Indigo30 DAY 29: Your words

All of this Whole30 and yoga stuff is a really super good idea, but if we never found out from anyone if it actually worked, then none of it would even matter. It’s because we tell each other about the results we’ve experienced (or haven’t) that we continue to learn and be motivated to be better. Human beings are results-driven, even in the minor things. We expect our car to start and run. We expect certain things to happen at specific times of day. We want to know that our efforts are seen and that some things in life are certain. The expectations and desire for results are driven by habits, which mold and frame and direct our days — thousands of them. Some are simple, like the habit you have of making your coffee in the morning, with the reward of the delicious, foamy first sip. And others are complicated, like the habit you have or know of someone having of fighting an addiction. They all swirl about and pull from emotions and often times feel vastly out of our control. “But every habit, no matter its complexity, is malleable. The most addicted alcoholics can become sober. The most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves. A high school dropout can become a successful manager,” writes Tal Ben Shahar, of Happier. 

In the course of the last 28 days, really more like 35 days, because the preparation week really counts in my opinion, you have shaped, formed, shifted, reorganized and changedimage.png some of the biggest habits a human being can have. You have done this. Your willpower has a pattern now, and you are the one who made that happen. You decided, consciously, to do the work, see the cues and the rewards that drive your routines, and create new rituals around your daily behaviors — rituals that have meaning and value not only to you but to the people in your lives. Your families have been impacted. Your friends have watched you shift and change and stay the course. People who were once strangers, are now your friends, with their superhero capes ready to throw on and help you back up anytime you stumble.

You did other things too, things that no one could predict and things that won’t sell diet books: you became accountable for your behaviors.

“I realized that I am the reason my family eats out so much. My lack of organization around meal planning and just plain laziness at times created chaos during what would have been time of comfort for me and my family. By not having a plan, I made their evenings hectic while we all tried to figure out dinner and usually made an unhealthy choice,” writes one I30 participant.

I have been working with students for over a decade, helping them to come clean and get straight and own up to their role in relationships and breakdowns that occur in their lives. Especially when the default is to blame.

Very rarely does anyone own it like this.

“I realized I’ve been dropping the ball,” she said. “Cooking for my family for the last 28 days has been so lovely. They can’t wait to hear what’s for dinner. They have never once said, ‘I wish we could just go out to eat.’ My daughter even said, ‘Momma, I love this whole thing you are doing because the food is so good!”

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You can’t put a number, especially a scale number, to something like that. These children are going to remember this time for years to come. They will be in college someday longing for their mom’s healthy home cooking. It will be part of the reason they can’t wait for the holidays. They will remember going to yoga with their mom and remembering holding her hand at the end. They will remember her encouragement and how she took care of herself. And the pride in their eyes when they look at their mom — glowing, healthy and happy, is nothing anyone can put a number to. That is what quality of life looks like. That is happiness.

“When I was told I had to stop running because of an injury,” writes another participant, “I spiraled into what I couldn’t do. I got depressed and ended up having surgery. Surgery didn’t help. It made things worse. Had I found yoga, I wouldn’t have gone that route. Yoga reminded me that I could exercise and not injure myself. I just do what I can do. Some days it’s not much, but it’s better than me sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself. Thank you for putting this program together. I’ve learned so much it’s crazy.”

Many of you have remarked that the combination of nutrition and movement has been a game changer — that the diet without the yoga might have left you feeling a little obsessive over the food, and that the yoga without the diet might have kept you eating stuff that wasn’t really working for you but that you might have dismissed “since you were working out all the time.” The two components are what creates the balance, the effort and the ease. The two disciplines actually hold each other accountable. As we have learned, you cannot be all in on one and sort of in on the other. They work together. Add in meditation/mindfulness/self-reflection, and you have a perfect triad of balanced wellness.

“I’m actually more nervous to end the Indigo30 than I was starting it,” writes a student new to the Indigo30. “I’ve never had so much energy. It makes me a better speech language pathologist, a better friend, and a better person to be around. The meetings were so helpful and I loved hearing about other people’s NSVs. The blogs helped me A LOT — the introspection is huge for me. I tell others that it’s not about losing weight; it’s about seeing how your body reacts to certain foods. It’s about gaining insight into your own habits with food, and it’s about doing something you didn’t think you could.”

Some of you were looking for education, and were curious. Others were looking for a reset. Still others were looking for a distraction from the hardships of life, something to redirect your focus. You all have admitted that this was more than you thought it would be — why were you suddenly finding yourself crying tears of gratitude on your mat? Why and how were you suddenly not craving a drink amidst friends and normal social circles, totally content to say, “no, thank you” with ease? Why was it easier than you anticipated?

Because you didn’t do it alone. You redefined what “hard” really is. And you saw change occur.

“I probably would never have done this type of regimen without Indigo as a support group.”

“I have struggled with anxiety and depression. Over the past month my mood swings have been almost non-existent. I have not felt so ‘stable’ in several years. My chronic migraines have almost disappeared. I have decreased my caffeine intake significantly. These are things I never, in a million years, though possible.”

“I’ve had personal challenges/disappointments/losses that I’ve experienced for years. All of THAT was hard. And it still is. Pouring my energy into what I thought was going to be a ‘distraction’ that turned out to be a blessing — this reset — was not hard. I have learned so much, made new friends and bolstered my confidence as I prepare to take the next steps on my journey.”

_______

It’s not always easy to know what our purpose is. There will be days when you feel aimless and lost, alone and so vulnerable. You will think you are just chasing your tail or wandering directionless, feeling like no one and nothing even notices the path you are traveling, because they are so hyper-focused on their own path. Most of all, you may battle mostly with yourself, relentlessly seeking achievement and perfection; running toward some intangible goal of “finally good enough” when all the things have, at long last, perfectly lined up. Until the day comes, and it will if it hasn’t already, when you realize that the battle is only with your own reflection. If you reach out and try to touch it, there will be nothing there. But if you look around and see what’s outside of, and beyond that reflection, you will find real people with real feelings and similar, real battles, whose hands need to be held and who also need to be pulled away from the enticing reflecting glass so that they can see, in your eyes, who they really are.

The mission of the Indigo30 was to educate participants in nutrition and yoga in such an impactful, but balanced way, that how they live — their lifestyle — will automatically, by default, impact and balance others as they exemplify and share what they have learned.

“As I now look toward my future,” a hesitant-to-share Indigo30 participant writes, “this experience will always go with me. My degree is concentrated in Nutrition and Wellness; my goal now is to work with individuals who want to make lifestyle changes to improve their health. Therefore, I thank you, for providing this experience. It has not only helped me but will help others with whom I share it.”

Mission accomplished.

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One more day.

Keep going.

B

 

Indigo30 DAY 25: Hold the eggs. And the bacon. (BUT WHY?!)

Because I bet you’re a little sick of eggs and bacon. I bet you are ready for more variety, but not necessarily wanting more on your plate, so to speak. If you’ve mastered the art of variety for this epic Indigo30, then you are likely always looking for new ideas!

On par with how I’ve rolled this thing out for the last 30 days, I’m about to share new ways to make not only our food more creative, but your YOGA more creative and fresh as well. Don’t worry, I won’t make you choose a different spot in the yoga room for your mat. (Although …)

One of the suggestions I’ve gotten in the past is to keep a “Best of I30” journal, a place image.pngwhere you could keep, note and organize all of your favorites into categories… perhaps that should be in the appendix of this compilation of blogs which will hopefully have a cover and a spine someday. But for now, get yourself a little 3-ring or a tabbed notebook to organize all the good stuff you’ve learned. (Don’t forget to include your favorites from our Tuesday Posting Parties, Yvette’s recipes and all the info in these super awesome blogs!)

And without further ado, here are more ideas to add variety to your routines so you can finish strong.

Great breakfasts that are not eggs and bacon (from the Whole30 Daily Newsletter):

  • Sausage and cabbage sautéed in coconut oil.
  • Smoked salmon, cucumber, tomatoes and dill (or homemade tartar sauce).
  • Grass-fed steak, sautéed kale with mushrooms and onions, side of guacamole/avo and tomato. And some grapefruit.
  • Shredded chicken with Anaheim pepper sauce and plantains fried in coconut oil.
  • GIANT spinach salad with berries, grilled chicken, roasted squash and roasted sunflower seeds… balsamic and olive oil.
  • Roast a whole boneless turkey breast with whatever spices and dried herbs you have, slice it, then eat it all week with veggies, avocado and salsa.
  • Caribbean Seafood Stew from Everyday Paleo.

Why not have a burger for breakfast? Try this:

Ingredients: ground beef, 1 egg, hot sauce (Rubin’s Red or Frank’s) 1/4 C. cilantro

Directions: Grill burger, top with egg fried over-medium. Sprinkle cilantro and hot sauce and devour!

Do you have the yoga yawns?

Are you tired of hearing, “Let’s start in child’s pose?” If you’re looking for a little variety in your yoga practice, sometimes it’s just as easy as asking your teacher for it! All of the teachers at Indigo Yoga are trained to be able to add and subtract poses in the sequence in a way that makes anatomical, biomechanical and energetic sense. Nothing is arbitrary and we don’t teach to entertain; we teach to educate. But, if you are wanting a change up, ask them to throw in an extra inversion, hip opener or arm balance. Or maybe there is a pose you want to work on for a few extra minutes. They will love the challenge and are savvy enough to even be able to take one suggestion and craft an entire class around it … without losing the essence and why of the sequence. Don’t fall victim to boredom and blame your teacher! Make a request!

And don’t forget, you lucky down dogs, you have TWO studios to practice at. Haul your butt 10 minutes down the road to the Sundance Square studio for a change of scenery. Nothing beats the twinkle lights in the trees when you settle in for your savasana nap. And if you’re lucky, your teacher will cover you with a blankie and tuck you in.

You miss sandwiches, don’t you…

There is research to suggest that getting your hands on your food can actually stimulate all of the senses. This is probably why eating a sandwich can be such a satisfying experience. But how to when no bread? Here’s how:

  • Lettuce wraps. Butter lettuce, collard greens are both great for nestling your contents and keeping it somewhat intact!
  • Grilled, baked or toasted sweet potato is really the winner for little slider-like sammies. And it’s delish!
  • Jicama tortillas work great for wraps as well. They are super delicious with tuna fish salad or chicken salad.
  • Sometimes, if you slice roast beef or chicken just thick enough, they can be like two slices of your favorite gluten-packed, sugar-laden, gut-bloating bread. (hahahaha). Put some mayo on those slices, add bacon, lettuce, tomoato and before you know it, you have a Breadless BLT or Cali Club.

Kiddo Inspo

Whole30 Forum contributor/member, Flynn, shares a handful of great ideas for cub-approved lunch snacks…

  • Gorilla Sandwich: Almond butter and banana rolled up in a romaine leafCrispy-Paleo-Chicken-Nuggets-e1438874710299.jpg
  • Shish Kabob: Flynn calls them “muscle sticks” and tells her kids how big and strong they will make them! Find a little stick of some sort, like a skewer, and put meat and a few veggies or apples/pineapples in between.
  • Chicken nuggets: What kid doesn’t love the nug? Homemade is pretty darn good, and here is a stellar recipe from Paleo Running Momma.
  • Ants on a log: It never goes out of style … celery, almond butter and ants. I mean, raisins.
  • Meatball lollipops: weird name, kinda sounds gross but kids don’t care! Use Tessamae’s ketchup for dipping.
  • Fun containers can be found anywhere. Kids love the bento-box styles with the little compartments. Because their little brains crave consistency and routine and organization too, just like yours does.

Revolutionize your yoga with some new learning

Going to daily yoga classes is fun for sure. It’s so GREAT when your schedule becomes consistent and you can really start to see progress and strength. Adding in new learning such as a weekend workshop, a studio program, an outdoor class, meditation sits (in a class or at an outdoor sit) can also deepen not only your knowledge base but level up your daily practice. Yoga is everywhere these days — you don’t have to look far to find some inspiring new curriculum. Keep up with the electives, workshops, trainings and programs Indigo Yoga holds all year long through the website and social media channels. We are always striving and growing to provide our students with the most cutting edge teaching.

And finally,

GO GET YOURSELF A NEW YOGA OUTFIT. Your old ones probably don’t fit anymore anyway. 

Love you guys!

Keep going!
B

Indigo30 DAY 21: What is yoga?

One of the first questions I ask a new group of teachers in training is this question: “What is yoga?”

At first, they always look stunned. They sit there for a second, like I’m joking. I almost always have to say, “No I really mean it, what is yoga?” After some consideration, they realize it’s a harder question to answer than they thought. Sheepishly, they will start giving me words that are typical and expected of people who are already doing yoga.

“Compassion.”

“Non-judgment.”

“Poses.”

“Breath.”

“Community.”

And the list continues to grow, sometimes with a few concrete answers but mostly with conceptual thoughts about their own experiences. Then, a brave soul finally pipes up and says, “A workout.” (At which time, the yoga lords come out of the clouds with their baskets of snakes and banish all of the participants to eternal life in a world of carnivorous, non-recycling, socially unconscious half-zombies, performing only step aerobics and driving gas guzzling SUVs.)

When the word “workout” is mentioned, I say, evenly, “Yes, and when you workout, do you do it just once? And then you’re done?” They all shake their heads and say no, you do it regularly, forever, because it’s important to stay physically fit. And in my mind, I’m  thinking, “Now we are getting somewhere.”

So my next question is usually something like this: “So what kind of results do you get from doing yoga every day?”

…I feel better, I look better, my sleep is better, I’m stronger, I have less pain. I am not as reactive with my spouse or my children. I have more ideas. I am more productive at work. I get better at time management and organizing areas of my life. I make better food choices and don’t crave so much junk food, sugar or alcohol because I want to feel great the next day. I sleep better and I am more focused. I don’t get so caught up in drama. I make and achieve more of my goals, I am inspired by my teachers to believe in myself and do great things, and most of all, I make friends. Friends who are like-minded, supportive, compassionate, happy, working for similar goals as myself, and most of all, real.

Those are pretty darn good results for a “workout.”

I explain to the students that the reason I actually like the idea of people thinking yoga is a workout is because it is. Why are we trying to say it’s not? Well, because there’s just so much more to it than just a body workout. And because the purists don’t want to cheapen it. But the thing is, for new people, if we started spewing out all the things we think yoga is, their eyes would start crossing, they would feel overwhelmed to say the least, and intimidated at most. All the other wonderful benefits of yoga are things that we become. And people are watching. They see.

There is a cool little equation thing that happens, and that is what they start to see. When you “workout” with your community, day after day, and you are feeling healthy and fit, your relationships improve, you change your habits because of cool programs like the Indigo30 — you become more fluid in all aspects of life and the people around you notice. You love the changes, improvements and experiences so much that you go more often. It becomes a routine. And before you know it, it becomes what I believe yoga really is: a lifestyle.

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It becomes so ingrained in who you are that your whole social circles change. It becomes so automatic that it’s almost no different than brushing your teeth — the idea of not doing it is not a deliberation or an option; the idea of not doing it is funny and out of the question. (Yoga is like brushing your teeth but instead brushing your body – getting all the funk and particles and film and plaque off of your physical body and out of your mind. And Indigo of course, is a Sonicare.) You have adopted a new lifestyle, and it would be very hard to knock you out of it. But, it’s possible. Sometimes it only takes one person to suck the life out of something you love very much. One person with one comment, and suddenly, you’re questioning everything, even this wonderful new lifestyle that somehow started with a seemingly harmless “workout.”

I’m talking to you about this right now because there will be days when you are so tired that you don’t want to brush your teeth before you go to bed. But you get up and you do it anyway. Because you know you have to. There is mighty change and strength that is needed in our world right now, and we have to do our daily work on our mats to be able to consciously, clearly, and wisely make decisions for ourselves, our family and our communities that evolve us instead of just tolerating or even denying. It goes so far beyond our mats, but it starts at our mats, which in many cases is where our heart sweats and bleeds and repairs itself.

My oldest son, Freddy, is reading Night, by Elie Wiesel, in school. If you are not familiar, it is a Pulitzer Prize-winning account of a Holocaust survivor. I was an unusually voracious reader when I was a teen, reading all kinds of Holocaust novels and British history novels, and so I have read and known this work for almost 30 years. It is a must-read for every human on the planet. One of the questions for his review was about how Elie, the main character, felt when a Hungarian gypsy strikes his father. (The answer is that he does nothing, and is forever haunted by not standing up for his father.) When Freddy and I got to this question, we talked about the idea of non-violently standing up for what you believe in, and owning your truth, at all costs. We talked about how remaining quiet and silent to please others whose voices might be louder can come from a lack of courage, for sure, but that as leaders, we must own what is right, and fight for it. We talked about instances at school, social circles and in the world, where people are either sitting down on issues, agreeing with things they don’t even understand just because the people around them are, and most of all, the bravery it takes to speak up for what is right and good, even if it means getting beaten down. I told both of my boys in my mother lioness voice, “BOYS, YOU STAND UP. YOU STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. YOU PROTECT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY AND STAND UP. There is no grade, there is no achievement, there is no sport or diploma or job or status that will ever make me as proud as you standing up for others.” (To which, God love my born Texan boys, I received a “Yes ma’am.”)

As you bring your Indigo30 to a close, you are only turning the page to a new chapter. One that you will have to fight for at times. Your new lifestyle of yoga and healthy livingimage will invite criticism and judgment. Some will question your spiritual and religious beliefs because of stories and myths and misunderstandings about yoga that have been swirling for centuries. Hold steady. This is who you are now; you know that your little “workout” is a way of living now, one that has brought you nothing but betterment.

Call on the strength of all who have come before you who have stood up for themselves and a conscious evolution of the whole. And above all, keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 20: Ten days left. Time to prepare for the real world.

image.pngOkay people, we are nearing week 3. You have ten days to go. We’ve had our few days of not feeling great, we are now on the mend. Now it’s time to RALLY! The Whole30 Day by Day makes a great point on Day 20: “While ten days to go can be an exciting prospect, Day 20 is a reminder that you only have ten days left. Which might lead to, ‘I’m not there yet.'”

Ah yes, a daunting thought for sure. Perhaps you’re either wondering if you will achieve certain goals or still worried you won’t figure it all out. Maybe you’ve had experiences in the past with roller coaster diets that you crash on and rebound after. So that cycle might feel like a prospect to you and that is, of course bothersome. But the reason we have invested so much time in educating you is to help you realize that you now have tools that will last you, well, forever if you want. Like it or not, you know stuff about food now. And you know stuff about yoga. You know that the two together are possibly the two very best things — sustainable things — that you can do for your health. So no matter what Day 31 brings for you, you have tools in your pocket that no one and nothing can take away. Not even your dastardly SCALE.

You may also be starting to think about how you will maintain after Day 30; many of you are already planning to keep going. Or, you might actually have some stress around the idea — I usually hear something like this from participants: “I don’t want to blow everything I’ve worked so hard for, but I’m not sure how to maintain this pace, this diet, this much yoga and this lifestyle — in more moderation.”

These are fair concerns. And the short answer is: with a plan.

I was asked recently if I was going to do a follow-up on the habit blog… a follow-up that included some thoughts about how to sustain a habit after creating it. You have learned about the structure of a habit; how it starts, that it needs a cue, a routine and a reward. Once you have the habit formed, your brain lets that habit ride on auto pilot while it moves on to other things. You know how you can run up a flight of stairs after you take the first few steps without even thinking about it? Or how you can back your car out of your driveway without hardly any deliberate thought? That’s a habit. Those are acts of will that are so ingrained that they take very little presence and almost no deliberation. You’re not quite in the stage of transformation where you no longer have cravings or you don’t have to think about how to structure your day. You’re probably not quite there yet with your diet and yoga, but you are laying very solid groundwork. Now, you are likely asking, when will this willpower become automatic? What if my old habits start creeping back?

“The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits, and so if you have a bad one, it’s always lurking there, waiting for the right cues and image.pngrewards,” says Charles Duhigg, in The Power of Habit. “Without habit loops, our brains would shut down, overwhelmed by the minutiae of daily life.” So they are actually a good thing, if they are a good thing. And, you’ve created a lot of additional good habits. The question is, how do we sustain them and not let the old ones come back?

One of the keystone good habits of success is a little thing called willpower. Willpower is not only a keystone, but a necessity for sustaining good habits.

Now you may be thinking — if I need willpower to create a habit (i.e., I  need discipline to get to my mat every day) and I need a habit to create willpower (i.e., I need to get to my mat every day to feel strong enough to build up my willpower) — which comes first? Duhigg suggests this answer to the riddle: Make the willpower itself, the habit. “Sometimes it looks like people with great self-control aren’t working hard — but that’s because they’ve made it automatic,” Angela Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania researcher says. “Their willpower occurs without them having to think about it.”

One of the first things you can do to prepare for “moments of weakness,” when you are no longer in the protective arms of your Indigo30 team, is get clear about what those scenarios might look like. I’m willing to bet that for the most part, you all are doing the program really well most of the time. And, I’m willing to bet that the times that you falter, weaken or even fall off the wagon are times when you are stressed, squeezed emotionally, pressured, uncertain or under duress. It’s in those times that willpower seems to evaporate. What is needed to strengthen the willpower in times of strain is… a plan.

Call it an exit plan, an emergency plan, or even a contingency plan, almost every company, building, or event has a plan in case things break down or get out of hand. It’s interesting that humans don’t have these kinds of standard operating procedures. (I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we all came with manuals?) Call it a 911 plan or call it a routine, it’s something we can call on and follow when our willpower loses its steam and when the ice starts cracking under our feet. We need something to help us not crack with it.

But here’s the thing. It’s not a quick fix. It’s something you have to practice. Your backup plan for when (not if, but when) you start to crack under pressure is something you have to practice and make a routine. You have to determine right now, on Day 20, what that plan is going to be, and start practicing it now… not on Day 31, but today, so that you are ready when the shit hits the fan. Because when the shit hits the fan, it’s not going to wait for you to practice your response. Your main job, from today forward, is to create a new habit loop of willpower that will be automatic after Day 30.

One willpower habit loop you all already have is your small group (if you are engaging with them. If you are not, then you have not created a habit loop of accountability.) So after Day 30, you will likely keep up communication, especially when you hit rough patches. This routine of checking in with one or all members of your group will re-invigorate your willpower. You just don’t realize it’s already happening. So going forward, you can say to yourself, “When I find myself skipping yoga for more than 2-3 days, my plan is to … (check in with my group/make a yoga date with one of my group pals/etc.) You are already doing it. Your work now is to keep the habit loop alive.

It would be beneficial for you to determine which parts of the Indigo30 you want to sustain once the program is officially over. After you have that written down, make a list of situations that you think would throw you off — they don’t have to be unpleasant, necessarily — scheduling, travel, social situations — aren’t negative, but they absolutely have the capacity to disrupt a positive habit loop. Work through these scenarios (role play) with your family and friends (and small group) so they don’t just live in your journal or in your head.

“This is how willpower becomes a habit: by choosing a certain behavior ahead of time, and then following that routine when an inflection point arrives,” says Duhigg. The better you get at recognizing what will trigger, the more you can ready your plan. And before you know it, you will be communicating with your pals about going to yoga together without actually consciously thinking through how you are trying to get back on track. It will just happen because it’s a bona fide habit.

Friends, you have all the control in the world over what you eat and how you take care of yourself. You have choices that millions of people do not. Take these small lessons, the ones that arrive on your Facebook feed each morning, the ones that your leaders are sharing with you because they love you, and all the little tidbits in between, and take action. Do something amazing with the insight and education you are being given, that I believe is being channeled through me and your other teachers, to help you be the very best version of you. Don’t take it for granted and please don’t let the small things trip you up. You are too grand, too wise, and too informed to let that happen.

Now start planning. You only have ten days left.

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B

Indigo30 DAY 13: Time for adventures!

Welcome to Day 13, you are nearing the half-way mark! You should be very proud. Half way is a great milestone. But just like doing a yoga pose or even a long sequence of poses, there’s this little triumphant squeal of glee — Yay! We completed one side! — and then the overwhelming realization of — Omg, we’ve only completed one side …

So your work right now is to “stay in the river,” as many a guru has probably said over the years. Don’t swim faster and yet, don’t just tread. You still have a ways to go. Just stay in the flow, keep a steady pace, and let the natural rhythms move you forward. You are already seeing NSVs and progress — you have shared them proudly with your friends and peers. So imagine what’s coming if you stay the course! Adventure!

Food is the way to your friends’ hearts.

One of the funnest things you can do during your Indigo30 is get to know your comrades with a meal swap. You really cannot believe how much you will love this and learn from it. You are probably ready for some new dishes, or you are starting to tire from leftovers, or you just want a day off from cooking. Well, Indigo30 Superstar, it’s time to branch out and spice it up! I promise you will not regret this. It’s kind of like the old fashioned chain letter!

It’s pretty easy to do and you can do it with one pal or a whole group — or maybe a couple of groups. Then, coordinate your meal swap. The meal swap is better with a few people – 7 is ideal. Once you pick a time and a location, each of you can make a dish that has 7 image.pngservings or a big batch. When you get to your potluck, swap it all out and BOOM – you have one new meal a day for the next 7 days! (or you can freeze and save for even later!) Share your bounty, because your chili may be super fab today, but it’s not as good when you’ve eaten that gigantic crockpot full 5 meals in a row.

Is swapping with your pals not very convenient for your schedule? Set up a roaming brunch, lunch, or dinner party once a week. Each of you commits to hosting the others for one meal, sharing in the cooking (and, hopefully, the clean-up). It’s a great way to socialize over healthy food, share kitchen tips and tricks, and pick up some sweet lunchtime leftovers for the next day.

Try a new spot. 

image.pngDo you go to the same spot in the yoga room every day? Yeah, we know who you are. And we know what kind of temper tantrum you internally have when someone is in your spot. Yogis, yogis, yogis. I want you to use your new tools of mindfulness right this minute, and get present to what is actually happening when you walk into the room and someone is in your spot. Okay — all that is actually happening is some completely oblivious person who has absolutely no idea that you have this attachment to the outcome of your practice being based on where in the room your mat is, just put their mat down there. That’s it. Or, they are wrestling with their own attachment issues and just got there before you did. Now, pause, step back for a moment, and consider how completely, utterly absurd it is to get upset about a spot for your mat in the yoga room. (Got it? Are you smiling/laughing?) Then I want you to consider that there may just be a new experience waiting for you in a different spot … perhaps there is a cooler breeze up in the front. Or perhaps hiding in the back won’t work so well this time because the teacher decides to do the entire class facing the back. Or perhaps a new student (maybe even the one who stole your spot) looks over at you and says, “Hi, I’m new. I’m really nervous. How long have you been coming?” And you realize that your purpose, instead of getting your way, was to befriend someone who is scared and worried about being new and different. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s a good enough reason not to be attached to your spot.

Some of you are like, “I really have no idea what she is talking about right now, I could care less where my mat is. Half the time I’m rolling in late anyway so I don’t even pay attention.” — To you, I challenge you to arrive early and go to the same spot each day and play with consistent routine. Stretch yourself by sharpening consistency. Bust through old patterns. Break through into new spaces, the same one every day for the next 15 days.

You now how to make both of these things a new, exciting pattern? Grab a friend, or your small group, and go together. This will keep things fresh and will keep you accountable.

Spicing it up with actual spices

I planted an herb garden a year ago and after all of this rain, it’s going completely bonkers. imageI have more herbs than I could ever use even if I cooked all day every day all week. They are fun to cut and give as gifts, and even if I don’t cook with it, just having the smell of basil wafting in my kitchen brings smiles.

If your cooking is feeling a little bland, take a spin around the world with some new spices. Chances are, if you are willing to step out of your ho-hum cooking box for a minute, you will discover flavors you didn’t even know existed! Just changing just one spice can turn an Indian curry into a savory Spanish stew. The right spices can make or break a dish, turning everyday ingredients into authentic ethnic cuisine.

But be careful with seasonings (mixtures and blends). They can be tricky and sneak the sneaky sugars in right under your spice sniffer. Check out the ingredients in this taco seasoning commonly found at chain grocers:

Yellow Corn Flour, Salt, Maltodextrin, Paprika, Spices, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Citirc Acid, Autolyzed Yest Extract, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color (sulfites).

“Taco seasoning” sounds innocent enough, but this spice blend is anything but innocent (or healthy). I’m sure you are looking at the list now and know exactly why these ingredients are not okay by Whole30 standards, but are they really okay by any standards? image.png

Sometimes, spices and seasonings intimidate people with their fancy-sounding names like Za’atar, Dukka, or Tabil. Melissa Joulwan (author of Well Fed), is a spice-a-holic and has an awesome list of spices and how to use them in this GREAT article.

Spice Hound is another great resource to help you identify Whole30-approved spices to fill your cabinet. A full 100% of their salts and spices meet Whole30 criteria, and 20 of their spice blends are also Whole30-approved.

Here is a complete list of all approved Spice Hound blends:

Adobo Seasoning Cajun Rub Chili Powder Blend
Chinese 5-Spice Powder Curry Powder Dukka
Fines Herbes Four Peppercorn Blend Garam Masala
Garlic Sea Salt Herbes de Provence Italian Seasoning
La Kama Panch Phora Poultry
Pumpkin Pie Spice Seasoning Sea Salt Tabil
Turkey Brine Za’atar

Though they last a long time, spices can be expensive. If your cabinet is empty, commit to buying one or two new spices a week, until you’ve collected enough to transport you to any foreign country (and cuisine) in just a few moments!

You’re considering a potluck with your new I30 buds, a different spot for your mat against all better judgement, and are about to buy Garam Masala. Now let’s try … some totally new foods! Here are some beginner and advanced “foodie” options that will keep your Whole30 from boring and snoring.

Beginner/Intermediate:

  • Ghee: Like butter, only better! A personal favorite is Bulletproof Grass-fed Ghee, but there are many great brands.
  • Coconut butter: My most favorite I30 find this go-round! Delicious by the spoonful straight out of the jar. (I could stop there, because I have done a lot of this lately) or as a slightly melted topping for sweet potato, apples, or berries. You guys, I nearly DIED when I took my first bite. Look for Nutiva Coconut Manna in the nut butters section. Tip: when you get it, it will likely be solidified in the jar. You have to dig it up and even out (I dug it all out of the jar, mixed it up good and put it back into two) because the oil will separate from the pureed coconut meat. I promise you, it is worth every second of effort! And as a reward, peruse the Nutiva recipe page — you will have loads of post-I30 treat ideas ready to roll with this magic manna from the heavens.
  • Jicama: A sweet, crunchy root that looks like a big, round potato. Peel, chop into sticks and top with lime juice and chili powder, dip in salsa or guac, or just eat plain as they come. Central Market has jicama tortillas and rolls, which are delicious with tuna fish mixed with W30 mayo rolled in!
  • Coconut Aminos: Soy sauce is off limits for your Whole30 (I’d like to see you bid farewell to this gut buster forever, but for now…) I will tell you, coconut aminos taste the same. They’re a healthy Whole30-friendly replacement for soy sauce in recipes, and perfect for dunking sashimi. Find them in the soy sauce aisle of your local health food market—or order from Amazon. Speaking of sashimi…. gosh that sounds good! Have you thought to add it into your restaurant options? Bring your coco aminos when you go! You can buy them in single serve packets!image
  • Sauerkraut: Raw and fermented, sauerkraut contains tons of healthy bacteria to keep your digestion happy with all of its natural probiotics. Purchase it at any of our local grocers or let Whole9 Envoy Extraordinaire Stephanie McCormack teach you how to make your own in this fun video. Sauerkraut has made a serious comeback!

Advanced Adventurer (Vegans and Vegetarians, kindly skip to the end…)

 

Okay my friends, my word count is way out of range, so in closing as always, KEEP GOING, and in the words of a wise little bear..

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Indigo30 DAY 12: It’s here again. The weekend. Don’t downshift; level UP.

Welcome to Weekend #2 of your Indigo30! I’ve already given you some super fab tips on how to survive social situations. So … here’s a thought. I bet most of you have already figured out that staying home is slightly easier. You’re also not drinking so you’re not crashing on the sofa after your third glass and you are likely getting up earlier. Suddenly, you have time you didn’t have before. MIRACLES ARE HAPPENING.

So, maybe, just maybe, you could use this new-found time and energy, for something that will absolutely, positively, level you up and leave you with all kinds of new insights, creativity, emotional balance and even deeper rest. I’d be willing to be this little thing will also make your relationships with your partner, kids, co-workers and friends better. Now that you have the basics of the Indigo30 down — your diet and your yoga are cruising along at a lovely little tick and you’ve got the hang of it — maybe you could use this weekend to take on a new challenge. All it will require is 5-10 minutes a day.

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Oh gosh, there I go again. Pitching the crazy. Well before you deem it a new-age trend that only the patchouli-drizzled, mala bead clad wizards and witches on Platform #9-3/4 practice, I want to share some really interesting scientific research in the field of mindfulness.

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Back in the 1960s, a guy named Dr. Paul D. Maclean devised the “Triune Brain” model as a way to explain the brain’s evolution while reconciling rational human behavior with more primal and violent outbursts. The Triune Model suggests three parts to the brain:

  • Reptilian (posterior, brain stem): the source of instincts
  • Paleommamalian (mid-brain): the source of emotions
  • Neomammalian (cortex): the source of rational thought

In this hierarchy, the older brain structures (reptilian, paleomammalian) are ruled by the newer one (neomammalian). The cortex regulates and inhibits instincts and emotions so that you control behaviors and responses. Thank goodness for that!

When you experience stress, mostly extreme stress but it could be any level, this model is thrown into disarray; your survival instincts assume control. In this scenario, the lower brain structures hijack and override the cortex. Theoretically, when stress ends, you shift out of survival mode and back into regulated mode. Sometimes, however, the shift fails to properly or fully occur. When this happens, the rational mind doesn’t reclaim control and the lower brain, with nothing to inhibit it, floods you with so much stimuli that you shift into meltdown mode. Reclaiming control relies on helping your cortex resume its regulatory and inhibitory activities; the key to this is your prefrontal cortex. 

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This part of the brain is like mission control in so many ways. Known as the seat of your executive function, the prefrontal cortex affects self-regulation, decision-making, and attention processes. After high stress, this part of your brain can experience a decrease in its capability. From lessened blood flow on the left side (the location of analytical processes) to increased activity on the right (the location of sadness and anger), changes in your prefrontal cortex can cause stimuli flooding, emotional overwhelm, and dark mood swings.

Getting your cortex back on track (or, as one neuroscientist described it in this research, “getting your drunk CEO sobered up and out from under the desk”) can be done naturally through two simple daily practices. Both processes train your ability to focus your attention, the major inhibitory effort of your cortex.

Yep, you guessed it. And it’s not food. And it’s not exercise.

Reduce Anxiety Through Mindfulness

Many times the lower brain structures focus on the past or the future. If you can pause for a moment and think about any worries or fears you have, you will realize that they are all about the past or the future. Because right now, you are just sitting wherever you are, reading this blog. There is no actual threat in this moment. This one. Not the one two hours ago or the one three days from now. This one.

Mindfulness deliberately places attention in the present moment, activating the cortex through an observational process that shuts down unnecessary instincts and emotions, while activating rational thinking. << READ THAT PART OVER LIKE FIVE TIMES. 

Try this exercise two to five times per day in moments of tension and also relaxation:

  1. Deliberately pause what you’re doing.
  2. Take a deep breath in; imagine in your mind taking a step back.
  3. Turn inward; notice what you feel inside your body and mind.
  4. Suspend judgment; let anything come up. Observe without evaluating.
  5. Label what you notice (“I’m feeling _______________.”)
  6. Observe the experience as if you were watching a friend move through it.
  7. Notice when the emotion or experience subsides.
  8. Redirect your attention to a pleasant or desired focus.

So what is mindfulness? Getting present to what is actually happening, in the moment. The opposite is living in the fantasy world of thought and Storyland. And in Storyland, there lives judgment, fear, anxiety, assumption, irrational narrative, me-centered dialogue and most of all, illusion. Mindfulness helps us get present to what’s real.

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Reduce Anxiety Through Meditation

The process of meditation is a terrific strategy for training your brain in the area of attention because it deliberately creates neural pathways dedicated to deliberate control of your focus. Studies have shown that in as little as five minutes per day over a period of just ten weeks, meditation can significantly increase prefrontal activity and strength, resulting in a quieting of your overall mind and specific lower brain structures. The myth about meditation is that you have to empty your mind in order for it to be successful. In fact, your mind must wander in order for meditation to have the desired training effect. Try this:

For just five minutes every day take yourself to a quiet, safe space and close your eyes. Choose something to focus your mind on; this can be a sound, a word, an image, anything. Let all thoughts subside and maintain an attentive focus. When your mind wanders or becomes chatty, simply redirect it to your chosen focus (and know that every time you do, you are successfully training your brain).

My first meditation teacher, John Freese, taught me this, and I will never forget …

Remembering … is progress.

What that means is that if your mind wanders during a quiet sit, and you remember to come back to your point of focus (the sound, the word, the image, whatever it is) — that act of remembering? That is progress. Remembering means you are getting stronger mentally. Don’t you just LOVE that???

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Mindfulness and meditation are the two most effective brain trainers to support optimal prefrontal cortex functioning. Do you see now … this has nothing to do with religion or faith or spirituality or world view or belief system. It has to do with exercising your brain so that you can more effectively manage stress and cope with difficulty with ease and grace and problem solving creativity. The more you incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily experience, the more you will be training your brain to recalibrate, balance, and control.

What’s better? The more you strengthen your brain in moments of low stress, the better it will respond in high-stress situations allowing you to reduce anxiety.

I promised you that I would not let you focus only on food or the latest coffee creamer or who has the most stars. I promised you that I would teach you about balance in all areas. Gandhi is famous for saying, “One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department.” My team of nearly 60 teachers, employees and contributors at Indigo are constantly hearing of my demand to “walk the walk,” and I accept nothing less from them. They must do and be what they teach others to do and be. They must be true in all areas of their life, because they are leaders of truth. They are seekers of balance and authenticity in all areas. So to lead a yogic lifestyle means that we take all areas — our nourishment, our yoga, our mental health, our emotional health, our word, our behavior and our relationships — as equals parts of the whole. If you are going to take care of your body in this program, then you must also take care of your mind. And do you know what really ends up winning? Your soul.

Get on your cushion, my love. Your brain is waiting.

Keep going.

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INDIGO YOGA MEDITATION SCHEDULE

WESTSIDE STUDIO: 

Monday through Friday, classes held 12:50-1:25pm

Thursday (Zen Den “Quiet Zone,” 6pm-close) class held 5:35-6:10pm

Saturday/Sunday, classes held 9:15-9:50am

SUNDANCE SQUARE STUDIO:

Currently we do not have any meditation classes at Sundance BUT, we invite you to come to one of our Vinyasa/Restorative classes, where you will experience 40 minutes of mindful movement, 5 minutes of rest, followed by 45 minutes of restorative yoga, which many find to have similar benefits as meditation and yoga nidra. Try it all! See what is your best fit. And as always … more to come!

Vinyasa/Restorative Classes held Saturday/Sunday 4:30-6:00pm, Tuesday 6:15-7:45pm

Indigo30 DAY 11: The Stages of Change

Welcome to Day 11. I’ve armed you with tools, tips and tricks. We’ve talked recipes and ideas and hacks. I’ve stayed consistent with my message about balance, which can always be found on your mat and in your heart. For all practical purposes, you have what you need to keep going. The thing is, you are entering into a phase of the program that will push you in different realms, realms that can’t be soothed with some Magic Mushroom Powder or epsom salts. Your mood and emotions are one of the last-ditch efforts that your habits and your ego will call on when your will and determination are finally getting ahead. Social pressure will add to the dynamic, and it may only take once to hear, “Are you STILL doing that diet/yoga thing?” to make you cave to frustration, resentment, righteousness or dissolution.

Not everyone is going to love the Indigo30. Some of you are downright bummed out, disappointed and just plain irritated. It’s not what you expected and it’s not what you signed up for. Except that it is. But maybe the change that is occurring isn’t the change you had imagined.

Change is hard. No one likes it unless they choose it voluntarily. Let’s dissect change for a moment so you can see how it affects you, step by step.

The Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was developed by James O. Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island, Carlo Di Clemente and colleagues  beginning in 1977. It is based on analysis and the use of different theories of psychotherapy. The basic idea is that behavior doesn’t happen in just one step. People tend to progress through specific stages on their way to change, and each of us moves at a different pace. Sometimes, we go backwards and have to repeat a step over and over. In fact, some people never totally progress because they get stuck in a certain step and aren’t willing to do the uncomfortable and demanding work it takes to step off the hamster wheel, so to speak. And, trying to give someone advice or consequences for one stage while they are still in another … well, it simply doesn’t work; they aren’t ready. You’ve all experienced this yourself. If you’ve ever said, “Why couldn’t I see it when it was happening?” you know what I’m talking about and how it feels. It’s a hindsight thing. You just weren’t ready.

In each stage of change, we have to wrangle and wrestle with different issues. Messages will be heard differently, advice will be heeded or ignored, and conversation can either be considered, threaten, or dismiss. Knowing what stage you are in with certain things will also help you more insightfully understand which stage those around you in; and when you know this piece of information, your communication can be tailored in a way that’s more effective.

The Five Stages of Change include:

  1. Precontemplation. This is the first stage, and it’s when people are not yet acknowledging that there is a problematic behavior that needs to be adjusted, modified, replaced or totally stopped. People in this stage tend to defend their current bad habit(s) and do not feel it is a problem (sometimes it’s even your problem). They may be defensive in the face of other people’s efforts to pressure them to quit or modify. They do not focus their attention on quitting and tend not to discuss their bad habit with others. In some addiction circles, this stage is also called denial.
  2. Contemplation. Okay, so, there’s a problem. And, the person is still not sure they are ready to change. Here is when people have a bit more awareness that there might, af8b174b4c3132bee8fb6cc65345d8cb.jpgjust, perhaps be some consequences and even might spend some time thinking about the problem… but still aren’t ready to do anything about it. They weigh pros and cons, they may even consider the long-term impact, but are still not totally on board to lay down the habit and take any action. Overall they do not see yet that any benefits associated with the quitting or reduction of the habit will outweigh the short-term costs.
  3. Action/Willpower. Change occurs. Often because something drastic, some dramatic consequence, a serious wake-up call, or some impactful incident occurs that shifts the dynamic overall. It doesn’t always have to be negative, in fact, sometimes people move into the third stage because of something inspirational or even a program like the Indigo30, where others are participating and there is a new level of accountability. Nonetheless, the person believes they have the ability to change their behavior and are actively involved in taking steps to change. This is a miraculous stage, because it is when people start depending on their own willpower, versus the power of the default behavior. Overt efforts are made to quit or change the old habit. This is also the time when there is the greatest risk of relapse, so it’s imperative that whatever steps have been taken and the support that has been built stay intact so the person can leverage them and stay motivated.
  4. Maintenance. Ongoing, daily maintenance of the new habit is the ritual of this stage. Not only are the rituals maintained, but so is the willpower to avoid temptation and return to old ways. The goal of the maintenance stages is to maintain the new status quo. Progress made is a constant reminder. What one is striving for has purpose and meaning. Patience is a strong thread in the fabric of maintenance, as the person in this stage knows that it takes time to let go of old behaviors and successfully maintain new ones. Thoughts of “how I used to be” and old habits will regularly occur, but at this point, temptation is resisted.

You can probably categorize yourself as well as the people around you, witnessing your stage. Some don’t want to hear one word about what you are doing (they are in a precontemplation stage). Others may be asking you questions, and at the same time, challenging your responses — they doubt the process, argue their position and defend their behaviors (contemplation). Others are carefully watching and taking notes, gathering information and probably even planning their own journey to change. This is important for them; just as our pre-program week of preparation was for you. Diving in head first to behavior change (“cold turkey”) works for a few, but not for most. These folks are in an action stage. And finally and most excitedly, you may have people in your life who are really interested and want you to teach them what you are learning. They are committed and motivated — by you! They are in a maintenance stage.

Now remember — this stuff doesn’t just happen on its own. The habits, the behaviors and all of the effects have had lots of time to simmer. And when you cook it all down to its base, what you are left with is simple but powerful and all-encompassing for many: fear. Think about it for a moment — why, if change is something (the Indigo30, for example) that will only benefit you, make your life better, help you achieve things you never thought possible, improve all aspects of your life — why would anyone be so incredibly stubborn and reluctant to give up old patterns? In a word, fear.

Fear of admission — If you admit you have a problem, then by default, you acknowledge that you need to do something about it. Change is uncomfortable, but for many, mediocrity, status quo and old ways of being, while unproductive, ineffective, painful and even depressing, still may feel easier.

Fear of failure — Some people have tried so many times to lose weight, fix their health issues and problems, and what we see most — exercise more and eat less (only to end up eating more and exercising less) — that they consider each attempt a bona fide failure, whether they actually made progress or not. Failure in its actuality sucks for sure. The proposition of repeating it over and over is terrifying.

Fear of success — Oh yes, this is such an interesting one. So… what happens if I actually succeed? What kind of new pressures does that put on me to maintain? Some people have assigned their illness, their weight, and their health issues as their identity. So imagine what kind of life shift not even knowing who you are anymore is for someone who has attached so completely and entirely to their weight as identity, or their illness as who they are as a person. What if you suddenly had to change your name? It would be as if the old you just vanished; and with it all the stories, all the history, all the reasons to behave how you do. So when you are no longer Overweight-Mark or Tired-Jenny or In-Pain-Jane, the prospect of losing the story and the payoffs of attention, sympathy, lack of responsibility you get from that story/identity — is a big trade-in.

Fear of responsibility — From the trade-in I just spoke of, also comes a new responsibility that some people simply aren’t wanting or willing to take on. To accept the idea that they could feel better by changing their diet and lifestyle is to accept the fact that their own actions in part could have contributed to their illness or health condition — and owning that is not only difficult, but takes a huge amount of bravery and vulnerability.

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In yoga class, I often remind my students to remember that all of the stuff I teach them is, in fact, just information. Ultimately, they get to decide what to do or not to do with it. It’s the same with this. You will, undoubtedly, go through some of these stages, if you haven’t already. Knowing that there are actually stages at all will calibrate your dial, even if you do nothing at all to progress yourself through them.

In the end, you just get up each morning and give it your best shot. I imagine all of you, deep down, are aiming to just keep learning and be a better human overall. I am too. Today I had a wild moment of insight while talking to a friend about a pattern I have of rescuing. I said to her, “Do I attract it? Am I drawn to it for selfish purposes? Do I need it to feel needed? Do I want it? Or is it … (I sat there for several seconds) … is it just a default behavior?”  I walked away from that conversation feeling somewhat more consciously evolved because I took a moment to look at myself and question my own interpersonal pattern, and went a step further and verbalized it to a friend, which made it real, and made me own it. There was no solution or answer; but the acknowledgment of it was likely a step I needed. Now perhaps, with that aspect of my life, I will move into a new stage — the action stage — and not rescue the wounded (ooohhhhh it’s gonna be hard.)

So take this information and let it distill. Be gentle with yourself if you are still in stages 1 and 2, and call on your people if you need help. Lead by quiet example and be confident in your choices to the best of your ability. Seek socialization, not isolation, unless you can feel in your bones that you need to ground and restore on your own.

And, above all, keep going.

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Indigo30 DAY 10: Time savers, and by request — W30 hacks

Between reading labels, prepping food, researching recipes, shopping, planning when to go to yoga, chatting with your Indigo30 pals, scrolling Instagram pages and website and checking in on the Indigo30 page … and finally EATING (followed by lots of dishes and lots of smelly yoga laundry), you probably feel like this thing has consumed your life. Oh the days of unconsciousness… they were so carefree!

On top of it all, you are only one-third of the way through your program. (Gulp). But that should tell you something — that by the time you are nearing the end, you will have this thing down like clockwork, not having to think so hard and work so hard. Do you remember what the habit circle said? It said that by the time the habit is formed, the brain basically takes a break from that task, because knows that it’s ingrained, so it moves on to other things that need its focused attention. The result? You just do the things without too much deliberation or negotiation.

Also, because you are only a third of the way in, I also still have tons and tons of time-saving, super cool tips and info to share! Don’t feel overwhelmed; I will dole them out little by little. You ready?!

Post your menu. If you have a whiteboard or a blackboard or even a big piece of poster board — posting big and bold in or around your kitchen can help you stay on track. Post more than just the menu too! Whole30 recommends making three lists and a few other things:

  1. List #1: The first list should include 3-5 “go-to” dishes you love to eat — easy meals that require little prep and not much brain power. Take a picture of this list and keep it on your device so you can easily shop for a quick, delicious, healthy meal.653c17e5dece2106f2387c3aec942b2d.jpg
  2. List #2: The second list should include the foods you have ready to eat in the fridge (this is so genius): leftovers, cooked and raw vegetables, defrosting meat, sauces and salad dressings. This list serves as inspiration when it’s time to make lunch or dinner.
  3. List #3: The third list is for things you’ve run out of (or are almost out of), so you know to stock up the next time you visit the store. It’s easy to remember what you need for the meal, but dish soap will assuredly be an afterthought when you’re over the moon about finding the coconut butter.
  4. Your yoga schedule: write it up there. Better yet? Make buddy dates with your pals and write their names next to the classes you plan to attend.
  5. Motivation: whatever it looks like for you — inspiration, a compliment someone gave you, a goal you have set — something to remind you that you can do this.

Fast food Indigo30 style. With the daily blog, the Tuesday Posting Parties, and all of your friends chiming in, surely you have adopted a few new tricks to prep and eat quickly if needed. Here are a few more:

  • The Art of Freezing. Melissa Joulwan, author of Well Fed and The Clothes Make the Girl, says, “When I just can’t bear to pack one more work lunch (and I’m feeling really lazy), I don’t even bother to cook my food. Just put two servings of frozen vegetables in a microwaveable container, then drizzle with olive oil and a good shake of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add a microwaveable protein (grilled chicken, frozen cooked shrimp), cram on the lid and shove the container in your bag. At lunchtime, microwave the whole shebang for three minutes and voila! Instant lunch with no real cooking time.” (I love how dramatic she is.)
  • Speedy Spinach. Whole30 has one idea about Speedy Spinach, and it’s remarkably similar to my beloved Pret a Manger protein pots and veggie pots I get in the U.K. on teaching trips that I always try to recreate when I come back home. They’re so simple it’s silly. Put some spinach leaves in the bottom of a container. Add an egg. That’s it. Drizzle with evoo and salt when you are ready to eat. It is astonishingly delicious for as basic as it is and it’s a million times better than just an egg. The other one I love, the veggie pot, has spinach, hummus, radishes, carrot chips and sprouts, but that’s for post I30. Whole30 has a good spin on it too: spinach in the bottom, when ready add hot food containing meat and veggies over the top — the residual heat will lightly wilt the spinach leaves, creating a super-yum, hearty lil’ bowl of goodness.

HACK: Vital Farms pre-boiled eggs come 4 to a box but individually packaged with 2 eggs, salt and pepper. Eggs aren’t hard to boil, but you do have to peel and stuff… and sometimes, there just ain’t time. And you can count on happy chickens laying quality eggs with Vital Farms. 

  • Veggies on hand. Carrots, celery, snap peas, zucchini, sunburst tomatoes, thick cut mushrooms, watermelon radishes — all great in snack-size ziplocks and ready to roll when you are. Another favorite of mine is to steam a good amount of baby Yukon gold potatoes. So easy to heat up and so divine with evoo drizzled and kosher salt sprinkled. Extra good paired with some asparagus and a boiled egg (and more evoo). I learned of that little trio in Italy. My dear friend made it for me for lunch one day and I’ve been hooked ever since. Molto bene!
  • Chop till you drop. If you are chopping up vegetables, don’t be afraid to chop more to use as on-the-go snacks, recipe adds and quick-dish readiness. The worst that can happen is the leftovers hit the compost (you have one, riiiight???) or your pet rabbit gets treats.
  • The brown paper bag trick. A brown paper lunch bag will ripen fruit and veggies faster than leaving them out. Bananas, peaches, pears and avocados will all fast track in the bag (fast track is about 24 hours to ripen.)
  • Les Onigons et Le Mirepoix. Whole30 suggests teaching yourself how to chop an 90741-mirepoix.jpgonion like a pro with a video… that’s cool. And for about 50 cents more you can buy all that stuff pre-chopped. Fifty cents is worth my hands not smelling and my eyes not watering. It’s also worth the 5-10 minutes it would take me to chop. If you don’t know what Mirepoix is, it’s AWESOME — it’s a chopped up blend of white onion, carrot and celery — the basic staples of bone broth, soups, stirfrys, you name it! Trader Joe’s of course.
  • Speaking of bone broth … For the love of God, get over your Instapot-phobia and just use the damn thing! IT’S NOT THAT HARD. REPEAT: IT’S NOT THAT HARD. It goes like this: put the stuff in the Instapot, put the lid on, hit the button. I’m not trying to be a smart ass. That’s actually what you do. Bone broth is my most common creation — I’ve tried a few other things but honestly my go-to that I use it for the most is bone broth. It’s PACKED with nutrients and minerals. It’s also rich in amino acids not found in meat, and chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, the compounds sold as supplements to reduce inflammation, arthritis and joint pain. As if that’s not enough, since everyone is jumping on the collagen train right now, you will be delighted to know that the soup bones that are used in bone broth include collagen, which is a protein. BB aids in healing leaky gut and regulating digestion, muscle repair and growth, it helps balance your nervous system and strengthens your immunity. You use it all the time in soups and recipes. It’s delicious by itself when you feel crummy. Should I keep going? Go to the grocery store, ask the meat department for some bone broth bones, get the Mirepoix, add all the herbs and water and throw it all in the pot and hit the button. Two hours later, you will be the proud producer of about 6-8 mason jars full of this magic healing elixir.

HACK: Buy your Instapot at Bed Bath & Beyond – www.retailmenot.com will always have a 20% coupon you can use. Otherwise, just ask them for a discount and they will find you something! Plus they have easy returns. 

HACK: Pour bone broth into ice-cube trays and freeze. Anytime you need to fry something up or sauté a pan of wonderfulness, just toss in a cube or two! 

  • My favorite thing of all – Daily Harvest cups! Oh my, nothing makes my heart sing like a Daily Harvest cup. They come shipped to your door in a box lined with protected dry ice. They are flavorful and FAST. Smoothies, bowls
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    Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

    and soups are compliant (they have other things like lattes, sundaes, overnight oats and chia cups but those are for post I30). Dump some of your homemade bone broth if you want a clear soup, or bone broth and coconut milk for something heartier. Add protein (I love to add shredded chicken or pan-seared scallops) Straight from D-H, here is the list of compliant cups:

All of our cups are gluten-free and vegan, and the following cups are also Whole30 compliant being grain-free, legume-free, and free of any added sweeteners:

Acai + Cherry Smoothie
Apple + Greens Smoothie
Banana + Greens Smoothie
Blueberry + Hemp Smoothie
Cacao + Avocado Smoothie
Carrot + Chia Smoothie
Chai + Coconut Smoothie
Chocolate + Blueberry Smoothie
Cold Brew + Almond Smoothie
Dragonfruit + Lychee Smoothie
Mango + Greens Smoothie
Mango + Papaya Smoothie
Mint + Cacao Smoothie
Pineapple + Matcha Smoothie
Watermelon + Cucumber Smoothie

Cauliflower Rice + Pesto Harvest Bowl

Cauliflower + Leek Stew
Coconut + Carrot Soup

Chocolate + Hazelnut Sundae

HACK: Use this code to get a free cup with purchase: https://daily-harvest.com/r/RE-D4D7S7K

  • Lightning Fast Foods. Frozen vegetables as mentioned, pre-packaged vegetables (Central Market, Whole Foods and Tom Thumb have exceptional PPV sections), pre-made salsa, guacamole, canned pumpkin, canned squash, canned butternut squash and packaged broth — all awesome. So many wonderful, organic, sugar-free and preservative free options. Just read those labels!

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So I know I have equipped you with a ton of ideas for saving time, but promise me that you will use these tips wisely, not to cut corners or rush through your meals. My hope is that they allow you to spend more time doing the things you love and less time in prep and planning mode. Coming soon: “Weekend Take-Your-Time Recipes” that will take lovely, sweet, drawn out time, that you will, once you eat the deliciousness, understand why the process is SO WORTH IT! Yay!

Have a great day 10! More tips and hacks to come!

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B

Indigo30 DAY 9: The Traveling Indigo30 Show

d9.pngDay 9! Reason to triumph! Think of all the hurdles you’ve cleared, the obstacles you’ve dodged, the success you have already encountered! Scale? What scale? Who cares! You’re on fire and have your cravings corralled. Bravo! Now let’s tackle some tougher topics likely to be headed your way.

I’ve already had a few panicked text messages, “I have to travel for work this week, what do I do? How will I eat? What if I can’t practice?” Or, “I have a dinner I have to go to, I’d rather not but it’s for _____,” (insert occasion.)

Indigos, I feel your pain. I travel a lot for work as well, and there is nothing easy about maintaining stellar health on the road. Well first of all, don’t panic. There are tips and tricks. And don’t stress. The whole point of this thing is to decrease your stress levels, not create more. So before you go wheels up, let’s take a few minutes and make a plan. You don’t need to recluse into your home and renounce all restaurants. Imagine how badass you will feel when you not only master your food and yoga choices at home, but out in the big wonderful world as well!

Here are a few tips to start you thinking:

Daily on-the-go tips:

  • Plan plan plan, prep prep prep.
  • The glorious, wondrous egg. Boil them and bag them. They are the absolute best in a pinch for staving off ravenous hunger. I literally (this is so weird, I can’t believe I’m telling you this) keep olive oil and salt in my car to drizzle and sprinkle on them for this exact reason… I bet I use it at least once a week!
  • Olives are a really great salt fix. We like the small packets of “Just a Handful of Olives” from Trader Joe’s. Packed in evoo, the fat and the salty flavor always hit the spot. The only bad part? The handful size has to be measured by a toddler. Because one pack is usually just a tease.
  • There are more health food stores popping up everywhere, and even most large grocers are getting on the Paleo/Whole30 train and offering compliant items. You’d be surprised, so alway ask.

Eating Out

The timing of this blog is perfect because just last night I was in one of these classic situations. I had to go to a benefactors dinner for my boys’ school, at a very nice restaurant in town. I sat with some old acquaintances and was having lovely conversation about our children and life. No alcohol was served, which was AWESOME. It’s particularly easy to not drink when there are no drinks. The dinners of course were all the same — salad, beef tenderloin, chicken, veggies and potatoes. I mean, could I ask for anything better? Not really! And…the dressing on the salad surely had sugar in it; the sauce on the tenderloin absolutely had sugar in it; the chicken had a light breading thing on it and the sauce with it had sugar in it; and last but not least, there is no way those delectable mashed potatoes weren’t loaded with cream and butter. So here is what I did — because for me (it may be different for you) no elimination diet is worth making the servers’, who didn’t take special orders in this case, lives difficult. For me, potentially insulting the people who paid for my lovely dinner and that of 100 others isn’t worth it. And mostly, making the people at my table uncomfortable by being an overall high-maintenance princess isn’t my thing. So I took the responsibility for Whole-30-ing my plate the best I could. I confidently passed on all the bread and delightful baked goods slathered in butter with ease. I ate the greens, avoided the dressing coated portions, and didn’t eat the goat cheese and the candied pecans (I wanted to, but I didn’t.) I ate the tenderloin, and just tried to move the sauce off. I ate some chicken and gently scraped the breading off. I had a few bites of the potatoes until I realized that they were not just potatoes. I waved off dessert with a smile and a pleasant, “no thank you.” And then I set my fork down. It was no big deal. I did the best I could.  When given coffee, without thinking, I said yes to cream and the server poured like 1 teaspoon in, which typically I would have laughed hysterically at and asked for the rest of the carafe. But, I didn’t. I had a few sips and it was fine and good. The win here — I remained unoffensive and I ate less than I usually would have at this enjoyable restaurant. When the evening ended, I left without a buzz, my pants didn’t make me feel like a sausage in casing, and it was only 8:30pm, enough time to get home and lucidly, energetically write more thrilling content for you and get to bed by 10:30. I walked the Middle Way in a social scenario with genuine know-how.

Now, this morning I woke up with a splitting headache. So there you go. Thank you sugar laden-sauces that I tried valiantly to SCRAPE OFF. DAMN YOU!

Here are some tips if you are able to have more choices when going out and have the ability to customize your order:

  • You may just have to channel your inner Sally here, and not worry about what the server thinks and order it exactly how you need it. Don’t let them bring you bread just to keep from being embarrassed to say “No bread please.” — I mean, one or all of three things will assuredly happen: you will either eat the bread and feel badly, or you will eat part of the bread, wasting the other part and feel badly, or you will waste the entire thing, letting it sit there only later to be tossed in the trash… and feel badly.
  • Ask what ingredients are in the sauces, spices, soups, etc — do not feel silly asking, a good server will know what the food is made of/with, and a new server will be/should be grateful to learn if they don’t know. Sometimes just telling them — “I’m doing the Whole30 right now (it’s a common term, most everyone knows of it) and I need to have my meal be compliant. Can you help me make that happen?”
  • Skip the charcuterie. Don’t even tempt yourself. Most of the meats are cured anyway, and you could potentially graze the aged cheddar and then it’s game over (because that stuff is delicious.)
  • If you are a pork eater, here is a good tip: always ask if the pork is pastured pork, sourced from a local farm that treats their pigs well. It’s a reasonable question. My vegetarians are poking holes all over that statement, but listen, it’s a topic that infiltrates our food industries all over this country. My kid even did a huge project on how horribly our chickens are raised. That’s what prompted us to raise our own chickens!th-3.jpeg
  • You can always sub out anything grain-based or legumes (polenta, pasta, rice, beans, quinoa, etc.) for vegetables or salad. If your’e feeling innovative, you could browse the pasta sections and see if any of it could be made to put over greens. Again, maybe sounds a little unusual, but it’s not unreasonable!
  • Check out this Whole30 Restaurant Survival Guide Podcast on Real Food with Dana
  • Practice. The more you do this, the less daunting it is. I find that if I help the server help me, they are often really interested to know more about it!

Traveling

I’d like to tell you this is easier, but it can be real tricky. Airports, restaurants, hotels — and if you travel internationally, the lure of trying new things and being adventurous is one of the best parts! So dcc48b7e78918f5c_shutterstock_154420184.jpg.xxxlarge_2x.jpgtruthfully, I do not recommend doing the I30/W30 on an international vacation-trip. JUST ENJOY IT WITH NO WORRIES unless you know for sure that certain foods leave you helpless in the bathroom. Remember, W30 is a reset — so it’s best not to schedule it when you are jet-setting off to Paris for your 10th wedding anniversary. The good news is that most of the tips I’m providing in this blog work well when you travel afar, too. Have your emergency snack kit on you: snacks (include some with protein), water, tea bags, Doterra Peppermint Beadlets (sold at IY, online or from a rep). Or, do what I do when I get to my destination, which I find fun and interesting — go grocery shopping! When I go to London to teach several times a year, one of my very favorite things to do is hit up M&S , the Borough Market or Waitrose and stock up my little hotel room with compliant things and personal U.K. faves. It can truly be something to look forward to.

Now, yoga. What to do if you are on the road:

Surprise! If you are traveling, you can still do yoga. You can do yoga anywhere! It may seem like it’s not the same, but even just getting down on the floor at your hotel and doing some sun salutations, a headstand, a pigeon and some spinal twists IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. But, if you can, search out the following:

  • I have some videos on a site called Mat2Mat — they are old (filming class videos is just something I’ve never really had a calling for) but, they will work. There is a 20, 30 and 60 minute lesson on that site. There are plenty of other teachers on Mat2Mat as well. Another great class subscription site that I personally use is YogaGlo — many master teachers, wide variety and they are constantly updating.
  • Get yourself a travel yoga mat. They are light, can roll or fold, and will remind you to take a few and stretch it out. I prefer the Lululemon’s lightweight “Un” Mat but image.pngManduka also has a great travel mat that we sell at the studio. You can fold it easily and that is sometimes better for packing than a long rolled up mat.
  • If you prefer an Indigo-like experience, look for Baptiste Affiliate Studios all over the country and the globe. They will greet you with open arms when you say you are from Fort Worth/Indigo!
  • If there is no Baptiste Affiliate a look up “heated vinyasa yoga” in whatever city you need. There are studios on every corner these days — there is sure to be something where you are going!
  • And like I told one of you this week who is traveling, if all else fails, go down to the sauna or steam room and crank out a few sun sals in there. I have been known to do that on many an occasion myself, and it ain’t bad.

Finally…

If you do have a vacation planned, get real with yourself. Is it worth it to stay on the Whole30? It might be. Gelato in Italy, fish tacos in Playa, pan au chocolate in France … gosh. These are not things to pass up. These are some of the most beautiful experiences in life if you are lucky enough to have them. So, if you decide to take a break, be prepared:

  1. Depending on where you are in your program you may have healed and changed enough things about your health that off-roading may lead to discomfort. You may need to pack Advil and Tums and be ready for a mighty hangover.
  2. Like I shared above, if you do go off-menu a little, don’t go head first. Make the best choices you can, and eat off-menu items in moderation.
  3. If you decide to partake in adult bevs, be sure to hydrate. Your system and brain are not used to it anymore and will react more quickly. Yes, congratulations, you have become a lightweight! The upside – it’s cheaper!
  4. Be prepared to come home from your trip not feeling 100% — you may return feeling tired, bloated and yuck overall. But guess what you can do? Start over. Because you know this stuff works and it’s always here for you.

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No matter what happens, I can’t stress enough that you should never feel your program is a failure. If you complete this thing even having learned one new thing, then it is a success. And I am certain you will have learned many new things. I mean, how will you ever forget all the crap you learned in the Poo Blog?

Keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 5: You used to like the weekend…

…and now you are dreading it.

You are worried about the football games (how will I tailgate without a cocktail in my monogrammed Yeti?)

You are worried about not being able to fully enjoy the movie (it’s not the same without popcorn and a Coke, so why bother?)

You are worried about the buffet of junk food in the break room to celebrate another 40 hours on the clock (but I really deserve it, this week was hard enough already.)

You are worried about your friends and family (they will tease me, they will question me, they will pressure me.)

In a lot of ways, what you are worried about is just good old-fashioned peer pressure. Because when you think about the reality of what’s happening right now, which is simply that you are choosing to clean up your nutrition and do yoga for 30 days (like, f’real — that’s it) the idea of someone shaming you, belittling you, making you feel badly about yourself or awkward, different, and excluded is just a downright bully move. And what do we know about bullies? We know that the only reason they make others feel badly is because they are feeling insecure, threatened, jealous or out of control themselves, and for whatever reason, from upbringing to trauma to social constructs, the way they deal with that discomfort is to make someone else feel small and inadequate. I wish I could give you the whole, “We aren’t in seventh grade anymore, so just suck it up” speech, but bullying is just as alive and real in adulthood as it is in middle school. It’s just a lot more polished and manipulative. And it can happen even with something as innocuous as changing how you eat.

Now it might not be so much peer pressure for you as it might be a feeling of “I deserve to let loose,” or “I deserve to have a cheat day,” or whatever other tales your ego is spinning right now about how you deserve the pleasure even at the cost of all you have already invested. Or, let’s be honest; you just don’t want to be left out. Maybe your friends and family fully support your endeavors, but they sure seem to be having a lot more fun than you are right now.

No matter what your circumstance, one of the biggest challenges and stressors of the Whole30 (not necessarily the Indigo30 with it’s addition of yoga everyday, but rather the food portion of this program) is navigating social situations. It’s not just the weekend, either; it’s pretty much anytime outside of a normal work or school day. Evenings, date nights, office parties, office break rooms, holidays, sporting events and even just stressful times when an average go-to is some kind of social happy hour.

I have a friend who is a dare-devil. He is almost 70 years old and has done ten lifetimes of amazing stuff that I will probably never see the likes of. I love hearing his stories of adventure and near misses. But the one thing he won’t do is skydive.

“If I’m going out (as in death), I’m not going out like that,” (laughing, like this is normal conversation). “I want to be doing something epic; not just splatting to the earth in a matter of minutes. I’ve worked too hard and too long to go out that stupidly.”

I think about the Whole30 like that. If I’m going to blow it, I am going to blow it in a big, epic way. Like by having a 5-star meal at a Michelin restaurant wearing an incredible dress and my highest heels. Or by eating red velvet cake at Harrod’s in London on my birthday (I did that during a Whole30 for my 44th, and it was totally worth it, and almost worth the blasting headache I had the next morning.) Or by eating the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that my little guy made for me as a surprise when I got home from a long work day because he says he sees how hard I work and wanted to do something sweet for me. You guys, those are legit reasons to derail. A cheap beer in a styrofoam cup at the TCU game is not. Buffalo wings with your fair-weather office friends are not. A handful of M&Ms that you threw in your mouth wihtout thinking just because it’s daily habit, is not. Those things are absolutely, 100% not worth feeling like complete and total crap AND being disappointed in yourself AND, technically, having to start over.

Now it may be the easy way out, but you must admit — staying home — works.  Look, it’s not like we are asking you to suddenly become a hermit or develop an onset case of agoraphobia. But, you’d be surprised what can start to happen in your personal space when you swap those weekend nights out with home time that’s not under the influence of anything but whole food and consistent yoga. As I sit here and write, I am an example. I wanted to give my Indigo30 participants something new this year, something fresh, and something straight from my heart. I wanted to be in totally new creation. Instead of just forwarding all of the Whole30 daily newsletters (which you’ve all already gotten for two years in a row) I challenged myself to write my own daily blog about this entire experience. 35 blogs in 35 days. Each takes me about 2-3 hours a day, depending on what kind of research I am putting into it. Because like many, I get my kids up at 6am, get them to school, work all day, do all the mom and kid stuff from 4-10pm and finally get them to bed, the only time I have to write is between 11pm and 6am. Not ideal. But the only option.

I thought real hard about trying to do it ahead of time, but 1- I’m just not that good at doing things ahead of time 2- I just don’t have extra time to do things ahead of time and 3- if I did it ahead of time, I wouldn’t be able to share what I’m experiencing in the moment, each day, just like you. I’d pretty much be guessing or knocking off what the internet says and just making things up about both of us. So I gave myself a big goal: add 2-3 hours of work per day to my schedule of parenting two boys, running a company of nearly 60 employees and hundreds of daily students, teaching yoga, keeping up my own daily personal yoga practice and managing life in general. You know, because I still have to like go to the grocery store and take the dog to the vet and get the oil changed in my car. And shower periodically. And I knew that the only way I could do this is if I was not drinking, not eating any sugar or processed food, not loading up coffee with cream and syrups, and not eating late at night after having not eaten all day. I knew that the only way I could fully give to you, is if I fully took care of myself.

So listen, not only could this be a time for you to clean house nutritionally and immerse yourself in yoga commitment, it could be a time when you shut out the distractions of social life and pressures and buckle down on something you’ve always wanted to do. This is as clear-headed as you will ever be, during these 30 days. Why not carpe diem that shit?

In the meantime, because I know some things can’t be avoided, here are some tips for social situations.

• Eat before you go, or bring your own food. Bringing your own food can be dodgy and invite criticism, eye-rolling or teasing, so just be prepared. Might be better to just eat before you go.

• Order club soda with a lime and mint in a fancy cocktail glass. I absolutely 100% promise you, no one is going to question you. They’ll probably just think it’s vodka anyway. Now you look like everyone else! And guess what, the bubbles kind of perk you up!

• Just tell the truth. If you downplay your endeavor, others will downplay your endeavor. If you tell others how great you feel and how far you’ve come, you do something most aren’t expecting — you invite, include and inspire.

• When you get home, congratulate yourself! Have one of your favorite, super-special Whole30 snacks waiting, your so-comfy jams laid out, and Netflix queued up (remember, you need to have a reward to lock down the anticipation and the craving for the excitement of the new habit). And then, my friend, sleep with the angels, knowing you are going to wake up tomorrow feeling like a damn superhero while all the party peeps are hungover and late to yoga.

• Talk to your friends. Ask for their support in earnest. Let them know that their teasing and sarcasm doesn’t empower you or anyone else. Be honest. You never know, they may just open up and ask you to help them.

• Best bit of advice when you are in a social setting and someone offers you a drink or off-limits bite? Say, “No, thank you.” And move on.

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Brooke’s Besties!

Mocktails are actually kind of fun, they taste amazing, and can really take the place of that glass-in-hand thing we can sometimes feel we need in social settings. Here is a great recipe from the Whole30 book (page 391) that we’ve tried and give our vote!

IMG_3602Rosemary Berry Smash (serves 2, prep time 5 minutes)

1/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1/2 lemon, juiced

12 ounces sparkling water

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Muddle raspberries and rosemary leaves (removed from stem) in a large glass. Add the lemon juice and sparkling water, and shake or mix thoroughly. Strain the misture into a new glass, discarding the rosemary leaves. Add ice if desired.

*Muddle means to press ingredients against the side or bottom of the glass to release the flavor. You can buy a muddler or use the heavy end of a butter knfe or the round end of a wooden spoon.

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Way to crush your first 4 days, Indigos. Keep going.

B