Thursday, July 22, 2010

Working with the Body

Working with the Body

I just read a post on Facebook that a friend of mine had made.  They are off to the hospital to have their first baby delivered.  What an exciting time in their lives!  My thoughts turned to my friends Mom, also a great friend of mine - she would become a Grandma soon. 

It is amazing how life passes by so quickly.  What seemed like such a long moment years ago, seems like such a short trial when I look at the amount of life I have left to live compared to the amount of time it took to find answers to my health issues.

There is a friend of mine who loves to run marathons.  She bikes year round - bikes in the snow during the winter time.  She kayaks, she snow skis and water skis, she hikes and even mountain bikes.  She's broken her face bones, arm bones, ribs etc. from mountain biking....and she is GORGEOUS!  I am amazed by the energy she has every single day, her laughter her love and her enthusiasm.  She continues to do what she loves, despite the pain it has caused her.

Another friend, who was in the dance company with me, is a Grandma now.  Her daughter (very beautiful) is a professional boxer.  Yes a famous woman boxer.  In the rink she wore a black ballet looking skirt and black ballet leotard looking spaghetti strap top.  Every single part of her body was solid muscle - yet she looked too petite and ballets like to be such a rock solid hitter in the ring.  This family eats from their garden.  They grind up even the avocado pit and all other organic food waste and add it to the soil in their garden.  My friend, although old enough to be a grandmother, looks like a teenager - seriously.  She is petite, completely toned skin, arms, lets etc.  You can tell she's a mother by the slight creases at the side of her eyes, but other than that you'd have no idea she was in her late 60's.  Every morning she walks out her back door (that backs up to the mountain) and goes for several miles on a brisk hike. 

So how do these two have so much energy and so much life?  It's in the food they consume.

At dance rehearsal, when the oldest one in the group (mentioned above) had her 65 year old birthday, someone had purchased a plastic diaper that said "over the hill" on it.  We all laughed as she put it on and we gathered around for the camera shot.  The funniest part of it was that she was surrounded by many others who were several decades younger than she was, yet she was a part of that group of dancers.  What a great memory.

Whenever I hear people complain about their aches and pains of "getting old".  My mind reflects back on my "old friend - who is still dancing".  I think of Martha Graham who danced until she was in her late 70's.    We are only as old as the food we eat.

At the School of Natural Healing, they have taught me to recognize how the body tries to heal itself.  A lot of what we do sometimes is actually hurting our bodies own ability to heal itself.

I look differently at the sun now.  I see it as an amazing blessing to add nourishment to our bodies (vitamin D to start), to help us rid ourselves of toxins, and gives us emotionally a feeling of warmth and peace that is badly needed in this day and age.

I view the earth differently.  I feel the healing energies that it has when we remove our shoes and walk through the beautiful grass or freshly plowed soil.  Earth has amazing healing qualities that remove our negative energy and replace it with a balanced, calm feeling.

I view the water differently. 

There are so many beautiful books written about how our bodies need air and oxygen to heal.  I'm reading a book right now on oxygen therapy.  A couple months ago I read about healing your body with water.

In the process of healing, open yourself up to the Sun, to the healing powers of the Earth, to Water and Oxygen. 

Work WITH your body and not against it.

D. Christopher in his Word of Wisdom class and in his class on cancer, talked about the many ways we can work with our bodies to heal it.  A lot of times in order to avoid pain, we stop the body from doing what it does best... to assist in healing us from whatever it is that our body has come in contact with.

Please keep this in mind with whatever you try to do to heal yourself...work with the body.

My friend, first discussed in this particular post, is probably now breathing through contractions, and trying to remain calm as she experiences the first birthing experience.  By remaining calm she will be able to feel the movements of her body and work with her body to give birth naturally.  If she were to panic and tense up, the pain she would feel would be worse.

Remember to breathe (you can think better if you are calm) and listen to your body.  What is it telling you about your current health issue?  What is it doing to heal you, and how can you best support your body so that it can heal you quickly and efficiently?

Please, please, please do NOT clog it down with food that it doesn't recognize.  Think of your cells as they see the dead, processed particles and think "hummmm, I don't have time to deal with this right now....let's coat it with fat and tuck it away right here to be dealt with later."  Don't give your body a lot of hummmm's????  Give it some "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh's".  (That the cells recognize)

My thoughts are with you.

-Steff E

Thick GREEN (VERY GREEN) Drink...


The Green Drink

In Natalie Rose's books "Raw Food Detox Diet", and "Life Force Energy", she talks about having her "Green Lemonade" every day for breakfast.  (This is the diet she gives to her all of her clients.  From the Jon Do's to the celebrities, models, etc.)

In Joel Furman's book "Eat to Live" (He's a Medical Doctor), he talks about eating a pound of raw vegetables and a pound of cooked vegetables a day and then a handful of starchy carbs from whole grains or starchy vegetables. 

The Vitamix is a great way to break down vegetables in the smallest way possible so that your cells literally are fed by all the raw, wonderful ingredients when you make smoothies, soups etc. 

What I'm talking about with a Green Drink is made by using a juicer - using primarily greens and taking it easy on the apples, carrots, etc.

In the "Raw Food World" that I've been introduced into, so many people talk about the importance of having their "Green Drink" for breakfast.  They talk about the importance of Leafy GREENS. 

I read an article the other day that talked about vegans that were able to get plenty of protein from plant sources.  The protein suggested was in greater amounts in SPINACHE, KALE, BROCCOLI, and HEMP SEED. 

The other day when I was at the Health Food Store I noticed the Hemp Seed.  I felt drawn to it; as if my body needed it and I should buy it.  I dismissed the thought, and didn't buy it.  After reading the article on protein I realized that I should have purchased the hemp seed.  I will next time I go to the store.

Spinach is a stable in the refrigerator, as is broccoli.  I've begun to buy Kale so that I can add it to my "green drink" in the morning. 

Beautiful, vibrant, healthy friends of mine (who eat healthier than I do) swear by their "green drinks".

A couple of days ago I purchased a freshly made "green drink" from Real Foods Market.  I took a drink.... UGHHH....it was a power packed punch of "green tasting stuff - with a hint of lime". 
After a couple of minutes I felt this feeling of energy begin to creep through my body.  My thoughts went back to a seminar (on DVD) that I'd watched from the Longevity Conference.  The two men were talking about Elixirs (or raw food drinks) that they made at their raw food "bar" in California.  They joked about one particular "elixir" that contained seaweed and kelp that gave them a "buzz" or feeling of "being high". 

So, I drank the green drink and felt the so-called "buzz".  It did give me a feeling of being high - as they called it.  (I've never taken drugs and so I don't really know what that is like) but the feeling of wellbeing, of increased energy, and a feeling of peace flowed over me as I cringed - forcing myself to drink the remainder of the drink.

From Wikipedia: Leaf vegetables are typically low in calories, low in fat, high in protein per calorie, high in dietary fiber, high in iron and calcium, and very high in phytochemicals such as vitamin C, carotenoids, lutein and folic acid as well as Vitamin K.

The reason that I highlighted "high in protein per calorie" is because Joel Furhman taught me a very important lesson in his book "Eat to Live".  He's a medical doctor and he helps people heal and uses his diet of fruits, vegetables, small amounts of grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to heal his patients.  He explained in great detail how we as consumers have been marketed that the best sources of protein are from meats.  He explains about how green leafy vegetables are high in protein per CALORIE.  This is what's important, and this is why vegans, vegetarians who eat plenty of green drinks, and greens have no problem at all with insufficient protein.

I am nursing my baby who is now one month old.  I've been off of dairy and meat for over three weeks now.  My baby has seemed to hit a growth spurt this last week.  She is no longer drowning in her newborn clothes.  She fills them out completely now.  She nurses really well for 15-20 minutes and then contently sleeps for 3-4 hours.  She has slept the entire night (from 9 or 10 at night to 4 or 5 in the morning).  I believe what I eat has a lot to do with how peaceful she sleeps, and to how long she can go between meal times.

Back to green drinks...

Being without dairy or meat, I have felt and know now for myself that green drinks in the morning are absolutely critical to my success eating a "Joel Furhman" diet.  I'm not completely a raw foodist, am vegan only in the spring and summer, am a vegetarian during the spring and summer "warm seasons" (If I was in a cold climate like Alaska or Northern Canada where it's cold almost year round in some places, I would DEFINITELY eat fish year round.

This morning our Green Drink consisted of Kale (an entire bag of it), spouts (1 container of Alfalfa, and a little leftover container of Broccoli Sprouts), 1/2 a stock of organic celery (I WILL NOT buy celery that is NOT organic), carrots from Grandma's garden, and left over apples, limes and 1/2 a lemon.  We were going out of town and these were the last of the vegetables left in the fridge.  I would have added spinach leaves, but ate the last of them yesterday in a salad.

The result…

A very THICK GREEN Drink.  It reminded me of the one I purchased in the store a couple days ago.  My 3 year old loved it.  My five year old drank it down after adding maple syrup to it.  My 8 year old drank it, and my daughter who's 7 hasn't been convinced yet.  We've had the little chat about models and celebrities having their green drink, but she's still not convinced. 

Alternative...

My daughter, which is having a hard time drinking the fresh homemade green drink, does a fabulous job at drinking my quick "Green Lemonade".  We use Natures Sunshine’s Ultimate Greens, with freshly squeezed lime or lemonade.  We use stevia, or maple syrup to sweeten it.  She loves it and even offers it to friends.  She wanted to sell it at the lemonade stand, but I told her it was too expensive to sell to someone who might not appreciate its healthy benefits.

So, my advice to anyone struggling with health issues, weight issues, or emotional problems is....

Drink a GREEN DRINK every single morning.  Don't skip a day.

For those with Depression...make sure you juice Alfalfa.  Add some dandelion leaves if you can find them - before anyone sprays them with pesticides.

Lots of love and health!

-Steffanie

Sunday, July 18, 2010

As Close to Mother Earth as Possible

As Close to Mother Earth As Possible
Before leaving for church I grabbed the remaining 1/2 of a granola bar that Shane had been eating.  I hadn't tried it before but the package said gluten free, so I finished it, since I hadn't had anything for breakfast yet and we were late.  After swallowing the last bite, I turned the package over and read this disclaimer "packaged on shared equipment with products containing wheat".  So....this is my biggest irritation with gluten free labeling.  It says gluten-free (because all the ingredients used are gluten-free) but you may or may not get sick depending on whether or not the product came in contact with gluten on the conveyor belt, in the mixing area or packaging area, or if the workers gloves contaminated the product.
So, in a hurry, I had eaten the healthy granola bar with the lovely disclaimer on the packaging.  We get into the car and head to church.  Before getting out of the car, I searched for a piece of gum.  The package in the car was a brand of gum that was supposedly gluten-free that I'd bought several weeks prior, but hadn't eaten again because I had suspected it was the culprit to a previous sick day from gluten. The company had changed the packaging and the gum was square instead of the regular shape.  I hadn't taken the time to call the company to see if it was still gluten-free and in a moment I decided to put the gum in my mouth. 
Not a good choice...it was either the new health foods bar or the gum, but...
While sitting through the first meeting I felt really weak.  We sat in the foyer and I wasn't very pro-active at keeping my kids as quiet as they should have been.  Shane let them play in the church entry way that has windows and doors on both sides like a sound proof box.  I tried to lift my three year old on my lap and she seemed heavier than usual.  Sacrament ends and I walk to our first class - almost in a daze...my thoughts are clouded and I feel very anti-social.
We make it to the 2nd class and I sit down by my husband.  We are asked to give the opening and closing prayer.  The man tried to make light conversation with us and I struggled to say anything at all in return - letting my husband respond to the questions and comments.
As I sat there, with my new baby sleeping quietly in her car seat placed beside me, I started to feel my batteries dying.  When my body has absorbed the gluten and my body recognizes it as the enemy and starts to battle, it feels like someone has put an electrical cable up to me that they attach to a machine that sucks all the energy slowly out of me until I don't even have the strength to lift my own arm up by myself or walk without assistance and much difficulty.  So, when the batteries in me began to drain I turned to my husband and said that he needed to take the baby out of the room and then come back for me.  I always feel very sorry for myself at times like that and so the tears began to fall.  I was frustrated and embarrassed. 
Shane took the baby out into the hall and then came back for me.  He helped me to my feet and then supported me as I put most of my weight on his side and arm.  We walked slowly out of the room as my tears fell steadily from my eyes.  A friend took the baby in the car seat and followed us as we slowly walked down the hall, out the doors, across the parking lot and into the car.  As Shane shut my door, I could hear the muffled conversation between Shane and our neighbor.  It was the usual quick explanation where we try best in a couple seconds to explain about how I've had a reaction to a food that caused the weakness- something unknown to us has caused the reaction. This part is always so frustrating for me to hear.  How can we adequately describe how careful I am with what I eat?  It's the darn changes in the ingredients of a product that I'm use to eating that is the most frustrating to deal with when changes are made and it takes me forever to figure out what it is that is making me sick.
Now that I've been home for several hours, and Shane has fed me lunch (Raw Melissa's Rice Paper Spinach Wraps, soybeans with a peanut sauce and for dessert sliced peaches with coconut milk and maple syrup, and alkaline water with lemon essential oil in it) I feel the strength returning.  I'm still not out of bed yet, am not able to walk without assistance, or lift my baby by myself, but at least I'm able to type on my computer.  My daughter brought the laptop up to me and here I go telling the world my story as if in some small way telling you will help me feel better.
My husband has had callings in our particular church that makes him and me and our children the type of family where if others were to see us doing something wrong they'd say...oh that England family...  Shane has been in the Bishopric and they are "______________________" (insert criticism) or they should do "______________________________" (insert what people expect we should do).
With Celiac Disease, what people don't realize is that the symptoms intensify or lessen depending on the current situation in my life regards to stress, foods eaten, physical challenges (like giving birth to a baby) etc.  The severity of my reaction is worsened if it is in liquid form - it's quicker for me to notice the fatigue.  Or it takes longer to react if the gluten is inside a particular food item that requires more time for the body to break it down.  Sometimes I can be ok in the morning, neighbors see me outside, I eat something - and get completely bed ridden for several hours, and then perhaps I'm struggling to walk again in the evening and don't make it to meetings I should be at (like Relief Society Activities).  I feel like living my life on a remote island where no one can see me and no one can judge me.
One time I had a baby shower to go to in the afternoon.  I woke up early to finish calculating commissions, dealt with an employee that came to the house, started to feel weak, walked outside chatted to the employee, waved to the neighbor having the party, and by the time I went inside I was shaking...I knew I had little time to get the kids in, get the house secured, put a movie on before my strength was gone.  I didn't make it to the store to buy the gift, I didn't make it to the baby shower, and I felt like such a horrible neighbor.  I didn't call to make excuses.  I just thought to myself "someday they will watch the video of our lives...some day they will understand".  It still didn't stop the hurt and it still hurts to this day when I think about the pain I caused my friend who was having the baby and my friend who had planned the baby shower.
This is why I am so determined to eat food as "Close to Mother Earth as Possible".  When we were driving home and chatting about the damn gum I ate (damn as a stop in progress), Shane commented that I should have chewed on the Frankincense gum we had in the car.  I weakly laughed about not wanting to have Frankincense breath and our conversation ended there, but my thoughts continued and turned to my last week’s challenge for myself.  I wasn't supposed to eat anything processed.  That would include commercial store bought gum.  I'll make sure to add that one to the "do not eat" list.

For me, complete healing has forced me closer and closer to products straight from the earth as Mother Nature intended.  Gum straight off the tree...fruits and vegetables right from the tree or plant, grains, seeds, nuts as raw and unprocessed as possible.  This way, there is NO way for me to get sick.
I spoke in an earlier blog about being able to get gluten without having a reaction.  This was true then. Please realize that I've just had a baby.  It takes several weeks for anyone to gain their strength back and I'm no exception. 
I was in the health food store the other day stocking up on all my nuts, seeds and gluten-free grains.  I had my 7 year old daughter with me.  A woman in the store commented to me that she could tell that I never took my kids to McDonalds.  I smiled and said "absolutely not".  She said she could tell by looking at my daughter.  She was extremely healthy. 
While at the same store, in the same area, a couple with a 6 month old baby asked how old my baby was.  I told them three weeks.  The lady said "wow, you are up and about?"  She then said that she was still in bed at three weeks.  Three weeks?  I thought to myself.  That seemed like way too long to recover.  I thought about having 5 kids and how my husband had been out of town for two of the three weeks that I'd been recovering, and four of the week’s just prior to me having the baby.  I thanked the woman for sharing her story with me.  I told her that it was nice to know that just because I eat incredibly healthy, I have had a baby and it's ok that I feel tired.  I have a right to feel that way.  Heck!  Five kids!  Seriously...1 week to recover and then my husband's off to save the world and I'm left to recover by myself.  Thank the dear Lord for people like the woman I spoke with at the store.  They make me feel human. 
So, my story will continue.  My pantry looks amazing and I LOVE the way I have felt not eating processed food.  The more I eat products as "Close to Mother Earth as Possible", the better I feel.  Mom's taking good care of me...it's those DARN products that mimic the original that I look out for.  It's hard to tell these days what is really pure, organic, natural healthy food.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who read this...
Please be compassionate and non-judgmental.  Everyone is fighting their own battle - and you may never be able to guess in a million years why they do the things they do.  A lady rolled her eyes at me one time when I was looking at the label of a juice bottle.  (She thought I was counting calories)  Nope....I was looking for gluten in the ingredients.  I found it - and didn't drink the juice.
The goal is to simply LOVE people unconditionally.
My thoughts and prayers are with you!
- Steffi

Olympic Tri-Athlete Weight Loss Class

Notes and information coming soon....it's 12:27am...I thought I'd get this taken care of tonight, but I'll add the notes tomorrow.

Word of Wisdom Challenge

For those of you who are following my 90 day challenge to go without milk or meat, I have created another blog called wordofwisdomchallenge.blogspot.com.  I did this so that Celiac Shack would not get bogged down with entries that relate to the no milk or meat challenge and don't have much to do with the mission of Celiac Shack.  I believe in eating raw milk and organic pasture fed meat (in the case of cows).  I believe in eating it sparingly.  Due to a class I attended on the Word of Wisdom, I took on the challenge to go without dairy or "flesh" products during the spring and summer months.  If you'd like to follow my experience, go to wordofwisdomchallenge.blogspot.com.

Thank you,

Steff E

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Adding Resistance...

My greatest hero is a dance teacher of mine named Kim SmithYandow.  She is the most incredible dancer I've ever seen.  She received her training in NY from the Julliard Ballet School and from the Alvin Ailey School - among other amazing dance and gymnastics trainers etc.  Every time I watch her perform I am absolutely amazed at how beautifully and how strong she moves across the dance floor.  I've taken many classes from her, but the most important lessons I've learned from her haven't been from what she's said but what she does. 

Kim (now I hope she doesn't mind me talking about her on this blog site), has had 8 children.  Yes, she is still a beautiful, perfectly shaped dancer - who has had eight children.  Since I've known Kim since 1993, I've been able to watch her teach and rehearse through several of her pregnancies.  When I was married in 2000 and became pregnant 3 months later, I continued attending dance class throughout my pregnancy, because so many other dancers I've known had done the exact same thing.  The first trimester you work through the nausea...the 2nd trimester you work through the change in the balance to your core muscles and strength and deal with the additional weight etc.  but it's the last trimester that's the most difficult.  There is a lot more weight that you are carrying around, the baby is moving around more, etc. 

One day when I was doing tour jetes (turning leaps) across the floor with the other dancers, I was having a hard time making it through the entire rehearsal.  Kim turned to me and with a smile that understood very well my situation, said "You become stronger by working through the opposition".  She later took me aside and talked about how much stronger I would be as a dancer once I'd had the baby because of how I'd worked through the extra opposition from the pregnancy, the baby, the emotions, etc.  After having 5 kids of my own, and working through other oppositions in my life I understand what she means.

So with that being said, I want to add a little bit of resistance or opposition to my 90 day challenge.  I'm already mostly doing it, but by saying this on this blog I want to give myself that incentive to do it 100%.  With going meat and dairy free, I realized that even though I thought I ate meat and milk sparingly, in reality I ate a TON of meat and milk EVERY SINGLE DAY - even while I was trying to eat it sparingly!  I also profess to eat food that is "Not Processed".  Well, if my memory is as good at forgetting processed food consumption as it is at forgetting how much dairy and meat I consume, I'm in for a big surprise.

I'm not doing this to torture myself.  On the contrary, I'm trying to give my body that extra push to do what it KNOWS that it needs to in order to be healthy, but every day I make those little tiny choices to eat a little bit of this or that and the sum of my eating equation does not equal the healthy face that I see in those that really do eat the way they profess.

Please don't think I eat Doritos and drink pop.  NO WAY!!!  But, it will be interesting to see how well I do.  Processed food is easy and it is convenient.  I'm not talking about the food at the grocery store.  I really DO NOT buy that.  I'm talking about the processed food from the health food stores; supposedly healthy drinks, chips, cookies, etc.  How much do I really cheat and buy gluten-free cookies?  I think once every 6 months, but perhaps that isn't accurate...   I'm going to find out how easy or how difficult it really is to eat food that is NOT processed.

On my journey, I will work to refine what is really processed or un-processed and will share what I learn from the benefits of soaking and sprouting seeds, grains etc. to help with the digestion of them.

Some may look at someone who is pregnant and dancing as crazy, or isn't thinking about the baby.  I had a friend who was on the dance company who had painful varicose veins while pregnant.  They were so bad that she couldn't walk.  There is a difference as to what adding resistance is and what is adding crushing weight that does more damage than good - when you exercise.  A good workout partner, when lifting weights, will help you to push through more weight than you think you are capable of lifting and will help you to accomplish more reps than you think you are able to do.  The result… Your muscles break down and rebuild themselves - making you stronger.  You hate the personal trainer that is pushing you on, making you hurt so much, but after the workout and after the weight sheds, who is it that you thank?  You thank your personal trainer or friend / spouse etc. for pushing you when you didn't feel like doing another sit-up, for running that extra few miles, for swimming through the fog...

The first woman that swam across the English Channel almost gave up because of the fog.  She reached out to her father, who was in the boat following her, to bring her back into the boat...she'd thought the attempt was over - she couldn't do it.  Her father had to simply point out where the shore was.  Once that woman saw the shore through the fog she was able to lift up her head and continue on to become the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

So where am I going with this?  To be honest I'm not quite sure.   I guess we all need a good trainer/ friend / spouse etc. to be there with us through the tough times.  To give us help and direction when all we see around us is fog.  We feel worn out; we feel like we've given it our all...we want to give up.

Stick to the course.  The shore is in sight.

Lots of love and hope I'm sending your way...

Love,

-Steff E