Children Know What’s Good, and Family Visit

  • I’m grateful for spending time with my precious little nephew and niece today. They and their parents are visiting from the US, so happy to have them here!
  • I’m grateful that I notice that I’m drawn to eating from the abundance of bread at my mom’s place, but not acting upon it (yet).
  • I am grateful for this conversation with my 7 year-old flatmate yesterday:

She: Have you eaten this way as a child?
I: No, I ate more like you then.
She: Oh, that’s wonderful! That means that I can also eat nothing but fruit when I am older. How great that would be! I could eat only mangoes, oh and bananas! I can be a fruitarian too!

manu-clara
Two watermelon lovers unite

Sometimes, the Impossible Becomes Possible

I’m going to the Woodstock Fruit Festival, for the fourth time in a row. I’m so happy about it, I still cannot believe it. It seemed so impossible to go this year!

The Woodstock Fruit Festival has been a very important part of my personal journey. Each year, it has helped me back on track, helped me to find strength and motivation, gave me new insights. Each year was so different, and each year was special. But last year was my last one – or so I thought. I am a teacher now. I need to be there for the children in my care, especially in the first weeks at our school. School starts in mid August, my vacation is before that. There is no way arround it.

But then things changed. My dear friend Jen, who is healing from stage 4 breast cancer, told me that she found a way to go, and she begged me to come as well. Shortly thereafter, the festival team announced that it will be the last festival of its kind. And so I thought: why not consider it? Why not ask?

And so I did. I checked flights, made a potential plan and wrote a long emotional email to my team at work. They said that they understood, but needed to think about it. From a rational standpoint, it is absurd to let me go. But it was considered. We tried to find out the kids’ holiday schedules, and did more talking/thinking. Yesterday, in a team meeting, my lovely colleague Susanna said she would let me go. I couldn’t believe it! I started crying right then and there.

I will be at the Woodstock Fruit Festival 2015.

Plane tickets are booked, so there is no way back now 🙂 I am so so happy!

It is a financial stretch, but… I know it is worth it.

2012 was my first festival. I wasn’t feeling well then – I had been on a fruit-based lifestyle for about half a year, and it wasn’t working for me. I couldn’t eat a lot (bananas and dates didn’t go down well), my skin was so dry, headaches all the time, feeling depressed. The festival was a turning point: I started coaching with Ellen Livingston, and I found ways.

In 2013, I had moved back to eating cooked foods for dinner (lots of steamed potatoes), but it didn’t serve me well. They helped me deal with challenging emotions and stress, but physically they were holding me back. I gained a whole bunch of weight. The festival magically put me back on track, and I was all raw for a full year after that.

2014 was a year of connection. It was about feeling at home there, feeling grounded, connected. I met Jen there, spent time with dear friends. And I realized that I, too, was a pioneer of sorts. There still aren’t a lot of people that do what I do, and I can be a shining light with my journey.

A lifetime of changes, in one festival. Woodstock Fruit Festival, we will meet once again.

Peak Performance: The Highest Point of Vienna

On Monday, a friend and I went out for a little hike. Off we went, starting at Nussdorf (the end of the D-line), at times walking along ‘Stadtwanderweg 2‘. I hadn’t been to this corner of Vienna before, so I just followed and roamed. Without knowing it in advance, we made our way to Hermannskogel, the highest natural point in Vienna (542m). There we were greeted by the Habsburgwarte, a nice lookout point and radio station.

What did I have with me for a day on the road? Bringing watermelons isn’t practical, so I went with my default snack – dates with cucumber and red peppers – as well as a banana-apple green smoothie and an apple. In old Tetris fashion, it all fit in my little rucksack 🙂

Oh, and I had a realization. I love hiking, preferably steep and uphill. It is what I grew up with, and it makes me super happy. The hike on Monday reminded me of a hike I did as part of the Woodstock Fruit Festival last year. I climbed the mountain with a bunch of super-fit people, and I did quite well I think. I walked up at a quick pace and ran down most of it. So on Monday I thought to myself:

One day, I will be a mountain runner.

And so I will.

Chiquita Once Knew It: Banana Ripening

I buy a whole lot of bananas, at least compared to the average Austrian. I go and buy them by the case, in the supermarket near me. I get them home (as described in my previous post) with my trolley suitcase. The case of bananas has 16kg now, which gets me through one or two weeks – depending on how much other fruit I can get. This is what one case of banana looks like in my ripening shelf. Honestly, it doesn’t look like much to me any more 🙂

banana-stash

Some of the bananas have brown spots already, but there’s still a lot of green going on. I used to eat them this way, even prefer them green, but now I couldn’t get them down like this. These bananas are still very starchy, and I want the starches to turn into simple sugars first – something that has only happened when spotty and all yellow. And then they digest so easily! So they should look like this:

spotted-banana

Back in the 1940s, Chiquita knew how bananas should be eaten, and their spot was rather famous (as they say themselves):

I’m Chiquita banana and I’ve come to say
Bananas have to ripen in a certain way
When they are fleck’d with brown and have a golden hue
Bananas taste the best and are best for you

You can put them in a salad
You can put them in a pie-aye
Any way you want to eat them
It’s impossible to beat them

But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator
So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator!

 

Meals on Wheels – Fruitarian Style

Shopping can be really heavy if you buy fruit. I buy bananas by the case (16 kg), and melon season has begun. I can carry 2 smaller watermelons in my backpack – and I often do -, but my back isn’t too happy about it. One of my bike bags broke while transporting watermelons, and my current bike doesn’t have a bicycle rack to begin with. So how can I get food?

Right now I often take my big trolley bag to get food. I can mount a case of bananas on the outside. Or – like today – I can transport a few different melons, apples, mangoes and cucumbers in it. And boxes of chia and hemp seeds. Mission accomplished!

meals-on-wheels

How I Made YouTube Less Addictive

This is the second part of my series on how I deal with the addictiveness of online media. In the first part I talked about Facebook, now I’m going to cover YouTube. My usual distraction pattern here is: I watch a video that I do want to see, and then watch five others that are listed as ‘Up Next’. Or I am just really tired and exhausted, and I will go and fill my brain with easy-going video content (something like Ellen DeGeneres videos). But ‘Recommended’ and ‘Up Next’ are no more! Or… hardly ever. My strategy for YouTube is slightly more technical than what I do with Facebook, but again, it is totally worth it.

The Goal, The Solution

I still want to be able to watch videos I am really interested in, and I still want to be able to follow a few inspirational YouTube channels. What I don’t want is to be presented with any YouTube-suggested content. So: I need to be able to see videos without visiting the website. What I do is:

  • Block YouTube in the browser except for one hour a day
  • Watch subscription videos via a podcast player, and
  • Use a command-line downloader for single videos

Step 1: Block YouTube

leechblock

Blocking websites in your browser depends on what browser(s) you use. Depending on the browser, you will have to install a different extension, and each of them works a little different. I currently use Firefox, and only Firefox. Yes, I sometimes want to test (in) different browsers, but I have found that I am more easily distracted if I do. The differences in blocking mechanisms made it easier to find ways around the blocking. Which is not the point of the exercise. So down to one browser it is. Mostly.

Here are the extensions that I use(d):

Follow the instructions of the extension(s) to block YouTube and others. I have LeechBlock set up to block YouTube all day every day except 6-7pm. I’ve also blocked social media sites to be blocked at the beginning and at the end of the day. And I have the blocker set up in a way that I can’t change its settings while active. Important! 🙂 (Though you might want to set up Step 2 first.)

Step 2: Subscribe via Podcast Player

gpodder

So the idea here is to watch your channel subscription through a program on your computer rather than via your browser. To do that, you need the feed URL of the channel and the program that will then handle the video download for you.

I use GPodder as a podcast/feed viewer. For alternatives, have a look at this LifeHacker post. To get the URL, go to the channel you want to subscribe, e.g. https://www.youtube.com/user/FruitLiving. Then right-click and select “View Source” (or try Ctrl+U). Now you want to find a line that looks like this:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCJduM32xK4QOb99e6_4F-3A">

To find it, search for “RSS” in the source file.

source

Then copy the link specified as ‘href’ (https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCJduM32xK4QOb99e6_4F-3A in my case). In GPodder, go to ‘Subscriptions –> Add podcast via URL’ and enter the URL (or, in fact, it is automatically pasted there). Done!

Step 3: Download Single Videos

youtube-dl

To watch any single video outside my one-hour YouTube window – and without distractions – I use the command-line utility ‘youtube-dl‘. So if I have the URL to a video I really want to see (e.g. sent by a friend or in a newsletter), I go to the console and type:

 youtube-dl URL

And then I’ll watch the video in my video player of choice (VLC). The utility should work on Windows, Linux and Mac.

Level 2 Completed

With a little help from a website, I have found my way back into a regular meditation practice. With 100% freedom and control I’m not able to do it, but someone (some thing) telling me exactly what to do each day works for me. And I get the extra pat on the back every now and then. And, well… I can unlock new levels! 🙂 After 10 x 10 min and 10 x 15 min I am now heading on to 10 x 20 min.

I’m Getting Here! Slowly…

I’m so grateful that I have a job now that is so rewarding (and challenging), where I move around a lot and where I get to be outside for periods of time! What a blessing.

I’m also so happy that I see progress when it comes to exercise. It looks like I’m able to maintain a regular running practice (with a little help from my friends), and maybe I’ll be able to do the same with the gym.

Oh, and I had the best time at Contact Impro class today. I think I’m slowly getting it! I’m slowly able to let go of thoughts more and be, sink in, put all my weight onto others. Today was the first time I was looking forward to going there – enjoying it before and after. Yay me! 🙂

How I Manage My Facebook Addiction

I’m easily addicted to online media. I can spend hours surfing websites without doing much at all. Facebook and Youtube are especially addicting. But I’ve found a way to handle Facebook without having to delete my account altogether. Facebook is, after all, my link to a lot of international friends. I don’t think I’d be in contact with anyone in New Zealand at all without it, nobody in Denmark, and hardly anyone in Norway – despite having lived in all three countries.

So what is my solution to Facebook pollution? Make it boring! Stay friends with everyone, but don’t follow their news. Same with groups and pages. And, in addition: don’t post. (Not always easy to do…)

If you follow these principles, your news feed will look like this (click to open):

fb-noposts

Nothing to show. Nothing to randomly browse.

If you still really want to know how someone is doing, you can of course go to their profile direclty. But it will then be your explicit choice to do so. And you will often forget to do so 🙂

So how can you make Facebook boring, you ask? Go to Facebook, hit the ‘▼’ arrow in the top right corner, then go to ‘News Feed Preferences’. Now you click on “Unfollow” on all of your friends, groups and pages.

fb-newsfeed

Note that this will take a while, and you will have to spread it out over a few days. This is because Facebook will think that you are a computer and prevent you from clicking too much at once. But the effort of a few days is totally worth it! Enjoy 🙂

On Running

Today I’m super grateful that I’m running at a regular basis now! Ok, it’s only been a few weeks, but I can see improvement already. Today I did 35min at a 7:15min/km pace, average. This came as a surprise to me. When I ran alone, I was running close to a 9min pace, and last time (running 50min) it was around an 8min pace. Big baby steps! And I even went to the gym afterwards. Yay me! 🙂

Oh and I’m also grateful that I went to bed at 9pm yesterday, without the usual evening snack. I was super surprised when I woke up at 6:20am – I usually wake up an hour earlier, even when I go to bed at 11pm. Progress, for now.