Greens, Chocolate, The Longevity Now Conference, and a little bit more…

Wow, it has been a long time since I have posted anything.  I feel this calls for some reflection and entertainment…read on. 🙂

I am getting ready to embark on another fabulous journey to Costa Mesa California for the Longevity Now Conference.  I have the esteemed privilege of working for New Horizon Health which means in addition to being a part of some life-changing technologies and education year-round through the membership site on TheBestDayEver.com, I also get to work at this amazing conference in California two times a year.

Each time I go to CA for this event, I prepare myself mentally and physically.  One might wonder what sort of personal quests there are to prepare for when jet-setting across the country on the journey of a lifetime (and it IS a journey of a lifetime, this event changed my life when I attended in April 2010 as a participant).

Well, in order to better understand I feel you should have some general knowledge of this event.  Walking into the Hilton in Costa Mesa (where the conference is held) you immediately get twinges of excitement knowing that practically everyone in the hotel is there for the same reason you are; to learn about amazing health advances that will make millions of people’s lives better.  When you finally get to enter in to the area specifically reserved for the conference and you walk around to all of the vendors, meeting new people and embracing new smiles, it’s like a dream-world of pure happiness. Now I know this sounds a bit tree-hugging hippie-ish, but trust me it is the coolest feeling to know you are surrounded by 1300 happy, positive people all in one space. Have you ever been surrounded by that many people? Let alone people that were all happy at the same time? Probably not.

On top of this amazing feeling that you get just by entering the space, you then start listening to the speakers. Oh the speakers! They are knowledgeable, diverse, intelligent, vivacious, and interpersonal.  They really CARE about you and your well-being. Their talks are PHENOMENAL and the information can speak to people from all walks of life or mindsets. All of that times three (because you get to experience this for three straight days) is what it’s like to be at the Longevity Now Conference (and by the way I am NOT getting paid to write this :)).

Okay, going back to preparing myself.  Mentally, there is not a lot to prepare for other than wrapping my head around how I somehow have made this a huge part of my life and that I actually work for these AMAZING people!

Physically I do a lot of preparing, which shouldn’t be the case because in theory I should be focusing on my health with a fine-tooth comb at all times. However, I am not a perfect little robot (I know, shocker!) so I do slip up despite popular belief (or maybe not:)).

The few weeks prior to the LNC (Longevity Now Conference) I like to prepare my body by eating super-clean.  To me this is a diet composed of mostly raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds and in addition, following the principles of the Body Ecology Diet (I have found that this works best for my body above everything else nutritionally).  Last spring when I went out to sunny CA I ate this way for a month prior and I was religious about excercising. As a result I lost ten pound and I felt absolutely fabulous!

This time has been a different story… I am eight days away from flying on a jet plane to the land of fame and fortune and about a week ago I decided to do an “experiment.”  I struggle greatly with an addiction to sugar in all forms. Mostly, it is in the form of breads and pastas, and once I get started with those, out come the cookies, ice cream, and sugary-snacks; basically its just a slippery slope.  According to medical doctors I do not have any sort of gluten intolerance (blood-work tested), however, according to my intestines and larger digestive system, I do.  I always feel sick, bloated, and “stuck” after eating anything with gluten especially heavily-laden items like white bread and regular pasta; needless to say I try to avoid these things.

After a couple of weeks of poor food choices and lots of migraines, I decided to “self-wean and at the same time over-indulge” eh hum, “diet.”  Basically I allowed myself to eat as much chocolate as I wanted (basically junky candy that I NEVER eat, not the good-for-you RAW stuff) as long as 80% of my daily intake was raw or cooked greens. These greens consisted of kale salad with raw kim chi and sauerkraut, cucumbers, green pears, avocado, blended green soups, and green smoothies. To some of you, reading this makes you gag 🙂 hahaha, to others, you know how much I LOVE my greens and you are laughing [at me], and still to others you think I’m absolutely certifiable and you will stop reading right now because you have no idea where I’m going with this and you do not care to find out (all in one breath).

So, I went about on this experimental journey without any of the usual guilt of consuming sugar. I justified all of this by telling myself since I wasn’t consuming any gluten-type-carbs that I would ween myself off of the gluten-carbs and then eventually the sugar altogether by consuming as much chocolate candy as I wanted, and without the gluten I would not gain any weight and maybe even lose some (especially since I was eating all of those greens).

I went the whole week in this manner and honestly I felt pretty good and I didn’t gain any weight, though I didn’t lose any either. 🙂  Towards the end of the week I started to get a MASSIVE migraine that even my acupuncturist could not heal and I ended up taking [I’m ashamed to say] prescription-strength anti-inflammatories to prevent my head from exploding.  I noticed that my cravings for the chocolate came early in the day (I start my day at 4:30am) and then would die down around noon when I would start wanting the greens. The rest of my day, nutritionally, went pretty well with large salads and soups. However, something was missing; I did not feel healthy and I was not losing weight (why I thought I would in the first place is beyond me).

On Saturday night I made the decision that this type of “get-what-you-want-and-tell-yourself-that-you’re-healthy” type of diet was a bad idea…duh 🙂  So I decided to stay on the same wavelength but change it up a bit by completely eliminating the extra sugars (when I say extra I do not mean sugar from the occasional fruit).  On Sunday I did a little reflective writing in my journal and decided to keep a food log for the one-millionth time this lifetime and really shape up (literally) before I head out to California.

Today is only the second day but I feel absolutely amazing. I do not feel the desperate need for that “quick fix” of sugar, I do not feel the craving (or should I say holding) for the sugar that had me captive.  Granted, it’s only day two, however, I noticed myself making conscious desicions to make the better choice for myself. Around 12:30pm I started to think about the bad-girl-chocolate that I have in my desk drawer and how delicious and yummy it is. I also started to convince myself that it wouldn’t be so bad just to have one, it is chocolate after all not carbs. Then I quickly snapped myself out of it remembering my goal and remembering how good I feel when I am not on a sugar-high, how much more productive I am when my body is well-nourished, and I stepped away from the chocolate and drank a bottle of water with chlorella. Ah…what a proud moment.

I am curious to see how quickly I can overcome this addiction to sugar, and I do not put the word addiction in quotes as if it is a pseudo-word in this context, because I truly believe it is a full-on addiction; it overtakes my mind and my body. I have already begun to notice two things that have positively-shifted in me since yesterday morning: 1) I have not over-eaten; I stop before I am full, when my body has gotten what it needs, and as a result I am eating less, and 2) I am more productive. For example, I have just written this ridiculously long post that I’m sure only 9% of you actually got to the end of (yes, the end is coming soon) which I NEVER do! I absolutely LOVE to write but I do not usually make the time for it.

Overall, I am excited to see what the future holds now having this new mind-set and feeling of power over my thoughts; I truly think that was the one component I have been missing this whole time…battling my own mind and the win for what is best. My hope is that this short (or waaaay too long, depending on your perspective) anecdote/reflection can help you to evaluate your own battles with yourself whether they are food-related or something else. Take time to evaluate what is holding you back and start the fight to win!

With so much Peace and even more Love,

Ashley 🙂

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