The closets, the kitchen cabinets, the office desk drawers, the mind, the body, the soul. All of it deserves a spring cleaning /  decluttering session. I haven't yet seen the popular Netflix docu-series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on how to declutter and tidy up your home, but what I HAVE seen is people's overnight obsession with the KonMari method of sparking joy. If you haven't heard it being discussed at the various water coolers all over the US, here's the one-liner that explains it all.  'If it doesn't spark joy in your life, get rid of it.' While the KonMari method might feel like a fad, let's apply its underlying philosophy to the various areas of your life that could benefit from some spring cleaning.

When I first went to Dr. Sullivan, a naturopathic doctor in Washington, D.C., I sensed that something was wrong in my body. My stools were infrequent - once or maybe twice a week - and were painful and difficult to pass. I was feeling anxious and rushed all the time. We talked about everything that was going on with me at the time. I was newly married, I was spending 70 hours each month in my volunteer work while working full-time, I was the primary cook of a carnivore, and I was 26. Nearly everything about my life was new and demanding…By the end of the detox diet, I was going to the bathroom after every meal.

Have you ever noticed what happens when you have been sick and you pretty much stop eating your routine diet? You simply cannot bring yourself to consuming a full meal. As a result, your body doesn’t want the food and you begin to stave off the complex food and eat liquid or high water content foods, such as broth and/or fruit juices. Do you notice once you begin to feel better, you visibly look better, your skin and eyes look refreshed. That is your body detoxing itself of the toxins and waste your lymphatic system had difficulty doing on its own!

I was so busy trying to get over feeling poorly and get back to my busy schedule that I never stopped to consider the true cause of my respiratory distress and what I might be contributing to my repeated illnesses.  As an American living in a fast-paced city, I hear myself and others talk about our busy lives and ability to push through a sickness like it’s a badge of honor…Learning to tune into what my inner self is trying to tell my conscious self has helped me realize what small changes might have a big impact on my mental, emotional and physical health.

Even in the dead of winter there seemed to be something in the air that would invade my nostrils, settle in my chest and take me down either in KY or shortly after my return.   It got so bad that I knew where the Urgent Care and pharmacies closest to the hotel and our office were located without consulting my GPS. I feel like they should have given me a frequent visitor punch card so that I’d get my 10th visit with a Sinus or Upper Respiratory Infection or Bronchitis for free…Then, I made one change to my diet that ended the cycle.  

The term vegan no longer refers to a healthy diet. Instead it gives you a reference for what you will not find in the ingredients list. “Vegan” in front of something could signify that you had better not get too excited because the contents might not be real and might not taste that good. It’s a warning label. A disclaimer. Is this the definition that we mean to express with the word “vegan”?

Are we afraid to try something new because we don’t think we can ’stick to it’? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned the Jealous Vegan to someone and their immediate response is ‘I can’t give up chicken’ or ‘I love cheese too much to be vegan’ and maybe that’s sincerely how they feel.   But why not take a moment to consider the possibilities of something and determine what steps we can take toward our goal? What’s the harm in trying, even if we discover we ‘failed’.

Somehow, what started out as a loving effort had made me feel like I had forsaken a large part of my independence and that my very identity was now called into question…I was ashamed that my parents lived with me. I was ashamed of how others might see that.  I was ashamed that I had started to see my parents as an object of frustration rather than truly wonderful people deserving of honor and whom I love.  I was ashamed about how I felt about my shame.  

When I peruse the gluten-free portion of the menu and take out the items which contain dairy, I'm usually left with scant options that are appealing to me or that align with my plant-centered food choices.  On my list of prohibited items: gluten, meat (by choice not biology), many sauces, all forms of dairy, eggs, and three kinds of beans (black, kidney, and navy). This makes me both sad and angry simultaneously…

When I peruse the gluten-free portion of the menu and take out the items which contain dairy, I'm usually left with scant options that are appealing to me or that align with my plant-centered food choices.  On my list of prohibited items: gluten, meat (by choice not biology), many sauces, all forms of dairy, eggs, and three kinds of beans (black, kidney, and navy). This makes me both sad and angry simultaneously…

For the better part of the last decade and a half, I’ve spent my work days representing a company that takes what you see on the screen and puts it on paper. Computers are blank screens that come to life by being filled with colors in what is called an additive color process.  Conversely, printer paper are white spaces that become filled with color in what is referred to as a subtractive color process…My supposition is that the way we talk about food and nutrition is much the same way.