Monday, May 31, 2010

Feeding my Monster

The food plan for the next three days is going to be all about Green Smoothies. Why? Because it's hot, because they're cooling, and because I feel like it. Also, every time I eat a vibrantly green smoothie Andrew says it's to help keep me human. If I forget to have a green smoothie... I might turn back into a monster. Shhh, don't tell anybody. (this monster is from here)

I came up with the idea thanks to the Green Smoothie Queen who has a free introductory 3-day course on Green Smoothies. While I know all about how nutritious and yummy they are already, I'm always up for learning and getting new recipes! So I signed up to her intro on Sunday and have been getting snazzy new emails in my inbox every morning with tips, tricks, and recipes. I love it!

I am still taking my tinctures, though I've given up the Rejuve Powder because I don't feel it's been doing anything for me digestion-wise (aside from making me nauseous). I started my day with a green smoothie made up of mango, pineapple, a chunk of ginger, mesquite and maca powder, and a good amount of spinach. It was delicious. Lunch was just a green smoothie of 2 pears, beet greens and lettuces, and 1/2 tablespoon of bee pollen (the one photographed). Andrew thought this one was yucky, but I thought it was fabulous!

Finally, dinner was had a little earlier than usual because we went to the gym later than planned. Because I had an intense Sprint workout planned and because it's so crazy hot out, I had a banana whip with 3 frozen strawberries mixed in.

Just to give you an idea of how hot it is here, I made the EXACT same kale chip recipe as I did last week but with the heat and humidity, they looked very "wilted" compared to last week's (though equally tasty)! Who knew? Problem is, I was proud of how well I did sticking to my green smoothies today, but when we got home from our workout, I looked at my wilted kale chips and couldn't bring myself to bring them to a client tomorrow. They just weren't pretty enough... so, because I'm a perfectionist, I descended into kale chip madness... again. I think it's impossible to make kale chips and not taste them. On top of that, we had the evidence of the ugly batch to get rid of. There are no traces of it left.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Workout Recap & Food Goodies

This week was all about Gina's Summer Shape Up Week 1. It's been awesome, and with the humidity and heat out, it's been a killer... in a good way! All workout days include a 2 mile walk to the gym. Her Speed Day really kicked my a**. For the first time in years, I pushed through the workout like the out of shape 13 year old struggling to laps in PE that I used to be... scary stuff, and I know I have the oppressive weather to thank for that, but by the end I was super energized and felt amazing. In fact, I felt great every day. Because of dentist appointments, parental visits, and the like, I had to switched things up just a bit (plus I added stuff), so here was the run down, but do visit her blog if you're interested in knowing more!

Also, I know I should be doing yoga more regularly. Last summer I got into the habit of getting up early and doing 20 minute Yoga Download sessions every day and I felt amazing, my back never hurt, and I was energized throughout the whole day. Now, I can't seem to take those 20 minutes out of my day even though I'm on summer break. I know I need it, but I just can't do it. Who knows why. So I'm glad Gina's workouts include yoga, but as you can see, I didn't do it til today (which might explain why I was also sore all week for the first time in ages)... I have to add though, that yoga to me is a supplemental to my workouts, not the be all and end all of fitness. But in short, DO YOGA. It works.

Also, for those of you who are curious about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Gina provided an awesome link that recaps all the different ways you can get into it. It's really useful!

Day 1 of Summer Shape Up
I added 3x12 torso rotation (the machine) before the Reverse Crunch on Bench because my back loves them.
Only had time for 10 minutes of hills on treadmill for cardio portion.
I also did the workout as a series of 3 circuits rather than doing each exercise one after the other.

40 minutes of hardcore swimming + sweaty weeding in our swamp garden that felt like more of a workout than the swim did

Day 2 of Summer Shape Up followed by a much needed 10 minute stretch and 100 crunches (3 different types)

Day 4 of Summer Shape Up
I replaced the Stability Ball Hamstring Curls with 3x30 seconds of a Yoga Plow pose, because I find hamstring exercises REALLY bulk up my legs in a way I'm not that into. Doesn't happen to everyone, but I'm one of those people.

20 minutes of HIIT on treadmill
100 crunches (3 types again)
10 minute stretch

Off day

20 minute Yoga for Runners Podcast (from Yoga Downloads)
Lots of walking around hot and humid DC!

We also went back to Cafe Green today, since it's one of the only venues in town with options for raw foodies! They've also recently started serving brunch (with the most sinful and delicious looking vegan breakfasts ever... I almost asked the people at the table next to us to take a picture of their food, but didn't.) so we had to go.

I love places with raw food options because I really miss being able to go out for brunch on Sundays or go out and eat at all. Because Cafe Green is vegan and organic, it's so great not to have to worry about what's in your food. You can just trust that what they are serving you is the best option they have. It's very comforting!

I don't know why all the photos turned out so washed out, but I had a lovely banana-blueberry-something else smoothie:

Andrew had a raw granola breakfast bowl (buckwheat crunchies, raw granola chunks, nut milk, and blueberries):

And we split a side of raw bread with nut cheese. We were supposed to get their delicious coconut spread instead of the cheese but they were out :(. Finally, we had a wonderful seasonal fruit cup that was so yummy it didn't get photographed:

To be honest though, I can't say I'm wildly impressed by their raw dishes. While their vegan food looks and smells amazing, their raw food is 'just' good, the way the guy who never gets a date is always described as "nice". It's a good thing, but it doesn't get you very far. Cafe Green's ethics hugely make up for their "nice" food though, and that's still why we keep going back. For another option, I still prefer their sister cafe, Java Green, by far. Now there's some amazingly yummy food for you.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chakra Feast Day 7: Crown Chakra

Sahasrara, or Crown Chakra, is the seventh and final chakra making up the last day of my week of chakra feasting. I always believed that if your six other chakras are not balanced, opening your seventh chakra would prove very difficult. The Crown Chakra is the one dedicated to unbridled, unchecked, and pure consciousness. It is at the center of our entire nervous system through the hypothalamus. By releasing the physical, it is the birth of our consciousness and inner wisdom, and the death of our attachment to ego and the body. As the universe flows down through the Crown Chakra, it enhances and enables six lower chakras. The one cannot live without the other six but the six are fed by the one.

Opening our Crown Chakra means tapping into the universal source of truth. It connects us and allows to communicate with our higher self, who knows no ego but only truth and compassion. Our Crown Chakra allows us to know reach the timeless and the spaceless far beyond the realm of the physical. I can't say there is a "goal" to having an open Crown Chakra, but when it is fully aligned, we can find true bliss. I believe that I have been able to tap into this life force during some occasions of my life. That level of deep consciousness is as frightening as it is thrilling. It's everything and nothing. It's beauty.

A closed off Crown Chakra is the most serious of all blockages. It is usually physically expressed by depression, MS, and some other pretty dramatic diseases I'm choosing not to focus on. Emotional imbalances are also depression, but also becoming scattered, argumentative, unsocial, emotionally closed off, or simply unable to learn and take in new things. The best way to curb a closed Crown Chakra is any exercise leading to greater higher consciousness or achieving a trance state. This can be achieved in many ways by different people. Some people need to go for a run, others need to meditate, or simply go outside. I know that a number of things work for me, I can listen to music, dance, do bikram, or anything that allows me to escape my body and just be.

Many sources I looked up suggested I fast for the day, but going to my parents place I knew that would be difficult. However, I did keep eating to a minimum, and feel lovely! The Crown Chakra is associated with purple and white, so the day started with the one purple food I could think of that I had in stock: an acai banana soft serve topped with bits of my spirulina granola. For lunch, my mom had specially made taro and tofu for us so I had a little bit of that. Strangely, I was still craving the purity of white foods today (which both taro and tofu kind of are), so I went with that feeling. Finally, we went to the movies with my parents earlier tonight to see Robin Hood. I thought it was absolutely fantastic. Still on a white food jag, I snuck in a container of jicama slices with lime and sea salt for Andrew and I, while my mom smuggled her own homemade organic popcorn for she and my dad (again, LOVE how super food-conscious my mom is. Love her!)

As always, I took my herbs all day and had my tea. To recap, this week went by wonderfully. I know I should probably have focused more time during my actual day to each chakra but the feast has nonetheless raised an awareness in me that I'm going to try to be more conscious of in my every day life. I started out thinking this would be a total juice feast, but I'm a foodie, so who was I kidding in the end. While I did stick to about 50% if not more on juice, I did quite a bit of "cheating" in that sense. Wanting to maintain my full workouts, I also think it would have been a little difficult to live off of just juice (maybe, that's just me...).

All in all, thanks for coming a long on this one week ride with me. I've already got next week set up with another more food entertainment plan. Again, nothing super strict, I just like having other people tell me what to do every once in a while, and I still feel like I need it right now. Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all you Americans bloggies, and finally:

I am.
I follow the guidance of the universe and my intuition.
I seek to always accept and share the good in my life.
I am filled with love.
I am eternally grateful.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chakra Feast Day 6: Brow Chakra

The Brow Chakra, the center of our "Third Eye", is our connection to the wisdom the universe has to offer. Through the experiences we have, we gain knowledge, and through that knowledge we gain perspective. It enables us to separate the real from the imagined, the vital from the unimportant. It allows us to become intuitive, optimistic, and knowing.

Ajna in Sanskrit, the Brow Chakra is located between our eyebrows on the forehead. It is said that the Brow Chakra resonates at a higher frequency than your other chakras, and can be activated through the key of A. Linked to the pineal gland, our sixth Chakra is particularly light sensitive and helps regulate the production of the melatonin hormone which regulates sleep and wake. It is also linked to the pituitary gland that regulates our endocrine system, including places like major portions of our brain, eyes, and ears.

Because of its focus on visualization, a balanced Brow Chakra enables foresight, intuition, and clairvoyance. A person with a very open Ajna has a greater awareness of auras, chakras, and can connect to spirit guides easier than others. Lucid dreaming, which I've fostered since I was a child, is one of the Brow Chakra's strongest forms of expression.

On the flip side, someone with a closed brow chakra may have problems with visualization or any type of imagination. They are overly rational and gain insight only by obtaining concrete information from the quantifiable rather than the spiritual or emotional. They may be more judgmental and have a narrower viewpoint than others. Physical repercussions of blocked brow chakra are eye infections, migraines and headaches, hearing problems, and neurological disorders.

When out of balance with Ajna, a person may be more forgetful, doubtful, or be an obsessive worrier and afraid of success. An overactive Brow Chakra causes one to be impatient or not at all present (think "spaced out"), overly dogmatic and one-track minded in terms of goals and opinions.

Opening your Brow Chakra allows you to enlighten every aspect of your life by understanding the relationship between the physical, emotional, and intellectual. By knowing the truth of all your processes, your life experiences ring more true. To help you open your brow chakra, meditation (guided or not), Qi Gong, yoga, or any other visual activity including coloring or drawing are good ways to achieve balance.

Associated to the color indigo, I began to open my sixth chakra with a dark berry smoothie. It had blueberries, raspberries, morello cherries, and acai. I also put in my usual mesquite, maca, and spirulina for a nutritional boost. Since it's not exactly easy to find indigo colored foods, lunch was a light and watery as possible. I figured whatever leads to that kind of physical and nutritional lightness might lead to spiritual enlightenment as well. Therefore, I settled for a giant slice of watermelon to activate my third eye. I also paired it with a shot of my kombucha since the flavor I picked was a darkish berry color, I figured it was kind of like indigo... but not really at all, in truth.

Because of the difficulty of finding indigo colored foods, I opted for whatever my body was in the mood for for dinner. I gave this some thought, and things that kept coming up were "white foods". So on the way home from our workout, I stopped by the Whole Foods and picked up a jicama and some other things for later. So dinner was 1/4 of a jicama sprinkled with sea salt, and my marinated white eggplant that I found a few days ago. It was scrumptious!

Day 6 and I'm feeling super! As always, all my herb taking and green tea drinking is in order. I did forget to have a my lemon and water this morning. I already have my new plan for when this is up. I'm still in a mood that's asking for some form a more structure food plan, I actually find it really fun. It's like the joy of someone else cooking for you, but I still get to be in the kitchen!


I am open to my deepest intuition and knowing.

I am open to new ideas, experience, and people to enhance my happiness and knowledge.

I trust that a reason beyond my understanding is always at work.

I am insightful, intuitive, and alert.

I can see and create anything I want.

I release all fears of knowing the past, living the present, and seeing the future.

It is safe for me to see the truth, no matter what it is. My vision is illuminated by gratitude and love.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chakra Feast Day 5: Throat Chakra

Did you all catch the gorgeous full moon tonight? We just came back from an evening walk during which we admired its glowing yellow luminescence, it was even perfectly framed by curly blue-gray clouds. It was worthy of a Chinese painting or, according to Andrew, the opening scene of Gargoyles. It seems a perfect end to my day focused on opening my throat chakra, the one which determines how I express my creativity and thoughts. The Throat Chakra, or Vishuddha, is about speaking one's truth. Obviously, Vishuddha is located at the base of our neck, and affects the proper functioning of our vocal cords and our thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is associated with hormone production that is key to physical growth and maturation. Spiritually, that growth is that of our consciousness and wisdom. The Throat Chakra incites us to live ideally, be surrounded by beauty, expressiveness, through our self-expression and ability to make our feeling and emotions our reality. It is the center of our capacity to community.

Lies, falsehoods, and half-truths imbalance our throat chakra. Actions that violate both our own spirit and those of others affect our bodies as much as our minds. However, choosing to repress our feelings through silence also manifests itself in an imbalance. Unexpressed thoughts and emotions obstruct the throat chakra. Pointing again to the mind-body connection, there's a reason why we feel a lump in our throat or our vocal cords seemingly closing off when we are uncertain or afraid.

However, any artistic expression is a huge benefit to Vishuddha. Despite the fact that as a kid I wanted to be a writer, then a painter, and then a writer again, and that I've always loved to dance and act, I've never been that aware of my throat chakra. However, now I ask myself what my inner truth actually is? I have always been very assured in my values and who I really am. I always hope that I am the person on the outside that I am on the inside. It's something I've been conscious of for a long long time and that I've worked on for years. In being true to myself and voicing it to others more and more, I have to say that I've never been more comfortable than I am with myself until the past few years. One should always be humbly proud of who they are, and what they have become.

To maintain the health of your throat chakra, always be open, receptive, and humble. Having an open throat chakra is not just our ability to express ourselves but to listen to the truths others seek to share with us. For example, an overactive throat chakra might be obvious in our desire to control the consciousness of other peoples lives. A deficient throat chakra is evident if you are overly egotistic or prejudiced, or if you perceive the world as hostile, expecting to be humiliated, used, or judged by others rather than loved and nourished.

Resonating with the color blue, the throat chakra is opened by liquids and is meant to connect water, earth, and sky. To this effect, eating seaweed (earth and water) and fruit trees (earth and sky) are great choices. To be honest (since that's today's theme), I haven't had a very good food day, so I actually won't make it the focus of this post. I started my morning very well with a fruit tree and earth fruit green monster (mango, pineapple, and spinach). My lunch was partially driven by today's feast but also to taste-test recipes for an upcoming client. Because of its water focus, I diversified my seaweed intake from spirulina and nori, and made a hijiki snap pea salad. It was yummy, not a two thumbs way up or anything, but that may be a result of the quality of the seaweed I had rather than my recipe. I also made sure to drink lots of water throughout the day and have green tea (which I've also been having every day). Later in the day, I also had some pear and kiwis, and then my food day went downhill from there so... blah.

On the upside, I've been feeling great (with tonight being a partial exception). I feel so alert and awake despite the fact that we have crazy humidity levels and it's really hot out. Something's definitely at work here and I love it! In addition, before I rave more fully about this on Sunday during my weekly workout recap, I have to say that I'm loving Gina's Summer Shape Up. I always leave the gym as an absolutely sweaty beast and it's been fabulous.


I express my truth with respect, confidence, and grace.
I seek to make my inner truth and outer truth one and the same.
I take joy in my gift for creative expression.
I am always open to the truth of other's.
I foster greater consciousness and wisdom every day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chakra Feast Day 4: Heart Chakra

Man, am I feeling good today! I don't know which of the many variables I've recently changed in my life is causing this (it might be all of them), but I'm truly feeling amazing. I'm happier than I've been in days, I'm awake, alert, and am finally finding some much needed inner peace. Because this is a longer post about today's Chakra, I'll simply say that herb-wise, I've taken all my Gaia Herbs as required and the taste doesn't affect me nearly as much as on Day 1:

The heart Chakra (or Anahata in Sanskrit) is, well, associated with the heart but also with the thymus. The thymus keeps your immune system and more specifically your endocrine system functioning. In other words, it helps to fight against disease both physical and emotional. And your heart, well, it's kind of a big deal. The main work people usually do on their heart chakra is to heal from emotional hurt and to foster greater love and compassion from and for others. Today's chakra focus reminded me a lot of how much I love Cafe Gratitude's philosophy. Again, they're all about reinforcing positive energy in ourselves and others. Every statement made in their space is positive, optimistic and generate happiness and healing.

The Heart Chakra is the center of our energy and the focus of our love and capacity to heal from emotional wounds. Whenever emotional hurt is caused and is not dealt with, it resides and festers in the Heart Chakra. I know that I've always had a particularly sensitive one, but have only been able to put it into words more recently. Every since I was little (and a lot of other people do this too), whenever I was hurt or really happy I always felt it right at the center of my chest, where my heart chakra is. I always subconsciously find myself putting my hand there whenever I feel particularly hurt, vulnerable, or upset, as if I'm trying to keep the energy from bleeding away.

I know that I am often guided and ruled by my Heart Chakra in my life choices. So far, it seems to have worked out pretty well! However, it also means that it needs constant maintenance. Emotional wounds translate to physical malaise, I think most women know that if they don't feel good emotionally, they will take it out on themselves physically thinking they aren't attractive enough, fit enough, thin enough, etc. Physical demonstrations of an imbalanced Heart Chakra are heart palpitations, asthma, pneumonia, upper back and shoulder problems. Similar to the solar plexus chakra, self-love is key to maintaining a healthy Heart Chakra. Our wounded self and wounded ego have to heal.

But rather than just focus on emotional wounds, I also mentioned that the heart chakra is from where happiness, honesty, respect, love and compassion emanate. One thing Andrew and I strongly felt from the start of our relationship was the immediate connection between our heart chakras. As he once said, it was like a cord was instantly tied between the two of our heart centers and we were able to sense it right away. Some people argue that that's why break-ups can be so difficult; once such a bond is made, rupturing an energy cord leads to significant damage. Many know that fights, break ups, or any emotional damage in a relationship actually physically hurt. After all, there's a reason why we have a term like "heart strings".

Beyond romantic love, our heart chakra is also the center of our capacity for compassion, which allows us all to live better lives and create a healthier society. Compassion involves unconditional love, an ability to let go, forgive, and trust. Unconditional love, or Metta, implies kindness and living and embodying our desire for it. It begins with loving and respecting ourselves, and through those experiences, reaching out to others. When we channel Metta we encourage it and bring it out in others. Whatever we generate comes back to us and makes us all stronger. Can you imagine a society so open and loving?

Exercises that are good for your Anahata involve anything heart related so once again swimming is a good choice. Another option I have for you is Yoga Download's Power Yoga 4 Practice which is a donation-based class (and can be downloaded from their website). It begins and ends with a meditation to increase Metta.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself to know how your heart chakra is doing are: how many emotional memories do you think you have that need healing? What are they? Are they taking over the way you perceive the world or some of your relationships? How can you forgive yourself, and what else should you forgive? When getting my Reiki sessions from Andrew, I'm often shocked by how many negative or hurtful memories come up when he moves through certain energy fields of mine. My goal to know that I'm a perfectly aligned person is to have every place he works on generate a positive rather than a negative memory. As you can tell, I truly believe in this stuff. Can't wait for another session tonight!

As you can see through the chronological juice pictures throughout this post, my day focused on clean green foods representative of Anahata. It was was very conducive to some serious veggie juicing and blending. I started my day with a glass of Meredith's Green Monster Smoothie (sans banana), which I could drink every day if I remembered to buy spinach more often! I followed up with cucumber-celery-parsley juice with a side shot of kombucha (forgot to take a pic until halfway through). My food day ended with a delicious Spinach Soup I found ages ago on Heather's blog. I also had some bee pollen and superfood mix as post-workout snacks. And because I'm a die hard foodie, I haven't been able to spend time away from the kitchen at all, so I also created what I believe is an amazing raw zucchini-yellow squash lasagna. Though I'll post a recipe soon, the gist of it was layering zucchini and lasagna, marinara sauce, and fermented nut cheese in layers as high as my dehydrator would allow. Andrew said it was delicious and I did snack on some with romaine lettuce. It was amazing, just like the real thing... only better:

As always, some final affirmations:

I am a being of unconditional love and compassion.

My heart is open and flows freely with love for myself and others.

I grow from all of my experiences. They serve to make me a healthier, stronger, and better person.

Only I am responsible for the quality of my life.

I strive to enhance my life and those of others.

I strive to create a healthy foundation upon which I and others can thrive.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chakra Feast Day 3: Solar Plexus Chakra

Located between your navel and the base of your sternum, the Solar Plexus Chakra supports a good deal of your vital organs including your spleen, pancreas, liver, and stomach. Called Manipura in Sanskrit, its major emotional and spiritual focus is on the self, like our sense of power, our ego, and our desire for authority. Our capacity for discipline and self-control are also based here. My desire to go on this feast and my recently flagging self-confidence would indicate that this was something I definitely needed work on today.

While an aligned Manipura is associated with self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, and a strong will, an imbalance is obvious through a lack of any of the previously mentioned traits, over-competitiveness, or a desire to manipulate others. Other issues may include fear, hate, indifference, and stress. Also residing in the solar plexus chakra are our "gut feelings" and intuition. Self-love and respect allow us to better understand our real and higher self over our ego, so it's particularly important for us to align this chakra to achieve true intuition. In understanding it and ourselves, it better helps us achieve our goals and our true life purpose.

Great exercises for this Chakra involve any meditative breathing exercise. Any form of cardio, for its focus on breath awareness, is also beneficial. I celebrated my manipura by going for a swim with my dad. Specific yoga poses associated with it are anything that opens up your chest, including Cobra, Cat, or the Bow.

With this chakra's color being yellow, I focused my day on foods of that color. I began the day with a cucumber-fennel (its flower are yellow)-golden delicious apple juice (even though it turned out green). It was surprisingly sweet and gave me an amazing boost into my day. I can definitely see why people are so into juicing. There's something about the freshness and pure vitality of a juice that immediately wakes you up. It's almost as if you can feel freshly pressed juice coursing through your veins rather than your GI tract!

I followed up with a (late) post-swim lunch which included one banana, some hummus, and a handful of hunza raisins (all yellow but not a juice, I know... I was at my parents' place and away from my juicer). However, remember the garden Andrew and I started at my parents' place last year? Well it's been doing incredibly well after only one year. The soil went from thick clay to rich dirt (thank you compost!) and the radishes I picked today were about three times the size as those from last year. I was also sent home with a whole bag of lettuce and kale because my parents can't eat enough to keep up with how fast everything is growing! Yay!

Finally, dinner was an amazingly tasty grapefruit (yellow on the outside!) almost the size of my head. As usual, I took all my Gaia Herbs for the day. I think I've gotten used to their taste, and am not sure whether they're doing anything for me or not. Not feeling tired or lethargic at all, so I guess that's good, but I don't know if that's related to the herbs. They're giving me something to do as part of this feast though, and that's entertaining enough!

I'll leave you with some affirmations I found that are particularly useful for today:

I am willing to release all my fears and struggles that have to do with power and control.

I love, respect, and honor myself and my choices every day.

I take pride in my achievements and the person I am in the now.

I do not fail, but learn from everything I do.

I am worthy.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chakra Juice Reboot Day 2: Sacral Chakra

First off, have you entered Averie's latest nut butter giveaway?

Another go at a Sacral Chakra feast today focused on all things sweet. I started with my usual glass of lemon water and then it was time to start my cycle of powders and tinctures that I now have to take for 13 more days. After yesterday's nauseating experience, this one went much better. Instead of 2 heaping teaspoons of Rejuve Powder, I only took one and while it was still vile and did give me a little bit of the shakes, it went much more smoothly. Breakfast wasn't quite a juice but was more focused on balancing my chakra using sweetness, aka. a cherry banana whip (with spirulina of course!).

A post-workout lunch (thanks again to Gina for an awesome start into her 2010 4-week Summer Shape-up) were two Vitamix-ed oranges with a 1/2 C of kombucha. Then I descended into kale chip making madness. I'm working on two different recipes right now that I think they may be my best yet!

Throughout the day, I took the tinctures as I was suppose to, and given the little sleep I had last night due to Lost and the workout I did, I'm thinking they're definitely helping making me stay more alert. I also had 1 teaspoon of bee pollen and had some papaya as an afternoon snack as well.

Dinner was two huge slices of watermelon. I figured I could blend or juice them but considering they are over 80% water, why bother? (photo source)

Though I'm still working through sporadic impulses to eat nuts and grains (especially with a fridge full of raw cookies for Andrew), I'm feeling much cleaner already. I really have no idea why I've become so addicted to heavier foods. While I'm still working through lethargy that is probably more related to humidity than diet, all in all, this seemed a much brighter day than yesterday!

Now, all I'm waiting for is for Andrew to come home so I can have another reiki session. If you haven't tried reiki yet, I suggest you look into finding a good practitioner (like any alternative therapy you either find someone amazing and life changing or the exact opposite) because the experience is beyond enlightening! Like a physical detox during which old scars and sicknesses heal, the layers of emotional detox released through reiki is impressive and frightening. Who knew there was so much still stored inside me? It's like I'm peeling off layers of unhealthy emotional and spiritual thoughts one session at a time. Who knew I was holding on to so much I have to let go of? I can't say it's been easy, but it's made me so much more aware.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Workout Recap

Yes, I've been lazy posting these lately, but I'm back on track:

2 mile walk
30 minute swim

5 minute warm up
3x12 shoulder press
3x12 assisted dips
5 minutes of hills (incline increase every 30 seconds)
3x12 lateral raise
3x12 chest press on stability ball
5 minutes of sprints (30 second sprint, 30 second jog)
3x12 crunches
3x12 bicycle crunches
20 minute cardio on stair climber
5 minute stretch

2 mile walk
30 minute swim

5 minute cardio warm-up
3x12 stability ball double leg lift
3x12 calf raises on step
3x40 seconds of plank
3x12 side lunges with medicine ball
3x12 straight leg glute raise (this without the resistance band)
3x30 seconds of walking lunges
20 minutes of cardio hills
5 minute stretch

3x12 recline crunches
3x12 recline oblique crunches
3x12 'normal' crunches
3x12 straight leg crunches
20 minutes of HIIT on elliptical

Chakra Juice Reboot Day 1: Root Chakra

Day 1 of juice feast, my reaction is very mixed. I started my morning with a couple sun salutations and began my first day of my juice feast with hope. One glass of warm water with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and my daily dose of MSM followed the salutations. About 15 minutes later I opened up my new toy for the next two weeks: Gaia Herbs's Super Cleanse Kit. I have full faith in this company because of their ethics. I wanted to try out of one the detox kits they have at the Whole Foods, but didn't know which one to choose. I settled on Gaia Herbs because they are one of the only organic ones. On top of that, they are certified by Oregon Tilth, currently the most stringent organic certifier recognized by the USDA. They have a beautiful farm in NC and I really support their research and environmental efforts, so from the get go, the company got two thumbs up in my book.

The cleanse is made up of 3 parts and lasts 2 weeks. There is a morning fiber powder, called the Rejuve Powder, and tinctures to be taken twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.

After my lemon and water, I started with 2 teaspoons of the Rejuve powder and almost felt like throwing up the entire time I had to drink it. I was shaky, I actually started to feel like I was breaking into a cold sweat, and the whole time I kept telling Andrew "I'm trying not to throw up, I'm trying not to throw up." It's been about 15 minutes now and the feeling is wearing off. I honestly don't know if I can do this every morning, but it's for science! My biggest fear is that I'm no naturopath, and I'm totally trusting the mix of herbs and substances in these powders and tinctures to help me cleanse. Will they? I technically have no scientific idea, but I'm trusting it will. Good idea?

I followed that with my first juice from last time's Root Chakra feast so I won't do a repeat of all the things a Root Chakra is for. It was a carrot-apple-ginger juice made with one huge Rainier apple, two big carrots, and a good chunk of ginger. It was divine. Like I've said, this is by far my favourite juice. Crisp, refreshing, energizing, perfect!

Later in the afternoon I followed that up with the first set of tinctures (there are two sets to be taken in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon). I woke up so late that I will only be taking those tinctures once each today and will do it properly tomorrow. They made me feel better than the Rejuve Powder but the morning experience left me very wary to try them. I think I now have a reverse placebo effect to any product that comes out of that box...

After about an hour I had the second tincture which is suppose to be had 15-20 minutes before lunch and dinner. That one was strong, but okay. The second juice was a combination of golden beet and red beet with a sprig of parsley for iron. It was pretty thick and though I thought I would love straight up beet juice, I definitely think I'll add something sweeter to the blend next time (another apple maybe? or a cucumber to lighten it).

Throughout the day I had a teaspoon of bee pollen and some spirulina powder. For dinner, we went over to my cousins' place for a great Lost finale and some play time with the cutest (and most well-behaved) 2 year old on the planet. We honestly think he's a perfect child... And that's saying a lot considering he's going through his "terrible twos."

All in all, an okay day. I didn't get hungry, but neither did I feel great and super energized or anything... I guess that's normal after Day 1 of cleanse, but hopefully it'll pick up!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pomp, Circumstance, Irish Moss and Changing Pace

Where was I yesterday? I was getting ready:

For the crowning moment of the past two years of my life:

The day didn't happen without its share of toil and trouble: it all began with my big family grad dinner getting postponed because my mom and my grandmother are actually really sick. However, my mom is an amazing trooper and managed to make it out to my graduation ceremony despite not feeling well. After not being sure whether my mom would make it or not, I got off the phone just to get an email saying that my diploma was damaged by the printer and they didn't notice until the day of, meaning... no diploma for me. Really?! Who does that actually happen to? Me apparently, but better me that someone with worse coping mechanisms! And they're supposedly sending it to me by mail anyway.

However, my amazing sister and her boyfriend saved the day. After the ceremony that both my parents and Andrew made it to, the two of them took us to dinner and to see Iron Man 2. Because my sis is the sweetest person on earth, they also got me an awesome graduation present: a gift certificate from Oresta, an organic spa and confectionary right in our new neighborhood in Ottawa. How thoughtful is that?

For our weird new food of the day, I finally had my first taste of Irish Moss. I'd only ever heard of it because it's used as a coagulant in a lot of raw desserts (kind of like the raw version of vegan's use of agar agar). Irish Moss is amazing for you skin when used both topically and when ingested. It helps moisturize your skin but also helps with sunburns, eczema, and rashes. It has tons of vitamin A, B, C, and D. As a seaweed (not actually a moss), it is an excellent source of minerals, and has high levels of sulphur compounds, protein, iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, and more! Its been used to treat ulcers, bladder issues, helps prevent cancer, curbs obesity and cholesterol build up, and strengthens your hair and nails.

For our first taste of the stuff, Andrew picked up a very interesting drink tonight from Whole Foods: Bradford's B-Tonic. The company has an amazing background story, and all their products are vegan. The B-Tonic contains: Filtered Water, Organic Agave, Irish Moss, Nutrim® Oats, Green Tea, Sarsaparilla, Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, All-Spice, Cloves, Star Anise, Cardamom, Flax Seed, Gum Arabic, Agar, Black Pepper, Vanilla Extract, Kosher Salt. Sounds good to me! But I never knew Irish Moss would taste so... coagulate-y. The taste was a wonderful mix of warm spices, but the texture was really something unique and that requires getting used to! It's probably one of those things you need to drink while thinking it's good for you :) (photo source)

Finally, on the food and workout-side, I think some of you may have noticed I've been in something of a minor slump. Though I've been trying lots of new recipes, I haven't been feeling as energetic and as happy as usual with myself. Workouts have been just as intense but leave me feeling meh. I think it's because I've been more focused on trying new recipes than taking care of my diet, which means an overabundance of nuts, raw grains, and dried fruit. I haven't been focusing nearly enough of fresh fruits and veggies.

To get things back on track, I've finally decided to bite the bullet. I'm going on my first REAL 7 day juice feast modeled after the idea of a Chakra Juice Feast I started a couple weeks ago but was never able to complete. I'll be sticking to chakra juices every day for the next 7 days starting tomorrow. I'll also simultaneously starting a 14 day cleanse which I'll unveil tomorrow. Finally, workout-wise, I'm super excited for Gina's new Summer Shape Up which is suppose to start on Monday. It all seems to be such synchronistic timing! Can't wait to get back on track with my health! I'll of course be sharing with you how I feel, how the detox products are working, how the juices are making me feel, and if I'm doing anything extra (workout, dry brushing, colonic, etc.) Happy Weekend!