Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Feeling Rebooted

On Saturday I attended an amazing event called Reboot

reboot[source]

Nope, not that kind of ReBoot (although my brother was a huge fan of that show until stopped watching because he was really afraid of it thanks to a character named Megabyte, but don’t tell him I told you that…)

I started off the day by having lunch with Danielle from Body by Nature. SANY5143Danielle and I have read one another’s blogs and followed each other on Twitter for a long time now, so it was amazing for us to finally meet! We have a lot in common (including a love of all things food and the fact that we’re both working on our holistic nutrition designations) and it was really lovely for us to finally be able to connect.

Since the event was being held at the 918 Bathurst Centre, I suggested we head to Butler’s Pantry for lunch. SANY5120Anyone else entertained by the fact that the soup of the day was “Ash”? I love the window booths at Butler’s and their mixed vegetable bhaji is one of my favourite things. SANY5121I opted for half the rice that they normally provide and lots of salad. Holy yum. I love spending time with awesome bloggers from the veg community as it often takes very little time for us to get comfortable after daily interactions via Twitter and the fact that we often know a lot of the same people. We had an amazing lunch and laughed a lot, especially when we realized how much we really had in common.

Yafa from House of Verona had put together an amazing line up of international speakers for ReBoot including Benjamin Stone, Meghan Telpner, Elwin Robinson and Philip McCluskey. We were also treated to yoga from IamYoga and there were fun vendors set up all around the room.

Yafa started off the day with a talk about lifting depression with raw food. SANY5126It was really amazing for me to finally meet Yafa and realize how much we have in common. Her story of healing her depression through a raw food diet is definitely inspirational and given my family’s history of mental illness, I was truly intrigued by all that she had to say. I love all that she is doing for the community and we agreed that we need to have tea sometime soon to talk more!

Meghan’s lecture on “10 Things [she] Learned Healing an Incurable Disease” really hit home for me. SANY5130Meghan has been an amazing source of inspiration and support for me in my journey and hearing her recount her story in this manner really hit home for me. SANY5131It reminded me why I do what I do, and gave me that extra little push to continue with the work that my naturopath and I talked about a couple weeks ago. Some of my favourite quotes included “We are better to spend our time happily creating, than creating to be happy” and “I have become the person I needed to meet'’. Meghan is a dynamic speaker and her presentation had a lot of humour, tough love, inspiration and motivation. Love. Love. LOVE. 215896_10150160774569332_668889331_6756367_3939905_n

My other favourite speaker of the day was definitely Philip McCluskey. SANY5140Philip’s story of losing 215 lbs is absolutely phenomenal. While the underlying theme of his talk on Saturday was about the amazing benefits of raw food, it was really about saying yes to life and transforming your life. SANY5141SANY5142Philip has a pretty great perspective on life and was very inspirational to hear him speak and have the opportunity to chat with him throughout the day. I was also really excited to score a copy of his brand new book on Raw Carob Desserts.

Awesome people.
Yummy food.
Raw chocolate.

SANY5133

Inspiration.
New ideas.
Sunshine.

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my Saturday!! Thank you to everyone who made the event possible. I definitely feel rebooted.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It’s Been Two Years. And I’ve Done A Lot. The Naturopath: Revisited.

Last week I went back to see my amazing naturopath, Christine Matheson after not seeing her for more than two years.

Following my food sensitivity testing appointment in March 2009, she went on mat leave and I was left to fend for myself through the 3 month elimination diet that followed. She gave me great guidance to take with me as I embarked on the challenge and recommended another naturopath should I need further assistance. She returned from mat leave in the fall and as a result of my new job I’m back to having benefits which I am fully taking advantage of! A lot has changed since March 2009 and last week I got to recount the tale of my last 2 years to her:

chart

Diet

This was obviously a huge change over the last 2 years. Within two weeks of eliminating a lot of foods from my diet, I started to feel better than I had in more than a year and half. I started off by cutting out the foods on my sensitivity testing list for 3 months. Following the three month period I brought many of the foods back in (minus gluten, dairy and eggs) and then that summer decided to go vegan.  Eliminating all animal products was something that we had talked about prior to the elimination diet, but it was absolutely my decision in the end. My diet has been pretty consistent since then and I feel amazing eating the way that I do. We discussed some items for tweaking and revitalized my supplement protocol to ensure that I continue feeling the best I can.

Work

Quitting my job and going to nutrition school was inspired greatly by my journey to healing. 2010 was such an amazing year and I’m so happy that I followed my heart. I’m still currently half a nutritionist and back in the office world, but I know that my “time off” was much needed. In the last 2 years I’ve been working to achieve a balance of things that make me happy with things that allow me to live the best life possible. I like where I’m sitting right now and am looking forward to the coming months. We talked about work/life balance and some strategies/resources to keep me happy and stable throughout the insanity of work/WW/school/performing that can sometimes be is my life.

Relationship

This was a big one since when Christine left, I was still engaged. Talking about the break up was actually more painful than I expected. Joey was a big part of my life for a long time and he was with me through a lot of change. While really sad, our break up was the right thing for both of us. That being said, the actual break up left me broken in more ways than I realized initially; There were some things that happened towards the end that really messed with my head and I’m still working to put the pieces back together. Much of it is related to body image, my weight and my general self esteem, which have been things I’ve struggled with over the last year. Talking this through with Christine really highlighted how much of a sensitive topic this still is for me. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m going there and feeling better every day.

The Pill

Going off the pill was another thing that we had wanted to tackle post-elimination diet and after some deliberation I went off the dreaded pill in the spring of 2009. If you’d like some great info on why not to be on the pill you can check out some informative posts on Meghan’s blog. There are numerous reasons why I should have gone off the pill but the main one was this: it was making me crazy. My hormones were so manic and all over the place that it was incredibly detrimental to my emotional health and well being. With some assistance from the brilliant ladies at Red Tent Sisters, I started following the Justisse method and felt in tune with my body and. Much. Less. Crazy.

There were lots of other details along the way but those were some of the big things we discussed in our time together. In some ways it was therapeutic and in others kind of painful, but overall I felt really positive when I left.

Christine gave me a lot of credit for all the changes that I had made. Sometimes I take for granted that this is just the way that I live my life. I forget that it’s not easy to have made all of these changes and live the way that I do, because it’s just second nature to me now. I’m so much healthier than I was 2 years ago and I have so much to be thankful for. She assured me that I looked fantastic and had so much to be proud of. It was wonderful to hear this from someone outside my immediate circle and the small suggestions and tweaks I’m going to make as a result of our visit are going to make things that much better.

  • Back to supplements including some anti-inflammatory agents and a probiotic
  • Suggestions for getting sugar back out of my life (due to the candida, I cut sugar out of my life during the elimination diet and slowly over the last two years it has creeped back in. It needs to go again!!)
  • Recommendations of a visit with the clinic’s osteopath, a full physical with a naturopathic doctor and referral to a psychologist

I’m so excited to be seeing my naturopath again. She is fantastic at what she does and I’m really looking forward to stepping up my game and taking things to the next level with her guidance. I know that the changes are up to me, and I’m ready for them! I’ve come a long way on this journey and believe that this is just the next step. Sometimes I forget how far I’ve come and it was very grounding to reflect upon transformation that I’ve made. Because the universe felt I needed an extra little bit of perspective last week, I received the following email from a reader on the same day I went to the naturopath:

Subject line: Read your blog by accident

and just wanted to say you are a very inspiring woman...

i am a cancer survivor and have been waiting for the opportunity to start my journey back to health

i was looking for a copy of the a lulu lemon bag for my friend and when I found one and somehow

when i pulled it up it was on your blog.  reading about your health regime was very inspirational. keep up the good work!

betty

Betty – you honestly made my day and put everything into perspective for me. Thank you
2008-10-15-BUTTERFLYPIC

[source]

For more information about Christine and her awesomeness, you can check out her website. You can also check out the website for Mahaya Forest Hill where she is currently practicing. Everyone was incredibly sweet and they offer a variety of services including osteopathy, chiropractic, homeopathy and acupuncture.

What changes have you made over the last couple of years? How does it feel to revisit the changes you’ve made and see how far you’ve come? How do you keep those changes in perspective?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Beginning of My 27th Year…

yellowI tweeted on Thursday morning about sipping green juice on the last day of my 26th year. It hadn’t really sunk in that I was going to be turning 27 the following day!!

I woke up on Friday morning (after a great rehearsal Thursday night for the Ashleyx2 cabaret) feeling like a little kid. You know when you’re little and your birthday genuinely feels like a more special, somehow magical day? Well that’s how I felt. chalkboardMaybe it’s because I had started to celebrate my birthday all week with lunches, dinners and time with friends or maybe it’s because I’m feeling really positive about so many things in my life right now… regardless of why, I was a very happy gal. SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI made myself a yummy green juice and breakfast and hit up The Rooster for a delicious honey ginger latte to sip on my way to work. The girls in my department at work organized a lunch for 11 of us to head to Nami for sushi goodnessSANY5045

SANY5047Holy yum sushi goodness!! Edamame, followed up with avocado rolls and cucumber/umboshi plum rolls. Seriously delish and the restaurant was gorgeous. My new coworkers are all kinds of awesome.

After work a group of my best girlfriends met up with me to take the GO train to Port Credit to head to Raw Aura for delicious raw vegan eats!SANY5048Not only was Friday my birthday, but it was also chef Doug McNish’s second to last day at the restaurant. SANY5072He recently accepted a job at the beautiful Grail Springs retreat & spa where he will be the executive chef. Despite it being a busy time for him at the restaurant, Doug did an amazing job of preparing incredible food for us ladies!!SANY5054

SANY5056

SANY5057I spent far too much time laughing and chatting with my lovelies to spend time on getting good food pictures, but I will tell you that everything was delicious. Between the awesome kale chips, avocado & mushroom tartare, pizza, sweet & sour noodles and everything in between, we were in raw foodie heaven. Doug’s raw food is really second to none. Grail Springs is lucky to have him!!

And dessert was epic. cakeThe lights went off in the whole restaurant and I was presented with a platter of desserts: chocolate banana cake, brownies, blueberry cheesecake, something with chocolate and mint and a piece of apple crumble. I don’t even know if I can pick a favourite, but I think that cheesecake and chocolate banana cakes were at the top of my list. It was a delicious end to an amazing meal with beautiful friends. SANY5061I received some beautiful gifts and really couldn’t have asked for a more special day with some of my favourite people. We laughed so much that it made one of the women in the restaurant angry (well, that might have been my fault… I have a pretty loud laugh!!) and I loved that everyone was open to the raw food experience and each other’s company!! My friends all come from different places in my life but the conversation flowed between everyone all night. Amazing!!

Birthdays are often a time of reflection of the years that have passed as well as what is to come in the future. Looking back at all that I’ve experienced since my last birthday gave me a sense of accomplishment, but also made me really excited for what is to come. My 26th year brought a lot of great changes into my life and I believe that my 27th years is going to be a pretty great one. I’m thrilled for what is to come.

I’m so happy to have had such a special birthday and am just continuing with the excitement as Ash and I head towards the Ashleyx2 cabaret this Friday!! SANY5050I can’t wait to share pictures and videos on the blog as it is going to be an incredible evening. Thank you to everyone who sent me sweet emails, blog comments and tweets for my birthday – you really know how to make a girl feel special!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life As a Process of Self Discovery

There have been many things that have been keeping me from blogging lately…

Getting ready for the next instalment of the Ashleyx2 cabaret

poster ashleyx2bday draft 4 (1304)

Ash and I are thrilled to be putting on another cabaret and this time it’s in celebration of our birthdays! (Mine is this Friday – more on the “birth week” to come!)

Getting cast in a show for the 2011 Toronto Fringe

cellar hotel

We had the first read through last night and I’m excited to be a part of Fringe once again. The cast for Chicken Coop’s Cellar Hotel is really talented and the artistic team is bursting with passion and enthusiasm for the project. I love surrounding myself with creative people who love what they do as much as I do.

I’ve also found myself making my lunch more often… SANY5036Raw Mexican inspired “rice” from Choosing RawSANY5029

SANY5038Huge salads – some just created with whatever is in my fridge or inspired by great recipes, like the deconstructed sushi salad from Appetite for Reduction.

And why is this?
Well, I’m back in a 9-5 job.
Gah,
I know.

It was a really tough decision, but it needed to be done. While my year and 3 months away from the office world was amazing, I just couldn’t continue to live the way I was living. I was becoming burnt out in my crazy all-over-the-place schedule, going broke, and as a result was unable to do all the things that I want to do. Going back to work 9-5 is allowing me the flexibility to travel; I’m finally going to get to NYC in the fall. Newfoundland, Montreal, somewhere hot and Europe are also on my must-go list in the next 12 months. It’s also allowing me to re-enrol in school, so I’ll probably be taking at least one more class before the summer is over.

There was part of me that struggled with going back to work because I felt like I was failing. I had decided that 9-5 wasn’t for me and that I was going to step outside the box and create my own schedule and do all the things that I love to do. I absolutely did that and loved it all. I had an amazing year in 2010 and if I could I would continue on that path… but it just wasn’t sustainable.

Working 9-5 still allows me the flexibility to do a lot of things that I love:

  • perform – as seen by the 2 shows I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’ll also be singing in another cabaret on May 1st as well as a corporate gig on May 3 and have aspirations to audition for everything and anything I can
  • work for Weight Watchers – which I had to give up my daytime meetings (and I miss my members a lot!!) I still have my Wednesday and Saturday meetings… and to be honest it feels a lot less like work. Even one of my receptionists commented that I had a different energy in my meetings. While I always enjoyed my meetings, it’s back to feeling like that little thing that I do on the side and no longer feels like a job.
  • go back to school – I can pay tuition again, so I’ll be finishing my designation in the evenings
  • take care of me – my schedule was kind of erratic and stability means I generally eat lunch at the same time each day. I have time to hit the gym in the morning or after workSpin

Last month I totally rocked on the activity front and I can’t wait to do it again in April. I’m working on feeling great and hitting the gym and eating well is a really important part of that. I’ve also been attending a weekly Weight Watchers meeting as a member. Yes, I know the topic and the leader and many of the things we’re discussing should be second nature, but it’s really true that people who attend Weight Watchers meetings lose 3 times more weight than people who go at it alone. It has become an important time for me to focus on where I want to be and spend time with some amazing and motivating friends. It’s also great to see Lindsay in action!

Looking for a job is a full-time job and I was just really lucky that there were some incredible opportunities out there that were a great fit for me and my skill set. (If you’re looking for a job, check out sites like Work in Culture, Media Job Search Canada and Charity Village for jobs you’re not going to find on the more traditional job search sites) I started looking and submitting my resume on February 24, was offered a job on March 11 and started on March 14!!

I’m back in an executive assistant role in a fantastic office downtown. The people in my office are awesome (especially the girls I sit with), I’m enjoying random lunch and tea dates with friends in offices nearby and I can’t wait to start riding my bike to the office in the summer.

evolutionI’ve been so much less stressed in the past few weeks, and the way everything fell into place, I realized that this is the right decision for me right now. I feel a lot happier and a lot more balanced than I have in a long time.

I’m also hoping that being in a more regular schedule is going to allow me to blog some more… because I know I’ve been neglecting this because I just haven’t had the time! Coming up in the month of April I’ll be posting about my birthday week festivities, the Ashleyx2 cabaret, and a sweet giveaway and product review that I’m really excited about!!

What are you excited about in April? How do you remain flexible and kind to yourself with changes that may occur in your life?