Sunny Side Up

Day 13
Gratitude: I’m thankful today for Reconnecting.  In many ways this weekend has been a blessing in disguise.  The main purpose for me to come to Windsor this weekend was to preceptor (shadow) a Naturopathic Doctor that does work with cancer but because of the snow storm, my plans were ruined.  In the end, I was able to reconnect with my supervisor from my old cancer research days in Windsor, tons of friends, and my family.  I got to spend some quality time with my dad and reconnected with a cousin in Spain that I love to pieces but never get to see or talk to often enough.  Although this weekend should have probably been spent finishing or at least attempting to get some studying or other assignments done, I’m a strong believer that life hands you what you need when you need it, and this weekend was clearly more about reconnecting with loved ones than about reconnecting with my textbooks.  I’m confident that whatever I need to get done, will get done.  It always does doesn’t it?

Meditation: Nothing to report here.  I’m planning on doing this right before bed tonight.

Yoga: HARD.  VERY HARD today.  My mind could only think of one thing.. VIA RAIL and my utter failure.  My viarail experience has been more than interesting this weekend.  I nearly missed the train on the way to Windsor and on the way back, I totally missed it.  They schedule their trains on military time so when I thought my train left windsor at 5:45… ViaRail meant AM.  I thought we were talking PM here.  I thought wrong.  So now I’m taking a 5 hour bus to Toronto as a punishment for my own stupidity.

Because I’m running tight on time here in Windsor and I won’t be arriving in Toronto until very late this evening, I’ve squeezed in my yoga practice this afternoon.  No time for pictures unfortunately.  I opted for Tuesday’s class in an effort to switch things up.  This one is about Front Body Stretches and was excellent for my body but not the most amazing for my mind as I couldn’t stop thinking about what a big stupid mistake I made this morning with my train ticket. By the time I went into savasana, I was able to let go completely of all those thoughts and emotions so now I’m ready for a 5 hour bus ride and should hopefully have the mental clarity to do some school readings and be a good little med student.

Food Awareness: I’m writing this entry fairly early today so I’ve really only eaten one thing so far and that’s eggs.  Sunny side up.  This is a tradition my dad and I have.  Sunday morning eggs, sunny side up.  Growing up, my father never cooked.  My mom’s cooking was too amazing for my dad to even need to bother.  Plus he could only make one thing anyway and that was eggs.  He makes them better than anyone I know so it was nice to bring back that little tradition to life again.  Once I left home for school we both sort of stopped having our Sunday morning eggs so we definitely enjoyed that together today.

Nature Appreciation: Caulophyllum thalictroides…Some people may know it as Blue Cohosh. It’s in the Berberidaceae family and its mainly used for all things related to menses. We’re talking: lack of periods, painful periods, bleeding between periods... Blue Cohosh is magical when it comes to restoring a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s been shown to prevent miscarriages if taken after the first trimester, and can help with the delivery of a baby if taken 2 weeks prior to parturition (aka…giving birth). Nature is so amazing.  


White Snow

Day 12

Gratitude: Oddly enough, today I’m grateful for the snow.  I generally despise Winter and it appears that every time I visit my hometown, we get a big snow storm.  However, rather than continuing hating it, I decided to just appreciate it.  It is quite pretty, and unlike in Toronto, the snow stays WHITE here in Windsor.  Gotta love that.

Meditation: I did the 5 Element meditation today.  Feeling incredibly zen and ready for a fun night ahead!

Yoga: Feeling more energized today, I opted for Thursday’s Restorative class. This involved a whole lot of stretching.  Exactly what my body needs after feeling so cruddy.  I’m still a bit sick but the malaise has diminished quite a bit today!  My legs are nice and limber now.

Food Awareness:  So far I’m at an 8-9 on the pranameter scale.  My dad and I made some chicken soup which turned out quite nice actually.  Go team Valero.

Nature Appreciation: Baptisia tinctoria, also known as Wild Indigo is native to North America and tends to grow in dry, hilly woods. This is one of my favourite go-to herbs as it is an immunostimulant, it is antimicrobial and antiseptic, is a febrifuge (can expel fevers), and can generally alter a diseased state to one of health and vitality. This is great to have in a tincture for any kind of treatment of infection, whether it’s an upper respiratory tract infection, or an infection of the GI tract. It can also do wonders for those with chronic fatigue.

The two types of sick people

Day 11

Gratitude: Today I’m grateful for amazing company!  I’ve had just about the longest day known to man but it’s been jammed with excellent company.  I am also grateful for warm tea and 3 ply Kleenex with ALOE… I feel like this is the kind of tissues Royalty must use.  Amazing!

Meditation + Yoga: Yeahhhh… so I’ve been trying to deny it all week, but I’m sick.  I find I can be two kinds of sick persons.  I can be A) The person who denies they’re sick.  I’ll be coughing up a lung, or have to resort to just leaving a stuffed ball of tissue up my nose to collect the goodness coming out of what can now only be described as a faucet of mucous,… but if asked if I’m sick, I’ll say “Nooo, I’m totally fine!”

Or I’ll be person B) Who becomes a whiny, pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being, who needs cuddles, and whimpers when people leave me alone and deprive me of love and sympathy.  I’ve been fighting off other people’s germs since the beginning of February.  I’ve almost been too stubborn to get sick but this thing has taken me over at this point and I’m not liking it anymore.  I’m definitely not a picture of health and though I’ve been doing my Metta class pretty much daily to tone down my yoga classes, today I just couldn’t be bothered with the yoga.  It would only do more harm than good at this point.  Plus, I don’t think my ball of tissue would stay up my nose in “downward dog”.

Food Awareness:  Pranameter scale is a solid 8 today.  Trying to eat a Spleen friendly diet, but it isn’t always easy.  I know these are not foods, but a large part of my diet includes tinctures of Echinacea, Baptisia tinctoria, and many other of my natural remedies to ward off this grossness that has consumed my bod.

Nature Appreciation:  Being the start of the weekend and the fact that midterm week is officially OVER at CCNM, I know a lot of people who will be needing some liver support!  Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) will do just the trick.  It protects and tones your liver, prevents other toxic agents from harming it, prevents free radical damage, can act as a cholagogue (to help you secrete bile and break down fats), is a bitter (to aid in digestion) and it is non-toxic.  Some people have allergic sensitivities to herbs in the Asteraceae family, which Silybum belongs to, so definitely watch out if you think you might be sensitive.

A mixture of love and buzzing

Day 10

Gratitude:  So grateful for my sister today.  I made the mistake of taking a nap after my Pediatrics exam before heading over to take the train to Windsor.  The nap was delicious.  But I nearly missed the train because of it.  Via Rail has changed the way you can quickly print your tickets at their kiosks.  In the past you could simply swipe your credit card in and it would remember your ticket info and print it off for you.  Alternatively you could print a barcode off yourself, and scan that.  I was planning on using the credit card method seeing as my printer is being a diva this week and instead of printing things, it decides to have some sort of seizure-like dance instead.  So you see, the credit card thing was my only option.  Problem: the credit card thing DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE.  So there I was with no ticket information, not even the ticket confirmation number…just my useless credit card.  I had 4 minutes to get on the train.  I called my sister,

and she came to my rescue and got the info I needed in mere seconds.  I literally hopped on the train and it started moving.  My sister is my hero!

MeditationYoga:  Not gonna lie; I went to bed and woke up and realized I never did the blog for today!  I always wondered if this would happen…where I would one day just FORGET to write everything down.  That day has come.

Still feeling pretty cruddy like yesterday so I repeated the Metta Yoga and Meditation for Saturday.  I like it because it’s short and gentle enough that I’m not overdoing it with yoga on days that I’m not feeling so well, but it’s still invigorating enough to have it’s effect.  I’m starting to love this class.  Since today has been non-stop, I don’t really have a picture to share with you all…Except for this stick drawing I did on my computer.

Since doing these classes I definitely notice a difference in me.  I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is specifically… but I like it.  If I had to try to guess what it was..I’d say it’s a mixture of love, and buzzing?

Food Awareness:  On the Pranameter scale, I would rank today as an 8.  I had this goat cheese, spinach and ham sandwich from the cafeteria at my school for breakfast, some soup for lunch, and this lentil, bean and potato stew for dinner.  My body is pretty pleased with today’s choices.

Nature Appreciation:  After a week of midterms I feel it’s only fitting to bring up Melissa officinalis. This herb is also known as Lemon Balm and is excellent for nervous stomachs associated with anxiety and depression.  She has the power to relieve spasms, colic, dyspepsia, and combines nicely with Mint to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  It’s also an herbal tranquilizer as it acts on the limbic system to work as a sedative.


Day 9

Gratitude: Today I’m thankful for my friends and classmates.   Last week was Reading Week, and we haven’t had classes this week because it’s Exam Week, so I have technically had about a week and a half to study for my Pediatrics exam tomorrow and somehow I’ve managed to procrastinate my studying until today.  The saddest part is that normally we have somewhere between 9-13 midterms to write depending on what year you’re in, and being a third year in second semester, we somehow only have 2.  We all looked forward to this magical, and mysteriously wondrous occasion that we know will never happen again.  I made plans to study well in advance and to maybe even get PERFECT on this Pediatrics exam.  If I was able to pull off miracles during exam weeks where I had to write 8 or 10 midterms, imagine what I could do if I only had 2?  I thought I would write the million papers we have due in March and I’d even prepare for the OSCE’s (clinical entrance exam in March).  Did I do any of that?  No, I definitely did not.  But it’s okay.  It appears I am not the only person who has done this as many of my friends have all gathered today and gone through everything we need to know.  So yes, I’m grateful to have them there with me, studying as hard as we can.  One of my favourite parts of this program is the amazing people I get to see and study with everyday, so today I’m grateful for them.

Meditation: Today’s meditation theme is about Manifesting.  You’re supposed to try to channel something you want to see more of in the world.  I chose to be a little bit selfish today and tried manifesting an A on this Pediatrics exam tomorrow.  So… here’s to hoping this works!

Yoga: I’m feeling a little bit run down so I opted for the 27 minute Metta Yoga class that is typically set aside for Saturday.  It’s the shortest one you can do all week and it’s mostly just Sun Salutations which I figured I could handle.

Food Awareness: Soup.  Today is all about soup.  With all the people getting sick these days and all the germs flying around, what better way to nourish yourself than by having some good ol’ soup?

Nature Appreciation: Lacking in sexual desire?  Feeling feeble or tired?  Just can’t uhh… get it up?  Pausinystalia yohimbe is an herb often used in impotence as it is an aphrodisiac that stimulates, prolongs, and strengthens erections.  Interestingly enough, it appears to be more effective in those eating a low-fat diet.  The pharmacology of this herb can be dangerous if used without skilled therapeutic knowledge as it can interact with many medications.  So if you’re lookin’ for some sexual healin’…be sure to consult with a Naturopath first!

Strange Behaviours

Day 8

Gratitude: When I first moved to Toronto I used to keep this notebook of all the strange behaviours I’ve witnessed while wandering the city and mostly just being on the TTC.  For example, one time a guy ATE a pencil on the subway .  He first broke it into smaller pieces, then he ate those one by one.  Today, while waiting for the subway a guy walked up near me in a hurry.  I assumed he was going to walk right passed me towards the exit, so I moved a little bit to get out of his way. Instead, he stopped point blank right beside me, literally a hand’s distance away from me, staring me down.  It was just strange because, well, there was TONS of space for him to stand anywhere else.   Another guy nearby watched this whole thing go down, and gave me a look like “What’s up with that guy?” to which I gave him a look back that read “I have no idea?”  After about 4 minutes of him just standing RIGHT in front of me, getting cozy in my personal bubble, I began biting my lip to keep from laughing out loud.  That’s when I realized that it’s really these random strange behaviours that although very odd, and sometimes uncomfortable, can really make your days interesting.  So today, I’m grateful for these strange behaviours.

Also, today Adele’s new Album 21 came out.  OH MY GOD is it ever good. So in addition to being grateful for strange behaviours, I’m grateful for Adele’s soulful voice.  The girl can move you to tears with her earth shaking vibrato.

Meditation:  I repeated Monday’s Somatic Meditation today.  Sometimes it’s like Eoin’s a mind reader… he tends to say things like “It’s okay, if your mind is wandering right now.” At which point I open one eyeball to look at my TV screen and wonder how on earth he knows! Still struggling with keeping my mind quiet during these meditations but it’s getting a bit better.

Yoga:  I basically repeated yesterday’s class.  I find that this one incorporates all the positions I tend to suck really horribly at.  So why not practice it a little extra?  There are a lot of poses that I can kind of half-way do but they’re not remotely graceful looking.  Although I am not a master of Monday’s class, it’s nice to see how much stronger I am today compared to last Tuesday!  My flows are getting flowier, and more effortless.  This is the beginning of many good things to come!

Food Awareness: Pranameter scale would be around a 7 today.  Although I didn’t eat garbage like I did yesterday, I did notice that the ill-feeling from Monday has been lingering all day.

Nature Appreciation: A lot of people are getting sick right now.  I blame it on the bipolar nature of the weather we’ve been having.  Seriously…Spring or Winter?  Make up your mind already!  In the past, whenever the weather would shoot from one extreme to the other very quickly over a few days I would instantly get sick.  Since a lot of my friends have been experiencing congestion and mucous in the chest I’d like to talk about Marrubium vulgare.  Commonly referred to as “Horehound”, this guy is an amazing herb to throw in a tincture for chronic coughs and colds with catarrh.  People who have asthma and have lots of mucous that just will not come out often find this herb helpful.

You can hear the crud in your lungs, you wanna cough it up, but it just won’t leave… Marrubium is just what you need.


One week done.

Day 7

Gratitude:  I’m thankful today for a wonderful reading week and a fun little weekend!  Many of my classmates might be feeling bad/guilty that they didn’t get enough work done over the break, but they can lay all that guilt to rest as I can assure them that NO ONE has done less work than I have this week….as I have done ZERO.  Normally I would be feeling pretty down about this, but I don’t particularly care.  Maybe it’s because I’m going on my 8th year of post-secondary education, maybe it’s because I don’t have a million midterms this time around, maybe it’s all the Yoga… it’s probably a combination of all three, but I’m very relaxed about everything in general!  Also, I basically had enough fun this week to hold me over for a while so I can’t really complain.

Meditation: Today’s ten-minute meditation was body-based.  I like these because they really allow you to tap into the areas of your body that you tend to hold onto stress.  A common place is the shoulders for most people, this is definitely where I hang on to mine.  Apparently I hang on tight as it took me a while to really release the tension today.

Yoga: Today marks the completion of the first official week of this challenge.  I gotta say, it’s been pretty easy/fun so far.  It has also been Reading Week and as mentioned earlier, I have done NOTHING productive in terms of school work.  No wonder it’s been easy.  I didn’t even have to attend clinic shadowing because it was closed for Family Day Weekend.  So I’m a little worried about how I’m going to squeeze in daily yoga/meditation and blog writing during a week of exams, but here’s where the true challenge lies!  If I can achieve this people,… anyone can!  Today’s yoga was called “All Around”  There’s a 25-minute or 45-minute version.   I did the 45-er and I’m likely going to be sore tomorrow.

Food Awareness: On the pranameter scale I’m running abysmally  low.  I ate a sandwich for breakfast, had a spoonful of Nutella for a snack.  Okay fine,…two spoonfuls– What?  It’s my weakness.  I had French fries for lunch, pizza for dinner, and a timbit and hot chocolate from Tim Horton’s somewhere in there as well.  This is clearly the diet of a girl who’s been on the road for most of the day.  Seeing as the majority of the food I ate today was processed and/or “fast” food, I’m going to go ahead and rank today as a 1 on the pranameter.  I don’t particularly feel too well either.  I will admit, however, that those two spoonfuls of Nutella brought a lot of joy to my life.  mmm Nutella.

Nature Appreciation: You know it as Chamomile…Matricaria recutita is my favourite for the day.  This was my mom’s cure-all when I was little.  Upset tummy?  Chamomile.  Headache?  Chamomile. Bad day?  Chamomile?  You get the picture.  If you’ve ever looked inside the tea bag, you’ll notice the tiny little flowers that look like miniature daisies.  The flower contains most of the medicinal power of the plant and can be used in any condition where relaxing, carminative and anti-inflammatory action is useful: anxiety, insomnia, flatulence, gastritis, dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, head colds, mouth ulcers, gingivitis, sore throats… I could literally keep going for a while but I’ll stop here.  Basically, it’s awesome.  The next time you’re feeling particularly stressful, turn to a cup of chamomile tea instead of whatever other alternative you might go to, like hot chocolate or coffee.

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