Day 1 - High Plank
Wait Haley, you said we were working on Handstands! No, I said we were working TOWARD handstands! Let's start with gaining strength. If you’ve never tried one, a plank may look easy, almost too easy to be beneficial, but this is deceiving. While getting into the proper form is straightforward, holding the position takes strength and endurance in your abs, back, and core.
The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning and it also works your glutes and hamstrings, supports proper posture, and improves balance. Sounds perfect for handstands, doesn't it?
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I love the outdoors. Sunlight, fresh air, plants, trees, animals...just thinking about it and I start to yearn for it! I live in the city with far too many cars, people and not enough nature. So every now and then I strip myself of this "civilized" life and go camping. All out camping - tents, fires, digging a hole when you need one - just nature and silence.
Camping brings memories and visions of s'mores and hotdogs. When I changed my diet and became a raw vegan nearly five years ago, I had to shift the way that I thought about camping. The food that I eat now, that brings health and healing, goes where I go.
The great thing about camping is that you don't necessarily sit down for three square meals a day. Usually it's quite a lot of snacking - which is precisely how I eat as a raw vegan. Frequent little nuggets of energy to refuel all day long. I do camp with others (who are not raw vegan) so I'll need to have a few options that would feel meal-like.
The fun thing about being me? I'm not ridiculously strict about it all. I've learn to loosen the reins and allow myself room to breathe. I don't dry my own spices, I use small amounts of processed food (like soy sauce or toasted sesame oil) for flavorings. And sometimes I enjoy some portobellos mushrooms while camping....grilled. GASP!
On my list to snack on: apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, blueberries, dried figs, raisins, raw nuts, dehydrated cheezy crackers, almond butter, and some strawberry fruit leather I made.
On my list to enjoy as a sit down meal (a.k.a. social time): Salad fixings - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, avocados, vinegar, seasonings, olive oil. Portobello Mushrooms and Yams (to grill! woah!), and my Lemon Ginger Lettuce Rolls.
For my kids (who are about 80% raw): all the fruit I have...they could easily become fruitarian, I think, dry healthy-ish cheerios, packaged applesauce, and tortillas with ham and cheeze.
I'll eat when I'm hungry (which is pretty much all the time - some things never change), and I have a few things up my sleeve for when we gather as a group around the fire.
Oh, and did I mention water and smoothies? I will make 128 ounces of Green Smoothies to take with us to enjoy in the morning as breakfast. Sometimes I take my Vitamix if we will be gone a long time. If it's only for a few days - I premake and take them along.
So there you have it. Easy, peasy, raw pumpkin pie. A little forethought with dehydrating, but most of my food is fresh fruits and vegetables. Delicious, fun, energy-producing, and easy.
My new motto was given to me by a Marine that I'm coaching to eat healthier: "Adapt, Improvise, Conquer." That's how I help people get healthier and how I live my life. :)
Each day we are bombarded by good marketing. Billboards, magazines, TV commercials, TV shows, movies, commercials on the radio, in the schools, in our workplaces....everywhere you turn you are being told what you need to eat, how happy it will make you, how good it tastes. There is a war taking place that most people aren't aware of. Most of us are losing the battle. Americans are getting larger and larger, sicker and sicker, and aren't sure where to turn.
So how do we fight? How do we take our health back from those who are trying to make money off us? Anyone in the military will tell you the first step of battle is preparation. When we find ourselves tired, hungry, emotional - we turn to food. If we don't have anything premade - we turn to what is inexpensive and quick to satisfy our immediate needs. So we need to be prepared...equipped properly to fight our own weaknesses that others prey on.
What are our weapons that will equip us? We have food in our houses that we can turn to when we are hungry that are nutritious and life-giving. We do NOT have food in our house that will perpetuate our weigh gain or our illnesses.
How do we become that muscle-bound warrior? We build our strength of saying no to tempting food that only makes us larger and sicker. We build our self-control only one way...we practice it over and over. We make mistakes, but they don't stop us...we press forward and continue to say no.
Haley, this all sound well and good, but what does this look like? I'll share with you how I equip my own family.
1. I educate them on what is in their food, what it does to their bodies, why it's being sold to us, why others eat it but why we do not. No "because I said so"...I want my kids to be able to make their own choices when they are not with me because they have the knowledge to do so. It's also amazing to hear them tell their friends or each other why certain foods are better than others and what they need to eat when they don't feel well. I didn't have to do as much educating with my husband, in fact he asks questions that make me do more and more research and verify if what I'm spouting is fact.
2. I don't allow certain foods in the house. It's not a hard and fast rule - you don't get a lashing if you bring cheetos into the house. But "snacky" type food - chips, pretzels, etc...I'll only purchase healthier ones with fewer ingredients and they are rationed out for treats. You won't find desserts in my house, unless they are raw vegan. Those are the trickiest - you will eat an entire gallon of ice cream and still want more - it's designed to enable you to do so. If you bring candy into the house...keep a close eye on it as it will make its way to the trash can very quickly and sneakily.
3. I make sure that everyone has food available to them. I make 128 ounces of Green Smoothie for my husband every morning to take with him to work. That's all he drinks (most of the time) until evening. Ask him sometime how his health has improved. I pack my children lunches for school every day. There are three components to every meal they eat: 1. Fruit 2. Vegetable. 3. Other. For example, today's lunch was 1. Orange slices and Bananas 2. Cherry tomatoes 3. Dry Cereal (one got a healthy form of honey nut cheerios, the other got cracklin' oat bran)...I try to buy ones that mimic what's out there, but healthier versions. After school they will get home and I'll make them Raw Vegan Ice Cream for snack. It's my oldest's turn to pick the flavor. ;) The third category is usually smaller than the first two and I try to find things my children look forward to - which empowers them to eat their fruits and vegetables. Oh yes, you must eat them in order. Vegetables, Fruits, and THEN other. Fill up on the good stuff first. As with many patterns, we do what we dislike first and then move to what we like. Chores first, play second. Vegetables first, pasta second. Homework first, socializing second.
4. When we are out and about (birthday party, Disney on Ice, Ball game, etc.), nothing is forbidden, nothing is taboo - they can choose what they want (within reason of cost and availability). If they ask, I'll educate them, but I won't lecture them on their food choices. I do gently remind them when they are hyperactive, can't sleep, can't go to the bathroom, can't focus, or other lovely side effects...why we don't eat those foods on a regular basis. The choice must be theirs in the long run, not mine. You need to give your kids room to stretch their wings and make their own choices sometimes (but just like chores and homework...they need guidance at home). Likewise, I don't nag my husband, I don't tell him what he should and shouldn't eat, it is his choice as an adult. I try to provide options for him as well - although he's a little more entrenched in the snack foods that he turns to. Start young - it will pay off! ;)
Needless to say, it's a life-long war. Some battles you win, some you don't...don't beat yourself up, just get back up and fight another day. When all else fails...call me. :) I'll be your drill sergeant, your coach, your muse. Contact me if you need a battle plan.
I love that people are contacting me every day regarding something they have seen on TV, Facebook, or a friend about healthy living. Lately Vegan has been the buzz word.
Oprah and 378 of her staffers went Vegan for a One-Week Challenge, which touched more people than I can even imagine. I am not an Oprah fan, but she had caught my attention. I don't have TV, but I sure took a look at her website and read up on how the Challenge went. I loved that they highlighted that one staffer went from fast food to vegan and had serious addictive withdrawal symptoms. When she overcame them after a week, she decided to go vegan even longer because she felt so amazing. Another incredible story was another staffer, their video editor Rich, who lost eleven pounds during the week long vegan diet. One of the main reasons his story is so impressive is that he stuck mainly to fruits and vegetables and not grains or starches (a.k.a. High RAW!). He was off migraine medication and antacids after three days! By the end of the week, 300 out of the 378 Harpo staffers who signed up successfully completed the challenge. It raised awareness of how much animal products are in every day foods, and improved conscious eating. The company is now starting "Meatless Mondays," a phenomenon that is beginning to sweep around the nation.
Then there was Ryan Seacrest on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Ryan brought his Green Smoothie that his Brazilian trainer had gotten him into. He kept remarking that it gave him the energy that he needed all day long and he has grown to love them. He never goes anywhere without them (I know how you feel, Ryan!). I loved that he poured a glass for Jimmy and they toasted on mainstream TV. Someone, however, needs to tell Ryan about adding fruit to his drink to make it taste less like "drinking a lawn." The fun thing about the Green Smoothies that I encourage people to begin adding to their lifestyle, is that they don't taste like health food. You cannot taste the greens, only the fruit. It appeals to everyone.
And there is always Dr. Oz, who eats a Raw Vegan diet but cannot go live with that information. He has helped many people with a vegan diet, but being raw is too extreme for his producers. But his show is littered with information regarding the food you put into your mouth. Every so often my mother tells me of an episode she watched and I usually smile and nod because I can agree with most of what he says. :)
I love the fact that people are beginning to associate animal products with disease. Now don't get me wrong...I don't believe ALL meat is bad for you...but I do believe there is far too much unhealthily prepared meat. First you begin with meat that has been pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and may be loaded with viruses and such. Then you deep fry it, grill it, smother it in spices full of MSG or High Fructose Corn Syrup. If you buy it precooked you have preservatives and chemicals that dye it and keep it looking like new for weeks or months. Anyway...you get the picture. I don't want you to stop eating meat...I just want you to be more conscious of what you are eating and what it is doing to your body!!
Conscious eating. Eating...then paying attention to what your body tells you. Indigestion? Bloating? Uncomfortable fullness? Lethargy? Sleepiness? Hyper then a crash? Most people simply eat and when they find a symptom related to what went into their mouth they don't associate it with the food and find a way to deal with that symptom. Feeling sleepy...they drink some form of caffeine. Indigestion...they such on antacids. Unfortunately any relief we find comes with its own problems and you weaken your immune system even further...leading to the catching of colds, the flu, acne, headaches, and even worse maladies.
My challenge to you is to become a CONSCIOUS EATER. I challenge you to keep a food long and listen to your body for THREE DAYS. Don't change anything. Just eat normally. But within TEN minutes after each time you eat/snack/nibble/gorge you write down how you feel, and really pay attention to your body. If twenty minutes later you feel different, write it down. It's only three days. Let's see if we can begin listening to our bodies.
I will do it also. I know..I'm kinda cheating, since I'm already raw....but I can get carried away with raw "junk food" as well (lots of dehydrated snacks and then I don't drink much water to compensate), and I usually eat WAAAAY too late at night. Let's see what it is really doing to my body. In fact, I'll do it online! I'll keep a log of WHAT I eat, WHEN I eat it, and HOW I feel afterwards. I dare you to do the same! ;)
About the Blogger
Haley is passionate about Raw Food and how God has used it to heal her. She loves to share what she knows with anyone who is curious, and finds herself talking to everyone around her about her lifestyle.