Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

So what does nine cups of veggies look like?

December 22, 2011

Today was my first day of following Dr. Terry Wahl’s dictum to eat nine cups of veggies. Here’s how I got them in:

Breakfast: two eggs, one cup of coconut oil roasted broccoli, one cup of cherry tomatoes, a quarter cup of parsley for garnish, half an avocado, and blue cheese for yum

Snack: a handful of cashews, coffee with cream

Lunch: three cups of salad greens, two cups of coconut oil roasted broccoli, a can of tuna, half an avocado, goat feta for delightfulness, and chili sauce to bring the flava

Snack: one cup of blackberries, Christmas chocolate, unsweetened green tea soda

Dinner: one cup of coconut oil roasted red cabbage, bacon, two cups of tomatoes, and a potato

Final tally: eleven cups of veggie goodness! and a partridge in a pear tree!

Verdict: totally doable, totally delicious.

Now that my brain is cooperating with me, I can’t help but think of all the ways I can make this work. Three cups of kale dehydrated into scrumptious kale chips will not be a chore to eat. Three cups of spinach is a few tiny mouthfuls when cooked. Roasted broccoli and I are getting married. Three cups of carrots and celery is just a glass full when juiced. This is possible. I like it.


Information overload, and resolutions

December 22, 2011

Before I started studying to become a nutritionist, I had this food thing down. Sure, there were details here and there that I wanted to clarify, but basically, I knew the right way to eat.

After I started studying nutrition, I realized that I have no bloody idea. I have an awful lot more information about food and nutrients and ethics and locality and methodology, but when it comes to what’s actually going in my mouth, all that knowledge is actually kind of paralyzing.

I think it’s a common predicament for people who are interested in improving their health. Before they start on their journey toward better health, they are blissfully (or willfully) ignorant. They eat what they like. They eat what they’ve always eaten. Every once in a while, they might read something or hear something on the news about the latest and greatest superfood, but for the most part, their food philosophy stays cozily unexamined. I’ve met these people (they’re weird).

Once they start trying to change their eating, however, the floodgates open. All of a sudden, it’s not “Should I have a sandwich or a salad for lunch?”, it’s “Should I eat whole grains, or should I go paleo? Is sugar the devil, or will the food gods pardon this raw organic fair trade agave? What about goji berries? Should I eat this delicious salad my mother has prepared for me, even though the tomato is not organic and is probably grown by migrant worker babies who live in slums and is fertilized with the tears of endangered seals?”

Cue me in a corner, curled up in a ball singing show tunes about cookies.

Or just cue the cookies.

Since I’ve got kind of a complicated relationship with food, anxiety or stress surrounding food is likely to result in defaulting to autopilot (actually, any stress will do it, but stress about food is especially troublesome). In this case, autopilot may be defined as crap, and lots of it. And crap-land is where I’ve made my residence for the past year.

It’s embarrassing.

It’s the reason I’m having such a hard time getting excited about becoming a nutritionist. How can I be a nutritionist, when I am overweight, when I am tired, when I am willfully shoveling into my body exactly the kind of garbage that yo momma warned you not to be seen with?

The (hypothetical) good side to this predicament is that when it comes to bad eating habits, I am pretty much un-shockable. So all you ate this week was McDonalds and Christmas chocolates from the office kitchen? Okay, moving on. So the only green thing in your fridge is the unidentified contents of the tupperware container in the corner of the bottom shelf? Been there. Yesterday. Empathy I have in spades.

I get how hard it is to make changes, because it’s hard for me too.

Since it’s almost the new year, there have been lots of posts on my RSS about resolutions. I read this one by Penelope Trunk the other day, and it reminded me of what I know already–permanent change has to be simple, and it has to be easy. By easy, I don’t mean that it won’t involve a lot of work. I mean that when you think about the change that you’re proposing to yourself, your brain (and your body) should go “YES!”

I really like her suggestion of breaking resolutions down into their tiniest parts, and committing to only one of those parts. Her example was with going to the gym–instead of resolving to work out for an hour a day, commit to going to the gym and sitting in the parking lot for an hour a day. The task itself is incidental. What’s important is movement in the direction of the task, setting up the pieces, showing up. The more resistance, the tinier the commitment.

I did this exercise the other day with a bunch of habits that I’d like to change. What I found in every case was that my resistance had nothing to do with the task itself. For instance, I’d like to build a daily yoga practice, despite having done no yoga in months. When I started breaking this down into smaller pieces, I found that one of the reasons I say no to yoga every morning is that I’m not comfortable with the room that I’m supposed to be doing it in. Another reason is that I don’t like feeling rushed in the morning, and forcing myself to do yoga when I’m running late is stressful.

So instead of resolving to do yoga every morning, I’m resolving to make a list of room renovations and to take steps toward improving my sleep. I’m excited about these resolutions–I really want to do them, I have all the tools and information that I need to be successful in my efforts, and I am not overwhelmed by the thought of completing them. That means they’re good.

It’s kind of a step down the rabbit hole, I guess. I started with yoga and ended up with chalkboard paint. But I know I’m headed in the right direction because the paralysis is gone.

Back to food.

Yesterday, my blogroll of goodness and genius gave me a present in the form of this TED talk by Dr. Terry Wahls. Faced with rapidly accelerating symptoms of multiple sclerosis, she used her medical knowledge to create a nutritional regimen to address her body’s needs. She went from being immobile to, well, walking around a stage giving a TED talk in less than a year. Wow.

Besides the inspiration, what I gleaned from her talk was a brilliant suggestion: Eat three cups of dark greens, three cups of sulphurous vegetables, and three cups of colourful produce every day. So simple. So smart.

As soon as I heard her say this, something clicked in my head. Instead of arguing with myself about the minutiae of dietary theory, I should just eat some vegetables. And once I’ve eaten nine cups of vegetables, if I happen to want a cookie (or three), that. is. okay.

It reminded me of something that I learned in school–before you tell someone to take something out of their diet, put something in first. This makes so much sense.

So that’s my resolution. Not for the new year, but for now. I’m committing to the three cups of greens and the three cups of sulphurous vegetables every day, with some wiggle room for the coloured stuff till I get the hang of it.

There’s nothing to argue about, no grand debate. Dear self, just shut up and eat your broccoli.

Stop–it’s puddle time!

September 27, 2011

Today I am feeling rather smug about my rain pants. Not smug in an exclusionary, I-have-rain-pants-and-you-don’t kind of way. More like smug in a generally congratulatory fashion. I have rain paints. You have rain pants. We have rain pants. Hooray.

My rain pants are blue, gigantic enough to contain all the things that could possibly go under them, and so far (bated breath), extremely water proof.

Seriously, I’m not sure how I managed to bike for three years in Rain City without rain pants. Was I trying to be mean to myself? Maybe I didn’t see myself as the kind of person who could think for the future, who could anticipate hypothetical rough seas and make provisions. Rain pants always seemed expensive, out of reach.

No longer, chickens. These legs are high and dry. If on your morning commute, you happen to zoom past a slightly sweaty girl with a strange grin on her face, now you know why she’s smiling.

October 30, 2010

It’s 1:03am, Saturday morning, two days before my twenty eighth birthday. I spent the day at home watching tv on the internet and eating chocolate chips. It hasn’t been a good year.

So I’m lying in bed, my heart tripping on a sugar high, thinking about what I need to do to change my life. There’s that nagging voice in my head, telling me that all I need to do to find happiness is to accept myself as I am. Then there’s that other voice saying bullshit–you need a big idea. You need to do something.

I used to be the kind of person who did things, I think. Or maybe I’m being nostalgic and rosy past tense. But anyway, this isn’t working. Something has to change. It’s hard to know where to start. Nothing is in order–not my body, not my mind, not my spirit, certainly not my apartment.

My apartment. Something tangible. A very obvious problem with a fairly obvious solution. Time to clean up some shit. That’s not really a metaphor (also, a gigantic black spider just crawled across my sight-line, so I’m not sleeping any time soon).

So here’s my big idea. It is within my power to change my living space, and this is how I should do it. Without being ridiculously minimalistic, I need to reduce the number of things in my possession (or at least, my sightline). If I have access to less stuff, I will make less mess. Less mess, more happiness. Or something.

I’m not a big fan of melodramatic gestures. Or rather, I love them, but they’re useless for producing real change. Then again, sometimes you just have to jump in.

Someone pass the garbage can.

Eat Drink Chew

October 28, 2010

I’ve just started a new blog for my fellow nutritionists-in-training to post recipes, how-to’s, and research. Everything will be tagged by nutrients and benefits, so it should make a pretty useful resource. All the recipes will be tested by experts! Of course, there’s not much there now, but soon it will be chock-full of deliciousness. Check it out here.


October 27, 2010

I did something. Several somethings. I feel better.

la dee da

October 24, 2010

So, I’m procrastinating. My means of procrastinating? Reading on the internets about ways to stop procrastinating. Yes, I am a genius. Hit me now.

As much as I am completely unwilling to do anything right now, the internets did have some useful things to say. Particularly this, from the genius pirate Havi–most of us are immune to our own superpowers most of the time.

That’s why I’m procrastinating. Because I’m studying holistic nutrition, ostensibly so that I can help other people be healthy, and yet my dinner consisted of cheese and a jar of marmalade. Yes, the whole thing.

This isn’t passive resistance. This is out-and-out assault. This is taking a class on mindful eating, then picking up fast food on the way home. This is instructing others on the home crafts with my nose in the air, while refusing to enter my kitchen cuz it’s got fruit flies and no clean dishes and I’m kind of worried it’s going to eat me. This is staying up till four in the morning watching bad tv. This is calling in sick because I can’t think of a reason to get out of bed. This is not good.

The thing is, I don’t want to help anybody else right now. Never really did. I just want to help myself. What I want to do is stop.

No more teachers, no more books, no more experts’ dirty looks.

Sorry, Mr. Expert-Pants.

The more I read, the more I learn, the more I hear a voice in my head urging strongly, You already know what to do. I just don’t want to do it.

I don’t want to face this stuff.

I know that I can face it. Or at least, I have before.

But I really, really, really don’t want to.

I am going to try to accept that. What I need in the interim are some better strategies for not doing things. Eating shit and watching crap tv and sitting on my bed till my hips hurt are bad strategies. Because if I’m going to be procrastinating, why not at least waste the time doing something I like?

I’m not sure if I like anything right now.

But when I think of something, I’ll do it.

September 23, 2010

What with all the projects I’ve got going, I’ve been feeling a little frantic for the last few days. I’ve got wine in my crockpot, eight jars of kombucha engulfing the counter, and red wine vinegar percolating in the cupboard. There’s a sourdough starter on the heater, and my garden is withering and bolting in equal parts. Never do anything halfway, right?

My classmate pointed out this morning that it’s the full moon–time to bring the crazy. When I asked her whether I should try to calm myself down or just go with it, she said, “Just be yourself.” Smart girl.

I consulted with myself. Conclusion–time to take a break from my to do list. After all, stress is bad for digestion.

So tonight was Potato Kale soup, red wine, a good long foot soak, and a manipedi. Yes, I still have case studies to do. There are papers all over my living room (and the bedroom, come to think of it). The garden needs watering. And yes, there are dishes in the sink. But my heart is finally beating at normal person speed.

And my nails look fabulous.

The Art of the Public Forage

September 22, 2010

There’s something about free food that I am coded to respond to. It must be in my genes–in my family, saying no to food was pretty much the ultimate heresy. So I guess my urge to pick things off trees and squirrel away seeds in my pockets isn’t much of a stretch.

I usually gather my treasures in alleys and back roads, places where no one is likely to come after me with a stick. But this time, I had something a little more ambitious in mind.

Along some stretches of recently developed public walkway, the city has planted large patches of wild roses. As I was biking by the other day, I took note of the hundreds of enormous rose hips beginning to ripen. If you aren’t aware, rose hips are the fruit of the rose, growing when the rose flower has shed its petals. Rose hips are ridiculously high in Vitamin C, and taste something like a cross between apples and guavas.

Now, I’ve seen rose hips before. But these–these looked more like cherry tomatoes than the dry withered things I had come to associate with this fruit. Alluring, juicy, shiiiiny….So this afternoon, on my way home from work, I determined to gather enough to make rose hip wine.

It was an interesting social experiment. I was half expecting someone to yell at me, but the closest I got to that was a mini lecture from a Japanese woman, telling me not to take too many. I smiled, nodded, and told her she was absolutely right. The goal of foraging is to take only what you need, and to leave the plant as if you were never there.

Everyone else who spoke to me wanted to know what I was picking, what the fruit tasted like, or (in the case of two older women) whether I was making jam or tea. Two twenty-something girls thought they might be tomatoes. Two European tourists wanted to know which ones to pick. One woman told me stories about her mother bribing friends to help pick dandelions for dandelion wine, and informed me that you can make wine out of anything, even tea. Perhaps because I was picking something unusual, I was quite the curiosity.

All in all, it was delightful. I’ll start the wine this evening, and possibly, if I have enough bounty, make jam as well.

Have you foraged in public? If not, would you ever try it?

My Rules for Public Foraging

1. Be polite. Don’t trespass or trample over gardens, and if someone asks you to leave, move along.

2. Be friendly. Smile at people who are watching you, and be ready to answer questions about what you’re doing. Also be ready to listen to the marvelous stories of those who have done it before.

3. Be conservative. Take only what you need, and never take all of what’s growing in one particular spot. Try to leave it as though you were never there.

4. Be smart. Check to make sure that the plants you are harvesting haven’t been sprayed with pesticides. Don’t harvest near the road.

5. Be adventurous. Take a walk with an open mind, and see what is out there for you to sample. If you’re not sure what something is, take a picture or a sample and look it up when you get home to make sure it’s safe.

101 Things. 1001 Days. Ready, go…

September 17, 2010

Months and months ago, I came across a list of 101 things that someone planned to do in the next 1001 days. I got really excited about the idea, made my own list, then promptly forgot all about it.

I came across the list yesterday when wading through the massive piles of paper engulfing my living room. Interestingly enough, I realized that I had, without realizing it, already completed nine or ten things on the list.

It seems that there’s about a six month lag time on many of my ideas. I’ll get really excited, buy all the necessary materials, and then nothing will happen. One day, I’ll wake up at 3 am, and for no reason at all, that will be the day when I do . Sometimes I get frustrated, because it feels like I never complete what I start. But that’s actually not true–it just takes me a while.

So I’ve decided to resurrect the project. Even if I don’t consciously concentrate on it every day, I have a feeling that I’ll make headway. I’m mildly fudging the start date, since some of these things are done. Oh well.

Deadline for completion: January 26, 2013.

101 Things

Make soap.
Make cheese.
Make kombucha.
Make sourdough bread.
Make tej.
Make dandelion wine.
Make something out of travel material.
Find a way to bind D’s correspondence.
Make something out of school material.
Make paper.
Make butter.
Make 72 new recipes. (-11)
Make mineral makeup. (book workshop)
Make a chapbook.
Make 6 logos. (-1)
Make pumpkin butter.
Make tofu.
Create a graphic design portfolio.
Build a website.
Make a recipe website for class.
Transition to homemade self care products.
Transition to homemade cleaning products. (laundry soap)
Make chapstick.
Make a tincture.
Make kimchi.
Make a worm composter.
Make sourdough croissants.

Repair bike (brakes, gears, tires).
Learn how to silkscreen.
Learn byzantine tones.
Learn obikhod tones.
Work through Illustrator book.
Work through Photoshop book.
Take a class in typography.
Take singing lessons.
Learn how to drive.
Work through food book.
Become a holistic nutritionist.
Become a yoga teacher.
Learn how to sharpen knives.
Try barefoot running.
Learn how to sew.

Get a drill.
Get a computer.
Obtain items on basics clothing checklist.
Buy a pair of Fluevogs. (in process)

Write 101 letters.
Write 101 poems.
Edit 6 manuscripts.
Read through the Bible.
Send 36 emails to family.
Write a book.
Read 36 books. (-1)
Write 100 blog posts.
Reconnect with an old friend.

Grow a garden.
Do 12 cleanses/fasts.
Create a budget.
Put all bills online.
Host 6 dinner parties.
Do 101 unprovoked acts of awesome.
Take a significant trip.
Celebrate 10 unbirthdays.
Have all shoes maintained.
Clean filing cabinets.
Do taxes.
Put a basket on my bike.
Be debt free.
Find a new job.
Finish a degree.
Volunteer 100 hours.
Teach 5 classes. (-1)
Ask for a raise.
Get great skin.

30 day trial—prayer
30 day trial—no waste
30 day trial—yoga
30 day trial—no shampoo
30 day trial—from scratch
30 day trial—raw
30 day trial—6 am
30 day trial—no plastic
30 day trial—binge free
30 day trial—sugar free
30 day trial—laugh/cry
30 day trial—supplements

Do 10 consecutive pushups
Do 100 consecutive situps.
Take a biking day trip.
Hold plank for two minutes.
Do a cartwheel.
Do a handstand.
Lose 80 lbs.
Do crow pose.

Wear six costumes.
Create a clown show.
Perform a clown show.
Lighten up 400 times.
Make and explore 10 masks.
Find clown makeup.