Category Archives: Life Experiments

Bone Broth Cleanse: Day 4

Claiming victory with Kobe at the dog park

Claiming victory with Kobe at the dog park

You know that feeling you get when the most grueling part of a journey is almost over and your exciting destination is near? Or when you’ve reached a point where you can’t study anymore for a test because you “just know” that you can’t prepare any better?

This nice sense of calm can overtake you and the dread is over. That’s how I felt when I woke up on my last day of the bone broth fast. I was exhausted, wanted food and I would’ve been happier with a juicy steak in my mouth but I knew I’d come through to the other side.

I was a bit smug and excited for the fact that I had one last day to be a couch potato with no shame and that I could indulge the next day. My mom was extremely happy about it being over too. I’m actually still shocked at the fact that she was able to work at the preschool. I wasn’t really functional, hence, why I worked from home the whole week.

Despite having minimal energy to do the things I liked, I managed to complete my work assignments and take my wild dog for a long walk at dusk. It was a relaxing day lived with a sense of victory and pleasant anticipation.

The First Day After The Fast/Ultimate Test Of Will

“I’m up, wait I’m up? I can eat now!”

I woke up at 6am and hobbled over to the kitchen to prep my first meal in 4 days, and it had to be greek yogurt, chopped fruit with some honey drizzled on top. It was delicious! It tasted soooo good but I had to contain myself because there’s rules to coming off a fast.

What an amazing machine the human body is. The standard American puts it through hell and back with a diet full of irritants and inflammatory foods, additives and poor lifestyle habits and it continues to tolerate us and keep us alive. I knew my digestive system was broken and overworked and with just a 4-day break along with a therapeutic dose of cell-reviving bone broth, I was able to restore more efficiency to it. The first couple of days are really hard, then the gut gets the picture and realizes that food won’t be coming anytime soon, so I have to take it easy once you start eating again because it adapts to not digesting and focuses on storing energy.

So I started the day with yogurts, fruits and steamed veggies. Later that night I was treated to a lobster dinner! I was scolded for that but I turned out fine with barely any irritation. We were giving ourselves  2 recovery days with probiotic-filled yogurt before we started our next challenge on Monday 1/18….TheWhole30 Paleo Diet. So far so good, I’ve laid off sugary foods since 1/11 and I can’t help but miss my chocolate.

Stay tuned,

 

Nicole

Bone Broth Fast: Day 3

Today I woke up with a vengeance, headaches, dizziness and a bad mood. I was hungry!

Lucy: “Good morning, how are you feeling?”

Nicole: “Like death. Everything hurts and my body needs food, I’m done with this! What’s the point again? Today’s gonna be my last day!”

Lucy: “Oh no it’s not! We’re doing this together and we didn’t get this far to quit now! We already have a ton of people rooting for us AND my friend Barbara is fasting to support us! If you quit now, you’re letting us down. I’m sticking with it for the 4 days. We’re doing this together, don’t quit on yourself now.”

Nicole: “Uhhhhhg, you’re right. I can’t imagine sticking this out another 2 days but, hell, I’ll be so proud of myself if I do. I can’t write or do much of anything that takes brain power! I’ll do my best I guess. Hand over the broth!”

As you see, every day and every minute brought on different obstacles and symptoms. Sources say that this is when the body is doing most of the detoxing.

Still my resolve was waning, I needed a pep talk. My friends, Corey and Dillon were able to share their experiences and motivate me just enough to keep going. Knowing that they had gone through it too while experiencing most of the same hardships was exactly what I needed to hear. After that, I had no doubt I was going to reach the finish line with my mom and claim victory.

After spending most of the day indoors, trying to work, laying in bed, and reading; I mustered enough strength to leave the house and walk my wild dog again. It takes experiments like these where you discover your true strength.

Day 3 done, one more to go!

-Nicole

 

Bone Broth Fast: Day 2

Unable to move and not trying to fight it

Unable to move and not trying to fight it

Oh boy, day 2 of fasting was hellish from the very start. What’s very curious is that I was coping well on the first whereas, my mother, was feeling like death. She wanted to quit on day 1 and I wanted to quit after day 2. Fortunately, I had her as my rock to get me through all my doubts and pain of the 2nd day. This is the reason it’s so important to have support when trying something like this. I also noticed that the broth seemed especially disgusting to me by now and I couldn’t sip it with without gagging unless I pinched my nose and gulped lemon-infused water immediately after.

Despite being especially sluggish, tired and full of aches from lacking the extra calories and fuel, I tried to avoid the broth by drinking water as long as I could stand it. When I couldn’t take the headaches and fatigue anymore I would sack up, pinch that nose and drink some more broth. The result? I would have a sudden change of spirit and a surge of energy to get me through the day.

Our daily source of fuel

Our daily source of fuel

Today was hard, I wasn’t allowed to take Advil or anything to give me relief from fatigue-induced pains or that empty stomach. This is because taking NSAIDS like Advil would ruin the whole point of doing this fast by damaging the digestive system (lining of the stomach and intestines) which I’m attempting to heal.

This was the first time in my life I allowed myself to be a couch potato without the guilt and anxiety. I didn’t have a choice today, I was glued to the lazy boy covered in blankets for 3 hours without the usual energy to push me.

Day 2 done, I hope tomorrow won’t be as horrible.

Stay tuned,

Nicole

Day 1 Of Bone Broth Fast

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INTRO


On Friday, January 8th, I drove up to Northern California to be seen by my respected and knowledgeable Functional Medicine Doctor to address several unexplained health issues I’ve been experiencing. He mandated that I go on a 4-day Bone Broth Fast to clean up and heal my gut. Years ago I never saw myself as capable of doing something like this but I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll do anything to feel better due to years of steadily worsening gastrointestinal and systemic turmoil. Starting today, January 12th my mother and I are going on the Bone Broth Fast/Cleanse. We are going to need some cheering and support given that we’ll be eating nothing but the broth liquid for 4 days straight! After those 4 days are up, January 16th, I’ll slowly transition to the Whole30 program (Paleo Autoimmune Diet) lasting 30 days. I’m choosing to take my health in my own hands since conventional medicine doctors couldn’t help me in the least. Lets see just how much the Standard American Diet can hijack our health. 


Borth To-Go

Broth To-Go

DAY 1

Today I got off to a rough start, I woke up at 3:30am to a burning belly. No worries, this is what brought me to broth cleanse in the first place. My gut is literally angry at me. Before this fast, I would usually quell the burning with food, a heat pack and soothing tea (chamomile or ginger) but now it’s different. We, my mom and I, have to ride this through with nothing but our healing potion of bone broth, water and our will of steel. Actually, we are also receiving a ton of social support which is probably our biggest motivator of all.

Fortunately I was able to fall back asleep three hours later. When I woke up again at 8am, I wasn’t surprised to find my mom cranky and lightheaded. I, myself, was feeling less than stellar. After another mug of broth and some water to wash it down I took a shower to energize myself.

It’s 11:30am and I’m not starving yet which is surprising. Still, I see this as an experiment that will force me to stay busy and start new hobbies. I’ll be adding to this as the project unfolds.

Until then, happy eating you lucky ducks!

-Nicole

 

The Holidays: A Time For Reflection And Action

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Woa, I have really been slacking with my weekly posts! This was meant to be posted the day after Christmas but was then interrupted by family members eager to soak up the sun.

YES there was sunlight and NO I wasn’t in New York City anymore. I had the incredible fortune of flying to warm-weather Florida to meet up with family for Christmas. After being miserably cold, stressed and stuck in gray weather-I was eccstatic to leave. The second I landed in Florida I stripped off my sweatshirt, inhaled the sweet humid air, and bounded outside like a child.

In between all those exhaustive dinner plans, travel plans, and/or extra work plans; there’s bound to be some time to sit back and think when you’re vegging out. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in because it is a result of the human reaction to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

I found myself thinking: “YES! I’m going to spend every minute outside and absorbing as much Vitamin D as possible!”

Moving to New York City and witnessing the change in temperature taught me to really appreciate the freedom I had in California to spend as much time in the outdoors as I wished. I could to dash outside on a whim without having to throw on three layers of clothing.
I’ve been soaking up all this extra time in the sun since Monday morning. It’s been a complete joy to sunbathe on the beach with my parents and my grandma who traveled all the way from Peru to be with us this holiday season.

Everyone’s seen the focus of New Year’s Resolutions and the good intentions for the next year to achieve outrageous success. What tends to happen is that people’s enthusiasm waver within just two weeks of buying that new gym membership or resolving to read a book per week. That’s because no one is taking the time to right down their resolutions, review them daily, and hold themselves accountable.

The simple act of physically writing down the goals, aspirations or milestones that you want to reach is the first step towards achievement and success. The second step is to review them everyday in the morning and at night to keep your eyes on the prize.

Why put in so much effort you ask? If you don’t want to put in the effort then you might want to reconsider those goals you set for yourself! They might not be what you really want to do. The key to having direction and momentum in your life is to have exciting and worthwhile goals.

So what goals are you setting for yourself this year? To tell you the truth I’m not even sure about mine yet! That’s why I’m attending a Dreamers&Doers event tonight to brainstorm with high-achievers and start this year strong!

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Happy Planning,

Nicole

Establishing Habits That Contribute To Your Happiness

My funny attempt at meditation in Texas

My funny attempt at meditation in Texas

Goodness gracious I tried two new things last week that made a hugely positive impact in my mood! I attended a public speaking meetup and tried meditation.

Last Sunday I finally took the initiative and went to the “Public Speaking Bootcamp” meetup group that I’ve been meaning to go to for months. There was a group of 8 friendly and successful people who were there for the same reasons as I: to feel more comfortable in the spotlight and to effectively address an audience.

Each person took turns telling a story or answering a question and would then await praise and constructive criticism from the rest of us.

This group is different from the well-known Toastmasters meetup group. Toastmasters has many more members and is focused on prepared speeches while this group was more about “getting up there and talking to the audience while thinking quick on your feet.”

This improvisational approach is an effective way to get the speakers more comfortable with themselves and to build their self-confidence.

I was absolutely thrilled with my performance all three rounds. I didn’t expect myself to be as smooth, fluid and articulate as I was. I normally see myself as a nervous speaker. I think I did well because I chose topics that I was knowledgeable about and spoke from the heart.

This was so good for my self-confidence that I felt slightly addicted and wanted to practice everyday after that!

Another thing I tried was a 2-minute breathing meditation that I’ve been putting off forever. I knew I needed to try this because I have a lot of tension and tend to be a worry-wart. So I dropped everything and gave it a go.

I tuned off the music on my computer and resolved to focus on deep belly breaths without timing myself. I started to feel the calming effects immediately. When I decided to stop I realized I had meditated for FOUR WHOLE MINUTES!

I, the hyperactive worry-wart was able to focus on nothing but breathing for 4 minutes! This is a huge accomplishment for me. The deep breathing had such an intoxicating effect on me that I resolved to do it everyday. I did it again yesterday before work.

Please try it!

I got this idea from Jeff Olson’s Slight Edge where he suggests readers to do these “Happy Habits” everyday for 3 weeks:

  1. Each morning write 3 new things you’re grateful for.
  2. Journal for 2 minutes a day about a positive experience you had within the last 24 hours. Describe with every detail to re-experience positive emotions.
  3. Meditate daily watching your breath go in and out for 2 minutes. This trains your brain to focus.
  4. Do a random act of kindness over the course of each day. This can be writing an email thanking someone for something they’ve done or helping a stranger carry their luggage up the subway stairs (always happening in NYC).
  5. Exercise for 15 minutes a day. Simple cardio has a powerful anti-depressant effect.

Jeff suggests trying one at a time and then slowly adding in the others to your daily routine. Starting small is effective in that it doesn’t overwhelm you. Steady changes are more effective than big diets and/or 30-day hardcore lifestyle changes (like bootcamp fitness) because they are so doable and easy-to-do.

You might not even notice the steadily increasing effort or results but they WILL come and people WILL notice. It’s as easy as walking 10 minutes a day and slowly working up to a 10-minute run and then add another minute everyday until it becomes 30 minutes a day!

That way you won’t injure yourself either. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hair:

“Slow and steady wins the race. Fast and furious burns out or gets too cocky and slacks off.” Slow isn’t important, STEADY is the key. If you stay consistent with your positive actions you’re heading up on the success curve.

It all starts with the first step. Take one, then another, and another. People procrastinate and avoid trying new habits that can improve their lives because sub-consciously they are afraid and resist change.

I don’t try these new things because I have to, it’s also fun to improve! Improving and getting good at something new is really FUN!

It is so empowering to learn to meditate when you never thought you could, or to nail that speech when you used to shake at the thought. I’m certain that I and anyone who uses the Slight Edge philosophy in their everyday lives  will reach unimaginable heights and live long, happy lives.

What do you think now? Do you want to get off your ass and make your life happier and better? I know I have and will keep doing so.

What happy habit will you take on for the next 3 weeks?

Stay tuned..

-Nicole

An Update On Last Week’s Goals

Fall-Inspired Self Portrait done with colored pencil

Fall-Inspired Self Portrait done with colored pencil

So last week I undertook the project of publicly sharing six ambitious tasks for me to accomplish between Thursday 10/23 and Saturday 11/01. This was an experiment to test the effectiveness of perceived accountability. I say “perceived” accountability because I have no idea how many people or if anyone is consistently keeping track of my blog and its progression. This is fine because its visibility is still public and that puts pressure on me to deliver.

Unfortunately I didn’t complete most of my “weekly big six” because I forgot to consider my mom’s visit to NYC! I am by no means blaming it on her, I am acknowledging the fact that I GROSSLY lacked perspective while planning. I also didn’t know that I was going to be so over-scheduled by my employer.

This is where I got with them:

  1. (Check) Start doing some form of cardio or strength exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days a week
  2. (Check, more work needed) Seek out events and interest-focused groups to attend in Bushwick (probably through Meet-up)
  3. Seek out and attend some exercise or dance class in the area
  4. Buy more towels, a window curtain, trashcans (Check) and recruit my  mom as a decorator (In Progress)
  5. Reach out to at least 2 different resources each day for getting work in my field
  6. (Check and In Progress) Do some awesome things with my mom because she’s visiting and I’m SUPER EXCITED

Although I didn’t put this in my to-do list, I AM very happy with the art piece I created last week. Revisiting my identity as an artist will become the new theme of the year for me, especially now that I’m in New York. This has been unexpected, as art is the last thing on mind when I find myself stressed and I anticipated being highly stressed in New York. This new urge to get back to art has been an utterly pleasant surprise that I am welcoming with a huge embrace. What’s even better? The fact that winter is almost here and the weather is going to be more conducive to me staying in and contemplating an empty canvas.

I’ve also been getting urges to expand my understanding of art into the realm of technology. I know that I’m “young” and expected to really “get” the tech world and all its tricks but I have never been a fan of “screens.” It’s time, it’s time I accept that I can’t run away from these things anymore and I need to learn to conquer them and use them for my benefit in means of graphic design, photography, editing and whatever else I should learn.

Keep Creating!

-Nicole

Accountability

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Should I write? Should I draw? Should I finally buy those few things I needed or tackle those important errands that I keep procrastinating on? Should I just do nothing and watch a TV show in the comfort of my bed to give my feet a brake? I feel terribly disconnected, should I call a bunch of people?

Does this ever happen to you? You finally find yourself some free time without any interruptions nearby and you start stressing about how to use it. I don’t know about everyone else but I am extremely susceptible to that sensation since I still don’t know “loads” of people here and I happen to be an over-thinker and analyzer, always searching for a way to improve what is. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel satisfied, this constant urge to search is the juice that drives me to continue learning, experiencing incredible things and meeting wonderful people.

I’m writing this post right now because I want to create some form of accountability that I believe will help me get to where I want to be faster AND I don’t like breaking promises. Perhaps, you can borrow from my approach. So I have been in NYC for 2 months and I’ve made progress in huge strides. It has now been 22 days in my apartment in Bushwick and it’s time I establish myself:

Starting from now until next week (10/23-11/01) I will have:

  1. Started doing some form of cardio or strength exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days a week
  2. Sought out events and interest-focused groups to attend in Bushwick (probably through Meet-up)
  3. Sought out and attended some exercise or dance class in the area
  4. Bought more towels, a window curtain, trashcans and recruited my visiting mom as a decorator
  5. Reached out to at least 2 different resources each day for getting work in my field
  6. Done some awesome things with my mom because she’s visiting and I’m SUPER EXCITED

Sheesh, that’s a long and ambitious list. I can handle it though. When it comes to list-making it’s better to keep it short or it will seem too overwhelming and you might not tackle it at all. In “Train Your Brain for Success”, Roger Seip states that one shouldn’t have more than six items on their daily “to-do” list. These are called “The Daily Big Six.” This is more effective than having a list of 20 tasks that may or may not be urgent or important. I’m obsessed with lists. I think it’s the only way I can stay focused and remember what I have to do with the constant distractions.

Do you have much use for lists? How about accountability?

Thanks for reading, now I have to catch up with some people back home.

Take care.

-Nicole

 

Foreign to the Comfort Zone

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So I don’t know what it is about my nature but I just don’t know what it feels like to be comfortable, complacent or safely in my comfort zone. That state of being has simply eluded me because something has always compelled me to push for more, strive for the better, and grow – resulting in me constantly feeling challenged and a bit uncomfortable. Does anyone else share this peculiar nature to always stay out of their comfort zone? 

I find it odd that I continue to dabble in the unknown despite my apparent fears and anxieties. Didn’t I read somewhere (everywhere) that the human instinct is to reside in the comfortable because it’s safe and the chances of “survival” are higher? Maybe so but who the heck wants to survive!? We all have this supreme right to thoroughly enjoy our lives and see how much we are really capable of.

I’ll admit that I put myself through all kinds of discomfort in search of adventure, knowledge, passion, and fulfillment and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Because of my natural tendency to remain far from my comfort zone, I have learned and experienced incredible things.

By the age of 24 I have gone skydiving, zip-lining, studied abroad in high school, backpacked to Peru by myself, went scuba diving in Tahiti, swam with sharks and stingrays, and lived in Yellowstone National Park. I have also tried horseback riding, salsa dancing, rock climbing, bouldering, self-defense training and Muay Thai. All this comes with price you see, It required me to be uncomfortable at first (maybe even the whole time). One thing you’ll get out of it…feeling ALIVE!

Just last Friday I finally got the courage to join some of my friends for some Acro Yoga. 5 months ago I would never dream of engaging in this seemingly intimate activity with strangers where at times your faces are inches away from each other. And there I was, being held up by feet and hands and getting juggled around.

You just have to get over it and I swear you’ll feel more comfortable in your skin! I’m glad I gave it a try, even if it took me a couple of months to show up for the first time. I know it won’t be the last!

-Nicole

 

A Much Needed Push

Around the time I was starting to feel miserable and undervalued in my job and place in life (since 2 months ago), I started to google (I have always been an avid googler) topics like “I hate my job”, “how to reach my potential”, “how to push limits”, “reach the impossible”, etc. That’s how I discovered Scott Dinsmore and his “Live Your Legend” movement. It all started with his Ted Talk: “How to find and do work you love” where he informs his audience that a staggering 80% of adults dislike their work and 75% don’t know what their passion is.

Ever since, I’ve been reading his newsletters, using his online tools and exploring his website. Almost two months later, I finally purchased his Live Off Your Passion Course and listened to his strong recommendation of starting a blog to more easily share my ideas with others. I thank him for his guidance because I’d be too chicken to start this on my own due to my perceived lack of tech expertise. If you see a lot of mistakes please bear with me, I’m a total newb at this and it’s an experiment.