Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 11: The Temptation of Kathy

(Note: for those unfamiliar with the Jesus, this is a little play on Matthew 14:1-11)

Then Kathy was led by three friends into the night to be tempted by animal products, gluten, alcohol and sugar. After fasting 10 days and 10 nights, she was hungry. The tempter came to her and said, "Are you ready to order?"

Kathy answered, "Man does not live on bread alone, so I'll just have the tofu steaks and the veggie roll, please."

Then the night led her to the holy site of Drew Brees' post-Saints parade appearance, Lucy's. At the bar, one friend asked, "Do you want something?"

Kathy answered her, "I'll have half white wine and half sparking water." For it is also written, "Don't be a party pooper."

Again, the friends led her to the classiest place in all of New Orleans, the Goldmine, and showed her all the glorious people and dance moves in God's kingdom. Without prompting from anyone, Kathy knew she needed a beer.

After the musical delights of Miley Cyrus and the Black Eyed Peas, her buzz left her, as did the skeezy college boys, and the friends attended her into the cab.

Just another 10 more days to go...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 10: Jamie Oliver brings Good News!

What did you eat for lunch when you were in high school? 

I know some of your parents packed your lunches. Remember how obsessed people were with Lunchables? That little round pizza with red sauce that you got to spread with a red plastic stick. Yummy!

 Well, my parents liked to sleep in. So they never made my lunch. Even when I had a field trip to go on that required a bagged lunch, they would just buy one one of those pre-made wet sandwiches that comes in the clear, triangular container and call it a day.

By the time I got to high school, imagine how impressed I was when it was somehow "cool" to actually buy the school lunch. We would seriously race out of class (sometimes we'd get out of C4 early) so that we can be first in line. Now that I'm thinking about it, $1.75 is quite the steal for Taco Tuesday, Fried Chicken Wednesday or Friday's grilled cheese and gumbo. If only I still had my ID and school uniform, I could stop by for some cheap lunches. 

A friend of mine sent this video to me of Jamie Oliver presenting his TED wish:
"I wish for everyone to help create a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity."
If you have time, I highly recommend watching this compelling presentation:

A few weeks ago I went to a talk about the
Slow Food movement. Essentially, our culture has completely altered our lifestyle to accommodate for our easy access to fast food. Since we're no longer needed to spend that time preparing food, we can work longer and commit our time elsewhere. For those students lucky enough to be able to leave campus for lunch. Where did you end up going? Certainly not to your garden to pick out your fresh produce and toss together a lovely spring mix salad. (Maybe just my friend Lori, because she grew up on a farm.)

One of the problems I had with the Slow Food talk I attended was that we brought the fact that socio-economic status definitely affects households' access to good quality meats and produce but there was no discussion of how we can make it possible for everyone to have equal access to not only quality foods but to education. 

Living in New Orleans, I do realize that first we need to have just plain good ol' education for everyone. So, one thing at a time. 

But Jamie Oliver doesn't just bring up some very valid arguments but also brings valid responses and ways that we can help fight the epidemic of obesity and ignorance. 

This week, I had to think about different scripture passages that have changed my life. When I was preparing to go to Croatia to spend the summer talking about Jesus and why I love him, I was so moved by Romans 10:

"And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"
Maybe I am making a stretch with this verse. But how will people know if there is no one to advocate for positive social change? 

Jamie Oliver must have some beautiful feet. 

Day 9: To Jack

It's been over a week and I haven't attempted to eat the flesh off my own arm out of sheer hunger and lack of red meat. Today I made a smoothie. You should be really impressed because I honestly cannot recall the last time I have used a blender for something other than making margaritas. So yes, at times it's been a challenge to be on this cleanse, especially when I walk into work today and there are petit fours, fudge brownies and girl scout cookies floating around the office.

Petit fours: tiny squares of scrumptious cake and icing

An aspect of this cleanse is the letting go of habits and comfort zones. Being compelled to and actually following through on making that one smoothie means, ladies and gentlemen, I am maturing! Finally! I'm serious. I've always been too lazy to pull out the blender and gather the necessary ingredients needed to make one. I used to just mix my protein powder with water and drink it all lumpy. The lumps will actually break up as I drink it and release clumps of dry powder into my mouth. Delicious. Or sometimes I'll actually go to Smoothie King, but when I end up paying $6 for it, I realize I could've just had dinner instead. 


 3 easy steps! (The 4th hard step is the cleaning.)

People think I'm ridiculous for choosing to do this cleanse. For choosing to create an inconvenience for myself and others and to challenge myself to eat and live in a way that it not the norm for me. 

Today I was reminded that there are times when you don't have the freedom to choose, but it happens to you. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, lives and homes were literally displaced. The good folks here no longer had access to what made up their everyday lives: homes, jobs, family, friends, bars and Burger Orleans.

Today I had the pleasure of meeting Jack. Just yesterday, Project Homecoming started putting volunteers to work on his house. In the past 4 and a half years, he and his wife have been victims of contractor's fraud not once but twice. Unfortunately, this is too often the case with the homeowners we work with. Jack is also currently going through chemotherapy. 

When huge catastrophes strike your life in the form of a hurricane or cancer, you start to realize and recognize the many things you depend on that you may not have noticed before. But like this great city, Jack hasn't lost hope. Each day as volunteers from all over the country come to help rebuild this home, Jack knows he is one day closer to having a home that will be in better shape than before the storm. He deserves it. 



As we learn to let go of things in our lives, whether or not it is by choice, we always have the opportunity to rebuild better and stronger. 

For Jack, I hope the physical rebuilding of his home gives him the knowledge that the same is possible for his body and his health. 

For me, I am a lucky girl to be able to give up things so freely when there are still good people out there still waiting to get back what's been taken away. 

"So tonight you better stop and rebuild all your ruins, 
because peace and trust can win the day 
despite of all your losing." 
- led zeppelin 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 8: So what DO you eat?

I get asked that anytime I tell people about this cleanse. So I decided it would be fun to write down everything that I have eaten. And by fun, I mean I'm too tired to think of anything else right now.

So here is what I can remember:

A: apples, asparagus, almonds, agave nectar, avocados, artichoke,
     arugula, acorn squash

B: bananas, black eyed peas, brown rice, broccoli, baby corn, bamboo
     shoots, black beans, balsamic vinegar, blackberries, blueberries,
     barley, brazil nuts, brown rice pasta

C: carrots, corn, chickpeas, cilantro, cashews, cashew butter, celery,
     crackers (gluten-free), cabbage, collard greens

D: dates

edamame, eggplant, endive

flax seeds, filberts

green bell peppers, green beans, grapefruit, grapes, garlic,

herbal tea, hummus, hash browns

iced herbal tea



lentils, lettuce, Lara bars



okra, oatmeal, oranges, olives, onions

peas, potatoes, popcorn, pears, peaches, protein powder, pecans


red beans, red bell peppers, rice cakes, raspberries

S: sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, strawberries, spinach, snow peas,
    salt, soy protein powder

T: tomatoes, tofu, tamale, tortillas chips, tabouleh, Tony

U: unsweetened soy milk

V: vegetable stock, vegan butter, veggie sushi roll

white rice, water, water chestnuts, waffle, white beans

xantham gum

yellow squash


Thinking about food is making me hungry.

So, you see. I have been able to eat. And this list is only what I have eaten and not what I can eat. There are certain items that I would love to eat but just aren't in season (like butternut squash, yum!). I think as I continue my cleanse, I will continue to update this list. I purchased an eggplant today, but I haven't eaten it, so it didn't make the cut. Better luck next week, eggplant. Okay, I'm incoherent. I need to practice what I blog (see Day 7).

Let me know if you think there are some things that I should try that I'm leaving out of my diet. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 7: The rest is up to you.

Every week in Sunday School, I end our time with asking for prayer requests. One of my two attendees always asks us to pray for more sleep. Every week we pray for more sleep. Is anyone out there getting more sleep? You can thank us (and God).

In the spirit of multi-tasking, I was reading today's chapter while exercising. It was weird reading about how it is essential for us to get proper rest while I was breaking a sweat on the stationary bike. There were times I had to put the book down so I can focus all my energy into pedaling. Resting just doesn't come easy at times.

Last year, I started experiencing lower back pain. Somehow I'm a 60 year old stuck in a 25 year old's body. Luckily the weather was still warm, so I wore a lot of dresses because it was too painful for me to bend over and pull on a pair of pants. After many months of ignoring it, the weather turned cold and I needed to wear pants. So... I needed to see a doctor! The results came back and I had a herniated disk.

I was so frustrated with myself. Before finding out what the real cause of my pain was, I tried doing back and core strengthening exercises thinking the pain came from weak muscles. I was also getting back into a running routine to prep for 5k season. My mind was telling me that doing more work would somehow eliminate the pain. My body was telling me I needed to stop. 

In Sunday School, we talked about Sabbath one day. Sabbath isn't just about taking a break and giving God a little credit. It's about fully resting. How many of us fully rest from exerting our own efforts? How many of us ever really rest from interfering with creation? When we allow ourselves to stop what we are doing, we are more open to seeing new things, especially all the intricate ways that God is at work. He set the earth into motion and it will not stop just because we stop for a day. Unless, you're Atlas.

God also created this body of ours that, even while we rest, a million different functions continue, especially the ones that help rebuild and strengthen us. While we are sleeping, small people in white pods enter our body and engage in Body Wars.

Incredible. There's also all the medical benefits that comes with proper rest and relaxation:
  • Our metabolic rate increases during deep sleep. Sleep your way to a smaller size! 
  • Taking two vacations annually cuts the risk of heart attacks in women by 50%.
  • Sleep raises levels of certain immune-system proteins to help us feel better when we get sick.
  • Periods of decreased levels of activity allow the body to do the deeper recuperative work like rebuilding cells and tissues. 
So when you go to recharge your iPhones or Crackberries, think about the recharging you need for yourself. Your body will be so thankful after you wake up in a puddle of your own drool. That means you have rested well, my friend.




Good night and sleep tight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 6: I need a drank.

Ironic that on the day of the cleanse focused on abstaining from alcohol, I could really use a drink. While my wet hair was still wrapped in its towel, my phone rang. It was Monday calling to tell me she hates me. It was really my dad calling to tell me I had a flat tire.

Why hello, Monday. Must you be such a bitch?

I had an important meeting to get to, so I put some air in it to hold me over a few hours. The meeting turned out to be one of those times I wanted to revert to being a child and just cry to drown out what's really going on. The advisory board that oversees the volunteer program I work for needed to discuss the viability of our program. The bottom line was we had no idea where we would get the money to fund our program after this year. This went on for two hours. We didn't even get to talk about my Amazing Race application ($1,000,000 is more than enough!) and the help I need to make my submission video. Maybe I'll put it on the next meeting's agenda.

After that, I took my car to get serviced. I was a few (thousand) miles past due for an oil change and tire rotation, so I added that to my service order. Of course the type of puncture in my tire is irreparable. There goes another $75 dollars. And I probably paid too much for all of this, because I am a girl and ignorant of anything that isn't related to food, clothing and stationary.

An hour and a half later, my day is back on track. I have 3 hours before my next meeting. As I merged onto the interstate, this insanely large red triangle with an exclamation point appears on my dashboard and my car is beeping at me. I'm driving a Toyota, so at this point anything can happen. So I take the approaching exit and pull onto the first side street I can. My car completely stalls.

After a few phone calls and just a couple of tears (I'm serious. I really had to suck it up and pull myself together, because my meeting is now an hour away!), my car had to be towed.

Another two-hour meeting later, I get dropped off at home. Now can I have a drink? Even you probably needed a drink to just get through my story. Oh right, I'm on this stupid cleanse. Sure some Celestial Seasoning chamomile tea will do. It's nothing like my usual mug of red wine, but absence does make the heart grow fonder.

I guess given the past few weeks we've had here in New Orleans celebrating the Saints winning the Super Bowl (Who Dat!), I could use a little detox.

It's not breaking news that alcohol has many affects on the body. Some good, some bad. Just read and you can decide for yourself.

In the next few weeks, it'll be interesting to see what it's like to go out with my friends while abstaining from alcohol. I guess I should confess that some of my poor decision-making doesn't stem from my drinking. It's just always much easier to cover up for my innately stupid self by blaming it on the a-a-a-a-alchohol.

P.S. Does anyone need a DD? Oh wait, I don't have a car. fml

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 5: Only Losers Exercise

I mean, The Biggest Losers! I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. Yes, some of the challenges on the show are lame, and the product placement is super cheesey, but I love what the show is about. Getting ordinary, sedentary over-eaters to break a sweat and burn some calories. There just is no substitute for exercise.

Check out the winner from last season. Danny started at 430 pounds and ended the season at 191, losing 55.58% of himself! It's so crazy that through physical activity and proper eating, Danny not only is stronger and healthier than ever, but has an amazing tan!

I know I don't need to lose weight, but for my entire life, I have never been physically adept. I remember in elementary school actually being called a "bean pole." Who says that??? In college, I managed to live with a bunch of athletic women. There was Missy, the volleyball player with the six pack and big guns. Lauren, who ran a marathon after spending a week sleeping with the homeless in Philadelphia. The triathlete, Ali, who I could never keep up with no matter what we were doing. When we would go running and there was some sort of hill or mountain, Ali keeps running... faster! When I see any type of incline, I look for an escalator.

So it's not surprising that I became known as Flat Kathy. Or Pencil Arms. Your pick.


No matter how humiliated I've been, which has been plenty (trust me). I still run and I still go to the gym. Why? Because I'm a masochist, you say? No, because it's one of the best things I can do for myself. Exercise isn't just rewarding physically. Your emotional well-being benefits as well. We all learned about endorphins from Elle Woods.

And it's not just endorphins. Your brain also produces serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaine -- which are some of the same neurotransmitters that antidepressants are designed to target. If you're interested on how exercise can positively impact depression, you should read this Duke study

Exercise also has helped me grow spiritually. I've seen a dramatic increase in prayer. "Dear God, please let this spinning class be over soon!" "Holy Jesus, I think I'm going to vomit." "Thank you, Lord, for not letting me die." I never feel more closer to God than when a work out is over.

Since this cleanse is only 21 days, I have decided the other 19 days that are left of Lent will be focused on getting my running back on track. You see, I sort of took to running this time around like I do with some of my failed relationships: I went into it going too fast too soon and ended up getting hurt. (Aww, sad, I know.)

Seriously a few weeks ago, after have been put on hiatus for 4-6 weeks for shin splints, I went from running 2 miles at the beginning of the week to 6 miles by Saturday. I thought my tibia was going to snap in half and break some flesh. I don't know how I convinced myself that was a good idea.

Lesson of the hour: get physical but be gentle with yourself. Ease into it. Like with the cleanse, I slowly cut out meat and caffeine before diving into the 21-days of beans and rice and herbal tea. The same goes with pushing yourself to attain a physical goal.

Work your way up to getting a daily dose of cardio with a sprinkle of weight training. Even just stretching and doing a few simple calisthenics to burn some good calories while you're watching American Idol is better than just sitting on your ass consuming more calories. Don't underestimate the power of stretching. Open your mind and your body and just see the vast range of motion and emotion is that is available to you through exercise.

If you're feeling self-conscious, just think about all the Biggest Loser contestants getting berated by Jillian Michaels on national TV.

Flat Kathy is also out there flailing her pencil arms.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 4: I eat because I care.

What a beautiful day it was today! Sorry, I'm an inconsiderate blogger and didn't take a photo to place here but just imagine a Saturday with the perfect temperature and the clearest skies. Not only that, but I managed to end up having dinner at a restaurant that had items on the menu I could order without being one of those annoying customers who has to spell out to the server what exactly they want or don't want in their food. (See video for example.)

I didn't want to embarrass my friend and whip out my camera to take pictures of my food, but I had a lovely vegetarian tamale and avocado and mango salad. Afterwards, I went to a bar and even the bartender was attentive to my plastic cup of water, giving me plenty of refills. I tipped him for not giving me grief for not having real drinks at his bar.

In all honesty, a few years back I could've cared less about where my food came from or what I was eating. As long as it was delicious, I'll take it. To this day, my favorite food is the chili cheese hot dog from Bud's Broiler. It's basically the antithesis of this cleanse. Sure my balsamic marinated tofu is good, but there's just something about meats of unknown origin on a white burger bun with a sprinkle of sweaty cheese that makes my mouth water.

I guess after living in California, all those alfalfa sprouts that came on my turkey avocado sandwich got to my head. Of course, there's also Al Gore and that Invconvenient Truth he invented, like the Internet. Now I've turned into this environmentally aware concerned citizen of the earth.

Beyond just caring for what I am putting into my own body, we are now learning more and more about where our food comes from and who, besides the cute barista, is actually making it possible for me to have my grande nonfat latte. Instead of blindly eating and consuming, we need to open our eyes before we open our mouths.
"A part of the cleanse process is about considering the whole picture: how the food serves our body, how it affects the environment, and the process by whch it gets to our plate. It means that we scrutinize the methods of production from beginning to end, making sure that what we eat is not only good for us, but also good for everyone involved."
-kathy freston
I know that some people think that it's futile for one person to change their eating and living habits for the sake of the entire world. I admit that the small steps I take to be "green" probably doesn't register in the grand scheme of things. But at least I care. 

I beg you to watch this short video from the Miniature Earth Project.

I have done nothing to be one of the 25 people who have clothes, a bed, a safe home, and the luxury to choose what I want and don't want to eat. I agree with Shane Claiborne when he wrote, "I'm convinced that God did not mess up and make too many people and not enough stuff. Poverty was created not by God but by you and me, because we have not learned to love our neighbors as ourselves."

For someone who has a blog and is constantly updating my Facebook and Twitter with mundane and asinine details of my life, it's obvious how self-absorbed I can be. So if I can be intentional about being kind to my body and provide for my own needs, how can I not make an effort to do the same for others?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 3: See, taste and feel your belovedness

Today's reading talked how meditation and visualization can be powerful tools in helping us achieve breakthroughs, overcome challenges and reach our goals. I didn't really jump on the whole meditation, silence and solitude bandwagon until a few years ago. I remember months before I even graduated from college, I was constantly bombarded with the question, "So what are your plans for after graduation?" As irritating as it was to hear it from other people, it was more irritating hearing it from myself. Yes, I often talk to myself. Now I disguise the talking to myself in the form of a blog.

I couldn't get past the enormity and noise of the question to even begin to formulate some sort of b.s. answer that would appease the masses and myself. Not only was the question driving me crazy, but there was the pressure of needing to have a plan that was acceptable to everyone. How can you tell all your friends who are heading to grad school to be biomedical engineering doctors of international law that I just feel like working retail until I figure something out?

It started with a trip some friends and I took in college to San Francisco. The entire trip we were constantly figuring out what music to best blare out the windows and sing at the top of our lungs. At the very end of the trip, as we made our way up PCH, my dear friend Morgan asked, "Can we just turn the music off?" That 10 minutes or so of silence had never felt more soothing and comforting to my over-stimulated body. I didn't even realize silence was what I needed and that it would feel sooo good at that moment.

Months after graduation, I worked retail for a while until I figured something else out.

I also started adopting ways to meditate. Starting with a simple breath prayer. The book recommends saying, "I break through." I can't do that and take myself seriously. For me, there is nothing more necessary and cleansing than to meditate on God's love. Something like, "I am the beloved of God" works for me.

Go through a relaxation process of intentionally relaxing your body and muscle groups one area at a time. Then take the deepest breaths you will have taken for the day. Then with each inhale and exhale, recite one word from your selected mantra. Do this for however long you want to.

After some training, because it is something I had to train my mind and body to grow accustomed to, the noise and the ambivalent thoughts were drowned out by the growing knowledge and acceptance of the fact that I am the beloved of God. We all are the most loved sons and daughters of the Most High God.

As you taste and digest that nugget of truth, you will undoubtedly experience a variety of emotions. It's okay to feel a sense of guilt, fear, unworthiness, relief. Have compassion on those parts of you that we try to hide or overcompensate for because no matter how broken or lost we feel, we are LOVED. It is the experiencing of that love that takes us to new levels of being and living. 

I am a little embarrassed to do something as cliche as this, but anytime I hear that Natasha Bedingfield song on the easy listening station, I can't help but to turn it up and actually open up my dirty windows to release my inhibitions. So this is a little lame but just humor me and read the lyrics and visualize pulling up to a stoplight and there I am with my windows down, fingers snapping and belting out:

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitiiioons!

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Oh, Oh, Oh (gotta sing the Ohs!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 2: Don't talk to me until I've had my coffee.

The author of The Quantum Wellness Cleanse, Kathy Freston, spends Day 2 focused on the adverse effects of caffeine on the body. I have definitely had my share of caffeine withdrawal headaches, so I know that my body has become dependent on the caffeine it gets from my love of coffee. If anything, it holds me over between breakfast and lunch. Those are some of the longest hours of my life.

I guess Kathy Freston must be healthy all the time, because if she's ever used WebMD for it's symptom checker, she might have seen this article they wrote about the health benefits to consuming caffeinated coffee. Apparently this bean can help reduce the risk for diabetes, Parkinson's disease, colon cancer and a few other diseases. For me, the biggest benefit is joy. I love coffee. Did I mention that before?

So aside from coffee, people get their caffeine fix from tea. Nothing wrong with that. What is wrong are the soda and energy drinks. "Currently, Americans consume more than 53 gallons of carbonated soft drinks per person per year; the amount surpassed all other beverages, including milk, beer, coffee and water." (You can read the full report here.) I think what's worse than the caffeine in soda and energy drinks are the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and a huge variety of other processed and lab-manufactured ingredients.

Let's take a look at Red Bull.

I love that on its website, it proudly announces that Red Bull is "gluten free, vegan, wheat free, dairy free!" How health conscious of you, Red Bull. If you continue reading the FAQs, the last question asks about the ingredient, taurine, in Red Bull. They say taurine "is a purely synthetic substance produced by pharmaceutical companies and is not derived from animals or animal materials. All ingredients for Red Bull Energy Drink are synthetically produced by pharmaceutical companies. This guarantees the highest quality."

Wasn't it a pharmaceutical company that produced Fen-Phen?

All I'm saying is that people don't have bad side effects or start addictions from eating a handful of almonds or a banana (unless you have allergies or OCD). Good food won't deform your heart or give you the shakes. Not only is it delicious, it also didn't come out of a lab.

For me, I think what it boils down to is this: Are there choices you make in your eating that have created an unhealthy dependency? Like the times I feel sad or bored and all I crave is a box of glazed Krispy Kremes, or when I've had a stressful day and I down a glass or three of wine.

Often times we are selling ourselves short when we feel like we need certain substances to get us through the day. We are strong, capable men and women in this world. If I don't have my coffee in the morning, it's okay. But I still don't want to talk to you. (jk!)

My lunch for today: brown rice, potatoes, carrots, snap peas and zucchini. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 1: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean.

I love this season of Lent. Really, because I love Easter. Commercialism has shat all over Christmas, but what are they going to do about Lent? A season of repentance and remembering the life of Jesus doesn't really sell flat screen TVs. Albeit, there is one fast food place that has already started airing their Lenten fish special. I'm not marketing expert, but I'm pretty sure people aren't trampling over each other for that hot mess.

The day started off nicely. It was nice to head back to work after the Mardi Gras and my own personal flu season. Because I was ill last week, I already cut out caffeine, which made the transition without my usual coffee not too shabby.  I deeply and passionately LOVE coffee, so my heart is aching a bit, but my brain is happy to learn how to activate on its own.

My Grandma is not only cute, but pays attention. So this morning she made rice porridge (aka jook or congee). This version was simply rice, water, carrots, onions and garlic. I also managed to have already purchased some food that fit perfectly within the parameters of this cleanse that I ate in two small meals. Red beans, brown rice, potatoes, green beans and carrots, oh my!

Tonight, I hit up the Whole Foods (often known as Whole Paycheck). I didn't really have a game plan, just made sure I had some of each food group - vegetables, fruits, carbs, legumes and herbal tea. I even went for the vegan butter and crackers. I couldn't find a gluten-free bread that didn't contain eggs, so I splurged for the gluten and vegan free... frozen waffles? I'm not gonna lie, I'm kind of looking forward to trying them. Of course, you can't leave out the agave nectar, otherwise there would be no sweetness to my very plain rice cakes. After this, I'm going to put together what I'll bring to work tomorrow (and maybe have one of those waffles for dessert). I'll let you know how things go, but for Day 1, I give it an A-. The minus because I tried one of my gluten-free tortillas and it tastes like crap. The rubbery, almost plastic-y texture and flavor did not pair well with my spinach and lentil soup.

Anyway, to the deep stuff. I just got back from Ash Wednesday service, nice and short but so full of substance. You might say it was nutrient dense ;) This cleanse is not just a physical cleanse for me. The past year and a half has been incredibly challenging in all aspects of my life. I moved back home to live with my parents (Hello, therapy?). I started a new job with some of the craziest people you'll ever meet (more therapy, please). And I'm still checking the "single" box (e-harmony?).

My prayer is that this wellness cleanse will manifest itself in the cleansing of my soul. A time to forgive myself and to give my body and mind a break from the physical and emotional demands I put upon myself. Each day, as I am aware of what I eat, I am aware that it is through God's grace that I have my daily (gluten-free) bread and the cleansing of my soul.

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; 
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; 
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness; 
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins 
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, 
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Psalm 51:6-10

Can I get an "Amen"?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is this thing on?

Dear Blog Readers,

This is my first entry and I have to say, I am a little nervous. I have been meaning to start a blog for a while, and now I'm finally taking the plunge. You may be asking yourself, "Why does a nice girl like you need a blog?" Honestly, sometimes, I just like a little adventure.

Almost daily, I have thoughts. And the good ones are funny and interesting. So, I will try my best to limit my blog to those, but I can't control them all so a few stragglers might slip by.

If you like a healthy blend of self-deprecating humor and tmi, then you've come to the right place. Through my musings, you will get to know me and how I see the world. So let's cut to the chase and get to the good stuff!

Tomorrow, I am beginning my journey on the Quantum Wellness 21-Day Cleanse. For the next three weeks, I will abstain from the Big 5:

1. Animal Products
2. Alcohol
3. Caffeine
4. Sugar
5. Gluten

I can sit here and try to justify why this is a great idea, but I won't. I needed something to commit to for Lent, and I needed something to start a blog about, so voila!

This all started because of Ellen. I wouldn't be cutting out these major 5 items from my life if I would just cut one - television. But I'm committed now so there's no turning back. For today, I will continue to enjoy my king cake, and we will let tomorrow worry about itself.

Happy Mardi Gras, ya'll!