Friday, April 30, 2010

Home School

I skipped yoga class last night. Well, I made the consciuos decision to go out with a friend for wine and antipasti and mussels instead of going to yoga. I figured a day of rest would be good. But after I got home, there I was, on my floor doing some forward bends before bed. Practicing my forearm plant and dolphin pose. I was using a blanket, not a mat, to see if it helped build my core and leg muscles in some of the poses I usually use the grip of the mat to hold. It did. I think I will try to use the blanket for some of my home practice.

My siblings and I are all going to visit my dad this weekend at his little cabin the woods. Apparently he has a list of work for us to do, like helping to terrace a hill in his yard so he can plant an orchard. What?! Oh, well, he also makes us homemade ice cream so I guess it's a fair trade. Maybe I can practice some handstands against the trees.

I'm going to 8am yoga this morning, then preparing for a talk on health care proxies to eating disorder therapists (I wonder if this is what made me stop weighing myself? Seeing the slight madness of having a number on a scale as a goal), and then maybe going to kirtan or a cocktail party or maybe a yoga flow to music class (is 2 classes in one day too many? or just right?)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Building the Foundation

Yoga class last night was billed as a Foundation class. That means there is more work done on alignment and no headstands or crazy poses. There were 3 older women, and 3 younger women. The teacher said to a few of us who'd been in her other classes "You know this is a Foundation class right?" as though we'd want something else.

But, I always learn something new no matter what the class, and I love the teacher so it made sense for us all to be there.

We worked on some balance poses. I find that I'm better able to get into tree pose (vrksasana), if I focus on a tree outside the window and pretend that I am a tree. I think I need to practice those on my own time also so I can spend some time falling out of the pose and holding the pose and making adjustments as I hold it. Just as she is guiding us out of the pose, I'm sometimes finding my balance and growing taller.

My hamstrings are lengthening and I love it.

I've been following my hunger as my guide and not tracking on Sparkpeople or weighing myself - I'm on day 4 I think. I find that I need to eat early and often in the beginning of the day, breakfast at 6:30, fruit at 10, lunch around 11, another meal at 4pm (usually hummus, pita carrots, and fruit), then yoga at 6, and by the time I get home at 8 I'm still full and maybe just have milk and fruit. It's working for me to not say "no lunch yet it's not noon, here have some pretzels." Much better to just eat the rice/lentil/butternut squash. Yum!

And every time I want to get the scale out from under the bed, I just remind myself "none of the goals I want to achieve have anything to do with my weight." Next step, removing the scale from the room. Then the house.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not Quite Little Old Lady Yoga

Tonight I wanted a mellow class. I was going to Foundation class which is usually filled with Little Old Ladies and I figured I could just blend into the background. Well, it turned out that I was the only one there. No blending. Only fun and challenge and going to my edge.
(from yoga journal, link below)

We started with practicing some poses against the wall, going from trikonasana (triangle) to ardha chandrasana (half moon pose). I could never do ardha chandrasana on my own. I would get up and feel weirdly clumsy and not sure where my body was or was supposed to be in space, and then my leg felt weak and I'd tip over and feel crappy.

But, practicing against the wall I could feel where I was supposed to be, and where I was, and then I could concentrate on lifting and feeling light and eventually balancing without a block. It was very nice.

Then we did some hand stand practice. First we kicked up like when we were little kids, not caring about hand placement, just a little jump over you go! And I was up, and holding it. But then we went back to caring about where our hands were and the one time I almost got up, either my mind or my body (my guess is my mind) got scared that my wrists were going to flip over or snap (because, yeah, that's likely) and back down I came. Ah, to try again another day.

Then we worked on this.

I didn't know we were going to work on that. She didn't say "now we'll do Astavakrasana." And even if she had I wouldn't have known what she meant. But there we were, sitting cradling our lower legs in our arms like a baby, then, um, trying to get our knee on our shoulder and straighting the leg? okay... Oh, then we'll bring the other leg up so our legs are crossed and lean forward and hey, what's this? The scissoring out of the legs so they look like the photo will come in time, but it was very cool to get up to where I was.

We finished with some soothing forward bends and she guided me towards the ground in wide-angle seated foward bend and my forehead touched the ground! It's amazing to see what my body can do when I stop thinking I know what it can do.

I am so glad I went to class. Namaste.

The Magic of Moving

My dad used to have this annoying habit of prescribing "exercise and stretching" for almost every physical or mental ailment we'd have.

The thing is, he was right. The wretched insomnia that I had for a month or so? Gone after my yoga practice became regular. No, one class didn't cure it. But practicing 4 - 5 times a week for a few weeks and I sleep like a rock now.

And now I have some horrid pain in my calves after my hike on Sunday. As soon as I stand up and try to walk, I look like Frankenstein at age 92, lurching and hobbling. But if I keep walking, they unstiffen and I look mostly normal. And the more I walk and stand today, the better they feel. So, I'm heading to the old lady yoga class after work.

And when my sciatic pain (maybe I am 92) flares up, it's from being sedentary for too long and I know I have to keep moving and get all those muscles loosened and strengthened.

And stress? Yes, moving helps. Whether it's hiking or biking or a slow yoga class - I always feel better afterwards.

And at 76 my dad is still able to hike every single day and get through a Maine winter in a cabin the woods, so I think I'll keep listening to him!

What are you moving today?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Giving Up

I have somehow gained 5 pounds. My net loss for this last month of work and dedication: plus one pound. Nice.

So, I'm giving up. No, I'm not giving up yoga (except for tonight since my calves have been killing me all day after my hike yesterday, which is making me walk funny and further bothering my knee), or hiking, and I'm not giving up my healthy eating, but I'm giving up weight loss as a goal. Because, really, it's a stupid goal. Of all the things I want to do, my weight has nothing to do with them. And having that be the thing that I'm thinking about and getting discouraged about just isn't productive. And I weigh the same whether I work on it or not.

These are the things I want to do, and you'll notice that none of them require me to be 30 pounds lighter:
1. Figure out what the twinge in my knee is from & how to make it not get worse,
2. Continue working on my arm strength,
3. Get up into hand stand,
4. Get up into forearm balance,
5. Get up into wheel pose,
6. Hike at least 2 weekends a month,
7. Go rock climbing,
8. Climb Mt. Washington again,
9. Climb a smaller mountain than Mt. Washington,
10. Walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain and then stay here. Not because I'm particularly religious, but because I think walking across Spain and then staying in a lovely old renovated hotel would be awesome. That's a long term goal. Maybe when I'm 50.

I made these cookies and they are awesome. And healthy - almond butter, oats, whole wheat flour, maple syrup, yum!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Planning for the Week

Here is my Sunday night planning that I do for the week.

Food Prep:
1. Made 4 cups of brown rice (2 cups dry) with veggie stock.
2. Made 2 cups of tiny lentils (1 cup dry) with veggie stock.
3. Cut up a pineapple.
4. Removed tiny stickers from and washed apples and kiwis.
5. Chopped and steamed a bunch of collards.
6. Prepared lunch for Monday: collards, brown rice and lentils drizzled with olive oil. Apple, kiwi and pineapple. Some hummus and pita for late afternoon snack before yoga.
7. Fill water bottles and put in fridge.

Yoga Prep:
1. Check yoga schedule for classes and sign up for them.
2. Add yoga classes to calendar so I don't forget them!
3. Make sure all yoga clothes are clean and ready to go.

Am now watching this cool documentary on the science behind losing weight. I knew that lots of dairy and protein helped me eat less, and now I know the science behind it.

My Favorite Things About Hiking

(my feet)

I went hiking in the Blue Hills today, about 3 hours (I don't hike very fast) and nice hills. It's so nice to have a place to hike just a 1/2 hour away from home. As I often do when I hike, I started thinking about the end of the hike while I was still doing it and came up with this list of my favorite things (besides the whole being out in nature stuff) about hiking:

1. Thinking about eating after the hike. I always imagine wonderful meals in head, but usually come home and have hummus or something since it's easier.
2. Showering after the hike.
3. Bringing non-sweaty clothes to change into for the drive home. (This is the key to hiking joy.)
4. My Leki hiking poles. (This is the second key to hiking joy. And happy knees. And stronger arms.)
5. Post-hike napping.

I Love Bread

My love of bread pretty much explains the extra 30 pounds. Which is why I've been trying to keep it out of the house. Pita bread is fine to have because it doesn't taste like much and I can throw it in the freezer and be done. But last night I bought a baguette at Whole Foods (because I needed something to put the pate on) and proceeded to eat 1/4 of it in the car on the way home. And then another half of it with pate over the course of the evening, and will pretty much finish off the last bit today somehow, like at breakfast with butter on it maybe.

I did put everything into Sparkpeople, and over the course of the week I still come out ok, but mindful eating is a valuable skill I still am working on.

But, while it is delicious and certainly fine to have in moderation, I suppose it would be best to find small baguettes to bring home, or freezer portions in the freezer, or keep the groceries in the back of the car while I drive home.

Although, now that I'm sufficiently carb-loaded, maybe a hike would be a good thing.

I did also buy kiwis and apples and have lots of collards and veggies to get me through the week. And time to cook brown rice today.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I went to yoga this morning. It was scheduled as a Level 2/3 vinyasa class. I don't like vinyasa that much (I feel sloppy) but I love the teacher so I went. There was one other girl in the class. The teacher looked at us and said "Yay! Some butt kicking!" Eek.

But as we sat there breathing and centering and preparing for class, the joy in me bubbled over and a huge smile was on my face.

It was more like arm kicking. We were going to practice inversions, again!, so we did lots of plank pose as warm ups, then forearm plank, then other things that made the teacher say "sorry guys, you're going to hate me."

But I got up into a lovely headstand, my classmate got into a forearm balance which is my next big goal. It just looks so beautiful! But, I'm working on my forearm strength right now. Then we all did shoulderstand. It feels so good to go upside down.

Later in the afternoon I went for a walk in the woods and lay on a bench by a lake and watched a Canada Goose fish and then clean itself. The walked helped my muscles loosen up, and the rest helped my brain relax.

Now I'm home and eating pate for dinner and wondering how liver can be so tasty.

(All pictures by me on my walk today.)

Faux Bim Bap

I wanted something like bi bim bap for breakfast this morning. But I settled for the egg, rice and chili paste part of it. Very tasty. I hardly ever eat sunny-side up eggs and these were a delight with the spicy garlic/chili paste and the jasmine rice. Rice has become a staple of my diet.

I can definitely tell that I did a lot of plank pose yesterday...

ETA: Second breakfast was a cold artichoke.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I went to yoga class this morning. It was supposed to be a mixed level vinyasa class, but I was the only one there so she asked what I wanted to work on. I told her I was trying to do inversions (headstands, etc.) and I wanted to work on those. And so we did.

We started out with warm up poses, opening shoulders and back, spinning the triceps in, aligning hips. Then we worked on forearm balance prep, which is insanely hard. And some dolphin pose. We did headstand, which I like and am good at, and a shoulderstand which is one of my favorite poses. She said I looked very peaceful in it.

(Photo from, link above)
There was a lot of laughing, and adjustments to my poses, and going deeper into forward bends (with hamstrings trying to say "I can't!" and me saying to them "yes, you can, relax") and a general feeling of amazement at what my body can do. Even though the stupid scale says I've gained 5 pounds in 6 days. Which cannot possibly be right.

Then I went to lunch at a lovely locavore place and had pate and wine and mushroom bisque.

I almost went back to the evening restorative yoga class tonight, but decided to lie around and feel sorry for myself for having no friends.

When I lived in California and was single, my mother wanted me to join the Appalachian Mountain Club (hiking, etc) because she thought I'd meet someone. Except that I'm not a joiner and just felt really uncomfortable on the few outings I went on.

Well, apparently I'm back in that phase because I just signed up for some trail clean up thing happening tomorrow. At least it will get me out on the trail, and hopefully I can find some work gloves to wear, and some long pants that aren't yoga pants.

And we'll see whether I go, or decide I don't have the right clothes for trail work and I hike by myself or I go to yoga and attempt Level 2/3 vinyasa flow which says:
These classes will contain consistent practice of deep back-bends, inversions, arm balances and challenging variations while honing deep concentration, including pranayama and more subtle perception of the body-mind. Classes include discussion of yoga philosophy. Long holds combined with flowing practice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I made spaghetti squash tonight, following this recipe. I kept seeing food bloggers rave about it, but I should have realized that since half of them have eating disorders what they really love about it is the fact that 2 cups of it have 84 calories, not that it actually tastes good. It looked good coming out of the oven. I had doused it in salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil, and added butter and parmesan cheese when it was done but it tasted like watery strands of nothingness. In the future, if I want spaghetti, I'll eat spaghetti. And if I want squash, I'll have butternut or delicata which actually taste good.

Fortunately I also had some hummus and pita for dinner and am about to start in on an artichoke. Yum.

I'm going to work on some inversion practice tonight. Headstands, handstands, etc.

Edited to Add: Headstand - yes; Handstand - no, although lots of practice kicking up; wheel - yes once and no once. Progress not perfection. And hurting myself to get into a pose isn't going to help. It's the journey, not the destination. And other things that mean I'm not quite there yet.

Wheel Pose, F*ck Yeah

(Wheel pose. Photo from

I was trying to practice my hand-stands last night. I was at the wall with my hands on the floor, trying to kick up but couldn't get there. A combination of fear of falling into the nightstand and disbelief that I could do it in the first place. So, I moved away from the wall and tried to practice a forearm balance/headstand. Still couldn't get up. I wasn't focused and was just trying to do the pose, rather than get into the pose.

I decided to work on bridge pose knowing that would help me someday do wheel, or upward bow, pose. A few bridges and I figured I'd practice coming onto the crown of my head to prep for wheel. And then, there I was, straightening my arms and coming up into my full wheel. And not collapsing in a heap like there were cement bags piled on me, but taking 5 deep breaths and then slowly coming down and smiling a giant smile.

My teacher had said the other day that it's not about being strong. It's about making sure the alignment is there, and just stacking everything and up you go. And it is. My arms are not markedly stronger than they were a few weeks ago when I couldn't move my head a smidge (actually, they might be) but my body is certainly in better alignment.

Still feeling a little sleepy after my coffee, but I'm going to do a little yoga before getting ready for work.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Finding Balance

A break from yoga classes today. My favorite teacher wasn't teaching, in her place was a teacher who used to be an Olympic swimmer, and I was, I admit, afraid.

So, I came home and had rib-eye, rice, mushrooms and cauliflower for dinner. And some jelly beans. And some wine. I feel like I'm eating too much rice lately, but it's fast (since it's white basmati) and it's a good base for my meals.

I also cleaned the kitchen and prepped lunch for tomorrow - the other half of the rib-eye, 1/2 cup rice, cauliflower, pear, banana... Needs something green or orange. Maybe carrot sticks? And an orange with breakfast. It will be a nice change from the lentil/collards/rice that I've been having the last couple of days.

A Chorus Line is my favorite musical. And every time I walk up the steps to yoga class, I sing in my head "up a steep and very narrow stairway, to the voice like a metrono-ome, up a steep and very narrow stairway, it wasn't paradise, it wasn't paradise, it wasn't paradise but it was home." But it is paradise, and it's starting to feel like home.

It's Emily Gilmore!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Little Old Lady Yoga

(Triangle pose. Image from Yoga Journal, link below)

I went to little old lady yoga night. It was the "foundation" class, and there were a bunch of little old ladies in the class. It was a nice change from last night's class. We went back to basics, which I love. And not just becuase my trikonasana is "beautiful."

And we did tree pose, which I normally stumble around in, but this time I used a tree outside as my focal point and became the tree and was steady and calm.

I wasn't really hungry when I got home, but some how managed to eat 2 servings of rice, leeks, mushrooms and shrimp. And a little wine. And some chocolate for dessert.

Now watching the Biggest Loser. They need more supportive bras for those poor girls.

Making Lunch Last Longer

Yesterday's lunch made me realized that I needed to add something a little longer lasting to today's lunch. So, onto the lentil, rice and collard mixture I drizzled about a tablespoon of olive oil. I think that will hold me over through yoga class at 6pm. I hope. If not, there is emergency chocolate in my car.

I ate the egg salad that I had planned to have at 4pm, at 10am... but I figure better to fuel my body early in the day. I have an apple, banana and pear to eat in the afternoon.

And my co-worker made these awesome vegan oatmeal cookies from Kripalu so I had one of those. It was about the size of 1/2 a golf ball and really tasty! If left unattended with them I'd probably eat the entire batch, so I might only make them myself if I have somewhere to bring them.

Very much looking forward to my yoga class tonight. Wondering what fun things we'll do!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Holy Handstand

(photo from Yoga Journal, link below)

I think I have found my yoga home. Went to class tonight - 4 other young women besides me. The teacher said she could tell we all had a good foundation so we could play. So, we played with handstand and after some kicking - including with the teacher standing behind me at one point (to guide me) so I felt like I was going to kick her in the face when I got up - I got up! And stayed up for a few breaths and then said "yay!" and then came gracefully down.

We also practiced Urdhva Dhanurasana, wheel pose. (Why they chose a man to model that pose is a mystery...) I can't get up that high yet, but I got up further than I'd ever gone before.

And the teacher used me as an example of how to take a perfectly aligned triangle pose and throw your heart open and back. The nerd in me rejoiced to be the example, and all those years of doing Trikonasana imagining I was between 2 planes of glass, paid off when I could bring my bottom hand out, and joyfully throw my upper hand, chest and head back as my heart shown out.

Rewinding to the middle of the day - lunch just did not leave me filled. I came home around 3 and had some egg salad wrapped in steamed collard leaves, which has the potential to be good but needs some tweaking, and an english muffin. Then, since I was awake rather early this morning, I took a nap before class. I slept, despite the neighbor's leave blower or well drilling or something.

Yoga energized me and makes me happy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Om and Nom

My yoga mini-marathan of 4 classes in 2 days is over. It wasn't really a marathan - it was like a heavenly glide down a river, with someone tucking you in at the end and then singing to you. Seriously. The teacher has this amazing voice and sings a sanskrit poem at the end of class, after tucking blankets around us for savasana, corpse pose, the final relaxation. Om.

Dinner was 2 slices of pizza, wine and cookies (cookies from the studio open house.) Nom.

And somehow it's almost 8pm, which means it's almost bedtime!

Down and down dog.

(tree pose. still working on mine.)

Down another 1.4 lbs. from the 13th. Nice. I think it must be the yoga. My legs are getting stronger, my quadriceps are returning, and I'm getting leaner. Almost 6 pounds total from the beginning of April.

My eating is off today. I didn't have breakfast until I realized I wanted to go to 11am yoga, and it was 10:30. So I scarfed down a little Ezekial cereal with milk and took an apple with me. The yoga wasn't too strenuous so that held me until I go home. Lunch was some hummus and pita while I waited for lentils to cook, which take longer than I thought. Finally I had some lentils and rice with carrots.

Now I want a burrito, cup-cakes and pizza. Or a pear.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Yoga-day!

So, as I mentioned the yoga studio near my house is having their grand opening this week and they are doing free classes this weekend with some half-hour classes so you can try different styles.

I first went to an Anusara style classe which is billed as a joyful, heart-opening class. Who doesn't need that? It was opposite a kid's class, which was fun because while I was in the room by myself waiting for class (and doing a couple of carthwheels) a swarm of children rushed in and their energy burst about the room until they were ushered into their classroom. That was a fun start. We just did some standing poses and some twists, and the teacher gave really good adjustments and helped me get further into the poses than I was going on my own. There were only 2 students, so we got very good attention.

The second class was Viniyoga for the lower back. I often get a weird pain in my right hip so this was helpful to me. Again, there were only 2 people in the class so we got individual attention. It's not my favorite style, but it was good to realize that bridge pose is helpful and that I should do it more often.

Then I came home and made a very good leek and mushroom fritatta that I ate before I could photograph.

May be returning to the 5pm restorative class. Yum!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Post-Cleanse Shopping

A little wrap-up of today's meals:
breakfast: pear;

second breakfast: little rice and brisket, grapefruit;

lunch: weird things from Whole Foods Salad bar that I didn't want and only ate a few bites of, glass of whole milk.

snack: carrots and hummus.

dinner: shrimp and garlic in oil with crushed red pepper over rice. My body had declared a vegetable-free dinner for the love of God! Really, it said "for the love of God, no more veggies!" What a lovely spicy garlicky dinner.

My post-cleanse shopping trip. Some changes - a small container of hummus instead of a big one. No pita bread. Un-homogenized milk aka cream-on-top. Yum. Wine. Leeks, pineapple, apple, mushrooms, kale, Ezekiel sprouted cereal and a spaghetti squash. I have never cooked a spaghetti squash or eaten it and am going to try it this weekend.

The yoga studio near my house is having their grand opening this weekend and there are free classes all weekend. I'm going to try a few new classes, including restorative ones on Saturday and Sunday night.

Now, going to work on my Vision Board!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easing Out

I'm easing out of the cleanse. I think I've gotten what I need out of it. I went out with friends after work and had a glass of wine and 2 scallops, and then half a roll with butter. That right there is a big change, half a roll. Not the whole thing eaten automatically, but hunger felt, and roll eaten slowly until hunger abated. Although I will say that I was taking more than a second glace at the plates of salmon and french fries coming out of the kitchen at the restaurant...

Then to home where I made some brisket, rice and cauliflower. Stopped eating when I was full, one small bowl. Not the huge serving I would usually have. And now what am I craving? Pineapple and water. But I'm having an orange because it's easier to prepare than cutting the entire pineapple right now.

Or maybe I'm easing into a new way of eating. Either way, I feel good.


(breakfast musli, before the milk)

I slept like a rock last night. I was very full when I went to bed, the dinner that kept me hungry for hours decided to make my belly too full when I wanted to go to sleep. But I knew it was mostly veggies and would easily digest. Which it did and I slept through the entire night (no small feat here sometimes.)

My hips have caught on to the fact that I did 2 yoga classes in 12 hours and I think all the work I did yesterday morning trying to rotate my femurs towards the back of the room has caused this strange walk this morning. But they feel good and open and the twinge in my lower back is gone.

I found these recipes on the Kripalu website, and might make Millet Cauliflower Mash tonight. There are a ton of yummy recipes on that site!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Test

(dinosaur kale)

Tonight I'm home from work at 5. And I'm hungry. I want to pick. Monday I had my massage, so I wasn't home until 6:30. Yesterday I was out at yoga until almost 7. I got home those nights and calmly made dinner. I avoided the 5 o'clock hungries. But now here I am with great swaths of time before me and I'm hungry. I knew this would happen, which was why I scheduled out-of-the-house time the first few nights.

My sister who was doing this with me, sort of, emailed to say she ate egg salad. Not helpful. I love egg salad. And I have to cook a brisket that I was corning for my other sister (before I started this). Not helpful. I love brisket.

And I don't want lentils.

Ok, breathe. Think. What is there? Leeks, mushrooms, kale. A great big saute with some basmati rice? Yes.


Ah, rice is done. Olive oil is drizzled. Veggies are done. Dinner is served. Brisket is safely in the pan and cooking. Hungries have died down. Crisis averted. English muffin spotted at the back of the freezer not eaten.

Feeling this hunger is like holding a yoga pose. Breathe. Trust your body. Find your edge.

Now, what's for dessert?

P.S. Dessert was a bit of brisket. Grass-fed, happy, home-made, salty, delicious brisket.

Deep Cleansing Breaths

(fruit in my kitchen)

The coffee was definitely a good choice this morning. No foggy head today. Lunch was lentils and rice with collards and eggplant, and I was very excited to find that I had brought a small container of cauliflower with a little potato and mushroom.

I think this cleanse was good because it stripped away so many (all) of the things I had come to rely on to eat - bread & butter (I think that's genetic. My mother sometimes has bread and butter for dinner), the pretzels at work that aren't even satisfying but provide me with a distraction, ditto on the Newman's oreos at work, ditto on the granola bars at work, pasta servings that creep up and up in size. I don't really eat "junk" but I had gotten into a habit of eating all of whatever I'd made. Which is OK when it's all veggies, but doesn't feel good when it's other things.

I had also stopped putting thought into what I was eating, which left me with no packed lunch, and rushing to find something to bring to work, and not having it be nutritionally satisfying or filling, which lead to picking at snacks in the office, and then being hungry when I got home and not having the patience to put thought into dinner, and so on.

I had also cut back on exercise over the last few months. I wasn't moving and treating my body like I should. And now the more I move, the more I move. I went to yoga last night at 5:30, and was back on the mat at 6am feeling stronger than ever.

And now I am building this habit of reaching for fruit and veggies as my first line of defense, not as an afterthought. That is the value of this cleanse to me, not so much the "cleanse" but the chance to build new habits in the safety and boundaries of the cleanse. To have the options removed by some outside force, so I'm able to rebuild with the foundations. Then, once I have down the forming of my meals around plants, the eggs and meat and bread and butter can come back in, without hogging all the space like they did before.

Like Kripalu, But With My Own Bed. And Coffee

I woke up at 4:45 this morning after a heavenly 7 hours of straight sleep which meant I could go to 6am yoga at Dancing Crow Yoga. I love the 6am class. It's a new studio so I'm the only other student there, so far. This means that we can work on things like the difference between up-dog and cobra, and how to properly do chaturanga so my left triceps doesn't feel like it's going to pop off my elbow.

My body feels so good and strong.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Like Kripalu, But With More Driving

(rocky place with Ganesha at Kripalu. Taken by me. Fall 2008)

Today was like a day at Kripalu, but with work and driving (and Biggest Loser on Hulu while I clean the kitchen later.)

I had acupuncture after work. I think she found the point that will cure all my ills. When she put the needles in my wrists it hurt! And continued to "feel heavy" as she put it while I lay there, lucid dreaming, my hands and feet twitching every so often, falling deeper and deeper into the most supreme relaxation and then - just like that - awake, energized.

My meals have been perfect today. Just what I am needing. After work, I had a small bowl of musli with milk because I wanted to go to yoga class and was feeling a bit yucky. I figured my choices were: have musli & milk and an apple, feel good and go to yoga, or stay home and fix some veggies. So, I opted for the former.

Yoga was awesome. It was at a new-to-me studio called Art & Soul Space. It borders a wildlife habitat so the whole time you are doing yoga you can watch the gulls flying, the cardinals hopping about in a bush and the marsh grasses swaying in the wind. It was a nice hatha yoga class with some little old ladies, but what sealed it for me was the calf squeeze and head massage given by the teacher during savasana. Holy cow, what a way to end class. I will be back.

Of course I was dreaming about cauliflower and steamed some when I got home. But I wanted something more substantial so I also boiled a couple of small red potatoes and sauteed some mushrooms and onions, and sprinkled it all with rosemary and salt and pepper. As good as the fajitas I was imagining on the way home. (I don't know why I was imagining fajitas.) One bowl, and I feel good. I go back for a second bowl and pause before eating. Am I hungry still? Do I just want to eat a mushroom and really taste it? And then put the bowl back down. The food will be there in a few minutes if I'm still hungry. My hunger will be there tomorrow if there is still food. Pause. Breathe.

Why have I neglected vegetables for so long? Is it because they create scraps that I then have to truck out to the compost pile? Because they aren't in my fridge usually so I have to remember to buy them? Because they need to be cleaned and chopped and meat can just be thrown in a pan? Because it was winter and all I wanted to eat were root vegetables and hearty greens? Oh, how my body is longing for the asparagus and bitter greens of spring. Soon. Soon.

Realizing I'd better get started cleaning the kitchen and will probably have to watch the Biggest Loser in 2 parts, since it won't be done until 9:30 which is late!

Good night!

Third Day, same as the Second

(pineapple for today's lunch. the lentils, rice & collards weren't as pretty.)

Still feeling good. My pear and tea held me over until around 10 when I had my bananas. I'm hungrier for lunch earlier now, so I'm having pineapple and lentils with rice and collards. And stopping between bites to breathe and digest, so I don't just shovel it all in and then feel hungry still.

The only weird thing I feel is my eyes - they feel sort of itchy and puffy. Not in an allergy way, I'm not sure what it is. It's been like that for a couple of days.

Also, the cleanse has not cured my insomnia. I was awak from 2:30 to 4 am this morning. I keep catching parts of an interview with Temple Grandin that airs on the BBC around that time but I always fall asleep before it ends.

In continuing with my mini-retreat, I have an acupuncture appointment today to try to help with the insomnia. I went last week, too, so hopefully the cumulative treatments will help.

P.S. I want candy.

Coffee Free Again

(one of the collard leaves I'm chopping and steaming for lunch)

Day 3 of cleanse. Grains are added back in today. I've been having small amounts of grains already, so I'll just stick with those - 1/2 cup tiny black lentils, 1/2 cup rice at lunch.

I'm back having my yogi tea for breakfast. I missed it's zest and flavor. I woke up not too hungry, and even now, having been up for an hour, I'm not ready for my pear.

I realized that most everything I ate yesterday was white (pear, banana, cauliflower, etc.) so today I'm making an effort to get more color in. I chopped and steamed a bunch of collards to have with lunch, and will work in an orange or grapefruit and have strawberries again. Maybe my eggplant counted as purple, even though the flesh is white...

Ok, now I want my pear.

Happy cleansing everyone!

P.S. Down another 1.2 lbs.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Comfort of Cauliflower

As I was getting my massage this afternoon (heavenly!) I was thinking about dinner. I was imagining coming home and steaming a head of cauliflower and eating it with some Braggs Amino Acids. So I did.

My goodness! Who would ever have thought I'd be dreaming about cauliflower. And that having it (and just it!) for dinner would satisfy me?

This time of day is definitely hardest for me. I'm used to breakfast and lunch being set meals, with fixed servings. But dinner time tends to be when I pick and sip and nosh. So, sitting and feeling my full stomach, breathing and knowing that the cauliflower and everything else I ate today can sustain me. (I will say though, that at 75 calories for 3 cups, cauliflower is not one of the heartier veggies.) I had about 1/2 cup of milk too. Because I love it.

Lunch was lentils & rice (1 cup), pineapple, 2 cups strawberries and 1/2 cup eggplant.

Nutrition roundup for the day:

Calories: 838

Fat: 8 grams

Carbs: 187 grams.

Protein: 25 grams.

Fiber: 35 grams.

I had coffee this morning and actually missed my yogi tea, so I'll be returning to that tomorrow. And grains are officially introduced tomorrow so my day will look pretty much like today, except that I want to go to yoga after work so I may have some muesli cereal before class for energy.

I'm going to go for my evening walk. And may have a banana or something. I feel like I need a few more calories.

ETA: Had a banana and a glass of milk. Feel mostly human again. Went for a walk. Am planning to eat the same breakfast and lunch tomorrow, with the addition of collards at lunch, so I don't have to give things too much thought. Unless I am inspired in the morning. Now I just want sleep.

Self Care During a Cleanse

It only seems right to get a massage during a cleanse. So, that's what I'll be doing after work today. Getting my yoga-stretched muscles and lymph system wrung out further. It's like I'm building a mini retreat during this time, which is important. And very possible even though I'm working.

There is a yoga class tomorrow after work that I've been meaning to attend for a few weeks, so I will plan on that as well.

I'm feeling good so far today. Breakfast was a pear around 7, then 2 bananas around 9 and 10. I'm ready for lunch now and may eat my rice and lentils so that I can get through the remainder of the afternoon without thinking about food so frequently. It's 1/2 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of small black lentils. With some eggplant. Well, first some strawberries.

My main complaint with this is the very frequent need to pee. I'm hoping that will go away over the next couple of days, although I know it is good for my kidneys. And the fact that my bananas were less ripe than I like. But other than that it's fine. I'm counting my calories on Sparkpeople and have "emergency" healthy grains with me so I'm not tempted to eat the pretzals or oreos in the office.

This has also made me wonder why we keep pretzals and crackers and granola bars as office snacks and not a bowl of fruit. How easy would it be to just pick up apples, oranges and bananas at Whole Foods on Monday morning and then have them at the office all week? Anything not eaten by Thursday could just be taken home (we don't go into the office on Fridays.) I'm going to start this next week.

Also what I'm learning is that since my lentils and rice are limited, I'm eating more slowly, really tasting them, and thinking with each bite "am I still hungry? am I full?" And I'm noticing the flavors of the rice (it has Indian spices in it - fennel and mustard seeds), of the lentils (cooking with a vegan broth cube made them so yummy!), and the bite of the eggplant.

Something else to think about keeping at the office - sneakers and socks for an afternoon pick-me-up walk.

Have you ever done a cleanse? Are you doing the same one I am?

3 pounds!

I've lost 3 pounds. That is no small feat. Now, much of it may be water weight - my system was bloated with water I think from all the salt I had been eating (I love salt). But with mostly fruits and veggies yesterday, and a lot of water, and my magic yogi tea, and yoga with twists, my system was wrung out and some of the excess water I've been lugging around is gone!

I'm having coffee this morning. I put just a little maple syrup in it instead of my usual white sugar. It's less sweet in a nice way.

I had planned on having museuli with milk for breakfast, thinking I needed grains, but I'm feeling not too hungry so I think I'll just listen to my body and see what it wants, instead of mindlessly making and eating my breakfast.

The nutritional round-up for yesterdays meals was:
Cals. 1360 (what Sparkpeople says is the minimum per day for me. Probably could have eaten fewer and been ok)

Fat 30 grams (I had a hardboiled egg at breakfast, and some milk throughout the day, and the rice had some ghee in it. The cleanse is supposed to be non-fat, but that is about half the fat I normally have in a day, so I'm ok with it.)

Carbs: 217 grams (range is 181-262.)

Protein: 51 grams (much lower than I usually eat, and below the SP range of 60-141. But not bad.)

Fiber: 38 grams. I usually eat around 20, ideal is 25-25, so this was a good change.

Overall, I feel good and ready to take on the day!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lentils for Laine

So, my dinner was not eggplant. It was lentils and rice. And lovely. I want to throw all the fruits in my kitchen out the window. Which I'm sure will pass by tomorrow. But really, my path is the middle path. I could not be vegan or do Atkins or just eat fruits and veggies even for 2 days. Even when I was at Kripalu for a week, by day 4 I was ready to throw the kale and millet across the room. But then I found the sandwich bar with the corned beef and made a reuban and all was right with the world again.

This is what I will keep up:
1. Hydrating. I had fallen behind on my water drinking lately and I can tell these last 2 days of lots of water have really helped. And made me pee 87 times.

2. More lentils. I love lentils. Especially this batch I made with veggie broth. So much flavor and deliciousness.

3. More veggies.

4. Fruit. I don't eat enough fruit. Usually because I don't like to buy the ones that come to America on a airplane, so I try to keep it to things from the lower 48 states. Too local and I'd never eat anything but apples.

5. Yoga. I've been doing more yoga lately and want to keep it up. Which I can't do when there is an entire pineapple in my stomach.

Alright, enough sitting around and blogging. I'm going for my evening constitutional and then packing lunch for tomorow.

A Girl Needs Grains, And Protein

While it's nice to think that I have the stomach capacity to fit 87 cups of veggies, I just don't. And if what I'm eating (or not eating) is leaving me tired and listless on the couch on a gorgeous day, it's not going to work (that holds true just as if I had just eaten an entire deep dish pizza and couldn't move. Although the energy from not eating is more quickly remedied than recovering from overeating). So, I had a litte bowl of museli with milk and almonds and feel more human again. And am no longer constantly thinking about food.

I will continue on this path, making adjustments mindfully as my body needs them. Already I have figured out that eating more veggies than I have been lately is a good thing. And easy to do. And I remembered how much I love cauliflower.

I want to have the energy to walk and do yoga. And this is a continuing journey. So there may come a time when I have the time and space to do a different version of this cleanse. Or another.

For now the plan is:

Dinner: potato and leek soup with veggie broth.

Edited to Add: potatoes are sprouting. Dinner will be eggplant and some lentils. And an evening walk.

Spring Cleanse Day 1 - What's for Lunch?

I went to yoga. I prepared a travel mug of yogi tea with a little maple syrup and a dash of milk to revive me after class. It was perfect. I also brought an orange, which was not perfect.

Now it's lunch and I'm hungry. Having half a pineapple. I need to be careful not to eat too much citrus or I'll end up with a sore mouth. And I need something other than this pineapple for lunch. Oooh, maybe some lightly steamed cauliflower? Except that 1.5 cups of cauliflower apparently has 43 calories.

Things to remember:
1. I have 30 pounds of excess weight on me and am not going to keel over and die during 2 days of fruits and veggies.
2. There are plenty of calories in these foods to sustain me during this time.
3. There is plenty of variety to keep my attention.
4. Reading restaurant menus on-line isn't a good activity.
5. Pause. Breathe. Drink water. Breathe again.
6. There is plenty of food in the house if you need to eat it. Go outside and do something else.

So far I've had about 600 calories today. I may have some rice at dinner. My stomach is not used to eating huge volumes of food, I'm more of a smaller serving, concentrated nutrients sort of eater.

Steamed cauliflower with Braggs = yum.

An Attempt to De-Slug

Operating under the theory that there are no coincidences, I decided to try a 7 day food-based cleanse when I saw it on my friend Stacey Shipman's blog. Visit Stacey's site to watch an interview with Kat Ogar, and then check out her site.

The basic gist of it is that for the first 2 days you just eat fruits and veggies, on day 3 you add grains, then day 6 you add nuts and oils, sprouted grain breads and nut butters. Days 7 and 8 you ease back into a healthy, normal diet.

A few things. I wish the program started on a Friday so that you had the whole weekend to adjust to the beginning stages of this. If you have the luxury of not having outside-the-home responsibilities during this time, I think it's probably easier to do. I can't really say to my clients "sorry I messed up your case, I was doing a cleanse." But, I will just watch to make sure I'm getting around 1000-1200 cals per day and there is probably enough stuff stored in my body that my brain won't fall apart in a few days. I think if I do it again, maybe at the beginning of summer, I would start on a Friday. I discovered this right before it started so there wasn't a lot of time to plan. And in the summer there will be a bounty of local veggies!

Also, I've decided that maple syrup is a vegetable, and will be having a little in my yogi tea. So yummy and spicy and delicious and cleansing for the body, as well. No, not that type of cleansing, just your organs and your blood and things. The maple syrup is from the trees near my dad's house, so that's the other reason I'm letting it in. I know the trees it came from.

Also, I'm not doing 100% raw fruits and veggies. I don't happen to believe that raw food is superior, and I think I wouldn't stick to the cleanse because I'd run out of things I can eat raw. So, I stewed some apples and strawberries with a little of the yogi tea for breakfast, and will probably roast some veggies for dinner, and have a combo of raw fruits and veggies for lunch. The stewed fruits are quite good, and as I poured out some of the juice to save it I thought "ooh, I can use this as dressing on my salad."

I am on day 2 of no coffee. A huge change for me. But the yogi tea satisfies my need for something warm in the morning and something to sip during my morning routine, and I so far don't miss the coffee at all. No headaches or anything like that.

Today will involve prepping the pineapple and various vegetables so that they are ready when I want to eat them. And checking out some recipes.

I tried to go to a class on Ayurveda and yoga yesterday, but it was canceled, which bummed me out. I have been wanting to learn more about Ayurveda for a long time and haven't really found any practitioners or classes around here.

I did a yin yoga class on Friday night at a studio. It was heavenly. And hard. But I slept like a rock that night. There are 2 possible yoga classes today, at 10:15 or 4pm. I may head to the 10:15. I'm going to do at least 20 minutes of yoga per day.

And it's my birthday. I'm 38. What better way to turn 38 than by being mindful of what is going in my body!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Slug Also Rises

It is very weird to find that when I once again begin biking and yogaing I gain weight. Like 4 pounds in the last 2 weeks. Come on now people.

I went to 6 am yoga today and was the only one there. How awesome is a private yoga class? As awesome as you'd imagine. Such work on alignment, the little tweaks that take the pose from ordinary to "hello hamstring!"

I went to visit my dad a couple of weekends ago and did two 2-hour long hikes with him. My 76 year old father is in better shape than I am. But I think he's in better shape than 90% of people... We hiked Mt. Washington together 10 years ago and I'd love to do that again. But in good enough shape that it's enjoyable. And that comes about through regular biking and yoga and cardiovascular work.

What I want is strong lungs and strong legs so I can hike and bike and do my yoga. And I want good balance so some day when I'm old won't fall. That's all.

And I want good consistent sleep, not the 3:30am wake ups. 4:30 is fine because you can sort of get up then and have a productive day, but 3:30 you are awake until 5 then back asleep until 7 which is not good. Acupuncture visit tomorrow and Ayurveda class on Saturday. (And turning 38 on Sunday. Eep.)

P.S. I belong to 2 gyms. I have been to one gym once since I joined, and the other one I tried to go to on Easter Sunday to a boot camp class but it was canceled so I left and went home and rode my bike 11 miles. I think belonging to a gym motivates me to work out more outside the gym.