Friday, December 19, 2014

Is it All a Crap Chute?!

I just learned that my alternative living, yoga practicing, vegetarian, gluten free, green juice drinking, nutritional supplements galore consuming, past life, life lesson reading, aura identifier, spiritual guru to hundreds world-wide, spiritual touchstone in our family, and many others' lives, great-aunt has been diagnosed with cancer.

She has lived an incredibly healthy lifestyle for at least as long as I have been alive, probably longer. She is in her mid-80s and is vibrant, healthy and looks 20+ years younger than she really is. She's been doing it "right."

She made it her life purpose to offer spiritual guidance, support and healing for many, many people. I cannot recall the number of times I will get to speaking with someone about spirituality, or auras, or life lessons, and inevitably I will mention my great aunts' name, as she as been a the spiritual guidance for all of us in our very large family, and the person I am talking to will know my great aunt. It has amazed me many a time the lives she has touched, guided and gave purpose to.

And now she has cancer!

She is in good spirits and is feeling alright, but the cancer is at a progressed stage that only chemotherapy will work. Obviously this goes against everything that she has been practicing for years in healing, nurturing and protecting her body. So she will be supplementing the chemo with holistic approaches and many, many supplements.

But I have to ask - what the fuck?? I mean seriously? Embarking on my own journey of spirituality, health, wellness, clean eating and working towards becoming a health coach, I have to wonder is it worth it? My great aunt is the epitome of health and clean living, not to mention spiritual clarity, and for her, of all people, to get cancer, it really make me wonder.

Is clean living, clean eating, meditating, drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, taking your vitamins and nutritional supplements, etc., etc. really worth it?

My heart is aching at the thought of my great aunt being diagnosed with cancer because I love her dearly and she stepped into the matriarchal position when my great grandmother died, but how can someone like her, with her "good" lifestyle choices get cancer?

I know I am ranting and being negative, and yes there is a possibility the chemo will work, 85% chance actually, which is really positive to know. And I know she has lived a wonderful, healthy life well into her 80s and that's worth being grateful for. And I should look at it from that perspective. But still, it begs the question is it all a crap chute?

Eat well, do yoga, find your spiritual guided path, meditate, live happiness, help others or eat junk food, drink often and with abandon, exercise only when it is fun, not for the sake of exercise, smoke....does any of it really matter?

I don't know.

I read a statistic the other day that people who are teetotalers actually have a shorter life span than those who imbibe occasionally, even a drink a day.

What do we really know? Is it all bullshit?

My great grandmother, my great aunt's mom, died at 98 of old age, which almost never happens anymore. People always die of something - cancer, heart disease - of which they say more often than not can be controlled and monitored by diet and lifestyle choices. My great grandma just got old and eventually her body and mind stopped. But she was an hard alcohol loving, cigar smoking, potato chip loving, and eating all foods,bad and good, kind of a woman. She played tennis regularly with her friends and daughters, but did not do much otherwise for exercise. She certainly did not do yoga or drink green juice.

When I compare these two women in my life, these two matriarchal women who have held our family together, yet have led very different lifestyles, I have to compare and wonder. I am consciously choosing similar lifestyle choices to that of my great aunt because they make sense for my body, my mind and I enjoy how my overall well-being feels with these choices. Sure I will occasionally imbibe and eat something I am not supposed to, often remembering every time after that is wasn't worth it, so those indulgent times become less and less frequent. Then I look at my great grandma and wonder, what did she do right? She had her 5 o'clock cocktail and ciggy everyday, a habit that started probably before 18. Yet, she never had any major health scares and didn't get cancer.

Isn't part of why we choose alternative, healthy lifestyles is to feel good and to live as long as possible continuing to feel good, but it seems along the way you should just let go, indulge, imbibe, smoke (well maybe not, that's a generational thing), but at least enjoy the "bad" parts of life from time to time, because if this the only life we get then we may as well be happy.

And maybe that is the key to it all, not green juice and yoga, or alcohol and cigarettes, maybe all that really matters is that when you get to that age - whatever it may be, with or without cancer or any other illness - is that you lived a happy life.

So go be happy. Either by following your yoga and green juice with a glass of wine or skipping it all together to be with those you love.

I love you Aunt Barbra.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Green Juice is Festive Right?

The holiday season is challenging on every one's diet and health management, especially for those of us with food restrictions. Restricted either by choice or necessity, the holidays challenge your every food decision. There are so many social events, holiday parties, foods you only eat once a year (so you excuse eating them because it is that one time you will), excess alcohol (hey, it is celebratory), sweets, dairy, meat galore, you name it is there and it is tempting and calling your name; and try as you might to be strong, girl, you gonna cave. Don't feel bad, we all do.

Holiday menus are aimed to please a crowd, tempting most every one's inner glutinous-self, but completely alienating vegetarian, non-lactose, non-processed, non-gluten, non-sugar, non-whatever eating people. When have you ever been to a party with tempeh, collard wraps, chia pudding and green juice, yeah, not so festive, eh?

I struggle with the need to be festive and involved, but also know that my intestines, stomach and bowel movements will suffer. So I balance that teeter totter at most get togethers. If you are anything like me, inevitably, you will falter and stray from your regular eating routine, maybe even you exercise routine as well, in the spirit of the season.

I can only stray so far and so often before it catches up to me. At first I have no reaction and I deceivingly think "oh yeah, I can keep indulging," and do; but then inevitably the flatulence starts. If you are lactose intolerant you know that belly retching and nostril burning flatulence that comes when you slip and eat something from the cheese platter, or mistake a cheese sauce for a non-dairy white sauce, first comes the stinky, room clearing farts (hopefully you have people who love you anyway, despite your stinkyness, and hopefully the gas doesn't start until you leave the party). Then comes the cravings. Ever notice the worse you eat the more you want bad food? Did you know it is designed that way? It is called food science and food snackability (damn scientists playing with our yummy factor weaknesses). I am all for giving into a craving normally, within reason. But the reality of it is, the cleaner you eat the less your cravings will be for "bad" things. You will actually crave the foods that nourish, sustain and make you feel better. Because feeling good is actually contagious and once you know the difference all you want to do is stay on the feeling good side. When I slip, even just once or twice, I notice my stomach and whatever other chemical make up inside me, says "ooh, just one more," or "you've been good, go ahead." For me this voice doesn't exist most of the time, only when I find myself in a food rut with too many deviations, which unfortunately happens around the holidays.

My eating routine was initially thrown off with my trip to Spain, which again is inevitable. Try as you might, traveling throws off your eating, sleeping and exercise patterns, getting them back can be challenging. Having holidays back-up into your return from a trip is even more challenging. Who knew? Only in hindsight I guess...

I have been deviating enough that I have gone through all my warning signs my body provides to alert me it is not happy. I can ignore them, which we all do at some time (or maybe some of us never knew that they were signs at all...start listening), but ignoring will eventually cause me great discomfort. First comes the stinky gas, then the weird cravings, then the mood swings (everybody annoys me, I want to be alone all the time, only a glass of wine makes a crappy day better, work is extra stressful...), then the desire to not want to exercise kicks in. Then the "bottomless pit syndrome" happens, which is the feeling I get when I am eating substance lacking foods, so I am hungry all the time and even after I just finished eating, I want to eat more. Which is also coupled with overeating on a regular basis. I never overeat when I am eating balanced and clean. I detest the feeling of being full, especially overly full, where you can feel the food in your throat. Normally I eat just to that satiated feeling and stop, actually erring on the side of still slightly hungry. But when I am bulldozing through my body warnings, I eat, eat and then eat some more, often feeling icky after. Then comes the irregular bowel movements due to all the overeating and odd foods, first diarrhea, coupled with some face pimples, the kind that are red and hurt; then comes the irritability and restless sleeping. Lastly is the constipation. The funny thing is, as well as I know the sequence of symptoms, I still ignore them from time to time.

A little rant - sometimes, especially during the holidays, it would be nice to eat whatever the hell I want. To indulge in all the glutenous treats, cheese, creamy-whatevers, meats, dips, boozeyness that the holidays perpetuate. It would be nice to get 1 month or even 1 week to go hog wild. I mean sure I can do this, and sometimes, like now, I push it too far, and I feel the miserable repercussions, making it SO not worth it. But sometimes, just sometimes, it would be nice.....

But you know what, the reality is that I want to always feel good, vibrant, healthy, capable, strong and in tune with my body. It not have those things is not worth the sacrifice of any food indulgence, for 1 day even. I always regret it the next day, because I know the value and the difference of feeling better by eating better.

So what do I do when I have gone through all the warning signs, ignoring them along the way, leading to miserableness. I go cold turkey. I know better and I know my body prefers better, so I eat the things to bring me back to center. I always start with a juice cleanse for 3 days. Halting all the discomfort and press all my own super green, super sludgy, super nasty juices and drink lots of ginger tea and water. The 3 day juice cleanse gets my mind and my body out of the over indulgent holiday food gutter. It clears my head, my skin, my bowel movements. My sleep is regulated again and is restful. For me, a juice cleanse is like hitting the reset button. It rejuvenates my tortured body. The first day is normally excruciating. Coming off my indulgent food hormonal roller coaster, not continuing to give into that gremlin-feed-me-voice is tough. And for whatever reason green juice tastes particularly nasty the first day of a cleanse (well that, and the last day, ha). But I know I will wake in the morning feeling 50% better than I did today. And the next 100%.

With my immediate juice cleanse also comes a clarity of mind and restoring self, and the days, weeks prior, where I juggled wine yoga, wine yoga, and most likely defaulted to wine, is immediately erased. Yoga and juice cleanses go hand in hand and with one you want the other, even when you force one. They both are so centering and nourishing that it reminds you why you choose this path as part of your usual health and wellness balance.

So here's a cheers with my green juice to the holidays. May yours be festive and bright, but remember your green juice and yoga. Try to maintain a sense of balance and don't over indulge. Or do, then here me say, "I told you so" (learn from my constipation), then do a juice cleanse.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tricks for Traveling Internationally with Food Allergies

I recently traveled internationally for the first time since being gluten and lactose free. Last time I travelled internationally I enjoyed baguettes, croissants, cheeses, meats and food galore in France. I knew I would enjoy taking photos of such things this time around, but my days of eating foreign cuisine with abandon is no longer. I have done plenty of domestic travel, which I have figured out tricks and my rhythm. I knew I could translate those tricks, but international travel posed a bigger challenge, mostly a language barrier. At first I was nervous, given the language barrier and the fact that I also choose vegetarianism on top of the necessity of being gluten and lactose free; and I was traveling to Spain, meat, cheese, bread erryday, erry meal-land.

Traveling as a whole, poses dietary problems: eating out often, eating when food is available due to travel limitations and not knowing when your next resources will be be available, eating odd things (gotta try the local cuisine), eating because you are starving, or tired of walking. You name it, all natural food rhythms and habits are thrown off whack – not even considering time changes, body rhythm changes, irregular bowel movements, too much sitting, a lot of walking... Traveling asks a lot of you and your natural rhythm. But that is part of the excitement of travel; it expands you, changes your perspective, offers an alternative to what you know, and asks a lot of you in different ways that your day to day life doesn't. I think that is why we all endure the heinousness of travel, small airplane seats, crappy airplane/airport food, airports as a whole, mass-transit – because travel makes us better, more empathic and understanding, people.

Traveling anywhere, but specifically to a foreign country, I upped the ante of my traveling arsenal. I normally pack snacks, supplements and fiber galore when I travel anywhere, this time we packed more. Snacks included: raw almonds, hard boiled eggs, dried fruits, carrots, raw goji chunks, almond butter sandwiches on gf bread, fresh fruit. Supplements included: probiotics, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, liquid minerals, chia seeds, phsyllium husk, Vitamin D, C, B, activated charcoal in case of upset stomach, necessities we knew we would not easily find while traveling. I always take more supplements than I would at home when I travel just because I know I am not eating as balanced of a diet and also some lose their potency, i.e. probiotics, due to the lack of regular refrigeration. So up the volume to ensure you get the true benefits of your supplements.

I also did my research before we left. I looked into popular Spanish foods and their typical preparation. Part of my saving grace eating out at home is I love food and I have tried to cook many different types of foods. I often know how a dish is traditionally prepared. With an English menu I can normally breakdown the preparation, a Spanish menu is a whole 'nother story! I know very little Spanish, and even then it is Southern Californian Mexican-Spanish. As I learned Spanish-Spanish and Mexican-Spanish are not the same. I could deduce some words with my many years of French, but still, not really. I figured knowing popular Spanish dishes would be helpful: case in point, gazpacho in Spain is made with bread in it - who knew? Whenever I have had gazpacho or the many instances I make it with the glut of the tomato season, I never put bread in it. Glad I learned that the easy way! Research is always a good thing. I bought The Gluten-Free Guide to Spain by Maria Ann Roglieri, PhD, as a safety precaution, but only read it before I traveled. I never opened it there, nor referenced it. And what info it provided I found with an hour or so of Google searching and familiarizing myself with the Spanish cuisine. Save the luggage space.

The two crucial things I learned were: "Yo soy celiaco" and "Sin gluten". While I have never been tested for celiac disease I am fairly certain I am, just by my incredible sensitivity now. I can't even open a bag of regular flour without sneezing and getting an itchy throat and eyes. I figured "yo soy celiaco" (I am celiac) wound indicate the severity of my allergy without any room for error. I also brought a food allergy card, which many websites recommend as back up, but I never felt the need to use it. Knowing how to say I have celiac disease in the language lead me in the safest direction each time.

We found most people understood and were extremely accommodating when we said "yo soy celiaco." Sometimes they would ask does that mean "sin gluten?" Waitstaff were accommodating, between their rough English and our very rough Spanish they helped us navigate menus and even ordered off the menu for us. We had some incredible meals with tons of vegetables and plenty of garlic and olive oil (they are not shy with either, which we loved – like home cooking). Gluten seemed to be confused with dairy, corn and oddly potatoes. But all in all, we had no adverse reactions while traveling in Spain. Phew!

The other of way of controlling your limited diet while traveling is to not eat out for every meal, but to find a nearby grocery store or market and stock up on foods you know you can eat with no problem. Albeit you might get bored of the same things after a week or more, at least you know what you are eating. Spain had beautiful outdoor markets – mercados – filled with fresh fruits, veggies, meats, cheeses, seafood, you name it. They were amazing! We never ate breakfast out. We would stock up on plain greek yogurt, incredibly delicious fresh fruit (the fruit in Spain is amazing) and raw nuts. We would get items to tie us over in case we didn't want to venture out after a long day of exploring, exhausted, struggling to navigate a menu in a foreign language. We would get veggies galore: tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions; fruit: grapes, bananas, apples (for my gf traveling companion, I can't eat apples or any stone fruit), citrus. We got many different kinds of nuts and dried fruit; some goat cheeses, which I have minimal reactions to. Luckily we found a Mediterranean packaged brand of Spanish vegetarian foods with a very clean ingredient list. They were marked with the European gluten free symbol. We started with trepidation, eating only small amounts waiting for reactions, but when they didn't come we enjoyed spinach with chickpeas and roasted peppers and artichokes in oil with abandon. These were a nice find that made our grocery store meals feel more complete.

I have to say traveling with a gluten free, vegetarian and health-conscious-minded friend made all the difference in the world. We understood each other's limitations. We could navigate menus together, putting our butchered Spanish together to make sense of items. Being with someone who placed importance on having provisions to tide us over was so nice. There was never a struggle of hunger and exhaustion, while trying to navigate a foreign menu, with very limited options for a gf, lf, vegetarian diner – forcing a meal out, which inevitably leads to poor choices and possible allergic reactions.

Eating vegetarian was also easier than I expected. I had read before we left that Spanish think a dish is vegetarian even if it includes pork "for flavoring". We were able to eat little to no meat while we were there, mostly fish and at towards the end of the trip we purchased a small roasted chicken (I think we were looking for something comforting and substantial). We never experienced a lacking of fresh vegetables and vegetarian options. We consciously chose simple vegetable dishes to avoid hidden unknowns. I tried some of the cured meats, risky I know, but Spain is known for their Iberica jamon and cured meats, I felt I had to at least try a little. I was able to find some "sin gluten," which was reassuring. And yum!

All in all, traveling internationally was less daunting that expected being a special-needs-diner. Doing research prior to traveling on traditional cuisine in the area and relying on grocery store and market finds, as go-to provisions, allowed us the flexibility to explore and enjoy without the concern of not being able to eat a clean meal. Preparedness and a willingness to eat simply allows for enjoyable traveling experiences. And as much as I love food and I can't indulge in all the delicacies of a foreign country's cuisine like I used to, I was still able to navigate and eat smart, yet still get a sense of the delicious cuisine of the country.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Page Turners - Books You Must Read: Grain Brain

I am always doing research. I love information. I love learning all sides of a topic. I love getting as much information before I make my own decisions. I constantly source details, articles, documentaries, forums, blogs and books about nutrition, health, exercise and wellness. These subjects fascinate me and are huge passions in my life.

I read nutrition books like people read suspenseful detective novels. Staying up late into the night waning drowsiness just to see what will be on the next pages, or struggling to keep my eyes open just to finish the chapter. 

I find the study of our bodies, how they move, how they digest, process, retain, obtain, learn, injure, cure.....I find food interesting from cooking, to eating, to allergies, to traditional cultures, evolutionary change, scientific changes, the more information I find about these topics the more I want to know. And Kindle is great because it is always recommending similar books to the one I just read. If I had all the time in the world I would read and write (well and maybe, do some yoga and cook) all day every day.

I just finished Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, MD. I couldn't put it down and then when I did, all I wanted to do was talk about it and tell everyone what I just learned.

While many of the topics covered I knew or had read about on the periphery. The detail and range of topics Perlmutter covers is mind-blowing. I always assumed gluten had great adverse affects for those who ignore it and those you have a mental incapacity already, but to read from a neurologist the devastating effect gluten has on most brains from diabetes to ADHD to schizophrenia to Alzheimer's was just amazing. It was interesting to read scientific evidence and from a doctor in the current healthcare system debunking what so many of us, our government included, hold true. I have always been flabbergasted by the disconnect between health care and nutrition, like there are not seemingly related, but Perlmutter points out the ludicrous nature and practice of our current healthcare system. It was so refreshing to hear someone from within the industry to come out, against pharmaceuticals, against big agribusiness, even the government to say how we have been doing is wrong, and trajectory we are on, and is even recommended, is actually killing us and making us sicker. Hallelujah! Finally someone said it, and someone with clout.

Alternative medicine has been saying this for years, quietly and in it's own way. You kind of had to source it out yourself. If you have chosen or even happened upon alternative medicine for your own healthcare needs, you know. You know first hand how crucial nutrition is to everything we do, from sleep, to defecation, to consumption, to mental stability and focus, to sex drive, you name it, nutrition plays a role in everything we do. And we need our bodies to do these things. In order to do them well and with enjoyment, we have to fuel our bodies with good, whole, organic, natural, real foods, not the foods we have been told to eat.

I would recommend reading Grain Brain to anyone. Even if you are already living an "alternative lifestyle," but since when did real food, that you can find locally or better yet grow yourself, become "alternative"? Eating food that comes in packages, in a cardboard box or wrapped in plastic and has no identifying feature that it came from the Earth, IS alternative. It is like we are eating "space food" yet making it our everyday lives. Even if you are already gluten free or even toying with going gluten free for your own health needs, this book is eye opening. I learned a lot and I have now added my mental and brain health to the list of priorities on my wellness journey. I've specifically added some of Perlmutter's recommended supplements to my daily routine.

Fascinating excerpts from Grain Brain (of which there are a plethora) (Just go read the book!):
  • Modern grains are silently destroying your brain
  • I believe that the shift in our diet that has occurred over the past century-from high-fat, low-carb to today's low-fat, high-carb the origin of...chronic headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, movement disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, and those senior moments that quite likely herald serious cognitive decline and...Alzheimer's.
  • 133 pounds of wheat the average American consumes in a year - Wha!!?? Serial dude!? No wonder...
  • Preventable, non-communicable disease account for more deaths worldwide today than all other diseases combined. - Meaning we can control our "inevitable" diseases with lifestyle choices!
  • Gluten sensitivity represents one of the greatest and most under-recognized health threats to humanity
  • Inflammation is meant to be a spot treatment. It's not supposed to be on for prolonged periods of time, and never forever. But that's what's happening to millions of people. Unbridled inflammation is rampant..[and is the] fundamental cause of the morbidity and mortality associated with coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and virtually every other chronic disease you can imagine.
  • LDL has been given the derogatory title of "bad cholesterol." In reality, LDL is not a cholesterol molecule at all, good or bad. (!!!) The fundamental role of LDL in the brain is to capture life-giving cholesterol and transport to the neuron, where is performs critical functions. - How have we gotten this wrong for so long!? LDL is the sole carrier of cholesterol to neurons and we have spent all this time trying to lower it. So crazy! If anything we should be trying to help it.
  • There hasn't been a published study in the last 30 years that has unequivocally demonstrated that lowering serum cholesterol by eating "low-fat, low-cholesterol diet" prevents or even reduces heart attack or death rate. - Again crazy! The low fat craze was blatantly wrong. And the fats we are eating today are bad for us. We need to and should be consuming large amounts of good fats: olive oils, coconut oil, naturally occurring oils in nuts, seeds and avocado. We can't be so afraid of fat. It is crucial to our body's functions. Perlmutter even goes on to explain the ramifications of low-fat and low-cholesterol is worse on your heart and brain than if you were to eat high fat. A high fat diet does not cause heart attacks. We have had it all backwards for years!
  • The human dietary requirement for carbohydrate is virtually zero; we can survive on a minimal amount of carbohydrate, which can be furnished by the liver as needed. But we can't go long without fat. Unfortunately, most of us equate the idea of eating fat to being fat, when in reality, obesity has to do with our addiction to carbs. - The low-fat craze of the 80s and 90s is the exact time we started seeing obesity rates and chronic diseases increase. Helloo!??! Sign much? We are not fat from fats, we are fat because we have cut out good fats.
  • Gluten is our generation's tobacco.
  • The more sugars we eat, the more we tell our bodies to transfer them to fat.
  • Cardiovascular exercise rivals diabetes medication in helping patients.
I literally could go on and on and on, the amount of bookmarks I made in the book is astounding; each one better and more profound than the next. If you want to have the curtain pulled back in front of you and you want confirmation for all the things you have been thinking, or even if this is your first time hearing them, you have to read what Dr. Perlmutter has to say. 

Grain Brain is eye opening.

Go read it now!

(Because I have to jump from one page turner to the next, and Kindle so kindly recommended it, I have started Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. I am 4 chapters in and I am already amazed by the history of wheat and how much it has changed over time because of human modifications. The wheat consumed thousands of years ago is not even remotely the same wheat we eat today. And this really makes you wonder why we are seeing a correlation between this "new" genetically modified grain and an increase in obesity and many diseases? Oh I just can't wait! Report back later.)

My Approach to Seasonal Allergies

Last fall when I had some of the worst seasonal allergy symptoms ever, I was grasping at straws to help alleviate my symptoms. I did extensive research and purchased these organic, gluten free supplements. You have to take a decent amount (expect some flatulence) and you have to start taking them before you have symptoms. But I found them helpful.

Natural Supplements that Aide with My Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies and Help Calm and Open Airways
  • Slippery elm
  • Tumeric
  • Ginger
  • Licorice
  • Ginko biloba
  • Quercetin
  • Stinging nettle

This year I started taking the supplements as soon as the leaves started to change, along with my many other nutritional supplements. When I had little to no symptoms this year, I stopped taking them.

I rely on my rescue inhaler only in dire situations, but first I try extra strong peppermint tea, breathing deeply as I sip, Olbas Natural nasal inhaler and Allegra (in that order).

For years I avoided a "prescription" seasonal allergy medication, thinking it would be "weak" of me or a "Band-Aid" for something I should be able to overcome. Also I hated all antihistamines and nasal decongestants that I had tried. They always made my mind foggy, made me extremely drowsy and thirsty. I figured suffering through my seasonal allergies was better than the side effects of these chemicals. Again last year, because my symptoms were so bad I was willing to try anything, so I grabbed a box of Allegra. Expecting for the worst, I was pleasantly surprised when my allergy symptoms were quickly relieved without the nasty side effects of drowsiness, unquenchable thirst and mind fog. Allegra works for me, but everyone is different. Don't be afraid to try multiple solutions to find what works for you. Know that drowsiness, mind fog and whatever other bad symptoms are not necessary to suffer through just because you are suffering from allergies.

Now I only take Allegra in the heat of my symptoms, but I have found that if you take your allergy medication consistently for a few days in the midst of symptoms, even a day past your allergies being gone. You actually take less in an allergy season, with fewer symptoms, than if you take it only when you desperately need it.

I also alter my diet. Removing nightshades, alcohol, all bread-like products (yes, even gluten free) and dairy, eating mostly low glycemic vegetables and a trusted organic, gluten free brown rice which I have never had a reaction to. And I wait out the season. See Foods to Avoid for Allergies by Mother Nature Network for more info on this approach.

This year I was lucky, or maybe I have finally found the perfect balance throughout the year (read my struggle in post Seasonal and Food Allergies) that I used very little of my typical arsenal, if at all any, and I actually was able to "cheat" a bit in my normally restricted seasonal allergy diet.

If you are anything like me, you are willing try anything alternative to alleviate your throbbing head and raw nose. Maybe my trial and error and suffering can help you through the seasons. Good luck and stock up on tissue.

Friday, October 17, 2014

We Don't Know S*** About Food

It always boggles my mind the conflicting information I hear people profess about eating well, exercise, nutrition and wellness.

It amazes me how often I hear someone claim a food knowledge tidbit that is completely wrong, something like, most recently, "Lobster is super healthy for you." "Gluten free products are healthier for you than regular wheat products." "I don't have food allergies," (even though their body seems to be saying otherwise). "I know I should do [enter healthy thing here], but it is too hard."

It is not our fault that we don't know anything about how to eat, when to eat, what to eat. The reality is there is SO much information out there and it seems each study that is published proves the previous one inaccurate. How frustrating!

The same goes for exercise. One day it is recommended to exercise 5 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Then again you don't get maximum rewards until you hit the 90 minute mark, so keep sweating. You need to do aerobic exercise, nope, anaerobic, lift weights, don't lift weights, you'll bulk up! 


The reality is there is so much out there because different things work for different people. Rather than throwing your hands up in frustration and saying forget it I quit. Start experimenting. Start learning and start listening to your body. Start the journey to finding what works best for you, and only you will discover what works for you. Trust yourself.

Feeling good perpetuates wanting to continue to feel better. Each time you make a choice in a positive healthful direction; be it drinking 1 less soda a day and replacing it with 2 glasses of water; decreasing your caffeine intake, or switching your morning sugary cold cereal with protein, you'll start to notice subtle changes like sleeping more restfully, not getting as frequent headaches, pooping better. Although these might be subtle, each small change leads to another and another and then eventually you realize you don't even think of the old habits.

We give up because we get frustrated and being healthy feels like an all or nothing step. But it is not. Take baby steps. Add an extra veggie to each meal. Take a walk a few days a week, but don't beat yourself up if you have a really hectic week and only get 1 day in. Try again next week. Try a new workout class even if you feel intimated, the endorphin rush after will excite you and make you feel awesome!

If you are inclined and want to know more, do your research. Knowledge is power. There is a lot of information out there, be it documentaries, books, health coaches, blogs, what have you. If you are curious seek out information. Being afraid of information is worse than knowing more, because then you can start to make educated decisions that work best for you. Also don't be afraid to try something. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, it is not you that failed, nor the method, it just isn't a natural fit for you and your lifestyle. No hard feelings. Move onto something else.

All wellness, health and nutrition decisions, backed with knowledge and the desire to feel good, will be led by your gut, literally and figuratively. Trust you gut. Not your immediate cravings or urges, but that voice in the back of your head that says, "Really you know you shouldn't..." or "You know you really should switch this for that," listen to this voice. We all have the basic knowledge to lead healthful lives. If you proceed with that basic knowledge: more veggies, fresh fruits, real, homemade foods, more water, less sugar, less meat, less alcohol, less cigarettes, less caffeine, less wheat and move as often as possible, you can make more healthful choices on a daily basis.

And don't beat yourself up. Some days you just need a bag of potato chips or a soda. Have one. And make a better choice for your next meal. We make up to 200 food choices in a day. So you chose to eat something that is not so good for you. Fine. Enjoy, savor. But the next choice make it a better-for-you-choice.

Sure it can be confusing and frustrating and giving up seems the easiest option. But continuing to feel poorly is not the easiest option in the long run. Take tiny steps at first. Trust your instinct because we all know "what is better for us" in the most basic terms. Do those things. Listen to your body. Pay attention to how it feels. Don't you want to feel better? You can. Start small and eventually your natural endorphin rush and lessening of aches and pains will lead you to wanting to learn more and do more.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seasonal and Food Allergies

Every year, this time of year my body normally shuts down. It goes into a hyper-sensitive, constantly sneezing ooze fest of watery, itch eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat joyousness of seasonal allergies that comes with living in rural Maine.

I have always had allergies even in CA. When I visit, Dad always adoringly mentions how he knows I am home, because the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is blow my nose. My seasonal allergies were never as bad as they are until I moved to Maine. Every spring and fall it feels like my face is going to fall off, between the constant sneezing and blowing and itching, I bring my tissue box in tow where ever I go.

Before I was gf and lf, my seasonal allergies were horrendous. Coupled with my asthma, eating gluten regularly and the seasonal pollens, I regularly couldn't breathe. I would wake up in the night gasping for air, only to find temporary relief from my rescue inhaler; doze off sitting up, only moments later startled awake gasping for air.

Fall, while beautiful here, is one of my most dreaded seasons. I first discovered my gluten allergy in the fall. And I have spent many years hyper-aware of my body freak out that inevitably happens as the air cools and the leaves turn colors. The first year my body started shutting down, I barely was getting a few hours of sleep a night, I had started a new job, I couldn't eat, I couldn't breathe, I could barely walk up the stairs without getting winded. I was scared. That fall was the start of my Elimination Diet into trying to figure out and potentially eliminate my food allergies. 

That was 3 years ago. I removed gluten from my diet 3 years ago and lactose 1 year ago. But up until this fall, every fall would come the sleepless nights, the panic-y gasping for air in the middle of the night. The endless attempts from my sweet Man to try to help me. Rubbing my back as I sat up on the side of the bed, panicking, crying and struggling to breathe as I disrupted his sleep. He has bought countless HEPA air purifiers over the years. Ones with cool air because he knows the warm air makes it worse and makes me feel claustrophobic. Last year he rigged a window sized air filter that filters out the finest of air particles and pollutants, "See babe," he said, pointing at the long list of things it would trap and strain out of the air; in our bedroom window, sealing the edges with plastic and duct tape. He makes me extra strong peppermint tea in the middle of the night, sitting on the floor in the dark as I sit in the reclining chair in our living room with a fan on my face, attempting to calmly breathe in the soothing mint and eventually be able to fall asleep in an upright position. He has been there through it all, supported me the entire time and never once complained that I disrupted his sleep or was keeping him awake, even though he might have to get up in a few hours for work. Even after I would snap at him out of panic, exhausting and frustration he still waits to see what he could do to help and make me more comfortable and less scared. (And yes I know he is a KEEPER!).

He noticed the other day that "it" hasn't happened yet this year. He's right. September is almost over and none of my typical seasonal allergy madness has happened. Yes I sneeze about 50 times a day. And I blow my nose a lot. And I can't wear my contacts all day. But none of the super scary, middle of night gasping for air, panic attacks are happening. Even as I am typing this I am worried about saying it out loud for fear that it will happen tonight. My many, many sleepless fall nights and inability to breathe will haunt me forever.

Normally my seasonal allergies will start with the typical signs: sneezing, itchy eyes and throat, blowing my nose constantly, then it will transition into feeling overly full after every meal even when I consciously didn't overeat, then it will turn into waking up in the middle of the night to pee or drink water only to turning into a sniffling, stuffy nose escapade where I can't fall back asleep for hours due to a stuffy nose, which eventually turns into repeated fitful nights where I just barely fall asleep and then wake up in a panic gasping for air and my rescue inhaler does nothing to help, repeating throughout the entire night.

Normally this time of year, I really pare down my diet to basically an Elimination Diet of organic, gluten free brown rice and veggies, with smoothies, green juices and simple salads during the day, no dairy, no gf products, no nightshade veggies, no extra seasonings, no meats. Last fall, I introduced anti-inflammatory supplements and supplements that aide with seasonal allergies: slippery elm, tumeric, ginger, licorice, ginko biloba, quercetin and stinging nettle. While I have trimmed my normal diet down and started my supplements again in anticipation of the immanent seasonal doom, I am still able to occasionally eat gluten free bread and some lactose free cheeses. I even made gf scones this morning. And I am still not getting that telling overly full feeling. Something is different this year....

I noticed last week that I can't drink alcohol right now, which is a normal cutback for my fall. I can tell when I have to cut it out, because I will have a small drink and immediately get stuffed up and get this really weird pressure behind my eyes and nose. I noticed this the other day after a few sips into a glass of wine. I tested it again the other day, same thing, so booze is out for now, but if that is it, I will gladly give it up!

I am not sure what is different this year. I know the pollen levels and pollutant levels have been extraordinarily high this season. So what gives? Not that I am by any means looking for the usual body freak out, trust me! It just seems too good to be true, I am knocking on wood right now just in case. I have noticed some mild versions of my typical allergy freak out but not the full on I feel like I am going to die scenario, phew.

A couple things that are different this year that I am considering might be helping: 

I practice yoga daily. This is new for me this year. I started daily practice back in February. So this is my first fall with regular practice. I have heard yoga has amazing benefits for those with asthma. Possibly yoga is helping in yet another amazing way. I heart yoga. Exercise is normally impossible for me in the fall because it asks too much of my already drained body and requires me to breathe harder, which normal breathing is already a challenge. Especially outside exercise, but I have even been practicing outside regularly with no additional aggravation.

The other thought is we recently tore out the carpet in our house. We have talked about tearing out the carpet for years and we finally did it over Labor Day, but come to think of it, my seasonal freak out normally starts around the last week of August or the first of September, and I wasn't reacting then either....hmmm. We pulled out the carpet which was god-knows-how-old and put down hardwood flooring. I always thought the carpet was evil, not just because it was a heinous old-lady-blue, but because I swore it made my allergies worse, and now it's gone. So maybe it was the carpet...who knows!?

Either way, something is different this year. I have limited my diet like normal, but actually not as strictly in years past. I normally let my body reactions and allergies guide me, right now my body is not making rigid demands. So far I am actually surviving a fall season! No sleepless gasping-for-air-nights. And I can exercise daily, yoga, running, TRX and all. I haven't even used my rescue inhaler yet. Just the typical sneezes and nose blowing. Here's hoping that's all it will be this year, maybe I have finally found some relief to this seasonal allergy madness. I have worked so hard to control my diet and remove the probable causes of food allergies. Maybe the perfect combination of yoga, clean eating, added supplements and a hypoallergenic home have lead me to seasonal allergy nirvana.

Fingers crossed....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Balance is key. In everything you do. Dance all night long and practice yoga the next day. Drink wine but don't forget your green juice. Eat chocolate when your heart wants it and kale salad when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday and walk barefoot on Sunday. Go shopping at the mall and then sit down to meditate in your bedroom. Live high and low. Move and stay still. Embrace all sides of who you are and live your authentic truth! Be brave and bold and spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence and patience and modesty and peace.

Aim for balance. Make your own rules and don't let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs."

#love #live #life #balance #yoga #yogaeverydamnday #beach #inspiration#freedom #happiness

Rachel Brathen

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Be Kind to Yourself, You Are Beautiful

A few things have crossed my path in the last week or so that have made me think about women; our perception of self, of beauty, of each other and our insecurities. The concept of beauty remains to be this unattainable entity that every woman strives to achieve, yet never fully feels they get there, even when verified by others. Women hold themselves to incredibly unfair standards, constantly comparing and judging others, and more harshly themselves.

I went to a remote island with a group of friends last week. It was perfect day. The sun was shining, the water was cool and clear. We had the entire beach to ourselves. It was spectacular. There were women, men, a bunch of kids and a dog. It was a sand-sun-filled day. As I enjoyed the obvious beauty and freeing nature of an island beach all to ourselves, I noticed something else; women covered head to toe, sweating in the sun, more concerned about their bodies than enjoying the day. This broke my heart. I will take any excuse to be in a bathing suit. Maybe it is because I grew up on a beach and a beach to me means free, clothing-less happiness and lots of swimming. I just assume everyone has the same enthusiasm at the first hint at a beach day. But then I realized the reality is more like anxiety for most women around a beach day.

The perception of our bodies is completely unfair, media and Hollywood culture lead us to believe we should stay covered up unless we have perfect chiseled muscle definition and no extra fat anywhere, but the reality is most of the women in this world aren't like that. We are busy women, moms, career women, moms with careers and houses to maintain, mortgages to pay, an insane amount of responsibility to maintain our lives, that fitness gets bumped down on the priority list, naturally. Hollywood women and women depicted in magazines are paid to look like that, that is there full-time job to work that hard to look like that. It is completely unrealistic that the everyday woman compare and judge herself to that perception of body image, it is like comparing apples and oranges. So stop.

I came across The Expose Project, Shedding Light on Collective Beauty, these beautiful photographs of real women. Women who we can relate to because they look like us. Women of all shapes and sizes, because that is what is real, women like you and me. We should not judge each other on our rolls or stretch marks, we should not judge each other at all, because the reality is we are all just living our lives and trying to find our own individual happiness.

I loved clicking through the images of The Expose Project because the women looked happy and comfortable in their own skin; and beautiful. The beauty came from the twinkle in the eye, the huge smile and the ability to bare it all regardless of the potential judgment. I love how liberating that looked and I suspect felt.

Back to my day on the beach. I was surrounded by beautiful women, mostly moms, who refused to take off their clothes. This meant not digging in the sand with their kids, going for a swim in the cool water, playing football and bocce ball in the sand or trying the paddle-board out. But it made me wonder what if we were all easier on each other and subsequently ourselves. If we all cared a little less about what others thought and willingly showed our bodies, extra rolls, stretchmarks, cellulite, 6-pack abs, thigh gap, or lack thereof, showed it all, #loveyourlines we would all start to actual see what real bodies look like. We would start to see real as beautiful rather than having this skewed sense of reality because we only see "perfect" bodies in bathing suits. And even then by the time we see those images in magazine they have been so re-touched that the realness of the model/actress is entirely removed. We need to learn to love what our bodies are, not what they aren't so we can help others and especially younger girls know that there is no shame in wearing a bikini regardless of what your body looks like.

By not taking of our clothes, society doesn't see that are other definitions and images of beauty. By covering up we are claiming silently that there is reason to be ashamed. Young girls around us get used to seeing only magazine bodies uncovered, not mom's or auntie's or grandma's and they instantly compare and question why. If we all wore our bathing suits with pride, the illusion of perfect bodies would diminish because we would all see that we are all beautiful in our own right. Our bodies are what allow us to move and live on this Earth in this form. For women it allows us to bare children and create new life. We all have stories to tell, inner strength and a beauty that if more people would see, would start to see the real you, not the image of the you you struggle to portray; holding your breath, covering up and sucking your stomach in for others to not see what you judge so harshly.

Men are not concerned by judgement or fat or paleness or stretchmarks. They take it off and run around with pride. Men always can look at themselves and find strength and pride to be a man. Women should and can do the same. Find something to be proud of that makes you a woman. I think we can all learn from men, they willingly take their shirts off at a moments notice and they aren't ashamed to show their bellies, hairy chests and backs, moobs, pasty-whiteness. If they can do it, why can't we?

As uncomfortable as it might be, the next time you go to the beach with a group of friends, bring your bathing suit and actually let people see it. If one of you is gutsy enough in the group to bare it all, eventually others will too. It is a domino effect. We see other women, normal women, having fun, enjoying the sun and the water, enjoying the whole point of being at the beach that you stop noticing her cellulite and stretchmarks, but instead notice the beauty from within of having fun, smiling and participating in life. We can't just let our lives pass by covered up. Think of the message that perpetuates to the younger generation of girls. We are getting further and further away from allowing them to find beauty in self if we insist on portraying that we are not beautiful, involved and loving life, because we are too concerned about what our bodies look like in bathing suits.

So suit up, put on your sunscreen, head out to the beach and have no shame. At first you might be self-conscious and nervous, but as soon as you start digging in the sand with your kids, or killing it at football in the waves, or even just laying and reading your magazine feeling how nice it is to have the warm sun on your rarely exposed skin, you will forget that you are indeed in a bathing suit, but instead will notice how beautiful the day is and how beautiful your life is.

And if you need one last bit of encouragement, look at all the beautiful photos of The Expose Project as a reminder that beauty comes in all packages. We could all be a little bit more confident and less apologetic like the beautiful women in these photos. Thanks Liora K and Jes Baker for shedding light on the real beauty each woman is born with, by showing us the beauty in others, so we may see it in ourselves.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cleanse Complete

I decided to go 5 days with my juice cleanse. 5 days felt right and sufficient enough to purge my body of the last month of debauchery, well not quite debauchery, but definitely more than normal of everything for me.

Today, first day after the cleanse I feel great. I don't feel bogged down or lethargic. I feel light and clearheaded. My skin is clear and body feels good from the inside. My bowel movements are a little irregular, but that is to be expected with a cleanse. I can already feel them normalizing again. On my cleanse the schedule was not that erratic, just less volume. I still had my usual morning and mid-day movements.

The last 2 days of the cleanse I added 1 small meal to the day. It was either a bowl of fruit or a salad. Although I wasn't feeling poorly, I was more or less sick of juice. By day 5 morning juice I found myself gritting my teeth and sipping my juice slightly gagging each time, like enough already.

I did yoga each day of my cleanse and some paddle boarding yesterday. My practice was less intense than normal and I really let my body lead each practice. Some days my balance was horribly off, other days inversions made me lightheaded, so I just moved slowly and paid attention to what my body could handle. What I found amazing was my centering and focus. For my 1 hour or so of practice each day, my head was silent and all I could focus on was the position I was holding or transitioning into. While my body did not feel weak, I was mesmerized by the stillness of my mind. Part of the reason I love yoga is because it, and any form of exercise with intent really, calms my mind. My mind is always busy, always planning or making to do lists. I love the forced silence of yoga, but doing yoga while on my cleanse was a whole new level of stillness. I usually find my mind wandering during my normal practice and I have to consciously refocus. These past 5 days however, I had no wandering, just complete and utter focus on calm breathing, balance and transitions. So cool! If fasting gets me to that level of silence, I may do them more often than every few months, maybe even once a month.....

I always do juice cleanse when I feel the need to. My body just doesn't feel "right" and no matter how clean I eat or consciously I consume, there is a focus that a cleanse always reestablishes. I also like the time after a cleanse, hunger is not as obvious and I can consciously identify real hunger verses boredom. Also I consume much less, portions are smaller and less food fills me up. I like this sense of  body/mind control around food. We forget how much of our day and thoughts are focused around food. It is neat to remove that energy around food. It is a test of will and self control, but also a priority shift away from our food driven lives.

As with any cleanse do not want to immediately jump into eating everything. You should ease back into your normal diet. Restrict portions (which your stomach will naturally do for you) and eat mostly veggies, fruits and whole grains. You will notice that you get fuller faster, but also I would highly recommend staying away from simple carbs, sugar, excessive amounts of dairy, meat and definitely alcohol. You don't want to shock your system after it has been so nicely purged. Use your body as your guidance, as always listen to what your body tells you, often you will feel "off" if you jump into eating something to quickly. Always start with a small amount of something from the list above, don't go eat a whole steak dinner, you will not be a happy camper.

I would highly recommend a juice cleanse, with guidance, to anyone. Always start with only 3 days and as you get used to the way your body responds you can ad more time with each new cleanse. Many cultures fast and I think there is an interesting mind-body-soul connection that comes with a fast. In a world where we over consume daily and are guided by advertising, agribusiness and food conglomerates in our eating choices, a forced separation is quite liberating.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cleanse Day 3

Breakfast smoothie day 3 

Almond, banana, date, cinnamon, almond milk smoothie with the usual healthy suspects: sunflower seeds, chia seeds, bee pollen, grapefruit seed extract, liquid minerals, spirulina, flax, psllium #drinkyourbfast #healthyeats #juicecleanse #feelinggood

Lunch and mid-day juice. 

Green one = "gazpacho juice" kale, garden toms, celery, cucumber, parsley Orange one: carrots, apple, sweet potato, cucumber, celery, ginger 
Both super delish!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cleanse Day 1

Breakfast smoothie
Fresh Maine blueberry, spinach, almond milk smoothie #drinkyourbfast #blueberryseason #local #healthyeats

Tons o Maine blueberries - fresh (other 50 lbs going in the freezer)
1 banana
handful of org spinach 
Greek yogurt
bee pollen
sunflower seeds
chia seeds
flax seeds
liquid minerals
grapefruit seed extract
pysillium husks
ice to make it cold - because room temp smoothies, especially with almond milk are Nasty!

Lunch was an everything-green-in-my-fridge pressed juice, which I failed to take a photo of. I added some fresh squeezed lemon and ice to help ease in on the first green juice of the day.

Helpful hints:
If you don't add fruit to your fresh pressed juices, like me, just greens, then add a half a fresh lemon and/or some ice, it helps cut the "green" flavor

Mid-Afternoon Juice

10 carrots
1 inch ginger
5 springs fresh mint
1 apple

This one had some bite. But very refreshing.


I had a hankering for curry. Curry powder, turmeric, cardamom and ginger are great for cleanses. They aid in circulation of your blood, purification of your internal organs, help with inflammation and aid in the inevitable flatulence that comes with the first day of a juice cleanse. So instead of a juice I made a veg soup. Pureed it all, so it is still a liquid. Juice-like right? I find it really interesting that when your body isn't busy digesting continuously throughout the day, what it asks you for. Today my body asked for curry and turmeric and ginger, lots of it, which leads me to believe I need the cleansing that those spices offer. I listened and delivered. My soup is very satisfying and clearly something I needed. Rather than focus on the hunger pangs on the first day of a cleanse, focus on what your body is telling you. You may be surprised.

Roasted Cauliflower Squash Curry Soup (with a dollop of greek yogurt for pizazz)

As with any juice cleanse, drink plenty of water. You should juice up to 5 times in a day, drinking throughout the day and sipping each one. I added a Braggs apple cider vinegar drink to my day, something different and to aid with my intestines.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fiinnnneeee.....I'll Listen....It's Time....

It has just been one of those months, long work days, busy weekends, fun celebrations, a mini-vacay and some travel thus resulting in every aspect of my health-wellness balance being thrown off. Try as I might, week by week, day by day, my good habits get pushed to the wayside due to time, fatigue or just plain fun.

I think we all ebb and flow in our wellness, sometimes we are just too busy in life to focus on eating right and working out daily, finding time for centering and balance. I know I am guilty of it, but the reality is it takes work. Eating well, being a conscious consumer, practicing with intent and purpose, finding focus and center, all take time and energy that in the summer I would rather devote (although temporarily) to beach days, taking the boat out on the water, hanging out with friends, enjoying a few too many summer cocktails and enjoying these brief few months of beauty we get here in Maine.

It amazes me now how little time and how very minor deviations from my norm effect me tremendously. Sure I haven't been eating as clean as I should, I am not practicing yoga daily, but if I think of in comparison to before I became a gf, lf, meat-free, conscious consumer, it is a wonder I ever felt good. Such minor shifts from my norm now, are so much more noticeable to me than when I was a gluten lactose eating hound.

Now I get a few days of crazy and every part of my existence is thrown off kilter. I don't sleep as well, I don't feel rested and energized throughout the day. I eat weird things, although my "weird" is entirely subjective now. It amazes me that I have found what "good" and "normal" feel like simultaneously for me, I instantly know when one starts to slip.

Sure I have been enjoying my past month, we bought a boat, there has been ample celebrations, hey it is the summer and with that comes cook outs, hang outs and weird foods. And it was my birthday! All of this comes with foods I almost never eat like meat, copious amounts of dairy and sugar and of course alcohol. There is something about the summer and ice-cold cocktails that go hand in hand and cocktails and celebrations go hand in hand too (hey I'm allowed one vice right?! I don't get many options). It is only after repeated weekend celebrations, where I feel sluggish and groggy which almost never happens for me; even when I cut out coffee, I always have boundless energy. Alcohol although yummy, especially this new found passionfuit blended mojito I recently found, has it's limits and if you are aware enough your body tells you when to cut back.

Lately, I have been having restless sleep, groggy mornings that are hard to shake, irregular and inconsistent bowl movements, absolutely no desire to workout (which comes hand in hand with not having enough energy), craving weird foods and making poor food choices. And now, a stress mark I get when I am super stressed, typically at work, has reappeared because my body is stressed. My insides have been telling me for a few weeks now, take it easy, back off, and I have knowingly been ignoring this little hint, pounding my wheatgrass, acidophilus, L-Lysine, B-Complex and Vitamin C, but still the little scaly dry patch appeared. Damn! OK, OK, I surrender, body that insists on making it perfectly clear that I can no longer ignore what it is has been telling me for the last few weeks. ::grumble, grumble::

I keep finding an excuse to not do a juice cleanse, but the wait is over, I can no longer deny what my body is telling me, so I shall start my long awaited juice cleanse this week. I like juice cleanses because they force to you to focus on your health and well-being. They ask so little of your body, yet so much of your mind, but the focus, centering and discipline that comes after a good cleanse re-centers every part of me. I am actually looking forward to this cleanse. I have gotten to a point where I just feel icky and no amounts of working out, drinking a daily green juice or copious amounts of water can fix.

So I stocked up on tons of local organic greens and fruit yesterday, join with me, or follow along, I am thinking 5 days this time, 3 just doesn't feel sufficient to counter the month long extravaganza. For more on juicing see my post on Juice Cleanses in February. Juice pics to follow.