A few months ago, soon after I’d finished writing my memoir, Raw: A Midlife Quest for Health & Happiness, I had the opportunity to share five minutes of my work at a reading. While combing through my manuscript for excerpts, I found myself thinking, Hmm, maybe this writing isn’t as strong as I thought. The writing felt flabby and slow. I found myself tinkering with passages so they’d read better in a shorter timeframe, and wondered if that was okay. In past readings, I’ve mostly read my poems, complete works, each one featuring a beginning, middle, and end.
This post is being featured today on She Writes, an international online organization serving over 20,000 writers.
She Writes, an international online organization serving over 20,000 writers, featured this post this week. They rank their “Top Content” from 1-20. This post has been in their #1 slot all week! I hope you find it helpful.
She Writes, an international online organization serving over 20,000 writers, featured this post last week. It was #4 on their “Top Content” rating, which lists their top 20 posts.
I rarely get much writing done in December. This year I completely ruled out writing the next chapter of my book during this busy month. On top of decorating, shopping, wrapping, and other holiday tasks—not to mention my husband’s birthday the week before Christmas—my father-in-law died in November and his memorial was scheduled for December 10th. This meant not only an out-of-town trip, but also an unexpected visitor: grief. I wanted to comfort my husband. Listen. Prepare food. I told him I’d take care of all our holiday needs, and was determined to make the season as warm and bright as possible. Under the circumstances, I was certain I’d have neither the time nor mental space to write my chapter. Plus I wanted to review old journal entries and scan the diet and nutrition books I’d read seven years ago prior to going raw. I told my writing coach not to expect my chapter until the end of January.
My high school choir teacher used to tell us not to eat two things before a concert: dairy products and nuts. “They coat the throat,” he said. I could understand milk and cheese, because those products were obviously creamy, but nuts? That didn’t make sense. I couldn’t see the cream in nuts. But have you ever tried blending nuts with water?
Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, cutting back on dairy products is a healthy dietary choice. In Health Concerns about Diary Products, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) links the consumption of dairy products to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and more.
Nuts and seeds make excellent dairy substitutes that are nutritious and delicious! Here’s a simple recipe for two of my favorite nut milks:
ALMOND OR BRAZIL NUT MILK
Blend the following:
1 cup Almond or Brazil nuts
(soaked–if possible–overnight in filtered water)
3-4 cups water (to taste)
1 Tb. Agave Nectar (or other sweetener, such as honey. Optional.)
Pour through nut milk bag or fine mesh strainer.
Use on cereal, drink as a snack, blend into your favorite hot beverage, add cacao to make a chocolate nut-milkshake, supplement smoothies, or pour into raw vegetable soups to make them creamy. Yum!
Almond meal makes a wonderful base for cookies and cream sauces, and it freezes well.
I’ll be posting nut cheese, nut-cream sauce and soup recipes soon.
When I’m writing, I’m like a dog with a bone, except I don’t drag it around--it drags me—straight to my office chair where I sit for hours. And days. Sometimes weeks. I find it difficult to switch gears and move my body. I want to stretch or dance or practice yoga, but I don’t want to take time away from my desk. Getting to my Rising Lotus Yoga or Body Freedom movement class seems impossible. I don’t want to change my clothes, drive anywhere, or talk to anybody. I just want to write.
The other day, after not having stretched my body over the course of a long, busy week, I noticed my dog, Katie, sprawled on the back deck. I walked outside, stood beside her, closed my eyes, raised my arms and faced the sun. Slowly, I started moving, “listening” to the sun on my skin, allowing its warmth to direct my movement. I rolled my head. My neck hurt. I hadn’t noticed before. I think of my neck as a bridge between my body and head, and since there hadn’t been any two-way traffic lately, the road had shut down.
I worked with the stiffness in my neck, allowed myself to receive whatever movement came. For a while I stood circling my head slowly, tilting into the pain. Can you bring some love to this kink? I asked myself. This thought loosened it and the pain subsided. What else needs attention? I scanned my body.
Bending forward at the waist relieved my lower back. Hunched forward like an ape, I swung my arms and torso while taking large, lumbering steps. Katie watched. She was used to such sights, but I wonder how many humans she’s seen move this way. I let out a few deep “Ha” sounds, vigorously shook my head and hands, and then slowly rolled up my spine stacking one vertebrate upon another, imagining space between the bones. I felt taller, relaxed, energized.
If you’re an all-or-nothing-type-person like me, you can relate to how easy it can be to ignore your body—especially when life gets busy. Is there something small you can do for your body today? Something that’ll take five or ten minutes? Does your lower back ache? How about lying on the floor with your feet propped against a wall? Try stretching your arms over your head, then folding your knees against your chest. Or for those who practice yoga, how about hunkering down into child’s pose for five minutes and gently wagging your butt from side-to-side? I like hugging a pillow or bolster in this position, placing one ear down for a few minutes and then turning my head to the other side, which is a great neck stretch.
Your five-minute body break might include jumping, running up and down stairs, or shaking your torso and limbs to get energy moving. Or you can simply allow ordinary movements to grow into larger ones. Sometimes, while scrubbing a pot in the sink, I’ll let the movement expand in my body and before I know it, I’m shimmying my hips like a belly dancer—another great low back loosener!
What type of five-minute body breaks work for you? I’d love to hear about them!
My sister sent beautiful Harry & David pears for Christmas, but they all ripened at about the same time and the three of us couldn’t eat them fast enough. That’s when I remembered that once, when my daughter was younger and had a friend visiting, we invented a yummy pear smoothie. I dug out my old raw notebook, found the recipe, and updated it to include greens, which don’t affect flavor, but add nutrition. If you can’t find the micro greens listed here, spinach works because of its mild flavor. You’d never guess gorgeous, health-promoting-anti-sugar-craving-greens lurk in this sweet treat! For tips on picking pears visit The City Cook.
Blend the following in a high speed blender, such as a Vita Mix:
2 Royal Rivera Pears
2 Medjool dates
3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Organic Micro Greens
1-2 cups water depending on desired thickness
Blend, drink, enjoy and prosper!