Thursday, December 31, 2015

Why a plant-based Diet? Reason Number 2

Compassion for Animals


     Have you ever experienced an event or a series of events that you knew in your heart was not a coincidence?  That you were in the right place, at the right time, listening and/or seeing something that struck you like a bolt of lightening or in my case, wrenched my gut?

    Yesterday, that happened to me in a two-fold whammy! I was listening to a podcast called "Main Street Vegan" which popped up in my search for information and truth about our food sources.



https://www.unity.fm/program/MainStreetVegan

The guest speaker on this particular podcast (Nov. 25, 2015) was a man by the name of Phillip Wollen. I frankly had never heard of him, but he was once upon a time a big player in the corporate banking scene in Australia and had traveled the world extensively. He had a life changing experience in India that caused him to rethink the role of animals on our planet. Mr. Wollen is a very educated, well-spoken gentleman who is passionate about compassion for all species and has put his money where his heart is. I do not feel that I can do his story justice, but I encourage you to watch his debate on

You Tube: Animals Should Be Off The Menu!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQCe4qEexjc



   I have heard over the past few months about a documentary called "Earthlings" and Mr.
Wollen mentioned this movie in his debate. I decided to check it out and discovered the trailer on You-tube. After 30 seconds into this trailer I was physically ill and repulsed by what I saw. I don't know if I will ever be able to watch this show in it's entirety, but  I know that in the first 30 seconds I saw enough to know that I will never put another bite of meat in my mouth. I refuse to finance an industry that terrorizes, tortures, and treats animals in such barbaric fashion. I will never look at meat on a plate the same way again.

I know this is heavy stuff and it's hard to think about, but I encourage you as a compassionate, caring soul to not subsidize such horror with your dollar but instead use your hard earned money to actually feed yourself healthy food that in the long run with give you vitality well into your twilight years.

Yes, I did finally watch the movie "EARTHLINGS" and Yes, it was horrifying to witness animals being treated so violently and perhaps even more disturbing to know that humans are capable of such cruelty. But I have hope that hearts can be changed at any age once their eyes have been opened. I should know....I am just now opening my own eyes to where the food on our plate is REALLY coming from.

I hope that the above examples cause you to ponder ....do I want to make a difference? How much gumption do I have to go against the grain of tradition, family, and hecklers and make the choice for compassion? For me, I sleep a lot better at night knowing I am treating the life I have been given with respect and knowing that other "earthlings" are not needlessly suffering for my pleasure.

If you feel like you need more support or encouragement may I suggest the little pocketbook:

"Letters to a New Vegan"

http://www.amazon.com/Letters-New-Vegan-Inspire-Lifestyle/dp/1590565045/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1451514873&sr=1-1&keywords=letters+to+a+vegan



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Top 3 Reasons to Embrace a Plant Based Diet



"Let food be thy medicine

 and medicine be thy food"

-Hippocrates 



Today I would like to address one of the top 3 reasons that you should strongly consider a plant-based diet :


NUMBER ONE: YOU!!!

Do you suffer from Diabetes?
Do you have hypertension?
Do you have heart disease?
Are you overweight?
Do you have a history of cancer?
Do you have high cholesterol?
Do you have irritable bowel syndrome?
Are you often tired and lacking energy?
Are you often sick?

These symptoms might be common, but they do not have to be a "normal" part of life. They indicate imbalances and disorders that animal protein is either causing or making worse. In most cases, they will start to resolve within two weeks and be gone in a month or two once you start eating a plant-based diet.

If any of the above conditions apply to you or someone that you love then I hope and pray that you will read further and not tarry a day to discover for yourself what a plant based diet can do for you.

Today, let's focus on Diabetes:

Documented and Researched Data concerning Diabetes as related to eating animal protein:

"Animal protein is significantly associated with diabetes. In fact, they found a graduated increase in the risk of developing diabetes depending on the amount of animal protein consumed. Vegans had an extremely low prevalence of diabetes (2.9%) followed by vegetarians who included dairy and eggs at 3.2 %, pescatarians (adding fish) at 4.8% and meat eaters at 7.6 percent. Crunching the numbers over time, researchers found that weekly consumption of meat over a seventeen year period increased the risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 74%!!! (Tonstad, Butler, et al. 2009; Rizzo, Sabate, et al. 2011; Snowden 1988; Vang, Singh, et al. 2008). Meat consumption still correlated with diabetes even in those who didn't gain weight from it."


The above is an excerpt from "Proteinaholic" written by Dr. Garth Davis, M.D. with Howard Jacobson, Ph.D.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_7?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=proteinaholic&sprefix=protein%2Caps%2C511




"According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently 25.8 million diabetics in the U.S. and 79 million more people suffering from pre-diabetes....much of this growth in children. In fact, young people account for 45 percent of new type 2 diabetes.

The common view of diabetes is that it develops because of eating too much sugar, but this is not the case. As Dr. Neal Barnard explains, with type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin, the hormone that escorts glucose into the cells so it can be used for energy, but the cells develop insulin resistance. Because the cells resist the action of insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells and builds up in the bloodstream. This in turn can cause serious complications.

Why does this resistance happen? Because the cells have become clogged with lipids (fats). The benefit of switching to a low-fat, plant-based diet is that it causes the cells to release this excess fat, which in turn allows insulin to function normal again. Thus, the solution to insulin resistance is to eat a low-fat, plant-based diet.

Dr. Bernard discovered in his own research that patients who were put on a low-fat, plant-based diet experienced greater improvement in their diabetic condition than those placed on a traditional diabetes-management diet, which continues to allow meat and dairy products."

The above excerpt is from "Forks over Knives .....The Plant-Based Way To Health". There is also a documentary available on netflix that has changed more lives than any other documentary on plant-based eating. I suggest that you check it out for more in-depth information.



http://www.amazon.com/Forks-Over-Knives-Plant-Based-Health/dp/1615190457/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449170847&sr=1-4&keywords=forks+over+knives


For more research and documentation that proves we are being misguided in our dietary choices:

Read: "The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted" by T. Colin Campbell, PHD  and Thomas M. Campbell II, MD or watch the documentary "The China Study" also found on netflix.



http://www.amazon.com/China-Study-Comprehensive-Nutrition-Implications/dp/1932100660/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449170572&sr=1-1&keywords=the+china+study+t.+colin+campbell




Read : The End to Diabetes by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0062219979/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=31049908765&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6616883315820911818&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_hlap8qtx6_b

My hope is to feed your curiosity, to plant a seed of desire to lead a healthier life by eating a plant based diet. The impact you can have on your health, your family's health, and the health of our economy and the health of our planet can begin immediately with you.







Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Crossing the Threshold to a New Life

 Today I would like to share a life-changing concept with you. This is not a new concept and you just might very well sigh a big yawn when I share with you the big idea. But, I can tell you that if you make this concept a daily PRACTICE, your life will change in ways that you never imagined:

DRUMROLL..........GRATITUDE!

When I began this practice two years ago, I was in a deep depression with hardly a speck of light penetrating the darkness of my soul and struggling for something for which to be thankful. My glass was not half-full (well, except for wine), it was empty! But, very soon after implementing this daily habit of gratitude my spirit lightened and my heart began to occasionally beat with joy.

"Being grateful all the time isn't easy, but, it's when you feel least thankful that you are most in need of what gratitude can give you : PERSPECTIVE!!! Gratitude can transform any situation. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. It's the quickest, easiest, most powerful way to effect change in your life.....And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for."                                                              
"What I Know for Sure" by Oprah                                                                
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=What+I+know+for+sure

"First we learn to be grateful no matter what our circumstances. In offering gratitude for our real lives, we discover how to change them for the better.



"Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach 

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=simple+abundance
                                                               
"The life that counts blessings discovers that it's yielding more than it seems"





"One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp    

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=one+thousand+gifts&sprefix=one+thousand%2Caps%2C205&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Aone+thousand+gifts

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."                                      




Melody Beattie author of "Codependent No More"

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_7?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=codependent+no+more&sprefix=codepen%2Cstripbooks%2C206




"The Power of Vulnerability" by Brené Brown


In Brené Brown's list of The 10 Guideposts of Wholehearted Living she lists gratitude as an essential ingredient to living a Wholehearted Life.  Dr. Brown goes so far as to say "Not only just verbally speaking "I'm grateful" but, by making a concrete practice of this habit you will become closer to living a wholehearted life". You can do this by writing them down or establishing a 5 minute break of giving thanks or sharing gratitudes around the dinner table with your family.  This is a daily ritual that is as essential as breathing in my opinion.

Two years ago, I began the practice of recording my gratitudes.  First thing in the morning before I look at e-mails, turn on the news, take a phone call, or eat breakfast, I reflect on and write 5 "things" for which I am grateful.  I make myself a cup of coffee and I sit down in my favorite chair with a beautiful book, my favorite pen and I reflect on 5 blessings/miracles, big or little, that occurred the day before that I know in my heart were planted just for me to see, hear, taste, or enjoy. Perhaps it was a text of encouragement, a handwritten note of Thanksgiving, a beautiful white rose blooming outside my window, the hug of a grandchild, or a phone call from a long lost friend....I can testify that making gratitude a daily practice will rock your world!

Now, I am sure that you are wondering what in the world this has to do with eating healthily, but my experience tells me that if we are not firmly grounded spiritually or emotionally, we can't conquer our poor eating habits.  We rely on comfort foods to numb us or console us. Life happens and inevitably some hurtful event will happen in a month, a week, or a day that will upset us and we will want to turn to food for consolation. Instead of reaching for that cookie or piece of cake or glass of wine,  reflect on the daily miracles that have showered you with inspiration and hope. ( This is why I like to record my gratitudes in a beautiful journal. Now I have them handy to refresh my memory when my ego is telling me " Open the refrigerator door, have a little snack and pour yourself a little glass of wine....you deserve a little comfort"!).

I encourage you to begin this practice and after a couple of weeks I would love to hear how implementing this habit has impacted your life and what specific blessings you noticed that you might not have noticed before.

Next Post: Considering a Plant Based Diet



Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Long Journey

I dedicate this blog to those who are seeking, curious, or lost and to those who want to make a change for the better in their lives and to have a meaningful, lasting impact beyond their earthly existence.

 I don't know who you are.  I don't know where you've been.  I don't know where you are physically, emotionally, or spiritually at this very minute. I have been on a quest to right the poor choices I've made which have impacted my body, my emotional health, and spilled over out of my own life and lapped at the feet of those who I love. I've been on a winding, bumpy, jarring, sometimes joyful, sometimes frightening path. Yes, I've taken the longest journey of my life...the journey to find myself over the past 2 years.  And at long last, at the age of 60, I have found my way "home".  I tell myself, "You sure are a late bloomer"!!!!  But, I smile, knowing with joyful and thankful heart that it is better to bloom late than never to bloom at all.

 If you have a need and a desire to change something in yourself or to make a difference in your destiny or the destiny of someone you love,  I would like to share the insights that I have gleaned and the practices that I have implemented along the way in the hope that it will point you in the direction of finding your own way home.... to a place of peace, comfort, joy and contentment.


Unbelievably, the thing that brought me to this place of fulfillment, contentment, and self-awareness was a DIET challenge that a friend of mine spoke about in her blog almost 2 years ago. It made sense to me that I might determine on my own (without medical intervention and tests) what foods my body thrived on and what foods my body rejected. I had no overt physical symptoms like most people get: bloating, rashes, abdominal pain or worse but I had complexion issues and a couple of pounds that wanted to cling to my waist like a bad boyfriend.

The name of the DIET challenge was "The Whole 30". The premise of the challenge is that you abstain from dairy, sugar, alcohol, grains, and  legumes for a full 30 days....no cheating!!!!!! However, the upside is that you get to enjoy the meat of your choice,  plentiful veggies, and fruit without counting calories or worrying about how high the food is piled on your plate. At the end of the 30 days you begin to reintroduce one food group at a time over several weeks and see how your body reacts.

Being a nurse, I wanted a little bit more quantitative data.  I had blood work stats from my yearly physical just several months before and after I successfully completed the Whole 30 I had my blood work promptly drawn again.  Much to my disappointment, my cholesterol was at an all time high for me at 199. Borderline, but still an upward trend!

 Now, of course, I loved the concept of the diet because I love red meat (steak, ribs, burgers, pork.....I am a bacon whore.) I did lose some weight, my complexion was glowing, and I looked strong...however, the numbers from my blood profile did not make me feel secure with this eating plan.   Maybe I looked like a brick house on the outside, but what was going on underneath this Marilyn Monroe physique???? ( I'm prone to a bit of exaggeration when it comes to my appearance...both good and bad! This time I'm being way generous with my assessment in the looking glass).

About that same time, my husband was turned onto another book by a fellow physician called "The Wheat Belly" and together we both became immersed in this study to discover what really is the best way to eat and live a long and healthy life.  Incidentally, it was not the Whole 30 or Wheat Belly that turned the screw to life long fulfillment. What we discovered together and separately has changed our lives. Where we started and where we landed were not expected and certainly not part of our vision to achieving a whole hearted life.

Our children and our friends are scratching their heads wondering "Have they been brainwashed? Have they lost their minds? " By, today's standards of living it would be a reasonable assumption to make.  I can assure you that we are closer to the REAL TRUTH than white is to rice and we are living smarter, more healthy, and compassionate lives than we ever had in the past. We are mindful every day of what we used to take for granted and how it got on our plate!

 I won't tell you that it is easy to make "radical" changes!  I've had people I know tell me I don't know what I'm talking about or they are so committed to The American Plate that they don't want to hear anything that might clash with their lifestyle or threaten their physical and emotional comfort or is different than what mainstream news programming is preaching. It's a hard choice that smacks you upside the head, but in my experience making these changes will reward you with miracle after miracle. The impact that we can have as a people just by opening our eyes and our hearts to the realities of the choices we make and their devastating consequences could change the course of our children's future and the inevitable crash and burn of this planet if we keep shoving our head in the sand. And to think, all you have to do is change what you eat! (Well, maybe not quite all, but a very critical step indeed). I implemented some useful habits beyond conscious food choices that have enabled me to achieve a more well rounded life; to be content within myself and not rely on outside temptations (food, alcohol, numbing, shopping frenzies,etc). These practices have filled the hollow places in my soul and led me home.

Through my blog I would love to share the layers of sources which have helped me to build a mindful and balanced life :  books, quotes, documentaries, recipes, and life style routines that have rewarded me with a happy, healthy, and emotionally/spiritually grounded "home".

Let's take a journey together...the journey to find yourself!

Next:  The First Steps

Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 10 of The Experiment






"Feeling good increases your flexibility, resiliency, effectiveness, and magnetism"...The Desire Map 

Please keep in mind that I wrote this diary back in February during the cold winter months when our natural instinct is to keep a little layer of extra padding to help keep the body insulated. Currently, I am cruising the Canadian Gulf Islands with my hubbie and a refrigerator stocked with fresh fruits and veggies and an oven that went on the kapootz! Oh well, just a little more cooking creativity required or MAYBE we are going to try another new method of eating : RAW !!!

Day 10:
 One thing I failed to mention is that I have spent the past 5 days at our cabin in the wilderness and when I say wilderness, I mean way remote.  It can only be accessed by snowmobile or some type of  snow worthy transportation in the winter.  There is no grocery store that is within 15 miles that one can just drive to on a whim. When we bring our food in by toboggan, that’s it, c’est ca! So, admittedly  it has been a bit more easy for me to adhere to this regime since I purchased and brought only those foods which were permitted on the Whole 30. That includes grass-fed steak, not organic pork chops (that my husband bought in complete innocence as he did not know how strict I wanted to be) and organic chicken breasts. Add to that arugula, a kale/chard mix, banana squash, spinach, tomatoes, organic carrots, a mix of peppers and onions, and sugar snap peas. We also brought in some coconut milk, coffee (I’m extremely unpleasant without my cup of coffee first thing in the morning), some coconut water, and some sparkling lime water so that I could feel as if I was joining my husband as he enjoyed his evening glass of red wine. Poor man, I must allow him some pleasure as I have taken away his chocolate in the evening (not for his sake, but for mine). It is amazing to me what a variety of meals we created with just those few grocery items : grilled, roasted, stir-fried, sautéed and most every dish was made in 30 minutes or less. 
 So I woke up today as enthusiastic as ever to begin my day with words of inspiration and a little yoga to stretch the old body out after a night of inactivity. ( I do believe that my shoulders might actually be a little more back...not that that has anything to do with the diet). Of course, I can’t begin to conceive of starting my morning without my coffee, but I am trying to be more aware of how much I consume as I have noticed that I am now subject to the jitters which I have never had before. I am pretty certain that my precious southern mother gave me “coffee milk”  in a bottle as a baby so it is a ritual that is near and dear to my heart and keeps those nasty headaches at bay (with the exception of the first few days on this eating regime). 
 In the late morning,  Ron and I went to our neighbor’s by snowmobile to “borrow” a few pieces of firewood as we have been smothered in fluffy white snow this week and burned our stash of firewood like easy inheritance money.  I felt great! Good mood all morning and eager to help load up the logs and tote them back down to our little cabin and stack them. Afterwards, I decided that I was ready to tackle that blasted mountain again by snowshoe. I felt energized and eager to wash my spirit in the quiet and serenity of the snow laden forest. It was a better hike than the last one...fewer rest stops and I actually had to push 6 or 7 inches of  fresh snow with every step I took so it was significantly more challenging for me. I was so thrilled to have the late afternoon sun greet me as I neared the end of the trail. I made it and with a smile on my face and the oxygen to think about other things besides “JUST BREATHE”. My knees did not hurt at all. I call it a successful hike. 
 After my hike, I was not famished as I usually am because I ate lunch...veggies, protein, and nuts and plenty of water right before I took off on this vigorous journey.
  However, about an hour after my return to the cabin...I started to have a major slump...my body needed fuel and needed it NOW! I may need to eat a bit more food before undertaking such strenuous exercise I tell myself.  I felt weak and on the verge of crankiness. Look Out Ron!!!  I made a quick chicken stir-fry for us to enjoy fireside and now I’m back in the saddle, content and satisfied.

The digestive tract has settled into a more “normal” routine as well. I really don’t like to comment on that too much unless something really “shitty” happens. 

So, that is it! That is my day 10! I’m in a better mood, more energetic, full of ideas, feeling stronger and leaner, and willing to see what day 11 brings. I still miss “cocktail” hour, but not as much as I did several days ago as I am realizing the effects of  no alcohol in the bloodstream: my mind being bright and clear and my body more capable of performing not only necessary daily tasks, but meeting the occasional challenges I demand throughout the day. ( like snowshoeing up a mountain from 7200 ft above sea level to about 8200 ft or more ).
 `a demain! 

Please stay tuned for Days 11-30 and what I learned about the body/mind/spirit connection while doing "The Experiment"!

It may be a couple of days before I get back to you!

JoNell


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Taking the First Steps






"If you want to find the answers to the BIG Questions about your soul, you had best begin with the little answers about your body" George Sheehan


  I hope that you can relate to the first nine days of my journey on the Whole 30 Plan. I've read many diet books over the years and most of them lay out a detailed plan as to exactly what you can eat and can't eat. They also require money and sometimes lots of it. Many of the "healthy diets" have turned out to be not so healthy and require medical supervision. What appealed to me about The Whole 30 was it's simplicity (no measuring, no weighing, no portion control, no special supplements, etc.) AND that I was able to determine for myself how my body reacted to different food groups. I do not believe that we are  all "engineered" exactly the same; we are like snowflakes with subtle differences in the way our bodies metabolize and utilize food. This plan made sense to me and I liked feeling empowered to take charge of my own body!

 So, without further adieu: My physical and emotional adventures of "Doin' the Whole 30"!

Days 1-9

 Unfortunatley, I decided to start  keeping a daily journal of what I call the Whole 30 “Experiment” (curse the word DIET) after I was already over a  week into it, but I feel that it is not too late to relay the benefits and the trials that I have experienced from this way of eating thus far. From this day forward I will  continue to write daily about the positive and sometimes less desirable effects of  The Whole 30 Eating Plan.  


IT...STARTS...WITH....FOOD....DISCOVER...THE...WHOLE ...30 AND ...CHANGE YOUR LIFE!  Now that is a pretty big promise to make.... that I am going to be beautiful,skinny, radiant, successful, rich, kind, sexy.....the person that everyone wants to be with or even be??? Wow!  Well, this is a book that I must read. So, I read the book with jaded enthusiasm.  I have a nursing background and there are some pretty big difficult-to-understand words like prolamin, phytates, and casomorphines which I do not hear on a regular basis (if ever), but there is enough information relayed in this book so that even the non-medically trained person can understand that a lot of what we eat is KILLING us or making us SICK (diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, thyroid malfunction, metabolic disease, depression....yes!!! Depression....a life-long struggle for me) . This is not the first book that I have read on the subject of food and how it impacts my well-being  as I have always had a somewhat sick fascination with food and my relationship with it....(mostly how much weight can I lose in a week to look drop dead gorgeous for that class-re-union) but, I digress. Now, I am being honest here: the REAL reason that I decided to give the Whole 30 a try was because I am going to Kauai in 3 weeks and I want to get into a bathing suit and look like I did when I was 50 ( I know...an unusual age, but I did a body building competition and I think that I looked pretty hot....more about that later in my blog) .Yes, this is a sad commentary on my relationship with food. One,perhaps, more noble reason that I wanted to give this 30 day experiment a whirl was to see if I could actually be rid of those achy knees, shoulders, hips, in the hope that I can avoid the surgical knife under all circumstances as well as the ability to stop tossing those anti-inflammatory drugs like lemon drops in to my stomach which in reality are more toxins with which I stress my poor liver. 

 Lastly...IT IS ONLY THIRTY DAYS....I can go back to my old ways and habits right? But, honestly, if I look “hot” in my bathing suit lounging by the pool in sunny Kauai  then those 30 days were all well worth it! At least that is what I am telling myself.

 So, days one through nine; how did they go?  I started with enthusiasm and determination to stay the course so days 1 and 2 of eating healthy proteins, a variety of gorgeous multi-hued veggies and a more petite size portion of fresh fruits 3 times a day kept me satisfied for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  About day three I was really longing for the highlight of my day : Cocktail Hour! There is always a good reason to have cocktail hour: "I had a shitty day, I’m exhausted, I’m so excited about my new shoes, the dog pooped in the house, Ron got our new master bedroom closet installed, someone said I looked like I was 54 instead of 59 "(I would have never imagined being thrilled over such a compliment....but, as my Mother would say “You never know until you get there”). I’m sure everyone has a million good reasons to look forward to cocktail hour.  (BTW, I did not know that alcohol packs twice as many calories as sugar which shamefully scares me a lot more than the fact that I chose to ignore : it has absolutely no nutritional value)!

 However, with my Mom’s Texas style determination and grit I stuck to my guns and tried to find new ways to satisfy getting thru cocktail hour with substitues: herbal tea( sorry, no substitute), hot water with lemon (better), sparkling water in a wine glass (the best) and focusing on one of my favorite pastimes :cleaning house. Right...I'm not that desperate yet!

 I do love a good steak, hamburgers, chicken, turkey and BACON (oh, yes, I am a bacon whore.) And you know what? On The Whole 30 I could eat all of those yummy meats with one restriction, they preferably had to come from a healthy organic source or if not in my budget then the less desirable choice of meat had to be trimmed of all visible fats ( as factory farmed meats, and especially the fat, are loaded with toxins that will kill my good intentions.)  If I am going to stick to this plan and get honest results then I most certainly will not contaminate “the experiment” on my body with toxins! And just a little bit of self- encouragement....if I give up the alcohol and the processed foods, then for the most part I can afford to eat healthy organic food. It’s all about choices as "they" say. 

So, the  pitfalls that want to trip me up and make me believe that I am  treating my body unjustly: 

1)headaches( the achy temple sort)

 2)less energy and strength than usual (as witnessed by my husband as we snowshoed up a steep mountain that we have trekked up many times before.  For the first time EVER I could not make it to the top). "Oh, No! I must not be getting the right food to energize my body or I am getting old" my mind chatters at me! "Well, then it  is settled...I’m not eating right. Maybe I should reconsider this eating plan.....no, the authors of the book said that I would have headaches and less energy in the first few weeks as my body would adjust to fat burning from sugar burning. Think BIKINI JoNell:))))) " "Alright then" I say to myself," I will keep on giving this a whirl, but if it doesn’t get better quickly, then, I am out of here and back to getting up to that mountaintop with the help of my wine, cheese, and chocolate!" 

 One other pitfall and perhaps the worst:

 3) Cranky (Oh, yeah, baby....talk about getting my panties in a wad over the "my nu tay" of daily life ( “don’t look at me like that, what did you say”?( with testy attitude),”you don’t love me anymore”....waaaa. waaaa, waaaa. Just ask my husband ! It is not easy to live with someone who is addicted to sugar and alcohol and all of a sudden it’s not part of the program anymore.  Withdrawal symptoms are a bitch and I give accolades to my husband for withstanding the evil eye and nasty comments which occasionally spit forth from my mouth like a wad of chew to a spittoon. 

Last, but not least, (and unfortunately, the LEAST desirable topic for me to touch upon)...is:

 4) my digestive system, my bloat, flatulence, my poop. This is a subject which is very unromantic and very difficult for me to talk about because, well,  “it’s private”. However, according to the most popular medical guru on TV who has no trouble talking about such tabu subjects , Dr. Oz....poop is a pretty good indicator of our inner health. In the first 7 days of following the Whole 30 I felt like my gut was waging war: cramps, unexpected and unbecoming farts, fits, and many trips to the bathroom. Eventually, after the first week my gut calmed down but something miraculous happened: my poop became a different color, shape and texture. It looked the way it said Dr. Oz said it was supposed to (S-shaped) :Oh MY!!!. And another thing my urine is almost the color of water which I know is normal, but mine always looked like honey and isn’t urine supposed to be yellow? No, I think I have read enough medical literature when it comes to pee-pee, it should look like a very pale straw colored water. 

Well, enough about the aspects of this diet that could possibly be enough to derail me. I want to talk about the wonderful things that have happened:

 1)I have dropped 4 lbs of weight...now that could just be some water weight, but it could also be a little fat as my tummy has definitely flattened out a little. Hello...bikini in Kauai...yes, I am still a slave to my vanity. 

 2)I wake up feeling energized and excited to start a brand new day! My mind clicks along a little faster, the grueling tribulation of learning how to conjugate french verbs is coming a little easier, the natural sweet tastes of a strawberry or a blueberry without added sugar are more prominent. I look forward to what I can create in my kitchen using only wholesome food from the Whole 30 recommended lists of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and fats. AND I can cook up a wonderful dish for lunch, breakfast, or supper with the snap of a finger! Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, but I don’t want to spend hours every day in the kitchen when I have so many things I want to do in a day like read, quilt, exercise, play with my dog, have coffee with a friend, talk to or see my children, create something wonderful with my hands, and last but not least spend some quality time with my beloved. 

3)  As far as my physical energy levels go it gets better with each day. My aches in my knees are a non issue when I go snowshoeing and I usually especially feel them when I am going downhill. My hips are not aching at night. The pain in my clavicle remains, but all in all, I see improvement. I don’t expect that this experiment will resolve all my physical issues...after all I am almost 59, but if I can help my body to do the best it can do for  my age by feeding it the right nutrients on which it thrives and performs at it’s best, then I have accomplished my goal!!!   PLUS I will look darn tootin' good in my bikini!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Paths of Life

"Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself" Katherine Sharp







So, here I am, months away from turning the big and scary... 6...0... and the closer it creeps toward me the more I find myself evaluating the paths that I have chosen along my life's journey.

1)... Paths soaring with adventure, fun, joy, family

2)... Twisting, winding, tortuous Paths covered in brambles and thorns

3)...Paths laid by my Creator: clean, sturdy and with a clear purpose

4)... Sloppy, muddy Paths that I have chosen to build on my own without forethought that have sometimes sucked me dry of my zest for life.

5)...And Now... The Path I am taking with conviction: the inward and honest study of who I am without the endless reel of justifications winding and twisting through my mind.

 Each minute, hour, day and year there are defining moments when one makes a choice between a reaction and an action. Those are the spaces that count. Those are the moments that will create your life's symphony.....a life of harmony or a life of discord. 

Do I have regrets? Sure I do!!! There are so many different branches of life's path from which to choose and I did not always pause to listen and thoughtfully consider my options in that critical space between action and reaction. But, along with those more than occasional regrets comes the opportunity to learn and to nurture wisdom, discernment, hope, faith and a deeper understanding of yourself.

Why did I suddenly have this unquenchable thirst to learn about physical health, food, emotional and spiritual well-being?

 Well, honestly my fascination with food was more about self vanity than healthy eating. (Ya' know anybody like that? ). I was also bone weary of dealing with the roller-coaster of depression, guilt, and shame! My journey down this path started with just ANOTHER attempt at 2014 New Year's resolutions:


1)  Finish a dust-covered book of daily inspirations (Simple Abundance) that I had started multiple times and then never picked up again after the first week

2)  Read a book called The Desire Map (learning how to tune into our core desires which in turn impacts the outcome of our choices)

3)  Read yet another book that peeked my interest about nutrition : It Starts With Food : The Whole 30

( These last two books were recommended to me by my friend who constantly inspires me, Lara Blair! She has the most amazing blog: The Extraordinary Simple Life).

 Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine that actually following through on my usually quickly- shelved New Year's Resolutions would take me down the most exciting self-discovery adventure of my life!

There is a wealth of knowledge and opportunity out there for each of us to access and ponder on how we can achieve and live a healthy, happy and prosperous life and for the most part that knowledge is FREE FOR THE TAKING.

                                                                I would love to share with you "my diary" of the first 30 days of my own personal journey down my most enlightening path thus far. My heart's desire is that you will be inspired and empowered  to make moment to moment choices that will put you firmly on the path of leading a happy, healthy and rich life.
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Can you describe the paths that you have chosen to venture down on your own personal journey?
I would love to hear your insights!


JoNell