Friday, June 27, 2008

101 things to do in 1001 days

This isn't directly related to raw food, but I thought it was so cool!! I originally found it on Chryselle D'Silva Dias' blog, The Inspired Writer, who in turn found it on Mridu Khullar's blog , who linked to the original idea at the Day Zero website (I'm linking to all three because they are such interesting reads!). You simply have to create a list of 101 specific things you would like to do over the next 1001 days and post it online. You can also post it on the Day Zero Website along with all the other lists (imagine all the great energy!). The Day Zero site also has a bunch of cool links to ideas such as The Happiness Project, the 100 Thing Challenge, Learning to Love You More, Book Crossing, etc. - worth checking out!

Here's my list (not necessarily in this order), starting tomorrow:

  1. Become a full-time professional writer;
  2. Get rid of binge-eating syndrome;
  3. Write a book on food;
  4. Write the two children's books that are in my head;
  5. Get something published by a big publisher;
  6. Finish the book my dad was never able to complete;
  7. Finish four other writing projects on my list;
  8. Go 100% raw for 60 days or longer and decide whether it is really what I want for life;
  9. Try the 80/10/10 raw food style;
  10. Finish fixing up my house, take advantage of it for a while and then...
  11. Move to the place of my dreams (or stay there if I think that was the place of my dreams after all);
  12. Have my dream office;
  13. Give homeschooling (or unschooling) a try;
  14. Make more progress in my "ecolifestyle" and come up with a list of things to change and how to do it;
  15. Go no-poo once and for all (well, using my favorite alternative, lemon juice);
  16. Get our family to be zero-waste;
  17. Also erradicate those plastic bags completely, once and for all;
  18. Go back to 100% composting in our yard;
  19. Have and/or adopt a 2nd child;
  20. Do water gymnastics during my pregnancy;
  21. Get weekly massages througout pregnancy;
  22. Try a natural water birth;
  23. Breastfeed for as long as I feel like;
  24. Learn shantala massage;
  25. Go live on the beach or spend at least two weeks a year on a beach;
  26. Visit Fernando de Noronha again;
  27. Take a course in Waldorf education;
  28. Enroll in a yoga class;
  29. Enroll in a belly-dancing class (especially during pregnancy);
  30. Take short family trips once a month (or once every two months);
  31. Make a long trip in northeastern Brazil;
  32. Get my photos all organized;
  33. Get all of my dad's old papers sorted and only keep the essential;
  34. Get rid of ALL my excess stuff;
  35. Get my garden going again and grow a bunch of edibles;
  36. Shower in a waterfall - more than once;
  37. Get all my pending academic papers finished and published;
  38. Finish my PhD;
  39. Start an environmental blog and/or writing project;
  40. Start a writing blog;
  41. Join the monthly blood donation campaign in my city;
  42. Meditate regularly;
  43. Take regular walks before sunrise;
  44. Plant a tree a week as soon as I get back home (and as long as I live in a place I can);
  45. Go on a real vacation, as a family;
  46. Have a whole weekend for myself, preferably away from home;
  47. Go camping;
  48. Go diving;
  49. Do something that tests my physical and bravery limits (birthing doesn't count!);
  50. Play maracatu;
  51. Go out to dance with my husband;
  52. Finish the undergrad course in environmental management that I dropped out of years ago;
  53. Go back to the orthodontist and finish fixing my teeth;
  54. Take a train somewhere;
  55. Take a boat somewhere;
  56. Start a "vacation savings account";
  57. Fix up my dad's grave;
  58. Pamper myself and have a day doing everything I like;
  59. Spend a week at a spa;
  60. Learn first aid;
  61. Make a mosaic sign with the number of our house;
  62. Visit all of the museums in our city;
  63. Get our "word a year" family project going;
  64. Sleep in the moonlight;
  65. Go back to the beach we started dating and spend a week there;
  66. Make a real time capsule for my woman's group;
  67. Spend a whole day with my best childhood friends, remembering the old times;
  68. Complete my training to become a certified doula;
  69. Take care of my pending health issues;
  70. Accompany my mom to all of her doctors once a year;
  71. Do something challenging/scary to me once a month;
  72. Take a practical course on permaculture;
  73. Have the anniversary celebration of our dreams;
  74. Try surfing at least once;
  75. Go bodyboarding;
  76. Learn good eye exercises and do them several times a day;
  77. Have green juice every day no matter what;
  78. Have professional photos taken of myself and family;
  79. Have professional photos taken of myself during pregnancy;
  80. Go out once a month with our goddaughters;
  81. Donate my father's remaining books that I don't want;
  82. Improve my astral projection skills and write down my experiences;
  83. Learn reiki;
  84. Take at least one more course at Intercampi;
  85. Visit the Chapada Diamantina;
  86. Visit southern Brazil;
  87. Set aside more couple time;
  88. List 100 things that make me happy;
  89. Perfect our family "dream board" and care for it regularly;
  90. Read the Tao;
  91. Try any of the martial arts;
  92. Learn new fun things to play with my son;
  93. Renew my drivers license and learn how to drive well again;
  94. Take a speech course;
  95. Take a sculpting class;
  96. Visit Pedra de Ingá again;
  97. Do a juice fast once a week (except when pregnant/breastfeeding);
  98. Finish the "dandelion path" in my front yard;
  99. Learn ASL;
  100. Celebrate the 1001th day doing whatever I want!

P.S. Just created a separate blog for this (Aug. 29, 2008)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Circles and cycles of energy

The small, but growing raw food movement in Brazil has an important but often overlooked feature: it emphasizes the energy in food. Not energy as in calories, but the energy flow in a broader sense.

When I first started heard about this in the beginning of my raw food journey, I didn't think much of it. I didn't really understand why all this fuss about arranging your food on your plate, squeezing your juice with your own hands, and so on.

The first time I started giving more attention to it was when I took a raw food uncooking class with Gorette Oliveira. That day, she told us about Ana Branco, an art professor at the Catholic University of Rio (PUC-Rio) who does workshops that links art and food. I had already visited this professor's website and even exhanged some e-mails with her, but Gorette's account really touched me. In the workshop she attended, Ana Branco asked each person to mindfully create a fruit mandala; at the end, all of the mandalas were merged into a single, big mandala. Apparently the experience was so intense and full of energy that it moved several people to the point of crying in happiness. There were even some organic farmers present (who had provided the fruit) who cried in awe because of the beauty that came from their "simple" produce.

After hearing that account I started to create my own mandalas, a practice I enjoy to this day. I don't know much about the "technical details" about them and what they are supposed to mean, but it is a practice that brings me peace. They are like little circles of powerful energy.

Often people ask what's the deal with being 100% raw vs. anything less than that. I can only speak for myself, but what I feel is that when I'm 100% raw I'm on a whole different energy level. Obviously I feel overall better physically, but I also argue less with my husband, have more patience with my son, and have an easier time at work, to name a few examples. Everything becomes more harmonious, even with people I'm not necessarily close to. My life literally flows. It might sound far out, but I even get the impression that people around me start to seem a tad happier too! :) Or perhaps I'm just better tuned with their happiness and true being...

When I'm not completely raw now I tend to rant at why in the world I can't stick to raw food all the time if it makes me feel so good!!!!! The last time I went 100% raw (for seven days, which ended last Thursday), during my 3rd day I felt amazed at how wonderful I felt, but also very scared. When I go 100% raw the third day is always critical. When that day came to an end (also a critical moment) a list of negative thoughts went through my head:

"You don't need to do this!"

"What's wrong with eating a little bit of cooked food? A bite of whole-wheat vegan pizza won't kill you!"

"You won't be able to go on long with out some cookies!"

"Just one piece!"

And so on...

The thing is, even when I am not 100% raw, I am eating the healthiest I have ever eaten in my life and would probably fare fine if I went on like this to the end of my days. HOWEVER, I don't want to be "fine", I want to live life at the fullest, with optimal physical and (especially) emotional/spiritual health. I want to be clear headed enough to know what life wants of me, to do whatever I came here to this Earth to do. I want to be happy and to grow continuously - individually and as a family. I want the best of my stay on the Earth and want to give it my best too.

I don't think it would be the end of the world if I got to the point where I ate 100% raw most of the time and every once in a while I ate something not raw or not so healthy, but for now that is not possible because it never stays at one bite or one piece or even one meal. The reason for that is because I eat certain kinds of things not for nutrition but to fullfill emotional needs that have been overlooked. And even when that's not the case, these kinds of foods seem to take me to a lower energy level, which in turn leads me to other foods and I am pulled in lower and lower until I feel terrible.

The opposite also happens. Certain people, situations, or memories, for instance, pull me down into an energy level that make me crave certain foods. Of course it is mostly my responsability - I will only go down if I allow myself too. Besides, these days a very disturbing thought came to mind: if I still allow certain people, things, situations, or foods to draw me into less than optimal energy levels, something in them must resonate within myself.

In respect to people, I am a firm believer in what so many self-help books say: if don't like a certain trait in someone else, chances are you have some shade of it in yourself and don't want to deal with it. Yet how would that work in relation to food?

Let's take the example of a store-bought cookie that came from a factory and break down the way it came into being:
  • The wheat probably came from a corporate farm, where it was heavily sprayed and was certainly not a happy plant (see this very interesting documentary called "The Secret Life of Plants");
  • Depending on where the sugar came from, in addition to being sprayed, the sugarcane harvest might have involved child and/or semi-slave or even completely slave work. Similar considerations apply to the cacao used in the chocolate chips;
  • The chicken that laid the eggs almost for sure were kept confined and not allowed to sleep much so that they would grow faster. They might have also been given certain hormones to gain wait faster, besides eating food not natural to them;
  • Similarly, the cow that gave the milk and butter was probably confined and was separated from her calf to increase her milk yield. She might also have been given antibiotics and other substances;
  • I almost forgot other substances used to "conserve" or do whatever to the cookies... Things with weird names like "dextrose" and "ammonium bicarbonate", not to count the "artificial flavors" (which are...?);
  • In addition, the ingredients certainly travelled a lot around the world, which involved a considerable amount of fossil fuels and pollution;
  • With all the ingredients in the cookie factory, chances are many of the people working there aren't exactly in their dream job (and maybe underpaid too);
  • To top it all, the cookie comes in a plastic (petroleum-based) package.
So, what kind of energy can we expect to get from eating this cookie? And knowing all this, I ask myself, why do I still eat cookies like that? That got me thinking and I made a list of my "deep dark secrets" (no, I am not going to reveal them all here! :)). No, I am not in favor of child labor, spraying crops, or the like, yet I do have issues. They may seem "minor" when compared to the big problems around this fateful cookie, but they certainly relate: submissiveness, not doing exactly what I want professionally, poisoning/polluting my own body (which is the natural environmental closest to us!), not always being completely there when my son wants my attention (or simply not being there at all)... The list goes on, but I think that is enough as a sample...
It is obvious that the problem is not about being raw or not, as the cookie could have been made from all organic ingredients that came from places that respected human rights and the principles of fair trade. The difference that raw food makes, however, is the LIFE in it.
Thus, in practice, I do these low-vibration things I listed, eat these low-vibration foods, am pulled down, relate to other people on this lower vibration, eat some more, do more of what I don't want to, go down even further, etc., etc. OR I eat raw, live foods, feel my whole body tinkle with good energy, am more aware of my actions and change them for better, improve my relationships, and feel more in awe with life at every moment.
Yet, for some reason I cannot fully grasp, I am still somewhere in between, in "raw food limbo", as Angela Stokes once said. Sometimes I'm doing great, sometimes (like today) I feel like s.... I go through these cycles an sometimes, within them, get caught in vicious circles that are hard to transform into something better. Fortunately I think all these circles and cycles, overall, have been an upper spiral of sorts. Things seem to be slowly improving...
And, with our without fear, I can't wait to find out what I will learn next!