Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Are Enough.

You Are Enough.

You Matter.

Know how I know? I'm a teacher too, and I once felt this too...
I got my masters degree and started to finally feel accomplished, as if something really truly went right in my life. I was highly qualified! Then it went away, this feeling of always playing catch up, or not being enough of a teacher to meet the needs of a changing administration and district.

But finally, I overcame, and I am grateful to be able to say that I am overflowing with abundance now. I feel good enough as a teacher, and maybe even a little bit more. And I don't even have to eat to feel this way.

One of the ways that we sometimes deal with feelings of inadequacy, is that we begin to eat to satisfy a need, especially sugar, when we feel we are missing the sweetness of a situation in life we feel should already be so. A positive compliment from a boss or a pay raise (or even a returning of pay) is all we wanted. It's what we deserve, our birthright even, to be given our due for such a deeply challenging job that includes tasks that no one wants to deal with, but someone has to.

But what we end up doing to ourselves in the event of unconsciously trying to heal the part of ourselves that truly needs sweet relief, we end up feeding it sugar. And when we do this, we create consequences that we could not have even conceived of, as we innocently eat one more piece.

Check out this report on leptin, a key hormone in the fight for keeping weight at bay.


So in short, leptin gives the full signal. If you don't get a signal, you don't feel full. Sugar does everything it can to make sure that you feel like you're not getting enough...and since you're not getting it from yourself or from your current situation, this may encourage you to eat even more.

The hardest part to accept about leptin and foods that are not life-affirming, is that the consequence of eating any sugar is the same, whether you eat a little of it or a lot. It really is one of those things where moderation isn't key. The question becomes whether you choose to feed your body with positive, life-affirming nutrient, or poison. After all, the power of that negative thought or action that the sugar triggered, is your mind's response to the negativity, so it could be classified as a self-degradation. If you are still eating foods that don't positively validate your existence, do you truly feel as if you are enough?

Well in case you were wondering, yeah, you are. You are enough. You're even more than that.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Establishing healthy boundaries with food.

Just as we may have difficulty conducting that class with the troublesome student, we have that same issue on the level of our bodies, with that poor food choice we deemed so necessary, originally. 

We need to see that the troublesome food in our stomach stops internal reeducation and nourishment of the muscles, tissues and blood. The nutrients are killed, the lesson stops, and there has to be another way to deliver proper nourishment to the tissues (before the bell rings). Sometimes getting that student a peer coach, helps. That healthier source of nourishment helps to add in the good stuff to fight off the bad. Bottom line: that student runs a little interference so you can get that lesson taught to the willing participants.

With a peer tutor, I may call it running interference. With my food, I call this principle crowding out. So many old school dieters start their diets on a Monday and should they not succeed in perfection, they deem themselves a failure and decide that the FOLLOWING MONDAY is now the first official restart date for their diets. 

I think nowadays, I give people a bit more credit in thinking they know a healthy nutritional eating plan contains a start at any day of the week but most importantly, any time of day. So if this troublesome student interrupts class, is the teacher going to halt all teaching responsibility until the next day? Absolutely unacceptable. Teaching, like eating, must go on.

And so in saying this, I challenge the avid old school dieter to stop the foolish ways and begin to shine by saying to self, "self, I know I've just made a choice that is robbing nourishment from cell tissues. How can I give back to my cell community?" Give back by committing to drown every fry, not in ketchup, but in huge salad vegetables, fresh green juices, lemon waters, and sprouted beans. Promise that beautiful and wise teacher soul vehicle, that feeding the body for a higher purpose is right on time with educating the masses for a brighter future. Namaste.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tell Your Story.

Nourishment comes in so many forms.

A kid who runs all over the school and never goes to class told me his story today, and it made me think about the nourishment we choose to give and receive. This young man was supposed to be in high school, realized his friends were there and he wasn't, and he had been discouraged about getting himself back on track. He willingly told me about how he gave up and how his sister at 18 had a baby. She was working and also did not finish high school, which to me just sounded like a recurring theme in his family.

He obviously seemed to have some home training, as I relayed my story to him about sleeping on desks and failing every math class, only to have math be a revelation and a joy with the teachers during my summer classes. He said "rest in peace," when I told him about one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Radke, who died of cancer when I was coming back for school that fall, and how that crushed my heart. He reacted when my custodian friend walked by and told him his story of having to take night classes as an adult to get his credits towards graduation, a story he tells with regret, because of the extra time it took him to get that diploma after he began his adult life. His eyes seemed to tear when I told him of my veteran ex-gang member friend who pulled his life together.

Imagine the pain I felt when I asked the young man why he hadn't told anyone his story. His answer broke my heart. "No one has the time to listen, or cares to ask."  Do we even wonder why a child would keep making the poor choices he makes if he keeps getting taught that we do not live in a loving, caring and compassionate world? Teachers become the collective, as opposed to an individual.

We consume so much information throughout the course of the day. We hear, see and experience things on a pretty regular basis, that we forget how much of this we are consuming. And we forget, just like food, how some experiences are lush and pleasurable, sometimes not healthy, and some are light and nutritious...

I don't know. Maybe I didn't reach him at all, but I was sure to tell him that if he needed someone to listen to more of his story, I'd be willing. In the meantime, I am not going to stop feeding myself and others healthy food.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A teacher Eats Grad night.

"Hello, these are your feet calling. Please sit in a chair, preferably lying down on a bench even, if possible. Now stop moving." Grad nights present problems for the working teacher. First, they don't see their home that day, they hope they wore comfy shoes and hope to endure a park full of screaming kids, albeit they are the district's finest. A wonderful time is definitely had by all...but the day is literally the longest day ever. This is why good chaperones prepare.

Did I prepare well? Well let's review. I brought a protein shake and fruit to school, tea but not enough water. I did not take a multi, and got a cup of evening coffee. They offered evening snacks like pretzels, salsa and chips with nacho sauce and raw vegetables. Hm. Ugh, was my initial reaction. I didn't end up doing much better, but at least I found some protein and ate fried, battered jalapeƱo fish and fries. I was so saddened by the meal because it was a good diet gone wrong, but only for the moment. I knew I could fix this mess. After all, I was in the land of the superhero. I could fix anything. And boy did it taste good to have a mess to fix.
A note on cutting back on grain carbs: it seems inevitable that the body will eventually want those carbs back if you are extracting them from your diet. If you are, several things should take place. Firstly, in real time, fried fish is not a sustainable habit with white flour and excessive oils. Secondly, give yourself carbs that support the highest goal possible. Thirdly, there are plenty of starchy carbs that can help you avoid a food tragedy by selecting whole, unprocessed food like sweet potatoes and bananas. Next, have them as early as possible. People reach for carbs sometimes as a need for balance in their nutritional profile, and have either cut back too far, or simply need the nutrition the carbs provided, such as extra B complex.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Working Lunch.

In short, don't do it, if you can help it.

We are sentient beings having a human experience. Everything we say, do, think and feel, is affecting someone else. That one droplet of consciousness is something we cannot turn our heads on. For better or for worse, we all get affected by the same feelings and ideas, whether we like it or not.

That's why healthy work environments are so important. A healthy work environment can really help you to feel important and part of a happily purposeful ecosystem. However, as there are happily dysfunctional families, can there also be happily dysfunctional work systems. I begin my journey of concern when it is no longer happy or healthy. Then it becomes toxic, and we now must worry, because our life wreaks of a new set of concerns, which is very different from the other two environments I've mentioned. Your work life turns into a game of survival, where you are not certain if you'll make it through. More on this in another post.

This leads into lunch. We have working lunches when we work in a dysfunctional or otherwise toxic environment, where a deadline means far more than your personal well-being. A working lunch means that your food will now be infused with the emotion you were having while you were eating it, and is now therefore reinforced within your body...encased in your stomach....transported to cell tissues...where it becomes an absolute part of who you are and how you think about your work life; the class, the students, the administration, fellow teachers...all conversations and emotions will now be laced with that thought, that emotion, that energy. It is all much more important than most people really think.

It's like washing your hands before picking up a sandwich. You'd be worried about the germs on your hands getting onto that sandwich and contaminating it. If we were only more careful about our words, emotions and the way we speak to others. Even a projective feeling can transport. That goes more viral than any cold or flu, is the power of a negative sentiment. Think of that next time before you bite into a sandwich, and try not to eat your pain.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Power Pegging the top ten SuperFoods

A thought suddenly came to me as I was typing. How many of us have all of these great mnemonic learning devices that we teach to our kids, but we don't use them for ourselves? I mean, how great would it be to pull out our power pegs to use for remembering our groceries or our errands? How about power pegging our chores? Well whatever you decide to use your pegs for, is up to you. If you aren't already familiar with this great program I love called Quantum Learning, then it might be time to get acquainted with its wonder. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think of this powerful teaching system and its tools for building both social character and learning tools, all at once.


...We will talk more about this later. Meanwhile, let's attach nutrition to the classroom. When you are ducking from all the sneezing and flying tissues, you need to be stuffing your face with these amazing superfoods. What's more, is that if you can remember them all, when you go shopping and recipe hunting for ways to utilize these foods into your mealtimes, you'll have them attached to a peg...and then you'll most likely not forget them soon! I'd love to do a video to show you how to add the hand gestures to the pegs, but I mostly hope that you already know them. (videos coming soon.)

Now, as I'm about ready to list some super foods, I'm noticing that I have about five different CONFLICTING lists out in front of me from a variety of frontrunners on nutrition, and I will share the most nutrient dense selections from each of the lists. Let me know what you think.

Here they are.

1 son: Kale
2 eyes: avocado
3 triangle: almonds
4 floor: coconut and olive oil
5 fingers: dark chocolate and cacao nibs
6 sticks: wild caught fish
7 up: eggs
8 octopus: green tea
9 baseball: blueberries
10 hen: maca root

More on this later. Next, we will be singing a song to remember all of the nutrients in each power food! Just kidding.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My experience with on-the-job nutrition.

Ms. Grace was my food savior. Grace: Food SuperHero.

She would either be observing my meals or heating them up, cooking for me or handing me recipes. It was never in question that Ms. Grace loved food and cooking, but most of all health. It was one of our biggest conversations, and she never gave up on me, if she saw me eating something that wasn't on par with my goals, or if I wasn't eating at all. With Ms. Grace, I was sure to pack a lunch and eat daily. But there were definitely days where this wasn't the easiest thing to conceive of.

One thing I miss about having her in the classroom with me was her constant desire to seek out conversations with food. Seriously, we were always discussing the health quotient of a particular practice or lifestyle, how food affects religious disciplines, what we could and couldn't eat, how much we would pay for a certain food, where we would shop and how long to cook a desired food for dinner that night. It is no surprise that I went into a health coaching program after changing schools. Without Grace in my daily bread, I needed that interaction on mealtimes still.

Every day she would check to make sure I had food, and what I ate for dinner, and how I was feeling. I could not go wrong with her support, love and attention to the very thing that nourished me. She would get me to tighten up my diet, and I'd encourage her to exercise more than a 10 minute walk after dinner with her husband, though that sounded like a very wonderful bonding session. She loved that I was vegetarian. Most recently I told her of my switch to pescetarian, and she was happy to hear it. I am sure she will send me inspiration soon.

My favorite part with Grace in the classroom was that I would usually teach history and english. The most awesome part of teaching history, is the cultural experience we created for each country we studied. It gave us an opportunity to try a new recipe or food and bring it for all to taste. Now, this was even more fun for Ms. Grace, and she is an amazing cook. The students would agree as well. Whenever the students earned it, Ms. Grace would cook delicious cookies and brownies for the kids, and they would be on their best behavior to receive these goodies.

Such good memories deserve a blog post and applause to the one woman who made me feel nourished all the time. Thank you Ms. Grace, for making sure I remained a healthy teacher. Love you.