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!

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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

Indigo30 DAY 18: Leadership

image.pngI started a new session of teacher training tonight. For most people, that doesn’t mean a whole lot because they don’t really know what it even is (I mean, most people are rather perplexed about what I do for a living in the first place, but when I try to explain that I train teachers to teach yoga, everything gets real foggy.)  Most just think I’m teaching people how to do yoga poses. Which is about 3% true. The rest, what I actually teach and train teachers to do, is actually compilation of my life’s study and work (so far.) Somehow, I have documented and organized what I think is the most effective content and curriculum for training a teacher in a local environment, to be successful, inspiring, confident, and most of all, real not only in a yoga class room but in all of life. Over the course of the last two decades in this profession, I have fallen on my face many times. I have made thousands of mistakes.  There is no training manual for how to run a yoga studio or create a yoga school. There isn’t a course in college dedicated to educating yoga teachers AND training them to publicly teach in live classrooms of upwards of 100 people. And despite the many online offerings on “how to grow your yoga business,” no one is preparing brand new, budding teachers for the rigors of dealing with payroll taxes and HR issues, much less scaling the business to be able to offer things like benefits and PTO. And that’s saying nothing of keeping a team of teachers and employees happy and teaching with accuracy, consistency and a compelling delivery. This little tiny tributary of modern business is unchartered territory. Anyone who is blazing this trail is going in absolutely blind. And they better have grit and resolve the likes of a superhero, because when you have no guide, no map, you are going to get lost. A lot.

I used to make a fairly self-deprecating joke that I could write a book about all the things not to do as a yoga studio owner and yoga teacher. Only because I felt like I had made every mistake possible.

And then, one day I had a massive realization. I can’t recall the impetus or the trigger, but I realized a very simple truth: that I chose everything that has occurred in my life. image.pngEven the things that I suppose one could argue I didn’t choose, I still believe that I chose all of the things that led up to said “no-choice circumstance” that somehow got me in that situation in the first place. I also chose all of my reactions, all of my lamentations, all of my moments of victimization, regret, and lack of better, more thought out judgment. No matter what happened to me, I was suddenly finding myself pausing and dissecting where in the chain of circumstances I decided to start blaming someone else for misfortunes. When I figured out where and when that happened, I backtracked, and started owning it as my own. And suddenly, my dialogue changed. It was no longer a conversation of self-deprecation around having made every mistake possible. It was one of respect for every mistake made and a greater respect for catching myself sooner, and more quickly before making more. The key insight: it was all my choice.

Tonight, as I closed my class, my affable, everyday self  stepped aside in the last 45 minutes while the leader took over. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize this leader, she is so powerful and unwavering. And I know why: she believes and lives what she says and stands by it in the face of all adversity. This leader stood in front of 20 brand new and seasoned teachers alike and said something like this:

“I have a terrible flaw. It’s one of those good/bad flaws. It took me a long while to see the pitfalls of it. This flaw is one of seeing the potential and everyone. This risky flaw is that I believe in people more than they believe in themselves. Where some people see lack, I see possibility. The problem with this is that when I believe in someone, there can be an inherent pressure that is placed upon them. My intention of course is to only hold them up and show them how much potential they have. But what can sometimes happen is my belief in them puts so much pressure on them that they give up because they are afraid to let me down. Even though they couldn’t. Fear of failure outweighs the possibility of success. And sometimes, they simply don’t want the pressure. They get squeezed to be better, and they want out.

I get that. And, you (you new teachers in training) — you signed up for this. You paid money, applied, gathered references, completely rearranged your schedule, and put your heart on the line, voluntarily. You, by your own will (no one was forcing you, were they?) signed up to be under my guidance for the next 10 weeks. To do anything short of pushing you to your best would not only be an insult to you but and insult to all who came before you and did the work. So I am going to push you. And I’m going to coach you, and walk with you all the way to the end, so when you graduate from this school, you are so confident and so powerful in who you are, the world around you will never be the same.”

And I meant every word that I said. Why am I telling you this? Because your journey with the Indigo30 is really no different. You volunteered to be a part of this program, and in so doing, you gave me the responsibility to guide you. You are not doing the world any favors by sitting on the sidelines. You are not doing the people in your community or your family any favors by sabotaging your health with poor food choices and lack of movement and nourishing your stress by overworking or overcommitting. So if for any reason you think that you have, “had enough,” or, “that this is a waste of time,” or that “18 days is probably enough,” I will tell you right now, it’s time to step up to the plate and lead.image.png

Lead your family.

Lead your school.

Lead your parents.

Lead your church group, your children, your friends.

Show them what strength and discipline and self respect look like by staying the course and truly living — not just “doing” — but BEING a whole, healthy, authentic, example of self-love. There is more to all of this than just losing a few pounds and getting a new Vitamix. You are now a leader of health. Own it.

(Oroginally, I was just going to talk to you about cool gadgets tonight…)

Keep going.

B

Indigo30 DAY 17: I30 Favorite Finds, A-Z, Vol. 1

The prep, the launch, the new routines. The tough days, the rough days, the smooth and effortless days. The dreams, the conversations, the ideas, the frustrations. Everything about this program swings the pendulum, with the ultimate goal on Day 31 for the scale to balance itself right in the middle. For many days now, I’ve fire-hosed you with information that for some, was thought provoking to say the least, but probably life altering in some cases. So let the pedals of enlightenment stop spinning for a few miles so we can coast amidst some lighter topics.

I used to have an Instagram page with my BFF called “Favorite Finds.” We had so much fun with that thing, basically just posting up anything we loved from mascara to travel gear to smoothies to sunscreen. So today, I thought I’d give you I30 Favorite Finds Vol. 1. Which of course means there will likely be subsequent follow ups! It feels a little like opening Pandora’s Box for me, because even the thought of listing a few things fills me with overwhelm because THERE IS SO MUCH TO SHARE AND HOW WILL I EVER SHARE IT ALL … (gnash). But, here goes!

Favorite APPLE

Honeycrisp! Always the Honeycrisp. Slice thick and smear with almond butter and date paste. Of course alone is thoroughly enjoyable. The king of all apples.

Favorite BLEND AT LOCAL JUICE BARS
  • Juice Junkies – Good Vibes, no sugar/add maca & the White Rabbit, no sugar/extra almond butter
  • Clean Juice – The Chocolate One, hemp protein, sub out maple syrup for date paste
  • Boulevard of Greens – Beale Street, sub out peanut butter for almond butter
  • Central Market – Superchargedimage
Favorite COCOA POWDER
Guittard’s Cocoa Rouge
and…
Dreamy Avocado Dressing (from It Starts With Food)
1/2 large avocado
1 T. lime juice
1/4 C. homemade mayo (see recipe in the Whole30 book
1 T. fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
2 T. water
Salt & Pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree to desired consistency, adding additional water 1 T. at a time, if necessary. Allow flavors to meld for 30 minutes before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Favorite DRESSING
Thai-Inspired Chili Coconut Milk Dressing (www.yummly.com)
1/2 C. coconut milk
1/4 C. cilantro (chopped, coriander leaves)
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 chile (seeded and chopped)
(I know, I have two D’s. Couldn’t resist.)
Favorite EPSOM SALT
Sprout’s Brand – “Muscle Soak”
Favorite FAST FOOD
Zoe’s Kitchen Cauliflower Bowl with Harissa Salmon (no tzatziki or bread)
Snappy Salads Create Your Own Bowl
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Favorite GADGET
Pampered Chef Food Chopper. Best, most-used gadget I have ever had in my whole cooking life. I got it as a wedding gift IN 1997 for crying out loud. Use it once a week at least. BEST EVER.
Favorite HERBS
Basil and Peppermint. In all the things. All the time. Maybe not together, but otherwise, everywhere.
Favorite INSTAGRAMMERS
nomnompaleo
wholesmiths
pinchofyum
wholekitchensink
nocrumbsleft
tessamaes
mysweetroots
healthylittlepeach
dailypaleomag
mypaleokitchen
whole30recipes
Favorite JUICE
Central Market’s fresh pressed Apple, Lemon & Ginger.
Kimberly Snyder’s GLOWING GREEN SMOOTHIE (especially good when diluted with Central Market’s fresh pressed Apple, Lemon & Ginger!)
PS: I love her.
Favorite KALE SALAD
Del Frisco’s Grille – Brussels Sprouts & Kale, add salmon, no cheese, sub evoo for dressing
Pacific Table – Little Kale Salad, sub evoo for dressing
Favorite LULULEMON GEAR
Midrise Wunder Under Crop
Cool Racerback
Love Tee, Tanks, anything Love fabric
Scuba Hoodie
Studio Pant
Double Up Pouch
Favorite MARINARA SAUCE
Rao’s Marinara. A tad on the spendy side but SO WORTH IT.
Favorite NON-YOGA EXERCISE
Pilates with Jayme McCoy at Body By Pilates
Favorite OUTDOOR YOGA VENUE
The Trailhead at Clearfork, every Saturday morning at 9am!
Favorite PESTO RECIPE
Whole30 recipe (Whole30 Book, adapted a tad by yours truly)
1/4 C. walnuts
1/4 C. pinenuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 C. packed fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 C. evoo
Salt & Pepper
Heat in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add walnuts and pine nuts in a single layer and stir or shake frequently until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Combine the nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the basil and spinach and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add lemon juice. While mixing at a low speed, add the evoo in a slow stream until all the ingredients are fully blended. Add salt and pepper and pulse a few times to combine. Store in fridge up to 2-3 days, or freeze in ice cube trays.
Favorite QUESO
HG queso (made with cashews) at HG Supply – sub fresh veggies for chips. I also hear Siete has a great packaged Cashew Queso new on the shelves!
Favorite RESTAURANTS FOR W30
Righteous Foods (local)
Zoe’s Kitchen (national)
Pacific Table (local)
Press Cafe (local)
Snappy Salads (national)
Pret a Manger (international)
Favorite SNACK
Chomps Meat Sticks
Handful of Olives (Trader Joes)
Dried Mangoes (Central Market)
Rx Vanilla Almond Butter
Tajin Almonds
Matt’s Munchies
Sliced English Cucumbers
Berries with melted Coconut Manna
Chia Pudding
Blanched Sugar Snap Peas
Favorite TEA
Teavana if you want fancy.
Pure Leaf Herbal Mint. Best flavor, organza bag, best price.
David’s Deep Blue Spirulina Tea — okay I haven’t tried but I’M DYING TO!
Favorite UTENSIL
Handheld Lemon Squeezer – I use this thing almost every day. You must have.
Favorite VANILLA
Wilderness Poets Pure Vanilla Powder — so great in chia puddings, coffee, over sweet potatoes or baked peaches/apples.
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Favorite WHOLE30 RECIPE
Grilled Coconut-Curry Chicken (Whole30 Book pgs. 230-231) – This is my #2 FAVORITE W30 RECIPE OF ALL TIME. Pair with cauliflower rice and a green salad with the Thai-Inspired fav dressing above!
Favorite X
Sorry guys, I got nothin.
Favorite YOGA MAT
Lululemon’s “The Mat.” It has great grip and it’s well-padded. The bad news: if you use it regularly, it will wear out in about a year or at least start smelling real bad. Opponents of the Mat love the Manduka Pro or Prolite, which has moderate grip (I slip all over it) but it will last a lifetime, literally. Those mats never wear out and they don’t retain sweat or stink.
Favorite ZUCCHINI RECIPE
Paleo Pizza Noodles — This is my #1 FAVORITE W30 RECIPE OF ALL TIME. Replace the pepperoni with Applegate Farms Prosciutto.

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Okay, my friends. A part of my soul is now yours. Enjoy the new fav finds!

Happy Day 17!

Keep Going,

B