Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reboot Results

Well, I did it. A week of Rebooting. Day 6 was actually so fantastic, I considered staying on my cleanse. Day 7 I started with juicing and later in the day I ate lightly. Now, I'm juicing in the mornings for breakfast and eating lunch and dinner.

I have to say that I felt a tremendous difference in energy and clarity on the juice cleanse. I notice a tiredness when I eat now, even when I eat good food. Digestion takes a toll. I also noticed what my allergy medications do to me. The first four days I stayed off of them, but by Day 5, when I had to go back to school, the sneezing was building up, so I took a Zyrtec. I was so, so sleepy by the end of the day. The next day I skipped it, and felt wonderful. Oh well, it's only for a season.

I did lose just over 5 pounds and 2 inches over the week, not that that was my primary motivator, but it was a nice side effect. I did take note that I was taking in approximately the same number of calories, which makes me think that while calories count, there is also something marvelous about nutrients, and that a calorie is not just a calorie, in some way unexplained.

One of my main goals was to get as many green leafies in as possible, since I know that is an area of weakness in my diet. Love them as I do, I can only eat so many. I wanted the deep, chlorophyll green, so most of my juices were variations on that theme. Usually the drinks went something like this:

6-8 leaves of kale
2 monster handfuls of spinach
1 cucumber
3-4 stalks of celery
1/4 bunch of parsley
2-4 carrots
2 green apples

Sometimes I changed the green apples for red, or tossed in another. Sometimes I added lemon and ginger, but the ginger was getting to me by the middle of the cleanse. Sometimes I threw in grapes or strawberries, but mostly, I was concentrating on the vegetables. But there was another juice blend that I made a few times that I really, really loved. I would make it in the afternoons and it felt so refreshing to me. The recipe comes from Joe's Rebooting site. Now, I love it because I love grapefruit. If you don't, this won't be for you.

2 red grapefruits (peeled)
2 oranges (peeled)
2 red delicious apples
2 stalks celery
2 handfuls of spinach

Another one that I liked was an orange drink:

7 carrots
1 orange bell pepper
1 pear
2" piece of ginger
1 fennel bulb

I am astonished by the amount of nutrient-rich juice that fed my body last week. And though I'm eating again, and enjoying it, I do miss the clean feeling of juicing. I'll definitely keep the juicing as part of my day, and periodically go back for a short cleanse.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Reboot Day 6

I've decided that today will be my last full day of cleansing. Yesterday was a little hard. I had classes, and so it was the first day that my cleanse had to be portable (besides a trip to IKEA and the mall). I washed all my produce the night before and had it ready to go for juicing in the morning. I made extra, and carried a huge thermos with me to school, along with bagged veggies and fruits. I felt great all morning. After class, I had to drive with a few classmates to a printer's shop in downtown L.A. to order the invitations and programs for our graduation ceremony. By the time I got home, I was tired. Sleepy tired. And then I realized: I'd taken an allergy pill that morning.

Though I'd tried to forego allergy medications during my cleanse, Day 4 had me sneezing and blowing all day long. I didn't want to be a scene at school, so that morning I took a Zyrtec. Allergies were fine, but it really did make me sleepy, which I never really noticed before. I just figured I was always tired! But really, I'd rather be sleepy than going out of my mind with allergies, so it's a trade off that I'll take.

The other thing I noticed by evening was that I was getting impatient and irritable, and I was thinking of food. I was missing it. I decided that I must be hungry to have such strong thoughts, so I made some juice and ate a pear and a clementine. That settled things down in my mind. It reminded me to listen to my body and to feed it when it wants to be fed. The choice at that pivotal moment is what makes all the difference. What do I feed it? Because, boy, I sure wanted something other than produce. But the veggies and fruits did the trick.

It also occurred to me that this is a hormonal week for me. Next week I start my period, and I always struggle the most the week before with cravings, especially cravings for sugar. When I realized that, I felt really empowered to be cleansing right now and giving my body what it needs and not what it thinks it wants.

Last night, as I reviewed my feelings about Day 5, I decided that today would be the last day. It will be purposeful and intentional, and tomorrow I will gradually "Unboot". I'll have juice in the morning, and a few times in the day, but I will eat some whole grains and protein along with a large salad. The reason I felt good about this is because Friday I will be in the hospital all day, and I wanted my focus to be there. A juicing cleanse does take a fair amount of work. It's work to make sure you have enough produce in enough varieties (because good grief, does it go fast!). It's work to wash the produce and juice it, and clean the ding-dang juicer several times a day. It's work to take care of your family's meals and all that they entail, around your cleansing. It's work to make sure you are taking enough in that you'll be able to sustain your cleanse. Cleansing is not about starving yourself. In fact, I'm taking in roughly the same amount of calories as I usually do, just in a cleaner form. It takes a lot of mental energy to keep up with it. I feel really successful with what I was able to do for 6 whole days. And I loved this "Rebooting" kind of cleanse. It has been so much easier than other cleanses I've done, and much more nourishing and sensible.

So, Day 7 I'll be Unbooting! And working hard to continue to nourish my body and make better choices about my health, not just the health of my children. This past week was a gift.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reboot Day 4

I'm actually kind of proud of myself. Here I am on Day 4. Feeling terrific, and getting faster at cleaning the juicer (that's the part that's no fun about juicing).

Today is a studying day, as I have an exam tomorrow. But I'm feeling strong and alert and happy. I've almost depleted my supply of produce, which is astounding to me. I'll have to go pick up a bit more. I'm imagining embryonic cancer cells being reversed and obliterated throughout my body, not being able to thrive in the nutrient-rich blood nourishing them. Ha ha. Take that!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reboot Day 3

I'm in the Sweet Spot of cleansing.

Day 2 was so much easier. I really didn't struggle with any cravings, and I felt less sluggish and achy. In the afternoon, we had to make the trek back over to IKEA to pick up Aiden's desk, which was now in stock, and I thought it would be fun to take the boys to see the new Oz movie. I knew we would be gone for a long time, so I planned ahead.

First, I made a pitcher of juice and drank the whole thing. Then, I packed baggies of vegetables and some fruits, along with a water bottle, and stuffed my purse full. We got the desk, we headed over to the mall (where the movie was playing) and we had three hours to kill. We found a sale and got Aiden some shorts and t-shirts, since he's already outgrown the shorts I bought him at the beginning of the school year. Also, a new white shirt and tie for Easter. We walked around and looked at this and that, and then headed to the Food Court so the boys could eat.

Aiden chose two entrees from Panda Express, and Conor, a slice of cheese pizza. Two things I love to eat. But I didn't even feel tempted. Instead, I reminded myself that these things will always be available and I can have them another time. This may not seem like anything to you, but I have realized that I have a slight hoarding problem when it comes to food, and that is sometimes why I eat when I don't need to. I even hoard in my body!

Growing up in a large family with not much money, food was like gold. I was well aware of the struggle it was to put food on the table much of the time, and I appreciated the food my mom prepared. I think back and love her even more because I've experienced many of those struggles myself, trying to keep children's bellies full, but even then I savored the food. And when there was a treat? Forget about it. Picture a pack of lions on a gazelle carcass on the plains of Africa. You ate, or it was gone. I remember all of us kids bringing groceries in from the van and before the groceries were all unloaded from the car, let alone unbagged and put away, kids were tearing through those paper sacks looking for cereals to rip open and shove their arms in (and claim the prizes), or packages of sandwich cookies to open and begin consuming. I know my mother hid some of her most prized food, and sometimes I even snuck that.

Part of that is still in me. If there are cookies (that I made!) I have this thing inside of me that says, "Eat them or they will be gone!" Or ice cream, especially. There is no moderation. There is panic. And that's silly. Because I can bake more cookies, or buy more ice cream. I don't have to eat it all before anyone else does, and I don't have to eat it all gone. So, I practice saying to myself, "I could have that, but I choose not to." Or, "It will always be there. I can have it another time." Realizing these thought patterns (among others) that I have has helped me step back and become more aware of what and why I am eating.

So, I sat there in the food court and was very content to let my boys enjoy these treat foods. But the other thing I did was people watch. I was aware of how very disconnected we are as a society from the food we eat. Eating huge portions, completely unaware of the connection between what are eating and our bodies. It's a bit embarrassing, really. I mean, it may sound hypocritical, since I was there with my children and they were eating that food too, but for us it's a rarity. We sat there for almost an hour, eating, talking, watching. You can tell that with some families, it's normal life. I thought to myself, I wonder if that child has had a single vegetable today? Or this week? Do they even know what they're eating? But I didn't have these feelings as judgments. I didn't feel self-righteous, because you know, I love the taste of most of those foods too, though I couldn't eat them day in and day out. It was more of a step-back, even for myself. What are we doing to ourselves? And realizing that really the only change I can make is with myself, and my children, within my own home.

During the movie, I ate sugar snap peas, carrots, a red bell pepper, an apple, and a few strawberries. I felt good. I would like bread again, yes, but for now, I am enjoying the feeling of cleansing and strengthening.

I felt wonderful all day today, on Day 3. Church was lovely, singing with the Primary children filled me with joy, and I wasn't even as tired as I usually am on Sundays, which is odd, because I was up off and on until after 1am with Aiden while he built that desk. I was happy to wake up and prepare a St. Patrick's Day breakfast for my boys, and very content to drink my green juice.

And you know, since Thursday I have not taken any allergy medicine or ibuprofen. It's not high-allergy season yet, but I have been taking a Zyrtec each day. I thought I'd try the cleanse without it, and I'm doing just fine.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Reboot Day 2


It's 8:39am, and my herbal tea is steeping. I am so relieved to be on Day 2. I'm not gonna lie; the first day of any cleanse or fast is really tough. 

Yesterday began with so many good intentions and high hopes. Positive, self-affirming thoughts filled  me, and I drank my juices with feelings of gratitude for the micronutrients washing over my cells. Around 2pm, I was barraged with thoughts like these:


"Ben and Jerry's."

"Let's make eclairs."

"Let's run to the nearest Mexican restaurant." 

And then I would rein myself back in with thoughts of empowerment. Thoughts of admitting that the first day is the hardest and I've done this before. Reminding myself that it gets easier, and that I've already worked through half of the hard part, and how disappointing it would be to turn back now. Pay the price to feel the difference. Hang tight. 

The other struggle of the first day is how cloudy and scattered my mind becomes. I know the clarity will come, but initially, at least for me, I have a very hard time focusing on any one thing. My brain just can't settle down. I would sit and try to study, only to get restless and decide to go clean something, only to get distracted and start going through old papers, only to feel guilty about work that needs to be done in the garden, only to get hot and decide to come in drink water, only to. . .well, you get the picture. The meditation and inwardness of a cleanse is not really all that effective on Day 1. 

But hang in there.

Having gone through this before, I know to expect these feelings. Without that experience, I can completely understand why people throw in the towel early on. 

One of the tactics I came up with was to get out of the house to distract myself from the rest of the day. I had promised Aiden a desk for his room once Sean was no longer using the space in his bedroom. I thought, "Let's go to IKEA."

This was my major wrong decision of the day. (I chalk it up to the brain impairment of Day 1.)

Aiden wanted his friend to come along. Fine, fine, I like that kid. But I wanted to go around 3pm, and Aiden didn't get home until 5pm, which meant rush hour traffic (and a tractor trailer accident) on the 5 freeway, on a Friday evening. Then there's the parking situation at IKEA. I'll tell you what, that was designed by a man, for sure. 

By the time we got there, I had a migraine setting in and there were restaurants everywhere around us that smelled oh, so good! IKEA was a crowded maze, and Conor was over-exuberant, playing around with the two teen boys. I was such a grouch. We finally found our way to the desks, just in time for Conor to need to use the bathroom. But I did too (one of the frequent side-effects of juice cleansing). Winding our way back to the desk section we eventually decided on an inexpensive, but practical desk for Aiden and then began the journey to the warehouse (through the eternal Marketplace, where we just needed a simple desk lamp) only to find that the desk was out of stock. 

And we would need to come back tomorrow. 

Be still my soul. But, at least tomorrow won't be Day 1, I consoled myself. 

When we walked through the door at 8pm, I went right for my juicer. Lacinato kale, spinach, celery, a cucumber, a few carrots, a piece of ginger, half a lemon, and two green apples went in, and 30oz of gorgeous green juice came out. Dinner. 

Thankfully, the day was over. I'd done it. 

I slept deeply all night, and I didn't wake up from hunger, which was a nice surprise. In fact, this morning I feel happy and strong. I'm drinking my herbal tea and getting ready for my first juice of the day. So, here's to Day 2!

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm In: Reboot Day 1

Ever since I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, I've been wanting to do a Reboot of my own. Now, I don't have a hundred pounds to lose, or diabetes, or blood pressure problems and I'm not taking medications to control my cholesterol. But I also hope to never be faced with any of those challenges. I see people in the hospital suffering from preventable and sometimes reversible health problems that dramatically alter the quality of their lives. And I think, "Not for me." No thank you.

Over the years I've done many, many fasts and cleanses. The longest I've done was ten days, but it was a lemonade drink cleanse, and too restrictive. As part of my religion as a Mormon, we fast for 24 hours on the first Sunday of every month. It is a way to empower the spirit, but it is also a vital tool for cleansing, resting, and healing the body. But I wanted something a bit more intensive, and I like Joe Cross' Reboot. Now, in the documentary, Joe drinks nothing but fruit and vegetable juices for 60 days. He's trying to find resolution for a health problem that's been plaguing him for years. He does just that, and loses 86 pounds in those 60 days, or something like that. But he was also closely supervised by a doctor throughout his cleanse.

I'm not doing anything that crazy. But I am trying to "reboot" my health, my palate, my attitude towards myself as both a physical entity as well as a spiritual being. Something deeply internal like this requires some down time, some quiet time, and I wasn't sure when I would get that. Originally, I had planned for Spring break, but then I filled that up with some certification courses. Then, late last night, as I was putting things in order for my long day at the hospital for clinical, I got a text message from my professor who was very ill and had to cancel clinical for the day.

I knew it was time. I've been struggling with illness over the last week as well, plus allergies, and now I realized I had an unexpected day given to me. So, I decided today would be Day 1. On a Reboot, all you have to do is eat and drink nothing but fruit and vegetables, with veggies being 80% and fruit making up the other 20%. You start the day with a cup of hot herbal tea, and then juice your food, or eat salads, or follow any of the other recipes that they suggest on the website. I'm not going nuts about following recipes. I bought lots of produce, and that's what I will consume over the next 5-7 days, we'll see. Today, I'm juicing.

I'm also making time for meditation. I expect the first few days to be rough with tiredness, headaches, body aches, but I can rest. I started my day in the scriptures, and I'm making time for journaling. I hope to share some of my experience here, as well. This is one way that I am reclaiming me.

It feels good to have made the decision.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Whole Lot of Produce Goin' Down

I've always been slightly obsessed with getting fruits and veggies into our bodies. Going to nursing school has only heightened that obsession. Bodies need living food, and so, so many of the diseases and ailments we are plagued with (especially in this country) are a direct result of poor nutrition. I know people who swear by Paleo, or low-carb, or high-protein, or grain-free, or yada-yada-yada. I say, stop making things so complicated and eat more produce! Just start there. Get as many fruits and vegetables in your diet as possible. When you do that, it doesn't leave much room for fast food, processed, highly-refined, loaded with chemicals and preservatives, deep-fried, nutrient-barren food.

Aiden has become the new Juice Man, since Dylan isn't living here anymore. First, he washes all the fruit and vegetables.

Then he starts juicing away. I invested in a new juicer recently. It's the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus. This is the juicer used in Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, the documentary that I love so much. Our other juicer was getting very, very tired, and would get stuck too often.

There are a limitless number of juicing recipes you can use, or just throw in whatever you have and add an apple to sweeten things up. This morning we were using Joe's Mean Grean Juice.

The recipe for 2 servings (so we added a bit more of everything) is:

1 cucumber
4 celery stalks
2 apples
6-8 leaves of kale
1/2 lemon (peeled)
1 TBS. ginger (we just broke off about a 1 1/2" piece of ginger root)

Initially, Conor was not a fan of the lemon and ginger flavor. But here's how Conor works: Today in school they are collecting coins for the homeless and poor people. He told me yesterday about how he was going to take some pennies and some of his "silver coins" to give to the homeless. When he first tasted his juice, he said, "No, I'm not drinking that." I said, "If you drink it, I'll give you $1 to give to the homeless." And down the juice went. Love that kid's heart. (I'm sure he also knew he was drinking it anyway, cause that's how we work around here.)

After the green drink, we each ate a bowl of steel-cut oats with berries. Yum. What a great way to start the day!

I have several juicing recipe books, but I'd love to know what some of your favorites are. I will keep juicing for the kids in the morning, but I want to do some more juicing for me throughout the day, at least for a while. I am planning to do a "Reboot" for several days (only juice) very soon. I am wondering if it will help with some joint pain that I've been having, as well as my allergies that are becoming almost unbearable.

Working in the medical field, I see a common pattern: complaints of Pain/Sickness/Disease leads to pharmaceutical medication and lots of it. There's not enough emphasis on diet as the first and best place to start in healing the body. And prevention is definitely the best cure.

Eat green! (And red, and orange, and purple, and white, and yellow!)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spring Break Project: St. Patrick's Day Care Packages

Yesterday I spent the rainy morning making rainbows.

One thing I love to do is send my children care packages. I like to make things for the children that live at home, too (and I did), but there is something so exciting to me about thinking about their surprise when they get a package from Mom, all filled with goodies and love. I don't usually do much more than make a green breakfast for St. Patrick's Day, but this year, I'd seen so many cute ideas, and since I had this week off from school, I decided to spend some time crafting up some Irish love for my little chickens.

First, some little rainbows and treasures.

Then some gold coins for luck.

I loved this idea, the whole rainbow in a jar, complete with the cloud on top and the gold at the bottom. (I'm a sucker for anything in a jar.) Once I saw it on Pinterest, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I had to make them, which is what spawned my desire to make everything else and make a whole care package out of them. The two big ones are for Lyndsay and Dylan. But I made medium ones for my visiting teaching sisters and Conor's teacher, and then I made the small ones for Aiden and Conor.

Sorting out all those bags of Skittles was some job, let me tell ya.

And then this cute idea. Sugar cereals are a treat around here.

So, I packaged up the goodies (with a few pairs of St. Patrick's Day socks for Lyndsay) and sent boxes off to Lyndsay and Dylan. (Hope they don't see this. And please don't tell them and ruin the surprise!)

In each box, I included a letter about how lucky I am to be their mom. That was a really fun project. And in only a few more weeks, it's time for Easter!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring Break Project: Organize Bathroom Drawers

What a fascinating blog post, right? 

Maybe it's the transitional period in my life right now, being on my own again, or maybe it's the ritualistic Spring Cleaning bug, but I have had the Urge to Purge! I'm not a messy person, or even a pack rat, but over the years, stuff accumulates. This morning after taking the boys to school, I decided to dejunk my bathroom drawers. From my years in Mary Kay, I have a lot of cosmetics, and much of it had gotten old, or wasn't being used. In the spirit of simplification, I decided to just pare down. 

I emptied the drawers, washed them out thoroughly, and then sorted everything in them. What I decided to keep also got washed. 

The black case holds most of my makeup brushes. I have my Bare Minerals brush in the plastic cover there, and that sad little broken brush, that I just can't part with yet. Not until I get a new one, at least. It's my blush brush. Then I have my organizer, which has been washed and bleached, which holds the bulk of my makeup. 

I have these two compacts that hold other colors, which fit right on top, out of sight.

The second drawer holds hair accessories (which I don't use that often) and nail care items.

The bottom drawer was jammed with products that never got used. I kept only what I want to use. This is where I keep bath or spa type items. Lotions, bath salts, shower gels, etc.

As I dejunked, I filled two bags. This one with trash.

This one with things that I will offer to donate to the teen girls at Church. Body sprays, perfumes, nail polishes, things like that. Whatever they don't want, I'll toss. 

Even that little project did so much good for my spirits. I really want to continue to work my way through those hidden spots in my home and declutter. It feels so good to eliminate what I don't need or use.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Be Nice to Your Rice: The Rice Experiment

after 1 week

Have you ever heard of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his water crystals experiment?  This was a series of experiments in which water was exposed to different stimuli and then frozen and the crystals photographed through a microscope. The water was exposed to prayer, words, music, and pictures, and the crystals were varied by stimulus and each one was unique.  I've longed been intrigued by what the results suggest. The Rice Experiment is another of Dr. Emoto's experiments, attempting to demonstrate that the power of thoughts and intentions can alter physical reality. 

We did the Rice Experiment for a Family Home Evening project. We placed cooked rice into two clean jars and labeled one "Love" and the other "Hate." Each day we were each supposed to talk to the rice. To the "Love" rice we said affirming, positive, loving words, like "You're so wonderful. Thank you so much. I love you. You are worthy and good." To the "Hate" rice we said mean things like, "You are stupid, rotten, and worthless. You are a fool. You are no good. I hate you." And we waited.

On Day 3 mold began to appear in the "Hate" rice.

After a week, we compared them for our follow-up lesson:

There was significant molding in the "Hate" rice, while the "Love" rice remained almost as fresh looking as Day 1. 

I thought it was interesting that one of the mold shapes in the "Hate" rice was shaped like a heart, as if it was crying out for love. (I realize this was purely coincidental, don't worry.)

After the week, we sort of fell off the wagon with our consistency, but the rice continued to sit on the counter. I would talk to it when I remembered. After almost 2 weeks, you can see that there is a bit of mold beginning to grow in the "Love" rice, but there is a dramatic difference between the two jars, with the "Hate" rice being much more rotten.

I believe in the power of words and thoughts. I have felt their positive and negative effects in my life. According to Dr. Emoto, it is the water in the rice that is responding to the energy of our words and intentions. Well, what are we? Pretty much water. (Same theory applies to plants, which are mostly water. Talk and sing to your plants!) 

I know how positive, encouraging words from others seep into my soul and make me feel full of light, while hateful, condemning words blacken my mind and mood. I can remember several times after a marital fight, trying to just go out for a run and not being able to run nearly as long as I knew I could. Feeling just absolutely defeated and broken. I also know that my thoughts have a tremendous impact on my performance and belief about myself. Positive thoughts are truly empowering. 

Rudyard Kipling said, "I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity." That makes me think of this experiment and the power of my words on my children (and others in my life.) I am far from perfect when choosing my words with my children, and I am trying to choose my words and my tone more carefully. I want to fortify them against the rotting effects of the world.

So, we love the Rice Experiment! Give it a try!