Indigo30 DAY 5: You used to like the weekend…

…and now you are dreading it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Brooke’s Besties!

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

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

1/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1/2 lemon, juiced

12 ounces sparkling water

_________

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

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

_________

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

B

Indigo30 Day 4: Wild-eyed and drooling

ADMISSION: I love gummy worms. The Black Forest kind that you can only get at Tom Thumb or Walgreens, the ones that are so soft and chewy. And today, I craved them like the desert craves the rain.

Okay it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But gosh at about 2pm, they sure did sound better than the carrots that were sitting all perky and bright in the Ziplock in my bag.

No doubt, you had some cravings today too. The cravings were either like someone annoyingly tugging at your sleeve or left you all wild-eyed and drooling, wanting to ravage the pantry in search of relief. No amount of “You should go to yoga” can temper a craving at its height; in fact, those five words can sometimes send you diving head first into the canister of sugar, even if just out of sheer defiance. I wish I could say that these days will be the only days you will find yourself longing for something currently forbidden, but they will likely be with you for the duration of your Indigo30 and beyond. Yes, yoga will definitely help, as will other distractions, like taking a walk, calling a friend, taking a nap, or brushing your teeth. But here is the clincher, my friends. If your habits are strong enough, if you have repeated them enough times, no amount of image6.pngdistraction will help. Your brain has learned that getting something desirable comes from a certain cue — i.e., “If you get an A on this test, we will get ice cream!” (see how early it starts?) or, “If I make it to Friday (or just to 5 o’clock) I get a cocktail,” or, “If I feel lonely, I will go shopping,” or, “When I hear my phone ding, I will stop everything to look at it.”  The real problem comes from when you get the cue and you don’t get the reward you are used to or anticipate getting. The result is a neurological pattern associated with desire AND frustration exploding in your mind. If the happiness you are used to getting from a certain thing doesn’t arrive, that happiness transforms into a craving that, if unsatisfied, turns to anger or depression. And no amount of distraction will seduce a strongly anticipated reward and its subsequent thirst. No amount of love, devotion, support or help can compete with the absolute stronghold of a craving.  This is exactly why habits are so powerful — they change our neurology. They construct neurological cravings. So when people quip, “Oh it’s just all in your head,” the irony is, they are right.

“There is nothing programmed into our brains that makes us see a box of doughnuts and automatically want a sugary treat. But once our brain learns that a doughnut contains yummy sugar and other carbohydrates, it will start anticipating the sugar high. Our brains will push us toward the box. Then, if we don’t eat the doughnut, we feel disappointed.” — (Wolfram Schultz, professor of neuroscience at the University of Cambridge).

It’s like the brain is in the honeymoon phase when it learns to anticipate the reward. It’s all fun and games until the toilet seat gets left up and you fall in.

Don’t lose hope just yet. You do and can have power over your cravings. There are tools and practices we can learn that can help us ignore the temptations. But the only way to suppress the habit is to identify which craving drives the behavior. We have to have awareness of the anticipation — a consciousness of it — we are at its complete mercy. And then, you have to have a plan to create a new habit.

If you want to go to early morning yoga every day, you have to chose a simple cue (like laying out your yoga clothes the night before) and a clear reward (a green star on the star chart). Seems simple enough. But that is not actually enough to make the habit last. Only when your brain starts to anticipate and expect the reward of the green star and thus craves the endorphins of excitement and sense of achievement, will it become nearly unconscious, or automatic, to lay out your clothes each night and go to yoga in the morning.

Burn this into your craving, lusting, habit-hungry/reward-crazed brains: THE CUE, IN ADDITION TO A TRIGGERING ROUTINE, MUST ALSO TRIGGER A CRAVING FOR THE REWARD TO COME. So for those of you who could seriously care less about a star on a chart? We need to find you a different reward. STAT. Or you won’t develop a craving for the reward of accomplishment, and you will give up, eventually, searching out something different that drives a zealous anticipation and a powerful craving.

None of this is going to happen overnight, so do me a big favor and right now, just take a deep breath. You are in a discovery phase, and these phases of personal growth can feel so overwhelming — the new routines, the new information, the new expectations. You are going to have days when grit will not win over grief. And it’s okay. What I can promise you is this: in the recesses of your mind and soul, you will remember these things. And when you are ready, which many of you are already, you will soak this up and keep going, no matter how many times you backpedal. You will call on your reserves and the people walking right beside you, going through the same things, and you will keep trying, until you come to a time when you no longer have to try so hard. When making a food decision won’t be such a negotiation. When getting up to hit the redeye class isn’t a chore, but a gift. When joy doesn’t come from a star, but from your kid or your spouse or even a stranger looking into your eyes and saying how much you inspire them. And then you will know that you have transformed into a better version of you. But it won’t come without having to tough it out, over and over again.

Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned. — Tony Dungy

KEEP GOING,

B

Indigo30 DAY 3: Whole30 v. Paleo v. Keto

So many diets, so little time.

Welcome to Day 3. You’ve triumphed through two days of no sugar, no alcohol, no beans, no grains and no dairy. BRAVO! Give yourself lots of back pats today, my friends. You have trekked up the mountain a good distance; basecamp is just barely in sight.

All the literature about the Whole30 says this is one of the toughest days. And we’ve been talking quite a good bit about what is going to be difficult so far, to prepare you. So instead of continuing to shine a light on what’s hard, let’s divert our attention to something that is of interest to many of you: the difference between Whole30, Paleo and Keto. But before I dive into the battle of the diets, I want to give you just a little bit of Indigo30 motherly love. Today you may feel pretty rough. So if you can, go easy on yourself. If a nap is anywhere possible for you, take one. When you get on your mat, downshift a gear, take a few extra child’s poses. If there’s a chance at a longer savasana or as we call it at Indigo, “extended rest,” then seize the rest. Your body is detoxing, quite literally. It is starting to heal from the damage done by your old less-healthy food choices and perhaps an inconsistent yoga practice. Acne, rashes, fatigue, digestive distress, mood swings — all normal. Not fun, but normal. You may even feel like you are coming down with something. Again, normal. But, don’t reach for the saltines; drink some club soda or sparkling water, lie down for a bit, have some bone broth to comfort or some peppermint tea to soothe. It’s all going to be okay, pumpkin!

So now let’s learn something today. I want you fully and excitedly equipped with useful information from this program.

A popular question of late is, “What is the difference between Whole30, Paleo and Keto?” All three approaches have gained worldwide momentum, and it’s a great topic to break down so that you know which works best for you.

Obviously you are choosing Whole30 now, but knowing about Paleo and Keto for later may suit you in a lovely way for the long term. All have distinct similarities, most notably that they are low-carbohydrate approaches to nutrition. Keto is structured to be extremely low-carb. Paleo and Whole30 are just naturally low-carb because they eliminate all processed food, grains, and refined sugars, which are naturally carbohydrate-dense. All three approaches encourage a move toward clean, whole food eating and educate followers on the importance of knowing where their food came from and what is in it.

The best way to understand each is to examine what you can or cannot eat and some of their specific nuances.

PALEO

The Paleo diet focuses on eating whole, healthy, natural foods, avoiding (but not necessarily eliminating forever) inflammatory and processed foods. Paleo takes out foods like breads, flour, rice, corn, other grains, legumes (including soy and peanuts) and dairy. This approach is particularly good long-term for people who have gluten sensitivities, celiac, and/or wheat and nut allergies. Refined sugars are also eliminated on the Paleo diet, but many recipes use maple syrup, honey or stevia to sweeten. Alcohol, although obviously not encouraged in quantity or consistency, is not off limits.

Paleo is notorious for having amazing recipes with all-natural, compliant ingredients that mimic typically “unhealthy” food; you’ve probably all heard about the infamous Paleo Banana Pancakes, or the muffins, or my personal favorite, the Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (sorry, I know that’s painful to read right now.) Because of the flexibility and modifications Paleo offers, many find it to be the most suitable approach long-term.

WHOLE30

The Whole30, first and foremost, is a 30-day elimination challenge, or reset. It is not a diet and it is not meant to be done nor is it really even realistic to do long-term. The Whole30 eliminates sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes. At the end of 30 days, a “reintroduction” allows you to determine which of the 5 groups mentioned above cause you sensitivities. The Whole30 takes Paleo a step beyond by not allowing any kind of “SWYPO” (you can to read the Whole30 book to find out what that acronym means) or imitation/modified versions of junk foods, baked goods and treats. The Whole30 (and Paleo) do not restrict food intake, or track/count macros, calories or carbs. It discourages the use of the scale and encourages the acknowledgement of “non-scale-victories,” or NSVs.

The Whole30 is most certainly restrictive and “all-in,” which is a really great approach for those who are wanting and willing to drastically clean house and pinpoint food reactions and intolerances. It’s motivating, it teaches followers to think differently about food, it has a remarkable global community and is an overall great reset.

(Can you tell I’m partial?)

KETO

The Ketogenic Diet, or “Keto” diet, can be considered the strictest of the three options. It is a strict low-carb, high-fat (let me be clear — high “good fat”) approach to dieting and most specifically, weight loss. The goal of the diet is to achieve, by way of diet, a state called nutritional ketosis. In ketosis, your body shifts from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning from fat reserves (simply because there aren’t enough carbohydrates to fuel your metabolism.) It requires significant carb restriction and a significant increase in fat consumption. Many low-carb diets are high-protein and low fat, but Keto is high-fat and moderate-protein. img_0019

One specific differentiator between Keto and Whole30/Paleo is the tracking of macros (daily intake of carbs, fat and protein) or following a detailed meal plan to keep your carb count in the 20-50 grams per day range. Some keto dieters also test their levels of ketones with urine strips. Keto can help people become very aware of how many carbohydrates they are consuming, but because of the restrictiveness and the diligence of macro tracking, it can be difficult to maintain long-term.

In Conclusion

Now you know the difference. In a nutshell, one is a reset (W30), one is long-term (Paleo), and one is primarily for weight loss (Keto), although it has a lot of other great benefits too; however, it is neither a reset nor an easy long-term approach given it’s strict and restrictive nature.

And — you may find something really useful and helpful in all three approaches, perhaps using each of them at different times of the year depending on your needs and desires. I know many people who adopt a little or a lot from all three for custom blend that works great for their needs and lifestyle. Often I hear, “I’m about 80% Whole30 about 80% of the time. The rest of the time I’m more Paleo. And like 2% of the time, I have a cupcake. And I love it.”

I love that approach. Even though the math doesn’t actually work, I still love it.

The great news about all three is that they encourage us to eat unprocessed, whole, natural foods, educate ourselves about that food and inquire with ourselves on our relationship with it. Great news indeed.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Brooke’s Besties!

RECIPE: My infamous “Tajin Almonds”

I was taught this recipe from a dear friend who lives in Monterrey, Mexico. Her housekeeper made these for us when visited a few years ago. She gave me a handful and said, “Try these, you are going to die.” And I did. I’ve shared them with every Indigo30 group since then, and they have become a signature snack and best kept Indigo30 secret!

Ingredients:

Raw Almonds, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice, Kosher Salt, Tajin Seasoning (available anywhere)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with non-stick tin foil. I always get a big bag of raw almonds at Costco (best price, great quality). Dump them all in a big bowl and pour orange juice over until they are barely submerged. Then add some lemon juice (I don’t have exact quantities, the housekeeper just told me, in Spanish, what was in them, I watched as she made, and I have since guessed!) Let the almonds soak for about 3 minutes. Don’t soak any longer or they will get too soggy. Drain the juice by straining. Return almonds to the bowl and thoroughly coat with kosher salt and Tajin. Stir up really well. Line the baking sheet and bake for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, gently turn over/around the almonds (add more seasoning now if you want!) Return them to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes. Let them cool. As they cool, they will get crispy again. Best stored in glass jars. ENJOY!

And, keep going.

B

Indigo30: T-1. This is it!

Are you worried? Are you nervous? Are you excited? Are you ready?!

I hope that all the things we have done in the last week have adequately prepared you for tomorrow and the next 30 days. We have learned that the Pre-Program Meeting and the week of preparation is vital to the success of the program. If there is any lingering questions or concerns, we are here for you!

IMG_3297No matter what you’re feeling, on this day before go-time, I hope you smile and laugh and realize you are one lucky rascal, to have the time, resources, mentorship and opportunity to do the Indigo30. No matter what it took to get here, you are here now, and your canvas is blank. Your path is clear. You are worth this investment, this commitment. You are worth my pouring into you, all the things I’ve learned over the years. You are worth the support of this loving community. You are worth another chance at taking control of your life — one of greatness and strength. You are worth a massive triumph, a big win.

Today my message is short and sweet. After you read this, sit down, close your eyes and let gratitude wash over. Feel your feet and your hands and your heart beat beneath your chest. Let your nerves remind you that you are alive and that you care deeply about your what you are doing. (This is actually called “meditation,” but we can talk about that more later. For now just “sit and breathe and smile.”)

Then, get your butt to yoga. Do not put it off until tomorrow. Jumpstart this sucker. Show ’em WHO’S BOSS.

I will see you at the start gate TOMORROW!!!!

GAME ON!

BIMG_3309

 

Indigo30: T-3. It’s Not All About Food.

If you know me at all, and you’ve brought any kind of concern to me, whether it be in teacher training, after class, as a staff member, and especially as a friend, you’ve probably seen me listen, and with as much compassion as I have in my soul, look at you and say, “Have you considered that it’s not about you?”

And inevitably, this forces the recipient of the feedback reason to pause. And inevitably, even though they really want to make a case for why they are most definitely the center of the Universe and that all decisions made by all those surrounding them are assuredly because of them, they sheepishly look at me, and say, “Yeah, that’s probably right.”

It’s an incredibly freeing realization. I have seen this point of view change people’s lives forever, and they use it as a go-to when they think they are being ganged up on, left out, slighted, victimized, etc. etc. To stop for a moment, pause all wild, crazy story-making, and remember: this probably isn’t even about me.

And so I want to bring that idea into your headspace today, on T-3, about food. One of the reasons I created the Indigo30 was a desire to have a program that was fully committed to healthy nutrition and eating lifestyle, but that also taught participants that there’s so much more to it than that, and the actual damage we can do to our thought processes if we allow it to be all about food. The Indigo30 will teach us to start to pay attention to how we tend to make it 98% about food, and 2% about yoga, meditation, inquiry, relationships, communication, selfless service, family, and rest. That is massively, almost embarrassingly lopsided. If you had to actually be accountable for that percentage, you’d probably lie about it. But, it’s real. When it comes to food, people are sensitive. You know how people say never to talk religion and politics? I would add food to that group as well. It’s that sensitive.

And understandably so. The thing about food is that we need it to survive – like literally. We need it to stay alive. You can’t just turn your back on it, or stop believing in it, or switch parties. You can’t vote for it. You have to have it. So if you have charged feelings and triggers about it it can really take over all of your thoughts. Perhaps it doesn’t trigger you but it is an obsessive compulsion of someone you know; you too are affected because even someone else’s 98% can and will dominate and monopolize the people around them. Some of you, right now, are just skimming this blog because all you can think about is bacon, and on top of that, you’re negotiating whether or not to eat the cured or uncured, because after all, you have three days of freedom left!

How to manage such a dictator …

I will tell you how. Do yoga.

You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you.

Well, I’m right.

Will doing yoga every day cure you of your thoughts? No. But what it will do, is physically and chemically change you enough so that you think more rationally. For the last 20 years, I have watched over 100,000 students in my classrooms come in feeling like life has ground them down, taken them over, left them helpless. And I have watched those same people, within one hour leave nearly born again, with a renewed sense of ram dassself, an attitude of manageability, and an appreciation for what’s actually happening
around them. After yoga, they can see that there are actually a lot of people who are ready and willing to help and support. And that they are not alone. And that if they just step out of the Land of Me and My Problems for just one hour, move their bodies, laugh a little, sweat a lot, rest for 5 minutes, hug a sweaty pal in the lobby, have the staff cheerfully wave and say, “See you next time!” — they walk back into their lives and proudly state, “I’ve got this.”

There is no amount of calorie counting or weight loss that can beat that. No arbitrary, likely inaccurate number on a $20 piece of plastic should trump that experience and that personal power. And if it does — and I know it can — I want you to give yoga your best, BEST effort, day after day, for 30 days. If you can give the scale that much power and belief, imagine what would happen if you gave your yoga that much power and belief. You might just turn into a leader and have the opportunity and platform to influence 100,000+ lives in the next 10 years.

I often look around at our world and most specifically at our children. I often wonder how they are seeing us, mindlessly racing and achieving and attaining, trying to get ahead and have all the things. And just FYI, these don’t have to be your children. I just mean children in general. Just because you don’t have them, doesn’t mean they aren’t watching you. They watch us drink in the evenings, caffeine load in the mornings, social media surf all day, usually lending itself to our feelings of inadequacy, feel frustrated and impatient with them in the afternoons, and then, start the cycle all over again. I wonder what they think when we snap at them impatiently, because we are overwhelmed mentally, undernourished physically, and emotionally anxious, and haven’t made it to our mat to recharge. I wonder how much of that we imprint, and how much will get passed on, generation after generation. I worry that if we don’t do something soon, collectively, to WAKE UP to the impact of our self-serving behaviors and thoughts, that we will leave the next generation feeling alone and lost and like they were just in our way. And they will have to figure out how to cope with life.

And then I remember: it’s not all about me. IMG_7594
It’s about us. You and me, together. And together, we can change how we show up in the world. I still believe in us.

So first thing’s first: get on your mat.

Keep going.

B

Indigo30: T-4. Meal Planning & The Middle Way

You eat 84 times a month. That’s 84 times you may get stuck without a plan, and 84 times you might reach for a latte and a cake pop instead.

Some of you are planners; you plan every moment of every day, and are not very happy when life skews off of your checklist. Others of you are tumbleweeds, rolling along and adapting to whatever turn or bump comes your way. Most of us are somewhere in between, shifting around between OCD and whatevs. All of us probably want to be better at finding that middle road — having a plan, not feeling unprepared, but fluid enough to be able to adapt if needed. That is really the heart of this program and what our goal is not only with our nutrition, but with our yoga; to find the Middle Way. One of my teachers, Tias Little, says this: “The Middle Way is a place free from extremes, extremes that polarize, isolate and cause imbalance.”

Free from extremes that polarize.

One way I can help you safely and comfortably walk down the middle of this program is by teaching you to think ahead with enough enthusiasm that you aren’t left having to be a victim to your reactions.

A wonderful tool I have learned to use is a platform called RealPlans, a partner of the Whole30. I really continue to be blown away by this company – not only do they have live support to answer pretty much any food question you can imagine, their meal planning software educates, organizes, checklists, inspires and graduates you from flailing overwhelmed newbie to power-shopping chef. There is just no reason at all one should ever feel at a loss for what to make, unless you are just plain feeling lazy, (which we all do sometimes.) But even then, so many of these recipes make more than needed so leftovers can seriously save the day. There’s even a filter for “freezable” dishes that you can make in quantity and freeze for those times when you can’t rally your inner Julia. There’s an app, there are downloadable shopping lists, there’s even a live chat link that you can use if needed. And with your RealPlan, you even get an hour-long tutorial on how to use the platform. If you think something like this would help you stay organized and excited about meals, check it out here.

But again – it’s important not to go so overboard with this that you have ALL 84 meals planned out for the next month… because no one cooks three meals a day for 30 days. You don’t want to buy too much and then have life come up, only to waste good, fresh food. Pace yourself and be reasonable with your shopping and ambitions – remember – the Middle Way!

Some other great tips for shopping include:

  • Don’t shop when you are hungry. Cardinal grocery shopping rule #1.
  • Since you’re in the pre-program clean out days, make a pantry inventory list of the things you do have, so you don’t accidentally buy double. This list could be saved in your RealPlans platform!
  • If budgeting is a concern for you, use cash only for your grocery purchases. If you have a budget and you run out of cash, then it’s time to get creative with what you have and the recipe resources on hand. You can put in the ingredients and items you DO have on hand at home into the RealPlans site, and voila! It will crank out recipe options for you in seconds.
  • Remember – this is not a Pinterest contest (although Pinterest is beautiful, flirtatious suckhole of about a million Whole30 shopping tips and recipes) – you will find that the simpler you cook, the faster you will come to create the habit. Simple routines will become your best friends.
  • Buy your meat in bulk – Costco is truly your go-to here for bulk meat. They carry USDA Prime and Choice Grade beef. (USDA Prime is the best beef and not sold in many places.) Keep your freezer stocked AND set reminders on your phone to lay it out to thaw in the morning so it is ready to cook when you get home.
  • Take pics of your shopping cart, so you can stay inspired, share with others, and remember some of your great finds. As a group we will all discover so many new things together, that’s most of the fun!

Above all, remember this: nothing will happen if you don’t “get it right.” I was having a lovely conversation with a student tonight after yoga class, who was somewhat fearful that she may not get parts of it right. I reminded her that no dark angel will swoop down and doom you to an uncertain demise if you miss the mark. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll probably just end up with gas. So rest easy, Indigos. Your character is not being questioned. Your life is not at risk. It’s just yoga and food. Let yourself stroll down the middle of this beautiful little road, taking in all the nuances, learning new things and exploring new spaces, knowing that none of us are going to let you fall into the ditch.

Keep going.

B