Book Club: Crazy, Sexy Diet: Chapters 5 & 6

We had several “poop” out on us this past Saturday…Hahahaha!!! And yes,
we had four brave souls that discussed bodily functions! As the author
pointed out, “you are what you eat, you’re also what you don’t poop”!
Digestion is the process of extracting nutrients from food and preparing
the leftover waste for elimination from the body. For a tour of your
digestion, see page 90. Notice how large your liver is!

Everyone should be pooping on a regular basis, which means after each meal
or at least once per day. Did you know that the average person might be
hauling around 7 to 10 extra pounds just in the colon! also, 60 to 70 %
of your immune power is in your digestive tract! It starts with lymphatic tissue in your tonsils and ends in your rectum. No wonder it
is referred to as your second brain…and 95 % of all serotonin is made by
nerve cells in your gut…WOW! (An imbalance of serotonin can be an
underlying cause of depression.) So give your body a break from the bad
food and toxins and help it move that old crud out!!

If you have every wondered about the how to’s and why’s of enemas and
colonics, take a look at pages 93- 96. It is all spelled out!!! While you
are there don’t miss page 98 and the positioning on your own toilet to get
the biggest bang for your buck. (hint..your feet should be elevated about
10″ to 18″ off the ground) Another interesting tidbit is that different
foods have different time schedules from entry into your body, to exiting
your body. This is because different foods require different digestive
enzymes and varying acid/alkaline conditions. Page 93 gives you some good
food combo basics.

Juicing helps to slow and even reverse the aging process. It helps inflammation, cleanses the body, regulates the bowels, and can even help
peel off extra pounds. Juicing takes all the pulp out, whereas blending
leaves all the fiber in. It is recommended to do both each week. Starting
on page 108 is a great discussion on blenders and juicers with all the pros
and cons of each type. We experimented in class with a blender, cheese
cloth and cucumbers….yes we peeled, blended, squeezed the juice out and
drank it! A sample juice fast is on page 114. Be sure and read the
section on fasting if you decide to incorporate this into your diet.

We all know water is good for us, but did you know we should be consuming
half our body weight in ounces of pure water each day?!?!? Water is
absolutely essential to good health. Stay hydrated with moderates amount
of water at regular intervals throughout your day. SIP, SIP, SIP! If you
ever feel the sensation of thirst, you are already dehydrated. And hunger
is often just a sign of thirst. It’s also important to drink water from a
pure source. If you don’t filter your water, your body will – and your
liver and kidneys will have to put in overtime!
Notes by Marcy Atchley


Next class will be Saturday August 11th at 1:45 pm. Notice the time
change! 1:45 pm


Book Club Notes: Crazy, Sexy, Diet Chapter Two

CSD Book Club August  7th, 2012
Chapter 2 on pH.
What a chapter, it is so well written and so well supports what Kris Carr believes about diet and health.  The first time I read this chapter I decided that I would just call Sandra and tell her I couldn’t do the book group, as after reading this I knew I needed to change my diet but wasn’t sure I was ready to do so.  Reading it again and then reading on further in the book, I decided I wanted to change my approach to food in a positive and moderate way, and change I have.  It has been an interesting, frustrating and also fun journey.
Kris refers to the acid/alkaline balance as the rebel vs the nice solid guy.  Acid is more glitzy but saps your energy, alkaline foods give you energy, and are reliable and trustworthy. (pg 21)  “When your cells are at peace with their surrounding environment, they receive nourishment and release waste with ease.  But when you eat, drink and think crap, your cells and inner environment become polluted.” (pg 22)
“pH of a substance tells us how much acid or alkaline it is.  7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. …the more alkaline it is the more oxygen it has and conversely the more acidic it is the less oxygen it has.”  (pg23)  Ideally you want to be at 7.365.  Even a minor fluctuation in your blood’s pH (too alkaline or too acidic) creates distress signals.  Everything from a runny nose to skin eruptions, heartburn, eczema, inflammation, arthritis, poor circulation, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, a weakened immune system- even cancer- can be traced back in some way to an acidic inner terrain.”  Try testing your urine 2-3 times a day for about a week, using litmus paper strips, available on line or at local health food stores.  Ideally your urine should read between 6.8 and 7.5.  Do not test your first pee of the day, and it is best to test either before eating or 1-2  hours after eating for a more accurate reading.  “each increase of a single number in either direction away from 7 is actually a multiple of ten, so when you move from 7-6 that is actually 10 times more acid.” (pg 24)  Also, “in the blood it takes 20 times the amount of alkalinity to neutralize an acid.” (pg 24)  It is much easier to become too acidic than too alkaline, but you can help your body avoid this by …”eating a more alkaline diet-veggies, greens, fresh organic green juices and smoothies, sprouts, wheatgrass juice, certain grains and other fabulous plant foods- you will explode with vibrant energy and well-being.” (pg 23)
“It is not just diet that impacts your pH it is lack of exercise, anger, drugs, cigs, and stress all make you acidic.” (pg 23)  “Emotional stress releases acid forming hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that flood your system and much up your soil.” (23)
Your body needs minerals to function properly, to make proteins, enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.  (pg 25)  A healthy diet stocks your body with plenty of alkaline minerals, while an overly acidic diet eventually maxes out the reserves.  This forces your own body to pull its own minerals to neutralize acids in order to keep your blood pH on the alkaline side.  One of the ways it does this is by mining alkaline minerals from your bones, teeth, tissues and organs.  …This fabulous buffer system works as your emergency stash of inner tums.  …if you don’t replace your inner Tums with minerals from your chow, then the cabinet will be empty the next time you need it.” (pg 26)  “The major consequence of losing minerals from the body, especially teeth and bones is loss of bone density and osteoporosis.”
Minerals help produce enzymes.  “You make two main types of enzymes; digestive and metabolic.  Digestive enzymes break your food down into simpler, smaller bits that are easier for your body to absorb.  …The more time your body spends making digestive enzymes, the less time it has to create metabolic enzymes.  …Metabolic enzymes basically run your body, …build blood, tissues, organs, repair your beautiful body and help your cells produce energy and carry away wastes.” (pg 27)  When we eat cooked foods (cooked about 118 degrees, highly processed foods, we are not getting enough enzymes as cooking kills the enzymes as does the processing.  Therefore we have to make more digestive enzymes ourselves.  This does not mean no cooked foods, it just means to increase the amount of raw vegetables you eat as well.
“Whole and unprocessed foods …are the fountain of youth.”  (pg 28)  In 1931 Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Prize for his revelation that …”cancer cells are anaerobic, they thrive in an oxygen depleted environment.” (Pg 28) When we eat a plant based diet, with an emphasis on raw foods, we assist our bodies.  …the more oxygen we get in our food, the more health we experience.” Pg 28
Another important part of this is drinking lots of water, and watermelon juice on very warm days (pg 30) your cells gulp it up.
Chlorophyll is what allows plants to absorb light from the sun and convert it to usable energy, it is also what makes their leaves green and healthy.  Chlorophyll is a powerful body builder, it helps detoxify the blood of our bodies, it increases red blood cell production which  enhances the cell’s ability to carry oxygen, it strengthens the immune system, improves circulation, eases inflammation, and counteracts harmful free radicals.  (pg 31)
When acid needs to be neutralized by the body, free radicals are created.  These free radicals are very unstable and look for the first opportunity to rob a necessary electron from a more stable molecule, which turns that molecule into a free radical.  Too many free radicals up the ante on disease and premature aging.  (pg 32)
Vitamins are necessary for our body’s to function normally.  We do not make Vitamins ourselves therefore we need get them from our foods.  As cooking destroys many vitamins, and the synthetic vitamins are no match for the real deal, it is important to be aware of what you are eating.
She also talks about phytonutrients which help us fight free radicals and disease, as well as once again encouraging the 60/40 or 80/20 balance, having most of our intake full of alkaline foods.
This chapter has so much information I encourage you to read it several times.  I also want to thank everyone for their participation in group again on Saturday.  It is so much fun and so interesting to share, listen and learn from each other as well as from the book.
Next week is the Chapter on Sugar!  Come ready to share thoughts and ideas.  Have a great week.

Notes written by Judi Trotter

Full Moon Energy and Self-Awareness

I used to bartend and wait tables.  I did this all throughout college.   I remember nights bartending when I never took my head out of the well.  I would be making margaritas and cocktails non-stop without ever having the chance to look up!  I couldn’t keep up with how quickly drinks where being ordered and slammed.  These nights, I always knew, were full moon nights.  I could always call it.  The energy of the group as a collective was high, vibrant, chaotic, a little wild, and always unexpected and interesting.  It ALWAYS felt unstable.  As we’d wrap our nights up and walk to our cars I’d look up at the bright moon and call out “hello old friend!”

Did you know that emergency rooms more often than not are more busy on full moons?   Did you know that luna means moon and is of Latin origin?  And that the word lunatic comes from the word lunaticus which means “of the moon” or “moonstruck.”  The word lunatic means dangerously foolish or unpredictable.

I think that if the moon can affect the ocean’s tide twice a day it can certainly have an effect on us.  I don’t think it affects everyone the same.  I think certain people are more sensitive to the effects of the moon than others.  Just like some people are more sensitive to chemicals, environmental toxins, smoke, dairy, etc.  I do think that since  we are over  70% water and that the brain is made up of mostly water it can effect us in various ways. I do notice though the longer I practice Yoga the more sensitive I become.

I use the full moon energy to help me fine tune my self-awareness.  Each full moon is different.  I always try to remain more alert.  It’s the perfect opportunity to practice.  I know when a full moon is coming because I tend to have trouble falling a sleep one to two nights before because of increased energy.  I wake up bright and early.  Sometimes before 5 AM but fully ready to go!   Today, I am remaining more watchful because I feel very emotionally sensitive.  I have already teared up several times which is out of sync with my regular pattern.  As long as I remain watchful I remain balanced.   I feel a little impulsive and a little reckless, could that be the “luna” effect on me?  Could the moon’s gravitational pull be effecting rhythms in the brain?   I think the pull can effect our hormone balance temporarily.  I think it pulls on us subtly just as it effects the whole.  I try to stay watchful so that I recognize what is “me” and what is the moon’s pull on me.

I love full moons because it gives me an excellent opportunity to watch my inner-self.  I practice self-awareness and try to feel my way through what is real and what is illusion.  Why am I writing about this today?  Because today is a super moon!

It is the largest full moon of 2012.  The moon is passing by the earth even closer than usual so the gravitational pull is different.  I am staying alert, staying present, and staying the watcher of the whole experience.  This is Yoga.  We are meant to be the inner watchmen.  In watching ourselves we make clear what is real and what is maya, illusion.  In seeing clearly we see reality.  Full moons give us a perfect chance to practice self-awareness.  We can use the moon’s energy to help guide us back to Self.

Brightest Blessings,

Sandra Vanatko

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Everyday Is a Blessing

I love this quote.  One of my students posted this on facebook yesterday.  I love it!  I’ve taken it to heart so that I do not take one day for granted and so that I don’t take my body which is my primary vehicle in life for granted.

“The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, ‘Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived,'”

If you take this one quote to heart you will start living every day more fully.  You can chase money and you chase material goods but you die empty-handed.  I think when we live solely for material gain when death approaches it is a empty experience.  The only thing we can take with us when we die is blessing.  All else stays, we can only take our blessings with us.  Why are we sacrificing our health for money?  Why do we take our bodies for granted?  We don’t take care of our bodies until they start breaking down on us.  A crisis situation is often times the situation that puts people back in touch with their bodies.  Your body talks to you through aches and pains, LISTEN!!  We often ignore symptoms by taking medicine instead of acknowledging that there is a problem.  Medicine often time is just symptom treatment.  How often when you have a headache or ache or pain just reach for a pain reliever instead of contemplating why there is pain.  If you have a headache you should first ask why.  Could you have a headache because you didn’t drink enough water?  Or that you have too much stress? Or that you didn’t get enough sleep?  Do you see how your symptoms are your body’s way of communicating with you trying to tell you that you need to switch your pattern? If you look deeply into what is causing the pain, you can focus on switching the pattern to avoid future pain but there has to be mindful awareness present to do this!  I am not saying medicine is bad but we should not be using it unconsciously.  Your body talks to you through aches and pains.  Listening to your body helps avoid breakdowns!

I heard that Alexander the Great was sick days before his death.  As he was preparing for his death he asked that his coffin be built with a place for both his arms to hang out the sides of the coffin.  After his death, Alexander the Great was paraded through town and when asked why his hands hung outside the coffin palms up, it was said that it was because he wanted everyone to know that he had spent his whole life trying to conquer the world and now he was leaving this world empty handed.

Find balance!  There should be equal time between work, play, spiritual development, sleep, exercise, and rest!  We need to balance physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually daily to be optimally healthy!  Nothing is more important than taking good care of your body. Your body comes first.  Even if you have all the money in the world, if you don’t have health you cannot enjoy your wealth.  Even if  you have all the time off in the world but you are not feeling well, you cannot enjoy it.  Do not sacrifice your health for anything!  Your body is the temple that houses your soul.  Think of your body like the garage that houses your soul.  Should you not be doing some temple maintenance daily?  The cleaner the temple the more clear the connection to your soul.

Someone sent this story to me this week.  I want to share it here.  I think it ties in nicely with Dalai Lama’s quote and philosophy:

Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighboring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!!!

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, “I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I have loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”  “No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you all my life.  Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”  “No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!”  His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?”  “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.” Her answer struck him like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go. “The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was very skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”

In truth,
we all have the 4 wives in our lives:

Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the farthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our Soul.  Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go. Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout Eternity.

Sending all my love this morning.


A House is Not a Home

I was meditating a while back and all the sudden saw very clearly that for many of us our house is not a home.  For some our place of residence is more like a prison.  And, I am not talking about the home that I bet you are thinking about.  No, no I am talking about your body!  Your body is the temporary home for your soul while here.

Today more than ever people are suffering in their bodies.  The body is not a home.  The body is more often a prison.  When your body is not a home you will certainly have trouble with it.  Often in teaching Yoga and working with students I notice that there is no connection between body, mind, and spirit.  That is what Yoga means.  Union between body, mind, and soul.  To have your temporary house become a home you must nurture it.  Your body is a living, breathing, changing organism and it must be paid attention to daily for optimal results.

How to make your body a home?  It starts with loving yourself.  What does that mean?  Do you make decisions that honor you?  Are you gentle with yourself?  Do you forgive yourself for making mistakes?  Do you have compassion for the areas in your life you want to change or do you constantly analyze and critique yourself?  Do you blame yourself for the past and have guilt and regret?  These emotions destroy your house.  What qualities make a home?  LOVE.  When there is SELF LOVE  you will make decisions that honor your body.  You will make decisions that help to grow and nurture your body not decay and destroy it.  When you really love yourself you won’t make decisions that harm your body.  Self Love honors and respects the space it resides in and takes care of the space that houses the soul.  It is a form of devotion.   Think of your body as the temple that stores the soul.  So daily cleaning must be done to keep your house happy!

I had a student in San Diego, my oldest student, a beautiful man who was 91 years old.  The first time he came in he asked me “can you help me with this?”  and pointed to his neck.  He could barely move his neck more than a couple of inches side to side.  He said it ached so much and so often and created so much trouble for him.  He said his body was betraying him.  I saw that his body was a prison.  At 91 we were able to give him more and more range of motion to help him feel more at home in his body.  Bodies change when the pattern of care for them changes.  When we stop moving we lose flexibility and mobility.  We lose range of motion.  Which means we lose freedom. We imprison ourselves physically.  When we don’t clean house mentally, we imprison ourselves.  How many thoughts do you have lingering in the corners of your mind that no longer serve who you are today?  These thoughts also imprison us!

I remember in San Diego I had a beautiful hibiscus plant growing on my front porch.  She was so glamorous and everyday she would open her buds and give more flowers….well as long as I watered her.  I had to water her the same time everyday otherwise I would come home after Yoga and she would drop all her flowers!!!  The first time this happened I was shocked but quickly realized that the flower is the gift a plant gives when it reaches its optimal health.  The moment she doesn’t have all she needs she drops the flower.  But the flower is the gift she gives out of abundance!

Human beings are much the same.  Have we even reached our optimal health?  What is the gift human beings give when they reach optimal health?  We give love just as the plant gives a flower and fragrance.  Love is the fragrance of human-beings.  But we can only give in a healthy way when it’s out of abundance.  What does taking care of the house include?  It means making decisions that honor and respect yourself.  Eating nutritious whole foods,  drinking plenty fresh water, getting enough sleep, exercising, proper breathing, being out in sunshine, cultivating positive loving relationships, and constructive thinking.  These are the basics in taking your body from a house to a home.   Spiritual practice is honoring the space that is the temporary home for your soul while here and helping create the cleanest, strongest, healthiest, most joyous environment so that you can feel your best while you journey here.

So here is your list.  These are the basics to cover to help make your house a happy home.

1.  Exercise Daily

2. Proper Breath

3. Constructive Thinking

4. Plenty of Fresh Clean Water

5. Nutritious Living Whole Foods

6.  Proper Rest

7.  Loving Relationships

8.  Relationship with Nature

I can’t say that there is more importance on one then the other so there is no particular order on these.  They are though the basics to cover first to better health.  Go through the list.  Be honest with your self.  Are these covered in your life?  Simplify and see if you have these eight basics covered.  I promise as you cover these you will start to break the chains that imprison the soul and make your house a happy home for your soul to reside in.

Sending all my love this morning.

Sandra Vanatko

Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Maybe Not!

I was mountain biking yesterday afternoon, something I enjoy doing in my free time.  It’s a time I feel I fully let go.  I love riding fast, clearing my mind, being focused, and having to pay complete attention to what I’m doing lest getting hurt!  I think that is why many people are attracted to intense sports like mountain climbing, rock climbing, and even car racing.  There is no time for the mind and in those moments we meditate, we become fully alert, and fully alive!  But that is another blog. Let’s continue, before I get sidetracked.

So I am mountain biking out in the woods and before too long I come up on an old rusted washing machine sitting out in the middle of nowhere. I find it peculiar and then wonder if there is anywhere in the world left untainted by human beings.  Is there anywhere that has been left natural without human disturbance?   I keep riding and come up on an old chair tossed away, and then, and old worn out couch.  I am saddened at first because I feel disregard and disconnect for nature.  When I see this I feel a lack of respect for Mother Earth which provides EVERYTHING we need for life.  Then after a moment, I begin to be amused and chuckle.

Is it possible that whoever tossed their garbage in the woods thought that if they don’t see it that it’s disappeared or doesn’t have any repercussion?  Hmm, I wonder, “Out of sight, Out of mind, maybe?”  Is that our motto?  As I contemplated this I started giggling because, yes absolutely, this is the minds nature, I see it all the time.  I see it in myself.  We have a tendency to turn our head when it comes to seeing only what we want to see.  Here, the attitude is, “well if I dump out here it won’t bother anyone.”  Or even worse, “well it’s my property, I can do what I want.”  That is silly, can we ever really “own” anything.  NO.  You get to borrow things, even your body, you borrow it from the earth but you give it back at death.  You leave this world empty-handed,  you never really “own” anything.

Our attitude seems to be one of “if I don’t see it, it goes away.”  This is fiction!  This is a wrong thought!  Where else do we do this throughout our day?   We definitely do this with our philosophy on healing and health.  We treat symptoms today, medicines often  only ‘hide” symptoms but don’t cure.  Yikes!  We have a headache and grab for aspirin, the headache goes away, many times only to return a few hours later.  So did we help ourselves or did we just temporarily hide something out of view?  Did we help ourselves or  just suppress symptoms?  To help ourselves we need to shine a bright light on our actions.  Why can’t we ask ourselves first, “why do I have a headache?” before reaching for an aspirin.  This quick contemplation can reveal the path to healing but we are not in the habit of questioning our symptoms.  A headache may be coming for a variety of reasons, from too much stress, not enough water, lack of sleep, to hormone imbalance, or any other number of causes, but the goal is getting to the root cause so that you can change the life style habit that is causing the symptom.

Years ago I had a boyfriend that would get his monthly bills and shove them in the drawer.  I found that humorous.  I would wonder “do you think that since they are out of view you don’t have to pay them and that you won’t be held accountable for them?”  I watched as small bills which could have easily been managed grew into huge problems.  Late fees and interest and finally a bill collector hounding payment.  We are held accountable for all our actions.  Action equals reaction.  That is the law of karma.

We do this with our body all the time.  Most people completely ignore the body until a crisis occurs.  Many people only start Yoga after they start feeling aches and pains or worse when they’ve been diagnosed with an illness. Aches and pains are part of the way the body communicates to us.  Our body speaks to us through feelings, emotions, moods, aches, pains, discomfort, and disease.  Aches and pains are actually a hidden blessing.  When you feel aches, pain, discomfort, anxiety, depression, etc it’s your body’s way of trying to get your attention.  Instead of listening most people have a habit of taking medicine to reduce or vanish symptoms.  This is dangerous because what you resist persists and when you only manage symptoms and don’t get to the root of the problem you not promoting healing you are just suppressing symptoms.

So what are you hiding from view?  What have you dumped out of your sight?  What message is your body trying to convey to you?   Take time everyday to notice what is happening inside your body and your mind so that you notice any small changes and you will be well on your way to bringing wonderful insight to your health.  The practice of Yoga is wonderful for helping us connect with our bodies.  When a small part of the day is dedicated to paying attention to the details and workings of our body we become more in tune with it.  If something changes we are more quick to pick up any change in the body thus hopefully avoiding major breakdowns.  Yoga increases body consciousness.  Yoga also helps us to confront things that in the past we may have had the attitude of “out of sight, out of mind.”  With Yoga you tune in and the outcome is healing and health!