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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye to 2009...

I started off the year with good intentions, and with only one resolution…to learn to love myself unconditionally. This year was one of the twist-iest, turn-iest, up-and-down roller coaster years ever. Plans at the beginning of the year (which now seems like it was 5 years ago) didn’t pan out; our close-knit group of friends has drifted apart, and my best friend, the glue, is in the fight of her life for her health (cancer). Serious marital issues, then business issues (which lead to the closing of my little dream coffee shop), then a move that I still sometimes can’t really believe happened…and now, at the end of the year, things are slowing down again, I’m in a new place (at the beach!), new plans are on the horizon, and I once again have hope for the coming year. Through it all, I think I was true to my resolution. I went vegan for the first time this past summer, even though it wasn’t yet permanent. I met my first raw foodies in February and fell in love with green smoothies. Although self-loathing has periodically reared its ugly head, I think I handled the adversity well this year, and now love myself much more than I did before.

I am ending this year at my job (I work 7 pm to 7 am). Tonight most people are celebrating with food, drink, and being around friends, but I will sip my lemonade and hunker down for the work that needs to be done. It is probably fitting that I will start 2010 at work…because there is a lot of work to be done in the coming year. It is good and rewarding work, but work nonetheless. 2010 will be a year of transformation.

That being said, I was glad to be coming to work tonight, thinking that it would be a good place to not think about all the food and partying I’m missing tonight. However, my coworker just informed me that she brought sparkling grape juice and hot crab dip for us to enjoy at midnight. (Us being her and I, since we are the only two on the unit). I have to admit, I immediately thought about ditching this whole Master Cleanse thing for some crab dip. I have kept quiet about the Cleanse, not telling anyone but my husband and those selected online communities where I am blogging about it. I am on day 6…so close! But this hot, gooey crab dip that my coworker brought FOR ME to enjoy is going to be the biggest, nastiest temptation yet.

Speaking of the Master Cleanse…yesterday, day 5, was the easiest day I have had so far. No stomach discomfort, no intense cravings (just brief passing ones), and feeling good and energetic. I even came to work last night with a good attitude about my job that I haven’t had in a while.

I’m glad to see 2009 go, though. 2010 holds so much promise and potential. My husband has started drinking green smoothies! We are working on two websites. We are finding each other again. My finances are finally straightening out after the cafĂ© debacle. We live at the beach! And I am finally on the right track to whip my health into shape. I’m excited, and happy. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wasn't prepared for the intense cravings...

I just had a temper tantrum of sorts, which is very unlike me. My poor husband has been trying to not eat around me for two days, and he thought he would make himself some scrambled eggs w/ onion, spinach, and tomato while I was locked in my room with the laptop. Smelling it really set me off! Basically, I want to eat, even though I know it will not be good for me to do so, just like years ago when I was trying to quit smoking. Only, I think these intense cravings are HARDER than the smoking ones (not really sure, it’s been so long I don’t really remember). I'm going back and forth between abdominal discomfort and nausea, to wanting to eat everything I've been allowing myself to eat all these years. It's just like drug detox!

I’m having such conflicting feelings right now. I don’t know if I can do this, BUT if I don’t do this, if I fail, then I SUCK. I told my husband that. He asked me, “Would you really think you suck?” And I said YES! If I can’t complete this, after all my resolve to do it, with all the reasons why I SHOULD, then I am a total loser. I need to do this so I can believe in myself. That there is a hell of a revelation. Clearly, I have a lot of work still to do on loving myself.

Day three and four of the Master Cleanse.

I didn’t write yesterday because I just didn’t feel like it. I was grumpy yesterday (day 3), slept late and woke up kind of pissed off (at whom?) that I couldn’t eat. It was a day off and I was home alone most of the day, so I took it easy. I did some work online, did a little yoga, and that was pretty much it. I skipped the salt water flush yesterday because the day before I feel like I retained it and I was worried about the sodium. Oh, yeah, and I had diarrhea like 20 times yesterday, even without the flush. I read something online last night that said the salt water flush was an outdated idea, and might cause water retention if not mixed exactly right because it would be digested instead of expelled, so today I skipped it again. I did drink the Kleri-tea morning and night though. Today I slept late again, but not as late as yesterday, and woke up feeling pretty good besides having a crappy tasted in my mouth. I drank a large glass of water, no lemonade, and my husband and I went out shopping at the thrift stores for a few hours. We tried to take the dog to the beach, but the wind chill must have been 25 degrees, and the cold wind chased us off the beach within 5 minutes. All this time, I felt great, just a slight bit of soreness in my hamstrings from the yoga the day before. On the way home, I started getting hungry and every time we passed a restaurant I was naming all the food that would taste SO good. Major cravings kicking in again, this time for warm comfort food…pasta, potatoes, meat, veggies, salt. I got home and made my lemonade and downed a quart of it fairly quickly. About 30 minutes later the pain began. All evening, I’ve been having intense intestinal cramping and….I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty nasty stuff, but in short, I think I will do the salt water flush again tomorrow. My intestines seem to be trying to get rid of something, and they are having to work extra hard to do it. Needless to say, I’m not hungry anymore, I’m pretty nauseated, actually. I had a moment today of asking, “Why am I doing this to myself?”, which I knew would come. I have to remember I’m doing it FOR myself, not TO myself, and because I need to prove something to myself, AND because I’ve been struggling with my health choices on and off for years. Yes, it’s extreme, but the Master Cleanse is the kick start that I need. I’ve been too long with my actions not matching up with my values. It’s time to start walking my talk, and actually taking responsibility for my health instead of just talking about it.

Your health is like anything else, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. I’ve known and preached this for years, while not exactly living it. It would be so easy to stick my head back in the sand, order that pizza, and when I start having health problems, pop a pill to make it better. That is what the majority of Americans do, and that is why we have the health care crisis in this country that we have right now. I’m not that person on the inside, but my actions have not always reflected my beliefs. It’s time for that to change.

You know what? When this is over, I'm SO going to enjoy some raw chili, raw "pasta", and raw avocado soup.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day Two of the Master Cleanse.

Day Two of the Master Cleanse is about halfway over. Of course, I worked night shift last night and slept until 2 pm today, so I’m only about 8 hours into my day. Last night was really hard at work, getting through a really boring night with no food. I fell asleep quickly this morning and slept fine, and felt great when I got up.

I took the dog and my camera to the beach this afternoon and had a nice walk. It was a gorgeous day, although a bit cold. In fact, I was quite bundled up on the beach, in thermal underwear, boots, a thick shirt, hoodie, and winter jacket on top, hat, and scarf, and I noticed the other people on the beach had less clothes on that I did. I even saw a couple of young boys digging in the sand wearing jeans and t-shirts, and no shoes. (They reminded me of Seth and Drew, who are away with their dads this week. That was one factor that influenced me to go ahead and do the cleanse this week while they were gone, but I miss them terribly.)

When I got home, I watched my Christmas gift from Michael, Dr. Wayne Dyer's movie, The Shift. It was very inspiring and brought me to tears a couple of times. It also motivated me to go ahead and order something that’s been on my Amazon wish list for a while, a copy of the Tao te Ching.

While watching the movie, I was bundled in: fluffy foot-warming socks and new slippers that I got from my mom for Christmas, the same thermal underwear and a pair of scrub pants on top, the same long sleeve warm shirt with the same hoodie on top, and I was wrapped in my new zebra-print Snuggie, another Christmas gift. I was FREEZING. I didn’t get warm until I decided to run a hot bath in my Jacuzzi tub. I got it as hot as I could stand it, lit a candle, turned off the lights, and soaked in the tub in a semi-meditative state for at least an hour, intermittently running the jets, but mostly not. The heat, the darkness, the dead silence in my house, and the movie I just watched, all had me in a state of pure relaxation, and I let my thoughts drift. It was really nice.

So, today has been a good day physically and mentally, but just in the past hour, a major craving has kicked in. I want BREAD. The Ezekiel bread in the freezer, toasted, with peanut butter, to be exact. I am a little hungry, but I know that this is a craving because a carrot or green salad doesn’t seem as appealing. So, I wait for my supportive spouse to get home from work, and in the meantime, I will look for some encouragement online. I know that this is temporary, and the “addiction” to comfort foods such as bread and peanut butter is one of the things I’m hoping to get rid of by doing the Master Cleanse. It is good that I can feel the craving, recognize it for what it is, and reach for the lemonade instead.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day One of the Master Cleanse.

Starting the Master Cleanse. I slept until 2-ish this afternoon since I worked until 7 am this morning. I drank my Kleri-Tea this morning before I went to bed, and when I got up, I went to the grocery store to buy lemons. Food Lion didn’t have organic lemons, but I had read in the Peter Glickman Master Cleanse book last night that you didn’t have to use organic lemons if you weren’t going to juice the whole lemon or use any of the rind. My juicer is a plain little old-fashioned manual citrus juicer. I bought a dozen large lemons at .89 each. When I got home, I went ahead and drank my quart of salt water. Man, was that difficult! I am using Celtic Grey sea salt, and bottled spring water. I thought that I was going to be able to get it down easily by thinking of it as soup, but it was VERY salty. It was JUST like sea water. It took a lot of pacing and nose-holding and general psyching myself out to get it down. Then I went ahead and made a quart of lemonade. I washed my lemons before cutting them in half. It only took 1 ½ lemons to get the 4 oz. I needed for a quart of lemonade. I used a little less than the 4 oz. of maple syrup (grade B organic) that was called for, and I used ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper. My concoction is I the refrigerator chilling as I type this.

More later. It has been 45 minutes since I drank the salt water, and nature is calling.

Later: It’s 7 pm now, and I’m at work. I had a bit of a nagging headache soon after drinking the salt water, but I’m on my fourth cup now of lemonade and it seems to be subsiding. The after-effects of the salt water weren't bad at all, Iwent to the bathroom three times, and it was all over 1 1/2 hours after I drank the salt water. I’m sort of hungry, and I’m having a hard time getting the lemonade down fast enough to curb my appetite, because the cayenne is really hot. The cayenne I bought is 90,000 Hu (heat units), and the typical spice cabinet variety is a mere 5,000 Hu. I used ¼ teaspoon to the quart of lemonade I made. The “recipe” called for 1/10 teaspoon per cup, and I thought that I would start light…but it seems I will have to go lighter next time. Also, the maple syrup (which I usually love) tastes weird with the lemons. Another thing I’m sure I will quickly get used to. All in all, the lemonade isn’t unpleasant, and it’s certainly a lot easier to swallow than the salt water flush was.

Since it’s the day after Christmas, there is a ton of junk food lying around here at work. It seems gross to me, really. However, before I left home, the Ezekiel bread and peanut butter was looking really good. Nothing too hard to deal with though, which is what I suspect is going to be the theme throughout this cleanse. I am looking forward to a huge mental and spiritual shift later in the week, but for now I will just get used to telling the difference between hunger and cravings.

Friday, December 25, 2009

I feel like crap. I was going to start the Master Cleanse on January 1 (not because of the new year thing, but because that’s the next time I have four days off in a row. However, I feel like I am in a health crisis of sorts, and I am anxious to get started. I have not eaten as badly as I have in holidays past, but I am older and heavier and at the edge of all sorts of health issues creeping up. I can feel them there, waiting. Last night’s food and drink left me feeling heavy, bloated, and full of excess “crap”. I thought about starting the cleanse today, but realized that I had nowhere to get lemons today, since everything is closed. I am working tonight, but tomorrow…tomorrow morning when I get up, I will go to Harris Teeter and buy up all of their organic lemons.

I feel the need for a major “house cleaning”. This is not just a physical thing for me. It’s very spiritual as well. Today, I woke up, a spiritual being living in this body and this life that I created. Whatever got me to this point does not matter. I chose EVERYTHING, and I have the rest of my life ahead of me. I will take what I have been given (which is actually what I created), and I will do the best I can with it from this day forward. As of right now, I am in possession of a fairly healthy but overweight 40 year old body. I am in possession of a sharp mind. I have love. I will clean up what needs cleaning up, and I will live my values. I will be a shining example of human potential, and I will help anyone who asks for it to do the same. This is what I want for the next 60 years of my life.

While at work tonight, I plan to finish reading my Master Cleanse book, and tomorrow…Day 1.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Raw Aspirations.

I’m on the second of a stretch of three night shifts. I’m an RN in labor and delivery at a small community hospital. In the past 15 years of being a nurse, my weight has slowly crept up to nearly 200 pounds, and I feel that night shift has not helped matters any. Sometimes the nights are very slow in a small hospital, and nurses tend to gossip and eat when they’re bored. I have dieted on and off my whole life, but for the past three or four years I have been on a different path…less “dieting”, more balance, better nutrition, and spiritual development. For the past two years I have been an on-again-off-again vegetarian, then vegan, then back to carnivore, then back to vegetarian, and so on….but almost a year ago I met Bethany Hagensen and her mom, Jody, at an unschooling conference, and attended their workshop on Raw Foods. I immediately started incorporating more raw foods into my diet when I got home from that trip, and quickly became a fan of green smoothies. I would go mostly raw for a few days at a time sometimes, but I always fell back into the Standard American Diet (SAD) and my food addictions. It’s been a struggle, however I have continued with the green smoothies nearly every day, and I think it has made a difference in how I’ve felt. I am now ready to take it to the next level and go raw. With my history of “slipping”, I know better than to try and make such a huge, permanent change right here at the holidays, so I plan to start with the Master Cleanse on January 2nd (because I have three days off starting that day). My goal is to do it for 10 days, then go on a high raw diet after that, permanently. I won’t even delude myself into thinking I can sustain a 100% raw diet long-term, but I am aiming for >75%.

I’ve been strictly vegetarian for the past three days (almost vegan, but I put a little shredded cheese on my salad tonight). I would say I’ve been 50% raw during that time too, having a quart of green smoothie and a large salad every day, with only a small amount of cooked food. Today I had a baked sweet potato, and one piece of Ezekiel bread (sprouted grain bread). At work tonight however, I found some pita chips in my locker and some hummus I had left in the fridge, and I have been knoshing on them for the past hour. I am beginning to suspect that wheat may be a problem area for me. These chips are like crack, I can’t get enough! I have known for a long time that I am addicted to carbs, but now I think the wheat thing may be more of a problem than the sugar thing.

I have about 24 oz. of green smoothie in the fridge that I brought with me, so hopefully that will hold me through the night. I think I’ll try tomorrow with no wheat and see how I feel.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Breakfast and lunch.

Green smoothies make me feel great!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This morning's sunrise.

I grabbed this video after I got off work this morning. The sunrise was breathtaking, but I didn't have time to go home and get my good camera, so I captured it with my cheap Vado, which was in the car. It was 100 times more beautiful in person. The video didn't catch the details and colors in the clouds.

I am 2/3 of the way through the work week (2 of 3 12-hour night shifts), and so far it's been a nice, slow week. We've had one mom and baby couplet on the whole unit for the past two nights, which has given me plenty of time to research my interest-of-the-week online. This week it's the raw food lifestyle. I dabbled with it earlier this year, during my vegan stint. For the past two days I have eaten about 80% raw, mostly green smoothies and fresh fruits and veggies. I like the way I feel when I eat this way, but as someone who loves good food (last week my interest was learning to bake all varieties of bread in my own kitchen), I'm not sure that pure raw is sustainable long-term for me. However, I stumbled across information on the Master Cleanse, and I think I'm going to do it after Christmas. I plan on journaling through the 10 day cleanse here, so stay tuned.

2009 has been a challenging year, and the challenges had nothing to do with my turning 40. I have heard that there is usually much pain just before a period of great spiritual and/or personal growth, and I am excited about what 2010 may have in store for me. 2009 has been a bad blogging year, and I intend to do better in the coming months at chronicling this time in my life. My 11-year-old son told me just a couple of weeks ago, "Mom, you should write a book about your life." When I asked him why, he said because he wants to read it when he grows up. If nothing else, at least he may gain some interesting insight by reading this blog, and another private diary that I've been keeping online for the past 7 years.

I'm rambling now. I'm coming to the end of my work night, and I just wanted to come here and break my blogging stalemate. I'll end this with a promise to write more soon, and a couple of pictures from the past month. We have been living on the Outer Banks for three months now, and I've taken a ton of photographs. Another thing I intend to do in 2010 is enjoy this time "living at the beach".