Thursday, August 23, 2012

nutrition, vegan eating, & science denial - oh my

West Texas Thunderstorm - Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I am sitting here eating carob blueberry ice cream - vegan, sugar free, dairy free - and yumilicious! I did a 7-day juice fast following an online course by Casey Lorraine and Philip McCluskey (who lost 400 pounds by juice fasting and going raw/vegan. Wow - impressive! And he looks like my exboyfriend... Not the 400-pound version - ha ha). Anyway, so now I am doing their 28 day Beautiful Body Detox course, which is basically like I was eating before the fat flush - no dairy, no wheat/gluten, no added sugar (fruit only) but I'm also trying to not eat oil a la Joel Fuhrman and his bestselling Eat to Live book. OK, let me rephrase that. I don't usually just eat oil... rather, cook with oil. I have discovered baking vegetables on...parchment paper! And making kale-avocado salad without the Tablespoon of oil. And it's just as good!

I am really trying to be committed to my nutrition and my fitness. I have a tendency to alternate eating really healthy with eating crap. I go through stages where I eat a lot of sweets. And coffee is (or was) pretty much a staple of my diet. I have a huge sweet tooth and I also was eating a lot of corn chips... not to mention kale chips, but those are ok. And the homemade Carob ice cream is sweetened by Stevia, which is ok on this plan. So I'm just trying to get into a more healthy eating pattern and lose maybe just 5 pounds but mostly it's about being more fit and toned! And less using food as comfort (though I do love me some food!) I have made soooo many recipes since I have been off the juice a week -- marinated tofu triangles, kale-avocado salad, "faux" tuna (with garbanzo beans and cashew cream), zucchini-sagna (raw zucchini & tomato slices with pesto in between), and loads of smoothies and fresh juices. Today it was cinnamon vanilla carrot juice! And I may be doing 3 months of "boot camp" at my gym. Yikes!

I have a load of travel coming up in October, but some I am still trying to nail down, so I will update on that soon, and possibly a trip to Costa Rica in November. THAT I am super excited about! This Christmas, I won't have the kids, and my mom & stepdad will be in Hawaii so.... I have to figure out something to do so I'm not all alone! Will probably end up in Cali visiting one or another of my best friends.

And, here are my latest stories! Let me know what you think! The first one is on a topic I am really passionate about. And before I say adieu, how about that Mars Rover Curiosity sticking its landing?! :)

  • Flavors of Uncertainty: The Difference between [Science] Denial and Debate. Aug 2012 Environmental Health Perspectives. Aug 2012 (PDF here). A feature that arose from my visit to the Science Denial conference in Madison, WI (remember the pics?)
  • One Study, Two Paths: The Challenge of Dual-Use Research A feature for Environmental Health Perspectives on research that can be used for good or evil -- brought to light by the recent hubbub over the avian influenza genetic engineering research. Jun 2012.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Is the Life I Wanted Passing Me By?

Cocha Blanco near the Manu Wildlife Center in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peruvian Amazon Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I am in the process of sort of redefining - or clarifying - my life goals, my yearly goals, and my short-term goals and steps that I need to take in order to reach the next step in my own evolution. And I am listening to Debbie Ford's CD's "The Power to Make Life Changing Choices: The Right Questions in Action" and something she said really jumped out at me.

Lately I have felt a bit disillusioned with my life. Instead of being thrilled by all the amazing things I have seen and places I have gone, I have felt depressed and sad and that life has passed me by - or perhaps that the best is behind me. I know, I know... that's crazy talk. Call it a mid-life crisis, I don't know. I'm staring the empty nest smack dab in the face, and it scares the hell out of me. But worse than that, I feel like there are so many of my dreams that I don't even know if they are dreams anymore, they are buried so deep. Dreams like spending several months in Africa (I am scared now - where did that come from?). Dreams like writing a book (remember what happened to kill that dream? yea, like a book miscarriage). Dreams like having a good relationship with my daughter, something different than I had with my own mom (I really thought I had checked that one off the list, until the shit hit the fan this year in a excruciatingly heartbreaking way). Dreams like... saving the world. Producing and maybe even starring in a documentary film. Going on mission trips (can't afford them - why don't they want volunteers that don't have $3000 to spend?!), joining the Peace Corps, volunteering with the homeless and impoverished. Writing something that actually makes a difference in the world. So many things that now seem so distant and far off... But I know they are still dreams, and though the intense passion of my youth for these things has waned, I want to resurrect my dreams and figure out which ones I still really want to pursue. So I have been thinking about goals.

So back to the point: The CD outlines 10 questions you can ask yourself for every decision to make sure you are making decisions that lead you in the direction of your deeper vision (of course, it helps you have first defined that deeper vision).

Ford explains that when we head to the grocery store, we get in the car and we drive there. We don't stop at every corner and ask how we "feel" or ask ourselves, "do I want to stop here? Do I want to go to that corner shop or that coffee shop" while on the way. We would never get to our destination because we would be pausing and following every whim. Likewise, in other parts of our lives, we have to set an intention and a goal, and then determine how to get there, and not divert from that path. We need to not consult our "feelings" and "emotions" at every juncture on our path - do I want to take this assignment or that one because I like it, or eat this donut or french fries when I'm on a diet -- but rather we should always tune into our deeper vision.

She says there are no small choices, because every single choice we make either leads us toward our vision, or keeps us stuck in old patterns and in the past and our default way of doing things. Each choice, she says, affects our mood and our self esteem. We have to have the faith that we deserve the very best life, and that we can make our dreams a reality. Amen to that!

There's a lot more detail for each of these questions, but it's something to get you started on your path to living your dreams! What do you think?

The 10 questions are:

  1. 1. Will this choice propel me toward an inspiring future or will it keep me stuck in the past?
  2. 2. Will this choice bring me long term fulfillment or will it bring me short term gratification?
  3. 3. Am I standing in my own power or am I trying to please another?
  4. 4. Am I looking for what’s right, or am I looking for what’s wrong?
  5. 5. Will this choice add to my life force, or will it rob me of my energy?
  6. 6. Will I use this situation as a catalyst to grow and evolve or will I use it to beat myself up?
  7. 7. Does this choice empower me or dis-empower me?
  8. 8. Is this an act of self-love or self-sabotage?
  9. 9. Is this an act of faith or an act of fear?
  10. 10 Am I choosing from my Divinity or am I choosing from my humanity?

And so, the answer to the question I pose is no, but... I have to get on the wagon to make sure that the second part of my life doesn't roll right by me on the same track, when I do want to switch gears a little bit. I love what I do - I LOVE writing (most of the time) but I want to add some new things to my life repertoire. So let's go! What is on your bucket list?