healthy

Food and Festivals

It’s been pretty quiet around here.  Hubby had a 3-week business adventure in Paris (I know, feel bad for him) and as a result, unintentionally, I stayed close to home.  But things have gotten a little more interesting since hubby got back stateside.

During the weekend, we decided to check out a Chinese Lantern Festival in Philly.  A couple of years ago we were in Seoul, Korea and their lantern festival was amazing so we were eager to get the experience again.

It was pretty cool, but a little small so I think we felt somewhat cheated for our $17 entrance fee, especially as the one in Korea was so much more elaborate. It was a nice night to be out and wander around China Town.

Shifting gears - Interesting fact, still doing the raw food thing and normally this time of year I am severely afflicted with Springtime allergies, but this year not so much as a moist eye.  The only difference I can think of is that I am eating so much raw local fruits and veggies, which is desensitizing my usual malady.

This time of year, there are so many yummy seasonal fruits and veggies it is not hard to get variety in my diet.

The rest of my life seems to be yoga, teaching yoga, teaching nurse education and if I have time, reading and cooking, not such a bad way to spend my time!

Until next time, 

Angie 

Raw Food Update

It’s been over 6 weeks since I started this 2-week Raw Food Diet experiment.  I kinda got into a groove and am enjoying it so much I just want to keep going.  I feel great, the eczema on my skin is completely cleared up and I have more energy and less brain fog than I did.

I am not being purist or rigid about being a raw foodie and do have cooked food (yes that includes cheese!) every now and again.  But when I do, I immediately feel bloated and uncomfortable and my skin gets very itchy, so that is a huge incentive not to stray.

The first 3 or so weeks as a raw foodie, I had this huge appetite, it seemed like every couple of hours my body yelled “more food please.”  However, that has calmed down now and I do not feel the need to eat a small horse to satisfy my hunger cravings.  Sometimes it is hard to get all the calories in.  On a raw food diet, for my gender, and weight I should be shooting for 2000 calories a day.  That’s an awful lot of bananas!  In addition, a lot of that intake is supposed to be leafy greens to get in all the nutrients and protein that your body needs.  I hate greens, I know silly, right?  So, I have added a daily vitamin and vegan protein shake to my daily intake to try and make up for what may be lacking in my diet.

This is what my breakfast usually looks like: 

This is what my lunch looks like: 

This is what my snacks look like: 

Also, on a recent trip to Vegas I wondered how much I would be able to eat raw food in a city where burgers and nachos are king. We actually saw a restaurant called Heart Attack Burger where people over 350 pounds ate free - there is something very wrong with that.  But it was not hard at all. The hotel had a marketplace downstairs with a cool fridge stocked with fresh watermelon, pineapple and grapes.  And of course, everywhere you go there was a famous Vegas Buffet so it really was not hard to make a beeline for the salad bar and load up.

You may be asking yourself, how much weight has she lost?  I am happy to report I have lost a whopping 4 pounds.  Let’s alert the media!  However, this whole exercise was not about weight loss but health. I have also lost almost 2 dress sizes and that makes me very happy.

So, I will keep going and I will continue to post updates.

Has anyone out there done a raw food diet?  What were your highs and lows?

An Update: Raw Food Diet

So, I have tried so many diets in my life.  As someone who has always struggled with her weight I have been the diet queen and most of them have only lasted for a little while, some as short as a few days, some a little longer.  But from the start, this Raw Food thing has been fun, filling and sustaining. I have never felt hungry, mainly because if you are hungry you eat! Salad, fruit, nuts - whatever takes your fancy as long as it is raw.  I have not missed bread at all and I am a breadaholic. I am getting lots of carbs from all the fruit I am eating so I think that is satisfying my body.  I am not sure if I have lost weight (which was not the goal anyways) but clothes are fitting much better and I have noticed I have lost that bloat in my belly and my face. 

My main reason for becoming a raw foodie was because the eczema on my body and my GI issues.  Within 5 days both things had completely resolved. Can you say, Amazing!

Here are the pros and cons I have come up with so far:

Pros

  • Health benefits of eating a pure diet, no toxins from processed foods going into my body.
  • GI system is very happy.  Regular pooping is good for everybody.
  • Never hungry, can eat when I want as much as I want as long as it is raw food.
  • Everything tastes so good; my palate has changed and the rainbow range of food I am eating just tastes wonderful and bright and pure. 

Cons

  • Having to shop for fresh produce every 3 days or so, but I only really go to the produce aisle and the toilet paper aisle (!) so it is super quick.
  • You have to be organized and do lots of food prep to set yourself up for success when you are starving and need something to eat NOW!  This may be a lot of work for someone who has a super busy job and life.
  • Easy to get in a rut with your go to veggie and fruit plate.  I solved this by buying a raw food cook book to give me some new ideas.
  • This book has lots of wonderful recipes for the fully raw diet so I can change up my salads and salad dressings every day.  Also, lots of yummy smoothie recipes. It has really helped!

This is my go to lunch: Rainbow salad with orange ginger and dill dressing. 

This is what my fruit bowl looks like now, this will last me about 3 days!

This is what my fridge looks like now, again about a 3 day supply.

Just in case you thought I am making hubby eat this way, I am not.  I really am the nicest vegetarian I know because I have no problem handling and cooking meat.  I usually make him a chicken sandwich for lunch, but I am amping it up a bit for him.  I love Ezekiel bread, it is fully sprouted and has no preservatives and as a result needs to be kept in the fridge, but it is full of nutty goodness. Also, I try not to buy cold cuts, they are full of nitrates and preservatives, so I buy organic grass fed chicken breast, roast and slice them and use them for sandwiches all week. 

I found raw trail mix at Trader Joes that I go through fast. It's yummy and filling and I know I am sticking to the raw food mantra. If you don’t live near a Trader Joe's, I feel pretty bad for you, they have amazing organic products at incredible prices!

I am also trying not to be too purist with this whole thing.  Being too rigid could derail me fast.  So, if I am desperate for something not raw, I will have it.  Hubby and I were out running errands last week and we ended up eating out for dinner. I could have had a salad but the pasta with spinach and artichoke was calling my name.  I ate it without guilt and really enjoyed it and got back on the wagon the next meal.

So far so good.  I am really enjoying this way of eating, it’s not a diet to me as I am not doing it for weight loss but for health.  My sense of well-being has risen so much and I am a big proponent for doing whatever you need to elevate your quality of life, so I am going to keep going for as long as I am having fun.  I committed to 2 weeks and that has come and gone and I do not see myself stopping anytime soon.  I will let you know how it goes!

Xo
Angie

An Update: Breast Cancer Screening

A little while ago I talked about getting tested for the BRCA gene due a close family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Well the 2 weeks promised result deadline turned into a month...sigh. I was not losing sleep over it, but I did want to know.  The results came in and it was good news. Sort of. 

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First off, I do not have a positive BRCA gene, which means I do not have that 85% risk of developing breast cancer in my lifetime. However, this test does not only test the BRCA gene but several other genes too. A change was found in one of my genes that puts me in a high-risk group of developing breast cancer in the next 5 years. Oh bother, now that’s annoying. Still I did not really freak out, which is not like me. Just did some deep breathing and tried to focus on the information that was being given to me.

The recommendations are that I do lots of surveillance, breast MRI every 6 months alternating with mammogram every 6 months. Deep joy - lots of boob squishing!  But I will do this, it's mildly inconvenient, but relatively noninvasive and the regularity of the imaging gives me comfort that if any of those nasty cancer cells tries to invade my body, it will be caught early.

Also, there was a recommendation to start the drug Tamoxifen right away. This is a med used to prevent breast cancer and to treat those who already have it.  But the risks of some very nasty side effects are high.  I will not be doing this!  I just do not want to put this highly toxic drug in my body.  Now like I have said before, I am not averse to taking drugs and this is a personal decision, so if you are in a similar situation please do not be swayed by my point of view. 

If I had a diagnosis of breast cancer I would pop that tamoxifen pill in my mouth like it was an M&M, but I do not. So I think I am going to go the conservative route for now because quality of life is very important to me. 

Then part of me thinks with this whole genetic coding thing am I just watching the clock until the Big C strikes me.  I remind myself I cannot live like that, fear will keep me stuck and prevent me from enjoying the stuff that gives me deep joy in my life, of which there is an abundance of right now. I am very blessed!

So, me and my boobs are just going to soldier on, getting smooshed, prodded and poked and have a positive attitude and (try) to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Anyone out there going through something similar?  I would love to hear your stories, feel free to post in the comments below.

For the meantime, here’s to boobs, they serve us well.  

Xo

Angie 

 

 

Etiquette in Yoga

I am not always known for having good behavior in all areas of my life, but I really love that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "well behaved women rarely make history."

However, I am very persnickety about my and others etiquette in a yoga class.  Here are a few tips that I think are important:

  • Be On TimeThis is super important, especially if the teacher is starting with a quiet meditation (which they usually do). There's nothing worse than someone coming in late, tripping over everyone to find a spot, all the while muttering “Sorry, sorry, so sorry”.
  • Practice Good Personal HygieneDespite what everyone may think, yoga can be a pretty intense workout and sweating, or glowing as I like to call it, does happen. So, I always make sure I have on that clinical strength deodorant. Also, in busy classes peeps can be close to each other so strong smells of perfume or body odor are not a good idea.
  • Do Not Bring Your Phone Into ClassThis has happened to me in more than one class.  One woman answered her phone and had a conversation! The whole point of yoga is to go within and disconnect from the frenetic world for a while.  I always leave my phone in the car so I am not tempted to look at it and it's quite refreshing to be disconnected for a little while. 
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: I once (and it was the only time...sigh) took hubby to class with me.  He was opposite a very nice yoga lady who seemed very appropriately dressed until she did downward facing dog. Then her lovely airy v-necked top revealed a full frontal.  Hubby's ability to concentrate after that was seriously diminished. So, important to think about that, classes are usually co-ed and those men creatures are so visual, so be aware.
  • Stick Around For SavasanaI know people are super busy and often are pulled in a million directions. I myself have been known to make lists in my head during a yoga class.  But that savasana at the end (aka a nap) is SO important to relax, cool down, reassess your practice and prepare for the outside world.  If you run out early, you are not only cheating yourself but interrupting everyone else’s blissed-out experience. Wars have started for less!
  • Thank The TeacherWhatever you think of the class, this teacher showed up and gave you a class.  You may think it is the greatest thing you have experienced since wine was put into boxes, or you may think it was mediocre at best.  Whatever you think, suspend your judgement and thank the teacher.
  • Put Away All Your Stuff (better than you found it)This may speak to my OCD issues of needing everything in its place and put away in the same way it was found.  It's a small irritation when I need a mat and it has not been rolled up neatly by the previous person, or I have to fight my way through a mountain of blocks to find a matching pair (must be the same size and color…. see I told you I had issues!).  It really does not take 2 minutes at the end of class to put everything away better than you found it. And crazy ladies like me will not be swearing under their breath, which really is the antithesis of a yoga class!  Please save me!

These may be little things to many, but these few simple tips can make a much more euphoric experience for everyone. 

Have...Be a great day!

Angie