Monday, April 02, 2007

Quarterly Update (Q1 2007): We Are Now, Like, Hella California

It’s now the first day of April and one-quarter of the year is over. Sounds like it’s time for an update. Some of this you may already know; some might be new:

Weight loss/diet – Living in California, we have access to an excellent selection of organic fruits and veggies and have been eating healthier than ever before. We try to make our weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning (schedule permitting), have been doing lots of walking and are working out fairly regularly.

Since January 1st, CWB has lost 15 pounds, 1.5 inches off his waist, and 4% body fat. PCB has lost 5 pounds, a combined 6 inches off her chest, waist and hips, and 5% body fat. At the beginning of the year, we signed up with a website (www.my-calorie-counter.com) which tracks your daily intake and exercise. By keeping track of our diet, we’ve been able to modify our meals to improve our general health and well being. We feel great and are extremely happy every time we look in the mirror.

Bi-Rite Creamery – Sticking to a healthy diet can be difficult at times. Especially as we’ve just discovered the newly opened Bi-Rite Creamery (http://biritecreamery.com), an all-organic ice cream shop and bakery whose ice cream flavors include Salted Caramel, Honey Lavender, Double Ginger, Chai Spiced Milk Chocolate, and Pumpkin. Although the Ginger Snap Cookies/Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich and the Roasted Banana Ice Cream Pie were tempting, we stuck with ice cream on our first trip: CWB ordered a scoop of the Salted Caramel and the Coffee Toffee and PCB had a scoop each of the Honey Lavender and Double Ginger. Yum!

Colon Hydrotherapy – Perhaps our most “California” experience to date. Even though we had read all about the process beforehand, it was still a little awkward and uncomfortable at first, but our hydrotherapist (http://www.bodyharmony.com) explained every step very clearly and put us at ease. She talked about the health benefits how hydrotherapy can complement a healthy diet and promote proper digestion going forward. CWB was worried that it would be too flaky, but the way it was described to us made a lot of sense in terms of remaining on the right track to good health.

How it works: the water is heated to just about body temperature (between 95 and 100 degrees) so you don't notice the water being pumped in, just that your bowels are feeling more and more pressure. The pressure builds up for about four or five minutes and when the discomfort becomes consistent you tell the therapist you need to “release.” (Like birth contractions - but to a far, far lesser degree - the discomfort comes in waves and when the waves get closer together you signal the therapist to release.) The relief is immediate and the water that flows back out (into a separate tube) takes with it the waste that has been collecting in your colon. The therapist then massages your stomach gently to push out any pockets of gas and water.

The therapist also massaged our legs, arms, shoulders and chest which helped to soothe and relax us during the process. The “fills” can get uncomfortable at times, but if you can focus on your breathing, the process goes much more smoothly. Having recently taken a class on Vipassana Meditation (see below) we were equipped with the proper breathing techniques.

After the therapy, we felt calm, clean, awake and really, really hungry. That evening, we returned home and started to fill up our colons in preparation for our next trip.

Yoga Tree – In addition to taking care of our bodies through a proper diet, we’ve started taking classes at The Yoga Tree in Hayes Valley (http://www.yogatreesf.com) with Stacey Rosenberg. She teaches the Anusara style, is very patient, and is an excellent teacher. Stacey’s Yoga 101 class was CWB’s first introduction to yoga, and he liked it so much that he has begun taking regular Sunday morning classes with her.

Insight Institute – Starting in January, we took a beginner’s Vipassana meditation class through the Insight Meditation Community of San Francisco (http://www.sfinsight.org) taught by Eugene Cash and Kris Bailey. We didn’t realize how much we would take away from the course! First and foremost, it gave us a good foundation for our meditation practice, aiding us in our spiritual path. Second, we are able to incorporate so much of what we learned about meditation into our daily lives. We never realized how being mindful of all our actions is so important in maintaining a peaceful environment.

Mandarin Classes – Women hui shuo zhongguohua…yi diar (We can speak Chinese…a little bit). Since the second week of January, we have been taking Mandarin lessons with the ABC Language Exchange (https://www.abclang.com) at the Embassy CES. Our teacher, Yu Zhang, has been wonderfully patient and creative in helping us learn the language. Last Thursday, she got us to memorize and recite a poem by Li Bai of the Tang Dynasty. We couldn’t believe that we were “reading” and reciting in Mandarin! We are very pleased by how much we learned in the twelve-weeks we’ve been studying Mandarin and we are certainly going to continue taking classes. Zai jian.

California Drivers License – After nine months, we finally made it to the DMV and got our licenses. The test was really difficult and full of San Francisco specific question on subjects we never had to think about back East (parking on hills, trolleys, bicycle lane etiquette, coastal highway driving). But we are both glad the test is over and we won’t have to take another one until we move to a new state – which given our track record should be in a few months.

Café Gratitude – You may recall that during our trip to Alive!, Dine Knight highly recommended Café Gratitude (http://www.withthecurrent.com/cafe.html) as one of the best raw restaurants in the city. While the café located in the Mission was a little too loud and hectic on a Friday night, we enjoyed our meal very much and learned that the other locations (there are three CGs in the city) are quieter and more intimate. CWB ordered the “I Am Flourishing”: a Mediterranean Plate with sprouted almond-sesame seed hummus, spicy olive tapenade and coconut yogurt cucumber tzatziki salad. PCB opted for “I am Cheerful”: a live burger made of pumpkin seed and walnut with macadamia nut “cheese.” We finished the meal with a raw cacao and ginger cake that was so rich we couldn’t eat more than half of it together, though it was definitely the favorite dish in an altogether very tasty meal!

SF MoMA – Last weekend we met Lily at the MoMA (http://www.sfmoma.org) to see the “Picasso and American Art” exhibit. This was our first time at the SF MoMA since moving to SF (we had been once before, in 2000) and we really liked the space. It was an interesting exhibit -- we never realized how much of an impact Picasso's work had on American art. Each room of the exhibit displayed one of Picasso's works alongside the American pieces that it inspired. To our surprise, the exhibit demonstrated how Picasso's style was appropriated by Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol!

So what’s coming up on our “California To Do” list? Well, next week we start training for The Bay to Breakers 12K (http://www.ingbaytobreakers.com/main.htm), perhaps the world’s wildest and dressiest footrace which includes a costume contest and “Centipede Division” where groups of tethered runners (with strings up to 13 people long) compete.

On Easter Sunday we are scheduled for a class at Stitch Lounge (http://www.stitchlounge.com/) to learn basic sewing techniques. We hope to start making our own clothing within the year and when we do, we’ll post our creations.

On June 5, we cross the bay and head to Cisco Field in Oakland to watch the Red Sox.

Best of all, we just bought tickets to Boston for Mother’s Day weekend!

And of course, we’ll keep you all up to date with our adventures as they happen. Check back soon!

2 comments:

Courtney said...

You guys look great. We noticed the weight loss in the last pics and how happy and peaceful you look ... inspiring and beautiful.

Diana said...

You guys do look great! I need some more of that CA cuisine. I'm in upstate NY right now with my parents who keep trying to feed me corned beef hash, extra cheese, and white flour-oh my! I need a colon cleanse, pronto.