From where I left you, I enjoyed meeting out some good friends on Friday at 6B in Boston, in order to indulge in a few drinks before our friends headed out for a date night. Chris and I then made our way over to the Hard Rock to watch an 80's cover band. I hate to admit that I much prefer 90's cover bands...but I had a lot of fun on Friday! We even got to meet Stay Puft from the Ghostbusters!! Let's just say, my 6 miles didn't happen the next morning as planned.
I did, however, receive a text from Go MOM Go on Friday night about something called... Oil Pulling... I put it out of my head until the next morning, when I had time to do more research.
Oil pulling is essentially swishing around oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes in order to "pull out" toxins and bacteria. It is recommended that one use cold pressed Sesame Oil, although olive, coconut, etc. are also permitted. I thought the whole thing was BAZONGAS until I did more research on it, and its actually a highly medically-researched based practice for decreasing plaque, gingivitis, tartar, and bad breath (although many other psychological health benefits have also been touted such as reduced anxiety and increased energy). I've tried oil pulling for the last several mornings and I'm realizing I am one of the people who feel the negative side effects before seeing the good; I have congestion and tender gums. Despite these setbacks, most sites suggest that they are temporary and you should continue your practice knowing that you will see the benefits within a few days.
Removing toxins from the body through oils is based on Ayurveda practice. Ayurveda is not only a system of traditional medicine from India, but it is also a way of life. I learned more about Ayurveda when on Saturday night I headed to my coworkers house for a ladies get together. My friend is practicing to become a tantric yoga instructor (its not just about...positions..ya know) and while describing my recent food intolerance discovery (it IS a combination of wheat and dairy) AN, as my friend is known as, handed me a book entitled, "Eat, Taste, Heal: An Ayurvedic Guidebook and Cookbook for Modern Living".
At its very basic core, Eat, Taste, Heal "provides modern applications of Ayurveda, humankind’s most ancient system of healthy living. A complete guidebook and cookbook in one, Eat • Taste • Heal offers every reader an individualized blueprint for achieving vibrant health. Fulfilling the adage, “Let Food Be Thy Medicine," Eat • Taste • Heal offers recipes that are inviting to both the kitchen novice and master chef."
There is so much to talk about when it comes to Ayurvedic living, but at the very least, I'm discovering that there are three types of Doshas ("biological energies found throughout the human body and mind that govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment"). I believe that I am a combination of Pitta and Kapha, which includes a mix of fire, water, and earth. "The Doshas are dynamic energies that constantly change in response to our actions, thoughts, emotions, the foods we eat, the seasons, and any other sensory inputs that feed our mind and body". When your dosha is unbalanced, you begin to feel many different health concerns, both mentally and physically.
I do encourage you, readers, to research this topic more thoroughly, as I am only, just barely, skimming the surface with the edge of my pinky finger. However, I feel as though this weekend was meant to happen exactly as it was because it came full circle as it continued.
I woke up Sunday morning anxious about starting school following our February break and I knew I needed to get myself into action the moment I opened my eyes. After cleaning, cooking, and typing up a psych evaluation for school, I decided it was finally time to take part in my long run.
I'm so glad I did, because that run was one of the best ones that I had had in quite some time. Sure it wasn't the fastest, but I didn't want it to be. I just wanted it to feel like I could run for hours on end without any complaints and that's exactly what it felt like. I took a quick pit stop at Trader Joe's in order to get some water right around the 6 mile mark, but other than that, I just trotted along.
I came home, rolled, and was ready to lay low for the rest of the evening. While perusing Facebook, I noticed that a friend had posted about the movie, "Food, Inc." and I figured with Chris being out of the house, it was the perfect time to prop up my IPad and give it whirl.
As was anticipated, the movie left me in awe and filled with anxiety. I can't believe what we, as consumers, don't know about the food we eat, from how the animals are raised and killed, how our food systems are being modified and manipulated, to how workers are treated throughout all aspects of production.
I was disgusted by the details of what hormones are used in our chicken and cattle, and that our chickens grow so big and so quickly, that their bones and organs can no longer support their weight. Instead, thousands of chickens sit in closed and dark henhouses while surrounded by their own fecal matter without having the ability to move. We are eating these frankenchickens.
I was also horrified to know that cattle are being subjected to the same conditions and are caked in their own feces, which is then transferred to the machinery they are being slaughtered on. Furthermore, because cows are now being feed corn (with a mixture of cows blood, chicken feces, etc.) which they are not genetically predisposed to eating, they are contracting new forms of e. coli due to the difficulty with digestion. As you have seen in the news, these E. coli outbreaks have most definitely been making their way into our food system. The industry's answer to these issues is to douse the meat in ammonia and then serve it to customers, as compared to feeding cows grass, which would solve many of the bacteria infections that they encounter based on their current eating style (and makes you wonder what corn is doing to us!).
I honestly could go on and on about what I saw in that movie, but I highly recommend that you watch it for yourself (only $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video). However, I pause to give you warning because if you do make a choice to watch this video, then you must make a conscious effort to change the way you eat. If you aren't ready to make that kind of commitment, then I suggest that you wait until you are ready.
I have essentially pledged to eat mostly organic, locally grown food, and will only purchase meat that has been humanely raised (although I'm sure when visiting guests or going out to dinner, it will be a challenge to find, and pay for, organic free-range chicken or grass-fed beef). I have even researched some farm shares in the area so that I can receive seasonally appropriate fruits and veggies, which, as you guessed, brings me back to the book, Eat, Taste, Heal.
After finishing the movie (and then watching True Detectives on HBO...so GOOD!) I couldn't sleep and decided to continue to dig into the book. What's amazing was that I was moving into the section on eating organic, locally sourced foods as a way of sustaining resources and to heal our bodies, but also to avoid the inhumane practices of the animal industry. Exactly what Food, Inc, spoke of during the movie, Eat, Taste, Heal echoed throughout the pages of their book.
I feel like my life has forever changed. I'm interested to see how I am able to sustain these changes while having money in my pocket and the time and energy to put more effort into making sure my eating is clean, healthy, and healing.