July 27, 2009

Warning: Moving notice!

Yeah~ I decided to move to wordpress.

Check out my newly renovated site at: http://balancejoyanddelicias.wordpress.com

July 25, 2009

Great Friday: finding the cause and good news! :)

After yesterday's panic I feel needing to write another post as soon as I feel better.... not a little better, MUCH better.
Okay. First of all the analysis of the cause of my recent belly problem. Some reasons that you suggested were part of it
  • Stress level: I'm pretty relaxed lately as you might have noticed. I've been traveling a lot... enjoy myself in some kind of treat every weekend. And the job that I'm doing right now is pretty awesome and I really love it. So, where the stress comes from? Okay. Remember that famous professor of mine who I am co-authoring a paper? She has been ignoring me again during the last two weeks. I emailed her twice and she never replied. Although consciously I told myself: Whatever! But I unconsciously I was pissed off, feeling again ignored and relating it to be a failure.
  • Over eating at night: it could be part of the reason because I barely enjoy what I eat at work, I am always rushing at the morning to fully savor my breakfast, so at night is the only moment that I take time to enjoy the food. And it's hard not to over-eat sometimes.
  • Lastly, I just realized yesterday that the ABU that I've been having went bad... it tastes sour. I didn't realized it because I always had it with oats, but yesterday I tried it by itself and ekkkk.....! I guess that might cause some chemical reaction in my belly.
3 possible reasons and all of them have been solved yesterday. She called me yesterday to tell me that I'm her RA now! Such a good news!!! I asked her to be her RA about 3 months ago and I thought she forgot about it. The advantage of that is NOT have to teach, NOT tight to the academic calender (meaning longer vacations), and lastly have more interaction with her to push our paper.
The other two possible causes are more manageable. I think I did it right because I didn't feel too bloated last night! :)

And a note about my attempt to try "Raw food". I want to clarify that I'm not going RAW, I'll just try the food combining because every article or book that I read about RAW food says to help with IBS. I'm NOT DOING this because someone else told me to, or JUST DO whatever other people is doing. I'm NOT following a trend in the blog world just because everyone is trying, but because it might help my IBS.
That being said, I want to say thanks to everyone who left comment yesterday. Although I felt a little sad that some people judged me following what other people do, I still appreciate your comments because I know you said that because you care about me, you don't want me to try things that might not be appropriate for me or doing it in the wrong way. I really do appreciate that! ^_^

I did continue with the food combining. Maybe that helped me to feel better too.
As I mentioned yesterday, I woke up at 2AM the day before and munchied 2 Muffins, so not much appetite for breakfast. I had a green monster instead: 1.25 cup almond milk, big handful of spinach and a banana.
Packing for lunch and snacks: Orange, frozen strawberries and blueberries, Amazing grass raw bar (full review soon), white fungus drink, salad made with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, jicama rice, black beans, with olive and balsamic.
possible reason for my belly problem: bad ABU
It was so much food that I had to use an additional bag
Dinner was simple: brown rice + sauteed chinese cabbage with mushrooms and miso paste.
Dessert: dark chocolate + steamed sweet potato! YUM~~

This is the last weekend before I go to Argentina (next Friday) so many things to do/buy. ^_^
Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

Question: What's your weekend plan? What's the last movie you went to see? I'm going to see Ice Age today! :)

July 24, 2009

What's wrong with me? HELP!

Okay. Something is wrong with my body lately. I've been feeling overly bloated at nights since the beginning of the week and my sleep pattern has been weird. Monday and Tuesday I slept 7.5 and 8.5 respectively, so pretty good. But then W-Th I've been waking up at 4am, not good! And last night I woke up at 2.30am!!! fortunately after a big dose of carbs (two Tj's English Muffins) I went to sleep again. As someone who's trained to establish relationships to everything... my first reaction is that my over-bloadtness is causing me sleeping problems. Does it make sense? But the problem is that I don't know EXACTLY why? I don't know what I'm doing wrong? No Clue! First, I thought it might be the big bowl of kabocha that I've been having as dessert. Okay. Cut that! No help! Second, I jump into the "Raw" and food combining thing yesterday (after reading Natalia Rose's book, read Gena's blog and emails with Maggie) Unfortunately I still felt sickly bloated last night. Really don't know what to do now.
So, let me show you guys what I've been munching a little bit, and help me to find out the mystery.

Thursday: Green Oats with frozen blueberries and ABU. Nothing extraordinary.
Lunch was a big salad made with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, black beans and jicama. Olive and Balsamic.
Snacks were mainly fruits.
Dinner: a sauce made with onions, grounded lean meat, celery and tomato sauce over "noodles" and some steamed broccoli.Dessert: Sea Salt Dark ChocolateFriday: the first day of "Raw" food. In quotes, because as Maggie, I just want to try this to feel better with my belly, I don't want to loose weight and I will focus more on food combining than eating 100% raw.
Breakfast: A navel orange and a big fuji apple. With coffee with almond milk.Lunch: salad made with romaines, mushroom, cucumber, jicama rice and 3 oz. of smoked salmon. Dressing: 1 tbsp of each olive oil and balsamic. Veggie + Flush= Good.
Snack: more fruits in the morning and Amazing Grass Energy Bar, which is raw in the afternoon. And white fungus drink too. Which is mushrooms so I guess it's okay to combine with everything.Dinner: sauteed chinese cabbage with black fungus, mushrooms and spicy si chuan sauce. A big bowl celery oat bran (I used 2/3 cup of oat bran instead of the usual 1/2 cup) and chinese pickles.Dessert: Dark chocolate and dairy free chocolate pudding.Veggie + Starch = Good

So, everything seems pretty normal, right? Any thoughts about what's wrong?
Anyway, I will continue to experiment with this "Raw" combining food thing until next Friday to see if it's really as good as it sounds. I know there are couple of you who are dietitians, I'd love to hear your opinion about raw food and the food combining. Do they make sense at all? And of course, any one of you, who can be considered an amateur dietitian, I'd love to hear from you.

July 22, 2009

Bad food blogger & Skin Type Solution review

First is first... I'm such a bad food blogger. I noticed that since I began the summer internship my food choice went down pretty fast. I don't know how you people do to have a full time job, workout and still manage to eat and take picture of your amazing food. My intention was there but my action didn't follow. When I get home at night I just want to spend <20 style="font-weight: bold; color: rgb(255, 102, 102);">

Breakfast: green monster with berries pie that I made with frozen blueberries and strawberries, topped with a crust made with oatmeal, flaxmeal, ABU and agave nectar, topped with more ABU and greek yogurt.
Dinner (both Monday and Tuesday): my latest obsession celery blended oatbran; stir-fry tomatoes with mushrooms, tofu and dry shrimps.
Dessert: KABOCHA!!! A big bowl of it! And Lindts Truffles. (they're good but I found them not as bitter as I like)

Book review: Skin Type Solution
About the author: She spent the last 10 years defining and clinically testing her Skin Type solution on thousands of patients at the University of Miami clinic to assure that her scientific criteria work for everything, of every skin color, ethnicity, age and sex. And it does.

Her system: measures four factors in skin: oiliness vs. dryness, resistance vs. sensitivity, pigmentation vs. non-pigmentation, and tightness vs. wrinkling. Determine where you fall in each of the four categories serves as the foundation for typing your skin. So, you need to fill out a questionnaire first to determine what's your skin type and then she writes a chapter for your skin type with what you should pay more attention; what products to use and avoid and a detailed routine of your skin care with a list of products that you can find easily and cheap.
This book will save you the expense, trouble and waste of buying the wrong products. Her recommendations are ingredient driven. She's reviewed the clinical trial data for the products when available.

Some skin care myth that she talked about: the more expensive a product, the better it will work. Totally not true according to her because what you pay when you buy big brand's product is its bottle not its ingredient. What you actually get is exactly the same cream, just in different container with different marketing strategy.

My take of the book: I really like it. What she says makes sense to me. And because of her expertise in the area (she direct the university of Miami cosmetic center, the first university run cosmetic research center in the US. She's the first cosmetic dermatologist in the US dedicated to the field of cosmetic dermatology who is also a full time university faculty member, teaching and conducting research), I can trust that she know what she's talking about. Her recommendation is really skin type specific and she gives a list of products that you could purchase. They all work and most of them are really cheap. I've already began the routine that she recommended for my skin type and I already notice that my skin is clearer and less break outs. So, girls.... get this book and begin to GLOW!!!

Question: Do you know what's your skin type? What's your skin routine? How much do you usually spend?

July 20, 2009

Yoga and spiritual retreat!

This recap will be long, be prepared!!! ^_^
This is definitely my best getaway this summer!!! The experience was unique in every sense. I'll write it as a dairy, you can skip it or just read the highlights and/or see pics.

I took me 3 hours to get to the place because of the terrible traffic. I would have imagined that I'd be pissed off and not enjoy the night. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Once arrived, everyone else have already finished dinner so I just grab quickly some food and joined the group gathering. We are 12 including the 3 instructors. Quite intimate! The first yoga session was designed to attract energy from East, South, West and North and used Earth elements as theme. It was really energetic and from the first time I felt a connection inside me to the place and to myself. The place is just amazing. Second floor of a sanctuary, with diamond shape. We put our mats in circle and there was a spot with candles in the middle. Just few minutes after we started, it began to rain and that was a perfect natural music to our practice. And by when we finished, the rain stopped, perfect timing for us to go to the fire. Live music played by two of the instructors. The smell of woods, the stars, brighter than I’ve ever seen and ENERGY among us was just incredible. One of the girl suggested everyone to say something that she/he is thankful. Everyone said something different…. Thankful about their family, their friends, the opportunity to be here and do this. And even thankful to all the people and difficulties that pissed him off because they made him stronger and challenged. I was the last one to speak because I have so many things to be thankful of that I couldn't’t just pick one. I’m thankful of everything that I have in my life, everything that I’ve gone through, everything that I’ve accomplished and not accomplished and most of all, thankful to have aged and learned the lessons of life. I used to read other woman saying that they’re not afraid of aging because they became wiser and happier. I never believed them because I thought it was just a lie that they tell themselves to justify being a old lady. I was sooooo wrong!!! I can actually feel that right now. I’m turning 29 by the end of this year and I can assure you I haven’t ever happier than what I am now. I don’t think everything else have changed, I’ve always been lucky in life, with my studies or with people, but I never really appreciate them and always just looked at what was missing. Yes, no life is perfect, even the most perfect person you can find, there’s always something missing. And my all focus was on that little tiny thing that was missing. But now, I feel that my life is perfect, everything is in the right place and happened in the right moment. Whatever obstacles and failures that I had to face, they were totally necessary, without them I am not who I am right now. Happiness is not just a moment of excitement that you get when you get a high score in the exam, not when you buy a new pair of shoes. No, they used to be the way I define happiness. Now happiness is a state of peaceful mind: peace with your inner yo, peace with people around you, peace with the place. And that kind of feeling lasts longer. Of course it’s not the case that I can be that way 100% of the time and I think it’s not the idea either. You need to be unbalanced to feel the balance. One thing that I’ve learned yesterday during the practice is when Scott (one of the instructor) made us to stand with one leg and begin to move, move as much as we can, in whatever form we wanted, enough to begin to lose balance, to get out of the comfort zone. What’s the point of being 100% balanced if you never felt unbalanced? That’s exactly what I meant by not always be in peace.
We ended up pretty late, around midnight but I really enjoyed gathering with these amazing group of people. We came for different reasons but we all shared something in common.

I shared a big room with 2 others woman. I’ve never lived in a dorm so this was my first experience sleeping in a room with strangers. A year ago I would be stressed out simply because of that (loosing privacy; noise that would disturb my sleeping, etc). How I changed!!! I felt so open to new things, different things, things that I wouldn’t be able to do.

Despite of staying late last night, I woke up at 6am anyway. It was such a fresh morning. I could smell the humidity and felt the beginning of a great day. I sit on the bend that we had outside the house, contemplate the place, the view and listen to birds.
After breakfast we had our morning yoga session which ended up in a hike to the river. Then I came back for some reading before lunch time. We had a three hours intense yoga session in the afternoon and we did Acro-yoga. It was sooo fun! Even though the poses look really challenging, they were not hard at all if you’re willing to surrender and trust your partners. I’m definitely better receiving than giving. I fly better than hold others. It was interesting to see how we are naturally a receiver or a giver.
Dinner came along. I enjoyed all the meals there because of the company. We chat whatever it crossed our mind. We were totally opened to each other and there was no taboo among us. That was the first time since I came to US that I felt close to Americans and realized that Americans are not so distant as I thought.
After dinner another amazing yoga session began. This time each instructor leaded us to embody animals. Greg was the snake, Kim the cat and Scott the bird. I was able to free myself to the moment, to immerse to the spirit of those animals. It was wild and fun.
We ended up with a guided meditation lead by Greg. I was really tired and fall asleep a little bit. After that, some people went to the fire again with wine and chips. I was totally out so I went to bed and slept as a baby.

I woke up at 5.45am, perfect timing to be prepare by 6.30am to help the Sweat lodge lady to prepare the place. Sam, Scott and I helped Darling to build the fire. It was my first experience building a big fire from scratch. It was easier than I thought, although without Darling’s precise instruction, we wouldn’t be able to do that. We first lay some big chunks of wood, then each of us invite some spirit when we put the stones. After an hour, the fire was built. We were so proud.
By 10.30am we were in the lodge already. It was dark, muddy and hot inside. But I wasn’t afraid. I kind of enjoyed the darkness, the silence, all those spiritual words, thoughts and songs. Darling’s words were touching and very deep. I am normally hard to be touched because I’m too protective to my inner-yo, but this time I know I was more opened and ready to surrender, that’s why I could feel what she said and feelings that she described.

Okay. Pictures and video
our yoga studio is in the upper levela mini video of the yoga studio

Girls room
the view from my bed
the kitchen
the dinning room
outside of the dinning room
Some pictures of the food which was great (organic and healthy)
Some animals
Some pics of me doing acro-yoga
and finally the amazing group of people
me and Scott after we built the fire

It was definitely an amazing self-discovering experience. We were there not to look for anything specific, but to dig from the deepest part of us the truth us. This is not the end of the retreat, but the beginning of a new way of feel life and most of all, to know ourselves better and to be able to love.
On my way back, the sky was bluer than ever. I felt PEACE. I was FULL. Namaste.
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