Monday, August 29, 2011

Just Another Day

Today my Grace Cards say I should be still so as to gain a heightened sensitivity to beauty, deep inner peace and a profound connectedness to all living things. It just so happens that tonight is Sangha night so I will be in meditation for about an hour but normally me being silent in voice is impossible. I love to talk and not to hear myself but to share myself. I also love to listen to others share their stories. I recently reconnected with a woman I was friends with during my freshman year of college. She told me the most amazing story about one of her children. We were catching up and a lot of times I am not sure how much to tell people about my life since the last time we saw each other because a lot of living has happened on my part that makes most people uncomfortable. They do not know what to say. The thing is that it is ok because I have no expectations from anyone and do not want any one's pity. I see beauty, miracles and joy along with pain, sorrow and grief in my life. So, when I read her story I was a bit taken aback because she has a whopper of her own and even though we are typing these things out to each other I feel like I can read the emotions present through her words. I did not know what to say in response to her and I knew that it was ok. But what I settled on was that as 20 year olds we had the world open to us and we were dreamers, I definitely was, and who would have thought we would end up on the paths we were on and had taken. Some might see them as tragic and sad but we found joy, beauty, gratefulness and lessons not attainable in a classroom. Sometimes I need reminded of this because it is so damn easy to get stuck. Last night I started crying while I was studying because I am now in a physiology portion of my nutrition program that is full of chemistry, biology and anatomy. I never took chemistry and my last biology class was junior year of high school. I can discuss Shakespeare not the periodic table or cellular makeup of our tissues. So I broke down with the thoughts of what the hell have I signed up for, why do I think I can do this now? I begged God to give me my husband back. He was my biggest supporter and he believed I could do anything. He was also extremely intelligent in these particular areas of knowledge. I knew my pleas would go unanswered but I made them anyway. It is pretty crazy what realms of reality the heart will allow you to explore especially when it is broken.
Today I woke thinking ok girl this is a new day and you are going to get through that chapter and all will be well. I have yet to tackle the homework. I ran errands and decided to write this instead. Every song on the radio in the car made me cry this morning. I remembered I am supposed to be still so I turned it off took a deep breath and am trying to suck it up to crack open that book and go to dinner with friends and then Sangha. No more tears or self doubt today. Paul doesn't want that and neither do I.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weighing in on weight

I should be studying right now but I attended a class tonight on stress and weight loss and feel compelled to share a little bit from the class. It was taught by a Naturopathic doctor. Naturopaths practice by treating the root or cause of a health issue not just symptoms. They also believe in the mind, body, spirit connection. This is called a holistic viewpoint. These things are important to understand.
Excess weight is a symptom that something is out of balance. Correcting the imbalance is the sure fire way to long term weight loss. A very important point is that there is not one diet that is right for everyone and it is not about diets it is about "nutrition for life". We must make attainable goals and hold ourselves responsible for achieving them. Our health is our own responsibility. If you are picking an exercise program and diet that you know you will have trouble sticking with then you are not being realistic and you will likely not succeed. We all need support which includes education when it comes to maintaining our health. We need to take a realistic and deep look at our emotional state and how that relates to our relationship to food. Often we find comfort in certain foods so we turn to them in times of stress. If we find ways to deal with stress like meditation or walking, etc. instead of eating that will help. It is about changing our lifestyles and learning ways to deal with stress and toxins that will allow us to loose weight and maintain health. Extreme diets, diet medications, stress, etc. burden our bodies and sends them into a fight or flight mode screwing with our hormones and causing a cortisol build up. Hence, ladies, the muffin tops we are obsessively fighting.
This is a big topic that needs to be addressed in a holistic fashion instead of with fad diets and crazy workout routines that further stress the body. Rapid weight loss is not healthy and is not usually long term. One pound per week is good but again this is individual. Proper weight is important for several reasons but an important one is that toxins get stored in fat and this leads to disease.
Fat is not the enemy but refined sugar is. It is in everything even cigarettes. They are cured with it. We need natural sugars. We get these in fruits and veggies but this is not a green light to go crazy with the fruit. I have a hard time with that one myself.
So let's learn ways to handle stress, enjoy ourselves and have a proper relationship and understanding of the role that food plays in our lives.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keri's Rockin' Tomato Sandwich

The tomatoes are here and fabulous in the Pacific Northwest. One of the things I love about summer is the arrival of farm fresh tomatoes. The yellow ones are my favorite and they are a bit less acidic. There are so many things that can be done with them but my favorite is a simple tomatoes sandwich. Now I have to say the best I have had is at The Blue Bird Bistro in Kansas City Missouri. As I remember they use a veganaise, feta cheese and fresh baked bread to compliment the tomato. I have to admit that I would go vegetarian for an hour just to eat the Killer Tomato there again. I do, however, make my own rockin' tomato sandwich.

I yellow or any kind tomato, sliced
4-5 spinach leaves
1 avocado, cut in half
sprouted grain bun or bread
veganaise to taste (I like Follow your Heart brand)
Celtic Sea Salt and Black pepper to taste

Toast your bread, slice your tomato, cut your avocado and scoop out 1 half. Now assemble all the listed ingredients and enjoy. Don't skip sprinkling the salt and pepper on the tomato slices. A simple and a tasty reminder of the abundance of the summer season.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Food for Thought

Tonight I went to a free class given by a Holistic Nutritionist that was focused on maximizing your produce purchases. My motives for attending the class were to learn her tips, meet her as I am studying to be a certified Holistic Nutritionist myself and take mental notes on how she led her class for the public. She offered some interesting information that I thought I would pass along. We talked about shopping for produce at the farmer's markets. This is one of my great joys. To me a morning at the farmer's market is a morning well spent. I just happen to live in a part of the country that produces amazing food and has farmer's markets everyday of the week. It is very easy to get overwhelmed or to make impromptu purchases. When everything is fresh and looks and smells so good it is difficult to pass it up. I definitely have this problem. There have been several shopping trips resulting in several full bags of produce that I have had no plan for and eventually it goes to waste. That is good food and money down the drain. Her suggestions for avoiding this seem pretty common sense but I feel safe in saying that many of us do not use them. First set a monetary budget for the market so once that amount is spent you are done purchasing. Next take note of what you already have in your kitchen so you do not end up re buying things you already have and to help you meal plan for the foods you will purchase. Meal planning is a crucial step before any grocery shopping expedition. Keeping it simple as far as the recipes go is also a great idea. A few spices and some quality oils are really all that is needed to enjoy fresh produce from the farmer's markets or your local grocery store that sells local produce. The more ingredients, the more expensive it gets and the less focus and appreciation is given to the veggie or fruit being eaten. I think this is an important point. As a kid my dad planted a huge garden in the summers. I remember walking down the rows of snap peas, green beans and tomatoes and picking these treasures off the vines and eating them on the spot. Sometimes dinner was a few different veggies cooked together with salt, pepper and maybe a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. As a kid I did not know to appreciate these meals and fresh growing snacks in the backyard but as a adult I very much appreciate them and the experience of eating this way. I think we have lost a lot of our innocence when it comes to real, whole foods. We do not respect the "simple" carrot, apple, raspberry, tomato, etc. We want a carrot cake, an apple tart, raspberry sauce on chocolate or tomato salsa. Sure these things taste great but a raspberry picked off the vine is awesome, alive and bursting with a flavor that you will not get to enjoy after it has been made into a sugary sauce for something else. Keeping it simple allows us to appreciate the flavors mother nature provides for us. They are bountiful. The other fabulous thing about the farmer's markets is getting to interact with the growers. I love talking to the farmers about the foods laid out on the tables. There is nobody better to tell how to choose, store and prepare what you are buying than the people who grew it and make their living off of these foods. I find that they are very enthusiastic and eager to share with their customers. It is encouraging and inspiring to me to talk to these people and hear the respect that they have for food I plan on eating. I think that lack of respect is one of the BIG problems we have in this country when it comes to our food supply. Lack of respect for the things that fuel and nurture our bodies. We have gotten so brainwashed by and used to eating stuff that comes from industrialized businesses whose goal is the bottom line not feeding us or keeping us healthy. For some reason we have taken the bait and we are paying the price with our health. We consume things like aspartame and high fructose corn syrup without a thought. We think if it has been allowed by the government it must be ok. Well lots of prescription drugs are allowed by the government and come with booklets of possible side effects. Think about that.
It is not difficult to eat healthy. You do not need a Master's Degree in nutrition to eat right. There is a lot to understand but humans have done it from day one. You just need to eat what mother nature is providing for you. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and dare I say this as a tried and true vegan but some animal products if they are sourced well from farms that ONLY pasture raise their animals organically. Of the later all I want to say is that I hold firm to my beliefs as a vegan but I know that we are all individual in our metabolic typing and we need to honor that or we will become sick. Being a vegan works for me. It will be 2 years in September and I was vegetarian for 16 years prior to that. I do not push my lifestyle on anyone. I do believe that if you eat animal products they MUST come from the "humane", pasture raised, organic farm. I have spoken to farmers who sell animal meat and dairy at my local farmer's markets and found some to be a bit stand offish and some to be very open and eager to talk to me about their practices. As a Nutrition Consultant I have to be able to tell people where to get their food and animal products are a part of that no matter my preference. This is the beauty of the farmer's markets getting to be surrounded with awesome food and the people growing/raising it. Getting the opportunity to speak with them about their practices and make informed choices. It gives me a whole new point of view, appreciation and love of food. So I might have gotten on my soapbox here a bit but hopefully it has inspired some readers to take a more vested interest in what is on the end of your forks and how it got there.