SANTO – Documentary exposing the horrors of Monsanto

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I HIGHLY recommend you check out this amazing grassroots documentary project. It’s FOR US BY US – which means they need your help! Even if its just $1, $5, anything will help keep this effort going!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/santo-7-13-15-gmo-movie

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Juice Fast… how I feel after 5 days without food

If you know me at all, you know that I love juicing. I’ve posted several recipes and even when I’m not on a hardcore cleanse, I juice frequently.

…But I also love to eat. And I eat like a lumberjack. It’s kind of sad actually. So, even though I lost 15 lbs earlier this year while embarking on a 30 day cleanse, I gained it all back. And I figured out what my deal is. I continue to eat even after I’m not hungry anymore. Part of me detests the idea of wasting food – because its expensive, because a lot of effort went into it, and because in my mind good food shouldn’t be thrown away! But because I’m aware of basic food safety hoarding isn’t my thing (homemade penicillin, anyone? gross!) so I eat it. ALL of it. I’m a certified member of the Clean Plate Club.

Anyhow so that’s how I got back to where I am. How to fix it? I need to break up with food. We can still be friends, but we don’t have a healthy relationship. Don’t get me wrong – the green stuff, the lean stuff, all organic……. those are excellent qualities. But, it’s just not working out the way I want it to.

Hence, the juice fast. Once I’m done with my fast – which will either last 2-3 weeks, or until I’m back down to where I want to be, whichever happens last – I will force myself to learn some serious portion control. I’m calling it “Preventive Portion Control“: Not just filling my plate and telling myself that I’ll stop when I’m no longer hungry. No, no… We’ve tried THAT one before. This go-round, it’s starting with the ingredients that hit the pan. Cooking smaller portions to start with, using smaller plates, chewing my food completely, and then when I’m no longer hungry, stopping. I have to remind myself: I can make this dish again. I can have leftovers tomorrow. It’s OK, Kat. It’s OK. And when I go out to eat, no matter what I order, half of it will go straight into a to-go box before I even take my first bite.

There. Now that those details are in order, let me tell you about my first 5 days.

I’ll start off by admitting that during my 30 day cleanse back in February I wasn’t as strict as I should have been. I cheated. More times than I’d like to admit. I would manage to go 2 days with nothing but juice and herbal tea, and then I’d get really effing hungry and I’d pilfer a few bites of whatever I could – leftover rice, a piece of bread, an egg, whatever. Because I wasn’t smart enough to empty out my fridge before I started (see above – I hate wasting food)  I knew something could be scrounged up. It was awful. I felt guilty every time and yet I just couldnt.stick.to.it. THIS time though I have done a fantastic job (in my humble opinion) of sticking to my guns and not squirreling food. Granted, I did have a glass of wine last night but surely fermented grape juice cant be THAT bad? I still feel bad about it and now that I have tomorrow off of work I wont need any aid in falling asleep because it wont matter what time I go to bed – I get to sleep in tomorrow!

Anyhow… The first time I did this I suffered from a massive detox headache for 2 days. This time, a slight dull ache every now and then but really nothing that limited my going to the gym or my ability to focus at work at all. Once my detox migraine was gone the first go-round, I dealt with crazy muscle and joint aches. I later learned that those pains were from old injuries healing themselves. This time though, I’ve felt fine. Not a single muscle spasm or ache. It’s so much better this time!
Best of all……… I haven’t really felt very hungry. Sure, at night I get that old monkey on my back telling me that I must have food. My stomach growls every now and again. But in general, I haven’t so much as felt the need to complain (other than a single Facebook post – a short one, late at night… shut up) to anyone that I was starving. I even went to “lunch” with my mom and brought a juice and sat and chatted while she ate. I had a little vegetable broth too, but I hear that’s allowed. I’ll admit, the bread sticks did look amazing… but my will power decided to show up and I prevailed!

So no, I’m still not perfect. And the weight isn’t exactly falling off me. 3ish pounds in 4 days isn’t bad but I’m like anyone else trying to lose a stone… instant gratification and magic results would be incredible. But I’m not complaining.

Also though, the whites of my eyes are clearer. So that’s cool. And I’m regular, which is a relief. Lets me know that my liver and intestines are getting all cleaned out and ready to start pulverizing the fat that clings to my inner thighs and the pooch in my belly. Fingers crossed… this is a truly new start for me. I will succeed, dammit.

Next week will be the truly hard part: I have to spend the week in Raleigh for a very stressful class -the final week of my Six Sigma Black Belt course, to be concluded with an exam that makes the SAT look like a cakewalk. Luckily there’s a juice bar kind of near to where I’ll be, but I’m going to pack up a cooler full of fruits and veggies (and go to Whole Foods as needed to replenish… yay! I’ll be in a city with a Whole Foods! And I totally intend to pick up some glorious meats and grains before I leave for when I’ve broken my fast and gotten back to normal eating). I’ll be packing up my juicer too of course (the hotel staff will LOVE me for that…), a cutting board, a knife, a scrub brush, some dish soap, and some glass bottles to take juice to class in…… yeah this is gonna be tough. Stress, a lot of preparation, all kinds of trials for me next week. But I can do it. At least I think I can…

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Followup: Here’s a picture of my mini-fridge in the hotel room… what it looks like to juice on the road (hint: its not easy)

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MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO!

 

SEVERAL LOCATIONS IN NC, AND CERTAINLY ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

I MYSELF WILL BE ATTENDING THE MARCH AGAINST MONSANTO IN WINSTON-SALEM.

THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT – GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS HAVE NOT BEEN STUDIED FOR LONG TERM EFFECTS ON HUMANS, BUT HAVE PROVEN TO CAUSE TUMORS AND INFERTILITY IN LAB RATS.

Photo: Many common food items have, indeed, been scientifically shown to increase cancer risk, and some of them substantially. Here are 10 of the most unhealthy, cancer-causing foods that you should never eat again.  http://www.naturalnews.com/039970_cancer_junk_food_carcinogens.html

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS ARE CURRENTLY IN OVER 70% OF NORTH AMERICAN FOODS. AND WE DONT KNOW IT BECAUSE WE DO NOT REQUIRE LABELS.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS REQUIRE LABELS, AND ARE EVEN BANNED IN MOST EUROPEAN AND ASIAN COUNTRIES, INCLUDING CHINA. BUT WE HAVE NO SUCH RIGHTS IN THE U.S.

BECAUSE HERE IN AMERICA, CORPORATIONS MAKE THE RULES, AS THEY HAVE THE DEEPEST POCKETS.

LEARN MORE:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LICQCxq1FqU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNflcxWpAf0

https://www.facebook.com/MarchAgainstMonstanto?ref=stream

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Serious Changes Born of a Juice Fast

I’ve mentioned a time or two before that I recently embarked on my first ever juice fast… for 30 days. In all honesty I truly meant to get this blog up and running in time to document the fast, but it just didn’t happen in time. But fear not! I’m planning a 10 day juice fast at the end of April/early May.

I HAVE, however, experienced a myriad of unexpected changes since the completion of my  juice fast. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I eat mostly vegan now. I have always enjoyed tofu, but these days I adore and crave vegetables – salads, stir fry, stuffed roasted portobella caps, soups… the list goes on for days. Here are two links to what have become staples in my diet:                                                              vegan bacon: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-bacon/   this stuff is seriously amazing.                                                                                                                                                              pizza = vegetable: http://foodbabe.com/2012/02/03/pizza-is-really-a-vegetable/

2. Artificial sweeteners, and other weird fake additives like MSG give me migraines. I used to drink diet sodas with the best of them. I read articles about how fake sugar tricks your brain and actually makes you hungry and all that other stuff, but after my juice fast I figured a diet soda every now and then couldn’t hurt. I WAS SO WRONG. The first time I drank a diet soda I spent the next 4 days in agony. I was in so much pain I actually missed work – and I try to never miss work. I wasn’t positive that it was the drink that nearly made my head explode, so I essentially performed a controlled experiment on myself and made sure that I was eating clean food, and then introduced a diet soda into the mix. Within 30 minutes… misery. SO, lesson learned. I’m going to avoid artificial additives at all costs. As if the long term health risks weren’t enough…

3. If an animal product is going to enter my home, it damn well better be certified humane and organic. If that statement requires explanation… you haven’t been paying attention. 

4. Organic skin and hair care products are slowly being phased into my life style. I’m the type of gal who stockpiles on lotions and conditioners when something neat is on sale, so I’ve still got a few bottles of lotion that aren’t quite in line with my new principles, but seeing as how skin is the largest organ, it only makes sense to treat it with care :) Additionally, vegan makeup is 99% of what I wear now – who wants animal fat and fish scales on their lips and eyelids?!

5. My tastes have changed. I can now tolerate flavors like fennel seed, anise, vinegar, beets (taste distinctly dirt-like) and also hops. I used to despise anything that tasted remotely similar to black licorice, but since herbal tea was my go-to during the fast, I’m way more accepting of the once reviled flavor. Not saying I love it now, but it doesn’t make me gag. That’s a step in the right direction. I’ve already told you about vinegar. Beets are way more subtle in their dirt flavor, but from the first time I added a beet to my juices to today, I’ve become enamored with their gorgeous colors and am now even growing my own in my first attempt at a balcony garden! Lastly, I once again enjoy hoppy beers, whereas I used to think they tasted like feet. Hmm… vinegar, dirt, feet… oh man I hope this isn’t a bad sign!

I’m sure there’s more, but for now that’s a good solid cross-section of how my life has changed.

Just remember……. you are what you eat! And if you eat with tolerance and acceptance, you will LIVE with tolerance and acceptance!

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Kombucha and Apple Cider Vinegar… an Unexpected Love Story

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The first time I remember hearing about kombucha tea was when a friend of mine suggested we brew some in order to give her a new starter for her delicious homemade sour dough bread. I’d never tried the stuff, and as of yet have not brewed it. (I ordered my scoby today… so this post will soon be in need of an update as I’ll be the happy sipper of home brewed KT!) Recently, however, I was in Charlotte and took advantage of the opportunity to go shopping at Whole Foods. I was searching for some Raw Coconut Water (by these guys: https://www.facebook.com/harmlessharvest?fref=ts ) which is AHH-mazing. It puts anything posing as coconut water to shame. Incredible.

Anyhow, in the refrigerated drink section, near to the magic that is Raw Coconut Water, were several flavors of kombucha. Now, I’ve become slightly addicted to ginger since I went on a 30 day juice cleanse, so I picked up a couple bottles.

Hmmm… I thought, Not bad! I actually found it very refreshing. I don’t have much in the way of a sweet tooth, so to find a light fizzy beverage that was neither loaded with sugar nor packed with chemicals and additives was a major win.

A couple days later I drank the 2nd bottle.

A few days after that, I was struck with a craving… a serious, NEED IT NOW craving for kombucha! Sadly, I had to leave straight from work to get to my chiropractor, and knew that by the time I got back in town the local natural foods store would be closed. I would have to suffer!

On my drive back home though, a thought occurred: Kombucha smells like vinegar, but is fermented tea which is loaded with probiotics. I’ve gotten healthy enough to be in tune with my body, and typically when I crave something specific my body is trying to tell me something. I have found it wise to listen. (At the risk of TMI here – sorry – when I ignored a craving for yogurt, I was greeted the next morning with a sweet [read: awful] yeast infection; when I ignored a craving for grapefruit, I came down with a wicked cold in a matter of days.) So I figured, I must either be craving something to alkalize my body, or I must be craving some good bacteria. So I got some organic yogurt and some Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar.

As soon as I got home, I took 2 shots of vinegar and scooped out a half cup of vanilla yogurt. Call it a dinner for champions. It worked though – I made it through to the next day when I was able to pick up several bottles of KT (I think I went a little overboard… I got one of every flavor!) and haven’t suffered from anything unpleasant.

Regardless of what it was I really needed, probiotics or alkaline deliciousness, I have discovered a new fondness for ACV. I’ve drank a bottle of kombucha every day, and every night I’ve taken at least 1 shot of straight ACV. Most people recommend diluting the vinegar, but my stomach as an iron lining, so I take it straight.

I figure that my health can only benefit from my 2 new loves, which is great, but what an extraordinary event to experience: falling in love with new (and also ancient) beverages!

I WIN

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New Years ReVolution

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This was me in 2008 – 2009. I was certainly at my heaviest in the picture on the left, when I spent Christmas in Cancun. And below are 2 pictures of me in 2010-2011. Can you believe it? I know it to be true, and I almost can’t believe it to look at what occurred in the span of a year.

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Vastly more important than the changes on the outside – I’ll get to those in a minute – were the changes that occurred on the inside. In 2010 something amazing happened. This is that story.

My birthday is in late January, and every year between New Years and my birthday, I get very VERY introspective. For me the month of January is a time to figure out the “state of the union” of my life so to speak… What’s going well, what’s not going well, how I’m doing overall.

In 2010 I was overweight, tired, and pretty miserable with life in general. I remember thinking to myself “I’m 22! These are supposed to be the best years of my life! What in the world is WRONG with me?” So I decided, right then and there: I will do whatever it takes to become as happy as I can be… as happy as I DESERVE to be. It was officially ON. This was not any ordinary New Years resolution… this was a New Years    REVOLUTION.

To make such a broad decision requires some intense soul searching. I had to figure out what was making me unhappy before I could lay out a plan to become happy. I knew for sure that my body image was absolutely not up to my expectations. I wanted desperately to lose weight, and to get in shape. I was at the point where I could sleep for 14 hours a night and want a nap later in the day. I drank a very large amount of alcohol daily, and I could not stand the heat of summer. I knew I had to get healthy.

My boyfriend and I had been bike riding on a semi-regular basis, but it felt like a chore and I hated doing it. I remembered enjoying working out at the gym near my work when I was in high school, so I re-joined that gym. It was clean, spacious, and had enough air circulation (fans) that I felt like I could breathe, even when I was out of breath. Re-reading that sentence sounds confusing, but I hope you get the point. There’s nothing worse than trying to work out in a stuffy room.

Secondly, and worse… I realized that I was no longer in love. I loved my boyfriend – he was a great guy, and we had both benefited from our 4 years together, but the spark was gone. Our physical chemistry was non-existent, and we had essentially become roommates who occasionally slept in the same bed. This realization was devastating. I couldn’t just… move out. I couldn’t afford to live on my own, or so I thought. Also, I wasn’t entirely sure that I wasn’t just making a rash decision. I had to mull it over and make damn sure that I was truly ready to move on. So I retreated deeply into my mind to think it all the way through. And let me tell you, the stress of living with someone who’s in love with you, after you’ve stumbled upon the knowledge that you are no longer in love with them (which seriously, hits you like a ton of bricks) made life difficult to say the least. The only positive to it was that I was too stressed to enjoy food, so I stopped over eating, and also I needed a clear head, so I quit drinking.

After about 3 weeks of silence, and 10 pounds later, said boyfriend “saw a crack in [my] shell” -his words- and was able to pry me out of my silence and fess up to what the hell was going on with me. We broke up that night, and 2 weeks later he moved out. All told, it was a fairly amicable break up. We never fought, and there was no anger between us. It was just time to move on.

I continued to lose weight, going on a research binge and learning all that I could about healthy ways to lose weight without feeling hungry. This is when I discovered Dr Furhman’s writing and it all made perfect sense to me. In a nutshell, when you feed your body the nutrients it needs, by consuming tons of fresh vegetables, your body feels full and doesn’t trigger hunger again after an hour, the way eating say a bagel would. Additionally, when you consume alcohol, your liver has to divert its energy from digesting FOOD to processing the alcohol effectively halting your metabolism. So I started eating raw vegetables first, before any sort of sandwich or anything else, and by the time I finished chewing a few carrots and pieces of celery I was so sick of chewing that I didn’t want to eat any more, and I was full because I’d gotten the vitamins my body needed.

I kept working out, primarily during my lunch breaks and then would eat at my desk while I worked. I ran into the same lady in the locker room every day at the same time, and one day she suggested I try the class she takes, called Metabolic Effect. I went to that class the very next day. I’d thought I was doing fine on my own – sweating on the elliptical, lifting weights in a way I felt sufficient – but I had barely scratched the surface. I hadn’t done lunges or push-ups since swim team in high school and after that first class felt like I was 95 years old, having to pull myself up hand-over-hand to get to my 3rd floor apartment, and going down the stairs was actually a controlled tumble, waiting for my legs to give out one at a time. I kept on going though, and now 3 years later am still a fanatic of Metabolic Effect.

Almost immediately after I became single, friends started to come out of the wood work and I began to grow my own social life. Realizing that I had friends in the city that I worked  in helped me decide to move back to Salisbury and eliminate my 45 minute commute to and from Winston Salem.

I was finally starting to feel alive and happy again. Over the following year I lost about 50 pounds. I saw bones and muscles that I hadn’t seen in YEARS! I was having to buy new clothes because my old ones were too big, and I was able to wear clothes I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing with any semblance of confidence ever before. I had energy. I had health. I had achieved my New Years Revolution and then some. I got to the point of being healthier and happier, both emotionally and physically, than I’d ever been in my entire life.

My journey continues today. I’ve had slips in eating habits, I’ve made some new friends and lost some other friends. I’ve put about 10 pounds back on. But I’ll get them off again. Life is far from perfect. But it’s certainly a hell of a lot better than it was 3, 5, 8 years ago. And I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve learned how to cook, how to keep my apartment semi-clean (I’m kind of sloppy… its just a part of being artistic), I’ve learned how to get in tune with my body and my emotions. And I’ve learned how to love… not only myself, but others too.

This year’s revolution? Juice. But that’s another story…

 

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Nut Milk Recipes

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The Absolute BEST recipe for thick and creamy Vegan Chocolate Milk:

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews

1/2 Cup Walnut Meats

4 dates

1-2 TBSP Dark Cocoa Powder

2-3 Drops Vanilla Extract

1 TSP Bee Pollen (optional)

*USE ALL ORGANIC INGREDIENTS IF POSSIBLE

Directions: Soak cashews and walnut meats in water overnight or 8 hours. Place pitted dates, cocoa powder, bee pollen into blender. Pour the cashews and walnuts, with their water into blender. Fill blender with more water, leaving 1-2 inches of room from the top and then add vanilla extract. Blend on high (I use the “whip/liquify” setting on mine) for approximately 2 minutes. (I usually turn it on and leave it while I make my morning juice.) Voila! No need to strain, because there is no noticeable pulp left.

This milk comes out SO creamy and silky, its just sweet enough without being overpowering and is a truly lovely substitute for chocolate milk.

* For a thicker more milkshake type texture, add 1 TBSP chia seeds to the nuts and soak overnight.

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Almond Milk

1 Cup Almonds

1-2 TBSP Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

2 TBSP Raw Honey *OR* 3 pitted Dates

3 Drops Vanilla Extract

1-2 TBSP Dark Cocoa Powder (optional)

1-2 TSP Bee Pollen (optional)

Soak almonds 8+ hours or overnight in water. Put coconut, dates, bee pollen and cocoa powder in blender. Pour in Almonds and water, fill with water leaving approximately 2 inches of space from the top of the blender. If using honey, now add honey. Add vanilla. Blend on high speed (I use the Whip/Liquify setting) for 2-3 minutes. Strain using either a nut bag or a fine mesh strainer.

I have been saving my almond pulp and dehydrating it/baking it on super low heats until dry to use as almond meal, because organic almond meal is expensive and throwing the leftovers away seems criminal!

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This is my almond meal. I’ve spread it out as thin as I can with a spoon to dry it out evenly.  Once dry, simply scrape off and store in an airtight container to use later! I haven’t tried any recipes yet (I’m on a juice fast) but I can’t wait to give some of these recipes a try!

The above two recipes can be adapted for virtually any nut out there!
So far I have done Cashews, Walnuts (these 2 are my favorites so far), Brazil Nuts, Almonds, and Pistachios.

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