Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A successful trip to the farmer's market

Today I shopped the Santa Monica farmer's market. There had to have been at least 100 vendors lining numerous streets. With so many options I found it quite challenging to shop. The reason being that I pretty much have to find the best deals on the best produce. Here's how I did it.

Upon arrival I briskly walked the entire market to see who had what and how much they were charging. Once I had a mental image of the best deals I began accruing the produce I needed for the rest of the week's juicing. For instance, I found an organic apple farmer selling most of his apples at $3 per pound. Yikes! I need a lot of apples, and they're quite heavy. No good. But wait, next to his stand there was a little box with a sign that said, "Visually distressed, $1". Score. I found some delicious organic apples for a third of the price! My juicer sure doesn't care whether they have a few scars. So I emptied his little box but wasn't quite feeling like I had enough. I simply asked Mr. farmer if he had any more and sure enough he began unloading the apples from the $3 box right into my $1 box. Score again!

I was then scouring the market for some melons, which can weigh quite a lot due to their juiciness. I was finding melons priced around $2+ per pound, which is just too high for my gallon a day juice habit. After looking around I found some little egg shaped melons that were different from what everyone else was selling. So I asked the farmer lady how much for her little melons and she said, "Oh those not sweet, you take for free". Score again! I don't care if they aren't sweet, so I took home 3. But low and behold, when I got home and cut one open they were sweet by my definition of the word and brightly colored too, as you can see in the picture.

Cucumbers are yet another type of heavy fruit and most people were charging by the pound. The last time I did this my half empty bag cost me upwards of $14. While this is better than the organic cukes at Whole Foods Market, I felt like I could cut a better deal. Fortunately for me I found a family selling the biggest, juiciest cukes in the market AND they were 2 for a $1. I bought so many that I had to go unload my first round of goodies in the car.

During my second round I found gigantic bunches of cilantro and parsley for a dollar each, multicolored heirloom tomatoes for half the price of the competitors, 3 types of kale, heads of romaine, potent limes and leafy celery. I saved money and now have really delicious produce to juice. I better go get started.

Juice Recipes:

cantaloupe type melon/beet/orange


cucumber/celery/parsley/kale/lime/green apple

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Detox symptoms and more colon stuff

*WARNING* This post may be a little much for those uncomfortable with topics such as body secretions, sphincters and colon hygiene.

Fortunately for me I have done quite a bit of cleaning out in the 3 years before undertaking this juice feast. This occurs automatically when anyone turns away from the Standard American Diet (SAD) and embraces a natural way of life. This means that I'm experiencing less detox and more subtle healing and rejuvenation. But alas, these juices are very powerful and I'm beginning to release some really deep, old toxins.

I've heard many stories of the ways in which toxins choose to leave people's bodies while cleansing. Mine currently seems to be coming out of my lips. How do i know? Sometimes when I lick my lips they have an astringent taste of chemicals. At first I didn't know what to think, but after consulting with my coach and mentor, David Rain, we concluded that it could likely be pharmaceuticals resurfacing from my past. So I started to review in my mind the dangerous chemicals I have exposed myself to. First off, we are all exposed to high degrees of environmental toxins. To make matters worse, if we eat any animal products we are exposed to concentrated forms since animals store toxic chemicals in their tissues and fat (butter anyone?). I can't imagine that eating chicken fried steak everyday for 20 years helped my situation. Next, I spent many hours in a chemical synthesis lab during my years as an organic chemistry student. I have fond memories spilling bright yellow chemicals with names starting with a "Z" on myself. Hmmm... Finally, like most Americans I once popped pharmaceuticals like they were candy. At one point I was on Accutane, which damages the liver, causes suicidal thoughts and even causes birth defects in women. It's purpose is to destroy the oil glands of the face in order to halt acne. Wow, way to go FDA for protecting me in my early stages of development.
Ok, now I have an idea of what might be coming out. Interestingly my liver has been a bit sore when I massage it. I daily massage my internal organs in my yoga practice and I've noticed this change in the past few days. It isn't sore all the time, but I think it's getting overloaded processing all the stuff I'm stirring up. David suggested pineapple juice and coffee enemas. The pineapple is high in the enzyme bromelain, which helps flush the liver. I'm also incorporating cilantro juice and chlorella since they bind toxins and remove them from the body. I'll get to the coffee enemas shortly...

The most important thing to do when detoxing is open the systems of elimination. For instance, I'm consciously breathing deeper through my daily pranayama practice and by playing my didgeridoo. The breath is not only a major system of toxin elimination it is also a way of bringing more prana (aka life energy) into the body, which actually increases metabolism, which in turn maximizes elimination. I'm also drinking more water with MSM as well as chanca piedra tea, skin brushing, squeezing my organs (yogasana), and yes, giving myself a daily coffee enema.

So whats the story on enemas. An enema is a form of colon irrigation. Modern science has revealed that colon health is largely connected with the level of health of the rest of the body. Today, colon hydrotherapy is a popular wellness therapy performed by a professional. But, did you know that even thousands of years ago people who practiced self-healing have used enemas in their daily health regimen. For instance, The Essene Gospel of Peace describes Christ teaching people how to heal using a water filled gourd to clean the "demons" out of their colons. The yogis of ancient India also describe methods of cleaning the colon to prevent disease. My teacher's teacher, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, describes a method in his book Yoga Makaranda called Jala Basti in which the yogi squats in a pool of water and using breath retention forces the water in through the anal canal until the colon is full. Talk about fine tuned muscle control! Since I'm still in the process of learning on demand sphincter control I decided to use an enema bag that I bought at the local health food store. I'm using organic coffee because it helps increase peristalsis so that I can eliminate more of what my liver is dumping into my intestinal tract.

I highly recommend trying an enema at some point. I've found that it allows me to explore my body in a new way. Feeling new sensations is always a great way to learn more about what's really going on inside.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 20

I can't believe it's already day 20! I'm pleasantly surprised I've made it this long without solid foods. Now I'm someone who used to eat chicken tenders and french fries daily and could easily clean out any greasy buffet restaurant. The ironic thing is that I feel more satisfied on this juice feast than I ever have in my days of eating. You know how it is. You eat a big meal and an hour later you are inevitably looking for something to satisfy that inner need for something more. I'm convinced it's because we eat such devitalized and demineralized food that our body just keeps looking for what we aren't giving it... real nutrition! Although I'm not eating anything I'm giving my body nutrient dense live food juices. On top of that I'm consuming enough blue green algaes, spirulina, kelp and hemp oil to more than meet my protein and nutrient requirements. This is the most whole, natural state nutrition I have ever consumed, and I don't even have to digest it!

Now that I've established that I'm thriving on day 20, let me talk a little about my poo. That's right, my bowel movements. With the exception of a few days I've had significant bowel movements everyday. How could this possibly be?! I'm not eating anything. Here's a scientific explanation that may give you some good insights into what's actually going on with this whole juice feasting idea. So what exactly am I pooping?
Old cells: Our bodies are much like a candle flame, we are constantly cycling through new cells, replacing the old dead ones with new ones. Your skin is constantly rejenerating itself and sloughing off the old cells. In much the same way the walls of your intestines are sloughing off in an act of renewal. So are your blood cells and basically all of your other organs, although each at its own pace. This is where the saying "You are what you eat" takes on a very real meaning. In addition to dead cells, your body dumps metabolic wastes processed by your liver into your intestines.
Old, impacted fecal matter: Those of us who grew up on a typical western diet likely have lots of old fecal matter hung up in our colon and small intestines because of our lack of fiber intake. You can only get fiber from raw plant foods. I have done significant cleansing simply by transitioning to a raw diet, but even I have some old karmas (in this case poop) to release from my small intestine. The good thing is that I can feel it shifting and beginning to release. Such is the power of giving the digestive system a nice long break. Self intestinal massage helps too (see upcoming yoga video).
Gut Microbes: The gut is home to more microbes than cells in your body. They literally act as a functional organ, helping you digest food, modulating your immune system and keeping your gut healthy. Many people take probiotic supplements to make sure they have the good guys living in their belly. Equal importance should be put on the food you are putting in your body because this is what feeds and ultimately determines the ecology of this microbial ecosystem. These microbes don't live long and add a significant weight to your daily poop.
The stuff in my juice: Have you ever seen a kale leaf. With thick, deep green leaves kale cells are packed with nutrition and protein. The juices I'm drinking are thick and rich; some of it's bound to make it to the other end of my inner tube of life.

At times my poop has been normal, sometimes a bit watery and a few times old and hard (with a milky white covering). I can tell when I need to eliminate because I go from feeling light and empty to a bit bloated and gassy. If my eliminate doesn't come soon I take cascara sagrada with lots of water, do yogasanas that aid in elimination, manually massage my intestines, and if none of that works I give myself an enema. The sooner I get it out of me the better I feel really. It makes sense considering poo is old cellular waste.

We all should pay more attention to our bowel function because it's directly linked to our physical and emotional health.

Wishing your a happy poo,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feasting in Venice, CA

My blog posts have been lacking. I could blame it on my busy schedule studying yoga everyday during my first two weeks feasting. I'm sure it also has something to do with the fact that blogging, and journaling, are completely new for me. So bare with me while I learn to express myself through this blog. I'm excited because I feel that journaling, as a practice, is really going to help me go deeper in my path of self-realization.

Now that my yoga teacher training is in recess until February I'm hanging out with my brother in Hollywood. Im finding that the thick smog and lack of nature is not very supportive for my feast. I'm thinking Hawaii for the last month of my feast. I plan on driving cross country to Houston for November to study yoga with Debbie Mills {} and to visit my parents. My parents are excited to do a bit of juice feasting before their big cruise. Before I move on to where my adventure is taking me let me just back up and review what juice feasting was like while living in Venice.

Typical Schedule during first 14 days (started feast and 2 week training simultaneously):

Wake at 6:00 am and drink 1 quart of alkaline ionic water with 1 Tbs. MSM
Drink 1 quart green juice made previous evening
Juice for the next hour so that I could take 1 quart green (with green powder) and 1 quart fruit to class
Eat 1 Tbs Bee Pollen mixed with 1 Tbs Hemp oil and 1 Tbs. spirulina
Vinyasa or Pranayama Class from 8 until 12
Juice break outside, relax in the sun
Krishnamacharya's Works from 1 to 4
Return home and juice again. Drink 1/2 quart green and 1/2 fruit with superfood powders.
Make live food cuisine or juice for Dara, Jada or Ashley
Relax, read, study and practice until evening
Drink 1/2 quart green and 1/2 quart fruit for dinner and juice the morning quart
Clean kitchen and create healthy energy in the home. Hang out with Dara and Jada and computer work
Restorative yoga with Dara
In bed by 10 or 11 (not quite enough sleep to support optimal brain function during the day)

Other activities included visiting the local Santa Monica farmer's markets where we obtained the majority of our produce. We buy local organic produce because it's cheaper, tastier and higher vibration (healthier).

My energy levels were more than supportive during this rather full schedule. There were times when the vinyasa and pranayama practices got pretty intense but a few sips of juice brought me back quite nicely. I will go into more detail regarding the depth at which I am able to explore myself while practicing yogasana, bandhas and pranayama during a juice feast.

My intention for the rest of the feast is to integrate those things I learned from Ramaswami into my practice in order to go to even deeper levels of healing and growth. There are some old patterns and energy blocks that I am aware of that need some work and this juice feast as a part of my sadhana (practice) is the only thing powerful enough to completely clear them. I'm experiencing such profound gratitude for this knowledge and the ability to put it into action in my life. I can't wait to share it with the many people in need of some serious healing.


Monday, October 8, 2007

The most ridiculous juice yet!

Another great day drinking lots of green juice and studying yoga. Instead of hopping in my car and fighting LA traffic to get to the nearest restaurant during my lunch break I simply sipped juice while sun bathing. The sun is so important for optimal physiological function. I hope you get at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight a day so you don't get cancer.
I have been tinkering with juice recipes and tonight I came up with one you just might want to try...

Fresh bunch of mint (leaves AND stems)
Your favorite apples and grapes
All organic every time.

I ran the above ingredients through a Green Star Juicer because it can handle leafy greens, unlike most juicers. I also could have thrown it all in a high power blender and then strained with a nut mylk bag (nylon mesh).

I definately diluted the juice with water since it is so sweet. You can also lower the glycemic index by using green apples and grapes. I can't wait to sip on it throughout my day tomorrow!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

First week complete!

I'm now on day 6 of my juice feast and I feel great. I found myself a bit spacey and hunger was common the first few days. I now have little desire for solids. The juices are totally satisfying. The green juices are so rich, especially when I blend in some spirulina and chlorella. Check out my "Why Greens?" video for an explanation of why we, as a species, should be basing our diet on chlorophyll rich greens.
So you may wonder what I've been up to so far on my juice feast. Am I actually a functional human being while going through the deepest cleanse I have ever pursued? Resoundingly yes! I'm currently studying yoga in Los Angeles with Srivatsa Ramaswami. I have been in class around 7 hours a day for the past week and will continue until the 14th. I'm convinced that yoga and juice feasting go hand in hand. My yoga practice is deepening at a rapid pace since my belly is empty all the time. Even the yogis of old were tuned into the fact that a full belly prevented them from their deeper practices.
In addition to my yoga training I'm staying with my beautiful friend Dara and her daughter Jada in Venice. I'm so fortunate to have such a loving home to support me during this time of growth and transformation. I often reflect on how everything effortlessly fell into place surrounding this juice feast and my yoga studies. I feel totally supported. Although I'm only drinking juices for the next 3 months, I've been making my best live food cuisine for Dara and Jada. Sooner or later I'll put some recipes up in the "Eat to Live" section of my main site.

Remember, health and happiness is your birthright!
Peace and Blessings