If you want things to change for you, you’ve got to change your thinking. Those are the words that started my mission 1.5 years ago to design a life filled with adventure and learning.
2012 was the year I left the familiarity of Tokyo, returning to the U.S. where I had spent little more than 2 weeks a year for the past 21 years. Reverse culture shock was no longer just an expression, but daily reality.
Honolulu Marathon in December was one thing I promised myself to accomplish this year. The only thing that spurred my regular 3 day/week training runs was the fact I had signed up way back in January. My fourth marathon, I finished 12 seconds slower than last year.
While slightly disappointed at first, I’m more determined than ever to break my personal record next year. To run faster and injury-free, I have begun a concerted effort to alter my running form, to land on the forefoot rather than the heel.
Besides marathon training, 2012 often felt like an unproductive year, with waiting and more waiting that tried my patience. Looking back, I experienced and learned much, and was blessed with some incredible people.
First there was the welcoming environment of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii, where I met Robin Openshaw (Green Smoothie Girl), Dr. Michael Greger (my idol) and more recently the renowned Dr. John McDougall.
At Honolulu Marathon Clinic and Waikiki Toastmasters clubs, I found more warm people to help an unfamiliar place feel more like home.
Next, back to “the mainland” (as Hawaii residents call the US) for raw chef training at Matthew Kenney Academy (OKC), which completely challenged my belief that food could be nutritious and delicious and beautiful.
Following that was my raw chef internship at Creative Health Institute in Michigan, where I got to know first-hand Dr. Ann Wigmore’s philosophy and benefits of wheatgrass, sprouts and fermented foods. I barely heard of “Dr. Ann” before this year, and didn’t even recognize a connection to my whole foods plant-based diet. In fact, I believed raw and living foodists were a bit whacko!
I can honestly say I have never felt a higher energy vibration–mentally “clear” and physically “clean”–than when drinking several shots of fresh wheatgrass juice each day while at CHI. Stories of healing by guests with chronic illnesses, and fellow interns were also an inspiration. I strongly encourage anyone considering this type of diet detoxification program, because it gives you the means (dietary restriction) and motivation (feeling dramatically better) to switch to a whole-foods plant based diet.
Wheat Grass Juice has many miraculous powers including:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps digestion
- Helps constipation and promotes regularity
- Slows graying of hair (yes!!)
- Suppresses appetite
- Reduces fatigue (=full of energy!!)
According to Dr. Wigmore’s book, “The Wheatgrass Book” the chlorophyl molecule in Wheat Grass is only one molecule different (magnesium vs. iron) from human blood.
Due to this inherent similarity the human body can easily transform chlorophyll into haemoglobin increasing the red blood cell count as well as the blood’s capacity to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to the body’s cells (Hagiwara, 1985) .
Following CHI, I served as kitchen angel at Living Light Culinary Institute, whose founder Cherie Soria claims Dr. Wigmore as her inspiration to develop food that healthy yet tasty enough so people would want to eat it everyday. At Living Light, I not only prepared and consumed wholesome and delicious smoothies, enormous fresh salads and gourmet raw meals, but also the most decadent raw desserts.
One of the highlights of the year was working with Living Light’s Martine Lussier and Living Light graduates to prepare dinner for 120 guests at the World Vegan Day in San Francisco on Oct 6, where I also met renowned vegan experts including Dr. Gabriel Cousens and Dr. Will Tuttle.
My next stop was interning at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco, where I experienced (preparing and eating) delicious seasonal organic vegan cooked foods served in an elegant atmosphere.
Looking back at this amazing year makes me see that I have only scratched the surface of this journey. My experiences have provided concrete evidence on the power of food as medicine, and I am committed to keep learning and share my inspiration and take on healthy plant-based eating with more of you than ever in the coming year.
It’s never too late for you to get started improving your diet and fitness. Like everything in life, it begins with a thought, a desire. Decide what direction you want to go, and start taking action, whether or not others around you agree, and even (no, especially) if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Some more words to help set the tone for those of you making New Year’s Resolutions. “If you challenge your self doubt, you will find the door to freedom. Life is found beyond our doubts.” Happy New Year!
I am eager to know how I can be more helpful and make this site more useful. I am always happy to receive your comments and emails. I am also available for coaching, private classes and public demonstrations, as well as product evaluation and consultation.
I appreciate my family, friends and the countless individuals all over the world who have touched me and supported my adventures this year, including my readers, and Satoshi, who generously helped me translate my blog contents to Japanese. Thank you all!!
This post is also available in: Japanese