A beautiful mantra

“At the very instance you think ‘I am happy’, a chemical messenger translates your emotion, which has  no solid existence whatsoever in the material world, into a bit of matter so perfectly attuned to your desire that literally every cell in your body learns of your happiness and joins in.” -Deepak Chopra

This is resonating with me so much today. I keep finding these little gems of advice everywhere I look. I decided to pass this on and hopefully someone that needs to see it will stumble upon it.

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xooxo,

Danica

Social Media Slow Clap Fade Out

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Social media is such a weird beast. Not everyone gets hooked-actually the thought of it immediately turns people off. But for the other 85% of us…this blog is for you. Have you ever really sat for a moment and asked yourself what you’re really benefiting from it? I usually get off social media mad about something political that’s probably just not true or sad because there are so many animals that need to be rescued. Why is there no in between? 😉

There’s a ton of different ways now to communicate with friends and family all over the world. Facebook- the perfect site to post all of your baby pictures, wedding photos, aggressive political posts, quizzes about the meaning of your name(?), and to celebrate made up holidays. Facebook was my introduction into social media- wait for it- 11 years ago. It was brand new and I was 20/21 years old. You had to be in college to join, with a college email. Parents had not joined. It was a different time. As soon as I heard of Facebook and Myspace I thought it was the dumbest idea in the world. It sounded like such a lame waste of time. BUT, a guy I had a crush on was on there so I joined to be friends with him.

When I got on, I was surprised how many people I knew on there. It was exciting to become friends with everyone in this online outer space world. I was hooked the first day on checking to see how many more friend requests I had. I was collecting friends. It didn’t even matter how much I really knew them.

So I moved to NYC pretty soon after it all started blowing up in the college world. Myspace was still around but people were becoming less interested. Smartphones weren’t a huge thing yet and people still talked to each other while out in the world. I miss that.

While living in NYC, I remember being excited to go to FEDEX once or twice a month and check my facebook and email. I didn’t have a computer and got along just fine without it at the sweet age of 22 in acting school. I needed my imagination more than I needed a screen. I cannot begin to explain how much I accomplished that year in such a short amount of time. I had zero distractions. I was really living in the moment and Facebook was only there for a 5 minute block every couple weeks.

Now, 10 years later, it is only a place for ridiculous completely untrue articles about the country or world. It is filled with politics, baby questions, new mom frustrations, political battles and personal attacks on your beliefs, vacation pictures, rants about school systems, invites to things you live nowhere close to, and requests from people you know nothing about.

My problems with facebook and the addiction I feel for it is this: I’ve got things to do, man. I seriously have things to accomplish. I want to stick to my deadlines writing a book, create interesting classes and workshops to teach, I want to spend time with friends and family completely and totally there, I want to connect with what I have in my life today. Right now. I notice when things get challenging- instead of sticking with it and learning something about it- I tune out on stupid social media that infuriates me with lack of passion and compassion.

I no longer feel connected to facebook. I still share pictures and I still love to see what my friends are doing but I wonder if I would keep up with them in a way more personal way if I cut social media loose. I wonder if I would write more and feel more inspired. I wonder if I would feel completely okay with where I am in life if I relied my attention on that place rather than on what everyone else is doing with their life. I want to read things that will fuel my love for life and not scare the shit out of me. I want to grow my passion and hinder my distractions. I want to connect in a personal and true way to as many like minded people as possible.

The problem is, we think we have time. An endless amount of time. If you know exactly what’s getting in your way and distracting you from clarity, peace of mind, or your dream- ummmmm….get rid of it.

So I am going on a 6 month hiatus from social media. I’m going to use my extra time to read, write interesting blogs, make youtube yoga tutorials, plan my wedding, spend sweet time with my sweetheart, and continue growing my love community. I do not think it will be easy to cut social media at first, honestly. I love to share and connect. I do think I will notice what I am avoiding by jumping on it instead of writing for my book or creating more classes. I do think my inspiration will grow exponentially. That’s the point of it all.

Expect a new blog every week about what’s inspiring me lately. I have a feeling I’m going to feel a real freedom.

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Loving you!

Danica Elle (soon to be Mrs. Danica Haverkamp!!!)

Latest research on my quest for ultimate health and happiness…

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I am obviously not a doctor. I like to consider myself a happiness investigator. I am on the hunt for it everyday. I know it’s attainable for everyone, not limited to yoga girls or rich people. While it’s not always easy to put myself out there to the world- I love to share my life if for any reason it helps anyone at all then my vulnerability is so worth it….not to mention my life’s happiness research will not go to waste. 😉

So full disclosure on my health, how food contributes to your health of your mind and belly (where most dis-eases begin), and how I move my body when darkness takes over in my mind. Yeah, it’s gonna get personal.

So I’ll begin about a month and a half ago. (the boiling point.) I was really really sick all the time. I had absolutely no energy, I was nauseous anytime I was standing up, I was having a lot of trouble breathing in fully, no motivation, walking two blocks exhausted me, and I would see pictures of people all standing around talking to each other and got jealous that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that because of how sick I felt all day everyday. It was pretty rough. I had this really really tender place right at the bottom in the middle of my rib cage. It hurt to the touch. When I explained these symptoms to a western doctor he would brush it off as anxiety, depression, a stomach virus, or antibiotics….I was put on antibiotics indefinetly!!! Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?!?!?! How is this person licensed to practice medicine? So it became very clear to me that western doctors are not going to help me or take the time to investigate the cause- just “treating” random symptoms.

So by the grace of God, I started teaching yoga at a healing arts center back in January. There are so many healing practices there that I never knew about ever! The studio owner told me to see her naturopathy that practices/truly heals there. I didn’t know what to expect. The visits are an hour long compared to my 5 minutes on the doctors table. I explained my symptoms and that I felt I was falling apart at the seams. He does a series of pressure point massages and testing my strength before and after each series…..there’s a lot more to it…and he has been doing this forever…I thought he was in his late 50’s- he is 77!! We discovered that I was born with a weak liver. It has been weak for ever. Working overtime and robbing energy from other organs to keep working. Liver is in charge of the connective tissue in our bodies- so it weakened my diaphram which allowed my stomach to push through and hang out up in my chest (causing my shortness of breath) and well as my body’s inability to absorb nutrients. Food was getting stuck in the part above my diaphram and composting!!! So when it finally fell through to pass through my digestive system- my body was trying to digest rotting food. My muscles were absorbing this crap causing muscle and joint pain (also known as fibromayalgia) and that why I was in pain and exhausted. So I had been malnourished for freaking years probably. It’s called a hiatal hernia and from what I am reading, it is very common. He gave me a few exercises to do everyday and had to manually pull my stomach back down to where it is supposed to live. That did not feel awesome but afterwards instantly I could breathe and the pain in my SI joint was gone and my shoulder sockets weren’t in pain, and the headaches stopped. So I guess you could say it was a little wake up call and life changer.

All of this to say that I have a weaker digestive system. Perhaps because it is used to not having to work very much or it has given up because it had to work extra hard when I wasn’t aware of what I was doing to myself. I love to munch on stuff. Peanut pretzels to be more specific. 😉 I knew it wasn’t excellent for me but I had no idea that it was like a poison to me. It occurred to me that I didn’t really know what food was doing what to my body and right now is the time to find out. I don’t know if you have ever known anyone with fibromayalgia before but it is pretty debilitating and some people accept this as a disease they will suffer from for life. Not me. I know that the body is capable of healing itself (and God) but you have to find what it needs. That’s the tricky part because ayurvedically speaking, one man’s medicine is another man’s poison. Some people cannot have ginger, for example, and ginger is commonly thought to be very good for you.

So aside from my peanut butter pretzel addiction, I tend to eat pretty well, I thought. But I still felt this sluggish, unmotivated, foggy feeling a lot even after my treatment. Suddenly, the whole 40 diet kept appearing all over the place. I remember a friend doing it when I lived in Hawaii but it always sounded like something I could never stick to. I looked a little closer into it and found that it really helps to reboot your digestive system. After the 30 days, I could start slowly adding things back into my diet one at a time to find out what exactly I am allergic to or unable to digest easily. It’s not super easy- it really takes planning and work and faith and patience and most importantly THE DESIRE TO FEEL AMAZING! Because you will really really quickly.

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So I will explain what it is and what it is not, what I have been eating, and what changes have magically appeared with my dedication to my body.

It is not starvation! I can eat as much as I want of the reccommended things. I will tag the link to the allergy elimination diet my fiance and I have been sticking to at the bottom of this blog. What I am staying away from: gluten, dairy, most grains, legumes, sugar even things like honey and agave, soy, most meat and any meat we eat is organic/grass fed/no antibiotics, no nuts except coconuts, and several oils and margarine. So looking at it in terms of what you can’t have is pretty tough, yeah? Here are some things I can have: Cold pressed olive oil and coconut oil, fish, rice and rice noodles, zucchini noodles, spices, salads with homemade poppyseed dressing, juices, homemade avocado sauce, coconut rice noodle vegi stir fry….. the list goes on!!! At the end I will post another blog with some recipes. I think it’s important to know what vitamins and minerals your body needs by doing some reading so you know what vitamins to supplement for things you are allergic to. I struggled with breakfast- it’s my favorite. I love toast with avo or flaxseed oil “butter”, bacon, cereal… I can’t have gluten. I know a lot of people consider the gluten thing a trend but it’s a real food sensitivity and is hard for my body to digest, breaks my skin out, and leaves me feeling lethargic. Our food unfortunately is being made a little to a lot differently than it was being made ten years ago. New food allergies are not uncommon. Now I start my day with amazing juices that I make. I feel all glowy afterwards. So we cut out major food allergens for 30 days and we are now on day 12. The thing to remember while you are going through it and craving junk or even stuff like beans is that this is not permanent. It would be strange to cut all of that out forever. It’s a jump start for your digestive systems and a way to discover what makes you feel your best. Completely.

Now for the good stuff. How has this positively changed my everyday life: I haven’t felt this amazing in my body in years. I’m waking up and making it to yoga by 7:30 something I have really wanted to do for a while but just could not get my tail to move in the morning. My mind is soooo clear and motivated. In my meditation I can see what my next move is for my career and start putting it into action. I am way more calm- I think because of the lack of processed sugar or the overall feeling of bliss taking over who knows. The anxiety that was seeping into my brain and taking over is gone. It was getting pretty wild. I was becoming insecure about what people thought of me, what I thought of me, and who I am. It was holding me back for sure. I sometimes wouldn’t go to yoga to practice because I didn’t know how the teacher would judge me. If you know me, you know that’s not normal for me. I was beginning to develop a depression. Not having any control over my thoughts or breath. It’s honestly a thing of the past. I have excitement and joy and I dance all the time! I look forward to everything and I am able to appreciate all the hard stuff that led me here. I know its because I cut out the foods that I have a reaction to. Your gut health directly affects your mind health. It is your other brain. Do not treat it like a garbage can and throw whatever is 99 cents at the convenient store in it. You have to live with this body forever! and ever!! I am 31 years old with problems with my body already…can you imagine what you feel like in ten years if you don’t start taking care of your whole body right now?

One last thing to add to your daily routine is to move your body in all the ways you can. For depression, take up a lot of space! For stiff bodies move your spine in all the directions, for anxiety, run even if only for 2 minutes! Dance in the morning when you are getting ready for the day just to move and perhaps to set the stage for the whole day. Moving is as important as sitting still for 5 minutes a day with your precious breath and add the best nourishing foods to your day and in 5 days at the most you will feel and notice a difference in several aspects of your life. Just try and let me know how it goes!

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet – this is the plan we are following in case you are interested in trying. You may say its expensive to eat healthy or organic- but it is cheaper than doctor bills. The truth is you are either creating disease with your food or fighting it. It really is that simple.

I love you guys! Leave me any recipes or feedback that you want! I am open to answer any questions!

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Cleansing is not a diet! Cleansing is wonderful and empowering. Diets steal souls.

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Cleansing is more than a diet. It is actually not a diet at all. Let’s not confuse those two terms. Cleansing is wonderful and you discover new healthy foods that are yummy and you realize you ARE creative and there’s a rainbow…….yeah man, a rainbow. Diets, on the other hand are the devil and nothing good comes from saying you are on a diet. Cleansing is discovery- diets are devil.

I am a big fan of the Wild Rose herbal cleanses. They are pretty simple to take and the 12 day cleanse gives you a pretty extensive list on what to eat and what to steer clear of. I was actually surprised by some of the foods on it. Things that are normally considered healthy like mushrooms, tropical fruit, certain beans… you get it. They explain the reasons for the forbidden foods….they aren’t bad for you- the cleanse will just work better without them.

So I have blogged here before about my first cleanse…check out the “you are what you eat, so don’t be cheap, fat, easy, or greasy.” that I wrote a few years ago. Turns out, cleanses get way way easier every time. Here’s why I believe this to be true: The first cleanse you do will feel like torture in the same way a diet does for the first week. Giving up things sucks. But then you feel the amazing benefits and lightness that comes along with eating as much of the good foods as you want…and once the cleanse is over you no longer have that nagging urge to eat a bag of doritos or fast food (seriously though, just don’t eat fast food. It is disease.).

I am definitely not saying that I only eat healthy all the time now that I have cleansed a few times….um no. I’m still a person that loves sweet stuff. But I try really hard. I make sure I eat green stuff and a piece of fruit everyday. I try to only eat poor choices a small percentage. When I go to the grocery store I only allow myself to buy one “bad for me” thing. Lately, that guilty pleasure has been peanut butter filled pretzels!

So this cleanse I was staying away from sugar, gluten, dairy, and meat. I was really shocked at how easy it felt. I didn’t feel deprived at all. I really only had to pull a few things out of my daily routine like greek yogurt and granola in the mornings. I replaced it with an apple and almond butter. I didn’t have any rice and I replaced it with quinoa. No pasta noodles and instead my sweetie bought me a spiralizer and we made zucchini and squash noodles! I stopped looking at what I couldn’t have and found a bunch of really awesome things that I didn’t know about and that are way more filling and satisfying.

You gain things you didn’t know you were missing. For me, cutting gluten and sugar gives me so much more energy and clearer focus. Cutting dairy is just good. plain and simple dairy is not good for us. I suddenly felt amazing and motivated….food influences our mind as much as it does our body.

I just thought I would give you an idea of some of the things I discovered I love during my cleanse. They are pretty basic things since I like to keep evey thing simple.

Snacks:

apples/ celery and almond butter, baked apples and cinnamon. Avocados.

Breakfast

oatmeal with cooked apples, cinnamon, and a little tiny bit of honey. Chia seed pudding made with almond milk and blueberries. Oranges and bananas.

Dinner

zucchini and squash noodles satueed with garlic and opa squash. Sweet potaoes. Quinoa with mixed veggies and red pepper spice and black beans. Butternut squash soup.

Lunch

Always a salad. Herb salads are super yummy. They almost taste spicy especially when you have cut out some of the extreem flavors. Kale salads with tons of every veggie and a piece of fruit on it. I don’t love salad dressings- it seems I dig the taste of vegis nowadays but I would use a little bit of sunflower seed oil or olive oil and maybe a sprinkle of salt. If you hate salads, try blending one. I love my blender! Kale, strawberry, kiwi, banana, and spinach with a little coconut water! The list goes on people. It is super fun to make yummy things all love filled and happy!

I only drank water. Not the flavored water…that is sugar or even worse a sugar sweetener thing…aka random chemicals. NO. Only water, filtered. You can try to put some cucumbers in some water if you just gotta. Drink as much water as you possibly can. Drink so much that it’s almost weird. yeah. Do It!

So that’s it. Just a simple little 10 day cleanse. No not every day was easy. Yes I wanted to cheat and eat peanut butter. But it’s 10 days. That’s it. And the benefits you feel and see will have you hooked on health. It makes you feel skinny and strong. It makes you think you can accomplish anything. Because you can. The mid day fog thing doesn’t happen as much without as many sugar or caffeine crashes. I can’t even list all of the benefits you get from loving yourself and eating like it. Just give yourself 10 days…buy an herbal cleanse. I really dig the Wild Rose brand….but honestly you can do a cleanse without the herbs if you don’t feel like investing the 20-30 dollars on the kit. Create a eating plan for 10 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eating nice yummy things for your body takes time and love and planning. Be prepared love bugs. Bring snacks. Eat as much of these healthy things as you want. (Easy on the fruit though…it is sugar still.) Prep for this little adventure and soon it will become like 2nd nature.

You can totally do this. You will love it, the feeling, the challenge, the results. You will totally be awesome! I love you!!! ❤

Working hard towards my dream…first step…

frpm medAs I mentioned in my last post, until a week or two ago this dream was too big to even consider realistic for me. I was working at a job that barely paid my bills and feeling like I was suffocating in misery. I know that sounds dramatic but I honestly felt that way. I prayed and prayed for God to light up my path and give me the motivation to work for it. I know it doesn’t come easy. This dream is to open up my own yoga center that uses yoga as therapy for depression, fibromyalgia, and cancer recovery. Yes it is a big dream for a girl that was waiting tables in a small cafe just a week ago. It was unlike any other dream I have ever had though because the thought of never pursuing it is WAY SCARIER than going after it.

So here I am. My very first leap of faith (if you don’t count moving to Hawaii alone on a whim from Brooklyn a leap of faith) but a leap of faith towards my calling. I put in my notice with the most gratitude to my boss. She is lovely. And I have started a kickstarter to help me fund the first stepping stone of my dream. I am designing yoga shirts that radiate positivity and love and am going to sell them everywhere I can! I am going to pour my heart into this first step as if it was my dream! I am going to make this work. I am going to live my dream.

For anybody that may be interested in helping me to promote this dream or if you are able to pledge to this dream on kickstarter, I would be forever grateful! I am offering rewards for pledges too. No donation is too small! I want to help inspire the world that they can live happy. No one is alone in this world. We are all here together.

Visit my website http://www.danicayoga.com for more info about what I do.

If you want to watch my video on kickstarter please please do and share!  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/356671339/designing-yoga-tanks-with-inspirational-words-and

I love you all and thanks for joining in on a girl’s dream!