Yuck!

From the desk of: Erin

 

Regarding that 30-day “ab challenge“?

1. I’m six days in and I am learning I really dislike sit-ups. Bring on more planks, please.

2. I seriously doubt my abs will look all sweaty and rock hard like the photo on the website. They should use photos of people who started the challenge from scratch. Talk about unrealistic expectations.

That is all.

JUNE: Take Time Off!

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Welcome to June, dear readers!  I hope this glorious Spring is treating you well: filling your hearts, lifting your spirits and warming your cockles.  Here in the American South we’ve been having a beautifully drawn-out sweet and temperate Springtime.  What good fortune we are having!

 

The month of May found me cultivating my meditation practice, as you may recall.  This resolution – while perennially difficult for me – has proven to be much more attainable than expected.  I have managed to sit for my practice most days this month.  And I’ve not really felt guilty about the days I didn’t sit, but I did, strangely, miss the experience on those days.  I have discovered that evening meditations work best for me right now.  In the past, I always tried to practice meditation in the mornings after waking, and with mixed results.  However, meditating just before bed is proving a welcomed addition to my nighttime routine.  It allows me to soften my mind and body in preparation for sleep.

 

In an effort to keep myself from getting too “thinky” about the practice, I have only been asking myself to sit down and count out 50 breaths.  I have a pretty slow breathing pace, so this allows me a decent amount of time ‘on the cushion’ for my practice.  I do hope to eventually add more breaths/time, but for now, this seems to be sufficient for me to feel benefits and to still feel like I can sustain the practice without too much effort.

 

I have noticed that I am drifting into sleep much more easily and comfortably.  (However, my sleep, once I’m in it, is still fraught with physical discomfort and crazy dreaming.  Will have to figure out how to address that at some point, but that will have to be left for another blog entry.)  I have also been experiencing some pretty auspicious emotional shifts happening.  I don’t attribute these solely to the meditation practice, but I think the practice is definitely playing an important role.  I will talk more on that later.  I’m also feeling like I have a much calmer internal sea; much more equanimity.  There may be some emotional debris bubbling to my surface, but deep underneath all that is a new stillness and serenity.  It sounds a little hokey when I type it out here, but I don’t know any other way to describe it.  I believe those moments I’m spending in mediation are directly contributing to the well of contentment, and that is motivation enough to keep up the practice.

 

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June’s resolution is one that I feel would be well applied to the lives of most modern Americans:  Give myself days off of work and don’t work on those days.  Sounds simple enough, sure.  But, in practice, this can be a nearly impossible feat for many of us.  In fact, the timing couldn’t be better on this resolution.  Just last month I made the decision to add an extra day of work to my schedule.  I was already scheduled to what I believed to be my maximum number of client hours in a week, but I was feeling concerned about money (thank you, IRS), so thought I’d try working a little more.  Surely I’d be able to do that – work one more day a week … just for a few hours … no problem!  Well, as it turns out, it is a problem.  So, a few days ago, I changed my schedule back to the old one.  The moment I did that I felt a weight lift from my heart and from my shoulder girdle.  Whew!  Just adding that one day a week to work had increased my stress levels, dramatically decreased the quality of my sleep, affected my ability to make the best food choices for myself, roused an old muscular injury (which is still not ironed out), and made me feel so exhausted and overwhelmed that I found myself just wanting to crawl into a hole to get away from it all.  No good!  And … No more!  I’m back on a schedule that my body, mind and spirit can handle.  And, in the spirit of June’s resolution, I am not going to plan too much drudgery on the days when I’m not at my job.  Instead, I’m going to do things that make me feel good.  Brilliant plan!  I encourage you to try it, too!  I’d love to hear how it goes for you.

 

Well, that’s it for now, superstars!  Today’s a day off for me, so I’m going to wrap this up and go enjoy the rest of this beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I hope you do, too!

 

xoxo,

melanie

Vacuums

From the desk of: Erin

It turns out that my brain must need a specific quantity of goop to mull over. Now that my super huge work project is done and I have have outsourced a percentage of my childcare, I have a continuous stream of thoughts about experiments and projects that immediately filled the void and took residence in my brain.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to writing about or exploring the rest of the year:

1. Essential oils- beneficial or bogus?
2. 30-day “ab challenge” – Will I keep up with it? Will I see results? Are 30-day challenges really a good idea?
3. How possible would it be to truly cut out processed foods? Explorations in cheese, bread, and pasta making…
4. I started working on my 7 “art” projects requested by others. This is also turning out to be a way of reading/ re-reading classic books.
5. Poetry – reading various genres/ authors, responding, contemplating…
6. Anything else that excites me along the way.

What new or old projects are you excited about? If you ever feel like sharing, join us in writing or just comment below!

Hello Again and the The Great Illness Battle

by Erin

Hi. It’s been a while. The baby is finally in day care and after a year of complaining that I haven’t had any time to do work, here I am not doing work. But considering my last post was in January, I think that’s okay.

It is the end of May. It is feeling like summer around here after a pretty extended winter chill, BigKid had his last day of preschool, and Babe turned one-year old. What do all these things have to do with each other? Illness (or the lack of) has been on my mind. Back in January, I mentioned that I was on a rampage against viruses. I am happy to report that we survived the winter and school year with Babe and BigKid remaining infection-free. Husband also managed to escape illness. I, however, was not so lucky in the wellness department. Given the way I was treating myself  while (unsuccessfully) balancing full-time baby care, part-time preschooler care, and part-time small business owner, it is not surprising.

We are no strangers to viruses in this house. BigKid and Husband both constantly suffer from sinus/allergy issues. When BigKid was a baby there was a period of three months when he was on antibiotics before eventually getting tubes in his ears – we did not want to repeat this with Babe. So, my whole goal this year was to prevent illness instead of just treat symptoms. This list is a little prevention/ a little treatment. While I can’t say exactly which of the list below worked (very unscientific, I know), I know that (a combination of) SOMETHING worked.

1. SLEEP – This one was my big failure in regard to my health, but I have always been protective about my kids’ sleep. Here are recommendations about children and sleeping via the National Sleep Foundation.

2. ELDERBERRY SYRUP – Next to sleep, I think the addition of this into our daily routine had the greatest effect. BigKid took it every day. We gave him extra doses when we started to hear sniffling. We took it when we felt run down or felt like something was coming on. It is best known as an immunity booster.

3. MIRACLE THROAT CONCOCTION – This one was for the adults of the family. The moment we got a tickle in our throat, I whipped up a batch of this. It was nasty, nasty, nasty, but it burned so good. Every single time we put it to use it seemed to work. At most, I think one of us used up to four doses – two days of one spoonful in the morning and one at night. (Side note: for kiddos, raw honey plus any ingredient in this concoction that they will tolerate can help with sore throats.)

4. RUNNY NOSE ROUTINE – We are learning that Babe has a hellish time with teething. He suffers from all of the symptoms websites list for teething. So, there was a lot of snot coming out of his nose this winter. Snot has the potential to lead to congestion, then infection. Snot was not allowed in my house. My plan of attack included raising his mattress on an incline and giving him Hyland’s cold tablets. The mattress would usually stay inclined for about two weeks. Then it would go down for three days. Then it would have to go back up. This lasted for about three months. The cold tablets were usually used for half a day before the faucet-like dripping would stop. Given that this is homeopathic remedy, it may not work the same for all kids. (Their teething tablets, for instance, do not work on my kids).

5. HUMIDIFIERS – This is pretty standard in our house all winter long. Every bedroom has one. They are especially good for preventing sore throats and runny noses. They are work intensive because of all the cleaning, but they are well worth it.

6. LAVENDER- So, I do have to admit, BigKid wasn’t entirely infection-free. On his LAST DAY of school, he came down with strep throat…something that had been going around his class for two weeks. He didn’t eat anything, he had a fever of 102, and his throat hurt. He was miserable and I didn’t help much because I didn’t treat the fever until late in the day. I wanted to make sure a) the fever was doing its job burning out the infection, and b) he had fever at the doctor’s office so there was no doubt he was sick. About an hour before leaving for the doctor, I rubbed lavender oil on his feet.

I have been doing a lot of reading about essential oils lately, and I finally decided to take the plunge and experiment. The day the oils arrived in the mail was the day BigKid was sick. So I quickly looked up fever treatment and went to rubbing. Whether it was the oil or the nap he took, about three hours later (prior to taking the first dose of antibiotic), the fever was gone, BigKid was eating, and happily playing (vs. sitting like a giant, hot, miserable lump on the couch).

 

Overall, I feel pretty good about our health so far. Not counting myself, we have only had one non-checkup visit to the doctor. Hopefully, with both kids in daycare now, I can finish the year strong as I build my immunity back up.

What about you? How do you prevent illness? What is your go-to “nip it in the bid” treatment?

MAY: Meditate!

Well, I declare! It’s already MAY! This year, like so many of its predecessors, is passing by much more quickly than it seems it should be. I’m managing to keep up … barely. I hope you’re faring well in the maelstrom, too.

So, April’s resolution was to do something creative every week. I was to make artist dates with myself ala The Artist’s Way, and have some kind of finished project to show for my efforts at the end of this (and every subsequent) month. How’d I do? Well … I did okay.

I am sad to report that I did not do so well at making my artist dates. I am happy to report, however, that I did do some creating this month, and I do have a finished product to show for my efforts. Unfortunately, I am unable to show that project here in this blog entry. I made a present for my mom, and I don’t want her to see it before she opens it on Mothers’ Day. I feel pleased with the end product, though, and I hope she will, too.

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Aside from my mum’s present, I have also been creating a new website for my [professional] self. I’m almost done with the preliminary version. I am only awaiting photos to make it live. That will, hopefully, be May’s project: my photo shoot. I’m in the process of setting it up with my friend who happens to be a brilliant photographer. (I actually have several friends who are brilliant photographers. How lucky am I?) So, I will be getting creative putting together a number of general poses, scenarios, ‘looks’ and such and then my friend will work her magic and … voila! … I will have photos for my new site. Hooray!

 

May’s resolution is to cultivate a meditation practice. I was already working with this one earlier in the year, but my motivation petered out as the year got busier. This really is the perfect goal for me to be working with right now. And, of course, since it’s something I am in desperate need of in my life, I am already feeling absolutely resistant to it. Argh! Why do we so often resist the things that are most beneficial for us? (I know I’m not the only one who does that!) I’m going to give it my best effort and hopefully I will be able to make some good progress. It’s all about getting on the mat (or the zafu, or the floor, …), the rest is easy. I can do this!

If any of you want to join me for a month of meditation, you are most welcome! You can make a public declaration in the comments section below, or make a private commitment to yourself. Either way, I’ll be sending you support, and hope you’ll do the same for me.

 

How are your resolutions progressing? How are they changing? How are YOU changing because of them? I’d love to hear your stories! Share your progress below, if you’re so inclined.

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(Some bonus photos for you.)

 

I’m sending you all love and light and solidarity!

Namaste,

melanie

APRIL: Cultivate Creativity!

April is here, and with it a new resolution to add to the mix. This month’s resolution is all about cultivating creativity. Seems appropriate, too, as Spring – the season of creativity and rebirth – is getting into full swing. But before we explore this month’s theme, let’s take a moment to recap the previous resolutions’ progress.

 

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January was about getting organized. Much progress was made as I was moving into my new loft apartment during that month. (Read this post for more details.) And I’m still making progress in the organization arena. In fact, I finally got the rest of my office/craft room furniture last weekend. I’m currently working with getting that space organized and made efficient in preparation for this month’s resolution. These monthly resolutions are like gifts that keep giving. And each one benefits the others. It’s a beautiful synergy that’s happening here. Yeah!

 

February was about experimenting with healing my body through diet/nutrition. This has proven to be an amazing and ongoing adventure that is changing my life and my health in ways I never imagined. I worked a fairly restrictive elimination diet for two months. You can read about that experience here, here, here and here. This month I’m making even more changes to my diet with a new experiment in nutrition. You can read about it soon on my personal blog: Experiments In Bliss.

 

March’s resolution was to get my body moving. I had already been working with regular physical exercise, and am continuing to do so on an almost daily schedule. I’m doing strength/toning work an average of five days a week. I don’t have a car, so I walk almost daily, and my pace is a fairly brisk one. I’m trying to keep up some cardio work, too, though since my rebounder died a couple weeks ago, my cardio routine has been on a brief hiatus. (I did just get a temporary rebounder this weekend that I am hoping will last me until I can afford the very fancy (read: expensive) one that I am coveting.) I am cultivating my home yoga practice as well, and teaching two classes a week to boot. So, I feel like I’m working this resolution pretty well. I do hope to build on it even more as the weather warms up and I can get outside in the sunshine more. You’re absolutely invited to join me!

 

During this month I have become increasingly aware of how one can learn a lot about a person by the way they approach their fitness program. I have noticed that despite the increased physical difficulty of my Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis workouts, I continue to work diligently on the mat to perfect my form. In the past I would often speed up my movements using momentum to get the thing finished and to be able to say I did my workout. Of course, that negated at least some of the benefits of working out in the first place. I have noticed that I no longer do that. When I work out now, I actually try to slow myself down and work my body with the very best form possible for each movement in the series. I don’t beat myself up if I need to take breaks, but before I break I ask my body for five more repetitions. Sometimes that is all I need to continue through the discomfort. If not, then I take a break without guilt or shame knowing that I am doing the very best I can do. As a result my body is becoming steadily stronger with more endurance. This is being reflected in other areas of my life, as well. When I feel challenged by my work or by life, in general, I feel more capable of gracefully and agilely mastering those challenges. And that is a great feeling. Thank you, exercise!

 

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So that brings us up to date. April, as I mentioned, is about cultivating creativity. And I have been celebrating the ultimate creative endeavour all weekend: my birthday! This was a nice, big, round birthday. A birthday that carried me through the gates of a new decade of living. I am 40 now. That’s right … 4-0. As a child I had very definite ideas of what forty was, and the gist was that it was old. But, I’d like to send a message to my younger self:

 

Forty is not old. Forty is freakin’ awesome! I feel better than I ever have. I am comfortable in my skin and in control of my life … well, as much as I care to be. I have long been aware of the fact that I am a late bloomer, and I am embracing that fact wholeheartedly this birthday. I’m only just getting started. My mojo is just starting to rev. And I’m not going to let a number slow me down. Got it? Good.

 

Ahem .. so we were talking about creativity. This month’s resolution is to do something creative every week. Make actual artist dates a la The Artist’s Way. Have some kind of finished project to show for my efforts at least once a month. This couldn’t have happened at a better time. I’ve been feeling very removed from my creative spark, but also very nostalgic for it. This is one of those times of year when I start feeling the rush of the Busyness of Everyday beginning to snowball into an avalanche of Too Much To Do that bears down on me in a most uncomfortable way. So, it will be a good challenge to make some time for a little creative play amid all the work of living. I’ll be posting my finished projects either here or on Experiments In Bliss, so stay tuned for updates. However, if any of you have any suggestions for creative experiments, I’m absolutely open to hearing them.

 

How do you express your creativity? How do you carve creative playtime out of your busy schedules? How are you doing with your own resolutions? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line in the comments below to share your experiences.

 

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I hope you’re all having a beautiful Spring full of showers and flowers.

 

xoxo,

melanie

March: Get Moving!

So, February is out and we’re making way for the madness of March.  It’s time for an update on my resolution progress.  (By the way, I actually wrote most of this at the end of February, but didn’t get to finish it until now.  Oh well, such is life.)

This month’s resolution was to go on an elimination diet for the whole month.  And did I?  Well, I actually started on the second of February, but, yes, I’ve maintained the diet since I began it. 

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Fair Warning:  Talk about “lady things” and bodily functions is about to commence.  Gird your eyes if you’re the dainty type.

I allowed myself to start on the second because I started my period on the first.  I have, as long as I can remember, had a history of pretty horrific menstrual symptoms.  I nearly always get extremely moody and achy the week before I begin bleeding.  Then the first day or two I am often accosted by some gnarly cramps.  The cramping has gotten worse over the past few years leaving me doubled over with pain on more occasions that I’d like to recall.  The cramping is usually accompanied by nausea, headaches and achy, achy joints.  It is not a pleasant situation.  And it is the only time I am ever driven to take OTC pain relieving medication.  (Yuck.)  So, on that first night of February, when I was due to set out on my new food journey, and I was feeling like the worst kind of crap, I decided to take the night to wallow in my long-practiced food follies.  It was a last chance to highlight all the ways I use food badly – treating myself for feeling badly by eating comfort foods, stuffing sour feelings with sweet treats, eating mindlessly in front of the telly after work – as well as a chance to say goodbye to some of my most beloved food friends:  pepperoni pizza (at least it was gluten free and organic), gelato (there were bananas in it!), and sweet potato chips (vegetable chips, that’s healthy, right?).  It was delicious.  And I felt HORRIBLY afterwards.  Turns out it was an excellent motivational boost to starting the elimination diet. 

My experiences since beginning the diet have been, well, varied.  The first few weeks really sucked.  Let’s [appropriately] lose the subterfuge of the sugar coating, shall we?  It’s been hard navigating this new way of eating.  It’s been a challenge to come up with new recipes that are easy, delicious and portable – a must for me as I work long shifts and can’t just pop home to make my lunch or dinner.  I have finally managed to amass a few standbys and staples that I know I like and can whip up on a moment’s notice should the need arise.  I am slowly training myself to stock my pantry, fridge and freezer with the basics to make these dishes on the fly.  Although, truthfully, part of eating so close to the Natural Way means focusing more on a slower, more mindful relationship with food, and moving away from that sense of immediacy and convenience that seems to reign supreme in these unhealthy modern times.  But, realistically speaking, as I’m still adapting, convenience is a big help for me right now. 

From a physical perspective, I have been experiencing a whole host of healing symptoms.  As I’m rounding up week five, I am able to notice some patterns emerging.  (Bodies are so fascinating!)  Of course, when in the throes of symptomatic detoxification and cleansing, I was completely blind to any sort of organization in what was happening.  I have experienced the following symptoms, in varying degrees of intensity, during the month of February:

Skin breakouts/blemishes

General itchy skin rashes – usually on my wrists and ankles

Category 3 rosacea flare up (a first for me)

General skin inflammation (mild) 

Flatulence

Bloating

Mild diarrhea

Mild constipation

Stool of differing colors

Flaky skin and scalp

Insomnia

Fatigue

Achy joints

Hay fever type symptoms

Headaches

Mild nausea

Mood swings

Fuzzy brain / inability to focus

An excessive earwax situation

At present, most of the symptoms, though not gone, are greatly diminished.  When I started my period recently, there was only very mild cramping.  I didn’t even need any pain relievers.  Hooray!  My menstrual cycle has also regulated itself back to my natural rhythm of bleeding with the new moon. 

I’ve noticed a kind of clarity emerging in my mental, emotional and spiritual states, as well.  I’m not quite sure how to describe this accurately other than saying it’s like a veil is being lifted from my brain and from my heart.  It’s happening slowly and non-dramatically, which is, to my mind, how it should be. 

 

I drew a rune about halfway through the month.  It was the Elder Futhark (or Viking) rune of Laguz.  Here is the description of that rune from The Book of Runes by Ralph Blum:    

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Laguz

Unseen powers are active here, creative and fertile powers of Nature.  The attributes of this Rune are water, fluidity, the ebb and flow of tides and emotions, of careers and relationships.  Laguz fulfills our need to immerse ourselves in the experience of living without having to evaluate  or understand.  It speaks to the desire for comfort and the satisfaction of emotional needs, to the lunar side or our nature.  For while the sun strives for differentiation, the moon draws us toward unity and merging.

 

This Rune often signals a time for cleansing:  for revaluing, reorganizing, realigning.  A Rune of deep knowing, Laguz may call you to study spiritual matters in readiness for self-transformation.  Success now lies in contacting your intuitive knowing, in attuning to your own rhythms.  A Rune of the self relating rightly to the Self, Laguz signifies what alchemists called the conjunctio, or sacred marriage.  In fairy tales, it is the end where the hero and heroin live happily ever after. 

 

Seems appropriate.  I do feel like I am opening myself more to the great wide world, seeking union where, in the past, I’ve often sought solitude.  And all that ‘revaluing, reorganizing, realigning’ I started in January is still gathering momentum as the pace of the year begins to quicken … as it always, and inexplicably, does. 

So, the point of this post is to provide an update on my progress.  And I feel I’m making good progress.  In fact, I feel there is still much more progress to be made where this diet is concerned.  I feel like I’ve only just begun to really heal my gut.  And I’m actually, strangely, enjoying this experiment so much that I am choosing to continue the elimination diet through March.  I’ll keep you posted on how things continue to unfold. 

Now that February’s been summed up, let’s move on to March.  March’s resolution is: Get moving!  Exercise Regularly and Joyously.

 

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Get moving!

Well, I’m pleased to report that I’ve already been working on that one.  I’m still doing my Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis mat workouts with my friend.  Now, full disclosure, I have let myself cancel on a couple occasions, but those were few, and I’m recommitting to a more ‘no excuses’ regimen this month.  I’ve also started to do cardio again.  I had let that drop off during and after the move, and just kind of kept it on the back burner until a couple weeks ago.  Now I’m doing rebounder cardio following my Tracy Anderson workouts and it’s going beautifully. 

The floors in my new place are concrete, so they are not very joint friendly for doing dance aerobics like I was doing previously.  So, I decided to break out the rebounder to solve that problem.  The rebounder (mini trampoline) is a great way to get in cardio work without jarring your joints, and – BONUS – it’s great for getting your lymph system moving.  This is extra important during any kind of detoxification program, as the lymph system is the body’s way of eliminating wastes on the cellular level.  The shifts in gravity experienced on a rebounder help the lymph from getting stagnant and pooling in certain areas as can easily happen in our modern arse-sitting lifestyles.  I hope to eventually replace the rebounder I scored from Freecycle with a nice Bellicon one.  For those of you who are interested in rebounding, Bellicon is one of the best brands available.  They use bungee bands rather than metal springs, so they don’t have that creaky squeaky sound effect thing happening when you’re using them.  This is a bonus for those of us who live in dwellings with paper-thin walls.

I’m also hoping to start actually taking some yoga classes in addition to the ones I’m teaching.  Scheduling isn’t always on my side in that regard, so we’ll see how that works. 

Then there’s the fact that I’m still a staunch pedestrian who walks everywhere.  It’s built-in physical fitness.  Walking to work is about a thirty minute brisk walk, then another for the return trip.  Brilliant!  Reason no. 43 why I love not having a car!

I’m liking my prospects with this month’s resolution, really. 

How are your resolutions and goals for the year progressing?  Are they still working for you?  Are you still working for them?  Any changes?  Insights?  Additions/subtractions?  Leave a comment if you’d like to share your own experiences with resolutions, nutrition, health or fitness, or anything, really. 

Big love to all of you!

xoxo,

Melanie

Energy through Food

OR How I Learned to Start Hydrating and Love Water

by Erin

(Note: I started working on this post and found it was getting very long. To avoid reading fatigue, this will come to you in two posts. First, my personal results. Second, a little research behind the strategies. Stay tuned.)

So, I have been working on my five “get energized” strategies for less than a week and I have already felt a HUGE difference. I’m still tired; my eyes usually have that fuzzy, heavy feeling behind them. That probably won’t go away entirely until these work projects are done…but, my body! My body feels better. Less heavy. And you know that feeling when your brain just kind of buzzes and you know you should be concentrating and doing work, but you just. Can’t? That’s gone, too. Here are some other observations:

Strategy: Eat protein and/or whole grains within thirty minutes of wake up

For me, it wasn’t so much changing the types of food I eat for breakfast, or adding breakfast to my routine. I was in pretty good shape there. My biggest problem was not delaying breakfast, which is easy to do with two young kids around. Before, I would nibble here and there as I fed the both kids and got Big Guy ready for preschool. I probably wouldn’t get a full breakfast in until about three hours after wake-up and well after some energy stores had been used.

I have found that I still don’t quite eat a meal within that thirty minute time frame, but definitely within the first hour. I can’t say that I notice much physical difference with this change, but my mood is better. Some protein + whole grain examples: a hard boiled egg on a whole wheat English muffin and cream cheese, sprouted wheat toast and sunflower seed butter, oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas.

Strategy: Fill up my water bottle and drink it throughout the day

My relationship with water before was casual. A little here, a little there. I didn’t really pay attention to intake. But, oh, the magic of water. This is what I attribute most of my good feelings to. General wisdom says to drink about eight cups a day. Nursing moms should drink about thirteen. While I am not checking off each and every cup I consume, I am pretty sure I am getting close to thirteen by consciously drinking water at breakfast and dinner, finishing my water bottle, and having my daily tea. While I have made a few other changes to my routine these past few days, I am pretty sure hydration is the reason I feel light and focused. An added benefit is that those circles under my eyes seem diminished and I know it’s not due to extra sleep. There is one downside, though:

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Courtesy of xkcd.com

Strategy: Take my multivitamins at lunch instead of breakfast

I am probably taking vitamins (multi, fish oil, and turmeric) more regularly now, but I can’t say I notice any difference with this one.

Strategy: Make an effort to have a protein + fiber snack during that afternoon drag from about 2-4 p.m.

I think I pretty much did this before, but now I am making an effort to focus on the type of food. Some easy choices are apple/banana + peanut butter, yogurt + granola, or a fruit + nut trail mix. While I don’t think this was much of a change for me, I can say that I am pretty sure I am in a better mood near the dinner hour if I have had a snack. I don’t know if it really boosts my energy… I still prefer to take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon.

Strategy: Drink a glass of milk before bed

The theory behind this one is to give your body a little nourishment before the night time fast, which should improve your sleep. Unfortunately, I think I lose the benefit by working late on the computer and sometimes waking up to feed the babe. Still, it’s a good habit to form. Hopefully I can reap the rewards in the near future.

Do you have any success with any of these? What other ways do you use food to increase energy?

February: Elimination Diet

February’s Resolution has me treating myself to an elimination diet during the entire month.  An elimination diet is one in which common allergy-triggering foods are eliminated from the diet for a set period of time – in my case, a month – and then slowly added back into the diet, one at a time, to monitor any reactions or symptoms that might follow the reintroduction.  Exciting stuff, yeah?  So, the good thing is that most of the foods that are common allergy triggers are things I already don’t eat much of or at all.  The less good thing is that I am really going to miss honey, dairy, and nightshades, and I am going to have to be vigilant in preparing my food ahead of time so that I always have something within arm’s reach available should hunger strike or should my schedule get hectic.  (Which, of course, it will.)

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These are the foods I’ll be eliminating this month:

Sugars – all except for fruit

Alcohol

Coffee/caffeine

Dairy

Grains

Legumes

Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant)

Potatoes (white)

Garlic/onions

Soy

So, what will I be eating?  Well, I’ll be eating fruits, vegetables, nuts (except peanuts), most natural fats, eggs and meat.  Plenty of things I love on that list.  I will, of course, need to stick with my organization momentum from January to research some good recipes, and to make them in advance, so I can have meals and snacks at hand during the busier bits of the month.

Aside from wanting to be as healthy as I can be, this diet is an opportunity for me to learn more about my body and how different foods and ways of eating affect my body physically, mentally and emotionally.  My friend, Katy, even turned me on to an app that is helping me track how I’m affected by my lifestyle choices.  It’s called mySymtpoms food and symptom tracker.  I’m still acclimating myself to using it, but so far, I’m really happy with it.

This resolution is also going to be a wonderful experiment in will power.  Will power has never been my forte.  In fact, when it comes to food, at least, I’m a bit of a hedonist.  I can talk myself into justifying eating something better than any spin doctor in Washington, DC can talk the public into forgiving a crooked politician’s transgressions.  It’s time for that kind of nonsense to stop.  You hear that little devil on my shoulder?  You’re going down, mister!

I digress …

So, I’m doing this!  I invite you to join me if you feel the desire to do so.  If not, I ask you to send your support from wherever you are to help bolster my resolve, especially during those low moments when all I want is a pint of ice cream and a glass of bourbon.  Have you ever done an elimination diet?  What were your experiences? Leave a comment … inquiring minds want to know.

Happy February, dearies!

xoxo,

Melanie

More Energy: Part 1

by Erin

I’m tired.

There are many reasons why this is the case but the two biggest are 1) I have a 9 month old who is just now (more often than not) sleeping (almost) all the way through the night, and 2) in an attempt to grow my business, I have been blessed with more work than I should really be taking on right now, with only about nine good daytime hours in a typical work week to actually work. That means some late nights. So there is some context (whining) for you.

What to do about it?

Get more sleep. But that is just not possible right now.

After some extensive research (about 20 minutes of internet searching), I have compiled a list of strategies that may help boost my energy and don’t include increasing caffeine intake. Rather than take on all items from my list at the same time, which is sure to fail, I will be gradually adding them into my daily routine. First up: food. (Those who know me would not find this surprising.)

So over the next few weeks, I plan to:

1. Eat protein or whole grains within thirty minutes of wake up

2. Fill up my water bottle and drink it throughout the day

3. Take my multivitamins at lunch instead of breakfast

4. Make an effort to have a protein + fiber snack during that afternoon drag from about 2-4 p.m.

5. Drink a glass of milk before bed

Most of this should be pretty easy; a lot of food  I need should already be on hand. It really comes down to being mindful about eating at certain times of the day. I’ll check in later with some whys (because that fulfills another resolution) and observations.

How about you? Can you add one or all of these into your routine? Tell me how it works for you.

Now, I am off to bed.