Saturday, May 12, 2018

Fresh Start: Be Your Own Guru.

Part Three:

"When you truly understand that your food choices are powerful and life affirming, you can exercise control and restraint without deprivation."
- Marlene Adelmann

I begin each one of the posts in the Be Your Own Guru series with "Fresh Start" because I believe every single day is an opportunity to begin anew.  No matter where you are at in your journey, each morning your eyes open, and you have breath in your lungs you have the power to continue, or begin living the life you imagine for yourself.  I also use it as a personal reminder, and motivation for myself!  Believe me, when I'm posting I'm doing it for myself, it's great if other people find something worthwhile around here, but I'm actually (selfishly) leaving myself a bread-crumb trail, and also attempting to hold myself accountable, I'm not just sitting here screaming at strangers, and trying to dictate their lives.  I'm really just talking to myself, which is either incredibly healthy, or ... not, but if you find something that resonates with you, you're always welcome to come along!

One of the most powerful lessons I've been able to learn when it comes to my health, and food choices is perfectly stated in the quote above.  It took me a long time to get here, but once I got it, I finally felt liberated.  I'm one of those weirdos with a long list of allergies, and food sensitivities, like, looong (several sheets of printer paper long, in fact).  We didn't find this out until I was about twelve years old, or so, all my family knew was that I was skinny, and sick or in pain all of the time.  When my test results revealed what I was allergic to was the same foods I'd been fed nearly everyday my entire childhood my parents were horrified.  Things got really difficult when we noticed the foods on my list weren't exactly obscure, they were everywhere, and ingredients in everything: wheat, rice, sugar cane, chocolate, peanut, soy, egg white, beef, dairy, just to name a few.  Try eating something in 1992 that doesn't have one of these things in it.  At the time, my list of known foods I could eat looked like a ghost town (tumbleweed blowing across the deserted streets and all).  So while my food issues may not be exactly like your food issues, and your food issues are different from the girl down the street, it doesn't matter what your personal obstacle is, if you've struggled with the feeling or notion of deprivation, we've all had the same struggle.

I spent far too much of my life grieving over the foods I could no longer consume.  I had to say goodbye to all of those familiar, and comforting side dishes and meals I'd grown up on in a time when alternative cookbooks didn't really exist, and if they did, everything inside them tasted like garbage, or mildly garbage-flavored cardboard.  In order to ultimately bring healing to my body, I've had to completely throw out, not just everything I can't eat, but everything I thought I knew about food, cooking and meal planning - which you think would sound totally bad-ass, and exciting!  Who doesn't want to write all of their own rules?  Isn't that what we're dying to do from adolescence onward?  But for me, this new found freedom was actually overwhelming, and frightening until I learned to shift my focus off of what I can't have, and shine it hard on everything I can have.

Once I was able to open myself to the abundance I had refused to previously acknowledge in my adult years, everything changed for me.  I mean, right now in my life it's pretty hard to feel deprived when my meals taste like dessert, and I can eat as much as I want until complete satiation at every meal and snack throughout the day knowing that everything I put into my body is nutritionally sound, and healthy for me to consume.  For me, control and restraint lie in all of the foods I used to love that I know will hurt me, for others control and restraint may be overcoming the urge to binge on foods that are unhealthy for your body to be burdened by, and for others still, control and restraint may be wrapped up in keeping yourself from purging your body of foods you currently or have previously feared.  So while everyone out there is likely dealing with their own unique set of circumstances, there is common ground to be found, and I think it helps tremendously when we don't feel quite so alone on the paths we walk throughout our lives. 

Be kind to yourself.  Meet your body exactly where it is right now, and make choices for it that empower you both physically, and emotionally.  We all deserve to be treated gently and with love, and I believe that should begin with how we look after ourselves.  It can be difficult to dismantle the mega amounts of shame that we as women have heaved our way, but remind yourself often that taking care of yourself and making healthy choices for your skin and body isn't necessarily a practice based on vanity or some inability to age gracefully - to be perfectly honest, I have no problem looking or feeling like a 37 year old woman, it's the possibility of looking like a 37 year old leather handbag, and feeling like a dumpster fire inside, that I take issue with!

A great way to upgrade your personal mindset toward yourself, and your current situation is to introduce small, inexpensive, and even free "luxuries" into your daily routine, and get used to cherishing and making time for yourself.  With the temperatures rising, I've included one of my favorites below!

Rosy Cheeks Toner:
1 oz. witch hazel (preferably alcohol free)
2 oz. rose water
10 drops palmarosa essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

Combine in a small glass jar, or bottle (spray or otherwise) of your preference, and store in the refrigerator for several weeks.  If you're trying to live that preservative free life, make smaller batches of rose water, and in turn, smaller batches of toner to reduce wasted product. 

How to make Rose water:
Remove petals from selected flowers, and rinse with room temperature water.
Bruise petals either by tearing by hand, or gently mashing with mortar and pestle.
Place petals in saucepan or pot large enough to hold all of them plus enough water just to cover them.
(This is when you add the distilled water ... just enough to cover).
Over medium-low heat cover, and bring to a simmer.
Let simmer 30 minutes until petals have lost color.
Strain & store liquid in a glass jar.