A Veggie Life

As someone who is obsessed with juicing I was very excited when my boyfriend told me that he had a garden in his back yard.  This definitely scored him points in my book when we were first getting to know one another because I have always loved plants, flowers and the study of botany in general.  I feel very much at peace when I am digging through soil and simply caring for another life.  In Chicago I had a beautiful rose garden and several house plants but I have never actually grown my own vegetables or herbs which is something I am so excited to help with!

Nick's grandfather
Nick’s grandfather

I must say so far Nick’s grandfather has been doing pretty much all of the work when it comes to pulling the weeds that grew in over the early spring and putting down the fertilizer.  This man is almost 80 years old and he is as strong as an ox!  He will be turning 80 on one of the greatest days of the year, that’s right you guessed it- September 22nd!  The same day I will be turning 26!

My favorite vegetables are cucumbers, peas, green beans, garlic… I could go on!  I also have a love-hate relationship with zucchinis.  I don’t like them by themselves but they are my secret weapon in baking the most moist delicious blueberry muffins in the world!!!  The next time I bake them I will share the recipe and photos!  (side note… and one of my biggest pet peeves… if you are making blueberry muffins please use fresh blueberries!  I don’t care what anyone says!  Nothing beats the taste of a fresh blueberry and ONLY a fresh blueberry, NOT frozen NOT canned, can burst into your muffin while baking to create the most beautiful colors and designs!)  Okay sorry rant over I am just extremely passionate about fresh produce.

pizza, hummus, and fresh veggies
pizza, hummus, and fresh veggies

As far as my diet goes, yes I have an affinity for veggies but I also love my fruits as well.  Pineapples are my favorite with citrus fruits, pears, and freshly picked strawberries coming in at a close second.  My diet however is not strictly limited to fruits and veggies.  Although I have a lot of vegan recipes, I am in no way gluten free, vegan or vegetarian.  There was a time in my life when I did adopt a vegan diet while trying to cut gluten out and I felt miserable.  I suffered from migraines constantly.  I was always exhausted and my family was getting annoyed with me because at every family get together I napped for at least 2 hours.  I also went to my Dr. who allowed me to sleep in her office and wrote me a note for work (bless her heart) because she saw how tired I was because of 1. how busy my life used to be but also 2. my low iron and hemoglobin levels.

It wasn’t until I went down to Southport, North Carolina to have a meal with my friend Christina and her in laws that I realized how deprived I was of the food that I needed.  I want to stress “that I needed” because in no way do I want to undermine anyone’s diet or lifestyle choice.  I just know that for me a vegan/gluten free diet does not work for my body and everyBODY is different.  At our dinner in Southport we went to a seafood restaurant right on the water.  Knowing me I probably ordered a sweet tea (It is one of my favorite drinks!  Despite the sugar crash that sometimes accompanies it) and in an effort to not be rude or appear picky I ate bread, fish, veggies and shellfish in a cream based sauce.  After that meal I felt so much better!  Energy seemed to flood back through me and my migraine was gone.  Christina’s father in-law even made a comment that stuck with me, “See all you needed was some real food.”  After that I had flirted with the vegan idea but the same thing kept happening I was getting too thin and I had no energy.  So what I have found that works best for me is balance.  A meal that has a small portion of meat, a good portion of veggies and of course my favorite-a healthy carb.  This is not to say that I do not enjoy a giant bowl of pasta, chocolate bread pudding or a freshly baked brownie (more than occasionally) but it feels good to be good!

 

Advertisements

The words Diet and Healthy

When I use the word diet, in no way do I mean it as a sacrificial, punishing term where I am depriving myself of anything.  I just mean diet as in what I fuel my body with to perform at its optimal level.  I have never looked at food as something to count calories or avoid in order to look a certain way.  I believe that I have a great relationship with food because I see it as a wonderful needed addition to my life.  A way of making me feel stronger, healthier and able to heal faster.  If you don’t see food the same way it may be time to change your perspective and develop a beautiful relationship with God’s gift to our bodies.  Don’t keep a scale in your house.  Don’t obsessively measure your waist line.  Don’t compare yourself to other people’s bodies.  Also your body is constantly changing and adjusting because of everyday stressors, hormones, travel, weather changes and sadly tragedies that may occur.  This is adaptation.  God designed us to adapt to our ever changing physical world.  Let your body adapt as needed.

I don’t mind sharing personal information because I am not a private person… I’m just not.  I’m not a complicated person.  I’m not a secretive person.  I’m very open because I love to help people and by sharing my experiences and allowing people to know that they are not alone in what they have gone through or are going through, I believe it helps.  In my adult life I have ranged from 102 pounds to 154 pounds.  When I was 154 pounds I was pregnant with my daughter Ari (by the way I’m 5’4 if this puts things in perspective).  I was one joyful mother to be and I felt beautiful.  After I gave birth to her I was still heavier and thicker than I had ever been but I could care less.  It took me 9 months to put on that weight and I didn’t care if it took another 9 months for the weight to come off.  Sadly within a few short months my weight dropped down to 102 pounds though.  Breast feeding does help with weight loss but I had just experienced the most devastating betrayal of my life.  I lost my (now ex) husband and one of my friends because of an affair.  This is what I mean by adaptation.  This shook me to the core and mentally I was lost.  I went into survival mode, eating when I had to, only because I believed in the benefits of breast feeding babies.  Some people over eat when they are depressed for me it’s the opposite.  I completely withdraw from things that once gave me joy, like food. I want you to know that skinny does not always mean healthy and it does not mean sexy and/or happy.  I didn’t notice how drastic my weight loss was until a friend took a photo of me and as all girls do after a photo is taken I said, ” K, let me see, let me see!!”  When I saw the photo I was frightened.  I looked like a skeleton/ crack head (no offense to anyone whose hobby might be… never mind).  I’m not going to say I heroically overnight arose from my misery, it honestly took a couple of years to recover from something that not only broke my heart, but made me question my trust in others and their morals.  On a much happier note though I was blessed with incredible friends who were always there for me.  I thank God for them.  They would not tolerate my self pity, darkness and harping on the broken dreams that I had imagined as a once 18 year old girl in a white dress. My friends helped me with all of the legal work, they showed me how to smile and laugh again, they helped me raise my daughter and be the loving, supportive family that she needed, they helped me manage my school assignments, dragged me to church every Sunday and Wednesday (where I cried every Sunday and Wednesday for a year straight!).  We took trips to the beach, to the park, the local pizza place every Thursday, the farm, the state fair and eventually those forced smiles became real.  The light slowly came back into my life.  I even stopped crying at church much to the pastor’s relief!  And this is when I began to cook (I figured if I was going to be a single mom I’d be a darn good one).  I loved it (even if the first meals may not have turned out as well as planned and I most certainly have the scars on my hands to prove it).  And those amazing friends that I had were always there to come and eat at my little wobbly table.  By the time I had graduated from college I felt stronger and prouder of myself than ever before- And I was at a healthy weight!

k
The girl with the pinwheel is one of my best friends Kristina! I know that God does not have social media- but thank you God for giving me this one!

So what was the point in telling you about that part of my life? That balance is key. You will not have a healthy body if you do not have a healthy mind. My suggestion is not cutting carbs, fats, sugars and bacon cheese burgers out of your life. My suggestion is just substituting the bad with the good. Get the bad people out of your life and get the good ones in! Trade the box of Kleenex in for one of your favorite comedies. Instead of going out with a friend who likes to go out every night and drink, maybe pick a friend who wants to wake up early, watch the sun rise and go for a run with you. Spend the money you might use on a martini for something that will nourish your body like fresh produce. And maybe every once in a while substitute the whipped cream chocolate drizzled hot chocolate for a freshly squeezed juice (my daily dilemma). Don’t deprive yourself just substitute and live your life in balance.

i did it

I believe that God designed us and this world to be in perfect balance. At times it may seem chaotic but everything has structure and order to it. If you don’t believe in God again just substitute higher power, the universe whatever you want… And if your God is science I can also level with you. Every hot beautiful day will eventually be followed by rain because so much heat is created that water evaporates up to the sky where it then cools and falls as rain. Not every day will be sunshine, there will be rain because we need balance. This is biology 101 I don’t need to get into why the birds, trees and flowers need sunshine and rain. Another example, for every cell in our body there must be perfect balance. A cell cannot be greedy and it cannot over produce. Over production leads to cancer. Greed leads to the cell exploding. A cell must live its life in balance for the greater good of the organism it is a part of.

As a child I loved studying history and one civilization that fascinated me were the Athenians.  They believed that training and developing a young person’s physical body was just as important as disciplining and developing their mind.  Your mental health will directly impact your body.  Your body needs to be healthy; your cholesterol and blood pressure need to be at a healthy level, but if that means a size 8 for you and a size 0 for your neighbor then so be it.  Don’t be a size 0 and unable to live a beautiful happy life because of your neighbor’s body type.  Be a healthy size whatever you are and live that long, happy, beautiful life that God meant for you!

I said sprinkle the cupcakes not bite each one!
I said sprinkle the cupcakes not bite each one!

I just want to add that while you may be crying over someone’s Audrey Hepburn-esque thin body they may be crying over your Marilyn Monroe-esque jaw dropping hips and breasts.. or vice-versa!  There is one you, don’t waste God’s one precious you.

Your Body’s largest Organ: Skin!

Beet juices are growing more and more popular these days and why not?!  Beets with their beautiful magenta color are full of vitamins and minerals!  They are great for skin and as someone who suffered from folliculitis last summer I am all about foods that give your skin a healthy glow!  If you don’t know what folliculitis is, it’s this painful itchy bumpy skin rash that looks like acne.  Last summer I got it all over my scalp and face.  It was very painful!  Doctors and friends tried to recommend their skin care products both topical and oral but what finally cured my folliculitis was changing my diet, using a special zinc based shampoo (which always made the alarm system at the airport go off!) and making sure I always showered immediately after a heavy workout!

I started using Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap in whatever scent I fancied when it was time to buy a new bottle.  I chose this soap because it seemed to have the cleanest ingredients… Here’s the link: https://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/category/LIQUIDSOAP.html

I also invested in a clarisonic which I love!!!

http://www.clarisonic.com/

I continued using my facial lotion, which is an extremely heavy cream because the skin around my eyes gets very dry and tight if I try a lotion that is not a heavy cream.

http://www.aveneusa.com/products/categories/moisturizers

And I simply followed my usual regimen of drinking lots of water and getting as much sleep as I wanted.

I did clean up my diet with less sugar, less processed foods and less dairy (the main culprit being dairy that is filled with hormones).

Stress is also a huge factor in acne along with lack of sleep!  I know it’s easier said than done but the more you can eliminate stressful situations or people the more your body will thank you!  I know for me as soon as my ex-roommate and I parted ways my body immediately started to heal.  I believe in loving everyone but if someone is mean spirited, constantly negative and trying to hurt your spirit on a daily basis, you absolutely must choose to love them from a far.

I also want to add that folliculitis has not been my only skin issue!  Have you ever heard of the shingles?  Well, yep I sadly got that a couple of days after 9/11.  It’s a nerve virus that can be brought on by extreme stress and after 9/11 I was absolutely terrified.  It left scars all over my back and torso but within a year these scars were gone.  I am a firm believer in the power of vitamin E oil and aloe vera.  If you have scars I would highly suggest applying vitamin E oil on them just as I did.

Okay let’s beet it!  One tried and true juice that I have invented is a beet juice and of course beets are not the only ingredient as I love a variety of yummy flavors!

beetss

In this juice there are two beets, three carrots, a pink lady apple, a bosc pear, a handful of kale, a lemon and cilantro.

I only garnish juices when I make them for Nick, so they look extra special.
I only garnish juices when I make them for Nick, so they look extra special.

This does not mean I don’t ever break out though!  I’m still a 25 year old woman and it seems that when I travel on airplanes my skin gets a spot here and there.  What I do if this happens is use a charcoal mask.  It seems to suck all of the toxins that my skin may have absorbed while stressed.

By the way… make sure you’re not say… hand modeling or doing anything else important after cutting beets.  They will stain your fingers for an hour or so.  See photo below (and this was after washing my hands!)

A nice shot of the moon stone ring Nick bought for me when he first met me.  I love him!
A nice shot of the moon stone ring Nick bought for me when he first met me. I love him!

What are your skin care secrets?  I love sharing and getting new ideas!