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Thursday, 8 September 2011

I am Good. I am Enough.

Well, so far I have written primarily about food. I am truly interested in food security, and worry that we are changing our environment so drastically that we may "engineer" ourselves out of the ability to produce fresh, nutrient dense, health supportive foods. Today, our vegetables, grains and fruits are more frequently tampered with. These tamperings render plants more able to withstand weeds and...to make produce look pretty, stay "fresh" longer...in other words, to appeal to the consumer's sense of sight. What about the other senses?

Naturally, I am reflecting on the abundance of summer, and of harvest time. I am so grateful for the decision we made to shop locally, organically, and to build our meals around what is freshly available. I had forgotten how delicious a red, ripe, organic tomato smells. I loved the smell of fresh onions as I slice them and the juices run onto the cutting board. And freshly sauteed summer squash with a bit of garlic and onion...I made full meals out of that! Fresh corn on the cob...mmmmmmm....we have enjoyed its abundance this year!

So, not only do I worry about long term food security, I worry about this winter. What will we eat? There is no way I can go back to spending my heard earned cash for produce that looks pretty...I don't want a decoration, I want food! I can't even imagine eating mushy, tasteless, aroma-less produce. Since we have been shopping local farm stands, I tend to view produce in the grocery stores as compost. Seriously, it looks dead, lusterless, and....the aroma of fruit that I remember from childhood is mysteriously absent.

My family were orchardists, my father won accolades for his tomatoes and cucumbers. He was known as Tony the Tomato King. I grew up with fresh, frozen and canned fruit, primarily grown by a family member. I recall sitting between the rows in Auntie's garden with my cousins, salt shaker in hand, eating tomatoes plucked warm off the plant. Pick one, eat one...that's how it is meant to be! My family was also very talented in terms of turning beautiful fruits into works of art...pies and strudel are two of my favorites.

In my life thus far, I have been privileged to live with many different families, and learned many different ways of being. The common thread though, was the freshness of our food. I was usually fortunate enough to live with families that valued fresh food and had gardens to produce lovely health sustaining food. I don't know whether these gardens were organic or not...but the freshness of the food has stuck in my memory. Even when I lived with families that didn't have a garden, I quickly learned the art of foraging. I recall picking berries, wild apples, digging clams, and fishing to supplement my diet. Later, I even learned how to hunt, although I never enjoyed either the killing or the butchering of the animals. I don't eat flesh and I don't hunt anymore...haven't for many years now. In fact, "hunting" became a bit of a joke between Mom and I...I would arrange to go hunting with her in the fall, and would arrive and she would say, "I don't want to go hunting, I just want to visit.....go and hunt in my freezer". 

Sadly, for a long time, I associated having a garden, hunting, fishing, foraging...as activities for the poor. I rebelled and wanted everything store bought. I wanted wonder bread, not home baked...I wanted shiny, perfect apples, not fresh ones with the odd blemish. I didn't want to have to work to obtain my food. I wanted it done the easy way. I became one of the many overfed, undernourished people and my health suffered. I had stomach problems diagnosed as ulcers. I carried a bottle of liquid meant to numb my tummy and make the pain stop. I ate antacids. I never had a normal bowel movement. For me, regular meant once a week. And I hurt...all the time. I had migraines that showed up more and more frequently. My skin was dull and blemished, and my hair was dull and stringy. My energy levels were practically non-existent. Exercise? What? No thank you. I had to trick myself into exercising by joining a team and playing slow pitch. Interesting....I could do it for the team, but not for myself.

And I am still learning to do it for myself. Finally, I am at a place in my life where I understand it IS all about me! Wow! What a gift! I always thought that was the most selfish thing...to take time for myself, to engage in self care. I spent time looking after others, sacrificing self. I thought that would make me appear selfless, saintly.....finally....good enough. I have discovered that no matter how much I did for others, I never felt good enough. It wasn't until I began to care for myself with the same passion, love and commitment that I felt good enough. I am good. I am enough.

So, I take care of myself as best I can with what I know, and I research....and reach out. I allow others in, and accept offers of help. I still feel fear and still have the old impulse to avoid...new experiences, relationships...etc. I listen to the limitations put upon me by others...but I don't necessarily accept them. For example: I had knee surgery in February. Following that, I learned that I have severe osteoarthritis in one knee, with very little cartilage left. The other knee and my hips are also affected....as are most joints in my body. Arthritis is inflammation. As I learn to let go, and to lovingly embrace who I am, I find the pain lessens.

I had a referral for knee replacement in March, but haven't been in touch with the surgeon yet. I was told that any physical activity would likely worsen things, and definitely would not improve. This weekend, I hiked to three different waterfalls. I was challenged, and at one point, I thought I would have to turn around...but I didn't. I took my time, enjoyed the sights and smells of the forest, and made it to my goal destination each time. I could have used a walking stick and better footwear (remembering that for next time), but I did it! Yes, I did have some aches that night, but nothing I couldn't cope with. We even slept on an air mattress in the back of the truck that night, and I was fine. I know that each step I take helps me. I hurt more if I don't move than if I do. So really, it is about finding things I can do. The paths we took were not really that challenging, I think the furthest we trekked at once was 3km, one day I thought we did about 5km.

I am feeling really happy with myself. I took a small stone from each of the waterfalls and I will attach them to my walking stick. They will be my reminders to be wary of limitations....and to always, always be open to possibilities.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


I have been thinking lately about why I am doing this...why do I feel the need to change my habits, attitude(s), perceptions, knowledge...etc...why?

Well, that's a long story, and that long story is exactly why. My life so far has been a full one. Full of experiences that perhaps, just perhaps, I have thought I would rather not have had. However, part of this process has been about embracing all of those experiences, no matter how difficult, and understanding that I am whole, complete and perfect...right now, just the way I am.

I have come to a place of understanding. I experienced horrible things in my childhood...abuse, neglect, abandonment....you name it. I had a really hard time even admitting that some of the choices made on my behalf were really not in my best interest...as a child. What I have come to understand is, there are no "enemies", no places to assign blame, no "bad guys"....once I let go of my need to make it all someone elses fault, I was able to embrace my childhood and forgive those who made choices that in the end, harmed me. I understand that the adults in my life were also wounded, and I do believe they did the best they could. That is how I was able to forgive.

For me, forgiveness does not mean that I accept that what happened was okay, it wasn't okay. Forgiveness means that I am able to move on, step into my power and own it. When I was a child, I didn't have a voice or the ability to change my circumstances. I was given a set of values, beliefs and rules to follow, and was expected to do so without question. Now, I have a voice. I own my power. I decide if those values, beliefs and rules are for me. Some of those old stories still ring true, and many do not. It is all up to me. Forgiveness means that I am ready and willing to stand in my power...to decide, to learn, to live, to use my voice...stepping into my power means I live my life full on, no more hiding. Forgiveness means I am sticking up for that scared, lonely, rejected and abandoned child. Every time I take another step forward I am telling her "you are worth it, I love you".  Forgiveness means I do not allow the past to rule my future. Forgiveness means I have faith...it means that the Universe always seeks balance, and I don't have to punish anyone for anything. I don't need retribution to feel like balance has been achieved. Forgiveness for me means freedom.

Now I am in a place in my life that is filled with exciting opportunities. We can always have a "do-over" any time we choose, the important thing is to choose. So, here I am, reinventing myself for perhaps the hundredth time...but really, I am not re-inventing myself as much as I am returning...it feels like a homecoming. I am coming home to myself.

Along the way I learned something interesting about shame and guilt.  I have learned that guilt is something associated with the belief that I have done something wrong. Shame however, is associated with the belief that something is wrong with me. I am learning to let go of the shame, it doesn't belong to me, it never did. Shame is toxic. I have nothing to feel shamed about. I am learning to respond to guilt by changing. If I feel guilty about something, it means that I did something in a way that is incongruent with my stated values (reacting instead of responding perhaps?). Therefore, I have an ethical obligation to myself to respond. And then we come back to forgiveness...because forgiveness supports me to respond to situations in my life rather than just reacting.  I am responsible for my life. Responsibility is the ability to respond.

I know this sounds like a walk in the park rather than a lifelong commitment to continue this journey. This journey is clearly not about a destination...for me, it is all about the journey. What happens along the way is what I focus on. It is really challenging at times, to continue to have faith, put one foot in front of the other, when the path is bumpy, has roadblocks, and visibility is low. Sometimes the next step is all I can manage.

This isn't all about food, but it is all about food....if that makes any sense. My relationship with food is at times entangled, often interwoven with issues that remained long after the childhood trauma ended. Food became my comfort, solace, reward, centre of activity, the way I stuffed the emotions, the way I shut myself up and off. I didn't see my relationship with food in a health supportive way. I didn't see food as something I could partner with to achieve good Goddess health.  Food was what I used to fill the void. When I was working on my relationship with tobacco and alcohol, I used food to fill the void left when those substances were gone. I spent much of my life looking to become comfortably numb. I became involved in relationships that re-enacted the traumas from childhood. I was drawn to the familiar. I used food to cope. I did not eat to live, I lived to eat. I drowned that little girl inside with fabulous "treats" to make up for every single deprivation she survived, and to make her voice so small that I almost couldn't hear her. But she is a strong little girl, I can hear her, and I am finally learning to respond. She is me, and we want the same thing...live fully, squeezing as much as possible out of every single moment.

Wishing you good Goddess health....

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I want to let you know about two blogs I currently follow:  Fat Free Vegan and Gluten Free Goddess. These are two very talented ladies who create the most delicious recipes...and where I regularly go for inspiration.

That said, I also wanted to talk about another inspiration...Shiritaki Noodles!
I am so happy to have found these. As a long-time pasta lover, I have tried many alternatives to the pasta I had become accustomed to, with mixed results. However, the Shiritaki...I love love love it!! I can currently purchase angel hair, spaghetti, and fettucini types, so that is what I will be experimenting with. Once I have a wee bit more time (and skill) I will add recipes to the blog, so that you can try recipes yourself and let me know how it goes.

Anyway, the Shiritaki...the brand I buy has about 40 calories for the whole package...and are very low in fat but high in fibre. Usually, when others have pasta and sauce, I have spaghetti squash and sauce...not a problem, I love spaghetti squash. But the Shiritaki opens a whole new door for me. So far, I have made a Pho style soup with them, chow mein, as well as the typical noodle and sauce recipes. The Shiritaki noodle is tasteless on its own, and readily picks up the flavors of whatever you choose to cook them with.  I should also tell you though, that when you first open the package, the smell is a bit off-putting, kind of fishy. Don't let this dissuade you...simply rinse well, boil for about a minute and voila...no more smell!!

While visiting Fat Free Vegan this morning, I saw a recipe for stuffed baby eggplant. I have to admit, I am drawn to these beautiful, shiny purple veggies. I tried to make eggplant parmesan many years ago, and neither it nor I were popular following that effort....but I am ready to try again. I absolutely love Baba Ghanoush, so really, isn't it possible that I would also adore the eggplant? Even if I only learn how to make Baba Ghanoush, I would be happy (and full).  Probably the best way for me to just jump in and make something is if I purchase some eggplant at the farmer's stall. Being one who doesn't like to waste, I would then happily browse recipes and find one that would catch my fancy. Hmm...the weekend is coming.

I will definitely be trying Karina's (Gluten Free Goddess) tapenade recipe....thank you for posting from your archives!! And I am thinking, if there are baby eggplants available, I may try Susan's (Fat Free Vegan) stuffed eggplant on not so dirty rice recipe.  I also have a huge craving for Dukhobour style borcht...I use the word "style" here because I don't use nearly the fat the original borcht recipe I was given years ago calls for. One lady I knew back in the day would say "you don't like it right" when I would explain that I like no fat yogurt instead of the crean/sour cream.... Well, I like it right for me!!

Speaking of Baba Ghanoush....the very first time I ordered this, I had no idea what it was. I only knew it came with pita and veggies for dipping, so I figured it would have to be good. In addition, I was with a group of hungry students in the grad lounge, so I figured if I didn't like it, they would help eat it...I don't like to waste food!  The real reason I ordered it though, is that once I figured out how, Baba Ghanoush was really fun to say....and I have been a fan ever since! Just a wee story....

I noticed yesterday that the yellow summer squash is arriving...and it was both abundant and beautifully glowing...it beckons as well.  Sometimes I just want to try everything and I have to pull back just a little. Even I don't have an unlimited appetite...although I was called a pitless, bottomless, garbage can by some less than kind family members growing up. How's that for a grand connection with some of my food issues...But I am in charge now, thank you very much. I am fully committed to getting the "garbage" out of my diet.

Speaking of garbage, I am now focussed on removing the "whites"...white sugar, white rice, white bread...the bread is gone, the sugar is for the hummingbirds, and the white rice is gone (to be replenished by brown). I wonder if I should even be feeding the white sugar to the hummingbirds? Any ideas? Anyone?

Well, until next time....wishing you good Goddess health!!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Genetically Modified Organisms....mmmmmm.....yummy.....

I recently realised that I found myself stuck. I felt I had so much work to do that I became stuck, couldn't move...it all seemed so overwhelming. I am trying to remain holistic in focus as I follow this path to health. I have continued to experiement with health supportive foods, taking pictures so that I can post recipes later. Some were amazingly yummy first time, and others need a little tweaking. I made some corn cakes yesterday that were fabulous!!! More about that later....

I have also been journalling as I go through the process of learning about and loving all the parts that make this magnificent being whole. My wee, sad, abandonded child, my rebellious teen, my angry, resentful young adult....We must learn to love all the parts of who we are before we can truly love another. I have been researching topics that interest me, and journalling, journalling and more journalling. I have even been able to nurture my physical self by taking walks, which does result in a bit of pain, but I am able to walk through the pain.  I have developed osteoarthritis in my right knee and it affects my right hip as well. I have pain in most joints in my body, some restricts movement more than others. I continue to search for the right path to lessen pain, increase mobility, and get off pain medications and anti inflammatories...which I must say, I forget to take most of the time. On average, I only use anti inflammatories about 4 times a month...not bad considering they are prescribed for daily use. I should also tell you, I do this all with my Doctor's knowledge and support.

I have started learning some Reiki self healing techniques, I have only used this twice, as I am just learning this....but I did notice that it helps immediately. I also plan to join Taoist Tai Chi in September, when the beginner classes start...I will keep you posted on both!

I also have been very focussed on strengthening my spiritual connection. Much work has been done, with much more to do. Part of my path requires that I learn about as many other religions as possible and practice tolerance. This has been a very interesting part of my journey...I struggle to accept some of the more "ultra right" versions of christianity who expouse the "one right way" which is their way, and that all who do not beleive as they do shall burn in hell for all of eternity. In addtion, some of these christians beleive there are only a limited number of places in heaven, and that only they will have a space there. I struggle to understand why anyone would choose to beleive in a God or religion that uses fear to control, is intolerant of difference...It just doesn't work for me. 

I try to remind myself to keep things simple. I tend to over analyse and focus on every single little detail, and I have to often reign myself in and remind myself that simple is often better. Through experience, I have learned that all the efforts I put forth in paying attention to every little detail is sometimes lost, and by keeping it simple I seem to enjoy the process more, and the outcome seems more satisfying.  Keep it simple is becoming a bit of a mantra, especially when faced with a huge project. Of course sometimes the attention to detail is important and necessary....but not always...so, when I find myself stuck I ask myself, what is a simple piece of this I can start with.......and go from there.

Meditation. I keep trying, and I am getting better...I can't remember the last time my mind was totally quiet...I continue to work on this. Meditation is an important goal for me...It isn't that I can't meditate, it is more like I can't really control when I meditate...sometimes, it kinda just happens...it's like a thought enters my brain and I just go with it, wherever it leads. Next thing I know, it is time for work, or coffee break or ? and I have been off in lala land...lol...

I printed off a NON-GMO shopping guide from this site: NonGMOShoppingGuide.com  I continue to become more and more informed with regard to what is and what is not health supportive, and I continue to learn about how I can protect myself and our precious Mother Earth. Here is some information and tips:

What is a GMO?
GMO's are genetically modified organisms made by forcing genes from one species such as bacteria, viruses, animals or humans into the DNA of a food crop or animal to introduce a new trait.

Why should I avoid GMO's?
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine reported, "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food", including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastointestinal system.

Tips to avoid GMO's....

1.  Buy Organic
Certified organic products cannot intentionally include any GMO ingrediants. Buy products labeled 100% organic, Organic, or made with organic ingredients.  You can be really sure if the product also has a Non-GMO Project Verified Seal.
2.  Look for Non-GMO Project Seals
The Non-GMO Project is a non profit organization committed to providing consumers with clearly labeled and independently verified non-GMO choices including testing of at-risk ingredients.  Visit NonGMOProject.org for more info.
3.  Avoid At Risk Ingredients
If it is not labeled organic or verified non-GMO, avoid products that may be derived from GMOs. The eight GM food crops are: corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, hawaiian papaya (most) and a small amount of zucchini and yellow squash...GM alfalfa is also fed to livestock.

Sugar:  If a non-organic product made in North America lists "sugar" as an ingrediant (and NOT pure cane sugar), then it is almostcertain to be a combination of sugar from both sugar cane and GM sugar beets.

Dairy:  may come from cows injected with GM bovine gorwth hormone. If its not labeled organic or non-GMO Project Verified, look for labels stating no rbGH, rbST or artificial hormones.

4.  Use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide
You will find a complete list of Non-GMO products available from each brand in the guide available at NonGMOShoppingGuide.com or use the the app for your iPhone ShopNoGMO, which is available free at the iTunes store. 

The shopping guide covers off dairy alternatives, baby foods and infant formula, beverages, body care, breads and baked goods, candy chocolate and sweeteners, cereals and breakfast bars, condiments oils dressings and spreads, dairy, feed and seed, fruits and vegetables, grains beans and flour, herbs spices etc, meat fish and eggs, mercantile, packaged/frozen meals, pasta, pet products, snack food and bars, soups and sauces, tofu tempeh and alternative meats, vitamins and supplements and a section on invisible GM ingredients.

I have also been doing quite a bit of research about how our food is produced. It only took a few articles to remind me why I decided to eat locally produced foods as much as possible. It also strengthened my committment to remaining vegetarian. I tried vegan, and eventually becoming full on vegan may become my path of choice, but for now I accept that I am a committed vegetarian who also enjoys fresh, locally caught fish on occasion.  I have also allowed eggs to show up in my diet, a little more regularly than I had wanted. A reminder to myself of the importance of mindfulness. It is really easy to stray from a chosen path if one is not mindful, especially with all the "attachments" I have with regard to food. It also takes some planning, as stopping by the drivethrough for a quick bite has not been an option for at least a couple of years now. I try to plan ahead and pack some healthy choices, and have found a few places on my "routes most travelled" that offer healthy vegetarian options.

The journey continues, and I focus on placing one foot in front of the other as I travel this new path. It seems both brand new, and amazingly familiar to me...which I find both of interest, and entirely appropriate.

Friday, 3 June 2011

I Have a Confession to Make.....

Well, I started out my six week health makeover with great intent and motivation. However, it seems that I lost some of that motivation along the way. Well, not really. I didn't really lose motivation as much as I was unable to keep myself healthy enough to care about being motivated.

After recovering for the most part, from knee surgery, I then had a two week journey with dental pain as my companion. Oh my! The pain was difficult at first, and quickly reached unbearable. I was at the point where I wanted a hammer or anything really, that would get that tooth out of my mouth! Nothing relieved the pain except pure exhaustion and then a few hours of blessed sleep. Needless to say, I was not eating smoothies, salads and stir fries! I ate what I could when I could...often pudding, tinned fruit...anything soft and slidey. I could not have been further from health makeover mode...I was in survival mode.

Have I ever shared with you my dental phobia? No!? Well, I am one big baby when it comes to going to the dentist. I am sure I have some memory, deeply repressed, that is responsible for all the anxiety I experience when I go to the dentist. Needless to say, it is difficult for me to go without any type of pre-med. But I insist on trying.  I have learned that the anxiety is more tolerable and controllable when I see a female dentist.

So, I found a dentist here because the one I usually see in the City was away in Hawaii...lucky her!!  I went in and we started some antibiotics and a pain regime (didn't work). We decided to try and save the tooth, and I booked in for a root canal. In I go, I get through the freezing process without too much difficulty (breathing and nice beach sounds in the background) then we start the process. Guess what? I wasn't frozen! My poor tooth was so inflamed that repeated attempts to freeze it didn't work. The root canal also didn't work. The tooth had to come out. First, she tried to extract it whole. That didn't work. So, she got out her tiny saw and cut it in half. Remember, while I am numb, I can still feel this. When she got the first half out, I realised how tense I had become...my entire body relaxed and a huge sigh of relief escaped me. I was almost full on fetal in the chair. The second half was no problem, it was frozen!

Anyway, so I eventually healed from that, and went for some deep cleanings. After my second cleaning, I became ill...very, very ill. My theory is that between the tooth that had abscessed and the deep cleanings I freed up all sorts of bacteria which roamed in my body looking for somewhere to settle down. At first I though I had a virus, and so took a day off to rest. I slept all day and night. By the next morning, I was convinced the worst had passed. So, we carried on with our plans...to travel and visit for the next 3 days. So, I can tell you my son's couch is quite comfy...I slept on it for two days. The rest of the time I slept in the van....when I wasn't spewing like some kind of gross fountain. By the time I finally clued in that I needed to see a doctor because I simply was not getting better, I was very ill...feverish...some really good dreams....and not eating anything. I had lost 10 lbs. I have to admit, part of me felt something like glee when I saw how much I had lost. I even thought, just briefly, maybe I should put off going to the doctor so I can lose a few more pounds...

So, I am now on antibiotics again. I am tired, grumpy, and I alternate between having zero appetite and being ravenous. I still struggle to eat my big salad, so I have been living on soup lately, homemade vegetable lentil soup to be exact. I had a little stir fry too, and that went okay. The trouble is, the antibiotics have almost identical side effects as the bacterial infection that took over my body...with the exception of fevers and crazy dreams (oh, and the spewing fountain has stopped too).

There was a good thing that came of this though...well good in some respects. I have toyed with the idea of giving up my beloved coffee, and of course during this time of sickness, I could not drink coffee. The other morning, I really wanted some. So I got out the beans, ground them and delighted in the aroma. I boiled the kettle, let it cool a bit then put the beans and the hot water in my bodum. I waited the perfect 4 minutes for the perfect brew...and enjoyed it with half and half cream. It was soooo gooooood! So I had another cup. Then I got a migraine. I guess coffee and I no longer get along....but it was soooooo goooood...mmmmmm. I wonder what would happen if I only had one cup?

Well, there you have it, my full confession. I did not succeed at a six week health makeover. So what? I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me to slow down, that artificially created deadlines may not be useful to me. Perhaps I am meant to really pay attention this time, enjoy the journey and all I am learning along the way. Perhaps I wasn't really focusing on health after all. If this is my wake up call, I am awake and paying attention!! It was scary to be so sick and so helpless. I never want to go there again. So, this is my health makeover journey, and it has no end. You are welcome to come along if you like....

Monday, 7 March 2011

Best to Start at the Beginning

I would be remiss to state that I started this journey just today. That simply does not ring true. I started this journey a very, very long time ago. I have done a great deal of research, trial and error, and lo and behold...I am not as healthy as I want to be. No sudden realisation here, just straight up admission of fact.

I also did not get this idea today. This idea, this journey is the result of many long years of trying everything except for what I know to be true, for me at least. I knew that I was facing knee surgery, and I knew that meant some time away from work to recover. This created the perfect opportunity to embark on a six week health makeover.

I start today, with a heavy, sore tummy. I ate all the foods I knew I would have to pass up for the next six weeks. Ouch! All the more reason to pass on those foods...they actually hurt! How can that be health supportive? It isn't all about food, although for me, I can't really remember when it hasn't been all about food. This journey also has to be about finding exercise that I can participate in (knee surgery), having opportunities to channel creative energy, and connecting with the Divine in a meaningful way. Mindfulness. That will be a definite focus. Mindfulness.

I didn't do very well with the breakfast portion of today...I didn't want a smoothie...I wanted toast. But, I am giving breads a pass for the most part right now. So, I settled for fruit. A banana to be exact. Not a total loss. By the time I realised I was rummaging, I also realised that it was almost lunchtime so I began lunch prep.

So here is the food portion of my six week health makeover:  for breakfast, whole fruit or a smoothie with fruit and kale/spinach added; for lunch a huge salad...tons of greens topped with a variety of fruits/vegetables...I passed on dressing today and went with homemade hummus, minimizing the tahini to lower the fat, but capitalising on the nutritional value of chick peas. Yum! Dinner will likely be veg stir fry, over quinoa rather than the usual brown rice. My "diet" is primarily plant based...although I really do enjoy some fresh, local fish...mostly salmon for the essential fatty acids, and because I love it! I plan to focus mainly on unlimited leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, limited starchy vegetables, beans and legumes. My intent is to focus on foods eaten in a way that is as close to their natural selves as possible. So, very few if any processed foods, no animal products (other than fresh, local fish on a limited basis), and very limited dairy (just some yogurt for the "good" bacteria) and some "cream" (canned milk) for my coffee. Yes, I am aware that I will have to look at giving up coffee, but I am so not there yet.

I tried a 21 day vegan kick start last year, which went very well. I have maintained some of the eating habits learned through this process, but I feel ready to "kick it up" a bit. The good thing is, I will not be "giving up" a bunch of foods this go around, I will be honing my culinary skills and my imagination...to come up with nutritionally dense, health supportive meals to nurture my body and my soul.

And now, for the exercise peice. Today is a beautiful, sunny although crisp day. A walk is in order. I just got off the crutches, so I don't know how far I will make it...but today, I will walk as far as my body allows me to.  I will not ignore my body's wisdom by trying to go farther than I am ready for.

I didn't realise this before, (mindfulness) but I know this now...I pray when I prepare food. I always have said, "did you put the love in" or "that's because it has love in it" without much thought about it. Now I realise I say little verses when I prepare food, or I honestly just pray ... Today, I said a prayer of gratitude, that I have access to organic vegetables and fruit, that I am standing on my own two feet so soon after knee surgery, that the salad I prepared will provide my body with the nutrients it needs. Not only does this provide me with a practical connection to the Divine, it also connects me to my food on yet another level, preparing myself to take in the nutrients and to use them effectively.  I beleive it is always good practice to give thanks when presented with such bounty. I included a photo of today's lunch...lovingly prepared and enjoyed!

On a bed of chopped romaine and spinach, layer one sliced tomato, yellow pepper, edamamme, purple onion slivers...top it all with 2 T home made hummus....yummy!