Will B-12 Make Me Fat?

ih4fzyxAlright everyone can just calm down.

Let me be clear and acknowledge that you and I both understand vitamin b-12 will not in any way make one pack on the pounds.

I guess we all didn’t received the same memo, because this was the very question asked by a young woman while I was at work the other day.

What had happened was…

I turned down aisle 6 to find a frazzled young woman scouring the shelves. Its not uncommon to find customers overwhelmed at our vast product selection and to be honest I still don’t know where everything is at.

I walked over and asked if I could help find something. She let out a sigh of relief at the prospect of help and wanted to know where the b-12 was. I guided her to that section and diligently described the difference between cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. (More on that here if y’all are interested)

But alas- after all that the deciding factor came down to a question of vanity?

“But will B-12 make me fat”?

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People say that there are no stupid questions, but those people are wrong and in my mind I quickly placed this gal in a specific category.

I was ready to wrap up our interaction and move on to a task more rewarding like refilling the stapler, but she wanted to know more:

“What all is this good for? I need vitamins because I barely eat…sometimes I go a day or two and just forget to eat”.

I didn’t need to know…

Really I didn’t.

There was a pretty solid chance I’d never see her again and based on her opening line I might rather not know, but my inquisitive nature usually wins. Without hesitating for too long I looked her straight in the eyes and asked,

“Why?”

She seemed surprised at my curiosity.

“I’m just busy. I work two jobs and I have a kid, so I don’t have time, or I just forget sometimes.” giphy-24

The plot thickens…shit.

My heart sank at the picture she quickly painted for me.

Two jobs? You have a kid? I’d be shocked if you’re even old enough to buy a beer??

I shook my head like I understood her life and then spouted off a list of b-12 benefits.

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I did not understand though!

How could I? I’m in my thirties; have only one full time gig and I have zero children. I quite literally have no grounds on which to identify with her, but suddenly I had all the feels for how exhausted she must’ve been and saddened by the thought of her quality of life 10 years from now if she kept on this way.

 

You don’t need b-12…

You need to b-with-your-kid,

b-working-less,

and b-eating-more!

I didn’t have to…

Really I didn’t.

She’s probably heard it several times before, but maybe….Just maybe it’ll resonate coming from a stranger?

I accepted the role of ‘overbearing stranger’ and in my best mama bear tone I said,

“It sounds like your plate is pretty full and although vitamins and supplements are convenient they should never take the place of real whole food nutrition. If you don’t take care of yourself you might get to a place where you’re not well enough to take care of the little one. And he’s the one who really needs you to take care of you.”

giphyThe young woman stared at me silently with her mouth ever so slightly agape. I could see tears start to fill the bottom of her wide eyes before she blinked them back and threw her arms around me in a surrendering embrace. She thanked me for my concern as we hugged it out like two old friends upon a grand reunion. It was truly a hallelujah wake-up call for her and in that exact moment she vowed to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Can you believe that?!

Me neither. It’s not even close to how she actually responded.

Instead, her eyes were vacant as she nodded her head and forced out a polite half smile (or wince?). With about as much enthusiasm as you’d expect after taking unsolicited advice from a stranger she said, “I know…

…but do you have something for stretch marks? I’ve literally tried everything and they wont go away?”

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Alright! Maybe I shouldn’t have expected it to go any other way?

That is the point though, right? To witness our good intentions have an immediate impact and positively change the course of someones life?

Noooope. While it may be rewarding, it is not the point and it’s also unlikely.

The important part is that we ‘plant a seed’ when possible.

Ok. I’ve conceded that at one time or another, someone has already said what I wanted to say, and most times better than I would have said it. I just didn’t think I’d ever quote the wholesome wisdom of one Mr. George Foreman (Yup, that grill guy), but here goes…

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“Plant a seed of greatness in your children. Speak a word of encourgement to someone who needs to hear it. Inspire someone to be a better person. One day you’ll reap a harvest, and your world will become a better place to live”

You may think its not your place or that what you say will not make a difference. Nonsense! Are your intentions positive? Are you coming from a place of love? Then take every opportunity to plant a seed of greatness, a seed of encouragement, or a seed of inspiration!

Do it like it is your job.

It does not matter if they’re a friend, a family member, an acquaintance, or even a stranger.

It’s us…we matter.

And we all would benefit from a lot more gardening.

Shine on, friends. Xx

 

 

Living Resolution

Happy New Year!

Hopefully your celebrations left you renewed and healthy! Of course there’s nothing wrong with taking the next few days to nurse a hangover while you shamefully try to scrub your brain of the previous night’s indiscretions.

Just don’t beat yourself up to bad!

giphyMy night was somewhat low key. I gathered at my friend Chef Fancy’s house with my boyfriend for a few epic games of Jenga before we were led up to the roof of the apartment building to reveal a spectacular panoramic view of Hollywood! The first few moments into 2017 were spent atop the one and only tinsel town gazing at the twinkling skyline from downtown to the westside as brilliantly colored fireworks draped the black canvas and sparkled down like glitter. It really was a breathtaking sight! At one point I was convinced that we were inside one of those snow globes that every bargain chotchkie shop sells down the blvd.

Did I mention that an hour previously we had each eaten a gummy bear graced with LSD? Yup that happened.

I said my night was “somewhat” low-key.

Although we hardly had begun our tra la la into wonderland the visual enhancements Lucy brought were truly amazing! And boy did it get wild from there because giphyafterwards we strapped ourselves in to watch all 11 episodes of BBC’s Planet Earth on Fancy’s 60” latest-greatest-high-tech-super-duper flat screen tv. 

The series does a bang up job of intimately capturing some of this worlds insane existence. Nature is already anything less than astonishing, but when you witness the great Sierra Redwoods extend out from the television screen and ants the size of people waltz through the living room it changes the entire viewing experience….for the positive!

The night also came with lots of laughter, connectivity, and troubleshooting of personal issues. This wasn’t my first rodeo and typically my favorite part is when the opportunity arises for my brain to tackle questions with a new perspective.

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Bleep Boop

 The answers don’t all find their way in that moment, but dissecting a thought in a way you may not have otherwise allows better and deeper contemplation when you revisit it in the days to follow. I believe the term is called ‘unpacking from the trip’ which I’m still working on.

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For those of you Judgy Mcjudgers who may be concerned by my mention of LSD then let me quickly share the fact that it is the most researched psychedelic to date, is non-addictive, is not known to cause brain damage, and has an extremely low toxicity relative to dose. There are few physical side effects associated with acute LSD exposure. Various studies have shown that in reasonable doses in a careful context, it presents no negative cognitive, psychiatric or toxic physical consequences of any sort. (psychonautwiki.org)

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This is literally a brain on drugs and quite frankly it looks nothing like a fried egg. Click here to learn what science has to say.

Yeppers it’s time I come out of the psychedelic closet and declare my advocacy of psychedelic rights.

I AM NOT SAYING THAT YOU OR ANYONE SHOULD TRY THEM FOR FUNZIES.

With any mind altering substance respect and responsibility are mandatory. Misinformation has been floating around since the 1960’s making it difficult to have a worthwhile conversation, so don’t be ignorant and before you go spreading unsubstantiated rumors about the supposed horrors, educate yourself via reputable sources.

This is a very exciting time because In the last decade, psychedelic research has been ignited once again, as the government has begun approving controlled clinical trials! One remarkable organization leading the charge is The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (maps.org). They are a non-profit research and educational organization (since 1986) that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. Visit their website If you’re interested in learning more about the latest happenings.

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Overall it was an enlightening experience spent with people I adore.

As far as setting any New Year’s resolutions for myself?

I make goals all year long and some I break only to make again, so for myself I don’t see any real importance in taking time at the first of the year to do this. But a few weeks ago I came across a definition of the word resolution as it’s used in music.

res·o·lu·tion

“The passing of a discord into a concord during the course of changing harmony.”

This really spoke to me.

I’ve spent some hard time in discord over the past few years. After finding focus, unloading toxic friends and ditching bad habits, for now, the chaos has subsided. The transition wasn’t pretty, as change and growth rarely are, but then I suppose this beautiful concord I’ve reached wouldn’t seem as sweet if it was.

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If anyone is stuck in discord then I want to encourage you to hold on, keep working hard, stay positive and remember that you’re in the process of changing.

This is your resolution.

It’s only temporary and necessary as you pass into a new harmony.

Shine on, friends. Xx

  

PROGRESS REPORT

I’ve made some significant lifestyle changes over the past few months, so I thought I’d fill y’all in on my progress!

Cigarette anyone?

Not me!

I have yet to touch my lips to one since the day I quit! That’s not to say that I don’t have to fight my way through cravings.

Not everyday, but a few times a week I have the urge to meet my old friend for a romp. I know that the pleasure gained would last seconds only to be followed by guilt, shame, and disgust.aef1568b59b4d74fd896e97fc38abc44

Some ex-smokers say that after 20+ years they still have moments where they want to light up, so maybe I’ll never again know what life without a tobacco craving feels like?

Small price for clear lungs!

How’s that obnoxious hair on my chiny chin chin since I’ve been threading??

Well it’s even WORSE.

 giphy-23I’m currently using an epilator on my face as I type this. I figured this would happen since I made the decision to stop taking birth control about a month ago. 

 

Huh? What? Are you trying to have a baby??

NO NO NANETTE! I just finally woke up to the fact that putting synthetic hormones into my body for 15yrs was a horrible choice. I don’t know why I never took the time to read the possible side effects of the Ortho Cyclen until recently.

Here’s a “brief” rundown-

 

  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • absent, missed, or irregular menstrual periods
  • anxiety
  • change in vision
  • changes in skin color
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chills
  • clay-colored stools
  • constipation
  • cough
  • dark urine
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • fever
  • headache
  • hives or welts
  • itching skin
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • loss of appetite
  • medium to heavy, irregular vaginal bleeding between regular monthly periods, which may require the use of a pad or a tampon
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • pain, tenderness, or swelling of the foot or leg
  • pains in the chest, groin, or legs, especially in the calves of the legs
  • pounding in the ears
  • rash
  • redness of the skin
  • severe headaches of sudden onset
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • sudden loss of coordination or slurred speech
  • sudden onset of shortness of breath for no apparent reason
  • sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • sweating
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting of blood
  • bloating
  • blotchy spots on the exposed skin
  • breast enlargement or tenderness
  • discouragement
  • feeling sad or empty
  • irritability
  • itching of the vagina or outside the genitals
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • pain during sexual intercourse
  • thick, white curd-like vaginal discharge without odor or with mild odor
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble wearing contact lenses

 

-Via drugs.com

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Say no more fam- I’d rather not take that gamble anymore.

Unfortunately, my PCOS symptoms have become worse and threading a few times a week is neither economical nor efficient. The epilator will have to do for now- I’m hoping eventually over time and through diet and herbal support this frustrating fur will disappear.

maca_powder_benefitsIn LIVING THE DREAM I talk about how last time I stopped taking BC I went without a period for 9 months! This is a typical symptom of PCOS and though you might think it’s a perk- mood swings/bloating/cramping/sore breasts without any payoff will leave you not-so-perky.

I prepared myself mentally for this to happen again and started taking Maca (tell me what the hell maca is?) in hopes that it would eventually help to regulate my cycle.

GUYS!! GUESS WHO GOT HER PERIOD AFTER 29 DAYS?? giphy-21

Maybe it’s a one-off? Maybe it’ll be months before I have another one?

OR MAYBE this is a result of a healthy diet void of sugar, dairy, and grains?! 

MAYBE it’s because herbs ARE powerful and should not be easily dismissed as quackery?! 

MAYBE my body is responding favorably to the dedication I’ve shown TO MYSELF?! 

Ok, but what about that gnarly sugar addiction?

45 days and I’m still clean!! No processed sugar! None! No cane sugar, no coconut sugar, no palm sugar, no corn syrup, no maple syrup, no agave, no xylitol, no stevia, no no nope! download-1

I did eat a half a box of dates the other day, but that’s rare and it’s fucking dates for Pete’s sake….very different than peanut butter cups.

I haven’t had any grains or dairy either! Navigating life without sugar/grains/dairy hasn’t been all that hard and I can tell my body is grateful to have a break from the inflammation caused by those rascals.

I’ve replaced sugary shit with fruit!

Enjoying nature’s candies like pineapple, berries, and apples to satisfy my sweet tooth!

Using dates to sweeten baked goods!

Hmm…Imagine that?! 

And I love it! I love being that annoying person who has to look at every ingredient on the label! I love turning my nose up when I’m offered something filled with Satan’s blow then have to obnoxiously explain why!

I love it because it’s worth it and more importantly…

I’m worth it!

Every day that I make a conscious decision to live healthier – I’m validating my own worth.

And that feels really, really, ridiculously good! 

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Much love & thanks for all your support and motivation. I certainly would not be this succesful if I wasnt surrounded by amazing people who encourage me daily. Especially my guy 😉

Shine on, Friends! Xx

“Spread Love & Light”

Photo credit: curiousjohn via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Pres……President?

President Donald Trump?

Nope- still can’t comprehend. My brains auto correct mechanism glitches out if I think about what has happened for too long.

I’m still struggling to make sense of it all?

When I heard that Trump won I felt the same as I did after watching the 1st season finale of Game of Thrones-giphy-17

ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN and the only thing certain is uncertainty. This years presidential election has been fascinating to follow really, but then I remember that America is not a poorly produced reality TV series and WE HAVE IN FACT VOTED (have we?) our next Commander and Chief to be this classy gent… 

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*Not actually Donald Trump

 

I lied. One thing is certainly certain- we are severely disconnected from one another.

This is not OK.

The MAJORITY of us are disenfranchised not just the minorities and we need to find our way back into one another’s lives. We need to throw empathy and compassion at each other over insults and judgement.

My friend Priscella posted some thoughts on her blog recently regarding the election results and I like what she has to say, so I want to share it with y’all-

 Spread Love and Light

I haven’t been able to properly voice my feelings these past few weeks. On one end I feel as though my heart has lost some hope in humanity. The trailing backwards is as evident now as it has been before, there’s only a matter of time before we somehow lose our progression entirely. But then I remember that progress is not always a straight line forward, it’s almost like an arrow, being sprung back in order to go forward again but with more power.

It takes a lot of energy to be understanding and take hits and still continue with poise; That is why I think my peers, family, and myself are so emotionally exhausted. The dejavú of institutional racism being so alive in our country and society has brought clarity into the eyes of those who were once passive. My heart drags on for my fellow POC, constantly being a target to the “man”, never left to our own devices. Under the microscope of the government we are forced to do, eat, and drink what they give, like lab rats.

This is why I think in times like these it is vital that we stay connected. As Roger Water wrote in one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs “together we stand, divided we fall”. This is a time to teach and share our knowledge and feelings, to not lose hope, channel our anger into good and fight for humanity to stay sane. Let us not forget that those bigots we are constantly trying to prove our existence to are from birth conditioned to think this way. If one must continue to argue to get the point across that we should be able to coexist then so be it, as ridiculous as it sounds. Why can’t we coexist? My mind is boggled by how ego driven humans are.

With that being said, I love you. Don’t forget to reflect on yourself, your surroundings, and situation. I am sorry that we are a wounded earth beyond repair, but you can make a difference. This is not the first or last time we face a struggle and the hardest part is just getting through. – Priscella via Mujer Apasionada

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Priscella (or Peep as I coined her because she’s sweet, adorable, and little like those cute marshmallow Easter favoritesis only 20yrs old, but shes already experienced a lot of shit in her personal life and instead of letting it define her- she has risen above it. She has chosen not to live in anger and disappointment, but rather acceptance and surrender.

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*Not actually Priscella

Those are powerful attributes!

If Peep and her words stand as any indication of the rest of her generation then the future is bright.

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YES WE CAN COEXIST.

How?

I believe the answer is so simple that many miss or dismiss it all together.

I will echo Peep’s sentiment above and join in saying that I also love you.

Whatever color, size, class, or ideology you belong to- I fucking love you.

For no other reason than the fact that you, like me, have no real idea what the hell is going on anyway….admittedly or not 😉

Shine on, friends. Xx

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*Actually Peep

To learn more about Priscella and her writings please do yourself an enlightening favor and follow her blog Mujer Apasionada 

Yoga in Chinatown

I have wanted to take yoga classes for awhile now, but a few things needed to happen first….

  1. Find Energy – Wherever it was hiding I needed to find and catch it, so I could use it on my day off instead of checking my bed for peas.
  2. Find classes that were convenient and affordable – Maybe this isn’t such a feat as I’m surrounded by tons of opportunity for the healing arts, but without checking off #1 I wasn’t doing much searching.
  3. Find confidence – Regardless of what some people experience, beginning any type of classroom activity can be hella intimidating. giphy-16Especially one that requires more flexibility than a potato. 

Recent dietary changes (more about that here) and my long overdue break-up with American Spirits the orange pack (catch up on that here) have delivered me into the healthiest I’ve ever been! Shedding weight physically and emotionally has brought welcomed energy along with the motivation to jump into warrior pose!

So where does this girl on a budget go that’s close to home? Call it coincidence, but it just so happens that I rode a wave right on into the perfect opportunity! Turns out one of my co-workers is a Yoga instructor!

Vee is a young, artistic, spunky soul who loves to laugh and exudes a bright peaceful energy- which is why me and the girls at work were thrilled when she told us about starting a weekly donation based class. She was nervous, but knew this would be a great way to work on her craft and begin to build her following. I was so down to support her and even though she assured me her style was great for beginners…I was a little worried the class would be too intense.

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It’s not like I’ve never tried it before. There’s been a few times I’ve loaded up a “beginners” YouTube video to practice in the privacy of my bedroom where only after 10 minutes I would assume the corpse position and finish out the rest of the video on my back (maybe napping maybe not)… still counts, right?

 

Then one time my very athletic sister asked me to join her for a yogalates class. As if yoga and pilates are not challenging enough separately, some masochist combined them so people who obviously don’t encounter stairs, sit to pee, or lift anything heavier than a Q-tip can enjoy. I did not know this at the time and while I hesitated at first, what real excuse did I have to say no? She signed us up for a “beginners” class the next morning.

BEGINNING CLASS FOR WHAT?? Admission to HELL?? Oh boy was it brutal! It’s a good thing I blacked out from pain half way through it, or else I might not have been able to finish the class.

Vee doubly assured me that it wouldn’t be too difficult. “It’s about quieting the mind, strengthening the body and listening to the soul.” Perfect! This will be a wonderful addition to Sunday funday!

 

photostudio_1479077789831The studio space is in the Chinatown Central Plaza and yes that IS an unlikely place to go for a yoga class, but even more the reason since I hadn’t explored it yet. I arrived a little later than I would’ve liked (shocker) so I hurried through the courtyard and made my way to the purple door as Vee had described.

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Courtyard

 I couldn’t help but think I had walked onto a movie set!

Actually – Los Angeles Chinatown has made many on screen debuts- including Rush Hour which is still one of my favorite movies.

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Lucky Wishing Well

The room was up a short set of stairs and overlooked the lucky wishing well fountain.

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The beautiful Vee!

 

The space was colorful and inviting and I instantly felt welcome! Vee was a fantastic instructor and I left feeling powerful, relaxed and peaceful. 

giphy-15Not gonna lie- I was sore for 3 days afterwards, but the good kind of sore….not the “I’ll never be able to get up off this toilet” kind of sore- You know what I’m talking about. 

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The iconic Hop Louie

I stuck around afterwards to explore a little. The buildings are so neat! photostudio_1479078851061 photostudio_1479077933619I wandered in and out of a few shops and sat by the fountain while waiting to see what brave child might actually take a ride on the Spongebob nightmare….there were no takers.

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Who did this??

Later on I shared the details of my day with Matthew. He is always willing to listen in on my escapades, but he stopped me after a few minutes to remind me that I had already visited Chinatown. Huh? Apparently we went to an afterhours party there last year. No wonder I don’t remember! There’s little that goes on in the nightlife scene after 2am that doesn’t end up a foggy memory.

I laughed as I began to piece that night together in my head and think of how I spent most of last year discovering the underbelly of Hollywood called “afterhours”. One day I’ll share my stories of the fun, twisted, sexy, and dangerous adventures of the afterhours life- it was a wild ride!

But as for today, Yoga in Chinatown stands in huge contrast to that life and is a pleasant reminder of the personal growth I’ve worked hard for this past year. 

Looking forward to this weeks Yoga class!

Shine on, friends! Xx

A Junkie No More

I didn’t dislike smoking.

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I’m not sure if that’s rare to say? I suppose if it was any other thing than bad for you it wouldn’t be a vice.

Most of the reasons are positive as to why one should stop sucking down the shit that’s in cigarettes, right? Living longer and not welcoming cancer into your lungs sadly wasn’t reason enough for me. I wanted to be assured that I would experience immediate pay off after quitting, so I went looking for inspiration.

I googled the hell out of “quit smoking” and repeatedly read that ex-smokers felt AMAZING! SO MUCH ENERGY! I STARTED YOGA/RUNNING/CLIMBING MOUNTAINS!

Bingo! Restoring my energy levels so that I wouldn’t have to drag my meat body around like dead weight was at the top of my list. I want to start running and learn Yoga- the only reason I hadn’t done those things yet is because I have been hijacked by ciggs….probably?

I also wanted my brain to know that I am in control and I am not at the mercy of my addiction.

So I did it. I took my final puff and looked forward to all the healthy I was about to experience once the nicotine left my body.

Instead, I woke up each morning much like I imagine it felt to first enter this world- 10194703106_c651dcde49_ccramped, exhausted and confused as to why I was forced out of the warmth of the womb, or in this case, the warmth of my bed. I slept a ton, but never felt rested. My body ached. My head was wrapped up in a fog of joylessness and my hormones where freaked the fuck out. I had prepared myself for a detox phase and I did expect some withdrawal symptoms, but THIS WAS RIDICULOUS.

Listen body…I know that I have maybe/probably/somewhat neglected to take care of you since I was able to shove things into my 0wn mouth, but don’t you see that I’m paying attention NOW?? I quit cigarettes for you! I kind of barely eat gluten anymore AND I went to the gym TWICE last month! Why are you acting this way?

Can I get a montage please? Someone press play on Eye of the Tiger and watch as I knock out nicotine cravings, karate chop through brain fog, battle estrogen for the win, and race off 20lbs!

Silly isn’t it…to expect our body’s to change as quickly as our minds?

Truth is that even though I had hoped quitting ciggs would instantly catapult me into optimum health I still had work to do. I had to take it a step further and let go of another close toxic friend.

And she sure was a sweet one…

Sorry SUGAR, but you need to GTFO. giphy-10

This punk was surely robbing me of the results I was searching for and I figured it couldn’t be all that difficult since I had managed to dump smokes.

The next few days went as follows:

I can totally give up sugar! – I thought as I smashed Reese’s Peanut butter Cups into my face. They weren’t even the ones you have to unwrap. At least those offer you a chance to slow down so shame can catch up. I’m talking about the big bag of naked minis that some MONSTER at the Reese’s factory thought was a good idea.

Psssst- I’d hate you if I didn’t love you.

I’m doing this! Starting tomorrow I’ll be sugar free. I mean- it won’t be all that hard, because I don’t even eat that much sugar anyways? Those words from the night before were now rattling around in my mind as I stood in the middle of the kitchen finishing off my Talenti Mediterranean Mint ice cream for breakfast.

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Breakfast of champions!

Oh. My. God. This ice cream is insanely good….Wait? This one little pint equals 4 servings? Hmmm…I’m going to forget I read that.

But it wasn’t just sugar that was becoming a regular stand in for my American Spirits. Have you heard of carne asada fries?? French fries with cheese, meat, avocado, and more cheese piled on top. It’s delightful! Down the street from my place El Flame’n Trucko serves them up fresh until 3:30am 6 days a week. At least they’re gluten free…practically a health food am I right??

And why wouldn’t I schlep over to Hollywood Blvd at 130am and buy a bacon wrapped hot dog covered in peppers and onions off of some random saints portable grill cart?? It’s damn delicious! Pair it with sour cream & onion chips and a root beer- you have yourself the perfect midnight ‘snack’.

Why oh why did I not feel well?

I must need supplements? Vitamin D, all the B’s, Herbal formulas, homeopathic remedies, but none of it was helping.

I’m currently working at a health food store while taking steps to achieve my goal of becoming a Naturopathic Practitioner. Neat right!? This career path is very important to me for reasons I will not get into right now and though I have a deep desire to help heal others I was simultaneously sabotaging the progress of my own healing. I started to suspected that my less than healthy (yet yummy) food choices were pushing me further into emotional and physical chaos.

WHY CAN’T I JUST GET OUT OF MY OWN WAY FOR LIKE 10 SECONDS??

I took a deep breath and decided it was time to get serious about my food habits. I needed guidelines and being a fan of Chris Kresser I downloaded his book, “Your Personal Paleo Cure” on Audible.com (download here).51hbqzqfabl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

 

The next day I announced to my boyfriend that I was going to start intermittent fasting while giving my diet an overhaul and committing to a 30 day reset. I would strictly follow Kresser’s protocol by eliminating dairy, sugar (even the fake kind), grains, legumes, white potatoes, and alcohol. Lucky for me I’m partnered up with one most accommodating and supportive gent who wasted no time in stocking our kitchen and prepping meals for the first week.

I’ve been dieting off and on since before puberty, but never have I eliminated sugar completely for any length of time. To be honest- I didn’t really have faith in myself.

Sure I said I did, but whatever confidence I have is always followed by questions of doubt.

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BUT I never imagined I would be a non-smoker either. With that accomplishment under my belt I was encouraged to discover the sugar free me.

Could a nutrient dense diet free from dairy and sugar really make much difference? In theory it makes sense, but maybe it’s a bunch of hype and life is better lived in candy land?

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Sugar’s a helluva drug.

That’s what I asked myself before I started the reset 17 days ago. At this point I have to say is that ALL THE CLAIMS ARE TRUE! Without exaggeration I feel incredible! The biggest perk so far is that I don’t have to force my way through the day. I’m not constantly longing to get back to the womb. I fall asleep quicker and wake up less through the night, my head is clear, I ache waaaay less in the morning (until I replace my mattress with something other than rocks I will still have some back pain). I’ve already leaned out some and my confidence is returning! My energy remains stable with no crashing and each day I feel better than the last which makes it easy to stay committed.

I finally recognized that the piece missing happened to be the most important one in my attempt to achieve wholeness. Duh. While I’m healthier without cigarettes and have no intentions of ever picking the habit back up – they were not the single thorn in my side that I assumed was the cause of my health rut.

Nutrition is the foundation necessary for real healing.

“Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine” – Hippocrates

I’ve barked that several times to others who were looking for relief from their symptoms, but like most lessons I face, it took a while for me to absorb and apply it in my own life.

I’ve got so much more to tell you about my progress and what life is like without having a vice to run to!! Next week I will go into more detail, but for now I have a naturally sweetened, crustless, apple-pumpkin pie waiting to be smothered in coconut whipped cream and devoured by yours truly!

Shine on, friends. Xx

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New Born Photo credit: Sander van der Wel via Foter.com/ CC BY-SA

Jesus Rides The 2

I tapped my metro card as I shuffled onto the bus and hurried towards the back to grab a seat. It’s never very busy after 11 pm, but the driver is not one to patiently wait for you to comfortably nestle into a spot, so the quicker you sit down the less likely you’ll pinball down the aisle. A lesson I learned the hard way when I first started using public transportation and almost ended up tumbling onto a stranger’s lap!

I slid into my usual spot and planned to get research done via the Google (a.k.a. Memes) with the 20 minutes I had until my destination. I take a few late night bus trips home from work each week and prefer it over rush hour. Those who rarely use public transpo in Hollywood will wince at the perceived horrors that might take place at such a late hour, but in my experience besides the random drunk there is little that goes on. In fact, I’ve heard more exciting late night stories from Uber drivers than I’ve seen on the bus.

After I situated myself I looked up and was shocked at whom I saw sitting at the very front of the bus. Is that who I think it is? I must have missed seeing him in my rush to sit down?

His face was turned away from me, so I couldn’t be 100% sure. I surveyed the rest of the bus to see if anyone could validate my finding. You guys see who’s on the bus with us? But the other passengers were clearly not amused as the guy behind me was passed out and the other was busy quietly arguing with an invisible enemy beside him. Ok…they’re no help. It has to be him though, right? He has a tunic on!….oooorrr is that a blanket he’s wrapped up in and he’s just another homeless person? I decided to move in closer for inspection.

When the bus made the next stop I made my move and relocated two rows behind the familiar figure. In doing so I was able to confirm that it was in fact a white tunic draped around him and noticed he even had sandals on! He turned his face towards mine and we locked eyes. Ok the beard completes the look. I should just ask him so I can take a pic for my mama. She’s gonna LOVE this!  

It was obvious that I had changed seats and I’m sure curiosity was painted across my face, so I interpreted the slight nod he gave as an invite to ask him…

Are you….are you Hollywood Jesus?”

He sat silent, smiled and shrugged his shoulders as if to say – what gave it away?

I knew it!  I asked if I could take a picture to which he agreed and began positioning himself as if he’d done it 1,000 times. I moved, yet again, to the bench across the aisle from him so I could fit all of his holiness in the frame. I snapped a few pics and thanked him. Realizing I had change instead of cash on me I apologized as I began digging through my purse.

For those of you not familiar with how it works the rules of thumb are that if you ask a character for a pic- you give them at least a dollar or two. Typically this is true for the tourist area around Hollywood and Highland where you’ll find the likes of “name-a-comic-book-character” or “name-a-princess” or most certainly “Michael Jackson”. Though this shepherd was far from the walk of fame flock I certainly didn’t want to offend him. Before I could find my quarters he stretched his arm towards me with something in his hand-

“Did you need a dollar?”

I shook my head and clarified, “Oh no- I wanted to tip YOU but I don’t have cash.”

He put his dollar away and told me that he did not accept money. Hmmm….that’s curious? I mean it fits the profile, but still unexpected. I stopped digging for change and being that I didn’t want to make things awkward by relocating again I remained sitting across from him where we silently sat facing each other….however, still somewhat awkward.

Now what? Do I small talk with the King of Kings? What should I ask him? I’m too nervous…why am I nervous?? You know this isn’t really Jesus, Katie, right?

Yup. I was pretty damn giddy and a little nervous even if it was fake Jesus. Y’all have to understand that I grew up with this guy! I’d compare it to those adults who get excited over meeting their favorite Comic Book or Disney character. You know it’s not real, but nostalgia rolls over you like a tidal wave and childhood memories come washing in. I read all his books! I watched all his movies! I probably had his action figure! I told myself to settle down and managed to start off strong with,

“So…how long you been doin this?”

He looked confused. I felt dumb. Is this a shtick? Maybe he thinks he is the Son of God? Maybe he just likes to dress comfortably and thinks I’M A NUT for wanting a pic of him?

Then he said, “You must be a… blogger?”

Yes!” Wait…How did he know that? Maybe it’s a safe guess these days, but still pretty random??

He motioned for me to take the seat next to him so that he could hear me over the white noise of the bus. He asked what the blog was about, so I explained the gist of it….”the practice of self-love fuels Soulshine (positive vibes from within) which will pour out onto those around you and hopefully inspire them too!” He seemed to like that and then asked where I was from. I said, “Ohio. You know….the Bible belt.” We covered more small talk to which he spoke of growing up near LA and about his mother who was known as a “stage mom” and how he grew up in theater which he seemed fond of. While I was happy to listen as he jaunted down memory lane I couldn’t stop wondering why he was in this get-up and what the point was if not money. I was going to have to get off the bus soon, so I politely interrupted him-

“I’m sorry, but my stop is coming up. Can I ask what your name is?”

With a big smile he said, “You can call me, mi amigo.”

Hmmm…that wasn’t the answer I was expecting?

“Alright, mi amigo, are you walking around spreading the Gospel? Do you have a special message? Or did I severely misinterpret the look you have going here?”

He laughed and after a few seconds told me his message was that he loved me. Woot! I’ve got an endless well of that love stuff, so without missing a beat I replied in kind. He shook his head and chuckled while he said,

Nah I’m kidding- What’s my message?….Hmm…What. Is. My. Message? Well my message is kind of like yours (referring to Soulshine247). In fact I think I’ll adopt it as my own!

I laughed and like an overeager boob I couldn’t get the next sentence out of my mouth fast enough,

Actually I’m pretty sure I took that message from you in the first place.”

Why yes I did throw a dad joke at mi amigo! I might have even pointed the finger guns at him while I said it too. And he caught that sucker like a pro! How do I know? Without as much as a smirk he told me to hold on as he retracted both arms into the tunic. I wondered what he could possibly be digging for. At this point I had qualified him as sane, but let’s be real, who the hell knows what wonder he’s going to pull out from under that cloth?

Then I hear – WAH-WAH-WAAH-WAAAAAHHHHH. You know what that guy whips out?? A Kazoo! FAKE JESUS one-ups my dad joke with ANOTHER dad joke by pulling a KAH-ZOO out from under his TUNIC, puts it up to his mouth and plays the classic “swing-and-a-miss” tune!

All I could do was laugh.

We reached my stop, so I thanked him for his time and gathered my things. He asked me to wait and began to dig in his pocket again only this time for a trinket to give me. This is it! This is the part where he gives me the thing that makes the last 20min make sense and sends me off more enlightened than before. I held out my hand. Time was running out so as soon as he placed the item on my palm I closed my hand around it and zoomed off the bus.

I stood on the sidewalk and watched in fascination as Jesus rode off on the 2.

I looked down puzzled at what he had passed off to me.

img_20161013_191704A whistle? If he told me the significance of it I didn’t hear him. The only words I heard him yell as I was running out the door were-

“Make sure to run some hot water through that before you put your mouth on it!”

Solid advice, fake Jesus man. Solid advice.

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I CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP!

What does any of this mean?

Beats me?

Just a random Tuesday night bus ride home in Hollywood shared with, mi amigo.

And one I certainly won’t forget.

Shine on, friends. Xx