My Real Body. Juice. Autumn. and so on…

I can’t believe it has been a month since I last updated my blog. Time flies. Life is hectic. I’m sort of, in between, living situations. I moved in with a good friend of mine and it just isn’t working out as I hoped it would. Kind of a bummer, but that is life! So, I’m in the process of moving back into my parents house for awhile, until I figure out where I want to be. Do you actually ever figure this out? I’m not sure.

So, over the past month, I’ve enjoyed the bounty of the harvest – fresh food from all around! My mom has been getting some venison from a friend of hers, so we’ve been enjoying roasts, meat loafs, kabobs, and what nots, all made with locally shot deer meat! I didn’t know there would be anything more tasty than a good, grass-fed beef steak, but man, was I wrong. The vegetable and fruit harvests are coming to an end in Michigan – so enjoy while you can! I’ve been loving the hell out of the locally grown peppers, tomatoes, and corn. Not to mention the APPLES!!!!!!!! Apple season in Michigan is spectacular. You can go to a farmer’s market and choose from 10 different varieties, all described as “juicy” and another mouthwatering adjective that really is true. You can’t go wrong!

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Another wonderful specialty crop in Michigan is the grape. Local vineyards produce delicious grapes to snack on or to juice…and this past weekend, I juiced some grapes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a fancy-dancy juicer, so I have to do what works…a food mill with a hand crank. Sure, it takes a bit of time…but it made some grape juice fit for kings and queens!

IMG_6481Hand-crank food mill. The old school way of making juice. Not to mention, my arms get a well needed workout!

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And the delicious grape juice. Even better if you add some sparkling water and create a fizzy!

The next thing I want to talk about is inspired by yoga_girl on Instagram, also known as Rachel Brathen, a yoga superstar based out of Aruba. She is candid, funny, loving, and carefree as she shares her life with her Instagram followers. I’ve been following her for a year now, and she’s truly an inspiration. Yesterday, she posted the most beautiful picture and caption of her belly rolls. I quote:

“It folds. It moves. It jiggles, bounces, flows, and allows for grabbing a handful of when needed. It’s strong and soft. Graceful and clumsy. Built by yoga and handstands and red wine and chocolate. And you know what the best part is? It’s all mine! Our insecurities and our confidence go hand in hand. When we hide certain aspects of our bodies we accentuate them as “flaws” in our minds… When fact of the matter is that by shying away we create the very same insecurity we are trying to get away from. By embracing everything about ourselves without hiding our “flaws” we create confidence, strength, power. It’s time to celebrate our bodies – every single inch. You’ll find that no one judges you more harshly than yourself. And that thing about your body you’ve been so hung up on? 99% of people out there are too preoccupied with their own insecuities to give a rats ass about yours. Half of the time our insecurities are imagined and distorted. For instance – I wanted to post a picture of the stretch marks I have on my upper things just now…Only to find that the camera couldn’t even capture them. That’s how invisible they are. Who knew?!? Not me, that’s for sure! So listen carefully: THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN MAKE YOU FEEL BAD ABOUT YOURSELF IS YOU. Treat yourself nicely. You deserve a good life and happiness and beach days that center around sunshine and ocean – not sit ups and counting calories.”

Thank you, Rachel. You inspired me. Over the past 6 months, I’ve gained weight. I’ve gained about 20 pounds. How? No clue. Not exercising enough. Eating whatever I want, whenever I want. Over eating. Sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. A little more alcohol than normal. A few late night trips for chicken fingers and french fries. A second serving of ice cream. Stress. Changes in my life. Being happy? All these things can contribute to putting on a few extra pounds…and when you’re barely five foot two, those pounds come quickly. Sure, I still feel great. I still think I’m sexy. Most of my friends can’t believe it when I tell them and respond with something along the lines of, “where did it go? I wish I could put on pounds like you!”, because, luckily, I gain weight in my hips/thighs/ass, so it isn’t hideous weight, but it gives you something to hold on to (now if only someone was). So, well, as I started to get down on myself because I can’t fit into my size 0s anymore, I don’t like wearing tight t-shirts, blah blah blah, I realized, FUCK IT. I love myself.

Here is my stomach, sitting down:
IMG_6568Here are my love handles. Here is my little rolls. Right under my boobs, I’ve always had these little parts of fat (I can pretend and call them my abs!) and they have made me self conscious in the past…but not anymore. I love my body. Sure, I need to exercise a bit more. I need to get back in the yoga studio more often. I need to do a little bit of cardio after sitting at a desk for 45 hours a week. But even more important is that I need to look into the mirror and say that I love myself, because I do. I do I do I do. Do you?

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Goodies aren’t so good. Self control, have you heard of it?

Here, in the US, we are surrounded by junk food all the time. For office parties, cookies, candy, cakes, muffins, donuts, chips, all of those things are presented…and how do we say no? Well, we usually don’t. We usually make up an excuse to yourselves, something like, “well it IS a special occasion…”, or “I’ll only have a little piece”, or “I’ll eat a big salad for dinner and nothing for lunch except this yummy muffin”, or even “well if I have a bowl of fruit, the donut, and a cup of coffee, I’ll feel fine!” but yet, alas, none of these things are good enough.

When we consume sugar, anything over 4 TBLS at a time, we shock our system. Do you get that afternoon drowsiness if you eat a big salad and a cup of homemade soup? Probably not. We have gotten so used to that tired, sluggish feeling, that we’ve forgotten what it is like to NOT feel that way. What would it be like if every time you ate a snack at work it was a fruit or vegetable? Probably a whole lot better.

Now, treats are good. Every so often we should indulge. Shoot, indulge every day if you want to, but make the better choice in your indulgences. Choose the whole foods. Make your own baked goods. Go to a specialty chocolate shop and buy some rich, dark chocolate. Buy fair-trade organic chocolate. Make your own muffins. This way, you’ll know what you’re putting into your body.

Just an hour ago, I was starting to get hungry but wasn’t able to eat my lunch…so I cut myself a slice of a blueberry loaf. I didn’t look at the ingredients, I didn’t want to know. It was from Bob Evans, so I knew enough. I knew that I should have avoided it, made myself a cup of hot tea, and waited until I could sit down and enjoy a meal. But no, I ate it anyways…and the 5 seconds that it lasted, it tasted GOOD. But, well, moments later, I was tired. I started to feel mucus building up. I felt my lymph-nodes swell up. Man, do I want to go to sleep.

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Seems harmless, right? Now turn it around and look at the ingredient list.

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There is nothing wholesome about this treat. Notice the ridiculous amounts of ingredients, including those that I NEVER would use in my kitchen: soybean oil, margarine, mono & diglycerides, sodium benzoate, artificial flavor, modified corn starch, polysorbate 60, xanthan gum. AND I will tell you that my blueberries are just blueberries…not containing soybean oil (TRANS FAT, even though it says 0 grams), artificial flavor, beta carotene for color (orange? doesn’t make sense), soy lecithin, dimethylpolysiloxane (WHAT DID YOU SAY?), and TBHQ. Who in the hell makes this crap? Oh yeah, Bob Evans Farms, INC. I’d like to see this farm…where the blueberries come straight out of chemicals! 500 calories in two slices? Gross.

Why do we give in to temptation if we know the consequences are SO MUCH WORSE than the 5 seconds of yumminess? I don’t know. I do know, however, that if we eat high quality snacks, in between meals, we’ll be able to avoid the temptations of the sweets on the table. Try some of these: http://greatist.com/health/high-protein-snacks-portable/

Some of my favorites include trail mix, smoothies, nut butter boat (ants on a log), and an apple with almond butter. 100 calories of sweets is so small compared to 100 calories from veggies. Maybe I’m just a muncher, but I always want to feel like I’m eating more. So, compare…a plate full of veggies, or one Reese’s cup? I’ll choose the veggies. And who said you have to stop that at 100 calories?

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Yummy.

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Images from FitSugar

What do you do when the temptation is calling from the break room?

Freedom, Farming, & Food.

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Between the ages of 5 and 10, I lived in Virginia. I learned a lot about the Revolutionary War time period and it has always fascinated me. Our founding father’s gave up a lot to give us the freedom that we, so dearly, love today. I remember sitting in history class, in 3rd grade, and hearing the quote, “give me liberty or give me death”, followed by a story about Patrick Henry and how, following this statement given at the Virginia Convention in 1775, was stoned to death. Since that day this quote has been my favorite…and when I was 17, I got it tattooed on me. See above photo for a slightly blurry look – across my shoulder blades. I get a lot of compliments on this tattoo, mostly from people who don’t seem like the “tattooed” type…which leads me into a discussion of freedoms.

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What would you say if I told you that this dessert was partially illegal? And when I mean illegal, I mean…regulatory officers breaking into your home/farm and taking away your supply of milk, your animals, and your livelihood. Lately, there has been a LOT of buzz about our freedoms being taken away, about the government becoming more and more authoritarian…etc. But, I want to ask a question to the audience…how many of you think you should have the right to collect your own rain water? How about drink raw milk? How about fishing for food? Shouldn’t these natural foraging techniques be a freedom, ingrained in our nature? But no…these things are ILLEGAL in most states (unless you have purchased a license, or a cow/goat)…and even then, especially with raw milk, you risk your livelihood to eat the way humans were intended to eat.480196_10200303763977700_1202123370_nThis past Sunday, my mother, sister, her boyfriend, and I went to a farm called the Eater’s Guild (where my mom and sister work, and my family has a CSA share). A beautiful spot to enjoy a Summer Solistice – Pieluck – Square dance. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people kind of lightens the burden of living a lifestyle that is “alternative” in our American society. Our SAD lifestyles has pushed farmers, artisans, pioneers, hunters/gatherers, and the like, to the sidelines…as we continue to build a monoculture of sugar, processed foods, and genetically modified foods.

I ask that we be patriots in our country and promote eating like our ancestors. Appreciate the beauty of the food you eat. Understand where you came from (10,000 years ago, life was worshipped and sacred, in all creatures across the world) and where your food comes from. Be an aware consumer. Support what you believe in. If you are what you eat, do you really want to be cheap, fast, and greasy? I don’t…neither should you.

On another note, I’m in the process of reading a great book: “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson (just released in early June!) highlighting a diet that is full of phytonutrients, based upon what our ancestors ate, and avoiding our genetic modifications to make fruits and vegetables less nutritious and more “tasty”. I highly recommend! I will be doing a book report on this, once I finish…with some key points and a cooking/shopping guide to go along – so be on the look out for that.

 

March Against Monsanto – The Freedom of Assembly

Yesterday marked the first global March Against Monsanto. I stand by our right, in the USA, for the 1st amendment; the freedom of assembly. It is so important that we exercise our rights as citizens in order to take part in our government, our society, our State.969475_10200160052224996_695034048_n

The freedoms which we sometimes take for granted, like the freedom of assembly, the freedom of press. We have the right to stand for what we believe in and to gather with the likeminded. We have the right to share our stories with the world and have mainstream media to portray our grassroots effort as more than just a bunch of tree-hugging health nuts. WE are the voice of the future.

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This group of little guys were just darling. They helped their parents design the signs but really stood by their words. They chanted, marched, and smiled as they carried on with their signs. Sometimes they got so excited and rushed ahead of their parents…but always found their way back.

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Although the above signs are a little radical, they are appropriate. We haven’t seen such extreme birth defects or developments, yet. However, sometimes radical images are a great way to grab people’s attention. I dug it. 946900_10200158495986091_1077501236_n

This is me ^^ hangin out, marching, and taking a turn in front of the camera. I wish I would have had time to make some bigger signs…but well, what can ya do! I’m just happy I was able to make it and experience my first protest. However, I feel that protests should be PRO something instead of ANTI. So I’m PRO-educated consumers…although I am still against Monsanto.983999_10200158492185996_1487102294_n

This is my little sister. I granted her the right to wear my spring into the freedom to farm headband. Yes, I named it…as I needed an excuse to buy it. She made this awesome, heartfelt signs for our march! Isn’t she fierce?970458_10200160049344924_281762322_nI was really excited when I saw the route we were taking – we walked a one-way street heading out towards 131 from 94-business. There were a lot of honks and hollers – but most important was the calming and community feel that this march had. This volunteer was happy to pose for a picture in front of a big GMO commercial “restaurant” – McDonald’s. Gross.

Please remember that your money talks. Spend your money at places and with people you support. Support your local farmers and artisans. Support global companies that are humanitarian, eco-friendly, and are transparent with the consumers. Let our freedom of assembly, our freedom of choice, and our free market determine the fate of Monsanto (and Big Food). 

Rant: GMO, gut disease, inflammation, and the great USofA

Happy Monday! I feel like the last 48 hours are a blur and a dream…I’m officially a college graduate and beginning the next chapter of my life – a 23-year-old still trying to change the world, become the healthiest person I can be, and to appreciate all the little blessings in my life. This past weekend, I had an amazing time with my family and friends.

And when it rolls back around to Monday morning, and I check back in to reality, and I’m not feeling 100% great (lots of sugar, cheese, white bread, and less water, veggies, and fruits)…I decide that May 1st will bring about a month of hot yoga – every single day. I’m going to go for my own 30 day challenge. Starting today, as I’ll be out of town as of May 31st (more on this very soon), I’m going to go to yoga every day. I’m still going to try to keep up with running too – just don’t want to push myself too much.

Anyway – back on to the rant. At the bottom of this post, there will be a lovely video that I highly suggest watching. It is a little long (about an hour) but so worth it. It highlights a lot of aspects of GMO foods – health concerns, bad science, market prevalence  legislation, policies in other countries, influence on kids, and what we can go – so if you have a little time – watch it, share it, enjoy it, PLEASE.

Some highlights:

  • In 1992, the FDA set a precedent that GMO foods are safe and can be used in consumer goods. However, in 1998 there was a leak of internal documents that showed there was not research to back up the safety of GMO foods and scientists actually proved it was unsafe.
  • Many scientists refer to the industry conducted research as “Tobacco Science” – highlighting the ways in which Big Ag acts similar to Big Tobacco in the 1970s…blaming problems on personal responsibility instead of their harmful product
  • Michael Taylor was involved in the FDA back in the early 90s, when these precedents were set, and then worked for Monsanto, and now he’s back at the FDA and holds the Food Safety Czar job…and there are tons of examples of the revolving door between Big Business and the Feds.
  • GMO food increase in consumption is correlated with increases in digestive issues, inflammation, mental health issues, birth defects, allergies, etc.
  • Big Ag, just like Big Tobacco plays up the aspect of personal responsibility, while downplaying the role of industry in the market, not to mention manipulative labeling and advertising. We could also ask if corporations should be held personally responsible as well, considering they are individuals in the eye of personal freedoms.
  • A lot of research funding in public universities, across the nation, are traced back to Big Ag…and scientists tend to lose their jobs if they attempt to expose the downside of GMOs.
  • “We’ve all been blissfully ignorant” – a quote from a mother, during the Kids and GMOs segment
  • What can happen? As many more developed nations are banning GMO – multinational food corporations are making changes – referred to as “the tipping point of consumer rejection” because GMOs become “marketing liability” and thus are removed from the formulation and products are offered with NONGMO labeling (but not here in the USA)
  • Genetically Engineered attempts (that have been denied due to consumer rejection) – tomato, rice, potato, wheat, biopharmaceuticals (vaccines in food), alfalfa, landscaping grass, and HOPEFULLY salmon! <—- SIGN THIS PETITION

Please enjoy the movie. Share with friends, family, coworkers, school administrations, doctors, WHOEVER – just get the word out that there is proof that GMOs are hurting us. We deserve to know.

Until next time, eat well, be pure, love yourself & others <3