Why to Cleanse

Last week I made a post on how to know when it’s time to cleanse and I talked a little about the cleanse that I am currently on. If you have not read it you can check it out HERE.

Now I will go over some of the things I have learned so far, how this cleanse has made me feel, pros and cons, and share a yummy recipe to satisfy the sweet tooth.
I am on the 6th day of this cleanse, so halfway through. The hardest thing about it is remembering to take the herbal supplements. I will probably have an extra day or two worth of pills to take after my 12 days are up. Another difficulty was adjusting to the foods recommended. My diet before this cleanse was mainly bananas and dates, and both of those are not recommended during the time of cleansing due to their higher sugar content.

Having a limited diet is also a blessing in disguise. It opened a doorway to a whole new abundance of recipes to try out and I have been enjoying experimenting with more vegetables and different foods than I would normally eat.

As for how I have been feeling, to my surprise, I have had a lot more energy. I have moments where I feel a bit more tired or my stomach starts to hurt a bit, but then it is quickly over after I realize I just need to go to the bathroom. This detox has opened my eyes to how connected energy and the gut truly are. If the digestion is sluggish, or there is a buildup from eating foods that are difficult to process, it will decrease energy tremendously. Forty-five to seventy percent of daily energy, on average, is put towards processing food. This percent increases as we eat heavier and more processed foods.

On this cleanse, I have been eating mostly raw, all whole foods; saving the cooked and heavier foods for the end of the day. On the days when I experimented with eating cooked foods for breakfast I found my energy levels started to dwindle much sooner.

Some of the benefits I have experienced on this cleanse thus far include: a LOT less bloating, clearer skin, clearer thinking, connection to the body and its natural signals, better sleep, newfound motivation and passion.

Some of the cons: moments of bloating and brain fog before using the bathroom. … That’s it. I feel better after going to the bathroom every time.

I recommend everyone try out a cleanse at least once. There are so many different kinds of cleanses out there. There are even one-day resets for those of you who feel you do not have the time or feel timid on making the commitment.


Reasons I recommend a cleanse:

  1. It connects you to yourself.
    • A cleanse allows you to tune in to your bodies natural signals.
    • It releases old baggage so you are able to focus on here and now.
  2. It is an act of self love.
    • A cleanse is a commitment to yourself.
    • By turning the focus inward, you are acknowledging that there is work to be done, and by releasing all of the old build up you will be able to start fresh and grow anew!
  3. You will feel so much better!
    • Low energy? Low libido? Yeast problems? Gassy or bloated? Angry for no reason? Cleanse.
    • A cleanse is more than just clearing old waste and toxins from the body. It is clearing all of the negativity that has made its home in your body through time. As we progress through life, we carry old burdens with us. A cleanse can bring those up and release them leaving you feeling much lighter.

If you are thinking of embarking on a cleanse, here are my top tips to make it easy and painless:

  • Stay hydrated. Always keep water on you. If you don’t drink plenty of water, any toxins being kicked up will just sit inside of you leaving you feeling fatigued and sick.
  • Go at your own pace. If you feel you are only capable of a one day cleanse, then start there. We are all in a different place, and some may have a lot more toxicity built up than others. Release what you can handle and do not try to tackle it all at once.
  • Eat plenty of whole foods, low-sugar fruits and vegetables. Keep the heavy foods (starchy, protein-rich, fatty) to a palm sized portion and see how you feel from there. Keep the focus on high-fiber fruits and vegetables with a high water content.
  • Rest. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the noise of daily life, but if you feel you need to take some time to relax and be with yourself, do it. Light some candles, take a bath, read a good book. Whatever it takes to keep you grounded and at peace.
  • Ask for support. Sometimes our biggest downfall during a cleanse can be being around others who are not on one. Make sure the people you surround yourself with know about and respect what you are doing for yourself. That way you feel supported through the process and will feel less tempted to go off-course.
  • Forgive yourself. If you mess up once, do not worry about it. I have already forgotten the pills I was supposed to take at least 3 times, and I ate grapes (a high-sugar fruit, not on my acceptable list) on the first day! That did not stop me from striving forward towards my goal. Never let a bump in the road keep you from yours.

Recipe

Sweet Potato and Millet-meal

Serves: 1

1 Cup cooked Millet
1 Small baked Sweet Potato
Almond Milk, to cover
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
Dash of Vanilla
Generous shakes of Cinnamon

Directions: Stir the millet in a container with the flax, vanilla, almond milk, and cinnamon. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight, or while the sweet potato cooks. Cook the sweet potato whole in a glass baking dish for an hour at 300 degrees (quicker at higher temperature, but not as good for you.) Right before the potato is done baking, put the millet concoction into a small pan and warm on low. When the sweet potato is done, cut it in half and drizzle almond butter in the center. Plate it up and Serve!


 

The Importance of Visualization

Growing up in school, if you’re anything like me, you may have been scolded for gazing out windows and daydreaming about who-knows-what. Completely and blissfully lost in thought. Maybe it was about what you would do when you got home, the future you envisioned for yourself, or maybe you had your own fantasy world to escape to.

As we grow into adulthood, we often lose our imaginations to the clutches of drama, media, and the daily stressors of life. It may have even been taught out of you by teachers that scold the class into paying close attention to the lessons; Essentially forcing us to forget our dreams in favor of the wishes and will of society… but we won’t get into that.

What if I told you that letting your imagination roam free could improve your quality of life and manifest your dreams into reality?

Studies [1, 2] have shown that daydreaming can enhance creativity, memory, inventiveness, and overall wellbeing. It can increase positivity, and aid in planning and organizing thoughts.

When we allow our minds to drift unfiltered, it can allow us to dig deeper inside of ourselves and learn more about how we feel and what are the underlying causes of said feelings. It is also a moment of peace when we can allow ourselves to “just be,” with no limitations.

How can we turn daydreaming into a powerful manifestation tool? Through visualization.

Visualization is simply getting a picture in your head about, well, anything. Whether it’s seeing the future you want for yourself or picturing in your mind what your dinner will be. By becoming clear on what it is we desire and want for our lives, it enables the universe to bring it into reality more efficiently. When you can see your dreams clearly, the pathway to them becomes coherent. Steps towards these dreams can be effectively planned and accomplished.

Have you ever imagined something the world needed and a few months later it was suddenly the “next big thing?” That’s the power of visualization at work! When you are passionate enough about something and start taking steps towards it, it will come to you naturally. The universe loves when people are passionate about their dreams and live their personal truths. You are meant to succeed, and by taking steps towards your own success, even just by picturing what it is you want for your reality, you will be rewarded.

In what ways can you utilize and start harnessing the powers of visualization? The possibilities are endless! Here are a few examples:

 

Picture Your Dream Home

Whether it’s a mansion, an apartment, tiny house, or tent in the woods; Where would you love to live? What space would you like to call your own? What color are the walls? Are there wood floors or carpeting? What does the yard look like?

 

Imagine the Person You Want to Be

If you have a clear picture on the type of person you want to be and the qualities you would like to possess, it enables the ability to start “living as if.” This means you can start taking these qualities and translating them into your own personality. Why wait to be your own role model? How are you not like that person you admire so much? Be the person you have always dreamed of in your day to day life!

 

Enhance Creativity

Come up with new inventions, art pieces, recipes… some of the best works were done in the dream realm. Harry Potter, “Yesterday” by the Beatles, Neil Bohr’s discovery of the structure of atoms….

 

Create a Happy Place

If you could be anywhere in the world, or dream-world, where would it be? What would you be standing on? What surrounds you? What does the sky or ceiling look like? What does it smell like? What does the air taste like? What do you hear? Go to this place when you wish to find a moment of peace and mental quiet. Sit in this space you’ve created for yourself and let the world melt away. You can do anything here and be anything here. By having a place like this, it makes it easier to translate these feelings into real life!

 

What are you waiting for? Grab some headphones, play some relaxing tunes, and get to daydreaming!

My Story.

I struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life growing up. I was shy and had trouble making friends. I felt insecure about my appearance because of the hair on my body, my crooked teeth, and my bloated belly. I sat around and played video games or watched television the whole day. If I wasn’t laying on the couch I was in the kitchen, debating what I would snack on next. Cheese-Itz? Fruit Loops? Frozen dinosaur nuggets and mozzarella sticks?

The most fruit I ate was gummy snacks. The closest thing to a vegetable I would eat was french fries. I always had trouble using the restroom growing up. I remember going to the doctor once when I was younger and seeing the concern on his face when I told him I didn’t remember the last time I pooped.

Luckily, my mom got me started young on the organic, hormone-free, cage-free, etc… so for most of my life I’ve had a slight interest in the purity of what it was I was putting in my mouth.

In middle school I had my first try at being vegetarian. I was and still am an animal lover, so naturally that led me to not wanting to eat animals. It didn’t last for long; My mother supported me with some hesitation, but regardless. My dad, however, showed little support and made me eat a philly cheesesteak the day I told him.

I never had a very tight relationship with my parents. Everyone in my family had the tendency to keep to themselves, so I never quite learned how to interact with others and speak my mind. I also became quite the loner in my teenage years. I spent most days in front of a t.v. or computer playing video games and trying to make friends online. I wasn’t allowed to have friends over because my dad worked nights and wanted to sleep during the day. I had trouble reaching out, and when I did I would often explode after holding in my emotions for so long. This led me to fear reaching out even more. I didn’t want to be mean to people and figured it was my nature, so I avoided interacting as much as possible. On the bright side, through these experiences and isolation I had learned to be self-reliant and independent. I dreamed big and wanted an amazing future for myself, I knew I wanted to help others and I wanted to make a lasting impact on the world around me; For the environment, the animals, and fellow human beings. The only problem was that something was still missing from my life. I would constantly search to fill a void I could not pinpoint. I developed unhealthy eating habits with overeating, then eating less or skipping meals when I felt “fat” or gained too much weight for my liking. My mother was always worried about her weight and talked about how “fat” she looked, so I felt I should be doing the same. I was told, as a 145 lb, 5’8” teenager that I was overweight and needed to watch it. As a child I didn’t know what that meant. How do I watch my weight? What do I do to fix what everyone is telling me is broken? My whole world was what I grew up on; the Standard American Diet, staying indoors because there is sunburn and bugs outside, and keeping to myself because I couldn’t spend time with friends until after my parents divorced while I was in middle school.

This began the cycle of binge eating on foods I thought were healthy because they were organic, starving myself when I started gaining, and then wasting away summers on the couch not eating or drinking anything. I slept and played video games because nothing else was working, so why do anything?

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I decided something needed to change. I was still in a cycle of binging and starving, but I started picking healthier options to binge on. I swapped my cheese-itz for popcorn and traded the pb&j sandwich for a turkey wrap with spinach. I was never a soda drinker, but I did make sure I always had water with me. I was still depressed and anxious, spending most of high school in a state of dissociation to make it through the day. I felt like a ghost, going through the motions, numb, and observing from the outside.

By the end of my senior year I had met my best friend Erin who happened to be a vegetarian. She taught me to trade in meat for boca patties and morningstar sausages. Though still not the healthiest way of eating, I was already starting to feel better physically and mentally by eliminating animals from my diet. This opened a door to the realization that how I feel physically has a correlation with what I put into my body.

Summer came along and my depression got worse. I immediately moved out of my hometown to a house an hour away. I had no license, only a couple of my few friends had licenses, and I spent the majority of the summer alone in my bedroom, journaling about how lonely I was.

When I went off to college I shared a dorm with two dear friends; my cousin Olivia and her high school friend Sam. We all kept each other sane through our first semester at University. The piles of homework had us depressed, stressed, and for them, missing home. I didn’t mind being away at college. I was enjoying my time there with Sam and Olivia more than I was at home all alone. The college experience itself, however, had me ready to kill myself. It was drastically different than what I experienced in high school where all you have to do is show up to pass. I dreamed of being an art major until taking an advanced class in high school and deeming myself not good enough. This led me to go the complete opposite route in college where I tried majoring in business. I couldn’t even last half a semester in my math course. I was completely lost. I had no vision of a future for myself. I was amazed I even made it into college at all, thinking I’d have offed myself by the time I graduated high school.

This was a very introspective time for me. When I wasn’t doing my school work and listening to depressing music, I was journaling. I was and still am very big on writing down my emotions and what I’m going through.

 

“If this is what life is like, then what’s the … point? I feel like I’m going through some kind of self torture.”

 

“Life is just stress, anxiety, and depression with rare good moments that convince me it’s worth it. Either way I’ll end up in a … job I don’t want but need to survive, I’ll go through a midlife crisis with debt and more stress, and then I’ll die. I might as well just die right now and save myself the trouble.”

 

“I wasn’t made out to go to school and get a dead end job purely for the ability to keep living in this hell, but it seems to be the only option. I’m really trying. I’m trying so hard and I feel like it just won’t be enough.”

 

“I can’t live in this world and be happy.”

 

This is what was going through my mind day in and day out. This is what I was manifesting every moment of every hour. I was constantly living inside a dense and heavy cloud of negativity towards myself and this life I felt cursed into.

After dropping my math class, I had a lot of time on my hands. Erin regularly enjoyed documentaries and shared interesting ones she found with me. I mainly watched ones on nature, but one day I noticed a documentary called “Vegucated.” I started watching it thinking it would teach me how to incorporate more vegetables into my life, but instead it dove me into the world of Veganism. I was thrown onto a rollercoaster of emotions over the planet, the animals, every individual impacted by what I chose to eat, and how I was fueling my own body.

Halfway through the documentary I was in tears. This was the push I needed. I texted my mom before I even finished watching to tell her that I was vegan from that day forward, though it took me a few more months to fully transition.

I replaced my cheese with daiya and started eating more whole grains, bean, and vegetables. I watched as my life slowly started working its way up out of the heavy cloud I created. I felt infinitely better now that my lifestyle was beginning to match up with my beliefs. My bloating was going away and my bathroom visits became regular for the first time since childhood. I started dropping excess weight effortlessly.

By the time the next summer came around I was 30 lbs lighter. I began exploring my personal beliefs and spirituality. I dropped out of college after that first semester to reconnect with myself, get involved in a regular yoga and meditation practice, and learn how to cook healthy plant-based meals. I was so excited over this world of health and wellness I discovered that it didn’t take long before I was obsessed.

The sunshine and rainbows didn’t last long. My stress over not being or doing enough followed me. I was doing a lot more now, living for myself, living the healthy lifestyle, but something was missing. I was doing everything I read about online! I was following all of the new fads, doing what the nutritionists do, shouldn’t I be happy and stress free?

Not necessarily. I was doing all of these things out of the wrong place. I was doing it because I felt like it was what I should be doing. I wasn’t doing it because I believed it was what’s best for me. Sure, I wanted to save the world, be healthy, slim, peaceful, successful, you name it- but I wasn’t doing it out of love for myself. I was doing it because I felt like I needed fixing. I was doing it because I was lost. I needed something to follow, to encourage me to keep going. I needed something to give me the power I didn’t see within myself.

The next summer rolled around and I found myself in an unhealthy “relationship.” He was everything I looked for in a partner: vegan, big on cleansing, exercise, and spiritual practices. What took awhile to realize was that he was also obsessed with perfection. He had a large ego searching to consume all innocence and replace it with what his idea of perfection was. I was lacking in self-confidence during this time, still didn’t speak up and aimed to please others. I was self-conscious, constantly wondered if what I was doing was enough and what he would think of me if I didn’t do what he thought was best.

He wanted me to be a raw vegan, and he was personally aiming towards breatharian. I developed an eating disorder around the purity of what I was eating, and if I was eating enough to get the nutrition I needed or too much to be connected with the universe. Eating became a coping mechanism, to distract myself from what was really going on. I put my passions on hold until one day, I found a school called The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

I finally remembered why it is I do what I do. This school combined my passions of making a difference in the world around me, others lives, and my own. IIN taught me to go back to the basics, remember who I am, what it is that I really want for myself, and helped me find what I had to do to get to where I want to be.

Instead of shaming myself after a large meal or eating something “unhealthy,” I began listening to my body. I learned how to fuel it with what it’s asking for and listen to the natural signals of when to start and stop eating. I became mindful of my dietary habits and how they reflect what’s going on in my life. Before noshing down on that candy bar, I’ll take a step back and ask myself what’s happening inside myself and in my environment to make me crave the sweets.

I began tearing down my walls, uncovering layers of dust that have been thrown onto my canvas through the years. I built up a new foundation for myself, based on what I believe and know is best for me. I began living from a place of compassion rather than fear.

My time with the boy soon ended as I learned more and more about what it means to love myself. I knew I had a lot of work to do inside before I could know what I truly want for myself, especially in the realm of relationships.

How I see others and how I interact with others is a direct reflection of my beliefs and how I feel about myself. Any judgements that rise about other people are really what I judge about myself, and what I perceive to be a certain way. What I admire in other people is what I would strive to manifest within myself. If they could be that empowered, why couldn’t I?

I began looking at the world from a different perspective. I now see life less as a destination, and instead as a journey that is always growing, shifting, evolving, and bringing me along with it. I released expectation to outcome and began manifesting dreams into reality one moment at a time. I use stress as a tool, found ways to keep myself grounded, and balance time between work, play, and rest.

You may be wondering, why am I telling you all of this? What interest is my story to you?

Everyone has a different background, different struggles, different way of handling emotions. However, we are all capable of getting to where we want to be. When we let go of expectation and start living for ourselves from a place of love, then we can achieve anything we put our minds too.

Do I want everyone to suddenly drop out of high school, do yoga and become vegan? Not necessarily. I want to encourage you to experiment. Listen to what your body and intuition are telling you and find what works best for you.

Through personal experience, I have learned to rise from a place of hopelessness to one of endless possibility! I was able to release baggage I had no idea I was carrying and build a new platform to stand upon. One that is flexible, sturdy, and treats life as a dance, rather than a battle.

I was able to tune into myself, my body, and my dreams. Now I know it is my journey to help others do the same. What I experienced is not entirely unique to me. Each individual has the power within themselves to cultivate their dreams into reality. Everyone has the power to overcome fears and negativity, and start living gracefully while chasing the burning passion within. You have the power and the right to know and live the lifestyle that is best for you! Together, we have the tools to build you a new foundation and rise out of the ashes. Why not start now?

10 Things You Can Do To Help Our Home Planet

Happy Earth Day!

This is a beautiful time (like any) to honor mother gaia and all she provides for us.

Without this planet, we would not be here. We are made up of the earth itself; the same star stuff, minerals, freshwater, and food grown from the soil. The trees provide the oxygen that fills our lungs to keep us alive. Living in perfect distance from the sun that nourishes this planet and our own bodies, so we too may grow strong around the fire within.

Take time today to honor and connect to the Earth. This planet is more than a rock floating in space that, over time, we somehow evolved on. It is a living organism, a mother, constantly growing, nurturing and bringing new life. We did not get to where we are today without her help. Now is our time to give love back.

 

Here is a list of things you could do this Earth Day:

  1. Pick up litter
Eye-Opening Statistics on Littering

See more at: http://visual.ly/eye-opening-statistics-littering#sthash.QwS5cGaz.dpuf

      2. Go Vegan for a day

Before you get skeptical, know that veganism is so easy! Just one day! Swap out the animal for some fresh beans and legumes, and trade the dairy for plant-based milks, cheeses, yogurts, icecreams, you name it. There are thousands of recipes all over the internet for you to choose from, and a whole host of products in stores! It doesn’t have to feel restrictive.

Here’s what you would be saving by being vegan for just one day:

vegan in a day

      3. Go the whole day without buying anything in plastic

Bonus points for going completely package free. That means sexy naked fruits and vegetables, and bulk bins 😉

      4. Use your own bags!

If you go shopping, bring your own bags! Most places will even offer you a discount, donate to charity, or offer a raffle for bringing your own bags!

      5. Go for a hike

Not only is it exercise, but just a 10-minute walk in nature has the power to help rewire your brain and reset hormones, lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and boost your mood!

      6. Plant some plants

Whether it be a tree, household plants, for the garden, or a small succulent.

      7. Hug a tree

Did you know hugging trees offers real benefits to support your health?

Hugging trees is known to show improvements in mental illnesses such as ADHD and depression, stress and inflammation throughout the body, along with cognitive and emotional functions.

Now that is some affordable health care!

      8. Look for an event in your area!

Many places will hold festivals in honor of the earth, or marches and rallies to support positive changes in the environment. Look online and see what’s out there!

      9. Skip the vehicle

Walk, ride a bike, roller skate, longboard, skateboard, scooter, take the bus, carpool… whatever you can do to cut the pollution!

      10. Unplug

Turn off the lights, keep the blinds open and use candles! Unplug from the wall any devices or appliances that are not being used. Skip the TV and video games for going outside in nature!

Why are you really eating?

I’ve always struggled with overeating. As a child it was the average sugar addiction, or having family tell me I must eat all of my food before leaving the table. Growing up, I attributed the habit to everything tasting too amazing to stop eating, “treat yo self,” and health issues, such as depression and lack of proper nutrition.

Through this past year I have cleaned up my act considerably (always room for improvement!) yet, overeating has still followed me. With all of the surface layers of unhealthy habits and mindsets shed, I have come to realize the core reason to attribute to this habit. Stress.

It seemed silly I couldn’t realize this sooner, especially since it is a widespread problem for many people. That is why there is an entire type of cuisine called “comfort food” after all. Nonetheless, I am grateful it has come into my attention, so I can understand and work past it.

Sitting down for a meal forces me to momentarily forget what was happening and focus on what I am doing (eating). As I have learned to eat mindfully, the act of sitting for a meal has become a meditation that I quickly, and subconsciously, learned to abuse.

Now that I am aware of this poor habit, I will work to overcome it using these two simple steps:

  1. Drink water 30 minutes before an intended meal.

This allows enough time to allow cravings to pass and settle my digestive system in case I decide I am still hungry after.

  1. Meditate for at least 10 minutes before a meal

To settle the mind and check in with the body to make sure I am truly hungry, and not craving something to suppress emotions.
Have any of you experienced this situation, or are currently working through it? Leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you.

 

Thank you,

Danielle