Sunday, March 8, 2015

March Wellness

I strongly encourage you to focus on your internal journey this year.  
Choosing health and happiness doesn't make you any less hardcore or dedicated
 than those that refuse to give up a ripped midsection. 
 It takes a lot of courage to place more value on the things people can't see. 
[but]... when you feel whole on the inside, that is what you and everyone else will see on the outside.  -Brooke Erickson

I came down with a cold this week.  It isn't too bad, but it is enough to make me re-evaluate my habits to promote greater health in my body.  I've been paying too much attention to what other people claim is healthy and I ignored what I know is good for me.

I was very sickly as a child.  I caught every bug that went around and it took me forever to get better. I had my tonsils out at 12, sinus surgery at 14, was diagnosed with mono at 17, Epstein Barr at 18, and chronic fatigue syndrome at age 19.  I worked closely with two different doctors through my twenties.  One put me on antibiotics and steroids for 3-6 weeks at a time.   I had many medical tests, one of which resulted in my heart stopping completely for a time.  None of modern medicine's tools worked for me.  My sickest years were my first years of teaching school.

Finally, in 2010, I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I began to look for my own answers.  That is when my healing began.  It was a very long process and is not over.  I tried many different remedies including eating a strict vegan diet for six months (at the time it helped a lot), eating two cloves of raw garlic everyday (less helpful and quite gross), using a neti pot (still love it), turmeric tea (no thanks) and acupuncture.  I started doing yoga.  I stopped using a microwave and started cooking most of my own food.  Over the last five years I have found tremendous healing.  It is amazing to look at how far I have come.  Among my discoveries is a diet that works for me.

This wonderful "March Wellness" infogram is from The Yellow Table.  I know I'm a week late, but I am claiming the rest of March for my own wellness.  This means that I will be looking inside for what my body needs.  I might have to dial back my workouts.  I am taking a week-long break from my beloved coffee and avoiding dairy like the plague since it seems to trigger infection for me. 

There is so much to say about food.  It is so powerful.  It fuels us and keeps us going through everything we must accomplish.  I love it so, so much and hope to write much more about it.  For now, here's a look at a some of my favorite meals.

  • My favorite breakfast is a bowl of porridge with flaxseed.  It is so warm and nourishing and the fiber is awesome.

  • It is important to take the time to sit down for lunch and dinner and try to include proteins for muscle repair and veggies for fiber and vitamins.  My favorite proteins include eggs, chicken, lentils,black beans, tempeh, and fish.  I love to cook with lots of spices, garlic, onion, oils, lemon, and herbs.

  • I love to snack so I am going to continue to pack a fruit (usually an apple) and a vegetable (mix of celery, carrot, cucumber, and bell pepper) to work everyday.  I'll still eat a bunch of other processed snacks, but the fruits and veggies help cool, clear, mineralize, and alkalize the body.

  • I love herbal tea and also drink about a gallon of water a day.  I also love this supplement  which has honestly saved my life and helped with all the fevers I used to have.  I drink a scoop mixed with apple juice and water every morning.

  • I have a major sweet tooth so I try to focus on treats that have some nutritional value as well.  I love these chocolate chip banana cookies for example.  I also love homemade cookie dough bites made with almonds, oats, coconut oil, and honey.

I want to be clear that my diet is not perfect by any means.  I will still eat a bag of chips in a single sitting and some nights I am so tired that my dinner is a giant bowl of cold cereal.  But I am not aiming for perfection, I am aiming for wellness.  I know that when I take tiny steps, big shifts happen.  I am hoping for greater and greater well-being as I tune out the pressure to be "hardcore" and return to the simple practices that keep me going.  And, as my friend Shannon reminds me, that is its own kind of hardcore. 

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