healthy

Because I am one of the bare all – no holds barred bloggers who believes that sharing my life honestly is the right thing to do for both me and my readers, I feel it is very important to applaud others who do the same.

Not only is Tasha a brave and amazing blogger, she speaks to a topic that is close to my heart and a message that I think it is important for you, my readers, to hear as well. She learned to listen to her body and do what was best for her, even when it bumped up against everything she believed in and thought was right and true in the world.

Read Her Story

Life is not black and white and you can not and should not believe everything you read and hear. I am always amazed how we can suspend the use of our perfectly healthy and functioning brains to feed our belief systems. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years of struggling with my own battle with depression, anxiety and a bunch of familial bullshit is that no matter how much you believe something to be true that is not always the case.

It is so important that we learn to trust ourselves. Our minds and bodies yearn to speak to us, to tell us what is right and true for us, but so often we ignore them. We ignore that we are tired or sad or not feeling well and all the little ailments that we attribute to our lives or getting older or whatever our excuses might be.  We push aside our uneasy feelings and that little nagging tug that something here is hinky.  In reality all these little things are our bodies ways of speaking to us, of telling us that something isn’t right and that we should take a good look at how we are living and what changes our hearts know we need to make.

Instead of listening to these warnings, more times than not we ignore them until they turn into monsters that come back and bite us, sometimes with devastating consequences.  My mind and body were screaming and I just blatently ignored it, shoved it down until my whole world exploded.  Not necessarly the best way to go about it.

Read how Tasha learned this very same lesson

Learning this important lesson comes to each of us in it’s own way.  For Tasha it was her Vegan-ism, as much a doctrine as a lifestyle choice in her mind.  For each of us it will always be something personal and most likely painful.  Facing our personal truth is certainly not an easy task, but one that faced with bravery and an open heart will forever make us and everyone we touch better for it.

There are many things that I could say about being vegan or how I feel about the importance of quality natural animal protein sources, but I think the bigger lesson here is that if you listen, your mind and body will tell you what you need.  And if you refuse to listen, it will just yell louder, believe me.

And just one more little rant.  Be very careful how you judge others and what you believe from so-called experts.  We each have our own beliefs and our own reasons for them.  Do your own research, and I mean real research – not just asking your friend or your favorite talk show host, and listen to your gut.  If someone seems all over the top about stuff, there is probably a reason for it that has absolutely nothing to do with you.   And if you disagree about something with someone, no matter how vehemently, remember to have some respect.  Being an asshole only hurts you in the long run.

I love salad.  I think one reason that this eating plan works so well for me is that I love salad.  I eat at least one, if not two, large salads a day.  I’m lucky that my husband loves salad too.

I have been experimenting with different toppings and styles of salad, but for most meals it is pretty much the same.

  • Organic baby greens
  • A variety of chopped veggies depending on what is available that week at the farmers market, but in general carrots, onions, radishes, snap peas, cucumbers, tomatoes etc.
  • Handful of seeds and/or nuts
  • Tablespoon of freshly ground flax
  • Salad Dressing

So for lunch, I generally have a big salad and then a small portion of whatever sounds goods that week.  I usually make a big batch of something each week and eat it at least three times.  Generally some sort of saucy chicken (cacciatore, curry, tikka masala etc.)  and sometimes I will have a little brown rice or sprouted bread, but not always.

This week I made homemade chili with pork tenderloin and beans and organic veggies.  For this , I actually put the salad on top and topped with homemade creamy dressing.

For dinner, we generally have some sort of meat and then a salad and sometimes an additional vegitable, especially right now when asparagus is in season.  I have my husband hooked on what we call big salad, which is basically the above plus grilled chicken marinated in lemon, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper, and some croutons made with sprouted wheat bread, a little olive oil and some garlic.

My latest favorite salad dressing

I don’t really measure so these are really just guesses.  Tweak with it until it tastes how you want it to.

  • 1/4 cu finely shredded romano cheese (I found a really yummy pecorino made with sheep’s milk)
  • 2 t. red wine vinegar
  • 2 t. fresh lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • couple good grinds of pepper
  • 1 t. fresh oregano (picked right out of my garden for “vitality” points)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. honey
  • couple of tablespoons of olive oil (or you could use flax oil) – Just add a tablespoon at a time until it tastes balanced.

Streamlining the salad process

Although salad is relatively easy, it can be a little prep intensive for making lunch before work or throwing something together when you just have a few minutes.  But with a little prep ahead throwing together a great salad can take only a matter of seconds.

I buy organic salad mix at the farmers market, but this is generally available at most grocery stores these days as well.  Too keep it fresh longer, put it in a gallon Ziploc with a damp paper towel.

I also cut up a variety of veggies, mix them together and store them in a Ziploc or Tupperware.  Seed and nuts can be mixed and stored this way as well.  Buying small tomatoes eliminates the need to cut them fresh.

I do grind my flax fresh, but I keep the seeds in a closed mason jar on the counter next to the grinder, which makes this very easy and quick to do.

With these small steps, a handful of this and a handful of that and a few seconds later you have a great healthy salad with little to no work.

After the events of the past week I have come to determine that my frustration over my lack of measurable progress (a.k.a. weight loss) really comes down to the fact that I am jumping the gun.  As long as I have all this emotional baggage the weight will not come off, no matter what I do.  

I just went back and read the emotional obesity chapters of the book and all of it applied to me.    He asks several questions to help you identify whether this issue is holding you back and if it is insists that it be addressed before you ever even discuss eating habits, cravings exercise and past successes and failures.  After the emotional issues have been addressed and resolved then a plan can be put into place to address the rest of it.

The questions go something like this…

  1. Does being thin feel safe to you?
  2. Can you imagine yourself thin?
  3. If someone gives you a compliment on your appearance, does it make you feel happy and confident or threatened and uneasy?

The last two definitely apply to me and the first one just confuses me so I’m guessing that means I can count that one too.  Since I started this whole thing the body visualization has always been the hardest for me.  I just can’t see myself as that thin person.  The thing that weirds me out about that is that I used to be thin, at times very thin.  So you wouldn’t think that imagining myself like that again would be so difficult.  The brain is a bazaar entity.

I have been noticing over the last couple of weeks (and I think where that desperate sad post from last week came from) that even though I am mentally really dedicated to this and have logically set up my environment for success, I find every way and excuse I can to sabotage the process.

  • I “forget” to take my supplements
  • I sneak food.  I will scarf down a burger or milkshake, candy or doughnut and then hide the evidence.
  • I will make up any excuse I can to avoid exercising, even going to yoga, which I love, or a hike with the dog, which is empowering, relaxing and really rewarding.  If there is some reason I can come up with I will take it.
  • I tell myself that just going to sleep (without the CD) will feel good and make me more motivated the next day.

I even avoided reading the emotional section of the book with any focus or meaning.  I just skimmed through it.  Today I read every word.

When I have talked to my therapist about my weight, she always says don’t worry about it now, you have enough on your plate.   Do the emotional work and then deal with the weight.

Another advisor of mine reminded me that I simply need to find out why it is that I don’t feel worthy and correct that and then everything will fall into place as it should.  It is only me that is holding me back.

With the Life Path Integration therapy we are doing it is even possible that we will be able to target whatever the emotional trigger might be and fix it.  It always amazes me how the universe will provide you with all the tools you need if you just listen closely enough.  Many things have been coming to me from many different directions lately and thankfully I am aware enough to be grabbing them.

Karli has also encouraged me to give the emotional stuff more time and stop worrying so much about the physical stuff.  Now that I am feeling better and motivated and productive for the first time in a long time, I am finding it very hard not to want to tackle everything all at once, to take on more than I can handle.  I feel like I am fighting in every direction and that I may simply just need to give into the process.  Pretty hard to do for a total control freak.

I am so grateful that my husband is supportive of me through all this.  He has had his moments of frustration and worry and even a few in anger and hurtfulness, as is only natural when you spouse is going through something like this.  He tries his best to encourage me and prod me to work a little harder.  

Every logical part of me thinks it’s fantastic that I have a husband who loves me the way I am and truly cares about my well being.  But emotionally I think I kinda resent him for it and rebel against it.  This is hard to say, a sort of it’s not you it’s me scenario, but I think I might have to tell him to stop with the encouragement, because just like when we were trying to quit smoking, the gentle nudges and reminders, the words of encouragement in my head remind me that I am failing rather than reminding me that I can succeed.  This is something I need to work on, but in the meantime, I think we just need to drop the whole thing for a while, let me heal what’s broken without any added pressure.

Jon says in his book that while he was gaining the weight, his wife never said a word about it and that when he was ready, he felt he was better prepared to lose the weight because of that.

So, I concentrate on the emotional part and keep preparing my body from a biochemical standpoint so that I will be that much more ahead of the game once I can really target my eating and exercise habits.  I just feel like I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself.   

To all of you looking to the Gabriel Method as a magic pill, I am sorry.  I don’t have instant results to report, or really any weight loss at all.  I can tell you that it is helping me to change my life, to learn about myself and face my fears and tackle the emotional crap that has had me by the throat for most of my life.   It is also helping me learn what it feels like to be a healthy person, teaching my body that it feels good to be nourished and that eating foods that mess with your chemistry makes you tired and cranky and feel generally icky.

This is my first step and the thought that on the other side of this journey I could be not only thinner and more fit, but also a more whole and emotional healthy person is very exciting to me.

I am going to keep taking the supplements and integrating healthy foods into my diet, but I am throwing out the schedule and week 1 week 2 month 1 stuff for a while until I can answer the questions above with confidence and positivity.  Fixing myself needs to be my priority right now.  I have made huge progress, I just need to finish it before I start worrying about pounds and waist measurements and scheduled regimented programs.  

I’m ok if I stay this weight forever, as long as I don’t gain any more.  (those of you who have read the book will understand the meaning and gravity of this statement)

So here is the new plan (because I wouldn’t really be me if I didn’t have one)…

  1. Keep working hard at therapy and stop distracting us with day to day bullshit.  I have demons to fight so let’s get on with it.
  2. Listen to the CD every night, no excuses, no exceptions
  3. Start reading about past life regression
  4. Read the book No Boundary by Ken Wilber (Jon mentions it in a section of the book that really resonates with me)
  5. Actively radiate love, forgiveness and appreciation
  6. Accept the negative and accept myself and my body just as they are.  This includes no scales.

Buy the Gabriel Method Book Now!

You may have noticed that this blog has been a little dormant lately.  This has a little to do with the holidays and the continuous stream of family visits, but I think I have been feeling a little blocked up because I have been avoiding writing this post, which I sketched out several weeks ago, but has been sitting unattended in my notebook since then.  It’s amazing the things you will do while avoiding.  The house is clean and I am getting really good at Zen Gems. 

Why avoid it though?  Maybe because if I actually say it out loud, I will finally have to follow through and hold myself accountable?  That’s a tough one, you see I tend to talk big and fail to follow through.  I want this to stop and that is why I am sucking it up, taking a deep breath and writing it all down for the world to see and hold me accountable for.

This is going to get a little lengthy and I apologize for that ahead of time.  You can stop reading now if you want because this post is really for me anyway.

A few notes before I get into the nitty gritty.  The goals on this list are intended to be year long goals not to be implemented immediately but taken one step at a time and built upon as the year progresses.  This is a year of change and forward movement for me though and I fully intend on working on each and every one of the items on this list.

This really isn’t a post about my new year’s resolution as much as laying out my goals for this year, but if I had to sum it up into one resolution, I would say that it is to not get overwhelmed and paralyzed by the enormity of it all.  I think I tend to look at the big picture too much and it just freaks me out and keeps me from being effective at the step by step, day by day stuff.  So, my goal is to get organized, get motivated and tackle one thing at a time.

Ok, so here we go.

In my old book club, I had the pleasure of knowing a well known hypnotherapist and a really great woman Diane Sewell. A few weeks ago, she sent out an email (I assume to her mailing list) that really inspired me to take this year’s goal setting seriously.  Here is her list of 10 things you can do to be successful and get off on the right foot in 2009.

  1. How You Think is Everything:  Always be positive.  Think success and not failure.   Also beware of negative environments.
  2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals:  Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
  3. Take Action:   Goals are nothing without action.  Don’t be afraid to get started.  Just do it.
  4. Never Stop Learning:   Go back to school or read books.  Get training and acquire skills.
  5. Be Persistent and Work Hard:   Success is a marathon, not a sprint.  Never give up.
  6. Learn to Analyze Details:   Get all the facts, all the input.  Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Focus Your Time and Money:   Don’t let other people or things distract you.
  8. Don’t be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different:   Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
  9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively:   No person is an island.  Learn to understand and motivate others.
  10. Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility:   Otherwise, #’s 1-9 don’t matter.

Diane Sewell, Master Hypnotist and Weight Loss Expert

In the past year I have struggled and worked very hard to improve my mental and emotional states as well as remove the negative environments that were contributing to my depression and life paralysis.  Now, I look at my future as a clean slate, a place to start and it is time for me to take control, set goals and direct my own future.

I have an affirmation that I say all the time.  I say it when I am feeling overwhelmed or sad or stressed, during Savasana, before I go to sleep – really any time that it seems appropriate to do so.  It calms and focuses me.    It goes something like this.

I am whole, I am happy, I am healthy, I am beautiful

With all this in mind, I have laid out this years goals into those four categories and listed them out below.  Some of the items are pretty simple and straight forward, but many will required detailed plans to accomplish.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting these plans as well and will link to them from the appropriate items below.

These lists are not in any particular order.  Just as they came to me.

I Am Whole

Things that are healing and contribute to my overall mental health and fulfillment

  • What are my true dreams?
  • Work hard and accomplish enough that by the end of the year I am attending therapy once a month rather than every week.
  • Complete and full 21 day manifestation. 
  • Read my tarot cards once a week for insight, guidance and awareness.
  • Be contributing $500 per month to the family budget by the end of the year.  
  • Find or create a mommy support network.
  • Create and maintain a comforting and manageable home environment
  • Be the best mom that I can that day, every day.
  • Start writing my book.

I Am Happy

Things that are simply for my and my family’s pleasure.  The things that just make life more fun.

  • Have one great family adventure every month.
  • Take time for fun just for me – book club, girls nights etc.
  • Find a babysitter
  • Have more sex
  • Kiss my husband passionately every day
  • Give myself a break sometimes
  • Laugh out loud with my kids every day

I Am Healthy 

Things to improve both my body and mind

  • Achieve a slim, fit and healthy body – this means to me…  Look and feel great naked and goal weight of 135.
  • Experiment and incorporate more healthy foods into diet
  • Sleep better
  • Walk the dog more
  • Garden and landscaping projects
  • Generally by more active and productive – just get up and do it, when you think about doing it.
  • Reduce TV watching by 1 hour per day
  • Be reasonable with the puzzles and online games – have a picture and a crossword puzzle printed out to work on during downtime.  Online games only during designated relax time.  Get a grip.
  • Complete PHP certification

I Am Beautiful

This is as much mental as physical for me.  I want to feel beautiful in my own personal and distinct way.

I am terrible at  forming good habits and have neglected much of the womanly maintenance over the years.  As many moms can probably relate – I have let myself go a little.

Now, I am not really into a lot of the girly stuff and looking perfect all the time doesn’t even reach my radar, but it is important that I begin to feel good about myself again and keeping up with some physical improvements will generally lead to that I think.  You’ll notice, this is pretty basic stuff here.

  • Wash my face every night
  • Shave my legs once a week (I have very blond fine hair so this is all I need to do), even in the winter.
  • buy some quality makeup
  • Get a haircut regularly
  • Lotion all over, every day
  • Figure out my own personal style
  • Buy new clothes that fit well and make me feel good about myself.  Don’t just buy what’s cheapest.
  • Look in the mirror and say you are beautiful inside and out, every day

I love mu shu. It has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid. My parents used to take me out for Chinese food regularly just so that I could have it. Yum yum yum.

I have been searching for years for a great mu shu recipe. I never did find the perfect one, but as with almost everything I cook, I took a recipe and tweaked and changed and tasted and tinkered until it was just perfect and I am happy to say that the mu shu recipe is ready for sharing.

This recipe is fresh and crisp, but not crunchy. It is flavorful and traditional in taste but lighter in weight and calories.

There are some compromises that I have made due to the availability of ingredients, family likes and dislikes and ease of making. I use flour tortillas instead of mandarin pancakes because I have two kids and no time to make them and I haven’t found them in any of the stores I shop at yet. I also leave out the traditional black mushrooms because my husband doesn’t like them and again they are a little tricky to find. Both of these could be found in an Asian grocery store and we have plenty of those in Seattle, but the extra trip just doesn’t seem worth it when it is just as yummy and a ton simpler without those things. I apologize to the traditionalists out there.

The work in this recipe is in the preparation. There are quite a few parts that need to be prepared and ready to go before cooking, but each is very simple.

Let’s get started…

Marinade the Meat
2 T. Soy sauce
1 T. white wine
1 T. Hosin Sauce
1 t. Sesame oil
1/2 pound of boneless chicken or pork in small strips or shredded*

Mix the marinade, add the meat, stir and let sit at room temp for 15-20 min or in the fridge for at least 1hr.

*This is a great way to use left over roasted chicken or pork roasts. Whether the meat is cooked or not does not really effect the recipe at all.

While the meat is marinating…

Veggies
2 cups Napa Cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 cup bean sprouts

prepare and collect all the veggies on a dinner plate, cutting board or bowl to ease dumping into the wok later

Cooking Sauce
3 T chicken broth
2 T soy sauce
1 T white wine
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t. sugar
1 t. corn starch

Mix cooking sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Prepare Eggs
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1 t olive oil

  • beat the eggs in a small bowl with salt.
  • Heat olive oil in wok on medium heat.
  • Add egg and cook, lifting the sides to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath. When just a little runny is left, flip the egg patty over and then slide out of pan onto a cutting board.
  • slice the egg into 1″ x 1/4″ strips

Set aside for later

Prepare garlic and ginger
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 in section of ginger

mince garlic and ginger and set aside

Prepare green onions for serving
4 green onions

Julienne the green onions into 1 inch thin strips and place in small serving bowl to place on the table.

Now, everything should be prepped. This can all be done in advance and held in the fridge until you are ready to cook. Cooking this takes only a couple of minutes so don’t start until you are ready to eat. You must be ready to move quickly and serve immediately.

This would be a good time to warm your tortillas. I recommend the fajita size flour tortillas and about 2-3 per person depending on appetites. A quick and easy way to warm your tortillas is to place them on a microwave safe plate, sprinkling each tortilla with water and microwaving on high for 30 seconds. Right before serving, flip the tortillas and microwave on high again for 30 seconds.

Ok, time to cook…

  • Heat 1 T of olive oil in your wok on medium high heat.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook till aromatic, about 1 minute.
  • Add your meat that has been marinating and cook until heated through, stirring constantly – time will depend on whether your meat was previously cooked or not.
  • Add all the veggies at once and mix them in. Cook for about 1 minute until cabbage begins to wilt slightly.
  • Add cooking sauce and egg and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about another minute.

Remove from heat and pour into serving dish.

To serve…

Take one tortilla, spread a little hoisin sauce on the tortilla, spoon meat and veggie mix into tortilla, top with green onions.
Roll into a little burrito and enjoy