Welcome to my Universe!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hello again.

How do you pick up where you left off when you've neglected your blog for almost 6 months? Life got crazy for a while with a job change, a long commute, then another move back to where I came from. Someone asked me recently, "when are you going to start writing in your blog again?" This is a feeble attempt at doing just that, and hopefully it will get me over the hump.

I moved back into a house I own that has a lot of shade and compact, grassless soil, and I decided that I'm going to start an urban homesteading project. Over the course of the next three years, I want to slowly build a mini-farm and see just how much of my family's food I can produce in my own yard. The long term plans include chickens for eggs (new to me) and bees (something I have some experience with). I want to show what an average person, with a less-than-green thumb, can do in an average neighborhood to be self-sufficient and provide her family with fresh, organic food, while still being employed full-time and not having to spend hours a day in the garden. I've started out by building two 4x8 raised beds in the backyard and trying to get some fall veggies going. I've planted one of those beds with cabbage, broccoli, and collards, and the other bed I plan to do a "lasagna garden" with, layering it with what I have on hand right now and letting it compost over the winter so it will be ready for the spring. I also have seven Earthboxes (five "real" ones, and two homemade ones) that I will keep on the deck. There's a small fenced-in area right outside my bedroom door that will allow me to start small while keeping my dirt-loving dog from digging in my new beds. Here's what it looked like upon my return to the house...

Ugly, huh?
I think I can do quite a bit with this small space, and then after next summer I will have to expand to the rest of the yard.

I picked up a copy of the book The Backyard Homestead and it's packed with good information. I will probably be referring to it a lot.

I plan on doing a lot of composting because my soil is poor and it is so expensive to buy the stuff from the store in such large quantities. The worms are still thriving in their Rubbermaid bin in the laundry room, but I would like to expand my "worm farm" to provide me with a greater amount of castings to further enrich my poor soil. Plus, worms can make composting go so much faster. So I need to figure out a way to have a larger worm bin outdoors, with good drainage, preferably some way of catching the "worm tea" that runs off, and enough insulation to keep the worms from freezing in the winter and cooking in the summer. (I live in Zone 7).

I have some pictures of the new beds and fall plants that I plan on getting up in the next few days.

And I plan on attempting the Master Cleanse again at the end of this month.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vegan for a week.

My new Facebook friend, Rebecca Whitlock, went vegan for a week and wrote a very thought-provoking blog about her experience. Check it out!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Healthy relationships.

Today, Americans lead overly isolated lives, spending large amounts watching television, listening to iPods and surfing the internet. You can eat all the broccoli and brown rice in the world, but if you feel isolated and lonely, you are not going to be living life at full capacity.

During the course of a lifetime, we have relationships with parents, grandparents, children, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, extended family, friends, teachers, coworkers-the list is endless. The quality of these relationships explains a lot about the quality of a person's life and his or her health.

Just as no one diet is right for everyone, no one way of relating works for everyone. So cultivate relationships that are healthy and supportive to you. Start to notice what relationships truly feed you in your life and which relationships drain your energy.

Try this Exercise:

Gratitude List
List 5 people in your life who totally support you. Next to each name write one reason that you are thankful for them. If one person on your list is someone you haven't talked to in awhile, call them up and invite them out for lunch or tea. Start making time for the people who give you energy and give less time to the people who drain your energy.

"Take the first step in faith."

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have done NO blogging since I finished the Master Cleanse almost two months ago. The bad news is, I am still struggling with getting "enough" raw foods into my diet. The good news is, I have maintained my 10 lb. weight loss, and am now working out at the YMCA 4-5 times a week. I am feeling stronger and more energetic than I have in a while. I'm feeling some muscles developing under this flab. :-)

I am really enjoying my yoga classes, and am doing that twice a week or so. I get some weight training and occasional Pilates in there too. My favorite thing right now, however, is Zumba. Zumba is a latin-dance inspired aerobic workout, which is more like a dance party than any aerobic class I've ever been to. The same women come every week, and the class is the most popular one at the Y. I have ordered some instructional DVD's because once a week is just not enough. Despite still being 50 pounds overweight, I am inspired and seriously thinking about taking a Zumba workshop in May and becoming a certified Zumba instructor. I don't really have room for that in my career path, but I would love to teach the occasional beginner class back in my hometown where there is no Zumba class within a 50 mile radius. Plus, it's just something that I would love to achieve for my own sense of accomplishment.

I have also made some decisions regarding my career. I have been a registered nurse for 15 years, having done labor and delivery for the past 7. A long time ago, I wanted to be a midwife. But the laws in this state regarding the practice of midwifery, along with being very jaded by working in a healthcare system that I believe disempowers people and keeps them sick, has made me question that path. For the past several years, my job has just been a way to pay the bills, and nothing more. I have felt like a cog in the big, bad machine, and it has been sucking me dry. I have come to realize that my own path to health and wellness relies not only nutrition and exercise, but having a sense of purpose, and living my values. I can't just talk the talk anymore, it's time to walk the walk. So, I've decided to start working on my Holistic Nurse board certification, and see what happens from there. There's a non-profit natural health center in my hometown that I'm interested in getting involved with, and I have already thrown a
line into the water there. I have also started this Ning network as a sort of "project" to work on in the meantime. I also have a Facebook page, so if you're on Facebook, look me up there too. I hope y'all will join me, I really need to get some discussion going over there!

I want to empower people to take responsibility for their own wellness in a holistic sense, and stop relying on pills, and become empowered and educated about what they are doing to their bodies every day. This is something that I feel strongly about, and may just be the life's purpose I have been looking for.

So, even though I haven't written, since I did the Master Cleanse and started concentrating more on raw foods, my body and mind have started to transform, and I'm excited about what the future has in store for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My day so far.

I drank a quart of water when I got up, then went to a very challenging yoga class at the YMCA. Now I'm going to make myself a nice green smoothie! Today is my day off, so I plan on taking the dog to the beach (which is always good for my soul...she is just the picture of joy when she is running around out there!), and maybe doing some thrift store shopping. Later this afternoon, back to the Y for Zumba! If you have a Zumba class in your area and you haven't tried it, you're missing out on a lot of fun!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Optimum health and stress reduction through yoga.

On the physical level, yoga and its cleansing properties have proven to be very effective for various disorders. Listed below are just some of the benefits of yoga:

  1. Yoga increases flexibility and has postures that trigger different joints in the body. Including joints that are not normally used with regular exercise routines.
  2. Yoga increases the lubrication of joints, ligaments and tendons, and exercises the different tendons and ligaments of the body. The body starting out rigid, may experience remarkable flexibility after starting yoga.
  3. Yoga is perhaps the only exercise that can work on internal organs, including those that don't get stimulated through external methods.
  4. Yoga acts on the various body parts, stimulating and massaging the organs and benefits us by keeping away disease. It also provides forewarning of the first onset of disease or disorder. One of the benefits of yoga is the increased sense of awareness that it develops in the practitioner of impending health disorders or infection. This enables the person to take proactive corrective action.
  5. Yoga offers detoxification of the body by gently stretching the muscles and joints. This helps by flushing toxins from the body and providing nourishment. The benefits of such are delayed aging and increased energy.
  6. Yoga is also an excellent way to tone and strengthen muscles which are weak and stimulates the burning of excess fats.
Yoga harmonizes the mind with the body and has enabled people to achieve extraordinary physical feats, proving the mind and body connection. Yoga and meditation, both working together to achieve unity of mind, body and spirit. This they say can lead to an experience of eternal bliss that one can only feel through yoga.

The meditative practices of yoga help to achieve an emotional balance which leads to calmness and a positive outlook, which benefits the physical health of the body through stress reduction.

Larry has a website that educates people on Premium Yoga Mats. He has been studying Yoga and Martial Arts for the past 20+ years. You can visit his site at: http://www.premiumyogamats.org.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Larry_L_Clark

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quote of the day.

"You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of." - Jim Rohn

Monday, January 4, 2010

Master Cleanse thoughts, and cashew cheese recipe.

So I made it 8 days on the Master Cleanse. The night of the 8th day the lemon concoction gave me severe heartburn. We had guests for the weekend, and they cooked a yummy-smelling dinner here, and I got throught that ok, but I had a rough time with heartburn that night. I got up early Sunday (the 9th day) with every intention of continuing on. I had some out-of-town visiting and driving to do (ended up driving 500 miles), so I did the salt water flush and mixed my lemonade for the whole day to take with me. The first glass went down fine. The second glass was making me nauseated. By three in the afternoon, I was trying to get the third glass down and it was making me wretch! I stopped at Whole Foods to get my friend (the one I was visiting, who is undergoing chemo) some flowers and a fresh fruit tray, and I had some of the fresh fruit. I was 200 miles from home, hungry, and nauseated, and I decided then that I was going to end the Cleanse. Everything went fine and when I got home late last night I ate a light raw dinner. I know the book recommends fresh OJ for the first day, but I didn't exactly have a juicer in the car with me, and the fruit sat just fine in my system.

I feel good about ending the Cleanse a little early, and I plan on doing it or another detox in the near future. Right now, the thought of lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne makes me ill, but maybe I'll get over it. However, I have a new juicer on the way, and may very well do a juice fast when we get home from the unschooler's gathering in Ohio next month. I may do a green smoothie detox too...there are so many other less-extreme ways to take care of my body. I'm glad I did the Master Cleanse, though, and I'm proud of myself for sticking with it for 8 1/2 days. It was the first time in my life that I have ever done anything like that. I remember once, about 10 years ago, I tried to do the "cabbage soup" diet to lose some weight. I couldn't make it through ONE day without getting sick of the soup and falling off the diet. Although I had committed myself to doing at least 10 days on the Master Cleanse, my body was screaming "enough already!", and I don't feel guilty at all for ending it early.

So far today I've had a green smoothie, and I'm planning on making a raw chili tonight, from Penni Shelton's blog Raw Food Tulsa. I also just made some raw cashew cheese to use on a raw pizza tomorrow night. I found the recipe online, and have posted it below.

Cashew Cheese

- 190 grams (1 1/2 cups) plain cashew nuts (not roasted or salted)
- 60 to 80 ml (1/4 to 1/3 cup) water
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or good vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- freshly ground pepper

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Place the nuts in a salad bowl, cover with fresh water, and let stand for 2 hours.

Drain the nuts and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add 60 ml (1/4 cup) water and the rest of the ingredients, and mix until thoroughly puréed, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl every once in a while. Add a little more water and blend again to adjust the consistency, if necessary; the cheese will get a little more solid as it sets.

Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let stand somewhere cool for 24 hours before placing in the fridge, where it will keep for another 5 days.

Adapted from Real Food Daily.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 7 of the Master Cleanse...and belly fat.

This one is going to be short, because it's after 2 am...but I've finished up day 7. I physically feel fine, but I've been extremely hungry this evening. I'm SICK of the lemonade at this point. I go back and forth between counting the hours until I can eat again, and wondering if I should go longer than 10 days! My tongue is still white-ish, and I don't feel like I have released any belly fat at all. Speaking of which...

I'm thinking that the stubbornness of my belly fat is more than just a physical thing. Sure, it's probably where most of a lifetime of toxins are stored...but it has also been the focus of a good portion of my self-loathing throughout my adult life. When I was 12 (and not overweight, but going through that awkward puberty stage), I can remember my father pointing at my belly, laughing, and telling me that I needed to go on a diet. It embarrassed me so much, and I spent all my teenage years fighting "the belly", even though I was not overweight. I had my first child when I was 20, and ever since I have hated my belly even more. I realized not long ago that whenever I look at myself in the mirror, the first place my eyes rest is on my belly. Not on one of my good features, like my eyes or clear olive skin, but on the part of me that I hate most. I've given it so much attention throughout the last 20 years, it's no wonder that it doesn't want to leave.

I read a comment tonight that made me realize that loving myself includes loving my belly fat too. It has served its purpose, it has protected me from toxins, it has protected me emotionally when I have needed it to (by keeping me embarrassed and socially isolated, but that was MY doing). It's given me a place to hide at times. It's given my children a soft place to lie their little heads. I need to love it before I can let it go.

I don't know why I didn't think of it before. I'm going to start talking to my belly fat. "I love you. Thank you for protecting me. But I don't need you any more. You are free to go."