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.

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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!

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

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reduce Anxiety Through Mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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Reduce Anxiety Through Meditation

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

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

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

Remembering … is progress.

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

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

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

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

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

Keep going.

B

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INDIGO YOGA MEDITATION SCHEDULE

WESTSIDE STUDIO: 

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

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

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

SUNDANCE SQUARE STUDIO:

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

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