Friday, November 05, 2010
I think we've all gotten some pretty confusing messages about food.
There are commercials on television that work hard to convince us that food is fun. I saw an ad for Pop-Tarts where it was suggested that a great snack for kids is to put a big scoop of ice cream on top of a Pop-Tart. Does anyone else think that's totally insane? Day after day we're flooded with messages about the dangers of obesity and how obesity is rapidly rising in young children and that obese people are as much of a burden to the American people as taxes. So to see a commercial like the Pop-Tart commercial or any number of fast food commercials that show people having a grand ol' time eating 2,000 calorie meals in one sitting, is at best...confusing.
Then there are the messages we grew up with in our homes. In my house, you had to eat everything on your plate whether you wanted it or not. Finish your food and that's final. Every Sunday, I ate a day and a half's worth of calories in soul food. I remember my mother used to lock the refrigerator so I couldn't get into it. So what's the deal? I'm supposed to eat food. I need food to live. But I have to eat more than I want at every meal and when I am actually hungry I can't get into the refrigerator because it's locked. I continue to scratch my head at the lack of logic playing out before me.
I was starting to really hate food. Well, actually I was starting to hate being told how I should treat food. So I started doing a lot of food research and along the way, found out some amazing facts and discovered lots of foods I never even knew existed. There are so many foods that do wonders for the body and herbs that can rid your body of toxins that are consumed on a daily basis from processed foods. I know this type of thing isn't for everyone. A lot of this food is hard to find or too expensive but what I've told myself is that I'd rather spend a lot of money on food that I know my body will reap great benefits from rather than buy what's cheapest and keep putting my health at risk. I find all these foods at Whole Foods and try to buy the most generic brand, which is virtually no different. In case some of you are interested in dipping your toes into medicinal foods, here is a short list of foods that have great benefits.
Burdock - burdock can be purchased as a tea, a tincture (liquid form in a bottle with a dropper), or as the whole root. Burdock's main claim to fame is that it helps to purify the blood. It also acts as a diuretic, helping to remove excess water from the body by making you go to the bathroom more and it is good with helping in the digestion of food. Most people don't digest food very well so it kinda gets stuck in there and, if it's processed and unhealthy food, it starts spreading its toxins around. Burdock root is usually available in fall but the teas and tinctures can be bought year-round.
Dandelion - yup, the same dandelions that most people consider garden nuisances. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. It is also a diuretic and has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine to aid digestion and help with liver and kidney disorders.
Kukicha tea - kukicha tea is made from the same tree where we get green tea leaves. The twigs are steamed, sun-dried and stored for two to three years. Then they are roasted. Kukicha tea's main claim to fame is that is alkalinizing. It helps balance your blood pH so that your body is less acidic. Acidic bodies lead to disease and illness.
Umeboshi plums - small, salty and purplish. Ume plums have been used for centuries in Japan. In fact, warriors would carry them when they went into battle to keep their health up. This plums are also alkalinizing but should be used only every 2-3 days if you have high blood pressure or are on a sodium restricted diet.
Daikon - I just discovered diakon and it's pretty great stuff. It's a white radish that looks like a carrot. It clears mucus, enhances digestion and removes stones and other deposits from the gallbladder. It's a body cleanser that helps with the liver and aids in detoxifying the digestive tract. It tastes pretty good too. There is a weight loss "tea" that combines grated carrot and daikon, shoyu (soy sauce) and nori (seaweed) that claims to flush fat from the body. I started it but ran out of carrots so I cannot say how effective it actually is. When I get some carrots, I'll try it again.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Garlic, onions, scallions, leeks, lemons, limes, apples, cherries, figs, grapefruit, watermelon, cucumber, broccoli, beets, carrots, cabbage, celery, kale, collard, turnip and mustard greens, brown rice, quinoa (keen-wah), millet, sesame seeds, parsely, cilantro, cumon, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, turmeric, cayenne...the list goes on of foods that can heal and detox.
Sorry, I know it sounds like I'm writing an article for ehow.com but I really do get excited learning about all this good stuff so I make myself remember it all to share with you guys. Food doesn't have to be our enemy. I don't want food to be my enemy. I'd like it if we got along swell. But it's kinda like people in that respect. You need to interact with people but you can choose to interact with the right kind of people. Some are just too toxic to be involved with. Others will help heal you and soothe your soul.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
So despite all the drama going on at my current place of employment, I've really thrown myself back into my macrobiotics. Lots of dark greens and vegetables that have great medicinal value. A lot of people think I'm crazy because I hate modern medicine and taking pills but I truly believe that pills don't actually make you better. Just my personal belief, please do not comment about how wrong I am based on your personal experience.
I have always liked the idea of doing things as naturally as possible so I've been doing a lot of research on different kinds of root vegetables and herbal remedies and the information has been invaluable to me. So my new favorite root vegetable is burdock. Burdock is in season during the fall (right now) and it is a very earthy root that is peeled like a potato and added to soups, stews and various other dishes. It kind tastes like a potato but a bit tougher in texture and slightly sweet like an apple. Only slightly though. Burdock's biggest claim to fame is that helps detoxify the blood, helping to take away some of the acidity and harmful processed products people consume.
I also started doing research on herbs that could make me more fertile, since I very much want to have kids and my doctors cannot find any reason why I haven't conceived yet. I surmised that it was probably a hormone imbalance and too much acidity in my blood. I found a list of herbs and roots that women can take to help balance hormones, improve liver function and strengthen the uterus. According to most of the research I've read, sometimes women's bodies don't push out everything it needs to from the uterus to make it function well. This combination of roots and herbs are said to aid in that process. I'm not currently taking any medication and have had no bad reactions to the tincture so far. This might be an overshare, but usually around this time I would be experiencing wicked PMS. Boobs get sore, bloating, mood swings, etc. You know the drill. I hadn't even noticed until earlier today that I've experienced none of that this month.
I've been getting out and walking more. The walking feels good and helps me clear my head. This business at my job of my boss lying to me and taking away my raise has really pissed me off. I am determined to get out of that place as quickly as possible. I've sent my resume out to three different ads already. One prospect is very good because I happen to know someone who works in the building that I applied for and he has put in a good word for me. Everyone I told about the incident was so angry and a few actually threatened to beat up my boss ( I didn't accept those offers, though they were tempting!). My mother told me to not give any notice and just walk out one day and not come back. I usually don't listen to her but in this case, I will do just that. I strongly suspect that she would make my last week complete hell.
I'm telling myself that I will get this other job. I'm envisioning myself rocking this job interview and moving on to a different and better environment around great people. I'm envisioning a great salary, great benefits and great working relationships with my new coworkers. This determination feels like the old me. This attitude feels like the me I thought I had lost many, many years ago when I started going through my hard times. Separating myself from toxic environments is so important. To any of you out there who are in toxic environments, make the changes to get yourself out! Join me in this exodus!
My sweetheart, Monty, said to me that it was time for me to make a change. I'd say it was long overdue.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Yesterday I got some news that just crushed me.
At the beginning of July, I finally got a raise after 3 years of being at the same salary. My boss had told me back in February that she would be giving me a significant raise. The day she told me I was getting my raise, she made an announcement in front of the others in my office that I was getting a salary increase and that it would stay that way.
Then this past Friday, it happened. It was pay day and, at the end of the day, the accountant comes and tosses my check on my desk. When I look at it, I notice that it is 400 dollars shorter than last pay period. I was confused and so I asked if I had been docked for something that I was unaware of. Then my boss, who was standing there too, says to me, "Oh no. That extra money we were paying you was just for summer. The only reason we kept it up was because you had done some extra work around the office."
The only problem with that is that it's a bald face LIE.
I felt like the rug had been ripped from under me. Seven years I've worked in this office. I have been taken advantage of, used, mistreated and treated like an idiot more times than I can count. And still I worked. I did everything I was asked to do and then some. I was often doing other people's work and even covering for her when she slacked off and fell behind on things. And for her to do that to me, to take away that raise that she had promised me was so absolutely crushing to me. I'm engaged to be married. I want to have kids. The money I was making before wasn't enough to support me and now I'm right back down there again. I feel like every time I try to get ahead at this place, something always happens that pushes me right back. I've had enough and I'm quitting.
The good news is that I've been getting a great amount of sleep, eating healthily and bringing my own lunch to work every day. Though I am angry as hell and hurt, I'm not going to let this lick me. I have gained enough skills to move on to someplace else, someplace where I'm not mistreated. The worst is that she had the nerve to text me today about some personal issue she was having, looking for my support.
I'm not going to let this derail me. I've been wanting to leave this company for years. If I never had a better reason before, I definitely have one now.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Well, I'm home resting now after the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk this morning. It was awesome! My team was headed up by one of my Sparkfriends and another of my Sparkfriends from the same area was there as well. It was a great, beautiful day and the walk was awesome. I rocked it. I'm sore right now and tired but I feel great. I walked for an hour, which equaled 2.6 miles.
I've done really well this week with eating my greens and grains and my beans, all very very important foods in every diet. I'm working on chewing better as well. I didn't realize how important chewing properly was. Not only that, the more you chew greens and grains, the more you get that natural flavor which is pretty awesome. I've also been cooking my own meals and eating my medicinal foods. Drinking my kukicha (twig) tea, eating my umeboshi plums, cutting back on my salt and sugar. I'm actually cooking right now. Making azuki beans with butternut squash and wakame (seaweed). It's not for dinner since its already 9 o'clock. It's for tomorrow's lunch and/or dinner.
Tomorrow I'm going to create a new workout schedule for the rest of October and November. I'm not going to make up something that will completely overwhelm me. Dr. B keeps telling me to take things at my own pace and not worry about what other people think or expect. Live for you.
I come here for nonjudgmental support, which is the same kind of support I like to offer. When I blog here, I let it all out, good or bad. If I'm losing my confidence or motivation or if I'm stalled emotionally and can't force myself to do much of anything, I have a right to feel that way without being made to feel like I don't care about reaching my goals. If none of us had ever felt that way at one point, then none of us would be on Sparkpeople. Let us not presume to know what is important or unimportant to others of us because I'm pretty sure we can dig into everyone's history and find excuses for not doing something.
FYI, the previous statement is related to a few comments I have received lately.
Friday, October 15, 2010
A few years ago, I had the great benefit of working out with a trainer who helped me lose about 70lbs. Unfortunately, my trainer and I didn't see eye to eye on the best ways to keep me in shape so we parted company. About two years ago, he started a fitness newsletter that he forwarded to me. I wasn't interested at first because I wanted nothing to do with him. Usually, I delete them but in the last two or three months I've started reading them whenever he sends them. Today I read something that totally got me.
He was talking about being in a weight loss slump, why we lose motivation, etc., etc. What is keeping you from reaching your goals? He cited Tony Robbins as saying that "it's getting ready to change that takes time." Then he outlines 3 basic principles by Robbins about changing.
Believe that something MUST change.
Believe that YOU must change it.
Believe that you CAN change it.
I'm ALWAYS getting ready to do stuff instead of just doing it. According to the article my former trainer wrote, change happens in an instant. Not a week from now, or a month from now. Right now. That makes more sense to me than constantly hearing the change doesn't occur overnight and that it takes a long time to change. But, can't change be simply making up your mind to do something and then doing it? How long does that actually take? Yeah, it took me years to gain all this weight, but should it take me years to decide to lose it? NO!
The Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk is on Sunday and I'm super excited. It's going to be a pretty long walk but I did it before so I know I can do it again. Besides that, I know by the time I finish, my body will be pumping with energy. It'll be just what I need to loosen my body up because I am very stiff right now. I've already started eating more greens and shopping for foods that have medicinal value as well as nutritional value. My therapist also knows a young woman who is looking to lose weight and would like a walking partner. She passed my number along to the woman so we can hook up and be buddies. So, I guess if I just ask the universe for what I want, it will answer.
It's not going to be easy detoxing my body but it must be done. (See that, what I said right there? MUST be done. I'm learning.) The sooner I lose weight, the sooner I can have a baby and get married, though not necessarily in that order. There are like a million and ten things I will do once I get out of this body and every last one of those things is worth doing.
First thing's first: Stop getting ready to lose weight and just do it.
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