The Old Gray Mare… She Ain’t What She Used to Be

Standard

I partied hard the weekend before my birthday.  I will spare you the details but it involved an extremely entertaining place called Johnny’s Hideaway and some of the best friends a 40+1 girl could ask for.  It was awesome. Another benefit of being a full fledge grown up without small children and with an amazingly supportive husband.  It was lonely at times when I was a young mom (my friends didn’t start having kids until recently)  but where I stand right now… Winning! Ha!

By my actual birthday some three days later I was sick.  My daughter had gotten a bit of a bug and I had caught it. I wasn’t too concerned  as she didn’t seem to bothered by it: a little sore throat and fatigue but she managed just fine.  I would just let mine run its course just like she did.

But that’s the thing about being fit and forty. You forget that you are indeed, well…a bit older.  Our experiences with this crud were quite different.

However, there was no time to nurse or worry about a cold on my birthday.  By midday my city was in a state of Emergency.  My personal experience with the horror was limited (thankfully) but my yoga teacher and good friend Hope describes her first hand account here.  *SN- My college kid who lives smack dab in the middle of the city is suffering from a toothache and going to the dentist isn’t an option right now. Talked him through oil pulling and it has brought him relief.*

I woke up the next day (Day 2) and felt like a truck had run over me and then went in reverse. Congested, and dizzy… I could not believe how sick I truly was!  So I  stayed  hydrated, increased my vitamin C and I stayed in bed.  By late afternoon, my husband pulled out the neti pot and put it on the sink like an invitation (he was over it- poor guy). Although I knew it would bring me relief, I could not see myself cutting off any additional airflow in my nostrils.  I was certain I would drown and die. (No, this is not my first time using a neti pot) My daughter came in and reminded me that she has done this for years and lives through it each and every time… nothing like a kid shaming you to put things in perspective.

Instant relief! I was able to get a decent night’s sleep. When I woke up, I was better but not out of the woods. Time for an additional attack.

Today (Day 3) I thought about why the severity of the cold caught me so off guard. On Monday Jan and I went to R. Thomas, a well known eatery in Atlanta that serves up healthy vegan, vegetarian, and meat dishes in one really cool environment. I had gone there with two friends a few weeks back and had the Big Bang: A one size fits all hot, frothy, drink made of freshly juiced apple, lemon and ginger. Lots of ginger. On the day before my birthday, I ordered another one. I really think it pushed the cold back a bit. I had been feeling a little under the weather but the Big Bang had given me a zing of health. Today I set out to make it myself with the ingredients I had on hand (Snowmaggedon 2014 meant no trip to the store).

photo

Big Bang- Yes Please!

Here’s what I used:

1 pink grapefruit

about a 2 inch section of ginger

1 pear

1 teaspoon of raw honey (the grapefruit had a bit of a kick that I wanted to tone down)

I juiced it all in my juicer and then I transferred it to my Vitamix where I added the honey and put it on for about 5 minutes. Ahhh…. my deep, cleansing breaths were possible once again! I plan on using lemon next time (I think it will take 3-4 lemons); the grapefruit+ ginger combo was a bit too powerful. I may keep the honey… I like the flavor it added.

I roasted chickpeas using this recipe while I was preparing my hot juice. I forgot about them (fuzzy head casualty)  and they got a little burnt but they were still good. Amy, one of the Detox Challengers, thinks they taste like corn nuts… I agree.

I fully intended on adding Tito’s vodka (gluten-free) to the Big Bang but I forgot.  How does one forget vodka you are asking? Get a head cold the size of Texas that’s how.  Now, I like to correct my mistakes so I guess I got to go make it again before I go to bed. Hee hee! Night folks!

Advertisements

Butter In my Coffee

Standard

So we are at the stage in the Detox Challenge where I let them choose what they want to reintroduce into their diet… in a healthier way.

First on most folks list:

Coffee.

looks like milk but it's butta baby!

looks like milk but it’s butta baby!

I always feel guilty about taking away people’s coffee. I have a coffee ritual that is painfully interrupted when I do a Detox. Painful for anyone who crosses my path.  But, I find it beneficial to pause and take a close look at my relationship with Java and even elevate it a bit. 🙂

Drinking coffee is a personal decision. Some people argue that caffeine is bad (can be harmful for your adrenals)  others argue it is good for you (my kids’ pediatrician swears by it as a ADHD treatment)… I’m going to let them debate… while I enjoy a cup of brew. Read the positions, listen to your body and decide for yourself.

While I feel strongly about drinking coffee I do have standards. Standards that I revisit and elevate typically around the time of my cleanse.

My rules:

I only drink one cup of coffee a day. By one cup I mean 10-12 ounces, one container. Ha!

I only buy organic coffee.  Non-organic coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides

I only buy fairly traded coffee. It is important to me that farmers are treated with respect.

I buy beans and grind them every morning. Well I buy the beans and my husband grinds them. Pre-ground stuff is a no-no around here. We wouldn’t even consider instant. The Thought makes me shiver!  Coffee is an experience (I learned that from my days as a Starbuck’s barista) The best part of waking up isn’t Folgers in your cup but it is the smell of fresh cracked coffee brewing!

How I make it:

10-12 ounces of freshly brewed coffee

1 tablespoons of Pure ghee

1 tablespoon coconut oil

(you can use butter alone but only organic and grassfed or it is gross!)

A sprinkle of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla

Blend in my Vitamix for 30 seconds.

Now let me explain:

I met the wonderful couple who make PURE Ghee at the Ancestral Health Symposium and they were sampling their product with coffee. It was delicious but I needed to do my research and determine a  fit  for it in my diet. Bear in mind this conference was for Paleo/ Westin Price type folks and they have a bring on the fat mentality. I haven’t quit made that leap but I do recognize the benefits of coconut oil and ghee particularly for auto immune peeps like me. As a matter of fact, I believe that many disorders we experience today have been aggravated by the low-fat diet craze days.  Fat does not make you fat. Too much sugar does. It also causes inflammation and cancer cell growth. Am I Paleo? Not much. I eat primarily vegetables and fruit and I also eat legumes and beans.  I am not big on grains although I eat brown rice and quinoa occasionally (typically when training hard).  I eat meat (I reach for lean cuts of organic, cage free, free range and grass fed options) but not as a rule. I eat dairy occasionally: organic, full fat and raw when possible.  I  pull from vegan, vegetarian, paleo, and anti-inflammatory mindsets.  I like to say that I am a pescaterian with Paleo tendencies. 🙂

Basically, I don’t eat crap.

My coffee fits into my plan because of this very important fact.

It is my first meal of the day and because of the fat, I am satisfied for at least 2 hours. I also have tons of energy (coconut oil is a known metabolism booster) and focus throughout my morning. I am not a morning person but my kids and clients don’t seem to care about that.   So my coffee keeps everybody happy. 🙂

Coffee is not a dessert and therefore I do not  add sugar.  I know adding anything to coffee is a faux pas for a coffee snob connoisseur; I live with one. He believes coffee should be served one way: black and in huge quantities. He also comes from generations of  rancher stock. Cattlemen and women. I’m just not on that level.

Why put coffee in the Vitamix?

Because I when I mixed it with our blending I was left with clumps of the butter/ghee blend at the end. I realized that it needs to emulsify.  Blending it also infuses the other flavors and makes it frothy. I also aprrecitate that the Vitamix keeps it hot!

So there you have it.

Oh and it takes me about 1 minute to make.

How do you take your coffee?

Challenge Accepted

Standard

The Detox Challenge is well underway.  While I am happy to report that these ladies are doing amazing… the start was a little bumpy.

It wasn’t my intention but I could sense the “This is NOT what I signed up for!” tension in the air. Ruh Roh.  I should have seen that coming. Although I told them this would be a detox experience unlike any other, I didn’t explain what that meant. I mean, I was confident in my approach but if I had actually told them : My goals are to change the way to you look at food,   Make you eat foods you swear you wouldn’t and Have you in the kitchen getting excited about produce. Yeah I don’t think there would have a whole lot of excitement surrounding that!

For most, detox diets are based on miserably committing to eat something or abstain from something for a set period of time.  We are all familiar with the Lemonade Diet :three- ten days of lemon juice, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Or the Liver flush complete with drinking things like olive oil, garlic and epsom salt. Bleh… who thinks of these things? And why on Earth do we do this to our body? While I’m no Beyonce, I’ve done it all too. My 20’s and early 30’s were riddled with ‘get cleaned out quick’ schemes. I’d be really irritable and cranky for a few days but I would emerge feeling lighter and leaner…until I started eating crap again.

One of the current crazes is to use supplements and drinks to Detox. While I think supplements have their place, It is not necessary to use them to give the body a break from the way we currently eat which is SAD (standard american diet). Nor is it necessary to starve yourself while you work to restore the gut.

What it takes is food.

Well thought out, planned foods that are known to pack a powerful macronutrient balance and supply high does antioxidants and probiotics. And fiber. Fiber is real important. 🙂

So that’s what I set out to do. Organize a detox unlike any other I’ve experienced. One full of food; vibrant, beautiful food and plenty of it.

We started out detaching ourselves from well established and harmful eating habits. They handled that plenty well.

Then came the food they could eat. This where things got a little… testy.  I assure you it was detailed and varied; I worked very hard to create a comprehensive list of great food. The problem is, much of it they had never handled no less eaten.  “You are expecting me to eat just this?” Yes I was. And they would come to thank me for it.

What I knew that they didn’t is that I absolutely love food. I love to cook and I love to eat. The way to my heart is definitely begins in my belly.  As a result. I refuse to eat food that does not taste good. Period. I gave them tons of recipe options designed to heal the gut while tasting yummy. They couldn’t see at first but once they started tasting they were hooked ;).

God has provided us with so many delicious options… naturally.  Vegetables and fruit actually taste good. Really really good. The problem is that we are disconnected from what REAL food taste like.  Think about it: How much of what most folks eat is fresh? Frozen, boxed, canned… all ways of life in our culture.  As a result things are overly salted, drenched in sugar and loaded with bad fat. All in an effort to mask the fact that we are eating food ‘products’ not food. The result: we think we do not like REAL food.

Through this Challenge I’ve set out to change that those entrusted to me with this go ’round. We’ve examined real food and why your body needs it. We discussed our bad habits and how good it feels to let them go… even if for only 21 days.  And we’ve whined and complained and lamented like school girls. It’s been loads of fun.

Image

for the love of veggies

I’ve seen major breakthroughs.

Here are some outtakes from our group:

“I do like Green Tea and Kale. I do, I do….thank you Sag-I-Am”

“I’ve already lost 4.8 lbs since I’ve started on Saturday”

“Food I once “hated”, I am loving. I am still not a fan of beets, but I do LOVE onions and peppers now (well sweet peppers).” 

“I love this style of eating. I will be looking for a vegetarian cookbook soon. I may add turkey and grilled chicken but not like before.”

 “They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. I am trying to replace those bad habits with good ones. I don’t want to use the word deprived….cause we r not. But I don’t want bad food choices to be the bad boyfriend that I kept around when he should have been kicked to the curb a long time ago”

“I am ONLY buying ORGANIC. Organic is pricey, but then life is priceless, this is my new motto.”

“I find my appetite has decreased.”

“Ran a 10k and had energy throughout the race”

“I don’t know if I lost weight but I feel like a million bucks. I don’t feel bloated and I can work out hard without having eaten meat. I’ve learned a lot so far but what I’ve learned most is that the commercial teaching in health and wellness is wrong..way wrong. Everything is time-weight based, “lose 10 lbs in 5 sec”…”get bikini ready in 8 weeks…flatten your tummy in 3 days with these easy tricks… It’s a bit fat juicy lie. I went to Publix to get my husband some Cheetos. Yup he sent me to get Cheetos – but I looked at the store differently. All these beautiful brightly colored packages full of non food. Now friends I’m not saying I’ll never eat a chip again..maybe a tortilla chip but I am saying this entire experience is of the mind which results in change of the body.”

Love. It. All.

April has done an amazing job of helping these ladies tap into the mental/emotional/spiritual side of things.  Those of us who do this work know that it is largely mental. Her prescribed  yoga moves and guided meditation round out the experience.  Her inspiration and loving support provides balance to my ‘dictatorship’ (yeah I was referred to as such early on- told you it got ugly lol) Another pleasant surprise gone terribly right. 🙂

I am so impressed with these ladies. Most have stayed the course. They took the early licks like champs and offer encouragement and enthusiasm to each other every day. I always say I learn just as much (if not more) from my clients as they do from me. This group is no exception. A real class act.

In personal news:

I am cleansing right alongside these ladies and I feel amazing. Although I don’t regret the pound cake, I am happy to be back on track with an eating style that works best for my body. CrossFit is on hold and I have taken up Reformer Pilates. I chose pilates for a number of reasons but three come to mind immediately: 1) my concern about disease progression in my joints/muscoskeletal system 2) who doesn’t want to look like a dancer? and 3) The instructor has a sign in her studio that says “All the hotties take Pilates”. A direct quote from her husband. Sold. 🙂

As always Jan is up for a challenge so we are taking classes together. She’s been doing mat pilates for years. I’ve dabbled here and there but the contraptions (reformer, cadillac, etc…) is new to us both. We love it. Check out our moves:

Image

Well… one move but isn’t it a beaut!

An Open Letter To those considering the 21 Day Detox Challenge

Standard

On the fence about detoxing? I get it. The idea is overwhelming.  Even for me, a trained professional. Here’s what I am here tell you: Stop thinking about it and dive in. Yeah, just like you would do in a swimming pool. Hold your nose, close your eyes, and jump.

You will not regret it. I promise.

How can I promise? Because I will be there with you every step of the way as both your Coach and fellow detox-er.  I actually got a head start!  I have been detoxing for years. As a part of my commitment to healthy living.  that  I really try to do the things I tell others to do; not big on the whole hypocrite thing.  I actually have a host of eating strategies  that keep me honest. Besides, good nutrition has saved my life (in my opinion).  At the beginning of each year,  the hubster and I do a cleanse. This year is no exception. On January 1st, we said goodbye to the holiday goodies once and for all. Well… I think he had a ceremonial piece of sweet potato pie.  😉

What is very different is that this year I will be cleansing with many friends from all over the country…maybe the world! My new gig with Eat Smart and Workout Hard allows me to share nutrition information and support daily.  In addition to providing great information through social media, I am l hosting challenges through ESWH.  My first Challenge was The little Black Dress Challenge 2 which began mid- November.

I’ll be honest, I was a little hesitant. I mean, I am used to having a high level of interaction with my clients. Typically in person.   I get to know my clients’ lifestyle considerations as well as their tastes and preferences.  Would I be able to develop the type of bond I’ve  become accustomed to having with the people I work with?

In a word: yes.  I easily connected with the women in the Little Black Dress 2 Challenge as we narrowed in on their individual nutrition and food needs. I shared my professional guidance and personal experience. Both were well received. What I quickly realized that although the format was different, my ability to connect with my clients was not affected. As a matter of fact, in many ways I was able to give more of myself. Members could reach out to me 24hours a day; whenever a question popped in their head. I would check in and respond. The online format really makes so the process smooth… like butta!

The other thing I love about ESWH is that you immediately feel like you are a part of a community. Some of the ladies have participated in several challenges and they welcome the newcomers in like family.  While I don’t get the chance to sit and map out a game plan with the members of the challenge (that comes at a much higher cost by the way ;)), I make myself available to chat virtually.   They can freely share frustrations and triumphs in both a private conversation with a Coach and in the group setting. Best of both worlds for sure!

The System Reload 21 Day Detox Challenge comes with a high level of structure.  Detoxing gives the body a break from the harmful effects of poor eating while loading up on nutrient dense foods. The goal is to get rid of the gunk and reprogram the system to work efficiently.

Do you lose weight?  If you have weight to lose the answer typically is yes. However, this is not the focus of the detox. No magic pills or potions. Just good solid nutrition.  My goal is to help put participants on a path toward optimal health. As I’ve said before: It begins with food. Weight loss is a bonus…dessert if you will. Ha!

The Challenge begins on Saturday so there is still time to register. HOWEVER, don’t wait until the last minute… we need time to get you ready!

Questions? Feel free to inbox us at Eat Smart and Workout Hard or email us at eatsmartworkhard@gmail.com.

Hope to see you in my Kitchen!

P.S. This is me after my last Challenge in January 2013. I took pictures for my 40th birthday.  and I’ve been holding on to this one for the right moment. I think this is it.  40 years old, 3 kids, and several auto immune diseases later… yeah I’m pretty pleased with myself!

Image

Join me… won’t you?