Monday, July 19, 2010

Cleansing, Body and Soul

Time for the ol' bod to be purified. And perhaps, as an indirect result, my soul will undergo the same process.

I was talking to my friend Julie the other day while she suffered through a cleanse. No carbs, no refined sugars, you know the drill. And then I woke up the next morning with this nagging sense that it was my turn.

It has been a year since my last cleanse, and all signs now point to the necessity of it. My acne is getting out of control, I'm tired for no reason, my hormones are wacky and I sometimes feel like...well, for lack of a better term....a cow. Not because I think I'm fat (because I don't - so don't go writing lame comments as a guilty response to my fishing for compliments), but because things just don't feel quite right inside. I literally feel the effects of carbo-cose build up (I made that term up - it's what I call the globs of flour and sugar that I imagine are sticking to my insides) and I want to GET IT OUT and start fresh.

So, I bought myself a nice companion, a 7 day herbal detox that focusses on cleaning the blood, flushing the system, and restoring fibre and other good things in the process. Which is don't just want to wipe everything out! And now I'm ready to fill my body with goodness.

I have a few things to share with you, then. The first: some recipes for delicious things that are good for you. The second: a food-for-thought moment.


The point is that if you have Quinoa, you can make an awesome salad, and it can be different every time. Which is fun. What I'm giving you below is not so much a recipe, but a list of what I happened to throw in, because these are ingredients I almost always have in stock. And it was DELICIOUS! But it will change next time I make it.

2 cups cooked Quinoa
half of a large onion
kernel corn - half can
goats feta (crumbled on top when it doesn't get soggy)
fresh chopped cilantro (also mixed in fresh when serving so it doesn't go limp)
chopped celery
chopped cucumber (take out the squishies first - seeds etc)

Dressing: a bit of olive oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, a bit of mustard, lime, and some minced onion.

You can add pine nuts, seeds, tomatoes (fresh or sundried), roasted garlic, pickled beets...anything. And it keeps for days (if you leave out the liquidy things and limpy things until last minute).

Who says eating on a cleanse has to be painful?

Also, I'm cooking up a curry right now, and serving it to myself in a roasted green pepper (lop the top off and voila! insta-bowl. Isn't cleansing fun?). Also, never underestimate the power of baby bok choy to add life to a stirfry.

Food for thought:

 We really do love to be inspired for a fresh start. And when an inspiring moment strikes us, we often get all eager-beaver for a day...but  inspiration fades quickly as the reality of the difficulty that lies ahead sets in. C'est la vie. Now seriously,  get on with it. La vie, that is. I don't want to not do things that inspire me because I'm afraid I won't succeed in finishing what I set out to do. But I also know that we can't follow every whim and fancy that crosses our path or else we'll be too tired to live. Choosing which inspiring bandwagons to jump on and actually invest ourselves is tough, because there are just too many inspiring things out there to keep tabs on. But for a season, an inspiration will present itself as a gift, and if you ask the right questions, you will know if it's got your name on it.

I would also like to point out that doing a cleanse is more than just good for your body. It is a practice that puts hunger and suffering in perspective, that tests and fortifies discipline, that differentiates between need and want. How could I possibly think that my cravings are remotely worthy of the statement 'I'm starving', or that my dietary restrictions are a form of suffering in any way shape or form? I'm glad for the reminder, as I walk by the bakery on an empty stomach, that I have it good.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Keep it Simple

Whenever I watch other people doing something that is a part of who I am, I get an intense and immediate urge to do it too. The first recollection I have of this feeling was when I was in high school and would go watch university-level volleyball games. Watching people who are stellar at what they do makes me want to do it all the more and all the better. I would sit and watch and imagine myself on the court with them, moving with them, dying a little inside because I couldn't actually get my hands on that ball.

So as I was driving the long drive back to Thunder Bay after the Winnipeg Folk Festival this week, I had the same tremendous urge to make music, to get my hands on some notes and some rhythms. Music has always been a part of me, but it always takes a back seat to things that I'm better 'known' for. Funny, because I still get that way about some sports sometimes too...but people have a hard time imagining that I was a serious jock in high school, so I just kind of laugh it off with them, and leave it to the pros and resume being the tree hugger (which is by definition non-jock) people see me as. As for the musician in me, I suppose having a solid handful of friends that are wonderful and super talented musicians makes it a little easier for me to leave the real music to them, and to disqualify my own desire to make music by calling it 'mucking around' or 'just for kicks'.

When I realized that even now, being what I consider to be entirely self-aware and free to be who I am and yada yada yada, I still very subtly compartmentalize myself into what I can and cannot do, or into what I think others expect me to be able to do or not do.

So I'm going to make music when I want to. Even if it's just mucking around. Even if my friends are pros and I'm still in musical adolescence. Even if it's not what I want to do for a living or for any particular reason at all for that matter. Just because the season is right, and I feel it in my bones.

So, to put my money where my mouth is, here is a song I wrote and recorded one afternoon in my living room, straight into my computer. A guitar, a plastic container, a christmas ornament with bells on it, and egg shaker, and my snappy fingers compliment the sound. It's ghetto, it's imbalanced, it's flawed...and I'm learning to not be afraid of that. It's just the way it should be. In fact, those same words might be used to describe me, so it fits nicely.

Even if you don't believe in God, or are unsure of where he fits into your life equation, this song holds truth that is unavoidable. When life gets too hot to handle, we often react by turning our eyes upwards and asking 'why?' and 'what now?'...often in frustration and usually as a last resort. We have the tools at our fingertips to navigate these rough patches, but we often don't trust that we do. It's much simpler than we make it out to be. So, without further ado, here is my ghetto little poppy gospel song: