During the month of January 2014, I signed up for a nutrition program called “Clear the Clutter & Yes Your Desire” that was led by a peer Moksha student from the Square One studio known as Saar Grolleman (http://www.saargrolleman.com). Just as a side note: I want share that Saar is an incredible woman who is passionate about helping people discover and achieve their personal goals. Its been amazing to watch her grow not only as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, but also as a yoga teacher in the last year.
I could have signed up or committed to any type of diet/regimen for my #BeHealthy project, but I purposely selected this one because of the focus on “(w)holistic” health which intrigued me. It appeared from the program description that I wouldn’t just be learning about food, but reflecting on my relationship with food as well as learning about raw foods and juicing which have been interests of mine for sometime. I also had previous experience of working with a Holistic Nutritionist (www.ournaturalconnection.com) when I lived in London, Ontario, and one thing I really liked was the emphasis on whole foods versus nutritional supplements.
For the duration of this program, Saar made herself accessible via email and phone if needed. She was responsive and very informative. I also joined a Facebook group Saar had initiated and I found it motivating to share my thoughts and to read posts from others when I was struggling along the way.
To begin, Saar asked us to examine the clutter in our lives and asked us to start to set small goals to “de-clutter”. I started off with my “environment” by:
- Moving piles of magazines, papers, or projects from bedroom floor
- Removing piles of receipts and pay stubs off my bookshelves and making sure that my books, jewellery and other little knickknacks were neat and attractively arranged
- Unsubscribing from 5 electronic newsletters – wow, that felt great!!! I wasn’t reading those subscriptions anyway.
- Finished something that had been sitting on my “to do list” for sometime – in this case, organizing my closet.
Saar also encourage me to look at my personal/professional supports and money situation. For my supports, I focused on avoiding negative people and circumstances as well as identifying what I needed to feel happy, relaxed and fulfilled. With respect to money, I brought all of my payments up to date (i.e. sent in my Moksha invoice), and stopped over giving, as I have a tendency to pay for other people. These small acts made significant impact to my stress levels in that they decreased over the week. In fact, I encourage everyone to pause and reflect on these areas or perhaps other areas of their life that need de-cluttering. Its amazing how liberating such acts are!
Now, it terms of the food portion of the program my biggest “ah-ha”/ learning moments was realizing that it takes a lot of preparation, time and effort to eat well. I’m lucky I had one day off to get myself organized when I initially started. The recipes were not only delicious but satisfying in terms of having enough to eat. As the days moved forward, I had reflective activities to complete in addition to changes in the types of foods I was preparing and eating. I went from eating solid raw foods to eventually being on a juice fast and finally building my diet back up slowly and intentionally! It was fun to finally get full use of my Omega 8006 Juicer, purchased from Juicers 4 Life. The grocery lists and menu plans that were prepared by Saar were detailed and encouraged me to try foods that I would not normally put together. For example, while I was in the “Raw Phase” of this program I discovered this delicious chickpea salad and how much I love grated beets with chopped almonds as well. During the “Juicing Phase”, I had a hard time with some of the flavours of the juices. For instance, I realized that I do not like romaine juiced (weird after taste). While I was in this program, my skin really cleared and I had a lot more energy as well. Saar also suggested to exercise to aid with digestive processes and for relaxation, so without much encouragement I found myself on my yoga mat practicing at Moksha Yoga.
In addition, during this time I was also advised to explore current self-care activities and adopt suggested routines. After reading about oil-pulling online (I am a skeptic when it comes to these types of practices, so reviewing a few articles on the topic was helpful), I decided I would trial it with coconut oil for a month. My teeth were whiter, but it did take at least a week of getting used to swishing oil in my mouth for up to 10-15 minutes a day. I also started to make changes to the way I eat. I reflected on the type of meals I wanted to have with my family – undistracted, no technology (no TV or cellphones!), and no background noise, just the company of and conversation with my family. In addition, I learned that I sometimes snack on junk food when I’m bored – when I could be calling a friend, drinking water (I obviously do not drink enough in a day!), or reading.
The last reflective exercise in the program asked me to think about what I want and this was a very important exercise to me. I had trouble with it at first because I thought the questions were too big, but as I reflected over time I realized that in order to live my personal or career goals I needed a community to support me (whether that be my family, colleagues, or others with similar passions). In order to achieve my goals, I also had to challenge the very thoughts that continue to hold me back from being my true self – more specifically, my fear of “not being good enough”. Well guess what, I am good enough.
I have been vegan and gluten-free since January 2013 and maintained my chosen diet while on this this program as well. With the help of this program, I have found that I am more prepared in terms of coming up with creative meals/juices and replenishing vital minerals/nutrients (such as vitamin b12 and iron) to maintain my health. In addition, I’m more cognizant of other parts of my life that could #behealthy, such as my relationships, work, surroundings and finances. I’ve also decided that I will try these types of programs once or twice a year as I found it was a great way to restart and refocus my attention to not only what I eat, but my lifestyle as well. Here’s to being healthy! Cheers!