Days 11-14 Re-do

Days 11-14 were non-existent.

I love to travel and to emerge myself in all sorts of local things. In Nashville it was the BBQ, the fried chicken and country music.

I can’t really let myself feel bad, I had the best fried chicken I’ve had in my life!

There were times I felt discouraged and guilty for going off the deep end. But I realized that I could never go to Italy and not have pasta or go to France and not have delicious bread and wine.

What I could have done however was some research on restaurants that had food I could eat for a few meals, so that I didn’t ‘cheat’ 100% of the time. At one point though, I just decided to enjoy myself, food is not my enemy. My attitude is, my own discouraging thoughts. And if this is really a life-style change then it has to work for the long term and it has to fit my life.

So, instead of starting phase two tomorrow, I am going back to phase one for one more week to re-start my system and my attitude.

I had a great trip, and I am already cooking yummy meals for the week.

Keep on trucking.

Day 5- Friday night date

I was super excited when I got on the scale this morning and it read almost 6lbs lighter, in 4 days?! It could be broken, but I think the better explanation is that, that is how much bad stuff I had in my body!! So 6 down, 15 more to go.

I always like hearing that there is no way I am 20 (now 15) pounds heavier than I was 2yrs ago, but I assure you, I am! Clothes don’t lie!

The other thing that really motivated me today was that others are taking the same leap I am, and that in a small way, I m helping them on their journey. Just like others inspired and are motivating me!

Tonight I went on a date and so I had to be very strict the whole day so I could let a little loose tonight.

Breakfast- 7am
Strawberry, blueberry, coconut milk, and almond butter smoothie

Breakfast 2- 10am
One boiled egg and coffee

Lunch- 12:30
Chipotle salad- again only with chicken, tomato salsa, fajita veggies and very little guac.

Snack 4pm
Blueberries and a few almonds

Dinner- I did the best I could while at Rosa Mexicana.

Guac with a corn tortilla
Grilled Fish- I did not eat the rice of beans
2 skinny margaritas

We’ll have to see what damage I did when I get on the scale on Monday. But tomorrow I am getting my Soul Cycle on, to combat the effects of the tortilla and booze.

Tomorrow is a new day!

Day 3- Prayer and Side Effects.

Some people think it’s weird that as part of the Maker’s Diet you are called to start and end your day with prayer.  I think it’s only right that when you are detoxing the body, you should uplift the spirit.  So my day started with a prayer, declaring that I am ‘beautifully and wonderfully made’, and asking the Lord to give me strength and heal my body.  If I didn’t pray these kinds of prayers, I would probably just thank the universe for letting me wake up one more day, and for the opportunity to heal my body and renew my spirit.  Flowers really renew my spirit- so I got me some for encouragement

I needed the extra help today as I started feeling the withdrawal symptoms  of very little sugar, and very little caffeine.  I also skipped the eggs this morning and was hungry all day— not doing that again!

And I have a confession to make— I’ve been drinking the Green Tea from Honest Tea.  It says it’s made from organic tea leaves, and only has a tad of honey.  But I think technically, I am not suppose to have it. Ah well. I have to have a fuller breakfast tomorrow. 

Day 3 Menu:

Breakfast-

Coconut milk and strawberry smoothie.

Snack-

A few raw almonds, and fresh strawberries.

Lunch-

Grilled Salmon Salad- with spinach, string beans, and cherry tomatoes, with vinegar,olive oil and pepper.  

Snack-

More almonds, and the Green Honest Tea

Dinner-

Modified Dominican Chicken Stew with a side of broccoli. 

The original recipe is here. 

I skipped the sugar and the olives, used sesame oil instead of olive oil, and used tomato sauce with no added sugar or salt.  I used very little salt and instead used more herbs like basil, and added a little more cilantro at the end.  I’ve made this recipe before and honestly, this modified, healthier, version tasted amazing!  Left overs for lunch tomorrow.

Life(style) changes. Day 1.

Yesterday was day one of forty. I was nervous about starting yesterday because I won’t get fresh direct until tonight. But I figured there are plenty of choices around the office that fit phase one of the Maker’s Diet. And it was better to start and have to re-start, than to keep waiting. I am starting to feel excited about the challenge and feel like if I can be disciplined enough to do this, then I can be disciplined enough to do many other things. I know it’s only day two but that’s my attitude today.

Day one:

Breakfast- spinach, onion and tomatoes omelet.

Snack: BluePrint Cleanse lemon and cayenne pepper juice. They happen to sell them in my office’s cafeteria.

Lunch: Chipotle salad with extra filing of chicken, tomato salsa and fajita veggies only. It was delicious even without the corn salsa, or the cheese or the dressing— who knew?!

Snack: BluePrint Cleanse cashew juice. I am not sure if this is technically ok in phase one, but all the ingredients seem to be on the ok list. Regardless, it was filling and delicious and healthy and organic. Check, check, check.

Dinner: Sashimi and garden salad-no dressing. Salmon, tuna, and other white fish. No shrimp, crab or other ‘sea scavengers’.

I woke up super hungry because I had dinner before 7pm. Today I’ll probably add a snack before bed time.

Not so bad for the first day! Come on day two…. Fists in the air.

Let go and receive.

There are days when God speaks loud and clear, the message is delivered in multiple ways so that we don’t miss it. I love how persistent the voice of God is. Today the message, for me, was let go and receive. The first message was delivered at church this morning, ‘forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead…press toward the goal to win the prize’. The second installment was delivered by a new and special friend ‘First things first: Stop saying you’ve never been able to stick to something like this. That’s the past. It’s a new day’.

It is a new day! And we do have to let go of things passed to have room for things to come, for God’s promises to be delivered. Our hearts have to be ready to receive, and that can’t happen when they are filled with junk.

I have to let go of, I can’t, never have kind of attitude. I have to believe I can, that I will. God is behind me, how can I not. My friends are behind me, how can I not.

So Whether it’s a relationship, a job, or simply an attitude, it’s time to let go, believe, and receive.

Seasons Change

I had all sorts of random thoughts today, like how no matter what we do the seasons change. As summer comes to an end, subtle hints call for fall’s arrival. The darker early mornings, the cool breeze that caresses my face on my walk to the subway, and the leaves that are already starting to adorn the grass.

The earth’s pattern made me realize that in life the change in seasons also come with subtle hints, and no matter what we do, how hard we try to hang on, the seasons will change. We can either prepare, get the boots out of the closet , recognize the changing environment at work, embrace the new reality of our friendships, or we can refuse and be cold, overlooked, or feel the sadness of friendships past.
I don’t know why we get scared of change, sure fall and winter are cold, and come with a feeling of melancholy, and we get sick, but every single year, spring arrives!
And honesty, fall is beautiful, and sweaters hide the summer BBQ pounds, so it’s not all bad! Winter brings snow, perfect for skiing, and pretty lights in the city.
So this year, I will change with the seasons, and enjoy the beauty of each season and when spring arrives again, just as the trees have new leaves, I look forward to having new perspective in my life and relationships , and new, fresh professional and personal relationships while discovering all sorts of new things!

There is beauty in every season!!

What is American?

It turns out that with the exception of the Native American population, all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries (wiki). Given the fact that America is a collection of immigrants, Americans do not equate being American with their ethnicity but rather with their citizenship. To put it into simple words, a person with American citizenship, can be Irish, Italian, Mexican, Indian, etc.

It happened that Britain colonized America, and therefore the founding fathers were Caucasian, including nine born outside of the thirteen colonies. However, and proudly, America does not have one kind of people that make up our country.

The history lesson is needed for a lot of people who become enraged anytime any non-Caucasian American is put in the spotlight. They say that a Mexican-American kid singing the National Anthem is disrespectful to our nation. They say Americans have to step it up when an Indian-American wins the National Spelling Bee by tweeting hateful comments and misspelling the word descent (decent in the tweet). I loved the response from Hari Kondabolu, ‘Hey white people, learn the language’.

It seems like an obvious point to make, but both Sebastien de la Cruz, and Arvind Mahankali were born in America and are therefore American.

The comments made via social media about the accomplishments of these kids clearly highlight the racism that is still very much alive in our nation. Those types of comments set us back many years, and erase the many strides we have made to truly fulfill our pledge of allegiance ’ … One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’.

Interestingly, no one objects when so many athletes become naturalized for the sole purpose of repping the red, white, and blue in the Olympics. So it seems that as long as your skin is white and you went to summer camp, you can be American. But the rest of us cannot.

The comments about Mexicans in relation to Sebastien where not only false because he is American, but also because they are not true about Mexicans.

It’s sad, really, that people can be so ignorant to the history, current demographics (Hispanic high school graduates have surpassed Whites in rate of college enrollment-Pew Research), and trends of a country they say they love. Isn’t a country just the people who make up said country? So, by default, you already love us, embrace it.

Goals are not dreams.

What happens when dreams come true? And how do you stay hungry, thirsty, and driven when you have attained your dream?
I have come to realize that goals can sometimes dress us up as dreams, and when they do dreams lose their sweetness.
A dream attained continues to inspire, continues to feed on itself and ask for more. The dream becomes a bigger dream, and provides more dreams. It keeps you on your toes.
A goal attained, if confused for a dream, can be quite debilitating. It doesn’t fulfill, it can even lead to complacency. That’s where it stops. It doesn’t continue to bear fruit or to inspire.
I’ve learned the hard way that I need to really search within to find my dreams. Because I have achieved many of my goals, but goals alone don’t do the trick for the heart and soul.

Day 3.5-- Main attractions- white teeth and muscles.

I posted day 3 way too early— I should have learned by now that midnight might as well be 8pm here. If yesterday was a Monday night there was no way of knowing by looking at the drunk crowds on the streets, the stumbling girls in the bathrooms, or the puke on the train (first time I have seen anything dirty in Tokyo).

As we settled into our six person bar, where my raised hand touched the ceiling, we thought we’d be alone the whole night. But around 10pm, two ‘very drunk’ Japanese men stuffed their way in. Ten minutes later, a Japanese woman opened the tiny door, saw one seat open next to me and made her way in. So there we were, five strangers (only the two of us strangers to them. It was clear this was their go-to spot) sharing laughs, cheers, and love for Jesus’s muscles.
At first, we were annoyed by the two men who laughed at our ‘kon’nichiwa’ (hello). But soon it was us who could not stop laughing at their pure admiration of Jesus’s muscles. The drunker of the two men jokingly pushed Jesus on his arm and as soon as he put his hand on Jesus’s arm, his eyes widen and he proceed to tell the two women and the other guy to go ahead and touch ‘the muscles’. Truly one of the funniest things ever.
The rest of the night was a great social experiment. We managed to communicate with facial expressions, sign language and the aid of good-ole google and YouTube. We shared our love of Bachata, they continued to share their love of ‘the muscles’ and my ‘clean’ teeth. They shared a local ‘favorite’ food— fermented beans with some sticky thing on it, not my favorite. Four hours later, the bill was a completely made up 4,000 yen, not bad for snacks, not sure how many drinks, and ‘many memories’.

Day three- the body gets what the body wants.

The day started early at 2:00am when the body said it was 1pm and time to eat. Though we woke up so early we managed to miss the Tuna auctions. By the time we arrived at 4:30am all the 120 spots has been given away. But we made the best of it. We waited in line for nearly 2.5hrs for a spot at the tiny Sushi Dai near the fruits and vegetables area— stand #6. We arrived before it opened and there was already 30 or so people ahead of us. By 8:00am our bellies were stuffed with some of the best food I’ve had my entire life. Each piece of Sushi was masterfully crafted- truly an art. Some had nothing more than a stroke of delicious sauce, and please no soy sauce the master would say. Soon I forgot the disappointment of missing the auction.

Next up, during a rainy day, was the Edo Tokyo museum. It was a beautiful walk from the metro along a cherry blossom lined street. The museum doesn’t normally open on Mondays but we got lucky and today it was. Before the museum opened we wondered around the area and came to a surprisingly beautiful memorial of war war II. The museum itself was stunning, from the building that hosts it, to the replicas inside of Edo period Japan.
Today could have been a disappointing day, missing the Tuna auction and sleeping through our three-month old reservation at the Ghibli Museum. But we refused to have a down day during our trip. The night brought us to the Golden Gai in Shinjiku. We sat inside a tiny bar, just the two of us and the ‘master’— a woman in her 40s who loves cats and makes delicious food.