Thursday, October 21, 2010
México is huevos ranchers at once en la mañana, and tacos al pastor at once en la noche
It is being serenaded over comida and sold chicle en el metro
México is attempting to sleep through a lovesick borracho calling for his “Lupe” and mariachis celebrating an engagement
It is churches built on top of ancient pyramids; and a grand city over a lake
México is brown -leathered hands on young boys working in the streets and the wide white smile of the flower peddler
México is dancing en el centro at midnight with strangers and laughing with friends you only just met
It is a father tenderly touching his son and a mother walking hand in hand with her daughter
México is horchata, agua de jamica, guava y rico mango con chile, sal y limón
It is walking past pig heads and sheets of chicharrón hanging from windows, and old men gossiping over café de olla.
México is laughter on the street and listening to el nino canta while waiting for the metrobus
It is thinking I hear a three piece band, only to find it is a trompeta, tambor y armónica all played by the same man
México is “Buenas días every morning on my way to work, buenas tardes all day, and buenas noches as I return home
Es decir, "Mi Casa es tu Casa"
México is buying my chicken from the old man Pedro, my eggs from Luis, and vegetables from Rosaria
It is walking through the maze of colors and smells at el Mercado.
México is having your heart stolen over a guanabana popsicle in Coyoacán; y después de haberlo roto por ricos ojos marrones
Se trata de niños vestidos de payasos performing at street corners while others try to wash car windows
México es familia
It is feeling all alone and afraid and looking up to see the angel glistening in gold flying over her city, smiling down and protecting her gente hermoso
México es bailar
It is the Guadalupe smiling at you from street corners and metro stops, doors and alleys…
México is wishing and hoping for a brighter future, and celebrating a rich past
It is music that truly moves your soul
México is my dream; it is a home for me. I’ve lost myself in the largest city of the world and someone found myself among millions.
Mi corazón está aquí.
I’ve dreamed, and I’ve loved, and México es mi México;
México es Magico.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
A trip to central Mexico would not be complete with a trek to Puebla. It is a refreshing change from the hustle of Mexico City and offers the colonial tradition so many of us associate with Mexico. Originally founded in 1531 by Spanish settlers as “Ciudad de los Ángeles” it has grown into Mexico’s fifth largest city.
The highway from Mexico City to Puebla is beautiful. Almost immediately you escape the smog and cement of D.F. and are greeted by tall trees on grass filled hills. The air is clean and as you wind up and down the highway you will see incredible vistas. You climb down from Mexico City to a valley of sorts, and then ascend once more to Puebla. Farms and agricultural communities line the way. Sheep graze freely along the road and donkeys are tethered to strategically “mow the grass.” Approximately three-quarters the way there, if you pay attention, you will spot a tiny blue shrine to the Guadalupe that looks like a doll’s castle nestle in a rock on the roadside.
It lies 125 km (78 miles) southeast of Mexico City and is easily accessible by bus. You have several options but most prices are in the $104 range. Tickets and information can be purchased via Ticket bus (www.ticketbus.com.mx) downtown D.F. It is a two-hour trip, but if you leave during rush hour or on a Friday afternoon expect major traffic delays in both Mexico City and Puebla. If you chose to drive yourself be advised there are several tollbooths. At the final toll entering Puebla you may be enticed into buying traditional candy from the region, either compote (sweet potato) mixed with sugar and different fruit flavors, or the sickening sweet borrachos (drunk man) gummy type candies.
Don’t be dismayed when you first approach Puebla. At first glance it appears to simply be another large city. The real charm lies in the downtown district. Make your way to the zócolo and spend your time here. The square is quite impressive. The cathedral itself hosts the highest towers in Mexico and is nothing less than grand. It takes the entire block south of the zócalo and appears on Mexico’s 500 pesos bill. The interior is awesome. A huge gold gilded organ dominates the center and elaborately decorated side chapels and frescoes add to the impressiveness. A local told me it is believed that the plans for this chapel were accidently switched with the cathedral in Mexico City; and thus Puebla ended up with the cathedral originally intended for D.F.
Directly oposite the cathedral lies the municipal governmental building and several restaurants and coffee shops. Statues and a modern art piece complete the square. Puebla’s industry was originally pottery, glass, and textile. The influx of Chinese imports has changed this and now tourism (and the Volkswagen plant which is said to employee 60% of the city) is the main industry. The government keeps the downtown area quite clean and it is extremely tourist friendly. Many of the signs are bilingual and there are directions on every corner to local museums and sights.
There are many museums and I visited a few by simply following signs. The best is said to be Museo Amparo (www.museoamparao.com), which is housed in a colonial building of the 16-17the century and stocked with pre-Hispanic artifacts. Puebla also hosts an orchestra. If you happen to be there on a Sunday after noon ask any local where you can find the “orquesta local”. They usually play around 6pm for the public and are often in a converted hospital right off the zócalo.
Lodging is very easy to find. You can simply walk around the square and ask to see rooms and price lists. Ask about breakfast or “desayuno” as several hotels offer a wonderful complimentary morning meal.
You cannot mention that you will be going to Puebla without being told about the food. It is known for specialty regional dishes and deserts. Be sure to try the mole and Chilies en Nogada. A wonderful restaurant featuring traditional Puebla cuisine is Fonda de Santa Clara (fondadesantaclara.com). I had the Chiles en Nogada, which is ground beef stuffed in chili and topped with a walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seeds. It is a delicious mixture of sweet and spice and the crunch of pomegranate adds refreshing burst of flavor. My companion went for the mole, sampling the green, red, and chocolate varies. Be warned that mole is often too heavy to be eaten as an evening meal and often upsets the consumer’s stomach. It can be extremely rich and as my companion can attest, you may want to opt for it at lunch. Another common Puebla food is crickets, or “chapulines”, with chili, salt, and lime. You may see these critters a top a salad or sauce, and they can be readily purchased from street side vendors. They are said to be very high in protein and a perfect snack. I found them to be crunchy and slightly earthy, but in my opinion, just about anything is edible with chili and lime.
Once a city of its own, but now practically Puebla itself, Cholula is the home to the widest pyramid ever built, the Pirámide Tepanapa. It is completely covered by grass and if you did not know it was a pyramid you would think it just a large hill. Actually, legend has it that the Spanish did not realize what it was and built their church right on top. According to local lore it is debatable whether the Spanish knew what they were doing or not, it is thought that building a church on the site of a such a ceremonial ground was the Spanish way to stop indigenous practice and enforce Catholicism. Whatever the case it is definitely worth a trip. The church is constructed of beautiful bright orange domes and white accents like icing dripping down the sides. Masses are still routinely held and you can look out onto the entire city of Cholula while listening to the sermon being sung in Latin.
You can purchase handmade chocolate, crickets, nuts, and trinkets on the ascent and descent and a small market has been established at the hill’s base. Directly across from the textile and jewelry vendors is a food market. If you happen to find the bright orange tent with several like colored barrels underneath labeled “helado” stop in and try some of this delicious ice cream. My personal favorite is from the fruit of guanábana. A family of four women also has their business under this tent, making quesadillas, huaraches, and sopes. They are delicious and the women are quite friendly. I recommend the “flor de casaba” which is the flower of pumpkin and chicharrón. If you’re feeling especially brave you can sample the corn fungus, or huitlachoce quesadillas.
Although it is still a large city, the tile and colonial architecture of downtown Puebla takes you back; it is such a historical village. It’s well worth a visit and remember you really must try the postries.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I'm having an amazing time in D.F., full of daily adventures of course. This week I was pick-pocketed, had my twenty minute metro commute take 2 1/2 hours (there was a fire), and enjoyed a lively Friday night in the Zòcalo.
In my constant quest for optimal health and correct nutritional information I have continued my studies. My most recent reads have been by Geneen Roth(Breaking Free from Emotional Eating) and she has changed my perspective on dieting. She actually has gotten me to see that dieting implies that I'm not trustworthy with my own instincts and should over-ride my body's signals with programs and protocols. Instead of listening to myself and discovering when I'm hungry and how much I should eat I have relied on charts and graphs, "correct" portion sizes, and calorie allotments.
I'm changing all this and taking the journey back to feeling myself and listening to my body.
That being said, I do need to monitor my blood sugar levels and have a gluten intolerance so I am adapting her advice (eat whatever you want, whenever you are truly hungry and only until satisfied) to my situation. Right now I'm working on monitoring my blood sugars daily to see which food and in what amounts are helpful for my body. I'm using Dr. Bernstein's methods, which I highly recommend.
I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want but I love myself and want to push myself towards optimal health on a daily basis, not harm or hinder my health in anyway. My natural diet is lower carb (as this handles my bs levels nicely) with limited sugar and lots of exercise, fun, and relaxation. I do want to release some weight relatively quickly as this is a remedy for high bs as well and will probably use homeopathic hGc. I've used this in the past with success and have not regained the weight I lost with it. It aligns with what I eat already and is a definitely temporary protocol.
It's a bit scary, relying on only myself to make all the decisions as to what is truly best for me; but then again if I'm going to break the dieting cycle, this may be best bet.
Mexico is a beautiful dichotomy; a sprawling modern metropolis inhabited by some of the worlds’ best, but maintaining a strong Mexican tradition and culture. You may be able to find Starbucks in every colony, but don’t be surprised if you also spot an indigenous couple walking barefoot down a main highway.
Mexico City is an easy travel destination. It is not a holiday destination and thus there are hotels at every price point constantly available. Airlines are rarely over-booked from Europe and the Americas, and many direct flights are available into one of the two airports.
Plenty of ATMs are scattered about. You can always find an open Internet café, and the city hosts the largest metro in the world, making transportation a breeze.
Mexico City has a tangled history of vast kingdoms, brutal conquests, and industrialization. It rests on what was once a lake, a woof and warp- like structure of canals and farmland. The maize has long since been replaced with endless asphalt and buildings, but even amongst this modern world you can happen across the ancient Temple Major in downtown, centuries old cathedrals, and the reverend Guadalupe. There are few cities in the world that provide such an exciting mixture of tradition and modern existence.
There is no right time to visit Mexico City. The climate is temperate year round. If you do not enjoy frequent showers, you will want to avoid the summer months from June to September; and if higher temperatures are not your cup of tea, consider visiting in April. When the entire city is green and alive with beautiful purple jacaranda trees. Whenever you plan on coming, rest assured the city will be alive with activity (the two exceptions are Holy Week, the week before Easter Sunday and the couple of days after it and Christmas to New Years when the city slows down considerably as locals vacation; if you are looking to do business in the city you definitely want to avoid these times.) One climatic characteristic to be aware of is the altitude. The city stands at almost a mile and a half above sea level (7,200 feet). This, combined with the fact that it is a valley flanked by mountains and two volcanoes, which promotes heavy smog, makes everyday activities exhausting for travelers. Being aware of this can make all the difference. Don’t be surprised if after a day or so of running on adrenaline you suddenly crash. Take it slow, drink plenty of water, rest as needed and you should still enjoy a delightful Mexico City experience.
Being such a large city, there are truly endless excursions to go on, and sights to be seen. Historic Center offers a rich cultural experience and gives one a quick glimpse of DF’s history. For a bohemian feel you can easily head to Roma; to Condessa if you desire a beautiful residential area full of hip cafes and a buzzing nightlife; or the affluent Polanco for up-scale hotels and cutting edge chefs.
One really should spend a day in the neighborhood Centro Histórico (Historic Center) and surrounding areas. This historical downtown area of Mexico City has a wide plaza known as El Zòcalo. Full of museums, restaurants and cafes, street merchants, markets, art, music, Aztec dancers, and hotels this is a wonderful place to start. The Palacio National (the presidential palace and home to exquisite Diego Rivera murals), cathedral, and excavated site of Temple Mayor (the main Aztec Tenochtitlan temple) are just a few of the sights which could keep you occupied for hours.
Directly west of the Zócalo lies the breathtaking Palacio de Bellas Artes. Slightly further and you will find Mexico City’s famous street, Paseo de la Reforma, adorned with the “Monumento a La Independicia, El Ángel.” This beautifully gilded angel stands as the symbol of Independence and rises above the city to watch over her people. Daily tours are available and upon summit you will be treated to a bird’s eye view of the city. Several other monuments mark this grand boulevard and you can easily follow it down to Zona Rosa and enjoy any of the many restaurants, on your way to Bosque de Chapultepec. This park is a trip within itself with lakes, gardens, and abundant trees. It also holds several museums, including the world famous Museo Nacional de Antrologia and the Museo Nacional de Historia.
Transportation is a breeze throughout the city. The Metro is extremely economical ($3 pesos and you can ride to any destination one way, no matter how many stops or transfers) and criss-crosses the city very efficiently. Taxis are also extremely abundant and affordable. Avoid all “Libre” taxis, which are denoted by an “L” before the vehicle’s registration number and license plate. Instead look for a “Sitio”taxi, traditionally denoted by a “S”. Because new regulations (changes in license plates) have made it almost impossible to differentiate between Libre and Sitio taxis. The smartest course of action is to always call a 24-hour Sitio taxi service, which is available at 5516-6020 to 34, 5571-9344, and 5571-3600. Your hotel or restaurant will gladly call one for you.
You are never far from some of the world’s most delicious cuisine in the city. Any type of global delight can be found, although some of the most delicious food to be found is in the markets and taquerias. Keep in mind the rule of thumb to not eat unless you can sit at the establishment (hopefully this will exclude you from any run-ins with less than sanitary establishments). Perhaps the most tantalizing way to find good eats is stop locals and ask them what they recommend. Make sure you try the “T Diet” while you are in town consisting of tortas, tamales, and tacos. Some of the best al pastor and bistek tacos are to be found in the city, and any good Samaritan can direct you. Eating is generally quite inexpensive and one of the true joys of Mexico City. Due to Mexico City’s dichotic character, you can enjoy tamales on the street for breakfast, and an exquisite world-class dinner in Polanco later that day.
Mexico City does have a reputation for being one of the more dangerous cities in the world. Precautions should be taken to not draw attention to one; do not wear expensive jewelry or watches, carry or show large amounts of cash, advertise your nationality, and or generally advertise yourself as a foreigner. That being said, you will immediately notice how friendly the city is. In general the Mexican people are proud of their country and happy to assist in anyway they can. As in any large city, take the proper precautions to not put yourself in dangerous situations (such as calling a taxi from the street).
Mexico City is a fast-paced, colorful, textured, rich urban hot spot. It is chock full of amazing museums, art, music, delectable food, traditional dances and events, soccer stadiums and fans, breathtaking architecture, and stunning colonies. The choices of things to see and do are endless, and with a little planning you will be enthralled by what you find in this cultural hybrid. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to encounter across a woman selling her homemade quesadillas while shuffling out of the metro…
The official article can be found at: http://www.latinworld.com/2010/city-profile-mexico-city.htm. Besos!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I apologize for the lack of posts, but I am now back in Mexico City and ready to proceed.
The rain has hit; my friends here were not exaggerating when they said June and July construct the "Rainy Season." It's definitely different than Texas. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept of it raining daily in the middle of summer. Back home people are tucked away inside air conditioned buildings, only appearing before 10am or after 6pm. Mexico City is so high that you can enjoy any time of day. Well, that is if you have an umbrella, rain boots, and a jacket!
I've discovered a new food here in Mexico. I have seen these many times in the States, and have even par taken in their consumption a few times, always to my disappointment. My Mexican friends talk of them fondly, and I am officially a convert. The Flauta. A wildly delicious crispy taco wrapping chicken or beef, drenched in cream, topped with salsa verde, guacamole, onion, and lettuce. Made right, these are pure divinity, and this is coming from a girl who usually dislikes anything fried. Unlike their American counter-parts they are light and airy. Although fried, they don't sit in your stomach like a brick and are really, really delicious. The flautas I've become fond of are located in the back of a neighborhood market. You wind your way down the dark aisles (I frequent there Sunday mornings as the vendors start their day, beating the crowds), turn a sharp left at the fruit husband and wife team, and walk right past the quesadilla stand- and there, beyond, the best flautas in the city. It's become a Sunday morning tradition, chicken flautas and a jugo de naranja or sandia from the fruit stand. It's 30 or so minutes of bliss, and as I finish I'm already looking forward to the next encounter. I'm the only foreigner I've seen in this place; I always love to find "locals only" joints.
I'm conducting an highly scientific experiment; due to some un-forseceen circumstances I'm flat. That's Mexican for, "I'm broke- really, really broke". I have $500 pesos to my name, approximately $45.00, 1 can of chicken, 2 cans of tuna, some tea, salt, and protein powder. The adventure begins my friends- how long can I make this $500 stretch? I'll live off the tuna and chicken as long as I can, pick up some eggs, and frequent tacorias and local markets. I'll take part in the corrida comidas as much as possible, use the metro, and make these pesos stretch like no other. It's actually a little fun, in a high-pressure, living on the edge kind of way.
Okay amigos, it is late and tengo hambre. First stop, tacos. I will get a bistek alambre, grande for $70 pesos and a Coca Dieta for $10. I will eat half of the alambre hoy and save the rest for manama. So, $420.00 to go! It's time to face the rain which comprises this very, very wet rainy season.
Monday, June 7, 2010
I've been putting a lot of attention on keeping my blood sugar stable. For me, this included going cold turkey on all sweeteners (including my beloved Stevia sweetened drinks for the time being).
I'm on Day 7 and feeling quite good. I notice that I am sleeping better (well unless I wake up because of the heat and have to take a mid-night/ morning shower), my cravings are subsiding, and my overall feeling of wellness is improved. I have completely cut out all refined carbs, juices, sweets, and starchy vegetables. I'm going to keep at this for this entire month and July and retest my sugars with the full glucose test and see the difference.
Exercise wise I'm continuing with the Strong Lifts program which I love. If you haven't checked out this weight lifting protocol, I highly recommend it. It's efficient, quick, challenging-http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-5x5-beginner-strength-training-program/. I'm also trying to take advantage of the Zumba and Yoga classes at the Y. I love these classes, some of the ones I took in Mex just weren't the same.
Okay, I'm rambling so I can suck all the air conditioning in this office into my body crazily hoping it will somehow stay with me as I enter into the wrath of air-conditionnessless summer.......
Have you heard the incredible news about Mexico? One of the TV industry leaders has announced he will no longer feature murders, crime, rapes, sex type stuff, etc. on his TV programs. He's "cutting out the junk" and going to offer free air time to organizations and people that actually help. The only bad news will be informative, for example if there's an earthquake- on a need to know basis. Incredible isn't it- I hope we follow that foot steps.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Not only did Jimmy introduce me to Dr. Bernstein's work, he recently did blood sugar testing himself over the course of a day. This inspired me to do the same and the results turned out quite interesting.
Below you will see them. These irregularities spurred me to do a home diabetes test. My results were within the Glucose Intolerance, or Pre-Diabetic range. I was at 192 for the first hour testing, and 147 for the second. The normal range for the first hour (after eating) is 140, and second is 120. Diabetes is 200 at the first testing. I am so thankful to Mr. Moore for inspiring me to take my blood sugar levels. This has proven to be very useful information and given me some real insight into my body. I am now know that I was on my way to diabetes and am so thankful to know I where I stand and how I can prevent it. This is a true gift...
4oz wild caught salmon lox with 3 pieces of cucumber strips (about 1/3 of a cucumber)
Taco salad (no taco) lettuce, tomato, 1/2 cup guacamole, about 2 oz beef fajita meat, and salsa
Gluten free/ casein free/ antibiotic free salami (4 oz) and 1 stevia sweetened diet cola
8:00 chicken (roasted) leg and wing, with olive oil/ parsely/ basil sauce, 1 cup of lettuce. 1/2 avocado with unsweetened coco powder and stevia made into a "pudding"
Friday, May 14, 2010
It's a beautiful Friday morning here in South Padre, Texas.
Ever since reading, "The Primal Blueprint" I've wanted to do sprints on a beach and today was my day! It was lovely- running along the waves; definitely beats a treadmill. After my sprints I did squats, push-ups, and planks. I don't have a gym at my condo so this will have to do. Follow that with an invigorating swim and I feel amazing.
I decided to take a quick trip down to see my father- it's been an adventure: a lovely, difficult, relaxing, self-growth promoting adventure; just the stuff good life is made up of.
My entire life my Dad has struggled with alcohol. I've known him as an alcoholic my entire life, but not a drunk. He always worked and was functional. I haven't spent much one on one time with him over the last few years. I moved around the US, he stayed in Austin. The elephant in the room has always been his addiction and it wedged between us creating a discomfort I wasn't able to penetrate.
Over the last year or so I've made a real concerted effort to rehabilitate our relationship (although I'm not sure in his eyes there was ever anything wrong). I've gotten much closer to him and spending time one on one with him is a big step. It takes a lot of nerve on my behalf, a willingness to weather the long silences and awkward moments. The times when he looks at me with surprise as if he doesn't know me or I'm stranger; questions about me that anyone who knows me knows the answer to; comments about me that were relative fifteen years ago but have since expired...A while back I went on a road trip with him- a big step. Coming to the beach with him-even a bigger step.
He's retired now and spends a lot of time down here, it's safe to say he actually lives here about half the year. I have enjoyed meeting his friends- you can learn a lot about someone by how those around react to him. They are good people and it's obvious my Dad is loved; but it's also painfully obvious that he is a drunk, and so are his friends.
While I'm used to being his designated driver (he used to say he couldn't wait until I had my license and he held me to it), I am not used to him being a drunk. Of course, living with an alcoholic I've seen him wasted. But this is different. His alcoholism has taken a dangerous plunge, one that I fear will see no return. He antics are those of a college age boy in Cancun- delirious, stumbling, loud, irrational. It's a hard situation to look your Dad in his eyes and not see him there, but glazed over eyes of a strange man peering back. I don't know the man he becomes- but I do know it's not my father.
In a sober moment I told him that I care about him and love him deeply and asked him to please take good care of himself because I want him around. He laughed nervously- but I know he heard me. Matter of fact, he went a day and a half booze free after that conversation.
Unfortunately last night saw the demons arrive again.
This has been a real growth experience for me. In the past, I would be so scared I would run to food for comfort. Now, I am able to face my emotions and push through them. I recently read that your body's appearance is a reflection of the beliefs you have about yourself. This resonates with me and it is helping to affirm the changes I've made in my belief system. It is a real win for me to be able to face the pain and uncertainty, and even fear related to seeing my Dad drunk and feel it. Not run or squash it, but be there- and perceive what is occurring. Food might temporarily numb me, but does nothing to handle the situation at hand.
Being able to speak my peace to my Dad and articulate my concern, while still loving him unconditionally and enjoying all the good that is there brought me peace, self growth, and acceptance. Now that's what I call a good vacation.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
It's an especially lovely spring evening here in Austin. The high 80's day has relaxed into a cool, breezy, evening. The sprinkler is singing it's rhythmic hiss and I'm enjoying the Spanish classic "Si Tu Estas Aqui" by Rosana. It's one of my favorite songs, poetry.
Lifestyle wise I am doing well. I am back on track once again, after adding more fruit to my diet started a snowball that ended with chocolate and ice cream. At this point on my weight loss journey, fruit really needs to be limited. It starts cravings for sugar which leads to over eating and sugar binges. I can tell when it begins because I suddenly begin to think more about food. I prefer freedom from such thoughts and so for now I will continue to keep in around in very limited degrees. Refined sugar is totally out.
Workout wise, thanks to a friend over on Mark's Daily Apple, I've started a weight training routine called Strong Lifts 5*5. I am really, really loving it and can feel my body getting stronger. I am very much looking forward to comparing stats at the end of this month.
Spiritual wise I am fantastic. I've started taking HTP to handle low- serotonin levels (Mood Cure by Julia Ross) and feel a definite difference. I also started Iodine supplementation and my hands and feet seem to be less cold.
Emotionally I am on top of the world. I've fallen in love and am seeing life from the eyes of a blissfully happy girl.
Life is good amigos- I hope yours is too.
Monday, April 19, 2010
The shortest distance between two points is a line. True happiness is gained through perseverance and persistence. Confidence is gained from overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. Life is a game meant to be lived as a player, not a spectator; to be touched and experienced rough and real.
Sometimes I fear taking the wrong step or making the wrong decision. I worry about which path I should take or if the one I'm walking along will prove to be the right one in the end. But I've learned something- that any movement forward is better than none; and a "perfectionist" egotistical view of not doing anything because you might stumble or not do something well enough is a cop-out- and it just ain't true. It's a dang good way to hold yourself back and limit potential though...but then again that's not what I'm going for.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Traveling back from Mexico and arriving in Austin has left me in a weird haze. I'm half Gringa/ half Mexicana. It's great to see my family, but I long for my new friends. I haven't made it to bed before 3am for at least a week, more like two, and I feel hungover during the day. I made the error of partaking is some good ol' American food when I got to the States and it's left me feeling just plain yucky- and now I'm wadding through that wonderful detox phase.
Which brings me back to my point about the shortest distance being a direct line. I'm ready (or as we say in Mexico- "lista"). Lista? Lista for what.
Lista for the next stage. Recently I've been following Jimmie Moore on his Eggfest, and also a Primal Bluepring blogger over at Mark's Daily Apple. What's struck me about both of these men is they're walking the line- they're taking the shortest distance. I'm going to follow in their footsteps.
The time has come to hunker down and take myself to that next level of health. It's been a long time coming and frankly, I've kinda been sitting on my laurels for the last month or so.
So, here we go. It's eleven weeks until my favorite holiday, July 4th. My birthday is in September and I know what I want- Optimal Health.
My plan for the next 11 weeks?
30g or less of carbs (natural) a day
Workout 5 x a week (lift heavy things at least 2x, low level cardio 2x, sprint 1x)
No refined sugars
One scheduled deviation a week, within an hour time period where I can eat whatever I want (well- no dairy, gluten, wheat, or refined sugar- but fruit or corn tortillas, etc).
Get my body fat % down to 22%
Lose body fat!
I have a scale goal- my goal is 150 lbs. The above are more important to me, but this will be a natural occurence if the others are in.
My game plan?
3-5 small meals a day
HFLC (High fat, low carb Paleo)
2 liters of H20/ day
Salad for one meal a day
Calories no more than 1900/ day
So, I'm ready- yes Lista.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Good evening from a land far away, but yet so close- Mexico City. It
is amazing I can be residing in a third world country and immersed in
a new way of life while only being three hours (by plane) away from
Los Estados Unidos. It's is like one of those distorting mirrors in a
fun house; technology makes the "impossible" true.
I have set into a routine here in Mexico and find myself increasingly
comfortable. I am starting to think like a Mexicana, act like one,
and yes- speak like one (yeah!). I've had more than one experience
where I've meant to use English and found myself accidentally typing
Spanish; and when I spend time with an English speaker it's pretty
normal to throw in both languages. I am looking for a school to take
some classes while I'm here; I've been told that is the best way to
get a hold on the grammar and fine tune my skills. I have the nouns
down- but future/ past/ tense and then the different forms of "be" are
still not perfected by a long shot. I'm a "toddler" in my speech- able
to communicate elementary concepts, but still limited. I know all I
need to do is practice more and be patient. Sometimes I forget it has
only been a few months (two and a half) and expect myself to be
fluent. One nice thing about being here is that I am picking up the
accent- well the Chilango accent (Mx City native). I prefer the
Northern Mex. accent and actually 99% of my friends are northern
Mexican and I sound like I am from Monterrey or Chihuahua.
Frequently it is commented on that I look like a northern Mexican
woman. I think "my people" are there. I find I am more drawn to that
culture for whatever reason....the lines of demarcation within
cultures are much more distinct here than in the US. In other words, we
can tell when someone is from Louisiana and of course they have a
different culture in some ways- but we are also very similar. Here, of
course they are all Mexican, but vary greatly from State to to State
in morals, accent, work ethic, political ideals, and physical
appearance. The people I meet from N. Mexico do look more like me-
they are tall, often have lighter complexions, and hazel or even green
eyes. Some of them are quite striking and really fit the bill of a
handsome Latino! Northern Mexicans are known for being straight
shooters who look you in the eye when they speak to you. Their accent
is melodious and generally they speak slower. Chiuahians are
especially friendly and out going, Monterrey people are savvy
businessmen and known for finding the best deals and being somewhat
cheap, and Guadalajara produces some real beauties. I often say I am
from N. Mexico- and if said with the proper accent I am believed. I
have only had a handful of people guess I'm American; European yes-
but not American. Sometimes I'm told I look Brazilian, Argentinian,
North Mexican... I take this as a real compliment.
Here in Mexico City the people are so short! I hear the N. Mexicans
talking about it all the time- it's incredible. I mean, really, really
short. They are darker skinned and I rarely see anything but dark eyes
and hair (although some of the girls do dye their hair this terrible
blonde color). Their facial bone structure can be exquisite,
especially the more indigenous looking ones. Strong cheek bones
sloping down to small flat chins with thin lips chiseled out and dark
back beads of eyes. Then, of course, thick rich dark hair tops it all
off. I am the tallest person in Mexico City. Really I am.
This city never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday I went to the
President's Palace in Zocala. What other downtown hosts authentic
Aztec ruins? Where else can you take a coffee (as they say here) and
cruise through a 500 year old cathedral, have your soul cleansed in an
Indian rite, and then enjoy Diego Rivera's murals? When I go downtown
and walk among these amazing historical buildings I have to pinch
myself. The buildings are amazing, the history positively ancient,
and culture is so so so alive.
My friend took me to a traditional Spanish restaurant yesterday. Most
of the patrons were actually from Spain themselves or had some
connection with Spain. The bottom floor was an art museum full of
dramatic oil paintings and an accompanying Spanish cultural center.
We didn't eat at the restaurant as we were on our way to another
museum, but I plan to go back later and try some of that exotic food-
from what I saw it looked like nothing I've ever had.
There is a huge photography exhibit in the downtown area I've been
dying to see. A Mex. photographer traveled the country capturing
humanistic shots of his land. The line to get in was immense though,
several hundred people- so I will try and sneak in during the week
when there's less people.
After Zocala we jumped the metro, oh yes, here's a story. I got caught
in the metro door. This is a big difference in Mexico. The US is so
safety oriented- special touch sensitive doors everywhere, bars
keeping people away from the edges of tall buildings, bus doors that
close securely, etc. Mexico is different. It was like when an
elevator door closes and you're trying to walk through so it touches
you and then regresses....except the door never regressed. I was
trying to run into the metro and just about missed it but thought I
could slip within the closing doors. Well, I could slip in alright -
but then they closed on me and proceeded to squeeze relentlessly. I
couldn't move- forward or backwards! The metro was absolutely packed-
I mean we were like sardines. No one even batted an eye at the gringa
being compressed; apparently this is the norm. I on the other hand was
quite alarmed, and uncomfortable, and let out a little shriek. I was
able to forcefully jar the doors open thankfully before the metro left
off and join my fellow passengers in our sardine can.
The afternoon played out like a dream. I went on a date with a
always makes for a good time. Frida Kohda's "Casa Azul" (blue house),
really amazing. Strange woman, great artist, interesting life. I am
so drawn to art, it is one of my "elements". I find a strange
invigorating sense of peace peering into the world of others; and art
is nothing if not a communication from someone else. It's a key to
their world, offering limitless fascination...
A stroll through a crowded market where I found hand-made earrings for
my sister's birthday (can't wait to see her reaction- they are
which produce the most amazing violet flowers which litter the ground
and make you feel like you're in a Lewis Carol novel, a trip to one of
the oldest cathedrals in Mexico, lunch at a small hole-in-the-wall
cafe, and people watching with guabana (one of my new favorite Mexican
fruits) popsicle. They make great popsicles here, no milk- just fruit
and water frozen- yum. Add in some crazy taxi driving which is always
amusing and elicits laughter from me and you have the best date I've
ever been on.
Alas that is the life I lived today. :-0)
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Wow, what a week in Mexico it has been.
A friend of mine came from Texas and I played tour guide. It was validating to show him around the city, it demonstrated how I've really created a life for myself here and have established myself. Seeing the city through his eyes also allowed me to re-experience everything from a "newbie" perspective which was refreshing- isn't it amazing how quickly we adapt?
The highlights for me were: enjoying dance with the Ballet Folkloric de Mexico, touring the castle and museum at Chapultepec, people watching Coyoacan, and traveling down the canals in Xochimilco.
Mexico City hosts the largest subway system in the world and it is the ideal way to see the city. A single ticket is only $3 pesos and this gets you virtually anywhere in the city. We became quite the experts with the subway and this provided adventure within itself.
Sunday found us at the Museo de Antropologia. It is the largest museum of anthropology in the world and a definite "must-see" for visitors to this museum-crammed city. It takes you through the Mayan, Aztec, and other indigenous cultures of Mexico, as well as the basic evolution of man and beast. It's comprised of several large buildings, top and bottom floors. The "Louve" of Anthropology if you will. The plaques are in Spanish, so if you're not fluent you might opt to rent a cassette and do a self-guided English tour.
The museum was interesting, but somewhat of an obligatory visit for me. I preferred the museum at Chapultepec which has a more humanistic aspect. The ballet was amazing and something I would highly recommend. Bella Arte downtown is a beautiful site to behold, and Xochimilco is the Mexican version of Venice. Nothing compares to people watching, finding great tacos on the street, hunting down a museum you've always wanted to see, and sharing the your excitement of a new city with a good friend.
Vida de Mexico!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Buenas tardes. It is late afternoon here in Mexico City (DF) on one of the cooler days we've had. I'm enjoying a breeze off my balcony, the fire of chile on my tongue, and the street noises. I can hear a man whisteling, cars bustling back and forth, and the far off stream of an airplane. This city is alive, always full of sound and color.
This week I have been reflecting on self esteem. There was a time in my life where I despearatly wanted to be proud of who I was. I was searching for self acceptance and love, self truth and understanding, and for a true friend within myself. I have found it.
I am on my own personal spiritual journey which has helped lead me to where I am now; and feel that whatever path you take in life having a spiritual base is vital. It is up to you (of course) if you feel spiritual growth goes hand in hand with typical Western religion- but whatever path you take, realizing your existence and potential as a spiritual being is desirable. Life is more than the here and now, we are more than animals, and seeing all the glory you possess is important.
Part of the reason I came to Mexico was to further understand myself (aka my spiritual journey) and build my self esteem.
I have read before that self esteem is commonly believed to be innate and something we are all born with. The author I was reading said this is a falsehood; self esteem is something that is earned through overcoming obstacles and realizing your true strength.
Moving to Mexico was a dream for me, I had many obstacles and hurdles I had to overcome to be here. Luckily I have several people in my life are very supportive and helped me overcome my barriers, but nonetheless in the end it was my willingness to overcome inhibiting fears that landed me here.
Conquering these obstacles and arriving here provided ample challenges. Confronting each one of these and handling them one by one has left me with a much heightened sense of self esteem and provided personal growth.
It has shown me first hand the value of facing dreams and accomplishing them. The personal benefits out-weigh any monetary or material gain; you are giving yourself the gift realizing your potential.
I'm standing proud and sure, and I wish this for all of you.
Go out there and grab yourself some of your dreams.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Another evening is coming to a close in the fascinating Ciudad of Federal de Mexico.
I realize something about myself, I thrive on new experiences and cultural diversity. I think my friends would be shocked if they decided to visit me here because of how I've depicted Mexico. I've shared the romance, excitement, beauty, and allure that all comes from a new land. In truth, someone else in the exact same place as I may not have any of these sentiments. Just as I find all the wonder of the world here, another would find poverty and the ugly face of class distinction.
Where I see allure and mystery, they would find dirty restaurants and poverty.
I sat at a roadside cafe and delighted in eating my consome de pollo from a broken cup, another would despise this.
Don't you see, I am in my element. Being here among a different people, learning a new language, and experiencing a culture different than my own brings me life- invigorates me- my element is to be out of my element.
This is a discovery, part of the recipe that makes me tick. It is a useful road sign to a life that I love and work that is meaningful. My future is starting to look mighty grand and I'm finding it difficult to control my excitement.
Something about being here is showing me myself; may I never be anyone else again.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I am 5'11 (5'10 1/2-3/4) and weight approximately 167.2 pounds, as of last week.
My goals are:
Optimal health for me which includes vibrance, abundant energy, and radiance. As well as optimal blood levels, function, etc.
As of right now I believe an ideal body weight for myself is 150 lbs.
Strong, toned, able lean body- approx 20-22 body fat
Mastery of Optimal health so that I can help others
In order to accomplish these I am always educating myself by reading new books, listening to lectures, etc. Through this method I have come up with a program, my Superwoman Program.
Low-carb is the right path for me dietarily speaking, specially Paleoesque low-carb. This easily eliminates my allergens of gluten and dairy, helps me sustain local agriculture and farming practices, eat the foods I enjoy, and feel dang good. I just read the "Primal Blueprint" and like it more than the "Paleo Diet" for my needs. I'm starting that, while incorporating "The Diet Solution" principles, and Adkins. So basically, I'm eating 5-6 low carb meals a day, concentrating on getting all carbs from natural (fruit and vegetable sources), doing a ketagenic diet (Adkins) which emphasizes good fat and protein, while learning primal exercise. The "SuperWoman Program".
Exercise wise I'm doing belly dancing and zumba three days a week, lifting weights two days a week, and doing interval running one day. I also walk about an hour a day and climb 8-12 flights of stairs three times a day.
I have changed my entire life. I've worked with Overeater's Anonymous to help with my compulsive eating- and in the process discovered that my compulsive overeating was the direct cause of carbohydrate and sugar addiction. This has given me immense freedom. It helped me build my eating plan.
I'm still working in my dependence of the scale; and as of yesterday am seriously considering ditching the scale as my primary goal- and instead aiming for a body fat percentage of 20%, using the scale as only a secondary tool.
I have harmed my body in the past: 100 juice feast, two weeks of lemonade and maple syrup, low calorie dieting, binging, purging, and the latest- hGc. I know these were compulsive behaviors and I'm happy to be on the right path towards my PERSONAL OPTIMAL health. It feels good :-)
Tonight marks the closing of my first five weeks here in Mexico City. Wow, it has been adventurous to say the least.
This week has been full of adventure, a different kind of an adventure. This adventure has included exposure to my arch enemies gluten and dairy, a surprisingly intense bout of the swine flu, antibacterial injections in the rump, and finally some peace.
I am continuing to learn Spanish and have gotten especially good at reading comprehension. This is helpful, except in the case with menus- the food preparation methods are not listed out as in the US. Thus, I thought I was getting something with corn starch and ended up with a gluten filled dish. It's been about 4-5 months since I had gluten, and this run in has proven to be much less than pleasant. I immediately became sick and soon after got pounced upon by the flu.
This flu is intense- very fast acting and powerful. Extreme dizziness, body aches, inability to sleep, sore throat, swollen body, loss of voice, semi-consciousness, and fever. I ended up going to a local doctor, something I try to avoid, and am happy I did. I immediately received an antibiotic shot and I must return for 3-6 more. I'm already feeling better, and after my first injection was finally able to sleep- Major Triumph.
I figure there's several positive aspects to this: 1) I now will have a stronger immune defense against local germs and 2) I'm officially Mexicana- I mean, the flu germs, the Mexican flu germs, were literally inside of me- I'm as good as a local.
Chalk this up to yet another experience, in a strange and beautiful Land!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I am in Mexico City! I know, can you believe it? Let me tell you a story: Since I have been a very young girl I have been fascinated with Spanish and the Latin culture. I think this has something to do with my Italian heritage. There is a real similarity of culture between the Italians and Latinos and I have always wanted to know more about the later.
When I was about five years old I remember standing beside a Mexican family in our local grocery store. I was absolutely enamored with their language and so intrigued at the idea of using different words to indicate the same things. That day, my fascination with language began and it has been tinkering around in my mind since.
This past year has offered me the opportunity to make a complete 360 change in my life (thanks Mom) and find myself. I am vibrantly aware of what a gift this is; the gift of being allowed to pursue your true self and consequently your dreams and goals is invaluable.
That is the short story of how I now find myself, on 9 Febrero 2010, writing to you from a departmento overlooking Mexico City. I have been here three weeks, and in these three weeks have had more life changing experience and growth than I ever could have imagined.
It's hard to know where to start; I want to share all of my experiences with you but there have been so many that delineating this stimulating journey proves a little tricky. Aha, that's it- I think I know how to describe this journey to you: Everything is New.
No exaggeration here, it is all new and different, glamorous and terrifying, challenging and invigorating- and I love it.
To be in an environment where I am constantly challenged is awesome. I am learning Spanish, but am definitely not fluent yet. I am in a Spanish-speaking country where English is not used...... Challengingly frustratingly wonderful? Si! Bring it on, I want this challenge and I will be fluent, as for now it is a "win"to be a Spanish speaker at all- even if I am an infant speaker. I am loving learning the language and will be a successful, fluent, Spanish speaker soon.
I have done many exciting things since arriving here, but am finding that the things I enjoy the most are quiet moments during an extended lunch at a small cafe listening to a musician that comes to serenade us all, watching families on the metro, hearing the different music vendors are selling, and people watching.............
Food and weight wise, I am doing really well. It's extremely easy being gluten free here as corn is the main grain staple. Leche is a bit more difficult to avoid, but nothing insurmountable. I have joined a local gym and frequent it at least four days a week, using doing some sort of cardio 3 days and weights 2 days. I am also walking a lot- a whole lot. Not to mention the 500 something steps I took up the Aztec pyramids.
I am immersed in a culture different than what I've known. It's isolating and welcoming, reserved and effusive, macho and tender,progressive and third world, feo and bonita. Mexico is a beautiful dichotomy and I love it.
I hope you all have the oppurtunity to reach for a dream- you will never regret any movement you make towards your goals.
Abrazos y Besos,
Jade (Hathe en Espanol)