What I learned from the Cleanse

Oh Sweet Sweet Cuppa Joe.

Oh Sweet Sweet Cuppa Joe.

I fully intended on writing this on Sunday night, the last official evening of the 21 day cleanse but here we are on Wednesday and I’m just sitting down to reflect!  The cleanse was a great challenge.  I found myself in many situations where the temptation to indulge in a cup of coffee or a bottle…I mean glass of red wine… was very strong.  Even Sunday, the last day of the cleanse I found myself justifying why it would be okay if I just had a cup of coffee on my drive home from the beach.  But, I made it!  21 days without coffee, wine, oil, refined sugars, refined grains, or added salt.

Here are some of the things I learned/noticed:

  • During the first week I lost about 4 pounds.  4 pounds of which I gained over the holidays and was mostly inflammation from all the wine and sugar I consumed. bleh.  That’s gross.  I was glad to see it go.

 

  • After that my weight stayed pretty much steady, hovering between 123 and 125.  I found that annoying.  My normal running weight is between 118 and 125 and I know that my annoyance came from a place that maybe isn’t completely healthy.  In Asia, I was about 10 pounds lighter and I think I (sub)consciously believe I should be that thin.  This is a belief I need to challenge.

 

  • I really really like coffee and wine and salt. BUT, I’m not dependent on any of them.  I didn’t have withdrawal headaches and I didn’t have trouble sleeping or calming down in the evening without wine.  I did feel a bit sad though to not have it and my first cup of coffee on Monday morning felt AAAAAMAZING. Seriously, I was on cloud nine buzzing through my morning.

 

  • I had to eat ALOT to feel satisfied.  I kept thinking I would get used to the lack of salt and oil.  I guess I did to some degree but the lack of salt was pretty annoying to me for most of the 3 weeks.  It did teach me though that I do not need as much salt.  I learned today in one of the lectures for the Plant Based Nutrition course I’m taking that we do not actually need to add any sodium to our diets, even if we are completely plant based.  We’ll get enough sodium.  However, most of the sodium that Americans eat is not from salting their foods but rather in the packaged foods they consume.  Fortunately, we eat very little processed food!  I’m hoping to blog more on this topic (and really food labels in general) soon.

 

  • While I’m not swearing off oils and salt for good, I am much more aware of their use.  I will not use oil as regularly.

 

  • I think I need a larger whole grain rich snack in the afternoon so I’m not famished at dinner time.  Typically, I try to keep my snacks to things like fruit and veggies and occasional nuts, but I think eating a bowl of brown rice, quinoa, oats or something of the sort with some veggies might help me not feel like eating the entire refrigerator for dinner!

 

  • Eating clean is obviously a priority for me.  I am opposed to consuming animals and their products for a long list of reasons  including many health reasons.  While I know there are benefits to not consuming alcohol, coffee, sugar, oil, and salt, I’m willing to allow for small amounts of them in my diet.  I usually  try to make the best choices possible when it comes to these things.

 

  • The cleanse helped me re-establish some habits that had slipped a little–like drinking lemon water, tea, and doing morning yoga.  It helped me put an end to the holiday sugar and wine over gluttony.  Instead of eating olives by the handful, it make me more aware of how many of these extras I was consuming in my salad and I started the habit of just chopping a few up and mixing them in really well.

On Monday, aside from drinking about a cup and a half of coffee in the morning, most of my day was pretty much the same until evening when I had a drink.  And then 2 more. eek.  I ended up going out with some friends (a rare occasion for me) and then we I got home, all our housemates/friends and their boyfriends/girlfriends were there.  It was such a nice vibe and I had to share a glass of wine with my friends! So I drank too much, especially after giving my body such a cleaning!  Woooweee.  It hit me.  Everyone went to bed by 10 (we are getting old) and I was up.  I stayed up and ate!  I swear I had like half a jar of peanut butter and a giant bowl of oats along with a few leftovers in the fridge.  I went to bed at midnight feeling physically and emotionally yucky.  And then I woke up at 4 AM, wide awake still feeling physically and emotionally ill.  So what did I do?  I got up and started doing the good work.  I made some lemon water with cayenne.  I made some tea.  I did yoga in the living room and saw everyone off to work, starting with Danny at 4:30, then Josh, then Tasha, then Casey.  I allowed myself some coffee in hopes to loosen my tight tummy.  I drank a giant green smoothie once my stomach began feeling okay again.

This blue eyed drool monster is so full of life.  He's lalalalalalalaloping and scooting all over the place.  Reminding me that LOVE is the answer.

This blue eyed drool monster is so full of life. He’s lalalalalalalaloping and scooting all over the place. Reminding me that LOVE is the answer.

The rest of the day was so gassy but after a long walk with a good friend at a my favorite park, I was feeling much better.  By the time I got to yoga in the evening, other than gassing the heck out the the yoga session, I felt okay. Recovered.  Lesson learned?  Eh.  For now. I gave myself grace and laughed about it with a friend.  This morning, I stayed in bed an extra 30 minutes after my alarm clock–an act of love for myself knowing that I had only had 4 hours of sleep the previous night and would need the rest.  Also thinking about how next week my new nanny job starts and we’ll be out the door at 6:40 every morning!

Well–that about does it.  Time for bed!


They told me I’d never be the same

As I watched my belly grow and stretch in ways I never dreamed possible last year, I was told over and over that my body would never be the same.  I figured these loving and wise women were referring to the outer appearance of my tummy.  ha. Little did I know.

Last February!  What a different a year makes

Last February! What a different a year makes

celebrating my belly, full of love

celebrating my belly, full of love

I think they might have actually been alluding to the fact that my pelvic floor, no matter how many kegels I do, will never feel as strong and tight as it did pre baby.  I didn’t realize how strong it was pre-baby because why would I think about such a thing?  But now, 10 months after spending 22 hours in labor and 6.5 hours pushing a baby out while I could actually feel my muscles tearing open, I still get sore down yonder after a long walk/run/day.  Maybe they were referring to the lack of bladder control I would have for quite some time. Yep. I’ve totally peed my pants on multiple occasions post pregnancy (and I’m not counting the times I coughed and a little came out).  Or maybe, just maybe, some of them were speaking of the poop.  While I was pushing, I remember hearing over and over–“push just like you’re pooping, just like you’re pooping!”  Well, it seems that all that “pushing like you’re pooping” did something to my pooping mechanisms, as now, when I get the urge to poop, there had better be a bathroom within about half a second of me or I’m in trouble.

I write this because I had a particularly embarrassing moment today involving poop–embarrassing not because anyone knew (accept for all the people I shamefully walked by on the way home that could probably smell me) but embarrassing because I felt like all my dignity was stripped away and running down the back of my legs and onto the socks that I had to throw away at the park. Yes. I apologize if you are adverse to speaking about poop but this is really something I wish someone would have shared with me before it started happening for me.  Like, “oh by the way, you might crap yourself after you deliver a child”.

Pregnancy and child birth changes things.  My midwife comforted me afterwards by saying, “Well, the good news is you’re body will never be the same” referring to the fact that my tight runners pelvic muscles were now nice and stretched out and future babies should not be as tough. “Dignity” really goes out the window with all the crazy things that happen in pregnancy.  And thats before you’re naked, moaning and panting, grunting and heaving, sweating, vomiting, pooping, bleeding and tearing as you bring a new life into the world.  Any dignity you have after that, well, that goes out the window when you shit your pants on a walk 30 minutes from home with a baby strapped to your belly.

Thank heavens for compassionate, wise midwives

Thank heavens for compassionate, wise midwives

The moment I knew nothing would be the same

The moment I knew nothing would be the same

IMG_1142

My right leg is covered in scars from epic adventures–a mishap trekking in the jungle in Thailand, a burn from a motorcycle exhaust in India, and some narly zigzags from rusty barbed wire on a trail run in South Africa.  I wear those scars with pride.  Why then, has my culture taught me to feel shameful about my mama scars?  Why do I look in shame at the tummy’s of my friends who have not had babies and feel inadequate because mine is no longer as flat or because I have what I like to refer to as “maternal fat stores” on my hips for nursing.  Why am I not taught to love these changes to my body–they are a reminder of the greatest gift.  They are a reminder of how my body lovingly grew my son and the connection that only I share with him–that for a while, we were one.  That his heart beat inside of me.  That alone makes a crapping my pants worth it.

This is something I need to work on.  I need to work on rejecting the notion that my body should look and behave exactly as it did pre-Leif.  How could it?  The moment he entered the world I felt a surge of life and love rush through me and I knew that nothing could ever be the same.  I instantly understood more clearly my own mothers love.  I knew that the 9 months of pregnancy and 22 hours of believing I was dying (from pain and exhaustion) was worth it.  I’d do it again right then if I had to!  Babies change your body.  But they also change your heart.  May I stop picking the image I see in the mirror apart and start celebrating my mama scars (and planning better routes so as always be be near a toilet or a bush).

So.Worth.It

So.Worth.It


A Quick Core Workout

20 push up to side planks

2 minute plank hold on elbows

1:15 minute side plank hold each side

2×10 Ab rollers on knees or 30 mountain climbers

50 air squats

50 lunges

100 pelvic tilts

10 pull ups or 20 tricep dips

Modify as needed.


Sometimes I must remind myself…

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Today was a juice and smoothie feast day.  Its getting to that point in the evening where its just best if I crawl in bed next to my guys and join them in sleep land.  As I prepared my lunch for tomorrow–a humungo salad with all the good stuff, I was thankful that I get to chew food tomorrow!  Seriously, its like Christmas Eve.

The end of the cleanse and the end of this month will bring some major changes.  Leif and I will be providing before school fun for a first grade girl and I will be teaching two afternoons per week!  While I’m nervous about the early mornings, I know its what’s best for our little family at the moment!  It will allow us to save a bit more and help significantly with the overseas trip we have planned for the summer!  It will also provide more structure to our week and maybe I’ll feel like less of a scatter brained if I have to be at the same place every day (or maybe not)!   The family we will be working for is absolutely lovely and I’m hoping it will be the beginning of something wonderful.

So, lots of wonderful things on the horizon.  Life continues to be a bit on the wild side but no matter what comes I’m going keep chanting this mantra to myself, “happiness is an inside job.”

 


High School Geometry Begs Me to Drink Coffee

Week 2 of the cleanse is almost over and boy am I glad!  Week 2 was substantially more difficult than week 1!  It seemed to all come crashing in on me Friday afternoon. I had substituted for my dad in the morning.  I had to be at the school by 7AM–ready to to manage high school geometry without the aid of coffee.  I had not gotten adequate rest the night before as Leif had the snuffles and was up a lot in the night. I did not have time for morning yoga and the green tea was not cutting it.  I was acutely aware of how bizare it was to be walking through the high school court yard with a bunch of students pre-dawn.  I felt like a cranky vampire.

I survived the morning and went home to have lunch and get Leif before rushing off to appointments.  We snuck a walk in between appointments which helped but does not quite give me the oomph that running provides (I’m still resting my foot) and then rushed to Leif’s check up.  I don’t know why I don’t plan for it because his appointments always take a really long time and the doctor is always running behind.  I should have packed snacks because we both you starting to get hangry.  I was ready to kill for coffee by this point.  I knew that our planned trip to Trader Joe’s after his appointment would be a huge challenge (because of the coffee samples).

I didn’t get any coffee but I got just about anything that seemed like it would be easy to eat in the car–apples, snap peas, and freeze dried Jeju Oranges among other things on my list.  I could hardly wait to get through checkout to start eating.  I downed half a bottle of water in line.  We made it to the car and I devoured an apple while I was buckling Leif in!  Then I busted out the Jeju organges and had a flash back to running on Jeju Island in Korea almost exactly 3 years ago. I remember picking an orange off the side of the road before a long hill climb and enjoying it as I ran up the hill. I laughed at how different my life is now.

By the time I got home, I had finished the oranges and a second apple.  Yep, I was hungry. And frankly pissed off at the world and wanting coffee. And wine.  And then more coffee. And more wine.  While I continued to eat large amounts of fruits and veggies the rest of the evening (more than I probably needed), I managed to stay within the confines of the cleanse. I missed my evening yoga and then shrugged it off and decided that Saturday would be a fresh start, a more rested me, and plenty of time to sneak in yoga, a work out, and healthy eating.

And it did.  I jumped back on track with morning yoga and the gym.  I ate well all day and got to hang out with two amazing friends who came over to help me paint our bedroom.  I met with a delightful family I will probably start providing before school care for (I’m going to have to figure out these early mornings again….), made some delicious squash muffins for Leif, and started my first ever batch of sauerkraut from the cabbage that came in our share this week.  All of this while Josh was in Seattle! Leif was pretty amazing at keeping himself occupied in the kitchen while I worked.  I even got in my night time yoga practice after putting Leif to bed!  Take that week 2.

I didn’t make a day for juice and smoothie feast this week but will be doing it on Monday.  Which means week 3 will have 2! Week 2 was a little crazy–both physically and emotionally–I’m feeling a bit more confident that week 3 will be a good time to finish strong!  I want to end the 21 days feeling refreshed and confident.  Here’s to another 8 days!

 

compassion

I got a serious forearm workout massaging this!

I got a serious forearm workout massaging this!

These women are amazing.  And now we have a pretty wall.

These women are amazing. And now we have a pretty wall.

My Kitchen Help.

My Kitchen Help.


Kiss Peace on the Lips

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Sunday night I had a realization– Monday morning had 2 appointments with two different chiropractors for two different parts of my body at the same time. Instead of rescheduling one of them what did I do? Canceled both of them, dropped Leif at a friends and went and got sweaty at the gym- All By Myself. I knew the rest of the day would be a whirlwind of baby care (I had three babies yesterday) and I desperately needed time by myself.

It was indeed a busy day and it wasn’t until after 9 PM that I got to my evening yoga practice. So today, instead of anxiously rushing Leif out the door to get to morning swim lessons, I slept an extra 30 minutes, got up and went about my morning practices and was thankful he continued to sleep another 30 minutes. I’m canceling stuff left and right. Focusing on this Mantra: kiss peace on the lips. And this one too: you find your own happiness. Remembering that more than swim lessons, Leif needs a peaceful and rested mama. One that’s not running anxiously about all the time.

In addition to slowing down, I’ve also been incorporating more inversions into my morning yoga. Inversions are wonderful for your mind and body. We spend our day with gravity pulling everything towards our feet. When we flip our feet above our head, our brains get a wonderful dose of fresh blood. Inversions are said to:

  • Reverse gravity
  • Boost your immune system
  • Boost your mood
  • Boost your heart

Nice. Right? My favorites lately are headstand and shoulder stand. I set the timer for 1-3 minutes and just breathe with my toes playfully chilling above my head. Not sure your ready for shoulder or headstand? That’s cool– you can also get the same benefits from legs up the wall or any other pose with your feet above your heart!

Are you feeling anxious? Over committed? Is there something you can take off your plate? Say ‘no’ to?
I promise the universe will not implode if you bow out of one committee or take a few extra minutes to snuggle or practice an inversion. Just close your eyes an kiss peace on the lips.


Massaged Winter Greens with Lemon and Tahini

20140111-212727.jpgToday I really wanted to use the leftover kale and chard from our Tuesday harvest at Terry’s Berries but wasn’t sure what avenue to take with them. I originally was going to satte them in a bit of water but that sounded darn right boring. After washing and desteming (I saved the stems for tomorrow’s juice!) I started playing. Here’s what happened:

Ingredients:
1 bunch chard
1 bunch kale
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 TBLS tahini
8 kalamata olives chopped
1 large garlic clove finely chopped
6 dried figs chopped
2 T balsamic vinaget
2 tsp nutritional yeast

Directions:

  • Rinse greens and remove stems, tearing into bite size pieces.
  • Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and massage, massage, massage!
  • Let sit in the fridge for a few hours to intensify flavor