What do you do if you are craving sweets? Watch this video.

Need a good way to ensure that you won’t be eating sugar later today, tomorrow, next week, next year? Here ya go! This is a little clip from an awesome UK show “Supersize vs. Superskinny”.

Last semester, I worked on a project that would help curb childhood obesity in Michigan. One of the points I brought up was skinny-fat people (especially kids) because although they appear to be “healthy” (aka, less fat) they are not healthy on the inside. Internal organs coated with fat is not healthy.

Next time you feel like eating some gummies, or a fruit roll up, or a slushy – think about this. Remember what all those ingredients really are…not REAL food.

Don’t starve your body from nutrients. Don’t overfeed your body crap. Be pure, Be healthy, & Always eat real food.

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Chia seeds, back pain, & graduating

I am hurting today. Yesterday, around noon, I just got a horrible migraine and neck ache  I thought it could be from poor diet (a little too much sugar for the past week)…maybe not doing yoga (haven’t been in the studio in a week, but have been doing some at home)…or from staring at this computer screen too much? Not really sure…but I do know that I hurt, my eyes hurt…it hurts to move my eyes in any direction…so that isn’t cool. I was hoping to get a massage before I graduate tomorrow, but both massage therapists that I trust are out of town and my mom is too busy. I may just take an epsom salt bath, drink lots of water, and do some deep breathing and HOPE that it will go away later today or tomorrow morning – as I have a BUSY Saturday and want to enjoy it!

I’ve been trying to work on budgeting and this month, I have spent over $600 on food (half going out, and half on groceries)…so this week, I’ve been attempting to live modestly. My trail mix has been helping – and sales on greek yogurt made breakfast pretty cheap too. As I bought chia seeds and other bulk goodies – I made a yogurt parfait – which was sooo good. It also helps with sweet cravings (because it is sweet)…and also has inspired me to make my own yogurt (which I’ll be doing next week, so be on the look out for that post)!

IMG_6864Base is Chobani Blueberry Greek Yogurt. It was my first time having Chobani (they were on sale at the PFC for 85 cents…so I went for it)…I added some walnuts, slivered almonds, chia seeds, raisins, and granola (from my trail mix recipe in the post below) and then threw a few frozen strawberries (because I didn’t have any fresh fruit) and ate up! It was tasty and once I start making my own yogurt (my mom already does) – I’ll be eating this way more often. Yummm.

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Tomorrow is the day I finally graduate college. After 4 years at Western Michigan University, I’m happy to be a bronco graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology and Organizational Communication (double major), Magna Cum Laude, a member of two honors societies, and a member of a wonderful community. Kalamazoo, Michigan is home to this great university, Kalamazoo College, and KVCC – three great academic opportunities for all types of people (not to mention of Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts, and other trade schools). I am looking forward to my opportunities in graduate school and hope that, one day, I am able to teach at a university like WMU.

So needless to say, I’m slightly stressed out and going through some major life changes. I didn’t realize that I was this stressed about graduating – I mean, I’ve been working since I was 16…living alone for a while now, and take pretty good care of myself. But I also, for 4 years, have been writing papers, doing research, going to class, walking around on campus, and enjoying a distraction from the work day – but it is all ending right NOW. All of a sudden, it was April and it was time to complete a 35-page final program design, a final personal analysis, and a 23 minute group presentation. All this while trying to heal my body, focus on my own growth, start working full-time, and coming to terms with the years of relationship turmoil I put myself through.

As this weekend rolls around, I’m doing my best to stay stress free. Deep breathing, eating nutritious food, and laughter are the biggest stress relievers for me. I get stressed with time schedules and budgets – for I’m starting to make some major living decisions and need to budget and schedule showings, etc. On top of my desire to enjoy the beautiful mother nature – I am stuck behind a computer screen for 8 hours a day…and I need to find a way to ensure that it doesn’t drain my energy. But with all this said, I’ve got to head to my parents house for dinner with my grandparents (in town to celebrate me!) and I’m so excited to see them!

Until next time, love yourself & others <3

 

Trail Mix, Coffee, & Quality

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Well, today is Thursday, and just less than a week ago, I finished cleansing with Bepure. I had a great cleansing experience – but due to the stress of  life, I’ve been needing a little boost of caffeine this whole week. Maybe it has been the rainy weather…or the late nights…or the anticipation for graduation – but I’m needing coffee this week. Oh and the smell, is soooo lovely. Plus, I got this super sweet coffee grinder from my grandma, and well, I should use it as often as possible. I think my mom wants to kidnap it from me, as she asks me to bring it over every time I visit…so I have to use it so she doesn’t have a reason to take it from me.

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About 6 months ago, I found the BEST coffee I’ve ever had. Something about this delicate, but robust coffee, with hints of raisins, chocolate, and nuts…make it a winner in my book. Plus, it is 100% organic, fair trade, and perfect. Check it out – and ALWAYS support cooperatives when you have the ability to. So…as I hadn’t been drinking coffee, or consuming dairy, for a while now…I wanted to a cup of coffee but had no cream or milk or anything that could possibly help me out. I don’t like my coffee black – not sure why – but I’ve always done a little splash of cream or milk…with no sugar. I never liked mochas, or lattes, or flavored coffee. I did have a job as a barista for about a year, and loved it, but never tried any of my crazy flavored latte concoctions…I just knew they tasted good because of the smells. Anywhooo…I needed something…so I thought hmm. Let’s try this (shown above and below) – I took a tsp of cocoa powder (organic and fair-trade in bulk at $16.99/lb, so I use it sparingly), vanilla extract, and coconut oil…just a little bit of each (you could add more or less, depending on what flavors you like…or try some almond extract, or some chili powder?) and enjoy!!IMG_6853

 I really like this mixture – especially with the Bike Fuel blend from Just Coffee Coop so I’m back on my coffee kick…but keeping it to 1 cup a day, not every day, and only with these add ins.

As my days have been hectic for the past two weeks, and it will continue on, well…I guess forever?…I decided that I really needed to increase my healthy snack options. Yes, I do a lot of fruits and veggies – but these get pricey, go bad quickly, and aren’t the easiest thing to shove in my backpack and nibble at when I’m out and about for 12 hour days. Over the past year and a half, I’ve done a lot of research that has made me shun granola, trail mix, and “healthy” snack bars (like Kashi, Luna, or even Kind) just because of the added sugar, the mass-produced-ness, and well..the lack of love. BUT…I can make my own, and add love to them, and know each and every ingredient that goes into them.

So….I’m having issues with my camera (well…more like my lighting) and until I move out…I’ll be stuck with my horrible lighting and my lack of knowledge to remedy the situation. But regardless, I tried to capture a few images of what went into my trail mix…so always remember, you can add/subtract whatever you like – you can start with a base and throw in different things each day…whatever works. I think this would be tasty in oatmeal, yogurt, with some milk, and just plain old plain.

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As this week was Owner’s Appreciation Week at the coop, I decided to buy bulk things that are slightly pricey ($18/lb local MI dried cherries…$10/lb fair-trade, organic dark chocolate mini chips, and a locally made, wheat-free vanilla almond granola at $8.99/lb). I brought in my own jars because well, they are cute, and it saves on waste…so minus the weight of the jar, I got about a 3/4 lb of each – and after making a good amount of trail mix – I still have a LOT left…which is awesome and unexpected.

My trail mix consisted of (pretty) equal parts of the following:

  • Slivered almonds
  • Raw walnuts
  • A mixture of dried cherries, cranberries, and raisins (all organic and bought in bulk, but yes, they are sweetened)
  • Raw sunflower seeds
  • Dark chocolate mini-chips

And, I thought about added some shredded coconut, but not sure if that would be good for an on-the-go snack…but I may have to try some energy balls next week – and I’ll definitely let you know how those go!

IMG_6859So I tossed all the ingredients together, put a heaping handful into a plastic bag for later this evening (in between errands and yoga, after work)…and I’ll probably do another one for my travels tomorrow, as there is nothing worse than traveling without healthy snacking options…because you may get stuck with nasty airport food, or processed nuts on the plane…and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I think my next post will discuss how to travel healthy – as I’ve got a few tricks for that too!

Anyways…time is flying and I’m graduating in one week and two days – and I can’t wait! I’m excited for my grandparents and brother to come in to town. I’m excited for my family to meet my friends. I’m excited to eat tiramisu at my favorite restaurant in Kalamazoo. I’m excited to be an “adult” and to move towards the next chapter of my life.

Also, a quick side note, regarding adulthood – I purchased my first real works of art, from a good friend (and maybe a future-something-more) – two prints – one on metal and one on wood…so when I get my lighting figured out, I’ll take pictures of his pictures and share. I’m really happy with my purchase and feel like it is another step in the right direction…the direction of being true to myself, finding beauty in life, and supporting local.

Enjoy and be healthy <3

Cleansing Complete…& the next adventure is…?

Friday was the last day of my Bepure cleanse – so this weekend was a celebratory weekend and I had a great time!

I noticed that I’m still having more energy than I had before I started cleansing – which is great! My body is feeling healthy and alive – not just being…but actually being able to feel well – which is such a blessing. I feel very thankful that I have the ability to be a healthy person, eat good food, and surround myself with people who have the same desire as me – to support food justice, healthy living, and a holistic approach to life in general.

On the last day of the cleanse (Friday), I went to the Annual Owner’s Meeting for the People’s Food Coop and had a blast! I helped them with some of the cooking, so the taco bar was even more delightful knowing that I had shredded 6 pounds of cheese, zested 60 limes, and minced 4 pounds of garlic (as well as other tasks) to make our veggie taco bar happen! Also, I had a delightful dessert treat of raw macaroons (which I didn’t make, but I will eat all the TIME). So delicious looking…right? And it has prompted me to go buy some shredded coconut and enjoy it in my oatmeal, smoothies…or maybe with some dark chocolate.

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And here is my Monday morning breakfast – after a Sunday full of unhealthy food…

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I’ll give you a little rundown on that. So Saturday night, my first day being off the cleansing “diet” (more like a lifestyle, which I will continue with) – I went out to a show and had a few whiskey waters. Then, around 1am, my best friend and I decided to go to a local restaurant and have a late dinner or an early breakfast – so I decided to treat myself to a plate of chicken fingers and french fries. It was so delicious, but I felt hung over in the morning (so I won’t be making that a habit). After waking up and going for a good hour and a half walk, I decided to stop a coffee shop and treat myself to a little caffeine. I enjoyed a double Americano with a splash of half & half…and a blueberry muffin because the top was covered in sugar and SCREAMING my name. Now, luckily here in Kalamazoo, our coffee shops bake their own pastries (so it was made locally, using pretty good quality ingredients) and organic coffee – so I think it is okay. But my dinner last night, after 5 hours in the library working on my final project presentation, wasn’t so good. I had a Vito from Jimmy John’s – consisting of salami, capicola, provolone,  Italian vinaigrette  and iceberg lettuce – all on some highly processed white bread – but it tasted so good.

Needless to say, I didn’t eat the best on Sunday, but it was a good end to a great cleanse and I’m ready for spring to be here (because it SNOWED yesterday in MI…but then it was 60 by midday). I’m getting ready to end my semester and graduate college – wooo! Very exciting, but before that happens, I’m heading to Denver, CO for a 72 hour vacation with one of my best friends.

I’ll update this later this week, with some updates on how I’m feeling after being done cleansing for awhile. I can already tell you that I’ll be having a little caffeine today to ensure that I’m on top of my game for my final presentation after work today. Soon enough, I won’t have to worry about classes anymore and hopefully get into a more stable routine, and then find a house to buy – but we will see! One day at a time.

Until next time – love yourself and others <3

Juicing, Jogging, & Joyful Living

For the past month or so, I have been doing volunteer work at the People’s Food Coop. I attend their cooking classes, take pictures, and tweet about them to help spread the word of these awesome cooking classes and the Can-Do Kitchen. Last night was the Get Juiced! class – where we juiced it up. I had attended this class back in January, when my ex and I were thinking about incorporating a juice bar into his brewery (the juice isn’t happening, but the beer is, and I’m not involved anymore). So, I have memories of going to juice bars as a kid and ALWAYS ordering watermelon and cucumber juice – yum – but I learned that I could probably just make that in a blender…so until I invest in a juicer, I’ll be blending whatever I can.

I’ve done a lot of research on juicers and as soon as I get my housing situation figured out (I’m hoping to own a home by mid-summer) I’m buying the best juicer that I can afford. I’m thinking of this Omega juicer – and maybe, with graduation gifts, I’ll be making that purchase soon! So anyways…here are the juice recipes we made last night:

JuicingRecipesThere were delicious! And they all turned out great – as expected. The class was a small one but had a lot of great energy! I love going in there and meeting new people, who all share something in common: supporting local, eating better, and living a holistic lifestyle. For me, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to serve the community. I’m going back tonight to help prep some food for the Annual Owner’s Meeting on Friday! It should be a good time. So, this is what I wore last night, as I thought it may be ironic:

IMG_3626So before this juicing class, but after work, I went on a nice 2 mile run with my best friend. I have been running alone, but it felt good to run with someone else. He definitely kept me motivated and pushed me to do a little sprinting. The teacher of the juicing class is starting to train for a half marathon so we may try to run together. It makes me nervous to think about running with someone that has so much experience but…I wouldn’t mind trying to run a half marathon next year – that would be an epic goal! Also…after the run yesterday, we did a good 1/2 mile walk cool down and a little stretching – but not as much as I usually do…and I can feel it today. I’m definitely going to have to do some nice yoga stretches throughout the day so I can get back out there tomorrow!

After our run, I heated up some of my chicken broth and some matzoh balls – yumm – and I could eat this every day. It is such a comfort food but also full of nutrients – just add a big salad and it is the perfect dinner! My soup was smiling at me, and I smiled right back at it, and smiled inward to my soul.

IMG_3619So cute :) and delicious – I think what made these matzoh balls to flavorful was that I used chicken fat as my oil, instead of olive oil. I also added some dried basic and thyme to the mixture – so those herbs help boost the flavor.

Let’s see…what else is going on in my life? I quit smoking cigarettes, after…wow…7 years of light/moderate smoking…I’ll share this story quickly. I tried my first cigarette as a freshman in high school. A friend told me that if I didn’t try it, she’d kick me out of her house…so I caved and tried it – and it was DISGUSTING. But a few months later, and after all my friends started smoking, I just picked up the habit. I was never really “addicted” – I never smoked at work, or at breaks from school (even once I got to college) – it was mostly just when I drove or when I was around my friends…but still, any smoking has consequences on the body. So, for years, I said that I was going to quit by the time I graduated college and I’ve lived up to the goal (and I’m early)! I quit smoking in February and, as of TODAY, haven’t smoked a cigarette in 8 weeks! I’m feeling great and don’t even crave them anymore. The first few weeks after quitting, I had a pretty bad cough and lots of phlegm  That has settled down, but since I was congested last week, I feel like this cleanse is pushing out the rest of those toxins from smoking – as I’m still having some phlegm (but now it is clear, instead of dark brown). Studies show that after 12 weeks, your lungs heal themselves and go back to the healthy tissue of a non-smoker – so I’m 4 weeks away, and maybe then I’ll be running like a pro…either way, I’m happy I quit, and I will NEVER again smoke a cigarette.

I’m on Day 19 of the Bepure Cleanse and I’m feeling pretty good! I could have used a lot more sleep last night, got about 7 1/2 hours – but I feel like I could sleep all day long. Maybe it is the rainy/dreary weather? Perhaps. I’ve got class after work, before more volunteering at the PFC…so I hope I can get some energy before the rest of my long day drags and after doing some cooking at the coop, I’ll be joining a few lovely ladies for some wine at my favorite Wednesday restaurant – Webster’s (they have a blog too!).

Until next time, stay pure, stay happy, and love everyone, especially yourself. <3