Thursday, January 31, 2013

nourish yourself: white bean & kale soup

learning to love yourself means learning to nourish yourself. making soup from scratch is a time honored tradition for "sharing the love". make time in your busy day to do something that's good for you, take a walk, breathe deep, really connect with someone, and make soup.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

keep learning. embrace new experiences.

  • Visit libraries and other community facilities – learn something new about cooking raw food, sprouting, walking, breathing or how to meditate.
  • Try something you have always wanted to do but never actually done.
  • Rediscover an old interest.
  • Fix a bike, then ride it around the block a few times.
  • learn an instrument, join a jam session, record song then post it online.
  • Find and practice a new recipe for a food you know is good for you.
  • Enhance your creativity - check out when art groups meet in your area.
  • Join a book club or start one.
  • Start learning another language then book a flight and speak it.
  • Commit to learning to identify a new plant every day for a month.
  • Learn to identify the various birds and bird calls in your garden.
  • Join a zumba class or tai chi class – learn and be active at the same time!

5 ways to well-being

today i prepared a fresh mung bean and carrot salad for a friend for lunch, we then took a five mile walk and talked along the way about our goals for the future. we took turns being accountable to each other. we coached each other.
together we are resolved that the world can be a better place. and we know that we are the change that can make that happen. making change is difficult. i can be a struggle. it requires constant focus and readjustment. it is an uphill battle, but a worthy one. then one day you reach the top of the hill and you can begin to enjoy the process, it gets easier, more natural. one of the things i like about the journey i am on now is that i am learning so much. and what i am learning is important, not only to my survival and well-being, but can also be helpful to others and their survival and well-being. i found this video on well-being at new zealand mental health site. find out more here:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

the art of practice

practice isn't necessarily fun. but spending time consciously working on improving a skill has one of the biggest productivity payoffs around. that makes intuitive sense with music and athletics. but I think that's the case with many life skills as well. practicing the art of getting up and taking a walk, practicing the art of buy smart foods, practicing the one thing that you are particularly bad at and that might be holding you back (for me that's negotiation). making these things part of your day helps you to grow. and growing helps keep you young and vibrant. it is also true that when something is practiced it becomes second nature. so when life throws you a curve ball, and your distracted, you still have the skills you have developed through daily practice. practice may not always make perfect, but the art of practice is perfect in and of itself.
wsj article on practice
a video: matisse-and-the-art-of-practice

Monday, January 28, 2013

full stop. full start.

well. here i am again. not feeling so alone now, knowing that i have at least one faithful follower named calamity jane. thanks for the note CJ!

after so many weeks of working so hard to eat right, exercise and lose weight i took a 24 hour break for it all and gained 5 pounds back. that's 8 weeks to lose 10 pounds and one day to gain half of it back again. i was dismayed.
disillusioned. i gave up.

then the next morning, i went for my walk and made some fresh lentil soup with red peppers and turmeric and started a new batch of sprouts. today i weighed myself and that 5 pounds is gone again. i'm back on track.

but things are different now. now that i have some new healthy habits in place like walking and sprouting and eating mostly stuff without labels, i am going to focus less on food and start working on my mind and spirit too. the idea from the start has always been about balance, not just weight loss. i have to remind myself of these things. so less focus on loss and more focus on the now.

Friday, January 25, 2013


i have spent a great deal of time focusing on food and nutrition on this blog so far, and that is a good start. but as the intention of 50 POUNDS TO PASSION is to release the stuff of weight that holds us back to embrace the stuff which is the now. by eating right and staying in motion i will lose unwanted pounds, and that is good and natural. and as this process unfolds i need to also focus on my mind + spirit. keeping in balance is the way i choose to be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

anti-anflamitory food pyramid

here is food guru andrew weil's food pyramid. i like the way this looks, altho i would move the pasta and rice a little further up the line. i have linked the image to the source so click on it for more information.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

food as medicine

once you get beyond the idea that processed and fast foods taste good and nourish you, there is a whole new world of food that awaits discovery. educating oneself about herbs, enzymes, probiotics, roots and sprouting has can be a steep learning curve, but a welcome one. when i first started researching juicing, i was amazed at the long list of healing properties associated with most fruits and veggies, and the lack of nutritional value, even detrimental effects of others foods. as difficult as it is to stay focused on healthy eating habits when not actually losing much weight, i have to remind myself that with every healthy eating choice i make i am actually healing my body from the inside out.

in dr. andrew weil's anti-inflammatory diet (for weight loss) he lists turmeric, ginger and boswellin as key nutrients to aid in healing.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

quiet the mind

Normally when we think about some weight losing activity, we think about burning calories or sweating off the fat. When you meditate you have to sit very still, without making a move. Can meditation, therefore, be helpful in losing weight? Although you won't burn many calories during a typical meditation session, meditation may be one of the most important practices you will do in your effort to lose weight.

Weight loss is not just a physical activity. Sure, if you eat less and you exercise more, you will lose weight. However, all of our actions begin in our minds. If you are going to walk for forty five minutes every day, in order to increase your daily exercise, then you first have to decide to do it, and at the right time, you have to think and then go for your walk. These are all mental activities.

Similarly, if you realize that junk food is only making your waistline expand, and you want to stop eating it, you first have to make a decision to change your eating habits and then you have to walk past and not stop at the doughnut shop on your way to work. Again, these are mostly mental activities.

If you are trying to lose weight you probably already "know" that you have to exercise more, and change some of your eating habits. You "know" this to be a fact, yet you are unable to do it. All people, whether fat or slim, have this same dilemma. We "know" many things intellectually, but we are not always able to put our best intentions into action.

Meditation is one of the best methods to take control of your own self. During meditation you will learn how to make your mind stronger. A weight lifter typically exercises certain muscles, making them stronger and stronger. Similarly someone who meditates is exercising her "mental" muscle by directing her mind away from the noise of the world outside toward the calm within. Following the meditation instructions takes a bit of effort, but that effort will be rewarded.

If anyone meditates on a daily basis, she will not only become more able to concentrate during the meditation session but also more able to put her good intentions into practice and make positive changes in her life.

It is not a question of mind over matter, or having to do anything that you don't want to do. Meditation is an activity that changes you from the inside out. Instead of forcing yourself not to eat the doughnut in between meals, the very desire to eat it will vanish. Instead of fighting with yourself to go out for a walk, exercise will become something that you enjoy doing. If you get into the practice of meditation, no one will have to twist your arm to make you live a healthy lifestyle, it will become your natural choice.

Therefore, while you will not sweat off any pounds during your periods of meditation, the daily practice of meditation could be one of the most important parts of your effort to lose weight and live a long, healthy and happy life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

real food doesn't need a label

juicing heals

have i mentioned that i have been juicing? oh yes! you start a diet, cut out all the bad stuff, then start making healthy green smoothies and the next thing you know you're on the hard stuff: raw fruits and veggies.
there are a million combinations and the learning curve of what cures and heals what is huge. but, if you are like me you'll start out with granny smith apples, carrots and kale. then add in the other stuff like ginger, turmeric,and horse radish. i went to the library when i first did a juice fast about a year ago and checked out several books on juicing. of those books i weeded out the those that were too technical and the ones that seems too preachy and i found the author who spoke my language. i dug in and learned a lot. i was really impressed by the facts: when you compare other foods (processed ones) and all the bad things they do to your body and then look at raw foods and see all the good things they do for your body the conclusion is clear. get with the program and juice. i'm convinced that one fresh juice a day can really make a difference in weight loss and general health improvement! try it!

Monday, January 14, 2013

fast-food-floozie vs. long-haul-hanna

fast-food-floozie vs long-haul-hanna
i was talking with my eldest brother the other day, the one who has lost a bunch of weight and is keeping up with his running, and i reminded him about the importance of getting some raw green stuff into his system to help keep him strong. i am always pushing protein smoothie with greens on him, especially after he takes a long run.  i was pleasantly surprised when he told me that he WAS getting into smoothies, as his running partner had been been preparing them after a few of their runs. of course, she's starting him off with strawberry smoothies, which he liked. "tastes like a strawberry shake... almost!" he said. i said what about spinach and flax seed, have you tried that yet? "yeah, i'm not so much for the flax seed stuff" he admitted.
i remember when i first started drinking the more complex smoothies and having the same reaction. now, however, the flavor and texture really come in second to the nutritional content. these days i prefer a little grit and bits of chewable greens in my drink. 'figure it just comes with the territory. 
in the old days i was satisfied with cheap processed foods and imitation ice cream shakes. they tasted so good to me. like a cheap date, you know, big salty-sweet flavor explosions all night long and just a little tinge of regret in the morning. everything felt so good in the moment, but "no-so-much" in the long run. now, i'm eating whole fruits and vegetables and juicing ginger and turmeric root with kale, carrot and anise. it's a whole other deal. sometimes it takes a little work. sometimes it's not so convenient. but the pay off is always there, not always right away, but in the long haul. eating whole foods instead of commercially processed food is the same difference as having a committed life partner than a cheap one night stand. eating is a kind of relationship you have with your body.   and just like having a life partner, it's not always exciting, sometimes you have to be patient, sometimes there's something flashier across the street or at another table, but what you have is better because it's a commitment for life. i guess what i am saying is: treat your body with the respect you would have for your perfect life partner, and not the way you would treat a quick trick on a drunken week-end romp, because after-all you and you're body are going to be together for a long time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

ten pounds lighter!

well, i finally took off ten pounds of weight. just dropped off all of a sudden. and you know what? i feel ten pounds lighter! it's great. 'felt like i was wearing these things (see photo) all day long. to celebrate, i took a hike with my friends droodles and puma. unlike previous hikes, on this one i didn't lag behind or have to stop all the time. i just hiked along like a regular guy. felt great to be outside, breathing deep and sharing time with people who i care about. "hey, i lost ten pounds" i'd say to myself as i leaped over a rock or a little stream. and then i'd give myself a little affirmation by throwing my fist into the air and saying, "yes!".

Saturday, January 12, 2013

swimming for fun and (weight-loss) profit

Now that I have a regular walking routine established, I am looking for ways to expand my exercise palette. Altho I have enjoyed swimming in the past, I have never found that extended work-out have resulted in weight loss. Upon my brother's recommendation to reposition it in my work-out schedule, I hopped in the pool today at the gym and was pleased to discover that all the walking and other exercise I have been doing has prepared me well for a swimming work-out. But, the question remains, can swimming help you lose weight?
I did some research and this is what I found:
There are some questions about how efficiently swimming burns calories. According to Tom Robergs, "Research done on swimming showed that weight loss seemed more difficult. The theory is that the water submersion initiates a complex [nerve pathway] to lower metabolic rate." And with a lower metabolic rate, the body uses fewer calories to maintain normal function. While Robergs says these explanations need further research, his associate Sarah Stratton says swimming can be a boon for weight loss -- if you follow the same principles as with any other exercise, and challenge yourself. For weight loss, Stratton recommends interval training, in which you push yourself hard for short spurts, and then drop back to a less-intense level of exercise. "If you don't do interval training, it's just as if you're doing a slow walk," Stratton says. Sue Nelson, aquatic program specialist for USA Swimming in Colorado Springs, Colo., has many success stories of obese clients who lost weight after they began working out in the water. One man was 500 pounds, had rheumatoid arthritis, and had to quit work because he couldn't get around.
"He went from a wheelchair to a walker to crutches to a cane to nothing by working out in the water," says Nelson. "He became one of my employees and lost over 250 pounds."

Friday, January 11, 2013

the root chakra

in the past i have resisted many of the things i am learning to embrace now as i progress on my path to wellness. i may have rolled my eyes at friends who had specialty dietary concerns or indulged in eastern spiritual practices. however now, i no longer have the luxury of ignoring the classic ways to wellness. so when one of my nutritional advisors beging talking in detail about chakras, i listened. she advised me to work on my "root chakra". so today i did some new age searching and found "the mystic banana" website and what i discovered there has been helpful:
The Basics
There are seven main chakras, located along the center line of our body, from the base of the spine to the top of the head.   Each chakra is associated with different glands, organs, body regions, and aspects of our life, personality, and spiritual development. The chakras are critical to our physical health, the quality of our life, and our ability to develop spiritually.

The Healthy Chakra
A healthy chakra is open, allowing energy to flow freely both horizontally, in an exchange of energy with the universe, and vertically, connecting it with the other chakras. It’s very common–almost universal–to have one or more chakras that is somewhat blocked or imbalanced.  An under-functioning chakra can cause disruptions in a person’s body, mind, spirit, and life. These disruptions can range from a sense of unwellness and unease, to more serious problems–actual dis-ease in one’s body or dysfunction in one’s life.

What is the Root  Chakra?
The muladhara, or first chakra is located at the base of the spine.  It’s keyword is “survival.”  It relates to the physical self, self-preservation, survival instincts, our connection to our bodies and the earth, and our sense of safety, security, and belonging in the world.  Its related color is red, and its related element is earth.

Find out The 10 Ways to Clear Your Root Chakra at the mystic banana website.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

stay hydrated

dehydration can be a diet-killer. when your body becomes dehydrated, your metabolism and digestive systems slow down, your appetite increases while your energy levels decrease and your coordination and performance during workouts severely suffers. drink water regularly throughout the day and aim for a total of eight to 10 glasses every day.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

when did you stop dancing?

as i continue my zealous quest for health and balance in my life, i have discovered that some days i can grow weary. changing habits is, it turns out, takes a lot of energy. establishing new routines takes focus and commitment. that's why i was please when i came across this inspirational quote by gabrielle roth. it reminded me to enjoy the process and to make some of the new habits in my new world really fun ones. after all, all work and no play make jack a very dull boy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

working out the details.

working out the details. 
on a steep learning curve of food, nutrition, balance, and harmony. 
it's all juicing, soups (lentils) & neo salads. 
weight loss is still slow, but then, that was my original game plan.

the connection between philosophy & a good walk

The Gymnasiums of the Mind

In this Decenber 2012 article in Philosophy Now Christopher Orlet wanders down literary paths merrily swinging his arms and pondering the happy connection between philosophy and a good brisk walk.

If there is one idea intellectuals can agree upon it is that the act of ambulation – or as we say in the midwest, walking – often serves as a catalyst to creative contemplation and thought. It is a belief as old as the dust that powders the Acropolis, and no less fine. Followers of the Greek Aristotle were known as peripatetics because they passed their days strolling and mind-wrestling through the groves of the Academe. The Romans’ equally high opinion of walking was summed up pithily in the Latin proverb: “It is solved by walking.”

Nearly every philosopher-poet worth his salt has voiced similar sentiments. Erasmus recommended a little walk before supper and “after supper do the same.” Thomas Hobbes had an inkwell built into his walking stick to more easily jot down his brainstorms during his rambles. Jean- Jacques Rousseau claimed he could only meditate when walking: “When I stop, I cease to think,” he said. “My mind only works with my legs.” Søren Kierkegaard believed he’d walked himself into his best thoughts. In his brief life Henry David Thoreau walked an estimated 250,000 miles, or ten times the circumference of earth. “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits,” wrote Thoreau, “unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from worldly engagements.” Thoreau’s landlord and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson characterized walking as “gymnastics for the mind.” (continue reading here)

Monday, January 7, 2013

diabetes: an animated explanation

diabetes is a not an easy thing to understand. this video is the best explanation i have found on this complicated topic, so i am sharing it here with you today. take the time to educate yourself about the signs of diabetes so that you may spot it in yourself or a loved one in its early stages. the mainstream medical community is slowly coming around to the idea that this disease may be managed, even reversed, to some extent by exercise and dietary restrictions. as you will see in this video, obesity is a contributing factor in type 2 diabetes. learning to spot the warnings early is vital in managing good health.

why walk?

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very fast.
---Thomas Jefferson

Why Walk? New research links brisk walking to a significant risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is a predictor of this disease, even in people with normal glucose levels. But a recent British study found that people with a family history of the disease who walked briskly, or performed some other type of moderate to vigorous activity on a routine basis, improved insulin sensitivity.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


okay. staying on track. i want to remind myself that while the details of diet and nutrition and body-systems dynamics are important... so too is simplicity. what i am seeking is balance. balance of body, mind and spirit with the ultimate goal of unleashing a more passionate life. what i don't want is to become an overanalyzing food-nazi. i want to keep things real, eat whole foods, exercise more and enjoy the fruits of good health. but all in good time! i am still just 5 weeks into a lifestyle i intend to maintain for a lifetime. i have to remember to breathe and to laugh and to have fun along the way.

Probiotics are the good!

In my search for reasons for my slow weight loss, I found this information:

While diet is important, what is metabolized and utilized is key. Without proper utilization of nutrients, weight does not come off, diet changes are ineffective, and you become disillusioned. In order to metabolize the foods eaten, a working digestive system is essential. The pancreas makes enzymes that break down all carbohydrates into sugars. Carbohydrates are eaten in the form of breads, pasta, grains, cookies, candy, fruit and vegetables. As the body ages, the pancreatic output of enzymes decreases by 12% each decade starting at age 30. By age 50 pancreatic enzyme production is down by 25%. This is one of the reasons why digestive issues start around age 30.
Enzymes are also present in the food we eat, if raw foods are eaten. Years ago, people ate a lot more raw foods than we do today. Whenever food is cooked or processed, the digestive enzymes are destroyed.
Any time antibiotics are taken, both good and bad bacteria are destroyed. This is the reason there are often digestive problems during or after antibiotic use. Probiotics are the good, live bacteria that coat and protect our digestive tract, which are destroyed by antibiotics. Probiotics assist pancreatic enzymes in breaking down the food we eat. This is why it is important to take an enzyme and probiotic supplement together, especially when there are digestive issues.
With the decrease in pancreatic production as we age, and the increased consumption of cooked foods, we simply do not have sufficient enzymes to break down the foods we eat. When food enters the stomach and there are an insufficient amount of enzymes to break it down, the stomach produces more acid to try to break down the food.
To successfully burn fat you need a delicate balance in your routine. Make sure you have optimal digestive function, with the right amount of digestive enzymes and probiotics so that your body can easily lose weight by burning fat. Eating a diet rich in raw foods, alkaline fresh fruits and vegetables, and eating frequently will aid with weight loss. Combining every area of fitness is what will enable you to reach your goals, along with consuming the proper nutrients from your foods and supplementation.
Here is some additional info on Probiotics.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

motivation follows action

Motivation follows action. When you're sitting on the couch feeling completely unmotivated, force yourself to get up, get into your workout clothes and out the door. Once you start moving the motivation will kick in!  dont give up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

slowing down, on the right path

"droodles" takes a hike with me, lake cuyamaca

my friend droodles and i took a drive into the countryside the other day. along the way he explained that he had nearly choked to death on some carrots and celery on new year's eve. i ventured that he may have been eating to fast, and that perhaps the take-away message was to "simply slow down". about half way to our destination, we stopped to take a little walk. the hike was a pretty one, but made even more magical when we came upon a stone labyrinth in the middle of nowhere. it was a gift. we made a vow of silence as we mindfully followed the maze-like path into the center. when we arrived at the middle of the maze, droodles took a deep breath and said, "wow! it felt so nice to take my time getting to where i was going!". i agreed and added, "it's a gift to see and know where you want to be, but purposefully taking the long way around to get there". i think this is true of many things in life, but especially this nutritional path i am on. it is a slow path to learn about what to eat and how to eat. and though my progress is slow, knowing where i am going makes all the difference.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

trust the process

at this stage of the game i have decided to just "trust the process".
i have cut out alcohol, white flour, white rice, white pasta (all pasta).
i am drinking more water and green tea than ever. i take a 2.2 mile walk 4 to 5 times a week, and sometimes much longer. i have cut coffee consumption down to one or two cups per week, so the coffee "habit" has been broken. and i drink a healthy green smoothie every morning. i feel 10 times better already, but have to trust that staying on this path will, at some point, result in weight loss as well. the good news is that i am finding support in my friends online and keeping this public journal is also helping me stay focused. thanks to all who are out there walking this path with me!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

liver cleanse tea

as i re-boot my diet, i am 
 increasing fresh raw foods and adding this liver elixir cleanse. i am discovering as i continue my research that diabetes and obesity are almost always linked. and as noted here these things are often associated with heart disease and liver issues. (gosh, the news just gets better and better!) however, according to dr. oz this liver restart can actually help heal the liver and get it to functioning normally again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


after 30 days of my new diet/exercise regime, i decided it was time to check in on my weight. i prepared myself for the possibility of lack luster results. when i step on the scale, i was horrified to discover that all of my efforts were decidedly unimpressive. i hadn't gained weight, thank god! but the results were dismal at best. the last time i went on a diet, it was at this point that i threw in the towel and chalked up my efforts to hopeless! after a short-lived binge on roasted lamb, boiled potatoes (with gravy) wilted spinach, two bowls of egg-nog ice cream and two bowls of popcorn (with butter)... i came to my senses.
today i went to the whole foods store to begin the re-boot of my diet.  i purchased the itemes your see above: lemons, limes, apples, red cabbage, broccoli, cilantro, carrots and spinach. time for less cooking, more whole foods, less peanut butter on my apples when i snack, and fewer snacks!  when i came home i got my "shop and chop" on by making a big red cabbage salad, with green onion, cilantro, carrot, lemon & lime juice and a table spoon of organic honey. this is where the rubber meets the pavement. got to get some traction here. have to read more labels, and track what i eat more closely. the good news is, i feel ten times better than where i was a month ago! my walks are faster and farther. and i swear i am down one belt loop. guess i need to be grateful that i didn't GAIN weight over the holidays. the beat goes on.