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

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Juicing, Jogging, & Joyful Living

For the past month or so, I have been doing volunteer work at the People’s Food Coop. I attend their cooking classes, take pictures, and tweet about them to help spread the word of these awesome cooking classes and the Can-Do Kitchen. Last night was the Get Juiced! class – where we juiced it up. I had attended this class back in January, when my ex and I were thinking about incorporating a juice bar into his brewery (the juice isn’t happening, but the beer is, and I’m not involved anymore). So, I have memories of going to juice bars as a kid and ALWAYS ordering watermelon and cucumber juice – yum – but I learned that I could probably just make that in a blender…so until I invest in a juicer, I’ll be blending whatever I can.

I’ve done a lot of research on juicers and as soon as I get my housing situation figured out (I’m hoping to own a home by mid-summer) I’m buying the best juicer that I can afford. I’m thinking of this Omega juicer – and maybe, with graduation gifts, I’ll be making that purchase soon! So anyways…here are the juice recipes we made last night:

JuicingRecipesThere were delicious! And they all turned out great – as expected. The class was a small one but had a lot of great energy! I love going in there and meeting new people, who all share something in common: supporting local, eating better, and living a holistic lifestyle. For me, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to serve the community. I’m going back tonight to help prep some food for the Annual Owner’s Meeting on Friday! It should be a good time. So, this is what I wore last night, as I thought it may be ironic:

IMG_3626So before this juicing class, but after work, I went on a nice 2 mile run with my best friend. I have been running alone, but it felt good to run with someone else. He definitely kept me motivated and pushed me to do a little sprinting. The teacher of the juicing class is starting to train for a half marathon so we may try to run together. It makes me nervous to think about running with someone that has so much experience but…I wouldn’t mind trying to run a half marathon next year – that would be an epic goal! Also…after the run yesterday, we did a good 1/2 mile walk cool down and a little stretching – but not as much as I usually do…and I can feel it today. I’m definitely going to have to do some nice yoga stretches throughout the day so I can get back out there tomorrow!

After our run, I heated up some of my chicken broth and some matzoh balls – yumm – and I could eat this every day. It is such a comfort food but also full of nutrients – just add a big salad and it is the perfect dinner! My soup was smiling at me, and I smiled right back at it, and smiled inward to my soul.

IMG_3619So cute :) and delicious – I think what made these matzoh balls to flavorful was that I used chicken fat as my oil, instead of olive oil. I also added some dried basic and thyme to the mixture – so those herbs help boost the flavor.

Let’s see…what else is going on in my life? I quit smoking cigarettes, after…wow…7 years of light/moderate smoking…I’ll share this story quickly. I tried my first cigarette as a freshman in high school. A friend told me that if I didn’t try it, she’d kick me out of her house…so I caved and tried it – and it was DISGUSTING. But a few months later, and after all my friends started smoking, I just picked up the habit. I was never really “addicted” – I never smoked at work, or at breaks from school (even once I got to college) – it was mostly just when I drove or when I was around my friends…but still, any smoking has consequences on the body. So, for years, I said that I was going to quit by the time I graduated college and I’ve lived up to the goal (and I’m early)! I quit smoking in February and, as of TODAY, haven’t smoked a cigarette in 8 weeks! I’m feeling great and don’t even crave them anymore. The first few weeks after quitting, I had a pretty bad cough and lots of phlegm  That has settled down, but since I was congested last week, I feel like this cleanse is pushing out the rest of those toxins from smoking – as I’m still having some phlegm (but now it is clear, instead of dark brown). Studies show that after 12 weeks, your lungs heal themselves and go back to the healthy tissue of a non-smoker – so I’m 4 weeks away, and maybe then I’ll be running like a pro…either way, I’m happy I quit, and I will NEVER again smoke a cigarette.

I’m on Day 19 of the Bepure Cleanse and I’m feeling pretty good! I could have used a lot more sleep last night, got about 7 1/2 hours – but I feel like I could sleep all day long. Maybe it is the rainy/dreary weather? Perhaps. I’ve got class after work, before more volunteering at the PFC…so I hope I can get some energy before the rest of my long day drags and after doing some cooking at the coop, I’ll be joining a few lovely ladies for some wine at my favorite Wednesday restaurant – Webster’s (they have a blog too!).

Until next time, stay pure, stay happy, and love everyone, especially yourself. <3

 

 

Chicken Stock, Chilly Days, & Cleansing

Well, today is Day 17 of my spring cleanse and I’m feeling much better! Last week, I had a case of the sniffles…and congestion, and well…it sucked. I don’t get sick often, but I also feel like the cleanse may have been pushing toxins out of my body – and they came out in the form of mucus and nasal congestion. I didn’t have a cough, fever, fatigue, or anything else that usually comes along with colds/flu. So, I took care of myself and made some homemade chicken stock (I’ll show you my recipe and a few photos further into this post).

I hate to admit this, but I’m going to…I haven’t been as dedicated to a strict cleansing diet, such as my diet last year, and I have a few reasons for this. Last year, when I did the Bepure cleanse, I made a HUGE diet change, but since then, my diet has kept pretty clean so I didn’t feel like I had major changes to make. Sure, I cut out caffeine, processed foods, most added sugar, and white bread – but it wasn’t that hard for me, because I try to keep those things out of my diet anyways. Sometimes I have a white bun on a cheeseburger, but I only eat at restaurants that use organic and/or local ingredients – so we’re talking high quality whole foods – which is my diet. However, I do think that I could have done a little more – perhaps go completely vegetarian during the cleanse – but in my little kitchen, with my busy schedule, I didn’t have as much time and space to prepare, as I wish I would have. So, even though my diet didn’t change a ton (okay, I’ve had a little dark chocolate…but it was fair trade and organic) I’m still feeling great about the cleansing experience and I hope you did too!

Late last week, maybe Thursday, but maybe Friday, I talked to one of Universal Formulas’ customers about her cleansing diet. She was asking what I recommend, what I cut out, and how hard is it…so of course, I’m honest. It can be very hard to cut out things that we have been consuming for years and years. Soda, candy, white flour, and caffeine are the hardest. Not only are these so prevalent in our society, but they are also addictive. It is hard to avoid something that EVERYWHERE you go, you are surrounded by. I’ll share my personal story about this:

Saturday night, I stayed at my parents house. Now, my parents have always instilled in me the idea of holistic living, preventative health, and support local foods. You can read about that in my other blog posts…but Saturday was a different story. My parents got home late on Friday from a vacation and just planned on lounging around the house and watching the Michigan game on Saturday (Go BLUE!!!) so I decided to stay out there and hang out with them. My mom and I went to the local grocery store together and I had a hard time finding ANYTHING to eat. I settled on some sugar snap peas, a kiwi, a grapefruit, and some horseradish to go on matzoh. Nothing was available organic but I caved because I was hungry, and my mom wasn’t making anything more diet friendly. When we were checking out, my mom said she was so proud of me for not giving in to the aisles and aisles of crappy food that I could have chosen ..but I didn’t, because I feel better when I eat healthy – so healthy eating is my lifestyle…this isn’t a diet.

Which brings me back to my discussion with this customer…I reminded her that it isn’t about what CAN’T have, or DON’T need, it is about what you CAN have and what you DO need. Every person in this entire world NEEDS nutrients. So make cleansing about what you are adding into your diet, what you are getting more of, instead of focusing on what you can’t have – and I PROMISE that it will make life easier.

So, back to my chicken stock exploration. So I was reminded of my first error this morning – I forgot to add apple cider vinegar to the stock – which helps to leach out nutrients…so I’ll definitely be adding that next time. Here are my steps: buy a local, whole 2 1/2 lb chicken (I got Otto’s chicken at $1.49/lb from the People’s Food Coop) and cut it up – it doesn’t have to be super pretty, because, well it is getting cooked and only the meat is taken off the bone, so you aren’t actually serving the chicken on the bone or in certain cuts.

After you get it cut up, add all the chicken parts (especially the neck and feet, but mine didn’t come with the feet) into a stock pot and fill with water. I covered the chicken with water, and added about 4 cups more (okay, I didn’t measure, I just poured it in until I thought it was enough) and then I added some celery stocks and tops (the tops are the most important, so every time you get celery, keep the leaves for your next stock!), a red onion (I used red because I don’t really like onion, and thought it may help make the stock pretty), a few carrots, salt & pepper, and a sprig of parsley. I kept it pretty simple – as you can add a lot more of things, especially herbs, but for my first time, I thought simple was best. So here is what my stock pot was filled with:

IMG_6817Then, the next step is to bring the stock to a boil – which took about 35 minutes, and then skim off the foamy/frothy stuff on the topIMG_6823

…and then to turn back down to simmer for as long as you want – I did this for about 8 hours. So, quickly, let me explain what simmering is (because I just thought it meant a low heat) but it is about a gradual reduction in your burner heat, leaving a small, boiling stream in the center of the pan. So, after it is boiling, reduce the heat a little, and then a little more, and a little more, until you barely have a flame, but you still have those little boiling bubbles in the center (took me about 15 minutes of temperature adjusting to get to a simmer). So simmer away and start to notice the comforting aroma of chicken soup surround your kitchen (and my house, because my apartment is so tiny).

After you’ve let it cook however long you want, drain out the liquid into appropriate bowls/containers (glass for your fridge, good and BPA free plastic for the freezer). I actually made more than expected and had to run to the store to get more containers as my fridge is now overflowing with homemade chicken stock. I bought some Made in the USA, freezer safe, and BPA free large plastic storage containers – so I’ll be freezing a good amount, and keeping little jar full in my fridge (giving some to friends, some will be used for matzoh ball soup that I’m making after work today).

IMG_6836At the bottom of the stock pot, you’ll have all the non liquid ingredients left – so your cooked chicken, some mushy celery/carrots/onions. So, now it is time to save this chicken meat. Literally, it FALLS OFF THE BONE. And it is so juicy and tasty that I just wanted to eat it all right away. But, after discussion with my mom, I’m going to make some enchiladas and freeze them for quick meals (I’ll share when I get around to doing that) and freeze some shredded meat for anything in the future, as well as make some chicken noodle soup and freeze it. So I think my chicken meat will fill many empty stomachs in the near future, and remember this was all for $1.49/lb.

IMG_6832Which brings me to my next point…I will, NEVER again, buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Yes, they are easy to prepare but they are EXPENSIVE. Clocking in around $6.50/lb for a good quality, local chicken breast – I just can’t do it. From now on, if I want chicken, I’ll be buying the whole chicken, cutting out the breasts to use for whatever reason, or just making this stock and keep the shredded chicken for whatever I want. Also, you can roast the whole chicken, eat it, and then use the bones and extras for making a stock (fewer nutrients, but still a great way to use as much of the chicken as you can)! So, in other words, if you are afraid of using a whole chicken, just do it! It is so worth it and I’m excited to make my matzoh ball soup tonight and give some stock to friends. Also, I will never buy canned soup or boxed broth again. Here is to eating healthy, supporting local, and being economical!

Now, as I finish up the last week of cleansing, I add in the Restore formula – and rebalance my digestive system. I’ll continue without caffeine, sugar, and processed foods (and will continue with that even after the cleanse). I hadn’t done yoga in the studio last week, as I don’t think it would be a pretty sight with a runny nose (or easy to do yoga breathing, using your nose for inhales and exhales) but I’m feeling better and will be attending tonight – I can’t wait! You know something is an important part of your daily routine if you really miss it when you aren’t practicing, and oh, I miss it. Running is going well – so I’m keeping up with that and hopefully will have some updates later on about races I ran, or major milestones I hit! Currently, I’m running just over a 10 minute mile – averaging about 2.5 miles per run – so a drastic increase is up and coming, I can feel it!

Until next time – stay pure <3

April, Adrenaline, & a Lovely Afternoon!

Today is Day 11 of the Bepure cleanse and I’m feeling pretty good! I was traveling this past weekend, to celebrate Passover with my family in Washington, D.C. Normally, I do really well with traveling, but I was a little more tired than usual and got a good 10 hours of sleep last night. I woke up this morning and started my day with some oatmeal and an apple…of course, after my Bepure morning formulation with a glass of water with lime juice.

I just finished my lunch – containing a delicious salad with mixed greens from a local farm, orange peppers, carrots, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, and Organic Goddess dressing, along with a tuna sandwich. I have never been a fan of mayo, so my tuna is plain – sometimes with a little lemon and pepper…but I really enjoy it on toasted bread (Ezekiel) with a little bit of butter. This lunch was delicious and filling! Yay!

photo

I’m feeling slightly under the weather, not sure if it is from traveling and not getting much sleep on Saturday (my cousins dragged me out to the bar, and I had one whiskey drink with water and lemon, and stayed up pretty late dancing with my cousins). I took some Vitamin D3, Quint-Essence, Mag/Cal, and Tracite with my breakfast – so hopefully that’ll boost my immune system and keep me from getting sick. I’ll have to pick up a bottle of Vitamin C, as I’m out but I’ll be making a green smoothie for an afternoon snack and hopefully that’ll help pack in some Vitamin C.

IMG_6693

So, aside from traveling, being a little tired, and welcoming April with a FREEZING cold day…my cleanse is going very well!  My skin is looking a lot better than it had in most of March. I had a pretty bad breakout the 2nd week of March and it is finally starting to clear up. I’m needing more sleep than usual, but am waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – so that is good! I kept up with my workout routine while on vacation, with running and doing yoga at home, most days. I got back in the yoga studio last night and it kicked my butt! I was really hot, and combining that with being slightly under the weather, my body was feeling it!

 

After yoga, I went to my parent’s house to do some laundry and have dinner with my best friend and her son. We made some gluten-free pasta with olive oil and a little parmesan cheese, sautéed green beans, and broiled salmon. I love broiled salmon – last night I made it with rosemary, lemon juice, and olive oil. Over the past year, I have really cut down on my intake of fish and seafood, due to the issues with sustainability…but a local grocery store carries salmon from Scotland, that is environmentally friendly farmed salmon (a little pricier, but so worth it)!

While on vacation, I really enjoyed my jogs. It felt great to get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and feel that adrenaline rushing through my body after I did something I have NEVER done before – run for a long period of time! Okay, now long to me isn’t long to everyone, so I ran 4 miles in about 40 minutes – which I thought was great! I’m hoping to keep up this routine and run a 5K by the beginning of summer – wooo! Running in a pretty area (like Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.) makes it easier. I found an app that I really like – MapMyFitness – which uses GPS to track your route, your pace, and your distance, all while running – and then calculates your calories burned, etc…all stores into your phone for easy viewing, and sharing (if you want). I think it is a huge help!

Well that is my quick update as we head into the 2nd week of the cleanse. How are you feeling? Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or feedback – I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, stay pure!

 

14 days later & the cleansing continues…

It has been a really busy few weeks – and this cleanse, I believe, has helped me keep on top of things and stay healthy during a stressful month! I’m on day 20 of this cleanse and I’m feeling great! Tomorrow will mark 21 days with no caffeine – except for a little chocolate I’ve had.

This weekend was hard for me to keep a clean diet – so I did cheat a little bit…but breaded pickles sounded so good when I was DDing for all my friends and sitting at the bowling alley (and it was the healthiest choice I had for munchies). Aside from a little cheat – I’ve been keeping pretty clean – staying away from a lot of diary, animal proteins, and processed foods. Smoothies have been my saving grace over the past few weeks, as you can change them a lot and they are tasty, filling, and full of healthy produce! I’ve been keeping mine relatively simple – some locally made and fresh, raw, organic greek yogurt, frozen bananas, and a combo of strawberries/blueberries/kiwi/spinach/kale, and Universal Greens blend!  Sometimes I go for a chocolate smoothie – like I’ve shared on this blog before, but I’ve been adding in cacao nibs as well – which give it a little crunch!

Today was the end of Owner’s Appreciation Week at the People’s Food Co-op so I just stocked up on a bunch of goodies – including raw almonds, fruits & veggies, some turkey, mozzarella cheese, oatmeal, and kombucha! I think I’m going to go for another round of homemade chicken no noodle soup as it was delicious and a much needed healing broth when I was going through my healing crisis.

My energy level has been excellent – I couldn’t be happier with the results :) I’ve been waking up an hour or so before my usual time, feeling energized and well-rested, which is better than things had been for the past few months. I also recently started to notice the enamel on my front few teeth was deteriorating. I try to keep up on the brushing/flossing teeth business and always have considered myself to have good teeth – so this was really alarming. I did a lot of research and most things said that whitening toothpaste was good (but I don’t use that stuff, I use natural toothpaste and hopefully will be making my own when this tube runs out) so anyway – one blog I read recommended taking some Cal/Mag supplements – so I added those back into my routine. I’ve been taking just 2 Mag/Cal supplements with lunch for the past 2 weeks and have noticed amazing changes. I’m going to do it for a month straight and share some pictures because I think this is amazing! I also think it happened because of my high intake of lemon juice in drinks (water, tea, toddys) so I’ve reduced my use of lemon juice and that may have helped too.

So as this cleanse is slowing coming to an end, I’ll be done NEXT Monday – I’m thinking about following up with a Bepure cleanse from Universal Formulas (the wonderful company I work for!). Last year, I did the Bepure cleanse as my first experience with a cleanse EVER and I loved it! They are giving me the opportunity to cleanse again, starting March 23rd, and to blog about my experience for the second time around! I’m really excited to do this – as I think I’ll just feel even better than I do now! :)

So another update on things – as I feel that cleansing your body also should be a part of cleansing your soul – so I’m keeping up with hot yoga and deep breathing, as well as doing more volunteering and other hobbies that I’ve neglected throughout my high school and college career. I recently bought a few more houseplants and am working on my green thumb. I’m hoping to buy a house within the next 6 months so I decided to get ahead and start preparing to be an adult, with a house, and making it my home! I’ve been doing a lot of research on composting, gardening for beginners, and becoming a foster dog mom – so big things are in the works for me! I also started doing some volunteer work for the PFC (see above) and I’ll be attending, photographing, and Tweeting about their cooking classes – so I’ll be able to share that information over the next few months!

Until next time – peace & love :)