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The Problem with a Spring Cleanse

The problem with being a foodie (defined as planning meals 3 days in advance, looking at 20 bookmarked food blogs every other day, and insisting on cooking every meal) is it is particularly no fun to do a cleanse. I’m not having a hard time because I’m hungry, I’m having a hard time because I can’t cook Turmeric Dressing Spring Black Rice Salad and I can’t make Carrot Green Chimichurri Chicken and I can’t eat Green Curry Kale Crispy Coconut Tempeh! Wah! (see recipes below)

I’m not doing a serious cleanse. First of all, it’s still a little too cold which would be more harmful than good for my body type. Second, my body is still healing, and I need full calories and protein for tissue repair. It’s tempting to not eat as much when you’re bedridden with injury, but your body actually needs more calories for healing. But that’s temporary, like you can’t eat dessert every night for 2 weeks once you get your appetite back like I did! Third, “serious” cleanses are not for all body types anyhow. Different plans for different people. I won’t get into it now, but I cannot completely fast or else my blood sugar levels just get too out of whack. Someone who’s more grounded and maybe has some more weight may benefit from a liquid-only cleanse, but no thank you!

juice detox broth What I’m doing is having fresh made spiced-hemp milk, detox broth (recipes below), tea, and cold-pressed juices until a dinner of steamed veggies with olive oil, lemon, himalayan salt, and kraut. No biggie! But just enough to give my digestion a little break for a few days, and maybe move toxins from the pain killers out a little more surely. But honestly I think that very few people, including myself need to take extreme measures. What we do need to do is lighten up for spring – add more greens (especially bitter ones), eat with the seasons (berries when they come), eat a little more raw foods, less/no dairy, less heavy meat.


I am doing what I mentioned for two days, and then two days of fruit, veggies, and kitchari. This is an Ayurvedic approach to making things easier for your body. I’ll follow up with why. So, just 4 days of a light  diet and then I’m off to Costa Rica!

Find which cleanse is right for your body, and schedule a few days this month to do it. Your body will thank you!

Yours truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

Hemp Milk


Raw, hulled hemp seeds

1 date



Knob of ginger


Detox Broth, from Amy Chaplin’s Coconut & Quinoa

2 carrots

3 stalks of celery with leaves

1 butternut squash, peeled and half-seeded

1 onion

5 garlic clove

1 1/2 inches ginger

1/2 bunch parsley

2T dried burdock (or 1 ft fresh if you can find it)

3 dried shitake mushrooms

1t turmeric

4 inch kombu

pinch of arame or wakame

8c filtered water

You can either boil and then simmer this in a large pot for 1-2 hours with a lid, or throw in a crockpot over night or for half a day! Then, strain. I left mine in the crockpot so it could be warm all the time (over the top), but it was funky by day 2 so don’t do it that long apparently. The taste of this broth is sweet and nourishing.

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15 Ways to Remain Mentally Strong in Recovery

MindBodyGreen just published an article, “15 things mentally strong people do” and I adapted it to the situation of healing from mental and physical injury.


15 Ways to Remain Mentally Strong In Recovery

1. Know when to move on. It happened and here you are. Don’t dwell – move on. Be here, and look to the future, where you once again will be strong and healed.

2. Use fear to motivate action. I’m taking a online meditation course with Charlie Knowles and one of the meditations is how to cope with fear. The exercise is to feel the sensations of anxiety – the tension, the heart racing, the sweat, the nausea, etc. Feel them, but then realize that these are actually your body’s response to perceived threat to your survival, and therefore power. Your body is rising to the challenge. So when I say use this fear to motivate action, it means see the fear as sensations of power and energy, sensations that you do not need to crush you.

3. Know failure is a part of success. Failure is definitely a part of life, but can we also see that one step (or many) back is even more steps forward? Absolutely. Who can argue that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? In the midst of being on rock bottom it sure doesn’t feel like that. I don’t feel like that right now. But I know things will shift eventually, and on the other side of this I will be stronger. It’s been really funny for me to realize how miserable I was before all these injuries – now I know those weren’t good reasons to be miserable. My success is moving past trivial ways of suffering. Maybe one day I won’t suffer as much as I’m presently suffering either. Evolution is unstoppable. Allow yourself to be carried from your place of failure.

4. Train your brain to see the good in everything. Oh boy! You know it’s there. Too many rainy days in a row? Well ain’t that good for the earth! Have to get 4 surgeries in a row? Well now you realize you want to be a physical therapist!

5. Be tenacious with your goals. Shoot for the moon.

6. Start before you’re ready or confident. Yeah I can’t wait around for confidence to get done what I want to get done. I need to conquer fear. This challenge is the scariest thing ever, but it keeps dominating because I’m waiting around for something to get easier about it. Nope!

7. Don’t take anything personally. Abandon the “Why me?!” thing. Life’s tragedies happen randomly across the planet. You are no more immune than your neighbor.

8. Believe in yourself. In your ability to heal. In your ability to survive, to change, to let go, to grow.

9. Don’t try to fit in. Your injury/event isolates you. You look around and are angry and jealous because no one is going through what you’re going through. You wish you could leave your body so that you can just mesh with normal folk again. But 1) it is an illusion. Everyone’s equally isolated and ONE at the same time. You may be going through something shitty right now, but it’ll be someone else’s turn soon. And 2) don’t try to fit in because it is OK to be alone with your issue right now. Imagine yourself on a ship in the middle in the ocean. It’s terrible from one perspective, but it’s also amazing and it’s also beautiful.

10. Allow yourself beginner again. You got knocked down, AGAIN. So get up, AGAIN! Don’t dwell on the fact you have to start over. This is actually even a blessing – you’ll either go down an entirely new path, or you’ll go down the same one but notice things you hadn’t noticed before.

11. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. You’re probably grieving because you have been forced away from a situation. But maybe you didn’t really want to be doing that anyway. When you’re forced to stop, you may realize that you actually wanted to make some changes anyhow. Here’s your opportunity to reexamine and readjust.

12. Celebrate the successes and happiness of others. And this is hard. For me, can I really celebrate everyone else’s untainted hips and shoulders? Actually, yes. Because we all have something. I admire athletes and dancers for the strong, capable bodies they have. I am comforted that they would admire something about me too. That’s just how it works. Humanity shares talents, and therefore successes. And we definitely want to celebrate other people being happy because there is such a LACK of happiness overall. If people have their heads screwed on right, thank god! We need them as inspiration.

13. Continue to be there for others. Don’t become so self-absorbed that you neglect opportunities to be there for others.

14. Be unapologetic. And of course the other side of the coin, allow others to be there for you. This is very hard, for example I have yet to take care of my partner in such an obvious fashion as he has taken care of me. So I get awkward and apologize, but this is unnecessary and can even make things worse. Have you done anything wrong? No? So don’t apologize.

15. Accept what you can’t change. The mind rehearses dysfunctional thoughts all the time. If you’re having thoughts that are useless, try to make the shift towards what you can do. As a small and superficial example, as someone who’s usually fit and adventurous, it’s been extremely difficult for me to feel my body go slack and not be able to do anything physically. But instead of sulking, I would greatly benefit from accepting that right now I can’t spring around, and keep it simple. Powerlessness is depressing, but it can also be freeing. You recognize you can’t get away from your situation, but this also means that fighting (a condition of suffering) is unneeded. In the end suffering always is rooted in your reactions.

Take care, Jellyflower Sunfish

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It takes forever. And turns out it really aches to do it on crutches and putting most your weight on one leg. I’m sitting here while it’s in the oven, refusing to ever get up again. But I’m being good and I’m sitting up straight with my new lumbar pillow. I’ve been disappointed, to say the least (hello panic! hello despair!), to find that the pain in my butt – literally – that goes down my legs erratically and incessantly for the past 7 months has not been relieved entirely after hip surgery #1. Which means it’s in my spine. Yes I have confirmed tears in my other hip as well so that still needs to be addressed, but I could go through all this and still be in too much pain to walk.

Oh bugger. But it’s the good news I wanted to share. The wonder of the spine. The good thing about having a back problem is you learn more about what you’ve got in there. And the news I wanted to share is after being prescribed neck exercises for the pain in my shoulder that goes tingly down my arm gives me some relief, so there’s hope for exercises that put my lumbar disks back in place too.

Last year I wanted to be a physical therapist. Then I didn’t. But now that I’m doing it again and it’s so cool,  I think I’m going to do it! The power of posture. The miracle of strengthening and balancing instead of taking medicine. People with chronic headaches learn that they just need to adjust how they’re holding their neck. Being alongside people who have had their lives turned upside down by an accident, and then miraculously they heal or even come out stronger. Wow.

But who cares! That’s like 5 years away! Here’s my recipe for the pizza:

3c gluten free flour mix (once again, a mix of light and heavier flours, but I used up to 1c white rice flour here to make it lighter)

1T yeast

1 1/4c warm water

1T coconut sugar

1t salt

1/2t baking powder

1T olive oil

1 egg

1. Preheat 350*

2. In a small bowl, mix yeast, warm water, and sugar. Let sit 10 mins.

3. In a big bowl, mix dry stuff.

4. Mix in all the wet stuff now. All together now, with a wooden spoon.

5. I use parchment paper, or you could use cornmeal so it doesn’t stick to the pans. This made one cookie sheet pizza and 1 personal pan. I put oil on my hands to put it out without sticking.

6. Bake for around 15 minutes til it looks almost done. Then take out to put sauce and toppings on (recipe below), then bake for another 15-20 minutes depending on your toppings!


2T olive oil

1 yellow onion

bunch of garlic

1 big can whole or chopped tomatoes

1-2T tomato paste

1 link of chicken sausage


fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary)

1. Sautee onions for 10 mins.

2. Add mushrooms and garlic for awhile.

3. Add sausage for bit.

4. Add tomato products.

5. Cook until it’s the right consistency for pizza sauce (mine was too juicy so this took awhile – can be avoided by draining the cans of tomatoes).

6. Add herbs at the end!



Black Olives

Cheese for cheesy people (I am not – I’m a very serious person)

Big flakey salt

Olive Oil

Enjoy in front of 3 episodes of Game of Thrones.

Yours truly, Jellyflour Sunfish

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Modifications from childhood

I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies a lot as a kid. And with age I increasingly ate too many. I wish I could remember the exact time when I turned from a child who eats until satisfied into a teen who eats  way past the boundaries. And why? Of course I evolved into a more emotional person (well, different emotions) and it slowly occurred to me that junk food fixes comfort in a way. But there’s also the addictive chemistry to sugar and processed wheat that keeps the hand reaching for more, overpowering all logic. But why does it take years of growing up for the lightbulb of addiction to turn on?

So this was the recipe on the bottom of the Quaker Oats lid. White sugar, brown sugar, toxic white flour, pesticide-laden oats, abused chicken eggs, sad vanilla, nasty Nestle chocolate chips, scary iodized table salt, and hormone butter. We stored them in a cool retro cookie jar on top of the kitchen heater. And by high school I was eating 10 of them, no exaggeration, like, regular sized cookies. Ugh.

Shift to the happy scene TODAY when I made some, I mean all, modifications to the old favorite. Not at all like before sadly, but we all must let go of things and this is definitely worth the change.

3/4 c gluten free flour mix (mix of light and dark stuff: brown rice and teff to be hearty, arrowroot and tapioca to avoid being a total hippie cookie)

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t flakey salt

1 c gluten free oats

1/8 c lucuma powder

dash o’ gojis (what the heck)

1/4 roughly chopped mexican cinnamon chocolate

1 t homemade bourbon vanilla extract (ha!)

1 T maple syrup

1 egg

You know the deal. Mix dry. Mix wet. 350* 15 mins. Yowza!

Yours Truly, J.S.

ingredients  mexican chocolat  



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I wanted soup


Day 9 after surgery. Time to go to the art store, because I need things to do! I got a coloring book of mandalas, new markers, stamp markers (remember those?), glitter glue, and oven-bake clay. With the mandalas, I’d like to do one every day, each one with an affirmation that I can focus on while I’m drawing, and then have it as a reminder later on. Even though it’s just crayola and glitter glue, I’d like to make an attractive framed panel A-B-C-D-E eventually. It’s important to have projects these days. I have a list of things I’d like to learn about as well.

I’ve been wanting soup every day for lunch for awhile but haven’t had any. I’m too sensitive to ingredients in canned/prepared soups, so if I want it, I’m going to have to make it. When I got back from my art store outing (the event of the day surely), I iced for a half hour and then hobbled around the kitchen and threw together a delicious soup with what was in the fridge. I’m not as tired these days so I managed to spend a half hour standing on one leg, and shimming around heel-toe-heel-toe when I needed to get a few feet away. I’m excited I can make myself meals now, but then the trick is to have someone around to bring it to me back in bed. This morning I made a smoothie, with a little help from N.C. and then went back to bed. I waited and waited, and eventually yelled out for someone to bring it to me. Apparently he thought if I could make it I could somehow bring it to myself on crutches! Sorry babe, 3 more weeks….

So here’s a zucchini parsnip soup. If you’re vegetarian or just don’t happen to have bone broth (99.9% of people probably), obviously use another liquid!

Chicken-bone broth

Olive oil

a few stalks of celery

2 zucchinis

1 fat yellow squash

1 fat parsnip (or 2 small ones)

1 T Rosemary

1T Thyme

2 T Parsley

1 Lemon

Saute the celery and parsnip, then later squashes in the fatty part of the broth and olive oil for about 10 minutes. Chop rosemary and thyme fine, add into pot with half water, half broth (my broth is so strong). Cover and simmer on low for not very long – probably less than 10 minutes. Take off heat, cool a bit, then add the lemon. Blend. (I like half blend, half chunky) Serve with parsley and salt.

Then have someone bring it to you. N.C. wants me to use this tray so I don’t get soup on the bed, and I complained then about the weird angle I have to eat at. But, knowing I am the Queen of Spilling,  I begrudgingly followed orders. Naturally then because I couldn’t have the bowl right under my mouth I spilled soup on my white shirt, not once but three times. Mmm.

spilled soup

Yours truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

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Before I went in for my operation, I made playlist of empowering, soothing songs. These are all SUPER random, but I made it hastily, knowing I just need to return to music asap. I used to listen to music constantly, mostly as emotional support. I never even walked between buildings without plugging in. Ultimately this wasn’t good for me because I was shutting the world out, but these days I don’t listen to music enough! Some of these are funny, but most are totally rad – check it:

Edge of the Ocean, Ivy

Like Someone In Love, Bjork

Human Behaviour, Bjork

Say Hey (I Love You), Michael Franti & Spearhead

There is So Much Magnificence, Steve Gold

Killing Me Softly With His Song, Fugees

Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long, Erykah Badu

Fall In Love (Your Funeral), Erykah Badu

Somebody That I Used To Know, Gotye

Mantra, Krishna Das

Mere Guru Dev, Krishna Das

Slow Cheetah, Red Hot Chili Peppers

It’s About Love, C.C. White

Happy, Pharrell Williams

Live It Up, John Legend

Sulky, Gustavo Cerati

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right, Bree Sharp

Ironic, Alanis Morissette

Con Te Partiro, Andrea Bocelli

Chain of Fools, Aretha Franklin

Come to Me, Bonnie Raitt

Tusk, Fleetwood Mac

Oh Maker, Janelle Monae

57821, Janelle Monae

No Surprises, Radiohead

Safe in My Garden, Mamas and the Papas

There There, Radiohead

Everything in Its Right Place, Radiohead

Yours Truly, Jellyflower Sunfish

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Post-op food #1


Watermelon. Shame on me for eating it in the dead of winter in Colorado, but this is my post-op best friend. When you are in the recovery room they will want to give you saltines and a coke (what are they thinking?!!), so I’ve always got it ready. You don’t want to eat, but you’ve got too to take the pain pills. And boy do you need to hydrate. Perfect simple food, packed with nutrients, easy on the stomach and obviously yummy!

Watermelon actually has a lot of lycopene (what’s in tomatoes) which recently has been established as good for bone health. According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, it is rich in the amino acid L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine, an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation. (1) Essentially, it can relieve muscle soreness (hello surgery!) Then of course the vitamin C is there to rock your immune system. As little as 250mg of C after surgery can cut healing time in half.  (2)

Enjoy this amazing fruit! Try with fresh lime juice, or double hydrate along with raw coconut water. Lie back, close your eyes, and visualize your continued healing at a tropical island.

Yours truly,

Jellyflower Sunfish



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When ______, I’ll be happy

I’ve spent a lot of life so far doing something you all might relate to. Playing the “When such-and-such-happens, I’ll be happy” game. Yeah turns out it doesn’t work like that. I was your average bratty miserable and ungrateful teen. So then it was “When I leave the house/grow up, I’ll be happy”. Then it was “When I lose 10lbs, I’ll be happy.” Which turned into 20lbs, 30lbs, then finally perfectly thin and well-portioned, for whatever unnecessary reason it’s still hard not to think 5lbs more is going to bring me something more I don’t have. Then of course it was “When I graduate from college”, “When I make more money and can buy things I want”. Here’s a big one – “When I have a boyfriend”.  Anyone relate? Fill in the blank!

Am I more happy now that I’m thin, am grown-up, and have a boyfriend? Yeah, but not because those things came into my life. It’s when I realized that happiness is not something to chase, to wait around for, is not something around the corner. It’s from within. Blah blah cheese cheese! But ain’t it so? Happiness is when you can still the mind, and regardless of what’s happening on the outside, you realize there’s this fuzzy feeling, this peace, this body of calm water deep within, that stays constant. I believe we are all born good, and we all have happiness and peace within us. BUT it takes some work, for some more than others, to peel the layers, to see what’s underneath. And once you see it, the core, it’s not a permanent fix – no, you have to time and time again remember it’s there, and sometimes you have to fight your silly monkey brain which denies that it’s there, which loves the drama of despair and misery, to get back to it, for even a split second! It’s exhausting. But it gets easier with practice. And I need to practice more.

I write today from bed. Two days ago I had hip surgery. I tore my labrum 7 months ago, didn’t get it diagnosed for 6 months, and in the meantime had my second shoulder labrum surgery and confirmed my other shoulder was torn as well.  In 9 weeks I will get my other  hip repaired, and yes I will try to ignore my other shoulder for as long as I can.  I can confirm to those of you who have never lived with chronic pain that yes, it makes you crazy. More than you can imagine it makes you crazy. It eats away at you all day and then during sleep you may get a rest, or you may have bad dreams and not get a rest that day. But you know what I found to be the most suffering? Feeling sorry for myself. Fighting the reality.

I’m a pretty reasonable person but if I hear one more person telling me “You’re too young for this!”, I will walk away. Although they mean well, it took me until a few weeks ago that I was using people’s pity as fuel for my self-victimization. I said well yes, I am too young for this! This is absurd! Unfair! And so I fought it, and every time I recognized pain it was infused with the meaning of life gone wrong. But no, it hasn’t gone wrong. This doesn’t have to be bad at all. It’s inconvenient not to be able to walk for 7 months, to have to give up my first beloved career all too soon, to not be able to use my body in the free-spirit way that I feel in my heart. But is it wrong? Is it unnatural? Well, it happened, so… So I made a promise to myself to nip it in the bud- any time I started going down the dark spiral of fear, anger and depression, I’d just stop, with more and more practice, shift the perspective. Accept it, grow some balls, plan the surgeries, have faith, and just be happy even though I can’t X, Y, Z. We ALL have limitations, and we all think something better is around the corner. It may be, but why waste time waiting, singly focused one just one aspect of living?

Because I’m turning into an expert how to heal from surgeries, I’m going to offer the next several posts for how to recover in style, for those of you who may also need surgery or are injured or sick and resting now or soon. Our bodies certainly know how to heal themselves, but there’s a lot of tricks to make it easier and to avoid making it harder. Wish me luck, and I wish you that as well.

Yours truly, Jellyflower Sunfish