Day 5 of macrobiotic eating: Attitude and hanging in there

Grumpy (I am being too negative about my cleanse)

I received some feedback that my previous Day 3 recap was too negative. OK, so the feedback was from my husband. But, still. I want to address that perception. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own interpretation of someone else’s writing. My goal is certainly not to be negative. I am really grateful for Erin of Ely Organics for donating the Miessence certified organic superfoods!

The primary reason for these ongoing recaps is to give a real-life look at what it’s like to do a cleanse. I am not making it look easy because it isn’t easy. Anyone who says that it is easy to make dietary changes requiring significant time investments is wrong. I am now cooking 6 meals a day instead of 3, since I have to cook separate meals for myself and my family. And I do cook them all, because we have never done convenience food much around here.

I digress, but the point is that I was unable to find anywhere online with a comprehensive recap of what it feels like to convert to a macrobiotic diet with young children in tow, or be macrobiotic as an urban mom. People throw around the word “cleanse” like it’s no big deal. And maybe if this was a 3- or 5-day cleanse, it would be. But this is 30 days. So I feel compelled to document, for better or worse.

Also: this is my blog. I need a place to vent and reflect and be honest. There are not a lot of people in real life who understand why I am doing this, so the blog is my safe place. When I write about my experience honestly, you (my readers) are super helpful. You have given me recipes to try or just plain encouragement. Thank you!

I hope that you do continue to follow along on my journey on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also sign up to receive blog posts via email.

I would love to get your feedback as I go – are you changing your eating for the New Year? How is it going for you?

My Guidelines for Macrobiotic Eating

30 Days of Macrobiotic Eating | Conscientious Confusion

I’m planning to start my 30 days of macrobiotic eating on Saturday, January 4 (tomorrow!). You can read more about the macrobiotic diet and the supplements from Miessence that I’ll be taking with this cleanse in my previous post.

In order to change my eating for 30 days, I need support. First of all, I need YOUR support! I fully anticipate blogging, tweeting, and posting to Facebook about the difficulty of keeping up the discipline. While I have resolved to be more positive in 2014, I also reserve the right to be frustrated, to have trouble, and to want to give up. Wanting to give up is different than actually giving up. So I need your support. Please comment! Tell me about your own healthy eating challenges. Remind me why we want to be healthy. Just in case I forget.

I also need support from my family and friends in real life, so I went to them for their opinions when I first started considering this idea. Although probably half of the people I consulted think that I am a little looney, they agreed that the eating plan doesn’t seem too extreme. But everyone I talked to did express concerns for my health. I think those concerns are valid. With their input, I have put some restrictions or parameters on this experiment, for my own health and safety.

Deal breaker: losing weight

I am a small person. My normal BMI is under 19, which technically classifies me as “underweight”. Before you start getting snarky, I did a post on why being underweight has always been a problem for me. I have to eat food that will nourish me enough not to drop any more weight. I do strenuous workouts 4 times a week or more as part of being a fitness instructor, so I burn calories at a higher rate too. I brought up these concerns with the Miessence expert and he assured me that the eating plan is safe for very active people. However, if I see the scale drop below my current weight, I will be adding my homemade bread back into my diet. If I don’t see my weight rise within 2 days of that addition, I will be adding additional sources of nutrition that were not on the original plan.

Deal breaker: loss of energy

Similar to the first, because I am a fitness instructor and full time SAHM, I cannot afford to let my energy flag. If I find myself getting out of breath, lightheaded, dizzy or more exhausted than usual, I will have to modify the eating plan to add more of something. Again, it will probably be bread. I have been an active listener to my own body for the past 10 years and I have found that often my body craves bread when energy is flagging.

Deal breaker: orthorexia trigger

You may remember the post where I admitted that I struggle with orthorexia. As with any addictive struggle, this one is based in the attempt to control. Controlling what I eat, specifically. Sometimes I can get to the mental point where there is nothing I will “allow” myself to eat, and I just do not eat. I starve. I get hangry. It’s just not healthy. So, if I do get stuck not eating, it is possible I’ll have to eat something off-diet just to get food into myself. I am going to say that is OK.

Modification: I will allow myself to eat dates

No sugar is allowed in this eating plan, even natural sugar. No honey, no agave, and very little fruit. Vegan recipes use soaked dates to sweeten things, so I am taking that substitution and adding it to this diet. I don’t plan to sweeten a lot of things, but when I do I’ll just use dates. The dates I bought are raw and have no sugar or preservatives.

The goal is to just keep going

Whether it is due to energy, orthorexia, or convenience, I may have to eat something off-diet. If that happens, the goal is to go right back to the eating plan. One slip up (or two, or three…) does not mean it’s all over. Back on the wagon.

Ultimate goal: Reduce sugar intake

If any undesirable results surface and I do have to fall back on my contingency plan of expanding my eating beyond strictly macrobiotic, I will NOT add refined sugar back into my diet before January 31. The goal here is to help reset my body to reduce my sugar cravings. Removing refined sugar is definitely not going to hurt me physically.

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Well, that’s all I can think of right now. Any other ideas? Can I count on YOUR support?

2014 To Do List

I don’t do resolutions. I intend to live every day making conscious choices, so whatever I am doing, I have thought about it and already decided to do it or not do it. That is a lifestyle, not a one-time resolve that is going to fade by February.

2014 To Do List | Conscientious Confusion

2014 To Do list

1. Go to the dentist.

Seriously, I need to do this. It was on last year’s list and I never made it. I’m now a little over 3 years since my last visit. My teeth aren’t as white as I’d like them to be. The barrier is that we don’t have dental insurance so I’m going to be buying a Groupon, and I have to find a place that has availability during the hours that my kids are in preschool. It can be done, it just takes lots of calling ahead before buying.

2. Fix the paint in the half bath downstairs.

It’s embarrassing that we paid thousands of dollars for a painter who did stuff like this 2 years ago when we moved in:

bad paint job

I’ve located the paint and I should be able to fix this at some point.

3. Eliminate the part time jobs that do not generate income.

I have a bunch of part time jobs right now, some of which don’t actually pay and some that only pay sometimes (classes based on attendance, for example). I am wasting my energy and taking time away from my kids pointlessly if I am not getting paid. I will not say “yes” to things that do not compensate, and I will attempt to eliminate anything that is currently not profitable. I have a few commitments that I need to see through before this can be completely accomplished, so it might take the better part of the year to do.

4. Try to blog at least 3 times a week.

This year’s NaBloPoMo was much less painful than last year’s. I think I am more comfortable in my blogging niche now than I have been in the past. I have gained a lot of readers and THANK YOU! If I make a priority to blog immediately about the things that are on my mind I tend to a) blog more often and b) produce higher quality content. The barrier is being able to sit down and blog. I’ve tried to blog on the iPad, making it a more portable endeavor, but then I can’t access my pictures from iPhoto, since they are not accessible from outside our home WiFi. When I try to use the “real” computer at home, there are 1 million distractions and I can only get to that computer a few times a week. I’d love to blog while my kids are in preschool but they only go twice a week and one day is completely allocated to kids yoga all week and the other day is my errand day. Need to figure this out.

5. Address my health issues.

I blogged about my 30 days of Macrobiotic Eating here. It is an attempt to clear up my skin and help with my digestive issues. If that does not work to entirely clear things up, I am planning to go back to our naturopath. I tried Western medicine this past year and it was a horrible failure, so on to other things.

6. Keep up or even expand my personal yoga practice.

I have loved getting back into yoga and teaching children. In order to teach, however, we must learn and grow. I cannot teach what I am not learning, myself. So it is important for me to continue my own practice, either at home or at a studio.

It’s a short list this year, but I might add to it as we go along. These last few weeks with the kids at home and all the family here all the time have left me with little to no reflection time, so this list was put together hastily. I hope to reflect more fully on my 2014 intentions and add to this list within the next week.

What are your To Do’s for 2014?

2014 Macrobiotic Diet for 30 days: Ely Organics Miessence cleanse

NOTE: The Miessence products I’ll use in my cleanse were given to me by my friend Erin Ely of Ely Organics. She is running an awesome promotion right now on these products and I’d love if you’d take a look because I appreciate everything she’s doing to help me solve my health issues!

30 Days of Macrobiotic Eating | Conscientious Confusion

I’m not going to lie, I’m dreading January a little bit this year.

There are two things that I do not do:  New Year’s Resolutions and diets. I make a to do list each year. And I just eat well.

But there’s this issue with my digestive system and my skin, which I believe are connected. And I refuse to take ridiculously dangerous blood pressure medicine or the lifetime of low-dose antibiotics the dermatologist recommended.

So far, I’ve had limited success with supplements, essential oils, and reflexology at precise times in my monthly cycle. However, it’s probably time to bring the probiotics back in and do a little “reset” of what’s inside my gut.

I’ve talked before about the thought of doing a cleanse. I could never really convince myself to do it. But with the help of my friend Erin from Ely Organics, I’ve decided to commit to a regimen of specifically targeted organic superfoods and a macrobiotic diet geared to help bring my body back into balance from the inside. I’ll be doing this for approximately 30 days, (or until I fall off the wagon).

What is a macrobiotic diet?

According to Wikipedia:

A macrobiotic diet (or macrobiotics), is a dietary regimen which involves eating grains as a staple food, supplemented with other foods such as local vegetables, and avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products. Macrobiotics also addresses manner of eating, by recommending against overeating, and for chewing thoroughly.

More specifically, the percentages of foods are as follows, according to WikiHow:

  • 50% grains
  • 25% in-season vegetables
  • 10% protein
  • 5% soups
  • 5% sea vegetables
  • 5% nuts and fruits

How is this different from how I already eat?

Honestly, it’s not that much different from how I eat currently.

I found a chart on Hubpages describing a step-by-step process of transitioning to a macrobiotic diet:

Steps to a macrobiotic diet from http://emmamedu.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Start-Macrobiotic-Diet-Step-by-Step

According to this chart, I already eat Step 6. I actually don’t use that much soy presently, because I am very aware that most soy is genetically modified (GMO). I like to avoid that. I actually do more beans and nuts than soy. But for the next 30 days, I can make a concerted effort to obtain only non-GMO soy products. It’s a little more expensive, but do-able short term.

What will I need to change to go fully macrobiotic?

Eliminating sugar/fruit. I don’t currently consume much refined sugar, but I do eat a lot of (organic) fruit, honey, and maple syrup or products containing those things. Apparently you can consumer brown rice syrup for sweetness, but it is strongly discouraged. One thing that I am very worried about is coconut milk. I do consume quite a few coconut products, and coconut milk in cartons does contain cane syrup (sugar). The idea is that I should be replacing my fruit and sweet consumption with green vegetables. I am not sure how this is going to go.

Eating slowly. Hahahahaha!! Whoever invented this diet did not have two preschoolers or live in Dallas, Texas. Yes, let me wait to chew 50 times before I tell my son to stop flinging water at my daughter at the table. And it’s super fun to listen to her screech for 5 minutes straight because she wants a napkin but I’m still chewing. In the time it takes to chew 50 times, my children can collectively ask 500 questions. Or the same question 500 times. Either way, it’s possible that I’ll go insane. I am seriously considering the possibility that I might only be able to eat when my children are asleep. Which, unfortunately, kinda makes the macrobiotic principle of “eat when you need food” impossible. Because if I need food and they’re awake, I can’t eat slowly.

No snacks on the go. In the macrobiotic diet, there are no “allowed” foods that can be carried in my purse or eaten on the go. I eat about 3 snacks a day right now because I am constantly hungry. I am not sure how this is going to work. Do I just ignore the fact that I’m hungry because I can’t cook some rice with seaweed and eat it slowly? I’m a little stumped on this one. I’m considering rice crackers, tahini, and dried nori. Right now I carry around mixed nuts and dried edamame but there is oil used in the roasting process that isn’t OK according to the macrobiotic diet.

Adding Miessence certified organic superfoods

To make up for gaps in nutrition and protein, and to help rebuild positive flora in my gut, I’ll be using the following Miessence certified organic superfoods.

Fast Tract: Gluten-free certified organic probiotic liquid. To re-colonize the gastrointestinal tract with the full spectrum of Lactobacillus (friendly) bacteria.
Usage: I was instructed to drink one 750mL bottle per week, which is around 3.6 oz per day.

InLiven: probiotic powder (dormant organisms until hydrated & activated). In-Liven certified organic probiotic is the result of over 20 years research and development. The bacteria are produced from fruits and vegetables and not fast-tracked from fecal matter. Contains significant enzymes, vital amino acids and a broad spectrum of essential nutrients (including plant proteins).
Usage: 3 teaspoons InLiven every day, total – take 1 teaspoon 30 minutes before a meal. Can be blended into a drink with 2 c. apple juice and strawberries, no banana.

Topical: Make a poultice using Fast Tract powder and InLiven liquid and apply to the face.

I’ll also be using Miessence skin care, and will do another post about that.