Sunday, April 24, 2011

Using Momentum to Start Small

I’ve been evaluating my own procrastinating ways lately and have considered starting small as mentioned in the STOP Procrastinating post. As I work towards a “less-is-more” way of approaching life, I am slowly getting to those “things” I’ve been meaning to do⎯even if it takes years. My theme or word for the year has been momentum as mentioned in an earlier article. I consider this word from time to time when I feel the need to do more, do something else or when I just feel stuck. I basically ask myself, "Will this move me forward and bring momentum into my life?" By asking myself this question, momentum has brought me face to face with my procrastinating ways. It's time to start small...

Just exactly what is starting small?

  • Starting small is a simple way of considering the whole tree.
  • Starting small is simply considering your project as a seedling and growing with your seeding one branch at a time.
  • Starting small is a simple approach to breaking down the bigger project.

One particular seedling of mine came to mind because it has been trying to plant itself for 6 years. I’ve had the fabric to make curtains for my guest room. I have even set it out where I can see it every day, only to put it away when spring rolls around⎯because after all, it is a winter project. It is funny how after awhile you just don’t see what is right in front of you.

I’m happy to report, after approximately 10 hours spread out over a few weeks, my curtains are done. I focused on one branch of the project at a time and allowed the momentum to carry me to the next branch. My curtains are now hanging in the window of my guest room and I feel a yippy-skippy dance coming on! I'm feeling momentum move me on to the next I just need to continue to start small...

By the way, how are you doing with your word for the year? Perhaps it is time for you to catch the momentum of the year and start fresh. What seedling do you want to start with?
Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark

Monday, April 18, 2011

Eating to Live: Lifestyle Changes

My recent foray into dietary changes to improve my health has come down to what one would call lifestyle changes:

I’ve been asked quite a few questions about my recent lifestyle changes and I thought I would share them with you?

How much work is it?
I think it all comes down to planning. The more you can plan for buying what you need and setting time aside to clean veggies, for example, the likelihood of this process working out for you. When the work becomes a habit and a way of life it ceases to be work.

Do I cook a different meal for my husband?
I would not subject anyone to major dietary changes unless they were motivated personally. Yes, I’ll mix starches with proteins for Dennis, but I only eat one or the other with a side of vegetables.

Am I losing weight with these dietary changes?
Gluten free does not mean low calories. I can see where people may lose weight initially by simply steering clear of anything with gluten, but there can be more calories in the GF foods out there so read the labels! With food combining you can easily lose weight because you are eating healthier. As for me, I do not need to lose weight, so it is a challenge with all the dietary lifestyle changes I have made to maintain my weight.

Is it difficult for me to grocery shop?
Not really. I have never been one to eat prepared foods much. But there are a lot of things due to the gluten-free aspect I miss. I guess you could say I am still in the mourning phase.

Since I love to cook and bake, has this been a difficult transition?
Yes. The food combining can have its shortfalls but overall it is fairly easy to do. The gluten-free is another animal altogether. If I decide that GF is something I will do long term, I will eventually get into the recipe end of it and start finding good substitutes for the foods I love to cook and bake. For me, this is all part of character building. Over the years I have given up many foods I love, but I learn to move on and get over the loss.

What are the most important aspects of making lifestyle changes?
To know better is to do better AND never forget patience is a virtue! If I decide to step outside the boundaries I have set, once in awhile, it’s okay. Although, it is probably not a good idea to continually step outside those boundaries because then you forget you had boundaries in the first place.

"The truth of the matter is that there's nothing you can't accomplish if:
  • You clearly decide what it is that you're absolutely committed to achieving,
  • You're willing to take massive action,
  • You notice what's working or not, and
  • You continue your approach until you achieve what you want using whatever life gives you along the way."
Anthony Robbins

I am feeling better and am having no digestive issues as long as I watch what I eat. Other than the naturopath suggesting I try gluten free, these lifestyle changes are my attempts to correct an unhealthy imbalance. These are not changes any of my conventional doctors suggested. There is so much you can do on your own to take back your health⎯you are the person in control of your life and of what goes into your mouth⎯YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! You have no one else to blame. If I can make these changes, so can you my dears. I won’t tell you that it will be easy, but the benefits are worth it. Take back your life⎯you know you want to. Start small or jump right in⎯whatever works for you. The choice is yours. The question is⎯are you willing to take massive action?

© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Am Tired

  • I am tired of not feeling well more times in the last year than I can remember.
  • I am tired of telling myself "you go girl" when there is no more go’in to be had.
  • I am tired of doctors and tests.
  • I am tired of pills.
  • I am tired of trying to put a smile on my face.
  • I am tired of searching for something more.
  • I am tired of not getting a good night sleep.
  • I am tired of having restless legs.
  • I am tired of looking at the tired person in the mirror.
  • I am tired of all the gray days we have had.
  • I am tired of the 20 inches of rain we have had since January 1st.
  • I am tired of not being able to eat what I want, when I want.
  • I am tired of not being able to cook the things I love.
  • I am tired of being too tired to workout.
  • I am tired of being tired.
Have you ever had one of those days, day after day? That is how I am feeling today. Let it be known, I have released my inner petulant child! My stable temperament has gone into a yo-yo effect this last year. I can’t seem to go for more than a few weeks without having gut issues.

Over the last few years I have worked hard at becoming my best self and being who I am meant to be no matter what the circumstances are, but this last year has been difficult. We may all learn many things from the struggles of others but it takes our own battle weariness before we truly grow. I know when I feel the fatigue wash over me it is important to not only go from day-to-day but minute-to-minute. I can look, feel and be better a minute from now for it is my choice.

Sometimes I choose to give into the battle fatigue and have a good cry. While the puffy eyes afterwards do not exactly help me feel better, the tears sometimes provide a cleansing and sense of relief. Many times, by letting down and giving into the tears, I have found new meaning to what I may have been searching for. This allows me to move forward once again.

As I made the list above, it felt good to give my inner petulant child a voice. I know we are all tired of something in our lives. When you feel the wash of battle fatigue, it is time to step back and evaluate where it is coming from. Pinpointing it like that may just take the power away from it and give you the answers you need. So…just what are you tired of? Is it time to let your inner petulant child speak?

© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Eating to Live: Eat Your Veggies

So far I have talked about food combining and gluten-free living. All choices I have made in order to relieve my digestive distress. At this writing I have been food combining for 8 weeks and gluten-free for 6. Both dietary changes stress the importance of eating fruits and vegetables.

Eating raw fruits and vegetables generally causes problems for my digestive system, but now I need to somehow consume more vegetables and fruit than I have ever considered. Two weeks into the gluten-free diet, I was still having occasional digestive problems. While eating breakfast one morning, a thought came to mind⎯what if I juiced the vegetables or fruits? Wouldn’t that make it easier for my gut to move the food on down the line, and perhaps the wonderful power of vegetables would aid in healing any inflammation I might have.

I really feel like I am on to something with this vegetable madness⎯and get this, I even have a juicer! Yes, I just never used it. It was given to us when my husband, Dennis, had cancer. What was I waiting for? I pulled out our many books on juicing and began reading that very morning. Yes, I even had books on the subject⎯all of this right under my very nose. The books I had even covered juicing recipes specifically for many ailments including, wait for it⎯Crohn’s! The next morning I went grocery shopping, list in hand.

I have now been juicing for the past month. I love it. I feel like I am drinking some sort of secret healing elixir. I have never, never eaten so many vegetables. At this writing I am juicing once or twice a day. It’s easy for me to go through five pounds or more of carrots within a week! I keep looking in the mirror to see if I am turning orange yet!

Unless you are a vegetarian, most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables⎯period. Juicing provides a rather simple way for us to EAT OUR VEGGIES! Here are a few tips to keep in mind...

1. How does juicing work with food combining and gluten-free?
First off ⎯veggies and fruit do not contain gluten, and what I am reading about juicing correlates very nicely with the food combining. Veggie juices combine well with protein OR starch⎯remember I cannot mix protein AND starch when food combining. I’ll sit down to a meal of protein OR gluten-free starch, vegetables AND a veggie drink.  My body doesn’t know what to do with all the goodness I am sending it⎯well actually I hope it does know what to do with it!

2. What about the mess of cleaning all the vegetables AND the juicer?
I never thought of juicing other than it would be a pain to mess with. Yes, you need to clean all the fruits and veggies and clean out the juicer, but I have found it much easier to clean all my veggies once a week and clean out the juicer once a day. No biggie!!! It’s kind of like I had one of those V8 moments⎯why didn’t I think of that before! The easier you can make it, the more you will do it.

3. Your mother always said, chew your food!
Because you are drinking vegetables, it is important not to drink the mixture rapidly. It is best to sip and allow the enzymes in your mouth to set the whole digestive process into play. It is even a good idea to actually chew it a bit as you sip. I understand this is really important to anyone drinking nutritious smoothies or other healthy drinks. The lack of chewing does not release the appropriate enzymes, which may lead to digestive distress. When enjoying my juice, I sit down as if I were having a meal whether it is a meal or not. I sip my juice and sip a bit of water to help the fiber move on its merry way.

4. Chlorophyll Cocktail:
My go-to gut drink is five carrots, a large handful of spinach, a couple stems of parsley and one celery stalk. If I choose to sweeten it up a bit I’ll add one apple⎯yum! Even Popeye would be proud.

Crohn’s or no Crohn’s, I am feeding my body with amazing nutrients. This is another gift that has been given to me via Crohn’s. Humans are funny animals, we don’t necessarily do what is best for us unless there is a problem⎯and even then we don’t do what is best. I am thinking juicing is something we should just do, problem or not. The world would be a better place for it…there I go⎯visualizing world peas⎯I know⎯corny⎯see I can't get veggies off my mind.

Are you feeding your body the way you should? Think of one small thing you know you should do, know you can do and just do it! And hey, YAY for you!

© Copyright 2011 Michelle Clark