Can I Give More?

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“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.”

 -Paul Tergat, Kenyan Professional Marathon Runner

I think I’ve fallen in love. My Jump Off the Ladder challenge of running at least 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week was hard the first week, but this week I feel amazing. Yesterday, my day was jam-packed full of work, and then I had rehearsal for a play I am in: Comedy of Errors (by Shakespeare, of course!). So early on yesterday, I knew that I wouldn’t really want to go running after all the festivities, especially with all the rain I’ve been getting this last week. Thankfully, my challenge pushed me forward, and I wrote a reminder on my wrist that I looked at throughout the day: No Excuses.

I asked Schofie to go running with me and soon we were off. I started off jogging and said, “I feel like my body could do this forever!” Soon I was eating my words. I got about three “side-aches” throughout the run, but I ran farther than I ever have before! Unfortunately I didn’t track it with my phone, but we think he and I ran about double the distance of what I ran last week, and thanks to a new neighborhood route, it wasn’t boring at all. I didn’t bring any music with, but Schofie was an excellent coach. Towards the final home stretch, he reminded me,

“Right now your heart rate is through the roof, and you are burning lots of calories, but you’re hitting that place where you feel you can’t quite go on. If you push past that point, that’s where you’re really going to see a difference!”

I drink your mowed lawn grass clippings.

Ok, not really. Although I’ve tried some teas that taste like it.

On my year-long road to health, I learned to fall in love with the benefits of tea. I spent about two weeks detoxing from an average of five cups of disgusting “work-coffee” a day. Five cups. Seriously? Of ground-ridden, cheap, nasty coffee? Why?!

It was free.

It was free and kept me going. What a terrible reason to drink something. Now, I’m not going to get into the coffee vs tea debate, (Really, can’t we all just be friends?) however, when I decided to invest in some Jasmine Green Tea from Earthfare I found that I loved tea. There are so many different flavors and it can be delicious served hot and cold. I also found out there were too many benefits I just couldn’t pass up. (Special thanks to these guys for the info)

  • Tea keeps you hydrated
  • Packed full of antioxidants
  • Can greatly aid weight-loss
  • Improved bone mineral density and strength
  • Green tea’s antioxidants may help stop the growth of cancer!

Not to mention it can come in really adorable teacups.

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CAUTION: Do not Google “cute teacup”. It will result in millions of Teacup Yorkies, and death-by-happiness.

My “Jump Off the Ladder” Challenge, and a POLL!

A few of you may know that I am working on my

Jump Off the Ladder challenge.

I have decided that for the month of June I will challenge myself to go running for at least 20 minutes a day, three days a week. A challenge which, so far, is going alright. The greatest obstacle so far has been the weather. Naturally, since I decide I want to do a challenge that requires me to be outdoors, (I don’t have a gym membership) Murphy’s Law kicks in and it pours rain all week.  However, since I don’t like to dwell on failure, only lessons, I am deciding to see the positive in this.

This weekend, Schofie and I made HUGE headway in the “get rid of your crap” department. For me, living off of nothing but the land in a tree house or Hobbit Hole would be amazing. For him, the idea is fun, but unrealistic. He doesn’t quite understand why I need to seasonally (ok, sometimes monthly) do a massive purge and donate a ton of things. It’s cleansing to me, and with less stuff I find it a more peaceful atmosphere. I would love to jump on board the ‘minimalist’ train. For him, it’s stressful, and an emotional experience. There are memories associated with each item, and after all, we may use it in the future.

After many a discussion and frustrated tears, Schofie decided that since it made his wife happy and healthy, she could get rid of whatever she wanted. (Excluding things explicitly his i.e. clothing)

Seriously, how did I get a guy like that?! 🙂

So I went to town in our kitchen, and am throwing a massive garage sale. I’m not anywhere close to finished with my purge, but here is a start:

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Seriously, who needs all this stuff?

So needless to say, I sort of have two challenges this month. I am so excited to see where this’ll take me! Also…

I’m working on a project and need your help!

Please fill out the questionnaire below. If you think of any answers not listed, let me know!

The American Diet: A Vegetarian’s Take – Part One

We are a product of the environment in which we are raised.

Whether or not you agree with this viewpoint, (I’m still not sure where I stand on “Nature vs. Nurture”.) I think it applies to the typical American diet. We are a few generations in from the Depression Era, and are the products of those that learned to SAVE EVERYTHING. In the Depression Era, if you were eating a meal preserved in a can, you were thankful. You had a loaf of bread and coffee? You were a king. What did  the children of this time learn? To save every scrap, that “meat and potato’s” was the dream. Over the generations, we’ve been taught that our bellies can never be too full, and that hoarding our food isn’t necessarily bad. (Unless you wind up on the show Hoarders of course.)

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When I traveled back to Minnesota, I was reminded of how differently Schofie and I live from the generation before us. Now, I want you to know that I don’t write this with a self-righteous, judgmental spirit, because I’m certainly not perfect and have a lot of growth to do, but there were some distinct changes that I couldn’t help but notice: miscellaneous trinkets, photos, bins stuffed with toys for the grandkids; statements of lives filled with children.

Then came the food. Throughout the week there were caramel rolls, burgers, whole milk, casseroles, ice cream… the list goes on. To be fair, our family may have splurged on some things because Schofie and I were there. However, the change from my ritual of mostly raw eating throughout the day was brought to halt.

I realized just how deep-seeded my sense of self – my thought process – revolves around food. The thought of eating a cheesy casserole? And seeing mayonnaise on the counter? Above all, not knowing how the food was cooked was throwing me into a panic attack. I grew overwhelmed, claustrophobic, and was starting to sweat.

I have worked so hard to lose the accumulated 52 lbs. of fat off my body, that high-fat foods I once found so delicious are now taboo to me. It was so frustrating because I knew that these foods were being served out of love and caring for us, yet I was in conflict with myself. Do I eat this out of politeness, so long as they don’t have meat? Or do I politely say, “No, thank you.”? I know that on a rare, special occasion, eating Monkey Bread wont kill me, but my mind was telling me it would. I had to get out of the house.

We decided to go grocery shopping and get some soy milk, fresh spinach, apples, oranges, carrots – beautiful, vibrant, stereotypically Rhed foods, and eventually I calmed down. I was brought back to my comfort zone, and oh what a truly wonderful place that was! Yet I pondered why this had upset me so. After all, this was just food. I was making a huge deal in my mind out of something very small in the grand scheme of things. Yes, health and wellness are incredibly important and something I love to talk about and dwell on… but does that give me the right to be a snob about my lifestyle?

People do not generally switch their lifestyles overnight because of statistics, they look at examples. If I am humble about the way I present the fact that I believe in a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, and do not judge others because I believe them to be less healthy, they will be curious on their own.

And they were.

  • My father-in-law very sweetly went and bought me some frozen vegetarian dinners. (I’d never tried those before.) He doesn’t understand why I eat the way I do, but he was trying to be sensitive to it, and I greatly appreciated the effort.
  • For my mothers birthday she asked me to make her some vegetarian pizza, which turned out to be a huge hit, and my meat-eating father chuckled, “This is really good!”.
  • My brother-in-law tried a slice of Gourmet Vegetarian pizza from Papa Murphy’s and said, “If Vegetarian’s eat like this all the time, you might just convince me to stop eating meat…”
  • My sister-in-law sat me down with the family and said, “So, explain to me how you eat. Your lifestyle. You look great!”

Wow! How humbled and grateful I was! By relaxing in my approach to food for a week, and explaining what I was making for them was a treat, I was able to have the chance to explain the wonders of raw food and people were interested of their own accord. So, thank you family, for a lesson learned, and for being open to new ideas.

For I too was once in your position.

Stay Tuned for Part 2!

“VACATION:Ten Tips for Staying True to Health”

Live Raw.

I don’t know if you’re eating your fruits and veggies only when you’re forced to.

I don’t know if you only eat them when you’re trying to drop a few pounds.

Or maybe you’re like me and working towards 100% Raw…

Wherever you are in your journey, just take a moment to look at how exquisite health is:

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WE’RE STARTIN’ TO SMOLDER – RENOVATION STYLE!

Sometimes, you just need a little lift. 

Something that pushes you. Excites you. 

It’s like when I was a kid and my mom would re-paint her bedroom, and re-tile her bathroom, and  re-decorate every month… or when she’d hold out for the Estee Lauder deal where she buys foundation and gets the extra crap included. Sometimes, we all need to feel a little extra sparkle. So, welcome to the new Incense and Sounds. It’s sharper, hopefully a little more organized, and quite frankly, I love it.

What do you think? 

Like the layout? Hate it? Comment below. 

Got a new Vegan/Vegetarian recipe you want to share? Hit me up! Rhed’s got her renovatin’ pants on and things are gonna get interesting…We’re about to make some changes around here folks, so stay tuned!

PEACE, LOVE, and of course, Estee Lauder freebees.

Resolve: Stop Being So Critical of Ourselves

I find this absolutely breath-taking. Acknowledge today just how lovely your body truly is.

Deana O'Hara - Speaker, Comedian, Author

This video was shared on Tulsa Diva’s today — I have to share it with you guys. As women we are sometimes our own worst critics. I love this.

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Get Up and Off Your You-Know-What! 10 Tips to Help You Find Your Motivation

Today I did NOT want to work out. At all.

Where I live it was raining, and cold, and I just wanted to cuddle with a blanket, eat some Endangered Species chocolate and watch Mad Men.

We all have those days though, don’t we? Those days when we can come up with every excuse not to eat healthy/exercise/ clean our temple. (Or clean the house for that matter.) I have been rather discouraged about my fitness goals this last week, and lacking motivation in general. Here are some tips that helped me to get up off my you-know-what, when everything else was telling me not to. Maybe we can motivate each other?

1.MUSIC

Turn it up! Blast that stereo with some beats. I know that when I pop in some good tunes,within seconds my foot’s tappin’ the beat, and the rest of me is wanting to move along. I always run harder, and push farther when there’s a great song playing.

2. PHOTOS

There are tons of motivational pictures of fit people out there. Every time I look at a really fit body it reminds me of the beauty of health and wellness.  

3. FRIEND

Grab a friend and get moving. Whenever I exercise with my husband (or anyone really) I get competitive and want to keep up with, or surpass him. I find myself smashin’ out that extra rep when I probably otherwise wouldn’t have.

4. GOAL

Don’t have a fitness goal? Get one! (Yeah,that’s right. I said that in my Woody from Toy Story voice.)

Focus on that goal, because the only one who can keep you from it is yourself.

5. STRESS

So many times I come home from work and I’ve had a stressful day and don’t feel like working out. Instead of sitting on the couch with potato chips, do some High Intensity Interval Training and punch your imaginary foes in the face. Or chill out with some yoga that will calm your mind.

6. FUN

Find something you enjoy. My husband and I have taken up hiking as our hobby and “connecting time”. We don’t even notice that we are burning calories when we’re chatting and just loving being in nature alone together.

7. ENCOURAGE

Encourage yourself. Give yourself a pep-talk. Deep down, you know that you can do this. You know that you have the inner strength to push through the pain. Tell yourself that, over and over if you have to. (I know I do.)

8. REWARD

Use fitness as a reward. I didn’t start to really love fitness until I saw it as a reward for my body, instead of a punishment. Now all day long I try to remind myself that when I get home I get the reward of a good endorphin rush after a sweat session.

9. NETWORK

Get online and check out fitness sites like this or this. They’re free, and full of people who want to encourage you to get fit and healthy.

10. LOVE

If you love others, and if you love yourself, you’ll want to be the best you that you can be. Think of your significant other, your kids, your family and friends, and be selfless. Give them, and yourself, the gift of a healthy you.

Annnd just because I love you, here’s one more tip…

11. ZOMBIE

Yeah, you heard me. They’re coming. Run.

Going…Raw Vegan? Day Five. My Conclusion.

DAY FIVE.

It’s here.

Here’s what I ate today:

Breakfast:

Half of one Honey Dew

Mid-morning snack:

Apple

Lunch:

Half of one Honey Dew

Kiwi

Supper:

Two Apples

This work-week has been quite the journey. I’ve leaned a lot about myself, and those around me. It amazes me just how tied to certain foods cultures are. Food is a necessity for life, and yet it is intimately connected in communion with others. This week, through trying a raw vegan lifestyle, I have had a shift in perspective about what I consume, and it seems others’ perspective of me has changed as well. People this week have told me that this lifestyle is ‘not practical’, ‘safe’, or ‘healthy’. Some have considered it downright stupid. Others have been very encouraging and open-minded, even though they are living a totally different lifestyle, and may not fully understand.

Food is the ultimate ‘tie that binds’. It brings all living things together, in the instinct to sate our hunger.

The beautiful thing, is that everyday you have the ability to make a choice of what you consume. When I became a vegetarian at the age of sixteen, it was because I realized that God had given me all the resources to get the nutrients I need, without harming an animal. I knew that being a vegetarian was the best choice for me. I also knew that passing judgement on others because they ate meat, was not acceptable. What people choose to consume is just that, their choice.

So I give you, Dear One, my thoughts on the benefits and difficulties of this lifestyle. You decide what to do with this information.

Cons:

1. A Raw Vegan lifestyle is expensive. Mainly because fruit is expensive, and since my husband wasn’t doing this with me, we spent far more on our groceries this week than we normally do.

2. Detox is hard. I’m not going to lie, there were moments when I was so tempted to cave because I was tired of ‘sweet’ things.

3. Some people thought I was doing something wrong. They told me just why I should include meat and dairy in my diet. Which is fine, I don’t mind people’s opinions, but sometimes judgement gets old.

Pros:

1. Living a Raw Vegan lifestyle detoxified my body.

2. I have incredible amounts of energy.

3. I have very little, if any, dishes to clean.

4. I can eat as much as I want. (Which truly was my draw to this!)

5. There are many resources for strong communities of Raw Vegans who want to help each other succeed. This helped me immensely to stay focused, and driven.

6. I lost 4lbs in five days, and  I probably would have lost more, if I had eaten more.

7. I got to try new varieties of fruits and veggies I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

8. *TMI alert* Digestion this week has been fabulous. Can I just say, my number 2’s have been lovely.

9. I learned what kinds of fruits and veggies taste amazing together, and got to try new recipes.

10. People have told me that they have been encouraged, through seeing my healthy habits, to eat healthier themselves.

There you go, Friends. My pro’s. My cons. I hope you enjoyed this last week! If you’ve any questions, comment below.

Peace and Love!

Rhed

Going…Raw Vegan? Day Three

Day Three:

Whoa Bananas. Seriously. May I never eat such things again.

Don’t get me wrong, I love nanners. I wish I could eat them all the time. Today I just made a STUPID choice.

I came to the conclusion a few months ago that I am allergic to bananas. I never was officially checked with a doctor, I just knew that every time I ate one, I got sick and lost my cookies, well… you-know-what. I would get racked with pain, the sweats, the whole nine yards. I just thought that maybe I got sick because I was eating more fiber than my body was used to. Then when I went to Whole Foods this last weekend and was skimming the produce section, my eyes came upon the golden bunches of joy. I thought, “Surely I will have a ton of fiber this week, and my body will be fine!”

Not the case.

How I felt after a few bites.

How I felt after a few bites.

Soooooooo yeah. Here’s the synopsis:

Breakfast:

Apple

Mid-morning Snack:

Banana (and there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth)

Lunch:

2 apples

peanut butter

almonds

Supper:

Pineapple

There was quite a significant time gap between the banana and lunch. I actually had to leave work it was so bad. But… lesson learned I guess. Everything else was delicious. The pineapple especially was quite tasty, but my teeth and for whatever reason my tongue (???), were really sensitive afterwards. As the week progresses, I feel like going vegan officially would be rather easy. Its going 100% raw I am finding difficult. I just really miss hot food, especially in the evenings. I think its because I have a habit formed where I eat a salad for lunch, and the evening meal is always cooked. And when I find something I like, I like it and I don’t like to change. On the plus side, I have reached a huge personal accomplishment this week! I had been at a plateau in my weight-loss where I would gravitate between a couple pounds, and now I have broken the plateau and I’m losing again! I sort of feel like I’ve been on a juicing cleanse, I guess. I’m sure it’s water-weight I’m losing, but hey, the hydration this week has been great.

Peace, and may your bananas always agree with you.