High Country Kombucha… The new root “beer”

I found this treasure today at the food coop! Normally I buy the fruity kombuchas, because that is what I “know” I like… But this was on sale…and after a little hesitation… I bought it! And damn was that the best purchase ever!

You really taste the root beer flavor and I could only imagine that it would be divine with ice cream (or something healthier?) as a big delicious float. Yumm – I’m going to have to buy a case of these!

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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

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

 

What’s in my kitchen?

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that eating well starts with the basics. Having a fully stocked kitchen helps to ease the time crunch of cooking. Over the past 4 years I’ve  collected supplies, gadgets, and even some junk. I’ve learned that buying quality is ALWAYS better than saving a dollar or two. I’ve also learned that resale stores carry great kitchen accessories, so try there first, especially if you can’t fork over $40 for a decent pan, or $10 for a legit can-opener.

I’ve also learned that I’m always on a rush, and sometimes, I just have to throw a bunch of stuff together quickly…or I haven’t been to the grocery store in a week…and this is what I feel like I could survive on for a long time.

 The Basics:

Pots and pans – sm & lg, quality metal and coating

Colander – something that works for pasta, peas, and leafy greens

Baking sheet – as big as your oven will fit (mines tiny)

At least, a good quality chef knife, serrated bread knife, two steak knives, and a paring knife

A plastic cutting board

Measuring spoons and cups

Veggie peeler

Spatula/wooden spoon/that $5-bunch-of-utensils your parents got you when you moved out

A kitchen towel (or a few, and a potholder or two)

Freezer bags

Parchment paper

Kitchen gadgets:

Cheese stuff – slicer, grater, shredder, & a zester

Cast iron pan & griddle

Stovetop kettle

Honey jar

Coffee/spice grinder

Straws

Grapefruit spoon/knife

A set each – glass and metal mixing bowls

These rad things!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dry Supplies:

Flour – a few – whole wheat pastry, buckwheat, brown rice

Basic herbs/spices – thyme, oregano, rosemary, cayenne, curry, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili, garlic, salt, & pepper

Vanilla & almond extracts

Baking soda and baking powder

Assorted seeds/nuts – almonds, walnuts, sunflower, chia, flax, hemp, cashews

Assorted dried fruits and other goodies – cherries, raisins, cacao nibs, shredded coconut

Oatmeal – organic rolled, recipe?

Beans – lentils, garbanzo, black

Pastas – an assortment, my favorite

Tuna

Popcorn

Backup salsa, tomato sauce, refried beans (because these may already be in the fridge)

Rice – brown, basmati, white, whatever

Coconut & Olive Oils

In The Fridge:

Eggs

Some kind of cheese – sharp cheddar and parmesan always

Salsa

Lemons/limes

Peanut butter

Maple Syrup

Yogurt

Jam/preserves

Fruits & Veggies – at least apples, carrots, celery, grapefruit/melons, greens

In The Freezer:

Bananas (if you keep them frozen, they are always around)

Berries – assortment of organic, preferably picked over the summer

Butter

Frozen veggies – peas, edamame, corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower

Ezekiel bread/english muffins/bagels

Meat (quality/local/organic) sausages, chicken, ground beef

Chicken stock, homemade