Monthly Archives: June 2014

Conflicting Info

I feel as though in today’s society we are fed a lot of conflicting information – especially when it comes to health. And I definitely feel like that’s been amplified a lot in the yoga teacher training – especially with all the different guest speakers we’ve had.

Overall, I think I am healthy. I suppose I could add some more vegetables to my diet, but in generally I don’t eat many sweets and have been avoiding processed foods. I think in all diets at least these two things can be agreed upon:

1. Refined sugars bad
2. Vegetables are good

In conclusion, I believe that as long as you keep your refined sugars down and your vegetables up (and eat everything in moderation) you can be very healthy.

I’m kind of getting sick with the back and forth of “Being Vegetarian is the healthiest way!” “No, being Vegetarian is unhealthy – you’re not getting enough nutrients!” Let’s face it, you guys. America is unhealthy no matter what way you slice it. If someone goes vegetarian that was eating pizza and cheeseburgers and fries every day – yes, they are going to be healthier than they were. If a vegetarian that was only eating pasta and rice starts eating meat – yes, they are going to be healthier than they were. It’s all about balance, avoiding refined sugar, and upping your vegetable intake. Honestly, I think either side can live a very healthy life as long as they make the right choices for what they put in their body.

So yeah. We also watched that documentary on juice fasting which made it seem really great! Then we had a lecture on nutrition and the woman said not to juice fast. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do!

I feel like a lot of the learning experience in Yoga Teacher training is to take what you need but leave what you don’t. You have to make your own decisions for what is right for you.

There’s a lot of spiritual stuff as well that I’m not sure is right for me. But that might be a post for a different time.

MOVIE REVIEW: FAT, SICK, and NEARLY DEAD

Part of the training required us to watch a movie called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” This is available on Netflix if anyone wants to watch it.

Now, I’m not exactly sure why this was on our assignment list. You’re preaching to choir here. I would assume that most if not all of us in Yoga Teacher training is generally healthy. But I still gave the movie a chance and I found that even though I knew most of the things in the documentary, I got really inspired by the narrator’s story.

It’s about this guy Joe, who is about 310 pounds and has a rare auto-immune disease. He’s on a journey to make his body well again. He completely changes his diet with a juice cleanse for 60 days. He lives off of blended fruits and vegetables and eats nothing else. To me, this almost sounded unhealthy. Don’t you need other sources of food? However, I suppose that drinking fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days is way healthier than stuffing your face with pizza, cheeseburgers, and french fries for 60 days. Anyway, I quickly came around to the fact that this was a healthy decision. Joe was monitored throughout the entire test and had constant blood work done to make sure he was staying healthy. He had more energy than ever and was actually reversing a lot of his health issues really quickly.

During the movie he was taking a roadtrip across the US to kind of promote what he was doing. He met this other guy randomly at a truck stop who had the same auto-immune disease that he had. The other guy, Phil, was also obese but was a truck driver and not quite ready to change. Joe gave Phil his business card and told him to call him if he ever did need some help.

Joe completed his journey lost a little under 100 pounds got rid of his disease and no longer had to take medication. Phil ended up calling him a few months later and Joe set him up with the cleanse. Phil ended up getting the same results.

While I knew that fruits and vegetables were good for you, it really opened my eyes to how you can heal yourself by putting the right foods into your body.

And now I want to buy a juicer.

OFF TOPIC – FAMILY VACATION

Here’s my first Off Topic post. I’m always nervous about writing these because I wonder if anyone actually cares. But this is really my only outlet to document things at the moment so if you don’t care about my trip to Disneyland with my nieces and nephew… well you can just skip this.

I suppose it’s not completely off topic because it’s all about love, and love is a big yoga emotion, right?

I’m going to start out by saying something very sad. I’m just going to put this out there. My brother passed away in November of 2012. I always hate bringing it up. I’m OK with talking about it now, but I feel like it just brings down the mood of whoever I’m talking to. It ruins the casual small talk. “So do you have any siblings?” “Uhhh… no.” That’s usually how I handle it. But anyway. Putting it on the table. Moving on. This is a happy post.

I have 2 nieces and 1 nephew that live in Alaska with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend has 2 boys that live in Oklahoma with their mother normally. So they planned a visit to Southern California with ALL of the children. First 3 days in Disneyland, 1 day in Legoland, and 1 day in Seaworld. Then we rented a house in Venice Beach for all of us to stay at. They were here a total of 8 days. The Mr. and I were a tiny bit worried how were were going to handle 5 children. But it turned out to be one of the best experiences we could have hoped for.

This was the first time we met my sister-in-law’s boyfriend and they were both really nervous about it. I have no hard feelings what-so-ever. I don’t expect her to just be sad the rest of her life. In fact, I was really happy for her that she found someone. She deserves to be happy. But anyway, the hubby and I really, really ended up liking her boyfriend (i’d be friends with him on my own) AND his children were amazing too. I was actually kind of sad that his kids weren’t actually my nephews because I grew really attached to them.

Disneyland was the first stop. Mr. DestinationYogi and I went down to Anaheim immediately after work. They had taken the red eye from Alaska and were already down there and had spent a little bit of time in the park before taking a nap in the afternoon.

It had been about a year since I saw the kids so it was like Christmas for me. I love these kids like they were my own and it really kills me inside that I can only see them once a year. My oldest niece I feel is like a clone of me. She looks just like me and has a very similar personality. She also has the same exact pickiness in eating food that I had when I was her age.

Seeing them was amazing and getting showered in hugs was a great feeling. One of the most interesting things is to me is that the kids don’t really remember the things that we’ve done together. Like any specific events. “Do you remember when we did this?” “No.” But they remembered that they loved me. I guess you can forget events but you don’t really forget feelings.

The hubby and I love Disneyland. We’ve been a bunch of times, have an annual pass, and even got engaged at Disney. With 5 children it was a much different experience. We didn’t do half of the things we normally were able to do, but we didn’t care. The trip was about them and making them happy. And somehow, the fact that we were making them happy was much better and more rewarding than if we went by ourselves and got to do everything we wanted to do.

Legoland was interesting because it was a little more child-like than you would think. Or maybe it was just about at child-like as you would think. But I’m glad that we went for the first time with children because it’s really not for 2 adults to go to on their own. My nephew is obsessed with Legos and this was a huge treat for him. He was also the only one old enough to do a special robot building this, so Mr. DestinationYogi took him for a special nephew-uncle bonding thing.

The hubby and I skipped out on Seaworld and came back early to get the house ready in Venice. The kids came up after Seaworld and we grilled some dinner and hung out in the backyard pool and hot tub.

The next couple days were just relaxing which was what we all needed. On the last full day, I took my sister-in-law and oldest niece into Hollywood and Beverly Hills while the boys and my 2-year-old niece went to the beach.

Our first stop in Hollywood was the set of “Dog with a Blog” which airs on the Disney Channel. An old co-worker of mine works on the show and she gave us a private tour of the set. We got a to meet a couple of the actors as well as the dog on the show. My niece was excited, but there was a lot of waiting around so she was a little bored. Overall, I think she enjoyed it.

Then we went into downtown Hollywood. Had lunch, did a bit of shopping… But the real fun was when we went to Beverly Hills. I thought my niece would be really bored because it was Rodeo Drive and the shopping was really for grown-ups. However she LOVED it. She’s going to be such a diva. We went into Tiffany’s jewelry store and she was so excited and called it “Heaven.” She loved looking at the shoes, jewelry, and handbags – and she’s only 8 years old!! I’m glad she had such a good time.

Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things. Not knowing when I’m going to see them again. Spending the most time with them that I ever had. Plus making a new friend (my sister-in-law’s boyfriend) and meeting 2 new children that I grew to love. But I am so thankful for every minute that I got to spend with every single person on that trip. It really made my life and realized how LUCKY I am to have such wonderful people in my life. I know we’ll see them next summer, but every year in a child’s life is a LONG time and they change so much from year to year. It’s hard. But they are the best and I know they are happy where they are.

Life Updates

Well, I’ve already fallen behind on my goal to post a few times per week. Can’t believe it’s almost been 3 weeks since I last had an update. That being said, I’ve have a very, very, very busy last couple of weeks. After my last post, I was finishing up my last week of work. I work in post on a TV show and the season wrapped up. I actually left 3 days earlier than I was supposed to due to previous plans of my family visiting. So I worked really hard to get everything done on time. Then, on my last day of work I picked up Mr. DestinationYogi and we drove to Disneyland to meet up with our nieces and nephew from Alaska. We did the whole Southern California tour and they were here for 8 days. Probably some of the best 8 days of my life (I’ll write a post about that later). Then when they left, I immediately picked up a freelance editing job and have been working on that nonstop (other than teacher training).

Oh and I also ran a 5k on Saturday morning. It was the color run, which meant you volunteers sprayed you with colors as you ran. Here’s my team:

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I’m on the far right. Did I mention it was a bachelorette party? My friend in the middle with the flowers decided her ideal bachelorette party was running a 5k followed by a brunch. It was fun!

I don’t know if I would do a color run again – the color blue still hasn’t washed out of my skin. That was certainly fun going from this to brunch to teacher training and explaining to everyone why I was blue!

Getting back into the groove of exercising and teacher training has been a little difficult. We had training on Saturday and Sunday and I definitely wasn’t there mentally on Saturday. I think I actually fell asleep a couple of times during the meditation… oops!

But Sunday I was definitely there – I did my first headstand all by myself!!! (usually I can hold it, but need someone to spot me and lift my legs.) Check it out –

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I’m in the blue on the right.

They call headstand the king of yoga poses because of all the benefits. It stimulates the blood flow and gives your organs a rest from being pulled down by gravity.

My diet hasn’t been the greatest because of the vacation thing, but I’m getting back on track. Whole Foods is one of my new favorite places – you don’t have to check the labels, everything is organic and the animal products are all antibiotic free and humanely treated. It’s more expensive but overall it’s better for your health (saving money in the long run) and is also a good lesson in conserving and not wasting food.

I’ve also discovered zucchini pasta! I got a spirailzer (http://smile.amazon.com/Spiralizer-Tri-Blade-Vegetable-Strongest–Replacement/dp/B00GRIR87M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403544739&sr=8-1&keywords=vegetable+spiralizer). You just throw in a zucchini, turn the crank, and out comes zucchini pasta. It’s so easy to make. The “noodles” hold a sauce really well and you can eat tons of it and IT’S GOOD FOR YOU. Of course it’s not as good as regular pasta, but it’s still good. I would also recommend making a half spaghetti half zucchini spaghetti dish for a good transition.

This post was a little random, but I have some more focused posts coming up this week.

 

BOOK REVIEW: “YOGA AND VEGETARIANISM”

I finally finished the book assigned in yoga teacher training called “Yoga and Vegetarianism” by Sharon Gannon. You can read my first thoughts on the book in a post or two below this one. It was less than 150 pages but it took me well over a week to read it because it was so pretentious and I couldn’t stand the author’s “Holier Than Thou” attitude. This book might be good for those who are already vegan, but as a meat eater, it’s just condescending and rude. The author has a very in-your-face all-or-nothing attitude toward veganism. She doesn’t care if you’re against factory farming. She doesn’t care if you are vegetarian but still drink milk and eat eggs. She doesn’t care about any of your efforts to save animals unless you are 100% vegan. The basic premise of this book is – unless you are vegan then you are evil.

Here’s an excerpt from her book:

When you speak to others about vegetarianism or animal rights, you must not view them as stupid, callous, or evil. Instead, see them through your eyes of compassion. See them as holy beings, capable of kindness. If the person eats meat, why not view that as a temporary condition? If you can’t see others as potentially kind and compassionate beings, how can you every expect them to see themselves that way?

Uhhh, thanks for pointing out that I’m CAPABLE of kindness. How big of you.

Eating meat and consuming milk is an addiction: an addiction to violence. To facilitate a lasting positive change, we must view the person who is still eating these foods in the same like as we would view a drug or a sex addict.

Thanks again. Makes my heart all fuzzy. In an earlier chapter she compared women being raped to people eating meat. I would have put down the book at that point but I had to finish it for my assignment.

And lastly in her Q&A section:

Q: If the law of karma is true, then shouldn’t we accept the fact that animals are suffering because of their karmas?

A: It is true that every being is enjoying life or suffering as a direct result of his or her own past actions. The animals in factory farms may have been meat-eating human beings in a previous birth….

Seriously? You just stated the belief of reincarnation as FACT? I’m all for freedom of beliefs, but you can’t state this as fact. How am I supposed to trust that all your other statements are back by science? Congratulations. You lost me and all my faith in everything you have to say. 

She also admits earlier in the book that carrots and vegetables have feelings too but we eat them in order to cause the LEAST amount of damage.

That being said – just because I’m not on board with this particular author, it doesn’t mean that I’m dismissing other beliefs of vegetarianism / veganism. I just realllly disliked her approach. 

What the author needs to realize is that as a society we need baby steps. There’s no way that every person is going to give up their ways instantly. Ways that have been ingrained in our heads since birth and that our culture has practiced for thousands of years. Let’s focus on trying to stop factory farming. In my opinion, that’s the first rung on the ladder we need to get to. Then we can take some more steps. The all-or-nothing approach is just going to get people angry and upset.

So far this past week I’ve been limiting my meat intake to 1-2 meals per day instead of 3 meals a day like I was. And I’ve only bought humanely treated meat. Right now, that’s a good step for me. I have noticed, however, when I eat a vegetarian meal I get hungrier quicker. I used to be able to eat 3 meals a day with no desire to snack. Sometimes I’d even forget about lunch or look at the clock – “oh hey it’s 7:30 maybe I should think about dinner.” Vegetarian meals – at least the ones I’ve been eating – aren’t nearly as filling.

Volunteering at the Animal Shelter

Part of my yoga teacher training includes volunteer work. Honestly, I feel kinda bad that it’s had to take something like this in the first place to volunteer but I’m glad that I’m doing (or will be doing) it now. I chose the animal shelter to volunteer at because since I recused my pooch a little over a year ago I’ve been a big advocate for adoption. Over 9,000 dogs and cats are killed EVERY SINGLE DAY in shelters in the United States. I want to help lower that number and find homes for these innocent creatures. 

My wonderful husband is accompanying me on this volunteer journey of mine. He loves dogs just as much as I do. In fact, he’s the one that introduced me to dogs and he convinced me to adopt rather than go to a breeder. 

This past Saturday we had our volunteer orientation at Best Friends Animal Shelter. The two good things about this place is that 1. it’s no kill and 2. It’s a 5 minute drive from our place. That made it a no brainer. Also it will lessen the temptation to bring a ton of dogs home because we no they’ll live even if we don’t.

Their mission is “No Kill Los Angeles” in which they’re trying their best efforts into making LA a no kill city. They work with trouble animals to help make them more adoptable. They are also one of the only shelters in LA to take in kittens under 8 weeks. Note: at other shelters kittens under 8 weeks are immediately euthanized because they don’t have the resources to take care of them. That  just breaks my heart. SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS PLEASE!!

Anyway… During the orientation we learned about the duties for the dogs and cats. And also how we can help with mobile adoptions and community outreach. We then signed up for the areas we were interested in. My number one was the kitten nursery – which is basically feeding kittens under 8 weeks with bottles. I think that’s pretty awesome. I will have to take another class to learn the proper techniques of doing this. Unfortunately they only have one class per month and I won’t be able to attend the June class. Looks like I won’t be feeding kittens with bottles until July at the earliest. That’s okay, though. For now I’m trained to walk to “well-behaved” dogs. I’ll try to help with that a few times this month.

If anyone in the LA area that is interested in adopting a cat… For the moth of June all cats are only $9 (as opposed to $50) to adopt at Best Friends Animal Shelter. And they have a bunch of cute ones as well as kittens! 

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