Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cleansier than thou

I'd meant to report back sooner following my 10 day cleanse for life with Dr Jodi Larry, but I wanted to first digest what I had learned and digested.  

First, a recap. I didn't think I really needed this. I knew all this stuff, being a smarty pants and all. Nonetheless I listened attentively at the pre-cleanse meeting: quinoa instead of wheat. Cacao instead of chocolate. Hemp seeds instead of hemp. Something like that. In with the good, out with the bad. This was gonna be a piece of gluten-free cake. 

But the cleanse got off to a rough start when Jodi taught us about cacao.  Cacao comes from the cacoa bean - the same place we get chocolate from.  It is high in minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium.  You guys, we can eat chocolate on the cleanse - sort of.  It is chocolate-ish.  You can make chocolate-esque things with it and dates.  It is chocolate-like.  And my friend Andy, who cleansed with me, completely ruined it for me by showing me a ridiculously funny Portlandia clip, where a couple uses the word 'cacao' as their... ahem... safe word.  (if you want a giggle and are planning on doing Jodi's cleanse, watch it here.  Warning: may not be suitable for work or for those without a sense of humour.)

The worst part was that I couldn't keep a straight face whenever Jodi said 'cacao'.  And she said it A LOT.

My immaturity aside (it was Andy's fault), the first three days of the cleanse really were challenging. I can't say it was hunger, because truthfully I never stopped eating. In the few moments I wasn't stuffing my face with carrot sticks or rice cakes, I was thinking about food or researching ways to make beans exciting. I felt mildly jittery and I was gaining weight. This cleanse was not going well.

But Jodi assured us that come day 4, we would all be glowing and happy and past the misery stage. She reviewed this all on the day 3 meet up which I had to skip because I had long standing dinner plans. Seriously, if you do this cleanse, and I recommend you do, do NOT eat at a restaurant with regular eating people on day 3. While everyone else had cocktails and dove head first into the pad Thai and raved about the fish tacos, I sipped water and picked at my grilled chicken (no sauce) while pretending that my steamed rice was brown. And then dove into a fish taco anyway, but don't judge me; I was starving.  Afterwards, I felt guilty and bloated, my penance for straying.
But! It got easier! Prepping became second nature, sugar cravings lessened and along with them, my endless appetite and ravenous hunger. The scale stabilized and then crept down a touch. Not a lot! But a touch. A "hey these pants fit me better" touch. I was pleased.

Now. I will admit that I had no intention of adopting a puritanical lifestyle post-cleanse. I had every intention of re-entering normal society with a large Americano or a glass bottle of Chardonnay. But a funny thing happened on the way home from the cleanse. When the cleanse was over, I kept... cleansing. It seemed wrong to eat a bagel. I felt so good! It seemed foolish to have a coffee. It seemed like a good idea to have a glass of wine, which I did, but it seemed pointless to eat a chocolate bar, so I didn't.

And it's been that way ever since, a few weeks now. I've been drinking decaf (I can't believe I'm even admitting this), cooking, bringing healthy lunches to work, and generally staying off wheat and sugar. My pants still fit nicer and I generally feel... cleansier?  Clearer.

Cacao to my old ways!

Next cleanse starts Sept 26. Join me as I attempt to cleanse again, no cheating this time.  Register now!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Today I'm Wearing My Baby

I'm not very fashionable.

It's true! I'm OK with it!  I am blessed with many things, including a brutally honest and fashion forward friend (Hi Andy!) and a disproportionately healthy self-image ("yes, I am going out in this...").  I readily accept my sartorial shortcomings - you gotta work with what you've got, right?
And what I've got is babies.  So that's what I'm wearing these days.

I adopted the trend a few years back, and frankly it has become sort of my 'thing', my signature style if you will.  At first I wore my baby in a gorgeous sling from Serena and Lily.  A pouch style sling, this was the perfect starter carrier.  Just plop... er gently place the baby inside, and off you go.  It went with everything, and the embroidery was stunning.  Sadly, this sling is best for tiny babies, and we outgrew it quickly.

A fabulous linen ring sling came next.  It was fully adjustable and chartreuse.  Or was it celery?  It was sort of yellow-green.  My friend Andy would know what colour it was.  Whatever - it was awesome.  A ring sling is more versatile, and I could wear my guy facing forward, or on one hip, or in heels and a dress - this sling was perfect for more formal occasions too!  Perfect, until my chubby baby got even chubbier.  Then, the unilateral weight distribution became a real problem for my back.  It was time for sensible shoes and a sensible baby carrier.  Enter the ergo. 

The ergobaby is my favourite wardrobe piece.  It's a little less attractive than my designer pouch or linen ring sling, but at this point my outfits generally consist of yoga pants and banana, so who am I fooling?  Not Andy, that's for sure.  I'm looking for function with a dash of cute, and the ergobaby is the perfect fit for me.  I can wear my babies, comfortably.  And the company is starting to catch up with the times, coming out with more stylish er... styles.  The ergo I had from when my first son was born seems almost dated... my new one being made of nicer fabric and a better design.  The carrier is easy to use, on the front or the back.  So easy, that I attempted a demo video. 

Believe me, if I can schlep my 30 lb toddler, and look this good doing it - you can too!  I so believe in the power (and convenience!) of baby wearing - when done right - that I now stock these carriers at my chiropractic clinic for patients to buy, and will make sure you are properly fitted and wearing your baby right.  If you already have a decent carrier, of any brand, come by anyway for a proper fitting, and we can discuss how your baby compliments your look.

Babies!  They're the new black!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I think of myself as a knowledgeable and healthful person.  Candy bar bad, kale good.  I can pronounce quinoa and agave, and I know what to do with coconut oil (make popcorn!).  I peruse the internets for the latest health news and trends, and take everything with a proverbial grain of salt.  

So why am I feeling frumpish and lumpish and slumpish?

It turns out knowing and doing are two different things.  You can extol the virtues of hemp and chia seeds all day, and I do, but if you are talking with your mouth full of chips, you have poor table manners, and also you are full of chips.  Poor dining habits are a slippery slope; an innocent breakfast muffin proves to be a gateway carb, leading to a daily bagel habit, a late afternoon espresso and while I'm at it this chocolate cookie isn't hurting anyone... anyone but me that is.

I need help.

Enter Dr Jodi Larry.  Jodi is a naturopath and food cleanse advocate.  I like Jodi, and I like her work.  She believes, and I agree, that a cleanse should be about minimizing, simplifying, purifying.  Eating whole and healthful foods.  Her cleanse for life program does not entail buckets of supplements, powders, shakes, fasting or juicing.  Not that these things are inherently bad - just not what an effective and realistic cleanse should be.

For 10 days, I'll join a group of grumpy people (no coffee!) to scale things back a notch, break some bad habits, learn some new recipes and ways to be healthier.

We meet right before the July long weekend, and begin in earnest the Tuesday after.  The Monday before, I'll be toasting L'Chaim (to life!) with a cold glass of chardonnay.  L'Chaim! to breaking habits and L'Chaim! to ditching cravings.  Also, we aren't allowed to drink wine on the cleanse.  L'Chaim!

I'm anticipating that this will be a challenge, but I'm also anticipating feeling great and proud when it is done.  Because being healthy is what I'm craving most right now.

Want to join?  Our group is almost full, so act fast - contact me or Jodi today!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chronically acute

Timing is everything, they say.

But I take issue with this - everything?  Surely some things must transcend time, no?  How can everything - EVERYTHING - simply boil down to timing??  Does this not make us all just a bunch of coincidences?  Starting with good timing between an egg and a sperm (or a good time between the parties, as it were...) - continuing on with being at the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time, and ending in our eventual timely or not so- demise?

Surely we are more than a bunch of stuff that happens, one after the other. Surely!  I'll posit that timing is something.  Matters of luck depend on time.  Hearts have been broken and mended by the whim of the clock, and more than a few empires and souffles have fallen.
Of course chiropractors are interested in time, too.  We claim that an injury is acute in the first 48 hours, and considered to sub-acute for a few weeks, after which point it is considered chronic.

Chronic?  This word brings to mind long-standing, unremitting injuries.  Years long issues.  It implies a pain that won't easily, if ever, go away.  It makes me think of bleary-eyed teenagers at the mall.  But an injury that just hasn't gone away after a month or two?  nah.

The problem with prematurely declaring something to be chronic is that it sets up unrealistic expectations for recovery.  It suggests that a regular injury would be better by now!  It implies that this pain should be gone, and that by still hurting, there is something wrong, something worse.

But here's the thing.  We all heal at different rates. We carry pain differently.  We have weak spots that are the first to yield in times of stress.  Rushing to label something chronic almost seems like defeat - like admitting aloud that this injury might be bigger than you.

Of course, some injuries are chronic. Some problems must be managed, not cured, and accepting that can be an important part of healing.

The Greeks refer to time as both Chronos, chronological time, and Kairos, meaning "the right moment".  Perhaps the Time that heals all wounds is both chronos and kairos - measured as both time and timeliness. Maybe it matters less where your injury lies on the acute-chronic spectrum, and more that you are improving and healing as best as you can. As a chiropractor, I think that is the best help I can offer my patients.

I think I'll change my business cards:
            Dr Michelle Fagen, Kairopractor.