EVER SEEN.
IT’S BUILD INTO/WITH BOULDERS!
You don’t even understand. Aside from living in a tree house (see my post on how I Want To Live In a Tree Boat House – yes I made it up), living in boulders is pretty much my wet dream. I’ve loved rocks since I can remember, I grew up bouldering in Southern California, and I have spent hours clamoring over and sprawled across boulders. I don’t really understand why, but I love boulders big time.
So when I saw how this heavy word, THE most upsetting word in the human language (for me anyways) could be shifted in an instant to something so unbelievably cool that I hadn’t even known had existed –
This gave me hope.
Hope that I could overcome the rage/fury/terror that would come up when I heard or saw the word Monsanto.
Because now I know a secret. That yes, Monsanto is a horrible evil life-threatening monster that is overrunning the globe and polluting nature with man’s hubristic fiddling (and the results of man’s hubristic fiddlings are never good; the Greeks knew that).
But now I know that when I think of Monsanto the horror, I can ALSO think of Monsanto the Magical. Monsanto the Magical Boulder Town, which I will someday visit, I sweartogod, if not possibly live.
Anyways, what do we do when faced with the satanic behemoth monster that is called Monsanto, the one that helped make the nuclear bomb and agent orange and DMT and bovine growth hormone?
Here’s what we do:
1. We educate ourselves as to what vendors sell/products are made using Genetically Modified Organisms and we consciously choose to stop “feeding” them with our money energy (I’m sorry to tell you that Whole Foods surrendered to Monsanto back in 2011, hence my breakdown).
2. We learn to grow our own food.
3. We create local and independent seed banks to protect and share naturally-occurring heirloom seeds.
4. And we enjoy the f#@% out of our delicious, local, organic food.
And then, we all go visit Portugal.
January 26, 2013
“He reached into the pocket of his sports jacket and produced a Japanese fan – the first of several startling objects to emerge from there, so that I came to think of the coat as having magic pockets.”
It wasn’t that line from a Wired article that made me want to be Oliver Sacks. Well, like Oliver Sacks, really.
It’s that today I had the sudden impulse to begin simplifying and planing all of my food consumption. Like, scheduling exactly what I will eat and at what time. And as I was typing this schedule up, I remembered the quirky neurologist who eats the same thing. Every day. And has, for many years. 1/2 a gallon of soy milk, prune juice, sardines, tabbouleh, 7 apples, 7 oranges – “I am very greedy and impulsive, so I have to have a rule.” Strangely, though I listened to this story a few years ago, I actually had 7 apples, 7 pears on my newly organized weekly shopping list. (Just to clarify, I will not be eating sardines and prune juice).
Oliver says he never gets bored with his daily food – he claims he “enjoys it with equal relish every time.” Additionally, each day he goes to a nearby chocolate store and gets exactly one dollar’s worth of broken 72% chocolate.
He has been doing this for years. Once he accidentally got 22 pounds of kidneys rather than 2 pounds; too shy to point it out, he took the 22 pounds of “palpitating kidneys” home, and ended up eating kidneys for 10 days straight, before vomiting uncontrollably and never eating kidneys again.
To listen to the fascinating Oliver Sacks clip on Radiolab – one of my favorite podcasts of all time – click here. (It’s a clip from episode about Choice, when a lot is too much).
Have you ever heard that Einstein would wear the same clothes so as not to use up precious mental energy on the mundane and unimportant decision of what to wear? Well, Oliver has similar motivations.
Making choices is draining, and scientist have found that too many choices actually make us MORE unhappy than too few choices.
I notice that I’ve generally heard about men doing this kind of thing – perhaps it’s a form of mild Autism… the founder of Facebook wears the same clothing every day too. And Steve Jobs did, before he exited the planet.
So, here’s what I’m going to try eating for this week:
6am: Hot water + lemon
8am: 1 apple + 3 dates + 10 almonds + 1 spoon chwanprash
1pm: Kitcharee (½ cup mung, ½ cup basmati) with squash & carrots
3:30: 1 apple or pear + 3 dates or figs
6:30pm: Leftover kitcharee + asparagus
I haven’t done a challenge (or a cleanse) in a long time. We’ll see how it goes!
To read the Wired interview from whence the opening sentence about the fan and magical coat was taken, click here.
March 11, 2012
I know I’ve done a horrible job at sharing Argentina with you via this blog. Not to mention my road trip across the US last summer. I was reviewing some photos and video last night, and there are some beautiful ones. Perhaps someday when I’m bored and have absolutely nothing to do, I will finally disinter those photos and videos for you. But considering the infinitude of interestingness on the interwebs, and immediate access to practically every book known to man on my Kindle, I’m not sure if that’s realistic.
Anyways, as far as Argentina goes at least, I’d like to make it up to you by directing you to my friend’s blog, Go!Dream!Live! No wait, it’s Dream!Go!Live! Which, when delivered to my inbox, I always read as “dreamg olive”. She does what I aspire to do – consistently shares her experience and photos of life in Buenos Aires.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have been writing, lots, every day. I just haven’t been converting any of that into bloggage. I think I just need to get back into the habit of posting, and the only way I’ve successfully made habits for myself is by doing Challenges. But I’ve been focusing on the No Sugar Challenge. One at a time.
So! The No Sugar Challenge!!! On March 13th, in two days, I will have officially and successfully completed 30 days of No Sugar. This is, by a long shot, the longest I have ever gone without eating refined sugar.
What did this lack of sugar do? (And coffee – I didn’t really drink coffee at this time either, as they pretty much go together for me – I can drink coffee black, but here in Buenos Aires coffee means medialunas or cookies, and those were definitely out).
-Skin: My skin cleared up. The acne and little bumps I get, especially on my forehead, have pretty much gone away, and my psoriasis is less red. However, I did up my dairy intake exponentially while not eating sugar, so I continue to have a few pimples around my jawline and my psoriasis didn’t fully clear.
-Energy: I started waking up earlier. 5:30am most days. I love getting up early, and I love not feeling groggy. That could be as much from stopping coffee as from stopping sugar. This past week I’ve been feeling exceptionally exhausted, but I think that’s mostly due to the intensity of the Vipassana course I did last week, and a lot of emotional processing I’ve been doing. And, probably, my body trying to digest all the cheese.
-Weight: I lost a little weight, but not much, due to the large quantities of cheese and organic yogurt (sugar-free) that I’ve been eating. And steak, and pizza… I met a wonderful Dutch girl at Vipassana and during her four days in Buenos Aires I HAD to take her to all the best food spots. Of course. And, um, I bought a beautiful book called Pizzerias de Buenos Aires…
Oh and near the end of the month I also found that amazing raw sugar-free chocolate at Buenos Aires Verde, and a few days ago discovered sugar-free helado at Juaja, my favorite of which is the lemon ginger. YUM!
-Clarity/Mood: I have a lot more clarity when I’m not eating sugar – clarity as to what I want in life, what really makes me happy, insights into myself and others. Last time I gave up alcohol/sugar for a few weeks, a series of events occurred that led to me leaving Los Angeles and moving to Argentina. And this time, a series of events occurred that led to me making plans to move to Patagonia. Anyways there’s increasing research about the drug-like negative effects of sugar on your mood and body, and things react differently with different people. I definitely have a negative reaction to sugar. I’m aware of this. It doesn’t mean I won’t be eating sugar on March 13th – I will! – but I hope that sugar (like alcohol) will become an increasingly rare addition to my diet.
I love not eating sugar. I also love eating sugar. So, that’s that.
And aside from the dairy and sugar-free treats, 70% of my diet this month has been fruits and veggies, so that’s awesome. I’m quite proud that I went a whole month without caving to medialunas or the apple crumble and dulce de leche they had the last day of Vipassana, or the other things that tempted me every day of the last month.
As I was saying at the beginning, my apologies for not having shared more of my journey with you up to this point. I’ll be posting some photos and maybe a video tour of my current home here in BA, and hopefully filling you in on some of the best eateries and cafes (like the very photogenic Bardepan). My 33rd birthday is next week and a friend is flying down from San Francisco; we’ll be revisiting all of my favorite things about BA before heading down to Patagonia.
Love and light and cheese!
February 19, 2012
I’ve been refined sugar-free for six days now!
I’m feeling happier. I think there are two reasons: 1. Sugar causes mood swings and 2. I’m not hating on myself for sugar binging or not acting in integrity with what I want to be: healthy.
The cravings haven’t been too bad. I did eat a lot of dried fruit and nuts the first few days, and I’m eating more dairy than I usually do (which is barely any). But I’m ok with that!
Yesterday I bought some freshly-made organic yogurt and honey from the El Galpon Farmer’s Market in the Chacarita neighborhood of Buenos Aires (the only place I know of where you can get organic stuff in BA…). The yogurt comes in a big beautiful bottle and was delish with the super-dark grainy honey:
Yes, honey’s technically a sugar but, unlike refined sugar, honey’s not toxic to your system, doesn’t cause dramatic blood sugar spikes (it may actually IMPROVE blood sugar control) and has an insane number of health benefits: it’s anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. You can use it to help heal burns and wounds, you can use it on your face to clear up acne (which I do occassionally). It can help with sore throats, allergies, even weight loss! As I’m reading more about honey the list is getting way too long (athletic performance, free radicals, cholesterol, immune system, anti-cancer…jeez!) so for more info check it here and here and here. (I’m pretty sure all of these are from raw honey, not the honey you by in a regular store, which is probably counterfeit honey from China.*)
Unfortunately, according to one of those honey sites, the answer to the question “How much honey can I eat every day?” is NOT “Eat as much as you can.” Damn.
Even the Bible mentions honey, according to the editors of Wikipedia. Funny honey quote:
“While Jonathan was passing through the woods during the war against the Philistines, he found honey dripping on the ground; he plunged his spear into it, and ate enough to restore his lost strength. He was, however, sentenced to death because he ate honey on a day of abstinence”.
So, this next part has nothing to do with sugar or honey, but… Well, actually, it does, in a roundabout way.
Some of my favorite bits:
“All those paths lead to one answer “we are all one and our only job is to be unconditional love and remember”.
It’s all in the remembering… From broken and alone to whole and complete and part of the whole that is The Uni-verse…
I am broken when I forget and whole and complete when I remember.”
Mollie’s bio led me to google the documentary she produced, May I be Frank, a documentary “exploring the transformations possible through healthy eating and positive thinking”:
Which looks AMAZING.
So, to tie this all together – I’m pretty sure Frank was eating way too much sugar. I haven’t seen the entire movie yet, so maybe honey even played a roll in his transformation.
I think we’d all do a little better with less sugar, more honey!
*If you are getting your honey from Walmart, Target, Cost Plus, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid, CVS, or individual packets from Smucker’s, McDonalds or KFC, there is a 70-100% chance that it’s not actually honey, as defined by the food industry (containing pollen), and could be watered down with high fructose corn syrup. Trader Joe’s honey, thank goodness, is legit.
February 13, 2012
I am addicted to sugar. I never felt truly addicted to smoking or alcohol or drugs – none of which I put in my body anymore – but sugar still kicks my ass. Anyone who’s followed my blog these last few years has read about my trails and tribulations with sugar many, many times.
I am also allergic to sugar. It makes my system acidic, causing inflammation, which makes me break out (little tiny pimples all over my face) and contributes to flare-ups of psoriasis. I’ve had psoriasis consistently for almost two years now.
I’ve given up sugar a few times in the past, but never made it longer than a few weeks. I tried again at the beginning of 2012, but after 6 days (during which I felt amazing) I caved and went back to my cycle of sugar binging.
So this time, I’ve decided to place a wager. I’ve bet my friend China Brooks that I can go 30 days without eating refined sugar, starting today. She also is going sugar-free, and if either of us give into temptation during the 30 days, we have to Paypal the other $25. I don’t generally make bets but I’m pretty sure I’m too proud and stubborn to lose one. 😉
Many people are unaware of the truth about sugar – how addictive it is, how toxic it is, and how prevalent it is in processed foods. I’ve experienced the physical, emotional and spiritual gains that come with giving it up. I’ll be exploring these over the next 30 days as I share my experiences and struggles and, hopefully, win my bet.
January 27, 2012
Guess where it is?
I’m surprise it wasn’t in India… but the next most logical spot: San Francisco.
I remember how delighted I was to see a sign for a “Meditation Room” in the Albuquerque airport; a yoga room is even better! I’ve been tempted to do yoga in airports before, especially with all the traveling I’ve done in the last year, but I never managed to summon up the cojones to do a downward dog in the passenger waiting area.
How did this happen? The director of SFO has been practicing yoga for 18 years, and after hearing someone make an offhand remark that they had everything but a place to do yoga, he made it happen.
And, it’s free to use! They even provide mats.
The world is a-changin’!!! I look forward to the day when it’s normal for everyone to meditate and do yoga, just like everyone brushes their teeth and showers.
LAX has gotta be next.
*Thanks to Mariana for sending me the article!
January 24, 2012
A few years ago, I started meditating.
At first it was for 5 minutes at a time. It was hard. It was uncomfortable. It wasn’t enjoyable. My mind blabbered, my knees hurt.
Over the past few years, after numerous classes and stopping and starting again, I’ve built up to a practice of two hours a day – one hour in the morning and one in the evening (that’s on my good days; I don’t always hit the two hour mark).
I’ve experienced the positive effects in my life – less stress, less anxiety, a better feel for my emotions and my body, more awareness of the ways I’m crazy and destructive, a better memory, a stronger ability to savor and appreciate life.
In the society we’ve created, with its pressures and multitasking and addictions and smartphones and ADHD, meditation is the single most important thing a person can do for their well-being, happiness, serenity and sanity.
And more and more, there are scientific studies backing up the physiological benefits. Finally, science is starting to figure out why the spiritually-minded have been espousing meditation for centuries.
If you can’t find meditation classes near you (google around), you can begin with these free guided meditations, starting with the 5 minute one:
But I’d really recommend classes. It gets you more comfortable with the practice, and doing it with other people is more motivating than struggling to sit there on your own.
Funny how terrifying just sitting there, breathing, can be…