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Unqualified Unconditional Unlimited

unlimited

Words are powerful.

I know that to be true. And then sometimes, suddenly I am reminded all over again.

This week a long time friend commented on something I had posted on Facebook.  And her words stopped me in my tracks, because they “felt” so good.  “You are so good at dreaming”. A pat on the back is always nice, but what struck me most was the clarity of language.

Unqualified: Without reservation or limitation.

Here’s the deal: I spend a lot of time qualifying my language when I talk to myself and to others.  If I’m telling myself positive things I’m more likely to say “I am kind of good at” or “I sometimes am good at” or “I can be good at”.  And the difference in how those wishy washy statements feel compared to “you are good at” is huge.  Since I’m consciously and unconsciously talking to myself throughout the day, building some better language habits could really come in handy.  Unqualified language, that’s my goal.

Unconditional: Not limited in anyway, complete and absolute.

Two other times that specific language had a lasting impression on me come immediately to mind.  The first was a college acceptance letter (way back in 1986) that stated that they were pleased to offer me  “unconditional acceptance”.  Unconditional acceptance.  Now that’s something that was music to my angst filled teen self and is still beautiful to hear today.  I desire unconditional acceptance in this world.  I desire to FEEL unconditionally accepted. I want to love unconditionally and give unconditionally and be unconditional in my relationships.  I want to be unconditional in my resolve to go after my goals and dreams.

Unlimited: Boundless, infinite, vast.

Another time a single word got my attention was about 10 years ago when I was getting estimates for a new hot water heater.  One of the estimates was for a tankless system and came with a brochure offering an “unlimited supply of hot water”.  The other bids didn’t stand a chance.  (Yes, I’m an impressionable consumer, more on that here.) An unlimited supply.  Of hot water good.  For me.  Unlimited.  Limitless. That speaks directly to my soul.  Unlimited good, unlimited love, unlimited abundance, unlimited forgiveness, unlimited energy, unlimited ability – yes and yes please.

Unqualified, unconditional, unlimited – these words are big and broad and empowering.  Since I’m playing big this year, and reaching.  I want to be clear that I’m not “kind of” reaching or “sometimes” reaching.  I am committed to unqualified, unconditional, unlimited reaching.  

I’m going to be watching my internal and external dialogue – catching myself slipping into the old habit of the disempowering, qualifying language and correcting myself.  Because unqualified, unconditional, unlimited good is what I want for me and for everyone.

What words really speak to you?

 

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Who’s in Your 5?

You might have heard the popular quote from Jim Rohn “you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.”  I don’t necessarily believe this to be an absolute, but I find it an interesting idea to consider.  And an interesting way to look at my own circle of influence.

What feels most true about that statement is that people in my life influence me, in ways I notice and in subtle ways that I don’t always notice.  And when I am being intentional about directing my path, it really helps me to be intentional about who I am “listening” to.   Especially because, I’ve got to be honest, I’m impressionable.  Perhaps sometimes extremely impressionable.  (I’m the girl who can see a Drake’s truck on the highway and suddenly crave a Ring Ding.)

So, it stands to reason that if I committed to a healthy lifestyle with loads of personal growth and discovery, I would want to have an inner circle with similar commitments, ideally people who are succeeding at these endeavors more than I am.   Which is great.  But sometimes I don’t get enough face time with these genius powerful gurus and I find myself lost in other influences (some might argue that we are living in a consumer driven, immediate gratification time at the moment).  That’s where, for me, social media has come to the rescue.  I intentionally seek and follow people on social media who are speaking my language and already doing the things that I most want to do myself.

It’s works so well for me that it’s a subtle form of brain washing, and I have to remind myself that not “everybody” is having kale for breakfast, making daily gratitude lists and doing yoga, just the people I am following.  I love that my Instagram feed is awash in delicious whole food, inspirational quotes, yoga poses, people in nature, and small businesses succeeding one customer at a time.

And I gotta be honest, even when I’m not loving the way I’m feeling or fitting into my favorite winter clothes, if I’m seeing lots of posts about comfort food and glasses of wine, it’s pretty easy for me to pull the wool over my eyes and keep on doing what I’m doing.  However, when my Facebook is full of posts from some of the people I like best talking about being on day 3, and 5 and 7 and 14 of a cleanse, detox, or health make over, I start to get the itch.  They’re talking my language and they’re calling me home.  (If you’re reading between the lines here, you might have guessed that I’m about to embark on a cleanse, you probably will be hearing more about that in the weeks to come.)

The way I see it, I’ve got big plans and it serves me best to line myself up for success in every way I again, working with all that’s available to me today.  Social media support isn’t replacing the ‘real’ people in my life, and it never will.  However, why not keep my channel turned to what I most want to see and hear?

Who are you listening to? Are they telling you what you need to hear to further your goals and dreams?

 

 

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Get Behind Me

fear

Funny thing how when I take a firm stand on reaching for some big outrageous goals and a deeper richer life, all kinds of stuff comes out of the woodwork to drag me back.  I don’t know about you, but when that happens to me I can sometimes consider it as a ‘sign’ that I’m going the wrong way and decide to curl up in bed and hide from the world to make other, less bold, plans for myself.

Thing is, I know in my gut that I’m making the wrong call and listening to the wrong voices when that happens. But it doesn’t make it any easier to push ahead.  Happily for me I am getting better and better at reaching out to my support network when I falter.  Not that long ago, I used to only falter in secret, behind closed doors, WAY harder to pick myself up when I’m all alone and in the dark.  Not that bringing my struggles to the light is all that easy either, but the bright side of that is that I have the opportunity to continue on with the course I’ve set for myself, rather than turn around and go back the way I came.

Over the past couple days there’s been a lot of noise in my head.  Lot’s of chatter that started with real deflaters like “who do you think you are to…” , “you can’t even…”, “there’s no way to…”, “look at the mess you make…”, “you don’t have…” and on and on and on.  It felt like the hits were coming too fast to catch hold of, disprove or reason with – it felt like I was sinking.  Fear was trying to run the show.

That’s when I remembered what a dear friend said to me recently when we discussed these sort of internal saboteurs.  She said to tell them to “get behind me”.  I’ve heard these words spoken in a commanding voice during a sermon and when I heard them from my friend, they came through in that same strong voice.  What feels really right about simply telling all of that nonsense to “get behind me” is that it frees me from having an internal debate with myself when those thoughts come up.  I’m not pretending that all of that junk isn’t there – it’s there, but it’s not getting in my way, I’m not walking around it, it is getting behind me and I am moving on.

I am not a biblical scholar but part of the strength of “get behind me” for me comes from it’s biblical context.  Jesus tells Satan to “get thee behind me”. (Luke 4:5-8).  And right now, when I’m feeling like I have some big work to do, thinking of those saboteur voices as the devil/Satan trying to hold me back and slow me down infuses me with much more vim and vigor to plow ahead.

So get behind me – and put it all behind you – and do something really amazing!

Are you finding roadblocks in the way of your January dreams and goals? How are you overcoming them?

 

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One Word

reach

(spoiler – it takes me more than 600 words to talk about my one word)

Choosing a single word as a place on which to stand for a year is a way for me to focus on a theme and carry it into all aspects of my life. In my coaching work, I would refer to it as a perspective.  Selecting a word is about selecting a new perspective/a new lens through which I can choose to look at my life, my choices and my experiences.  And at the same time the single word is also a beacon, a bright reminder of where I want my focus to be, where I am headed.

That being said, committing to a single word can feel confining and no amount of ‘thinking’ of my 2014 word was getting me anywhere over the past two weeks.  And then, this year’s word ‘fell’ on me, just landed in my awareness when I wasn’t really looking for it.  It was written in my mind’s eye in large deep pink block letters:

REACH

As soon as I saw it, I knew it was my word because it soothed a sense of being lost, almost lonely, that I had been walking around with.  And then… it got even better.  A dear friend and mentor of mine (who is also the one who introduced the one word concept to me several years ago), Sherri Wear, recommended looking up my word in the dictionary, which I did, even though I “knew” what reach meant.  Guess what? Here’s what I found:

 REACH, verb

1. To stretch out or put forth (a body part); extend  

2. To touch or grasp by stretching out or extending  

3. To arrive at; attain: reached a conclusion 

4. a. To succeed in getting in contact with or communicating with

    b. To succeed in having an effect on

Before looking up the word, I had only been thinking about it in terms of the first two meanings, the stretching and grasping business.  The next two meanings blew me away and really upped the ante on 2014.  Because yes, I am absolutely ready to reach out to people, reach for things, to extend myself, to stretch myself for my goals, even to stretch my goals.  Already that’s great meaty stuff that I’m scared to death of excited about for myself.  And then – looking at meanings three and four there is a whole bigger game at play.  Not just reaching for my goals but attaining them, not just reaching out to people but communicating with and having an effect on people, the community, the world.  Not just reaching but arriving. Reaching fulfillment, greatness, abundance, success.  YES – that’s a word I can stand on this year.

I am ready and I want to REACH – reach out, reach up, reach people,make connections, gather knowledge, take risks, light a fire inside people, lead people, go for and attain all the blessings and good that are in the field of possibilities.This year as I plot my course, I will be doing it through the lens of REACH, keeping in mind all of it’s meanings.  Which means asking myself questions like:

  • If I were to reach, what would I do next?
  • Who do I want to reach?
  • Where do I want to reach?
  • How big of a reach do I want?

And that’s just the beginning. I imagine I’ll be doing some stretching in more ways than one.  I can’t wait to see where it goes!  And I want to send out a special thank you to Jodi Zaugg who midwifed this blog post and my first major reach of 2014 into being.

Did you pick a word for 2014? How do you anticipate it will shape your year? Did looking up it’s definition change the game for you?

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Almond Milk Excitement

It doesn’t take much to get me excited.  I remind myself most of a puppy, a slightly overeager, joyful, curious, really loving puppy.  And when I discover something new that I love, I just can’t wait to share it with everyone.  This blog is in no small part my outlet for sparing my family and close friends from my nonstop effusive rants doing just that.

While doing the sugar detox last week, I had a follow up doctors appointment to review the results of some blood work I had done last month.  As it turns out, I have quite a few things going on, among which Lyme disease is back in force with some Bartonella, Babesiosis, and walking pneumonia thrown in.  All of which has triggered some high Epstein Barr results. It is nice to have an explanation for my fatigue and is reassuring that the doctor had a treatment protocol that combines traditional, homeopathic and herbal medicines at the ready.   To support myself during treatment I will be continuing with a no sugar, no dairy, no grain lifestyle.  Thankfully I was feeling so great from my week long sugar detox that that felt like a super easy decision.

Now, none of this news is very exciting, however what IS exciting is figuring out how I am going to have fun with  this new regimen.  For instance, I’d like to be able to treat myself with a cup of coffee once in a while, and I enjoy my coffee with skim milk.  One friend suggested that I adjust to having my occasional cup of coffee black, which I think I will try.  However, I wanted options, so I thought I would try my hand at making almond milk.  The almond milk that I have seen on the shelves didn’t taste that great to me, and had way more ingredients then seemed necessary.

I had a recipe that a friend had recently emailed me, all of the ingredients in the house, and some time between things on Saturday to give it a whirl.  What I didn’t have was a nut milk bag, but once I had decided I wanted to make almond milk, I was determined.  I couldn’t think of a local friend that might have a nut milk bag just hanging around to be borrowed (Note to local friends – I have ordered one, so I’m the person you can call from now on if you’re in this predicament).  I did have some cheesecloth, so I decided that I would make it work.

The basic recipe is super simple and super delicious, plus the whole experience was very satisfying.

Insanely Delicious Almond Milk

almond milk

  • 2 cups almonds (soaked for 3-5 hours)
  • 6 cups water
  • 3 dates (pit removed)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 drop of almond extract

Put all of the above in your Vitamix and blend on high for 2 minutes.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Strain.

For those of you who, like me, are completely new to this rodeo, here are some additional bits of information from my experience this weekend.  This recipe completely fills a Vitamix, so if you’re using a different high powered blender, consider halving the recipe or making it in two batches.  I strained small amounts at a time.  The blended mixture is a thick liquid, so to extract most of the liquid through the cheesecloth I squeezed and twisted the cheesecloth.  Twisting the cheesecloth was a mistake, as it tore and much like a pastry bag began to extrude the almond pulp/paste.  The squeezing was the most fun part, because the milk smelled delicious and it was amazing how much milk there was even when the pulp looked dry.  Plan ahead and have something you want to eat your almond milk with ready to go as soon as you’re done, as well as something to store your almond milk in the refrigerator.

I had so much fun making the almond milk that the fact that it was absolutely delicious was an added bonus.  I decided to have dessert for dinner and made myself a huge bowl with what I had on hand, which was chopped mango and strawberry, walnuts, soaked Mila, bee pollen and cinnamon all drenched in almond milk.  It was completely insanely delicious.  I wasn’t patient enough to style the bowl before I took the picture, so this messy picture is a sign of a delicious meal :-)

mana bowl

Ever since, when people ask what’s new I have been replying with “I made almond milk, it is super crazy delicious.” And sometimes even when people simply make eye contact say hi I have the same response, because I’m excitable.  And it’s way more interesting than talking about the latest blood test results.

Are you going to make yourself some almond milk?  What has you excited right now that you want to share with everyone?

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Faking It

pesto pasta

Zucchini “Fettucini” with Pesto

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time “faking it until I can make it.”  Lately  I have noticed that I’ve been doing some faking with my “get up and go”.  I find myself waking up and having thoughts about just going back to sleep (or getting the boys off to school then diving back into bed for an early morning nap, which I’ve never done I sometimes do).  And on the mornings when I entertain that thought process as I make breakfast and empty the dishwasher and feed the dog and pack lunches, I feel pretty miserable and all of those tasks feel heavy and the rest of my day tends to follow suit.  On the mornings that I banish those thoughts from my head when (or before) my feet hit the floor even though especially because I don’t feel like it and put a smile on my face, everything is a little different. I enjoy my morning small talk with my boys as I take care of the morning routine, which feels like an accomplishment as opposed to drudgery.  The thoughts in my head, as opposed to being ‘sleep, sleep, sleep’ are focused on the present moment, the still warm glasses I am placing in the cabinet, the smell of eggs (not my favorite) as I peel a hard boiled one for my son, the sound of rain on the kitchen window and the groggy blank stare of my son as I ask him about what he has on his schedule for the day.  If I stopped to give it some thought (or if magically I found out the the day was cancelled and the whole world had the day off) I would notice probably that I’m still a bit sleepy and that I’d love to be back in my cozy bed.  But if I don’t entertain those thoughts, if I simply replace them with thoughts of the present moment, somewhere around the time the boys have headed off to school I find that I am ready for my day as well and the bed is no longer appealing.  What’s more, it can actually get better than that.  On the days that I choose to “go big” and replace those sleepy thoughts with some really juicy thoughts about how grateful I am to have these boys and this dog and how excited I am to see what the day has to offer me – the process is accelerated and I’ve “made it” by the time I walk into the kitchen.

Faking it is like placing an order at a restaurant.  I describe what I want by my thoughts and then it is served to me as my mood/outlook/approach to the moment.  If I want to feel groggy and unmotivated, then I think groggy and unmotivated thoughts.  But if I want to feel motivated and alive and in love with my life (which is my version of heaven) then I think thoughts that match those feelings.  Not only do I feel better – but my feelings shape my actions and my day is more in line with where I want to be.  I know that I am pretty good at faking it because sometimes a groggy child will complain to me that I just don’t understand, they are really sleepy this morning and can’t possibly move any quicker.  I do completely understand, but I’m in the middle of faking it until I can’t understand because I feel so alive and ready for my day.

The first couple days of this sugar detox definitely were faking it kind of days.  When I focused on what I ‘wanted but couldn’t have’ I was not a happy woman.  I might have been really justified in not being happy – lot’s of people would agree with me and commiserate with me, however I didn’t want to feel like that, even with ‘good’ reason.  So I practiced faking it – and for me that meant focusing on the food that I “got to eat”.

This recipe definitely tops the list in the “got to eat” category because it was a fun one to make,  was easy to make for a quick lunch, and it really did fake my mind into feeling like a hearty ‘pasta’ dish.

Zucchini “Fettucini” with Pesto – serves 4 for lunch or as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pine nuts, pre-soaked and then drained
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini, peeled (if organic, you can leave the skin on)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

Combine pine nuts through olive oil in a blender until well blended and smooth.  Add additional olive oil if necessary to achieve desired consistency.

And next comes the magic “faking it” part – cut your zucchini into fettucini.

zucchini

Using a mandolin or cheese slicer slice the zucchini lengthwise into thin strips.  After the zucchini has been sliced, stack the strips on top of each other and then cut the strips lengthwise into fettucini sized strips of zucchini.  Plate the zucchini strips and top with the cherry tomatoes and then pesto.  This looks so much like pasta when plated with pesto and tomatoes, even slightly chilled this feels less like a salad and more like a side dish.

Do you find that “faking it” helps you get where you want to go? What’s your favorite “fake” food?

 

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Jumping In

It amazes me how quickly and easily I can fall out of step with who, what and where I am. The distractions in this life are as enticing as they are myriad.  But what amazes me even more is how easy it is to step right back into line.

I’m pretty sure that there were a few days last week that a vegetable did not find its way onto my plate.  And I am saying pretty sure because I was eating unconsciously, living unconsciously – it was a bit of a blur.  I had a consulting project that I was finishing up and my oldest turning 13 and I lost track of myself in the midst of that and a whole lot more nonsense.

No big deal.  I’m doing something new today, I’m just jumping back in.  Happily for me I am doing it with a bunch of other awesome people in a week long Sugar Detox hosted here .  For me doing anything in community is easier than on my own.  I’m getting back on track, and perhaps being a bit more hard core than I plan to be on a regular basis. A great place to start.

Yesterday I did a bit of meal planning in my head and then shopped.  Today I woke up ready to go and excited to be back in line with what feels right for me.  I’m excited about some of the meal ideas that I have for the week.  I couldn’t wait for this one and made it for lunch today.  I loved the cool crispness of the vegetables combined with the smoothness of the avocado and the hit of sweet spice from the ginger and the dressing.

lettuce wrapsRaw Spicy & Crunchy Ginger Lettuce Wraps – serves lunch for two
  • 3 dates – pit removed
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 3 peppers – I used red, yellow and green
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4-6 large romaine or Boston lettuce leaves

Blend dates through water in a food processor or blender until smooth. If it’s too thick, add more water, a 1/4 teaspoon at a time until its a consistency you like.

Wash and chop peppers.  Chop avocado and mix into peppers. Grate ginger onto pepper and avocado mixture and mix together.

pepper ginger avocado mix

Spread dressing on lettuce leaves and spoon pepper mixture over top.  * You’ll have extra dressing, save it for a dip or as a spread on something else :)

I’m glad to have my eating on track.  It didn’t require a whole lot of teeth gnashing or drama, I simply remembered what works for me and committed to it.  And the same goes for being more conscious in the rest of my life.  Losing track of myself is disorientating, jumping back into myself requires some effort but allows me to feel solid.  And take action.  It’s going to be a full and amazing week.

What are you taking action towards this week? Do you find yourself getting off track and pulling yourself back on track often? Any tips?

 

 

 

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4

The Chains of Habit

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After being intimidated by yoga for many years, I took a deep breath and jumped into it this past winter.  From my first awkward and challenging beginner class, I was sold.  There is a lot that I love about my yoga practice – the way that it rapidly transformed my relationship with my body, the extreme mental concentration it requires, the community of people I am honored to spend 75 minutes with several times a week and the amazing gift of being completely focused in the present moment.

An added benefit is the thoughtful wisdom that is integrated into my days as a result of the opening thoughts shared at the beginning of each class. One of the recent themes that Kessiah at Bright Heart Yoga introduced was centered on the idea “The chains of habit can be too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”  Since hearing that, I have been on the lookout for the evidence of this in my own routines/habits, especially the routines and habits that are in line with where and who I want to be.

I have been creating a routine of drinking warmed water with lemon and cayenne first thing in the morning.  It’s been nearly a month and I had been doing it every day.  Then I missed a day, a single day.   Before I even noticed, 5 days had gone by and I hadn’t had it once.  Clearly, the chains of that habit were so light that I didn’t notice their absence one bit.

It strikes me that new habits and routines require extra protection and support while those chains get stronger.  Much like the way I would protect a young seedling by placing it in a favorable location, nurturing/feeding it and protecting it from being stepped on, nibbled on by some wildlife, or scorched by the sun.  Helping the chains of my habits grow strong requires that same vigilance:

seedling

 

Placing them in a favorable location – keeping them in my line of sight where I won’t easily lose track of them.  One of my favorite ways to support myself in a new routine or habit is to track it.  I use a simple app on my phone and check things off as I do them.  This can also be as simple as leaving the new supplement or food out on the counter, leaving my sneakers by the front door, or the book on my bedside table.

Nurturing/feeding the habit – creating supportive thoughts and ideas around the habit that keep me on track.  What works for me is to create some joy or excitement about the new habit.   For starters, I like to have a clear idea of the short and long term results that I am intending from the new habit – the why.  And the why has to be better than “I should drink more water” or “it’s good for me”.  Not a lot of spice in those thoughts.  So I like to dig deeper – to things like “more energy” or “better skin” or “radically improve my relationships” (you get the idea).  And then, because I like carrots WAY better than sticks – I like to build in added incentives or little treats. When I started increasing my daily water intake, I treated myself to a glass water bottle which made those initial days a lot more fun because I was loving that water bottle and bringing it with me everywhere I went. 

Protecting the habit – ensuring that the young habit is safe from sabotage.  Many of the new habits that I create are replacing other habits that are no longer in line with where I am headed. So it is important for me to be sure that access to the old habit isn’t going to get in the way of the new habit and squash my efforts.  When I replaced morning caffeine with warm lemon cayenne water, I tossed the coffee that was in house put the coffee pot away in the back of a cabinet.  I also protected my new habit from the nibbles of others by only sharing the routine change with people who I knew would be supportive because when I hear “what’s one cup of coffee going to hurt?” too many times I tend to lose focus on my why and become derailed.  And finally, scorch protection for me means that I don’t embark on a massive overhaul but make fine tuning changes on a regular basis.  I am likely to burnout and give up on all of my new plans if I embark on a dozen new habits at once.  What I have found works for me is to be continually adding one or two more minor shift into my days, gradually correcting my course and continually bringing myself into line with where I am headed.

My seedling habits right now are my yoga practice (3x a week), blogging (2x a week), lemon/cayenne water (every day) and blocking out dedicated work time (as opposed to fitting working in between folding laundry, walking the dog, driving to baseball practice and starting dinner). What habits/routines are you currently working on adding into your life? What helps you forge a strong chain of habit?

Marney

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The 7 Day Wheat Grass Plan

wheatshot

How it took me 7 days (well about 6 months plus 7 days) to
make this ridiculous face accomplish something I wanted to do

 

Over the past six months I have become increasingly interested in wheat grass juice.  Every time I turned around it was coming up in one way or another.  Many of the references have been positive, touting the many health benefits, however, I also came across some of the negatives, most often that it just plain doesn’t taste good.  Because I am continuing my healing from tick-borne illness (specifically Lyme and Anaplasmosis) and the extended antibiotic treatment of the illness,  I was especially intrigued by the health benefits.

When it came to the benefits, what I heard and read over and over again was that wheat grass juice is exceptionally nutrient dense, with as much nutritional value in an ounce as 2 and 1/2 pounds of fresh vegetables.  It is also known to be blood cleaning, healing, and an incredibly efficient way of delivering easily digested and easily assimilated nutrition to the body.  I am all for efficiency, so you would think that I would have just bought a shot of wheat grass at one of my local health/natural markets and given it a try, right?

Well, nope. That’s not how it went.  I could never bring myself to do it. I kept waiting for the ‘right’ time.  I had read that wheat grass juice was best assimilated and most impactful on an empty stomach and that it was best not to eat for up to 30 minutes after having the shot.  Well, when I am at the market either my stomach isn’t empty OR if it is, I would very much like to eat ASAP.  I was also pretty scared of drinking the shot and having it come immediately back up right there at the market, which isn’t exactly the public image I’m going for.  (And I had read that it was best juiced immediately after cutting and best consumed immediately after juicing…)  Yes, my obsessive diligent research had gotten me into a bit of a paralysis.

To get myself unstuck, I might have suggested that I grab a buddy, head out to the market and just get it done.  I chose a different strategy – the “7 day wheat grass plan”.  I grew my own wheat grass.

wheatgrowing

From seeds to grass in 7 days

I bought some seeds, some dirt and some trays. Planted the seeds, watered them, marveled at their growth and on the 7th day noted that the grass had reached the recommended height for harvesting and thus I was all out of excuses.  It was morning, my stomach was empty, I was in the privacy of my own home with only my family there to mock support my brave venture, and I had lovingly grown this grass and therefore felt pretty committed to seeing this through.  So I cut the grass, a handful at a time and fed it into the juicer.

wheatjuicing

 Imagine my surprise (and relief) upon harvesting and juicing that my
entire tray of grass yielded just over an ounce of juice.

The hand crank juicer was relatively easy to use, but I lost some juice because there was more dripping then I expected.  The worst part was that the smell as I cranked was pretty awful – my eyes were burning/watering and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to see this through.  So when I ended up with only an ounce I was pretty happy, even though if you had told me ahead of time that each tray would only yield one shot I might have not been as enthusiastic a gardener.

After collecting my ounce of juice and properly photo documenting the moment, it was time to actually drink the juice.  Like the completely mature adult that I am, I made the scrunched up yuck face and downed the shot.  After months of anticipation with some dread mixed in, it was over in an instant, the taste wasn’t nearly as bad as the smell, and it didn’t have the aftertaste that my research had led me to fear (i.e. tasting “lawn” for an hour afterwards).  For the remainder of the morning, I was actually buoyed by a rush of energy.  The energy and ‘aliveness’  could have been the miracle of wheat grass or a result of the adrenaline rush of accomplishing something that had been months in the making.  Or both.

I’ve already started two more trays of wheat grass.  I don’t see a shot of wheat grass becoming a daily staple in my routine, but I can see it becoming a once or twice a week addition.  And, for now, I’m going to keep growing my own, mostly because I love having the daily excitement of watching it grow.  So few things in life change that quickly.  I think I might breathe through my mouth next time I juice it though :-)

Do you ever get stuck waiting for the “right” time instead of just doing something? How do you “unstick” yourself? What do you think about wheat grass juice – love it, hate it, terrified of it?  Let me know!

Marney

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4

Treat Time

apple cake

Raw Spiced-Rum Apple Cake with Coconut Cashew Cream

Recently I did a 6 day Sugar Detox Challenge hosted by the super cool MommyRunFast and then followed it with a 3 day Green Juice Cleanse. (I know, now you’re trying to figure out how that insanely delicious looking cake has anything to do with a Detox/Juice anything.  I’ll get there, I promise.)

The Sugar Detox was a very successful venture, while the Juice Cleanse was less so.  What really worked for me about the Sugar Detox Challenge was the support that was built in to doing something with a group of 100 plus people.  Every day people shared their highs and lows, their meals and their strategies via Facebook,Instagram or through the Google document that went with the challenge.  Feeling part of something bigger than just my meal plan for the week was more than enough to keep momentum going.  And the support of the group more than made up for any “what crazy thing are you doing now, Marney/mom?” looks I got from the locals.  I really enjoyed sharing my meals via picture every day, and the feedback I received from those pictures was one of the straws that broke me into blogging.food collage

When it came time for the Green Juice Cleanse, I was ready, willing and able.  I started strong – the first day I got a bit cranky because I wanted to chew.  The second day I felt amazing.  The third day I crashed and burned.  I had originally entertained thoughts of doing 5 or even 7 days, but after 3 days I was dragging physically and emotionally.  I felt alone and isolated, and I was surrounded by people telling me to “just eat”.  It was a great learning experience, having the contrast of going from lots of support to no support, and seeing the difference it made.  Had I been part of a group of people doing a Juice Cleanse, someone else would have probably had similar experiences to me, someone else would have had come upon a solution to my day 3 crash, someone else would have reminded me of the importance of taking it easy and not going 100 miles an hour when cleansing.  Left to my own devices, I didn’t have enough cards stacked in my favor for a better outcome this time.

I am more grateful than ever for the multitude of people who have my back.  I am a strong woman, an independent woman, a smart woman AND I am much more likely to succeed when I am connected with like minded people.  That was a whole lot of learning crammed into week and a half, and since then I have savored several cups of coffee, a nice piece of steak, and many other gifts from the food world.  Which brings me back around to the cake. It was surprisingly simple to make and every bit as delicious as I hoped (although next time I would go without the spiced rum, it didn’t add anything, and I think it took away from some of the flavors).

Raw Apple Cake:

  • 1 cup dates (pitted) soaked in 1/2 cup spiced rum (next time I’m going to use water or apple juice) then pureed in food processor
  • 2 large green apples, shredded (I left the skin on and used the food processor)
  • 1 cup Mila
  • 1 cup dried apple, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, finely ground
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded dried coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl.  Press dough firmly into large muffin tins. Chill.

I thought the cake was perfect without the coconut cream, but I made it just to see what it was like.  It was my first attempt at making coconut butter, and I wasn’t very successful.  I read that to make coconut butter, you simply blend dried coconut until the oil heats up and is released and the consistency becomes smooth.  I stopped blending when my Vitamix was hot, and although it was spreadable it was still pretty grainy/gritty.  I hated to blend anymore because all I could think of was how the heat was oxidizing the coconut.

Coconut Cashew Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours and then drained
  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut water

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

If you make the cake, or a variation of it, be sure to let me know what you thought of it. Where has having a community of support been instrumental to your success? Have you ever made coconut butter? Care to share any secrets to a nice smooth butter?

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