Monthly Archives: May 2013

Culinary Gratitude

Food and I are on good terms nowadays.

These last few months of really listening to my body has (inevitably) lead me to healthier choices and I’ve stopped eating foods that disagree with me. It’s really nice to sit down to a meal without feeling conflicted about eating it, and it’s even nicer to not feel guilty after eating.  After years of fighting with my body and my conscience about food, it feels really good to feel good about what I’m putting inside me. I’ve always been a comfort and stress eater, and I’ve always loved food of all kinds, but not all of them loved me back (specifically wheat, dairy and refined sugar).

I’m not gonna lie. It  was hard to imagine giving up certain foods… I knew for years that my body wasn’t as OK with dairy as I pretended it was, but it didn’t make me feel as bad as wheat did, so I ignored that fact. I also didn’t want to live without ice cream but once I really started to pay attention to what foods made me feel good and nourished, it got easier. Once I cleaned up my eating, every time I chose to eat something my body didn’t like, I felt awful! I mean, physically just awful. My stomach protested and I felt gross. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say, it was stinky.  Since I really hate feeling gross, the negative reinforcement has been super effective!

It’s taken 30 years, but I finally (for the most part) I pretty much only crave foods that make me feel good instead of terrible! I’m okay switching out dairy for coconut milk ice cream and sorbets, and to just go with goat cheese instead of cow’s milk cheeses. I’ve developed a taste for raw chocolate and fruit is sweet enough to satisfy me as dessert. I do need a certain amount of fat in a meal though, or I feel completely unsatisfied.

I’ve also started expressing my gratitude to my food. It’s come naturally as I’ve started to really appreciate how nourishing the right foods are to me, but I was inspired when I ate with a women in Bali who took a few seconds to bless her food before eating it. I know it’s a time honored tradition to bless food before eating it, but it’s one that I thought was kind of stupid when I was younger. Probably because it delayed the meal and I was usually eager to dive right in! I didn’t like to contemplate what I was about to eat and I’m sure part of that was because I was ignoring messages about how food was making me feel. I used to sneak food as a kid, especially chocolate and biscuits. I knew what I was doing was wrong on several levels, but sneaking it made me feel like I was getting away with something.

Now I try to remember to bless everything I eat. It’s a practice that really has been helping me with mindfulness.  I hold my hands close to the food, sending love and gratitude into it. Sometimes I use Reiki energy, and sometimes I silently say a prayer of thanks. Taking a few seconds to really pay attention to my food before I shove it into my face forces me to slow down and appreciate it. I’m pretty sure it makes it taste better too. Or maybe that’s just a function of slowing down long enough to really taste it. Either way, I’m grateful.

Adventures at Hoop Convergence!

How was Hoop Convergence you ask?


Here in a shiny example of it’s epic nature is our cabin’s awkward family photo:

photo by Carla Snow
photo by Carla Snow

We were given two sets of instructions for this:

One was ‘Stare off into the distance, with dreamy, pondering eyes’. Then someone else said ‘Now pretend you see a Pterodactyl!’ Only a few of us listened to that last instruction, and I think that makes it better!

I wish I had more time to get to know these wonderful, talented ladies, but they were great cabin mates. For some reason they put all the folks from Canada, Wisconsin and Massachusetts together. Perhaps they thought we’d bond over snow and prairies… Turns out we bonded over hula hoops and acro bunk bed yoga. My travel companion Carla Snow from

Speaking of Carla, I couldn’t have asked for a better travel companion. We always have so much fun together, and she’s been my biggest support on my hoop journey. She gave an incredible Hoop Talk on Thursday night (recovering from Laryngitis in the nick of time!) She spoke passionately about feeding the community through intentional business practices and my heart swelled with pride as she had the whole audience nodding and agreeing with her the whole time.

We had the chance to take in loads of workshops from some of the world’s greatest hoopers. My favorite hoop classes were taught by Beth Lavinder, Nick Guzzardo and Kenna Hoops, but they were all amazing. I think the most memorable class for me was a dance/movement class with Khan that involved dancing for 10 minutes for your partner, who was a silent witness, with no music. Then taking 5 minutes each to talk about the experience.  It was a really powerful hour for everyone in the room, and it brought up a lot of interesting feelings to work through. I needed a good cry afterwards, and another  class participant said she wouldn’t need therapy for a year! Healing, transformative movement!

It was really incredible how open and accessible the teachers were, and so many of them were right there in the thick of things, taking workshops with us. Carla captured a moment where Emma, Brecken and I were being a little disruptive during Spiral’s class, after I realized you could do some rebounding crotch thrusting inside a mini hoop (which was definitely off topic). It was ok though, cause we turned it into  a combo working in the class material. Here is our crotch rebound into  a corkscrew!

Photo by Carla Snow
Photo by Carla Snow

As much fun as the classes were, the jams and showcases were the real highlights for me. There was a real showcase (flowcase) where our incredibly, jaw dropping-ly talented instructors performed ridiculous routines. Here’s Nick Guzzardo’s piece, which was second only to his topless fire hooping the night before:

Hoop Convergence also had a renegade showcase the next night, which is a tradition from juggling conventions. This was probably my favorite activity all weekend, and not just because SaFire, Carla and I taught a renegade Finger Flow workshop wearing onsies. Most of the acts were dirty and hilarious and the few that weren’t were downright beautiful, like Caroleena’s piece with her gorgeous cockateil Mulder. There was everything from uni-cycling while hooping, butt jumping with  skipping rope, hooping, dooping, vooping (don’t ask) and a ukelele sing along.

I’m already counting down the days till next year.

Hoop Convergence and North Carolina have stolen my heart.

Photo by Carla Snow
Photo by Carla Snow

On The Road Again

by BRS man cc by 2.0
by BRS man cc by 2.0

I feel like I’m just getting back into the groove here at home but it’s already time to hit the road again. This time, I’m only traveling through a couple time zones, so I think I can handle it.

I’m headed to Hoop Convergence in North Carolina, the original hoop dance retreat just outside Hooper’s Mecca, Carrboro (Where Baxter, Ann, Spiral, Jewels and many more crazy masters hail from). I’m so excited to be heading back into the retreat environment. There is nothing like being around a group of hoop dancers, yogis, circus artists and all around prop enthusiasts. It’s a guaranteed good time since we’re all there to play!

I had a few moments of depression at work last week when I felt really alone. I realized it was because I missed the amazing sense of community that’s found at events like this, where everyone greets you with smiles and it’s so easy to make new friends. Actually, Hoop Convergence will be a bit of a reunion for quite a few people from Bali, yay!  Not to mention this time, I have a travel companion who is also a guaranteed good time, so I’m getting super stocked for everything!

I won’t be blogging throughout (I’m treating this retreat as an actual vacation), but I’ll be sure to give the highlights when I get back!