11 07 2010

Hello there!

First of all, this is my last post here…I am moving to a new blog that I think is more aptly named for this time in my life : Mindfully Emily. I will explain there why that is more of where I am at and where I want to be. But for now….

I have been a little absent lately but a great deal has been happening in my life. I’ve been taking some time to think about things and reevaluate. I also had an incredible experience with my first ever Reiki session. For any of you who have ever had an experience like this, you will know that it can be extremely moving and healing. It really spoke to me, so much more than many other healing modalities have. After all was said and done, it brought me back to why I initially started this blog: my journey.

I think for a while I have been frustrated that I am even on one: why can’t i just be there already and have it all figured out? But lately I have come to realize that the journey may just be the best part. The ups and downs, although at times extreme, are the reason for growth and development in my life. I am beginning to let go of the extreme need to know everything right now and am starting just enjoy things as they are in the here and now. A big part of my reiki experience was the realization that my mind is working so hard to know rather than listening to what my heart says. That’s where my new goal is. Listening to heart and letting my head have a break.

I am so much more excited to see where things take me and less stressed and anxious. Hopefully I will have more things to tell soon…at my new location of course: Mindfully Emily

View from the other side

21 06 2010

The dreaded weekend of class has ended and I am glad to have it behind me. Isn’t it funny how anticipation of something unpleasant can me so much worse than the actual event? Although I have to say, the view from Friday and Saturday morning weren’t very good either. All that being said, I was in heaven on Sunday evening at 5:30 when we were set free!

I had such a great evening to look forward to. We celebrated Father’s Day later in the day since I had class and my crazy biker father was up in Laconia, NH for BIKE WEEK 2010. I know, what a crazy dude. No but really, it’s his annual get away where he and his friends stay at their friends house/camp and pretty much have a party right near all the bike week commotion while not partaking in the craziness and other things. We all have our hobbies I suppose. So when I got home my mother and Jackie (brother Dan’s gf) were preparing a lovely salad and prepping chicken for the grill. Eric soon arrived with the some fuji apples for us to grille to go on top of the salad. If you have not tried grilling fruit, you must!!! We prefer to buy either fuji or green apples and then all you do is core/slice them and spray them with a little cooking spray. Pop them on the grille and turn them every 3 minutes or so until they have some nice grill marks and look a little bit carmelized but aren’t totally fried (12 minutes).

I made myself a red bliss potato and had my grilled apple and chicken salad with a little bit of goat cheese. The rest of the family had some corn on the cob with their chicken and salad. My mom bought my dad fresh lobster rolls from a local fish market as a special treat for him. Laughs and good food were had by all of our little family. I really love sharing days like this with my family and the people I love in my life (both Eric and Jackie).

Here’s a picture of all of us (minus Jackie) at my college graduation last year. A little obvious that I look like my Dad, huh

I’m not sure if I have posted any pictures of Eric and I yet. Here’s a better one of just the two of us

Here we were at Busch Garden’s in Tampa, in front of the Gorilla area! I think I loved that park so much because I am not a huge ride person so the fact that it had a huge zoo (the first one I’d ever been to in my life!) was so awesome!!

Speaking of Eric, this is kind of a big week for him us. Wednesday marks two years since we started dating 🙂 I can’t believe its been so long and yet it feels like I’ve known him for years and years. We are searching out a good seafood restaurant to go to to celebrate (hopefully somewhere on the northern coast of MA or in the Portsmouth, NH area). We both love seafood and I love getting to go somewhere new and explore different cities with him.

It is also a big week because it is Eric’s 24th birthday on Saturday!!! We are having a cookout for him at his house on Friday night and I can’t wait. I love hosting stuff and I plan to make it a good one. I am going to make his cake for the second year in a row and am considering this vegan chocolate avocado cake by Ashley . It looks absolutely fabulous and I think I may be able to pass it off as a regular cake for Eric and his friends and finally get to have my cake and eat it too 🙂 ! I am also going to make my mango salsa and maybe another side dish…probably putting a lot on my plate here but I can make it. Needless to say, this is a muchhh better week to look forward to than the last.

I had to pick up a couple extra shifts this week at work to get time off on Saturday for Eric’s actual birthday and the hours are wonderful, 10a-2p. This is my ideal schedule, wake up around 7ish and make my way out for a run. Come home to some pre-made vegan overnight oats c/o Angela’s recipe which will hopefully come out as wonderful as those. Get ready and be to work at a respectable 10 am and be out by 2pm to the enjoy the afternoon and sunshine. Tomorrow is another birthday, one of my best friend’s Linsey will be turning 23! This photo was taken at her 22nd birthday last year, she’s in front on the right in the black dress with blue ribbon. The five girls in the middle of the top row are myself and four of my best friends.

Phew! This week sounds crazy now that I’ve laid it all out here. I think I have more than reached my time for sleep. Did I mention my mom and I got spontaneous pedicures today? What a wonderful thing 🙂

Have a good night everyone and enjoy your week!!

Post-race and mid-weekend class update

19 06 2010

Hi all!

So I have not yet re-caped after my race, it has been a busy few days! The race was so great! It was the tail end of a hot and humid day that had become over-cast and drizzly but thankfully the rain held up for us! It ended up being great race weather; cool breeze, no hot sun baking us, just right for a run! I loved the energy at the starting line of the race, it felt so good to be surrounded by strong determined women of different ages, shapes, sizes, and ability. Jackie and I get excited easily so we started getting REALLY amped as the officials were giving telling us the rules (which we could not hear over all the chatty women).

The race began a few minutes after 6:30 and Jackie and I were off. We spent the first half mile passing people and trying to find our pace. I of course did what all newbie racers do and started out wayyy to fast. I think I was just so excited and wanting to stick with Jackie that I just went for it. I was also listening to the Glee Cast songs on my iPod which really got me moving 🙂

Around about mile 1 I realized that I was not going to be sticking with Jackie the entire way. She has been running about more than me and her stride is a lot longer; I knew that it wasn’t my pace and so I let her go. After that I just listening to my own body’s rhythm and kept going. It was a little tough to regain my breath and energy but I got it back. I did have a bit of a struggle right before mile 2 as we approached two big hills right in a row. I walked off a cramp for a moment and then kept on running, knowing I would NOT be walking the finish line. The rest of the race felt good; each time I tried to follow someone I remembered to keep my own pace.

As I approached the entrance to the park  that had the finish line I caught glimpse of my brother sitting on the wall waiting for me (well technically Jackie because he is her boyfriend, but like a good big bro he waited to see me and cheer me on). I called out to him and he got his iPhone out to take a picture (superstar moment)

I was trying to give him a peace sign but it may look like something else…all love there no worries 🙂

The entrance to the park is a huge hill so I tried leaning forward and letting gravity take hold. I got so amped as I approached the finish line with all the people cheering. I decided that the sprinter in me was coming out and made a 50 yard dash to the finish line. Overall my time was 30:37 with 9:52 min/miles. I was really happy with my time because I wanted to be under 10 minutes and I have not been running that pace on my daily runs at all. The biggest thing with this race was it showed me that I am not just a sprinter as I believed in my high schoool track days. I am actually starting to get the hang of this distance (be it short for now) running thing and I really am enjoying it!

I celebrated immediately post-race with a banana and water bottle. Dan was even nice enough to snap a picture of Jackie and I, the two racer’s!

So glad she signed up with me, although in the end, the race was really about me running it myself and doing my own thing 🙂

Post-race dinner was a huge salad with grilled chicken and sweet potato on the side (it was rather large and my attempt to eat only half didn’t last very long).

The two days following the race were a tired blur. I had not been getting enough sleep for the three days of work I had had in a row and my body does not do well when sleep-deprived. I hit Thursday night and was a sleepy-mess; Friday morning wasn’t much better. I am not approaching the last leg of my weekend class and am feeling it for sure. The course itself should be more interesting but the professor is a bit dry. I am bringing my laptop to class for notes/mental stimulation and basically praying for 5:30pm tomorrow to arrive.

It is definitely time for me to hit the hay. Hope everyone is having a great weekend and enjoying the sunshine!! Enjoy father’s day tomorrow, too!

A week of Endurance

15 06 2010

Isn’t it funny the more intense/busy/crazy weeks can seem to drag? It’s only Tuesday and I feel like it should be Friday. Maybe its just me..

Anyway this is a crazy week for a few reasons. I am coming off of a busy weekend where I worked Fri-Sun and in the midst of that got dinner with two of my best friends from college on Friday, drove up to Maine on Saturday evening for my goddaughters 5th birthday and my grandmother’s 92nd (Luau themed, no less!), and concluded it all on Sunday by hitting the gym apres-work before crashing at Erics for Chinese food and the Celtics. Phew!

I had Monday off for some necessary R&R. My body never fails to let me know when I need a day to relax and ease into my day. I started my morning off with some Vegan Overnight Oats (a variation of Angela’s recipe), followed by some lounging and reading (a little Breaking Dawn), and a mid-afternoon run to get ready for tomorrow’s 5k!

Yup, I got the race bug going and was in need of finding a race and fast! I started looking less than two weeks ago and found this one and said, “why the heck not!” It’s perfect because it’s an evening race (I work until 3:30 most days) and it’s in my city so no need to travel very far. I texted my friend/brother’s girlfriend, Jackie, and she was totally in! I love that about her, she’s always up for almost anything, I want her spontaneity!

Back to the race, so it’s tomorrow evening at 6:30 and it’s a women’s only 5k. Its a memorial run for a woman who died far too young and it was started by her mother who used running to cope with the loss of her daughter. Such an inspiring reason to run!

I had begun running outside early this spring; we were blessed with such a wonderful spring this year after a long NE winter. I was ready to get out of the gym and enjoy the open air. I missed the conditioning and toning I got from running but was weary of restarting my old workout of daily sprinting high intensity interval training (HIIT) on the treadmill. Outdoor running has been much more kind to my mind and body. I find it much more challenging because I have never thought of myself as a distance runner. I sprinted for track in high school and always dreaded the days when my coach would tell us we were hitting the pavement for outdoor runs. I’ve definitely come a long way from those days and am at a really happy place with my outlook on running.

Back to tomorrow: so I have to work before the race 7-3:30. Since its a short race I’m not too worried about this; I have a few hours after work to unwind and get pumped up 🙂 I have begun to got myself ready so I don’t have to worry too much tomorrow. That began with a good dinner for fuel: brown rice with steamed mushrooms, turnips, and red peppers topped with an avocado = yum! I go pretty bland when I am prepping for something like this so this was the perfect meal for what I need. I then went to lay out my clothes for the race

I probably won’t wear the t-shirt to the race, but it was too cute not to include in the picture. The forecast says there will be some showers tomorrow evening and in the mid-sixties so I will probably need a hoodie or t-shirt to go over the tank. Rain or shine I am still pumped.

I am also trying to figure out what to eat during the day tomorrow. My biggest things are avoiding insoluble fiber and acidic foods. That being said, I have my breakfast game plan down

Oatmeal with banana, cinnamon, stevia, and topped with some Almond Butter. Perfect way to fuel up without feel the bulk of the fiber I have issues with. I will pack some snacks and a light lunch for work. Most excited about my snack that came in the mail today:

One of Angela’s Endure Glo Bars! I placed the order last week and have been dying to to try one ever since. What a perfect way to fuel up for a run! I think lunch will be a small turkey sandwich with some natural applesauce for a snack. Focusing on mostly small meals tomorrow. Haven’t figured out what my pre-race fuel will be, maybe another banana or some dry cereal. I am still trying to find the best way to fuel my body and navigate my dietary needs in terms of fitness and training. I’m great at the post-workout meal but not so good at the pre-workout stuff. I usually try to run/workout in the morning on a mostly empty stomach. It works best for me although not everyone would recommend that. I am also going to have to strike a good balance post-race for a meal: refuel without being too full. I have to get to bed early so because my workday on Thursday starts at 6:30, yikes!

Friday morning/day will be my rest time this week. I am actually going to be having my first Reiki session that morning! My friend Jason just became certified and is offering me a session to try it out/allow him to practice. I am really pumped; it’s something I’ve been interested in am learning more about in my grad program. I love the way holistic and eastern methods are becoming more main stream in the in the U.S.

I hope to get in a run during the day and relax a bit in prep for my weekend format class beginning at 5 that night. Yes, this is my favorite part of grad school: intesive weekend classes!

The course is Vocational and Career Development, a pre req but definitely not a the worst I could take. Its a pretty light topic compared to the others I’ve taken/will have to take as a counseling major.

Well its getting a little later on and I want to get my lunch ready for tomorrow and get myself into sleep mode early. I would love and appreciate any comments on meal planning or racing!! Have a good night everyone 🙂

California dreamin’

9 06 2010

Flowers I found while visiting Ficklin Vineyards

Back from California and haven’t stopped thinking about it since 🙂

The flight there was a huge success, I was able to just let go and leave my anxities behind…it also helped that our flight was so early (6:23 am!!) that I was too tired to even know if I was anxious or not. We flew from Boston straight to San Francisco where we had a 3 hour layover. Having not ate much for breakfast or during the flight, I was STARVING. Even though I don’t like to fly on a full stomach, I knew skipping a meal was not an option. We (my mom and Aunt Jackie), ended up eating at this cute restaurant in the airport that had delicious veggie sandwiches. One of my favorite foodie things about CA: fresh, ripe avacado’s! They’re everywhere and always on the menu at restaurants. Unlike the ones here in MA that are little green rocks when you buy them at the store, the ones in CA (as with all of there produce) are ripe, fresh, and perfect:)

Anywho, on with the trip. So after the extended layover we got on a teeny, tiny prop plane from San Francisco to Fresno (where my Aunt Barbara lives). This plane we had to board from the tarmac which I always find to be fun (it seems like something from the movies…I don’t travel enough). I had to make this moment memorable, so as we descended the ramp to the tarmac, I lost grip of my boarding pass and it blew away in the wind! The pass flew somewhere under the ramp so I ran to get it at the bottom but was stopped by the security guard. I guess they frown upon passengers going into unauthorized/unsafe areas. I had to have the security guard get the pass for me once I explained what had happened. All worked out and I was fine but what a great way to begin a vacation 🙂 Only me…

The first night of the vacation was spent at my aunt’s in-laws beautiful home for a low-key backyard burger cookout. They asked us to bring a fruit salad so our first culinary adventure was finding wonderful fresh fruit from Trader Joe’s for that. We also spent the second night at that house, this time celebrating Memorial Day with a much bigger cookout. This time we made Mango Lime Salsa which came out fabulous!

Mango Lime Salsa:

1-2 Ripe Mangoes (depending on how many people you are serving

1 Red Pepper

3-4 plum tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper

1/2 onion (we used purple but scallions are good, too)

1 lime, zested and juiced

1/2 cup dried chile spiced dried pineapple (optional but SO good!)

I was definitely skeptical about the dried pineapple, I’m not a huge fan of heat in my food, but they added such a great element. They had the consistency of like a gummy bear or other chewy candy with the taste of pineapple and just a little spiciness that went with the rest of the salsa. Highly recommend trying that one.

After our two evening with the in-laws, the rest of the trip was a just a girls trip with my mom, aunts, and I. We actually did a major amount of shopping at Target the first day which made us laugh…did we really fly cross-country to shop at Target!? But cute clothes were bought and we had fun so it was worth it!

My favorite part of the trip were the relaxing ones. Each morning we got up around 7 (we’re all early risers in this family which I love; we enjoy the whole day) and my mom and I walked for about a half hour. I’m a pretty active person in my life but part of my transition and growth in the past year has been learning to appreciate more passive versions of fitness rather than obsessing about speed, intensity, and calorie burn. It was also a time for my mom to just be together, not always talking, but enjoying the peace and beauty of early morning. The weather in Fresno at this time of year is perfect: mornings are cool (low 70s) and it gradually heats up during the day to the high 80’s (no humidity!) and it cool down in the evening to the upper 60s while you sleep. Perfection. I also enjoyed the peace of leisure reading and relaxation. During the school year, reading for class and work often keep me feeling like I have too much on my plate to pick up a book for leisure. I was happy to have got through two books while there, and got the drive going to keep on reading all summer long:)

Of course the absolute favorite part of the trip was visiting wineries! I had been looking forward to this for the past three years since my last trip to CA. We decided to skip the long drive and formalness of Napa and check out some of the local wineries in the area. The first stop was at Ficklin Vineyards, a small vineyard specializing mostly in ports.

It was nice to be somewhere so intimate and small and get to really learn about the wines and the process. Although I don’t have a taste for ports yet, I enjoyed trying them and also got to try some of the reds they make, too. There were also a few photo op’s as the only ones there and we took full advantage:

After this winery we asked the tour guide what other places were in the area. He mentioned a few vineyards but also recommended a wine tasting bar down the road that sampled various wines from vineyards all around the region. We all decided that having many options was the best bet and headed there. It ended up being a GREAT choice!

We were able to sample 5 different wines for $5. We decided to split up, my mom and I shared 5 and my aunts shared 5 . We tried to choose all different ones to we got to try 10 different wines (and the woman threw in an extra for each of us so it turned out to be 12, oh lovely!). My mom and I are big red wine fans so we tried a Pinot Noir, Malbec, Shyraz, Vinto Tinto, and another one which I cannot recall at the moment. We loved the Pinot and the Malbec so we each bought one of those. Such fun! The woman who took us on the wine “tour” was wonderful and so knowledgable about the Vineyards that gave them their wines and the owners who make the wine. If you are ever in the Fresno area and want a fun stop to sample many wines I highly recommend Appellation California.

Much wine, many laughs, and wonderful food were had throughout the trip. We used each night to try new recipes, each of us contributing an idea or a tried and true favorite (my contribution was grilled apple salad with red peppers and goat cheese). Although it was not an excursion-based vacation, or one spent on a tropical beach, it was a wonderful way to spend time and bond with my mom and aunts as well as a time to relax and recharge.

I am happy to have gone and happy to be home too.

Control and recovering from type-A personality

27 05 2010

My inspiration for this post came today during my yoga class. We were in the middle of some more intense movement poses and my instructor kept using the the word “control” in reference to our ability to maintain difficult poses. I found myself getting SO stuck on that word…what place did control have in my yoga practice!? Shouldn’t I be more relaxed and zen!?!

Wow, Em, take a step back and relax. As I’ve been on my road of recovery from living as a type-A person, I have gathered a list of taboos. The world control is probably the top of that list! It just reminds me of the neurotic (yes, psych term) need to have your hand on over little detail, nothing spared! Its how I felt about my eating and exercise last year, it’s how I used to feel about making plans with friends, it’s most certainly how I believed I would maintain the insanely fast-paced life style that I lived in my last two college years. Funny how one little word can bring up so much emotion and energy.

Thankfully I also came to a new understanding of the word during the class. I began to realize that my instructor was not talking about some neurotic need to control, but rather a discipline to hold on and persevere despite the discomfort of the movements. It is about being able to remain focused on the moment and the position while hundreds of muscles, big and small, are screaming “enough”! Suddenly control was not such a bad thing after all.

I knew that going to this yoga class today was a must; I am leaving for my trip on Saturday and this was my last for sure time to get in a yoga class before leaving. The class was my chance at carving out some time and space in a busy, scheduled day to connect my mind and body and honor the present moment. The class fulfilled that expectation and much more.

I feel that I am in such a better place than I was a few days ago regarding this trip. The bundle of nerves that I was on Tuesday was in no way helpful or positive. I am letting go and practicing my non-type-A lifestyle 🙂

I hope to post again tomorrow and maybe even get a post or two in from my trip. I am extremely excited because I recently purchased a new Panasonic Lumix point and shoot digital camera and am also taking along Eric’s Nikon D60 for some days when I am feeling a bit more creative and also to get some delicious shots of the food we will be making! I have really wanted this blog to include pictures but I have not had a good camera accessible lately. That will be changing soon and I am planning to make this blog a lot more visually interesting and personalized.

That is all for now, hope everyone has a good night!

Learning about myself and a strange dream

25 05 2010

So today has been a bit of a rocky start for me. I could just NOT get out of bed this morning. I think the combination of allergies and a really long day yesterday just kept me rolling over and ignorning the clock. I finally got up around 9 (late for this early riser) and hopped in the shower. I was intending to go to the beach today with my  good friends but my stomach had different plans for me. I guess my stomach really tells me when I’m stressed and today it was screaming loudly. I get frustrated with it because I know thats why I feel the way I do and yet I have not found a way to stop it. I usually just ignore it but some days I really just can’t. I know that it has a lot to do with the stress I am having about my impending trip to California (I should be excited, right!?) Well I am SO excited for the trip, I’ve been planning for a few months and talking about it for a couple years. Its not the trip itself that I am worried about but just the flying. I know that I am a nervous flier and that thought has been in the back of my head for about a month now. I  know that seems a bit crazy/obsessive but for anyone who has travel anxieties you will know what I mean. I just find it funny that its so cyclical: I worry about not feeling well on the flight which makes me not feel well which makes me worry about how I will feel when the flight comes on Saturday. I honestly want to just let it ALL GO and just enjoy every bit of this vacation and that is my true goal. I have been in need of a true get-away for a while now and I don’t want to be the reason it does not turn out as wonderful as I have planned.

The trip will go something like this: early flight out of Logan on Saturday morning with my mother and aunt. We will have a comfortable flight, landing in San Fran 9 or so their time.  We will have a short layover and board a smaller plane and fly to Fresno airport. My aunt will be awaiting our arrival and we will head back to her home (a short 10 minute drive!) to begin our week of fun. Memorial day cookout on Sunday, trip to wineries at some point in the week, shopping, relaxing, sunning, and tons of healthy cooking and recipe experimenting!  One of my favorite thing about spending time with my mom and aunts is that we all love to cook fresh, healthy food. They love finding new recipes to try and we love buying fresh, local produce when we are in CA. This is one of the few opportunities I get to be with my aunt in CA and really spend time and bond with her. She has lived on the west coast for most of her life and all of mine so our time together has always been limited. I really look forward to seeing her and am so excited about this trip. All that being said, my trip will be wonderful and low-stress 🙂

On to that dream that I had. This is so wierd and I remembered it just as I was about to write this post. So in this dream there was my stressed self and then this other side of myself. I was supposed to be meeting my parents at some sporting event for my boyfriend’s brothers but I has having trouble getting there. The stressed me just felt like there were too many things that I needed to do before I could leave the house and get there. When I finally did get there, the other side of myself was already there, sitting with my parents and my boyfriend, enjoying herself and the game. I remember just sitting there watching her thinking how happy she was and how beautiful she looked…and she didn’t even know it.

This is definitely not me speaking vainly, I’ve struggled with my perception of myself for most of my life and have always had a hard time seeing myself as beautiful and attractive as I am. This dream struck me though because it was like being able to sit back and see myself for who I am and really accept and appreciate that. It moved me to think that I am becoming able to realize that (even on a subconscious dream level) because it’s something I have been working on for a while now. Even though I am frustrated with myself today for feeling this way and not going to the beach I am wanting to do, I think that being kind to myself, rather than angry, will serve me much better. As I have said, I am on a journey, and even though today felt like a setback I am making tremendous steps forward whether I realize it or not. I know that I will not be able to kick some of my anxious “habits” in a few days, but I am working hard at it and becoming much stronger every day.

Enjoy the day everyone, whatever it is bringing for you 🙂

Having bad days with your body

13 05 2010

Do you ever have one of those days where you just don’t feel good in your own skin?? It’s a horrible thing to say but I was truly feeling that way today.

As I have said in my about me, I have been on a journey back to accepting my body after having a bad relationship with food and exercise a year ago. At this time last year I was just moving home from school and coming back to normalcy after battling with disordered eating and a exercise obsession. A year later I am definitely  MUCH more healthy, but those thoughts can sometimes resurface and rear their ugly heads.

At this point I am back to exercising regularly but for pleasure, not for a need to burn calories. Some days  I go to the gym and run a bit and lift some weights; others I get out on my bike and either trail ride or street ride for a while. Some days I do yoga, and others, like today, I just take a nice walk and enjoy the sunshine. Most of the time I don’t mind the lower impact days because they are a form of a rest day that I get to do something that is positive for my mind and body. Today for some reason, however, walking just make me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. I kept seeing runners go by and wishing I would just pick up my pace and go. I saw cyclists navigating traffic, going nearly at the same speed as the cars, and immediately was planning a day for my next long ride. Commuting to school in cambridge makes it even worse; I swear that everyone in the Cambridge area is either a cyclist or a long distance runner because that is ALL YOU SEE!  At times I want to just pull over, throw on my running shoes and join them; it must be easier for them here because everyone seems to be doing it! All joking aside, it can be real struggle when you are having one of these bad days not to stack yourself up against others.

By the time I got home from class I was in a mental battle with myself over what to make for dinner and when I would have my next workout, NOT THE WAY TO LIVE! I have been doing so well lately, thanks to many amazing bloggers out there, rediscovering a love for food and eating well! I have also been truly enjoying my approach to exercise as a way to dabble in everything that I love and never feel bored. Today, however, I can hear those nagging thoughts telling me that I need to step it up, be more disciplined, and work harder at my fitness and nutrition. Where do those thoughts even come from?? Are those voices really my own insight, or are they just a product of this society we’re living in??

Wherever those voices come from I am really tired of hearing them talk. They need to be replaced with some more positive ones that serve me better and make me happier. I recently read a book The Four Agreements which outlines a new way of living and thinking in which we get rid of the garbage placed on us by society and the world that ways us down and begin to feel more free and positive. It describes the way which we were socialized and how we have formed agreements with ourselves due to the standards set by society. An example would be the agreement that American society says thin is beauty. It is now my choice to accept that agreement and live with the weight it carries for me, or to work to break the agreement and create a new one for myself. That is really just a piece of the books message, and I truly recommend reading the whole thing (I believe it’s around200 pages), but in general it taught me that it is through my will that I restructure the belief system I have built in my mind.

I plan to have a great day tomorrow with my body and my image of myself. Doing that means waking up and looking in the mirror and smiling and appreciating what I see. It may even mean taking a moment to tell myself just how wonderful I am…as I am. If you can tell yourself it will be a good day, making that an agreement with yourself, who is really there to stop you?

Celebrating Mom’s Everywhere

9 05 2010

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Mom’s out there! I love holidays like this because they are all about being thankful and taking the time to appreciate those who we often take for  granted. I am so blessed to have a wonderful mother who I am also able to call my friend. She is wonderfully supportive and so much fun; we will be traveling together with my aunt (who I consider my second mom!) to see my other aunt in California at the end of the month:) How lucky are we?

This morning we decided to have brunch together, which is my mom’s favorite meal, to celebrate Mother’s Day. My dad began cooking as I slowly awoke from an evening of drinks with my co-workers. I really love going out with people from work because we rarely get to see each other in a relaxed environment and in normal clothing. I work at my local hospital, registering patients that come into the emergency department. Although I am not on the nursing staff we have a great connection with the nurses we work with and I really have enjoyed getting to know many of them. Although we have our fun at work, its nice to get out and let loose a little every once in a while. Last night was a going away party for one of our medic’s that is being deployed the Middle East. Thankfully he is an army medic working in a hospital and not in the field but it is still sad to say goodbye to someone that is going overseas. I wish him the best of luck over there, can’t wait to see him when he returns to us!

Back to the brunch….

So my dad began making his usual bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, etc. These are thing’s I really don’t/cannot eat, especially in the way they are prepared. I was considering just having a typical bowl of oatmeal when someone mentioned pancakes. Now I am not a regular eater of pancakes, mostly because they aren’t the healthiest of breakfast items and they are usually prepared with milk and other things that I cannot eat. I decided to check out Angela’s recipes though, knowing that she has tons of vegan options for amazing breakfasts 🙂 Well I found a great recipe on her site for whole-wheat vegan pancakes! I decided to give them a try. I whipped up the batter which consisted of:

2/3 c wheat flour, 1 T sugar, 1 t baking powder, 1/4 t salt, 2/3 c soy milk, and 1 egg (she used egg substitute but I am not vegan so I didn’t mind the real thing)

While I was prepping the batter I had started to eat a banana and thought, “what would be better than banana pancakes!?” So into the skilled went the batter and I made 1/2 banana and 1/2 regular pancakes. As I  was cooking and thinking of toppings I decided I wanted an upgrade from maple syrup. I was thinking about my favorite banana toppings and decided to mix up some Maple Syrup-Almond Butter! Yum:)

As I was making these delicious pancakes my father was using the other burner to make the eggs. He is usually pretty skeptical of any of my recipe variations (he’s very old-school in his food preferences and likes things the way he remembers them to be only!). He said that they looked great and I gave him one to try to which he remarked “wow, these are really good!” SUCCESS! He’s probably my toughest food critic, mostly because he is so set in his ways.

Anyway, I made the pancakes and sat down for brunch with my mom, dad, and mom’s grandparents (Memere and Pepere), who live upstairs from us in an in-law apartment. Soon after we began eating my aunt called and she and my uncle stopped by and we sat and ate and talked for the good part of the morning. I love being home on Sundays; its such a relaxing, family-oriented day. We usually have a form of brunch every Sunday, this one was a little more elaborate than usual. My ultimate Sunday would have started with a run or bike ride first, but I was still recovering a bit this morning when I woke up. I am hoping to do something exercise-related this afternoon. I would love to take a bike ride but its cool out and super-windy! Oh well, we shall see 🙂

Hope everyone has a wonderful day today, especially all those mothers out there!

Listening to my body and eating well

18 04 2010

So my update is that I decided to put the apartment hunt on hold. There were a lot of factors that went into the decision but ultimately I went with my gut (literally). As I said before, my stomach takes on my stress, and ohhh did it tell me loud and clear that I was stressed. As much I as want/need/love the idea of getting my own place and moving forward with my independence, I can accept that, rationally, now is not the time. Although I work full time, I also am a full time grad student and I often find myself anywhere but home. When I do get home at the end of a work day, between commutes, or after an evening crash, I could not imagine having to worry about the bills and responsibilities that come with managing my own home. I also realized that my gut was telling me to take it a little slow with moving in with Eric. We love eachother so much and are very happy, what’s the rush or need to add the weight of stress to our relationship? We can both manage another year or so living at home until we save up and sort our finances out so we make the best decision and find the best space for us in the lovely time that is our early twenties.

Another thing all of this brought about was eating well when under stress. It is SO easy for me to cater to my emotions and my tummy when I get this stress, meaning carbs on top of carbs. I’m not the comfort food type, my lactose intolerance wouldn’t allow it, but  I am a notorious cracker/cereal/carb muncher! I totally go for these when I am stressed to calm my stomach when, in reality, no food is really going to settle it. What would settle it would be some mediation, yoga, and mindfulness (especially when eating). And although I believe that I can treat my stomach’s rumbling with food, I also know that certain foods with cause backlash. During these times I try to stick to simple, fresh, and healthy foods. I limit my fats and oil (even though I am obsessed with my almond butter lately!), skip out on acidic stuff, and go for healthy natural food. I find that this, not mindlessly munching on crackers, is what really soothes me. I am also a huge proponent if mint teas. I recently discovered Celestial Seasoning’s Tummy Mint Tea, so awesome! It has peppermint, fennel, and chamomile…the best combo to calm and unruly tummy! Tonight was a night where I got home from work and knew that my body needed some R&R and a good meal. I roasted a couple chicken tenders in the oven, cooked a sweet potato, and steamed some turnips, mushrooms, and red peppers, all over a bed of baby spinach, YUM!  Although it may sound a little odd or simple to some, knowing that I am giving my body a good meal that doesn’t have processed or mystery ingredients makes me feel good 🙂

So for now I will be de-stressing and treating my mind and body right. That means heading to bed now so I can get the sleep I need to feel good tomorrow!