Saturday, June 7, 2008

Embracing my newfound vata dosha

I don't know why I never looked into Ayurveda before. It makes just so much sense. I realized that I owned Gabriel Cousen's book "Conscious eating" which thoroughly explains how to balance your doshas. I realized I was doing a lot of things wrong which contributed to the unbalance in my body.

Gabriel provides a list detailing which foods balance vata and which create an unbalance. What have I been doing wrong? Lots! Mushrooms, raw onions, celery and leafy greens can call create an unbalance for vatas. What balances the Vata? Well carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, dates, bananas. It's very interesting. Also, I theorize that the reason why my last month of juice feasting didn't bring about much improvement was because watermelons create unbalances for vatas and I was drinking TONS of watermelon juice.

This is very very interesting. What's more interesting is that the description of typical vata people fits me to a tee! Artistic penchants, impulsive, lack of focus, easily overwhelemed, worry, etc... these are all typical vata traits.

I'm finding this just so fascinating. I'm thrilled that I can further tweak my diet to improve my health from another perspective. I was thinking yesterday as I was cooking squash in my wok how this may be the final step. I've learned so much from whole foods, alkaline diets, juice feasting, macrobiotics, raw foods and ayurveda.... Maybe the key for me lies in an intricate balancing act of all practices. I just need to figure out what works for ME.

I don't want to give anyone any cravings but... I can honestly say that eating cooked sweet potato and squash was VERY tasty and I think really appeased my vata. Vatas are supposed to eat warm, dense, oily foods. Yum yum.

I'm going to try to do raw all day and cooked dinners. I think that should work for now. We'll tweak that if we need to later. :)

- Ben

Thursday, June 5, 2008

That's it in a nutshell

Sorry guys. I know it's been a while. Let me see if I can sum up what's gone on in the last week. First off, I managed to really screw up my neck after that deadly flu I had. The chiropractor fixed it enough to a point where I could move my neck again... but I was still in a lot of pain. I ended up going for a massage which helped tremendously.

I've just been lazy be perfectly honest. That TV rule I had while juice feasting has flown out the window and I've been spending many nights just vegging on the couch watching TV. I need to get my bum on the rebounder again.

I had my first official meeting with my Guru today. Today's lesson was about the breath. The breath, I was told, is food for the body. Oxygen carries this energy called "Prana" into the body and this nourishes our cells. I was taught how to breathe today. She made me do some kundalini yoga and also made me speak to my inner wisdom. It was REALLY intense. I almost cried at some point. She's a really great teacher.

She made me some medicine too; triphala with some sacred ashes that she prayed on. That's right.... ashes. I didn't say anything at the time... but this worries me. Ashes, I imagine, are carcinogenic? Where did these ashes come from anyway? I'm concerned so I sent her an email asking for details of these ashes.

I also asked what I should do for my diet; she had mentioned she wanted me to incorporate some cooked foods into my diet. I was told today to start adding cooked root vegetables such as beets, carrots and sweet potatoes. Also squash was a good idea.

I would have thought that I would have been more disappointed with this change of path... moving away from raw foods after doing SO well at it. I realize though that we have to be flexible... we have to be open to what is. I'm being open to the possibility that maybe raw foods isn't the answer for me. Let's not forget; some people do really well on macro diets while others do really well on raw foods. We're all different and maybe there are different answers for all of us. I'm going to give this a shot and see how I feel.

Besides... it's not like she asked me to start eating oreo cookies, beef jerky and spam sandwiches here.... Of all the cooked foods I could be eating, I think carrots, beets, squash and sweet potato are really healthy options. I'm going to focus on steaming or boiling them in miso soup.

That's all I have to report for now.

Miss you guys! I'll catch up on your blogs soon, I promise!

- Ben

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Worst migraine ever!

I have no idea what's going on. I woke up Saturday morning super early to go take my government general competencies test for this new job I've applied for. I felt great, I had a tasty banana milkshake for breakfast and biked 5 miles to the testing area and biked home afterwards. I'm happy to report, this kid kicked some major butt! I should be getting the results soon but I paid such close attention to details (therein lied the traps) that I know I got 98-100%.

Anyway, I got home... made some of that curried carrot soup and I fell asleep shortly after (afternoon naps = mmmm). I woke up with the most splitting headache! I also had a fever and basically felt like I had been hit by a car. I figured maybe I was dehydrated from the bike ride so I had 2L of lemon-water.... nothing.

I went to bed with that vice on my head hoping I could sleep it off. No such luck, I woke up today at noon and my head was hurting just as much. I refuse to pop a tylenol. Off I went trying to find some natural remedies. The best so far is this roll-on I got in Vancouver when I was a flight attendant; all natural aromatherapy cure. It works GREAT usually... but this headache is of epic proportions. I'll need to order more of this stuff... I'm almost out and it normally always does the trick for headaches.

I tried acupressure on the webbed parts of my hand... and... I looked up "migraine" in Louise Hay's book only to find this quote "Often masturbation relieves the headache"..... I personally think that might have to do with the release of endorphins. :)

I have no idea where this came from. I have a fever of 100.1 which is high for a raw vegan whose body temperature is usually 2 degrees below standard.

I have a feeling I won't be going to work tomorrow. Sigh. I hope this isn't the flu....

So far today;

3L water+lemon
1.5L grapefruit+acai
2 nori rolls (I barely kept that down)

Probably will have some strawberries later...

- Ben

Friday, May 23, 2008


I haven't published anything in a week! Holy moly! Does anyone hate me now? :) Well you can't hate me for long because I have the cutest pictures of baby Canadian Geese!!! :)

Yep! That's right! There are Canadian Geese that hang out by our workplace (did I mention I work in the coolest building in Ottawa? It's an ultra modern building built on an island in the middle of a river! There's a good picture here.)... and some of the geese had babies!!! There are two couples that are denizens of the island; one couple didn't have babies yet... I keep saying to my coworkers that they're the gay couple! :)

Anyway... the babies are super cute and fluffy. We hung out there today and fed the ducks, geese and birds some bread. It was really cute!!! The Canadian geese would literally eat right out of our hands. Sometimes they would bite our fingers inadvertently but it didn't hurt at all... it was a very gentle bite! :)

Ummm... It was an interesting week. I had the best three-day weekend ever. I spent most of the third day cleaning because my sister was planning to sleep over on Tuesday night. She had a government exam early Wednesday morning and she had a late class on Tuesday. Ergo, instead of going all the way back to the outskirts of town and back, it made sense for her to just crash at my place.

I made my top secret pesto with zucchini prima pasta. She was blown away. She took pictures of it and sent them to her boyfriend. Hahahaa. She said that this former co-worker of mine's (my sister and I used to work for the same airline) response to hearing I've gone raw was "well that's lazy". LOL!!! I laughed so hard. My sister was going to make a point to show her the picture she took of the pasta and tell her it took an hour to do. Does "raw" really conjure up images of people feasting on baby carrots or something? Dear lord!

I cheated a bit this week on the raw thing; I hate a few breath mints (seriously... raw breath mints anyone? I've tried munching on parsley for this but it just makes it worse when it gets stuck in your teeth) and some tropicana orange juice (pasteurized shit). Not major stuff... but worth mentioning.

Also, I think Tuesday or Wednesday... I caved and used some steroid cream on some psoriasis patches I had in a really painful spot; right in the fold of the arm by the armpit. Ouch! I've never had it there before... but juice feasting seems to have moved things around; as some spots healed, new areas that were never affected seemed to flare up (specifically the upper chest). I'm not sweating it... I have tremendous faith in my new guru. I also noticed this week that my legs were healing out of nowhere. That was encouraging!

This morning, I woke up inspired by all the goodies in my fridge and made the best lunch I've ever brought to work. Coworkers were impressed. It was basically a raw twist on a stir fry I used to make... with bold flavors of dark miso, ginger and orange. Sweet!!! It was so good! Even one of the directors tried some of the sauce and was really impressed at my culinary skills.

Don't worry... that's another one for the cookbook (which is manifesting really quickly... be patient!) :)

This weekend, I'm going to try to make a bread reminiscent of my favorite cooked version: lemon/rosemary focaccia. I hope I do it justice. I have a general idea in my mind about how to go about it. Hopefully I can pull this off. If it works, I'll be posting the recipe on A Crunchy Conspiracy.

Have I mentioned how much I love the raw curried carrot soup on Mmmm! I could live on that. When I make it, I use fresh ginger, lots of cracked peppercorns and a curry powder made of curry, tumeric, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. I like to add some finely chopped fresh pasley at the end along with some Hawaiian clay rock salt. I also tend to use a bit more carrots than this calls for. :) Try it out when you get a chance, it's easy and wicked tasty!

Missed all you guys!

- Ben

Friday, May 16, 2008

A hidden garden

I have a feeling this will be quite a long post. Yesterday I went to do groceries and tried to stick to my budget. It didn't go as well as last week; I stayed below 200$ but I spent more than I wanted to... that being said, the 1L of Nama Shoyu I bought was really what put me over the edge. I can't believe that's 26$! Eep!

Today was the day I was to meet with my spiritual teacher/therapist. The woman is on a different level than the rest of us. She's incredibly wise. The whole experience was very different from what I had expected.

First we chatted about the condition and my reason for coming. She asked me my date of birth to see if the condition was karmic in nature. She started doing some numerology and mentioned how this condition basically came about when I was 8; from not getting the support that I needed from my mother and having my spirit crushed as a result. It's interesting that she picked up on this. The shit really hit the fan when I was 8; that's when I started getting picked on and, to make matters worse, my parents were very distant. My mom had tendencies that were similar to being bipolar; this left me really confused as a child; how she could be so loving one minute and so hurtful the next. My home life revolved around trying to make sure the volcano didn't erupt.

Next she listened to my pulse for a bit, looked at my eyes and tongue. She basically said that I'm very 'clean' and that my organs are working really well. The issue is a surface issue and really has to do with my nerves and repressed anger. She said she will teach me techniques to release this anger in a safe way and we'll have to work together to get my body to relax and feel safe.

She also said that she feels I'm running on reserved energy; I totally feel this way since I stopped the juice feast. I pretty much had concluded I was just burnt from working 7 days/week for so long.

We talked about diet too. She wanted me to introduce ghee into my diet; neither raw nor vegan. I expressed how I'd be willing to introduce cooked foods into my diet but I am very committed to the vegan thing. She came up with hemp oil as a good substitute. Yuck! Hehehe. She explained how in ayurvedic medicine, certain spices are better with raw foods while others need to be in cooked dishes to act properly (like tumeric for example). She explained that for my body type (Vata - Air), raw foods is really hard to do because it increases the vata in the body. She says this is why I have lots of energy but in short spurts; extreme ups and downs. This also makes me a bit spacey.

So I guess that's a bit of a bummer; I was doing so well with not craving cooked foods. Ultimately though, I have to make the changes that will benefit me and rid me of the condition. She says I'll still be able to eat lots of raw foods (salads, etc) but there will be some vegan cooked foods. That being said, I've always believed that, as long as foods are whole and organic, there are worse things than cooking those foods.

She'll also introduce me to some yoga asanas to help me and it will be very important for me to meditate everyday. She said that in three weeks, I should start seeing some changes.

The whole experience was really cool! :) She didn't say so, but I could feel she was being 'guided' when coming up with a system for me.

When I went to bike back to work, I noticed my back wheel was broken; the axel was popped. I had to walk my bike all the way back to work. That was a 2.5 mile walk. After work, I walked my bike to this new bike shop that just opened up in my neighborhood. They're going to fix it for just 22$!! I added a tune up to the whole deal; 60$ total. I should have it back by the end of the weekend. Whoo hoo!

Well that's all I have to say. Are you disappointed that I'll be falling off the raw-wagon? I guess a lot of people are 80% raw right? Sigh... I was doing so good! :P

- Ben

PS: One of the nicest things the teacher told me is that I am like this beautiful garden, in the middle of a forest that I decided no one would ever get to see. I've shielded myself from love to avoid being hurt. We're going to work on showing that garden to the world. She also said that I need to feel love; not the love of a parent, friend or partner... but that of a teacher that expects nothing out of me. That's where she comes in. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mmmmm banana milkshakes!

The highlight of Monday was waking up and having a tasty banana/almond smoothie. Very tasty indeed! I managed to recreate the exact taste (okay… almost!) of the vegan version I used to have often. The vegan version was simple; soy milk, roasted almond butter, bananas, cinnamon, cloves, agave. The raw version is also simple: almond milk, bananas (more to make up for the thickness of soy), raw almond butter, cloves, cinnamon, agave. Suuuper tasty way to start the day.

Tuesday, on the other hand, I woke up realizing I didn’t really have anything to make ‘breakfast food’ out of. Solution? Nori rolls! I know it sounds crazy, but nori rolls in the morning was freakin’ brilliant! Loved it! I had tons of energy throughout the day too!

I went to the chiro on Monday and my arm got popped back into place. A rib was also not in its exact right spot; that had to move too. My neck was also part of the problem so it got a good crunch. It was actually pretty painful but I felt much better after and had regained full use of my right arm. Yay!

I’m toying with the idea of using some leftover steroid cream right now. I have a few spots of P that have become angry in the folds near my armpit and I have spots that have completely eaten up my nipples. Those are the most painful right now. It’s tempting to think that steroid creams could fix that real quick… but do I want to undo much of the detox progress I’ve done through juice feasting? Sigh. We’ll see. I know that I’m still healing because I see improvements in my arms and legs. But I’m noticing it’s getting worse in the chest area. I’m going to try to hold off and see how Friday’s session with my therapist goes.

I definitely need to do more affirmations. I’m doing really good on that front though… I think!

Monday I had:

Tasty almond/banana shake
¼ watermelon
Spinach & Strawberry salad
Fattoush (of course!)

Tuesday I had:

Nori rolls
Spring salad
Larabar – cocoa
Zucchini noodles with top secret pesto

Lisa asked me if my fattoush recipe would make it into the ebook. The answer is yes. I've been perfecting this recipe since last summer and it's perfect! The reason why I love this salad so much is because it's very tasty, it has tons of alkalizing veggies in it AND it has the perfect ratio of upward reaching veggies, crawling veggies and root veggies from a detox point of view. Technically, when you make a salad, for every root vegetable, you should have 3 above ground vegetables.... Or so I read in Dr Pagano's book. :)

Well that's all for now! :)

- Ben

Do-nothing weekend

I'm so late on my posts... but here goes. This weekend was uneventful and that was the whole point. I purposely did nothing all weekend. That being said, I probably should have gotten around to loading the dishwasher. Sheesh!

I was cutting vegetables for my salad on Sunday and I realized that... I have no idea how I worked two jobs for so long. I am soooo grateful for my weekends, now that I have them! :)

I played a bit more with that marinated salad recipe. It still needs a few minor tweaks (not to mention, I need to get around to writing down what the hell I keep doing). It never ceases to amaze me how I can create recipes out of thin air and then remember every single thing I did without ever writing it down. The only annoying part about this is when I do get around to writing it down, I have to turn my "guesstimate measurements" into actual measurements. I'm not big on measuring cups and stuff when I'm in the kitchen. The only exception to that was baking... because baking is a science in that way.

I decided one of the main things I need to work on is making some flax crackers and some buckwheat cereal. I'm pretty sure I can manage to find some buckwheat that isn't toasted in one of the health food stores in this city.

Here's a few highlights of what I ate over the weekend :

Cilantro smoothie
Herbed marinated salad
Fattoush salad (of course!)
Nori rolls (with one hell of a tasty pecan/nama shoyu sauce)
Broccoli Mash + miso gravey (from Ani Phyo's cookbook... one word... DISGUSTING! I was blown away at how gross this was.... I think I was never a fan of raw broccoli to begin with, so this probably didn't help. Darn!
More Fattoush! :)

Oh... side note; I woke up Sunday after having a nightmare about 1 bully that picked on me a lot in high school and 1 flight attendant that I really didn't get along with. I was on a bus with these two people; I just remember not wanting to be on that bus at all. I woke up and couldn't move my right arm at all. I had this really intense pain in my shoulder. Apparently I was angry. I tried to release it as much as I could but the pain stayed. Luckily my chiro fixed me up the next day; more on that tomorrow.

- Ben