Category Archives: Health & Nutrition

And She Arose and Stretched Her Wings.

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Nature Floors Me Daily

Nature Floors Me Daily

 

Be prepared for unplanned writing and intuitive thought ahead:

I am overflowing with ideas and inspiration as of late, however my motivation to sit back, think clearly and write out posts which make sense to other people seems to be lacking most of the time. Part of me wants to shed this blog like a cocoon I’ve out grown, and part of me wants to reinvent it, and upcycle it into something which is relevant to my current life and perspective. I believe what I will be doing is re-purposing this blog, and keeping a second “private” one for the posts which I’m not yet sure that I’m ready to share with the world.

Part of me wants to tell the whole story of my emergency bowel surgery, the stress and (emotional) paralysis which accompanied it, and my collapse (or hibernation) into some old behaviours which have been deemed “bad” by me in the past. Part of me wants to reject telling this story, and to just move onward on my path in silence.  I’m not yet sure how much of this desire for silence is about fear of vulnerability, and how much is about my just wanting to sort through it all and wait until I have a bit more perspective and clarity. Basically, this post is going to grow very organically, and I’m not yet sure where it will take me.

I had dropped roughly 35 pounds in the previous three years and had gained a ton of muscle and self-confidence. Winding up over-stressed and with a hernia which required emergency surgery in order to save my life (part of my bowel had strangled and died) despite my best efforts to finally stretch out of my fears and move forward into a more fulfilling life just toppled my self-esteem and brought back my old “fuck it, life sucks, I refuse to be involved with this bullshit” attitude.  The aforementioned attitude led to my being so stressed out and paralyzed that I regressed into online gaming and compulsive over eating behaviours, which of course just added to my stress as avoidance and homework really don’t work well together.

I gained 20 pounds or so back, I’m not ashamed of myself (as I am just a human being, trying to navigate my way through my life as best I can with the tools I currently have), but I am very sad, as weight gain in my case contributes to increasing the impact which my diabetes, PCOS, and inflammatory issues have on my day to day life.

I did set myself up to improve my meditation practice, as well as buying an elliptical and a TRX system, however when crisis hit, I reverted to the old, the familiar, the comfortable and the self-destructive. Today I am recovering from the fallout by seeing a terrific therapist, by re-balancing the things which my hard winter unbalanced, and basically regaining my equilibrium in all areas of my life.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through is this process of healing myself emotionally. Part of the time I feel as if all I need to do is “Let go and Let God”  or “Live in the Now” and all will be ok, and part of me feels like I’m not done processing the pain and abandonment which was my childhood. This isn’t self-pity, this is an inner child who hasn’t yet let go of her need to be in control (sometimes by being out of control) and who needs to be loved enough and safe enough to release her grasp.

I’m not sure if this makes sense to anyone but me, but I KNOW I’m not yet done learning the lessons the Universe contained when it chose to pair me with my particular parents. I love both of my parents a great deal, and although much of the time my feelings about my childhood are bittersweet, I know they did the best they could given their circumstances (schizo-affective disorder and heroin addiction make stable family life nearly impossible) and that each of them taught me many things which I needed to (and still need to) know as well as some things which I need to unlearn. My mother taught me to love, and my father taught me to fight for what is just – these are the two tools which will help me in realizing my destiny. (there we go, I just got my answer)

So, what I’m doing today in order to heal from my long crazy winter is many fold.

My new therapist practices Gestalt therapy and is teaching me how to re-balance things through  The Paradoxical Theory of Change which is a whole new approach for me as it accepts that I don’t need to constantly strive to be something other than what I am. I can’t even begin to explain to you what a HUGE relief it is to me to find out that who I am right now, is perfectly ok. I mean, I’m not going to stop having goals and wanting to improve myself, but I’m much more comfortable with just being who I am complete with flaws and weaknesses, and with giving myself permission to not be “perfect” all of the time.

I’ve learned that escaping into an online game once and a while is not only ok, but it can be a healthy stress management technique for me if I set some guidelines and boundaries for myself and am brutally honest with myself about it. The same guidelines go for food and exercise habits – it’s ok to fall down, slack off, breath heavy, bend the rules etc so long as I’m being honest with myself and just enjoy some wiggle room rather than just collapsing into excess and self-abuse. I’m far more likely to pick myself up again if I choose to love my flaws and weaknesses rather than just hating myself for being imperfect (no one wants to pick up something they hate).

I’ve been picking up my old macrobiotic practices and refining them a bit with my new-found knowledge and lesser rigidity. The healthiest I’ve ever been was when I was what I used to call “Mostly Macrobiotic”. Modern day macrobiotic living lends itself very well to veganism, and it also seems to kill my food cravings quite quickly.  So, you’ll be seeing lots of posts about macrobiotic and vegan cooking in future posts, I’ll be posting about my journey to get back to a healthy (for me) weight, posts about biking, hiking, meditation,  camping, beadwork, my life with a senior dachshund, my growth as a human and ohhhh a whole host of things.

 

The Winter has ended, I’ve left my cocoon and my garden is thriving.

Walk in Beauty.

 

forAnima – PostDetail Blog (reblogged post) The Stigma of Being an Overweight Vegan and the Rise of Fat Shaming

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I’m reblogging this article as this is an issue which comes up for me time and time again and it was really empowering for me to read this. Many people make assumptions about me, my lifestyle and my overall attitude based on my body-size and I get very tired of feeling as if I need to justify my weight to people who hardly know me.

I eat primarily whole foods and am physically active AND fat. I’m working very hard at increasing my muscle mass, but gaining long-term health is not an overnight job, nor is it a vegan issue.

Love one another, and love yourselves.

forAnima – PostDetail Blog. (click link to read original article)

Fat and body shaming itself is a horrible and an unfortunate reality but fat shaming within the vegan community is even more indicative of what needs to change in society. As the vegan diet continues to rise and portray itself as a trendy way to lose weight, the more we see vegans being pictured as super slim and health conscious individuals. It brings to mind the question; since when has health become something that can be depicted?

Advertisements from the likes of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and PETA have created a world where going vegan or vegetarian is a means to look “perfect” to lose the “blubber” and portray overweight people as something to be feared, to be disgusted and we have tolerated this kind of body shaming and fat hatred for far too long. Is it responsible for us as a community to defend and support advertisements like these? I am by no means saying that we should support being overweight or obese as a healthy way to live or to stop talking about how obesity is one of the biggest health hazards for people, but to approach the subject from a negative and demeaning point of view is detrimental to everyone.

I often find myself holding back from claiming to be a vegan because the stigma within this community has made me too uncomfortable.  It has come to a point where because I don’t fit some preconceived notion of what a vegan looks like I’m somehow less of one. Since when has veganism become a diet rather than an ethical and moral decision to abstain from meat and meat products for the sake of the animal? Animal rights and activism was my only reason for becoming a vegetarian almost ten years ago and my decision to go vegan was yet again for the sake of preserving a connection to animals and the fight against the horrible and demeaning acts of the meat industry.

More and more the term “junk food vegan” has become a permanent label for overweight vegans and it’s an unnecessary term because your weight is not the only indicator of how healthy you are. Health is much more than your looks, pant size and your hip to waist ratio and more about HOW YOU FEEL. The vegan community is both one of love and hate which is why we have an undeterred stigma because the mindset of being “exclusive” and “above” has taken over.  We have fought so hard to for the rights of animals that we have somehow become people who put down those who don’t follow our philosophies and they have branched from hatred against the omnivore to overweight vegans as well.

We should be celebrating loving yourself no matter the body shape, weight or looks and increasing animal activism so we can create a world where more and more people are starting to build better connections with animals beyond their dinner plates. We should be supporting healthy eating and not healthy looks and educating people on portion size, healthier grains and flours and exercise instead of creating negative ideals and aspirations.  Positivity should be spilling from every advertisement, every commercial and every blog post.

We should move away from the “angry vegan” to the one that accepts every version of the word. If you went vegan to lose weight or you’re vegan only once a week or you’re someone who is above your recommended healthy weight, we should be accepting everyone no matter what. Every move toward veganism, every person involved in creating a better world for animals should be loved and accepted and those who aren’t as willing to change their way of eating – accept them too because beyond our diets and our ideals we are all human beings and we all deserve to live in a world brimming with positivity and acceptance.

Love yourself, support animal rights and most of all BE KIND.

From Seed to Fruit – Eating the Fruit at Last.

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Life is a precious gift. Don't waste it being ...

We must face the unavoidable truth: the world is in crisis and nothing short of a total spiritual transformation will avert the catastrophe that lies ahead.We are being called to create an new world paradigm: one based on love instead of fear. Fear closes our hearts and shuts God out. We forget our alignment to a harmonious vertical reality in which we are one with All That Is and fall into a fragmented horizontal reality in which we are separate from each other, from the world, from Life, and from Source. Surely, the mess we have got ourselves into is a by-product of the fear-based paradigm we have been living in for so long?

FromHow to find God in everything” by Amoda Maa Jeevan

I’m just sitting home after a really great shift at work, and am soaking up the joy I’m feeling. I have a great big glass of cucumber, dill and lemon juice and it feels SO good, to be absorbing such simple and delicious nutrition. I don’t think I’ll ever fully “go raw” but I sure do feel good when pure, alive and clean foods take a central role in my meals.

It really does amaze me when I successfully spend a day just loving everything and feeling connected, without allowing myself to get side-tracked or sucked into any low-vibrational thinking. It’s really been enlightening for me to realize that rather than breaking thought processes down into “positive or negative” or “bad or good” or “healthy or unhealthy” I can just focus on how it affects me energetically and use that knowledge to guide me. I’m still just a fledgling as far as my spiritual journey goes, but my wings are growing stronger, and my passion for flight is growing exponentially.

Truthfully, I feel a little self-conscious about sharing about my spiritual path online, but it just seems to be such a high focal point of my life right now, and I want to share my excitement. I have no interest in teaching or in influencing other people’s journeys or even in convincing people that what I’m seeking is findable, I am just excited and happy to have found the start of my path after so many years of feeling direction-less.

This path doesn’t really feel so much like a “new discovery” as it feels like rediscovering aspects of myself which I had abandoned out of fear and a low sense of self-worth. I feel like the child in me has been lovingly brought back into my life and knows that she is worthy, loved and safe to live in the world freely and with unconditional support from me.

For many years I believed that the world was broken beyond repair and things were hopeless. I swam angrily in my rage and depression and just outright refused to allow myself to even consider pursuing any sort of stability or “success” in life, because it all seemed so hopeless and so pointless. My depression is gone today, and I KNOW that joy and love are there for me to live in and that I will never be crippled by depression again, because I don’t need it anymore. I’m just done with that part of my journey, and now starts the joyful, abundant and love-filled part.

Banoosh » McDonald’s Transparency Campaign Revealed 17 Ingredients in Their French Fries » Banoosh

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Banoosh » McDonald’s Transparency Campaign Revealed 17 Ingredients in Their French Fries » Banoosh. (click link to read original article)

 

It’s pretty horrifying to think how mindlessly the majority of us are eating these days. The french fries at my house are baked in the oven and contain potatoes (with the skins on), a small amount of oil, and some sea salt: that’s a whopping three ingredients. I’m not saying I never eat crappy fast food fries, I’m just saying that when I do, I’m fully aware of what it is I’m consuming, and of the fact that it really doesn’t even qualify as “food” any longer.

 

The transparency campaign initiated by McDonald’s last year was intended at marketing a more health conscious image of McDonald’s Corp.–and at using social media more effectively, but instead of talking about their love for the brand, the hashtag became a forum for people to talk about how disgusting they believe the food is. The ingredients in their french fries went viral. Instead of the basic two ingredients-potatoes and oil, consumers found out McDonald’s french fries contain 17 ingredients.

 

 

mcdonaldsf9new2

 

The campaign isn’t brand new. Launched by McDonalds Canada last June using a YouTube video to answer a consumer’s question about why their food looks so drastically different in commercials than in the restaurant, the “Our Food, Your Questions” premise opened McDonalds’ kitchen doors, lending the brand to a supposed more honest and transparent feel.

By prompting consumers to ask their questions on Facebook or Twitter, McDonalds hoped to build trust and credibility in a marketplace where bad press has followed them in the form of viral videos and unappetizing images.

McDonald’s eventually began disclosing the secret behind how the fast food chain’s fries are made. They produced a video answering a series of questions about McDonald’s fries: where the potatoes come from, how they are processed, what kind of oil they’re fried in, and why there is so much salt on them.

Mario Dupuis, a production manager at McCain Foods in New Brunswick, where the potatoes are washed, peel and cut. They’re also blanched to “remove natural sugars” that would cause colour variations then soaked in dextrose for an even colour. There’s also an ingredient to prevent greying, drying to remove excess moisture and a quick-fry for 45 to 60 seconds before the fries are frozen for shipping.

The worst part are the ingredients. Instead of the standard two ingredients necessary to make french fries-potatoes and oil, there are approximately 17 as reported on the ingredients facts list on the McDonald’s website.

They include: 

Potatoes, canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, safflower oil, natural flavour (vegetable source), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour), citric acid (preservative), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent) and cooked in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethylpolysiloxane) and salt (silicoaluminate, dextrose, potassium iodide).

At a glance, many of the ingredients above are hazardous to human health, including those which are genetically modified (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil), hydrogenated (soybean oil), chemically preserved and antifoaming (THBQ, citric acid, dimethylpolysiloxane), and artificially colored (sodium acid pyrophosphate).

How many people do you think have an awareness that McDonald’s french fries contain this many ingredients? Thanks for the transparency McDonald’s…hopefully it will help wake more people up to the difference between your artificial food and real food.

 

 

On Dogma

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From experience to dogma
Every school of thought, or spiritual path, starts with an enlightening experience that shows aspects of reality
that were hidden until that moment. As time passes the experience fades, and knowledge remains. After a longer
time, even knowledge ages, loses its contact with reality, and dogma arises.

If we wish to avoid that eventuality, or at least to delay it as long as possible, it is essential that we strive to keep
in touch with reality. And we know very well that the most painful experiences are the most useful ones, with regard
to keeping us aware and alert.

Believing that we know how to stay healthy, how to prevent and cure any sickness, and that because of that
we must become leaders of the new world and save the Humanity from the dangers in which it lives, would be a
delusional attitude.

Carlo Guglielmo

No Dogma

No Dogma (Photo credit: Dogma-Free Thinker)

Dogma of any sort has always been a major turn-off for me, I just simply won’t participate in any group where it becomes an “Us against Them” or a “We’re right, Everyone Else is wrong” mentality. Basically what this boils down to for me is a simple realization that  what I believe, how I live and what I eat simply do not define who I AM. Who I am is so much bigger than the stories I create in my head to define myself, and by shedding those definitions, I leave myself free to just BE.

Concious Eating vs Asleep Eating.

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Alive with loveliness.

Alive with loveliness.

For many of us (both with and without eating disorders) learning to be conscious of what exactly we’re eating can really be helpful in switching to a new, healthy lifestyle. I know that for me, the more I understand the actual ingredients in processed foods, the less appeal they hold for me.  Seriously, when a food item’s ingredients have ingredients, you’re treading into some scary (and often deceptive) territory.

“Natural Ingredients” does not actually mean that the contents are “natural” in the sense which you or I would like to believe that they are. The umbrella term “natural” also encompasses things like Genetically Modified Organisms, fluid from animal’s anal sacs, and also many other really unhealthy and unethically obtained items.

A good rule of thumb is that if some of the ingredients in the food item which you are about to purchase are A). Not actually food items, but are instead, chemical compounds, or B). listed under umbrella terms such as “natural and artificial flavours, colours, or ingredients”, someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, and that item is best left on the shelf of the store. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t (or even that I don’t) ever eat these sort of foods, but I am suggesting that when doing so we be fully aware of the fact that what we are consuming is not actually food.

In my opinion, food should be made up of things found in nature which have encountered very little processing or alteration by human hands. Most of the food which I keep in my home as staples have 3 or fewer ingredients, and it’s reassuring to know that these sort of foods would have fed my ancestors without them thinking something strange was going on.

Way back in January I was shocked by the ingredients on a package of two bite brownies at a convenience store. They had no fewer than FIFTY ingredients, whereas the ones I make from scratch at home contain maybe six. Seriously, this is the sort of bizarre laboratory produced food that your average person is eating these days! Most people are more afraid that a whole wheat pita will make them fat than they are concerned that the majority of the food they eat on a daily basis has been developed in a science laboratory, with many individual ingredients that they would never dream of adding to a recipe at home.

I find that focusing on eating foods which are ACTUALLY found in nature, are nourishing and nutrient dense, really helps balance my cravings, keeps my energy levels high, and generally helps remind me that as humans we are intrinsically connected with all life, and that the more alive our food choices are, the more alive our lives will be. This has helped me so much in not obsessing over the size of my body, or how many calories I eat.

It’s so much more fun to eat and live to fuel vibrancy, than it is to be constantly obsessed with how many calories I eat. Connected and aware eating is a huge part of my spiritual journey, and disconnected eating really is one of the last barriers which I have placed in my own path. I over-came drug and alcohol abuse in the 1990s, I overcame nicotine addiction in the early 2000s and I am almost done with this whole battle I’ve had going with food since I was a small child.  I deserve to be vibrant, awake and healthy, and I am becoming so.

Birds, Bicycles and Beefless Tips

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111abirdie

A brief visit with a stunned bird whom recovered.

So when you are alert and contemplate a flower, crystal or bird without naming it mentally, it becomes a window for you into the formless.  There is an inner opening however slight into the realm of spirit.  This why these three “en-lightened’ life-forms have played such an important part in the evolution of human consciousness since ancient times; why for example, the jewel in the lotus flower is central symbol of Buddhism and a white, the dove signifies the Holy Spirit in Christianity.  They have been preparing the ground for a more profound shift in planetary consciousness that is destined to take place in the human species.  This is the spiritual awakening that we are beginning to witness now.
I’m still very busy with work and my newly active social life, as well as lots and lots of biking. My meals are still leaning toward fast, simple and tasty, and not highly photogenic. Tonight I had Gardien’s Beefless Tips, sautéed with lots of caramelized mushrooms and onions, a splash of tamari and a big baked potato. Nothing fancy, but oh so yummy.
I spent part of today working on registering for my first semester at college (I’m enrolled in Disability and Community Rehabilitation for September) and I also spent a big chunk of the day hanging out downtown window shopping with a new friend. I also bought a great big book on Linux, as I’m still pretty passionately attempting to wrap my head around the topic. I do run Linux on my computer currently, but I’m eager to be knowledgeable enough that nothing can go wrong that I can’t fix myself.
I’m exhausted and must sleep.
Walk In Beauty,
Coulee-Wind