Sunday, January 13, 2008

Day 0

Why hello!

Welcome! So somehow you ended up on this funny little page of mine. You probably know me and I told you about it. Or maybe you stumbled here through my photography website. Or maybe you were just surfing the net looking for something interesting to read. Who knows how these things work? I certainly don't. I've always been a skeptic about the whole blog process. More because it seemed like too much work to continually tell the world all about myself and I figured; really, who's interested anyways? But, as so often happens, I have changed my mind now that I have a purpose to my blogging.

This blog is going to be a day by day account of my long term Juice Feasting adventures which begin tomorrow. Essentially I am going to be drinking nothing but juice, at least a gallon a day of green organic vegetable juice, for 30+ days.

As I go I will try to include as much useful information about Juice Feasting and natural healing as I can. But I'll warn you now, this blog is mainly going to be daily accounts of my personal experiences. This is because a) I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to sound smart talking about the scientific aspects of Juice Feasting and b) when I read blogs I'm most interested in what the person is thinking and feeling.

Let's start by giving you the link to the site where you WILL find the hard data and helpful how to-s of Juice Feasting:

The site is run by David and Katrina Rainoshek, who are both accomplished Juice Feasters and run, their Juice Feasting coaching business out of Arizona, USA. They have kindly offered to coach me through this process and are full of knowledge and information, so please send your Juice Feasting queries their way!

Ok, now that that's covered I will give you a brief description of my past and why I decided to do a Juice Feast.

There is a long, a really long and a shorter version of this story and I will try my best to tell the shorter.

For the past year I have been sick. Well actually it probably started before that when I was at university and living in Toronto. In essence I am your typical North American mid 20 year old. I am an over-achiever with a need-to-help complex and a bit of a grass-is-greener outlook, who took on a long list of things (university + jobs + relationships + big city + commuting + perfectionism + a need to prove myself to the world) and ended up completely burning out last May.

I could go on more about how I got there but that would be boring. Most of you probably know the story anyways, and if you're really that curious...well maybe one day I'll write a book.

So let's get on to my adventures in ill health:

It all began one hazy summer while riding horses in the mountains and gallivanting through the heat waves of BC. That's when I got strep throat and my hormones shut down. Then the weight gain started. Then the indigestion (oh well the indigestion had been going on since university when I was sure I had an ulcer because my stomach hurt for two years straight). But the indigestion got REALLY bad and my stomach swelled up like I was six months pregnant. Then the acne began (I mean I'm 26, wasn't that supposed to be over 10 years ago?!). At that point the depression kicked in, with a dab of low self-esteem and a sprinkling of body image issues just to make it nice and spicy. Finally, the all encompassing fatigue: head grinding, body soaking, 1000 pound fatigue that made it hard to walk for more than a few minutes, let alone up a hill and caused me to fall back asleep, sitting up, at the breakfast table an hour after getting out of bed. Oh and the low brain power. Let's not forget that. I'm pretty sure I forgot my own name a few times.

I'm not going to get into the myriad of tests, doctors, other cleanses, etc. that I went through. Let's just say that if I was paid to taste test medicinal specialists and natural healing practitioners I would be a very rich lady right now.

Some of the labels I have heard for what I have are as follows:
Candida overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmunity, adrenal burnout, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. Take your pick, I don't mind, whatever one sounds the neatest to you.

The biggest lesson I have learned this year is: Ask my body what IT is feeling and then LISTEN to the answer. I know this sounds simple, but it has been the most difficult learning experience of my life. And probably the most important.

It was when I finally slowed down and then actually stopped "doing", that my recovery process began. I quit my job, packed my stuff, and moved to a beautiful little cottage in a beautiful little garden in my parent's backyard. And can I just mention that without the support of my mom, my step-dad Paddy, my dad and his wife Susan as well as many friends and family, I might never have made it home to get better. So thank you thank you thank you lovely lovely family. It's experiences like this that teach the power of human love and connection.

Here is a list of things which have helped me heal:
Sitting still
Jin Shin Do
Qi Gong
Vipassana 10 day silent meditation course
Healing affirmations
Time with friends and family
Life affirming books and literature

AND: diet changes. I always thought I ate healthy. Compared to most of North America I did. My so-so healthy diet become unhealthy when my body could no longer process the refined and denser foods. So, over the past year I have gone from eating a diet of whole grains, high sugar (yes even honey is sugar), high carb, some well raised meat and dairy cutting out in stages:

Alcohol and caffeine
Refined sugar
Refined starch
Cow dairy
All dairy
Most cooked food

For the past three months I have mainly been eating a diet of live foods, very high in leafy green vegetables and low in fats and sugars. There has been some definite improvements from these changes. My digestion is getting better and my energy levels are increasing. But the healing process is a slow one.

And so, after much research, thought and discussion I have decided to move on to the next stage in what I have been told is my own little hero's journey. And that is a Juice Feast. It is time to give my digestive system a break, let my organs do house cleaning and support the whole process by filling my body with nothing but nutrient- filled, enzyme-rich, vitamin-packed juice. Oh, and lots of love.

Let's review the stats, which is ugh, kind of scary, but needed in order for us all to track this process and see how things change.

-Currently I weight 150 Lbs. I am 5"7, my ideal weight is 130 Lbs. In university I weighed between 120-125 and was probably underweight at times from all the stress. At my most ill I got up to 160. The juice feasting should help normalize my weight again.
-My hormones are much better and more regulated but continue to dip from time to time
-My blood sugar is much stabler, but at times I still experience those lovely, panicky attacks of hypoglycemia
-My skin is still breaking out and my digestion still acting up on and off
-My energy is hit and miss. Some days I can do a full 90 minute Ashtanga class, other days it's still tiring to walk for more than 30 minutes. I have yet to be able to do any really sweaty exercise.

These are all things which I hope to see improve while juicing. I am going to start with 30 days and see how I feel. Others have gone for 90-100 and had phenomenal results, it just depends on the depth of healing that needs to take place.

Phewf! Well, if you're still with me, you're brave. This was a very long entry. But now that we've got it out of the way we won't have to talk about it again. Tomorrow I'll explain more about what I'm actually Doing on this Juice Feast.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope that in the least you are amused and at most maybe even inspired.

I'll end with a photo so that we can do that before and after thingy everyone loves so much. Please excuse the baggy eyes, they are as much in part from the salsa dancing last night (though I was in bed by midnight) than from being sick. But it's good to start with a bad picture, that way the after shot will look even better!

Have a great day everyone! Let's wrap it up with a good ol' affirmation.

In an easy and relaxed manner, in a healthy and positive way, in its own perfect time for the highest good of all I am now creating beautific, shining health


Robyn said...

Good luck over there Ariel!!
I am sending you positive, happy, healing thoughts and LOVE LOVE LOVE!!

Ajabaja said...

Thank you for opening yourself up. I wish you the best of luck. If you think a Mexican beach could help, you are more than invited. Besos - ajabaja

Laura said...

okay.. last post over a year ago.. curious as to how it all went and how you are doing.... hmmm... will you get this message. I'm dealing w the same things you describe and working on my plan of action to get it fixed.... so curious. you can email me at lamount03 at yahoo dot com if you don't want to post.


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