The Good Life

Recently I had a chance to reflect upon how the Davis Good Life Garden impacts me.   It’s a garden on campus that allows it’s ‘members’ to come and pick the bounty, while also being a vehicle for teaching, learning, and an event venue.  So cool, and it’s right on campus.   It got me thinking about the pieces in my life that really support me living an Off- White lifestyle.  This garden is more than just an inspiration to eat veggies, its a place that I find comfort and peace when I’m on campus.  School and life can cause me great anxiety, which causes me to want to turn to my vices like sugar to escape or numb out.

I really can’t maintain a balanced relationship with food unless my relationship with my life is in balance.  I am a high maintenance person that way and need multiple avenues for stress relief, inclulding being in beautiful outdoor environments, even if just for a short period of time.  I’m learning this about myself – this aspect in me that needs to be regularly grounded and calmed in order to manage the rest of my life.  It’s a good awareness, for sure!

If you’d like to read the article, click here.  While you’re at it, check out the Good Life Garden website in general, as it’s really well done.

Happy Off White Living,


Warning: Eating off white may change your life

Changing your diet is going to do more than just alter your waisteline.  Whether you go off white, simply reduce portions, go Atkins, go Zone diet, or just stop eating junk food, something is going to change.

The non-weight related changes that happen when we change our diets is a seriously undervalued concept, in my opinion.  I think its these somewhat ‘immeasurable’ changes that actually drive people to continue making good dietary choices because they are the stuff that real life is made of.  It’s not like being skinnier by itself is a lifechanging experience, but rather the new behaviors, attitudes, relationships, etc that happen.

I was recently inspired by a client who mentioned that a week of eating healthy made her want to color her hair, as an act of self-care.  Who knew that eating healthy could lead to a better hair day?  So I thought it might be helpful to you off-white readers to know what to look out for when you make healthy choices.  This by no means a comprehenisve list, and I’d love to hear for YOU about how your life changes when you eat well.

Some of the ways healthy eating can change your life include:

  • A desire to wear the cuter clothes in your closet
  • Increased interest in managing your money better, including less money wasting, more saving, and just more caring about where it all goes
  • Willingness to reason things out with loved ones when you fight
  • Taking the stairs more than the elevator
  • Starting or finishing those craft/photography/sewing/whatever projects you started a million years ago
  • You can actually get a good night’s rest
  • You can taste the flavors in real food
  • Looking people in the eye when you talk to them
  • Better sex, or just having sex in general
  • You laugh more, because life is funny, isn’t it?
  • You shave your legs, even when you don’t have a date
  • Treating yourself to the new make up/lotion/nail polish/shampoo, etc that you would never buy before
  • You want to see your friend b/c you feel good about yourself
  • More time in the kitchen, less time in the drive-thru
  • Looking at your thighs when you sit down doesn’t drive you as crazy as it once did
  • You sign up for a half marathon/5K/triathalon
  • Exercise clothes take up more laundry space than lounging around clothes
  • You want to get dressed on the weekends….but not all the time.  Jammie days are still a vital part of life
  • Your skin is clearer
  • You care about how the inside of your car looks, and you clean it more regularly
  • People start asking you for advice on how to cook healthier/eat better
  • You appreciate your family more
  • Less crying, except for the happy kind
  • Less PMS
  • You can recognize when you need a time out, and you take it!
  • Bubble baths are fun again!
  • Your spiritual life and practice improve
  • your spouse is no longer the root of your problems…nor the solution to them
  • Work isn’t as bad as you once thought
  • You’re looking for a new job (if work really is as as you thought)
  • It’s okay for you to be in a photograph, even next to your skinny friends/sisters/brothers, etc
  • You’re planning a vacation and might actually wear a bathing suit or at least shorts
  • Tank tops are no longer off limits
  • You don’t have any more room on the kitchen counter because it’s covered in fruits and veggies every week
  • You know how to pronounce quinoa

And the list just goes on and on!  Thanks to all of those who have shared their stories and inspired ME to think about all the wonderful reasons why I love to eat healthy because I forget sometimes too!

Restaurant Review: Baja Cantina + Grill in Carmel Valley, CA

I’ve been here 4x and every time it’s great – Mexican isn’t always a sure bet in the healthy food categroy, but Baja get’s it done. The guac rocks, the mole sauce on my chicken tamale was very fresh, and meals come with SALAD (actual greens, not just iceberg with shredded cheese). Thank you Baja for finding that balance of good Mexican eats and healthy food. PS: portions are big but not ridiculous, you may have leftovers especially if you eat some chips, which are also specially seasoned.

Finding your personal balance

Between all the books I read about healthy eating and the work I do with my clients, it’s no wonder that we, as a culture, are really confused about what to eat and when.

The biggest shifts and insights began for me when I slowly realized that even all the research in the world couldn’t really tell me what to eat. In fact, so much new research indicates that because our physiology an genetic make up is so unique, it would be darn hard to say what the exact perfect diet is.

For me, lately, I’ve been doing great by eating 3 full meals a day, with no snacks in between. My trick is making certain those meals really count and are very nutritious. I must have at least 1 full serving of protein per meal, and do best when I eat 2-3 grains/day MAX and 2-3 fruits/day as well.
This approach is different than the advice I might give a client or a friend, because to eat 3 meals or 5 meals/day is a truly individualized decision based on what your needs and energy levels are.

My motivations for 3 meals? Basically I learned about myself that snacking is where I get into trouble with portions and unhealthy choices. My taste buds might begin with a craving for fruit and a few almonds or a hard boiled egg, but then I start grazing and pretty soon I’ve basically had a meal. So for me, the idea of 3 meals and 2 snacks was really translating as having 5 meals!! Hmm…. not so good for the waistline or for the mental wellbeing, especiallly when I didn’t really need all those calories.

Do I make exceptions? You bet! If I’m hiking, didn’t get a solid meal for whatever reason (travel, with others, out and about and didn’t have time…), I will have a snack, but my snacks are pretty consistently the same: veggies/hummus, a protein shake, a piece of fruit, a small portioned bag of trail mix or an energy bar, and I really watch how I’m feeling before I make my choice.

This is where the coaching concepts can come in handy to determine your personal balance. Ask yourself the questions:
1. Why am I eating in the pattern that I’m currently in?
2. Do I like the results I’m getting from this patten? IF no, what don’t I like? If yes, do I need to tweak further?
3. How does my current meal plan support the need for fruits/veggies/whole grains/lean proteins?
4. What am I willing to change today and give a try?

#4 was a big eye opener for me personally. I used to be very afraid of eating only 3 meals, as if I would starve in between! Well the reason I felt this way was because I hadn’t been planning nutritionally for those 3 meals, so I was eating too little to sustain me until the next meal. If I’m eating 3 meals a day, my meals must be about 500-600 Kcal/meal at least to get me to my baseline (according to my latest dip into the BodPod at UC Davis to measure my caloric needs and body composition). That amount seemed too high, but yet it is what I need to be satisfied until the next meal time.

So many women I know under eat when it counts (like at mealtimes) and over eat to compensate for hunger, emotions, etc. They are afraid of 100 Kcal of high quality Salad dressing, but will binge of junk or eat 100 Kcal snack bags, which are only going to make them hungrier. There is just WAY too much evidence that refined foods mess with our metabolism and our blood sugar (and hence our cravings and weight) to go that route and expect a health outcome.

So gang, if you want a different result from your nutrition program, I recommend asking yourself those 4 questions and really being honest about what you need for a balance in your life. It’s about progress and not perfection. What can you sanely sustain for the LONG HAUL….which sometimes means making one tiny but surmountable change at a time.

PS: I still have my guilty pleasures and I do drink a rice/almond based drink MOST days, between meals. Sometimes I splurge and drink a coffee drink w/decaf coffee. For me this is part of my mental balance and keeps me away from the other sweets that I simply CAN’T control 🙂

its beginning to look a lot like detox

check out day two of detox!

I am winding down my day with a hot shower and the use of a fabulous coconut lotion my friend S. picked up for me from Austrailia.  Detox makes me tired, so I’m going to study until 9pm, talk with Matt on Skype until 9:30 and hit the hay.  Funny, I didn’t think my body was THAT toxic, being as I just did this process in November.  Must have been all that time with family – I’m purging the foods and the family stress 🙂

At the end of this week I’m treating myself to a haircut at the Aveda Institute in Portland.  If I can’t eat out, at least I can have great hair!  They have great haircuts, products and service, and its easy on the pocketbook.