Monday, September 21, 2009

Lessons from Incense

If you're looking for a way to bring yourself into the moment and stop fretting about the future, burn incense. If incense is too strong for your senses, causes headaches, or makes you sneeze, I suggest getting an aromatherapy "stick" and rolling the liquid essence onto the back of your hand where you can easily lift it to your nose when you are feeling the need to center yourself.

Often, when life seems to have me running to try and keep up with it, or when I'm feeling the need to clear my head, I burn a stick or two of lavender or jasmine incense. The strong scent which fills the room seems to grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, "Come back to the here and now. This is the most important moment of you life."

Yesterday, as I was feeling overwhelmed with work and a bit down in the dumps about being almost 27 years old and just now beginning school in a field that I *think* is a good fit for me, despite having already graduated from University, I burned a stick of lavender incense. As the the visible stream of scent filled my nose, I was immediately brought to the present moment and tears came to my eyes. The anxiety that I had been feeling was finally freed and the tears were a mixture of it exiting my system, as well as a sigh of relief at the thought that I do not need to have my life figured out in this very moment. There is no existing timeline with benchmarks against which I must measure myself. Everything is happening at the perfect time, and the only thing I have to do is enjoy the present moment and whatever it may bring. That is my only job and as I realized this, life seems to become tremendously easier. Life is not meant to be a struggle and, funny as it may be, incense has helped me remember this truth.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life's Ups and Downs... and then Ups again.

Phew! It's been a while, but I'm back on the healthy train! Last night I made gluten free, low sugar brownies to commence (once again) this healthy journey of mine. Wow! During this last week and a half, I was handed many temptations, and I partook (weird word, huh?) in many unhealthy treats which left me with all the more strength and reinforcement in my previous decision to eliminate junk (gluten, excess sugar, unaccounted-for anxiety, etc.) from my life.

While Labor Day weekend was full of happiness, as it was my friend's wedding and it was also the first weekend of cooler, more beautiful weather, it was also memorable in that I was reminded of why I try to treat myself with respect in terms of what I put in my body.

To put it lightly, I ate gluten and sugar. And to emphasize how much of it I ate, I'll tell you I ate A LOT! But this is not a post to focus on my regrets, but rather to focus on what I learned from the experience. I learned how valuable my health and happiness is, I learned how much I want to feed myself whole, natural, and fulfilling foods, and I learned that every day is a new day.

That weekend was also my first official Weight Watchers weigh-in. I have been trying to follow the program for the past few months with the support of my dear friend and roommate, but I now have so much more faith in myself now that I have actually joined WW and have access to meetings and support from many others who are on the same weight loss journey.

I am feeling inspired--again. I fell off the wagon since my last post (although I still managed to lose 1.6 lbs. during my first week of Weight Watchers!!), but I am back. I am studying healthy eating, about to start a 5 Day Vegan Diet which I found on Meghan's website (in order to cleanse my system of all of the toxins I feel bogged down with) and I am preparing to run a half marathon in January. I have a lot to look forward to and I am motivated to put the most into my life so I can reap the most rewards from my life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Day and A New Me In The Making

Today was just an average day when it came to food, but when it came to thoughts, it was like no other. I am officially inspired. Yes, it's official. And it's here to stay.

For one, I have gone two days on the low-sugar lifestyle, and I am loving it. I no longer feel like a slave to my food. Without the added, unnecessary sugar-laden foods such as fudgesicles and low fat ice cream hanging out in the freezer, I no longer have to worry about failing. One fudgesicle would always lead to another ("it's just one more point," I would tell myself), which would lead to another, or perhaps a bowl of low fat ice cream. All of these low point foods add up, and the sugar is what kept me going back for more... and more.

But not today. Today is a new day and the new frame of mind which I've adopted (and have officially claimed as my own), is looking at food in a whole new light. Clean eating is what I'm striving for. I am no longer going to be a slave to sugar, just as I am no longer in the tight grip of gluten. Eight months ago I gave up gluten, just like that. Gone. I said good-bye to one of my best friends, bread, because although it provided me with comfort throughout the years, this "best friend" was the back-stabbing kind and also contributed to my depression. So along with the gluten went the unfounded sorrows that came with it. And now it's time to dig a grave and bury my sugar-filled past, thank it for what it has taught me about who I want to become, and bid it farewell.

Oh, and you know, at holidays, birthdays and such, I will go visit its gravesite and have a piece of pie or cake in its memory. But just one, and then I'll peacefully walk away proud of how far I've come.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Green (or whatever color this turns out to be) Smoothie

In reveling at all of the other green smoothie concoctions on the web, I decided to make my own. Having never attempted to add anything but fruit and ice in a blender, I had NO idea how this was going to turn out, let alone what color it was going to be. The majority of the veggies I had were green, so I assumed that's what I would get--a lean green disease-fighting machine, err, smoothie!

Les ingredients:

green zucchini
yellow squash
almond milk
pineapple juice
almond butter



Okay, somebody should have stopped me at the almond butter because adding tofu was the most horrible thing I could have done to my bright green, sweet creation. It was gritty and gross, and after drinking about a fifth of the glass I poured for myself, I nearly gagged trying to get another sip down my gullet.

But I shall not let one tofu disaster kill my enthusiasm for making healthy breakfasts! Tomorrow morning, you will find me back in the kitchen trying my hand at another green smoothie. (Or perhaps I'll wait till Wednesday morning when I no longer cringe at the thought of drinking liquified veggies.)

I definitely commend all those who can make a delicious green smoothie, and hopefully, with practice I'll be up there with the best of 'em.

The Beginning of the Beginning

I am feeling very reluctant about writing a blog. I have always been a very open person about my feelings when expressing them to my friends and family, but to the world (or whoever comes across this blog), is a whole different story.

"The Journey is Now," is a safe place to express my feelings about food, recipes that I try, books on healthy living, and restaurants that cater to my eating needs. I am currently a gluten-free gal, and am about to embark on a dairy-free and low sugar lifestyle as well. Oh, and did I mention I'm also doing Weight Watchers? Eek!

Despite all of these diet "restrictions," this is what I know I should do in my heart, as well as when I listen to my body's needs. I have been gluten-free for the past eight months, and I have never felt better. I also have known that dairy does not sit well with me either, and refined sugar holds me back from living my life to the fullest, and I am truly hoping that reducing both of these types of foods from my meals allows me to grow and glow as well.

Tomorrow, August 24th, is the beginning of the beginning. The beginning of my journey, the beginning of my improved health, the beginning of my new life. My life is here. The journey is now. I am ready.

Let the games begin!