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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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.

Sunday Dinner with Dad & Office Necessities

20130506-084308.jpgSo, how do you make sure that you’re keeping healthy while at work? Bring stuff from home! Here’s a look at my office necessities – apple cider vinegar and honey, grapefruit, apples, chia seeds, trail mix, Mag/Cal, to-go french press, and my coconut oil & vanilla extract coffee blend. Since this is only my second week working in the office, I’m sure I’m missing some essentials – but time will eventually bring about all things necessary to function in the office. 20130506-084335.jpgI had a lovely weekend – a great show on Friday night with my girlfriends down in Three Rivers…then Saturday I had an eventful day – starting off with a bike ride to the Farmer’s Market (first one of the season – it was amazing!), then looking at some houses, a few garage sales, lunch at Martini’s, and a glass of wine on my lawn with my best friend and his boyfriend. Later on, I went out for a drink with some girls I went to high school with and we had a good time.

Sunday came quick and my other best friend and her son came over, we went to breakfast at Food Dance, then headed over to Chenery Auditorium for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra performance of Peter and the Wolf. It was an excellent time and we enjoyed a nice walk to and from in the sunshine. After that, I went over to my parent’s house to do some laundry. My mom is out of town so my dad and I cooked dinner together (shown above). We had gluten-free spaghetti with homemade meat sauce (spicy sausage from a locally raised pig, and dandelion as the secret ingredient), a delicious salad – greens, carrots, sunflower seeds, and bacon, spritzed with lemon juice, olive oil, and Himalayan salt…and of course, a glass of red wine. It was delicious and I enjoyed a night in with my pops.

So – now it is Monday morning – the 2nd week of May – and time is flying! Hope this finds you all well. Stay pure, be healthy, and ALWAYS 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

 

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