Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thrive On

Continuing on my Thrive in 30 Journey, I looked at the biker on the cover (Brendan Brazier of course) and I realized I needed to address another component - Exercise.

I bike. I bike only during a short season in Chicago, maybe 7-ish months. The weather the first half of the Thrive in 30 Challenge was not biking weather for me, so I needed to look at alternatives. My calorie consumption remains the same year-round but my activity level does not. This poses a problem for my mood and my comfort in my wardrobe!

I could definitely benefit from more consistent and varied physical activity. I wasn’t going to get to a group class unless it was at 5:30 am or at 9:00 pm. So my only options were working out at home or a gym. I know myself well enough it will not happen at home. And, committing to a gym was spotty concept as well. Thanks to a one week free deal I attended a gym daily, and joined that gym at the end of the two week mark of my Thrive Journey. I am there 4 or 5 early morning a week thanks to a workout partner. I wouldn’t be there quite as often without her.

Another muscle that needed exercising was my brain. Brendan states it in Thrive (and I say it to my clients), it only takes a few more minutes out of your day. Joke’s on me! A new activity or new food or concept being asked of a client could be completely foreign or maybe something familiar but not part of a routine, it is going to take more than a few minute a day to implement and time for new neural pathways to develop or a re-wiring of the old.

I think nothing of whipping up a complete vegan 5 course meal, but to tell the average Midwestern meat-and-potatoes family to just add green veggies or some flaxmeal or omega 3s to their day falls a little short.

I know what sprouting is. I haven’t done it but once as an experiment. I’ve soaked beans overnight, only to cook them thoroughly the next day. Despite the easy steps involved in sprouting or soaking, these were all new steps and I needed to do my own research, needed a little longer to add it to a routine or think ahead on how much I needed to sprout for the week. I admit for the future will I sprout only to the germination point to release the enzymes; I don’t grow mason jars of sprouts in my fridge. Between the coconuts kefiring, the beets fermenting, and the seaweeds, gojis and dates soaking there’s enough activity in that box!

So if you see a woman loaded down with 3 or 4 bags at 5:30 am, it is probably me heading to the gym with 1. A bag of Thrive food and sprouts for the day, 2. A bag of gym gear, 3. My laptop and/or other equipment, and 4. Just my bag.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thrive Journey

By the time I post, I will be well into my Thrive Journey. I was asked by Maya Henderson to join her and a few others on the Thrive in 30 challenge. Can you eat raw for 30 days the way Brendan Brazier eats raw? Are you ready to experience more energy? Are you ready to be free of cravings? Are you ready to get all your nutritional needs met? Even the nutritional needs of a triathlete? Are you ready to handle stress more easily? Are you ready to sleep great?

I picked up the book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life ,and read it one Friday night. I felt like I was hearing my own words on many of the pages. Brendan Brazier is a professional Ironman triathlete. He is a vegan. He tried lots of ways of eating. He developed this way of eating and developed the Vega product line. I do use and love to use the Vega EFA oil blend. If his energy bars didn’t contain wheatgrass, I’d love those too. I am allergic to the stuff, really allergic like go to hospital throat closing up allergic. If I had zero time in my life, I would also use his smoothie powder, but I have enough time to toss in my own ingredients. I also had enough time to try some of his raw recipes: energy bars, nut and seaweed pates, crackers, and my favorite kale wrap.

As some of you know I’ve been drinking a quart of smoothied green veggies and a little fruit every day the last five months. You may have seen a facebook status or a twitter post stating my smoothie ingredients of the day. Some weren’t so palatable, but most were awesome. The program I followed from the summer forward, of which the smoothies was only a portion, increased my energy, eliminated cravings, deepened my sleep and began the physical and emotional cleansing I needed.

So I can say Thrive maintained those achievements, educated me on some foods, and posed some time management challenges. Had I not gotten my feet wet with the summer smoothie adventure into raw food, I don’t know that I would have stayed with the Thrive Challenge. Life has been chaotic and the Thrive food prep took a mind shift, a little forethought, and an extra bag to carry every day! Unfortunately many of the ingredients since they are raw or a bit obscure must be purchased at a natural grocer. You aren’t going to find hemp seeds, maca, raw cacao, or raw goji berries, nuts or seeds just anywhere. Sometimes the Raw and Macrobiotic bars at the local natural grocer were lunch, snack and dinner for me. Not cost effective but exactly what I needed.

Did I have days that were not entirely raw? Heck yes. Two consecutive days - PMS days, mild irritation amplified to high stress and I ate bread. Good bread. Local bakery bread. And a not so good 10-pieces of bite size Halloween chocolate binge. My body rebelled with a flare of mouth sores. Nice. I ate a few eggs. I went out for Indian another night. I had a couple glasses of wine and a bloody mary. I wasn’t craving a drink, I wasn’t stressed, I was just out and enjoying life. So 2 of the last 30 days were stressful, while 5 of the last 30 days were off the Thrive wagon. Those aren’t terrible statistics.

Post script: in the three weeks since the end of the Thrive in 30 challenge, I ate a cooked Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkey and lots of vegetables; I ate real pizza; I ate ice cream. I was low spirited and low energy and a little reactive. This isn’t how I want to feel or present, so I do my best every day. I drink my quart of veggie smoothies; I grab nuts and fruit if I didn’t prepare meals for the day; and reserve the deviations from a raw vegan lifestyle when with friends and family.

More to come on my Thrive experience!