Jul 31, 2011

Ommmm Smoothie

Here I am again on a Sunday evening quickly writing a blog post before I rush off to prepare for another week! But before I let you know what's been going on I wanted to send a out a BIG heartfelt THANK YOU to you all. The comments I got from you guys after my last post, be it online or in person, all touched me so much. Especially from those of you I've never met! I believe that it's such a positive thing to share with others what we may be struggling with in our own lives as once we do, we usually find that a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders, and in the process we are likely to help and inspire many others. So thankyou again.

I'm still on the cooked foods and doing ok but bit by bit getting more raw foods in as I'm feeling that my body is wanting them real bad now! So when I do eat them, ooh-la-la boy-oh-boy does it FEEL GOOD!

I've just returned home from a meditation retreat actually. I left home Friday afternoon, got the traffic of course, and ventured out to the Blue Mountains. I'm always excited to go on retreat, but when it was time to go I found myself resisting a little - a sure sign to go. And I'm very glad I did. It was typical chilly mountain weather but we were blessed with a sunny Saturday (overcast Sunday) and I managed to venture out for a bush walk after lunch to clear my thoughts a bit.

I met beautiful people. Had a lovely roomie. Picked up a few pearls of wisom, new insights, awarnesses, great discussions, fun group work and a deeper more peaceful meditation practice.

And on returning home delighted my tastebuds - after a walk - with this tall dark and handsome fellow -

Frozen persimmons, frozen bluberries, a few brazil nuts, a good dollop of coconut yoghurt, vanilla protein powder, acai powder, goji berries, lecithin and water.

So so yummy! I put my feet up and had a bit of down time before unpacking my bag, and re-packing another. Tomorrow morning I am off to the Gold Coast to drive a Ferrari for 2 days! OMG! I am so excited - it's my dream car ever since my first Barbie Doll had one.

My birthday is on Thursday and so far, I think my Birthday Week is quickly becoming the best ever! Stay tuned for Queensland fruit and Ferraris!!

Jul 22, 2011

Trying to Heal With Cooked Foods

Roasted vegies with steamed baby kale

I know I know, I’ve been "MIA" as I’ve seen it written up ("Missing In Action" for those a little slower to catch on - I feel for you coz it’s usually me) but I' ve been very humbled by a few people asking me when my next post was coming up; and from people I didn't even know read my blog! So thankyou :)

Last week I was house sitting with no Internet (which was actually quite peaceful) and since then I’ve been busy finishing assessments for college, going to college, working... Minimal gym sessions thanks to a vertebrae deciding to pop out of where it’s supposed to live leaving me in quite a lot of pain, but on the plus side I’ve been doing more yoga which has been wonderful! Aside from that, same old same old, except for my diet -

Cooked foods.

Yep. And pretty much solely. A complete 180. For the last month about I’ve been eating a cooked food diet (if there is such a thing?) to try and heal. Wait - try and heal? Heal what? Yep... read on.

I’m a firm believer in listening to what your body needs. I also believe that one particular way of eating definatley does not work for everyone. A raw food diet is fantastic; but not for everyone. A cooked vegan diet is wonderful; but it doesn’t produce energetic-life-giving results to every individual either. Consuming meat is what some people find their body needs in order to function at optimum. And sometimes (which in my experience is usually a slow and steady learning process) it can take a lot of trial and error to get there.

The reason I began eating a solely raw vegan diet was to enhance and further my spirituality. Now I know that might sound as far out there as the thought of aliens and extraterrestrials (so let’s not go there either), but I also know that for some of you, you will be nodding your heads in agreeance or at least in understanding.

So why have I been eating cooked foods? Maybe metaphysically I needed a little pit stop to ground myself before going any further spiritually? A reality check kinda. Who knows. But what I do know was the way my body was feeling the past 3-4 months was not it's optimal. And I was getting really sick of it.

Chickpea and Quinoa Jumbo with Steamed Green Veg

I had been feeling very under the weather to say the least. I’m usually the one bouncing around with energy, feeling great, sleeping well, eating loads. Instead I’d been experiencing tiredness, lethargy, moodiness, constant recurrent headaches, a few migranes, and to be blunt, I couldn’t be f#$*@d doing much!

I didn’t know what was wrong.

From memory it kinda started not long after I had been away on retreat; drinking smoothies for 6 days and doing enemas daily. After another colonic and infra red sauna back in Sydney (they were the icing on the cake where I detoxed hard core!) only then I felt amazing! But not too long after, continuing with enemas for a couple of weeks, there was a low-lying BLAH feeling hanging around.

I was going to bed earlier and earlier, keeping up with my workouts but not over doing it. I tried eating more for energy. Then I tried eating less so my body could rest. Work was the same. College was the same. No other really major dramas going on but I constantly felt exhausted. All the time. And didn’t know what else to do.

Until one session with my kinesiologist where he mentioned I had a “Spleen Qi deficiency” and needed more warming, cooked, drying foods as the amount of raw, cold, juices, salads, smoothies etc was only making things worse (looking back now, filling my colon with water would have obviously been excacerbating the problem more so). 

I left there and decided to do my own research on this “spleen qi deficiency” thing as I’ve been digging my head deeper and deeper into Chinese Medicine and Food Therapy of late and am hooked! A firm believer in herbal remedies and traditional methods I’ve never doubted Chinese Medicine; I just didn’t know enough. So after books and books and online research I was very surprised with what I found -

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (also known as TCM) the Spleen relates to more than the organ itself – it is a system including physical, emotional and mental processes. The Qi is the life force that flows through living beings and it is the energy that enables each organ system to do its job.

So a Spleen Qi Deficiency means that the life force of the Spleen is low, and it won’t be able to perform its functions properly. OK, but the function of the Spleen is what exactly?

I’ll give you one guess… Digestion. Go figure. Story of my life.

The Spleen is in charge of turning food into Qi and then moving it along to our four limbs. So when this doesn’t happen it’s no surprise one would be feeling tired all the time. The body’s ability to generate Qi from foods eaten is compromised, and digestive strength is greatly compromised.

Signs and symptoms include:

- endless loops of worry - yep
- feeling ungrounded or spacey - yep
- weakness and tiredness – hell yeh
- prolonged headaches – they coulda killed me
- bloating of stomach – so uncomfortable
- constipation - yep
- bloody stools with cramps in abdomen – cramps yeh, thankfully no blood
- poor appetite – big time! So not like me
- dizziness - yep
- tired eyes - yep
- in the morning the symptoms tend to become worse – yes yes
- limbs are weak – didn’t wanna move
- tongue is pale and swollen – "scalloped" sides are the tell tale sign, and yep I had em!
- craves sweets – hell yeh
- hemorrhoids – thank god no

And the causes:

- excessive cold, damp, cooling foods
- raw foods, juices, smoothies
- worry, overthinking (taking energy away from digestion), stress... me, me, me!!!

The Spleen is an Earth element organ system, so if we consider what happens to soil when there is too much water - it turns to mud, and things get stuck in the mud – that too is happening inside someone with a Spleen Qi deficiency.

All this was another spin on whatever ‘condition’ I had been suffering from, and as every single symptom and every single cause matched up to my reality, I couldn’t not consider this possibility. All that and the fact that my intuition knew this was my problem and I knew how to rectify it. The only thing I don’t know is how long for.

Warm oat groats with cinnamon, honey and LSA

So for the past month I have been Nourishing My Spleen the way Chinese Medicine has been doing for centuries; eating foods that are deeply nourishing while being easy to digest, and warm in temperature and energetics. Cooked and fresh foods.

Things I've been eating are things like:

- cooked whole grains, brown rice, oats, barley, quinoa
- pumpkin, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, parsnips, onions, garlic, turnip, mushrooms, fennel, broccoli, cauli, loads and loads of quick-steamed leafy greens (can’t live without my greens)
- chick peas (my home made hummous), black beans, kidney beans, adzuki beans (no sprouts allowed due their cooling effect boo-hoo), small amounts of tempeh and miso
- stewed fruits like apples and pears with cinnamon, dates, dried figs, sour cherries, honey, maple syrup
- black pepper, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, small amounts of chilli
- and loads and loads of tea!

And ontop of all that I've been making sure I properly sit down to eat, with no distractions, to give my digestion the best possible chance at doing it's job properly. Eating slowly and mindfully. Giving thanks for my food.

But now what? Well I went back to see my kinesiologist and was itching to know if anything had changed, but (no doubt divine timing and a sign to do this cooked thing a little longer) I mentioned before I had a vertebrae pop out of place, so I spent my 90min session wincing and tensing every muscle as I was poked and prodded and manipulated into fixing that up – much better now of course, the man’s a genius!

As for my Spleen Qi and the cooked foods thing... I’m the first to admit I usually like a quick-fix and feel a little disheartened when I don’t get it; "when will this all be better? How long does it take?" But anyone that knows me well knows that I have a tendency of saying “hindsight is a very valuable thing” and I know this to be true at my core. I’ve experienced it time and time again as I’m sure most of you have too. I also know from experience that as soon as I let go of how I want something to be (and my strong wanting for it to BE quickly) things do usually happen quickly, and time flies by. And before I know it; BAM there’s that hindsight!

Surprisingly so, I’ve felt pretty good eating cooked foods again. Anytime previously I’ve felt either very ill, extremely bloated, constipated, sleepy, or like I’ve been covered head to toe in a blanket (nice in Winter though hey). This time my energy levels almost immediately felt much better, my appetite returned, and I haven’t had a headache since. I feel a lot calmer and seem to have been worrying less, sleeping better, and waking up feeling alive (such a good feeling when you’ve felt the total opposite for too long)!!

Warm Lentils and Tomato with Greens and Avo

But a part of me did experience a feeling of death a couple of days ago which brought on tears and strong emotions which was unusual. Death of something past of death of something present I don’t know. My body felt dead. And immediately I felt a strong pull to raw foods. My body wanted the living foods again. I’ve since had a few salads, fresh fruits and today a massive veggie juice and two wheatgrass shots… and feel FABULOUS!

So where to from here? I’ve kinda left you all in the lurch as to what I’m doing now but I’m not even sure myself. I get a feeling that for the next little while there will be warm cooked wholefoods on my plate alongside more salads and juices but like I said, who knows? I don’t want to predict what I will do coz I know from my past that anytime I set out to try and structure the way I eat, I run into problems.

Whatever I do decide to do in each and every moment, I do know that a person with a healthy Spleen feels content and relaxed without overwhelm or confusion, and that’s something I’d choose over chaos and scatteredness anyway.

Oat Superfood Cookies

Enjoy your food.

Whatever it may be :)

Jul 9, 2011

Stinky breath = Cure all... kinda

Ok so if you're a Sydney sider like me, you'll know too well that despite the pockets of sunshine we've been having, it's freaking freezing cold! As I sit here on this glorious Saturday morning (in my trakkies, scarf, hot barley next to me with the heater on) I find I have an ever so slightly runny nose... not cool.

And of course the first thing I think of; this time of year there's one cure-all; GARLIC.

I'd be here forever detailing as to why (and I've got better things to do today such as studying for an exam, gym sessions later and move a tonne of gear to go house sit my cousin for a week while they're blissfully skiing in New Zealand)...

So just take my word for it. Or better yet, jump over to a post I wrote about garlic here, and enjoy the sunshine wherever you are :)

Jul 3, 2011

Dining To Die For

So I'm not one to really go out for dinner much. Partly due to my diet. Partly due to cost and having our things higher on my values. Partly due to having never really done it so it's not something I now miss.
Having said all that... I LOVE going out for dinner! And I wonder why I don't do it more. I should try too.

Anyway, last night I did infact go out for dinner. Brock said he wanted to take me out and that it was a surprise; although I did ponder on where he might be taking me and secretly hoped it to be this place... AGAPE

It's Sydney's first certified organic restaurant and bar and it is sensational! Their regular menu includes an array of tapas, homemade pizzas on spelt bases, other main courses, and of course organic wines, teas and coffees. Brock and I however get spoilt to a specially designed raw vegan menu (thanks to Brocks friendship with the head chef).

You may remember me talking about it once before and that's because it's where he took me for my birthday last year (indulge your senses and check out the mouth watering piccies here). With a smiliar menu this time round, we felt like royalty.

cherry tomato, saffron, parsley & radish sprouts

Not such a great photo so apologies there but this was what came out first and the colours were amazing. Saffron in with the oil drizzle was a stand out feature of this dish.

beetroot, olives, raw honey, broccoli sprouts & almonds

Second dish out; and we always think it tastes better than the first. Sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy, I loved the olives and sultanas combo here.

swiss brown mushroom, kale, thyme & salsa verde

This was my favourite hands down. I've never used thyme in my recipes (cooked or uncooked) so I'm looking forward to having a little play with it coz this was so damn good.

heirloom carrot, sesame, spring onion, orange & basil

Love the purple carrots here; they're coming back in season fellow purple lovers. This dish was so yummy but I have to say, it didn't follow the trend of the others; that is getting better each course. The shrooms and kale was still my fav up to here. Until...

granny smith apple, nashi pear, pineapple & blood lime

La piece de resistance!

Who doesn't love dessert? But can you compare it to dinner I mean really? It's in an entirley seperate category as far as I'm concerned. Now this was totally different to the dessert we had there last year. This was tangy and tart; green apples and blood lime. But the pineapple sorbet was subtle sweetness, and with nashi bits and mint throughout... my mouth is watering again just thinking about it again!

I love this restaurant. And I love getting dressed up to go there. Sorry no pics of me all pretty and posh. Guess the food was the highlight of the night anyways. So until next year...