Vulnerability 


I’m sitting at the exit of a ride in Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. I’m waiting for my students to go through the line while I hold their mountain of bags and goodies. The ride is akin to Disney’s Splash Mountain, and it’s called Toon Lagoon. These details aren’t relevant. 

What’s been on my mind is the effect of the gut-wrenching screams being emitted from nearly every mouth as it is forced down a steep slope of watery adventure. These screams, though at times comical, are all communicating the same non-humorous message:
“I’m scared. I don’t know what to expect. What was I thinking? I want off this ride!!”
That’s vulnerability leaking out, people. And no one looks in alarm at the petrified 38 year old me who is screaming like a teenager. No one questions the fear. When you see the ride, you get it. It would actually be odd if people DIDN’T scream. 

What’s interesting to me is that this natural vulnerability should also be expected in our daily lives. So often we forgo the honest “I’m scared” and the real “I don’t know what to expect” for “I’m fine! How are you?” We push away the healing power of a good vulnerable “scream” and push down our hurts to, what? Save face? 
How’s that working? 
I think it would be cathartic, healing, monumental if we allowed ourselves to express truth, like that man being forced down on the wild ride by gravity. 

So, I’ll start!
Marriage, my next ride:
I’m scared. I don’t know what to expect. What was I thinking? 

But, I am still  so GLAD I chose to get on this ride.❤️

Disconnected Power Chord

I was getting ready to have a lengthy phone conversation with a friend today and I caught myself seaching for my bluetooth ear piece. Then I remembered that, even if I found it, I wouldn’t be able to use it: I lost the power chord many moons ago. 
How many of you have electronic devices that are now banished to the “unchargeables” pile? I personally have about 5 or 6 items that I can no longer use because their power source has run away. And it’s silly for me to hold onto them still, but I sense there is this hope in me that one day, I will find a way to recharge the item and behold its brillance again. 

But that probably won’t happen. Once something is lost in my home, it stays there, stubborning refusing to be found. 

This all got me thinking about the connection to when I feel “uncharged” or lacking a direct line to my Power Source (God). Sadly those moments can occur  when I get caught up in the chaos of life and the routines I have established each day. Life is hard. Humaning isn’t easy. Adulting is lame some days. Don’t get me wrong: I love being grown and alive!  I also recognize the challenges that exist in staying constantly connected to my “Power Chord.” Sometimes life gets in the way, and I don’t plug in. Then I find myself feeling the effects of a lack of connection to God much like my useless stack of electronic devices. 

Thankfully, there is no possible way to lose the “chord” that connects me to God. It will not ever be severed or lost, and I am so glad that is the truth. I often sit in awe of how God set up His systems: His rhythms are perfect. He knew there would be days (weeks…months..years) where His children would stray, be disconnected, or get caught in the waves of busyness. And yet! He provided a way back to Him. From the moment I welcomed God into my heart, He took up residence and chose not to leave. No matter what I do, He is there. 

One of my favorite lines from “Come Thou Fount” is 

“Prone to wonder, Lord I feel it. Prone to Leave the God I love.”

Right there! That’s it! I am prone to leave, to wonder, to get lost along the way. God knows that…and He provides a way back every time. 

Today I am thankful I will never spiritually be without my Source. The fate of my bluetooth head set is not so positive, but such is the life of man-made devices. Not with God though, and that’s really good news. 

“Here’s my heart Lord, take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.”

1: 180 (I MADE IT!)

180 is roughly the number of meals I have missed over the last 60 days.

 

It is also a number that is synonymous in American vernacular for a complete a total change. When we make a “180”, we are turning completely around. No longer facing the same direction, we are moving in a different one. No more facing the same giants or beasts, but now looking down a different path (hopefully armed with the proper tools and weapons to succeed).

A complete 180.

That is what I believe I have made over these last 60 days. And interestingly, I am surprised with how strong I have been. I knew in my gut that I would succeed, but my brain questioned my abilities the entire time. I KNEW I had made up my mind and was going to accomplish this goal! But in those tougher moments I wondered why I was “torturing” myself.

This wasn’t an easy journey. Some parts were very painful (like physically painful). Juicing through Thanksgiving sounded crazy (and it felt equally crazy, let me just be honest). But I did it. And I am better for it.

 

And now…on to my next big adventure. EATING AGAIN! Armed with new wisdom, a better sense of my abilities, and an excitement and craving for healthier versions of my favorite meals!

Operation: EAT TO LIVE is in full affect.

 

I. MADE. IT!

2: Weekday Vegan

As I said in my previous post, juicing is just the beginning for me. I have a long way to go as far as meeting my personal weight and fitness goals, but I feel I have accomplished a lot in the last two months when it comes to my relationship with food. Which, if you remember, was my original  goal. After educating myself on my options, I have settled on a decent plan for my next steps. I will be, what I am calling, a weekday Vegan. 

Knowing what I know now about animal products (meat, dairy, etc.) I recognize that many of those food items introduce toxins into my body that prevent my ability to discard visceral fat. As a woman, I will have subcutaneous fat at a higher level than a man. This is the fat that lines the body, and is a necessary protective layer. This fat, at some level, will always be there. But as you know there are very skinny people on this planet, so it is possible to have a very thin and healthy layer of subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat, however, is the fat that we do not need in excess. This fat pops up to protect our organs when our bodies feel they are in danger and need to be in protection mode. Your body is constantly in protection mode when toxins are being welcomed in. Toxins like processed food, some animal products and the like. Basically, any excess amount of food or drink that isn’t plant-based. The more organic and natural, the better for your health. So, in order to lose that visceral fat, my body must remain a place where toxins aren’t welcome on a regular basis. 

Enter: Veganism. 

Well, veganism Monday through Friday. 

I knowmyself well enough to know that I do not want to live in a world where I can’t ever eat chicken wings. if you know me, you know these are my favorite! So, I needed to figure out a way to limit my meats and dairy, but not set myself up for failure (and one epic binge session). I found several people eat vegetarian or vegan during the week, and allow for meats, cheeses, and eggs on the weekends if they crave it.  Now, it could be that the weekend comes and I do not want anything that is not on the vegan menu. And that is fine! I do not have to eat meat on Saturday if I do not crave it. The point is listening to my body and learning how best to fed it. 

I will continue to juice every Monday. I will have juice and smoothies for snacks or meals each day. This will ensure I am givng my body a chance to reboot periodically (flushing out toxins). I do not assume this plan is perfect or fool proof. But, I am hopeful. 

Hippocrates said, “Let  food be thy medicine, and  medicine be thy food.”

I think he was on to something. 

3: How Juicing Is Different

There are so many diets out there, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. If you have been alive (and a woman) for any amount of time on planet Earth, you have probably tried your hand at least 4 or 5 dieting options. Weight Watchers. Advocare. Low Carb. No Carb. All Carb (that’s not real, but it sounds magical). Low sugar. No Sugar. Cabbage Soup. Cookie Diet. Kellogg’s Diet. Atkins. South Beach. And that’s just the ones I have heard of or tried myself. There is no shortage of dieting options out there. And sadly, we are so uninformed about our bodies, we will eaily believe the next big fab is the panacea. Because, we want the big fix, the cure all. We want to rid our bodies of the fat that literally weighs us down. And we don’t know enough about that fat to know quite exactly how to get rid of it and prevent it from moving back in to our metaphorical basement like a 27 year old kid. 

So I started reseaching, and I have found that juicing seems to be different. I wouldn’t call it a diet either. Not unless you want to gain the weght back. I would call it a life style, which is really what I needed to change: my life syle with food. 

Juicing is not the end for me. In my next post I will discuss my next steps, but for now, I want to address what juicing does, and how a good juicing reboot can set you up for a successful life style change. 

For starters, when you do a juicing fast, you give your body a break. Your digestive system shuts down and starts  to repair itself. It flushes out waste that has been sitting dormant for a long time (remember that conpacted fecal matter I addressed yesterday?) and gets a chance to breathe. When we overwork any part of our body, it doesn’t perform at its best. And just taking one look at the average American diet, you can easily deduce that our digestive systems are overworked and under nourished. We don’t typically put the proper nutrients into our bodies to help heal them, and that is where juicing comes in. 

When you are consuming only natural, organic juice (no added sugars or animal-based products) you are sending all the wonderful vitamins and nutrients plants have to offer directly into your system. So, your body can repair damaged cells, provide energy, and build up your immune system. Juicing provides a way for you to start using your food as your medicine. It really is quite beautiful. 

If you’re interested in learning more, I recommend checking out some (or all) of the documenaries I mentioned in a previous post. Juicing is not a diet. It is not the cure all or big fix. But it is, as I have found, the most natural way for me to take God’s creation and use it to better my body (which is also His creation too)!

4: Juicing Tips

Here are some ideas/thoughts that came to my mind as I looked back on my process. Some of these I executed well, other I learned along the way.

  1. Get your hands on a good plant-based protein powder and add it to at least one juice per day (breakfast would be the best). I have fallen in love with Vega Chocolate Protein Smoothie
  2. Get a good, quality juicer. You cannot juice with a blender. That’s not a real thing. LOL. I was fortunate enough to get my blender from a friend at a very good price. But, there are several good options out there. I use the Jack LaLanne juicer and it’s very easy to use and clean after the first few attempts. Don’t skimp on a juicer. You want to get the most amount of liquid from your fruits and veggies, so pay extra to get the best if you can. If you cannot, use what your money will buy and don’t be discouraged. When I feel my pulp, it’s still kind of damp and that’s just got to be OKAY! =)
  3. To save on clean up, put a plastic bag in the discharge bin of your juicer. You’ll thank me later.
  4. If you’re juicing AND eating food at the same time, consider saving the remains from your veggies to make burgers, muffins, or breads. The goop from your fruit would taste great in some kind of muffin also!
  5. Document your feelings, measurements, what you’re eating, bowl movements*, everything. Take time to write it all down especially in the beginning. You need to keep track of your body rhythms, and trust the beautiful mechanism God created. It will tell you what you need to know if you’re listening. Trust it.
  6. In order to save me headache over washing so many cups, I ordered these. Sipping from a straw also helped make the juice last longer!
  7. Buy a good set of 12 mason jars. I recommend the ones that have the ounces labeled on the side so you can keep track of your intake each day.
  8. On that note, 64 ounces of juice a day is the recommend amount. I will say, some days I didn’t hit this mark, other I exceeded it. I was training myself to listen to my body, so that’s what I did. I believe it was a wise choice for me.
  9. Understand that a juice reboot is only the beginning of your new life with food. While you’re on your fast (however long) I recommend coming up with an exit strategy: your plan for eating once this is over. You cannot go back to your old habits if you want to see long-lasting results in your weight and you overall health.
  10. Ask for support. My greatest success was having people cheer me on. Also, people holding me accountable is always important to me. I need a group of folks to keep me going when I want to quit, and so do you!
  11. *Bowl Movements are tricky during a juice fast. Everyone has a different experience. If you have questions, ask. =)
  12. Consider doing a juice reboot for any number of days. You DO NOT need to do 60. I would recommend anywhere from 5-10. Days 1-3 are the hardest. By day 4, your body sets into plan B mode and starts working again with much more energy.
  13. Also remember that the first 5-7 lbs you lose are fecal matter, and you will gain those back once you start eating again (it’s just the way our body works). So if you’re doing this for weight loss, you need to remember it takes (on average) 2 weeks to start losing actual fat.
  14. Do your own research. I discovered a wealth of knowledge on the internet, but I had to find the VOICE I wanted to listen to. Everyone is shouting something, and I don’t necessarily want to hear it all. Tune in to a source that is reputable, trustworthy, reliable, and like-able in your opinion. You don’t have to like everything I like; that’s the joy of you being you!

5: Documentaries I Watched

As many of you know, this whole juicing journey started with one simple selection on my Netflix screen. I chose to watch Joe Cross’ Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead documentary from 2008, and I believe it’s safe to say it changed my life.

From there, I became fascinated with food-related documentaries, and there is no shortage of them on Netflix. So, below are the ones I have watched (and enjoyed) and would recommend to anyone who wants to start learning more about our bodies, our food, and our options.

 

  1. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
  2. Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead 2
  3. Vegucated
  4. Hungry for Change
  5. Fed UP
  6. GMO, OMG
  7. Food Matters
  8. Ted Talks: Chew on This
  9. Forks over Knives
  10. Engine 2 Diet