Sugar Free
Things.

Frenemies, Sugar, and Getting it on.

Have you every considered anyone your “frenemy”? You know, that girl you’re friends with even though you basically cannot stand the way she talks? Everything that comes out of her mouth is ridiculous, but she’s got super rich parents and you get to go to their beach house for ragers. Upon leaving you think “Fuck that, I’m never going there again” and secretly you feel like you’d be sorely disappointed if you didn’t get an invite to the next one.

Sugar was my closest and worst frenemy.  Sugar was the thing I could consistently go to when I was feeling low.

It was always there for mere seconds of bliss, followed by guilt and regret. But it tasted so good, it was helping me not think about the fact that work totally sucked ass today or how much I wanted to punch my sister for that embarrassing thing she said.  Sugar was there. Ice cream was there. Mac and cheese was there. For 20 seconds, I can eat it and forget, and drift into a gooey, hazy, wonderland of not giving any fucks about myself, my life, and where I’ve ended up.

In a moment of love and solidarity, I committed to myself and to a beloved friend that I would give up refined sugar and booze for at least the first 40 days of the New Year with her.

This challenge would require real work. I would now have to face the feelings I was covering up with sugar once it was eliminated. I wouldn’t have another leg to stand on and I was terrified.

If I looked it in the face, if I looked in the face of what I was feeling without sugar as my coping mechanism, I would mostly likely feel the need to change.  And that would require energy, work, decisions. I make decisions all day long and I’m over it. I just don’t want to any more… Sugar offered me a glimpse of relief from all of that. What I discovered was that taking sugar away was like taking off a Band-Aid on a wound that was nearly healed and just needed to breathe.

When I started looking at the way I turned to sugar, ran to sugar, it started becoming clear that I was using it as a crutch for an injury I no longer had. Maybe even never had to begin with.

I had unconsciously created an addiction to put in the place of a void that didn’t actually exist. Going to a party and not drinking…. Whoa… How was I going to navigate that?

Through this process, I realized I’m not that socially awkward girl who’s just trying to fit in and over analyzing everyone’s actions like I had once perceived myself to be. I’m incredibly capable of getting to know other humans without using booze as a social lubricant and stuffing my face with pastries when I didn’t have anything to say at the dinner table.

Perhaps at some point, I couldn’t say that was true for me, but it is my truth now and it took challenging myself to go without it to realize the magnitude of false importance I’d put on it.

The alcohol was one thing, I didn’t drink every day, but every day, it reallllly felt like I needed dessert. It still sort of does, but not nearly as strongly. Not having intense cravings is revolutionary. I find myself wondering… did I really need it? I’m not even missing it. Was I sick with an illness that only sugar could remedy or did I allow myself to believe another falsehood?

And once I saw those things… something else came up. Sex. And my capacity for love.

Here is another area of my life that I’ve struggled with. Seeing myself as ill and the only cure was male attention.

I started to question what I wished to be true about sex for me, and what my actual truth was about sex. In what I had previously thought to be my ideal world; I would be able to have fantastic sex, yet remain unattached. Being unattached meant I didn’t have to fall in love or risk the chance of getting my heart broken. I would get off, he would get off, we’d be completely satisfied and go about our lives being unaffected by the human connection. Much like how I wished that I could eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream without feeling completely let down afterwards.

Part of me felt like I’d conquered something, the other part wondered why I’d done it in the first place when I knew how it ended and the ending nearly always sucked. Perhaps I’d been using sex in the same way I’d used my other frenemies; sugar and booze, covering a wound I no longer had. Am I actually scared of love and believing myself to be unworthy and undesirable or have I grown past that now to realize that I do desire love and that my feelings aren’t as terrifying as my ego had once lead me to believe?

The beauty in all of this is seeing my life in retrospect. Releasing sugar and alcohol, among the physical benefits of feeling less bloaty, cranky, tired, and generally gross, gave me the ability to see myself again.

I am able to look at the woman I used to be and the woman I’ve now become with the clarity and ability to choose a different perspective. Why did I need to be afraid of getting my heart broken? It has been broken before, and I didn’t die. In fact, my heart feels better than ever.  Vulnerability is a gift.

We will not escape from this life without the experience of pain in one fashion or another, but can we find ways to be present with it when it’s happening so that it doesn’t stick around to be dealt with by our vices?

Upon reexamination, can you see a place where you’re trying to fill a gap that no longer exists?  Some sort of lie you’ve been telling yourself about how much you’re worth? Some sort of lie someone else told you that you believed? Is it possible that when you look, when you really see yourself for who you are, you will see that you are whole, perfect, and complete?

You may need nothing to help you cope, other than the realization that there is nothing there to cope with. You are not broken. You, my darling, are love.

Center Yourself

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Guts and Stuff. (How to follow your intuition)

I didn’t think the day would come when I’d have to admit that I’ve been watching wayyy too much ‘Gilmore Girls’ lately, but today is going to have to be that day. With the show’s arrival on the Netflix scene, and my desperate desire for my childhood to be that of Rory Gilmore’s, how could I resist watching episode after episode until 1am nearly every night for a week until I am imagining having witty banter with my dog and thinking about her trust fund? Enough, I say. Time to reflect, time to teach, time to spread a little light. Time to follow my intuition… that’s been telling me to turn off the melodramatic sitcom and write.

Perhaps you’re the type of person who doesn’t believe in “intuition”, maybe that sounds a little woo woo for you… but you can’t deny that there have been moments in your life where you had a sense about something. The feeling that something wasn’t quite right, or maybe that it was completely right, but seemed logically incorrect. Perhaps even times you acting without thinking, but like something was sort of moving through you, on your behalf.

My brother, Jeff will tell you that I’m a silly granola crunching, hippie, who howls at the moon for believing in my intuition, but he will also tell me about these hunches he has… like when he’s walking through the woods, gets a “feeling”, looks up, and there’s the deer. We are talking about the same thing in different language.

This “sensing” that most of us get from time to time is almost primal. You pick up on the energy of something; some indescribable thing moves or inspires you to take an action or land on a decision. The concept of following your gut doesn’t just pertain to hunting or hippies, I hear this term thrown around all the time in management, in car buying, in relationships, we use our “feelings” to justify many things. But how do you know when this is your intuition and not just the things you think you should be doing? My guess, if you get really honest with yourself, you can begin to differentiate the difference for yourself and start leading a more inspired life.

Here are a few things I’ve found to be true about intuition vs. thoughts:

  • They come on in an instant, without warning and you don’t necessarily know how you got there

When my sister asked me to move out to the West Coast with her, my stipulation was that I’d move anywhere north of Santa Barbara. We had so many awesome cities to choose from, but one day the only city we were talking about was Seattle. We didn’t fight about it, we didn’t freak out, it was like the decision had already been made. The fact that our focus was to be on Seattle had developed virtually from thin air. Both of us actually found it quite ironic because we’d visited Seattle in the previous year and hadn’t found anything too special about it.

  • You act vs. Analyze

When my brother had a sense in the woods to look up and saw the deer, he didn’t first think about why he should look up, he just did it. After my sister and I landed on Seattle… We thought about other cities, but didn’t even apply for jobs in other cities. (That’s a lie, I applied for one, but didn’t hear back.) When you’re inspired by your intuition, you get the feeling that you must act.

Often in my job searches or even boyfriend searches, I wouldn’t force myself into doing anything. If I didn’t feel inspired to apply for a job, or put myself back out on the dating scene or to write… I wouldn’t do it. This way, when I would do these things, I met the opportunity with the best energy I had. When I was motivated and feeling positive about it, when I just knew the timing was right. Nothing about following your intuition should feel forced.

  • Your intuition would never put you or anyone in harm, danger, fear, or anxiety

That spark of intuition you get, even if it is guiding you away from something dangerous, should never invoke anxiety. I’m not talking about the thoughts you have after the initial intuitive download, but the actuality of it.

I was jogging around Lake of the Isles one day last summer and I was going to run past this couple walking, instead, I chose to hang back behind them and take a little break. It’s not like I really needed to, I don’t know what stopped me from jogging around them but all of a sudden about 10 feet in front of us a Jeep drove right up onto the sidewalk, through the park and back down onto the street. Whoa… If I had jogged around them, that truck totally would have hit me! It was like watching a “what if” episode of your life right in front of your eyes.

Now, after that I was a little freaked out, but the initial feeling of hanging back behind the couple and not running ahead didn’t cause me any sort of anxiety. If it is truly your intuition speaking, it will not be coupled with a feeling of anxiety, the anxiety may come later from our ego…

  • Trust through the fear

In order to strengthen your intuition, or at least to strengthen your listening skills to it, because I promise your intuition is quite strong and constantly telling you things, you’re just not always listening and obeying… You must start to trust it. There will be many things that come up when you start to listen and trust your gut feeling. People might not understand why you’re choosing to make the choices you are and that’s fine. They’re not living your life for you, so it’s ok that they have their opinions.

After I’d made the choice to move to Seattle, there were tons of things, especially in my own mind, my ego, telling me I was insane. “What if you don’t find a job and have to be one of those Bikini Barista’s who wear pretty much nothing to make dirty old men coffee? What will people think of me? What if you have no place to live, what if Luna can’t come with me? What if Luna hates the move and is sad and unhappy? What if you don’t make any friends? What if all of your employees hate you? What if you’re not as good at your job as you think you are? Why are you leaving the security of the life you started in Minneapolis, with the people and money you have?” Those were just a few of the terrifying thoughts I had while on this journey. Not to mention the thoughts others had.

Now that I’ve made it through those, I have a great job that I love, and am settling into Seattle… I’m still not sure what I’m doing here, but it feels like exactly where I’m supposed to be. I had to trust my intuition through that fear. Fear will never go away, but it will try to hold you back from living your life fully and when you can push through it, there is something magically peaceful about living a life that is your own.

I’m sure if you look back, you can pick out a few instances where you knew something was going to happen, you had a feeling, or you didn’t listen to your gut and things didn’t quite pan out for you. The energy of the universe that created stars and planets and mountains and oceans moves in all of us and can guide us easily if we are willing to pay attention and follow it’s direction.

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Be like the Tree

Be the lightLooking back through my journey of personal development, I came to the conclusion that I was trying to fix myself. I must fix myself, and all of my problems will go away. I will lose weight, and be happy forever. I will get a dog and my life will be complete. I will find a man and THEN I will be happy forever. Or probably I just need a new job… Then my life will be wonderful. In all of those scenarios, I would find myself wondering why I wasn’t happy like I thought I would be. Why was I freaking out all of the time?

I know what it is, I’m broken. I’m broken and I need fixing still. I am going to change myself; I must change. Maybe I will try mediating everyday for 30 days, and then I will be changed forever. Maybe I should give up sugar for 30 days, then I will be changed, I will be a nice person who doesn’t freak out and I will be happy.

The Art of Being

While all of those “changes” are positive and a nice idea…. The real issue is that I saw myself as broken. Being broken was part of my identity. It is impossible to be broken and healed at the same time. How could I possibly change myself into someone who was whole and complete if I identified with being someone who was broken and in need of fixing?

Today, I was on a walk with my dog, thinking about the concept of being whole and complete just as I am and what that may look like. It doesn’t mean that I will never changed from who I am today, it is like the evolution of a tree…. Trees are constantly moving towards the light. They are growing, they shift with nature. The whole time a tree is alive, it is going through stages and seasons and movements, however, the tree never finds itself to be broken and needing to change. The tree does not make itself wrong for losing its leaves in the fall.

Change happens naturally for the tree because it accepts what it is given; it alters itself based on the offerings of the universe and knows that everything is fine, just as it is.

What would it look like if you dropped the idea that you needed to be fixed? That somehow you were not enough as you are and must be mended. How would you feel if you gave yourself the space to just “Be”. To know that you are perfect, whole and complete just as you are. How would you show up in your life? Who would you be, coming from that space?

Move towards the light, Be the light, spread the light knowing you are complete, whole and perfect, just as you are.

Complete, Whole, Perfect

 

Xoxo, Your Wandering Gypsy

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Things.

Getting After It

Beyond the Horizon

I’ll admit it. I’ve been stuck. Actually, I’ve been moving… which has lead to me being stuck. The last few months I have been rearranging my life a bit. Every time that happens I seem to have to find myself again. Each time I come back to myself, I discover something new, something I hadn’t seen before, something that inspires me to move forward.

For days, maybe weeks, I have felt paralyzed by fear. Does anyone else ever feel like this? Like, I know I should do that, but if I just put it off for another day maybe this gnawing feeling in my stomach will go away?  For me, it doesn’t go away, it could temporarily while I watch another episode of “The Big Bang Theory” or fill my social calendar with very distracting yet very necessary wine nights with friends, but that feeling always returns.

Don’t get me wrong, those things are very important to living a balanced life, but using them as a distraction from your dreams because of fear doesn’t serve you.

I was in a class recently and we talked about being unreasonable.  Reason tells us that we must be completely ready before we take the next steps in a project… before we can achieve our dreams… before we can have all that we want.  Being unreasonable means you go for it with no holds barred.  You apply for grad school, you take your first ever yoga class, you ask for the promotion, you buy that plane ticket, you tell her you love her even when you’re unsure of the outcome.

Truth is, we can never be 100% sure of the outcome. Nothing in life is 100%

Being reasonable holds us back from getting what we want. We try to rationalize why we shouldn’t do it. You can hear the voice in your head right now. “Is this wrong? What will people think of me? Will that piss him off? What if I fail? I will be so embarrassed… I might die”

Chances are, you won’t die. Feelings don’t kill you. As humans interacting and judging one another and ourselves constantly we are always trying to avoid pain. Avoid embarrassment. Avoid discord.

This leads us to a dead end street. We feel trapped, confined, conformed. When we do this, we lose our sense of self, we lose our passion, happiness, and motivation to grow.

Hear me out… You will never be 100% ready. There are no promises in life, there is no guarantee, you might fail, but the more you put yourself out there and live a life that is authentic and real, the more you learn about yourself and the more alive you will feel.

Look at where your life is, where are you holding back? Who aren’t you calling? Why aren’t you applying for that job? Take a chance in being unreasonable and see what the universe has is store for you.

If you don’t live out your dreams, who will? Get after it, man!

Getting After It

 

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Wellness Retreat Weekend

If you follow me on other social media, you may have seen something about a Wellness Retreat that I hosted with my sister back in October.

As previously mentioned, my mission with this blog is to move towards a holistic approach to food and wellness including spirituality. If you know me personally, you have heard me speak of the Law of Attraction, meditation, and the blessings of the Universe.

Meditation in the first snow

This is who I am, what helps me to live a balanced life, evolve to become better, and guides me in all of my decisions.  I feel extremely blessed, people may call it lucky, but truly I created this life for myself and I want to help others do the same.

I’m not sure when it was that I set out on my spiritual journey, it may have been with me my whole life, or maybe I just watched too much Oprah as a child. Regardless of how I got here, I have managed to collect a support system of beautiful people in my life who are also on the same path as me.

The Lodge

Believing and living as if everything happens for a reason is one of my core values. One such gift was unexpected. Three years ago, my dad purchased a big old house in the woods, it needed a ton of work and I had no idea what he wanted to do with it. The house is about done, and my sister and I are looking at the property, enjoying the space, the wood stove, the wilderness and thinking “Wow, this would be a great spot for a retreat!”

Dirt Road Magic

“The Lodge” as we lovingly refer to it as, feels like a vacation from reality the moment you drive down the dirt road. So we set out on a mission to have a Women’s Wellness Retreat with our friends to practice our spiritual teaching abilities and to grow our experiences.Crystals

Luckily, my sister and I have the most amazing women in our lives who were totally on board and supportive. On the agenda was Meditation, Yoga, Manifestation Walk, Clearing Energy exercises, Crystals, Communing with Angels, a Lecture on Food, Spirituality and a Vegan diet. The menu was an all Organic, all Vegan buffet of deliciousness prepared by yours truly! Vicki had the energy work covered with her amazing healing skills and years of knowledge!

Let's talk it outHostess with the Most Kale

It was the most magical space for an opportunity to snuggle up by a wood stove, act like hippies in the woods and ultimately, improve our lives and bodies.

We are planning more of these beautiful retreat weekends if you are interested, feel free to contact myself or my sister!

wanderinggypsy0314@gmail.com for more information

Sisters at workUntil next time, gypsy sisters.

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Things to Eat

Got Quinoa?

I remember making a post about quinoa last year around this time, and I was just introducing myself to it, now I feel like it’s a staple in my house and I was basically an insane person for never using it before. What about you? Got Quinoa, yet?

Quinoa Magic

Quinoa has so much fiber and protein and minerals and good carbohydrates! In my world it’s like a miracle food. Well quinoa and kale. Kale is the fucking bomb.

You know when you go to a family gathering and you totally love the food, but afterwards you feel like you just need to eat a salad to get back to normal? My mission is to help you combat that feeling with this recipe. Bring it to Thanksgiving or your next holiday party. My sister and I brought it to a family gathering and everyone loved it, even if they didn’t exactly know what it was at first.

Recipe:

fallmix

1 Cup dry quinoa

2 Red Bell Peppers

1 Acorn Squash

1-2 Sweet Potatoes

1 Large Red Onion

4 Cloves of Garlic

Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper flakes

1 Bunch Kale

1 Pomegranate

1/2 Cup Walnuts/Almonds/Nuts of your choice

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

Assembly:

When cooking, and in life, if possible, start with the most difficult things first. In the case of this recipe, cutting, peeling and dicing that squash can go first, because A)not gonna lie, it sucks, and B) it’s going to take the longest to cook.

It's a love hate relationship

It’s a love hate relationship

Cube the red onion, squash, sweet potatoes, peel and smash the garlic and put it all on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, drizzle in olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and other spices you might like to try. I would suggest a curry or a hot sauce.

Prepped.

Prepped.

Put in the oven at 375 degrees and roast until the squash is soft and slightly toasted.

While that is getting toasty, pour yourself a glass of wine so that you can feel just as toasty! You deserve it, that was hard.

Getting Toasty

Getting Toasty.

Moving on, cook the quinoa, its basically just like rice or the package will tell you what to do.

Next, prep the remaining veggies/fruits/nuts… take out the pomegranate seeds, chop the kale, and set them aside. For the nuts, I toasted walnuts in a little white truffle oil. What a treat.  Now we just like to pretend we are fancy, so if the truffle oil is a little over the top for you, just toasting your nuts in a sauté pan until you can start to smell them works fine too.

Once the quinoa is done, transfer it into a large bowl, add roasted vegetables, kale, dried cranberries (I don’t like the word craisins because it makes me think of crazy raisins and that is just awkward) and nuts. Mix the ingredients together evenly, top with pomegranate seeds and voila! A beautiful, well balanced, vegan dish to bring to any party or to eat for lunch every day for a week like I did.

Om Nom Nom.

Om Nom Nom.

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Falafel, Eff Yeah

I know the title should really be “Falafel, Fuck Yeah” … but, I don’t want to offend anyone. Haha.

Falafel... Eff Yeah.

So, you’ve all been really good and have been juicing every day with me rightttt?  (I’m 17 pounds down BTW) What are you doing with all the left over pulp?  Making soup, muffins and bread…?  Or tossing it in the compost?  We are currently composting but I have wanted to do something with the pulp.  Finally, inspiration struck  when I was at one of Minneapolis’ best food trucks: Foxy Falafel.

Kale Falafel!  How exciting is that?!?!  Oh, you don’t get giddy when you think about Falafel? Weird…

Nom Nom Nom

In true gypsy style, I customized a totally rad, organic, gluten-free, vegan falafel recipe.  It works either baked or fried using chickpeas, of course, and the kale/carrot pulp from my morning juice.

This recipe is slightly spicy, full of flavor, and adapts well to change.

Ingredients:

3 Cloves Garlic

1-15oz can Garbanzo Beans

Juice of 1 Lemon

2 TBSP Tahihi

3-4 Cups of Kale/Carrot Pulp OR 2 Cups Fresh Kale

2 TBSP Hemp Seeds (Optional)

2 TBSP Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

1 TBSP Garam Masala or any other Curry you like

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

1.5 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

2-3 TBSP Garbanzo Bean Flour (Or other gluten free flour of your choosing)

Oil of your choosing (I chose 4 TBSP Grapeseed/Olive Oil Combo if Frying and 1 TBSP coconut oil if baking)

If frying, you will also need an additional few TBSP’s of the Garbanzo Bean Flour for coating your falafel.

Assembly: (If baking, at this point, turn on oven to 375 Degrees)

In a food processor, (Which is apparently my new favorite kitchen appliance) Blend together all ingredients EXCEPT the Kale or Kale Pulp.

Processor

Once combined, slowly add in kale mixture 1/2 cup at a time until it is completely ground into the falafel batter.

The batter should be thick and a bit dryer than cookie dough. If your batter seems wet, add more garbanzo bean flour. For spice factor, taste it! It’s totally fine to eat raw, at this stage it is basically really thick hummus. Want more spice? Add some Siracha. Needs more salt? Toss it in!

Form the batter into balls or patties. Of course balls are more fun, but patties cook more evenly unless you have a deep frier or are using a ton of oil.

I went the patty route. Now you can go one of two ways after choosing your falafel formation… Frying or baking. If you’re baking your falafel, coat a baking pan with coconut oil, bake 20 minutes, flip and bake 10 minutes on the other side. I found that the baked falafels were more dry on the inside and less crisp on the outside than the fried falafel, so naturally, I’m an advocate of the fried falafel using healthy oils, but both are tasty!

patties

If you’re frying, heat the oil until you can press a wooden spoon to the bottom of the pan and small bubbles come up. That is my mother’s trick for how to tell when your oil is hot enough. Love it. Lightly coat your falafel patties in garbanzo bean flour, then fry your falafel patties for 3-5 minutes on each side until they have browned… Not light brown, not dark brown, just regular brown.

oilspoon

When removing them from the pan, place your falafels on a paper towel, you know, like you do when you cook bacon!

Plate with cucumber, pita, tomato, tzatziki sauce, anything you think would make a tasty falafel!

finaldish

Veggin’ out until next time,

Your Wandering Gypsy

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