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Archive for February, 2011

New Groceries

Groceries =). I made a grocery list of whatever I may need in order to adopt a nutritious, mostly plant based diet that I’m hoping will support me in my efforts to overcome my obstacles. Seen in the picture are a mix of groceries from Sam’s Club, Walmart (they have the cheapest sweet potatoes, it’s wonderful), Whole Foods, and some items I already had at home.

I’ve put together plenty of greens and veggies: Spring Greens, Kale, Romaine, Spinach, Celery, Sweet Potatoes and Squash (which are supposed to be very soothing on the digestive system), and cucumber. There are also more veggies in the fridge =).

Gluten free grains: Brown Rice Tortillas (a discovery made on Kelsey’s blog), Quinoa, and Millet

Animal products: I initially felt that I could do well on a vegetarian diet, but in the last few weeks I’ve been having really strong sugar cravings and haven’t been feeling well. I decided to incorporate chicken and fish into my diet. I cooked the chicken last night and froze it along with the salmon so that I can have meat once in a while.There’s also some goat cheese there which I read is easiest to tolerate, but I tried it and really didn’t like it unfortunately.

Some condiments and things: Light Coconut Milk (The organic Whole Foods Brand was cheaper than most commercial brands which was a pleasant suprise), Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar which is supposed to be very helpful with digestion, coconut water, and NuNatural Stevia drops.

I also bought a box of gluten free cookies which are so.yummy.

and some small air tight jars to store my grains in.

Overall, I had a nice time shopping and I’m looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen.

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Sweet Disposition

Sweeeet…Diispoosition <3Listening to the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack right now =). It’s one of my fav. movies and the music is one of the reasons why.

To recap the week, I spent much of my time finishing up my school work for my Public Health class, which ended today. I also had a midterm exam in my Biology class, and was somewhat unpleasantly reminded of what it’s like to have to spend hours studying and preparing. Thank God that’s over (for now, lol). Now that the school-consumed week has passed, I finally have a couple of days to regroup and focus fully on the steps I’m trying take towards making improvement. This week, I got back into email correspondence with Rebekah, who pens a blog at clarityincreation.blogspot.com–I’m having trouble linking websites on these posts and it’s getting annoying–but anyway, Rebekah is a sweet penpal who is a great listener, lender of advice, and who never fails to ask caring and engaging questions.

In her last email, she asked me this: “can i ask you a question? is your hair and skin the worst of what happened, or was there something deeper? because hair and skin doesn’t sound like “losing health” to me. i know it was crippling, don’t get me wrong! but that’s just on the OUTSIDE… is it possible you are far healthier than you realize? i would hate for you to look back on your 20s and realize you spent most of them just…. waiting. how sad, right?”

I did email her back and provide her with more details, but I still kept the question with me all this week, because I felt the need to answer it in the most truthful and best possible way. I do know there is absolutely so much more behind it, as I’m learning in therapy as time goes on. As for explaining my situation as ‘losing my health,’ I believe that I am using ‘health’ in a different way. It’s gotten much better, but I have been struggling with a depression that crippled my ability to live my life. A few months ago I read an interesting article by a doctor whose purpose it was to help people heal their depression. He said in the article that with billions of people in the world, there isn’t any individual anywhere that’s suffering from a problem that someone else in the world has also suffered from without getting depressed. His point was that whatever the problem is, there is something deeper to uncover, and when that’s addressed, there is a way to come out of it. Going back to the question of health, ‘losing health’ to me means a loss of a healthy mind and soul, in addition to struggling with my physical appearance, with other physical problems such as very low energy and stomach problems. By no means do I compare myself to people with chronic diseases or illnesses, but to me, that is ‘losing health.’

As of recently, I’ve really been getting the sense that I am doing important inner work by addressing past experiences and thought patterns, which is helping me grow and change in ways that give me more confidence that should I pick up and move on, I can feel the peace of knowing that I will not run myself into the ground again. Not that whatever has happened is mine or anyone else’s fault, as a good friend of mine told me, “shit happens.”

I’m still continuing to learn and grow as time goes on, but the time has come for me to practice taking control of my body and my mind, so that I can create a future. I think I’m getting stronger and clearer in what it is that I want, who I want to be (I’m sure this will always be growing and shifting), and how I’m going to get there. I can tell that I’m getting stronger because the concept of age isn’t affecting me so much anymore. I hope that soon enough I can feel a better quality of life through my own efforts to feel better and take care of myself, and I think that right now I just need to trust myself (so long as I know I’m doing the necessary work that it takes to progress and heal). I have many more years left in my twenties, and if I spend the better part of their beginning doing strong inner work and guiding myself towards healthy goals and a healthy mindset, then I am peaceful, and maybe getting happier about it.

I had a lot of trouble answering Rebekah’s question at first, and one thing that helped me do it was a lucky random subscription I made to a motivational speaker’s blog. His name is Dr. Sukhi, and this week I got a series of five videos in my email mailbox that basically summarized what his message to people is all about. As someone who struggled with making his life work for him, he has done a lot of work throughout his life and is in a place where he wants to share what helped him get through things and reach a happy place (I may be getting sappy, sorry). I got ‘part 5’ today and I just really resonated with all of his ideas and strategies. He is a powerful speaker and his message is so genuine. The link is here:

http://www.drsukhi.com/5-step-manifesting-formula-video-5

I think anyone and everyone could benefit from his advice.

So I’ll leave it at that…I’m making trips to Costco and Whole Foods in the next couple of days to acquire what I need for my diet change and will be back soon!

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Ode to Natural Hair =)

Well there won’t be any poem about it, but I’ve been noticing that my hair is starting to improve lately. Such a relief, and a helpful reminder that nothing is permanent.

…except for all of the hair coloring I used to do! Now that I’m beginning to get reintroduced to a fresh new head of hair, I’m realizing that I don’t know if I could ever stomach using hair dye again. But it makes me nervous because I have a feeling (highly likely that it is a silly, unnecessary feeling) that I can’t look good without highlights or color =\. Thanks, by the way, Ravi/Rebekah/Hayley for the incredibly nice comments you’ve left on this blog so far.

So to help me change my mindset, I set out in search of inspiring natural hair.

Aishwarya Rai has pretty, warm hair…but a quick search led me to a picture of her more natural look.

I think I actually prefer it dark!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shay Mitchell is an actress that’s currently appearing in

“Pretty Little Liars.” She also has great natural hair.

I love the idea of focusing on my health and building new self confidence that way. Restful nights, eating fresh foods, green juices, and smoothies, drinking enough water, meditating, doing yoga, spending time outdoors in nature, exercising, practicing gratitude, getting dressed everyday and believing that I am healthy and happy, focusing on my schoolwork, reading and learning with an open mind, staying loving when I feel bitter, and of course…daily chocolate. Maybe in moderation. =)

I guess it’s a good thing I won Kelsey’s giveaway over at snackingsquirrel.com. I’ve never won a giveaway and this was very exciting, lol. Thank you Kels!

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My Mind Over My Matter

It looks like I underestimated how much school work I’m stuck with, so I think that this week will consist of a balance of getting it done and making time to prepare for the changes that I’m making soon. Crazy Sexy Diet includes a 21 day cleanse in the book that is designed to guide me through any symptoms I might feel as a result of cutting out sugar, gluten, and animal products. The cleanse can also ease me into a regular meditation, exercise, and sleep schedule. I think I definitely need to follow what Kris Carr laid out otherwise I might not be able to stick with the changes.

I’ve been having some trouble focusing on my schoolwork because I can feel my mind struggling to come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be working hard and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I haven’t gone full swing into the healing lifestyle CSD can offer me, but I’m definitely thinking about it and incorporating a lot of things into my life right now. I think my biggest problem is that I have been letting my mind control me. My mind chooses to remember all of the negative things that have happened to me, and it doesn’t like to acknowledge hope or success. It’s always going back to the negative memories, to times when I wasn’t successful and I struggled to meet my goals. It doesn’t want me to believe that I can heal, and it fights that positive thought with reminders that I get depressed when I run out of solutions, that my skin has changed, my hair is recovering too slowly, etc. It wants me to believe that no amount of self-care, studying for my future, and entertaining my passions of reading, writing, and music will help me strengthen myself against depression.

I realized this in the past few days, and I knew I had to take control of the negative whirlwind in my head. If I’m going to be able to keep up with a healing lifestyle, I need to able to let those thoughts come and go without letting them affect what I’m doing. I don’t think that I can get rid of them entirely, and as a result, I set up a meditation space, watched some Deepak Chopra videos, and started meditating and journaling a lot more in the past few days. Hopefully that will help.

And for the sake of letting my mind know even further that I’m not letting it take over me anymore,

I’d like to post a picture of my lovely dinner =). That would be a salad of greens with avocado-cumin dressing, steamed sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt, brown rice, and a serving of daal (Indian style lentils).

and, and…

Not one, but TWO pictures of me, working it for the camera, no makeup, acne, frazzled hair (with the exception of using flash, which is doing me a great service here IMO) and all. These are the first pictures that I’ve taken of me in a long, long time…so there, universe. I’m sending out the message. I’m scoping out my situation and getting ready to face my fears.

Oh lord…did I mention exploring religion is in my future plans?

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Study Break

Since I give priority to school, I’ve been busy with loads of reading and homework and can officially say that online courses are mucho work, maybe even more than traditional ones. I’m happy with them, though, so for now my time needs to be spent here.

But…I’m pretty restless because all I really want to do is get to all the fun healing stuff =). I’ve been eating lots of fresh healthy greens, veggies, and fruits but I have to admit that these past few days I’ve been kissing my comfort foods goodbye by continuing to eat them. Even though I enjoy rich foods like chocolate, ice cream, cheese, and bread, I thankfully love the taste of my healthy food just as much. Now that I know the science and logic behind the choices I’m making, and I’ve done extensive research, I feel ready to make the switch in my diet. It’s just strange that the foods that give us comfort can end up harming the body in the end. I will definitely need to find a way to make my diet work for me and comfort me in a similar way.

I’m planning on making Monday the first day that I bring together all elements of my healing…morning yoga and meditation, green juicing, preparing three meals according to my dietary changes, going to the park, studying in the morning through the afternoon, walking my pup, and something exciting:

[picture source is Amazon]

I ordered this vocal warm up to keep my voice going…

I don’t sing a lot anymore because the soul is kinda missing from my voice, but this book comes highly recommended and I think it’ll be fun to spend some time in the evenings with this gem!

A big reward lying ahead of my effort to take control of things is finding a guitar instructor and finally learning how to play for myself. It’s a dream of mine and it will be really fulfilling.

So I’ve gotta get back to my work…but my mind is truly here in this healing space of a blog, and I will see ya on Monday<3

p.s. I am a cornball.

=) And I’m leaving a video

Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Diet

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Quick Update

So! I got Crazy Sexy Diet in the mail this morning and just finished it off (yes I did read all day).

I will get into greater detail later, but for now I need to get down some notes about major things I learned:

-Although the book is centered on dietary changes, there is a major emphasis on all of the other lifestyle changes that are just as important.

-Lifestyle changes include: a morning meditation/prayer and yoga practice, regular moderate exercise (35 mins a day), preferably getting outside for that exercise, and adding in a daily walk.

-Dietary changes are focused on eating a nutrient dense, gluten-free and low-glycemic vegetarian or vegan diet. It seems to me that the best thing to do is keep it vegan at home, and vegetarian when out, but I also think that organic animal products like eggs and meat should be added once in a while, because I like the idea of participating in relieving animal suffering, but I’m not comfortable with relying solely on supplements for anything I might be missing. Which brings me to my next note:

-I need to buy a multivitamin, a B12 vitamin supplement, a vitamin D supplement (turns out we all need this, vitamin D deficiency is a global epidemic), digestive enzyme capsules, and a probiotic supplement. I can continue to keep up with adding protein powders to my smoothies and adding MSM to my morning water. I guess it sounds like a lot but majority of these supplements are recommended to health-conscious non-veg eaters…maybe even more so, after learning everything I did in this book.

I’m really looking forward to moving forward and embracing a healing lifestyle, and I’m really hoping that by investing in myself this way, someday I won’t need medications, which are really expensive over time. I expect that I’m going to be taking an antibiotic and using medicated cream for my skin soon, but I think that will be fine since it’s temporary. This wellness lifestyle is all about helping the body and mind heal on it’s own.

I really loved the way Kris Carr wrote the book. I expect the she knew that her readers were going to get overwhelmed by all of the information but she wanted them to know that their mental health was most important to her and the key to making this all work. Depression was mentioned multiple times in the book, as well as skin problems. I’ve been thinking lately that there’s a good chance that my body may have just been sent plain out-of-whack by the birth control that I took, which created imbalances and sensitivity in my body, which stirred up lots of deeply rooted mental sludge that I, like a lot of people, carry and choose not to deal with, like ever. I mean, what’s left when all the goodness goes away?

Anyway, whatever is going on, I’m in a place right now where I’m ready to get active in my healing. I’m the only person that will ever know my body and I’m the only person that will ever live my life. And it can be a beautiful one, so there’s no shame in taking things into my own hands. I’m happy that I’m going to be happy. I’m pretty scared-but hey, without fear, we can’t ever know strength, hope, and thus love (be it self-love, or love-love).

Today’s Gratitude:

1. The support of my family and friends. My parents don’t want me to get too carried away or anything, and my mom knows that my diet is going to up the grocery bill (I will not be eating all organic though-the dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists are my guidelines), but in the end I expect they will let me do my thing.

2. School! Thank you, thank you Northeastern for offering me the chance to get pursue my degree.

3. God. Or the Universe. Whatever is responsible for putting me on earth and not letting me go through life without experiencing a real personal challenge. Getting through this means getting a second chance at life, and that’s worth everything. I definitely need to explore my religion in the coming time.

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For some time now I have been using comfort foods to cope with how I feel. I often eat when I’m not hungry and although I have gone through phases of cutting out some acne-triggering foods like dairy, I have been reluctant to let go of my comfort eating. I eat a lot of chocolate and I tend to want to eat until I’m really, really full.

I think it’s important to eat especially well when experiencing depressive moods, anxiety, and while studying, so even though I’m making over my diet I’m going to try to do it thoughtfully. I’ll aim to replace comfort foods with their equally comforting but healthy counterparts. I’m hoping that with the right changes I’ll be able to clear my skin (I’m going to get to the derm eventually for additional help), grow in some healthy and strong hair, gain energy, cure my tummy troubles, and increase mental clarity.

Through blogging and some research I’ve come across a lot of good information and have been inspired by a lot of leaders in healing.

Some of these people include:

Kris Carr, who’s blog Crazy Sexy Life I discovered a while ago. I also watched her documentary and thought it was really inspiring. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was in her 20s, and because she worked so hard to heal herself of this serious illness she decided to go public with her wealth of information on healing through diet and lifestyle. She puts a huge focus on alkalizing the body, which I think will help me a lot because it’s through an alkaline environment that the body’s processes are maximized, which I read will be very effective for my skin, hair, and mood troubles. Her blog is where I got my inspiration to try green smoothies and green juices, and I just ordered her book so I’m excited to learn more.

Gena from Choosing Raw (feel like a creeper for posting her picture but she doesn’t have a book, lol). She also healed herself through diet and lifestyle changes and I am super inspired by her. I have no plans to go raw but it will be fun to include some of her delicious recipes in my meals. She’s a certified nutritionist who has devoted her blog to helping other people feel better, and is even taking it all a step further by going to med school this year. She is one smart cookie.

Ani Phyo is a raw food chef who makes everything she cooks look amazing. I like her because I once read an interview in which someone asked her a very specific question about whether or not they should worry about eating Goji berries (a very nutritious, expensive lol, and kind of gross tasting berry but no judgment) that are heated at too high of a temperature. She responded that when choosing to eat healthfully we shouldn’t worry about the specifics, but instead feel good about our choices and give thanks that we have access to good information and a wide variety of food which a lot of people are not fortunate enough to have. I’m going to keep this tip in mind as I make my transition because I think it could be easy to get carried away and maybe very restrictive. I want to eat what is best for my body and my mind and I don’t want to make anything off limits because that could lead to more problems. I do not need an eating disorder.

In a past post, I also included a few books that I have read: Eating for Beauty by David Wolfe and The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone have influenced me as well.

Overall, I’m looking forward to making more progress and I’m feeling pretty okay. I’m going to work towards posting regularly so that I can keep track of the things that I’m trying, including tossing away my fears and getting moving with my schedule (will be more like a guideline).

As for today’s gratitude, a great article on things to be grateful for can be found here.

A few from that list that I liked:

Blogs – For connecting you with other like-minded people

Music – For lifting your spirits when you’re down and for filling your life with more love

Challenges – For helping you grow and become who you are

 

Remember this JT song? =) All I’ve been listening to lately are covers. Gotta love YouTube.

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