Archive for April, 2011

April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

by Zen Gray

Happy Birthday!For the past couple years, I’ve been telling myself that I’m forty so I wouldn’t freak out when the actual day came.

Last night at 11:18am, my parents called to sing “Happy Birthday!” to me like they do every year. (It was 1:18am where they live… the exact moment I was born forty years ago.) I laughed, thanked my parents, told them I loved them and hung up. Then I turned to David and said, “I’m no longer thirty-something…” and my eyes began to tear up.

I’m not sure why I got emotional. Perhaps it’s because I thought my life would be very different. I remember putting “over the hill” signs on our front lawn when my dad turned forty. He was so old! I don’t feel old at all. And I always thought I’d have the house and kids by now, too. It’s just different than I thought… but in many ways, my life is so much better than I expected.

I have a wonderful fiance who loves me, makes me laugh, goes dancing with me and supports me. We have an amazing puppy that is so sweet, happy, obedient and house trained. My career is fulfilling and full of opportunities. My friends and family are healthy and I’m incredibly lucky to live someplace beautiful and sunny most of the year. Life’s pretty great… so what’s with the water works?

It’s no secret that most women like to hide their age. We certainly want to look and feel as young as possible. Perhaps it’s the Hollywood thing, too. Most actresses I know lie about their age simply because it could help their chances of getting a killer role. I get it.

Demi over 40 looks gorgeous!

But wouldn’t it be great if we all fessed up and said, “Hey, this is what forty looks like!” I know plenty of hot sixty-year-olds so I know it’s possible to have a great ass no matter how old I get. Plus, I’m thankful for all the laser advancements and cosmetic beauty pioneers like Cher and Demi. I’m not sayin’ I’m getting some work done… I’m just happy there are lots of options out there for the possibility of a quick nip n’ tuck if I so choose.

Now that I think about it, when I blow out my candles today I might just end up thinking “Thank You!” instead of making a wish.

Well, I’ve got to get ready for the incredibly sophisticated day I have planned… I’m off to Disneyland!

Wishing YOU a wonderful day full of love,

~Zen

Miley and Cher both look hot.

Miley and Cher both look hot.

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April 26, 2011

Gallstone (& Kidney Stone) Cleanse Videos

by Zen Gray
April 24, 2011

HAPPY EASTER!

by Zen Gray

Happy Easter!  Most people who celebrate Easter will enjoy a little candy today and I think that’s totally fine. However, I think it’s important to have lean protein and veggies in the house to start the day off right tomorrow.

David and I have already taken puppy to the dog park this morning and walked to Starbucks to get a chocolate croissant. We’re getting together with family later and I’m pretty sure that ham and deviled eggs will be on the menu. I’ve tried to drink lots of water today and I’ve already got the eggs, green powder, chicken breasts and broccoli ready for tomorrow so we’re back on the health wagon immediately. A little planning always helps me from going astray for too long.

Along those lines, I just got a book from Amazon yesterday and I’m so excited to read it: Tim Ferriss’s “The Four Hour Body”. I’m so impressed with his willingness to use himself as a guinea pig for all of his experiments and the guy’s just a genius. I’m sure he’ll have some great ideas and it looks like he’s consulted with a ton of doctors and other health experts.  The unresponsiveness of my fitness coach is frustrating me so I’m using this book at as catalyst to find new guidance and inspiration.

Looks like we’re off to the egg hunt… HAPPY EASTER!four hour body

April 21, 2011

Gallbladder Cleanse – Follow Up

by Zen Gray

I thought I should add one more blog entry to the Gallbladder Cleanse because I saw a big difference on the 5th day — the day AFTER I finished the cleanse. I woke up and drank 16oz water, worked out for an hour and drank another 16oz of water before planning to eat breakfast. Almost immediately, I had to boogie over to the bathroom where I noticed a VERY large quantity of stuff (albeit not gemstones) eliminated. Whoa… Harry Winston!!!

In case you haven’t read any of my blogs before, here is a picture of what gallstones look like (not mine):

Many people have these building up inside of them before they ever show symptoms or pain. I know I’ve eaten plenty of fatty foods in my day and I’m happy to do a cleanse JUST IN CASE I could POSSIBLY prevent passing one of these suckers. They’re usually made up of cholesterol, calcium salts and bile pigments and as you can see, they can get quite large.

So, I just had to add my day-after findings because I thought it was significant to keep seeing results even after I finished the cleanse. My sinuses are clearing up, too, so whatever was bothering me was temporary, I guess. And yeah… the tummy is nice and flat after that whole experience. An easy, delicious and cost-effective cleanse even if I only did an ounce of prevention. Just my opinion 🙂

Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have — or contact Dr. Foster on her website discussion board at www.DrFostersEssentials.com.

April 20, 2011

Gallbladder Cleanse – Day 4

by Zen Gray

Last day of the cleanse and I’ve noticed a few things:

  1. My face is stuffy again. (I’m not sure if that’s me getting sick or if it has something to do with the cleanse.)
  2. Legs feel better… no more aching.
  3. Chin and jawline are breaking out. (So are David’s.)
  4. Energy level is pretty good until I do a class… then I’m wiped out.
  5. I’ve lost 2.5 pounds.
  6. I’m not having any sugar cravings.

I have to admit that this was an easier cleanse and I’m sure it’s because we didn’t juice the entire time. Mostly we had the apple juice concoction but we also ate some delicious vegan food from a restaurant around the corner and had some organic fruit. I think the natural sugar from the fruit could be contributing to a sinus infection, if that’s what it is. Perhaps the timing of this cleanse was a little off because I couldn’t tell if I had an allergy or a cold… and then David got sick, too. It’s unclear whether our symptoms are from the cleanse but nothing is too severe so I’m OK with it. I’m confident that I’ll feel better in a day or two. no sugar policy

I’m VERY excited that I’m not having any sugar cravings. (For those of you that have read prior blogs, you know that refined sugar is my vice.) I’m sure it’s because I have been getting natural sugars (fructose) from the apple juice and the fresh fruit we’ve eaten but usually I’ll crave candy and chocolate anyway. I noticed today that the Easter candy aisle at the store had very little affect on me — which is a first. I’m going to try to continue a “no refined sugar” policy even after this cleanse and even on my cheat hour… which we didn’t do this weekend.

I’ve got to edit and post the video blogs that go along with this cleanse tonight… so stay tuned for those. Our Day 4 is the same as Day 3 — except I forgot to take the colon detox caps at noon so that’s probably why my face is breaking out (and maybe why I’m stuffy, too).  Colon Detox caps are supposed to absorb toxins in the intestines so crap isn’t floating around your bloodstream or trying to get eliminated through the skin (like the pretty pimples on my face). I think I’ll up my dosage because I’m probably detoxing a little more on Day 4 than I was before.

One more follow-up tomorrow!

April 19, 2011

Gallbladder Cleanse – Day 3

by Zen Gray

Apparently, I’ve been spelling “Gallbladder” wrong… making it two words when it’s just one. Oops.

Anyway, just wanted to do a little report on Day 3 of the cleanse. My energy level was great all day until after I taught a spin class. I think I just didn’t have enough calories in me although I ate an apple before jumping on the bike. The vegan meal afterward was so satisfying, though, that I felt better immediately after eating. David continued feeling achy yesterday although he said he felt a little better. He can’t tell whether it was because he was sick or if his symptoms were from the cleanse.

On a side note, one of my clients told me yesterday that Gloria Vanderbilt had her gallbladder removed and her gallstones made into a necklace. I’ve been searching for a picture of that this morning, but I can’t find anything on Google to back that up. I have, however, found several pictures of gallstone jewelry that you can get from China. Weird, cool or gross? All of the above, I guess. But the green stones do look pretty, right?

black gallstone neckalcegallstone necklace2

green gallstones

I haven’t been looking too closely to see what’s coming out… but I’m pretty sure I’d notice if sparkly green gems popped out of my butt. I’ve read some accounts of people “blasting” their stool to check out the stones or to have them sent off to be analyzed. I get it, but I’m not that interested in “panning for gold” in my toilet at this point. Perhaps if I were in pain, then I’d be more motivated, but I’m just not.

Still continuing with Colon Detox caps first thing in the morning, then drinking a 1/2 quart of the fresh organic apple juice/tea/Stone Buster concoction throughout the day. Had an apple and a vegan dinner but other than that… I just drank distilled water and took two Vibrant Colon pills with dinner. I only took one dose of Peaceful Nerves all day, too.

David and I were discussing how many people we knew that have had their gallbladders removed and how wrong it seems that everyone is SO YOUNG! Many people have commented on my facebook page that they’ve had their gallbladders removed after giving birth, that birth control pills were a factor, that it was hereditary or that they just ate too many pizzas and burgers. And perhaps this cleanse isn’t enough to save someone’s gallbladder if it’s already full of stones — but for about $100, I’m totally willing to try an ounce of prevention even if it only has a slight chance of helping. Plus Dr. Foster is adamant that cleansing has healed so many of her patients. Why wouldn’t I try this? It’s only 4 days out of my life, it tastes good, and I’m feeling pretty good throughout the process. I’m guessing it’s a lot easier than going through gallbladder surgery and costs a lot less.

Just one more day to go!

April 17, 2011

Gall Bladder Cleanse – Day Two

by Zen Gray

The Vegan JointToday felt better than yesterday – for me. David’s all achy today but I feel fine. We tried this vegan restaurant around the corner called The Vegan Joint and it was pretty awesome. I had tofu tacos and he had a pepper steak wrap made from tofu. I think we were thrilled NOT to be ONLY juicing during this cleanse so that’s why I’m feeling good. The detox can’t be as strong when not juicing… but I’m ok with that. Obviously, it’s still doing something because we’re tired and sleeping a lot this weekend — although, I woke up early this morning to help teach a bootcamp on the beach and I felt energized and alert. (Awesome group, too — about 100 participants this morning!)

We spent the rest of the day just relaxing on the couch and watching movies. (I had to get the latest Harry Potter DVD this weekend. Don’t judge me… I love it.) We had to get more cold pressed organic apple juice, but Whole Foods only had one quart left so we’ll have to venture out again tomorrow.

Tonight, we just put the juice in the glass pitcher, added 4 tbsp of  Stone Dissolve Tea and poured half of the Stone Buster formula to sit over night. We sipped on juice today, enjoyed some tea, ate some new vegan cuisine, and of course had 6 Colon Detox caps this morning and this afternoon and took Vibrant Colon tonight. (David only takes one, I take two.) Before we go to bed, we’ll take 6 more Colon Detox pills with 16 oz of distilled water and then we’ll call it a day.

April 16, 2011

Gall Bladder Cleanse Day One

by Zen Gray

Dr. Foster's EssentialsWe’re coming up on the end of “Day One” of our gall bladder cleanse. I’ve got a slight headache but other than that, I’m feeling ok, which is great since I’ve had either a cold or some kind of allergy this week with my nasal passages all full of gunk. I also had some weird kind of achy leg thing this week and that seems to be dissipating, too. Could be a coincidence, though.

I just did a search for “gallstones” on Google and I have way more incentive to do this cleanse now than I did just moments ago. Yuck. I’m not going to post any pics of it, but if you’re curious, do that search and perhaps you’ll want to join us in doing this cleanse…

Anyway, we shot some video of our little kitchen production this morning but I’m too tired to edit it now. I promise to get that up on YouTube within the next few days. In the meantime, I’ll just describe the cleanse.

First of all you can find the instructions on Dr. Foster’s site under “Stone Buster Instructions”. We were a little confused because there are different instructions on the site for “Stone Dissolve Tea Instructions” and Dr. Foster told me to use fresh apple juice, the Stone Buster Herbal Formula AND the Stone Dissolve Tea. I’m going to have to talk to her about that later…. but I figured, “Hey, this is all herbal and she even says you can do more or less depending upon how you feel.” So, I’m just going to share how we did it today.

We bought 2 quarts cold pressed organic apple juice from Whole Foods (we’ll need to buy 2 more quarts tomorrow) and a few gallons of distilled water. We also had the following from Dr. Foster:

We woke up and took 6 colon detox caps with 16oz of water to help absorb toxins in the intestines.  Then I trained a client for an hour and when I came home, we started the production. Last night we put 1 quart of apple juice in a glass pitcher and added 8tbsp of the Stone Dissolve Tea and covered the pitcher in the fridge. By morning, some of it had spilled over the top because I’m guessing the tea expanded and displaced a little of the apple juice. A bit of a mess in the fridge so hopefully you’ll learn from my mistake and leave some room at the top of the pitcher.

We poured the apple juice/tea mixture into a large pot and brought it to a boil — then turned off the heat.  Then we dumped all 4oz of the Stone Buster Formula into the mixture and stirred it up. We added the other quart of cold apple juice since we are both doing this cleanse. So at this point, we’ve got 2 quarts of apple juice/tea/Stone Buster mixture… and we poured half of it back into the glass pitcher to use tomorrow and put it in the fridge.  The other half we put in two separate containers that we enjoyed sipping on all day.

Thank GOD this stuff is tasty. Really, it’s like warm apple cider. Love it.

We also took two full droppers of “Peaceful Nerves” and just put it under our tongues. That wasn’t so tasty but it had a weird Novocaine effect — almost instant numbing of the tongue. Peaceful Nerves is supposed to help any pain one might experience when passing either gall stones or kidney stones (this program can be used for both). Neither one of us is having any pains right now but we figured we might as well take some… just in case.

Dr. Foster says it’s best to juice for the entire 4 day program — but you can also go vegan with your food if you must eat. Well, we had to eat today and had salad with no dressing and had some popcorn at the movies tonight, but that was it besides lots of water. I’m teaching a bootcamp tomorrow so it will be interesting to see how I feel after a workout.

Oh, I’ve got to take my 2 Vibrant Colon pills right now. You’re supposed to take it with dinner and only use 1 Vibrant Colon the first day and only if you don’t notice a difference in QUANTITY when you go to the bathroom the next morning, then you increase the dosage by one more pill with dinner the next night. I’ve been taking her colon cleansing products for a few years now so I know that my dosage is 2 Vibrant Colon pills… but you might be different so start off easy. You’ll know if you took too many if you have diarrhea the next day. Trust me. Just start with one on the first night with dinner.

Then right before bed, I’m going to take 6 more colon detox caps so they absorb some of the toxins that are getting released during this cleanse. You can take anywhere from 4 to 10 colon detox caps because they just absorb crap and get it out of you… it’s not medicine that gets distributed to your body. You’ll know if you take too many because you’ll be more constipated. (Isn’t this a fun blog about elimination?)

Anyway, hope that wasn’t too graphic or gross… but sometimes you just gotta say it how it is.

G’night 🙂

April 15, 2011

Getting Off Track

by Zen Gray

Forgive me for not updating sooner… I took some Nyquil on Sunday night and just woke up this morning. Nyquil

And let me apologize if you’ve been waiting for the cleansing info. Not only was I a little sick this week, but David and I were planning on trying a new cleanse and we didn’t have all the stuff we needed… so it was the perfect excuse to hold off on reporting the results.

If you’ve ever read any of my facebook or myspace blogs before, you’d know that I’m a big fan of Dr. Cynthia Foster, a holistic MD that prefers to heal people with natural, herbal remedies. (She’d be really pissed if she knew I took Nyquil, by the way, so SHHHHHH!!!!!) She advised me recently that I should do a “stone dissolve” cleanse for my gall bladder because I’ve experienced some strange pains in my right side from time to time. Weird pains, too, that I couldn’t figure out because they’d start off really mild and grow stronger and then go away. She said that it was probably a gall stone passing and doing a cleanse to break up the stones wouldn’t hurt. So I offered to try it and document the process… and volunteered David as well. (Thanks, honey!)

Now that we’re all ready to go, tomorrow will be day one. It’s only a four-day cleanse but I like to start on the weekends just in case I’m detoxing too quickly and I’m too irritable to deal with clients. I didn’t think David would appreciate detoxing at his job, either, so Saturday morning is our new target time to start.

Obviously, I got off track this week. Everybody gets off track sometimes. But even though events might not go according to plan, I think it’s the COMMITMENT to getting things done that’s important.

So, don’t beat yourself up if you miss that workout or have one cookie instead of protein shake. You got off track. Just stay committed to your health and refocus as soon as you can. It’s not about being perfect… it’s about being committed.

I think that goes for everything in life: relationships, career, health. How can we possibly know all the variables in every situation that could affect us? We don’t. Life is messy. But if we focus on what we want —  the end result–  then we’re more likely to get it even if we didn’t foresee the entire journey exactly as it unfolds. Lindy Hop

On a side note, I’m feeling so much better today and it could be because David and I finally went swing dancing last night together! Dancing always lifts my spirits and I’m very happy to report that my fiance now knows how to Lindy Hop. WOO HOO!

Bring on the detox!! I’m ready!!!

April 8, 2011

Spring Cleaning

by Zen Gray

The sun comes out and you open the windows. Ahhhhhh…

Time to shake off a little dust and clean out your world.

Of course, I’m not just talking about your closets. Chances are you spent the winter months enjoying some comfort food and easing a cold with some kind of “nightime, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffyhead, fever, so-you-can-rest” medicine. Not only do those habits translate into a few unwanted pounds, but also, I believe, a little bit of toxic overload. All the chemicals in processed food, pesticides on produce, prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and many supplements are NOT recognized as food by the body and therefore need to be filtered out of our systems.

Thankfully, our bodies have many ways of detoxifying.  But because of the constant bombardment of crap in the air, in food, in water as well as stressful emotions (feelings are chemical, too, right?) we’ve got to help out our elimination systems a little. My favorite way to do a little spring cleaning for my body is a cleanse.

I’ve done several cleanses in my day and I’m getting ready to do another one. David is going to join me for this round (For those of you just joining my blog, David is my fiance). I think we’ll be filming our progress (or complaining) over the next few days, too. Historically, I’m a little nuts for the first two days of a cleanse because I typically juice-fast during that time so it’s more potent. And anyone that has tried a juice-fast knows that the first two days are usually the worst because you crave food — CHEWING food, specifically.

spring cleaning And before I start getting some people all riled up, let me just say that I don’t believe that all cleanses are equal and I don’t believe that they’re all safe, either. I’ll include some details to my cleanse over the next few days but for now let me just give some generic direction.

If the idea of cleansing is intriguing to you in any way, just start by eating raw organic fruits and vegetables for 3-4 days along with about a gallon of water daily (or as close as you can get to a gallon).  If your diet has a lot of highly processed foods, that small change alone could help clear out some garbage and you’ll probably lose a few pounds, too. Just think of all that fiber as scrubbing you from the inside out.

If you want to be more hardcore than that… then stay tuned. 🙂

April 6, 2011

Options

by Zen Gray

Thankfully, there are always options.

decisions

We can choose to be pissed at people that play unfairly… or we can let it go and focus on other opportunities. I’ve seen many people choose to hold onto anger and bitterness for years only to have it cause health problems. It’s like that quote, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t be a grudge-holder. It’s exhausting and I’m too perky for that.

David and I had a great workout on Monday night and really let go of the wedding contest disappointment. We decided instead to focus on the options that we have now. We can have this wedding any day we want, any where we want and have as many (or as few) as we want. We can do a beach wedding where none of the guests wear shoes. We could do a party in a mountain lodge where everyone wears pajamas and we have hot cocoa and s’mores. We can do a destination wedding or a get married during a little cruise. Or Vegas! And I can pick a dress to wear from any designer I like! Lots of ideas sound fun to me and I’m not attached to any of them.

I think it’s the same for exercise. If someone gave you one routine and said, “This is it. Don’t deviate. Go!” You might find it a little tedious and restrictive. But when you explore all the fun classes and equipment and routines available to you, you’ll enjoy mixing it up so much more! Sometimes I want to power through and lift as hard as I can. Sometimes I want to just go for a long walk and not kill myself over the intensity. Sometimes, I want to do a circuit with David. Sometimes I want to just crank up my cardio and zone out with my ipod. Sometimes I want to go dancing. Sometimes I just try to keep up with my puppy (which we’ve decided is a Rhodesian Ridgeback and German Shepherd mix and LOVES to play for hours or sprint like she’s on a lion hunt).

I think what’s important is that we recognize that there are many paths to achieve the same goal but much of our journey depends upon our attitude. Lots of ways to get married and lots of ways to get healthy!  We can choose to enjoy the triumphs or we can bitch about inconveniences. (Although, I think that acknowledging my pissed-off feelings for a moment is fine as long as I don’t wallow in them for too long.)

So go forth and frolic in your favorite way… and I’ll keep you posted on the wedding ideas. 🙂

 

April 4, 2011

Meh.

by Zen Gray

We didn’t win the wedding… and I’m really ok with that.Absolut Bullshit

What I’m NOT ok with is that they never posted the voting numbers and apparently we didn’t even come in the “Top 5” number of votes?

*cough*

Lame.

 
Anyway, we would have really liked to have had a big wedding with tons of friends and family but it’s most likely going to be a small one now. But, my best friend had a small wedding and it’s still one of my favorites so I’m sure it will be awesome either way.

Could we still figure out how to have a big wedding if we wanted? Probably. But like anything, David and I weigh the options, “Hmmm…  a huge party or a down payment on a house?” In every scenario, the house payment wins.

But it got me thinking about weighing the options.

“Do I get more sleep or do I work out this morning?”

“Do I eat fast food or go hungry until I can get access to a healthier lunch?”

“Do I satisfy my craving or give in and start over tomorrow?”

I think we’re all faced with these choices constantly and I have to admit giving into sleep, fast food and sugar cravings on more than one occasion. And sometimes, like yesterday, I’m just bummed out and want a little comfort food.  (Because dammit… Nutella on a spoon was necessary to ease my disappointment after that bogus wedding contest result.)

But you know what I said to myself before I even put that chocolately goodness to my lips?

“OK. I’m going to enjoy this. And then tomorrow, I’m working out in the morning with my class AND I’m working out with David when he gets home from work. PLUS, I’m implementing a “no sugar in the house” rule until my fitness contest is over. My weekly cheat hour will remain in place but it will be sugar-free until then.”

Will I be perfect until the end of July when I compete? Probably not. But having a plan is better than none, and enjoying a treat now and then is better than “eating around the craving” by eating everything BUT the yummy tidbit that I really want.

So, just remember when you’re making a choice between the margarita and the guacamole, that delicious mile-high sandwich or the chips, the mac n’ cheese or the ribeye, or the all-you-can-eat pancake special; it’s just one choice and it’s just one meal and it’s just one plan to adjust your lifestyle to recover from the not-so-healthy option you might have picked.

But please… choose the option to keep TRYING to get back on track. (Even though you’d like to wallow in self-pity for a little bit first.) We’re all dealt some pretty crappy crap to deal with at times and I’m the first to condone a moment  of “Bitter, party of one!” before getting back on the bright-side bandwagon. (It’s not healthy to keep it all in. Go ahead and be pissed! But just for a bit. Let it go, ya know?)

Mae West QuoteMae West Headshot

*Sigh*

Well, David’s home so we’re off to the gym.

Have I mentioned that I’ve noticed workouts are especially powerful when I’m pissed off?

Have a great night, everyone 🙂