Week 6 of the Yogi Cameron diet is the same as Week 5. The spiritual emphasis is on not stealing. The diet is the same. I have kept to it about eighty per cent of the time. I have still been drinking alcohol which I am still annoyed with myself about. As of today I have eradicated all alcohol from the house so as of today I haven’t had any. I have taken the pledge. Food wise I have been doing pretty well and eating healthy whole foods. I notice when out and about how difficult it is to get healthy food in town. Most choices seem to be really unhealthy and don’t fit with ayurvedic principles.
I haven’t been feeling well this week. I don’t think it’s to do with the diet. Maybe I am coming down with something. I am not sure if it’s mental or physical or a bit of both. The week has been full of minor irritations. I am facing up to a lot of my demons and I know this means I have to make changes in my life. I need to change the way my mind works. It is a lot of work and sometimes overwhelming. I am hoping I will be better when I get through to the other side.
I have been reading more about ayurveda. There are a lot of conflicting opinions as the diet comes from ancient Vedic texts which are thousands of years old. Some ayurvedic diets allow meat and fish but Yogi Cameron does not. I am doing the more strict type. The emphasis is on fresh foods that are grown locally and organically. Eggs are almost never mentioned. I have read this is because they are considered dirty and low because they come out of a chicken’s bottom. I have still been having the odd egg. Most Indian recipes with eggs in them stem from the Raj and the British influence.
Here’s hoping to a return to health and well being next week.
I am now in Week 3 of the Yogi Cameron diet.
The focus this week is on truthfulness. It is not only about telling the truth but finding your authentic self. This is something I have been working on for a while. I still haven’t found my true purpose. I don’t know what I am meant to be doing. I am going to continue to search. I need to try different things until I find a fit. When you are doing something that is right for you things should flow. They should feel easy rather than a chore. This is a challenge. I find lots of things a chore. The search continues.
I am gaining clarity as I move through the programme about many aspects of my life. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I behave, how I react to things. I know there is a lot wrong in my life that I need to put right. I do feel that I am making progress though in small steps. The new home has made me feel much better about my life. The connection with nature is really important. As I sit here I can see a blue tit pecking at the bird feeder. This makes me feel really good.
The diet is the same as the previous weeks. No meat, no fish, no processed food, no frozen food, no microwaved food, no caffeine, no alcohol. I have been eating fresh fruit and vegetables with some butter. A small amount of dairy is allowed.
Five minutes in the morning should be spent in thinking about how to act truthfully.
In addition to this I have added in my yoga practice, jogging and meditation. Unfortunately I have cheated on the alcohol and already had a couple of glasses of wine this week. This is a real problem for me and something I need to work on. Giving up all the other things was easy and I don’t miss them at all. Wine is some kind of comfort blanket for me. I need to work harder on getting rid of this addiction.
On the topic of truthfulness like most people I have told lies in the past. I have a tendency to embroider the truth. Why do I do this? I think one of the reasons is a need to impress or please people. This tendency has lessened in me as I have worked on self-development. The only person I need to please is myself. I have definitely made progress here. Sometimes I think I have been too honest and it has got me into trouble. Often people don’t want to hear the truth. I am not sure what to do about this but I can see spiritually honesty is the way to go.
I had a darker mood yesterday which explains the reversion to wine drinking. Some dark experiences from the past came to haunt my dreams. Today that feeling seems to have gone. I am feeling more at peace. It is raining again today but that is good so the focus can turn to indoor activities.
The best thing about this week is I have started to write again. I worked on my novel yesterday and I felt positive about what I have written so far. Maybe writing is my purpose though I am still not sure about that.
So I am settling in really well into the Old Chapel. Harvest is in full swing so tractors are rumbling by the house every five minutes. They have cut down some of the wheat and made the straw into bales. The rest is still ripening in the sun.
I seem to have been buying lots of wooden furniture as we don’t have enough. So much for trying to live simply. There seems to be an endless list of things I need to buy. I will have to look at more eco friendly options. I have bought an oak desk for me to do my writing on. I have set up my computer in the conservatory and my writing nook is looking pretty professional. I just need to get on with it now.
I have been pretty healthy, keeping to my diet, doing yoga, jogging every day and walking the dog for hours. I am finding it really easy to avoid caffeine now. I haven’t had any for weeks and I really don’t miss it. The headaches and leg pains have stopped so I feel pretty good. My energy levels have definitely improved and I am much more active than I used to be. Maddeningly I haven’t lost any weight so I will have to cut down again next week. I was annoyed with myself for weakening on Sunday and having wine. I also had rhubarb infused gin. Bad, bad, bad. This was because we went on a day trip to Sandringham. We just went in the country park and had a walk through the woods. My dog Didi had a great time. Woodland is his favourite habitat.
The weather has been amazingly warm and the sun has been out quite a bit. I love the sunshine. I have been sunbathing a little each day to get my vitamin D and I am now quite tanned.
Work wise I have updated my CV as I am tentatively having a foray into the world of work again. The very thought is scaring me. I have finally opened up my second novel on Word and I am working my way through what I have written so far. I really need to finish it.
My cat Monty has for some inexplicable reason decided he doesn’t want to go outside any more and is staying in the house all the time. This makes it difficult as he doesn’t get on with the dog so I have to keep them separate.
I have tentatively begun to garden. So far I have deadheaded some roses and cleaned a lot of green something or other from the surface of the pond. I found a dead baby bird in the pond. Poor thing. Samsarra.
I have kept my meditation sessions quite short but it is wonderful to be able to meditate in such a beautiful garden. A real feeling of peace descends.
This week I really need to get into a routine and write every day. I think I need to treat it like a job and give myself breaks but otherwise write all day. It’s the only way. I also need to apply for jobs so I can feel like a productive member of society. I need to get over my fears.
The news has been awful with all these terrorist attacks. I feel more able to detach myself from it now so I don’t get so upset. I wish somebody knew what to do. I think on a personal level we just have to remember to be kind to each other. If everyone did this the world wouldn’t be in the state it’s in. I am working on myself first. Then I can help others.
I have been on the Yogi Cameron diet for nearly a week now. I am determined to stick with it as a complete lifestyle change. I want to live according ayurvedic principles in order to gain good health and higher spiritual awareness.
It hasn’t been easy. I have had headaches and leg muscle pains. I think this is mostly due to the caffeine withdrawal.
The diet emphasises fruit, vegetables and grains. There is no alcohol, cigarettes or caffeine allowed. I have stuck to it pretty faithfully. I am working on the principle it is going to get worse before it gets better.
I mostly had fruit in the morning, a vegetable curry and rice for lunch and a light dinner such as fruit or more rice. So far I have only lost a pound over the week. My weight fluctuated but this morning I am still 58.8 kg. I am disappointed that I have not lost more but I am determined not to give up like I have so many times in the past.
Today was Sunday so I had a treat and went to my favourite curry house, Orissa. I had pineapple curry and rice with dahl and saag paneer. It was very gorgeous. As it was such a big blow out I have not had any dinner.
I have been thinking about how to lose more weight next week and have decided to cut my portion sizes down and introduce more exercise as well as yoga.
My mood was very good today and my energy level was medium. This is the best I have felt all week.
Food and exercise:
On waking at six: hot water
Dog walk for an hour.
Lunch: Pineapple curry and rice, dahl, saag paneer. Two fruit juice non-alcoholic cocktails.
Dog walk for an hour.
Meditation and yoga.
I drank hot and cold water throughout the day.
Spiritually, I was thinking about non-violence and meditating on the question: Do I call people names?
Over a year ago I really thought that I had conquered my depression. I had been feeling low for a while after leaving my teaching career, writing a book which didn’t find a publisher and feeling like a general failure.
I made a big effort to try to cure myself. I did all the recommended things. I embarked on a radical diet (the Dukan) and I got down to my ideal vanity weight. I exercised every day: I did yoga and HIT circuits. I meditated and prayed. I did feel better. I dyed my hair blonde and felt glamorous again. I threw out old clothes and bought new ones.
I did feel better. I really did. I thought I was cured. Then I started to do voluntary work. I wanted to edge myself gently back into the workplace. Then I landed a job in a bookstore: the big chain. This is where I started to unravel again. All the old patterns returned. People were extremely unpleasant to me. There was a bullying culture yet again, not from the management this time, but from the other staff. People talked about me behind my back. One of them said, “You are a nightmare.” Why do people behave like this towards other human beings whatever they think of them. I had done nothing bad to these people. I was trying to work hard and be friendly. As usual I found it difficult to deal with. My healthy diet disappeared. I started to drink wine in the evening to anaesthetise myself. I left and used the money I had earned to start the CELTA course which I have blogged about elsewhere. I got bullied again, this time by one of the trainers. I fell completely apart.
The depression came back almost as strongly as before, but not quite. So I hadn’t cured myself. Why? My depression must have deeper roots than I thought. It cannot be cured through glib healthy lifestlye tips. But I was fine until I tried to start work again. So work is the issue. It’s not even the work but the people at work, the downright nastiness in people that I no longer have the skills to deal with. Yet I have to work. I have to make some sort of contribution.
So I still haven’t figured it out. A year later I am still trying. I am using the healthy lifetstyle techniques again but they are only partially working. I have a rescue dog who has helped me a lot. I go on long walks and spend a lot of time in nature. I do yoga and I meditate and pray. I try to eat healthily but I keep relapsing. I try to give up drinking and I keep relapsing. I overthink everything. My mind plays back incidents over and over again.
I still haven’t figured out how to make an economic contribution to the world. I need something like my own business though I can’t think what to do. I could try to find like minded people to work with but I am not sure they exist. I need to commit to my writing again and see if I can make it as an author. I need to keep hope burning. I need to figure out how to manage my depression and see if I can get help for it. I need to do all this on a shoe string. I need to keep working on myself and hope things get better. I need to keep toxic people out of my life. I am better every day little by little. I will keep trying and if I find things that work I will post them on my blog and maybe that will help others.
“I must go on. I can’t go on. I must go on.’ Misquoting Samuel Beckett
This year I decided to take Lent seriously. Usually I just give up chocolate or alcohol or something but I decided to have a change and go the whole hog. I read up about how seriously religious people fast. Anglicans are typically woolly about the whole thing but I like this about them. The instruction seems to be no meat on Fridays and generally eat less than usual. The Roman Catholic Church typically goes further and suggests no meat throughout Lent. This wasn’t really enough for me as I don’t eat much meat anyway. I delved a little further and found out that monks and nuns would go full on in Lent and give up eggs, all dairy, meat and of course alcohol. This sounded severe enough for me to give it a try. I also decided to give up TV and to severely limit my use of social media. I intended to also do things I hadn’t done before. I decided to read a chapter of the Bible every day and to pray and meditate. I wanted to have a quiet, spiritual time of reflection.
I am not a good Christian. In fact I am absolutely terrible. I have probably committed every sin in the book. Ok not quite. I haven’t murdered anyone to my knowledge. But I try. I try to be a good person and fail. I am also drawn to Buddhism. I find meditation therapeutic. I don’t go to Church as I have never found one I feel comfortable in but I follow the woolly liturgical year of the Anglican Church. I find its rhythms comforting. I am a kind of sole practitioner.
The diet was quite restrictive. I was living mostly on fish and vegetables. I decided to cut out all processed food. I experimented with fasting. I found this really hard. I didn’t manage more than one day at a time. I would feel light headed and spacey. My energy level was low. I had quite bad food cravings on some days where I would dream about chips and bread and butter. I didn’t have any craving for sweet things, only heavy carbs and dairy.
I really enjoyed reading the Bible. I have a lovely leather bound King James version and the poetry of the language is beautiful. I read two gospels in the time: Matthew and Mark. I was fascinated by what Jesus had to say and was struck at points by how close it is to Buddhism. I loved some of the teachings, particularly the famous “Consider the lilies” speech. They do not plough or sow and yet God looks after them. He clothes them beautifully and provides them with food and water. They do nothing for it. The essence of this is like a kind of don’t worry, be happy mantra. It made me think about how in Britain we are obsessed with the work hard culture and strive all day achieving in the end not very much. We do not need all this stuff that we think we need. It’s just stuff. Again and again people ask Jesus how they can attain the Kingdom of Heaven and he always says give up eveything you own and follow me. I found myself wishing he was still alive and I could just go and follow him to find some meaning in my life like a kind of low rent Mary Magdalene. The task of course is how to interpret this in the modern era. How to follow Jesus? I am not sure I have the answer but I am trying. I decided to be more like a lily of the field and I decluttered. I gave away endless amounts of clothes and things I never use to charity shops. I even managed to part with some of my books. I realised one day when I had absolutely nothing to put on to cover my bottom half as everything I owned was in the wash that I may have gone too far. I am a worrier so I decided to be lily like and not worry about work or money.
I prayed. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer and then also my own. I am not sure my prayers have been answered, well not yet anyway but I live in hope. It had a calming, serene effect on me. I bashed on with the meditation. I am very bad at it but I keep trying.. I think I improved. I did not have a spiritual experience or a great epiphany. This saddened me but hey ho. I did have a spiritual experience as a child which was very powerful. I might save that for another blog. I realised I have a long way to go in my spiritual practice. I did gain clarity on aspects of my life and I knew what I had to do to change them. I learned things about myself, some good, some not so good. I only came baby steps but it is a beginning.
I have far to go.
There are many things I don’t understand.
I am trying and I am learning. Each day is a chance to improve. I felt a greater sense of well being. The weight is starting to lift.
So the day after New Year I rashly decided to join in with Veganuary and Dry January. I would go vegan for a month and also abstain from alcohol. This should have been relatively easy for me. I am already vegetarian and I had given up drinking last year only to start again during the Christmas festivities.
I loved all the food I had made at Christmas and the wine, champagne and port I had drunk. By New Year I felt bloated and unhealthy so it all seemed like a good idea.
The vegan part was incredibly easy. I went to the supermarket and bought lots of fruit and vegetables but also some luxury vegan foods like fake meats. My bill was quite high. I really enjoyed making all the dishes I had. I was having exotic fruit smoothies, nutty salads and home made vegan burgers and pasta dishes. I felt quite good. I didn’t lose any of my extra Christmas weight though.
In the second week I cut out the heavy carbs and just ate tons of fruit and veggies. My gut went into overdrive and I was going to the loo about six times a day. I did not feel good. So much for health. All that fibre must have been a shock to my system.
By the third week I was bored of virtue. I had a Chinese takeaway though it was still vegan and a couple of portions of chips. I started drinking wine again. I was still counting all my calories religiously and entering them into My Fitness Pal and according to the figures I should have been losing weight. I didn’t though.
In the fourth week I ate a healthy vegan diet with all the food groups and I did eat out once and had an aubergine curry. Still no weight loss.
I love the idea of veganism. I love the way it makes me feel I am not hurting animals and it makes me feel more spiritual and Buddhist. For dieting purposes something about it doesn’t seem to suit me. My body loves packing on the carbs as fat. I am really annoyed that I was so weak that I started drinking wine again. The stress of selling my house is probably something to do with it. I am aware that I lean on alcohol in times of stress and that this is not a good thing. I enjoy it at the time but the next day it makes me feel groggy and dehydrated.
In February I am concentrating on trying to lose weight. I think olive oil and bread might be the culprits. I have given up coffee. I have gone back to my flexitarian ways and shall be eating the occasional egg and some fish. Mabe I’ll give veganism another go when I am at my target weight. I am trying to give up alcohol again. It was quite sickening to hear about everybody else’s veganuary where they had lost lots of weight and been full of energy. I wish this could have happened to me.
In September I signed up for the dryathlon challenge which is to give up alcohol for a month to raise money for cancer research. I managed it and I have decided to give up for good. I am now that strange phenomenon: a teetotaller.
I have been a regular drinker for as long as I can remember, having a drink most days though never quite dipping into alcoholism. I suppose I come from a Viking culture, first in the north-east of England and then in Scotland. Everyone drank. I started with cider and black in the local pubs underage, the blackcurrant masking the taste of the alcohol which I didn’t even like back then. Then in Scotland I moved on to beer. Sometimes the local heavy or guinness and sometimes more trendy bottled beers like Furstenberg. Special occasions would bring out the whisky. I often drank until unconsciousness, getting myself into sticky situations as a result. I lost whole days with awful hangovers which immobilised me completely. I didn’t give my drinking a second thought. Didn’t everyone do it? It never occurred to me to give up. It was part of who I was: a go out a lot good time girl.
When work started in earnest I became more sophisticated so I thought. I moved to Manchester and gave up beer for wine. I would kid myself it was classy. I drank wine with my dinner and afterwards in the evenings, most evenings. Hey I was virtually French. I am far from a wine snob but I enjoyed the taste and started to get more discerning. The rich reds were my favourite from Spain and the new world. In reality I was self medicating, using the wine to relieve the stress from my almost impossible job. It numbed me, reduced the full horror of actually existing and trying to make my way in the world. I needed it. I rarely drank spirits and I didn’t drink during the day. So I didn’t think I had a problem with it. I wasn’t an alcoholic.
Later I moved south and the wine drinking continued though I stopped going out so much. It was just glasses of wine in the evening. In times of stress it would get worse. I would drink whole bottles to myself on occasion. It was a way of blotting things out. I would give up for months at a time and then go back to it.
This time I decided it would be different. I have given up for a whole month and I plan to continue. Something has changed in me. I don’t see the need for it any more. I want to overcome the addiction, to really beat it. I need to explore the reasons I drink in the first place. I need to get to the root of things.
I have read all the websites and blogs on the subject. Everyone promised me I would lose weight. As yet I haven’t. I was told I would have bags of energy but I don’t. I still wake up feeling groggy in the mornings. My dream of leaping out of bed like I am in a yoghurt advert has yet to transpire. Though I really wish it would happen. I have eaten healthily and slept like a log. I have done lots of walking and yoga and meditation. I am dosed up to the max with vitamins, iron water, B2 powder, B12 spray, St John’s wort. I have been kind to myself. I didn’t want to put myself under any pressure. Giving up alcohol was the goal and other things would have to wait. I have noticed my mind is clearer. I can finally think straight. I am making better decisions. I am losing ridiculous obsessions and self-sabotaging behaviours. I still don’t really know why I used to drink so much but I am finding out about myself. I read somewhere it takes a a year for the mind to really heal and re-porogram itself. I am hoping the good feelings will continue.
At the moment I have a feeling of well being and the dog tiredness is starting to fade. I hope I can continue the good work and rediscover myself.