Thursday, September 30, 2010

All or Nothin'

Just like the song in Oklahoma, I am an all or nothin' kinda gal. I'm not proud of it, mind you, but it's always been my way. I'm in love, or I can't even think of having a movie date, I eat the richest of all carrot cakes or I drink a green juice, I do intense intense yoga or I can't even get myself to the mat. Well, this is no way to go through life, and even if it were, sometimes life just doesn't work that way.

My challenge for the fall is to really find a little balance, a taste of the middle path. Isn't that the whole point of yoga? Oh, right!

One situation that keeps pointing out my all or nothing mentality is my new teaching schedule. I am now teaching on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at a time that makes it hard to get to my own practice. I mean sure, I could get on the mat at home by myself, but often by the time I'm back to Brooklyn I am too tired. So lately I've been heading off to my current teacher anyway. And though I only have an hour to an hour fifteen, as opposed to my normal 1:45 to two hours, I have been getting on the mat and doing a focused, deep practice for the amount of time available to me. I seem to get through only half of third series before he tells me to quit in order to do long finishing postures, and I'm always disappointed in the moment. But the truth is, more is not always better. I seem to leave there feeling pretty great, re-energized, ready to face the day. And my physical practice doesn't seem to be suffering yet, though it's only been a couple of weeks.

The long and short of it is, on my own I have a hard time moderating, but I hope I'm getting better at it, in all aspects of my life. Ok, I mean I still WANT it all, but maybe I can be contented with the middle more of the time.

And on that note, I'm off to have some lovely deep greens for lunch, but there may also be a small indulgence after!

Question of the day: are you the all or nothing type? Is there one area of your life where you wish you'd land more in the middle?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Confession

I have a confession. I love coffee. But that's not the end of it. I haven't quit coffee on my cleanse. I mean, usually I do. I have quit coffee for two years at a time (and somehow managed to make it every morning for the husband anyway). I have quit it during heavy work periods and early morning rising winters and under all sorts of adverse conditions and still managed to get by. But I just don't have it in me right now.

Here's what, I have goals for my cleanse, but quitting coffee just isn't one of them right now. I have finally decided it's a part of my life I don't really feel guilty about (whooaaa! Is there a part of my life I don't feel guilty about?) and if it's here to stay anyway I might as well embrace it. I drink one strong cup every single morning before yoga. Well, actually what I usually do is drink half a strong cup, get distracted, let it go cold, then pour another one on my way out the door and drink half of that too. But really, all the research I've done seems to say that coffee in moderation is A-OK. I mean, it can exacerbate certain conditions, but for the most part, they're not my particular issues. I should drink less of it just before a "Ladies' Holiday" I guess, but it seems to be wheat and dairy that affect those symptoms most. I have insomnia sometimes, but hey, I drink my coffee at 5 am, I bet it's not hurting my sleep so so much.

In any case, I know coffee is the antithesis of cleansing, but my nutritionist and I agree it may not be the thing I really need to focus on, and the cutting out of wheat, corn, soy, gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar and alcohol while carefully monitoring my nutrients, giving my digestive system a good rest and paying attention to sleep, elimination, skin and supplements will do me more good than not. Why worry about trivialities?

Long and short, I'm a veteran cleanser, I know my body well, and I know how to put together a good cleanse tailored especially to me. "They" whoever they are, can talk about coffee all they want, but I am my own unique organism and can decide what works for me in any given moment.

And now, I must hop into yoga clothes. I overslept! Which I never do. So much for coffee affecting my sleep. And hey, more on the nutritionist another time, because yeah I help all sorts of people with these same issues, but sometimes we all need an unbiased opinion and she is really great!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Good Habit To Make

They say, whoever they are, that if you can do something for 21 Days you can do it forever. Now mind you, I don't intend to shun my favorite bottle of Aglianico forever, just because I'm doing it for these 21 Days, but there are some habits I'm re-establishing now that I'd like to hold on to. So the truth is, this isn't only a cleanse, it's a lifestyle window, a time of making some new inroads in my old grey matter and keeping some of them around for a while.

Here's a habit I'd like to keep: paying attention. I had a plan for today. It involved blending the carrot juice I bought yesterday into a frozen pumpkin pie like concoction. But when I got to the moment, the truth was, I didn't want it. It was wrong for the day. Yes, that's a frozen treat, but sweet potato and pumpkin pie flavors in 90 degree weather apparently does not work for me. Enter the avocolada. Just perfect. Avocado, frozen pineapple, coconut water, some vanilla and stevia. Yummy and light. Perfectly tropical for today.

But that's an easy one. It's harder when the choices are bigger. Today I am on the "21 Day" plan, and I knew I would have a smoothie. Another time, the question might be more like "should I give in and eat the pancakes with the hubby, or do I hold fast and order the fruit plate?" Now that's a question where really paying attention is important. Do I actually want a pancake and I'll feel better if I don't deprive myself? Or have I been indulging for a couple of days and this will just make me feel bad? Is it a real want, and will add to my date experience with my husband, or is it an "oh hell" moment, as in "I've already had pasta and pizza this week, so oh hell what's a pancake or two?"

So that's another reason these 21 Days will (hopefully) be helpful. I get green. I reset my taste buds. I take time and get used to paying attention. And hopefully when I reach the other side and widen my choices a little, I'll have gotten more in tune with my body and emotions, and I'll say yes to that lush, delicious Aglianico only when it will truly do me right.

Meantime, I have a serious craving for the raw Wild Greens and Avocado sandwich at Caravan of Dreams. If I pay attention right now I find that I'm REALLY hungry. And I want to satisfy that craving sooner rather than later...2nd series is tomorrow and we all know pashasana works better on an empty belly.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

21 Days of Clean

Although I'd generally categorize my diet as pretty clean with a little dose of hedonism and a sense of play, sometimes the balance swings a bit far. Birthdays, vacations, out of town visitors and Jewish Holidays have a tendency to add up from August through mid September, and sometimes the fun-loving social person in me wins out. Also, fall and spring are great times to turn over a new leaf. The seasons are shifting in a major way, and the temperature and daylight changes can have a huge effect on the system. Often I find if I don't pay attention at this time of year, I get sick.

Enter the cleanse! Yup, I said the C word. Not 21 days of fasting mind you, but 21 days of taking care of myself, cutting out the gunk, rethinking what works and what doesn't, and tipping the balance a little more toward health than hedonism.

Why 21 days? Well, as the Pure2Raw twins put it so well, 30 days just seems like a long time. And 14 is not nearly enough. 21 Sounds just about perfect. And hey, I usually ease back into "normal" slowly, so I won't suddenly be opening a bottle of Aglianico and going to town. The process ends up being more like a month, but 21 structured days is plenty.

I started last week with four days of simple. No alcohol for sure, lots of greens, largely vegan, no "white" foods like pasta. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I claim to avoid these things anyway, but the Challah at Rosh Hashanah the week before was just too tempting, and a couple of other things like that have crept in recently.

Suddenly at the end of last week, OOPS, it was Yom Kippur. I fasted, yes, but then had bagels and Challah again! Oh well, a slight derailment.

So the official first few days to jump start the plan are juice. It clears out the system and alkalizes it so quickly that I end up feeling terrific, and that gives me the will to go on with the "clean plan". Of course, I drink plenty of green juices for nutrition, and I sometimes bump them up with a little avocado blended in for energy and satiety. Also, one cashew milk or coconut shake at the end of the day, a la Blueprint (who I'll review in a separate post) so I'm not just depriving my body of what it needs in an action packed yoga/NY day. But really, by the last day I'll be craving big green salads and cooked Kale and all good things, and not only that, but my digestion will be ready to handle them.

So, with day 2 almost over, one green drink and a cashew milk to go, I already feel better, and I'm mulling my next move. More on the plan tomorrow, but right now the lemon water calls!