Tag Archives: health

Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Your Health

29 Jan

Ten years ago I was frequently exhausted, and spent most of my free time on the couch.  Figuring out my food allergies has changed my life!!  Today I feel healthy, energetic and strong.  Read more about my story on my new blog, truebodymindsoul.com

Food Allergies, Sensitivities, and Your Health

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The Best Diet on the Planet!

22 Jun

Without a doubt, the best diet on the planet is a plant based diet.  Best for the people, the animals, and the planet!

First let me clarify and say that I eat vegan, but I do own some leather shoes.  I avoid leather, silk, and wool, but I have a lot of issues with my feet, and feel like I have to buy whatever shoes I can wear and not be in pain.

Second let me clarify that I mostly eat vegan.  At home I’m pretty strict, don’t even eat honey, but I’m feeling a little guilty at this very moment because I’m traveling right now and have been more lax. You’d think I’d enjoy the break and splurge on some ice cream, but honestly every time I eat an animal product I regret it, feel guilty, and think, this is actually kind of gross.  I haven’t had much.

So I try.  I started about six years ago.  Every year since then I’ve had months of being strict, and then often had a few months of being a little more lax.  I never lecture other people.  But I do often look at what other people are eating and think, I can’t believe they can eat that!!

My main motivation is ethical.  I’m extremely sensitive to the suffering of others, and will do what I can to alleviate that.  I’m actually not much of an animal advocate.  I enjoy seeing animals out in nature, and have respect for them, but honestly I’m much more concerned about the suffering of other humans.  But I really don’t like to see any creature suffer.  Factory farming in the US is absolutely abysmal and I want no part of contributing to it. Even practices that don’t involve killing the animals are generally harmful.  I feel like the animals are kept as slaves just for our convenience and luxury. I don’t want a cow to be impregnated, then her calf taken away from her, pumped with hormones to produce more milk, hooked up to a machine that causes lesions on her utter, and then pumped with antibiotics to prevent infection.  Just so another species can steal her milk. Just so I can have some butter, when margarine is just as good?  What kind of life is that?  I also have issues with the fact that Americans are so quick to ignore all this, we just want to go to the store and buy everything that’s all clean and neatly packaged, and not spend even a second thinking about the slaughterhouse that the meat came from.  We freak out if a kitten or puppy is treated inhumanely, but don’t even want to know about how the chickens, pigs, and cows that we eat every single day are treated.  It’s hypocritical.  When I eat vegan I feel like I am living in line with my values, and not having a double standard.

Every religion in the world encourages some form of ethical conduct.  The spiritual paths that I follow extend that ethical and compassionate practice to animals and even insects.  I know most Americans probably think I’m crazy when I catch a mosquito and release it outside, but I can tell you from my own experience that there is an absolutely beautiful feeling that results from this practice.  A feeling of bringing the sacred to all life.  A feeling of Connection.  A Love of life.  I don’t claim to be perfect in this arena, and if I had to chose between the life of a mosquito and the life of a child, the child would win by billions (in most of the world where malaria is one of the biggest killers of children, this is a real choice that has to be made.)  The practice is about keeping our hearts open.

My second motivation is for health reasons.  I am kind of obsessed with health and will often make major changes in my life to promote it for myself and my family, and others.  I do not feel good when I eat most animal products, especially dairy.  There is very strong evidence, in fact I would say irrefutable evidence, that dairy is linked with cancer growth, heart disease, and inflammation in the body which is linked to just about everything bad including Alzheimers.  The Dairy Industry is especially insidious in their marketing, for example, drinking milk is NOT associated with increased bone strength, this is a marketing ploy.  Studies that showed that calcium intake was linked with increased bone strength and a reduction in osteoporosis were entirely done with calcium supplements, not with milk.  And in fact, studies that look at the effect of milk in the body show that it weakens bone density! Our bodies lose calcium when processing animal protein.  If you don’t believe me, and don’t believe the studies, then think about this, you will NEVER see the claim that milk is good for you bones on the actual milk carton.  This is because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires evidence for such a claim, which they do not have.  You will only see this claim in ads, where you can kind of say whatever you want. For example, you can say in an ad “We’re the best” without having done a study to back up that claim, right?  If you want to read the actual studies and see some real evidence, The China Study is an amazing book, it’s the largest epidemiological nutritional study ever conducted.  It also shows clinical evidence of studies done in the controlled environment of the laboratory.  Hi highly recommend it, and either of John Robbins books, such as The Food Revolution.

The third reason is environmental.  I think most Americans are probably completely unaware of the environmental impact of the typical American diet.  I’ll look for the actual statistics later, but a huge percentage of rainforests have been cut down to raise cattle for us; producing beef and other meats uses a HUGE amount of water, like you wouldn’t believe; it takes something like 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound beef (that is grain that could feed a lot of people if eaten by us instead of fed to the cow.)  John Robbins books are really great at explaining these environmental impacts as well.

I tend to have a kind of “all or nothing” attitude with things.  It can be fun at times because when I’m into something I really throw myself into it 100%! But it can also be a barrier because when I don’t reach the perfection I aspire towards I am easily discouraged and give up.  So now I try to have a more flexible attitude about things.  I first became vegan when I was a teenager.  I was so inspired.  I gave away ALL my leather, and really intended to do it perfectly.  But it was hard.  I could easily be vegetarian, but being vegan was just harder.  My parents would have ice cream in the fridge and there were a few times my will power just wasn’t strong enough and I ate some (of course, this was more than 20 years ago before there were a million varieties of non-dairy ice cream.)  The last straw was when I needed to buy some jazz shoes for dance class, I looked all over the place for non-leather shoes, even the canvas ones had a leather sole.  I felt completely defeated.  I gave up, I think I lasted a couple of months.  During all of this, somehow, it NEVER occurred to me to just do my best and stick with it.  Either I was vegan, or I wasn’t, that’s how I saw it.  So, if I may give some unsolicited advice, if this post inspires you at all to make some changes, I would encourage you to just change as much as you can and not feel like you should do nothing, just because you’re not ready to do everything.  Little changes can make a big difference too.

The Good, and The True

18 Jun

I wrote about my love of Vinyasa, and yoga, which is all true, but because the post was all based on enthusiasm and positivity, that is what I’m calling The Good, now I’m going write about the difficulties and challenges I face in my practice, which I’m calling The True.  As I said earlier, part of my path to authenticity is to work on expressing all sides of myself, not just the positive.

As much as I love yoga, being a mom and working full-time, I don’t make it to class as often as I’d like. Plus, I’m very flexible, but don’t have the supporting strength to balance out my flexibility, so I am often working with injuries.  I have been trying to establish an at-home practice so I can fit more in, and really make it part of my daily life, even if I can’t make it to class.  I guess I can say I have done this, I can honestly say that I have done some yoga everyday this year, but, I feel like I’m just going through the motions, and on many nights, okay, probably on most nights, it’s just 5 minutes.

I find this a little perplexing.  I have a daily meditation practice, and will easily sit for 20, 30, or 40 minutes at home, even on nights when I’m tired and it’s late.  But I have such resistance to my yoga practice!!  I put it off!!  I just don’t seem to want to do it by myself!!  So, I think it’s time to brainstorm.  I think I was trying to tough it out a little too much by not doing anything to make it more accessible, such as listening to a guided session, or music, or working on specific poses and setting goals.

A few years ago I started setting goals of working on some more advanced balancing poses, it really made the practice fun for me. Last year I was determined to master scorpion pose, but then I hurt my back, not doing scorpion, but probably overdoing it on dancer or king pigeon.  So.  I have a lot to think about.  Soon I’m going to set some mini goals for myself to bring so fun and play back into my practice so it won’t feel like geometry homework! But I’m not yet sure what those goals will be.  Maybe certain poses to work on, or areas such as core strength, or increased minutes of practice.

One exciting thing to report is that I did 30 minutes tonight, and a 45 minute meditation. One of the main reason I started this blog in the first place was to inspire me to do more, so I think it’s working!  It wasn’t the most flowing practice I’ve ever had, it felt kind of choppy, and disjointed, but I was REALLY glad I did it.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done 30 minutes on a weeknight without going to class.

If you’d like to leave a comment and share with me your own tips and tricks for inspiration in an at-home yoga practice, I’d love to hear them!