Rising in the Wee Hours: The Meditation Game Changer

Yellow Flower Aug 2011

For me, the energetic change, moving from the play of summer into more work, cooler days and nights, and less light.
Main focus this week: 1. “Just get up.” (Meditate) 2. Whole foods only. (Nothing white)

So, I really did get up before 5:00 the alarm going off at 4:45. I was awake like I usually am, but this time I didn’t lay there calling my slothy behavior meditation. I got up. Here’s something I think is important: I decided the night before. I trick myself. I say: Self, let’s just see. Why not? Try it on. You can always go back. I kind of sneak in.

Below is my master list of my healthy lifestyle.

1. At 5 a.m. “Just get up.” Do yoga-meditation-free write, while drinking 24 oz. mari-water (marijuana and water no THC) and 24 oz. peppermint tea with 1/8 t stevia, ¾ t turmeric, ½ cup of almond milk. Another wake up tonic: Home brewed kombucha and a scoop of some super probiotic.
2. Whole low-fat plant-based foods (clay bowl formula) only at 8-12-4ish (go with your 8-hour groove).
3. 2 16 oz. glasses of water between meals (60 min after, 30 before next meal) and drink herbal tea at night with Lance and kids.
4. Snack on vegetables only (bring them to work.) Meditate on saying “no” to yourself.
5. Go to gym 5 days a week. Goal: 112# on an empty stomach first couple of weeks of fall.

So far so good, but it’s only 7:03. Since my hedonistic trip to the coast I’ve gone back to my healthy ways, but as usual eating too much fat and sugar. This week I’m going to incorporate a lot of bulky filling foods like greens and vegetables as a base to all my meals. I am going to “lean in” to the less full, less saturated feeling of eating this way.

All of the above starts with intention, which finds its roots in meditation.

Cheers lovelies, to rising early and choosing the day!

Love and lettuce,

Count Down to Labor Day Final Comments Part 5



This post will make way more sense if you start with Part 1 of this series and read forward. This series is a departure from what I normally write about here on Love and Lettuce. My response to evacuating my family from the wildfire smoke was embarrassingly typical, yet as I come out the other side I’m making some surprising discoveries.


My end of summer thoughts a couple of weeks ago were all about gaining ground on an even healthier life: living into a leaner and stronger body with regular workouts; eating my way to lucid-happy by adding more plant-based whole foods into my diet; focusing my spirit and increasing my finances with a deeper yoga and meditation practice; and of course chronicling these stories about health and life, in order to help others, because if I can do this, you can too!

Alas here I am, more wilted than triumphant, because I jumped off into some indulgent hand to mouth, existential omnivorous food orgy, wondering: Is the plant-based life worth it? I know a low-fat, whole food plant-based diet would take the ten extra pounds off my body, and I am likely to have greater long term health with fewer aches and health issues, and I could also do my part to sustain the Earth, eating in a way that would contribute to there being enough food for everyone. And of course there’s the animals. A plant based could do so much good, but sometimes it just seems so inconvenient. It seems I’m swimming not just upstream, but up a waterfall. A cultural and societal waterfall.

Imagine these: Going out to dinner. Attending a family gathering. Traveling with teen aged girls. Exploring in the wine country. I usually bring my own food and think of the whole good-food-health endeavor as an adventure. I’ll throw a bag of oats or a can of beans in my pack and get to wherever I’m going feeling great. But lately, as we’ve bolted out of town in search of non-toxic air, I’ve grown weary of being inventive, positive and special. I’m just plain old boring tired.

I find myself wondering: Is the zen plant-based life I was aspiring to, better than all that dank, delicious food and just being like everybody else?

No special orders for me lately. I just take the restaurant’s dish with all the animal grease and call it good. What the heck. Everyone else does it. And I’m too tired to ask and endure the server’s look of “oh she’s one of those.” Why do I need to be so special anyway? Lately I’ve noticed how good pizza, biscuits and cheesecake are, and while even better versions of those foods CAN be made from plants, they aren’t often served in mainstream restaurants. Why go to all the trouble?

Are plant-based gourmet foods really any healthier?

I think so, because if I make the effort to stay vegan I notice something very interesting. Even though the vegan versions still laden with sugar and fat, they leave me feeling lighter, happier…nicer. I’ve heard others say the same thing.

Okay plant-based fat and sugar aren’t ideal from a getting lean standpoint, but I think they’re better and let me tell you why.

Plants seem to make me gentler. Is it an energetic thing? The animals suffering and being killed, then taken into our bodies? Or is it that we’re made to digest plants? I’m not entirely sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the latter.

I can tell you I ate a lot of sugar and animal fat and dead flesh while I traveled these last couple of weeks, and I feel it now. As I sit here on the edge of my bed writing you, I hear the air cleaners humming, my guy is talking on the phone and I am a slouching slug. My eyes are puffy. My hip joints hurt. I am spacey, irritable and…old. I am a long ways from inspired and lean–which is what I really hoped for when I started this whole “count down to labor day” a couple weeks ago. I feel the poor animals and their secretions in my blood, gumming up my joints and my cells…AND my spirit.

This might sound odd, but in addition to the gentleness I mentioned above, my spirit feels lighter and more hopeful when I eat plants.

I miss gentler, lighter and more hopeful. Wouldn’t you? It’s time to go back down the highway, and take the turnoff to the plant-based road (life).

Cheers lovelies, to eating in a way that gives us all, including the planet and the animals, hope.

Love and lettuce,

Count Down to Labor Day Gets REal Cont. Part 4

Yoga on the beach 2015

Day 5 I bring the girls back to the desert, the air temporarily less toxic, and hoping for the best I release them all back into their lives with their families. I drive back up the highway and start to clean the house, which smells like wet firewood, to wash all the travel laundry, then to detail all the dead bugs off my car…when I realize I’m pissed. Why did I do this mostly alone? Why did so many stay in the smokey hazardous air? I clean and clean and let myself feel, trying to not make anything up. Like reasons why. Things don’t always mean what we think they mean. Just sit with it girl. Let all the anger and exhaustion wash over you like a clean ocean waves. You did good. No you don’t need to make cookies.

Day 6 We’re evacuating again, this time somehow through a forest that’s still burning. And by the time we’ve dropped off my daughter with her daddy on the coast and we’ve made it to the only hotel room we could find–it stinks like cigarettes. “The AQI (air quality index) is better in Bend now,” he says. “What do you think it is in this room?” I ask.

Day 7 Somehow we end up in a bed and breakfast in Oregon’s wine country. One of our girls is on the coast with her daddy. Another girl is crabbing with her friend’s family, also on the coast. Yet another is in Disneyland. All, including us are in good air. We eat the best food ever at a pub downtown.

Labor Day Our hosts Mike and Penny, at Hopewell B and B serve us Eggs Benedict with asparagus, fresh fruit and orange juice. For lunch we eat blackened catfish and a meat laden jambalaya. Like a lot. Of all that. And I am fascinated. Why am I doing this? I haven’t eaten like this in two years. The family next to us is eating enough food to feed half of the city. They are extremely large people. Their daughter, a tween, chews with greasy lips and bloated cheeks. Will I end up like them? The dirty rice IS delicious. Then suddenly I’ve eaten enough to where the dish seems more greasy than delicious. Why did I do this? “You’re not bad or anything,” he says, chiding me. “You normally eat vegetables. Today you ate meat.”

Maybe. But I’m afraid.

Cheers Lovelies, to falling down, to asking why, to admitting what we feel, to being on vacation.

Love and lettuce,

The Count Down to Labor Day Gets Real Part 3


I was just down-dogging (a basic yoga move) my way into a delicious transformational “7 Days before Labor Day” when life went sideways. I had planned healthy meals, exercise, yoga, meditation that was supposed to get my body lean and my mind inspired–and POW!! Life happened. Exit zen. Enter evacuate.

Forest fires and shifting winds drove us out of our community and me off my healthy path. Sort of. Twenty some years ago, when I left rainy Puget Sound for the dry Central Oregon high desert, I didn’t know I was moving into wildfire territory, or that living in a place where forests burned, would turn our health-conscious, play-outside community into an air quality hazard zone. But it has. The end of a summer has been a scary and a happy series of evacu-vacations–a strange hybrid of run-for-your-health and “oh yeah we’re having a really good time.” Funny how things work out. Sort of.

Day 2 I did do yoga and meditate, but by the afternoon instead of going to the gym, I was packing up to get the two girls in my charge up to a place called Madras where the air was considered “moderate” and not “hazardous” according to the AQI website. Before I left the girls and I picked vegetables from the garden, which we ate while driving out of the smoke. The girls swam in the hotel’s pool and my former spouse and I talked about what we were going to do to keep them safe, while I texted my boyfriend about what we were going to do to get his daughter’s out.

Day 3 After talking with my boyfriend I drove back into thick smoke, picked up his daughter and her friend, then headed to Portland where the air was good and the shopping better. Road cookies, greasy Chinese stir-fry from the mall sustained us until we got to the hotel, where I promptly snagged an uncustomary but much needed couple of glasses of red wine from the hotel’s “evening reception” while the girls swam in the hotel’s pool. Once back in our room the girls dried off, played on their cell phones, and I started to drift off, thoughts running through my mind. How am I going to shift to the next level of lean with this situation? How am I going to eat and exercise my way to an inspired, lucrative life style with four girls in tow and the forest burning all around my home town? Will the envisioned healthy shift have to wait?

Day 4 Me and four girls ate at the food carts, saw the rose garden, toured the grounds of the Pittock Mansion, then shopped our way through Portland. That was their perception. Mine and my boyfriend’s: We got them out of a potential health hazard. And I STARTED EATING EGGS: Am I plant-based or aren’t I? I can’t say I feel guilt. I try to avoid that if I can. But, I feel better than I thought I would. Yet, I thought of the chickens who laid the eggs. I thought of the Earth and how there would be enough for everyone if we all were plant-based. And wondered about my future. Is this eating slip-up a fluke? Or am I falling back into the omnivore’s sugar and fat laden mediocrity? Go into it, I said to myself. Don’t judge. Sit and let the truth come.


Cheers Lovelies, to evacuating, to holding the questions anyway.

Love and lettuce,

Day 1 Count Down to Labor Day Part 2


I’ve only got a few minutes this morning, with Houston flooding (blessings family) and Bend burning. So anyway, I started this countdown to labor day, yesterday, with yoga and meditation (More later on meditation. For now just sit tall, make your face soft, close your eyes and simply watch your thoughts without judging them as good or bad.) Seriously, any transformation gets a huge boost from meditation, which shifts you, gets you right with yourself, right with your goals and maybe closer to a higher power (whatever that is for you).

After yoga and meditation, I ate well and planned meals for rest of my day.


I always eat breakfast and it’s often a formula of greens or vegetables, some fresh fruit and about 1/3 a cup of old fashioned oats soaked for 10 minutes in boiling water. Then I usually top that with freshly ground flax seed (1-2 tablespoons depending on how active I am going to be) or hemp hearts (1-2 tablespoons depending on how active I am going to be) (or both). Then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and raisins. This can have a lot of calories if you put on too much of the flax, the raisins or the hemp. The trick here is to burn more calories than you consume. I let this motto be my true north, and not throw nutrient dense food on willy nilly. All those macro nutrients (fat, carbs and protein i.e. calories) would pile up on my belly, making me fat and unhealthy. You CAN have too much of a good thing!


I take lunch to work with me nearly always.

I took enzymes on an empty stomach to reduce inflammation (a flipping miracle, more on this later) and probiotics and drank A LOT of water, like a gallon.

Sorry if there’s typos. I may evacuate my family today.

A toast lovelies, to doing what is good for us, even if life isn’t perfect!

Love and Lettuce,

Countdown to Labor Day: 7 Days of Lean Vegan Part 1


Labor day feels like the end of summer, the time when the cooler shorter nights whisper, “It’s time to go back to work,”–time to remember the dreams you were working towards, dreams you laid down for a time because instead you were paddling mountain lakes, or riding dusty trails or hiking into a lake with no name, hidden in a place called Broken Top.

The pedestrian golden flowers on our front porch look weary of putting out, indeed seem ready to call it a summer. The cats are restless, scampering across our bed and yowling in raspy voices just before dawn. Even the big cottonwood behind the house rustles more persistently, a higher pitched friction, dry, ready to let go.

“It’s time,” the land and animals whisper. “It’s time.”

But, what is it time for? Maybe to open to possibility? To smile in gratitude perhaps? How about to ride the wave of golden light and golden leaves–let the transition of fall show us our truer nature, back in line with the pursuit of our dreams, and simply getting life done. How about a leaner, stronger body; or a lucid, ready for action mind–both of which lead us to a more creative, more productive way of living.

I say yes! These next seven days that march right up to the door of labor day, I’m going to prepare my body and mind for the fall; for the glories of September, the very best month of the year! And when I get to that door I’ll be lean, bright and shiny–ready!

Ready and willing.

A toast lovelies, to transition, to getting ready for what the land, the time, the animals and even the creator might have for us.

Love and Lettuce,

Green Water–It’s the New Smoothie!

20150527_082002_NE Carrie Ln

Green smoothie frothiness, sweet, thick and nourishing. Sounds perfect, right? Well yes…Maybe, depending what you put ln it and if it’s meal replacement or an addition to a meal. Bottom line if you’re trying to lose weight, green smoothies can be a lot of calories. As we throw in hemp hearts, flax seeds and fruit there’s quite a bit of natural sugar and what’s touted as “good fat.”

While we’re on the subject of fat, even good fat, Dr. Neil Barnard of Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, a research physician who’s conducted considerable research on the positive effects of a vegan diet, strongly recommends a low-fat, whole foods vegan diet to lose weight and cure disease.

Here’s what’s become one the common sense reminders I tell myself:IF YOU CONSUME MORE CALORIES THAN YOU BURN YOU’LL LIKELY GAIN WEIGHT AND WITH THAT WEIGHT–LESSEN HEALTH. Also to lose weight you need to control blood sugar and burn more calories than you consume–that’s were the magic is.

Enter “Green Water” the green smoothie’s lean and sexy cousin. Green Water not only low in calories and full of raw whole foods, but is delicious and refreshing!


Cool Mint Green Water

A Quart and a half of filtered water
3-4 Cups Leafy greens (aka whatever you have in your garden. My favorites: Dandelions, Kale, radish greens, hemp leaves, spinach, parsley, beet greens)
1/2 teaspoon ground stevia leaf (not processed)
A dozen or so fresh mint leaves (I grow pineapple mint, peppermint, chocolate mint on my porch.)

Blend for 30-45 seconds in your Vitamix–which is A LOT of blending. Serve over ice.

Cheers Lovelies, to a lean and refreshing life!

Love and Lettuce, The Zen Lean Vegan.


What I Can’t Live Without

Fudgy Mint Chip  Cookies

Does what you really want get trampled by what you want right now? Ever wonder why the deepest life desire to be lean gets smothered in her sleep by the cheap foam pillow of a mid-afternoon craving?

One of my cravings is chocolate. I even say, “I can’t live without chocolate.” Can’t live without? That’s a little strong, isn’t it? What makes a normally reasonable woman say such a thing?

What if she believed some other crazy crap too? Like: I have to give up chocolate to be lean; I can’t seem to have just a little; Chocolate makes me fat; and it’s in my mouth before I realize it.

Let’s look a little deeper.

• Are any of these statements REALLY true?
• How can I know they are true?
• How does believing this make me feel?

I know, I’m pulling a Byron Katie (spiritual innovator) on you here. Habit.

Going a little further into “The Work.” What if we turned these statements on their heads?

• I desire chocolate but I can’t live without being lean.
• I CAN have just a little.
• Chocolate makes me lean.
• I absolutely know when chocolate is in my mouth.

How much of our existence is about what we agree to believe? Yep: A-g-r-e-e. I look at these new turned-on-their-head statements and I think…they are actually truer! Holy moly this stuff works!

What if I made another agreement with chocolate? Maybe this week I might try on: “Chocolate makes me lean.” Followed closely by, “I can’t live without being lean (healthy).”

Cheers Lovelies—to new agreements and living into our deepest desires.

Love and lettuce,

The No Caffeine Experiment

Matcha- Tea-In-The-Morning

Ever go without your morning beverage, only to nod off in your business meeting and develop a splitting headache? Ever think, “I’m not doing that again.” Coffee, coffee, coffee. Or tea, tea, tea. Or mate, mate. Or matcha. Black, green or any shade in between, caffeine has been my drug of choice. Is it yours?

I like it better than alcohol. Way better. It’s probably on par with chocolate. I like the lift, the clarity, the energy. I’ve always thought I’d be settling for a less dynamic life without my daily hot caffeinated beverage, even though my naturopath said, “sleep will be your new favorite drug.”

I didn’t believe her.

But then, after years of sleeping just okay, I experimented my way to her suggestion, nearly spontaneously doing without caffeine and now–I’m dreaming like a baby! I feel younger and happier and have way more energy. I flirted unmercifully with my guy just the other morning. He took a good look at me, smiled and said, “Boy you look like you got some good sleep.”

Boy, I did get some good sleep. And let me tell you why sleep is so important: Did you know sleep deprivation effects your ability to think clearly, your immune system and could make you fat? Yep, all that good exercise and food could be going to waste if you’re not getting a good 7-9 hours a night.

I forget what even made me try this experiment. I know I started playing with mint tea, laced with turmeric, stevia and almond milk, which isn’t a lot different than the Japanese Matcha (green tea powder) or the South American Yerba Mate. Well different, but still warm, creamy and satisfying.

The trend I’m noticing–experiment. Play around. Crowd out old habits with new ones. Find your “true north” not your “oh, I could never do without that.”

Cheers Lovelies! To Good Sleep!

Love and lettuce,