Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Clean-sing

   It's All About the Liver!

   Though it may not feel like it yet (especially since there is a somewhat-spirit-dampening newly-fallen foot of snow outside), it is spring. As of March 20th, the daylight will be lasting longer and the weather should be getting warmer.
   During this time of the year, many people (like my Mother!) feel the urge to do some "spring cleaning." Something about the thawing out of things, the new green, the fresh-Earth scent in the air - seems to make people want to give their surroundings that same renewed, clean, fresh feeling. To open their windows and sweep out the dust from the colder months just passed.
   I think it's great, and I am starting to feel that urge myself. (I have big plans for the closets. I'm talking PURGE!)
   Not surprisingly, this urge I'm feeling doesn't seem limited to the un-clean closets and dust in my home. Although I have already drastically changed a lot of my eating habits, I am starting to feel the urge to do some inward spring cleaning.
   I'm not really sure how to go about this, especially since I have already been trying, with relative success, to eliminate lots of the things that may have been cluttering up my physiological closets. I can't imagine being successful trying to eliminate anything more than the sugar, salt, caffeine, oils, alcohol and animal products I have barely touched in the past few months. Honestly, I can't imagine that eliminating anything more would actually be helpful, or healthful! So instead, I've decided to explore adding things into my diet. None of the above mentioned things, of course. Certain plants, though, are actually more helpful in "cleansing" your body than others, so my plan is to incorporate more of those. My base of knowledge in this area, however, is relatively limited. So, naturally, I googled it.
   I was surprised to find, by literally typing "spring clean your body," that my urges are not all that unusual. In fact, it just so happens that the liver is triggered into its own "spring cleaning" cycle, becoming stimulated (along with other "eliminative" organs such as the kidneys, colon, and even lungs and skin!) to cleanse the body of impurities. So, next I googled "liver cleansing foods," and compiled a list.
   Here is what I found:
      Garlic - Works well with natural liver enzymes.
      Citrus fruits (especially bitter ones like lemon, lime and grapefruit) - Suggestion: drink water with freshly-squeezed lemon juice in it, first thing in the morning, to help stimulate the liver.
      greens! (especially dandelion greens and watercress: "spring" greens - go figure!) - These things are just naturally cleansing, soaking up toxins and basically helping the liver do its job.
      cruciferous vegetables (brassicas such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and collards) - It's called "glucosinolate." Trust me, your liver will love it.
      beets and beet greens - Improved liver function.
      green tea - Plant antioxidants, known as "catechins," help stimulate liver function.
      turmeric - Its key compound, called "curcumin," also helps the gallbladder, and more enzyme stuff for the liver...

   So, that's basically where I'm going to start. Tomorrow I'll be taking a trip to our semi-local, natural-foods supermarket with my good friend and fellow "Eat-to-Live"-er (Hah! - live-er! - that really is what it's all about!) Kristie Drawdy, to stock up on my list. I have also decided (inspired further by my urges) to try and spend some time outside every day, if possible, letting the awakening of nature stir an awakening of my soul as well. Additionally, I'd like to attempt to do at least one creative project a week.
   And, of course, attack those closets.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Real Me

   Before I started writing this, I kept thinking that I have to come up with all kinds of great, inspiring things to write. That I must explain and demonstrate the successful journey I claim to be on.
   The thing is, the journey isn't always as successful as I'd like it to be.
   I need to allow myself to be honest, to show my struggles, my set-backs, my back-tracking. In a sense, I should write about how badly I want the doughnut (or pancake, or bagel...) and how awful I feel after eating it. I should also write, though, about how I pick myself up again and don't let my occasional and inevitable weakness keep me where I don't want to be anymore. If I were to make it sound like I've got it all figured out, I wouldn't just be deceiving any of you out there actually paying attention to me. I would be deceiving myself, which may actually be slightly worse. (No offense -you are all extremely important and significant. Just not necessarily as it relates to my personal, inward self-deception.) I do not have anything figured out. The sooner I realize that, the sooner I may actually figure something out.
   So, here is the real me. I start out optimistic. I think that I can succeed. I am, however, pretty easily shaken by some day-to-day experiences. I get discouraged. I discourage myself. Thinking I can succeed isn't usually as helpful as believing it would probably be.
   When I did eat those pancakes, I started to try to convince myself that I did it because I am not actually strong enough not to. And then I ate the bagels because I started to believe myself and thought, "I may as well give in because I'm bound to fail anyway." This is how I do self-discouragement. I have this kind of inexplicable tendency to fall down one or two steps, pick myself up, and throw myself down the rest of the flight. I want to feel inspired and be inspiring, but I can't when I am lying on the floor, looking up and wondering why I keep doing this to myself. I can't help but think that looking up from only one or two steps down would feel pretty good at this point.
   The true truth is this: I may have tried to throw myself down the stairs, but I wasn't all that successful. This is the kind of failure I should be proud of. I make it sound (and feel) like I've done the worst, like I've forgotten everything I've learned. This is simply not true. This time around, there is something different. At my "worst," I am still so far from what was "normal" just a few months ago. Today, I successfully satisfied my cravings with a handful of organic, low-sodium tortilla chips and a spoonful of all-natural peanut butter. This is almost comically far from the entire bag of potato chips and pint of Ben&Jerry's that would have marked my "worst" before.
   Yes, I ate some pancakes and bagels. But then I felt sick and uncomfortable, unhappy and disappointed, and today, I didn't want to give in. Without even realizing it, or having to try much at all, I have climbed back up several steps. I have bounced back up. The thing that is different is my newly-developing, rubber-like resistance to my own self-destruction. This time around, my appetite is changing. I'm more hungry for health and life and happiness than for all the pancakes and bagels in the world.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let Me Introduce Myself... Finally

   Hi there. I'm Lori. I am 32, female, married, chubby, thought-ful, and relatively optimistic. This is my blog. (That is honestly a phrase I never thought I'd hear myself say. Well, I guess I have technically still not "heard" myself say it, as I haven't actually said it out loud, but I never thought I'd, um, see...myself...write it? Sure, that works.) I never thought I'd have a blog. But here it is. I have one. And you're reading it. Thanks for that, by the way.
   I also never thought I'd get all excited about having a blog, spend some time creating it, and then wait a month before actually writing anything on it. It's a little intimidating, to be honest. I feel like I potentially have a lot to write about, a lot to SAY, but the thought of trying to say it in a way that makes sense outside of my head and that is possibly interesting to others is, well, like I said. Intimidating.
   I do kind of have a lot to say. Most of it probably has something to do with the endless and complicated pursuit of happiness that is my life. I don't necessarily expect any of it to be really interesting to anyone other than myself, but hey, you never know, right? Maybe someone out there is looking for the same thing I'm looking for. (This suddenly sounds like a dating website or something. That is NOT the thing I am looking for. I am generally happily married. Although, I guess I could be looking for the way to make that "generally" into "genuinely.")
   Enough rambling... Or, well, enough of that rambling. Now on to the rambling with a purpose.
   About two months ago, I started reading a book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, called "Eat to Live." It was an extremely informative description of a way of eating that sounds almost guaranteed to cure what ails you, not the least of which being obesity. I started following that way of eating, and as of yesterday, have lost 27 lbs.
    I am happy about this.
   *DISCLAIMER* This is not a diet blog. I am not going to write about how badly I wanted to eat that doughnut and how horrible I felt after I did. I am also not going to attempt to insist that everyone I know (or don't know, for that matter) should do as I say and do. I am also not in any way associated with the author of the book I will undoubtedly mention occasionally. I will, of course, talk about my experience, but only insomuch as it is a prominent part of my life and that whole pursuit thing I was mentioning before. I will also, gladly, respond to feedback or offer more specific thoughts or advice to anyone seeking it. I am not a nutritionist, a doctor, or a therapist. I am not a professional anything. I am a person with a thirst (or a hunger) for health and happiness.
  I want to feel good physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and any other "-ally" you can probably think of. If this is a pursuit you share, or are interested in observing, you are in the right place. Nice to meet you.