Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Blog #1 Update

As of today, February 7, 2016, I have lost 12 plus pounds.  The eating part is going well although; I am weary of being so rigid and not being able to go out to eat mainly because restaurants are not really conducive to a “liver detox” cleansing diet.  Nonetheless, I am determined to continue until February 14th when we will celebrate at our favorite restaurant on the other side of the island.  Most of the time I marvel at how quickly the time flies by, however, remarkably the last five weeks have slowed time down considerably!

Blog Entry #2  Living With Less in 2016

My close friend and yoga colleague in Vancouver (Canada) asked me if I would write about how Tony and I managed to dispose of 2,207 items in 2015.  Our goal was to recycle and/or eliminate 2015 items in one year.  It did not mean that one matchbook or piece of paper was considered one thing.  A pile of paper on my desk that I have been meaning to sift through counted as one.  A box full of graduate papers written and long forgotten counted as one item.  Dusty textbooks went to our local village bookstore and counted as one each.  Generally speaking we counted every article of clothing as one item as well as each pair of shoes. You get the picture.  It is incredible how attached I was to the strangest things.  For example, single earrings that have been around for years were still in my jewelry box.  Why? – the hope of finding the earring had long been forgotten. Luckily, I have a young friend who only wears one earring and so she got them all and each one counted for one.  I was particularly attached to clothing – all manner of tops, bottoms, dresses and miscellaneous items had been stashed for some later date or event that would likely not be worn anyway.  Styles and taste changes, even though I tend to live in my favorite yoga clothing most of the time.  At first, the clothing went slowly.  Plastic bins revealed tops and bottoms I had completely forgotten about and obviously hadn’t been worn in literally years.  Tony and I made a vow that if we bought a new clothing item, we had to recycle something, otherwise we would eventually end up where we started and we were determined to take a very Zen approach to our new, more spartan lifestyle.  Speaking of Zen, a wooden “meditation” clock I loved but had never used is currently sitting by the door for recycling to be donated to our local transfer station where there is a well organized recycling center.  They are happy to receive anything usable and in good condition.  Downstairs in the laundry room our shelves were lined with about 25 big plastic bins containing everything from forgotten clothing to Tony’s previous engineering project plans, business manuals and obsolete papers.  He was actually happy to get rid of them and remarked feeling relieved to purge all that stuff he thought he might need at some later date.  Just an illusion ….  Art work, picture frames, photos, wintery clothing we thought we might use for visits to the mainland, old towels we assessed would be handy for something all got tossed into the recycling pile.  Living in paradise is not without its challenges. Virtually everything rusts, rots or molds, bins or no bins – so there is no point in saving anything that isn’t in active use.  We learned this fact the hard way.  Other than our emergency preparedness bin for natural island disasters and our Christmas decorations, the shelves are quite bare at this writing.

In December of 2015 we were short of our goal by 178 items and frantically took a second look in every closet, shelf and drawer to see what else we could dispose of.  There was plenty.  That dress hanging in the closet for five (!) years until I lost 5 pounds to fit perfectly – gone with the wind.  Even though I lost the five pounds several times over, the dress continued to sit on a hanger without a second thought.  Young friends were offered halters and tank tops that no longer “worked” for me.  Silk scarves gathering dust floated into the hands of friends that fancied them.  Accessories that hadn’t seen the light of day made it into the box.  Some of the hardest items to part with were dishes.  I covet dishes and books.  Parting with books was easier since I have discovered Kindle.  Kitchen tools and dishes that belonged to my beautiful Mama had survived several moves because of my attachment 16 years after her death.  Admittedly, I kept a few of my favorite pieces and promised myself to use them or lose them.  We had peaks and valleys during this process.  At times we were able to get rid of stuff with reckless abandon.  Other times a month or two would slip by without getting rid of a single thing.  A year was a reasonable time to rethink our strategy, take a deep breath and begin again.

“It is because of our attachment to things that we suffer.  By letting go we find that we have not lost anything except our attachment.”
 ~ Sogyal Rinpoche ~

This year we have reduced our goal to 1,000 items.  I’m still working on recycling books that I continue to be attached to.  Last year we were actually happy when something broke so we could count one more thing to add to our list. What follows are a few practical tips you might find helpful:

If it doesn’t fit in your closet and/or your dresser, get rid of it.  That applies to clothing you aren’t really crazy about or waiting for things to fit you.  Don’t forget the shoes you have tucked away and haven’t worn in years.

Don’t keep gifts you don’t like or won’t use; know that someone out there will love it.

Digitize your photos and get rid of all those boxes of images you never look at.  (I’m still working on this.)

Get a recycling box and put it somewhere visible to remind you to move things out of your space and into the bin.
If you buy something new get rid of the old.

Got doubles? – such as kitchen utensils, ask yourself how many spatulas do you really need to be happy and functional.

Clear your counters of clutter regularly.

There are organizations that are happy to receive your old cell phones and eyeglasses (Google that!).  I heard of a place in NYC that refurbishes old cell phones to give to women in need.

And remember,

“The root of suffering is attachment.”
~ Buddha 

                                      Black Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fresh Start!

Blog #1 January, 23rd, 2016

Aloha, all,

I decided to write my first blog entry about our current experience on a de-toxifying liver cleanse!  Almost everyone we know would love to drop a few pounds and eat a healthier diet or at the very minimum, feel better.

Today marks the 24th day of our “liver cleansing” diet.  So far, so good.  For literally years I have had chronic belly issues exacerbated by stress and apparently, food allergies.  At a particularly challenging time last summer when diarrhea was clearly my “normal”, I went to see my naturopath who I trust and love.  Over a long period of time, years really, I kept adjusting my diet, trying different ways of eating, meditating and reflecting on my belly to no avail.  Sometimes we need a little heroic, professional support.  Call it pride or stubbornness – I had been determined to resolve this on my own.  Finally, I succumbed to a full food allergy panel that tested three body systems:

IgA:  nose, digestive, ears, eyes, vagina – protects from outside, foreign substances
IgE:  lungs, skin, mucous membranes – pollen, fungus, spores, animal dander
IgG: found in all body fluids – fights bacterial and viral infections

Allergies, indeed.  All dairy, including eggs, were added to my “Can’t Have” list, as well as wheat (gluten), broccoli, cabbage, night shades like bell peppers, tomatoes and eggplants and of course, any and all processed food.  Interestingly, eliminating bread and dairy were not as hard to give up as I had imagined.  On the liver cleansing diet good quality bread is recommended as well as all the vegetables I can’t eat.

So far I’ve also dropped significant weight after deciding to try a liver cleanse.  Following the protocol of Australian physician, Sandra Cabot ( , has proven successful for my husband, Tony and me.  However, the recipes in her book don’t suit us.  I get the sense that she allows canned and frozen food in an effort to make it easier for people to stay on the path.  She is quite tolerant of alcohol after the initial 8 weeks, especially red wine, which my doctor said, was a healthy choice, in moderation!  We chose a 6 week cleansing period because it will end on Valentine’s Day ❤ and Tony and I will have a special dinner together with wine or not, depending on how I feel and how my attitude has shifted.  We are also hosting two of our favorite people who are coming from the mainland and I don’t want to feel locked into a diet during their stay.  We are, however, going to adopt “Pereto’s 80/20 principle” after our cleansing period.  (Google that!)  Eighty per cent of the time we will be faithful to our new eating regime and allow a little indulgence for the remaining twenty per cent ~ a glass of wine for me and for Tony, definitely something sweet!  The 20% translates to about 1.5 days per week to eat out or have a little treat.  We will avoid processed food indefinitely.

We are eating mostly dark, leafy greens, salads, soups and protein.  I love lentils and soups and I highly recommend good bone broth as a base. Tony is a meat eater and has been eating good quality chicken and beef during weeks one and two.  He finds it impossible to avoid meat so made the personal decision to continue eating organic eggs and chicken beyond Week 2.  My personal opinion about this is that each of us is unique and on some level we have to honor what we believe is best for ourselves.  The big sacrifice for Tony was sugar and he has been amazingly faithful to resisting all things sweet.  I used to bring home the odd piece of pie, tapioca pudding or chocolate from the health food store – killing him with kindness and not a great health strategy!

And now, the results thus far: 

•    Week 1 -  lost 3.8 pounds
•    Week 2 -  0.6 pounds
•    Week 3 -  5 pounds
•    Total Loss following Week 3:  9.4 pounds!

As we enter Week 4, I am feeling stronger and my naturopath recently said I was looking better and that my eyes were clear and bright.  Three more weeks …  Remember, the liver cleansing de-tox diet is not really about losing weight but rather a goal to clean up this very special organ that works so hard to keep us healthy.  Weight loss is a side benefit.  My friend, who is already pretty slender has lost about 8 pounds total and is stabilized there.  You only lose what you need to lose.

So much of our success has been around being mentally “ready” and having the “willingness” to suffer a little and do the work.  If the liver cleansing diet interests you, drop me a line if you need encouragement and/or a little moral support!  If you think this blog might benefit someone you love, please pass it along.

Until next time, be good to yourself!

“ You may have a fresh start at any moment you choose, for this thing we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” ~ Mary Pickford ~

Warm alohas, Sandra

                                                            Morning Glory!


Sandra Cabot, M.D.  The Liver Cleansing Diet. Courier Graphics Corporation, Phoenix, AZ. 2008.

The Mayo Clinic.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

                Ke Ala Pono ~ "the right path"

Hibiscus in Kerala, Southern India