Monday, March 24, 2014

Call Me Spring... Maybe...

My youngest showing my dad his tree pose.  Cutie.

Well we are now officially in the spring in Missouri.  One day warm and windy the next cold and windy.  Our  forecast looks like we are commitment 'phobs'. We are scared to really give up the cold, scared to take on the warmth and let ourselves start to bloom.   A few more days in the 70's would sure help out.  

The garden plant starts are growing on trays in front of the kitchen sliding glass and are reaching out for those rays of light so lovingly sent by the sun to sustain our planet.   The ground might just soften up and warn up enough to plant these babies some time soon.

The yoga challenge continues.  I am now 20 days into this 40 day challenge and I have done 16 hot yoga classes and am thus on track to make the 30 in 40.   I actually had to take a few off last week due to some normal life events that kept me from focusing on myself.   No big deal and still on track.   I really like doing challenges this way as it respects that life happens and one must do the best they can but can not be perfect. 

The gluten free has been really easy to add to my sugar maintenance diet, which I have been rocking since January 14th.   No wheat and staying away from gluten is not so hard when there are so many cool products and options out there.  The sugar maintenance diet does not let me freak out on carbs anyway so it has been rather easy to drop the gluten.  I am happy with rice and quinoa and the occasional gluten free bread option. 

I feel like there has been quite the progress concentrating on my core.   I continue to lose weight, seeing the difference in my clothing and my practice.  The weight loss seems to be focusing somewhat on my core or belly which has been a trouble area for some time.  While I would say I have an hour glass figure as I  have gotten bigger and older I seem to have developed this Mother Earth belly that made people question if I am having another child.   So to see progress here is quite the miracle.  

My husband commented that my mind is even faster.   I have one of those very active minds that are constantly multitasking and sits two sentence ahead on many conversation.  I try to slow down... really I do.   Yet, I would have to agree that I have more energy and more drive to go along with a little more clarity.  Today I went to hot yoga at 9:00, then my husband and I spent 5 hours emptying out our garage of 15 years of crap. After sorting through it all I cooked dinner for 7 people, and then at 8:45 at night was considering hitting the grocery store. Either I have developed more energy or someone slipped me something in my decaf coffee.  

So I would have to give the two thumbs up to the gluten free, sugar maintenance, hot yoga combo.   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lululemon Hot Mat Product Review

Lululemon Hot Mat Review:

Hot Mat at Lululemon shop

Sorry Lulu but this is an epic fail.  The product in its self is a great idea.  I love the colors and the thought of a mat/towel that can be used on it's own or on top of your existing mat.  It is made of a cool fabric that helps with positioning and anti-slip to a point.  The problem is that the material is glued onto a layer of rubber.  The rubber has the most terrible smell.  One of the big things about yoga is breathing and if you can't breath deep because your mat smells like toxic death then there is a problem there.

The mat is washable as it is advertised as a hot yoga mat.  Anyone who does hot yoga knows you sweat like crazy and have to wash everything ASAP or you will be disgusted by your own smells.  So I figured I would try to wash the mat a few times and give it some air out time.  The problem with this theory is that everything that is washed and dried with the mat takes on the terrible rubber smell.  Towels, clothing all end up smelling like toxic death to go long with this mat.

Another draw back with this mat is that while it gives you this great anti-slip texture to stretch on, once it goes beyond a certain level of saturation with sweat you can slip off it really easily.  Of course you don't find this out until you are in the middle of a difficult flow pose.  Several people I know have taken to using this mat for the first half of class and then trading it out at the first slip and slide experience.

So what does Lululemon have to say about their product.  A friend contacted them about the slippy aspect.  They indicated that maybe she had sprayed it with oil in cleaning the mat and should try to avoid that.  While that may have happened to disinfect her mats it has not happened with mine and I also have experienced the slip and slide effect.

I contacted the company and was told that all their mats, hot or not, all have the same rubber smell and people usually get over it.  They suggested that if I lived in a safe neighborhood I should air out the mat on a porch for a few days and see if that helps.  The problem I have noticed is that as the yoga room gets hotter the smell becomes more intense so I have little confidence in the air it out theory.  However, I did leave mine outside yesterday all day and so far I have cute little puppy prints to show for it as my dog decided it was a great place to hang out.

A student of mine suggested washing it with vinegar as that helped her with the same mat.  I will try that after I use this mat again today and see if it helps.  The company did indicate that I can take the next step to return the mat if I can not get used to the smell.  I feel sad to have to do it, however I am leaning towards it.  Frankly I expected a better product from a company that is known for higher price quality yoga gear.

So, I like the mat in theory with it's anti slip capacity, until it gets too saturated, however so far I would have to give it a fail on my ratings.  The smell is something I don't think I will be able to get over.  Frankly the company needs to take the steps to air out the product before it is sold to the customer.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Next ... Gluten Free

The next challenge has begun.  Here are the criteria.

1) 30 hot yoga classes in 40 days.
2) 5 day miracle blood sugar maintenance diet.
3) No Gluten

This challenge will take me through March Break and almost to the door of Passover.  Still have not had any sugary things since the first challenge began on the 14th of January.  Feeling better, looking better, clothing fitting better, all good.

I don't weigh in or do any of that stuff.  I do have one level of measurement I can share.  My husband's car is a small standard truck.  For the first time, since I can remember I can pull the seat up a notch further and actually get the clutch down to the floor.  I can drive standard a little easier.  NICE!!!!!  

So I am 8 for 9 in the hot yoga department.  Feeling good about the practice and about melting off the layers.   I need to keep up this tremendous effort to keep the ball rolling in the right direction.  I have been experimenting with a new mat towel... no spoilers... that is for the next blog.  

In terms of food I am doing well.  Still no sugar intake and am learning more about gluten and wheat free.  I am listening to an audio book called Wheat Belly.  Back in the 90's I spent some time cutting out wheat and yeast and it is interesting to see how this has evolved over the last 25 years.  The scientific reality of the GMO evolution of wheat is that it is now a sugar bomb that is more intense then  eating spoons full of sugar right out of the bowl.   It has a higher glycemic index then a snicker bar.

As I sat at Burger King today, watching my youngest play with a friend, I watched these puffy people eating the puffy burgers and felt a sadness for what is happening to our species.  How does one fight against the filler that is in all our food?  I will fight this battle one grueling step at a time. However, most are too stressed out in their lives to even realize this is where a battle needs to be fought.  

I don't think for a moment that I would be this far along without the strength and clarity that comes from a regular yoga practice.  It takes strength to keep going to the mat and provides a calm, self reflection and self commitment that does not come easy.  I also acknowledge that I could easily back slip with just a little chocolate brownie or a shot of single malt scotch.  

Keeping a forty day focus is also a key point as it lets me focus full force without freaking out about never again and your whole life mentalities.  There is a little devil in me that has to keep the door open for someday, not now, and certainly not never options.  

During my down time between the challenges I actually kept up the diet, worked out and stayed away from sugar and alcohol.  However I did not record all my intake with the usual zeal.  I let my self relax a bit, however I did not have any extras in the way of sugar or booze.  

I did an experiment with gluten free during my break by having three days without gluten and then eating a big wheat filled dinner.  I felt terrible after eating it and ended up passing out before the kids.   I then did several more days without it and felt good.  As someone who was not a big wheat eater it did not seem to be a huge departure for me.  I experimenting with a few brands of great gluten free breads I could substitute in for my morning small meal as per the sugar maintenance diet.  It did not seem that hard and showed promise. 

So far I have noticed some changes in my body.  It seems to be more prevalent over the mid section, a very stubborn area to take on.  I feel a sense of deflation and see visual changes in my body over a short time frame.  This could just be the cumulative effect of it all, however I like what I see.  

So the challenge is well in place and will bring me to the door of passover.  I have begun the on line search for gluten free matzo.  It can't really taste worse then it already does,  right...