I’ve been thinking a lot about detoxing lately because heck, it’s January and it’s a good time to turn things around health-wise.  I’ve been thinking about detoxing a lot lately anyways, and all the different options we have available to us for improving our health.  It’s key to find the way that works best for you.  Here are a few options to incorporate a cleanse into your life:

A Real Detox – obviously you can just bite the bullet and do a real detox.  My favourite is the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox, i do it once or twice a year and it rocks.  It’s a 12 day commitment and comes with a food guide so you can get your body in a more alkaline state so the herbs can really do their work.  Here’s a recent article I saw on the PH thing, it’s supposed to help your body fight disease.  The real reason the food guide is great is because it’s all non-processed super healthy foods that retrain your taste buds and help you remember how great brown rice and veggies taste.  It can be tough to figure out good food choices, if you need help with that, check out my cookbooks. Bottomline is, it takes commitment (and cooking time) but you’ll feel like a million bucks and lose a few pounds too.

Detox by Week – But you don’t have to do a real detox, there are other options too.  One thing i like to do all is treat my Monday, Tuesday, and heck sometimes even Wednesday as a detox.  I’ll enjoy myself on the weekends and use Sunday to make a couple days worth of healthy soup, like Green Soup or Chick Pea Tomato Stew for work lunches.  And early in the week i find i have more energy for dinner-making, so I’ll set up the rice cooker to make brown rice before work and put some salmon in the oven when i get home.  I’ll get my workouts in so that I feel like i’m on the healthy track.  And then when the week wears me down and I take food shortcuts and have my Saturday glass of wine, it’s ok because i know i’ll be back at it on Monday again.

Detox by Day – Another thing I’ve been playing with is detox-eating for the first half of the day.  I read the Warrior Diet and it got me on to trying this one.  This isn’t for everyone but it’s been working for me.  Basically you undereat during the day and then overeat later in the day.  So in the first part of the day you enjoy fruits and veggies (salads, juices) and light protein (eggs, yogurt, protein powder) and save your carbs and animal proteins for dinner.  This was tough for the first two weeks when i was ready to start eating my stapler by 9:00 a.m. but now i’m into it.  It’s made me much more aware of what my body needs and when, i feel like my cravings have reduced and i prefer to eat more at night when i’m enjoying dinner with my family.  Check out the reviews for the Warrior Diet or get the book if you’re interested.

Phase 1 Detox for January – Here’s another option that I’ve done enjoyed in the past.  I live in the North so I prefer to save my Wild Rose Detoxing for spring when it’s warmer out, there are more fruits and veggies in season, and there’s more light so I can get outside and exercise.  I’m just not in the mood in January when it feels too chilly to sit down to a cold green salad.  But there’s plenty of things I can do to prepare for a good detox.  And if you get your body ready, you notice much fewer side effects.  I’ve written a blog post on eating detox healthy all the time.  Basically it’s a good time to try to stuff as many fruits and veggies as you can into your meals to ease out all the other things you were enjoying over the holidays.  This is a great time to try hearty salads like

Salmon Rice Salad or

Greek Chick Pea salad.  Make

Corn Chowder for the family and don’t tell them how healthy it is. Or try a new option for breakfast like steel cut oats in the slow cooker - nothing sticks to your ribs like those babies.  I also find just soaking steel cut oats overnight helps reduce cooking time.

Same with exercise – it may be too dark and cold to be keen about training for a marathon, but this is the time of year I say *any* exercise is good exercise.  I’ll go for a long or hilly walk on the weekend, hit a hot yoga class to mix it up and try to do something every day or two.  If nothing comes to mind – I’ll hit the floor and do situps and pushups til it hurts.  Or see how many squats I can do in a minute. The key is *anything*.  The idea is to at least keep your exercise levels up enough that when you do get keen in the spring, you’re not going to be all sore and out of breath because you’re starting from scratch.  After 8 weeks of Phase 1 Detoxing, you’ll be ready to decide if you’re up for a real detox or heavier training.

So many options to be healthy – have a healthy and happy New Year!

 

I’m on Pemo Chodron’s mailing list and she sent this one out today.  I like it because I’ve noticed it’s true for myself it’s so true – how I treat myself conditions how I view others and the world:

Learning how to be kind to ourselves is important. When we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe. When we discover the buddha that we are, we realize that everything and everyone is Buddha. We discover that everything is awake, and everyone is awake. Everything and everyone is precious and whole and good. When we regard thoughts and emotions with humor and openness, that’s how we perceive the universe.

I was really jealous of my Mom the other day.  I’ve been dry on the inspiration front.  Not writing in my blog.  Not feeling inspired about anything really.  No juice.  No interesting thoughts, just a head full of the usual mundane workaday stuff.

And then here’s my Mom.  She’s become an Elder at her church and was asked to come up with some material to use around Advent.

She had nothing.  She didn’t feel a huge affinity for the celebration.  She started by looking up  the meaning of the word, it means “coming” and was sure what to do next.

The next morning she wakes up at 5:00 a.m. and all the material is laid out in her head.  It stems from the definition she looked up and she has each of the 4 weeks material organized in her mind, she just needs to write it down.

I was so jealous.  I’ve had those moments of inspiration, out on a run or waking up and they’re awesome.  I think there’s a Paul Simon quote about how when the song writing muse hits it’s absolutely amazing and the rest of the time he spends waiting for it to happen again.  So right.

And here’s me, dry as dust.

So since my conversation with Mom I’ve been working more on trying to nuture it.  Sometimes jealousy is a useful way to understand what you want.  So when my inner cranky judge says sarcastically, “wow now *that’s* really life changing”, I’ve worked on ignoring it and writing down my scraggy little thoughts anyways.

I’ve been making sure i get in my meditation time and trying to spend thinking-energy on things beyond the mundane, whether it’s listening to a podcast or watching a good movie, or reading a thought provoking book.

And it also means looking for inspiration wherever you can get it.

Yesterday I was wondering what to teach in my yoga class.  I was on the way home with Leo who’s three and i said, “Leo what should i teach in yoga tonight?”.  He said, “fire”.

And even though there was a voice in my head going, “you gotta be kidding, you’re going to look for advice from a three year old who’s not even a certified yoga instructor?”.  I thought about it anyways.

I couldn’t think of any poses off the top of my head related to fire.  But then i thought about the poses that help build fire in the belly, in the second chakra.  And i thought about how in the winter time we just want to hibernate and eat heavy rich food (tis the season!).

And i thought about how good it is to do these fire generating poses to not only build some energy when you need it, but also help your digestive system do its work.

So I told my class all about that last night and i said, “this class brought to you by Leo the three year old”.  And we did the building fire poses and threw in some kundalini stuff as well and had a great relaxation at the end of the class and it was all good.   It was a great reminder to look for inspiration from the grand lofty sources, and the little ones too.

I got my son a 6 inch long plastic lizard.  Supposedly if you soak it in water long enough it will grow to four feet.  The other night i was in the bath and Angus suggested that he put the lizard into my bath water when i was finished so that he could super-size him.  The conversation went like this:

Me: so he’ll grow big hey?

Angus: yeah as big as yer butt!

Me: ha!

Angus: no, Mom <chuckle> not *that* big

He’s lucky i love him :-)

I have always been jealous of people who don’t battle their weight. Whether they eat lightly because they just don’t care about food, or whether they can eat what they want without gaining an ounce, I’ve been jealous.  But I’m starting to feel different at about it.

A lot of it is ageing.  It seems that when you hit 40 you can’t hide from your bad habits anymore. Everybody looks pretty good when they’re 20 right?  For some people they hit mid-age and start to gain weight for the first time in their life and have no idea what to do about it.  For me?  I’ve never not had to be conscious of my weight.

Having been at it this long I have a pretty good sense of what works and what doesn’t for me.  I would hate to have to start that long learning curve at this stage of my life.

Here’s what Haruki Murakami says in his running book.

….having the kind of body that easily puts on weight was perhaps a blessing in disguise. In other words if I don’t want to gain weight I have to work out hard every day, watch what I eat and cut down on indulgences. Life can be tough, but as long as you don’t stint on the effort, your metabolism will greatly improve with these habits, and you’ll end up much healthier, not to mention stronger.

I was talking to a woman the other day who was interested in doing yoga. She’s a naturally thin person. And she said, ” you know just because I’m thin doesn’t mean I feel good”.

And I get that now when I never used to.  If I had never struggled with my weight I might never know that working out and doing yoga makes you feel really good.  I might never have been motivated to do it long enough to find that out.

Also, because I’ve detoxed – motivated to drop a few pounds – I never would have discovered that bread gives me brain fog.  The first time I detoxed I looked around on day 2  and went, wow is this what life really looks like?  The fog was gone for the first time in my life and I wouldn’t have experienced it if I wasn’t trying to lose five pounds.

If I’d never messed around with my diet I wouldn’t know which foods make me feel energized and alive and which foods make me feel heavy and sleepy.  I would have just been stuck in a rut of the food routines I’ve had since I was a kid.

And a funny thing has happened.  On both the food and exercise front, my motivation was originally to lose weight and it’s not any more.  My motivation now is to feel good.  Don’t get me wrong, the weight maintenance is a nice benefit. Fitting into my clothes feels good too.

But feeling energized and strong and sharp and healthy are the reasons I do my best to exercise and eat well for my body.  And I’ve found that now I feel even more motivated to avoid the foods that my body doesn’t do well with, even more than i used to.  There are more days now when feeling good feels better than hitting the bread basket or the cookie bin. It feels crazy to say, but I’m grateful that I’ve had to manage my weight.

I’ve worked in high tech for a long time now and although i’m very familiar with change, it’s always hard.  I get lots of practice.  It seems like the motto in this industry is “change is the only constant”.

A friend of mine is going through a tough transition time on the job.  She’s been acquired (another company bought hers) and so things are real unsettled.  She’s got a new manager, her duties are unclear and she just isn’t feeling the love.

That kind of situation is really hard and i know what’s it’s like.  Here was my advice to her:

Know that it is hard.  Job transitions are so damn tough – they seem to push all of our buttons.  They are about our value and how we’re seen and valued by others.  At the very basis they’re about our ability to provide for ourselves and survive. Those are really huge buttons.  So yeah, it’s hard, we get seriously triggered.  Don’t bother feeling like it should be easier and you shouldn’t be having these feelings.

Are you staying? Don’t feel trapped or victimized or “done to”, it’ll only make you whiney.  You can polish your resume.  You can spend your evenings on job boards.  You can do some networking. You do not have to stay.  Don’t feel stuck.  Look around and make the choice.  Don’t feel rushed, give yourself the space and time to evaluate.

Are there better places than where you are?  Looking around will help you understand whether your employer is a good one, even though you’re in this sucky transition time.  Look at the big picture.  Even though you may have to prove yourself to a new manager like my friend is – once you do, will it be a good place to be?  You had reasons for choosing this place to work – are those reasons still valid?  Understand that this transition is short-term pain.  It might not be worth jumping ship if your employer is a good one.

So you’re staying, now what?  Be a Pro.  Maintain your professionalism.  Sure you’re having a hard day or week or month, but if you are seen as a whiner who can’t get things done you’ll affect your reputation and your ability to get new opportunities.  Keep those reasons for staying in mind on tough days.  When I was having a tough day at a previous job I’d check the value of my stock options – it helped keep those blues at bay.

How do you stay sane? First of all – keep working.  Keep your head down and plug away at those projects so you’re contributing and feeling a sense of control. Keep that big picture view.  Remind yourself that others are having a tough time too.  Have a private bitch session once in while with co-workers you trust.  Not for a pity party, but to remind yourself that it’s tough all over.  Maybe you can support a co-worker and build those relationships.  Take breaks – get your workouts in for a dose of endorphins and a sense of control.  Do lunch or go for a walk –  “mini-vacations” can help you get your head out of the intense vibe at the office. Get the support you need.  Take advantage of your friends and family who will listen to you crank and problem solve about the upheaval.  You can use the processing time.  Trust that it won’t last.  At some point you’ll have sold your new manager on your awesomeness, the re-orgs will stop, the cranky employees will leave and your updated organization will get on with things.  It might even be better.  Keep an open mind.

And if things don’t get better?  Go back to the “Are you staying” step.  The thing about networking or job hunting is that if you can keep it on the down-low it can give you a real sense of freedom, whether you end up jumping ship or not.  No decision is required until someone hands you an offer.  Good luck and keep breathing.

My hips are my canary in a coal mine.  If anything is going on – I’ve sat too long, run too hard – it will show up as pain in my hips.  I was at the chiropractor complaining about the latest bout of cranky hips.  My usual awesome chiro was on maternity leave and I was seeing a fill-in guy.

Chuck is simply the cutest sweetest chiropractor you could ever meet.  And he’s good.

I said to him that I thought my hip was cranky this time because I’d stepped up my running a bit.  He looked through my chart and said, “with the regularity you’ve been complaining about this, I’d say it’s something that you’re doing 8 hours a day.  Hmmmm, it’s on the right side.  What’s on the right side of your desk at work?”  I told him my phone was on the right hand side and that yes I use it a lot and he gave me the perfectly reasonable advice that I try moving it more towards the middle so I’m not leaning on my right hip so much.

So brilliant it should be obvious right?

Then I told him that it’s so frustrating – when my hip is painful doing yoga is also really painful and that’s my favorite way of trying to help my body so if that’s out it doesn’t leave me with much that I can do.  And yes, i was saying it in a whiney kind of voice.  (Note: other things that help are light exercise like walking, hot epsom salt baths, a smear of tiger balm before bed and good ol’ ibuprofin).

He said, “Corilee you teach yoga, you know better than that.  You need to be doing 5-10 minutes a day of the stretches that you know help keep your hips limber.  Not save it all up for when they’re painful.”

Dang, so right.  How does he get to be cute and good?

He also suggested one of those wobbly things you can sit on at your desk so that your core is activated and your hips don’t lock up.  I haven’t tried that suggestion yet but have been keeping up on my core exercises and my hips stretches everyday.  Last week I realized that i it was 8 weeks since I’d been to the chiropractor.  I hadn’t made it that long without the urgent, “when can you get me in??!!” appointment request in forever.  I wasn’t in pain, but i went for a tune-up to keep any issues at bay.

Here are my daily hip stretches:

Option 1:

Hamstring stretch like Forward Bend.  Just hang for a few breaths and if back is tight keep some softness in the knees to stretch to balance the stretch between them.

High Lunge to low lunge, then move hands to inside of front foot and lower the torso to get real deep.  If this feels intense, i’ll go back and forth to give each side a break while i work through the three versions.

Pigeon.  As I hold i’ll come up on my hands to deepen the stretch and then add a twist reaching front leg side arm back to hold back leg.

Option 2 on back:

Squeeze knees into chest.

Cross right knee over left and squeeze both in, especially holding right foot towards body (really hits the IT band if it’s tight).

Hold one leg up a time for hamstring stretch.

Drop knees from side to side and then hold on one side, even sliding top knee to the floor above bottom knee for extra deep low back stretch.  Change sides.

Then outside of right foot on left thigh, pull thigh in (i’ve heard it called “threading the needle” or “Number 4 pose”).  If it’s tight i’ll do each side twice.

“Learn how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, no matter how brief. So much of our suffering, pain, insecurities, and struggles are caused by a disconnection with ourselves and our source. Meditation costs nothing, requires nothing, and can be done anywhere. In order to change your body, you need to change your mind and the way it is hardwired.”

Jennifer Galardi, owner of LivWhole in New York City

I saw this quote and thought it was so perfect for running, yoga or anywhere that we safely push our boundaries to discover more about ourselves and what we’re capable of.

I’m glad to be here right now, poking at my threshold. I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don’t want to shrink back just because something isn’t easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can’t and I can. Maybe that spot is called I will.

Kristin Armstrong, Mile Markers blog, Runner’s World.com

My beloved child,

break your heart no longer.

Each time you judge yourself you break your own heart.

You stop feeding on the love which is the wellspring of your vitality.

The time has come, your time

To live to celebrate and to see the goodness that you are…

Let no one, no thing, no idea or ideal obstruct you

If one comes, even in the name of “Truth”, forgive it for its

unknowing

Do not fight

Let go

And breathe – into the goodness that you are.

Bapuji

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