March 27, 2012
I slept for a full 12 hours last night. My friend K left yesterday morning after being here in Buenos Aires to visit me for 8 days, so we’ve been running around like crazy, staying out late, and eating tons of yummy and exhausting food. Coffee, cheese, sugar, and red meat are all delicious but digesting them tires out my body!
But here are some photos you can drool over (and a few of the scenery too):
To burn off some of the pounds I’ve packed on these past few weeks, I went to an Aerial Yoga/Silks/Acrobat class, my second. That isht is hard. I can only pull myself about 12 inches off of the ground but once the teacher puts a knot in the fabric it’s much more fun.
After class a friend invited me for lunch at a Peruvian restaurant. The funny thing is that they had chicken noodle soup on the menu. I haven’t seen chicken noodle soup since I got down here 6 months ago, and I was wishing for chicken noodle soup just this morning after I woke up with a scratchy throat and runny nose. Manifest!!!
I spent the rest of the day walking around the city, running errands before I head down to Patagonia – curry powder for my friend down there, stocking up on my favorite soap and cookies, etc. While wandering I was listening to the awesome Guru Singh podcast. Guru Singh is a Kundalini Yoga teacher at Yoga West in Los Angeles; he always starts class with a profound 30 minute lecture that I’ve missed since leaving LA.
In this podcast Guru Singh was talking about how every problem contains the solution.
“What keeps us from this stage [solution/change] is that our challenges, our problems, and our questions identify us.
And we would rather maintain our identity than solve our challenges.
That’s not you being a bad person, that’s you being normal… we have to break that pattern.”
Check out Guru Singh’s tweets here! Yes, he tweets.
December 13, 2011
Well well well, look who else knows how to use plants as medicine. Chimps!
An extensive look at what chimpanzees consume each day reveals that many of the plants they consume aren’t for nutrition but are likely ingested for medicinal purpose.
The findings, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, indicate that the origins of medicine go way back, beyond the human species.
I first read this article, and was rather irritated by the closing lines: “That’s one reason medical research is so important. Scientists can isolate the effective medicinal compounds of such plants while removing their more dangerous agents.”
Pure hubris. Isolating compounds destroys or greatly diminishes their effects. Just say no to Reductionism! Nature is not a machine that can be disassembled!
And what’s this claim about ‘removing dangerous agents’ when every single drug produced by man has negative side effects? But of course, pharmaceutical companies don’t want you eating plants – they’re free (or very cheap)! Do you realize that the pharmaceutical industry is the MOST PROFITABLE INDUSTRY in the United States? More than Wall Street… Check out this infograph on how doctors get paid off to push pills (I don’t even want to know how much money they give to politicians).
And did you know that Americans spend more than $200 Billion every year on prescription drugs – BILLION, that’s $200,000,000,000.00 (I think?!) – when the vast majority of what’s being medicated could be treated with diet and exercise? The top-selling (and heavily advertised) prescription medications treat with heart disease, depression, and diabetes, all treatable with diet and exercise. Which, again, are free, or very cheap.
But I digress.
Chimps know what plants to eat in order to medicate themselves. That’s pretty cool.
If Chimps are eating anti-tumor plants…why aren’t we?!
As Bill Mahr said: “Someone has to stand up and say that the answer isn’t another pill. The answer is spinach.”
P.S. Chimps have much, much lower rates of cancer than humans do.
December 7, 2011
Most days here in Buenos Aires I feel like I’m doing a triathlon – yoga, biking, running, walking for miles. All of this exercise, of course, justifies the occasional sugar overload. Today after my morning bike/run with a friend we shared french toast, a pear muffin, and an alfajor filled with 2 inches of Dulce de Leche. I only felt a little sick afterwards…
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 ]
July 9, 2010
I’m a little scared.
I’ve totally been putting off my fundraising this year. (Me, procrastinate? Never!). It’s already July, and the 50 Mile Multiple Sclerosis Challenge Walk is in 2 months.
I don’t like asking for money but I’ve got the best reason in the world: My mom!
So, I REALLY need your help to hit my $2,500 goal!!!!!!!!!!!
This will be my third year walking. Due to a reaction to experimental drugs my mom was on, she had a seizure a few days before the event last year. I offered to push her in a wheelchair, but my step dad veto’d the idea… Hopefully she’ll make it with me this year.
I truly appreciate anything you can donate.
May 21, 2010
I’ve been wearing Vibram FiveFingers (ie, Barefoot Shoes) for about a year now. And I love them. Ever since I can remember, I’ve hated shoes and socks. HATED. One of my earliest memories is a feeling of frustration and rage welling up within me at having to put on some extremely uncomfortable shoes, around the age of 4. I hated feeling like my feet were bound up and restricted. Maybe it’s because my feet grew so fast (I’m a size 10 at 5’7, ugh) and my shoes were just always too small for me. Anyways I pretty much only wore Birkenstocks and flip flops growing up, year-round (you can get away with that in Southern California). I also have genetic issues with my feet, and in high school had to have bunion and arch surgery. Not cool. Anyways, I used to love Birkenstocks, but they got really stinky. And now I love Vibrams, and unfortunately, they get stinky too. Not cool. So I did some research, along with some personal experimentation, and I’m gonna tell you what has stopped the stank for me.
First off, the stank is from bacteria. It’s like B.O. The bacteria feeds on dirt and the dead skin cells that build up inside the bottom of the shoes, since you’re not wearing socks. If your Vibrams are stankin’, I’ll bet the inside of your shoe is brown or black. And I bet you can scrape off some of the dirt/gunk with your fingernail.
That stuff has gotta go, or the funk will remain firmly in your FiveFingers. One guy online suggested you just shower with your Vibrams on, scrub your toes around inside with a tiny amount of soap, and let the running water rinse them out. His recommendation is to do this about once/twice a week, and let them air dry.
This is a great tip. It’ll save the wear’n’tear that occurs when you throw VFF’s in the washing machine, and it’s probably more effective since your feet are doing some scrubbing. But you should really use a brush to scrub the inside of the soles and get all of that gunk out. So I’d recommend wearing them in the shower once a week, squirting some soap in there and squishing it around, and then taking them off and scrubbing the insides. This might sound time-consuming, but I wear my Vibrams every day (to work, to concerts, to bars, running, hiking, etc) and it’s worth it not to have a horrendous stank.
I also have a natural salt spray deodorant from Whole Foods that I’ll spray in there, and/or on my feet. I believe it’s just water and salt, and that the salt interrupts the bacterial growth. I don’t think this would be effective without washing the shoes out first, but hopefully it’ll slow down the return of the stank.
So that’s my advice.
Other suggestions on various Vibram discussion boards include:
• Distilled white vinegar. This was the most popular solution. Clean the shoes, soak them in vinegar anywhere from one hour to overnight (can use 25% vinegar to 75% water ratio, but the more vinegar the better), let them dry, and then wash them again. The second wash is to get rid of the vinegar smell. This kills the bacteria and keeps the smell from coming back quickly. People who tried this said after rinsing the vinegar smell was negligible unless you actually put your nose to them, and even so, it’s a much more tolerable smell than “The Vibram Funk.”
• “Trader Joe’s Cedarwood and Sage All-Purpose Cleaner” and “Earth Day Products’ Everyday Stain & Odor Remover” (the recommendation was to use one spray, let it sit, then rinse and repeat with the second spray.
• Antimicrobial Febreeze
• Menthol-based foot powder
• Gold bond powder
• Bleach (Colorsafe??)
• Chlorine (throw them in a swimming pool overnight; smell is gone in the morning)
• Win Laundry Detergent
• Out Multi-cat Urine Odor Destroyer
Of course, your other option is socks. If you want to wear Injiji socks (which I’ve been using for about 4 years and wear any time I’m forced to wear “normal” shoes), you can do that too. I’ve heard from an inside source that Smartwool will soon be making toe socks also. But even wearing socks inside my VFF’s makes my toes feel squeezed, so I don’t like to wear them anymore.
Good luck with the funk, and happy bare-ishfooting!
January 6, 2010
I succeeded in not buying anything on Day 1 of my challenge—and I even bartered my way out of paying for pre-existing dinner plans!
Friends at Catalyst Art Collective downtown are doing a fun little experiment in which you can come over for five days of nommy homemade vegetarian dinners at $5 a pop, or buy individual meals for $7. I’d already committed to Tuesday (Pesto Calzones) and Thursday (The Legendary Peace Patties) before starting the Consumer Fast. So I had my $7 ready last night. Fortuitously, one of my friends jokingly offered to pay me $5 to perform what he considers a loathsome chore—folding laundry. I bargained up to $7 and viola—free dinner! Woohoo for archaic nonmonetary exchange systems!
This morning, I planned to get up early and do some reading for a project I’m working on. Whenever I get up early, especially to read or write, I always want coffee. I love coffee but have cut back considerably, since I’m pretty sure it contributes to my psoriasis flare-ups. On Day 1 of the CFC, I brewed my own coffee at home in my French press. But…it didn’t taste very good. It wasn’t…fulfilling. That might be because the bag of Peet’s I have has been sitting in my cupboard for a very long time. So I didn’t want to brew at home this morning. I decided (rationalized) that since I’d saved $7 the night before, it would be ok for me to spend two of those dollars on a cup of coffee on Day 2. But I was torn…was I already breaking the fast after only 24 hours?!?
My plan was to walk down to Organics To Go (makers of the best cuppa coffee in Los Angeles, according to me), take my coffee and my Kindle to Hancock Park (home of the La Brea Tarpits), find a sunny spot on a bench, and read for a few hours. Still feeling guilty about spending $2 on coffee on the second day of my fast, I dug around in my wallet to see if I had any “frequent drinker” coffee cards from Organics To Go. You know, the ones where you get 10 punches and the 11th cup is free. Well guess what—I did. I had a card with 10 punches. WIN! I got free dinner the night before, and I could get free coffee this morning!!!!!! I was ecstatic!!! I pulled on my Vibram FiveFinger shoes (see prior blogs) and strolled down to Organics…but…the tables weren’t set out in front. Maybe the barista had gotten to work late…well, at least the doors are open…but…where is the coffee station? Where is the salad bar that was built into the wall? NOOOO! OUT OF BUSINESS!!! GONE! FAIL!
So that sums up my morning: pride (bartering the night before), guilt (wanting to buy a $2 cup of coffee), elation (surprise free coffee card in wallet), redemption (not spending the $2 and sticking to the fast), devastation (favorite coffee shop in Los Angeles is closed. No coffee).
So I went back home, made a cup of plain Irish Breakfast Tea, which wasn’t bad or good…but had a little bit of caffeine in it, I suppose.
I was also going through old emails last night and, oddly enough, ran across this DailyOm from Dec 31st:
Filling Imaginary Voids – DailyOm.com
“Consuming To Heal: In our culture today, we are constantly encouraged to consume. This includes food as well as purchasing ever newer items that we may not need, often using money that we may not actually have. It could be that we are trying to fill a void we feel within ourselves, but if we take the time to examine it, we know deep inside that this is not the solution. We may notice how quickly the joy fades after our purchase or once the food we’ve enjoyed is gone, and how soon we feel the urge to do so again. This is a symptom of disconnection from our true selves, so the first step toward balance is connection to our center.
When we connect to our center, we access the fullness of who we are as an individual spirit. We also connect to the energy source of the universe, from which nothing can be lacking. It could be that we have been energetically starving ourselves but trying to feed the need physically, outwardly. Once we make the decision to reconnect, we have the ability to examine the behavior from a higher place within ourselves. We can look, without judgment, at the thoughts and feelings that occur before and after our indulgences to find a pattern. We may want to keep track of these observations in a journal so that we can go back if we lose our way.
Often boredom is the main cause for the desire to eat or shop. But when we connect to our center, our intuition can more clearly guide us to the places where our energy can best be used. We can replace the boredom with a meditation practice, a class, a project, seeking a new job, or getting involved in a charity. We may even want to begin planning an adventurous trip. Whatever inspires us tells us the direction we should go. When we find the place we are meant to be, we become so consumed by its constant creation that the frivolous filling of an imaginary void becomes a thing of the past.” – www.DailyOm.com
I didn’t actually read the email above until after I’d started the Fast, but this is exactly why I’m doing it. Getting more connected with the Whys of what I do by breaking habits and patterns and modes of thought that aren’t the best for me. Instead of drinking coffee, maybe I need to let go of the belief that coffee will help me focus, thus making me a better writer/reader/whatever. Maybe I just need to listen to my body more and get more sleep so I don’t feel the need for it, or energize myself through healthier ways, like exercise and apples.
Something else that popped into my mind was an article about how humans like rituals. Going to your coffee shop to buy your cuppa and then pouring in your specific amounts of creamer and sugar are definitely ritualistic. The article mentioned that this is probably why Corona beer is so popular—the lime ritual. Maybe it’s time to form rituals that don’t include some kind of intoxicant…caffeine, alcohol, nicotine? Smoking is definitely ritualistic. And people always say it’s the simple habit of having that smoke after dinner that’s the hardest part to change. In our science-based society, where magical or shamanic rituals are no longer accepted, and even religious rituals are falling by the wayside, all we’ve got left is sugaring our Starbucks, liming our Coronas, lighting our Marlboros. Rituals of consumption… How sad.
In addition to my 30 Day Consumer Fast, I’m also forming two new rituals—20 minutes of meditation per day, and 10 minutes of writing (which, as you can tell from this post, tends to turn into way more than 10 minutes). What kind of rituals do you want in your life?
By the way, if you don’t subscribe to DailyOm.com, I highly recommend you do. You will only ever see me use the phrase “highly recommend” when I’m referring to something excellent, so trust me. DailyOm sends out insightful and sometimes jarringly relevant emails Monday-Friday. Hey, new ritual? 😉
September 22, 2009
I was aiming for 20. I wore the VFFs every day for a week and a half (including to work–only with pants); walked 2 miles on a Thursday, 5 mile hike on a Saturday, and on Sunday shot for 20 in prep for the 50 Mile MS Challenge Walk. Turns out my feet weren’t ready.
Our 20 mile walk was along the boardwalk between Newport & Huntington Beach. I had access to a few different terrains–concrete, black top, gravel, grass, sand. Walking on grass felt delightful–spongy and cool. Sand feels good too but is, of course, tiring. I noticed that it was difficult for me to comfortably keep up with my co-walkers, my mom & her friend Pam. When walking barefoot or in VFFs, you’re supposed to keep your feet under your body/center of gravity, and without the extra extension of the heel-striking you get in normal tennis shoes, my steps were shorter. I also had to be more mindful of where I was stepping and make sure I didn’t put the ball of my foot onto any sharp rocks. After 10 miles, the concrete started to hurt. My feet were just tired from walking in a way they weren’t used to, and by mile 15 the balls of my feet felt pretty beat up from the pounding and lack of padding. At mile 17 my mom made me call my boyfriend to come pick me up.
The soreness of my feet went away within a few hours. I think one’s feet would get accustomed to not being padded and would toughen up. The main pain I had the next day was in the side of my right calf–I’m guessing it’s some kind of stabilizing muscle–I’ve never had very good balance & I think it’s because my ankles are rather weak. Anyways I gave my feet a break on Monday (wore my squishy flip flops) and on Tuesday eve walked to the gym to get on the treadmill and do yoga. On the way to the gym I felt pain on the top of my right foot, kindof like a deep bruise. I figured this was from that tight calf throwing off the delicate system of leg & foot. After some googling I deduced that this was correct and that I had “extensor tendonitis.”
“In this region of the foot the tendons that lead to the toes can become inflamed.
A major cause of this condition is excessive tightness of the calf muscles. When the calf muscles are tight they place excessive stress on the tendons on the top of the foot that pull the foot upward and counteract the calf muscles.
Aggressive stretching of the calf muscle is also very helpful. Anti-inflammatory medications can help.”
So I’m agressively stretching my calves. I’d wanted to wear the Vibrams for the MS Walk but with a month left to train, I decided to wait til next year. I have a feeling that this will happen with a lot of new VFFs wearers–they’ll go overboard, like I did, and complain that the VFFs hurt their feet/legs & give up. I think gradually acclimating your feet & building up the atrophied muscles is key to long-term VFF happy feet!
A few weeks after this, I wore the VFFs for bouldering up at Lake Isabella. I felt like Spider-woman! I scrambled up practically vertical sides of granite slabs and never slipped once. Impressive! I also wore them in the lake, and they protected my feet from the slimy things the rest of my friends were screaming about.