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

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