Holiday Love

Sharing the spirit of Love with all of you this Holiday Season!

Christmas Love

Christmas is over and for me it came and went without a lot of fanfare. It was a quiet day spent with those I love and we enjoyed some delicious home-cooked food and presents, of course. I got a beautiful bell to use for yoga. I am starting a little collection of chimes and bells it seems. I think the Universe is sending me these things as a sign.

chimes and bellls

I met some new friends, saw some old friends and listened to a TON of Christmas music.

I baked and baked and baked and shared the goodies with friends, family, and neighbors.

I bought a tiny tree that I plan on keeping as a houseplant. I know Norfolk pines are fussy and can get dry, but I am hopeful. I would like to keep this guy for awhile.

norfolk pine

And now it’s back to teaching, yoga, writing, coaching, and working to take CreateWholeHealth to the next level. But I never really stop doing any of those things, even when on holiday. To me, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a love, it’s who I am; I’ve never thought of it as a job. I keep thinking “I should get a real job” but then nothing sounds as fun and exciting as what I’m doing right now- so here I go!

It’s ok to not always try so hard to be somewhere that we aren’t. Sometimes where we are is exactly where we are supposed to be……

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Love

~Carole-Ann~

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Muffin Disaster, Storm-Chasing, and Breakfast Love…..

It’s been an interesting food week for me as I seem to have gone from craving weird things to having little appetite. Not sure what’s going on but I think it’s the heat, the summer solstice arriving, the full moon, etc. I am in the mood all the time for breakfast foods! Eggs, oatmeal, fruit, smoothies, juice, toast and peanut butter, pancakes, waffles…I think in my mind breakfast foods are comforting and represent a fresh start to the day.

I especially love Sunday breakfasts. It’s  my one day of the week to stay in my pj’s, drink tea slowly, and listen to music while I leisurely cook something fancy.

belgian waffle

My favorite belgian waffles with fruit, greek yogurt and real maple syrup

I did discover this sweet little evening treat: Cottage cheese topped with some maple syrup sweetened berries, cinnamon, banana, and sunflower seeds. Good protein source and not too heavy for me before bed.

cottage cheese with fruit

We were total storm-chasers on Saturday night at Shelby Bottoms Park. There was an amazing summer thunderstorm moving in just as the sun was setting and we watched the whole thing evolve.

Sun and storm clouds shelby bottoms

Luckily we left the park RIGHT before the huge downpour, although I would not have minded getting caught in a warm summer rain. Bare-feet, piggyback ride, and laying on our backs watching the clouds………perfect Saturday night date.

Perfect sunlight before the downpour

Perfect sunlight before the downpour

I made my favorite dinner this week; the Buddha Bowl. Nothing comforts me like brown rice topped with kale, sauteed  tempeh and rich tahini sauce topped with raw cashews. I added some zucchini that I didn’t use in the muffins. 

kale, tempeh and tahini

My first fresh summer fruit bowl!!! Don’t you love this retro bowl from the 60’s?

fresh fruit bowl

Confession: My zucchini walnut muffins did not turn out good at all! I got the recipe from Viking cooking school but I modified it too much. I used coconut oil instead of canola and brown rice flour instead of whole wheat. And I also added extra zucchini. They were ok right out of the oven but the next day they were a wet, mushy, flavor-less, sticky mess!! My poor BF tried one before I figured out they had basically fermented overnight.

zucchini walnut muffins

 Live and learn…..I’ve said it before- I’m not great at following recipes, I’m better at making them up!

My Experience with Anorexia (or lack thereof)

becoming healthy

When I was 16 years old I stopped eating. Not in a big, dramatic sort of way, but in a subtle, nonchalant manner. I was more interested in Marlboro Lights, Mountain Dew (both which my dad willingly provided) and writing poetry.  I wore berets and heels to school and found no pleasure or purpose with the school lunch crowd. I skipped class A LOT.

After complaining of stomach pains (most likely from 6 mountain dews a day), my parents took me to a small town family doctor who, in a thick german accent, declared me “Anorexic”. I had heard the word mostly associated with Karen Carpenter’s death but wasn’t exactly sure what it meant other than intentionally starving one’s self. I did not feel anorexic, nor did I look anorexic. I was skinny, but I was 16 and naturally very petite.

Kids in school eventually began to catch on and showed concern. I thought it was kind, but unnecessary. A part of me liked the attention because it felt like it was meant for someone else and I was just standing in their place. I soaked it up when they patted my arm and said “I think you look fine”. One gym teacher said “Well, you can never be too rich or too thin, right?” I didn’t get it. My parents and I never discussed the situation. This all lasted about 6 months until I became tired of being known as the skinny girl, or as one rude boy put it “A bag of bones with no boobs”….

I started going to a gym near my house and became intrigued with the healthy, energetic people who worked there. My boyfriend at the time was a weight lifter and he took me through routines in his basement with heavy weights. I felt the power of having control over my body and my health. We went to nutrition shops and looked at protein powders and he explained the importance of feeding my muscles.

My whole life changed in that year. I forgot about that Dr’s misdiagnosis and I went from being a skinny teenager with no self-confidence, to a girl who wanted to see how much I could do and accomplish with my body and my mind when they worked together. I still smoked, but I also ate real food with my 195 lb boyfriend and tried to keep up with him. I continued with weight training throughout college and even wanted to compete in bodybuilding. My mom hated to see my thick legs and arms when I came home to visit,  but I was ecstatic with my new muscular body!

I still am in awe of the feeling that I get from treating my body well. How it responds to healthy food, clean air, rest, and physical movement. I am thankful for that time in my life, it made me self-aware and it connected me with my own body more than I ever could’ve done at such a young age.

Sometimes our worst times are our best teachers.

Juice Love

When I gave my sweetie his Valentine’s cookies I included a card that listed the many things I admire in him. It included things like….he’s kind, compassionate, smart, loves my dogs, etc. But the one thing I’m really smitten with right now is his bad-ass 1980’s era juicer-ator. He brought it over and left it for me to use knowing how much I’ve been wanting to juice. This is no fancy pants, modern-day, slick juicer with celebrity endorsements.

This is a bad mamma-jamma that he has had for over 20 years and it’s still going strong. This was juicing before juicing was cool.  The name “Acme Supreme JUICErator” is enough to make it ultra-cool and reminds me of something from the old roadrunner-coyote cartoons.

The Juicerator in action!

The Juicerator in action!

Needless to say-I have been juicing like crazy every morning. It’s SO different than my thick, pulpy blender juices I used to make. Although I will still drink those occasionally.

green smoothie

My favorite right now is Beet/Carrot/Apple/Ginger

beet juice

This morning I didn’t have beets so I did Carrot/Apple/Celery/Ginger

100_2169

I always had a twist of lemon for some tartness and more Vitamin C.

100_2173

Ginger provides a nice spicy bite and is a natural anti-inflammatory that aids in digestion.

Who needs coffee with these fresh vitamins, phytonutrients,  and plant energy going directly into my bloodstream, bypassing any heavy digestive work?

I can’t wait to try more combinations like Pear/Pineapple/Basil and Spinach/Apple/Beet

I feel so in love with this big, sturdy, healthy machine and I can’t wait to see it every morning when I wake up! Oh yeah, I like the owner too……

Go with the Flow of Seasons

Today is the last day of summer as the autumn equinox begins September 22nd. There is no doubt that fall is in the air as is the energy of Change. Fall is the season of change and I am reminded of this on my hike as I watch the wildlife and plants begin to slowly take new forms and color.

There is much energy in nature as all things busily prepare for a long resting season. Late bloomng flowers send out one last burst of brightness and animals eat heartily to begin to store up fat for the winter months ahead.

Later this fall things will slow down more as trees drop their leaves and plants die back while their root systems dig deeper into the earth.  Fall has always been a time of change for me. Whether it’s job changes or moving, I always start to feel the shift of things in my life this time of year.  When we follow the natural rhythms of nature, our efforts are in alignment with the natural flow of the earth and things go easier.

 

It’s a good time of year to ask the following:  What can we let go of in order to rest easy and be at peace for the upcoming winter?  What things, relationships or beliefs have we accumulated over time that we are now ready to release?

What do we need to stock up on and nourish ourselves during the winter months?  What can we do to begin to feel grounded?  What will allow us to rest comfortably within ourselves as the outside world slows down?

I celebrate this season of change, transformation and release.

Me ‘n Booze

I have a long standing relationship with alcohol going back to high school when my friends and I would sample greedily from our parents liquor cabinets. I went for the southern comfort whiskey and apricot brandy everytime (sorry mom). I drank in college along with my friends, even though I was into bodybuilding and extremely health conscious. I would train hard at the gym but go out for margaritas and beer on the weekends. I only stopped when I was dieting to compete, which ended after 6 weeks in a fit of frustration with a stack of pancakes and a bottle of chardonnay.  After college when I started my grown-up job I enjoyed drinking with new friends and made it a regular social activity. As years passed and my career became more demanding I drank probably more than was good for me and for the wrong reasons. I was not addicted to alcohol but I would say I abused it. I used it to get me through things I didn’t want to do-whether it was social obligations, parties or work events. I drank out of fear, insecurity, loneliness and boredom. Never heavily, but just enough to be a little more than enough.

I stopped drinking once for 5 years when I was on a vegetarian diet. I can’t say I felt much different but I did feel out of balance for my body. I needed more protein than I was feeding myself. Grilled chicken and alcohol soon came back into my life.

Areas of the body affected by alcohol consumption: So basically….everything.

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When I made big career and diet changes early  last year I stopped drinking alcohol again. I was training hard and had changed my lifestyle significantly. I was tired of feeling rundown, dehydrated and tired. I believe that alcohol was affecting my body negatively and for the first time my body was clearly letting me know.  I was making such positive changes in the rest of my life that I didn’t want to keep punishing myself  physically so I stopped drinking completely. My body reacted very positively; I had more energy, I slept great, my skin glowed, my stomach was flatter than ever and I felt amazing inside. It seemed pretty obvious I was doing the right thing.  Over the last few months I’ve tried to re-introduce alcohol back into my life like an old friend. A glass of red wine here and there, a cold beer on a summer night, but 99% of the time I feel like *@&!% after trying to drink  just one drink. I can’t even finish it. My head gets stopped up, I get lightheaded, my stomach burns or I feel nauseous. The body never lies. It tells us what works for us and what doesn’t. 

Truth be told I love nothing more than standing in my kitchen, chopping fresh garlic for sauce, while listening to Frank Sinatra and sipping a big ol glass of Merlot, but right now my body is saying “NO” and for now, I will abide. Maybe this will change, maybe it won’t. I can make the sauce without the sauce.

Maybe emotionally I don’t need the alcohol anymore. Maybe I am ok to face fear without feeling numb.  Maybe now I am able to meet people and be social without altering my personality with alcohol. I don’t know what it is, but I am listening to my one and only true source of wisdom- my inner voice. The voice who speaks to us softly at first and then louder and physically through our bodies when we don’t hear. It was talking to me the whole time, I just never listened.

Cheers!

Leg go my Ego

This is what my ego used to look like:

She basically dictated everything about me- what I wore, where I worked, who I went to lunch with, how I spent my free time. She was always after me to WORK WORK WORK, make more money, get a better title, a nicer car. My feet hurt but she’d make me wear high heels anyway. My body hurt but I had to do that extra one legged backbend in yoga. She was a tough boss that lead me around with no appreciation for what I wanted. Over the last few years I’ve worked really hard (secretly without her knowing it) to break free from her. It took a lot of time in solitude, not having a job, not having a fancy car, not having the best phone full of text messages and not spending energy on things that I really didn’t enjoy anymore even though it was “cool” to do….

This is what my ego looks like now:

Mouse peeking out - animation

It stays where I tell it to stay- hidden. I am the boss now. It raises it’s  small rodent-like head every once in awhile- in a yoga class, with certain friends or people that I may feel insecure around. Sometimes at the most unexpected times like on a hike with a group when I feel the need to be in front and walk faster than everyone even with a sore hamstring. But now since it’s smaller and less threatening to me I can shove it back into it’s hiding place with just a simple command. A silent one of course. Somedays I do that more than others. Usually when I’m trying to do too much or have too much activity scheduled with little downtime- Egos LOVE to be busy and out and about. They love to be seen as whirlwinds of action.

Sometimes I don’t hear from it in a week. That’s when I know I’m on the right path.

We all have egos. It is how we are identified as humans. Sometimes an ego can give us the guts we need to do something or try something new. But more often than not, they are really not working in our favor. It’s their placement in our everyday lives that makes them “big” or “small”. To live with no ego is to live authentically, from one’s heart, not from one’s head. It’s making choices that feel right to you down deep in your core no matter what anyone else may think. It’s trusting yourself enough to know that you know what to do, what to eat, when to sleep and when to say no. It’s going barefoot when you want to and not wearing high heels.

Giving your ego a separate identity and a face like I did can really help you detach from it and distance yourself from it.

Who is in charge of your life? You or your ego?

images courtesy of google images

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