February 28, 2012

sacrifice…

For a number of people the early Spring brings with a time of “fasting” for religious reasons. For others the “fast” is more for physical reasons, warmer weather is coming and those short sleeves and pants are making cranky noises from within your closet, aren’t they?

Personally, I follow a religious tradition which offers up a time of fasting, 40 days give or take, during which I will basically eat like a vegan. It’s a sacrifice because although I can live for months without meat products for the most part I love cheese and eggs. A lot. A whole lot.  Add to that the fact that my cooking repertoire is already limited, this season can add a layer of cranky to my otherwise sunny disposition.

Whether you are fasting this spring for faith reasons or to clean out the winter body blues you are going to run up against some sacrifice.

The word, ‘sacrifice’ shows up with this definition first:

 The act of offering something to a deity in propitiation or homage, especially the ritual slaughter of an animal or a person.

Lucky for you, we’re not talking about that kind of sacrifice today. The next definition is more fitting I’d say:

Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.

As you start down the path to a detox or a prayerful fast I want you to take notice of some things to start connecting the dots between what you eat (or don’t eat) and how you feel, what you think, what you crave, how it affects the whole of you!

1)At the start of your fast, what do you imagine your sacrifice to be? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually?

2)When you think about that “sacrifice” can you put a picture in your head of what it looks like?  Give it shape and form. Does it look like a Twinkie (I like Twinkies, obviously) or an anvil in your gut? Does it look threatening or comforting, the thing you are sacrificing?

3)If you could name in JUST ONE WORD the goal of your fast, what would it be?

4)Going through your fast, keep a journal. Write down how your answers to the above questions change as you progress. No one needs to see this but you so be honest with yourself.  If you want to quit then write about that. If you want to cheat then write about that. If you feel great then write about that! It doesnt’ have to be long, just a sentence or two.

Are you embarking on a fast this month?? Speak out! Would love to walk alongside…

🙂

 

February 11, 2012

Daily Juice: Mandarin Madness

When I think of mandarin oranges I always picture those little tins with the pull tops stacked up in my grandmother’s pantry. The oranges were packed in syrup.

Heavy Syrup.

And they were delicious to my 7 yr old palate. Truth be told they would be delicious to my 44 yr old palate as well but I steer clear, way clear. Instead, I’ll buy the big bag of easy to peel mandarin oranges whenever I see them at the store. Putting them into juice will net you a less tart citrus addition than its sunshine-y cousin of the Navel Orange. It is a rich flavor, especially when combined with other juices.

This recipe is all sweet and sassy.  If you want to green it up a little more and also add some liquid (it can be a little thickish) then add a half cucumber. The “green” factor at this point comes only from the addition of green apple and kiwi. . Even so, it’s healthy and delicious…and it is not in heavy syrup, so there’s that.

Sweet and Sassy

1 (or 2) Kiwi- peeled

2 mandarin oranges – peeled (add more if you’d like)

1 green apple

(optional: half cucumber)

February 7, 2012

do anything…

I have a 14 year old and a flight of stairs in my house. The stairs are very steep and my daughter is very helpful. In this way I have been able to go through entire days without even stepping foot upstairs until at least the bedtime shuffle rolls around. Then there is no avoiding it. Because none of my boys like to go to bed I find I end up running up and down those stinking steps about 7 times during the bedtime hours.

Last night I got to thinking about those trips up and down the steps. It’s a nice little burst of movement after a day typically spent writing/schooling/chaffeuring (read: sitting down.) Your situation might differ from mine but since I’m home all day with all of my kids I can’t get out to the gym or even to grab a run as often as I’d like. I CAN make time for it. I just DON’T.

The number one problem we face these days in keeping fit is moving enough. A great percentage of us drive everywhere, order in groceries and shopping and dinners, live on a single level or use our stair masters and treadmills to hang our laundry. For normal people who don’t already have a penchant for daily dedicated exercise routines it is VITAL that we move.

Every

Single

Day

One great idea is to pick up a pedometer and see where you’re starting. Are you moving already and just don’t realize it? Don’t automatically put yourself in my category of “I don’t move enough” because you may be doing MORE than you think!  Keep track this week of how you move, when you move and when you avoid moving. Can you take the steps instead of the elevator (or instead of asking your 14 year old?) Can you walk to the dry cleaner? Can you take three trips to carry in groceries and get your heart rate up a little? Exercise can be fun…aaaaaaand often it isn’t. Stop looking at the “go to the gym for an hour” idea as “working out.”

Your life is your workout. Pay attention to that. Do what you have to do.

{Do you have a suggestion for how you ‘get moving’ in your day? Share it!}

February 6, 2012

Daily Juice: Green Goodness

Daily juice: 1gala apple/1 green apple/bunch parsley/1 cucumber/half lemon

If you want to really green it up add a cup of spinach as well. It doesn’t change the taste much and gives you a shot of awesome for your body!

January 31, 2012

loving the belly…

I love my belly. I have to remind myself to love my belly but I do love my belly. I have to remind myself not to make that heavy sigh when I sit down and see it peeking out at me over my low rise jeans.  When will high rise jeans come back into fashion? That’s what I want to know.

I have to remind myself to love my belly whenever I get those side ads on my Facebook page giving me ideas on how to get rid of my “muffin top.”

I have to remind myself to love my belly whenever I get emails telling me the best way to reduce my waistline or increase my bustline or Lord knows…

There is no legitimate get rich program for the body. All the changes in my body took place over time, over meals, over snacks, over couch sitting, over baby sitting, over baby making. All the changes that take place in my body took time to build and if I want to make a change in my body I have to do it over time and with a lot of patience.

And patience? Patience comes with the reminder that I love my belly.  Maybe it’s not like this for you, maybe you have to choose “action” first and belly love second. You know yourself a lot better than I do, better than anyone does, really.  I have to remind myself to love my belly not because I never want to “get rid of my muffin top”  but because this is the belly I have now and forever, no matter how much of it falls over the top of my low-rise jeans. I have to start with loving the body I have because when I love the belly, I take better care of it. Reminding myself to love my belly or my thighs or my flabby arms reminds me that it is worth my attention, worth my consideration, worth my care. I am my belly and my thighs and my flabby arms.  I am worthy of care.

January 27, 2012

Shame.

You know who’s awesome? This lady.

Bookieboo…

In real life she goes by the name of Leah Segedie and she’s a dynamo. I met her last year at Blissdom, a kind of shangrila for wild, passionate blogger types.  I had intended to join the “writer” track at Blissdom. At one point last year the large group broke up into smaller groups for discussion, support, questions, interests. I made a bee line for the “writers” because, you know, I’m a writer.  Before I got far I noticed the vibrant red-head dancing on a table and shouting, “Come over here! Come on! Fitness! Here!” She may have been singing too. I can’t be sure. I could not help but admire her enthusiasm and her vitality. I told you, she’s a dynamo.  And so I gravitated to her table. I’m a writer but I’m also a personal trainer and a mind/body fitness class leader so when the vibe beckons, I follow. In this case, Bookieboo beckoned and I followed. She’s got that Pied Piper quality about her and it’s a good thing too because she leads men and women to healthy lives every single day through Mamavation. So check that out, eh?

This post isn’t really about Leah Segedie though. It’s about shame. I’m writing it because Bookieboo asked me to and I simply cannot tell that woman “no.”  So here it is.

This ad runs in Georgia:

You can and should read Leah’s post about it here on her site.

When I got the message from Leah asking me to help bring awareness to this I started crying, not because I was this kid but because my best friend was this kid and because throughout life women I have loved and continue to love deeply have been this kid and they’ve spoken about what it feels like to be this girl, how they were teased, how they were shamed by teachers and parents and nosy aunties and perfect strangers.  Approaching the issue of obesity through the lens of shame, whether it’s shaming the parents or the child, is wrong. It is misguided at best and cruel at worst. These ads should be pulled but that is not enough in my estimation. We all need to be educated on how to love one another a whole lot better. We all need to know how to listen to this little girl, learn how to be safe people in the lives of someone who struggles with weight issues. We all, whether that is our struggle or not, need to take that big judgement making machine we carry around in our back pockets and smash it on the floor somewhere.

The only way that will begin to happen is if people speak it. A good way to begin is to speak out against these ads and ads like them.  Stop the propagation of shame, end the culture of shame.

Want to take part and be a voice of care?? The internet makes it easy so you have no excuse. None

If you would like to voice your opinion you can do it directly AT The Strong 4Life Campaign. They just so happen to be on twitter and Facebook.

Twitter: @Strong_4_Life

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/S4LGA

The best way to get people to treat you the way you want to be treated is to TELL THEM HOW YOU WANT TO BE TREATED…so let’s tell Georgia how we want to be treated where childhood obesity is concerned.

January 20, 2012

Course Correction….

For some people it’s that 5-10 pounds. It keeps coming and going, like a wandering relative who shows up at the worst possible time and sticks around way too long. For others, the “weight struggle” is 20 pounds, 40 pounds, more. Whatever the size of your struggle or your jeans a lot can be said for looking at your current course.

I’m talking about that sit down with yourself moment where you take a look at where you’ve been and plot out where you think you might be going.

Remember Algebra? This is why you were forced to learn it, unless you’re a mathematician in real life, maybe it had another benefit too, but for the rest of us, this is why. In Algebra based upon the data you were working with you were then given coordinates. On that awesome graphing paper you were asked to find the x and the y axis’ remember that? You’d then plot out the data on the graph, making dots with that Number 2 pencil. You might then be asked to draw a line to project where you expect the line to go, if all things remained constant.

That’s the course.

For your “data” I’d like you to look at these factors…In the last 5 years write down HISTORICALLY- how you eat, why you eat, when you eat. How you move, when you move, why you move. How do you care for yourself? How do you punish yourself?

Has anything changed significantly for you in that time? Loss of work, loved one, dream? Gain of work, loved one, dream?  What life factors have had an influence on you health-wise?

What else comes into play in your normal person, health data? Illness? Love language? Family of Origin? Happiness? Whatever seems important to note, make note of that. It’s especially interesting to see if you can remember a basic EMOTION around these events, this data.

What is YOUR course?  Where have you been? What are your coordinates? Is your Number 2 pencil sharp? Remember, do not look on your neighbor’s paper…nobody’s experience is EXACTLY like yours. Your graph will reflect you and you alone.

Once you know where you’ve been, what your current “course” looks like you can start to figure out what needs shifting and sifting in you. If your course is generally good and healthy and you’ve gained a little weight you can look at that data and have an idea of why or how it happened, you can decide if that’s okay with you or if it isn’t, what you will do to correct the course. Once we take the numbers and the data out of our heads and start to see it in another form we can wrap our arms around it, we can identify with it without making it our identity. We can take back our lives, take the wheel again if we’ve been on autopilot for a while. We can take ownership of this vessel. We are the Love Boat, not the Battleship. We are the captains of our souls!

January 17, 2012

In the news…sugar and spice

Oh dear…Paula Deen, diagnosed with Diabetes three years ago and just now getting us caught up with her sweet self.

I’m not a fan of Paula Deen but then again I’m also not a detractor. I don’t hate Paula Deen, although I will admit that seeing her wide, semi-manical smile seated next to a beautiful albeit sinful dessert every single time I’m in the grocery store line makes me cringe. It just annoys me. I’m a little cranky that way.

I love sweets. I love southern cooking. I love to eat. The truth is that I feel like crap when I eat too much of that sort of food and so I try to reserve the really GOOD stuff (read: Wuthering Heights foods) to the occasional treat. I do this because when we make those foods our “staple” foods then not only is it hard on our bodies but it’s hard on our psyches too. What’s “special” if I eat like that every day, right?

But this isn’t about southern food or tasty desserts.  It’s about Paula Deen. Like most things I can see the different sides of this. I have friends who have gotten this sort of diagnosis. It turns your life upside down. It forces you to think differently, act differently, understand your motivations differently. It causes you to question your past and worry about your future perhaps a little more than you might have before. It’s a serious diagnosis that has long reaching implications.

Some fast stats on diabetes (thanks to NDIC):

  • Among U.S. residents ages 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9 percent, had diabetes in 2010.
  • About 215,000 people younger than 20 years had diabetes—type 1 or type 2—in the United States in 2010.
  • About 1.9 million people ages 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 in the United States.
  • In 2005–2008, based on fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1C (A1C) levels, 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 20 years or older had pre-diabetes—50 percent of adults ages 65 years or older. Applying this percentage to the entire U.S. population in 2010 yields an estimated 79 million American adults ages 20 years or older with pre-diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

Now, if a person makes her living cooking sweet treats and getting us to buy her cookbooks, cookware, magazines, what have you, then a diagnosis of this kind would take on a new dimension. I cannot imagine the panic that comes with getting this news. It threatens your life AND your livelihood. I can understand on some level why Paula Deen needed some time to process all of this. If was any of us normal folk we could do that easily, privately, but as a celebrity who makes her living posing with cupcakes? Not so much.

Yet, as I read about the fallout of this announcement I see an awful lot of people complaining about the deceit, about the lack of integrity, the irony of her 6 word memoir composed after her diagnosis and appearing in Oprah’s book-

“Might as well eat the cookie.”

I don’t know if it was deceitful for Paula to keep working and promoting unhealthy eating after her diagnosis. It’s not as if she was promoting health and wellness before that. In reality, the harm she’s really done in all this is to her own body. In some ways, for this last three years Paula has been more in integrity with her self. She’s continued to be the person she always has been. The bigger issue now is how she will approach the future and the person she will HAVE to become in order to stay alive and well. I hope that she keeps her focus. I hope she finds ways to enjoy food JUST as much as she has in the past while still remembering that all of this media is just dust in the wind when all is said and done. What really matters is the quality of the life she lives with the family she loves. Godspeed, Paula Deen, I wish you well.

January 16, 2012

Oh, the pain…

Alright, I know I try to keep it light around here and to date I’ve been all about loving on you and helping you to love on yourself as you navigate the conflicting culture markers of “being healthy” and “being normal.”  Today, though, I want to talk about pain.

You got it. I got it. We all got it.

When you read that what exactly came to mind for you? When you think about your body pain do you nod your head and say, “yes…it’s here in my knee” or “yikes, my back gets wonky all the time” or even “well, my stomach hurts a lot.”

It should come as no shock that we carry emotions and stressors in our bodies. We’re not machines. We’re bounteous, lovely gardens. We’re walking ecosystems all up in here. What happens in your heart happens in your head and in your muscles and in your knees. At least one part of your body is the scapegoat, the place it will carry chronic pain.

When I talk about chronic pain I’m not referring to that time you fell down and broke your leg but I may be referring to the fact that when things are really stressy for you, that leg hurts still, long after the injury has healed. Not all chronic pain is “stress induced” but today let’s just ask ourselves, “what if my chronic pain IS stress induced.” There’s no harm in asking ourselves is there?

If it is a result of stress, know that your body picked this spot to broadcast your stress for a reason. It’s not because it thinks this is the weakest link but because at first, at least, your body is protecting you. It chooses a part of your body that it knows you will hear, whether you choose to LISTEN to it is another thing altogether.

Here’s the thing-

We love our pain. We don’t like to think that we have attachments to it or that we have woven it into our identity so well that we often don’t know that it’s not really a part of our design. We have all kinds of excuses as to why we have it and in our heads, my friends, we also have excuses as to why we NEED it. Think about your pain. Where is it? What’s your reasoning on why it occurs? Why THERE? Why NOW? What does it DO for you? What would it look like if this was not part of your story? What would you put in its place?

Let me be really clear, I am NOT saying that your pain isn’t real. It is real. It does hurt you. What I’m hoping today is that you can gain an awareness of your chronic pain, that you can start having a little conversation with it throughout the day. Take note of when you feel that twinge in your back. What’s going on? How you feeling in your sweet lovely heart? What’s going on at work? What’s going on at home?

When the chronic pain surfaces just take a minute to see if you can breathe it out a little. See if you can have that little conversation with your self, offer your self some care, some understanding. See if you can listen a little better today to that body and give it what it really needs.

January 8, 2012

Daily Juice: Darlin Kiwi Clementine…

Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she beautiful?

It’s fun to say too… Carrot/Kiwi/Clementine.  Try it. Say it out loud, it’s fun.

Once again, feel free to exchange an orange for a clementine but it won’t be as much fun to say out loud.

Carrot/Kiwi/Orange… blech, that falls flat. Stick to clementine.

 

DARLIN KIWI CLEMENTINE

1 (or 2) kiwi

1 (or 2) clementine

1 carrot

I suggest you start with the kiwi and juice it very slowly to keep as many seeds out as possible (depending on your juicer.) Using 1 kiwi and 1 clementine yielded about 10oz of juice.  If you want more ounce-age and less sweetness then add another carrot. It changes the taste a quite a bit though, makes it more earthy. Whatever floats ya.