Wine and Spinach, Hand in Hand

I’ve been struggling over the past few days with the concept of all or nothing. Tonight is my last night at Cranleigh House, and this place has certainly changed my attitude towards food, eating animals in particular…. But I am never going to be a vegan. I would miss cheese too much. And meat. And cheese. Aaand cheese.

HOWEVER! I have done lots and lots of educational reading while I have been here, in particular a book called The China Study. If you have not read this book and want some pretty conclusive, solid scientific advice on why a plant-based, whole foods diet is better for you in every way than eating the standard western diet, read it!

Seriously, its kind of changing my life.

But, in saying that, I have this weird connection to eating meat and dairy, because I grew up on a farm and I feel it is basically in my DNA to eat meat. I feel like I would be betraying my childhood roots if I turned my back on all animal products. Also, I feel as though my family and friends would look at me with great disdain if I declared I no longer eat gluten or any animal products. No one would invite me to dinner.

And I am a firm believer these days in ‘everything in moderation’. Apart from foods containing gluten, because that shit makes me unpleasant to be around.

So I have decided to keep my focus on plant-based whole foods, because they make me feel amazing! But when I am offered meat and cheese, I am not going to say no, because I am poor and if someone is offering me food then I will gosh darn take it, and be grateful. And a little bit of meat and cheese makes life happy. Its when you are consuming large quantities of processed meat, pumped full of chemicals and hormones, every day, that you run into problems (see standard American diet).

My fellow HelpXer, Darryl, calls himself a ‘conscious eater’, which I think is a wonderful way to put it. Be aware of what you are eating, where it came from, how far it has travelled and how many chemicals have been sprayed on it. If your family chicken has passed a gentle death and wrote in his will that he wants his parts to be donated to your mouth, then you had best honour his wishes. Choose the foods that are closest to nature, and grown closest to home. Choose the foods that work for you, and recognise that only you can know what those foods are.

Kayla, my other HelpX buddy, is flirting with the term ‘Flexitarian’. Eat the way nature intended most of the time, but don’t be anal about it. Have cheese when you want it, and ENJOY IT SO MUCH.

There’s a whole lot of hate on vegetarians and vegans, and how they are pale fragile waifs, blown about in a gentle breeze. There is the impression that they are snooty, self-righteous protesters, that hate people who eat meat. I’m sure there are some like that. But the people I have met are people who are just figuring out what works for them and what is kindest to our animals and our earth. What is to hate about that? Animals are cute.

I love cows, I used to ride one called Mrs Brown. Rest in peace my noble steed.

Please note, I can eat plants on the reg, and still party like its 1999. That’s important for me, because I love to party. I am not turning into some weirdo who would rather stay at home and cook lentils and do ecstatic awakening dance in my living room…. Oh wait.

No seriously though… nobody will ever take away my right to party. I am not putting myself in a box, or giving myself a label. There is a belief that adopting a certain lifestyle means that you have to adopt a certain persona. Nah, I’m just doing ma thang.

Bye Cranleigh House, you’ve been weird. I fear my blog post material will become boring when I leave. All normal and no aliens makes Rosie a dull girl!

Farewell, alien mountain. I probably won't miss you.
Farewell, alien mountain. I probably won’t miss you.

It’s all fun and games, until someone gets enlightened

Tis my fourth and final week in this bizarre, mind boggling place. On a regular basis I do wonder how I got here and what made me stay once I was here. It’s incredibly hard coming straight into someone’s life and having to conform to how they have lived for so many years, including how they wash the dishes and what they eat for dinner every day. But you have to respect that it is their home, and you are a visitor. Still, I have to bite my tongue on a regular basis, and most of the spiritual and religious stuff here would be enough to make a lot of people run away, fast. This is what my friends and family thought;

‘The challenging things are always the most rewarding’,

‘Stick at it for a few days and see how you go’,

‘Go to the shop and buy a stash of chocolate and eat it when no-ones looking’,

And mostly; ‘Get the f**k out of there, it sounds like a nut house and I don’t want you to turn into an alternative living vegan freak who smells like vegetables all the time. I won’t go places with you any more.’

You guys got my back. But at the end of the day, I knew I would stay. Even when I felt a violent urge to run away. Even when I started looking closely at the pictures on the walls, posters stating ‘UFO’s: Why Are They Here?’ and the such. It’s quite alarming when you come out of your room in the morning, dazed from sleep, and are abruptly confronted with an image of the guru, staring directly at you, asking you why you weren’t up at 6 that morning to honour him? Sorry dude, you don’t scare me. Its especially hard to resist the urge to run away when your host openly weeps in front of you the day after you arrive, dropping to her knees to tap her chest and release emotion from the heart chakra.

People around me being so open about their emotions really freaks me out. I don’t know why, but I just want them to shut up and tell me they are fine. You know when you ask someone how they’re doing? Normal people might say, ‘yeah, not bad!’, or ‘I’m fine, how are you?’

Not in this house. Oh no. You’ll think twice before asking around here. Picture this: 7.30am, you nip out of your room to the bathroom. You run into a skinny woman with wild eyes, wearing small boy’s flannelette pyjamas and carrying a tray of wheatgrass. You say, ‘How did you sleep’?

WELL! WELL! I COULDN’T SLEEP UNTIL ABOUT 2AM BECAUSE I HAD A LOT OF VIBRATIONS AFTER THAT FILM WE WATCHED LAST NIGHT ABOUT THAT MAN WHO DESERTED ALL HIS MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AND WENT OFF THE GRID AND THEN DIED IN A CARAVAN! I MEAN, I REALLY HAD TO SIT ON THE GROUND AND RELEASE ALL OF MY BLOCKS! YOU KNOW? OH AND THAT REMINDS ME, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ANY MORE ABOUT THAT OTHER THING? AND THAT OTHER THING? AND COULD YOU DO THIS WHEN YOU GET A MINUTE?

Ommmmmm.

After a while, I realised I had to use this place as a lesson. A lesson in how not to be. I’m not saying its bad to talk about how you feel – am definitely learning to stand up for myself and say what’s on my mind every now and then. Which is a big deal for me! In general I like to avoid all confrontation.

I’m just saying that for somebody who has dedicated a lifetime to health and reaching a level of ‘higher consciousness’, she does not seem to be a happy, focussed or balanced person.

All due credit to her for the work she does, and her passion for helping people, because I have learnt so much about health whilst working here, and it is pretty awesome to have that knowledge. But I do think you can take it all a bit too far.. There comes a time when you have to ask yourself, am I making myself happy by doing liver flush every morning instead of a nice cup of tea? Am I really so toxic that I need to detoxify all day every day? How many blocks can one person truly have? What am I going to do when I reach this higher consciousness? Do I just keep on going, up and up, until I’m in the clouds? Where does actual LIVING come into it?

I’m going to take away from here all that I’ve learnt about yoga, how to cook green vegetables in many versatile, exciting ways, and how to be selective in a world full of overwhelming information on health and nutrition.

Also I am going to take my enema kit.

Haha! Joking. Kinda.

What can I say, weird is contagious.

Kayla getting her weird on

Rehab.

Whoooeeeeeee.

I didn’t do an update yesterday on my progress because I couldn’t really move my body, let alone my brain. Life was hard yesterday.

Day Two was definitely the hardest day, I was feeling completely exhausted, shakey and nauseous. All of the toxins from 6 months of partying around Europe and Christmas shandies seemed to be coming out in my lovely face, which is not sexy. I had a good sleep for about two hours after the morning Sadhana, and missed the disgusting clay drink (thank the Lordy).

Probably the high point of my day was experiencing my first coffee enema. I say this sarcastically. I told my mother I was going to bite the bullet and do one, because it is apparently an important part of the detox program. She said; “OK, so long as you don’t talk about it on your blog..”

Sorry mum, just briefly, ITS VERY ODD. Mostly because as I was trying to relax and stare nowhere but the ceiling, a certain someone came into the room next to me and began loudly feeding the cat; “Here, puss puss puss! Come and get it!”.

There are no words.

Moving on from that enriching experience…. I have been consuming Liver Flush, Clay Milkshake, Green Shit (my name for wheatgrass, ginger, courgette, cucumber, and POTENT celery) with some minerals every morning. Then a large amount of salad for luncheon, perhaps with some sprouted nuts and home made hummus as a companion. Then in the afternoon another Clay Milkshake, more yoga and then a light dinner of soup and salad. So exciting.

Today’s dawn rising was not so bad, probably because I knew I would never have to do it again, ever. I even began to know some of the chanty words and belted out the tunes with the best of them. I think they were all slightly stunned that I was actually sitting upright, let alone participating in the chants. I quite enjoyed the yoga itself. The hardest Kriya was on Day Two, because between every exercise we had to lie down and do a short relaxation, then get up again and get physical. Apparently it was a Kriya for bowel health, as if we needed any more impacting on that area. Every time I began to relax and slide into happy sleepy sheepskin land, we were told to stand up again. It was essentially sleep torture.

So now it is Sunday night, Kayla and I did a yoga class this evening and then a laughter meditation. If you haven’t ever done this and feel like you need to release some tension… It’s the best thing. The Chopra Center does an online meditation course called 8 Weeks to Happiness, and on the last week they do a laughter meditation. For the first 5 minutes you listen to a group of people laughing manically, which made me laugh because it was so weird, so then Kayla started laughing at me laughing, then I started laughing at her weeping, then we both just lost it thinking about all the weird shit we’ve dealt with in the last three days. This place…. Sheesh.

I also am getting much better at my headstands! Today I managed to lift my legs slowly up without having to throw them at the wall to get them up. Then I balanced there for a while with no support. Must be all the weird sucky sucky abdominal exercises we’ve been doing in Kundalini.

Tomorrow I have a day off and am hopefully going hiking somewhere, weather dependent. To be honest I will probably just go regardless, gotta get out of the crazy house. I don’t think I’ve left the building for about 4 days, I am so pale I could be an axolotl. So cute.

I’m off to bed to sleep this weekend off, like a bad bad dream.

P.s. Today Katherine wore floral jeans, a Golden Fleece, a pink scarf wrapped around her midriff, and a white hat with two pom poms that make her shadow look like a baby teddy bear. She crazy, but she got style….

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Detox Day One: Semi-Conscious, Fully-Hungry

‘Twas a dark and stormy night, and tensions were mounting in the household as we all prepared mentally and physically for the weekend ahead. Mungbeans were a-sprouting, nuts were a-soaking, kale was a-waiting to be eaten, shivering in the corner, crying “not my whole family!”, as we sliced and diced kale’s Uncle Cabbage. A vegetable rampage of sorts.

I was feeling excited, nervous, apprehensive, mostly at the thought of getting up at 4.30am to sit on a sheepskin and chant surrounded by people dressed in white. Apparently wearing white doubles the size of your aura! Fun fact of the day.

I didn’t put much thought into what we would be eating, because I assumed it couldn’t get too much healthier than what we were already eating on a daily basis. Right?

Wrong.

I’ll give you a wee run down on my morning, you guys are gonna be so jealous of all my activities. It’s like I’m back in play school, working with clay and painting rainbows. Except it’s not.

4:41am: awoken by Kayla’s freakishly cheerful face, pronouncing she is going to take a cold shower to really get involved! I promptly fall back to sleep.

4:45am: actual alarm goes off, i weep a little inside. I’m a 7.30am kind of girl, for those of you who don’t know me. This feels like the middle of the night.

5:01am: stumble upstairs to yoga sanctuary, wrap pink blankets around myself and huddle on a sheepskin. Begin chanting (and by chanting I mean bobbing my head and humming softly to the tune of others chanting).

5:30am: complete chanting, begin Kriya. Popping and locking my stomach muscles like it’s my JOB. Feeling strong and powerful.

5.45am: popping and locking still, growing tired, muscles becoming floppy.

6:15am: FAAAAAAH are we done yet?

6:30am: complete Kriya, begin singing. Don’t know what I’m singing, but I’m sure I sound beautiful. Probably some subliminal messaging weaving it’s way in with every line.

7:00am: EVERYBODY SHUT UP CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRYING TO SLEEP OVER HERE?

7:30am finish singing. Energy restored from tactical mid-song nap. Head downstairs for Liver Flush, favourite time of day that.

9:00am I mix together gelatinous bentonite clay and psyllium husk with water until it’s gloopy and looks like what one would imagine elephant snot to look like. Down it in one, tis the only way. I chase with yogi tea, do not allow my taste buds to become active for a good 45 seconds post-chug. I pretend it is the vessel in a drinking game, and also pretend I am very drunk and cannot taste anything.

9:30am: force stems of organic celery, courgette and cucumber into rustic juicer machine, the machine becomes constipated with fibre and have to unblock. Perhaps a sign of things to come. I was quite looking forward to drinking my green juice, thinking it would be fruity and jazzy. I take an enormous sip with great gumption (and hunger). No. NO. That’s bad.

10am: Sleep in a dreamy, mildly sweaty state. Body is being very quiet, i sense it is the calm before the storm.

12pm: Could smash a pie!

More yoga soon, then a POTATO! I’m so excited!!!

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So fresh and so clean

Just when I thought it couldn’t get much more intense…… It got much more intense.

Today Kayla and I were asked if we would like to participate in the 3 day Kundalini Yoga Raw Cleanse this weekend. That’s a pretty full on combination of things to throw at me before 9.30 in the morning.

Whilst we have been eating a really healthy, whole foods plant based diet, we haven’t been doing the full on raw cleanse, so I was pretty excited to be given the opportunity. People that come here to participate pay around £400 for the weekend, and we get to do it for free! I think it’s because there is one lady coming and they don’t want her to feel awkward doing it all by herself in the low season. So basically I am rent-a-crowd.

So I cried ‘Hell yeah! Sign me up!’, not fully grasping the kind of commitment I was making.. We were then given a detailed run-down of what each day would entail;

4:30 TAKE A COLD SHOWER

5-7:30AM​ AQUARIAN SADHANA

7:30AM ​LIVER FLUSH (Whole citrus, organic extra virgin olive oil, chilli, ginger and garlic)

9:00AM ​ABSORBER/SHAKE (Bentonite clay and psyllium)

10:00AM ​GREEN JUICE

10:30AM ​LOCAL WALK OR REST TIME

12:30PM ​RAW LUNCH PREP

1:00PM ​RAW OR VEGETARIAN LUNCH

2:00PM ​FREE TIME

4:00PM ​ABSORBER/SHAKE

4:30 – 6PM ​KRIYA AND MEDITATION

7:00PM ​DINNER: JUICE/RAW OR COOKED VEGETARIAN/VEGAN OPTIONS

8:00PM ​CHANTING/MUSIC, FILM OR RELAXATION

Golly! So much fun packed into one day! An Aquarian Sadhana is a combination of meditation, Kriyas and chanting. A Kriya is a set of yoga exercises, kind of like those super hard dizzy ones I described in my previous post. The cold shower is apparently optional, I feel like I will just be rolling out of bed and up to the yoga sanctuary at 5 to 5.

And on top of that, we have been asked if we would like to do enemas to assist with the detoxification process…

Ew. Giggle.

Starting Friday, I’m gonna be one HANGRY female.

Another fun sexy day in the life! I changed my blog tag-line from “in search of the good life” to “in search of tales worth telling”, because I feel like so far this probably isn’t the GOOD life, but it’s definitely worth telling people about. So that they can send me care packages. Yusssss thanks mum for the 70% Lindt chocolate I got in the mail today. Kisses.

Wish me luck!

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