Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Booze, No Desserts!

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I wanted to give my (maybe midway?) check-up on how I'm doing without alcohol and processed sugar in my life.

I started this journey on Ash Wednesday (which was March 9th) and after the initial shock of a few days sans booze or dessert, my body was loving it! It's been almost a month now and this recalibration experiment has opened by eyes a bit.

First, the alcohol. In my mind, it's never a good time to give up alcohol...there will always be events to go to and drinking people to be around. For us, that comes in the form of a Shabbat dinner, the Tribe home opener, Brandon's birthday and a wedding. Still, the onset of spring is a perfect time to let my body detox and re-energize for the warmth that is coming.

Some of the high points for me have been:

  • Not having to worry whether or not I am going to wake up  with "fuzzy alcohol brain" or a mean hangover.
  • The rational decision-making part of my brain is never inhibited (hmm, that's arguable...we'll say never inhibited due to alcohol) especially with respect to questions like "Do I really want to finish this entire quart of ice cream?"
  • Getting a ton of use out of our juicer!
  • Lazy Sundays have morphed into productive Sundays because there is no liquor to lazy them up.
  • Kombucha. Enough said. 
Given that, there have been a few instances where I wanted to enjoy a liquid libation or two, but passed up the opportunity, to my slight chagrin.  I've been struggling with where I am going to go from here...what will I do after Easter? The Cleveland Marathon is about 3 weeks after Easter and generally, when I run big races like this I stop drinking a few weeks out (I guess it just brings me back to my lacrosse days, and the 48 hour rule) it's just something I've always done. So, I think I'm going to continue the no drinking rule until after the race. Race time is no time to change habits! 

After that, I'm ready to seriously change my drinking habits. I love good beer, I love wine, I plan to drink it to enjoy it but not necessarily to catch a buzz. That...and water is my friend. 

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Now, onto desserts. To be honest, this has been tougher for me than giving up booze. I love me some cookies and could probably house an entire box of them if given the chance. In fact, it's certainly been done before. Not drinking has definitely helped me stay away from those sugars though. Lowered inhibitions generally means justifying ample trips to the dessert table.

Although I really think cutting desserts out of my diet has given my body the chance to truly detox and reset itself, I have come to the conclusion that it's almost impossible to cut all processed sugar out of my diet. Just about everything I could possibly buy at the grocery store has processed sugar in it. I guess my quest here is to minimize and balance it.

I stumbled across this post today and watching that video that Jessica posted really hit home for me. I don't drink a lot of soda or eat a ton of pop tarts, but those things do cross my plate every now and then and I didn't realize the affect it might be having on me. So, as I continue down this path of weeding processed sugars out of my diet, I'm going to make a more concerted effort to skip things with added or processed sugars that are not necessarily in the dessert food group (store bought chips and tortillas come to mind right now as as a place to watch for extra sugars).  I think I can do a better job with using natural sugars like honey and agave in things that I make at home as well...although, kombucha doesn't count...the yeasties eat all the sugar anyway and my SCOBYs are not friends with honey.

I'm not going totally primal on you guys, I'm just working towards a better balance.

I also want to touch on a few of the other things I've been exploring during this recalibration.

Daily use of the neti pot. Love, love LOVE it! I honestly don't even know all the purported health claims that come with a neti pot, but I love cleansing your sinuses and then blowing a great snot rocket into the sink at the end. I can see this being especially useful when I start getting allergies (which, by the way, I NEVER had until I moved to Ohio...weird).

Daily dry rub. I usually use my dry loofa right before I get into the shower to brush off the day's muck along with any dead skin lingering around. It's very refreshing and I sometimes find that I don't have to use as hot water as I normally would like, because my skin is more sensitive. Supposedly, it stimulates your lymphatic system too, which is good for me right now because I am currently fighting something off.

Meditation. I am going through this 40-day kundalini kriya...basically a daily meditation based on breath and heart awareness. Meditation has always been something that is difficult for me and I have been doing some of my meditations on my lunch break which isn't always the best environment to practice in. Regardless, I will continue to practice because I can physically feel a difference in my attitude towards work after a short meditation. So, it can only be doing good for me.

Almost daily yoga practice. - I just discovered how to set up a playlist and play multiple videos in a row: get an account, make a "playlist" and search for yoga videos!

So, overall the things that I've given up for Lent have become a good opportunity for a little self-exploration and some [bonus!] productivity. I'm really looking forward to taking the things I've been learning into my life in a non-restrictive fashion.

Happy Day-Before-The-Tribe-Home-Opener Day!
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