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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?

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

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.

Thoughts on a Change in Diet

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.

Second Guessing

It’s almost 2 in the morning and I can’t get to sleep…so here I am =)?  This entry may or may not turn into random ramblings.

I read an inspiring article today that can be found here

I especially liked points 3, 11, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20:

3. Try to make a gratitude list each day. Include big things and little things. Invite your friends to make their own lists; you can all email one another each day, sharing your gratitude.

11. If you are in a room with someone you don’t know, introduce yourself right away. It takes away the social discomfort immediately.

14. Go vegetarian. Animals raised and slaughtered for food suffer immeasurably. Visit GoVeg.com for a free vegetarian starter kit.

15. Do your best to think good thoughts. They affect your health, happiness, and the people around you.

17. Practice accepting compliments. The person complimenting you is giving you a gift. Receive it graciously, even if it is difficult.

19. Forgive those who have wronged you. Holding onto anger and resentment poisons your body and your life. There are no benefits in staying mad. Let go. It’s okay.

20. Forgive yourself. It’s okay to be imperfect and to have made mistakes. Try to do better, that’s all.

I really don’t know how I feel about the suggestion to pee in shower.

 

In the past few days I’ve noticed that my anxiety is really all over the place. I think I caught myself today, though. I’ve been doing pretty well with my Northeastern classes and today as I was getting my work done, I started feeling guilty about the good grades I’m getting. I have yet to get below a 90 on anything (until today, will get to the point), and it had me thinking…is the work too easy (even though I’m putting in hours of studying)? Is it okay to be taking my classes online (although I have researched this degree and classes and decided it is)? Am I working as hard as any other college student? How do I have a 97 average in Public Health?

The quiz I took today was open note, and I was feeling guilty for taking an open note quiz, which is stupid, because there are professors that give students open note finals at Rutgers. And so, as I hit the complete button and turned in my quiz, I was hit with a score of 80, and my average for the course dropped down to a 92. I knew all of the answers. I read some of the questions incorrectly, and didn’t check over my quiz like I usually do. All because I was so busy second guessing myself. Way to go, Aim.

To add, today I found out that a good friend of mine, who recently graduated and took off to teach English in Egypt, is still in Egypt. I’ve been following the headlines with my dad who is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to anything in the news, and when I told him he completely shut down. My dad is the type of person that wants nothing but success for his kids, and when he hears about people my age doing great things he struggles a lot with accepting it. “You kids are falling behind” is his favorite comment to throw out there, along with a very serious and depressed expression on his face, and I momentarily forgot that when I told him about my friend’s whereabouts. This time, however, he didn’t say anything and I could see that same expression. He had nothing to say and no questions to ask about my friend Eric. Insert stupid anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. Given what I’m working through right now, I don’t see myself traveling anytime soon. My good friend Lindsey texted me this week and asked me if I wanted to spend the summer in India with her, a friend of our’s mother is going to be hosting some classes there, and though the opportunity sounds beyond amazing, I’m just not in good shape to take advantage of it. And I’m sorry. But I’m not. But I’m working on things. And I totally want to travel someday and see things and experience things and learn things…

I hate that all this happened and even as I type right now I’m trying to work through it. I just don’t think that I want to leave any room to second guess myself. Despite everything that’s been going on with me, I don’t want to feel bad about anything. The past is gone and it can’t hurt me today, and I’m blessed with a lot of good things right now, even if I’m not quite living my life to the fullest. I so appreciate being in school, taking my classes through a great school like Northeastern, as well as being challenged and rising up to the challenge of these courses. I am earning my grades in these courses. And I love that I still have dreams. I really want to work on learning guitar so that I can keep singing and keep music in my life. And I think that this blog could totally be a great tool for me. And my hair is totally getting better and I’ve got a pretty good idea of how a change in my diet can start helping me feel and look better. I want to wake up and think about my day and realize that I have important, challenging, and fun things ahead of me. And I don’t want to disrespect myself by thinking that none of it is good enough. Because it is. And all of what I’m going through now will help me create a life that makes me happy. And lately I’ve been feeling like I really understand that.

And that’s all there is to it…so I think I can get to bed now. “The journey of a million miles starts with a single step”, no?

Thought Patterns

After a few attempts at making a tasty green smoothie in the past few weeks, I found a winning recipe. I’m super excited because I was going to give up on them. I’m not going to force myself to eat things that aren’t satisfying because food should support both physical and mental health.

The recipe:

1 cup water

1/4 sliced frozen banana

1/2 cup frozen berries, plus a few pieces of frozen kiwi

1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder

1/2 scoop of vanilla rice protein

small handful of greens (I used spinach)

The secrets are to keep the fruit frozen so that the smoothie is cold and thick, and to use a few different types of fruit to add flavor. I swear it tasted like a sweet chocolate milkshake. Yum =) I was also tempted to stick in a lot of greens in my first couple of tries, but I realize that health is more about consistency, and that a little each day will soon add up. The protein powders have me feeling really full and satisfied right now.

After my yummy breakfast, I felt good. I feel good about moving closer to taking better care of myself. I also felt proud of myself for successfully researching healthy food that can help me, getting the ingredients together, and making it taste great. I don’t know how many people can relate, but the sense of fullness and satisfaction that I’m feeling right now can only be compared to the way I feel on higher doses of antidepressants. They make my body and mind feel full and satisfied, kind of like the after effects of eating when you’re really hungry and you get weak because your blood sugar has dropped.

I’ve started a new practice that I picked up from Lynn over at The Actor’s Diet called the ‘artist pages’. It’s an idea that before that day starts, you get out a pen and paper and write down a few pages of all the thoughts going through your mind. It’s a way of getting them down so you can get them off your chest and focus on the day ahead. I found this really helpful and the ‘hamster wheel’ of thoughts in my mind has calmed down quite a bit.

I’ve also been listening to a podcast called How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and although I’m only a few chapters in I seem to be taking a lot out from it. The author recommends living in what he calls ‘daytime compartments.’ The story has something to do with a successful sailor-turned Nobel peace prize winning professor who started telling people to live in daytime compartments-a concept that he got from his sailing days when the boats would close off each of their furnace compartments to keep them water-tight (I think of the Titanic scene when all of the workers were trying to escape before the metal doors closed off everything, lol). The professor explains that as long as you can do this-focus on the task at hand and avoid wandering off into another compartment of worry-you can get through anything, and carry any kind of burden for the day. It makes a lot of sense.

I worry about so many things it’s not even funny…and I’m setting out to challenge all of the worries. In any given day, I’d say my worry pattern looks something like this:

Must I get out of bed now

I feel so tired

Maybe today will be the day I start making progress

Not really excited

Don’t really know what I should eat

Don’t want to check my phone for messages…

My skin

Oliver wants to go for a walk…

I’m glad my hair is getting better

What if the wind that hits my hair while I’m walking him somehow causes more damage

That’s highly unlikely, but it’s sticking up because there is breakage all over

I need it to grow out

Will it grow out?

My natural color is so dark and I don’t think I can feel pretty with my natural hair

I shouldn’t dye it though

I’ve gone through too much with it and once it is healthy and natural again I should be happy

I hope I can be happy with it

Maybe I can dye it when I know it’s super good and healthy

Just don’t it’s not worth it

I’m hungry

My stomach feels uncomfortable (most of the time-which has me thinking of my dietary choices and possible food sensitivities)

God please help me get through this

I’m not vain or ungrateful I swear

I just want to feel good and feel comfortable in my own skin

I need to do something to help myself

I miss my life

– – – – – – – — – – – – – – – — – – with the help of therapy, school and my new efforts to help myself

I feel pretty good

Everything will be okay

I really like the mornings

Yummy smoothie

My skin…will get better soon, and you’ll be able to do something about the scarring you’re fearful of

My hair…will eventually be healthy and glossy and you’ll probably be so relieved that you won’t care to put it at risk by dying it

Love this music

In half an hour I’ll start getting my Bio work done

I’ll take my Public Health quiz after lunch

Aw got a text from [insert good friend]. So thankful for good friends

This Egyptian revolution that’s unfolding is soo interesting…

I need to order new walking shoes since I’ve grown out my old ones, I’ll do it tonight

etc. etc

Please don’t judge me. This is all really personal stuff but getting it out there is part of challenging all of it…I’d say I’m more present in the moment and less fearful as of now. Cross my fingers I can continue to make progress.

Preparing

Today I got busy in the kitchen =). It was fun. I’m also back on my schedule and I’m working harder to keep myself worry-free and productive.

I got some new skin, hair, and mood friendly groceries consisting of:

Romaine Lettuce

Baby Spinach

Zucchinis

Cucumbers

Daikon

Avocados

Garlic

Ginger

Lemons

Sweet Potato

Chickpeas

Frozen Berries

Bananas

(and I already had protein powder)

Each are contributing to a menu higher in nutrition and lower on sugar.

I made a schedule that I’m planning to test out tomorrow:

6:00 AM: Wake up

6 AM-8 AM:  Morning routine of exercise (about 30 mins of walking), yoga, a shower, and getting dressed for the day

8 AM-9 AM: Walk the dog, read the paper, and have a mug of warm water with lemon and a tsp. of a supplement called MSM (it’s safe and it contains sulfur which helps the body build flexible muscles, absorb nutrients, and build collagen)

10 AM: Make a breakfast smoothie with water, berries, banana, protein powder, and a handful of greens (Green Smoothies); Log on for my classes and get started on my work

1:00 PM: Take a break to walk the dog, or when the weather allows get out to the park for air and sunshine and listen to a podcast

1:45 PM: Make lunch

2 PM-4 PM: finish up school work

4:30 PM-6:00 PM: Exercise (walking on the treadmill or an exercise video-Netflix has a lot of good ones)

6:30 PM-7:30 PM: make dinner and blog

After dinner: continue to stay busy with a good book, a fav. tv show or movie, listening/playing music, call a friend, etc.

9:30 PM: Take a bath and go to bed early

Also, activities to incorporate into the following weeks in addition to walking the dog, getting out to the park (snow kinda needs to clear though), and attending weekly therapy:

-Grocery shop

-Read at Barnes and Noble

-Visit my adorable niece and my brother and sister-in-law in Princeton

-Go to the library

-See a movie I’m looking forward to (Blue Valentinee)

-Stop by Target, Kohls, or the mall to push myself a little and face unease with being out in public

Today was better because I able to wake up on time, do some research that helped me create my grocery list and daily schedule, and try out some fresh recipes (hummus, zucchini pasta, and a smoothie). Not much activity today but it’s something to work on. I’ll be back to tomorrow<3. Onto Bio reading…this week’s chapter is getting kind of intense-organic chem.

Some lovely music.