What I wish I could tell myself at 20

1)You don’t have to try so hard
This is especially true when it comes to impressing others. You don’t need to fit yourself inside someone’s expectations or try to win acceptance. Some people will like you and some people won’t. Don’t be upset when you can’t please someone – move on. Life is too short and your soul is too fragile to withstand the tests and worry you’re putting yourself through.

2)Everyone is doing the best they can
Some people make messes and some people clean them up. Sometimes you’re the one doing the cleaning. Sometimes others won’t be as kind or polite as you. It’s not their fault, its where they are in life. Do not fight against opposition, anger or malice. Learn to bend, and understand that everyone is simply trying to make a better life for themselves in whatever situation they happen to be in. Don’t contribute to the hostility- instead show your light. You have kindness and love in your soul, don’t hide it.

3)Trust the process
Believe that the things you need will come to you in time. It’s true when they say, “when the student is ready the teacher will arrive”. Everything, takes its natural course – just as the seasons change and plants bloom, so will your life.

4)Be kind to yourself-
Don’t push yourself so hard into an idea you have about yourself and then become frustrated and upset when you don’t fit. You don’t look as tough as you think you do and there is no reason to be. Again, don’t contribute to the hostility. Be the light. Show love, let yourself be kind – give in to the good. Indulge in that which will make your soul happy and alive. Stop trying so hard to be “hard” you’re not. You are loving, cheerful and joyous. That’s what you need to extend to the world. Shine light, don’t add to the dark. There’s enough of that already.

5)Stand firm in your faith – go to church
Your soul sings when you give it a space to do so. Feed your spirituality and it will feed you. Don’t be ashamed of your beliefs and don’t hide them/hide from them. Each person has their own sets of values and beliefs not everyone will agree with you and that’s a beautiful part of life. Contribute to the conversation of religion and your values. This creates a dialogue amongst culture, location & age. This contributes to more understanding.

6)Start running
Learn to appreciate the body you’ve been given. Use it, care for it & enjoy it. Learning to love running will benefit almost every area in your life.

7) Be patient
You are going to receive everything you have been asking for.
Your husband, the job, the apartment, the travels & life of your dreams is coming – be patient.

8)Respect yourself  and others will respect you. Don’t be a doormat and don’t chase after things/people/relationships that are difficult. You cannot change people – people change themselves when there is a reason they believe in.

9)Don’t be too hard on yourself; you’re doing just fine

10) Your power lies in your passion- find it, feed it, and nurture it.

11)Save your money and learn to budget. A good credit score translates to a good relationship with debt. Don’t borrow money.
Pay your debts first and start to save your money, you’ll need that.

12) Slow Down

Evening rambling & self love

So recently I’ve reached a new understanding of love for myself. To love my body and what its capable of doing; and love of the soul I’m growing up to be, and experience.

When I am connected to my soul on a higher spiritual level, I am more fully myself.
Church, and my walk with God are reminders of how far I’ve come and where I want to go. I think back to different parts of my life and I am reminded of how much I’ve grown. I’ve been reckless with my body & spirit.

When I was young and left home, my soul had been shattered in several pieces and was resting all over the east coast.

I moved, ran and changed directions more times than I can count, to keep up the speed of my rapid distancing from anything I had come from. Part of me felt free on the run. No responsibilities except to keep myself safe.

Part of me hated myself for running from my family and my life, for running from my home and those who seemed to need me. From all conceivable angles I had made severe mistakes that would have me end up living broke and homeless or worse; dead in a ditch somewhere in in NY.

There are many individual things that contributed to the soul that sits inside the body I occupy. One that is of upmost importance has got to be my relationship to God and the blessing of ease in understanding in spiritual matters.

Now, more so than ever before, the unfolding of human history is making itself known to me daily. I embarked several months ago on a quest to read the bible this year in chronological order. If I claim to be a Christ follower, what reason do I have for not understanding the history and text.

Surprisingly it’s not a difficult read, and when read in succession- not only makes a lot of sense, but is historically accurate.

My goal is not to convince you to become me, or a Christian. The point is to ramble towards a weird explanation of my journey.

Self love; also a journey. Learning to do what’s best for yourself – I think that’s the point point. Looking at yourself in another light, as if you were responsible for the health and well being of you.

It sounds strange to word it this way, but treating yourself as a parent treats a child. Self disciple, love and understanding.

Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?

Maybe we can choose to be more kind and more gentle with ourselves.  Maybe when we are kind to ourselves, it would be natural for us to grow accustomed to being kind to those around us.

Maybe our community could benefit from a little more kindness, love and compassion.

Endurance

 

It’s day number 14 of my sugar detox, month number 4 of my marathon training and month number 2 since regularly meditating with a group. Endurance; both its value and significance come to mind frequently.

What does endurance mean to you? 

To me it means withstanding uncomfortable situations to challenge myself and grow as a person. I am exceptionally prone to making decisions that challenge my endurance. Wether it be mental or physical.

There is a certain amount of endurance when it comes to any sort of detox. Endurance comes with the ability to remind yourself that moments are fleeting. The work is challenging but the reward is worth the pain or discomfort.

Putting yourself through scenarios that require much endurance usually end with a mental change of perspective and growth.

The most I’ve gained from my endurance building both in the world of running and in my life in other areas,  is not to make as quick of decisions.

I usually am very compulsive and generally a speedy person. I walk, talk and move fast. I am always looking for ways to maximize efficiency and to do things faster. I think this came from my informal militaristic chef training and military family roots.

Building endurance is something that forces me to slow down. Running really cemented this theory. Pace is important.

Not pace as you might think of mph or minutes per mile. But pace to endure.

Im looking to find the most efficient pace to live my life by. The pace to endure whatever pain or even excitement that comes my way. Through my ability to wear myself out completely on a long run and to finish strong, or to say no to extreme sugar cravings that challenge my sense sanity.

Even in my meditation life – when its 20 minutes into a hour meditation and I can’t slow my speedy thoughts down from bouncing around my head. Its endurance that keeps me in the chair.

I can almost guarantee that the next time I sit in that chair – its just a little bit easier.

Its having power to rule your mind – thats what fascinates me and keeps me on a mission towards self improvement.

Sugar Detox: Day 4

How is my sugar detox going? It has been successful, but not enjoyable.

The cravings have increased substantially; especially after meals. I have a headache that replace the times I would usually binge.

At one point I tried to convince myself that maybe I’d make myself sick going cold turkey, maybe I would confuse my body too much!

Sugar lies!

Observations:
-My skin has cleared up and remained clear – still in observation. I am prone to cystic pimples. Part of me is hoping it had something to do with the high amount of sugar intake. Will report findings at a later date.

-Energy levels are higher than usual. Mood slightly more stable.

-My body feels lighter when moving – less fatigue.

-I am feeling a little more patient and controlled, less erratic. My sense is that it has to do with not giving into the instant gratification of guaranteed sugar happiness rush.

-I am sleeping well, but that hadn’t been an issue since I’m running so much.

-The constant obsessing has not stopped-I am thinking of this detox most parts of the day. I’m hoping that will diminish with time.

-I’ve been very careful about reading labels and ensuring no added sugar is consumed. You’d be surprised how many packaged items have sugar snuck into them. The most disappointing has been BBQ sauce.

-I’ve been drinking 600 ml of water upon intense sugar craving. Seems to be helping.

-I’ve been more emotional than usual. Temper tantrums with myself in my head.

-I am not crazy…ok maybe slightly.

-I’ve been indulging in red cherries and pineapple smoothies

                                             Im staying strong – 26 days to go

Recap:
Day 2 – I ran a 10 k and felt I deserved ice cream, but did not give in. It was especially hard during, and at the end of the race. The aid stations had sweet candy snacks and salty chips. I was able to opt for the latter. At the end of the race there was several varieties of amazing cookies- to my surprise I have nothing to report on their taste.
Day 3 – Day long motorcycle ride kept me mostly away from temptation. However, I did have a mini meltdown in Dunkin Donuts. It was the afternoon; my weakest moment. The donuts….they were calling.
I did not give in, but I wanted to…badly.

Side note – gas station foods contain mostly sugar. Even beef jerky- beware friends. However, I did find olives in one. Salty is able to satiate the cravings to a certain extent.

Everything is going to be ok –

Sweet

After trying for several days to begin the actual detox; today is the day.
Sugar f**king detox.
You’d think someone who seemingly effortlessly gave up smoking cigarettes and started training for a marathon. Could put down the cookies and ice cream just as well.

This is not true and not logical.
Sugar in essence creates the same mental reward response in our brains as a drug addict getting their fix.

From my childhood, I remember constantly getting into trouble for being found hording and consuming spoonful’s of pure white sugar as a snack. I was the kid who ate all the marshmallows from the lucky charms leaving my siblings none. I ate pints of  Duncan Hines frosting, all the ice cream, cinnamon and sugar on toast, pie or cake was not safe with me.
The only reason I’m not 400 pounds is most likely due to filling up so much, on refined sugar that I literally ruined most of my meals.

I’m not quite as bad as I used to be, mostly because I’m an adult and I have the choice not to keep these types of things in the house.

However, I work around food. Part of my job demands me to walk through a bakery. A bakery full of wonderful women colleagues of mine who love for me to sample their treats. They mean well, but they just don’t understand.

How most people respond when they hear sugar detox: “eye roll, head tilt”

It’s not immediately recognized as something that could possibly be taken seriously. It’s almost like hearing someone say they have a “gluten sensitivity”. Which has been proven scientifically to be B.S

Needless to say, it’s been an extreme difficulty. Especially considering the store I work for was, in celebration of national donut day, selling $.25 glazed donuts.

Not only that, but I walked into the breakroom, to grab my healthy and nutritious lunch – only to find a milk crate filled with free, packaged brownies and cookies. Not a thing wrong with them except there happened to be too much ordered for the store to sell.
So naturally, I took 7 packages and put them into my lunchbox like a packrat.

Eventually I came to my senses and was able to throw them away. Because, if I can’t have them, why should someone else. Because somehow, in my sugar addicted mind this was ok.

I’m not proud of the things I’ve admitted about my sugar problem, which is why I have to defeat the beast; starting now.

It’s not only the fact that it tastes so good that makes it difficult. It’s the fact that it is so fundamentally embedded into my psyche as a reward and necessary byproduct for automated joy and instant gratification.

Im irritable, tired, impatient and dreaming about cake frosting while salivating.

This is my day 1

Transformation

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” -Cynthia Occelli

A few things  I’ve learned the last couple of months.

  • Training for a marathon will teach you  patience like nothing else can.
  • If there is an expert with advice to give, do not hesitate to meet with them.
  • Meditating regularly introduces me to myself. Helping me to understand how utterly irrational, loving and powerful I actually am.
  • More understanding of how relative everything is = more lightness in life.
  • Embracing a sense of community changed my attitude.

Since my decision to begin training for a marathon my life has undergone a certain amount of transformation. Attempting to let go of the grip of old habits and challenge myself to face my fears of how life looks without them. Giving myself new goals, that challenge my sense of self.

Learning to release “selfness” or selfishness. Trying to decifer  the position I am in as a part of the human race. How small and big my role actually is in this world. Removing myself from the center of the universe to touch on the bigger picture.

Trying to release my grip on my nature of solitude and embrace my community. Not predetermining the motives of those around me, rather trying to understand what motivates their actions or habits and learning about their nature.

I’m picking up on lots of things that have been in front of my face for a very long time, that I was bulldozing over with my ideals. It’s important for me to check in with myself and my behavior, to question my motives and actions.

For the first time in my life I am paying attention to the food I eat. Maximizing my mental and physical efficiency by the amount and type of foods I’m consuming. Learning more about alternative diets and their benefits. It’s very clear what works and what doesn’t when in training mode.

Transformation, and a mission to make myself function more efficiently. Leaning  daily into my softer, more spiritual side.

BBQ Jackfruit

 

IMG_3385

Jackfruit;  a nutrient dense miracle crop, capable of saving the world from starvation?

READ *

Since recently adopting a mostly whole food, mostly plant based diet. I’ve been investing time in studying and practicing what I once thought of as alternative cooking techniques.  This happens to be one of my most recent favorites. I hope you have a chance to try Jack Fruit and I hope you have a chance to prepare this recipe. Your taste buds deserve it!

P.S You can use canned jackfruit, but use the one that is canned in water. Don’t use the one in syrup (its very sweet). I chose Fresh Jackfruit because I had access to it.

THE INGREDIENTS:

1/2 of a LG onion
4/5 Cups Cleaned Fresh Jack Fruit (I found it at Whole Foods)
2 TSP Turmeric
2 TSP Paprika
2 TSP Cayenne
2 TSP salt
1 TBSP Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Bottle BBQ Sauce (What I Used)
1.5 Quarts of Vegetable Stock
3 cloves garlic

THE RECIPIE

PREHEAT oven to 400

  1. Clean the jack fruit and remove seeds
  2. Dice and sweat onion until translucent
  3. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes
  4. Add jackfruit and all the seasonings
  5. Cook for 7 minutes on low heat
  6. Cover in Vegetable Stock
  7. Cook, covered for 45 minutes on medium low heat
  8. Once moisture has dissipated, smash down the jackfruit until it resembles pulled pork
  9. Pour jackfruit on to sheet tray and cook in over for 20 minutes
  10. Pour BBQ sauce on to jackfruit and mix with rubber spatula
  11. Cook for another 15minutes
  12. Remove from oven and cool. I made a sandwich of sourdough bread, avocado and BBQ Jackfruit. You can really do anything (over pasta, in an omelette, on a salad, in your quinoa) with this marvelous food!

 

IMG_3382