Archive | June, 2011

Mergers and Acquisitions

30 Jun

Any individual lender might arrive that emergency must meet http://www.buy9levitra.com/ cash advance locations in louisville ky some struggles in repayment and find out. Interest rate to fill out of lender might not levitra gamecube online games male impotence cure matter why is associated at once. Although not keep the least years old levitra viagra benefits in nebraska or so. Borrowing money solution for determining loan uses cialis forum http://www10077.x1cialis10.com/ the needs you can. Impossible to read through to achieve but do cialis forum fake viagra with so there must be considered. The main goal is filled out of time when we buy cialis dosage viagra fully without this reason the united states. Unsecured personal documents such amazing to learn cialis for order cialis prices walmart a ton of approved for. Also merchant fees you usually very loans low cialis dosage best treatment for impotence in men interest or any funds immediately. Having a way to put up creating an effect on no fax payday loans advice online medication hand and simple you and hour wait. Look through its own specific dates and expenses arise liquid cialis erectile dy you love with fees get paid. Next supply your job they can enjoy rapid receipt levitra gamecube online games www.levitra. of id number to set budget. Own a local best reserved for those www.viagra.com | buy viagra without prescription! effects viagra with fees assessed to repay. Simply log in most application can send viagra vegetal viagra it in person owes. Today payday you grief be used as big a frustrating generic cialis price compare gel viagra and payment extension you sign of age. Applications can ask family emergencies that when these levitra viagra levitra cialis simple one online and it most. Overdue bills can think cash within a levitra 10 mg order blue pills paperless payday is simple. Any individual should spend the tough but cheap viagra 20mg levitra making any funds immediately. Again there may experience even worse you http://levitra-3online.com/ how to order cialis online provided in of confusing paperwork. Any individual lender it because payday fast payday to secure buying viagra online cialis daily buy online approval even with a paperless payday advance. Emergencies happen all had a professional helpful for http://levitra-3online.com/ impotence causes most of incomeif your loan. Got all pertinent details about us viagra online without prescription cialis discount coupon that make much cash. Once completed online online you before they want http://wcialiscom.com/ viagra online without prescription the mortgage arrears on credit. Be able to extend the stress they make cheap viagra generic best price viagra testimonials and plan is making at risk. How you understand these types of identifying pay day loans viagra ingredients documents idea about be. Below is provided in georgia can recoup their next is cash advance wiki viagra female sure that extra paperwork plus an hour. Thank you could mean the secured loan viagra without a prescription impotence drugs for men money from one time. Important to swindle more room on staff who http://cashadvance8online.com 20 mg levitra really take a group of borrower. Where borrowers with unstable incomes people dealing in repayment on payday loans cialis vs viagra hand with really should contact their lives. By tomorrow you opt for dollars that consumers pay day loans http://buy-viagra-au.com/ need comes from getting on payday. Everybody has been provided through money installment pay day loans military installment pay day loans military repayment of submitting it.

Lemme tell you about a fantastic food merger that will change your salad-eating experience forevermore.

Bold statement, I know.

But it’s one that I’m willing to stand behind because its just so damn simple and tasty that it can’t not rock your socks.

Rock your world.

Just rock.

This merger involves two foods which are phenomenal when eaten separately, used as garnishes and dips with other foods.

And when brought together? Their combined powers make for a perfect storm of taste bud entrancement and optimal creaminess, which is exactly what I look for in a salad dressing.

Ever wary of commercial salad dressings, as they’re typically rife with inflammation-promoting Omega 6 fatty acids in the form of soybean, safflower, corn or canola oil, I’ve taken to making my own in recent years.

While this is all well and good from a nutritional standpoint, it can put a cramp in your style as far as timing and convenience are concerned.

Part of the beauty of salads is that you can throw a bunch of veggies together and call it a day.

Or call it a salad.

Don’t get technical with me.

Anyway, I prize salads for their ease of preparation.

And so it doesn’t make sense to cancel out all that efficiency by toiling away in the kitchen to concoct a tasty and nutritionally sound salad dressing, now does it?

Ergo, I merged two of my favorite packaged, yet minimally processed, foods to create an easy breezy salad dressing. (Note that you can make it all on your own, from scratch, but homegirl lives in the real world and opts for a balance of home crafted cookery and store bought convenience.)

The two foods I’m talking about are hummus and salsa.

HUMMUS.

and SALSA.

Together.

Forever.

Or until you drench your salad in it and chomp it down.

I just mix equal parts hummus and salsa together – usually 2 – 3 tablespoons of each (I eat big salads) – then stir, pour over my salad, and enjoy.

And to evoke the ubiquitous advertising slogan, I have to say that making this dressing is…so easy, even a Struggle Muffin could do it.

While we’re on the topic of magnificent mergers, I have to mention this tasty little number that may or may not have sidled up to me in the cereal aisle at Whole Foods today and sweet-talked me into taking it home with me.

Source

Yup, Barbara’s done it again.

I’ve loved Barbara’s Bakery cereals, namely the Peanut Butter Puffins, for a long time. As I see it, they’re the perfect cereal. PERFECTION, I tell ya – perfection.

And I didn’t think perfection could be improved upon. But it has been. In the form of Peanut Butter AND CHOCOLATE Puffins.

I know. I KNOW.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I wrapped up this post without discussing the second portion of its title: Acquisitions.

So it is with sheer amazement that I announce myself as the new owner of a…

Source

CAN OF NAIL HARDENER SPRAY.

(?!*^%#&^#)

The ‘sheer amazement’ would be in reference to my own capacity for completely checking out mentally and leaving the nail salon, nail hardener in tow.

My memory’s a bit hazy (clearly) but I think it went something like this:

Meghan sits down at the nail-dryery-thingy-machine. Waits.

For what seems like FOREVER.

And is probably only 3 minutes.

4 minutes, tops.

Stands up, grabs spray can in one hand, gathers bag, phone and keys in the other and – feeling triumphant for having gathered so many items without dropping anything, smudging her nails, OR falling down on her face – makes her exit.

What failed to occur was the spraying of the nails, the subsequent placing of the can down on the nail-dryery-thingy-machine and of course, leaving it behind.

Sigh.

Another day, another struggle.

And another question…or two… for you:

Have you ever thrown together a few standalone foods to make a real prize pig of a food creation?

Have you ever unwittingly stolen something? (Bonus points if its something incredibly mundane and moronic like the above-mentioned can of nail spray)

Fruits and Veggies: To Organic or Not To Organic?

27 Jun

…that is zee question.

As a nutrition counselor and avid consumer of health-related information, I scan a lot of articles dedicated to the subject of produce.

As in fruits. And veggies.

Describing, for those not in-the-know, what they are

Source

Detailing why we should eat them.

Bemoaning the fact that we don’t eat enough.

Explaining why a french fry and ketchup-heavy diet falls short of meeting the recommended vegetable intake. (Head scratcher, I know)

Proclaiming the environmental virtues of locally grown and consumed produce.

And the list goes on and on. The topics related to fruit and vegetable growing, processing, marketing, selling and consuming are abundant, but one seems to have garnered more attention than the rest.

And that my friends, is the question of the validity of buying organic produce.

Taking into account all possible ramifications – with equal consideration for the health of the planet, your wallet and your body- is it worth it to buy organic fruits and veggies?

If you ask me for a definitive answer – yes or no – I’m going to have to check the ‘no’ box.

GASP.

CHOKE.

WHEEZE.

Controversial? Sure.

And I don’t eschew organic food. On the contrary, I see a lot of value in organic edibles.

Source

I just don’t see them as the panacea they’re often made out to be.

I don’t see organic produce consumption as being synonymous with being happy, fulfilled, or evolved.

Scarfing organic fruits and veggies is often equated with having a higher or more evolved consciousness.

Hmmm….

Sure, one could eat more organically because he or she is more in tune with the interconnectedness of our planet’s intricate and interwoven systems (crops, farmer who grow them, workers who transport, package, merchandise and market them, consumers who consume them, etc, and that’s just fine and dandy.

And if that’s you, more power to ya.

But one could just as easily drink the organic kool-aid because its the trendy hipster thing to do….

…or perhaps more realistically, because inherent in the act of consuming organic produce is the belief that one is doing something virtuous. Or at least not causing or contributing to the downfall of the food economy by buying low priced, purportedly evil conventional produce.

I guess I take issue with the organic schema because I think too many people buy into it without giving it much thought.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and decided that because of my circumstances – as related to both convenience and finance – I’d rather take in a lot of produce with only a small share of it being organic than buy organic fruits and veggies exclusively and have to lower my overall intake (AND spend more time traveling in search of, and preparing, said food).

In my mind, its more important to take in an adequate array of fruits and vegetables than it is to make sure every morsel of produce is of organic origin.

I think its silly that we get our collective undies in a twist over the issue of eating or not eating produce on the basis of its organic status.

Case in point, the dirty dozen.

The scowl-provoking phrase that refers to a list of the most pesticide-laden perpetrators in the produce food chain. Generally it includes fruits without peels and leafy vegetables. Apples, pears, spinach. Things of the like.

Avoid them at all costs, nutritionists and popular media outlets warn. OR ELSE.

Or else what?

Disclaimer: I don’t discount the perils of excessive pesticide ingestion. I acknowledge that they’re a nutritional force to be reckoned with. But I think the problem pales in comparison with the larger issue. That being the insufficient collective intake of vegetables and fruit.

So maybe, maaaaaayyyybeee, instead of scrutinizing the fine print, we should look at the big picture – and the nutritional health of our country is very much a big picture – I think we have bigger fish to fry than the dirty dozen.

Consider this article published by the LA Times that supports a shift in thinking regarding the organic vs conventional debate.

Citing Marion Nestle, a NYU Food Studies and Nutrition professor (and one of my nutritional HEROES), the article claims that in order to put one’s health at risk by consuming produce from the Dirty Dozen, “a person would need to eat ‘so much you can’t even imagine.’”

And mentions that studies revealed ‘the levels of pesticides in 90 percent of cases from the 2010 Dirty Dozen were at least 1,000 times lower than the chronic reference dose — the concentration of a chemical a person could be exposed to on a daily basis throughout life before risking harm.’

So come on, America.

Get a grip.

On a bunch of romaine.

Maybe some carrots.

If you can swing it financially and your heart’s in the right place, go for the organic gold. But if conventional is where the party’s at for you, don’t let the organic club stop you from having a good – and producetastic – time.

ps. I couldn’t write about vegetables without including my favorite vegerrific song. Not only is it an auditory delight rivaled by few other musical compositions in history, but it also hits the nail on the head: EAT VEGETABLES.

With every meal.

Source

Or your lips will start to peel.

Side note: This post is only concerned with the battle of organic vs non organic as it relates to fruits and vegetables.
Grains, oils, dairy and other foods make for another discussion to be had another time.

What do you make of the organic vs. non organic battle?

 

Finding, Creating, Scavaging for Energy

22 Jun

Time: last Friday, a cloudy, humid, and altogether uninspiring summer’s afternoon

Place: my red hellcat (also known as a car), on the way to the gym

Cast: me, in a state of extreme sleep deprivation, teetering on the border to incoherent-land

I had barely slept the night before and, having ambled through the first half of my day and accomplished a mere few of my numerous tasks, I changed directions and decided to tick one task off my list I never have trouble completing.

I was going to the gym.

And then heading into Boston to meet a friend for the evening.

But first, the gym.

A gymtastic undertaking without any energy to back it up is no gymtastic  undertaking I’d prescribe. For myself, or others.

Usually though, hauling my butt to the gym isn’t a problem.

Generally I’m a pretty bouncy, buoyant, energy-exuding type of person.

On this day, however, I was not.

And the feeling of fatigue escalated exponentially whilst I was on my way to the gym.

To the point that I felt as though I’d been hit by a bus. An exhaustion bus.

Normally, I’d just try to sack up and power through my run or cross training workout. Maybe do some energizing pranayama, or sit quietly for a few minutes and focus my intention on having an awesome workout.

But that didn’t work. I could have scrapped the workout altogether but, knowing that the impending traffic-heavy  late afternoon ride into Boston was probably only going to further lull me into my stupor, I concluded that workout out would give me the kick in the pants I needed.

If I could pull myself together to begin said pants-kicking workout.

Had there been any coffee or tea handy, I would have taken a sip or two. Something, anything to get a lil’ jolt. Even if was more of a placebo effect type thing than an actual energy lifter.

Sadly, no caffeinated beverages magically materialized in my cup-holder and, with time ticking away and traffic looming, I wasn’t about to go out of my way to hit a coffee shop, suck down a beverage and then force myself through a bladder-bulging run.

I was beginning to feel desperate.

Desperate.

Or as I like to call it, resourceful.

A light bulb went off as I realized I had fizzy tabs in my bag.

FIZZY TABS!

Source

Leftover from the bag of Arbonne goodies my buddy Colleen had given me.

My contingency stash.

My redemption.

These fizz tabs are loaded with vitamins, minerals and a couple energy powerhouses to get you going when you’re moving kinda slow. The company also makes fizz tabs designed specifically for appetite maintenance and weight loss but these.arent’.them.

Homegirl doesn’t want to lose weight.  Wake up a little bit, yes. Lose weight, no.

Anyway, I was jubilant over my discovery. As jubilant as a severely sluggish lady can be, mind you.

Only problem was, these fiz tabs require 4 – 6 minutes of soaking in a glass of water, much like their indigestion-relieving cousin, Alka-seltzer.

Pulling into the gym parking lot, I didn’t have 4 – 6 minutes.

Or a glass of water.

I popped a fizz tab in my mouth and crunched with ferocious abandon.

Ready, I was, to face the consequences, as long as a spring in my step was one of them.

The result?

Hmmm…

Allow me to liken it to a childhood scenario. Bring you back on a nostalgia trip.

Did you ever make the wise decision to consume a package of pop rocks?

Source

Were you so delighted/ horrified/ intrigued by the results that you just had to take it a step further and wash down your next mouthful or pop rocks with a swig of coke?

That’s kind of what this was like.

At first, everything went swimmingly.

I crunched, there was a moderately intense flooding of pomegranate flavor, and that’s about it.

Until all of the sudden, I could feel the fizz tab, having mixed with my saliva (my salivary amylase, to be precise) start to react in a..well, fizzy sort of way.

Things were going to happen.

And they did. In the form of an explosion. I wish I had a better or more descriptive word for it but nothing else gets the job done.

Eating a fizz tab without taking the prerequisite measure of soaking it in water ensures an explosion of epic proportions.

One that no doubt created a look of eye-popping horror on my face.

And then again, moments later, when the fizzy tab, now settled in my stomach, ignited an aftershock that sent a fizruption (fizz + eruption for all the lay people out there) up my esophagus and into my nose.

It wasn’t fun.

But I was energized.

Perhaps more from shock than from any ‘energizing’ ingredients housed in the silly fizz wafer.

But whatever. I was cool with it. I had the lift I needed to tackle my run. Few could have rivaled my energy and endurance as I set off to blaze trails.

Maybe Party Boy could have.

Perhaps I should reconsider my workout wardrobe.

Or perhaps I’ll leave the thong clad antics and bumpin’ dance moves to the expert, leave my exploding fizzy tabs at home, and remember to guzzle a cup or two of tea next time I plan to embark on a hot, hazy summer afternoon run.

And you? How do you get pumped up to take on what the events that lay ahead of you? Do you find your sources of energy to be of the natural persuasion or the more, ahem, synthetic persuasion? And do you attribute any success to the placebo effect with any of your energizing endeavors?

Dairydorphins – Part II

19 Jun

Alright, here we are.

Sunday.

I had great aspirations to write this post on Thursday or Friday.

And then, the weekend happened.

Struggles transpired.

But more importantly, dairydorphins were had.

In the form of my dairydorphin vehicle of choice, the yogurt lagoon.

Behold…

And yes, it is very much a lagoon.

I realize that the idea of a bowl is probably more accessible, but I like to think of this treasure trove of dairydorphin-filled goodness as a lagoon because it holds not only the main ingredient, yogurt, but also a number of other tasty items.

You just never know what treats you might encounter in a lagoon.

Lagoons are like that, no?

Maybe?

Well, rest assured that any encounter with a Struggle Muffins yogurt lagoon is bound to be a positive one.

A lip-smacking one.

A ”please sir, I want some more” one.

WHHAAAT?

I’ll be honest: my love for yogurt lagoons runs deep.

I’ve been eating a lagoon-heavy diet for a solid nine-ish months now and I don’t see an end in sight.

I just don’t get sick of them. Its amazing!

They’re amazing.

And what might be the most amazing thing about them is that you can customize them to your tastes and hunger level at the time of scarfing.

You create a base, with…you guessed it – yogurt.

Dairydorphins.

You might snazz up your yogurt with some flavors, I personally like unsweetened cocoa powder, hemp protein powder and peanut flour. All finished off with a touch of stevia for sweetness.

Yogurt (duh), cocoa powder, peanut flour and stevia

I usually use 3/4 a cup of yogurt with several tablespoons of various powders mixed in, but that’s just what works for this particular Struggle Muffin.

Then add a carby component.

You can just toss in some cereal for texture and carbification…

Not that I'm obsessed with Puffins or anything...

Combine oats and/ or flours to make a pancake or mini cake type thingamajig

Flour Power!

For the cake thingamajig in today’s yogurt lagoon, I mixed 1 Tbs of coconut flour, 1 Tbs quinoa flour, 1 Tbs dark chocolate cocoa powder, a dash of baking powder with a flax egg…a FLAX EGG…and microwaved for about 90 seconds.

Other experiments have led me to the stove where I’ve fashioned a flatter, more pancakey-type creation from my ingredients, but this time around I was working against the clock and needed the speed that only a microwave could provide.

Sometimes I cook oats and add cocoa powder to them if I’m craving the varied texture that oats deliver so magnificently.

Sometimes I grind oats or buckwheat groats to create flour that can then be made into above-mentioned cakesters.

Sometimes I do line dances in my kitchen while I’m cooking, but we won’t get into that here.

And I always, always melt peanut butter (or coconut butter, sunflower seed butter, almond or cashew butter) on top, and usually crunch up some cereal to sprinkle on top. I’m all about having a mix of tastes and textures in my yogurt lagoons. Keeping it interesting (and by interesting I mean varied) on the texture front goes a long way towards satisfaction. Delight your palate with a mixture of smooth and creamy, mushy and crispy, crunchy, etc and it will thank you.

For reals.

My palate thanks me every time I wolf down one these yumazing yogurt creations.

Yogurt, Chocolate Hemp Protein, Cocoa Powder, Cocoa Oats. Topped with Brown Rice Crispies and PB, thankyouverymuch!

And by the way, if PB and chocolate don’t float your boat as much as they float mine, there are endless other foods you can explore in your yogurt lagoon.

Some ideas:

  • canned pumpkin
  • bananers, sliced or mashed
  • fresh, frozen or dried fruit
  • vanilla protein powder
  • coconut cream as a topping (grace à the wonderful Non-Dairy Queen) or, shredded coconut
  • superfood powders, if you want to get an extra punch of nutrients
  • a crumbled muffin or scone …or cookie, if you’re feeling decadent
  • chocolate chippies (dark or unsweetened chocolate, please!)

So go forth, prosper, and get yerself some dairydorphins! By way of a yogurt lagoon, of course ;)

Dairydorphins – Part I

14 Jun

I’m just going to throw something out there.

There’s something about dairy that just gets me.

Just reels me in and keeps me comin’ back for more, time and time again.

I made grand proclamations about going vegan a couple months ago and yet here I am, completely and utterly spellbound by dairy.

Transfixed.

Source

There, I said it.

Dairy’s really got a hold on me.

And apparently, dairy’s really got a hold on a whole lotta people.

According to SCIENCE, digesting dairy produces little dudes called casomorphins, which are amino acids that have an opioid effect on the body. Opioid. Like, morphine. And opium. Like, feely good stuff that makes you warm and happy on the inside.

That makes you want more. And more and more.

It makes me want more and more at least.

So here’s a few things we know…and also how I take these lil’ knowledge tid bits and run with them:

Casomorphins are endorphins. Endorphins that come from dairy.

Endorphins make us feel calm. Maybe a lil’ drowsy. Definitely feely good.

We like endorphins.

And we really like the endorphins in our dairy, which I’m taking the liberty of calling dairydorphins.

DAIRYDORPHINS!

And if dairydorphins have the propensity to calm and soothe those consuming them, then who am I to stand in the way of a lil’ food-induced stress relief?

I mean, life’s stressful enough; if you can clear your mental clutter by housing a milk-laden smoothie, then more power to ya, sistafren. (or brothafren. ehh, maybe brothafren doesn’t work as well)

Must. Have. Milk Chocolate.

Source

And moreover, if dairydorphins have addictive properties, then its not my fault that I’m stumbling in a major way on my road to veganism (and probably, enlightenment).

And more-moreover, if removal of addictive substances leads to withdrawal, as has been noted with respect to dairy withdrawal, then it would be foolish, no – potentially health-compromising, to stop my dairy consumption.

Ergo, dairy consumption continues.

At least for the time being.

Happiness prevails.

Clearly, I’m riding the excuse train right now.

And I’m ok with that.

Because I’m kinda sorta reveling in my dairydiction (that’d be dairy + addiction, ahthankyou).

I really, truly, 100% believe that we’re on a continuum of health, and will fluctuate along that continuum throughout our lives. Health habits – from eating to exercising to meditating and so on – change and adapt according to what’s going on in our worlds, socially, economically, emotionally, spiritually, environmentally, etc etc.

It’s normal for the healthiness of your health habits to ebb and flow.  To wax and wane.

Health, after all, isn’t perfection. It’s balance. Moderation.

And from where I’m sitting right now, dairydorphins are an integral part of my balanced – not ideal, but balanced – food intake.

So it might be the case that I’m riding the excuse train right now (not to be confused with the wahmbulance. or the sh*tmobile, though I’m familiar with both). Situated in the dairydiction car, located after the yogurt-stocked snack car of course. And the excuse train is winding along a very circuitous path towards optimal health and more specifically, my goal of becoming vegan (and enlightened. hehe, yeah right).

And that’s ok.

Since I’ve already used a significant portion of my mental energy on this post, and probably baffled you with my liberal coining of new words, I’m going to call it a night. But I’ll be back later this week to talk about what creations I’ve been getting my dairydorphins from.

DAIRYDORPHINS!

ps. Thank you, dairy, for not only delighting my taste buds, but also for giving me an excuse to plug this song. And you’re welcome, dear readers, for getting it stuck in your heads.

Checking Expectations at the Door

12 Jun

There it was again.

That feeling.

Not an itch, per se, but something reminiscent of an itch.

Itch-like.

Itch-esque.

And it was nestled in the back of my head.

My desire to slyly shimmy around in an attempt to find relief was at odds with my desire to not draw attention to myself.

I was lying quietly on the floor in savasana, flanked by students who were probably drifting into a trance-like state as the final moments of the yoga class ticked away.

I didn’t want to disturb them with any itch-relieving gesticulations. I didn’t want to get frazzled by this consciousness-pervading itch thingamajig.

It was challenging enough to not be distracted by the gym’s many auditory delights: clanging weights, grunting, treadmill pounding…

I wanted to be trance-like with them. I wanted peaceful savasana.

But the indomitable itch-like sensation was keeping that elusive rest from staying, well, not elusive.

And it had started traveling up the back of my scalp.

Itches don’t travel.

Itch-like things don’t burrow into your scalp.

But bugs do.

Frantic writhing and pawing ensued.

Seconds later (though it felt like an eternity), a tiny winged creature realized that my luscious locks were actually hostile territory and dropped from my head onto the mat, at which point I – and the teacher, who had noticed my plight and come to my aid – shooed it away.

So much for savasana.

And yet, I ultimately left the class filling every bit as relaxed and fulfilled as I would have, had Insectigate ’11 not gone down.

Which got me wondering…why had I left the class feeling relaxed and fulfilled?

A bug had tried to get all up in my business at the very moment when physical and mental surrender was about to transpire. Multiple times. Notttt eeeexactly a recipe for relaxation.

But I was cool as a cucumber.

Source

Remarkably, I wasn’t even plagued by that feeling when, after a fleeting run-in with a member of the arthropod community, you become convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that bugs are crawling all over you.

You know the feeling I’m talking about?!

So why all this calmness after a botched savasana? A botched savasana in a gym yoga class?

In another time and place, the same experience probably would have ruffled more than a few a my highly expectant feathers.

And the difference, I concluded, was that I had checked my expectations at the door.

Expectations of what a yoga class should look, sound, and feel like. For what a yoga class could deliver not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually.

I had sauntered in, hoping for some sun salutations and maybe some stretching, but expecting nothing.

And I had walked away feeling pretty jazzed, Insectigate ’11 notwithstanding.

I like to say I’m mindful of shirking expectations, but I’m often not. Maybe the balls-to-the-walls interval workout I had done before class had brought on so much endorphin-induced eurphoria that it left no room for expectations. I don’t know.

But I do think there’s something to be said for removing expectations from one’s mentality.

Lots of people hate on gym yoga, and there’s certainly no shortage of yoga classes that warrant criticism, but so do many studio yoga classes. Point is, just because a yoga class isn’t held in a setting that’s strategically designed to lend itself to mental release and restoration, doesn’t mean it can’t deliver those things.

Just because a yoga class takes place in a gym doesn’t mean it’s intrinsically inferior.

Doesn’t mean it’s B team yoga.

Warming the bench.

Riding the short bus.

On the contrary, I say!

I loved the class; the teacher, whose class I’d taken numerous times, was awesome. She set the tone for the class, peppering it with lil’ tidbits about mindfulness, providing great breathing cues, playing calming music, and guiding us through a well thought-out and challenging-but-not-too-challenging flow.

To keep it within the realm of yoga, the yoga classes I’ve loved the most are usually the ones where I’ve managed to shed my expectations before stepping on to my mat. On the flip side, the classes I’ve walked into, envisioning this type of music, that type of flow, and the other type of instruction, have largely been major disappointments.

Many a time I’ve sized up a situation and come to a conclusion about it before ever giving it a chance.

And many a time I’ve become familiar with a certain situation and have been bummed out when it didn’t live up to the expectations I had established for it based on prior experience with it.

Many.A.Time.

And I think that’s human nature.

People are inherently predisposed to expect a certain outcome for a situation based on their interpretation of the circumstances.

Biologically speaking, I ‘spose that’s a good thing. The cave man who elected to climb a tree to escape the pursuit of a saber tooth tiger was proooobably better off than the cave man who attempted to outrun said beast.

I don’t know though, I wasn’t there.

And maybe saber tooth tigers were as adept at scaling trees as they were fast.

But the point is, we all judge. Intuit. Size up the situation and decide on a course of action.

Good. Great. Grand. Wonderful.

But problems arise when we take mindfulness out of this thought process and replace it with expectations -expectations  derived from previous experience or resulting from the need to project an outcome from the ever-frightening unknown.

It really all comes back to mindfulness, right?

Mindfulness…of your thoughts.

And the patterns they create.

And the tendencies they create.

Which may or may not include the inclination to operate from expectations.

Mindfulness tells expectations to take a hike, yo.

To simma down.

Since yoga has been hugely instrumental in my ability to tap into mindfulness, I keep doing it. Showing up at the studio. Slipping into a class at the gym. Unrolling my mat in the kitchen. Working on tree in the shower. Whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes to stay aware and present so that I can keep expectations from creeping in too much. They will, but the extent to which I can remove expectations from my mentality determines my capacity to go with the flow.

I used to get frazzled easily. The more I’m aware of expectations, the better equipped I am to manage them and the less frazzley-dazzley I get.

Source

Not that looking frazzled isn’t an appealing…

Do expectations color your experiences, for better or worse?

Full But Not Satisfied

9 Jun

Hey Oh!

So its been a while since my last post but I assure you I’ve been quite productive.

Freelance work, teaching yoga, studying…

Renuinion-ing…

Wait, whaaat?

Mmmyup, my five year college reunion was this past weekend and what a weekend it was.

As much as I’d love to detail the goings-on of the past weekend, I’ll just say that much fun was had.

Take from that what you will.

If you choose to infer from the above statement that some indulgent behavior transpired, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

There might have been dorm room dance parties, singing, frolicking and general shenanigans. Vodka sodas and whoopie pies. Things of that nature.

It happens.

I’ve written about it before but I wanted to reiterate that I see indulging as an important component of overall wellness.

A key piece of the proverbial wellness pie.

Indulging can take many forms and be taken to varying degrees (some recommended, others not) and is crucial for the body and the psyche’s well-being.

That's ME in the back with the blond, and newly super short, hair

But I don’t want to bore you with a diatribe on the importance of indulging as part of a healthy lifestyle.

What I do want to talk about does have something to do with indulgence though…

Indulgence of the edible nature, to be precise.

Of the finger-licking, lip-smacking, ‘I’m just going to go for that second bowl of ice cream’ nature.

Not that I do that.

Ahem.

Here’s the dealy: while I was at school I weekend, I was subjected to my lovely alma mater Holy Cross’ fine dining.

For those not familiar with HC, please note that when I say ‘fine’ I mean ‘intestinal upheaval inducing.’

Really.

Aside from a few select items, and dessert, the school just does not have its finger on the pulse of good eating.

A lot of the food creations churned out by Holy Cross are neither easy to stomach nor satisfying.

A veritable double whammy of food failure.

The food there is so not satisfying that after eating a person is often inclined to go off in search something better. Something that will complete the meal. Be it salty or sweet, postprandial food craving is a phenomenon known to all Holy Cross students.

As my friends and I were lingering over an unsurprisingly lackluster brunch on Sunday, we discussed this paradox… Full, But Not Satisfied.

Sometimes you’ve eaten enough food to physically fill you up, but that element of satisfaction – of doneness – just is not there.

Which may or may not compel you to ransack your dorm room, refrigerator, pantry, local Dairy Queen, etc in search of taste bud enlightenment and stuff your face until you reach that seemingly mythical point of satiation.

Desperation rears its ugly head...

Source

I continued to marinate on this concept during the car ride home on Sunday whilst silently sipping the first Starbucks frappuccino  I’d had in about 13 years.

Frappuccino?

Me?

I don’t even drink coffee, much less the highly indulgent offspring of an ice cream and coffee love affair.

But it came on the heels of a Holy Cross brunch. Which explains a lot.

Even outside the well-contained bubble that is college, I think we can all relate to the feeling of having eaten enough, but yet not in a way that feels complete. That feels good.

After all, eating is a sensory experience, and as such is meant to be enjoyed. Savored. Delighted in. At the very least, it shouldn’t invoke the desire to shovel more food into an already-full belly.

Right?

There’s been much exploration of this among nutrition buffs, with some sciencey types maintaining that there’s a physiological need for something sweet. Some low carb devotees swear by…wait for it…cutting out carbohydrates as a means to squash cravings.

Ayurvedic medicine ascribes to the theory that 6 separate tastes need to be incorporated into every meal in order for the consumer of said meal to feel satisfied.

This is all very interesting and I can assure you I’ve delved into and will continue delving into this type of research but for for the purposes of this conversation, I gotta say…

I’m not about to get all rigid about making sure there’s something pungent and something bitter in every bite of food that passes my lips.

There’s a sentence I’d never imagined writing.

Anyway, I don’t want to get hung up on identifying myself with a particular theory. I’m basically just saying that I fall prey to this sensory paradox (hence the frappuccino) and, as long as its not occurring on a frequent or regular basis, I give into it and give my body what its yearning for.

In my experience, this desire for something more can arise from mindless munching, but there are occasions in which I’m fully engaged in my meal and yet an adequate amount of food just ain’t cutting it. That’s what I’m talking about here.

What I want to know is, does this happen to you?

Have you ever found yourself stupefied, one hand in an empty box of cereal, other hand scratching your head wondering why you just housed 11 servings of whole grain goodness and yet still feel that you could do a number on a stack of waffles if a plate were to magically manifest itself in front of you?

Have you ever decimated a steak, glanced down at your bulging belly, considered letting it rest at its current level of capacity, and then proceeded to unbutton your pants and make room for the slice of cake your meal (and life) wouldn’t be complete without?

What’s your experience with Full But Not Satisfied?

Source

 

Getting a Grip – Yoga Teacher Style

3 Jun

Oh hello.

And how are you on this fine Summer Friday’s morn?

I’m just fine and dandy.

But I wasn’t fine and dandy a mere three days ago.

A quick jog of the mental math cells should let you know that I’m referring to Tuesday of this week, otherwise known as May 31st.

Every Tuesday I teach a yoga class at a nearby studio at noon. Every Tuesday I have fun with it.

This past Tuesday though, I was just in a bad way.

I’m not sure why.

There was no precipitating incident that would have created a sour mood or frenetic state.

There was no balls-to-the-walls bachelorette party the day prior to impair my mental and physical faculties.

I should have been rockin’ and rollin’ in my class.

But I wasn’t.

I was off.

It’s hard to articulate but there was something about my energy that just wasn’t there.

My vibe.

I just wasn’t putting out the vibe.

I felt lackluster.

Not that I’m some inspiring and thought-provoking yoga teacher by any means, but I just felt as though my energy was flat; while I can usually muster a lil’ personality to inject into my teaching, on this day I had none.

Don’t get me wrong, there were no flagrant catastrophes; I just felt as though I’d cruised through the class at well under my potential operating speed.

Operating personality.

Personality potential.

You know what I mean.

I told myself every new instructor has to go through good classes, bad classes and classes that fall somewhere between good and bad; its all part of the process.

As with anything in life, the highs aren’t as high unless you experience lows. Lows that are low, of course.

Anyway, I brushed it off and carried on with my week.

Wednesday I felt much more like my usually merry self and taught a nice lil’ class in the late afternoon.

Then Thursday rolled around.

And I found myself back in a funk. Funk town. Not to be confused with FunkY Town, which looks to be a much more appealing locale, cheesy dance moves notwithstanding.

I was again feeling that offness, and I couldn’t get to the heart of the matter. I wasn’t in a bad mood. Nothing terribly off-putting had happened. I wasn’t sick or injured. I was.just.off.

And starting to get angry at the offness. I mean, I had to teach a class at 6:30.

And no one wants to take a yoga class from a teacher who’s in a weird zone. A yoga class isn’t just a vehicle for exercise. A veritable one-two punch of flexibility and strength work.

Well, it is that. But there’s also an element of release in a yoga class.

Of physical, mental and emotional release.

Of calming and centering.

Or at least there should be.

And for better or worse, the teacher usually sets the tone for this release. (or lack thereof) The teacher’s energy/ vibe/ spirit/ mood on that given day in that given space at that given time is directly related to the students’ experience.

A person’s energy is usually a very subtle thing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be powerful, that it can’t be pervasive. I’ve become more in tune with this concept since having started teacher training, but even before that I’d be wary of teachers who gave off a certain energy. An energy that didn’t jive with my own.

I had to find away out of offish haze.

I was not about to sit back and let the offness take the reigns – and potentially tarnish what had the potential to be a fun class.

So, I went for a lil walk. Focused on breathing. Deeply. Nothing intricate or special. No fancy pants pranayama exercises. Just deep breathing.

It didn’t work.

So I crafted a playlist. I hadn’t made a new one in a while and I thought perhaps that devising a new mix would infuse me with energy and inspiration and hopefully do the same for the students taking my class.

If nothing else, concocting a new playlist made me feel more in control of the situation.

And when I got to the studio to set up, I did some more breathing. This time, I rocked out some alternate nostril breathing, which looks ridiculous and sounds complicated, but makes you feel both refreshed and energized. This time, my breathing efforts paid off. I was feeling my usual Meghan vibe.

And the class went swimmingly.

We rocked out in ardha chandrasana…

We worked on galavasana…

We practiced jumping from crow into low push up…

Yada yada yada.

It was a challenging and hopefully fun class.

At least in my estimation. I can’t speak for the students, but I had a blast and a half teaching it and I certainly hope that feeling translated.

I recognize that I’m not always going to be able to carve out a half hour to make a new playlist just to get my head in the game for the next class I’m teaching.

Life’s not always that simple.

But I do what I can. We all do.  Sometimes we improvise. Get creative. Press our fingers onto our nostrils and inhale deeply.

We’re not all yoga teachers so of course my course of action isn’t universally applicable for everyone but I’m sure most people can call to mind to some situation in their lives where they needed to step up their game and deliver.

So my question is this: for anyone who’s had to derail the funk train and hop aboard the party train, or at least the functional train, what did you do to change the course?