Healing Journey Six Week Update

Six weeks ago yesterday I made deliberate choices that set me on a new path. Inspired by Anthony William’s book, Medical Medium, I switched to a raw plant based diet for 28 days. I am two weeks beyond the end of that cleanse, and I have chosen to continue on with what I have come to think of as my healing journey.

The desire to heal was my motivation for the changes I’ve made…heal from chronic pain and decreasing use of my legs, after a car accident 21 years ago. The benefits from this new way of eating have gone way beyond improved functionality and lessened pain. I gave a four week update. However, I’ve continued to discover areas of healing. So a another update tonight, and answers to frequently asked questions. 

Although I am no longer eating just raw food, I have continued on a plant based diet, which now includes cooked veggies and brown rice. For a short time I used the word Vegan to describe my current lifestyle, but the words plant based seem to not illicit the shocked looks that I was getting. I am still avoiding meat, dairy, sugar, soy, corn, eggs and gluten. I will continue to do so. I basically eat whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. If my food doesn’t come from a plant, I don’t eat it! 

Answers to questions that I’m being asked:

No, it has not been hard for me to switch to a plant based diet. I don’t miss the foods that I used to eat. I have no cravings. There is such a vast variety of fruits and vegetables available to eat that I am never bored with my meals. 

Yes, I am getting enough to eat and getting all the protein and nutrients that I require. I can eat as much as I want, as long as it’s plant based. I’ve researched fruits and vegetables (Anthony has a new book on foods coming out in Nov that will be extremely helpful for this and he posts daily on social media about the healing benefits of different foods) and I know what foods to include daily to get enough protein. Fruits and veggies are nutrient dense foods, and much healthier choices than the foods I used to consume. 

Yes, I plan to eat this way the rest of my life. 

No, I don’t feel deprived. Why not? Because the health benefits of eating this way encourages me to keep  going. 

And here is what an average day’s meals looks like:

Celery juice first thing every morning. 

Breakfast smoothie made from fresh fruit. This one is a banana, peach, strawberry smoothie. 

Lunch is a simple, raw salad such as this grapefruit, avocado delight. 

Afternoon  snack is fresh fruit, such as watermelon. 

Dinner is a bowl of cooked and raw veggies with brown rice. 

I finish the day with a cup of hot herbal tea and a small snack if I’m hungry. That might be raw fresh fruit, celery, dates or a handful of unsalted cashews. 

Questions about what I actually eat are my most frequent inquiries. Trust me, I am eating well and loving what I eat. I have a very healthy relationship with my food. 

And I am healthier in my body, remarkably so. I posted previously that allergies and headaches are gone, along with indigestion, aches and pains, and sleeplessness. I have high energy. And best of all, the pain in my lower back and legs  is gone, as is most of the stiffness and swelling in my left leg. I have more flexibilty and I can walk and climb stairs more easily. I continue to feel improvement daily in my left leg, and I am so grateful. 

Just yesterday I realized improvements in two other areas. I’ve had a rash on the back of my left arm for most of my life…little clusters of bumps. They are gone. And as I listened to Anthony’s radio program yesterday, about the damage that the strep virus causes in the body, I had another aha. He was sharing that we usually encounter strep as a child and suffer with sore throats, ear infections and sinus problems. He mentioned that one symptom of continued strep infection is tinnitus, or ringing in the ears. 

I’ve had severe tinnitus since childhhod. As he was talking, I suddenly realized I couldn’t hear that ever present ringing. When did my ears change? After the radio show ended, I plugged my ears with my fingers, listening. There is still a faint ringing…but it is much more quiet in there! I am still amazed. 

My healing journey continues on. I am learning so much about myself, about healthy eating, about what is possible for me as I heal. I appreciate what Anthony said at the close of his program yesterday. He isn’t trying to make anyone do anything. He is sharing information. And letting each person respond…or not…as they desire. 

I am not trying to convince anyone to change his or her diet either. The way I feel, and the knowledge I now have, would benefit others greatly. Who wouldn’t want to feel this good? However, this is a choice I have made. I willingly share my experiences in case someone else is searching for answers, like I was, and holding on to the hope that they can heal. 

I can’t make choices for others. I can only walk my journey…my healing journey…and show what is possible. I can be light. 


Movie Review: Mr Holmes

I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan, having read the stories and seen most of the film and television adaptations. And I am an admirer of the legendary actor, Ian McKellen, known for his portrayal of Gandalf in the Middle Earth movies. When I saw Ian’s recent release, Mr Holmes, available on Amazon Video, I declared this evening a movie night. 

Mr Holmes stars Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hattie Morahan and Patrick Kennedy. This drama/mystery was directed by Bill Condon and carries a PG rating for mature themes and incidental smoking. The film has a run time of 1 hour and 44 minutes. 

Set in 1947, London’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes (McKellen) has long been in retirement. After his last case, he removed himself from the public’s attention and pleas for help, settling in a remote village in Sussex. He resides there with his housekeeper, Mrs Munro (Linney) and her young son, Roger (Parker). His only other companions are his cherished bees. 

Holmes returns from a long and exhausting journey to Japan, where he spent time with a Mr Umezaki (Sanada). Holmes sought Japan’s elusive Prickly Ash to bring home, hopeful that the plant has curative properties. Mr Umezaki  ultimately sought answers to lifelong questions about his father’s disappearance in England. Mr Holmes, at least, was succesful in his quest. 

At home, Holmes is weary. At the age of 93, he desires peace and the comforts of his bees and his studies. But his last case haunts and perplexes him. He becomes obsessed with the case again and takes to writing down the facts, as he remembers them. Holmes finds that the boy, Roger, is bright and interested in learning about beekeeping. And he discovers that having conversations with Roger helps him remember details from the case that so consumes him. 

In well done flashbacks, the old case is recounted, memory by memory. Holmes was hired by Thomas Kelmot (Kennedy) to discover what is going on with his wife, Ann (Morahan), who grief stricken over the loss of two infants, appears to be going mad. Umezaki’s story is interwoven with the past and the present, showing the connectedness and flow of Holmes’ life. 

As Holmes relies on facts and logic to piece together his last mystery, an enemy more deadly than Moriarty stalks him. 

This was a beautifully done film that I enjoyed immensely. Ian McKellen was superb as the 93 year old Holmes in his twilight years, and as the 62 year old version of himself, shown in the backstory, working through his last case. Laura Linney and Milo Parker gave warm and soulful performances as well. 

I could not separate out Gandalf from Holmes, so I gave in and let this be the wise wizard from Middle Earth pretending to be Sherlock Holmes. Ian’s voice, his words, even his non-verbal vocalizations all sounded like Gandalf. And the older Holmes poignantly reminded me of Greg’s dad, Bob, who passed away last year at age 94. This Holmes, with his grace, wit and logic, was an interesting mix to me of Gandalf, Sherlock and Bob Moore. I did not mind that combination at all. 

In fact, I was deeply moved by this movie. I smiled, I laughed, I teared up. Who was Sherlock Holmes, really? Who was the man behind the stories that John Watson wrote for a curious audience? And are facts and logic enough to sustain a man, especially as he faces his mortality? 

Good questions for any journeyer to ask. I loved this movie. At the end I smiled through tears and clapped. I found myself missing Gandalf, missing Bob Moore…and earnestly hoping that Ian McKellen graces us with his presence for a long time yet.  

Mercy Park

After a fun and full weekend, I felt like taking a stroll today at sunset. This time of year, the air loses its heat as the sun sinks in the west. I longed for beauty and fresh air and reflection. 

Yesterday the city of Joplin opened a new park. I’ve driven by this development almost daily for months, watching as the park took shape. This evening I wanted to visit Mercy Park and walk around the small, newly created lake. 

Five years ago this land was part of the St John’s Hospital complex. On May 22, 2011 the hospital was in the path of the massive tornado that swept through Joplin. The hospital was destroyed, along with much of the medical community. 

The hospital, renamed Mercy, rebuilt in a new location south of Joplin. They donated the land to the city. A new elementary school was built on the southern section, to replace two that were lost. The second project was a pavilion atop a knoll, situated in the exact spot that the hospital chapel once occupied. Phase three has been the construction of Mercy Park, complete with a walking trail, a lake, fountains and benches placed strategically to enjoy the view and invite quiet reflection. 

It was, indeed, a gorgeous evening for a walk in a new location. Other people had the same idea. Greg joined me and we shared the walking path with joggers and kids and young couples pushing strollers. My eyes were drawn repeatedly to the water, with its twin fountains sending water high into the air. And to the red sun as it sank into a bank of thunderheads to the west. 

After walking the loop, including the bridges that span the water, we climbed the stairs to Mercy Chapel. It was serene there, and the view was spectacular. Lights were coming on across the city as darkness fell. Below was the newly opened park and across the street, the beautifully reborn Cunningham Park with its playgrounds and memorials. 

I enjoyed walking at Mercy Park. There is still work to be completed. And a butterfy mural will soon adorn a large wall. But what a gorgeous place…beauty from ashes, a sanctuary of healing again. I will return here often. 

The Celebration Test

Today I enjoyed being with family in Oklahoma, in honor of my great nephew, Kaleb. On his actual birthdate I featured a blog post about this charming five year. On this beautiful Saturday, I had the opportunity to be with Kaleb in a day long celebration. 

Being away from home has its challenges on a plant based diet. It requires planning and preparation. I had my morning celery juice before leaving the house. Breakfast smoothies travel well in a plastic cup. I drank a banana, peach, strawberry one on the way. And I carried in my own food. I knew there would be birthday cake ahead to tempt me!

Kaleb watching for me to arrive. He is such a sweet boy. 

You see, today was a test for me. So many of our celebrations involve food. And there is nothing wrong with that. We eat to rejoice, to honor someone, to mark a special occasion. And we also eat to comfort ourselves, ease boredom, and relieve stress. On this journey I am changing my relationship with food. I am focusing on eating to nourish my body with the healthiest of food choices, so that I feel my best. Right now, I eat to heal. I was curious to see if I could skip the cake today, without compromising the celebration. 

My sister Debbie and niece Ashley helped by serving fresh fruits and veggies as snacks. What an encouragement! It wasn’t difficult to have a salad for lunch, and at the end of our day together, have a plain baked potato with green beans at a restaurant. 

When Happy Birthday was sung, the candles blown out and the cake cut, I could rejoice in the blessing that is Kaleb, and pass on the cake and ice cream. Instead, I arranged my afternoon treat of an apple, celery sticks and dates on a brightly colored Pokemon party plate, and enjoyed it. The cake was adorable…and did not tempt me at all.  

It’s not willpower that carried me through. It is the desire to feel good and live in a healthy, pain free body that guides my choices. And it helped that I planned ahead and had a suitable treat to snack on while others had cake. 

My take away from today was that celebrations are about the people involved, not the food. I had fun with Kaleb and the rest of the family…playing, chatting and laughing…and the birthday boy didn’t care at all whether I had a piece of cake, or not. What mattered to Kaleb was that I was present, and spent time with him. 

I passed the celebration test today. I can do this, without offending anyone or compromising my healing journey. This is good to know. My younger daughter is getting married in October. And I will be there to celebrate!

Rosemary’s Tale

I love rosemary. I am drawn to displays of this fragrant herb at garden centers, where I pause to inhale the fresh, pungent scent. However, I have discovered that rosemary is not the easiest plant to grow. 

My younger daughter Adriel gifted me with a beautiful rosemary plant almost six years ago, at Christmas time. The herb had been trimmed to resemble a Christmas tree. It thrived for a while, and then began to die back. I managed to start new growth from that plant, by rooting a sprig in water. 

After I moved back into the house, post tornado, that healthy young plant was transplanted into a pot that then graced my baker’s rack on the front deck. The rosemary flourished there in warmer months and wintered indoors, becoming a large, lush plant. 

As I created my backyard garden, I included an apothecary section, full of herbs. This part of the garden is next to the brickio and I love sitting there, surrounded by the alluring scents of growing herbs. My rosemary plant was lovingly tucked into the ground, to grow and scent the air and flavor my food and teas. 

Except it hasn’t turned out quite that way. The rosemary plant thrived its first summer. However, when this perennial returned the next spring, it struggled to survive. The plant appeared puny and straggly. I had to purposefully search for the rosemary to find it among healthy herbs such as chives, lavendar and lemon balm. 

It was a fighter though, clinging to life, managing to survive its second summer. I didn’t expect to see the rosemary plant return this past spring. And yet, amazingly, the little plant that would not give up pushed through the ground. It lived! I was delighted. Although still small compared to its previous size, the rosemary is healthy, vibrantly green and oh so fragrant. 

Tonight, for the first time, I had rosemary tea. I felt like the plant is strong enough that I could gather a few sprigs without jeopardizing its well being. Rosemary tea helps support the digestive system, improves cognitive function and is a powerful antioxidant, protecting the body from heart disease and cancer. And it smells wonderful as it is steeping. 

After steeping in very hot water for 15 minutes, I sipped on my first cup of rosemary tea. It tastes as rich as it smells. The hot liquid soothed me after a busy day at the end of a busy week. It is the perfect accompaniment to creative coloring in my Doctor Who coloring book. 

I am grateful that this little shrubby herb has survived. I could have ripped it out of the ground and purchased a new plant. But this particular rosemary has a history with me. It has a story, a tale of new beginnings, nurturing and survival. Rosemary is staying with me. 

Does This Bring Me Joy?

I had the privilege this afternoon of picking up my granddaughter Aubrey from school, as she nears the end of her first full week of second grade. This precocious child always makes me laugh, and think, in turns, as she unabashedly shares her views about the world. 

Aubrey returned with me to the Keller Williams Realty office, after selecting a drink and a snack, while I completed the day’s work. She is a friendly girl, and she chatted easily with Doris Carlin, founder of our local Keller Williams market center, and with agents and staff, showing everyone her extremely loose front tooth. She asked questions and answered questions, and she was so considerate and thoughtful that I complimented Aubrey on her politeness. 

She leaned toward me and whispered, “Enjoy it, Yaya, because I can’t say how long this is going to last.” 

That’s Aubrey, ever forthright and authentic! 

My work completed, Aubrey requested that we participate in a tradition that we observe every year at this time…checking out potential gifts for her birthday in October. I allowed my granddaughter to take the lead at Toys R Us, wandering up and down the colorful, toy packed aisles, while I followed, snapping pics of the items that interested her. 

This is what I found insightful about watching Aubrey: when something caught her eye…and let’s face it, she’s seven years old…most everything caught her eye…she paused to pick up the toy or game and hold it. If the object was too large to hold, she touched it. After a few moments of careful consideration, she announced, “This rings my bell.”  And I took a picture of the toy. Or she said, “This doesn’t ring my bell.” And back on the shelf the item went, without a photo taken, and she moved on. 

Anyone who has read the best selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, will recognize what Aubrey is doing as she holds each item. She’s checking to see if the object brings her joy. Without being taught, and having never read the book, Aubrey is sensing whether the toy that she desires is in alignment with her, or not. Does it bring her joy? I take a pic of a potential gift. No joy, even if it looks appealing? Move on. 

Watching Aubrey, I realized that many people go through the same process. Finding something that we are drawn to, whether it is a scarf, a bottle of nail polish, or a book, we pick up the item to examine it more closely. Or are we, consciously or subconsciously, handling the object, checking to see if it brings us joy? 

I know now that I do what Aubrey does. I’m giving the item the joy test, and allowing what I feel to help me make a decision. She has enough openness and awareness to use this technique naturally and easily, stating her preferences as ringing…or not ringing…her bell. 

I enjoyed observing this soulful girl as she moved about the store. I captured her chosen toys with my phone’s camera. And I listened to her happy chatter. She’s reached an age where other factors are beginning to influence her final decisions, such as value. She’s more aware of the cost of what she desires, and she carefully weighs that cost against the perceived joy the toy will bring. 

I heard her mutter several times that the toy “wasn’t worth the cost”. And while that shift could be seen as maturity, a part of me was sad that she is already moving beyond letting simple joy guide her. Ah, sweet Aubrey, hold on to your ability to recognize what brings you joy, and what doesn’t. Keep trusting yourself and your instincts. They won’t lead you astray. 

And know this, Dear Heart, you ring my bell. You bring me joy. 

Happy Birthday Kaleb

Today my great-nephew Kaleb turned five years old! I’ll be attending his birthday party Saturday in Oklahoma and celebrating with him. On his actual birthdate, though, I am celebrating Kaleb with words. 

This bright and beautiful boy is the younger son of my niece Ashley and her husband Jon. Kaleb shares a house with his parents, an older brother Ethan, whom he adores, and his Meem, my sister Debbie, whom he also adores. In fact, Kaleb is very family oriented, affectionate and loving with his immediate family and his large, extended family. He loves to cuddle and talk, a very endearing trait that I hope he’s slow to grow out of. 

I looked up Kaleb’s name:

“Kaleb, you are cheerful and friendly and good natured. You are a good conversationalist and can express yourself joyously and constructively. You seldom worry over anything. At times, you can be impatient, and act impulsively. You have the ability to think in big ways because you are bold, independent and inquisitive. You have a strong intuitive nature. 

You seek freedom and look for opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest. You desire to go places and to do great things. You are very adventurous and willing to take risks to achieve your objectives. New experiences won’t satisfy your restless nature for long. One adventure will lead you to another. You are honest and fair, because you know that this is the only way to receive justice and honesty from other people. Your personal growth is vital to you, and it is difficult to be tied down by rules and obligations. Your restless spirit might lead you into a field of work that meets your demand for action and adventure.

Those are very big words to describe a child who just entered kindergarten. And yet I see the truth contained within, like the potential curled inside a seed. As he grows, Kaleb will manifest those adventurous charecteristics. He’s wise, for his years, an old soul, a kindred  spirit to me. Who he is will become more and more evident in time and he will have much to offer to the world. 

His cheerful and friendly demeanor is obvious now. He is a big thinker, intuitive and inquisitive. And in ways most people would not comprehend, he is an adventurer, a seeker, deep and mysterious, yet playful and comical. 

He is uniquely Kaleb. He knows who he is. He knows who he is here to journey with. He is content to let his life unfold. The path he chooses will be a grand adventure indeed. I’m grateful I get to walk alongside him and hear his stories and watch him grow. 

Happy birthday, Kaleb. I love you! 

Super Bowls

I realized this evening that all of my meals today were nestled within a bowl. I started my morning with my usual celery juice, consumed from a glass, however from that point forward, bowls held my food. 

I tried a smoothie bowl for the first time this morning. I have a fruit smoothie every day for breakfast. It is convenient to take my morning smoothie with me if I have early appointments. Today I had time to sample the smoothie in a fresh way, as I’ve seen pictured on Instagram. I appreciate the community of health conscious sojourners that encourage one another on that social media site.  (Connect with me there. I’m cindylauderdalemoore)

After blending  together a banana, peach and wild blueberries, I poured the mixture into a bowl. That’s the smoothie part. I added sliced banana, sliced strawberries, more blueberries and chia seeds. This was an excellent cold and fruity breakfast, eaten with a spoon. What I will love about this treat is the huge variety of  bowls possible. And creating breakfast in this way engages my creative side. I can make the meal pretty. 

Lunch was a fresh salad in a bowl…tomatos, cucumber, carrots, celery and avocado on a bed of mixed greens. The salad dressing I made yesterday was a tasty addition to my salad. I didn’t snap a picture. 

This evening I enjoyed another meal in a bowl. Commonly called a Buddha bowl or hippie bowl (my favorite term!), this is a simple and nutritious meal. Like the smoothie bowl, there are endless possibilities for combining raw and cooked food to create a healthy and appealing meal. 

I filled my bowl with brown rice, stir fried veggies left over from last night, black beans and fresh diced tomatoes. This colorful meal tasted as good as it looked. The simplicity of the food and the preparation of it created a deep awareness of how I am nuturing myself. 

Because it is important to me, I looked up the symbolism of the bowl. The bowl symbolizes receptivity, wisdom and the gift of seeing the bigger picture. A bowl of food represents the ability to nurture and sustain myself and others. 

I love that. Nurturing and sustaining myself and others is perfectly aligned with my healing journey. The bowl just became my favorite way to enjoy a meal. I feel inspired to collect a few more interesting bowls to dine from. 

Healthy Alternative to Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is an American “thing”. While I was in Scotland, the waiters would wrinkle up their noses and make sounds of disgust if I asked for this kind of salad dressing. Here we slather it on our salads and dip veggies, french fries and fish into it. Although I like ranch dressing, it is most definitely not a healthy choice for me.  

The white dressing so many love is full of dairy products and sugar and non food additives with strange names like  Disodium Phosphate and Sorbic Acid.  I don’t want that stuff in my healing body. Yet I confess, I have missed the dressing. I was thrilled, therefore, to find a real food, dairy free, sugar free ranch dressing that I could easily make fresh at home. 

This recipe is from findyourbalancehealth.com 

I started the cashews soaking last night. Today I drained and rinsed the nuts and combining all of the ingredients in the blender, mixed until smooth. 

The dressing/dip smelled wonderful, thanks to the dill. But how would a dressing with cashews as its base taste? 

I chilled the mixture for a couple of hours. While I was chopping veggies for a simple stir fry tonight, I sampled the ranch dressing, scooping it up with baby carrots. It was wonderful! The freshly squeezed lemon juice and dill blended to create a savory, tangy dressing. I never would have guessed that there were cashews in the mix, if I had not made the dressing. I couldn’t taste cashews at all. 

I love this real food ranch dressing, that is full of flavor and goodness, without additives or any of the foods on my “no” list. I look forward to trying it with my lunch salad tomorrow and discovering other uses for it as a dipping sauce. 

Home made roasted potato fries, anyone? 

Paradise Found

The mild temperatures and golden sunshine lured me out into the garden this afternoon. My backyard paradise is shifting into fall, as evidenced by tassels appearing on the grasses and the blooms fading on most of the flowers. However, there is beauty to be found in the garden during all seasons. I was happy to grab a bucket and pull weeds. 

Working in the garden fills me with peace and quiet joy. I walk through the garden at least once a day, checking plants, watering or plucking sprigs of herbs for tea. After planting in containers in the spring and freshening mulch, the only other arduous task is staying ahead of the weeds that like to pop up amidst my herbs and flowers. Although a thick layer of cedar mulch helps to keep weeds down, about once a month I work my way through the beds, pulling weeds. 

It’s beneficial to the garden to eliminate weeds. If allowed to grow, they compete with my plants for water, nutrients and sunshine, creating a less than optimal environment for growth. As pulled up these intruders and dropped them into my bucket, I couldn’t help but think about how I am doing the same in my life. 

I choose to eliminate things from my environment that are not optimal for my growth either. This includes negative people and situations, clutter and toxic or unhealthy foods that compromise my health. Just as pulling weeds creates space around the plants, I’m creating space in my life by removing the things that crowd me or bring dis-ease. My garden is flourishing with such care..,and so am I!

Pulling weeds is therapeutic, allowing energy and thoughts to flow. And it brings me close to the plants and the earth as I search among foliage for interlopers. Today I discovered surprised tucked among the flowers, treasures that delighted me. 

This time of year it’s common to find volunteer plants that have matured from seeds sown from nearby flowers. I didn’t plant those seeds. Nature did. I liked coming across unexpected plants today. There were new portulaca (moss roses) near the Peace Gate…one with hot pink and orange blooms and one that sported only white flowers. 

The surprise tomato plant is healthy and sprawled along the ground near the fence. It is covered in green fruit that appears to be cherry tomatos. I suspect this plant came into my garden by way of a bird flying by overhead. The Divine knew before I did, apparently, the important role that veggies would play in my near future!

And near the brickio, actually even on the brick patio, self seeded firework flowers are blooming. I’ve been watching these grow, and decided to leave them alone. They are such cheerful flowers, and so easy to start from seeds, obviously. I sat on the brickio, sipping tea, and the sight of these bright pink and yellow flowers made me smile. 

The best part about working in the garden today was the way my body felt. The healing going on within manifested outwardly as ease of movement. I felt lean, flexible and strong. I stooped, bent, lifted and tugged on weeds without pain in my lower back or legs. I even perched on my low-to-the-ground gardening stool and was able to get up without strange looking contortions. Okay, maybe minor contortions, but again, without pain. I am confident that I will continue to heal and I’ll soon be able to stand up easily and smoothly from a crouched position. 

As I surveyed my work, and wiped sweat from my brow, I felt euphoric there in my garden. It was paradise, indeed.