Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day 4

(Me asleep at breakfast in Spain, Photo taken by @IronmanBobby)

I should have added catching up on sleep as an #i8this goal for myself. Usually sleep is a HUGE priority for me but over the past 2 weeks I've been falling behind. It's unacceptable. So, for the past 3 nights I've turned in and tuned out really early and now I'm feeling back to normal :)

Some people seem to function pretty well with less sleep than they need. I'm not one of them. If I get less than 6 hours I start to feel spacey, nauseous, jumpy, cranky... it's terrible. I'm also more tempted to eat junk. But it actually makes sense that I would feel that way due to a lack of sleep because I'm USED TO the feeling of being well rested. I stretch my energy potential to the max by sleeping enough, avoiding stress and eating healthy. Other people might feel fine when they don't sleep enough on a day-to-day basis because for them, it's the norm. They're USED TO feeling tired and drained. They know how to function that way. I don't.

When looking at WHY getting enough sleep is so important we can look at a couple of things:

1) When you're asleep your body switches gears and focuses on taking care of the business its too busy to do while you're awake. Your inner janitors come and "clear out the clutter" as Ankur would say. When you're asleep your liver is dealing with your crappy toxins. Less sleep = less time for important work to be done. Sleep is an active process!

2) I don't normally get tired during the day because I take care of my adrenal system. Your adrenal system provides you with energy and a sense of vitality. Having a taxed adrenal system can lead to a giant list of health concerns, like:

- heart palpitations
- carb cravings
- low tolerance for stress
- chronic infections
- low libido
- and on and on...

To support your adrenal system you need to do 4 things:

1. Get enough sleep
2. Eliminate processed crap foods from your diet
3. Eat clean (animal or vegetarian protein and organic fruits and veggies)
4. Stay well hydrated and consume minimal amounts of caffeine

There you go. I can do these things, easily. Part of the reason for that is I understand their importance AND I've experienced what its like to have lots of energy and vitality from living this way. If you're feeling stuck on one of these, email me: christine@liveandeatbetter.com. I can help you or I can direct you to the information that will. I know it can seem overwhelming to take MORE time out of your busy day to get enough sleep. Just trust me, if you start by adding 20 minutes a night and you'll feel the difference.

Monday, April 19, 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day 3

Firstly, I tweeted an offer for a free consult the other day. I'm supporting another health counselor by having her observe the call to learn about my style of counseling. I got TONS of responses. Like, woah. Of course I wanted to offer it to everyone and of course I can't, so I decided to offer to anyone interested, a $30 phone consult (normally $75) if you schedule it before #i8this ends next Sunday, April 25th. Email me at christine@liveandeatbetter.com if you're interested :)

And moving on... I got some great responses from people who were mindfully eating fruit after the last post. Here are a couple of awesome pics that were tweeted:

This one was tweeted by @SamanthaUF. Aside from being hilarious, it's a great example of an awesome breakfast.


This one was tweeted by @LilMsSweets. This is a great evening sweet snack. Have you ever eaten a raisin slowly and mindfully? They're pretty delicious.

And now for MY #i8this update. Saturday morning we drove to the Home For Wayward Triathletes (HFWT) to train and hang with some of our best buds. We rode the Quassy Rev3 course and now I'm even more excited to race it. You can check out John's wicked cool review of it here. It was fun doing #i8this with the group and talking about our different goals and supporting each other. On Sunday we did a 4-mile hilly running race. It was my first chance to test out my running pace after feeling like I've been dragging for a couple of weeks. I finished in 29:59 which is a 7:30 pace and I felt great. I could have held that for a few more miles, for sure. John won the race overall and Phil came in 6th.

After leaving the HFWT we went home to cook and eat some of our stockpiled organic produce. I love having a fridge full of that stuff. I ended up making my typical pre-race meal: brown rice pasta with sauteed garlic and greens. John requested more veggies and protein so we added broccoli, carrots and kidney beans. It was delicious and only took about 20 mins. Don't be fooled by this being my race day eve dinner. I would eat it any other time with more of the focus on extra veggies, though I would leave out the extra veggies and kidney beans BEFORE a race to avoid GI issues from the added fiber.

(We had some issues with our cameras so it's not a great pic. That's a candle lit lamp from Granada in the background)

Guru's Pre-Race Pasta

brown rice pasta
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch swiss chard (or any other leafy green)
3 carrots (optional)
1 head of broccoli
1 can organic kidney beans, drained (optional)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Start cooking the pasta.
2. Saute the garlic in olive oil until golden, then add carrots, then broccoli. Saute for 2 mins.
3. Add the chard to the veggies and saute until soft and vibrant (some greens may need a pre-cook).
4. Combine the pasta with the veggies and kidney beans.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day 2

(Meeting my goals in half pigeon pose)

An exercise in Mindfulness...

Today let's try to eat mindfully, as an experiment. It can be one food, one meal, or all day. Use ALL of your senses to experience the food. You'll be surprised at how much more satisfaction you get from your food this way. It's the first step to having killer portion control habits and is especially useful as a tool for indulging within reason.

I LOVE how Ankur explains mindfully eating a piece of fruit.

Love On Some Fruit

dear holisticguru,

There's a lot of potential commitments we could be making. We could commit to going 'vegan' for a week, or commit to a '200-mile diet' for 3 days, or commit to buying packaged foods only if they contain fewer than five ingredients. Or we could commit to taking a moment of silence for those who won't be eating today, or commit to chewing each bite 37 times. Or anything. But, at this moment, this very now, I'm going to suggest something a little more mundane, perhaps slightly easier, and no less important: Loving On Your Fruit.

I'm going to dare you, that's right, dare you, to take this pledge along with me. Starting today. Holy now. Until eternity or a week goes by -- whichever comes fruit -- We are going to Love On Our Fruit, at least once day.

And by Love On Your Fruit, I don't mean buy a fancy pineapple in a plastic box from the local chain health store. I mean, have a real Moment with the fruit. Take it from it's wholeness, peel and all, and place it reverently on a big clean cutting board. Stare it down. Gawk. Whistle at how beautiful it is. Let your mind wander.

Bring yourself back to the moment. Cut it or peel it*. Separate the edible from the compost. Array in a nice design. Sunburst. Mandala. Mandelbrot Set. Take a picture with your twitter, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

Turn to the light. Close your eyes. Open your eyes. Thank you parents. Enjoy.

Love On Your Fruit means taking it from eating to enjoyment, from sustenance to bliss. Really get down with the fruit. It's there for you, full of all kinds of vitamins and trace quantities of dopamines and psychotropics as yet undiscovered.

Let's do this everyday, for a week, and see who isn't blissed-out and scurvy-less by the end of it all.

- ankurbhai

* The fruit, not the moment.

Friday, April 16, 2010

#i8this Challenge - Day 1

(Meeting one of my goals this morning with my greens powder)

Exciting news!!!

I've been contacted about the creation of an iphone app for #i8this! It's being developed as you read this and will be an awesome tool for creating a quick and easy picture food log. Stay tuned for more details :)

There's lots of #i8this blogging going on, which is AWESOME for accountability Chiggity-check it:

@gaidner - http://bit.ly/9fnYdG

@LilMsSweets - http://bit.ly/a2Ghi8

@TexasDevin -

@jamesonbull - http://bit.ly/blCtem

@DollarBillRS - http://bit.ly/adrIpW

@donna-de - http://blog.myfitnessyear.com

@jmeldrum -

@j_hirsch - http://johnhirsch.org/?p=1796

*If I left your blog off this list, please post the link in my comment section. We all want to see what you're doing!


And finally, more words of wisdom from our dear friend, Ankur Shah
(author, chef, farmer and spiritual care jedi):

Peeling Off Your Labels

A few years ago I did this crazy thing and walked a few hundred miles across the Indian countryside, looking for the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. And I found them. At the time, I had plastered myself with the following labels (and many more):

"chef, farmer, organic, local, healthy, vegan, pure, conscientious, clean, dedicated, serious, relaxed"

Labels, like everything else, are exactly what they are: nothing more and nothing less. They're not good, they're not bad, they're just labels.

The funny thing was that with all the penniless walking (the no money was part of the experiment, the contract with the universe) and 100 degree temperatures, the labels started to peel off. And the harder I tried to stick them back, the more of that gritty stuff got between my skin and the glue, and eventually I just had to give up.

Like with the chai. Indian tea, chai, was exactly what I didn't drink. It's made from low-quality over-boiled black tea, assuaged with full-fat (7%) buffalo milk, mountain ranges of refined white sugar, and a few tasty spices. In terms of labour and environmental politics, the tea and sugar are a cocktail of misery and oppression. And it's a far cry from vegan. And it's what I had every day, maybe many times a day, because I was a penniless pilgrim walking through the wilds of countryside and compassion, and the chai was my ticket into people's hearts.

The next step was the cookies. These damn ubiquitous wafers branded "Parle-G" and pronounced not in the French way at all, but rather, "parlee-gee". Refined wheat and refined sugar. Nothing whole or healthy about and yet, it's what the "common man" swears by in India, from villagers to urbanites to wandering holy men, all bow down to the temple of the "Parle-G". So, as you can probably guess, I could literally watch myself, get more comfortable with the little atrocities, relax into enjoying their sweetness and crunch, begin to savor their texture after dipping them in my chai. It's a matter of relaxation, of relinquishing control, and understanding "This is where I am, and at every moment, I must start where I am".

So maybe that's relevant to you. Maybe you're not thrilled about what you normally have for breakfast, or the roles you're playing or the scene you're building. That's fine. But what I've seen is that your ticket Out of There is not through resistance or hatred or pressure but through acceptance. It's where we are. Once we stop thrashing ourselves about it, we can see clearly, and start to deal.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

#i8this Intention and Goal Setting

(A giant bowl of fruit from my Urban Organic delivery)

After much thought on my own goals and intentions I've come up with my list for the #i8this Challenge. My diet is comfortably healthy at the moment. It's not perfect 100% of the time, but as I've mentioned before, I see the ability to appreciate occasional indulgences as a stop on the road to perfection.

Holisticguru's Personal 9 Day Cleanse:

1. A minimum of 10 minutes of yoga per day.
2. Keep a food diary.
3. Re-incorporate my daily greens powder.
4. Coffee only on weekends and yerba mate or green tea on weekdays (I've developed a new coffee habit recently).

Everything else is already dialed in and balanced. I eat loads of fruits and veggies along with a mix of vegetarian and occasional organic animal proteins. And I enjoy drinking water so my hydration levels are great.

I'm still going to be sharing recipes and pics of the healthy foods I'm cooking. I'm super psyched about starting my organic produce delivery again. My first box arrived last night! :D

When setting your own intentions, remember that even one singular healthy effort will make you feel better, and it will provide momentum for you to keep working at it. So don't focus on the overwhelming number of things you could/should do over the next several days, instead ask yourself "what can I do right now to help me reach my goals?"

Ankur Shah, (author, chef, farmer and spiritual care jedi) has written an article for us about goal setting and starting at the beginning... which is exactly where you're at.

The Root of Your Matter

Somehow, it's gotten to a point where people I've barely met stop me in the street -- literally and figuratively -- to ask about meditation. It used to be like this with web design, so, hey, it's a nice change. Generally, they want to know what the deal is: Why meditate? How to meditate? How often? What's the technique? What's the goal? Is just thirty minutes okay? How about five?

I see myself as a radical, etymologically, from the latin root radix. It means 'root', so a radical is someone who goes to the root of the matter. That's what I'm trying to do. Why do we meditate? Why do we ask about meditation? Why do we cleanse? Why do we ask about cleansing? What's really going on here?

I haven't yet come up with a better notion than the simple ease and profundity of looking into your eyes and telling you:

"You're doing great. It's gonna be fine."

If you feel weight, obligation, or pressure with this cleanse, then you make it just like everything else in your life: something you have to do. And that, I think, would be a tragedy, a loss of potential. Just more should-ing. As far as I can tell, the value of the "meditative space" -- whether we get it through sitting with our eyes shut, fasting, cycling, or basketball -- lies in the relaxation of judgement. Letting the judgements float away on the early spring breeze. You become "autonomous", independent of the machinations of the monkey mind.

The short answer, then, is "Do what you feel". How can you approach this cleanse so, at every moment, you can look upon it as a Gift, not an Obligation? Look at your language -- are you saying "I have to eat..." or "I get to eat..."? There's your clue. You get to meditate. You get to run. You get to cleanse. You get to be, in love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#i8this Why should I do a cleanse?

Here is our first contribution from Ankur Shah, author, chef, farmer and spiritual care jedi.

The Cleanse of The Clutter:

i look at The Cleanse as the opposite of The Clutter. it doesn't have
to be about weight loss or discipline or liberating hundreds of
millions of people (though it can be, see Gandhi...). it can just be
about shaking off the shackles of The Clutter.

if we are what we eat, then the pantry is the large intestine, and
don't you know they both need a little bit of The Cleanse. so i would
take advantage of this particular Holy Now (one in a long stream,
don't you worry) to get some of the garbage out. The advantage, of
course, of the digestive system over the pantry is that it has _a deep
inclination_ to purge. as we all know, it likes to purge every morning
of every day. and, to be blunt, it feels _good_ to purge. With the
pantry you have to actually think about it, make the time to collect
all those packets of "edible food-like products" and give them to
the food bank or chop-shop or whatever. but with the body, all you
have to do is eat Goodness, and pretty soon you have the outcome
you've been waiting for: out comes the poison, tra la la la la.

from another lens: the body is psyched to be perfect. at every minute,
the body is balancing, recalibrating, adjusting, evolving towards
perfection, through a flock of chemicals, enzymes, hormones, and the
like. all you have to do is Back Off, quit gumming up the works with
high-fructose corn syrup and red#40, and it should do the rest. and,
of course, like any good magic machine, it loves:

lots of water, sunshine, fruit, and hugs.

Ankur Shah
(Ankur has been kind enough to invite people to email him with questions about cleansing, spiritually or nutritionally, at ankurbhai@mangolandia.org)


I would also like to briefly point to the benefits of cleansing (simply eating extra clean for a set period of time) for the many athletes out there. As triathletes and runners we are constantly asking, asking, asking our bodies to do, do, do for us. Your body is going to be better equipped to perform properly if you're fueling well, along with offering up the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to recover, repair and simply be strong. During the off-season and holiday season we tend to create "The Clutter", as Ankur brilliantly calls it, and the Spring is the perfect time to focus on de-Cluttering... according to Mother Nature and also according to our training plans.

Aside from the obvious benefits of getting rid of junk and adding more healthy goodness, I like to set a goal to eat super clean for a certain number of days as a way to reset my healthy habits for training and racing. I know what I need to focus on. And here are the habits that a professional triathlete (John Hirsch) wants to reset.

What are 1-3 things that you know you could be doing better for your health?

I'll post my intention tomorrow morning... I'm already SO inspired by the responses we've recieved for this #i8this :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

#i8this Spring Cleaning!

(Photo: taken by my friend Walter of www.crustcrew.blogspot.com)

The last #i8this started as a silly tweet and it blew up from there. People joined in, their friends joined in, and suddenly it kept growing! I wasn't expecting such a huge following. I also wasn't expecting all of the awesomeness that came out of it for so many people. I sat at my computer, in awe, watching people tweet about their weight loss, trying new healthy foods, exchanging recipes and simply being inspired. When the #i8this challenge officially ended, many people took that motivation and ran with it. I was in Spain a month later seeing the #i8this tweets continuing. If you look at the hashtag now, you'll see that it's still alive. Not only that, I've had people contact me about BIG ideas for #i8this in the future. It's mega-awesome!

Now it's time for another challenge and this time we're gonna kick it up a notch. The last challenge was simply to tweet one pic of 1 meal per day. It didn't have to be healthy. Most were healthy and the ones that weren't added a fun and relaxed element that I believe is super important in having a nutritionally AND emotionally healthy diet. This time I'm adding an additional element to the challenge by encouraging an effort to improve upon something.

I'm even more excited to announce that we're being joined by Ankur Shah, author, chef, farmer and Spiritual Care Jedi. He has volunteered his time to share recipes, write articles and answer questions as a way to support all of us! You can check out his books here and here. And his website here. You have no idea how awesome this is gonna be. Just trust me.

Okay, here's how to participate:

1. Ask yourself "What aspect of my diet/ health would I most like to improve"?
2. Look at certain foods or habits that you may want to remove or add.
3. Decide on a number of days that works for you (maybe 3, 5, 7 or 9).
4. Set your intention by making it known to other #i8this participants (via twitter or email me at christine@liveandeatbetter.com).
5. Try to be ready to start by Friday, though it is flexible. You can start now if you want. You're the boss.

Here is a list of recommended areas of focus:

- eating fruit
- substance observation
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • sugar
  • tobacco
- hydration
- leafy greens
- smoothies
- vegetarian
- vegan
- meditation
- keeping a food diary

Remember to start from wherever you're at. This doesn't have to be life shattering and it's not a competition. You can do as little or as much as you feel comfortable with. For example, if your diet isn't particularly healthy you may want to start small by setting a goal to 1) eat 1 serving of leafy greens per day 2) focus on proper hydration. If your diet is already even healthier than mine (@TexasDevin) you may want to focus on the more mindful and slowing down aspects of cleansing.

Last year I completed a Spring cleanse and blogged about my adventure. There's a sequence of posts that you may want to check out for that in my May 2009 archives. Starting tomorrow I will be blogging about this year's #i8this cleanse by announcing my plan and intention and talking a bit about why cleansing is super beneficial. I'll also be posting recipes and tips throughout the challenge.

If you're feeling overwhelmed with the process of setting your intention but you're not about to miss out on all the fun, I'm happy to offer 30-minute intention setting sessions for a way discounted cost. Email me (christine@liveandeatbetter.com) for more info. You may also want to take me up on that if you're planning anything a bit more extreme...

Who's with me?