Tag Archives: Health

Chronic Illness as my Teacher

What once was my biggest bully is now one of my strongest allies.

Chronic illness is nothing to bat an eyelash at by any means. I’ve been through my fair share of ups and downs and I’ve been on this healing journey for sometime now. In some ways I feel like I’ve lost out- often times not being able to work as hard or as strenuously as I’d like for instance, or not being able to maintain as consistent a state of health as I would like, but mostly I feel as though I have been given an incredible opportunity to learn from what my body is telling me, and I am constantly receiving feedback from which I can change my habits accordingly.

When I refer to feedback, I’m referring to various symptoms that present themselves and are either incessant or unbearable to the point of saying “something’s gotta give” enough times that something eventually, gives. Slowly but surely, and at my own pace my eating habits continue to change for the better. The more I learn about healthy eating and healthy life styles, the more I want to add healthy habits into my routine, naturally eliminating the negative habits and as a result I become less susceptible to falling victim to my cravings.

If it weren’t for the intensity of some of my digestive symptoms, i.e. poor digestion, intense periods of pain and extended periods of discomfort, to name a few, I don’t know that I would care about health as much as I do. But because of the experiences I have had when eating certain things (usually anything not considered healthy) and that I have been able to adjust what I eat accordingly, I have been able to develop a keen sense of awareness when it comes to what my body can and cannot tolerate. Being that I do experience a great deal of pain if I eat a slice of bread for instance, and the fact that I’ve experimented with this hypothesis of mine enough times to know it to be true, I’m much better able to make dietary choices that will benefit me both in the short term and the long run. In other words, when I see something made of gluten (an inflammatory food that I happen to be sensitive to) I can finally see clearly and choose wisely. I’ve reached the place in my life where I’d much rather ‘miss out’ on said item and spare myself the misery later.

I sometimes feel (predominately-felt) I have no control over my cravings and will munch accordingly. The same way I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan and the way I transitioned away from eating gluten, with patience and at my own pace, I am also transitioning away from indulging in sugar. For the most part I eat clean.. and every once in awhile I still crave sugar and give in. I’m working on not beating myself up over it, because for one thing my symptoms aren’t as drastically affected by sugar as they are, say, with animal products and gluten. But since I know the importance of eating right, now more than ever, ending my addiction to sugar is next on my list to tackle. Patience and persistence are key. 

I like to offer gratitude for my conditions because although I am on this healing path towards health as a result of looking for relief, had it not been for the path given to me initially, I wouldn’t have been led to road I’m on now, one in which I love so dearly.

There’s not much these days that makes me happier than spending time in my kitchen. I just love nutrient dense food, both the way it tastes and the way it makes me feel. I also get a real kick out of introducing and turning people onto foods they’ve either never heard of, or never thought they liked before.

Initially I like to take a moment and offer thanks to the food items I’ll be using, showering them with love and appreciation and continuing with those sentiments I pour love into my meals both while making and enjoying them. Love really does make everything taste better! What’s not to love about the smells that permeate an active kitchen. I adore the time spent with people I have the pleasure of sharing my meals with and I continue to be amazed at the ability to make things I’ve used before taste even better each time I try. There are no limits when it comes to eating healthy, the creative options are limitless. When immersed into the action on set in my kitchen I am filled with a sense of fulfillment and appreciation unlike I’ve ever experienced before. For it’s the quality of the food I consume that is helping me to heal from the inside out. And my passion to live a healthy, happy, pain free life keeps me motivated to keep trying new things, and finding new ways to get the tastiest and most nutrient dense foods into my diet.

Quality of diet for me = Quality of Life. 

Is there a moral to what I’ve shared with you today?  We must be patient with ourselves, open to learning and trying new things, patience, attentive to our bodies-listening to what they tell us, see food as fuel/medicine, Oh, and did I mention we must be patient with ourselves? I for one must be patient with myself! Progress is progress no matter how slow. Every day is a new day and an opportunity to do something differently.

Do you have any experience with food addiction and possibly a triumphant story of overcoming you’d like to share?

Do you have any experience with pain relief from eating the right foods for you?

I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers to a healthy and happy life, cheers to good health!

Spiritual Foodie

 

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Walking with Faith

*Inspired by BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love

When you feel inspired are you able to hold space for the idea to come into fruition? Are you able to walk with fear and see the idea through?

I am feeling called to write about my relationship with Faith as this has been coming up for me a lot lately and I am feeling empowered and incredibly inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book. The way she talks about ideas as their own energetic life-forms resonates with me in a real way. When we work with inspiration and use what moves us to create something, magic happens. And if we let an idea slip by us for whatever reason, not to worry. I however, feel that due to oftentimes paralyzing fear I have let too many ideas slip by and this time I am allowing fear to sit with me but not steer the direction of my words.

I’ve always loved to write, but sharing with others is another story. Blogging only came into my life as a means to share health-related information by the request of a few friends who were looking for more information on healthy living and recipes to support their new life styles. I believe I’ve had my blog about 3 years now and I’ve accumulated a number of recipes I’ve been able to share, but I’d like to go deeper and share more intimately on some of the spiritual aspects of my being. There’s a lot going on and for fear of judgement I’ve held so much back.

While reading ‘Big Magic’ I was inspired and rather than let this idea slip by me I’ve decided to stop in my tracks and take time to put pen to paper and share from my heart a bit about my relationship with faith. I’m choosing to see this idea through and share in an authentic and vulnerable way, unlike I’ve ever been able to do before. Of course you’re reading this online but I’ve first had to write with pen and paper, because for me this has always been the easiest way for me to express myself. I am fully embracing my creative process and am enjoying seeing the way this unfolds.

A definition of Faith I really like: Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. 

My faith first and foremost resides in the Divine to support me and in all ways. While leaning into faith I am learning to trust not only the Divine to meet me half way but I am also learning to trust myself. I am learning to trust that intuitively I know what’s best for me, intuition being my direct connection with the Divine. It’s as though I have a direct phone line to the Divine and we are able to work together.

A dear friend and teacher of mine, James Keeley of LiveRUH uses a wonderful metaphor to represent this relationship. If I am standing on the edge of a branch of a tree wanting to make a decision and take a chance then the Divine can’t push me off but it can certainly catch me, and it has. I must have FAITH and complete trust in the Universe to indeed catch me when I take that leap of faith and step off the branch into the unknown.

I’ve spent a number of years establishing and nurturing my relationship with the Divine and experiencing what it means to me. Perhaps I’ve got some trust issues but with time my ability to trust is getting easier.

With utmost grace, I have been patiently guided and encouraged to trust in the Divine and I feel so beautifully supported. In order to establish a more personal relationship with my readers (for which I am incredibly grateful you care enough about me to support me) I’d like to share a really cool and recent example with mystical qualities in which the Universe has completely and totally supported me with some recent endeavors.

This blog post for one. Inspiration came and rather than put it off or create negative self-talk, I took action and have sat down to write. I can sit back a bit and watch as the words that follow simply flow through me the way they only can when inspiration is present.

Secondly, I have been able to make my way to Costa Rica, which is where I am now, when originally I didn’t think I would be able to pull it off and make it here this year. I am staying in my home away from home with my dear friends of Gentle Earth Retreats, juice fasting, and I’ve even got the pleasure of being here with my beloved mom! The opportunity to travel here to cleanse and to heal, to relax and to rejuvenate before my wedding in just a few weeks has presented itself and is such an incredible opportunity. Knowing that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, I sat with the numbers, addressed the pros and cons and naturally there were more pros, so here I am. Faith was my biggest ally in making the decision and I trust that I am exactly where I am meant to me.

The opportunity presented itself to travel to Costa Rica and rather than turn it down with a sense of lack, I decided to consciously make the decision and find the means to get on a plane and go. I was careful not to act impulsively, working in that space of inner knowing and decided it wasn’t only possible but that it’s actually the best thing for me right now. Scary as it was to spend so much money and to make a last-minute decision, it has proven over and over to be the best thing for me and the Universe has continued to support me, ceaselessly! From a discounted retreat rate, affordable and perfectly timed plane tickets and then…

When all was said and done, plane tickets booked, reservations made, I kid you not, the very same day I received a check in the mail from a beloved family member, as an early wedding gift for the exact amount I needed to cover the costs. I stepped with Faith to make a decision that I knew would best serve me and my body and the Universe rewarded me in a truly magical way. Having an amazing family helped too. 🙂

My faith has been renewed, yet again, as indeed the Universe has provided exactly what I needed. My relationship with the Divine has strengthened and I’ve been able to continue experiencing the incredible magic and wonder that the world has to offer.

“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” -unknown

Thank you for your continued support and taking the time to read this post.

Cheers to a healthy life and faithful living!

Spiritual Foodie

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Juice Feasting and how it saved my life.

I’d like to use this outlet (SpiritualFoodie.org) to speak not as an expert, but to share some information I’ve gathered from my experiences as someone who frequently Juice Feasts and offer some insight into why I or anyone for that matter might want to participate in a fast. I’ll also share some of the things I struggle with when aiming to live a healthy lifestyle and what I do to overcome those hurdles. I’m doing this with the realization that there are so many people who are actively trying to live a healthy lifestyle but who, like myself, tend to fall off course and return to a path less desired, you are not alone. There are also those of you who have heard of juice fasting, but wouldn’t actually know what to expect from one or where to begin and I am also speaking to you. When referring to the practice of juice fasting I use the word Feast intentionally because I find it’s not a fast, a word that has the intonations of being rather depriving but instead I feel as though it is a feast indeed, feasting on compacted nutrition rather than for gluttonous satisfaction.

How my Journey Began:

Several years ago my mother discovered juice fasting as a way to possibly help me alleviate pain I experience on occasion from Crohn’s disease, which includes acute arthritis and serious digestive issues. She tried it out first for herself and then sent me on my way. My life took a turn for the best and has never been the same since.

That being said, the Journey for health is a continuous Journey, one in which offers endless opportunities to make decisions that will affect us either positively or negatively. i.e. to eat the piece of cake or to choose a healthy alternative.  (but more on that at towards the end)

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What to expect:

I highly recommend attending a retreat and immersing yourself in a relaxing and supportive environment especially if you are preparing to fast for the first time. And although there are an abundance of places that offer such an experience the only one I will recommend is Gentle Earth Retreats because it is Heaven on Earth and the best place worth visiting.

My mom and I each attended our first retreat here at Gentle Earth Retreats in the Finger Lakes region of New York and have returned yearly either to the beautiful upstate NY location or to the blissful grounds in Cabuya, Costa Rica (a personal favorite of mine). I cannot recommend it highly enough, because the experience is so much more enjoyable then trying to prepare all juices, soups etc for myself while also trying to do my daily activities. Best to get away for awhile!

We return year after year in order to relax, rejuvenate and restart our digestive systems so to speak while in the most supportive of environments. The juices are prepared fresh daily for us with some of the tastiest recipes available with only the freshest ingredients and the highest quality of produce.

Here is a sample meal schedule (day):

9:00  Melon Juice

11:00 Vegetable Broth

noon: Gentle Yoga

1:15 Fruit Blend

3:15 Red Drink

5:45 Dinner as a group, Soup with Rejeuvelac and shot of Wheat Grass

7:00 Sorbet

9:00 Green Drink

(With plenty of water and tea throughout the day!)

*Retreat organizers are happy to pack cold lunch bags with juices in order to accommodate any excursions either alone or with the group.

The retreat itself and the evening gatherings are led by Katherine Croll, who is both a biologist and a nutritionist. She and her husband provide invaluable information regarding health and nutrition and do so in a casual and comfortable evening space which creates room to chat openly and to ask any questions that may and will inevitably arise. Katherine is a dear friend, a wonderful inspiration and truly an encyclopedia of information. She has opened my eyes to a world of information I didn’t have access to previously and she continues to inspire me daily by living life as a positive example and a wonderful role model.

Following retreats, I always return home energized and encouraged to continue making healthy lifestyle choices. I do feast on my own periodically throughout the year, although usually only for 2-5 day periods as opposed to 10-14 days while on a retreat.

My saving grace is being able to return year after year to Gentle Earth Retreats, to the loving arms of Katherine, her wonderful husband Jeff and their mighty dog Pedro. The community of health conscious individuals that attend these workshops and retreats also draw support from one another in their efforts to regain and maintain health themselves. Close friendships have been formed and huge strides towards health have been made!

Some of the benefits of juicing for long periods of time are:

  • encourages deeper detox
  • increases energy levels
  • reduces painful symptoms
  • regulates digestive system
  • changes tastebuds to appreciate healthy food.
  • more positive outlook on life
  • sheds excess pounds of unnecessary weight
  • deeply nourishes with nutrients and minerals
  • deepens appreciation for food, healthy food in particular
  • inspires creative ideas and interest in cooking/raw food prep
  • deeper, more sound sleep
  • vivid dreams
  • brighter skin, stronger nails & hair
  • detox, detox, detox

Last summer I had the pleasure of traveling with my mom to NY for our first retreat together.

My mom is a natural explorer, so here are just a few places we visited together:

 

The struggle is real:

Now with all these wonderfully positive things I’ve had to say, here’s where I’d also like to be forward and forthright in sharing my experience of what it’s like trying to stay on a healthy path. To begin, there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Health’. Someone recently explained health to me in a way that really resonated: Health can be viewed on a spectrum, and since there is no such thing as perfect health you are either dead or somewhere in between. I know I sound frank and possibly morbid, but death is inevitable so we may as well live as best we can while we are here. With this new information my goals have dramatically shifted and rather than aiming for a state of perfect health I can now aim my efforts to place me swinging on the spectrum of good health and leave the state of perfection out of the equation. With the realization that perfect health is no longer my goal, but rather a pain free and enjoyable active lifestyle is, the reins that held me in a negative and judgmental state towards myself anytime I slipped off course have been released. The expectation of perfection is too heavy a burden. It’s a tremendous amount of pressure to place on one’s self that we ‘must’ be raw, vegan, gluten-free, whatever the case me be ALL the time. I’ve given all these things a try, and they all hold a very important role on my quality of life. That being said I would much rather identify with ‘mostly vegan’ rather than to rigidly attempt to box myself into a mere category that feels limiting.

I feel called to share this aspect of my journey ‘the struggle’ because I know I am not alone in feeling that a healthy lifestyle can resemble at times a box, or one of lack. Wether it’s a sense of limited options being available or that taste must be lacking in order to be healthy, these are misconceptions. A healthy diet can feel both limitless and can be delightful to the tastebuds! I do fall victim to food cravings and sugar addiction but rather than beat myself up over any poor choices I may have made, I remind myself that every moment of every day we are always faced with more decisions and the opportunity to make positive choices is always available. There are infinite resources available and it’s really a matter of finding out what’s most important to you and what your goals are in order to find the information and answers that best suit your needs. I have turned to juicing pure fruits and vegetables in order to overcome some pretty trying health complications, as many people have. However the benefits are endless and extend to those in good health as well as in poor. The benefits or juicing and a healthy lifestyle are extraordinary and worth checking out for yourself. Do you have any experiences with juicing you’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

If you’ve gotten this far, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this blog post. I began my blogging journey by sharing a number of dishes that I’ve created and enjoyed and now I’ve really had to step into the space of  sharing some deeper content, writing from my heart and sharing more in depth about myself and my Journey.

I hope you are feeling inspired to try juice feasting for yourself or at least to prepare something healthy to eat today. Let’s take our health into our own hands and see the world and it’s inhabitants as our allies, here to support  us and be supported by each other.

Much LOVE & Cheers to Good Health!

-Spiritual Foodie :0)

 

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