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.
November 14, 2011
I’ve been learning some awful things about seafood lately. For example:
The U.S. inspects only TWO PERCENT of all imported seafood.
What percentage of all seafood in the U.S. is imported?
EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT.
Of that two percent that’s actually tested, FORTY PERCENT of seafood tests “positive for banned drugs that are not safe for human health,” carcinogens like nitrofuran and and malachite green. And there are many, many more chemicals aren’t even tested for.
On top of that, half of the world’s seafood is raised in farms, and antibiotics are liberally dumped into the water of farmed fish.
Most people consider fish to be the healthiest of meats. But considering the carcinogens, chemicals and antibiotics that come along with the fish, it’s looking like this belief is incorrect.
On to the environmental consequences of seafood: did you know that for about 7-8 shrimp caught by commercial fishing, TEN POUNDS of ‘trash fish’ are killed and thrown, dead, as trash, back into the ocean?? I learned that fun fact from this TED talk by Brian Skerry, a man who’s been photographing the seas for the last 30 years. He’s witnessed the changes that have happened in that brief timespan, and shares some incredibly beautiful, and incredibly awful, underwater photos.
In this fish-related article, which you should read, since it’s by one of my favorite writers Mark Morford, Morford vacillates between hope and despondency when faced with the reality of running out of tuna. There are a mere 9,000 bluefin tuna left in the Gulf, now surely many fewer after the BP spill and the dispersal chemicals the company dumped into the ocean – which turn out to be even more toxic than the oil itself.
“Destroy them, and we destroy more than just another everyday, “disposable” species. Their destruction will be a profound marker, a signifier of something far larger and more ominous. Like the honeybees, like the drowning polar bears, like the fresh water crisis, the end of tuna will be of those epic fails we look back upon in a few years and say, “There. Right there. That was one of the signs.” We don’t get many more.
My Republican moment came as I was nearing the end of the piece, feeling sickened and increasingly depressed, to the point where a sense of abject fatalism finally struck, a sense of just giving up, that wickedly painful moment where the heart has to step away from the scene before it implodes, and the survivalist/capitalist mind takes over and just powers through the nightmare, greedily gabbing on to whatever bits of gristle it can suckle.”
Our oceans, aside from being poisoned with runoff and heat and acid and chemical pollution and oil spills and dispersals, are being fished to the point of emptiness. From overfishing.org:
Worldwide, about 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish are already gone.
In 1900 our oceans contained at least six times more fish than they do in 2009.
I could go on, but I’m sure you’re already getting depressed.
While I love seafood, I cut way back a few years ago after my Ayurvedic doctor counseled me against consuming it. He says that seafood rots quickly in your digestive system and contributes to acidity; I tend towards acidity anyways, so it’s something I should avoid (this may or may not be true for other people, though the American diet is heavily acidic).
I am planning on attending one last high-end sushi dinner at a closed-door restaurant here in Buenos Aires in December, but after learning all of the above, after that I am considering giving up seafood entirely; for my own health and the health of the planet. We’ve all heard the Gandhi’s quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Well, the change I wish to see is the end of the destruction of our oceans, and I definitely wish not to get cancer. So if giving up seafood is a step in those directions, that’s what I choose to do.
February 5, 2011
A friend asked me the other day what I do to get so much energy.
There are probably 100 factors but here are a few I feel I have control over right now:
1. Eating Clean
I’m 36 days into my Clean Eating Challenge. I’ve dropped intoxicants (alcohol, caffeine) and severely limited refined sugars, processed foods (including bread), dairy, and meat (when I do eat meat, it’s chicken). I really feel like my body needs less sleep now – I’m guessing less recovery time from the stress you create in your body by eating foods your body isn’t made to process. My skin is so much softer and clearer. My memory is better – I realized recently that I now remember people’s names after hearing them one time (that one’s pretty strange), and I find I can remember everything without having to write it down (I’ve started shopping without grocery lists). My sense of smell is sharper. I have fewer emotional lows. My psoriasis is fading. The pea-sized subcutaneous cyst that I’ve had on my neck for a few years is almost entirely gone (when I put the paste my Ayurvedic doctor gave me on it it shrinks, but I have to keep that up or it returns).
What I AM eating is foods from Farmer’s Markets. I no longer shop at Whole Foods due to their policies on Genetically Modified Organisms and Monsanto, and I’ve been to Trader Joe’s about 3 times this year. I’ve started to get to know my Farmer’s Market vendors in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills and Culver City, and they’ve started cutting me deals! Last weekend I made my Leek, Sweet Potato and Pear soup, with Ginger Asparagus Quinoa with a Carrot Ginger sauce on top of that. I’m also eating a lot of Bolani (available at both the CC and BH markets). Bolani is my new favorite thing – it’s like a quesadilla made with super-thin naan-like tortillas, and instead of cheese it’s stuffed with lentils or pumpkin or spinach or potato (the first two are my favorites). When I need a sugar fix, I eat fresh melt-in-your-mouth dates. If you have a sweet tooth and you’ve never had fresh dates, you need to try them.
Last year I meditated about 6 days a week; on the 1st of 2011 I made a 100% commitment to daily meditation, and intend to keep that for the rest of my life. Some days it’s 15 minutes, and some days it’s an hour. Some days it’s in my room, some days it’s on my porch, some days it’s on the beach. Like eating clean is clearing out my body, I feel like meditating is clearing out my mind. Science is proving that meditating is exactly like working out. Your brain is a muscle, but instead of physical strength you’re building focus and clarity. Ideas flowing to me.
I do yoga two days a week; I run a few days a week as training for a 1/2 marathon I intend to complete in May; I try to talk a walk every day either during lunch or after dinner, and I try to hike on the weekends. We all know that, paradoxically, exercise energizes you.
4. Saying No
In 2011 I’ve been practicing saying No to energy drains. Energy drains like intoxicants and refined sugar and sub-optimal foods, but also energy drains like people, or like doing things I don’t REALLY want to do. I’m simply being honest with people – everyone – including my boss. If I don’t want to do something, I tell them. If I’m not available to talk to them on the phone about their problems, I tell them. I make it clear that it’s not personal and my saying no is not a reflection of how much I do or don’t value them as a person or as a friend; but I’m just getting more real. It’s so refreshing, and I’m finding out that it works better for everyone.
5. Doing what I love
I wake up crazy early because I’m EXCITED to get up!!! I want to meditate and write and create! I want to read empowering and inspirational quotes on Twitter! I want to come up with ideas and work on co-creative projects with people I love working with! That could be #6: co-creative projects. I am working on awesome, fun, inspiring projects, (outside of my day job) with about 6 different partners right now. These are projects I’m doing just because I WANT TO, but working with another person keeps me moving forward when, if I were trying to do it by myself, I might give up.
I’m hoping that eventually I will be able to support myself I know that soon I will be able to support myself doing things I love with people I love. That’s my #1 goal. Create my perfect day, every day. And with these small steps, create my ideal life.
So, this is where I think I’m getting all this energy. Join me?
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”
– Alexander Graham Bell
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.”
– Tony Robbins
[quotes shared by the awesome Mastin Kipp at TheDailyLove.com ]
August 3, 2010
For breakfast, I had a big fat cucumber, a handful of almonds, and Egyptian Licorice tea. Yesterday I had no caffeine/alcohol/refined sugar/processed food/red meat, and not planning on having any today. Feeling good!
I also went for a jog in my new Vibram Five Fingers:
I suppose I’m just trying to live a natural life. Natural food, natural feet. I wrote a post on Vibrams a year ago when I got my first pair. I’ve always hated shoes, and would go barefoot all the time if it was allowed in the workplace and in restaurants. Wearing Vibrams is a compromise, one foot in the shod world, one foot in the barefoot world.
Speaking of foot shodding, I was sitting in my car yesterday, stopped at a stop light, watching a woman at a bus stop dance. She was doing a little side-to-side shuffle step in front of a high school. It was pretty cute and funny, until I realized she was wearing two different shoes. Not just different shoes, but completely different HEIGHTS – one was a black flat:
and the other was a brown Espadril:
So it became less cute and funny, and more like a visit to crazytown. Though considering the sizeable differences in height, she was a pretty good dancer.
July 30, 2010
I am a curious girl, and one of my many areas of interest is Health.
Check out this video by David Servan-Shreiber, a physician and neuroscientist. You can look up his credentials on Wiki – he’s no quack.
He says that sugar may be one of the main causes of cancer increases in our country – cancer can’t feed on anything but raw sugar.
It also causes inflammation.
I’ve talked about Ayurveda before, and combating inflammation is one of the main tenants of Ayurveda – eating foods that don’t cause inflammation, and keeping your body in balance.
I’m a total sugar junkie, but after giving up refined sugar for a month, I DID feel tons better, and looked better too – sugar dehydrates you, so when I gave up sugar and alcohol and caffeine for a few weeks, my skin looked amazing.
My Ayurvedic doc told me to walk 20-30 minutes every evening after dinner. Servan-Shreiber says to do the same thing. It turns out a 30 minute walk a day can save you $50,000 – one of the top anti-cancer drugs reduces risk of relapse by 50%, for the price of $50,000/year. 30 minutes of walking a day also reduces risk of relapse by 50%… and it’s f#&%ing FREE!
He also discusses cell phones – most of the current studies on cell phone radiation are under 10 years. If you study smokers for 10 years, there’s no sign of lung cancer either. It takes 20-30 years to develop lung cancer. The same could be true of cell phones.
Anyways, who knows if he’s right about sugar, or walking, or cell phones. It’s interesting to think about though…
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!