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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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). 

Love Your Mother

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I just finished off my bottle of apple cider vinegar and this lovely culture was floating around in my mug. Isn’t she beautiful?
Naturally occurring cultures are GOOD! You want to make sure that your ACV has the “mother” in it – as this is the most beneficial part!
Studies show that it may help with diabetes and obesity, heart health, cancer, and high cholesterol. I just love it because it warms my soul, calms my stomach, soothes my throat, and makes me smile!
My sister calls this drink – a combination of ACV, raw honey, and hot water – a hug in a mug. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Survey Thursday – Learn About Me!

Today I’ll be taking part in Survey Thursday. After getting some more followers – THANK YOU – I felt it may be helpful to answer some basic questions about me…so tune in (or tune out) for some things about me!

A is for Age: I’m 23 – Born January 3rd – proud Capricorn!IMG_4357

B is for Breakfast: I had a bowl of oatmeal (soaked overnight in greek yogurt) with chia and flax seeds, some raisins, and a little maple syrup. I also had a kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, kale, and banana smoothie with a scoop of Universal Greens.

C is for Current Craving: Sleep…I had a little too much wine last night. Umm, but I think that some Mac & Cheese sounds really good!

D is for Dinner Tonight: I’m going on a father-daughter date tonight, but planning on cooking up some chia seed noodles with asparagus and zucchini.

E is for Favorite Type of Exercise: Adventure sports – I like to play outside – hiking, biking, swimming…just get me outdoors! But I also love yoga and I’m starting to get into running.

F is for Irrational Fear: Someone slicing my Achilles’ tendon when I’m walking down stairs that are open (especially in apartment complexes) or from underneath my car…

G is for Gross Food: Mushrooms, olives, artichokes. I tryyyyyy but they are just so mushy. I also dislike artificial sweeteners, artificial fruit flavors, and ribs.

H is for Hometown: Washington, D.C. – best city in the USA!

I is for Something Important: My family <3 They are my rocks.

J is for Current Jam:  Wild Child – The Doors

K is for Kids: I don’t have any, but am looking forward to a few little rug-rats in the future.

L is for Current Location: At work, in Kalamazoo, MI.

M is for the Most Recent Way you Spent Your Money: A nice dinner out with a lovely lady friend of mine…had two bottles of wine, an antipasto platter, and a delicious chop salad…high price, but higher quality – so it was worth it.

N is for Something You Need: A good yoga session.

O is for Occupation: Communication and Operations Specialist at an herbal supplement company called Universal Formulas.

P is for Pet Peeve: I don’t really have many pet peeves…nothing seriously bothers me…but I guess…I get really irritated when people make an ad hominem argument…discuss the issue, not the person.

Q is for Quote: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams

R is for Random Fact About You: I am not a Democrat…despite what everyone presumes when they meet me. I do not identify with any political party.

S is for Favorite Healthy Snack: Cashews with dried cherries

T is for Favorite Treat: Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Health Bar Crunch

U is for something that makes you Unique: My upbringing…from a very diverse religious background and I’ve seen a lot, but never left the country. I feel cultured, yet there is so much more for me to explore and experience.

V is for Favorite Vegetable: Peppers…especially bell.

W is for Workout: I ran 3 miles yesterday, did some kettle bell exercises, and cooled down with some restorative yoga poses (should have done more).

X is for X-rays you’ve had: Ankle, back/neck/spine, brain (CT/MRI) scans.

Y is for Yesterday’s Highlight: So many highlights – great networking opportunity with the MISBTDC, met some awesome people and learned a lot about social media…cleaned my apartment after work…went for a run (first time in two weeks, so that was great!)…walked to dinner with my girlfriend. It was a great day…but they all are!

Z is for Time Zone: Eastern StandardIMG_3931