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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Coffee…pick me up? Or bad for your health?

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Over this past weekend I heard a “fact” that I just couldn’t believe… Apparently, 6 cups of coffee a day is healthy. I’ve heard that coffee can reduce depression and keep someone from committing suicide… That it can reduce stress… Help with weight loss… And the list goes on and on. Sure, coffee isn’t that bad! There are way worse things we can consume… But coffee may not be that great for your health. It can increase heart rate and anxiety. It does cause dependence… Caffeine is a drug and it is addictive.

However, in our society, coffee (and alcohol) are socially acceptable drugs (I won’t even bring up the prescription drug issue) and many people think that it is okay to consume a pot or two a day. I stick with one cup. I mix my beans – half caf, half decaf. I sometimes use organic half and half… But usually I stick with coconut oil and a splash of vanilla extract.

How do you like your coffee? Do you think it is good for you?

I do know, since I was a barista for a year, that many people order high fat, high carb “coffee” drinks – mochas, frapes, chai lattes, etc. These are NOT healthy! Lots of calories, lots of sugar, lots of unhealthy fats… Just don’t do it!

Inspiration. Invitation. Dig it.

The Invitation by Oriah:
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you 
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone 
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

 

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

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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.