Monday, October 31, 2011

Swim-time Musings on Fast Food

As I attempted to use my Burgerville card today to check into the rec center I began to think about the last time I had been there (last December).  I then decided to figure out how many times I had eaten fast food this year.  I counted five (three trips to In and Out, one to Taco Bell, and one life saving trip to Dairy Queen).  All were travel/road trip related.  And in the case of the dairy queen I wouldn’t have made it home otherwise. 

Fast food is often blamed for the nation’s obesity problem, but as you can tell that isn’t the case with me and I still struggle with food and my weight.  Well, eating isn’t a struggle but it certainly is work.  It is work to be mindful in how I eat, how often I eat, and what I choose to eat.  I used to only think about how it would affect my weight, but as I age I think more along the lines of if it will give me energy and whether it will keep me up at night.  So along the way I have given up caffeine and those awesome diet pepsis and because they certainly don’t give me energy and they keep me up at night.  I continuously work towards eating in a way that will allow me to live my life, look my best, and yet share in my family/community’s eating.  So yes, it is work.  But it is work that is worth it.

I read a Deepak Chopra article last week that made me think about my son and my childhood when it spoke about childhood obesity.  He wrote, “80 percent of obese youth become obese adults.”  That is horrifying.  I was never obese, but was certainly bigger as a child.  My weight would not have been a concern as compared to children these days.  I know the habits formed as a child are so much more important.  I worry about these children as I looked around the high school I subbed at last.  They don’t know what they are doing to themselves.  As adults, we do.  It is so much harder to break habits formed as a child than those started as adults.  I wish I could help them, but will just continue to do the best with my child and those around me.  That is all I can do right now, but really, it isn’t enough.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cleansing vs detoxing

Every once in a while most of us feel a little bogged down and try to eat a “clean” diet for a while.  This is a great thing to do.  A great way to reset your system is to do a cleanse or detox.  I just finished the “Colorado Cleanse” with Dr. John Douillard.  I have read a number of Dr. Douillard’s books as I have been exploring Ayurveda.  Ayurveda is the India principle of eating based on body types and seasonality (very simply put).  

Cleansing is a great way of cleaning out the body of nasty foods that are bogging down your system.  Taking some time out of your daily eating routine to development new patterns.  Detoxing is taking it to a new level.  That is moving cleaning out the bacteria, villi, resetting your digestion, and a general healing of your system.  This is a great way to expose the weaknesses in your digestive system.

The first time I do a cleanse or detox I usually have a hard time.  The more times I do it, the more I learn about my body and the better I feel.  So as I hone in on the the weaknesses I feel within my body and spend quiet time figuring out how to heal myself.

I having Dr. Douillard lead this cleanse.  I will probably do it on my own next time.  So, this spring you should join me!  You will feel better for it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When’s the party?

So, I graduated today.  OK, this may be my photo from my master’s degree graduation, but I thought the day worthy of some note.


What does this mean?  Not sure, actually.  I have just began making plans for a long term sub position as a school librarian,  but I also have many plans for getting myself out there as a certified holistic health counselor. 

What  I have noticed over the past few months as my life has been consumed by a seemingly unending comedy of things gone wrong is that I revert to my quiet self.  The self that likes being a librarian because then I don’t have to talk as much.  The person that was drawn to library science, cataloguing, and the general life-long love I have had of libraries. 

There is a difference now.  I talk about going to the school and finding new clients there.  I need to get myself out into the world to find them.  That scares me, but I know they are out there just beyond my reach. 

So Happy Graduation, me, and I hope that this transition will bring more nuanced fulfillment and a continuing evolvement of that thing that is being Brooke.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


People suck at taking advice.  So sayeth the author of the book I am currently reading.  He has amused me a few times already and I am only a few pages in.  The part of that quote that makes me chuckle is the part of me that is trying to have a business based on my giving advice.  And i have certainly noticed that often people don't take it.  Even when they ask for it.  They really (and this is probably for the best long-term anyway) just want to do what they want to do.  And that is what they do.

I occasionally find it frustrating that they bother to ask for this advice in the first place.  Mostly though I have learned that I need to reiterate these points later, note them for myself, and figure out how to say it to them so that they think they decided to do it themselves.  And that is the crux of this thing I am trying to do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kuuuu neeeee

My knee hurts

I ran a bit today to keep from getting totally drenched.  Yes, it is July and  still spring here, but that is another story.

My knee hurts.

I might have high expectations for my body and what I want it to do.

But running one block is not high.  Can’t everyone run ONE block?  If they can’t well I don’t want to be everyone anyway.

</end bitching>

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Body Ownership

Recently someone told me that I was the only person in his life that he didn’t hug.  Now, I have to imagine that is an exaggeration, but still, that hit a mark.  Shocking for me to hear this as I used to consider myself an excellent hugger (still do actually, just don’t do it much).  In truth though, I stopped hugging because I didn’t want to.  I found myself uncomfortable with the whole act.  Hugs often feel dishonest to me and that very statement means I that I am carrying some story there.

So, I thought I’d look through my hugging history:

-High school – chubby, mom-figure to my soccer team hugged and carried everyone (resultant back pain ensued)

-College still loved hugging, especially the feeling of hugging big guys so I could feel enveloped.  Began to notice people that were especially bad huggers.  You know, the ones that either pat or lean and keep their body from touching you?

-Post college friends – there is too much drama there that I don’t choose to go into, but this is definitely when I stopped trusting hugs.  Yes, I said trusting.  Because this is when I stopped trusting people.  Stopped trusting them to be true and honest and good.  So I stopped wanting to touch people, because a hug was too intimate and I didn’t want a hug to be a lie.

-So I finally had a child and having this child meant that I had to be touched.  Constantly.  And this really put the nail in the coffin of hugging.  I certainly didn’t want to be touched by anyone else because I never got to choose the touching.  I began to resent this touching and it took many years to get over it.

-I think I got cats again last fall because I was ready for touch again, I think, but I definitely want my space.  I want to choose my touches, but I am ready for more contact in my life.  (I think there will be more on this later.)

So this person wasn’t the first person to notice it in my life, but they certainly have me thinking.  I have been trying to hug more.  But honestly and only when it feels real.  I won’t hug everyone, but I will hug people who I care about just to remind them in an unspoken way that I do care.  I love to hug my son and my husband (who are both exceptionally good huggers), and I go in for good hugs with my friends.  No half assing it here.

In a time where I don’t necessarily feel like I have a ton of ownership in my life, it is nice to feel this.  A good hug goes a long way.

Monday, June 27, 2011



(sung to melody of children’s “bone” song)

Knee pain is connected to the tibia

Hip pain is connected to the knee

Head pain is connected to the tired mind

Shoulder pain is connected to the … (oh wait, I haven’t figured that one out yet)

Surgery it is, folks.  Sigh.

September 15 I will no longer be whole, but an altered being sewn together by someone other than whoever created me to begin this whole thing called life.

I think I might have to mourn than more than the loss of soccer, but the loss of whole. self.  me. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Wow.  I was haunted by this book and stayed up until four reading it.  From the voice of a Boy who lives in Room.  This is a great, sad, awesome book.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Facebook Project

I’ve got a project in the works for this month that I am calling the Facebook Project.  I have recently become annoyed with my use of the facebooks (as I like to call it).  There are perfectly reasonable uses: mom’s group, bookclub, coordinating out of town friends.  I like these uses, but the time I spend (wasting) just looking on the newsfeed is annoying.  This is what I do instead of living my own life.  So I propose to live my own life this month by spending the 1/2 hour (conservative estimate) I spend wasting on the facebooks in phone calls.  I will call one person a day.  Do you want to be on the phone call list?  Let me know and I will happily do so. Smile

I will still do things like posting this awesome photo from our family vacation:


But I will NOT waste my time.  This should be interesting… I’ve kind of forgotten how to talk on the phone. 

Monday, June 13, 2011


I got one of those great compliments today that make me unreasonably happy.  Why, you ask?  Because someone complimented my cartilage.  A rush of happiness flew through me as I thought about how I have such lovely cartilage especially after 25 years of soccer.  This is like the times the dentist compliments my lovely white teeth.

These compliments make me giddy. Unreasonably so because I had nothing to do with it.  I just live my life with my lovely white teeth and awesome knee cartilage.

It makes up for the other things.  You know, the crap you do to yourself that you know you shouldn’t but you do anyway.

I’m going to take my freckles, bumpy waist, awesome cartilage, lovely teeth and bad knee for a walk and enjoy my life as I can.  Sometimes that is harder than others, but all these pieces together are me.  And we are living the best we can.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A state

Apparently I am happier when I am in a more confused, mostly ditzy state.  Apparently I need to find out how to be like that more often.  Because it is nice not being worried and frustrated all the time.

I often want to ask those optimistic people what they think about while they are thinking all those happy thoughts.  When I don’t have something to think about I just think about what I need to do, what needs to get done, what I should be doing.  And not surprisingly I begin to get upset, frustrated and depressed.  What should I be thinking about instead?  Should I be thinking about how I actually got up this morning?  That I get to have knee surgery?  That I got to have lunch with my husband?  Ok.  That actually sounds nice. (the last one, that is)

Thinking about the good things. Huh. Well, I might as well try it.  I know the just not thinking isn’t going to work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wherein Brooke realizes there is a lot to this eating thing

I recently read Eating Animals by Jonathon Safron Foer.  This book definitely grossed me out with its imagery,  sent me over the edge, and drove the hubbend crazy (due to my eternal badgering him over the grossness of eating meat). Now I am reading Omnivores Dilemma again and I am waiting for Michael Pollan to react the same way.  I am reading it wondering, how can you see all you have seen and still eat meat?  Yet he does. 

I am happy to say I have relaxed on my hubbend and now don’t badger him at all on the subject, but as this loosening occurs and the longer time passes from reading that book (EA) the more I lose my own grip on the subject.  To some degree the ability to eat meat comes from forgetting that the meat comes from an animal and the process it took to get there.  So I sit and wonder how bad the honey chicken from the Chinese restaurant could be.  The answer?  It isn’t if you are ok with eating chicken.  But to make the leap back into eating meat makes that chicken not feel like the right choice.  So, what is the right choice?  And why?

There are so many external factors and influences to how you eat.  Sometimes it is hard to know what to do and the more information you get the more confusing it can be.  Sometimes I just want to eat something and not care about it.  I want to eat it not caring how I am going to feel, look and how ethical the process is that got that food in front of me.  Sometimes, but not often I wish I could unlearn all that I have learned and go back to eating badly.

But then.  Isn’t that what eating is supposed to be?  Isn’t eating supposed to be about what your body wants and not the mind?  It isn’t supposed to be about rules and calories and nutritional bytes.  My body needs this food to fuel my activities and mind converting it to energy and future thoughts.

How do I get there?  Because that is really the goal in all this.  To eat.  Mindfully yet honoring the body. Enjoying the food that sustains me.  How do I do this? 

I don’t know. And I’m bummed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cookbook awesome-ocity

I found this cookbook at New Seasons, ordered it from the library, and received it today.  I was literally putting bookmarks in every other page of this cookbook.  The recipes were this yummy looking!


Not only does this author have a similar cooking aesthetic as me in terms of using whole, real foods, but there is nary a mentioned of TVP (texturized vegetable protein) or fake meats anywhere!  AND (yes, AND) most are vegan.  Meaning there isn’t any of that vegetarian tendency depending heavily on processed carbs and soy products to make a vegetarian meal.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Confusion Reigneth

I am so confused about what to eat right now.  Not something you would expect to hear from one immersed in a nutrition school, but that is the case.  Between my diet experiments over the last few years and learning about all the dietary theories over the past 7 months I just have no idea how I am supposed to eat. 

So, let’s assess:

Vegetables are good. Fill me up, digestion awesomeness ensues (can’t only eat vegetables, so…)

Meat – a bit of a moral issue there now.  Although if you have happy chickens at home I would be happy to eat your eggs.  Fish is on my questionable list right now too.  Have been eating some, but not really happy about it.  Beef.  Beef I just have this bad memory of this nasty rotten eggs taste I had in my mouth after I ate it.  And it was good, local beef.  hmm.

Fruit – LOVE apples, most fruit.  all good.  especially blueberries.

Nuts – tend to go a little crazy on them, but they are good in general (must keep watch)

Legumes – yummmy and good.  Must remember to get fermented foods in though when eating them.

Dairy – only if fermented or on the rare special occasion.

Soy – try to mimimize non fermented varieties, but good digestively for me

Grains – only eat these in the morning or they can give my indigestion in the afternoon

Fats- trying to lower that (keeping to avocado and nuts)

Sugar makes me run around like a bobble-headed tweety bird.

Caffeine is ok a little bit at a time, but I can’t sleep very well with much in my system.

I am about 2 weeks into not weighing myself and not eating any specific way.  I am just eating my recommended allowance of fruits/veg (5-9 servings).  I am not limiting.  Other than 5-9 servings of fruit/veg a day I eat what I want.

I might not be as skinny as I was, but I think I need to say screw it for now.  Being healthy is more important than being skinny. 

The last time I tried (hubbend remembers that as the Oreo year) was when I read Intuitive Eating and Overcoming Overeating.  Both good books, but now I am in such a better place that I can do it truly.  Without the oreos Smile.

We are all different.  We all digest differently, have different tastes, energy needs and ability to transfer food into energy.  We all have unique needs, bodies, minds and processes.  And we are all living different lives that fulfill us, stress us and nurture us differently.

This is what is going on with me right now.  Actually nice to have it written down so I can track it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Disordered Eating

Is a highly episodic and cyclical problem.  Whether it is body image issue or a food related issue you can solve it for a while, but it comes back if you let it.  It is sneaky.

When you find yourself struggling with food cravings, energy issues or bad patterns old or new there are some things you can look at to help:

1- Disordered eating usually rears it’s head when something is off in your life. Observe: is something lacking in your life, or how are you out of balance?

2-Notice how the pattern emerges (daily, hourly).  Does it look different than last time? Then…

3-Think how how you worked it out last time, is that structure still in place?  If not, would that work again?  If so, what has changed?

4- If it is new think about what is going on (probably outside of food) and notice if that brings up an emotional or food response in you.

5- Talk to someone.  Talk to someone who won’t judge you.  Someone who will listen to you and help you reflect on what is going on in your life and who makes you feel supported.

Does it help to know you are not alone?  You are not.  There are so many people out there with disordered eating issues big and small.  We all hide it.  Be proud of yourself for being aware.  Now move on to the next step and find ways to love yourself without food!

Take Care.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quarterly Update

So I have been veganish for 3.5 months.  I’ve really enjoyed it, been feeling pretty good, but the hubbend is beginning to balk at the lack of animal products in the food I cook.  So, I decided to take a three day adventure while he is out of town.  Ironic, yes, I am aware.  However, I wanted to do it without any discussion so that I could truly see how I was feeling without interpretation by others.  Others otherwise known as the hubbend. 

I started yesterday on what appears to be a very balanced carb/fat/protein diet.  In the past when I was eating animal protein it was mostly paleo (as you might recall), but that didn’t work so I thought I’d try a structured “balanced” diet. 

So, my first reaction is wow, that is a shit-load of protein.  (The USDA My Pyramid can officially suck it.)  My second reaction is damn do I have the grouchies even with the coffee I am drinking.  My third reaction after eating an egg this morning is, “Oh yes, this is why I stopped eating eggs because when I workout after eating them I feel like I am lugging around a ton of bricks.”  This leads me back to why I have enjoyed eating less animal products in the first place.  I have enjoyed the lightness and even keel-ness of my feelings since stopping the animal products.  The past two days I have been tired and grouchy.

What is rather nice is how easy it is to eat with the animal protein in place.  It is easy to bake some fish and put some veggies and a grain with it.  It is simpler that way, but less fulfilling. for me.

I have been thinking about someone I know who eats meat and frozen spinach every day.  I sometimes wonder if I could do that.  It sounds so nice not to worry about what I eat.  But then I remember that I am me.  and me has emotional attachments to what me eats.  And me actually likes to cook now so that just sounds plain boring.

So here I go on my spring veganish adventure.  I am beginning to crave my greens and berry smoothie something fierce.  I can’t wait until Thursday morning!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Health v Responsibility

Some make food decisions based on what tastes good, some on what is good for them and some of what they believe to be the right decision for the world/animals/environment.

Not all the time, I imagine.  Can you actually make those kinds of weighty decisions on a daily basis?  If you ever eat outside the home you know that you are abdicating your decision somewhat for the convenience.  Even restaurants I think of as healthy don’t have the ability to do the due diligence on all of their food (and is it even fiscally responsible for them to do so anyway?).

Health can be taken in a larger scheme.  My health and my family’s health can impact the health system if don’t use it as much.  But you can’t really think in those terms when deciding whether or not to eat the donut.

I used to think the organic term was crap.  But the more I learned about what is being done to the food we ingest the more it began to resonate.  I want to eat happy food.  I don’t want to eat antibiotics and chemicals and hormones.  Oddly though I went to organic produce first.  Is it easier?  Organic meat is another, more complex story it seems to me.  There is so much that goes into the growing, feeding, keeping healthy, killing and processing animal products that it is a harder (or easier perhaps if you just don’t do it) decision to make as the complexities are different for everyone. 

So do you eat food for your health?  Because you are concerned what is happening politically with the food industry?  Do you eat the food you can buy at the store you shop at? 

Are you tired yet?  I am.  Where is the bacon?  Not for me, but my hubbend and son.  They have to make the decision for themselves.  So do you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

May-kin Stuff

I don’t know exactly why I have enjoyed making peanut butter and almond milk so much recently.  Are they really so much better?  I think so.  I enjoy the process, I enjoy knowing I made something that seems ridiculously over-priced (almond milk) or often screwed with (peanut butter) in the stores.  I feel like it is a sneaky little secret that this stuff is so easy to make.  Especially with my handy high speed blender.

But you know what a lot of it is?  I love knowing that I made it because then I know what it is made of.  I know that I ordered organic nuts, I mixed it with clean, pure water and used no artificial sweeteners or other unnecessary ingredients to mess up my food.  I love this.

Know your food, right?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Morning Smoothie

I made almond milk this weekend and hadn’t tried any so this morning I thought I would make a smoothie with a slight variance from my usual water-based greens/fruit smoothies. 

It was sooo yummy and creamy and good that I thought I’d share the recipe.  Nothing too profound, but oh so good!

Almond Milk/Berry Smoothie

  • 1 c plain almond milk
  • 4 drops clear stevia (to sweeten)
  • 6 strawberries with tops on
  • 1/8 cup goji berries
  • 1 cup chard
  • 1 cup collard greens
  • 1 banana

Blend it up, then add:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tb ground flaxseed


I am getting protein powder soon to ramp up my morning workouts so I will start experimenting with that as well.

Self Acceptance

This topic has been a long time in the making. 

It took a while to figure out that body/self image wasn’t all about the weight.  Interestingly though, it took losing weight to realize it.  Not sure I would have got there.  “Big and loving it” was never going to be my style.

So when I lost the weight and realized everything wasn’t perfect (something I knew intellectually, but not really) I had to finish my work.  My work on being okay with me.

Because self acceptance isn’t just about being okay with my weight, it is being okay with my body, being okay with my role in this world, the way I relate to people and how my mind works.  And that doesn’t happen over night.

So now my daily work continues.  I work on accepting that I eat differently than a lot of people.  That I am a bit extreme in my relationship with my body, but that relationship is healthy for me.  Not anyone else but me.

I am finding purpose in helping others through their journey.  I hope that my struggles will make it easier on them, but know that I needed (as always) to take the hard path.  I am working hard to be happy in my relationship with my son (a struggle every day) and I am trying to reach out more fully to those in my life that I love. 

We’ll see what the next step is.  I don’t know, but I know that I will be ready for it.   Does that make me an optimist?  Nahhh.  Don’t talk crazy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I give

I have begun to think I’m a bad cook. I really was a bad cook, but over the past few years while staying home with my son I have become quite good (at least we think so).  One facet of my personality is that I get bored easily.  I am always trying out new recipes and searching for great ways to prepare foods I love.  So this raw thing sounded like a new fun challenge.  I started in January with my cleanse and when that was over I just kept on going.  Now some time has past and I have realized something.  The vegan(ish) part?  No problem.  The raw food part?  Ummm, that has been issue-laden.  After 2.5 months I am tired of making highly labor intensive foods that are frankly gross.  When making raw foods you don’t cook, but I am beginning to feel like I am a bad preparer of foods.  And it is taking it’s toll on my cooking psyche.

In case you are wondering, what are things I will never try again?  Pizza.  It is meant to be cooked.  Dehydrating does not will not can not get you the warm gooeyness that is pizza.  And you really need cheese.  Really.  Brussels sprouts.  That might have happened accidently as I love dehydrated broccoli, but the raw bs experience almost killed my fantastic love affair with Brussels sprouts.  So I will stick to my awesome roasted recipe.

At this point I will keep six raw recipes.  Lasagna (for special occasions), Pad Thai, two different kale salads, sprouted buckwheat porridge and a dehydrated portobello mushroom, cashew mayo on almond bread sandwich.  They are all good and will remain in the rotation.  I also enjoy sprouting beans/lentils/grains, raw hummus, all raw smoothies, and a few other ways of incorporating rawness into our eating.

So, I will try to find new recipes this summer.  But I need a break.  I need to rebuild my cooking psyche so I can feel the confidence to once more boldly prepare raw recipes that might just suck.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I used to have a brown thumb which over the years developed into a green thumb.  I learned to love to grow outside in Oregon and eventually created an outdoor space that felt like a retreat.  Indoor plants are tough in Oregon and our current house has such poor light that I am in grave danger of losing my green status.  So, I decided to grow something that didn’t bloom.  Wheatgrass!

I soaked/sprouted the grains for three days and have just put them in dirt. 




I have hopes (not high) for this project.  But growing from seed has never gone well for me. 

Wish me luck Smile

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A changing

You know that feeling that you have when you are full?  Sounds nice, but in reality it isn’t.  Especially when you’ve been eating to fullness for consecutive days.  And then when you go to yoga and try to move and bend your body.  Then it really doesn’t feel good. 

You see, I’ve been feeling like my diet isn’t quite right the last few days.  So I’ve been trying to eat foods that have been satisfying me these past two months, but they feel too heavy, and still not satisfying.  I realized with the changing weather I needed to head to the library to finally pick up my John Douillard book.  (This book is ok thus far, but does anyone have a better Ayurveda book?  I feel like it is too rudimentary for me.) Anyway, I started reading last night so that I could figure out what is going on in the spring for my vata (pitta) diet. 

What I’ve figured out thus far: Spring is kapha time.  Heavy and wet.  More mucus so I should stay away from dairy oilds (I think).  I need to eat bitter foods, less oils and fats… (Those should have been stored up from the winter foods.)  So, I need to back off the fats, oils, nuts, avocado, coconut and eat more the bitter and pungent leafy greens.  This should change the makeup of my morning smoothie a bit. 

Warmer winds and rain,

sleep problems

Diet might need a change.

Time to move

with Mother Earth.

What is next -

Look inside

Find the truth

Not the blame.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Self Soothing

I have just returned from my traditional runningerrandsaturday.  One of my last stops was at JC Penny’s to return a curtain rod where I found I was unable to clearly articulate what I needed to do. (Return a curtain rod)  When I finally got out my words I apologized for being so inarticulate (in my normal self-deprecating way) and the cashier suggested I go get a black/ white mocha from Starbucks.  She peppily stated that she had just got one and it really worked for her.  I looked at her, blinked, and paused, trying to get my brain to function whereupon I stated, “I don’t drink caffeine”.  At this point she blinked and seemed entirely confused.  This gave my brain the time to clear as I took a breath and tried to figure out what I really needed.

And I realized it was simple - To sit down.  To breathe.  For a moment.  And do nothing else.

In the past I might have done just what she suggested – go get some caffeine and get that amped feeling that courses through me.  But then the subsequent crash happens and I am back where I started.

So.  I am glad I listened to my body.  And it makes me wonder, what do most people do to self soothe?  Do you listen to what your body actually needs?  Or do you try to fix what is wrong by powering through using external stimuli? 

At this point in my life I am no longer trying to fix my bad parts, but to enhance the good.  I’d love to hear other simple self soothing techniques you have for when you are too busy and frazzled.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I love chickpeas. In hummus, in salads, in soups. They can be kind of boring though so I thought I'd share this yummy way to spice them up.
  • Soak the 1c chickpeas for 6 hours, bring water to a boil and then cook for 1.5 hours (or until soft)
  • Then put in a pan with 1TB olive oil, 2TB balsalmic vinegarette and a dash of agave and heat until the liquid has disappeared.
  • Eat - with mustard greens heated up or whatever salad you enjoy.  They keep for a few days in the frig as well.

I will try sprouting these soon and let you know how they taste. I am betting yummy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Food Grouch

I have recently become a large fan of this blog written by someone who calls herself the Wellness Bitch.  And yesterday after ready a post on FB where someone totally attacked this person for her food choices (she had started a detox) I went to the WB and read something that resonated

Why do you think being negative would be productive in getting someone to change their eating habits?  Because I surely turn inward when someone attacks me.  The WB talked about how you sometimes feel like you are the only one standing up for your food choices.  That you feel weird.  And outside.  I don’t feel that way all the time, but I do sometimes.

Sure, it would be lovely if I had grown up a completely different person who didn’t care about food and just blithely went along making good food choices.  Doesn’t that sound great?  But I didn’t and I don’t.  I work hard at this.  I made great food (and horrible food) in this experiment of life that I call eating food that sustains me.  I shop in the bulk and produces sections solely these days in my vegan eating choices with an occasional trip down Tofu Way.

My son doesn’t like the look of these foods understandably (they don’t look at all like a grilled cheese sandwich), but I have to hope that what I am doing will positively impact him.  I don’t want him to struggle like I have.  I am proud that he knows all the vegetables by name in the house and knows food by the glass jar in the pantry, not by the packaging.

I am sorry if I’m a grouch, but this food thing isn’t easy.  The body changes as do the seasons and with that change comes a new set of foods to eat and learn how to cook.  I want to help people (my son, my husband, my family, my clients) make good food choices so they can be healthy for them.  I want people to understand that food isn’t always about hunger, but emotion and the past.  And this is ok.  I am doing the work so I can help others as well as myself.  And to make the decision to finally choose themselves.  Fully.

We all liked Oscar anyway, right?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I think I am finally working toward making my own recipes.  I have begun searching for recipes with specific ingredients in mind.  It has taken a while, but I am making my own powerful choices for food more and more often.  This goes to heart of food.  Buying in bulk and working wtih the true essence of food.  The final step is creating recipes for myself with the spices, fresh ingredients and flavors I enjoy.

That being said, I found and massively altered this recipe for Quinoa Pumpkin Pancakes.  And they were soooo good. (Because I really like quinoa and pumpkin... and who doesn't like pancakes?)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Self Love

Upon getting engaged in 2001 my mom suggested the hubbend and I go to couples counseling.  We found a great guy and went for quite a while.  This awesome dude came up with the phrase , “There is a lot of Brooke in the room” as a way of expressing all that I have to offer and all that I am.  While this phrase is definitely used between us with specific connotations, over the years I have felt like I have become less and less present.  Like that phrase is no longer relevant.

And then recently, ironically, I have been feeling more recently.  Ironically in that as I have shrunk in size I am becoming more of a full person.  Losing the shroud of depression I have regained my personality in a smaller sized frame.  Simultaneously inspired and deadened.  Full of possibility, but irrepressibly cranky.  It is strange in my life.  And I think it is impinging on my relationships.

I have circled around it, but have realized some of it is due to the lessening of some of my support structure.  Hubbend is so busy at work and my parents are across the world.  I have finally begun to feel like I have something to contribute and am feeling constricted by my role as mom.  You see I have never been a mom who was in love with being a mom.  I love my son, but I don’t love the role of mom.  I am a good mom, not great, but know that my son is getting all that he needs through my care, my husband’s special relationship with him and my parent’s caretaking of him on a regular basis.  Right now there isn’t as much help and our life is fraying at the edges.

I am trying to move forward in my life with a potential for fulfillment and I need more to do so.  I need to be able to push forward into these changes so that I find this true meaning.  With change comes challenge.  We are ready for it, but unprepared with how to make those changes a reality.

I know that change can make everything uncomfortable for a while.  I am okay with that.  But not sure about others.  So there is the ride of life again…………..  There is going to be more Brooke in the room. We’ll see how that goes.

Self Healing

I have recently become more and more infatuated with Ayurvedic Medicine.  I can even spell it properly now.  I really liked it from the moment I heard about it last fall, but it was a bit more complex than I could grasp in an overview.  Last week’s lesson was dedicated to Ayurveda and after listening to a 2.5 hour lecture and all the attendant research I feel like I have a decent handle on it. 

What do I like about it?  I like that you take ownership of your life through self knowledge.  I love that by knowing your type you can look at what ails you through that lens and find ways to fix the problem.  I can’t sleep at night, well, as a vata it clearly states that I need more grounding activities and should eat warming, grounding foods.  I didn’t have this information before but I knew something was wrong.  It all makes sense now.

It makes sense that I fly around like a crazy person and when I do this in the winter (vata time of year) in combination with eating raw I am feeling unsettled.  I just love it.  I love the power I feel in the potential to heal my own ills. 

I have always admired my hubbend so for how he took control of his illness through western medicine.  Now I have that power too.   Reading a new age-y book recently the author talked about creating your own present and future by talking positively.  This is generally the type of book I would throw across the room, but I loved the idea that the next time hubbend has to go into that surgery room I can bring a little bit of eastern love and ask them to speak positively so we can make sure that we do all we can to heal ourselves.

Self-Care, Self-Healing.  What’s next?  Self-Love!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Self Care

The hubbend and I have conversations occasionally about the past and how things might have gone differently.  Like, what if we hadn’t left Colorado?  What if we hadn’t met?  What if we hadn’t had a child?

I assert that leaving Colorado was the best decision of my life.  And if we hadn’t had a child I have to wonder if I would still be a Library Media Specialist for the Harold Oliver Intermediate School going on my fifth year now. 

One of the questions on the Health History consultation is: when was the time you felt best in your life.  I confidently state it is now.  Why?  Because I have finally learned how to take care of myself.  At 35 I feel the fittest, happiest and most fulfilled I have ever felt.  Which is why I found myself thinking about the past this morning.  If I were a LMS at HO would I have learned all I have about my body and it’s potential in the past 5 years?  Is there something about having a child that, ironically, has taught me how to take care of myself?  Interesting that being a mom could teach me to have better self care in that this is the time most mom’s neglect themselves.

How do you take care of yourself?  I do it through exercise, but that is something that has developed over the years.  Yes, I have always exercised.  First, to make sure I was in shape enough to play soccer and then just because it was what I did.  Now, I get so much more from it.  I do laps in the pool and instead of being bored I find myself solving problems.  I run and get to spend time with friends or just enjoy the fresh air.  I practice yoga in a healing space that grounds me yet allows me to fly.  It is more than cardiovascular now.  It is spiritual.  Weird.  Cool.

So I ask again, how do you take care of yourself?  And if you don’t know, pleaseplease think about it.  And then build it into your day.

Take Care.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Peeps have been asking about the process of the cleanse I am on.  *Yes, I am still on it.  So, I thought I’d write it out for you all.  I will link to the specific herbs and tonics through Blessed Herbs, but will give you the breakdown of events as they occur.

I started out with the Colon Cleanse.  Eight Days.  Three days of decreasing eating.  Five Fasting.  Once you are fasting you take the Toxin Absorber five times a day with apple cider.  It is vital that you drink a lot of water so you don’t get toxin absorber stuck in your system.  The Toxin Absorber is an herbal supplement of Psyllium seed husks, Apple pectin, Ginger root OR Peppermint leaf, and Bentonite clay and goes throughout your intestines gathering up crap, bad bacteria coming out as mucoid plaque.  It comes out, ummm, interestingly.  You are supported in this by a digestive stimulator which acts much like insoluble fiber and moves it all along. 

After that I waited about a week just eating well so not to build up new crap in my newly cleaned out colon and got ready to address the rest of my system.  I was taking the toxin absorber daily and making sure the body was maintaining stasis.

The Internal Cleanse lasts 21 days and acts a follow up to a clean colon by cleansing the liver, lungs, kidneys, skin and lymph.  While on the IC you continue to take the toxin absorber and digestive stimulator adding in herbs and a liquid formula.

The first week concentrates on removing parasites in your small intestine and cleansing the gallbladder and liver.  The liquid formula is vile.  I had a major reaction this week (vertigo).  No parasites though. (ya!) The second week was bladder, lung and kidney.  The third week is lymph, blood and skin.

It is vital that your continue to take the toxin absorber and digestive stimulator so you can continue to push out the toxins.  It is also important to eat as clean as possible for you so that you don’t build up toxins in the process.  They recommend you eat one “level” above how you regularly eat.  For example, if you eat animal protein and processed foods then you could continue to eat animal protein, but take out the processed foods.  They recommend eating organic, non-processed foods, but try to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

The Internal Cleanse is definitely more mellow of a process.  Sometimes I forget I am doing it, but do feel that it is making a difference.  Not only is it reinforcing a better eating style I am cleaning out the bad bacteria and nightly replacing it with good bacteria so that my body can work more efficiently.

My whole system will be all cleansed out on Friday.  In all a five week process.  Pretty intense, but definitely something I would do again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Great Blender Off

Yesterday we planned to do a side by side comparison of the Vitamix 5200 and a Blendtec to see which one was better.  Most people haven’t heard of the Blendtec as Vitamix has the green smoothie/raw foods market cornered.  They both are made by companies that have been making blenders for a long time.

Side by Side
In the end we we decided not to do an old school blender-off. We just made a few different types of foods comparing functionality and design, and generally had a good time doing it.

First of all – size – the Vitamix is huge and burly looking.  The Blendtec looks so small in comparison.  The jar size is actually the same.  I know, crazy, right?  They both hold the same amount of liquid.  However, I would say that the Vitamix has greater usable space as the lid is higher creating a little bit more space inside.

First we made peanut butter.  I would actually like to see the Vitamix do this as well just for comparison.  I thought this was going to break the poor Blendtec, but it totally worked.

Peanuts     Peanut Butter

Homemade peanut butter.  How cool is that??

Next we made ice cream.  Why not, right?  While we weren’t thrilled about the recipes (too icey) we found that both made comparable products.  We used some of the peanut butter to make the pb ice cream (with coconut milk)  with the Blendtec and a traditional chocolate ice cream with the Vitamix.  I then added a banana to the pb ice cream and blended it again resulting in an awesome pb milkshake creation which my son loved.

Next we made milks.  With the Vitamix we made a rice milk and the Blendtec an almond milk.  The Blendtec dry mixed the almonds first.  This created a one step process vs a two step (mixing and then straining) required by the Vitamix.

Last we made a Ocean Fruit Smoothie from the Blendtec recipe book. It was really really good.

DSC_0033      Mango Goodness

The recipe:

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 mango – peeled

1 pear – quartered and seeded

1 TBSP sugar (we didn’t use)

1 banana – peeled

1 cup ice


You could easily add some spinach or other green to make this a little more green.

These two blenders cost the same, but in the end it comes down to functionality. I am pleased with my Blendtec. Had you not guessed which one I had yet?? Smile  I like the subject buttons (the fact that I can push it and walk away while it does it’s job) and I like the dry capabilities (which you need to buy an additional dry container to do with the Vitamix). 

Either one is a great blender.  Either one would work for you to make soups, smoothies, sauces, ice cream, breads or dressings. 

If you have a working blender, use it until it dies (unless you are like me and find that your blender can’t do what you need it to do).  But if you need a new blender, you might as well buy one of these that will last you forever and have much greater functionality.  It is worth it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Labels, Part Two

I recently found out the label for the diet I was follow from the fall of 2009 to last fall.  It is called the Paleo Diet and is based upon the principles of eating whole foods like man ate before the development of cities.  You should eat mostly fruits, vegetables and animal protein with a moderate fat intake.  I followed this diet for a long time until I realized that it wasn’t working for me.  I was developing a junk food (in the form of tortilla chips) habit that I craved alongside sugar.  Last fall I added in root vegetables (as it was the season) which curbed the sugar, but caused me to gain weight.  It didn’t make me happy anymore.

This January I have come upon a way of eating that makes me so happy.  I am eating 2/3 raw meals and 1/3 vegan/vegetarian meals.  A truly surprising develop considering my resistance to it when I listened to the lessons for school. I hesitate to label myself that way though, because this is how I feel now.  It developed through the cleanse I am doing and has just suited me.  Will I ever eat animal meat again?  My guess is I will.  Will I go totally raw this summer?  I have no idea.  But right now, this is making me happy. I feel vibrant, energetic and clear.  I am at a weight I truly like and feels sustainable. 

What am I eating that makes me feel so good?  I am eating beans, leafy greens, root (and other) vegetables, and fruits in abundance and whole grains and fats (in the form of nuts, seeds and avocado) in moderation.  Sounds eminently reasonable, right?  You are thinking this doesn’t sound too bad, aren’t you?

Why am I thinking about this right now?  Because I think this is all individual.  This is working for me, but I wouldn’t tell you that this is the healthiest diet and everyone should do it.  Having just read The China Study and Good Calories, Bad Calories simultaneously I can tell you that studies can be interpreted many different ways and that the scientists really don’t have a universal answer either.  My mom hasn’t eaten chocolate, coconut or eggs often for the past twenty years because the prevailing wisdom said not to if she wants to control her cholesterol.  Both those books said something different on the subject.  Somewhat similar, but from a different foundational basis.

So.  Chew on that for a while and then ask yourself, “Is the food I’m eating sustaining me?”  If not, you don’t need to find a diet by name (although I imagine that makes it easier) just try to discover the foods that make you feel good and the ones that slow you down.  Try to remove the ones that drain you and more of the ones that fill you with energy.  Or you can call me Smile.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Internal Cleanse Week Two

I started the Lungs, Kidney and Bladder cleanse today.  The concoction is much much less vile.  I went to yoga and had an amazing class.  In all of the liver detoxing moves I had no problems.  (Which normally make me start sweating like no tomorrow.)

After last week’s utter exhaustion I am glad to be feeling perkier again.  And I am wondering what mid-week will bring this round.

I have a lot more energy in general and am no longer cold all the time.  I feel good.  Like the food.  Especially lunch today at Prasad.  Soooo good.  Raw Tostada yumminess.

Grocery Store Transitions

I used to shop solely at Fred Meyer.  Once my son was born I started shopping at the Hillsdale Farmers Market.  This is a year round Farmers Market and we built it into our week.  M and I would walk there, shop for fruits and veg, play at the playground and go home.  It was lovely.  I eventually added in Trader Joes (which my husband calls the snack emporium) until it became one of the regulars.

After we moved last fall the closest grocery store to my house was New Seasons and now I shop there as my primary grocery store.  Last April I joined a coop.  Now I am finding more and more ways to avoid the grocery store and to get my food in bulk.

The thing that surprised me is my growing aversion to Trader Joes (aside from the overabundance of packaging).  My husband had a really bad experience there with another customer and I have had three negative experiences recently with quality.  So, I think it is going to go back to being the snack emporium for us.  The wine is good and the chips are yummy.  And that is where it belongs.

So today I found myself at New Season’s and an employee telling me that Whole Foods bulk is cheaper!  I have gone there recently more often due to their raw section and their non-dairy cheese.  Ending up thinking their bulk section looked awesome and the prices a little cheaper.  But having a New Seasons employee confirm it means I making the right moves toward more bulk foods and shopping at the right stores for the right things.  It might be more of a pain to shop at Costco (for snack and household goods), New Seasons (for some bulk, produce, jarred items, protein), Whole Foods (raw, vegan specialty items, bulk, produce), Winco (cat stuff, pullups) and the coop (produce, bulk grocery, spices), but I like knowing I am buying food at the best place to buy the food I want.

As I continue my slow transition towards shopping more at the coop (through better planning and more use of bulk grocery), I feel like I am doing the right thing for my family.  Trying to find the foods we like in a way that is good for us.  Hopefully a little better for the community as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am exhausted

I hadn’t really thought that I was experiencing any symptoms from the liver and gallbladder cleanse.  But now I must admit that I am.
Symptoms began on Wednesday, Day Five.  I woke up with intense vertigo that lasted all morning.  It was incredibly weird.  I hadn’t slept much at all the night before, which was initially caused by an hourlong bout of coughing (random), but combined with the vertigo I was pretty miserable in the morning.  I got a lot of sleep last night, but am exhausted right now and feeling nauseated.  awesome.
Only one more day though.  Hopefully I’ll feel better with the lungs and kidneys.  Or more like I did in the beginning of the week – which was calm, pretty happy and mellow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Book Review: The China Study

Talk about mind-blowing science!  You weren’t?  Well, this eminently readable book blew my mind at first.  This seminal epidemiological study conducted in China shows us the relationship between cancer and our nutrition.

The China Study was conducted over 15 years by T. Colin Campbell in conjunction with two Chinese scientists and a huge team of people.  This is definitely one of those books where reading the introduction is necessary. As the book continues he begins to lose me on some of his extrapolations and I am not sure about all of the science, but I believe the study itself to be highly relevant.  I will continue to read other nutrition books (in fact I found myself cross-checking his data and finding with another book I am reading) in search of the truth for me.

Only read this if you want to know how important your food choices are.  And really really read this if there is a cancer in your family.

T. Colin Campbell is in the the upcoming movie “Forks over Knives”.  So he’s still trying to get the word out 20 years later.  I can’t wait to see it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Number Four

According to the NaturalNews Insider Daily Digest I received this morning the number Four way to get toxic chemicals out of your body is: “#4) Detox your liver, kidneys and colon at least once a year. “

Yay, me!  Maybe that explains the headache I’ve had for the past 24 hours.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Internal Cleanse Rundown (Part Two)


I am now beginning the second part of the cleanse that will last this month of January (until Feb5).  I completed the colon cleanse last week and they tell you to spend four –six days regulating.  Week one of the Internal Cleanse will go after my liver and gallbladder (should be interesting…), week two- lungs, kidney and bladder and week three is blood, skin and lymph.

I have been eating two raw meals a day followed by a third vegan meal in the evening.  One night it was vegetarian stuffed pizza (mmm, cheese) and it was super yummy.  Also, interestingly the cheese didn’t bother me a bit which means my intestines really are pretty clean and lacking the stuff that makes digesting casein tough for me generally.

At first I thought I didn’t have enough food in me to do the exercise I regularly do at the level I would like, but I am not sure that is the answer.  When I have my green smoothie right before I workout I am fine. 

I am pretty cold all the time. But I absolutely love the even keel I am running on.  And can I tell you that I really like the food?  I look forward evening evening to my big exciting “cooked” meal.  And the food during the day is yummy and I can eat as much as I want.  So exciting for one such as myself.

Another interesting thing is I finally figured out what is causing my indigestion for the past year.  Nuts!  Sad for me, but good to know.  Nuts are a great afternoon snack for me to last until dinner.  I can have a few, but just nothing crazy.  Moderation as always.

So that is it for the rundown.  Looking forward to seeing what my liver has to say to me now that it has a chance to stand up for itself. 

So.  Who is going to Blossoming Lotus with me?  Not sure hubbend is up for it…

And stayed tuned for the great Blendtec vs. VitaMix – off!  The duel of the century will take place this Wednesday Smile.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Colon Cleanse (pt 1 of 2)

I started the Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse December 30 with the hubbend.  The first three days are designed to regulate your digestion and lower your food intake in preparation for the fasting portion. 

Day One I ate some cooked foods, but days 2 and 3 I was completely raw.  I also had a headache (low grade) all three days.  At first I thought it was caffeine, but finally decided it must be sugar withdrawal.  Also, a lingering two week old cough disappeared on Day Two.

Colon Cleanse Day 2

Day Three I was exceptionally cranky and had no energy.

The first day of the fast I felt much better amazingly.  Had energy and even went on a (rather paltry) run.

Day Four

The cleanse went a lot better this time than the last time.  I regularly was eliminating some weirdweird stuff. 

Day Seven

This has been interesting and nice that it was successful.  I have had really stable moods, which I really enjoy.  I am ready for it to be done, but am anticipating the next step – the Internal Cleanse!  I am also really ready for food.  Surprised?  Stay tuned for more on my January Experiment 2011!

* Not sure why audio and video aren’t synced.  Will have to work that out if I keep using this format. Smile  Hope you enjoy it!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life is Pain, Highness

I like that quote a lot and I’ll tell you why.  This quote doesn’t mean that life sucks, it says that we can handle a lot more than we think.  Most people do everything they can to avoid pain – pain in the form of hunger, physical or emotion.  But pain can be good.  Pain stretches your muscles to be stronger, more flexible and quicker.  Pain in the form of hunger makes you appreciate the fullness and to remove some of the mental fear of not enough.  Emotional pain is the pain we feel from disappointment, loss, fear or anger.

So why am I thinking about this?  I was wondering if I am too extreme sometimes.  If doing a colon cleanse and the internal cleanse is just causing me pain.  Couldn’t I just stick to my old, don’t drink alcohol in January?   The answer is a big no.  Because I like pain (highness) in the sense that I like to see what my body can do, how it feels and what is possible.  I don’t want to let life sit on me.  I want to climb up and live, exploring what is possible in me.

Respect your limits, but push them occasionally.  You might be surprised how far you can go.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Five Pounds is a lot

I didn’t really realize it, but five pounds is a lot.  I hadn’t ever been five pounds over my weight before.  Usually more like twenty… So I didn’t know how much it was bothering me until it was gone.  I knew I didn’t like my body in clothes and I knew the number was high, but the number and I have other issues to deal with.

So after trips out east, Thanksgiving, Christmas season and cinnamon roll yumminess I just was feeling funky.  I wasn’t really motivated to do our January cleanse, but now that I am in the middle of it I truly love that I do one annually. 

I read somewhere yesterday that January is a bad and arbitrary time to do a cleanse.  It is cold and that cleanses don’t really solve a weight problem.  This I know.  But here is what makes that not relevant for me.  I needed something to change.  I need the restart to my brain and I can’t do it with “just eat better”, Brooke.  I need to purge my system of that weight that seemed more than just five pounds because it weighed on my mind and soul as well.

When I start eating food again on Friday I will be mostly raw for the month due to the Internal Cleanse that follows, (which I am really excited about, by the way) but this I know.  I will listen to myself and my body and honor what it wants (mmmm, black bean burrito and a really good fiction book to read).  And I will have wiped clean the old feeling of “bad” with my body back the way it is supposed to look.  I feel freer right now (maybe partially high due to a lack of food) and I know this is me doing what I am supposed to be doing.  Here.  Right now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day Three

So, day three of the colon cleanse and I am not even fasting yet.  But it is day three of a raw (except that first day I had two non-raw items) diet.  I thought at first this headache was caffeine related, but then I realized it couldn’t be because I don’t drink all that much caffeine.  And just now it came to me – sugar.  ahhhh.  That sucks.  And is good to know.  Simultaneously.