Saturday, December 27, 2008

Quick and Easy Weight is Normal

Recently I had a friend of mine get more interested in what I teach. Her husband was out of town for a month. (It is common in Hollywood to be working on a film out of town for many was the case here.) She had added in some whole grain for breakfast and found some quick and easy weight loss. Her husband spoke with her on the phone many times a day and he was teasing her that she was being drawn in. He said something about "We'll have normal food when I get home though right." My mother has similarly called my whole foods diet "not what we eat.", "Your kind of cuisine" and other derogatory comments to eating brown rice instead of white or having hot cereal instead of something processed, sweetened and badly in need of liquid coming straight out of a box with a shelf life of many years.

When did real food become different? How is it that instant is more important than health? An apple is pretty instant but it isn't as revered as a bar loaded with sweeteners, fat and less energy? Salad is about as far as whole anything that many people ever get. It is limited to not only a small side but usually the options of salad for many are a little lettuce, maybe a carrot or tomato and a whole lot of dressing.

All I'm really doing is expanding the amounts of vegetables, whole grains, beans etc. that we have to enjoy for most people. Finding inexhaustible new twists to make it all more fun. My mom likes to have her same dozen or so meals that she knows how to do over and over and over. A new twist ought to be more than finding the latest item in the frozen or instant section of a supermarket.

It's sad to me now that I find so much health, freedom and fun from eating what is considered a new way. (Really it's about as old as it gets for humans with higher thinking.) The sad part being that it can be so threatening to some people. That what they eat is so tightly wound up with their identity of who they are that they are not open to trying a cabbage salad other than Cole slaw or that there are more greens besides lettuce. They don't give quinoa a try until their favorite restaurant serves it up and think healthy breakfast means grape nuts or granola instead of the myriad possibilities with the many whole grains.

It used to be common to take the polenta from dinner and fry it up for breakfast and add a fruit syrup on top. Millet works wonderfully the same way with even more health benefits. Putting on a pot of beans or rice or both was no big deal a hundred years ago or so. It can be even more simple today. You don't need to start the fire. The time it took to cook can easily be used to do other things as it doesn't need babysitting.

With so many people not only being overweight, but wrecking their health getting diabetes, that leads to blindness or kidney failure or dropping dead from heart disease or even just the need for anti-depressants from failure to nourish ones self on every level, there is definitely a need to get back to "My kind of food". It works. It's simple. And best of all, it tastes great.

Get a new idea about how much time things take or what you are willing to make, eat, order or buy. Eating better is worth being a little different for now. It's soon going to be back in vogue anyway. It's cheaper than Botox or surgery. You can kiss your prescriptions good bye. And remember my friend. She only dabbles and gets to be the size she was in high school or even skinnier.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Okay to Change Your Mind

Yesterday I was determined to go back and return a purchase that I bought. I had been to the store once already that morning. Frustrated with the salesman's lack of human emotion as he couldn't seem to see that with Internet pricing these days there has to be some more service in customer service. He said he would see what he could do about waving the fee and returning my money as it was policy to only give store credit on returns, when I spoke to him for about the 3rd time on the phone that day. I was angry at this inane store policy and ready to fight. Then I realized that perhaps I might want to keep the purchase after all, but I wasn't sure. I texted a friend who knows far more about camera equipment than I do. Hey it was still a brand new lens with box, packing materials and all. I marched up to the bus stop, got on the bus and headed East for the second time that day. She texted back. It wasn't enough information. I texted again. I was halfway or more to my Hollywood destination and in Beverly Hills when I knew I was keeping the lens, even before I got her answer. I got off the bus. Walked a few feet, and got on another bus to go back home.

How this relates to food is that so often when we make a decision we think we have to stick to it. I know I have had the experience of taking more food than I really needed and eating it anyway. Or making something and not really wanting it after all. (That doesn't happen often.) The point is okay to change your mind. It's okay to say, oh I thought I wanted all of this but I really don't. Or to have just a little and leave the rest. Or to put what you just made away and make something else and look forward to the first creation tomorrow. Everything is adjustable but many have learned to make a choice and stick with it even when it is hurtful. Meals go by one by one fairly quickly and there are always more. What habits have you been creating that you might want to change now? Where have you been eating too much or too little? Where does junk or chocolate substitute for a meal? It's okay to change your mind. Change in the middle of the eating. Just put it down and let it go. This might seem really odd at first. Hey, getting off the bus and letting go of my mission yesterday felt odd. It also felt exhilarating, liberating and free. I really don't know where my new camera interest is leading me. It doesn't matter. I'm having fun and learning and growing every step of the way. Using our lives to become more of who we want to be has that effect. Plus it's okay to change your mind and go in a new direction anytime.

Friday, December 19, 2008

What is Enough?

What is enough? People often ask me how much to eat. They want specifics. 1/2 cup of this, 1 ounce of that, be sure to eat broccoli on Tuesdays and have your burdock chopped on the diagonal while facing north. I am not big on specifics. I really don't care if you eat your broccoli or if you ever enjoy fresh burdock. I am interested that you know how incredibly strengthening burdock is for us. How it can cleanse the blood and is added to just about every Chinese remedy for its enhancement to our well being. How broccoli can give you more calcium than milk and all the fun ways to enjoy it from being simmered in a sweet and savory white sauce or quickly sauteed with garlic and tossed with pasta, in a casserole or how about broccoli bisque with red pepper cream?

It seems to me that when we are having fun and enjoying our lives than the questions of how much become much more simple. Eat until you are lightly full. Watch for the sigh that comes from your stomach filling up with food. Your own body will gladly tell you when to stop stuffing in more. Are you listening is a whole other thing.

The art of listening to yourself and allowing the trust to develop, that you do know best, can be something like a tangled ball of string that needs a little unraveling. It takes practice. It takes letting go of the anger that might come up as you find out what hunger is. Hunger is not an enemy. So often I see people misinterpret being tired, bored, unhappy or all kinds of things for hunger. They look for something to grab and soothe themselves.

That is where you get to make your own rules. Do you eat three meals a day? Do you have snacks that you feel good about? If you know there is the next meal coming can you wait? What are the rules you set up for yourself and are they in line with what you would like? Thin people acknowledge their hunger. A little hunger doesn't scare them and they either get a snack if it will be a long time before the next meal or just wait. When you are busy and happy a little hunger usually goes unnoticed. While waiting too long sets us up to over eat, it is that listening and learning what level your hunger is and if it is true hunger at all. How much can your stomach comfortably hold and are you willing to maybe allow yourself a little less to feel better, look better and have more energy?

Then come the specific foods too. Animal foods will be more filling and more acid forming so how often you eat them will be one of those things you get to learn what is right for you. Only you can really decide what is enough of anything. I can lead you to make choices that support you. I can offer guidelines to play with. Ultimately what is enough is completely in your control. Play with that at every opportunity to consume food and see what occurs.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2 parts Rye Flakes 1 part Teff

I've been enjoying rye flakes cooked into cereal for the last few mornings. I was down to just the last bit of rye and I had a tiny amount of teff left. Teff is the smallest grain in the world. I just love the ivory teff cooked up to be somewhat like cream of wheat. I tossed the two of them into a pot with a couple cups of boiling water. I had maybe 1/2 C. of grain. It simmered up to be absolutely delightful. Of course a little flax oil always makes me happy. A little Apple compote never even touched the bowl. I ate it first. The flavor, texture and level of being full was far superior to either grain by themselves.

Now was it this new combo of grains first thing in the morning or something else that made the day great? I will never know. I had an incredible day of being calm, focused and satiated throughout the hours. I read recently that eating whole grains consistently does far more than simply nourish the body. They act on the psyche and spirit as well. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps it was just a magical day. Try some yourself and see.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heart Healthy Waffles

I'm very full. I just enjoyed a fun, quick, Saturday morning waffle breakfast. I thought I might want a muffin. I took the package of wild organic frozen blueberries I had in my freezer from Trader Joes and put it in the fridge last night to defrost. I thought of making the muffins, perhaps giving some to my neighbors or freezing the leftovers that would be made. Waffles though kept coming to mind. Waffles sounded more like what I really wanted. Not a cake texture that muffins are. I wanted a crisp on the outside, soft and light on the inside, waffle. I lacked the right ingredients for traditional waffles but luckily I had come up with a flax seed batter years ago. I had been dating a man who was extremely encouraging of my experiments. He had a bad case of Candida along with other ailments so he was limited in what he felt safe eating. These waffles were a welcome treat for him. They were today for me. So simple to make, and exactly fit my mood. I put some blueberries in half but I still like plain the best. See what you think and let me know....
Heart Healthy Waffles
Without the eggs or baking powder traditionally used in waffles, these are simply good for everybody. Use what ever flour or combination that you like. We used brown Teff flour and Oat flour for a very hearty and almost chocolate like flavor. Spelt flour creates a lighter more traditional waffle. Add cinnamon, fruits, nuts or any of your other favourite waffle additions.

2 Cups flour
2 Cups Vanilla soy or rice milk
3+ Tablespoons flax seeds (we used the golden flax seeds)
1/4 Cup safflower oil
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
Optional add 2 T. brown rice syrup and 2tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the milk, flax seeds and oil in a blender. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the flax and milk mixture to the flour and stir with a whisk. The batter will be thick. Pour some of the batter onto the waffle iron and cook for about five minutes. (The steam usually lets up when waffles are ready.)

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Friday, December 12, 2008

How often do our thoughts trick us into thinking things that are simply not true? This morning I woke up ready for breakfast. I am usually hungry in the morning. I had some rye flakes for cereal and I cooked up and apple with cinnamon. It didn't look like much. I kept thinking I need more food, this isn't enough and similar untrue ideas. It was cold in my apartment so the hot food felt great. I sat with my little bowl enjoying the flavors and textures and warmth. After a few bites I realized I had plenty of food. The old "eyes bigger than stomach" routine that used to get me to overeat at many a meal was trying to fool me.

The vast majority of people that populate much of the western world seem to be overeating. Granted they are eating foods that are not conducive to health, vitality or being slender, often as well. It's easy to eat to capacity or beyond for a lot of folks. I do also know people who absolutely hate that full feeling. They are thin. They hardly ever eat too much. They don't mind being hungry. Plus they do know that there will be food available when they need or want it.

Many clients who come to me want to be given the "right" amounts to be eating but since that is impossible to really know for any individual I like to give them guides as to how the food works, what to recognize as true hunger and true full signals and such. I was laughing at myself this morning though realizing that there is an element I teach that even I can easily push away. The listening to old tapes in my head.

We all have them. The tricksters that keep us safely who we believe ourselves to be. Is it true? If you decide it is than sure, but only you can decide for yourself who you will be. In every moment you have the opportunity to shift and be who you would like to be being. Sometimes it is not so easy. The hunger seems so real. My own hunger this morning had more to do with trying to cover up other feelings I wanted to ignore than needed any more food. Our core fears lurking somewhere in the depths of our minds come up with fantastically intricate ways to keep themselves alive. They are very fun to discover and dissolve as I did in an instant of a thought and bing! I was comfortably satisfied and on with my day. Hurray for insights, tools and the gifts of coaching.

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