Thursday, February 28, 2013

finding passion begins with vulnerability

now that i have lost 25 lbs, and am feeling like a different person from when i first started 3 months ago, i finally feel like "this is going to happen". taking the slow route has had it's share of challenges. but like the turtle and the hare, it's how things turn out in the end that matters. on this illustrious occassion, i thought this would be the right time to re-consider the original goal of this blog and the intention behind it: FINDING PASSION.

in conjunction to the efforts to lose weight, i have also been working on the other to realms of the equation: mind+spirit. the 50 POUNDS concept is to let go of the stuff (mental and spiritual junk) that is clinging to me and that i am still clinging to. as i have let go of the unforgiving idea worthlessness, i have also found it helpful to be open to the concept of vulnerability. accepting myself for who i am, knowing that i am not perfect, is the first step to accepting others for who they are, knowing that they are not perfect either. this is a great weight off my mind and spirit. and just like the new patterns for eating, this takes constant adjustment to begin establishing new patterns of thought.

berne brown's ted talk is one of the most inspiring videos i have watched on the topic of vulnerability.  in fact, some of her ideas on vulnerability were instrumental in leading me to create the 50 POUNDS TO PASSION blog.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

eating salad is eating "raw"!

super simple salad, mixed at the table.
there is a raw food movement out there, which is good. raw food foodies are very strict about what they eat. i love to borrow from the raw food movement without getting married to it, if you know what i mean.
lots of my meals are raw, but not all. lots are vegan, but not all. this one starts with a dash of balsamic vinegar reduction, a stack of various chopped, and sliced veggies: carrot, cukes, lettuce hearts, celery, and red cabbage. then a half ripe avocado, a hand-full of fresh water cress and two freshly picked nasturtiums. a honey, vinegar and pepper oil dressing is served on the side. the salad is then dressed and tossed at will at the table.
the drink is a tart/sweet lemonade made with several whole (peeled) lemons, some wild honey and a few frozen berries blended in the blender, chilled and served cold.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

today is an opportunity

as i continue this journey i am learning a great deal about nutrition and the power of movement. i am changing what i eat, even though i have regular slips, and beginning to understand how important it is to change what i think as well. i have a feeling that i can no longer afford to be vague about what i want in life. just trudging forward in what is a "perfectly fine world" is not getting it anymore. it's time to zero in on my true hopes and dreams. yes i want to have a healthy body, but what do i want for my mind and spirit? what are my goals?

from an early age we are told "you can do anything!". remember the inspirational posters in the halls at middle and high school: shoot for the stars! and then life begins and maybe you go to collage and you get a job and you have some adventures and some success and you are working for free to build your portfolio and the next thing you know (or i should say, the next thing I know) i'm 50. was i a success? what did i do and what did i not do? but more importantly, what am i going to do next? who am i going to be next? this is where the work begins. here is where the opportunity begins. where do i go from here: i begin with gratitude. i reflect daily on all the beauty and wealth and health i have. but i must also begin to focus on legacy each day. what i want to accomplish next and what i want to give back. getting clear on my goals and dreams clears the fog of indecision and self doubt. if my total goal is for body+mind+spirit balance, i need to take the time to sit down and get clear on these things. 
(below is a tony robbins video at TED Talks, which is not his best, but covers some of the topics i've discussed here- it's just 20 minutes)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

man in the mirror?

why bother to shop for fresh foods and eat the right stuff, take walks in the morning and learn more about nutrition? wouldn't it be easier to do what everybody else does: to eat what's convenient and stay in bed a little longer? being lazy easy. it's also easy to complain. it's easy to lament about things gone wrong or why we don't have what we think we deserve. and it's sometimes hard to be creative, to re-consider old ideas or invent new ones.

so, why write a blog? why make a short film? why paint a painting? why fall in love? all of these things require risk and possible failure. they require learning more and making mistakes and falling down and getting up again. i believe that being vulnerable is the beginning of being alive. that sharing who you truly are is the greatest gift you can give, not being the (supposedly) safe someone who sits on the side and judges. i don't want to end up being that proverbial unburned scented candle that lingers in the guest bedroom bathroom collecting dust in its cellophane wrapper. i want to be the candle that burns bright and needs to be replaced because it's all used up. time to make the change.

through this process of "50 pounds to passion", i have discovered something. i have discovered that in order to find my own passion i need to accept myself for who i am right now. i need to stop judging myself for who i am not and start loving myself for who i've become. spending time each day in gratitude is a good way to start. and knowing that in a world that is screwed up as ours is, the stronger each of us becomes in body, mind and spirit, the better chance we'll have to be supportive of a more peaceful, amazing world.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the "killing me softly" carbs

these foods will kill you if you eat too often.


these foods help to heal your body and mind.
1. White bread, toast, bagels, English muffins, bread sticks
2. Fruit juice, soda, energy drinks and all sweetened beverages
3. Waffles, pancakes, French toast
4. Pastries, coffee cake, muffins, donuts, cupcakes, cake
5. Jams and jellies, especially those with added sugar or sweeteners.
6. Boxed breakfast cereals
7. ―Instant‖ hot cereals, including instant oatmeal
8. Tortillas; corn or white flour
9. Large portions of home fries, hash browns and other potato dishes
10. White ―minute‖ rice
Other foods to avoid, because they are high in sugar or other sweeteners, dangerous oils and/or processed flours (and low in fiber and nutrients): Snack cakes, energy bars, marshmallows, candy, flavored gelatin and pudding, commercially flavored and sweetened yogurt, potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, crackers, desserts, cookies, cake, ice cream, pie, commercially-made sweet breads and pastries

Monday, February 18, 2013

water. (+podcast)


PS:  a podcast i like: 

To lose fat, water is the key, apart from the proper diet choice and exercise. How does drinking water help in fat loss?
  • It curbs hunger: Water is a natural appetite suppressant. Insufficient fluid can lead to over eating. You brain does not differentiate between hunger and thirst. If there there is a slight dehydration the thirst mechanism may be mistaken for hunger and one may eat when the body is actually craving for water. In another word, when you think you are hungry, your body may in fact telling you that you are thirsty!
    As most food contains some water, if you don't drink enough water, you may be subconsciously driven to eat more to gain the necessary water supply and as a result, you gain more calories and more weight!
  • Water makes you feel full. Because it is filling and calorie free, water is part of the solutions when it comes to weight loss and maintenance. Water takes up room in your stomach, making you feel full. This means you’ll eat less and feel less hungry.
  • It replaces sugary drinks: A half-cup of fruit juice contains between 45 and 80 calories. Sodas, sugary drinks, shakes are all contain calories. By drinking them, you would be adding considerable number of calories. On the other hand water has zero calories. So, to replace sugary drinks and cut down on your calories, keep a glass of water in your hand and sip it instead of grabbing a mixed drink or any other type of drink.
  • Water boosts your metabolism. The findings are reported in the December issue, 2003 of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The researchers Michael Boschmann, MD, and colleagues from Berlin's Franz-Volhard Clinical Research Center tracked energy expenditures among seven men and seven women who were healthy and not overweight. The subjects, after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water, increases the rate of burning calories by 30% within the time frame of 30-40 minutes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

i am worthy, grateful, mindful and strong.

knowing i am on the right path in my head is one thing. knowing it in my body is another. i struggle sometimes, so i am dedicating today's blog post to the ideas i need to internalize. i am about to begin the process, a new one for me, of quieting my mind. some call this meditation. i will call it my "practice". please share with me and others exeriences you have had with meditation in the comments area below. and if you haven't done so already, join our community by signing up for email at the top of the column on the right. peace!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

still walking. (but taking the slow route)

Here I am on a hiking trail in the Anza Borrego Desert.

well, today has been good. lost a pound (yea!) and took a walk. i am sticking with the program, knowing that even with occasional mis-steps, that i am on the right path. i have discovered that when i tell people how much i have lost (which is now 20 lbs of fat... and how much i've gained which is 5 pounds of muscle), they are likely to tell me about some miracle diet that they have heard about where people "lose weight faster"! i appreciate their concern and thank them. but the fact of the matter is, although i sometimes wish for faster weight-loss too, my game plan is and has always been to lose weight s-l-o-w-l-y. as far as i have been able to tell, the most people, who have lost the most weight, and kept it off for the longest time, have all lost their weight slowly.

losing weight slowly means not starving the body, not shocking it in way that might seem like there is a famine going on, but rather to feed it the proper nutrition it is craving, reducing the toxic influx of pre-fab foods, and exercising more. this is what i call the "slow diet".

nobody, and i mean nobody, wants to do a "slow diet". trust me, this is a very unpopular idea that does not jell with the fast food, instant gratification world we live in. so be it. this is my path, and i am glad i finally found it. somehow it works with the other parts of my wabi-sabi life very well. it is the path un-taken. care to join me?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

easy-breezy probioatics

If you have tried or heard of the fermented tea, kombucha, this is kind of similar, although a hundred times easier to make. Kvass is a russian fermented beverage traditionally made with beets, whey and rye bread. This simplified fruit version is whey- and grain free, and still packed with nutritious probiotic enzymes and amazing natural bubbles.

I found this wonderful recipe on the GREEN KITCHEN STORIES blog:

Fermented Fruit Kvass  
(Fermenting technique from Rebecca Wood)
1 large glass jar
Make sure to always use organic ripe fruit when fermenting.
1/4 of a large glass jar of mixed organic ripe fruit (we used fresh peaches and blackberries)
1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
1-inch fresh ginger, peeled
pure water to almost fill the jar (you get best result with filtered or mineral water)
Place fruit, honey and ginger in the jar. Add water to fill up the jar, except the top inch. You’ll need that extra space to allow pressure to build. Tightly close the jar. Place in room temperature for 2-3 days, give it a shake twice a day to prevent bacteria from forming on the surface. After 24 hours you can see fermentation bubbles. Taste your brew every day to see when it is ready, it depends on the room temperature and sugar content. It should taste sweet and tangy and the fruit look ‘cooked’. Strain the brew and drink as it is or store in the fridge for up to a week.
If you have any problems with the fermenting process, you could add whey or yeast as a starter, it could depend on the water or the honey you use. I use (scandinavian) tap water or filtered tap water.
The natural alcohol level in homemade Kvass is very very low, about 0.05%-1.0%, which means that children can drink it too.

Other Kvass Combinations:
cherry, raspberry, cardamom
apple, raisins, cinnamon
lemon, dried apricots, ginger
mango, chai spices
beet, apple, lemon balm
nectarine, camomile
blackberry, peaces, vanilla bean
dried prunes, lemon, ginger

Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

reconfiguring our actions to manifest a new success

in a world that's faster and faster, and where "more and more" becomes the mantra of the people, perhaps it's time to consider how we fit in and what works for us in the long run. in order to change our perception of what success looks like, we may have to change our relationship to it. in sri sri ravi shankar's 2010 blog post entitled "our connection to nature",  he talks about how ancient wisdom describes human beings as having five layers of experience: the environment, the physical body, the mind, the intuition and our self or spirit.

sri sri ravi shankar says this:
Our connection with the environment is our first level of experience, and one of the most important. If our environment is clean and positive, it has a positive impact on all the other layers of our existence. As a result, they come into balance and we experience a greater sense of peace and connection within ourselves and with others around us.
Today we live in a world where many have become greedy and want to make quick profits and achieve quick results. Their actions disrupt the ecological balance, and not only pollute the physical environment, but also stimulate negative emotions on a subtle level, within themselves and also in those around them. These negative energies expanded and compounded again and again are the root cause of much of the violence and misery in this world. Most wars and conflicts are triggered by such feelings, and result in damage to the environment, which then takes a long time to restore and repair. We need to attend to the human psyche which is the root cause of pollution, both physical and emotional. If compassion and care are kindled within our selves, they will form the basis for a deeper connection to, and care for, both others and the environment.
so! this is about taking care of ourselves and our planet on a daily basis...NOT greedily grabbing all we can and hoarding for the future. seth godin, the original and helpful voice on the new landscape of digital connection for which there are no maps, is a singular thought leader and innovator in what he describes as our post-industrial, post-geography "connection economy."

seth godin says:
"rather than merely tolerate change, we are all called now to rise to it. we are invited and stretched in whatever we do to be artists — to create in ways that matter to other people."
HOW DO THESE TWO CONCEPTS RELATE?  sri sri ravi shankar talks about how greed in its many forms disrupt the ecologial balance and seth godin talks about how greed for mass market share disrupts community balance. the new reality has got to be one of eco balance and community.

step one: take the thorn out of your own eye.
step two:take the thorn out of your neighbor's eye.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

making a u-turn: turning diabetes around



when you're first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes your whole world sort of melts before your eyes. you know nothing is going to be the same. there are shots to take, blood drops to extract and glucose gadgets to read. you feel very alone.
(and maybe a little sorry for yourself.) the new world you are about to enter includes regular doctor visits, bizarre physical ailments which can morph into really serious medical emergencies if not handled quickly and properly and a host of informational websites that look like something out of a 5 grade "how to was your hands" film playing on an old school projector. in other words, there is nothing sexy about being diabetic.

there is so much information out there, all with contradictory advice, that in the beginning it just might seem easier to bury your head in the sand, take your pills and carry on with life unchanged- except for maybe swapping sweet&low for sugar in your coffee in the morning. feeling sorry for yourself is easy! you've got a disease that no-one can cure and is a lead cause of early death in this country. why bother? of course, you know that you're supposed to "cut down on carbs", but that like "cutting down on booze or cigarettes", it's nice to talk about but very difficult to actually do.

here's the good news: there is one person who can help you get rid of diabetes, you! and not by "cutting down" on carbs here and there and trying to eat a certain pyramid or portion allocations. no. the way to do it is to realize that this is a matter of life and death and that you no longer can eat certain foods at all! in a way having a chronic condition makes things very easy. hopefully the option to take massive action becomes abundantly clear in a flash. hello? cakes, breads, white rice, potatoes and all processes foods are no longer a part of my regular life. (period) what's left is a new adventure in eating, one you could never get to know when you were infatuated with fats and deep-fried and processed foods. what's left is fruits and veggies and yogurt and fish. what's left is nutrition! action! exercise and passion!


Monday, February 4, 2013

connecting the dots: feeling the passion

now after losing 17 pounds of fat and gaining 5 pounds of muscle, i have a confession to make: I AM FEELING THE PASSION.  yes, i can feel the passion returning into my life, after just 8 weeks. i am surprised to find that my energy levels have already improved, i have a little bounce in my step and i sometimes even feel like dancing! i attribute this pre-mature development of a "zeal for living" to a nutritionally balanced diet which excludes white flour, white rice and processed foods, includes regular exercise (including zumba, yoga, walking and biking) and the dismantling of several bad habits (including morning coffee, and happy hours specials).  as i am adjusting to a new, healthier way of living, i am discovering that the learning process itself has also acted as a propellant toward happiness. discovering new things helps keep one feeling young. and there's so much to learn, and get excited about, when you love food as much as i do. in addition to learning, the the act of breaking old habits has a power all its own. knowing that you have the power to control your life through what you think and what you eat can have a very positive effect on overall mood. (not to mention clearing the carb-fog from your brain)
when i first started this project on december 1, 2012 all i knew was that something had to change. that i needed to reclaim my life...and now just 8 weeks later i can feel that change! (i hope you can too!)