Is the autumn leaf…

…a new leaf or an old leaf?  I *always* feel like turning over a new leaf in the Fall – maybe it’s an old throwback from when school would start and it feels like a season for new beginnings.  So I guess I won’t dwell on whether or not the autumn leaf is a new one or old (dried and dying) leaf.  It is what I want it to be.

When I last left you, I was attempting to channel my inner athlete and to move on to a new challenge in my evolution.  It didn’t go so well, I must admit.  My body wasn’t yet up to the “BIG” challenges I gave it that I found so exciting mentally and which motivated me.  So I would go big, then be out of commission for a week because of injuries or immobilizing soreness.  You have to understand:  I’m no Spring Chicken.  My pains are not muscular anymore, they’re skeletal.  My joints feel like they’re grinding glass, my tendons threaten to snap and take weeks to heal, and I seem to have a bone in my foot that likes to pop out of place and then pop back a day later.  Stupid bone.

So there’s all my complaining.  I found I was doing a lot of it, which could be why I haven’t been here for a while – thought I’d spare you.  My challenges led me to do a lot of reading about ‘mental toughness’ and pushing through (and I have to thank my friend Veronica (click her name to go read her wonderful blog!) who made me point my mind towards the topic of mental toughness).  I wondered if I am mentally weak – not stupid, of course, I’m bloody brilliant – but if somewhere along the way I let my fears about my poor level of health (really – although I have had my heart checked, I’m quite convinced that pushing myself past a specific level of effort will bring on a heart attack) make me reticent to push myself even a little harder or to get back to it and give ‘er even if I’m feeling achy or injured….or merely scared.

There’s my two dynamics in play:  I go big and incapacitate myself, but wonder if I should keep pushing myself anyway because I might just be a wimp.  But then I don’t push myself when I probably could.  When I put it in writing, I see how silly I’ve been.  Perhaps I should have come here to complain earlier than now.

I have to admit to myself that I can push, but need to be reasonable about the grandiosity of my attempts.  In other words, I need to push myself harder on my 30 minute stationary bike ride and not worry about the splatter pattern of my exploding heart all over my living room carpet (because it’s not going to happen)  and I need to STOP pushing myself with 1.5 hour power walks that dislocate the bones in my feet or 1 hour lap swims that put me flat on my back for 2 days lest I crack my spine in half.  What a big dum-dum.

In short:  my inner Athlete is going to have to settle the hell down and let my body catch up.  There’s that ‘patience’ thing again…you know – that thing I suck at?  Yah, that.  So off I go – to stop being silly, to turn over a new leaf (again) and start applying everything I know but seem to forget when setting goals.

BUT I can’t leave you without a raw food mention – seriously, isn’t that how this all started?!  My patio garden was wonderful this year, and even now as we head into October, I have large, imperfect but beautiful sunflowers who greet me every morning.  I’m not harvesting them, I’m letting the squirrels have them. I had so many tomatoes that, even after eating a couple per day, I still have bags of dehydrated ones for raw chili this winter, and quite a few frozen whole so I can turn them into puree for turkey chili (not raw, I know) or some other tomato based soup or sauce.  Lots of cayenne peppers, sweet red chilies, and lots of herbs and spices.  I feel good about the productivity of that little garden and it was “just enough” – I’m not enthusiastic about tending to the needs of a garden (I was constantly hoping for rain because I was too lazy to water) but this one wasn’t overly demanding.

Happy face.

Happy face.

I had a brain-storm with the wheat grass.  My conundrum was that I was the only one consuming it in the house, and I often saw partial trays of grass getting tossed as I didn’t juice it in time.  I’ve decided to juice it all at once, pour into ice-cube trays, and freeze.  I’m sure there may be some purists who shake their heads at this, but I think the stasis of freezing is fine and will preserve what nutritional value it contains.  It’ll have to do.

I went looking for a good “Power Ball” recipe this week.  No, I’m not talking about a lottery or Bingo game.  I stumbled across quite a few and found that I didn’t love each one for various reasons, so I combined them and came up with a power ball that is perfect for ME.  Maybe you’ll like it too:

1 cup organic oats

1 cup chocolate protein powder (I used Vega, but I suspect any inferior one that you have will be fine 🙂 )

1/4 cup ground flax seed

1/3 cup dried cranberries (but I’m pretty sure I used close to 1 cup….I love dried cranberries)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp hemp hearts

1 cup almond butter (if using natural peanut butter, use 1/3c instead and increase your other liquids slightly)

1/4 cup agave (or 1/3 c honey)

2 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together, mix wet together, then combine.  If it’s too dry you can add a splash of non-dairy milk, or a little water, or a little more coconut oil.  I coated my hands in coconut oil and shaped into balls.  Keep them in the fridge or, if you actually think they’re going to last longer than 3 or 4 days, the freezer.

Chocolate Power Balls, mucho cranberries!

Chocolate Power Balls, mucho cranberries!

These are quite yummy and have no artificial sugars so will not throw you into a tail-spin if you eat them first thing in the morning.  This reminds me that most of the recipes I looked at had dark chocolate bars chopped up as well, which I wouldn’t be able to tolerate (from a glycemic index point of view) at various times during the day, so I left them out.  Once these balls are gone, I’m going to make this again with Vega French Vanilla which, mixed with the cranberries and maybe some chopped almonds, are going to be delicious.

One last point before I sign off:  I plan.  I’m good at planning.  I plan meals, exercise, get things ready the night before.  I’m good at it.  But HOLY CRAP I get sick of it and, usually by Thursday, I stop executing and just let it all go to hell.  This will be my next post:  trouble shooting ideas on how to keep on executing when you come to a point in your week when you could really not care less.  Maybe even become resentful….and rip your plans off the wall…and shred them.  I’m an “I hate routine” person in an “I need routine” world…

Wish me luck with the mental strength, lack of silliness, and taming my inner athlete:  must teach her to be consistent rather than explosive to the point of rendering me useless!