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I Think I Have A Crush…On A Cleanse

I like to eat. A lot. I grew up (over)eating a lot, and I have to admit…I think I eat more than my boyfriend. So as much as I can see some great reasons to cleanse, the idea doesn’t generally appeal to me all that much. The word itself makes me think of tons of liquids and no food and then binging afterward.

About 10 years ago I did the Master Cleanse. It was tragic. Don’t get me wrong, I completed the whole 10 days without cheating(because I am also a bit hard-headed). There were a few low days, but I thoroughly enjoyed the extra time and space in my schedule that was not filled with thinking about food, preparing it and eating it. I was peaceful and seriously felt like I was floating the last few days without a care in the world, which was great for me- but probably not for the employees of my boutique at that time because I had absolutely no focus or drive. The aftermath was what did me in though….I was eating ice cream, cheeseburgers, tons of french fries in a frenzy…things I didn’t even really crave before. I felt like I had a lot of making up to do after all of that deprivation…for about a full year after! So, yes…sometimes I have been known to go to extremes as well.

That eventually ran its course and just a few years ago I tried a 3 Day all juice cleanse and quit near the end of the second day because, to be honest, my stomach was killing and the juice blends were just not that tasty. It wasn’t fun and I was ravenous and moody.

This brings me to my current self…hopefully a little more balanced and making better choices. This is also where Beaming comes in. I have been driving to Del Mar from Cardiff for about a year when I feel like treating myself with something special. This might sound cheesy, but if you have been there you will know what I am talking about. The moment you walk in the door you know this place is going to be good. There are plenty of places closer to me that I could get a juice, but it just isn’t the same. The Founder, Lisa Odenweller has a great philosophy on health and life, (which thankfully includes a little wine and pizza, which are my favorite). Although I have never met her, I feel like she and I are cut from the same cloth. I believe in adding in the good stuff to crowd out the not-so-good, instead of making a huge list of what you can’t eat. I truly believe eating should be colorful and fun. My favorite quote of hers: “Only when what you eat and drink satisfies completely can you turn health into a lifestyle.”

And if you are a foodie, you will appreciate the Culinary Team behind the magic of Beaming, which includes Susan Sbicca and Jesus Gonzales. There was a special on Instagram for the 4 Day Post-Thanksgiving Cleanse they were having and it got me intrigued, although hesitant. I went to the website and read:

 You may be surprised to hear from us that we don’t actually believe in “cleansing” as it is currently defined by the popular juice, powdered drinks or water/maple syrup/lemon fasts/cleanses. Believe it or not, your body is an amazingly brilliant machine that “cleanses” naturally.

Now they were talking directly to me. I was in. I finished the 4 Day Cleanse three days ago and I still wish I was on it. I feel amazing. The whole program is well thought-out, balanced; there is plenty of food….and the best part of it all is that everything is absolutely delicious.  There are 2 green juices, a smoothie, a raw soup, an elixir and a huge salad each day. Like I said before, I eat a lot… and I was never hungry. I had enough energy to do some great hikes, take barre class, and work. The second day was rough, as I later found out that is the big detox day. But from then on things were great. The morning I finished the cleanse I woke up and could eat or drink whatever I wanted…but I found myself going straight to the kitchen and making a warm lemon water, then walking to get a green juice(it was not Beaming, but it would suffice). I am 3 days out and still craving fresh, clean, mostly plant-based and raw food. The cleanse replaced any low energy, fogginess and cravings with clarity, energy, and lightness. If I had all the money in the world, right now I would eat at Beaming every day for every meal.  Realistically I know that my life will eventually include pizza at some point and a glass of wine or two(because it’s all about balance, remember?), but for now I am using all the recipes I received after the cleanse and doing my best “Beaming” imitation…which as you know, is the biggest form of flattery.

 

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Beaming

 

 

 

Lectins: Why You Need to Know What This Word Means(It Could Be Creating Havoc In Your Body)

Lectins have been linked to aging, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, blood disorders, heart problems, blood sugar problems, digestive issues, liver challenges, learning disorders, skin problems, and even reproductive issues in women. Chances are you have been challenged in some way with one of these, know someone who has, or at the very least really would like to avoid this previous list. Basically, it would behoove you to read on.

We have learned so much about food and nutrition over the years.  Hopefully everyone can agree that grouping all foods into “bad” and “good” isn’t appropriate now.  One person’s healing tonic might be another’s poison.  An example would be tomatoes.  They are so good for you, right? They are high in Vitamins A, C, K, B6, magnesium, fiber…how could it go wrong?  Well, if you have Type A or B Blood, there are certain pesky proteins in the tomato called lectins that can act like antibodies and your body will attack them like a foreign invader.

The tomato nutrients are digested by the stomach, but the lectin protein remains intact and is passed into the bloodstream, where it eventually settles somewhere and attracts cells. Once clumped with the lectin, the cells are then also targeted by the Blood A and B antigens as foreign invaders, just like the lectin. These otherwise healthy cells are now part of the attack since the body of the specific blood types can’t eliminate the tomato lectin naturally. The cell destruction, depending on where in the body this occurs, could lead to irritable bowels, liver or kidney failure, or any various disorders relating to different systems in your body(as mentioned before).

Blood Type A has only the A antigen, B has only the B antigen, AB has both, and O has neither A or B antigen. This also affects blood transfusions. Your body will only accept your type, or the universal donor type, which is Type O. Blood Type AB can receive all four types of blood. If you are given the wrong type, your body’s immune system will produce antibodies to attack those foreign antigens and could even cause death. None of this is a coincidence; each of our bodies have the automatic ability to produce antibodies from the moment we are born.

Awareness is key.  If you don’t know your blood type, find it out.  A good resource for information about specifically what foods work and don’t work for each blood type is Eat Right For Your Blood Type by Peter D’Amo, MD.  I personally would say to take his advice in a general sense.  The specific parts about proteins, carbohydrates and nightshades seem to really apply to and help most of my clients.  For example, people with Blood Type O generally thrive on protein, most veggies, and staying away from heavy carbohydrates. Type A seems to work best with veggies(no nightshades) and carbs, not meat. But my take is that even within the Blood Types, each person is different.

I wouldn’t recommend attempting to avoid each and every lectin associated negatively with your blood type, especially if you do not have a serious disorder or problem.  Doing this can cause a huge amount of stress, which could counteract any positive goals that you are trying to accomplish.  Pay attention to the foods he says you should avoid, monitor any reaction to them when you do eat them and go from there…chances are that there will  be some trigger foods that are much worse that others. JUST DO YOUR BEST.  I would definitely recommend adding in as many of the lectins that are complementary to your blood type. You might see a dramatic improvement in your health…isn’t it worth a try? As my friend Libby would say, “What’s the best that could happen?!”

I wrote a Love Letter to Fear, then let Her slip away…

Fear,
She has that Magical quality
About her, doesn’t she?
The way She furls close, then twirls
around the room-
flirting with everyone, never satiated with
just one.
Running Wild, Yearning to be followed.
When ignored, she is Defiant;
causing a tornado, whirling and hurling
herself about…
Hold her, squeeze her, Love her Tight.
Have her for the moment.
Experience her.
Now watch her slip by…

Photo Credit, Alexandra Valenti

 

 

Finding Your Light in Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
― Mary Oliver

Do you accept your darkness? I mean really, really accept your darkness? That doesn’t mean that you favor your mistakes or bad habits or you are proud of them.  But can you still see your Light in a total black-out?

I have recently been challenged with seeing my own Light. I thought I was getting really good at loving myself just as I am. I “teach” this type of self-love to my Health Counseling clients, talk about it in my Structural Integration practice, and offer this advice to friends, family and even myself.  But sometimes you get kicked in the pants right when you get comfortable; that’s life. Growing up in a world of polarizations where things were “right” and “wrong”… “good” and “bad”, I was very judgmental of myself and in turn, it made me judgmental of others. Well the truth (for me) is that we are all a mix of those things. Yes, some lay on more extreme ends of the spectrum than others. But I truly believe that all of us, every single person, has a beautiful Light somewhere in there.

So when we do something, or a string of things, to darken or almost put out that Light…is it still there?

This idea of Light or joy can be so easy to feel and accept when things are all in line and filled with sunshine and flow. Sometimes it can be felt even when you are mildly struggling with something or not getting exactly what you want. But when excruciatingly hard times come about or we are feeling macrocosmically guilty and/or shameful or even misunderstood, are things really exactly as they are supposed to be?  It feels so wrong and uncomfortable. Even unbearable.

My answer still stays the same. YES. As cliche as it sounds, that is our biggest chance to grow and to drop down into an even deeper layer of ourselves. And what comes up is always what we need to learn.  Love yourself enough to look at the shadow parts of yourself straight in the eye. Get all squirmy and uncomfortable and still love yourself: in totality instead of just the shiny, happy sparkly parts. This might be scary…we want to think of ourselves as “good”.

One of the main reasons I came into the Rolf work was because it helped me overcome some physical challenges with my body and it made me want to help others with theirs.  A desire to heal digestive issues and a skin disease, as well as learn more and help others with their health problems in a natural and holistic way led me to school for Nutritional Counseling . When I have a challenge in my body or my health in general, I do my best to perceive it as an opportunity to objectively see, overcome, but also simply as a chance to relate and help my clients better in case they deal with something similar.  It is a common misunderstanding that yogis are supposed to only do yoga and never have too many beers, psychologists are never supposed to have a “crazy” side, and nutritionists should never eat anything “bad” for them, etc.

But none of us are all good or all bad, things are not good or bad, food is not inherently good or bad. We all make mistakes and don’t always act from our highest self, and it is normally what we do with things that make them appear good or bad. If we become inherently bad because of a wrong decision or action, this only causes us to feel more “bad.”  We do something we are not proud of, feel horrible about it, then feel so disconnected that we don’t care enough to turn things around so we just wallow in the guilt and our subsequent thoughts, feelings, and actions go on a downward spiral from there.

Who exactly is that serving?

No matter what is going on…see your Light.  If you can’t see it or feel it yet(or don’t even know what I am talking about), I challenge you to take the steps until you do.  Connect with that Light and it will grow, I swear. I am, as ever, a work in progress.  It is a life-long process and none of us are finished while we are still living and breathing.  When you are gentle with yourself about this, you will notice how you will start becoming more and more gentle with those around you. It just feels good..

Does Organic Matter? Ask Elise.


Sometimes we learn the most from the most simple things. This is an excellent example from a little girl named Elise.  (No, this is not me as a little girl…even though I looked just like her. Her understanding of food and nutrition is way more advanced than mine at her age).

 

 

She probably does not know any thing about Monsanto.  My pipe dream is that she will never have to. If she and all of her friends act on what they have learned, then we have a small hope. That can become contagious…especially in the new frontier of the Internet and especially Facebook.

We can’t seem to be able to depend on Government or Big Agriculture to save us.  The USDA approved GMO Alfalfa, and that has been seen by some as the beginning of the end. I agree- some things seem out of our control.

This brings to mind Gandhi’s famous line, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”  Let’s all try to simplify our lives and thus our food systems.  Let’s grow as much as we can ourselves, be as close to the source of our food as possible, and make sure that funky stuff is not sprayed on everything(this matters more on some food than others).

Here is a list of the 12 Things you should always buy organic: The Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/collard greens

And since most of us cannot afford organic all the time, here is a list of foods that you can get away with: The Clean 15  (notice that sweet potatoes are actually on this list though, which is what little Elise used in her experiment)

The point here is not to become paranoid and freak out. That would not solve anything…and the little girl seemed to be ok?! Do what you can today. Educate yourself. Be pro-active. Remember: we don’t have to be perfect; but if we all did a little bit more, that would be a big change overall.

Should I Be Eating Gluten???

Here is a conversation I have heard at the grocery store:  Female A, “Should I get the gluten-free bread?” Female B, “Definitely. It’s way more healthy.”  Female A, “How do you know?”  Female B, “It’s everywhere, haven’t you heard?  They have a section for it in every grocery store. It’s like the new fat-free.”

Gluten in its own entity is not “unhealthy”. It’s certain people’s reaction, sensitivity or allergy to gluten that causes it to have harmful effects on the body. Two questions need to be answered to either legitimize or de-construct the myth that gluten is harmful for you.

1)  What is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Obviously, gluten is in a lot of things in the American diet.  For people that are sensitive or allergic, it can be daunting to realize that cutting out gluten means cutting out a lot of things that they love and eat every day.

Gluten sensitivity is actually an autoimmune disease that creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.”  It can provide miraculous results by taking it out of your diet if you have an issue with it.

But the key point here is finding out if you have an issue with it. Inflammation can be caused by many things, not just gluten.  So before you go eliminating all these things from your diet, you will want to find out if you actually have a sensitivity to it or not.

2)  Am I allergic or sensitive to gluten? There are two ways to find out.   One is testing. There are gluten allergy/celiac disease tests that are available through Labcorp or Quest Diagnostics. All these tests help identify various forms of allergy or sensitivity to gluten or wheat, however they are expensive and not always 100% effective.

The most reliable way is to completely remove all sources of gluten from your diet for two to four weeks and see how you feel.  This means absolutely no gluten, not even a bite. Please go to www.celiac.com for a complete list of all sources of gluten, including hidden sources like soups and even most lipsticks.

Then when you eat it again, see what happens. If you feel bad at all, which might come in various forms but you will know without a doubt…you might be extremely sleepy, itchy, irregular bowels, anxious, etc…you should stay away from gluten permanently. This will teach you better than any test about the impact gluten has on your body.

If not, then you are one of the lucky gluten tolerant people out there.  There are more people out there than one might think after all the hype that is currently going in about gluten.

…So I didn’t say anything to the girls in the grocery store, even though I wanted to.  I also wanted to let them know that eating fat-free isn’t all that healthy either. We need certain fats in our body…ok I guess I will save that for another blog.