2020 Lab Test Results – Vegan Diet

This year I am right on top of checkups, screenings, and physical therapy. Right out of the gate I had some blood testing done to see how nearly 3 years on a plant exclusive diet is working for me. There was a period of a few weeks at the start of 2019 where I brought back eggs and wild game, but all it got me was dizzy, constipated and depressed. Back to the beautiful plants for me 🙂 I have a surgical procedure planned for April of 2020, so I popped the hood to take a peek and see if I need to course correct.

I have had high cholesterol every time I’ve had it tested. I never had a normal result. However, in my “paleo” days it was 314 total (2014) and then 294 total (2017).  Going plant-based in 2017, I was able to drop it by 92 points in 3 months. For reference, I take no prescription drugs.

And then I got relaxed about added oils. And nuts. And well, it’s high again. I do so much better when I keep the fat low. I even notice easier periods and better athletic performance when I keep it low fat. Before we blame genetics…. nope. I had my DNA tested. I cannot blame anyone but my own self because I do struggle with food addiction.

I’ve never gotten my vitamin D in a normal range. I have increased my dosage based on these results to 4000iu daily, but it’s chronically very low. Has been for at least a decade.

I do supplement B12. I understand “meat animals” are supplemented with B12 and also get it from soil, which is where humans used go get it. I hear debate about the necessity, but I’d rather not take chances. My D supplement contains K2. I bleed very heavily on my monthly cycle, and have for the better part of 34 years now (yay!), so I take Floradix to supplement iron. Those are the absolutes. I rarely use protein powders.

I have to say, I get asked where I get my protein so often, if I had a nickel for every time, I’d be a rich woman! Haha! aerialObviously I get sufficient amounts from plants. Read the book Proteinaholic or The China Study if you want to learn why more isn’t better. My protein levels are great. Calcium great. Hemoglobin A1C (long-term blood sugar control) stellar. Oh and I eat primarily carbohydrate! Fresh, delicious, juicy fruit. Every day. In general, it’s looking great except cholesterol. I’ve dropped added oils and cut back on nuts. I’ll retest later this spring.

Other than that, I’m hovering around 130# at 5’1″. I have a good amount of muscle. Blood pressure normal. As I said, no prescription drugs. Plenty of energy to get through my very active days.  Far less struggles with depression. I feel like I’m on an even keel most of the time. Even in the dead of winter. My only complaints are chronic pain (12 years now and still trying to figure it out) and bloating (same amount of time). I think I’m doing pretty dang good at 45 years old. I have certainly come a long way.

 

labslabs

 

 

2020Labs

Three Words for 2020

It’s time for a new ritual. I heard about this on a massage business podcast a couple of days ago and fell in love with the idea. Instead of resolutions, choose 3 words to guide your next year. Find more information about it here: https://chrisbrogan.com/3words2019/

I’ve set a reminder on my calendar for June 10, 2020, to check in and see how I’m doing. And, here are my 3 words.

  1. Save. While I am happily debt free as of late 2018, I’m not the best at saving. I could do better. I have an expensive goal this year and since I no longer do debt, I need to save. This means considering every grocery and Amazon purchase. Setting a grocery budget. Not ordering from Amazon on a whim unless it’s a household staple I’m low/out of and it saves money to get it there. I will not compromise my health to get there, though! When I’ve met my major goal, I’m to continue socking it away for savings. My work schedule is crammed full until October and it’s only the beginning of January, which I am incredibly grateful for!
  2. Focus. There are times I want to do everything all at once. In my business life, I want to take continuing education courses for soooo many irrelevant things I likely won’t even use. It costs me time and money. For 2020, my continuing education is focused on ashiatsu and cupping.AerialExercise is another area. I love several forms and get distracted. My chronic pain issues make running a no-go right now. My goals are to be able to hang with my peers on the mountain bike, to use a pole, aerial yoga, and yoga for strength. Unfortunately, for almost a year now, I’ve had pain in my left shoulder (and my left foot). Even yoga irritates it. I’m scheduled for physical therapy starting this coming week to try to sort it out, but it’s been a full decade of connective tissue crap. I’ve been doing resistance bands and stretching on my own for 8 months and it’s still messed up. All this to say, whatever I need to do to get to my goals is what I should be doing. That means physical therapy, and getting my heart rate up at least 3x/week.  Trying to run a 5k or embark on an exercise program that I hate but I think it will help my booty pop is a waste of my time. If it doesn’t bring me joy or get me to the activities that bring me joy, I need to say no.
  3. Confidence. In my day-to-day, I feel more confident than ever before. However, there are some scenarios that I find myself in where I’m hiding or battling all-out anxiety. Video recordings of me, for example. So…. in January I’m doing 4 live video vegan meal prep demonstrations. Gives me butterflies just thinking about it. I don’t know why. It’s like I get so anxious I forget my damn name! I’ll force myself to do it until I can embrace that whole thing.The other area is with my body. After 3 kids and obesity, even at a healthy weight I am forever tucking my loose belly and trying to hide it. What’s more, I have never been able to pull off looking nice in a normal bra due to some major asymmetry. I’m not talking a little bit. I know full well that my husband accepts me just as I am and I appreciate that, but I’ve decided I’m worth the investment of surgery to get rid of my loose skin and even up “the sisters”. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve put in the effort. If I’m halfway through my life with this body at 45, I don’t want to be fidgeting with my clothes the whole next half. I’m ready to shine.

I may edit this as the year progresses, but it is January 5th as of this first writing and this is what has been on my mind.

ALSO, on New Year’s Eve I wanted to really let something go. Leave something that no longer serves me in the last decade. I’ve been a binge eater as long as I can remember. I wrote “addictive behaviors” on a piece of paper and gave it to the fire to take away. May I never again binge on food. I deserve better than that. Time to get out of my own way, grow up, and seek out higher coping skills.

May we all continue to evolve, grow, and expand <3

Love and light to all of you!

Launching a Successful Massage Practice

Now that I’ve been in business for over 2 years, keeping my schedule full for 3-4 months solid at a time, I feel it’s time to share some of what I did to get to this point.

First of all, I attended Health Touch School of Massage. It is a 650 hour course over 10 months. It was excellent. I got so much out of it, and even though I came from the background of Registered Nurse, I found it quite challenging! I can’t recommend them enough. They’re located in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Let me set this up by painting the picture of my community. Rhinelander is a small town in northern Wisconsin. It’s pretty blue collar in relation to the surrounding towns that tend to be more touristy. There are about 8500 residents and when I started, about 10 local massage therapists. One was just leaving the area and sent some clients my way, which helped tremendously. After 3 months in practice, I was seeing 1-2 clients most days but not nearly as busy as I wanted to be. I was offering classic massage, hot stones, and deep tissue. Pretty standard issue. I was renting a small room in the city, but not super happy with the building. It looked like an old crappy house and smelled a bit like basement all the time. The room was so small I could easily touch all the walls with one hand on the client.

One insomniac night, I popped on to the Facebook group The Art of Building a Successful Massage Practice. There was a reference to the book 60 Clients in 60 Days and before I knew it, I had downloaded it on Kindle and read the whole thing. This was on October 31, 2017 according to Amazon. Basically, the idea is to give away free samples of massage and in getting people on your table, they are likely to want to come back. So, I ordered like 250 gift certificates for 30 minute sessions and started a list of where I’d like to drop them off for local business to maybe give their clients or employees. One of the places I stopped was Serenity Health & Wellness. The owner and I clicked, and she happened to have a much nicer room for rent. It was an easy decision to move. While I waited for certificates to arrive, I had a crazy idea….

I put an ad on Facebook Marketplace. Free 30 minute massage sessions. Upgrade to an hour for $25. I set up a coupon code in my online scheduler. This was on November 3rd. November 4th I was up and out early to provide chair massages 2.5 hours away. I was so busy all day I didn’t have time to deal with my schedule blowing up, but it blew up! I had to cap the freebies at 100. I was booked for nearly 5 weeks, just like that. 6-8 clients per day starting on Monday, November 6th. Many people were just there to try the free half hour. Some tipped, some did not. Some upgraded and some did not. I had to try to squeeze in my few established clients and continue to work as a nurse one day per week. It was absolutely nuts. And, IT WORKED.

I haven’t been booked solid for less than 2 months out since then. Most of my regular clients were a result of that insanity. Now I’m usually 3-4 months out with about 15 contact hours per week, 4 days, and I’ve transitioned it to mostly 90 minute sessions. I see 2-3 clients most days. I now work from home exclusively.

In January 2018 I learned ashiatsu. My hands and shoulders were not liking the requests for more pressure, and it just made sense to use gravity+body weight+my feet to get the job done. Most people in this small

Sarga

town never heard of ashiatsu. I can guarantee you that if I had a service menu offering classic, deep tissue, and ashiatsu, people would not choose ashi-whatsu??? I simply let my clients know that I use my hands, feet, hot stones and cupping, and if anything was uncomfortable in a bad way to please say something and I’d adjust. Funny thing is, even the people who are feet-phobic have come around to the benefits of receiving a massage by foot. Try it out if you haven’t. It’s next level.

Because my body is my body, I went on to develop a shoulder impingement by reaching overhead all day, so now I’m settled pretty well into Sarga Bodywork. Again, I don’t offer separate services. Or upcharges. I have my prices for 75, 90, or 120 minute sessions and they include all the things. Hot towels, hot stone, aromatherapy, cupping…. I go with the flow and what my client wants/needs that day but I only have one gal that has not tried massage by foot yet. She’s in her 70’s. I’m just glad she continues to come to me so I don’t push her.

In Summary:
1. Set up an online scheduler. I’ve been happy with Square for for a couple of years now. It’s free. I used to just do 30 minutes turnover, but by the time I would check out/turn my room over/check in the next client I barely had time to go to the bathroom! Now I do 45. I’m tired of feeling rushed.
2. Be sure to block out time for breaks and existing, paying clients!! I did not, and that was unwise!
3. Make a coupon code in your scheduler.
4. Run a free ad on Marketplace with your coupon code and any conditions (mine was for the month of November but it ended up going into December – I decided to cap it at 100 sessions).
5. Offer your service by time rather than modality. Especially important if you are offering something people are unfamiliar with.
6. Book your client’s next session right at checkout. Now, most of mine just ask to be booked out indefinitely, which is great by me. They can change their mind any time, but as of now (September 2019), most of 2020 is booked.
7. Put your roller skates on. You are going to be busy!

My best tips for being a massage therapist in general:
1. Self care. You cannot give from an empty well. Walk your talk. I do something every day for my physical and mental health. I owe it to myself, my family, and my clients to be well in body and mind.
2. S l o w  d o w n. Move like a glacier. Breathe slowly. Relax.
3. Stop talking. Unless it pertains to the massage or the client wants to talk about something, zip it. Personally, for clients that I have things to chat about with (some are long-time friends and acquaintances), I build in time around their appointment to visit. I love that. Then they can relax into their massage. Obviously, it’s not all about the money to me. I make enough. I can work more if I want to make more, but I’m content. It’s also important to me to connect with people.
4. Require a credit card to hold the appointment. I’ve eliminated no-shows and weirdos by requiring new clients to schedule online and agree to my 24 hour cancellation policy, then use their credit card to secure the appointment. I respect my client’s time as well as my own. If someone has a problem with this, I don’t want them as a client. Be fussy. Quality clients only!
5. Be on time. I start on time and end on time. Period. Who doesn’t hate sitting in a waiting room when they have an appointment and it’s past the start time??

Questions? Comments? Leave them below and I’ll answer every one!

Finding My Pure Poise

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
(Andra Day – Rise Up)

In my 44 years, this experience was one of the most transformative. I was invited to provide massage therapy for the Finding Your Pure Poise inaugural retreat. Amanda, the amazing photographer behind Pure Poise Boudoir, had this great idea to offer a women’s retreat on a private beach on the shore of Lake Superior in July 2019.  I’d been dreaming of massaging near a big lake, with the breeze and waves. Perfect. So I set the date aside. Amanda booked an AirBnB that would accommodate a group of women who came from very diverse backgrounds. There were two hair/makeup pros and I provided lakeside massage. Amanda prepared meals for the group and spent the rest of her time behind the camera lens. The first evening, we sat on the beach and got to know each other in a very fun way. It was like an instant sisterhood. The vibe of the weekend was so uplifting and encouraging.

I had zero intention on posing. Last Thanksgiving, I scheduled a shoot for September 2019 (2 weeks away as I write this!!). My role was to massage the people.

Somehow, I ended up writing my name on the signup for a sunrise shoot on the shore of Lake Superior. Before I knew it, I was trying on lingerie and body chains 🙂

Driftwood

For those of you who don’t know, most of my life I was overweight. I’ve struggled with weight and body image for decades. About 2.5 years ago I had a health scare that prompted me to adopt a plant-based diet. My symptoms cleared up and I dropped 15 pounds easily. I find it joyful and simple to maintain a healthy weight now.
Me in 2000

After my third baby, I continued to gain weight. I was out of control with food. I still struggle with food addiction at times (hello, nut butter!). As long as I stick with fruits, veggies and whole grains, I can eat lots and have plenty of energy to work all day, then go play. It’s awesome. This pic was taken in 2000, when I was in my 20’s. Think I was depressed??

Regarding exercise, I do what brings me joy. I do some strength training in my basement a few times per week. I ride my mountain bike a few times per week. I love yoga when I can.

I struggle with chronic pain due to a connective tissue disorder. I don’t remember the last day I didn’t have any tendon pain. But look; I could let that disable me or I could deal and live my life to the fullest. I do what I can, which is quite a lot. I found it wasn’t any better when I was sedentary. I honor my body by listening to it and that has even meant dialing back racing bikes. It’s okay. I’m no longer depressed. I’m healthier now than when I was obsessed with exercise. I do move my body most days, but it’s out of love.

I have held onto some embarrassment over my belly, uneven boobs and saddlebags for years. Seems no matter what I do, there they are. While I will continue to strengthen myself and work on my body, it’s out of love now. That is the difference. I couldn’t hate myself thin. I finally figured out that this girl is worth loving.

Yoga

When I received my photos, I cried. I’ve been so hard on myself. I let my insecurity about things like my belly and boobs interfere with my self worth for too long.

Favorite

So I swapped services with the amazingly talented Kassidy Ashbeck. She did my hair and makeup, and a group of us gals went to nearby Bonanza Falls. A friend suggested I go get on that downed tree. Haha. Now mind you, I’m a bit of a tomboy. Most days I’m in a ponytail getting dirt under my nails. My favorite cardio is mountain biking, which leads to sore muscles and bruises. Here I am wearing more makeup than I ever have and trying not to fall off this tree. And look at me! I can see my beauty now. The hair and makeup really just helped boost my confidence to do this. I’m pretending I’m a model.

Bonanza

And then when I feel so amazing and beautiful, I treat myself even better. This body is a gift. I’m a goddess of sorts, so I honor that by what I put in and out. I rise above the muck like the lotus tattooed on my leg. After enduring all of the forms of abuse, I am at peace. I am strong. I am enough. I am a badass woman.

Cave

My major takeaways from this experience were:

-I witnessed women absolutely owning their beautiful curves. No matter their weight, they were gorgeous. Sexy. Strong. Amazing. It didn’t even matter. If they can, why not me??
-I like the way that hair curling rod and some makeup look on me 🙂 Hot damn!
-Amanda has a way of making women feel amazing. I can’t even describe it properly. Look up her Pure Poise Intimate page on Facebook and join. So artful. So tasteful. It felt like a celebration of femininity.
-I need more of this in my life. More time with women who are like-minded. More drumming around fires with women. More discussion about the down & dirty things from periods to where to buy sexy undies, to sex and relationships. More openness. More uplifting other women to see their beauty.
-I have arrived at home. In my body. In this body. I. am. home.

Sign me up to do this again. I carry myself differently ever since then. My self-confidence is high. Every day I care for myself because yes, I am something special. So are you.

Ladies, I cannot recommend attending one of Amanda’s retreats or a photo shoot enough. It will change your life.

Pure Poise Photography

Chicken Of The Woods – Foraging

As I was wandering down to the dock to take the kayak out for a lap around the lake this morning, I came across this beauty. I’ve only found one before that I could harvest, and here it was…. right in my own back yard.


This is a fungi known as “Chicken of the woods” or “sulphur shelf”. It’s easy to spot. I’m no expert, but this is a wild mushroom I’m confident I can eat. This is a huge specimen, and if I wait any longer to harvest it will likely be dry and nasty. So, I hatched a fun plan for dinner.

I cooked millet in the Instant Pot (1 minute under pressure – that thing rocks!)

Cooked millet

I picked grape leaves from the vine in the back yard. I blanched them to wrap the filling in.

Grape leaves

I picked stinging nettles to cook with the mushrooms. I have a small patch that I am cultivating. Yes, you can eat cooked stinging nettles and they are very good for you! Wear gloves to harvest.

Stinging nettles

We have a huge patch of day lilies, so I grabbed some of them to stuff as well. They are edible 🙂
Day Lilies

In the smallest amount of olive oil, I sauteed the stinging nettles, some wild leeks I harvested in spring, onion and garlic.

After several minutes, I added rinsed and chopped chicken of the woods mushroom and continued to cook for a few minutes, adding just a little sea salt.

When it was cooked through, I added it to the millet, sprinkled with garlic salt, smoked paprika, and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Wrapped in grape leaves and stuffed in flowers, this meal was very satisfying! And pretty! 🙂

I had a lot left over, so I cut up the mushroom and cooked it to freeze for future use. So thankful for this gift from Mother Nature.

Weight Loss, What I Eat, Fascia Blasting, Feeling Great!

Warning: Booty in thong pics below. If glutes make you feel weird, this post is probably not for you. I’m done with body shame, personally! A strong rear end is making a huge difference in my quality of life!

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted an update! For those of you new to my blog and story, I’ll sum it up. I’m 5’1″ and 43 years old. When I was 27, I weighed somewhere around 170# and was diagnosed by MRI with “Probable Multiple Sclerosis“, showing 2 active brain lesions and with some scary symptoms. I had recently birthed my 3rd child. I was depressed and out of control with food. After tiring of giving myself injections, I turned to diet and lost nearly 40#. When I was about 32 I fell in love with biking. My symptoms were a thing of the past. I found I loved mountain bike racing and participated in as many events as I could. All the while, my tendons and muscles were developing pain that eventually had me in physical therapy, by the time I was around 35, and unable to enjoy biking or running very much. I tried many things; some with temporary relief but mostly no improvement. It hurt to have my legs touched. I had dozens of “knots” like marbles I could feel and the sensation was that of a bruise, leaving my legs (and other areas, but that was worst) very tight no matter how much foam rolling or yoga I did. I had a fibromyalgia diagnosis in 2015.

2 years ago today, in 2016, I was knocked right down with Lyme disease. I couldn’t stand up without help. I could’t drive. I was in so much pain I was beside myself. Walking up a flight of stairs left me breathless. It was a long road to be able to walk and bike again….

Early in 2017 I had a health scare. I feared I had breast cancer. While I awaited the battery of appointments for tests, I decided to be proactive and follow some of the Gerson Therapy principles. It’s basically a low fat, high carb vegan diet. Lo and behold, my pain symptoms went away. The extra weight I had been carrying despite many attempts at low carb, ketogenic, high protein, years of Paleo, being a gym rat, etc. just fell off. Prior to that I would have argued to my death that bacon was healthy!

Despite many health improvements, my legs were still riddled with pain. I had a couple of mountain bike events in 2017 but they hurt pretty bad. Then I met the Fascia Blaster. I’ll be forever grateful to the ladies who introduced me! This claw tool has been a game changer for me!! When I realized that my chronic pain was bound up tissue and some very weak glutes (I had no idea how bad things were back there until I took a pic!!) I made some changes. By the beginning of 2018 I’d started doing Ashley Black’s “Heart Butt” exercises 2-3x/week and blasting at those times.

This morning the scale said 124#. I am down 6 inches on my waist alone since making these changes.

I believe the photos speak for themselves, though….

I’m a work in progress, but my pain issues are definitely receding! This makes me so happy!! I ran a 5 mile obstacle course last weekend. I biked 50 miles with my husband mid-week and then went mountain biking on fairly challenging terrain a few days later! I’ll be increasing the difficulty of the exercises here shortly, but I’m participating in a 6 hour mountain bike race this weekend and look forward to being part of a 4-woman 24-hour team in less than 3 weeks! I want to emphasize that I do not take protein powders or drinks that help control appetite. I eat a lot. It adds up to 1200-1800 calories per day with a ton of fiber 🙂 I don’t have a gym membership. My routine currently looks like this:

Exercise:
Monday
– easy yoga/stretching
Tuesday – bike about an hour at a moderate pace
Wednesday – Heart Butt exercises with resistance bands plus pushups and inverted rows on TRX. Do 50 squats. Run 2 miles at about a 10-11 minute mile pace on a dirt road. Finish with 50 squats and another set of inverted rows. See Heart Butt exercises here. I do a set, then blast a leg/butt for about 5 min. Do another set of exercise, blast the other leg. Finish with a set of exercises. Everything including the run takes about an hour.
Thursday – same as Tuesday
Friday – same as Wednesday
Saturday – mountain bike longer and maybe somewhere different. 1.5-2 hours.
Sunday – Heart Butt + 5k run

I blast arms, belly and face whenever, and occasionally hand a blaster to my husband with a request to do my back.

Food:
Listen, I don’t do starvation very well and a tablespoon or 2 of fat does not fill me up. I need quantity! And color!

Celery juice
Banana, blueberry, date smoothie
Hugh Jass salad 😀 Mixing bowl size.
Fruit. The ultimate fast food.

 

Vegan spaghetti squash bolognese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add to all of this 2 cups of organic black coffee, a piece or 2 of fruit along the way and a glass of organic red wine in the evening.

Recently I noticed that my struggle with binge eating is all but gone. If I’m hungry, I have a piece of fruit and move on. What about protein, you ask?? Well, where do you get your fiber? How much protein do you think you need? Have you read The China Study?

I think what makes it easy to stick with this is that my motives have nothing to do with anyone but me and my Creator. It’s great that my husband notices, but what pushed me to make changes was the chronic pain that had me in a very dark space.

I still have some residual pain, but consistency with the exercise regimen has made a tremendous difference. I thoroughly enjoy my time in nature, and it helps me stay centered in my life.

The food I eat began as a health priority, but has spilled over to include animal welfare as well as environmental concerns. I feel aligned in all aspects now. High-vibe foods for a high-vibe life 🙂

For more resources, check out High Carb Hannah, Medical Medium, Dr. McDougall and Chef AJ.

Thanks for reading! Go do something good for yourself!

Mind Shift

Something shifted in my brain very recently and I have to share. I’m 43. I can’t remember a time I was satisfied with my body. I was a chubby girl, then an obese woman, starved myself skinny in 2009, gained to the point of overweight, struggled hard with my weight until 2017 and FINALLY found what works for me – and with an amount of ease I am still not used to!

For months now, I easily maintain a weight of 125-128. Now, my actual goal at 5’1″ is 120#. It’s a healthy weight.

It’s a number on a scale. I saw this photo of me working yesterday at an Expo and it kind of hit me upside the head. I mean, as recently as the last few days I’ve been “doing a cleanse” or whatever to try to fight my way down to 120 for some reason.

I’ve been knocked down by “Probable multiple sclerosis”, fibromyalgia and an acute tangle with Lyme disease. Twice I struggled to stand up and walk for a period of time in my life. And with this body, I’ve fought my way back. I run 5k on a whim, ride my bicycles to and from work (21 miles round trip), work physically all day long and have the energy to make dinner when I get home. With this body. This. Body. How about just being content with precious gift of a body to enjoy?? It’s actually pretty fantastic.

It’s time to drop the struggle and turn to gratitude. I love the whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. I love the ways I move my body to keep fit. I love my job and the fact that I’m physically able to do it. I love my life. I love my body. I don’t give a crap how fast I can get from point A to point B any more. I do give a crap about having fun and enjoyment.

Grateful and content,

Andrea

On Detoxing

Here’s the thing about me and cleanses. I eat very, very clean the vast majority of the time. When I decide to do a cleanse/detox because that’s my January ritual, I spend the week leading up to it binging. It’s a scarcity mentality, I suppose. I’ll pile on a few pounds and then spend the cleanse bringing it back down. I love the way I normally eat and I’m a healthy weight now by anyone’s standards. I eat mainly vegetables, some fruit, some grains in the form of sprouted grain bread, rice and quinoa, and occasional seeds. Almost entirely organic. I drink coffee, tea, plenty of water and a glass of organic, sulfite-free Pinot Noir several evenings each week.

Maybe it’s a residual from my unhealthy past? This feeling of being compelled to detox after the Holidays? I guess there were about half a dozen holiday cookies consumed. Otherwise, I prepared and hauled healthy dishes to every gathering I attended.

I tracked my food today, weighing and measuring things out of curiosity. I used to do this all the time to try to force weight off (that didn’t work long-term, either). Here’s the breakdown:

Calories total 1437
Protein 34g
Carbohydrates 329g (I never would have believed this would lower my long-term blood sugar control)
Fat 2g
Fiber 45g (yeah!)
Sodium 679mg although I did add some salt to dinner
Potassium 6713mg
Vitamin A 1495
Vitamin C 433
Calcium 30
Iron 86

What I ate:
Breakfast: One pound of Russet potatoes and 1/2 cup red cabbage hashbrowns cooked in water, with seasoned salt

Lunch: Baked sweet potato (a full pound!) with cinnamon and 1 tablespoon real maple syrup

Supper: Diced potatoes 10 ounces and 1 cup diced canned tomatoes with chili seasonings and a good portion of spinach

Snacks: Apple, orange, potato

This fueled me nicely for yoga and fat biking in the snow 🙂 Drank lots of water. Sat in the sauna for 40 minutes. I’ll end my day with rooibos tea shortly. No lack of energy. Clean fuel.

If I wasn’t “detoxing”, I may or may not have added a glass of wine. Makes me think, what are we detoxing from?? Given my history of binging prior to a detox, might it be wise to eat as I do and if I feel the need, perhaps fast for a period of time? Is my motive love, or is it self-deprivation to atone for something I did? Like the binge prior. Hmm….

Easy Menu Planning + What I’m Thinking About During Massages

This is how I’ve done my menu planning for years. Usually I use one card or piece of paper and put the menu on one side/shopping list on the other. I like having my menu with when I shop. I tend to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch all week, for the sake of simplicity. I will batch cook as much as I can on a Sunday afternoon, or when I have the oven hot for a dinner I will throw in 4-6 yams for grab-and-go food.

For the first 3 weeks of January I “detox”. Actually, I examine habits that I feel are unhealthy and put the kabosh on them for this period of time. This January I am doing it by way of a diet of fruits and vegetables. I want to acknowledge that I do have a coffee habit. I’m not going there. I’ve eliminated coffee several times in the past and nothing good comes of it. I love a rich, organic French roast *especially* in the dead of winter. Gets me out of bed in the dark of morning. The staples I have eliminated for these weeks are the evening glass of wine and grains. I tend to eat rice and sprouted grain bread. I have a glass of wine 3 or 4 evenings of the week. But, not for now……

As I’m writing this, I am thinking, “detoxing from some rice and red wine??” Yeah, I don’t know either. It’s not like I ate more than a half dozen Christmas cookies during the Holidays or anything.

At any rate, here are my menu and shopping list for the week. I made a last-minute decision to trade baked squash for baked hashbrowns – squash was no longer on sale and potatoes were. This is all organic food from my awesome local grocer, Golden Harvest. The recipes are from www.potatoreset.com and would be considered low-fat vegan. The “cheeze” and “queso” are made primarily from a boiled potato, nutritional yeast and seasonings. Yogurt is for my husband. I decided against almond milk for my coffee for now and crossed that off, too.

Menu

 

Here’s my haul for $98 and change:

Haul

That’s a full pound of broccoli to go with a yam for lunch every day. 10″ of Russett potatoes, 11.5# of yams. You get the idea. Plenty of food. Now, I do have some staples here already which helps.

The other thing I wanted to write about is massage. I love this 2nd job. I love it like it’s my brand new baby. I love the learning, and the people, and the atmosphere, and helping my community move a little easier. Want to know what the quiet pauses are if you’ve been on my table, or what I’m typically thinking? Yes, of course my mind wanders to groceries and obligations at times but for the most part it goes like this: Once you’re situated on the table I rest my hands on you. Usually on shoulders. I picture in my mind that I grow roots into the ground. I plug my hands into the energy of the sun. I give thanks for this person on my table. And then I proceed. This ritual centers me. For the duration, I am thinking about what my hands feel and what my eyes see. Sometimes I’m thinking “cool tattoo!!”. Sometimes I’m thinking what other tools I’d like to implement to help your muscles loosen up. If my mind wanders, I gently bring it back, just like in meditation. I think thoughts of appreciation, esteem, kindness and gratitude. If you’ve shared a struggle with me, I’m likely thinking affirmations for you. And as I conclude the session, I place my hands in 4 locations along the body while I say these words (usually in my mind):  May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be free from inner and outer dangers. May you be well in body and mind. May you be at ease and happy. Look up “metta” if you want to know more.

There you have it.

Holistic.

Body, mind, and spirit.

Winter Solstice Reflections, Gyms, Workout Routine

Winter Solstice Reflections, Gyms, Workout Routine

Today is the winter solstice of 2017. Seems that many of us pause and take some time for deep reflection this time of the year. It’s kind of an annual review. Where am I and how does it align with where I want to be? Are there large changes to be made? Habits I’d like to adopt?

I’ve been licensed as a massage therapist for 4 months. While I still work as a nurse most weeks, the majority of my work time is spent in a lovely room, in a lovely space, with essential oils being diffused, my homemade candle flickering, Wholetones music playing and a client that I’m grateful for on my massage table. My intention was to be booked out for 4 weeks at a time by the end of the year, and that’s exactly what has happened. It has taken a lot of effort, but it’s here. I love it so much. I feel like my work is my hobby, my creative outlet and my gift. I love helping people feel better in their bodies. I love learning more.

I am a personal trainer and health coach, but don’t push that work. This is certainly the time of year people are thinking about their weight and health, myself included. I’ve lost 17 pounds since spring with ease by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet and moving my body throughout the day. Once in a great while I will weigh and measure my foods, counting calories and macronutrients. It’s more to prove a point now, like that I do, in fact, get enough protein without eating animals. And that I do eat a rather large quantity of food. I like it that way. I like that my diet continues to evolve, to be more aligned with the seasons as well as my feelings about animal welfare.

Several people I’ve observed over the years turn to whatever the latest pill or potion is to lose weight, only to gain it back. Not only is the weight back, but the feelings of failure are worn around like a weight every day for many people. I’ve been there! Although I still have my struggles, they’re much fewer and farther between than they used to be. I truly believe the fundamental reason why the pills and shakes fail is that they don’t address the root of the problem. What if you loved yourself enough to nourish your body? What could you love about yourself right now, in this moment? Until you examine why you keep repeating the cycle, it will continue. Also, what are the ingredients in your shakes and bars?? Synthetic vitamins? Isolates? For me personally, I like a large quantity of real food. I like to put away a pound of veggies, or several cups of starch in the form or rice or yams every day. I do not like restriction, and if I think I can just have a little bit when it comes to chocolate or nut butter, I’m lying to myself. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Serves me well in some aspects of life.

Ok so, here’s my current workout plan:
plan

If you’re wondering what the heck Heart Butt and Blast are, check this site: https://ashleyblackguru.com/heartbutt/ – the Fascia Blaster is the only tool I’ve found that addresses my bound up fascia, and I’m able to see/feel a difference with regular use! I’ve struggled for years with IT band and Achilles pain, so this is huge for me. Most days I do my strength training and blasting in the morning, in my bathroom with the space heater on. I play loud music and do the strength exercises with a resistance band in sets of 10 for the duration of a song. Then I blast one area for a song (left upper leg, for example) and repeat for 3 full sets.

For cardio, you will no longer find me on some machine under fluorescent lights watching negativity on a screen. Here’s my cardio gym on Tuesday. Quiet stillness except for me moving my body through space, and the chatter of winter birds. The forest floor blanketed in sparkling white. Crisp, fresh air. Hills are my high-intensity intervals. I’m finding that a gentler pace and more restorative approach is more aligned with this season.

and Thursday, with my enthusiastic 4-legged soul mate:

 

I’m not so into “Resolutions” but in 2018 I’m taking steps to:
 – replace some evening glasses of wine with tea
 – create a morning ritual to involve a little yoga and meditation
 – create space in my schedule to relax, especially in the evenings