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?

Just Write. Whatever You Do…Just Write. The Liebster Award.

Over the past few months, I’ve been told, time and time again, that I really need to get serious about my writing. No matter what I talk about, I apparently have a way with words, and have a lot of thoughts, so I gotta start sharing them with the world. Funny how things like this happen, and when you start to really make something a priority, the goodness just starts to rush into your life.

I want to thank one of my follower’s for awarding me with the Liebster Award – I guess it is an award for an up and coming blogger. I really appreciate it! Here’s a link to her blog: http://atspoonoflove.wordpress.com

So, part of this award is to answer 11 questions…here goes!

1 ) Favorite vacation spot of all time: Thus far, in my life, Sun Valley ID is my favorite vacation spot. Perhaps it is because I’ve been going there since I was 6 months old…but between the mountains, rivers, family, and food…I love it! 

2 )  Favorite book and why: That is a hard one…but I’m going to have to go with The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita because well, it changed my life just over 5 years ago. If it wasn’t for that book, I probably wouldn’t still be here today…and when I mean here, I mean alive…because well, it opened my eyes and my heart to feel things that I pushed back, so deep, and never thought I would feel again.
3 )Food tradition you love ? I love toasting to the first sip of your drink at dinner. Over the years, I’ve developed a few MUSTs when it comes to toasting, inspired by friends and travels. You must not toast with water. You must toast on your first sip. You must look each other in the eye when you sip. You both (or more) must sip…not toast and put the glass down. If you break these rules, it is bad luck. Haha. That’s my tradition.
4 ) If you could go to dinner with any 5 famous people (dead or alive) – who? I have to choose 5?? Holy moly…okay, Albert Einstein, Ivan Pavlov, Michael Pollen, Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. We could probably make sustainable living happen and bring peace to the world.
5 ) Favorite cuisine ? Asian fusion. I can’t wait to travel to Southeast Asia! One day!
6 ) House is on fire – family made it out – what is the one thing you grab? My computer. It has loads of documents, from photos over the past 5 years, to 30 page papers, to poetry…I couldn’t let that go. Especially if my family is already safe. 
7 ) Favorite type of chocolate ? Fair-trade, organic, dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds. Or ANY from Confections with Convictions. 
8 ) Favorite beverage ? Water. Iced Masala Chai. Whiskey w/ water and a slice of lemon. 
9 ) Movie you most relate to? Really? I’m supposed to choose one…wow…okay. An indie flick I just watched, TiMER. Because I want to meet my soul mate but it just isn’t my time. 
10 )If you can trade places with a famous person for 24 hours , whom would you pick? Barack Obama. I’d just some shit done in that office. And then I could try to understand why each president fails to live up to their campaign promises. 
11 ) A TV show you love to watch: The Newsroom. images
Thank you, again, for the award. I really appreciate it! Happy blogging, living, eating, and breathing.

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

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