Monday, November 10, 2008


And now...ahhhhh...I'm enjoying a cup of coffee with peppermint creamer, which I found at Target yesterday.  What perfect timing!

I did lose 2 & 1/2 pounds last week. Didn't do anything different, so I don't know what to think about that.

Lessons? I think way too much about food, probably eat too much too. And I had to think even more while cleansing, b/c the choices are so limited. I need to just enjoy my food and my healthy body and eat as healthy as I can without obsessing about it. Being hungry for a few minutes or hours won't kill me, and I'm grateful to know that the hunger is always temporary. 

Will I do it again? I plan to do it a couple of times a year, just for the 'lightning' effect - I feel lighter inside and healthier (and, of course, hungrier - LOL).

Today I'm having sugar, dairy, caffeine, and gluten, but I'm saving alcohol for the weekend. My blueberry smoothie was especially delicious this morning, and my sweet tea at McAlister's with my buddy Andrea (the neighbor to my left that, according to Kathy Freston's book was required to do the cleanse with me) will probably be the best tea I've had this year! Tomorrow I will be more intentional about the sugar, maybe have coffee or tea, not both. But today is a day to celebrate with all my favorite things!

Muchas gracias to my supportive family and friends who held my hand, listened to me whine, and put up with my crankiness these past three weeks. I couldn't have done it without you, especially, you, Jane!  xoxo

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Day 17 of 21

Almost there!  Only four nights and four days to go. Here's some surprising news - I have not lost any weight, not one ounce. Now this wasn't solely about losing weight, but it's hard to figure how I could be consuming no sugar (and practically no-thing else) walking and doing yoga most days, and still be ingesting enough calories to maintain my weight. My friend Jane (whom you may remember from the first post as the friend who refused to do this cleanse with me) suggested that maybe my current weight is my 'ideal' weight, and that I should accept myself just as I am. What a novel idea! I think she may be right, but I would like to do a little work on what I fondly refer to as the 'two-baby roll' around my middle. So more yoga is in order, with a side of Pilates.

In the meantime I'm still thinking about what happens Monday. Perhaps McAlister's for lunch - sweet tea and a spud ole with veggie chili, and Craig's famous homemade pizza for dinner. The good thing about not losing weight while cleansing is that I shouldn't have to worry about gaining weight when I can eat normally again. :-)

But I have discovered that I can have a very good salad without cheese or eggs, I enjoy Balsamic vinegar salad dressing, crackers without gluten, and I can definitely do without potato chips. Maybe the most important thing is that I am more intentional about eating...and hopefully by Monday I will be eating to live, not living to eat.

And, BTW, my friend Jane, even though she chose not to participate, has been an awesome support while I've been finding my way through this. Thanks Girlfriend!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Day 14 of 21

I haven't blogged in a while, so just in case you think it's b/c I've fallen off the cleanse wagon (or I'm dead), I'm here to tell you that I'm alive and well and hungry - ha! In some ways the process is getting easier. I know what I can't have and why I'm doing this, and I'm not tempted to cheat. But in other ways it's harder. It's really getting old to have such a limited choice of foods.  There's only so much you can do with vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I love vegetables, but raw, steamed, put in a soup, stir fried - after a while, it all looks and tastes the same.

But you know what? I really don't mean to complain. I am eternally grateful that I have access to good vegetables, a warm home in which to eat them, plenty of seasonings, something to cook them on, and family and friends to support me on this quest. And I'm especially thankful that it's only for three weeks, and I only have one week to go! Then it's a joyful trip to McAlister's for some sweet tea!  Eat on, Annie

Monday, October 27, 2008

Day 8 of 21

Today was fairly easy, but I can't really say why. It's not that I won't say, but I really don't know what was different about today. I didn't think about food so much, and I wasn't too tempted to cheat when I was warming up that home-made mac & cheese for Craig to have with our salads. I won't say that the salad actually filled me up, but the popcorn I ate after dinner while watching Reba did.

I had a terrible meal yesterday with rice almond bread, fake cheese, tomatoes, olives, and basil. The tomatoes and basil were from my garden and were delicious, along with the olives, but they couldn't make up for the dense, heavy bread and not-cheese. Maybe there are some other gluten-free breads out there, or maybe I'll just forsake sandwiches til after the cleanse.

Anyway, the home-made lentil soup made up for the disastrous sandwich, no matter what my son says about it. And lentil soup just gets better each day that it lasts in the fridge. Bon appetit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One Week Down, Two To Go

I'm one third of the way through the cleanse. I don't feel any different, except that I'm hungry a lot of the time! I'm thinking of other ways to nurture myself than with food, and other things to occupy my time than thinking about food or eating it. Reading a lot! Cleaning. Going through piles. Bugging John about his social life. Fixing big pots of soup - oops, that's about food.

I'm beginning to think in terms of how to modify the radical cleanse instead of going back to the old way of eating when the three weeks is up. Kathy Freston's (whose book I'm using as a model) spiritual integrity requires her to 'do no harm', so she is a vegan. The only 'meat' I was eating before the cleanse was seafood, and I may let go of that. Dairy is another story. I love my cheese! And the fake cheeses I've tried just don't cut it - no pun intended. There is a frozen egg substitute, but so far I haven't found it. Egg Beaters contain egg whites, not egg substitute. Gluten, of course, is everywhere, but since I don't seem to have an allergy to it, I don't think I'll worry about it so much. 

The big dilemma will be my sweet tea. I'm not interested in altering the taste of the tea I love so much, by using Stevia or agave nectar. It's real sugar or no tea, and I'll have to see what happens over the next couple of weeks. If I have McAlister's sweet tea then I'll be having caffeine. Can I employ moderation? Often the answer is no, but in this case, it may be possible. Of course in a few weeks, Carnation will begin offering their Peppermint coffee creamer for the holidays, and then I'm doomed! But you'll notice that I timed this cleanse to be finished before the holidays begin. My mama didn't raise no fool!  Happy eating!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 6 of 21

The insights just keep coming. Today's aren't really new, but they're being brought home with more force. Here goes - 1) apparently I spend a lot of time thinking about food and the next meal. This isn't nearly as much fun when the next meal contains no sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, or dairy. I don't mind not having animal products, as I wasn't eating any meat except for seafood when I started the cleanse. But it's hard to get excited about fruit and vegetables over and over again; 2) I tend to reward myself with food or beverages. When I finally make it out of Target, I believe I deserve some McAlister's sweet tea, leaving Kroger's warrants a Starbuck's caramel macchiato. Any 'hardship' should be followed by a reward, and it is almost always food.

So what to do with this information? My intention is to create a new relationship with food, one where food is enjoyable and healthy, but not a reward and not the highlight of my days. This may take some work, so how shall I reinforce myself? Massage? Hot bath with home-made cranberry bath salts? Cold glass of Chardonnay - oops, guess not. Twenty minutes of meditation?

I can do this, and I can learn about myself, and I can make changes in how I deal with food. Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 145, I mean 5, of 21

This is how mean my daughter is - she came home from college for dinner tonight, and requested macaroni and cheese. I reminded her that I can't eat that right now, and she said, "I know".  Sheesh! But I fixed her a big pot of home-made mac & cheese, and other dishes that I could eat - pinto beans, long grain brown rice, and steamed vegetables. She tried to take all the leftover mac & cheese back to the dorm, to spare me the temptation, I'm sure (ha), but her Dad grabbed some to stick in our fridge for him and her brother. And you know what would be even more mean? If she didn't ever come home from college for dinner!  Thanks, Katelyn.

Let me tell you it's not fun fixing delicious food that you can't eat. I just kept reminding myself that it's only for three weeks. I can do anything for three weeks. Right? And now it's only 16 days, but who's counting?

A truly wonderful insight I had today had nothing to do with food, at least not food for the physical body. I was on my way to a meeting, sending up a prayer for guidance, love, and wisdom, b/c I hadn't really done much in the way of preparation. It suddenly dawned on me that I didn't need to pray for guidance, love, and wisdom b/c they are always available to me. I only needed to pray to be open to their flow. How cool is that? Spiritual nurturance (food) that is always there, flowing freely, waiting for us to remember to ask for it. Grace for the asking. Talk about abundance!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 4 of 21

Today I had fun surfing on the computer with my friend, Marion, for gluten-free recipes. Even better than  recipes, I found out there is a gluten-free beer! Not that I can have alcohol during this cleanse, but I sure can have some in two and a half weeks.

One thing I have learned is that I have the ability to overeat even on a cleanse! Which means there are some more 'issues' getting ready to come up, probably even as I write. And I'm actually looking forward to resolving them. (I'm looking even more forward to being through with this cleanse!)

Chew on, friends!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 3 of 21

Today I've been HUNGRY. Since I don't have the luxury of a personal chef, like Oprah had when she did her cleanse (heavy sigh), I'm sort of stuck with the fruits and veggies theme for every meal. I did make the most wonderful vegetable soup I have ever tasted last night (sorry to brag, but it's true) and had it again for lunch today, and will continue to have it as long as it lasts. I don't think I'll get tired of it, but it doesn't exactly fill me up. Neither does a salad, a bowl of fruit, a blueberry tofu smoothie, or a handful of nuts. Maybe if I ate all of that at the same time!

When I let go of the continuous thoughts of food, I can focus on how I'm feeling otherwise, which, weird as it sounds, is 'lighter'. I don't necessarily mean poundage, but I just feel lighter inside my body. This is even weirder - what is inside holding me to the ground? Maybe I'm meant to fly away, not literally, of course, but it could be my time to fly or bloom or take off.

The first dream I had about Dana after she died consisted of her poking me in the hand with a fork, and saying, "it's your turn now." What am I supposed to do with my turn? To where do I take off? I believe that if I can stay tuned to what the cleanse is telling me, I'll find out. How exciting!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 2 of 21

So the first 'issue' has come up for me during my cleanse - a little  earlier than I supposed it would, but that's cool. Here it is: if I lose weight while eating such a restricted diet, will I gain it back when I begin to eat 'normally' again? Even if it's not all about the weight, and it isn't, it is some about the weight, so what does that mean? My hope is that I will lose more weight than I need to, so gaining some back won't matter. But is that an enlightened way to look at this journey? I know that yo-yo weight loss and gain isn't good for my body, and it isn't something I want to do.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to do with this issue, but maybe the trick is to focus on the other reasons for doing the cleanse - the opportunity for my body to rest from it's job of getting rid of toxins, the discipline I can invite into my life, the suffering I can inflict on my husband and son as they go through this with me.  No, no, that's not right! Although I think they are suffering, I'm getting no pleasure from that fact. Honest.

Onward we go on the cleansing journey!  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 1 of 21!

The first day is over! How to describe the experience? No major insights, but I expect they will come a little later.

I did learn that it's not easy to eat at restaurants. I spend $6 on broccoli and rice pilaf.  It was very good, but $6?? My friend Jane (who, I have to report, refused to do the cleanse with me) suggested that I order a regular meal, eat my two sides, then take the meat portion home to my menfolk, who are still eating all that stuff. Good idea, Jane!

I feel proud of myself, though it seems kinda silly to say so. I haven't done anything that anyone who is motivated couldn't do...and I've only done it for one day! But it feels good to be exercising the discipline to eliminate so many foods that I enjoy but aren't necessarily good for me.

I even made a vegan blueberry smoothie that was only slightly less delicious than my regular version. So breakfast is saved! Bon Appetite

Sunday, October 19, 2008

21 Day Cleanse - I'll Start Tomorrow!

After hearing Oprah interview Kathy Freston about her new book, Quantum Wellness, and then reading the book, I decided to do her 21 day cleanse. It consists of eliminating sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten. and all animal products from your diet for up to 21 days. You may wonder, as I did, what is left to eat?! At a very basic level, what is left is fruits and vegetables. But if you look further (at vegan blogs and Oprah's blog) there is a world of foods and menus just waiting for your dining pleasure.

My family and friends are asking a different question. To them it's not 'what?', but 'why?'. Why in the world would I cut out all those delicious foods and deprive myself that way? The answer is multi-leveled. First, I like Freston's theory that eliminating those foods will give my body a break from having to work so hard to digest and get rid of toxins and allergens. Second, I have had food and body-image issues for as long as I can remember, and I feel like this will bring them right up in my face, so to speak, so that I can resolve them and create a healthy relationship with my body. Third there is that small matter of discipline - I don't always exercise it to my advantage, and this cleanse will certainly provide an opportunity to do so.

Since I don't eat any meat, except seafood, the only hard part of eliminating animal products will be the cheese, yogurt, and eggs. I'm willing to try the soy-substitutes, but also willing to do without, if the substitutes don't taste good. I can do anything for three week...right?

Fortunately, my next door neighbor, Andrea, is accompanying me on this 21 day journey. I told her that the book suggested that you get your neighbor to the left, facing your house, to do the cleanse with you, and she agreed. (If you happen to see her, don't let on that the book didn't really mention anything about neighbors!)

I really will start tomorrow! Tune it to see how I progress. Blessings, Annie

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Cleaning

With Spring finally here, it’s a good time to put some effort into cleaning, clearing, and de-cluttering – both our outer and inner lives. If you’re like me and have a tendency to hold onto things beyond their usefulness, there is probably a drawer, a closet, or even a room that houses stuff that might be happier in a new home.

Our living spaces will be more harmonious if we get rid of the things we have outgrown, don’t care about anymore, or don’t have any more use for. The self help shelves in bookstores are crowded with how-to books about simplifying and organizing, and there are great workshops on the subject offered in our area. The main ideas to focus on are desire, patience, and follow through. We must be the ones who can’t stand the clutter anymore, not a spouse, roommate, or parent, although they can certainly help with the project! When the time is right, we will know it. Then we must show patience. The drawer, closet, or room didn’t become a wreck overnight, and it won’t get fixed in a jiffy either. But persevere and remind yourself of your intention for the mission. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed – do a little at a time, and be ruthless about getting rid of things that no longer have usefulness, meaning, or entertainment value. If you can’t let go of something, put it in a box, tape it up, and see if you can go a year without opening the box. If you can, then you can probably give or throw the contents away eventually.

Our inner lives are just as important to de-clutter, but may be a bit harder. Most of us carry around old beliefs, grudges, thought patterns and emotions that no longer serve our best interest. When the old patterns of responding to people don’t work anymore, it’s time to open our minds and hearts to new ways of being in relationships. One of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves is to forgive. Old wounds continue to plague us only as long as we let them. When we forgive, we make a conscious decision to stop carrying around anger, shame, rage, sadness, or hurt, and to stop seeing ourselves as victims. We forgive and let go, not to say that it was okay that someone hurt us and not to give them permission to hurt us again, but to affirm that we are disengaging from the relationship and taking away their power to affect us. Easier said than done, but a powerful way to regain control of our emotions and change our situations. It may be necessary to work with a coach in this process, and there are many good ones in the area who are trained to help people finally let go of their connections with the people who have hurt them.

It’s so easy to stay stuck in old patterns of behaving, and to blame the other person for not changing. As Dr. Phil says, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” There is a lot to be said for taking the high road in a relationship and changing your own behavior, thoughts, and feelings because you want what is best for you and your partner. Again, easier said than done, but well worth the effort.

As you begin the spring cleaning process in your inner and outer lives, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Spouses, friends, coaches, therapists can all lend a hand to help you live your best possible life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Making a Difference

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." Jane Goodall

Do you believe Jane Goodall's assumption that what you do makes a difference? Do you think it matters how you live your life? If your answer to those questions is 'no', then you will lead a different life from the person who answers 'yes'. I'm not passing judgment on which of those lives is better or easier or the one to aspire to, but I do believe that they will not resemble each other much.

If we believe that our actions, thoughts, and feelings make a difference in our small world and in the bigger world, we assume responsibility for them. We create an 'ability to respond' as my friend and colleague Marcia Walker says ( We choose to respond to people and circumstances with thought and intention, rather than react because our emotional buttons were pushed. We think about the consequences of our behavior and we take others' feelings and needs into consideration. In other words the difference we choose to make is one of spreading Love, even to those we may not feel so sure deserve it!

If we don't believe that what we do makes a difference, then we cruise through life on a 'pass'. We do what we want when we want just because it feels good to us. We leave havoc in our wake, hurting feelings, mangling relationships, being accountable to no one. Personally I think that if we weren't supposed to hold each other accountable and support each other on our journeys, then God would have put us here one at a time. but here we are all on this planet at once, called upon to learn, grow, and live together.
What kind of difference do you want to make?

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's All About Love

I really like St. Valentine’s Day! It may have something to do with the fact that my preferred Love Language is Gifts (not familiar with Love Languages? See Marcia Walker’s blog But it also is about the importance I put on Love as an energy in our world.

According to the folks involved in “A Course in Miracles” all the emotions we experience can be boiled down to two – love and fear. Every response we have comes from one of those places. If we accept that premise, we can preview any situation by imagining what will happen next if we respond from love and then if we respond from fear. We can envision our reaction, the other person’s response to our reaction, and so on until we know the end result of coming from love or coming from fear.

This process gives us a lot of freedom as we make our way through the world or through our day. We always have a choice about how we handle a situation. We can escalate a bad circumstance by choosing fear, or we can have a positive effect on ourselves, other people, and the world by deciding to let love be our guiding light. Regardless of what happens TO us, we get to make a conscious decision regarding how we respond.

So even though it’s not technically St Valentine’s Day any more, try coming from a place of love today, no matter who you’re with or what you do or what happens to you. Let me know how it goes! Blessings, Annie

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lighting the Flames

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us." Albert Schweitzer

So it's the month of love and romance again. How's that going for you? As you might imagine, I have a suggestion for bringing special meaning to Valentine's Day in particular, and the Love Month, in general. What if we took Dr. Schweitzer's advice and spent some time remembering the people in our lives who have rekindled our flame? Well, first we'd have to determine what he meant by that term. I think he's referring to the idea that we are here en masse, instead of one at a time, for a reason - to help each other, to lift each other up, and to light each other's flames when one of us is having a hard time. We do this by reminding each other of our greatness, by encouraging one another to refuse to hide our light under a bushel, and by inspiring our family and friends to believe in themselves by showing them how much we believe in them. And in spite of all this, sometimes our light does go out, only to be rekindled by someone else's spark just when we need it most.

Are there people in your life who have rekindled your spark? Why not take advantage of the Love Month to tell them you appreciate them? Mention specifically what they did or said that meant so much to you and the difference they made in your life. Write a letter or tell them in person, leave a voicemail, or even a text message. The means of communication isn't important; the message is. Spread the flame!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Being Great in 2008

Here we are at the beginning of a new year - an opportunity to start over again and get it right this time. But what is 'right'? What changes do we really need to make? I invite you to consider making changes in your life that aren't focused on self-improvement so much as increasing the amount of Joy in your life. There's nothing wrong with self-improvement, but it's important to undertake that quest with complete acceptance of who we are right now. Sound paradoxical? Maybe, but the truth is that when we love ourselves exactly as we are, accepting the good with the flaws, we create the energy necessary to understand which changes we need to make, while still allowing for imperfections.

So let's just pretend that there aren't any big self-improvement jobs needed in 2008, and look at what would bring more Joy into our lives. This will be different for everyone, and for those who aren't used to thinking in terms of Joy, it may take some shifting of your attention and energy. I believe that God wants us to have all the Joy that we can stand, and will help us acquire it, but it's up to us to determine what it is that makes us Joyful. I also believe that Joy can be found in the small thins as well as the big ones, and that it behooves us to pay attention to everything that makes us smile, not just the big, obvious things (like a 2005 yellow Thunderbird). I'm more of a dog person, but for some people, a kitten's purr brightens up their day. For others, a big bouquet of live flowers in the middle of winter brings a smile to their faces. The examples I can think of don't really matter - the ones you can think of do. So imagine all the things, people, sights, sounds, smells, etc. that bring you Joy and resolve to bring more of them into your life. And you just may find that you're so satisfied with your life as it is, that self-improvement happens on its own. Have a Blessed, Joyful New Year!