Tuesday, March 29, 2011

5 Tips for Rebooting Your Gluten-Free Body and Soul

I came home from work recently one afternoon when Kelli - somewhat out of the blue - hit me with a question. It was the kind of question that I knew had a hidden motivation behind it. She was fishing. "What can you tell me about changing the air filter in a car?" she said.

I immediately launched into my response about how it's pretty inexpensive and easy to do. That it's a common up-sell when you get your oil changed. That a service technician will come out and meet you in the waiting area, carrying your car's air filter. That he (or sometimes, she) will flex open the baffles of the accordion-like filter, and tell you how disgustingly dirty the filter is, and how important it is that you change it, right away. I concluded by telling Kelli that it was a ploy commonly enacted upon women.

As I told her this, a smirk slowly grew across her face, and a glimmer shone in her eye. "I got the oil changed in the car today," she said. "At a Valvoline. And we have a new air filter." We both just laughed.

Whether or not our car was truly due for an air filter change, neither of us will know for sure. A new air filter certainly won't hurt things any. But the oil change and air filter - and the spring that keeps hinting at its arrival - has gotten me thinking about rebooting our own body and soul. Cars need routine maintenance, a flush of the system, a replenishment of vital fluids. So do we.

It's easier to do than you might think. I've never done a proper "cleanse" the way some other gluten-free bloggers have. (Though I fully intend to try one of these days...) Instead, I make simple adjustments that - for me, and quite possibly, for you - can have a profound positive influence on your body and soul.

1. Drink More Water
We get told this a lot, but it's true. Water is hydrating and cleansing. It's vital and fundamental to life, and you'll never regret having an extra glass of it each day. (Unless, perhaps, you're in an important and long-running business meeting with an already-full bladder. In that case, maybe wait on that glass of water for a bit...)

2. Get Outside
Getting outside isn't just about breathing some fresh air (which in and of itself is a good thing...). It's about exposing yourself to some good old-fashioned sunshine. The sun helps your immune system strengthen. It helps you build strong bones. And it helps improve your emotional well-being. The Winter Blues aren't just a myth...they're a real condition officially known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, and one of the standard treatments is to sit in front of a lightbox, which emits the same wavelengths of radiation as the sun, for a little while each day. Give yourself a dose of the real thing.

3. Breathe
I mean this metaphorically and literally. On the one hand, yes, take time to breathe more deeply. To feel your own breath. But I also mean to take time out. Relax. Meditate. Find balance. On Sunday afternoon, both girls were miraculously asleep at the same time, and Kelli and I spent some time literally just sitting on the couch together in the play/sun room. We didn't do much of anything. Except breathe. And it felt restorative.

4. Try Something New
The novelty of trying something new this spring can be invigorating. It's engaging and motivating and will keep you stimulated. For us, one new thing we're doing this spring - in combination with our community garden plot - is composting. We're collecting our kitchen scraps of veggies and fruits, and the girls (mostly Marin at this point) help us put them in the new compost bin that's now sitting in the back corner of the yard at the house we're renting from the college.

5. Get Fresh...
...with your foods. I'm talking lettuce greens, oranges, whatever fruits and vegetables float your boat. The point is, eat them fresh, uncooked, raw. Quite simply, they are refreshing. Some people would say that such foods are still full of their life force, compared to highly processed refined foods that have been stripped of that life force. I know that, for me, a crisp salad can be one of the most refreshing things on Earth. I also eat two pieces of fruit every night after dinner. (Just ask Kelli how many navel oranges we went through this winter...)

So you see? Nothing earth-shattering. Just some basic, easy-to-implement tips that will leave you feeling recharged and ready to go.

- Pete

P.S. In case you missed it, check out our post from the beginning of January on 10 Tips for Resilient Resolutions for more advice.


Amanda on Maui said...

A very refreshing post to welcome spring! The seeds are sprouting, the sun is shining, and the bees are back buzzing at the lavendar in my yard.

Even though Hawaii doesn't have the same type of winter as other places we do have a winter weather pattern (rain) and some cooler temperatures.

I've attempted a proper cleanse before, but I just didn't notice any real differences. For the past few weeks I was working on cutting out sugar (sugar from cane & beets). I stuck to agave & raw honey. After having some sugary hot cocoa & sodas over the weekend I really noticed the difference in the way my body responded to sugar. I'm really glad I've been giving my body a break from it.

I've also had no alcohol since December after way too much revelry. I have a lovely bottle of wine in the cabinet waiting for me to be ready for it.

I've also begun an exercise regimen.

So, because of all of these changes in my own life I can definitely see what you mean about flushing our systems, giving things a chance to reboot, etc.

I'm trying new things, getting more water in (it's so hard in the winter months), and taking some time to breathe. The last is the most important in my mind. If you take time to breathe you take time to become aware of your body, and that makes you do the other things.

peterbronski said...

Hi Amanda... So well said! I love the picture you paint of Hawaii right now. It's amazing to see how our bodies respond to different inputs. Good stuff with starting an exercise routine. Keep it up! Our seed are started in planters in the front window. In a few weeks, we'll hopefully be ready to transfer some of the heartier ones outdoors. Yeah!

Cheers, Pete

Caitlin said...

I must agree with a previous comment, this was a very refreshing post to welcome the new season! Though the gluten-free diet may be difficult at times, the diet change is worth it in the long run. Reaching out to those who follow the gluten-free lifestyle is an effective way to get through those bread-tempting times. Therefore, your "easy-to-implement tips" were a great thing to come across. To agree with your post, things like drinking water, getting outside, and taking a moment to breathe are simple things that most overlook but after a brief reminder it can leave someone "feeling recharged and ready to go." Every transformation is an adjustment, and the support of others going gluten-free makes it that much easier. Thanks again for your suggestions!

peterbronski said...

Hi Caitlin... Glad you enjoyed the tips!

Cheers, Pete

glutenfreeforgood said...

I love these "tips" posts. When you categorize things in a simple 1-2-3 format, it doesn't seem so daunting. Plus, you've hit on 5 of my absolute favorites. It's funny, here we are at the top of the food chain and we need someone to tell us how to eat (and live). When you break it down like this, it's a "piece of cake" so to speak. =)

Love your #2 suggestion. I think many folks have "wilderness deficit disorder." There's nothing more restorative than breathing fresh mountain (beach, forrest, etc.) air.

Great reminder, Pete! And fun lead-in story about Kelli and the air filter. Hmmm? Now that I think of it, that's a common one, isn't it?! I wonder how many more times the service guys say that to women than men. =)


peterbronski said...

Hi Melissa,

Glad you enjoyed the post! There's definitely some wilderness deficit disorder going on. Heck, I feel a little bit of it if too many weekends pass and I don't get up into the mountains! =) How was Kripalu?

Cheers, Pete

glutenfreeforgood said...


Kripalu was amazing and I was totally blown away with Gil Hedley's workshop. He's the "fuzz" guy. If you haven't seen the video, just google fuzz video and you'll see it. I did a 3 day workshop with him and a 5 day yoga teacher training workshop. It was great too. But Gil is one-of-a-kind, no doubt about it. I'm going to be doing his week-long dissection lab as soon as I can. I'm sure it will be life-changing. He's that good (weird, quirky, amazing, brilliant, enlightened). I love the guy. He knows anatomy like no other. Movement, staying healthy, etc.

Anyway, would have been great to see you, but it was a touch and go with my travel connections. Maybe next time!

Hope you're enjoying some good spring training weather. My best to you and all 3 of your beautiful girls.

PS I'm working with a guy who will be swimming 26 miles in open ocean (Molokai channel). Really interesting.

PPS I pre-ordered your cupcake book. Looks really nice!

peterbronski said...

Hey Melissa... I remember when you referenced one of his fuzz videos on your blog. Interesting stuff.

Next time indeed!

Definitely enjoying spring training weather (though I could do with a little less rain...). I've loved my Saturday long training runs in the Hudson Highlands. Gorgeous.

We should talk more about the swimmer. Perhaps a story I could write about?? Email me...

Hope you love the cookbook! We're very proud of it. Pub date is getting closer.

Cheers, Pete