By Wendy Monro
Have you ever taken photos of yourself in a bikini? I am talking to the women out there. Who am I to judge if some men like to photograph themselves in bikinis as well? I haven't taken a picture in a bathing suit for a very long time. I run past the mirror with my suit on, shielding my eyes. Or, I cover up with a robe or towel until I am just about to submerse myself into the water. I highly recommend taking photos of yourself in a bikini. It could change your life.
I should back up a little here. See, I have been going to a nearby yoga studio nearby. It is literally across the street from my house. The only way it could be nearer is if the studio was in my bedroom. A while ago, I met my amazing neighbor, Sunny, and she runs a yoga studio right in her home. She invited me to come over for a free private lesson and of course I was hooked. However, I couldn't get myself to pay for a yoga lesson when I already paid for a gym membership, which I was tied into for another couple of months.
Well, Sunny and I weren't going to give up. She asked if there was anything I could do for her in exchange for yoga lessons? All I could think of was cooking. To my delight, she was excited about the idea. So, I would make her dinners in exchange for yoga. Perfect!
Well, Sunny's mind kept working on the whole idea and came up with an idea of a challenge. I would come up with the food to eat for thirty days and she would develop a yoga workout plan for thirty days and we would combine the two. Her yoga students could take part in the challenge and whoever loses the most weight after thirty days, wins a prize. Last year the winner received $400! Last year the challenge was just with yoga. This year, we will combine eating an amazing menu of meals and practicing yoga. I am certain there will be some incredible results.
So, beginning Feb. 1, Sunny and I started the challenge and are developing the perfect program. I am writing up the menu plan and recipes and she is putting together an amazing array of classes for us to take. She and I are doing it ourselves for this month to see how it all goes before we present it to the other women. We decided to weigh ourselves and take our measurements. Also, we had to take before pictures of ourselves in our bikinis. She hasn't done this yet. Being a very brave woman, I put on my bikini and handed my camera to Daphne. I wasn't that worried. How bad could it be?
Follow Your Heart Dressing
1 tablespoon agave nectar
juice from three limes
cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 can artichoke hearts
4 basil leaves
Combine all ingredients into the blender and blend well.
Daphne looked at me and chuckled a little. It went downhill from there. I didn't hold anything in. I told her to just start photographing from every angle and to stop smirking. Once I took the camera back and had a look, I was humbled. What? Who is that? Thank goodness for jeans that hold everything in, right? Taking these pictures of yourself might not actually change your life; but, I'd be willing to bet that it will motivate you to eat better and take really good care of your body. That's what it did for me.
The following day, I went to Sunny's to weigh myself. Horrified, I discovered that I weigh more today than I have ever weighed. I told Sunny this once we saw the number. She said, "Even when you were pregnant?" I thought about it and realized I am only about ten pounds less than when I was pregnant with Daphne.
Well, all I can say is thank goodness I am doing this challenge. I am having so much fun putting the cookbook together. I am also really enjoying bringing the food over to Sunny each evening for her to try. So far she has loved everything, except for the polenta. I can't expect her to love everything, right? I wish she did, though. Usually, I drop it off and get a call 20 minutes later with praises. That is really the best. I am so easy to please just like my food and I am a happy person. Each meal I make for her is completely vegan and contains very little oil (usually no oil at all). I have designed her meals from morning to night: teas, vitamins, smoothies, lunches, snacks, and then I bring over the dinner. Each week, I make her a special oil free dressing to use on the salads she is supposed to eat for lunch. This week, I made "Follow Your Heart Dressing." I came up with the name because it incorporates artichoke hearts and contains no oil. So, it is completely good for your heart. I combined artichoke hearts and limes and vinegars with agave nectar to make the most delicious tangy dressing.
A couple of days into the week, Sunny called me and said, "You know, Wendy, this dressing makes everything taste so wonderful. I love it!" That made my whole day. I was so happy. I made a week's worth of the dressing for myself too and used it on my salads and on brown rice and as dip for some parsnip fries I made. Yes, I am still working on creating the healthiest fry. The parsnip fries weren't bad. However, I couldn't say they were as good as potatoes. I'll have to go back to the old drawing board. The dressing, on the other hand, really was delicious. You won't even miss the oilpromise.