I get high… With a little help from my yoga practice

I wake up this morning with such a heavy weight on both my mind and my body. I’m finding it hard to merely function today..

I am not, and have not been myself for a little while now.

I’ve been reactive, moody, stressed, faint, and uneasy.

I sit here struggling to write this because my hands are shaking, my stomach is queasy, and my head is cloudy.

I need to write. I need to finish the introductory lessons for my course.

But I need to feel good.

I haven’t been doing anything differently in terms of diet or exercise, consequently I am unable to pinpoint anything that could be causing me to feel this way.

So, I snooze my 5:45 alarm for the gym and allow myself a few extra minutes to lay in bed.

I take a few deep breaths into my stomach, taking in all of the beauty, goodness, and light in the world, and exhale peacefully out my nose, letting go of all the bad, and all the negativity that I am currently experiencing.

After about 30 minutes I decide get up and practice some of the yoga I was learning for a little over a month in Thailand. It’s been a while since i’ve practiced this form of Yoga, and I think it’s way overdue that I get back to my daily routine.

When I was on Koh Phangan, and island in the south of Thailand I was learning an ancient form of Hatha yoga grounded in tantric philosophy.

What does this mean? Simply put, it focuses on healing the mind, heart, body and soul. It’s not the “sexy booty” yoga we often practice and are exposed to in the Western world.

This practice is one of the most beautiful, powerful, enlightening and healing things I have ever learned/experienced.

People ask me why I don’t drink.. Well, because I have this. I have something that makes me feel exponentially more high than any drug could ever facilitate.

In brief, my practice allows me to experience the world as a child again. It helps me let go of the past, forget the future, and to live in the present. It allows me to see unconditional beauty within myself, others and the world. It shows me hidden truths that the world and sometime myself burry deep within. It leaves me with a sense of connectivity not only with myself, my body, and my mind, but also others, the world, and nature.

It heals me.

I think that sometimes it’s hard for people in the western world to understand that something SO simple can have so many benefits. But it does, and I believe whole heartedly that yoga, and more specifically this practice can truly change the world.

I had to leave whole foods to get to work, so this blog post was put on pause.

As I was driving I noticed a little friend had decided to accompany on my journey. It was a ladybug.

This lady bug had more spots than any other ladybug I have ever seen. And maybe I’m crazy, but if I remember correctly, the more spots a lady bug has, the more luck it brings.

To me, seeing, and being in the presence of this lady bug was a sign, a synchronicity.

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I’m not sure if synchronicity is a familiar term to everyone, but it is essentially the idea that coincidences in our life don’t merely happen by chance. Even more, they are meaningful, and if we live in awareness these synchronicities can bring new information and opportunities into our lives.

If the idea of synchronicity interests you, this, and many other spiritual concepts are displayed beautifully in my favorite book The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.

Love & light to you on this beautiful Monday.

Eating out.

Going out to dinner, lunch or even order a smoothie has become one of the most stressful, and disheartening parts about following the autoimmune diet.

The other night Cuan and I were out to dinner and I couldn’t have ANYTHING on the Menu with out modifying it. When I had to ask the waiter to change something, it was almost impossible because a lot of things are prepped in advance. Once I was able to find something I could eat, it came, and it had something in it that the waiter had failed to tell us about, so I couldn’t eat it.

Often other customers and bystanders laugh and sneer at the questions I have to ask, and the requests that I have to make to the waiter/waitress or person taking my order at a counter.. “Sorry I can’t have butter, sugar, nuts, table salt, corn, potatoes, eggs, soy, eggplant, peppers both regular or spicy, seeds, tomatoes (this has been one of the hardest ones), gluten or grain, legumes, or canned fruits. Do you have pea protein? What about coconut milk?.. etc.”

Following such a strict diet, especially 100% of the time is so uncommon that people are quite frequently taken aback when they hear me order like this. Consequently, it’s not unusual that I see people aghast, gawking with their mouth wide open, to hear laughter, or a comment about how anorexic I am.

All of this is not a big deal. I think what bothers me the most is how if affects the people I love and care about.

When Cuan and I go out to dinner we often share, and I feel so guilty that he has to take on my modifications. I don’t want him, or anyone to take on my burden.. I want my friends and family to be able to enjoy a dish the way it was created, and meant to be prepared. Instead of the bland version that probably wouldn’t even be recognized as the same thing if you didn’t know otherwise.

My grandparents have to deal with my cooking all hours of the day and night, endless vegetables and tupperware containers of cooked food in the fridge. All of my supplements, tinctures, protein, collagen and greens powders out all over the counter, my 3 day stool sample in the fridge, me cleaning my enema bucket in the kitchen sink and so much more.

Then theres my mom.. bless her heart. What a truly, special, strong, beautiful, loving lady. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about how much she has done for me not only my whole life, but especially throughout this whole process. I wish she wasn’t, but she is doing the WHOLE diet with me.

Mom, if you are reading this I hope you know how much all of this means to me. You are such a bright, beautiful light in both my life, and so many others. I feel so blessed to not only call you my mother, but also my best friend. Thank you for your endless love, support and inspiration. I love you more than words could ever express.

How truly fortunate I am to have such amazing people in my life who are willing to accommodate me as if it were their own struggle. I just wish they didn’t have to.

I think the reason I feel so badly is because I know how difficult, stressful and time consuming all of this has been for me, consequently I feel extremely culpable feeling like other people have to take it on as well, even if it’s just for one meal, or one order.

Dreaming of nuts..

Happy Wednesday!

I’ve been following the autoimmune paleo diet for about 2 months now, and to say it has been difficult would be an understatement.

The amount of meal prep time, and the extent of caution I have to exercise when eating out or somewhere besides home is both time consuming and stressful.

I rarely go out to eat because of how few things I can actually eat. However, when I do eat out having to follow the diet feels extremely high maintenance. I have to ask about all of the ingredients, order an extremely modified version of a dish, and then ask for everything with “no butter, no oil except coconut or olive and no sugar”. #DIVA

What am I not allowed to eat?.. It would be easier for me to list the things I can eat…

Heres a list of the “forbidden”

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I can honestly say that for the first month or so I wasn’t having intense cravings, but as time has gone on I miss things more and more.

Because I have to be so careful, and spend so much of my brainpower and time buying, preparing and eating specific foods I constantly have food on my mind, and find myself thinking about food quite often.. Even tonight as I lay in shavasana at the conclusion of yoga class I think I was actually dreaming of eating nuts.. Almonds, pecans, pistachios, cashews, walnuts… yumm!

I think nuts, hot peppers and tomatoes are what I miss most..

People ask me all of the time how I can do this, if I think I can last, or if I will cheat..

Of course I’ve cheated!! I’m not going to lie to you, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

But, I’ve actually only cheated 2 times in the whole 2 months that I’ve been doing this.. Suprising, but when you think about the fact that every time I eat something that’s not on the diet it takes my body a whole 2 weeks to get it out of my system, it seems like a no brainer.

I feel so good, and have seen such wonderful progress that I am satisfied with merely dreaming of nuts.. even if I will never be able to fulfill my dreams of eating them ever again.

I think I just burnt my colon…

(a good song to read this post to)

The enema started out like any other…

I made the coffee concoction and let it sit while I filled out information for the 3 day stool sample I start collecting tomorrow… SO FUN!

The 20 minute preparation almost got contaminated by my grandpa washing his hands, but luckily the soap stayed out of the enema bucket!

Time to go… I lay out my phone & laptop to the right of the towel I will be laying on, hang up the bucket and lie down.. (How people did enemas before technology…I have no idea). I turn on some nice music, apply some coconut oil to my bum hole, (yes, this stuff is good for everything: cooking, your skin, and even as lube! :I ) and stick in the tube.

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(All I can say about the socks is…. #MURICA)

AND…..I’M READY! – I unlock the clip that holds the coffee in the bucket and it’s go time!

“HOLY SHIT.” I find myself screaming. I definitely didn’t wait long enough for the coffee to cool down, but too late now.. my colon is likely already burnt so I continue on.

I let in all the liquid, and now it’s time to wait 15 minutes. After flipping through tinder for a while (yes, I probably matched with you whilst having a tube, and a liter of coffee in my ass) I decide to call one of my best friends, Natalie..

WHY YOU NO ANSWER, NATALIE???!!IMG_9007-1Was probably for the best.

I send a few selfies to my family.

They think I’m disgusting.. But they’re used to it. At least I get a little bit of a laugh out of it.. But I must be careful not to laugh too hard… :I

The whole processes wasn’t so bad, although it took FOREVER.

It was all fine and dandy until the very end when I had to get up, and release all of the liquid… A description of how this felt & what it consisted of would be disgusting but also insufficient.. So, hopefully this picture can give you a little bit of an idea of what I went through..

Lucky me.. I get to do this 2 times a week!! IMG_9010

Happy Sunday everyone!!!

Tonights the night I put it in my butt.

I sit here writing my book, procrastinating the inevitable tube that I will have to shove up my ass later tonight.

During the third meeting with my nutritionist she recommended that I start doing 2 coffee enemas per week to help with the healing of my gut. 

As defined by Wikipedia, an enema is a fluid injected into the lower bowel by way of the rectum.

Sounds fun doesn’t it??

More specifically, a coffee enema is: the enema-related procedure of injected coffee into the anus to cleanse the rectum and large intestines. This procedure is considered by most medical authorities to be unproven, rash, and potentially dangerous

My nutritionist told me not to get my hopes up, but that other patients who had autoimmune diseases who did enemas experienced relief from their joint pain. I’m not quite sure how the two go together, but i’ll try anything once.. or twice.

The enema has been sitting under my sink, and weighing heavily on my mind for about 2 weeks now. I am not sure why doing the enema is causing me so much stress, seeing as I was doing two colemas per day (essentially a 45 minute enema) for the duration of my 8.5 day fast  in Thailand. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a designated room with everything set up that is cleaned immediately after by someone who is not me. Maybe it’s because it feels so much more real doing it here. Either way, it must be done.

Look forward to a post with the process, experience and results later this week.

Now I just have to figure out how to put this thing together….


No pain no gain?

Today I woke up around 6 and decided to take the pup for a run. I usually do this about once or twice a week because he doesn’t really enjoy running as much as you would expect a dog to.

This mornings run was just like any other, defined by: humid air, beauty, endorphins, constant encouragement from me to Shanti to keep up the pace, and more than a few flat tires from my furry friend.

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However, as we got closer to the end of the run, and we began to slow our pace I began to realize how different this mornings run was from any other day. It hit me like a ton of bricks to the face, so hard that I had to stop for a minute to take it all in, to allow the corners of my mouth to spread into a grin, and to bask in the beauty of the moment.

Today was the first day since I can remember that I have been able to run (or even walk for that matter) with no pain or discomfort. While this may not seem like a big deal to the average person, it is HUGE for me.

Chronic pain is probably difficult for someone who has never experienced it to understand.. So let me put it into perspective for you.

Every year my aunt Mindy and uncle Rob rent the same beach house in Wilmington. The house is right on the water and their kids, (my cousins), myself and a few others all meet in  for a week or two of “beach week”. I am so fortunate for this special time with my family, and I am eternally grateful towards my Aunt and Uncle for keeping such a beautiful tradition alive.

This year was like any other.. Except this year, both my cousin (and one of my best friends) Jesse and I were both coming back from recent adventures in Asia and per usual couldn’t wait to immerse ourselves back into beach life, family and healthy food.

I was taking a chance this year coming by to beach week. I had been experiencing lots of issues concerning my disease, was in severe pain and discomfort and was at a place where I had to make a huge decision about what to do in terms of how I was going to treat myself. Was I going to take the short, easy, Western way of doing things and put myself back on the toxic medication that had previously allowed me to live remission. Or, was I going to take a chance, go against the advice of every doctor I had ever seen and try to heal myself through diet, exercise and natural remedies.

At this point I had been walking through each day with the weight of a sumo wrestler on my heart. Every step was difficult both physically and emotionally. With everything I did there was always a chance that I wouldn’t be able to take the pain, discomfort or emotional burden any more, and that I would collapse. And I did.

It was after my cousin, her friends from France, her childhood best friend and I all went out for a ride on the boat. We had a beautiful ride with a nice balance between both going fast, crashing over waves and giving into nature by turning off the engine and allowing the waves to take us wherever their heart desired.

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I had to lay down for the boat trip in it’s entirety because I was in such discomfort, and so ashamed that I couldn’t bring myself to stand, or even sit up.

When we got back to the dock I stood up to get off and lost my balance. Frustrated with myself, I grabbed the rail and tried to get off the boat. I was able to get off, but it took so much effort and involved so much discomfort that I almost gave in right then and there.

To be unable to get in and out of a boat with out pain and discomfort crushed me.

I’ve always had to live with the pain and discomfort, but I think sometimes I forget what it’s like to be “normal” until something like this happens. And when it does, it hits me…hard.

I am more times than not in pain or discomfort, and constantly aware of how I’m feeling. I try not to let on how much it all affects me, but sometimes it gets so hard that I have to speak up; to ask my mom to slow down as we walk, or to ask my friend to help me up the stairs at Red Rocks. I think this part is harder for me than the actual pain. I hate feeling weak and having to ask others to change the pace of their lives, consequently restricting themselves for my sake. This makes me feel so divided, but mostly dispirited with myself because of the inability to do things that a person my age should be able to do with ease.

So next time you get frustrated with your friend for walking slowly, for your dog not being able to keep up, for your teammate not being able to complete something I urge you to slow down, and take a minute to step back. Before you react, ask yourself why this person is unable, or is having difficulty doing something. Most times you’ll find that people don’t do things on purpose. Everyone has battles, and everyone has demons. Why should we bring each other down when we have the ability lift each other up?

Live in oneness, be aware of each others struggle(s), support one another, and spread love. We only get one life, let’s live it beautifully… together.

Music meditation.

After every workout I complete I take 20 minutes to stop, breathe and relax. This usually consists of a blend between basic stretching, yoga and meditation. I always end this practice with a headstand to ground myself, heighten my awareness and increase my overall consciousness for the day to come.

I put on beautiful music (like the song above), tune out the world, and tune into myself.

I find that this makes for such a great start to the day. I leave the gym feeling grounded, refreshed, at peace, calm and connected to both myself and life.

Meditation & yoga in their solidarity are great practices, but I find that when I combine them with music I am able to reach another level.

For me, this practice necessary to keep myself sane. I have so much going on in my life, so many things that I have to think about and consider, that if I didn’t take a few minutes a day to calm myself down I would probably explode..

Try it. It doesn’t have to be after a work out. It could be when you wake up, before you go to sleep, or at any point during your day.. Plug some good headphones into your iPod, mp3 or phone. Put on one of your favorite songs (ideally something somewhat relaxing). Get your body into a good stretch or a headstand. Quiet your mind, and let the lyrics take you away.