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!”

image.png
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.

image

One more day.

Keep going.

B

 

Indigo30 DAY 28: The MYPaleo5

You’re about done with this thing, and I’m about to kick you out of your snuggly little nest with all the rest of your baby bird friends. What to do next? Do you really want to know what I think you should do from here on out? Do you want to know what I am going to do from here on out?

The MYPaleo5. That’s my name for how to roll the other 11 months of the year.

IMG_3800.jpeg

MEDITATION • YOGA • PALEO

How to do the MYPaleo5:

  1. Do the Indigo30, which is the Whole30 nutritional reset, along with daily yoga every September.
  2. Genuinely complete the re-introduction, the Fast Track or the Slow Roll, to the best of your ability. Journal what you experience with each food group. Keep it for next year, so you can see what has changed after 11 months.
  3. When that is complete, adopt a Paleo diet (see Day 3 Blog Post, “Whole30 v. Paleo v. Keto” to review the parameters of a Paleo diet – I also love the website, Paleo on a Budget for really breaking down Paleo in super easy terms. (And she has a recipe for Paleo Maple Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies, so… yeah.) Go for 80-90% of the time or at least 5 days a week, allowing for leniency and margin during social events, holidays and special occasions.
  4. Have a willpower plan. Maintain and nurture your small group.
  5. Meditate and do a mindfulness practice at least 5 days a week. This can range from 5-10 minutes when you wake up (literally, wake up 15 minutes earlier, use the bathroom, and sit your butt on your cushion) to gratitudes with your loved ones to attending all the many daily meditation classes we offer at Indigo Yoga. Friends, this practice is EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT IF NOT MORE THAN YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE. THIS IS YOUR STATE OF MIND. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART.
  6. Commit to in-studio yoga 5 days a week. The other 2 days you can do other workouts or rest. Doing anything less than 5 will — for you, after having been on your mat every day — weaken your cue, routine and ritual strength, which means you won’t feel the same rewards as you do now (strength, stamina, discipline, empowerment, pride … even just for showing up …) You don’t want to weaken your momentum.
  7. Anytime you feel like you are getting too lose with your “margin,” commit to 5 days of disciplined Whole30 and yoga and reset. I am certain any of your Indigo30 2018 comrades would join you if you need the support!

In the meantime, here is a basic overview of a Paleo diet. As you will see there are things on here that are going to shock you and make you jump for joy! And… all in moderation. Like all things. All the time, everywhere… remember little grasshoppers … The Middle Way.

What you CAN HAVE:

• Meat – bacon too, of course, always bacon!
• Fish
• Vegetables
• Fruit
• Nuts
• Seeds

• Dairy
• White Rice
• White Potato
• Natural Sweeteners such as: raw honey, maple syrup, coconut nectar
• Dark chocolate — WHAT!! YES!! IT’S TRUE!

What Paleo suggests NOT eating
• Grains / Wheat / Gluten / Corn
• Soy
• Legumes
• Sugar (like high-fructose corn syrup, table sugar, etc)
• Overly processed foods

image.pngThere is loads and loads and LOADS of information on the internet and a gazillion books on Paleo living, so you are certainly not short of resources. My favorites are hands down Paleo Magazine and the Well Fed Magazine. My two favorite books are Practical Paleo and Paleo Comfort Foods. I know I haven’t even scratched the surface!

________

Bonus! Here are some of the most popular Paleo recipes as an early triumph treat!

________

Bonus #2, and if I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t share this with you because I’m a little covetous of it! But I love you.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

FullSizeRender

Brooke’s favorite Paleo recipe OF. ALL. TIME. This pic here? Actual footage of the last batch I made…
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 15 cookies
Calories 253 kcal
Author Rachel Conners

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil room temperature
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 egg room temperature (can also use a flax egg to keep it vegan – 1 tablespoon flax meal + 2.5 tablespoons water, whisk together and let set for 10 minutes before using)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cups (9 oz.) blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) chopped dark chocolate see notes
  • Flaky sea salt to sprinkle on top (optional)

Instructions

  1. Beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  2. Add the almond flour, salt, and baking soda to the wet ingredients. Mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chopped chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (can prepare up to 48 hours ahead of time).
  3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Use a cookie scoop to form cookies and place on a parchment lined baking sheet; press down slightly. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired. Bake for 10 minutes or just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges.

Recipe Notes

To keep completely paleo, make your own chocolate or use Santa Barbara Chocolate’s Coconut Sugar Sweetened Dark Chocolate (code BAKERITA will get you $10 off).

Have a great day 28!

Keep going!
B

Indigo30 DAY 26: The purpose of happiness, and the happiness of purpose

Can you imagine how many Americans have “lose 10-20 pounds” on their goal sheet on January 2? I am in the fitness business. I know first hand that it’s… a lot. It’s staggering, actually. This goal is above most all of the following:

  • overall health and wellness
  • family goals
  • financial growth/stabilityimage.png
  • work success/promotion/earning
  • travel
  • buy a new ______
  • get the diploma/degree/certification
  • home projects
  • activities and hobbies
  • happiness

You read that right … happiness is sometimes not even on a goal list. It’s not on the little picture I posted here either. But “weight loss” is on there THREE TIMES. “Happiness?” Nowhere to be found.

Are you happy?

Like, truly?

I am leaving a lot of space right there for you to think about it. I know some of you are truly happy. In fact, one of you just texted me this: “I am grateful to be at a place in my life where I am just immensely happy and feel like my cup truly runneth over.” But you know what? This girl means it. And she works hard for it. In a way that I’ve never quite seen anyone do before. But if I tell you how I think she does it, I will give away the whole story…

Again,

Are you happy?

While that simmers, recall all we have learned about cues, routines, rewards, habits. Now I will add in a new concept; not so different from routines and habits — rituals. I spoke about this in my very first blog for the program. A ritual is different from a routine and even a habit in that it is motivated by a deeply held value. These routines and habits really truly mean something to our wellbeing, to who we are, to what gives us joy, to the respect we have for ourselves and others. Now, it’s not to be denied that a ritual can certainly go down a destructive path; drug addicts often have rituals for the administration of their chosen drug. Over-exercisers and people suffering from eating disorders have rituals for when, where, how often they workout and eat, or don’t eat. Of course this is possible. But so is a ritual of happiness.

How can or should happiness be a routine? Doesn’t that kind of take the creativity and spontaneity out of the entire concept? I suppose it could if the ritual becomes a chore for whatever reason. But, even “the most creative individuals — whether artists, businesspeople or parents — have rituals they follow. Paradoxically, the routine frees them up to be creative and spontaneous,” writes Tal Ben-Shahar, of Happier. Shahar, before diving into any of the substance of his book, gives the reader an assignment straight out of the gate before anything is even studied:

Each night before going to sleep, write down at least five things that make you happy — things for which you are grateful. These can be little or big: from a meal that you enjoyed (yes! a Whole30-compliant meal!) to a meaningful conversation you had with a friend, to a project at work, to God.

“In research done by Robert Emmons an Michael McCullough, those who kept a daily gratitude journal — writing down at least five things for which they were grateful — enjoyed higher levels of emotional and physical well-being.

If you do this exercise regularly, you will naturally repeat yourself, which is perfectly fine. The key is, despite the repetition, to keep the emotions fresh; imagine what each item means to you as you write it down, and experience the feeling associated with it. Doing this exercise regularly (as a ritual) can help you to appreciate the positive in your life rather than take it for granted.”
image

Do this on your own, but also consider doing it with a loved one. Your spouse, your children, a close friend. It’s powerful. Get creative with it and channel it in unique circles. Every morning, my leadership team and I do our “morning huddle” by text. Most companies all get to meet in the board room, but we are yogis and usually on five different ends of town teaching all the yoga in all the places (and, we don’t have a boardroom.) So every morning, before 10am, we just check in and say the following things: Good morning! Then “my one big thing” (that I must accomplish today). And then we say if we are stuck. Like, “I’m stuck with getting the new schedules printed because there were errors on the last draft,” to which, as a team, we then pitch in and help our comrade get un-stuck. At the very least, we know they are struggling some, and can empathize instead of being left to guess. If we don’t hear from someone, we find them and make sure they are good — oftentimes they are so buried they haven’t had a chance to check in, and it’s an amazing opportunity to ask for help and offer it … and receive it.

Because of this blog and this program, I am also tasking them with doing a “goodnight gratitude text;” sometime in the evening before 9pm, we text the group and list 5 things we are grateful for. We all have to contribute. We all have to stop down, pause, breathe, feel, and write.

“A happy person enjoys positive emotions while perceiving her life as purposeful,” writes Shahar.

PURPOSE

For the last 25 days you have had two very clear (new) purposes alongside all of your other purposes: to eat Whole30 and do yoga each day. Because of those two purposes, you could very well feel called to other purposes —

  • perhaps you want to keep going and do another 30 days?
  • perhaps you want to read, Food Freedom Forever, which is a “life after Whole30” book by Melissa Hartwig and continue to learn more about habits, guilt and anxiety around food?
  • perhaps you are intrigued by the concepts I have taught, by the culture my team and I have created, and are considering becoming a yoga teacher?
  • perhaps you want to teach what you’ve learned to others?
  • perhaps you want to commit yourself to a Paleo lifestyle that you can maintain, sustain and experiment with?
  • perhaps next year you want to somehow contribute to the program?
  • perhaps you want to bring this program into your workplace or school or social circles?

Whatever you plan to do after Day 30, there is likely some purpose behind it. Even if it’s just eliminating your daily run to Starbucks because you’ve noticed you’ve saved $150 already by not buying a latte every day. Somewhere around those plans that are nurturing your deeper purpose, you have some emotion. Excited, nervous, certain, uncertain, worried, strong … emotions are stirring in there somewhere. Whether they are positive or negative, emotions move us … they move us from apathy, indifference, resignation and inaction to motivation. That very motivation makes us act. Imagine if we had no motivation at all, if we were totally indifferent … even to consequences. At some point, doing nothing will lead to harsher and more difficult consequences… until a breaking point. It will come eventually. Emotion plays a big role in the choices we make and the actions we take, especially our innate, deep down desire to be happy, which every human being wants. But emotion is not the only role.

“When speaking of a meaningful life, we often talk of having a sense of purpose, but what we sometimes fail to recognize is that finding this sense of purpose entails more than simply setting goals,” says Shahar. We are all in the middle of a goal we once set for ourselves — in fact, maybe some of you said, “I will never make it 30 days, or even 2 weeks!” — and you have. Are you acting like it? You all should be running around like crazy people, shouting “I DID IT! I’M DOING IT!” And yet, we aren’t. Instead, we are push the goal out further. Why do we do this? I think because often we set goals that perhaps don’t have true meaning and purpose. “When I lose 20 pounds I will be happy. I will be happy when I can fit into skinny jeans and look awesome.” And, the 20 pounds come off, and we say, “I want to lose 5 more.” Simultaneously, we say, “I so deserve a doughnut…” and then we feel guilt and shame and the goal that we achieved — because we didn’t tie a meaningful purpose to it (like, “I want to lose 20 pounds so that my body is healthy and therefore functioning more effectively, so that I am less reactive, more clear-headed, and more present with my family,”) is void of true meaning. Do you see the difference? To experience long-term happiness around something, we must determine if that thing has purpose and meaning, or if it is just a short-term benefit with long-term detriment.

Some of us know our main purposes, and they are usually in big buckets like “family” or “career” or “spiritual life.” An amazing exercise for all of us would be to see if — within those big buckets that no one will argue have great meaning and probably line with your values and passions — there are smaller buckets of purpose that do not have positive meaning. Look for the places where you feel like you are treading water, or exasperated, or apathetic. Look for places where deep down, if you told the truth, you were only doing or only a part of to make someone else happy or to look good. Think about how, if you continue to pour into those people, things, exercises, ideas, routines, you will strengthen the apathy versus strengthening the meaning. By continuing to keep up or look like you “have it all together,” with each passing day, your innate desire for happiness loses it spark. In one of my favorite books, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman writes that “each successive generation worldwide since the opening of the [twentieth] century has lived with a higher risk than their parents of suffering a major depression — not just sadness, but a paralyzing listlessness, dejection, and self-pity, and an overwhelming hopelessness — over the course of life.” He calls our age, “The Age of Melancholy.” If you watched the interview with Simon Sinek that I cited in a recent blog, you will recall him speaking about the Millennial generation: “The worst case scenario is that we are seeing an increase in suicide rates in this generation, an increase in accidental deaths due to overdose, and an increase in more kids dropping out of school or taking leaves of absence due to depression. This is unheard of. The best case scenario? We will have an entire population growing up and never really finding joy or deep fulfillment in work or life. They’ll just waft through life, saying, ‘It’s fine.'”

I submit that part of our problem here is that we are assigning meaning and happiness to the wrong things, things that don’t actually fulfill us at all. And sure, we make goals, but often don’t establish a healthy routine to get them. And if, by chance, we do, once we get what we want, we have already moved on to what’s next, not having taken any time at all to love — truly love — what we already have. No one wants to go through the climb to find happiness described by Sinek as, “…arduous and long, and difficult. They are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes. What [we] need to learn is patience. That some things that really really matter, like love, or job fulfillment, joy, love of life, self-confidence, a skillset — any of these things — all of these things take time. If you don’t ask for help and learn that skillset, you will fall off the mountain.”

I know this blog is not a read that you will feel all warm and fuzzy about. It may leave you feeling scared or sad or even worried. Maybe this is just the emotion you need to feel to be motivated to act. I bet there isn’t a parent out there who hasn’t said or felt the notion that, “I just want my kids to be happy.” So be the example. Do the work. Stop messing around with your can’ts and shoulds and supposed tos. Stop wasting time self-deprecating and complaining about what you don’t have and what or who is wrong. You have yourself, AND, you have an entire generation that needs you now more than ever to guide and lead with authentic happiness. You have tools for nutrition, yoga, meditation, wellness, patience, discipline and community — do not let them go to the wayside. We have to work extra hard right now to make sure that we take the focus off of our little worlds of not-good-enough and direct it to the people who have the fewest amount of tools and the most amount of pressure, the generation behind each and every one of us.image

And while you are doing that, do some self-examination and get even MORE clear about what your purpose(s) are. You may find it’s time to slough off more than just sugar and carbs. The good news? When you figure out genuine purpose — no one can stop you, and you shine more brightly than the brightest star in the sky.

KEEP GOING.

B

Indigo30 DAY 23: Favorite Finds A-Z, Vol. 2

I’d bet that a second alphabetical list of cool must-have/try stuff would just make your Day 23, wouldn’t it?

Let’s see if I can do it again!

image.png

Favorite Answer – “YES, THAT’S COMPLIANT.”

Favorite Brooke Blog – The Poo Post. Yep. Still the winner by a shit-ton.

Favorite Cookbook – Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. I love this gal. She is funny, witty and her recipes and blogs are some of the best, often touted by Whole30 themselves. She has a few books out and is often featured in Paleo Magazine.

Favorite Dry Shampoo – Moroccan Oil and Evo’s Water Killer

Favorite Egg Recipe – Green Chile Beef Egg Cups by the Defined Dish

Favorite Food Processor – KitchenAid Mini 3.5 Cup Processor. It’s small and sweet and easy to use, better than the big one, which always feels like such a production! Plus mine is BLUE.

Favorite Grain-Free Dog Food – Blue Buffalo. My mutts are sooooo sensitive … they itch and scratch until the cows come home. If I go off-program with them (haha) even for one day, they are scratching themselves silly.image

Favorite Hack – Using rubber pet food container lids on canned items like coconut milk or olives.

Favorite Interview – Simon Sinek discussing the Millennial generation. You’ll never view our kids, their futures, our parenting and our futures, regardless if you are a parent — the same again — after you watch this. Simon is my hero. (Is he single?)

Favorite Japanese (compliant) Foods – Sashimi, shiitake mushrooms and green tea. Delish!

Favorite Knife Set – Cangshan Knives, available at Costco. A sharp, good quality knife is essential for your kitchen. A dull knife can be dangerous because it requires more force to use, so it is more prone to slipping and cutting where it’s not supposed to — like on your hand. The ideal kitchen knife will have a sharp blade that holds its edge well, good balance, a comfortable handle and durable construction. If you can’t get new ones, take yours to a sharpener — for around $40, you will feel like you have a brand new set. (Try Fort Worth Shaver & Appliance on Montgomery, that’s where I’ve always taken mine.  And, periodically Central Market does knife sharpening as well.)

Favorite Lipbalm (for right now) – Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm in Peppermint. Listen, I have about 5,000 other favorite lip balms, but Fresh Sugar’s Lip Caramel might be just a little too glossy and a little too caramel-y for some of y’all.

Favorite Mayo – Homemade. All day. Recipe in the W30 book. Cinch. But if you can’t whip some of your own up, Trader Joe’s has one that is sugar-free. Why, I ask you, why does anyone think mayonnaise needs sugar!!!!! (Imagine me losing it a little just then.)

Favorite Nut Butter – Mine is still Rx Vanilla Almond, but Kila loves NuttZo, which has cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and celtic sea salt! Wow! Now that’s a blend!

Favorite Oprah’s Favorite – Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Toaster Oven Air Fryer. Since Oprah knows all the things, I trust her when it comes to, well, all the things. Instead of deep-frying, opt for this Cuisinart air fryer that lets you get the crispy fried-food flavor without the added unhealthiness. PS: It’s important for you to know that O is a spokesperson for “WW,” or, “Wellness that Works,” formerly known as “Weight Watchers.” Thank you Alexa, for making sure I am properly informed of all the important news. (Alexa is also one of Oprah’s Favs. You’re welcome.) image.png

Favorite Pressed Spice –  Tumeric. I love to get turmeric shots at Juice Junkies, and combine one part (one shot) with 3 parts tart cherry juice. Tumeric is super amaze for reducing inflammation in the body. However, I hear the magic powers of Moringa are hot on turmeric’s heels!

Favorite Question – “Wine is technically a grape, so… I can have it, right?”

Favorite Root Veggie – Red and yellow beets. Roasted with evoo and mint.

Favorite Skin Product – Almond oil in the shower right before you get out. Coconut good too, Jojoba better, but it’s pricier. No lotion needed, skin smooth as silk.

Favorite Timesaving Tip – www.realplans.com – are you using this? WHY NOT IT’S THE BOMB.

Favorite Underarm Deodorant – Native. The best! Best texture, best quality, best effectiveness, best scents! Available at Indigo.

Favorite Vitamin – I prefer to take liquid vitamins from Tespo – I am much more apt to take them and absolutely apt to not feel nauseous when I do. Buy the cute little dispenser imageand get your custom vitamins sent by auto-ship. They will make up for the thousands of expired vitamins sitting in your cabinet.

Favorite Water Bottle – The Whole30 bottle, of course! Available on Amazon, of course!

Favorite Xylitol Substitute – Mint leaves. C’mon, you have to give me points for coming up with an x-word this time.

Favorite Yam Preparation – 5-6 minutes in the microwave! No joke! Super easy. No need for all that cooking drYAMa.

Favorite Zoup – ZUPA bottled soup. Whole30 approved and sent straight to your door!

There. I did it. Now YOU DO IT.

image.png

Keep going!

B

Indigo30 DAY 22: Satiety and satiation

I’ve done the Whole30 several times now and each time not only do I learn so much more, but I understand the concepts in greater depth. And I even look back on my previous programs and go, “I so didn’t know that,” or, “How did I not know that!” So if this is your first time, try to give yourself a little wiggle room for learning. On the outside it seems fairly simple, but it’s actually pretty complicated because food producers and manufacturers make it real complicated.

In fact, I was at Costco today, and as I was skimming the food book/cookbook table for anything interesting, a lady leaned over to me and said, “Ugh. I don’t know what to buy. My sister is on this Keto thing and she’s lost all this weight but she’s grouchy and miserable even though she’s trying to get me to do it with her. It’s all so confusing.” I looked at her with my silver hair ablaze like Einstein’s and said, “I can help you.”

We talked for about 15 minutes and I explained some of the basic concepts I have been teaching you. She asked all kinds of questions, but her biggest concern was longevity. I was pretty candid about how I didn’t think the Keto diet was sustainable long-term, and that even though the weight might drop off faster, it would be harder to maintain versus a Whole30 reset followed by a Paleo-based lifestyle. But weight loss is so glamorizing for the average American. We want it all and we want it now. And most don’t even care how they get it, even if it means taking dangerous weight loss drugs, having invasive surgery and a host of other harmful methods. What is more alarming, is that people will do these things without any research or understanding about what and why. th-1.jpeg

For those of you who are wanting true, long-term results and practices, you make great efforts to understand processes. Two of the key concepts that explain the why of the Whole30 approach are satiety and satiation. The two words are often confused or thought to mean the same thing. Let’s look at them more closely. I really love how Dallas and Melissa Hartwig break down the concepts, I’ve pulled an outstanding excerpt from their book, It Starts With Food to explain.

“If we were hunting and foraging our food in nature, our bodies would need some way to signal to us that we’d found something useful. For example, bitter taste signified toxic foods, while sweet taste signifies safer choices. Thanks to nature and our biology, our brains have been hardwired to appreciate three basic tastes: sweet (a safe source of energy), fatty (a dense source of calories), and salty (a means of conserving fluid). When we came across these flavors, neurotransmitters in our brain would help us remember that these are good choices by sending us signals of pleasure and reward, reinforcing the experience in our memories. These important signals from nature helped us select the foods best suit to our health.

But there is one very important point to keep in mind with respect to these signals from nature. They weren’t designed to tell us which foods were delicious — they were designed to tell us which foods were nutritious.

In nature, pleasure and reward signals led us to vital nutrition.

The trouble is that in today’s world, the ancient signals persist — but the foods that relay them are anything but good sources of nutrition. And that creates a major disruption in our bodies and in our brains.

Over the Last 50 years, the make up of our foods has dramatically changed. Our grocery stores and health food markets are packed with shelves of processed, refined food-like products — which no longer look anything like the plant or animal from which they were derived.

Food scientists caught onto the fact that our brains respond strongly to specific flavors (such as the aforementioned sweet, fatty, and salty), and, armed with this knowledge, they began to modify our whole foods. They sucked out the water, the fiber, and the nutrients and replaced them with ingredients like corn syrup, MSG, seed oils and artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors. All of this with specific intention of inducing cravings, overconsumption, and bigger profits for food manufacturers.

They’ve turned real food into Franken-food.th-2.jpeg

These foods light up pleasure and reward centers in the brain for a different reason than nature intended — not because they provide vital nutrition, but because they are scientifically designed to stimulate our taste buds. The effect is a total disconnection between pleasurable, rewarding tastes (sweet, fatty, and salty) and the nutrition that always accompanies them in nature.

In nature, sweet tastes usually come from seasonal raw fruit, rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Today, sweet flavors come from artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, and high-fructose corn syrup. In nature, fatty acids usually come from meats, especially nutrient-packed organ meats. In modern times, fats come from a deep fryer or a tub of “spread.” In nature, precious electrolytes like sodium came from sea life or from the animals we ate. In modern times, salt comes from a shaker.

Do you see the problem with this?

Modern technology has stripped the nutrition from these foods, replacing it with empty calories and synthetic chemicals that fool our bodies into giving us the same powerful biological signals to keep eating.

This means that we are eating more calories with less nutrition.

Persistent biological signals lead us to eat over eat sweet, fatty, salty foods while keeping us malnourished.

These Franken-foods are ridiculously cheap to produce.
They can unnaturally electrify our taste buds. They contain little, if any, nutrition.
And they mess with our brains in a major way.

You may be thinking, “If these foods taste so good that I can’t stop eating them, maybe I should just stop eating foods that taste good.” But that sounds miserable to us — and flavor restriction would probably be just as unsuccessful long-term as caloric restriction. Thankfully this strategy is wholly unnecessary. The problem isn’t that these are delicious.

The problem is that these foods are super normally stimulating in the absence of nutrition and satiety.

They are the essence of empty calories — food with no brakes.th-3.jpeg

The idea of food brakes can be explained by satiety and satiation. They sound the same but biologically speaking, they are two separate and distinct concepts.

Satiety occurs in your digestive tract specifically, and you’re intestines. When you’ve digested and absorbed enough calories and nutrients to satisfy your body’s needs, hormones signal your brain that “I am well nourished now,” which decreases your desire for more food. Satiety can’t be fooled or faked, it is as dependent on the actual nutrition in your food. But since digestion is slow, the signals may take several hours to be transmitted, which means they can’t do a very good job all by themselves to keep you from over eating.

That’s where satiation comes in.

Satiation is regulated in the brain and provides more timely motivation to stop eating. It’s based on the taste, smell, and texture of food, perception of “fullness,” even your knowledge of how many calories are in a meal. As you eat, you perceive various sensations (“This is delicious,” “I shouldn’t eat the whole bag” or “I’m getting pretty full”), all of which send your brain status updates to help you determine whether you still want more. But unlike satiety, satiation is an estimate dependent on your perceptions, not an absolute measurement.

Ideally, the brain would signal us to stop eating when our bodies have sensed that we digested and absorbed enough nutrition to support our health. In this case, satiation and satiety would be one and the same. Let’s use the example of a prime rib dinner.

Prime rib contains complete protein, the most satiating of all of the macronutrients, and naturally occurring fat, which makes protein even more satiating. As you eat the prime rib, you’ll find yourself wanting prime rib less and less with every bite. The first bite was amazing, the second fantastic, but by your tenth bite, the texture, smell, and flavor are less appealing. And by the 20th bite, you’ve had enough, and you know longer desire the flavor or texture of the meat — so down goes your fork.

This is satiation.

Prime rib also takes longer to eat then processed food (as you actually have to chew and swallow) which gives your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach. As you eat and start to digest the meat, your body recognizes that the dense nutrition in that prime rib is adequate for your energy and caloric needs. This sends a “we’re getting nourishment” signal to your brain while you’re still working on your plate, which also reduces your “want” for more food.

This is satiety.

This scenario plays out differently for foods lacking the satiation factors of adequate nutrition — complete protein, natural fats, and essential nutrients. Let’s compare prime rib to a tray of Oreos.

Oreos are a highly processed food containing almost no protein, saturated with sugar and flavor enhancing chemicals, and filled with added fats. As we eat the Oreos (generally at a much faster rate than prime rib), they move through us quickly and don’t provide enough nutrition to induce satiation or satiety. So unlike prime rib, there are no “brakes” to decrease our want. We want the tenth Oreo just as much as the first. And we never stop wanting more because even though we’ve eaten plenty of calories, our bodies know that we are still seriously lacking nutrition. So we eat the whole darn package because satiety can’t be fooled.

In the case of Oreos, the only reason to stop eating is when our bellies are physically full, and we realize we are about to make ourselves sick from overconsumption. Chronic consumption of these foods don’t affect just our taste buds, our perceptions, and our waistlines. Over time, they literally rewire our brains.”

Whew. That’s a lot I know. But imperative that we understand. Or we don’t have a real why. And this is a scientifically proven, biological, anatomical why. Not just one someone made up to sell more diet books.

Read this a few times if you have to, but get this concept drilled in. It will absolutely, positively change the way you choose your food. My boys love to get me all riled up by putting Mountain Dew in the grocery basket because they know I will freak out and talk about how soda pop is poison, especially Mountain Dew. But y’all, I’m not kidding around. It is. As are so many other fake, processed junk foods that we all find (found!) delicious… like OREOS.

You are now learning to outsmart the little Franken-food-stein in your head. And at least, if you do choose the Oreo or the doughnut or the fast food, somewhere in the recesses of your thought bank, you will know the path of no return that fake food will take you down. And in that moment, pause, feel your feet, (that’s your yoga at work) and make a conscious choice. You can so do it!

Keep going and keep going strong. Only nine days left!

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.

Screen Shot 2018-09-23 at 9.12.48 PM.png

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 19: Why do I feel terrible?

One of the reasons I decided to write this blog day by day instead of pre-writing them and just doling them out like a Vegas dealer was because I wanted to be right in the pressure cooker with you. Also, I thought, what if I have a topic planned and that’s not what is actually happening for everyone at that time? Well, the topic that was sort-of planned, (my attempt at at least a loose outline), was about buying local produce and meats. Sort of interesting. Not really. And not what’s actually happening right now.

What’s happening right now is that a good handful of you just plain don’t feel good. I know this because you’re telling me. And because (ahem) I don’t feel good either. Your body is hurting, you have stomachaches, you’re feeling flu-ish. And your wrestling with not only what to do about it but a genuine frustration about feeling sabotaged by the universal forces when you’re 1- working really hard and 2- starting to near the end and 3- you want to go out strong.image.png

“Should I keep eating like this while my stomach is a rumbling mess?”

“I’m sure I’m coming down with something. Should I go to yoga anyway and just lay there (because I really want my star.)”

“I feel bloated and fat. What gives?”

“My shoulder and elbow are angry and have sharp pain. Isn’t the inflammation supposed to have subsided by now instead of flaring up?”

“I have so much gas. I’m about to kill the all people around me from toxic fume inhalation.”

First of all, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you may feel worse before you feel better. Think of a fever and how it sometimes runs its course — you think you’re getting sick, you feel better and think you’ve triumphed, and then it comes back around and just kicks your butt. and it kicks it hard until all the infection is finally gone. Well, that’s what’s happening right now.

Second, just as a disclaimer, please do not come to the/a yoga studio if you are genuinely sick and get other people sick. Doing that just to get a star will get your ass kicked in a different way.

Third, and this is the moment of truth – be mindful about what’s happening. Stop the brain racing and get present…

Your body is still adapting and cleaning. That’s why you feel badly.

Or

You ate something off-program and your body is reacting.

Or

You’re just looking for a way out or someone to give you permission for a way out.

Or

You can still go to yoga, but you need to dial the intensity down.

And, on top of feeling badly and one of the above things is occurring, maybe this is also happening …

The frustration, the worry, the guilt and the runaway thoughts of being a little under the weather or a little achy and the consideration skipping yoga is outweighing the innocuous actuality of just going and doing what feels ok and resting in savasana the rest of the time.

You have to decide between the two stressors – the guilt of going and not doing as much or the guilt of not going. Or… just go to yoga and do what you can. Don’t be so dramatic about it.image.png

Also stop and consider that taking 1-2 days off amidst 30 because the flu has taken you down is not unreasonable. It’s SAFE.

Rethink what you are going through. Reconsider what’s actually happening versus what you think should be happening.

General discomfort

As I said earlier, it’s not uncommon on or around days 18-21 to feel terrible. It’s a mind trick for sure, but it’s normal. Here are some fairly easy remedies if you’re not up to par right now:

Digestive distress (gas, bloating, cramping): try some peppermint gels (watch ingredients, some have soybean oil) and digestive enzymes. Limit fibrous foods like broccoli, dried fruit and nuts. Increase good fat intake. Sprouts has a peppermint sparkling water (Crystal Geyser) that I pretty much live on. I am not sure it helps the bloat but the taste makes me feel like it does. And also peppermint tea, which, when I am a grandma, I am going to tell my grandkids cures everything.

Headache: Hydrate and supplement your hydration with electrolyte replenishment. Get more sleep. It may be stress, it may also be allergies. See if you can’t identify the trigger.

Joint and muscle aches: Epsom salt baths, Doterra Deep Blue Rub & oil, cold compress, massage, cryotherapy. Your place is in the Vinyasa-Restorative class for a few days unless you can honestly turn your practice dial down until you’ve recovered some.

Flu-like symptoms: Hydrate, rest and a potential trip to the doc — there’s a bunch of kid funk going around and that s–t doesn’t play.

Fatigue: Obviously rest. But sometimes, getting back on your mat is the cure needed to fight the fatigue, especially if you have a tendency to talk yourself into being tired.

image.png

All in all, please try to be patient with yourself. Stop, take some inventory. Get clear on what’s actually happening and try not to immediately dwell on how this “setback” means failure. Quite frankly, I’d be concerned if some of this stuff wasn’t happening to you, because if you’re really working the program, it’s inevitable. I’m going through it too, I promise. I feel like checking the “all of the above” box. So I know I need to back off a little, drink more water and get some better rest. Here’s an exercise: Even for just a day, redefine your definition of failure — make it mean not trying at all and being a judgy jerk to those who do! That is a good definition of failure, I think!

In the comments below, tell me and your comrades how you’re feeling. Sometimes hearing from others helps us realize everything is normal, we are not alone and especially that “everyone else” isn’t doing a gazillion times better at things than we are.

I love you guys. I’m so super proud of you. Keep going.

B