Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 3 of Being Green

OHI green drink: welcome to the juice fast!
The green bandit, with freshly squeezed wheatgrass applied to her face.
Beautiful and super tall sunflowers out in the organic garden.

My little story was interrupted by a trip to San Francisco to spend time with family! But I'm back, and will try to wrap up this green business post haste...

So. The words "juice fast" don't put the fear of God into me because I did the Master Cleanse Fast last year and survived it, barely. And I'd been using my Breville juicer before this getaway, so I was hip to the juice idea and ready to do extreme juicing. What I was not ready for was the contents of OHI's green juice. It's not the slightly sweet, apple-laden juice of my kitchen. No, it is nowhere near that. This has raw zucchini in it! Raw zucchini is so very bland. Add to that whatever other bland greens exist in the universe and you have the green juice that was my sustenance for all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and through lunch on Thursday. As with the Master Cleanse Fast, I developed a bit of a dislike to the stuff early on. So, by Wednesday morning, I was drinking water and that continued through Thursday lunch. I basically laid around and napped and generally had zero energy. Detoxing? I suppose. Starving? Most definitely. But, my rationale for staying on course was that my system could probably use a little rest from the constant parade of food I am usually eating. And so, I persevered. Until Friday morning. On Friday morning, I work up so ridiculously weak and out of it. My buds, Sylvia, Aida, and Adrianna sort of found me sitting in this chair after my massage (which was not particularly pleasant since I felt so yucky). They had just the thing! Kelp powder in water to replace my electrolytes. Really? Back they came with the fishy-smelling elixir. Knock it back like a shot, they recommended. I held my nose and shot the tiny cup of what felt like thickish pond scum, threw the rest in the grass, and proceeded to cry like a baby. Now, I can laugh. Actually, then I laughed too after my boo-hoo, admitting that I had met my match with this fast and was ready to high tail it to the nearest grocery for FOOD! One of the very nice gals there drove me, and I bought a big plastic container of watermelon and scarfed it in the car on the way back. PURE HEAVEN. So, I sort of cheated by going off the sugar-free diet path, but in actuality I was still OHI-kosher. And I realized something about myself: I am a perfectionist to the degree that it can make things really unpleasant. Now that I had this intense experience, I think I'm more of the mind that keeping oneself within tight, self-judging confines is kind of ridiculous. I'm vowing to let the little perfect, persnickety details go whenever I can. More living and more fun, please!

Eventually, I will post about the crow and possum. It's probably one of the best OHI stories thus far. For anyone taking the time to read my green getaway recap, thank you!

And lastly, something I found recently that I find very inspiring:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?"
--Marianne Williamson


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Green Getaway, Day Two

And the story continues... Day Two should be prefaced with a little side note. While standing in line the night before to schedule a couple massages for the week, I met a few people. Though I had some preconceived vow to be solitary, we all waited in line for 90 minutes together. You just have to make friends in that amount of time, and so we did. You're all there for this common reason: to get healthier. And it becomes a powerful common thread. I met Adrianna, from Chicago, who grew into this nurturing angel as the week progressed. When I hit my wall on Friday, she was there, along with other OHI angels to get me through (and to find that avocado that tasted like gold). And I met Anita. And there was Terry, one of the only men there - he was there on his own as most people were. OHI is sort of a solo sport. (Side story: Terry's uncle told him that it was a healing spa-like retreat, and you get all you can eat and drink! Terry ended up being the MC at the talent show - yes, talent show. He was hilarious, and his "guy's perspective" to the whole experience was side-splitting!)

OK, more on Monday. I did not make it to the 7:30 exercise class, but I did make the 8:30 "Circle" followed by breakfast. During circle each morning and evening, we are given a word to sort of ponder during the day. I don't remember every day's word, but I think this first one was LOVE. The leader dude reads a sweet little passage about love, we all hold hands, and then we bless our food that we are about to eat in hopes that it nourishes our bodies in whatever ways it needs nourishing. You see, there are folks there with cancer and other issues - though you really wouldn't immediately know by looking at them. Some things just aren't visible, ya know? Another cool thing, at OHI disease is not referred to as the thing it is, but rather as a "health opportunity." You know, like when you read that illness changes someone for the better? It's that. The whole vibe is on a very high, positive note. If you're going to heal, this place makes you feel you can. There's no dwelling in impossibility - only on the possible, doable, attainable. As we sat in classes learning about nutrition and digestion and food combining, the instructors would mention that after you deal with your health opportunity (because you will!), you can go back to a maintenance version of the diet. What we were on is called the Detox Diet.

Oh, and following Circle, we all exchange many, many hugs. They say it takes 39 hugs a day to stay well. It was pretty neat. All this warmth, and all these smiles, every day, that you could totally count on. It was a tad addictive.

At 11 a.m. we got juicing instructions. As in wheatgrass juicing! There's a room with about 15 juicers on tables, and you go in there, put on these thin, clear plastic gloves, cut some "grass" and slowly feed it into the juicer. If you've never had wheatgrass, it tastes like freshly cut grass smells. Definitely an acquired taste. I was never able to throw down the stuff in the morning before drinking anything else, but many folks did. Whoa, props to them! It's not for wussies!

Dinner day one, and then breakfast day two!

I finally summoned the brain cells to bring my camera and get a snap of BREAKFAST. Yep, this was breakfast (pardon the sideways pic, can't get it to right itself!). No poached eggs, certainly no breakfast meats (even mock!), and forget toast. Forget warm food! Coffee? Nope. Not even tea. Tepid reverse-osmosis water concocted to be the ideal pH, and Rejuvelac - made from fermented grains and designed to increase digestion. That's what you drink. I actually didn't mind this stuff, at least at first! My system kind of rebelled later on.

I was still feeling pretty good, but the detox symptoms were just starting to kick in. I had a slight headache, but all was still basically peachy. I spent my days attending classes, going to the dining room to eat and to the water station to get more water. By the second day my sense of thirst was starting to return. I learned that you sense thirst in your mouth. I was just starting to feel that for the first time in years! Before going, I was like a camel. Thirst? Nah. I can go days without drinking plain water. Just give me other stuff. Of course, my system reflected that - I was an arid little desert. More of the story to come!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Green Getaway Recap #1

It's hard to know where to begin telling the story of my Green adventure. Maybe the beginning is a good place? Hubs dropped me off on the early side of check-in time; around 2 p.m. on Sunday, 8/1. With bags packed and expectations high, I was so excited to go! I didn't know what the week would hold, but I knew I needed to seriously unplug from regular life for a while: no cell phone, no computer, no obligations, no callbacks, um, no bickering - nothing but dedicating time to feeling better and more relaxed, and learning about some new mind/body/spirit stuff. I had a little mantra the week before about not immediately making a "best friend for the week" and just being solo; it went like this: I don't want to hear anyone's story, and I don't want to tell mine! Keep in mind that this goes completely against the grain for the highly gregarious, talk-to-people-in-the-grocery-store-line, Robin. (Side story: my Dad, at age 82, took a job as a 'bag boy' at a local supermarket just to get some social interaction. We Paparellas crave it. After the store realized he did more chatting than bagging (this took just 2 days), they let poor Dad go. I think he worked for free anyway... Happily, he took to sitting for an hour or so on the bench outside the store a couple days a week. He'd pick up some conversation that way. And, oh, do I have this gene.)

So. I check in and the room is, well, shall we say, functional. It's what you'd expect at Motel 6 or Holiday Inn Express. But, who cares. It was spotless; that was most important. So, I'm in and I unpack my things and I venture out amongst the other folks. Everyone is very casual. The women are not wearing makeup, and there are very few men - I think 4 total. We had an orientation and tour of the grounds at around 4 p.m. and that's where we got the general info about classes and meals, and exercise times, etcetera, and found out where everything was located.

The main gathering place is an expansive lawn with lawn chairs with umbrellas and a beautiful fountain. I'm not sure why, but I didn't feel like I could snap a million pictures. I kept thinking someone would perhaps object, so I refrained. And, honestly, I was so focused on the experience that I wasn't thinking about my blog!

On the main lawn the grass is super green and their are trees and well-tended plants all round. People just sort of roost and relax. There's quiet chatter, but nothing loud or boisterous. It's peaceful. There was a constant breeze and sun the entire time. As we usually enjoy here in So-Cal, it's like the air outside is air conditioned.

My first introduction to the food was my first raw dinner that night. It consisted of a green salad, some zucchini spears, this stuff called "seed cheese" (which thank you very much I never have to eat again as long as I live), three cherry tomatoes, and two "crackers" made out of seaweed and sesame seeds. After this first meal, I was like: I can do this! This is actually pretty good. I mean, it's just 7 days, right? Keep in mind that I chose to do the more austere diet path called HYPO. Basically, you don't get sugar of any kind, which means no beets or carrots. Oh, a carrot! Such a sugary delicacy! Huh? It becomes that.

After dinner, I retired to my little room. All good, day one complete. I had big plans of writing in my journal a lot, but strangely I had nothing to say. I just reveled in the quiet and the peace and drifted off to sleep. More of the story tomorrow!