five fifty nine spin class

5:30 AM, Friday morning. After working all week and not missing a single spin class, my mother gets up at the crack of dawn on Friday to “sweat out the week”. If you are unsure what “spinning” is, it’s a high intensity cycling class that is about forty five minutes of hills, sprints, and tons of leg and core work.

My mom asked me mid-week if I would like to go to spin with her at 5:30am before she went to work on Friday. I couldn’t believe she would ask me such a ridiculous question. Here I am, currently unemployed and leaving to drive across country to Colorado tomorrow, why the hell would I want to wake up at 5am to do spinning? I had ALL day to go for a mediocre run and lift light weights and call it a day.

Then I thought about it. I had to cherish every moment I had left with my mother before my move. And also, if my mom can put on her leg brace, and limp gracefully into that gym at 6am, so can I.

These are the two things I learned during this intense class where I was nearly brought to tears in all the right reasons. Granted I am an emotional person, but I finally realized why my mother loves spin so much.

1.) No matter how hard the uphills are, there is always a downhill right around the corner. Even though these downhills aren’t much easier, just lowering that resistance in the slightest makes all the difference.

2.) Never stop your legs on an uphill, or you won’t be able to start again.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis, or just living in general, is a lot like spin class. No matter how hard the uphill is – you can’t stop. You keep going and you have to realize it will get easier. I tend to like the uphills better because the view at the top is better. The pain makes you stronger. My mom told me after the class, “you have to learn to enjoy the climb.”

While leaving the gym, the woman at the front stopped me. She expresses, “your mother is a true inspiration to all of us, a real role model.” My mom doesn’t miss a day at the gym. She doesn’t miss a day of work. The household is ran as if she was as healthy as she was 15 years ago. It may have gotten harder for her to do all of this, but she doesn’t stop on the uphills. And she never has.

And with all that being said, she kicked my ass in spin class.

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“freebody”

After having a conversation with one of my customers yesterday, it spiked an idea for my next blog post.  I haven’t written in awhile, but I just was unsure what to write about – but then it came to me.  Everyday I get texts and emails surrounding my upcoming move.  Yes, I’m moving…again.  And I’m going to talk about it right here and now.

He asked me what I was doing this weekend and I responded, “Well, my boyfriend is moving to Colorado on Wednesday, so this is our last weekend in Philadelphia together.”

“Well, what are you doing?”

I responded, “I’m moving too, just in a couple of months.”

He said, “So you went from New York City to Philadelphia and now to Denver?”

I nodded.

“Damn, you are a ‘freebody'”

So I googled what a freebody is.  And it is a physics term that isn’t necessarily bad.  It basically shows all the outside forces acting on an object.  My first thought of a freebody was someone who had no real connections to the places he or she has lived and just floats from one place to another.  And that’s not me at all.  Granted, that might be what my customer meant when he said that, but of course, as a writer I over think everything and need to find out the truth behind this freebody business.

Being a freebody, in my opinion, isn’t bad.  Yes, I consider the forces acting on me and I am willing to change my plans given a change in the forces.  I do not resist change or opportunities.  I always acknowledge my feelings and I know when it’s time to move forward.

In New York, I was stuck for sometime because I wanted to stay in one place. That’s how I knew my life, in New York.  I had people I loved there and I built roots in the 5 years I spent on the Upper East Side.  I didn’t want to leave New York.  But then I realized that staying in that small 600 square feet apartment in Queens was not the answer.  I acknowledged what I needed to do and I moved to Philadelphia to start a new beginning. There are far better things in the future than any we leave behind.  I didn’t always believe that, but now I do. 

I moved all my stuff (mostly clothes and kitchen appliances) up 5 flights of stairs to my new life in Society Hill, Philadelphia.  I stated once I reached the top of the stairway, “I’m NOT moving AGAIN!”  But what do you know, not even a year later…I’m leaving.

Sometimes it’s scary to let the forces act on you and accept change and movement with grace and poise.  This is because allowing the forces to act on you you have to admit you are not in complete control of the situation.  You are vulnerable to a certain extent.

But, that vulnerability can be strength.

You can try to fight the forces. I tried to ignore my diagnosis.  I tried to deny red flags in a shitty relationship.  Or, you can accept the forces and see where the new direction takes you.

I fell in love with Peter Barnes about 9 months ago.  On our first date, sitting above Philadelphia, he told me his plans to move out west in September.  With my whole heart I hoped to God that I didn’t fall in love with this guy. But that smile. I had no plans to move to Colorado. Obviously.  I made plans to stay in Philadelphia.  And it was history ever since.

If I have learned anything in this crazy life, plans change. So I’m packing up my Philadelphia apartment into my small Chevrolet Cruze and moving to Colorado.

Call me a freebody.

I do not resist opportunity or change.  I can acknowledge my feelings and I know when it’s time to move forward.  I take chances.  I am not afraid of the unknown.  Yes, I’m human, and I have anxiety about huge life changes but I continue to move forward.

So maybe that customer that knew nothing about me was on to something.  I may not be in complete control of the situation, but that’s okay, I can admit that.  Right now, my vulnerability is my strength.

As a friend once told me, “if you made the choice, it’s the right one.”

And I have 100 percent made the choice.  And it’s the right one. 

favorite RAW dinner


  

MY FAVORITE RAW DINNER.  So I don’t always eat raw dinners – I always prefer a cooked meal as my last meal of the day.  Especially in the winter.  But, it’s hot as hell out so I’ve been eating a lot more raw food to keep my body temp down and also my apartment a lot cooler. This “marinara” sauce I make is absolutely delish! So if you read my blog regularly, you already know I’m not that precise with measurements or recipes because I honestly throw things together and taste test until it is perfect – I urge you to do this as well because you can see exactly how YOU like it, not necessarily me.  I also put my sauce over raw zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) and in order to do this you will need a spiralizer! (www.williams-sonoma.com)  but you could also put it over rice noodles, udon noodles, anything you want.  I just love the zoodles because it feels like you are eating pasta but you eat about, three zucchinis…and we all know that is fantastic.

Ingredients:

1.) Tomatoes (3-4)

2.) sun-dried tomatoes

3.) Cherry tomatoes

4.) Hemp seeds

5.) Oregano

6.) Basil

7.) Green Onion

8.) Dates

So in the vitamix I throw 4 tomatoes, sliced.  A handful of cherry tomatoes.  And a couple of sun-dried tomatoes.  (Some sun-dried tomatoes need to be soaked for a couple of hours so they can blend properly) I then put in a couple leaves of fresh basil and a teaspoon of oregano.  As for the green onions,  I slice up about a cup worth and throw that in as well.  As for the dates and hemp seeds, I put 2 dates in (Make sure you remove the pit, you can also soak these so they are easier to blend) and a tablespoon of hemp seeds.  Then blend it up on high, and taste test.  You will be left with a savory “pasta” sauce.

I apologize again for my awful, awful recipe writing – it’s something I will work on (and will start measuring what I do!) I would love if someone tried out the recipe and told me what they did differently or didn’t do differently!

xx

filtering my milk with an american apparel stocking


Yesterday I had a bit of an incident. Everyday I ride my bike to work – it’s just something I do to save money and also get in a bit of extra exercise.  At one point in my ride I have to cut across and head north where the bike lane ends.  I never had a problem with this route and I was doing the same thing I always do.  Long story short, a car wound up stopping and opening their car door.  I went right into the car door, swerved, and hit another car on the right side.  I fell to the ground (I’m okay, I promise!) and managed to be FINE.  I do not wear a helmet, but now I won’t get on the bike again until I have one.  I got away with a stiff neck and a couple of cuts.  This story is so significant to my life because everyday I try SO hard to live a healthy life, make the right eating choices, so I can have a long, healthy life.  My life could have abruptly stopped right then and there regardless of how healthy I try to be and how many homemade almond milk ounces I make.  Life is beyond precious, and along with making proactive choices so you can live a healthy life, also be careful.  Wear a helmet.  Look both ways.  Put on a seatbelt.  You don’t realize how short life can be until you face an incident like this.

Anyways. like promised, how to make my homemade almond ‘mylk’.

In my instagram post I wrote, “why I won’t buy store-bought almond milk”.  And yes, that is true, I won’t purchase silk or blue diamond or whatever.  I just won’t.  But a disclaimer, I’m not that anal chick bringing my homemade almond milk to coffee shops (well, most of the time.) and if I’m out to dinner/lunch and I have some milk in my coffee, I will just choose whatever non-dairy alternative they have.  Balance.  So yes, when I’m at my home and I want milk, I make my own.  I make the best choices I can everyday considering that life happens and sometimes you must have processed almond milk.

So why I don’t buy store-bought almond milk.  Not a big long spiel here, but why would you buy store-bought almond milk filled with guar gum and  ‘natural flavors’ when you could just make your own super fast, super cheap and super easy almond milk? What I try to do everyday is eat every food as a whole only consisting of ingredients I understand.  If you don’t know what an ingredient is, your body won’t either.  Trust me.  I think that is a pretty simple philosophy.  Just eat things in their natural state.  I don’t worry about food combining, macros, percentages of fat/protein/carb, I just eat foods as a whole and in an untouched, organic state.  Simple.

So how do I make my almond milk? We are thinking simplicity here.

What you will need:

1.) Blender (I use a Vitamix)

2.) Filtered Water

3.) Raw/Organic Almonds

4.) Dates

5.) Cinnamon

6.) Organic Sea Salt

7.) American Apparel Nylon (Haha! Or just any nylon stocking…I will get to this part and explain…I promise…)

First, I soak my almonds for about 8 hours. So just the day before you decide to make your milk, just soak your almonds overnight.  This will make them easier to blend.

Instructions:

1.) Drain and rinse the soaked almonds and then put them in the blender.  I normally do about 2 cups of almonds and this makes about 64 oz.

2.) So I know I mentioned on my blog before I never use measuring cups.  I always just approximate which makes me a shitty recipe writer but bear with me.  I put enough water in the blender so that all the almonds are covered plus about an extra 1 1/2 cups.  It should look like 1/2 almonds and 1/2 water in the blender.

3.) Then I add in a couple shakes of cinnamon, 3 dates, and a pinch of sea salt.  I taste test after it is finished blending and add in a little more of whatever you like.  If you like a more savory milk, add some more sea salt.  A sweeter milk, add some more dates.

4.) Blend.  I let my blender sit on for about 2/3 minutes so it completely blends all the dates and almonds.  Then I taste test and see what I need a little more of.  Now, the milk is gonna be thick at this point because this is prior to filtering it.

5.) So this part my roommate always laughs at.  But I promise it doesn’t take long!  So you are going to need a nut bag or cheesecloth and to be completely honest I have no idea where to get one, probably online.  What I use is an American Apparel nylon stocking.  I cut off the feet part (I never used these stockings) and it works perfectly! All I do is grab a big pot, pour my almond milk from the blender and into the stocking over the pot.  I wish I had a video for this part, it kinda reminds me of milking a cow.  The goal of this is just to filter out all the leftover almond pieces and just get the creamy ‘milk’.  It takes about a couple pours and a couple stocking massages to finally get all the milk out.  I’m not sure if I’m using correct terms when referring to my almond milk. But whatever. And wah-lah.  That’s all.  You are left with a non-chunky, creamy, delicious almond milk.  With no weird ingredients.

I’m telling you this almond milk tastes good in just about everything.  Especially coffee.

So that’s all for today, try my recipe, tweak it yourself and tell me what you think and what you did differently!

xxx

filling my bowls with the right stuff


  
  
  

Okay! So obviously I love making all kinds of bowls.  Today we are going to focus on all of my lovely breakfast bowls.  Not only do they look beautiful but they are filled with nutrients I use everything from acai to avocado and I’m telling you they are filling and delicious.

BLENDER: I am lucky enough to have a Vitamix that I use at home and at work.  Yes, these blenders are worth every penny (Thanks Ooma!) but you can totally use a non-expensive blender to do these as well.  For the longest time I used a 30 dollar blender from Target and it got the job done.  When using an inexpensive blender I recommend just blending a little longer than you would and also using a little more of a liquid base.

ACAI BOWLS

THE BASE:  So you need to start off with a liquid base.  To keep my smoothie bowls raw, I use either freshly juiced apple or a water base.  The apple makes it a little sweeter (obviously) but if you don’t have access to a juicer the water works fine.  When making a smoothie bowl, I only use about 3oz of water or juice because I want it to have a thicker consistency.  Other liquid bases that are delicious, dairy-free, and good for you: Almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk (All can be found at whole foods)

1.) Acai – So you probably hear people saying the word “Acai” (Ah-sai-ee) all the time.  And most of the time they are probably saying it wrong.  So here is the scoop on acai.  It’s a berry, so it is filled with antioxidants. Does it have more super powers than any other berry? In my humble opinion, not necessarily.  All berries are going to be good for you, this one just happens to be exotic and delicious and makes an awesome, refreshing bowl.

Where do you get Acai?

Since I don’t have access to an acai palm tree and I can’t pick it myself, I have to buy the frozen smoothie packs.  Which aren’t too bad. I get all my frozen (unsweetened) smoothie packs from Sambazon.  They are all organic and a really great company to deal with. ( http://www.sambazon.com ) Tip: Stay away from any acai juices/smoothies that you see in refrigerators at stores they are loaded with sugar and are the furthest thing from au-natural.  So, you can get these unsweetened smoothie packs from Whole Foods and I’ve seen them at my local health store as well.  Check around.

So you have your base. Either juice, almond milk, water, etc.  Now put your frozen acai packet into the blender.

THE BANANAS: I go through a ton of bananas. I am constantly buying them and rotating them.  I wait until they are super spotty and almost brown to freeze them.  Please don’t freeze them when they are green! Bananas get a bad rep for being very binding and constipating people.  This is NOT the case when you eat your bananas correctly.  Waiting until they are super ripe is the key.  For smoothie bowls, using a frozen banana is the way to go.  It makes the consistency creamy, cold (But not icy) and thick.  I’m a little obsessed so I use two frozen bananas in my bowls because it sweetens it nicely and I have a major sweet tooth! But, you only need one.

Now, I find that honey makes for a super creamy and sweet acai bowl.  I don’t use honey but I think if you are using a local honey it would be a nice touch.  Sometimes I will throw in some chia seeds to help with the consistency. Chia seeds when put in water form a gelatinous fiber around them and are great for cleansing the body.

BLENDING: Even with a vitamix, it takes some time to blend up a frozen acai packet and a frozen banana.  Sometimes I will stop, add a little extra of whatever base you decided to use and stir it up. By the end of the blending procedure you should be left with a creamy, “yogurt-like” consistency.

GREEN SMOOTHIE BOWLS

This is all very similar to the acai procedure, but instead you will be using your base of choice (About 4oz this time), a frozen banana (or two) and greens.

1.) Greens – It’s very self explanatory, either throw in a handful of organic spinach or organic kale.  Tip: Kale is harder to break down in the blender so you will need a little extra blend time.  Also, I noticed that kale isn’t as easy to palate as spinach is.  If you are using kale, I would blend in an extra banana for taste.  Spinach you won’t even be able to taste.

What is better for you? I don’t discriminate my greens.  I eat whatever is organic and I just change it up.  ALL leafy green vegetables are going to work wonders for your overall health.

2.) Avocado – For my green smoothie bowls I always throw in 1/3 or 1/2 of an avocado.  Avo has a very neutral taste and thickens the smoothie bowl a LOT.  Even if you throw in the smallest amount of avo, it will make it have an ice-creamy texture. Delish. Not to mention avo is a healthy fat.

 

TOPPINGS

So I use a ton of different toppings, but the most important is the fruit.  I’m not crazy about supplements, I believe that using the whole food is the most important.  Use whatever fruit you can, I normally only put on a little bit for my fun photos and then load on more after the photoshoot.  

Favorite toppings:

1.) Gluten-Free/Organic Granola 

2.) Chia Seeds

3.) Flax Seeds

4.) Cinnamon

5.) Unsweetened Coconut

6.) Cacao Nibs

7.) Raw almonds

8.) Pumpkin seeds

9.) Goji Berries

I get a lot of questions about food combining and getting the right amount of nutrients and this is always my answer:  Your body is amazing.  It takes what it needs out of the food you put in your mouth.  If you are eating a whole food, plant-based diet you will get a ton of the right nutrients.  I promise. I don’t worry too much about eating the right combinations, I just eat food from the earth.  (Not to sound like a hippie bitch.) But just give your body what it needs and it can figure it out itself.  

 

I hope you took something out of this post and everyone have a fantastic Saturday! XOX

 

 

 

 

 

freeing yourself while feeding yourself

When I was 12 years old my father used to drag me out of bed to run with him.

Barely awake with a puffy face and my hair matted to my sweaty face I would oblige.  At 12 years old I started to become conscious of what I was putting into my body and knew that I was holding a little extra weight, more so than the other 7th graders in my class. I mean, all the other 7th grade girls had boyfriends, and I just had a bike.  I think I started to understand that you needed to exercise to stay fit and always eat a nutritious diet.  I grew up on canned spaghetti sauce, microwaveable vegetables, and butter. Drinking a XL glass of skim milk with a huge piece of white bread smothered in butter was completely normal and considered nutritious in my family.  So I kept eating the same way and decided to run with my father.

I always could make it out of my driveway.  Easy.  Once out of the neighborhood, mind you this is .33 miles, I could barely breathe.  I would start gasping and crying and my dad would exclaim as he ran in circles around me, “C’mon! Just do it!” He would have to pull me most of the time just to make me run 1 mile.

Weight became the center of my life when I was 15 years old.  I would carelessly throw the words “fat”, “obese”, “disgusting” around and I had such a hatred for my body. I didn’t have a thin figure like the rest of the girls and they were all just so thin.  I started exercising more, restricting calories, and I began reading up on “Macrobiotics”.  Not sure how any 15-year-old girl living off of skim milk and chicken dinner her mother made her thought she could go Macrobiotic.  Macrobiotics is primarily sea vegetables, seeds, brown rice, and leafy greens.  At the time I didn’t even fully understand that salad dressing could be homemade and it didn’t have to come from a bottle.  But I was going Macrobiotic.

This story could be painfully long, but I’ll spare you and get to my point.

Throughout my life I seemed to make dietary choices based on my weight.  I didn’t care about being “healthy” I was a vegan because it would restrict me of calories, I was macrobiotic because it was a way I could get out of eating and still put on this persona of living a healthy life.  Yes, being a vegan can be an extremely healthy lifestyle, if you are doing it for the right reasons.  It took me a long long time to get me to where I am today with my plant-based lifestyle. So many ups and downs.  At 16,  I would restrict.  At 18, I would obsessively count calories.  At 21, I would self-soothe with food.  At 22, I would starve and binge.  It still is something I have to deal with every single day, but I owe it to myself to enjoy food and just be healthy and love yourself every step of the way.  It sounds ridiculously corny, but worrying about food all the time and looking at it so negatively is exhausting.  After being diagnosed with MS in 2013, I noticed a change.  I genuinely wanted to work towards living a healthy life.  My life depended on it.  It wasn’t about being “skinny” anymore, it was about being strong.

I’m gonna write a few things that helped me get through this obsessive compulsive eating dilemma I found myself in. I truly believe everyone is so different and what works for me, might not work for you but I thought I would write it out anyways.

So thanks to my father, I am now a runner.  I just finished my first half-marathon and I am working towards a full marathon.  Running to me used to be something that was going to make me skinny.  Now, I think of myself as an athlete. I think of every mile making me stronger.  I get out there everyday and workout because I love training and working towards a goal. I want to be stronger and then after I finish running, I love fueling my body back up with the right foods.  This helped me a lot.  Work towards a goal to make you stronger and healthier than you were yesterday.

Make sure you are eating big enough meals with plenty of calories that are good for you. Stay away from “empty” calories. When I say “empty”, I mean calories that are giving you 0 nutrients.  Any sugary power drinks, processed foods, low-calorie snacks (these suck.),  etc.  When you fill your stomach with food that is genuinely nutritious it has a completely different feeling then when you overstuffed yourself with shitty food. If you are eating big enough meals you won’t feel the need to binge.

Stop getting mad at yourself for being hungry.  You are human. I would get so mad at my body when I would get hungry.  “WHY AM I HUNGRY?”  Why wouldn’t you be hungry?  Be thankful that you have food to eat.

There is absolutely no “screwing up”.  I will repeat myself, you are human.  Sometimes you are gonna eat like shit.  Sometimes you are gonna overeat.  Sometimes you aren’t gonna have the energy to workout.  It really doesn’t matter.  Stop being so hard on yourself, and once you stop thinking so negatively about yourself, you can work out tomorrow.  I noticed the more positive reinforcement I give my body the more I want to eat the right foods, and workout.  negatively sucks.

Life is way too short to sit around in anxiety over your next meal.  Listen to your body, fill it with the right foods, and just relax.

I started writing this post thinking I was going to write about Kayla Montgomery (MS/Running). But I guess my mind had a different plan.

xo

fell, fallen, falling

The second before i’m about to hit the ground after my legs have unexpectedly slipped, again, my mind races like no other.  First, I think of specifics.  How did this happen?  Why wasn’t I watching my step?  Are the bottoms of my shoes worn down?  Then, I dig deeper.  Is this going to hurt? How am I gonna fucking catch myself?  Will I get back up?

I don’t wanna fall.  But I can’t seem to stay off the ice. I think about falling more than one person should, yet I can’t seem to slow down or be more cautious with my steps.  My impulsive and impatient nature keeps me trekking right through the thick ice which is covering most of Philadelphia right now.

No matter how quickly I seem to be falling, I manage to find time to fire off a dozen questions. Am I really gonna wipe out? Can anyone see me? Who will help me back up?  What if I can’t stand on my two feet again? Was going out in the ice really the best option?

What is the outcome of these falls that plague me everytime I step outside of my Society Hill apartment? I normally catch myself.  Time speeds back up to its normal pace and I continue on.  After the fall, I find myself more cautious.  I am worried what will happen next, my future.  

Winter will thaw, and I sense that my falls will not cease.  Each slip on the ice is a not-so-gentle reminder that there may not be ice one day, and I will still slip.  Simple things, like having an every-so-often slip that others often experience, serve as reminders of what I so often try to forget.

I try to remind myself, there is ice on the ground.  And I am allowed to slip on ice.  Because that is what happens to a normal, healthy, 24-year-old living in an ice covered city. 

As New York City seems farther and farther away, I have become good at catching myself.   I see myself catching myself when things are moving too fast.  I catch myself before settling for less than I deserve.  I catch myself before compromising huge parts of myself to fit someone else’s vision of what/who I should be.

Maybe it’s this slick, frozen city but I find myself falling in a way I never imagined and being okay with it.  After months of learning to catch myself, this unexpected slip has caused me to fall. I can’t stop my mind from thinking a dozen what-if’s as I fall quicker and quicker towards the ground.  Luckily, this isn’t my first ice-covered city. I just need to make sure I’m not so busy catching myself, that I forget that sometimes it’s okay to let myself fall.

my FACE: how I cleared my skin

The fact that I can actually write a post on this is mind-blowing.  I tried it all.  Proactive, birth control, clearasil, toothpaste, mud facials, chemical peels, oil-cleansing, tamanu oil, jojoba oil, almond seed oil, I cut out almonds from my diet, I cut out dairy, I put prescription meds all over my skin, I used special cleansers, soy cleansers, I artificially tanned (“tanning makes my acne better”), I tanned outside, I wore sun screen, I didn’t, I mediated, I ran, I compulsively washed my face, I exfoliated, okay you get the point.  But I’m sure most of my readers can relate.

But listen, I have the answer.  I found the answer.

Nutrition is interesting.  It’s not like a prescribed medication that you take to fix that one issue (and experience 85 side effects) Good nutrition prevents cancer, auto-immune diseases, obesity, clears skin, gives you energy, etc. etc.  With no wacky side effects, I promise.

So what I’m trying to say is, I ate a whole food, plant-based die and cleared my skin.  It was simple.  I’m going to give you a breakdown of exactly what I took out and incorporated in my diet.  My skin has an amazing glow, and I do not have to wear face makeup. (WHAT?) I also have scarring all over my chin and I’m noticing it going away now. Bizarre and beautiful what 10 bananas a day can do.

1.) I started taking a shot of wheatgrass everyday.  If you can’t get ahold of the juice, buy the powder at whole foods.  Mix it with some water and throw it back! Put it in your juices and smoothies, just get this amazing superfood in your body.  It’s equivalent to 1.5 pounds of vegetables!

2.) Green juice.  Start your day with a raw, unpasteurized green juice. I make sure I always have my green juice on an empty stomach so it’s like an IV of nutrients.  Yessss

3.) No no no no no no processed foods.  I stopped eating anything that comes packaged pretty much. No weird ingredients.  Just remember if you can’t recognize an ingredient your body won’t either! Which causes inflammation aka ACNE.  I won’t even drink almond milk that is bought at the store, try making it at home! Be aware of what you put into your body.

4.) Know where your food comes from.  How long has it been sitting on the shelf without going bad? What chemicals are they putting in the product to increase shelf life?  Think about that!

5.) Think seasonal.  And local.  Choose seasonal produce over produce that has to be shipped long distances. Why would we eat a mango/pineapple in the dead of winter on the east coast? Mangos are used to help cool the body in tropical climates.

6.) THROW OUT makeup that is bought at CVS, riteaid, etc.  I know buying organic/mineral makeup is expensive but your skin is worth it! And when your skin is clear you will save so much money on over the counter treatments, etc.  I was riding on NJtransit heading back to Philadelphia from New York back in the summer and I had makeup on and I just felt disgusting and weighed down by it.  I threw out every ounce of makeup that wasn’t bought at whole foods or origins.  I think this had a huge impact on my skin.  I get all my makeup from http://www.mineralfusion.com including the hydration spray! (My favorite)

7.) Biting nails. I stopped biting my nails.  Maybe because I wasn’t as stressed out once I left Manhattan.  But this stopped my hands from being around my face all the time.  Which I think caused some of the acne.  Gross.

8.) Reduced stress.  HUGE one.  I changed cities, left a job that I didn’t enjoy, and left a relationship that was no longer for me.  After I took one step in the direction towards happiness I noticed my skin clearing, I promise you.  Get rid of the things that don’t make you happy and bring you down as a person.  If you are miserable in your job, relationship, I don’t care if you make 1 million dollars a year and live in a beautiful mansion – fucking walk away.  What I have learned is that happiness has to be found.  Listen to your body and pick and choose what you want in your life.  How beautiful is it to have choices.  Don’t be scared because you can’t decide, be thankful that you have choices.

9.) Don’t over wash.  I wash my face to get my mineral makeup off and after I workout.  That’s all.  When  I wake up in the morning I just rinse with warm water and a washcloth.

Think happiness. Think simplicity. Think fruits and vegetables.

Let me know if any of my tips worked for you!

xxx

feeling: can’t stop won’t stop (day 18)

Hi all! So for my last week I decided to eat fully raw and incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables.  On Sunday night I was craving a huge kale salad, so I went with my gut and made a huge salad topped with a low-fat guac! (1/2 Avocado, 1 zucchini, handful of sun-dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lime)

Well, now after eating raw for the week  –  I don’t think I ever want to go back to cooked food/caffeine/alcohol.  But this is where it gets tough.  How can this work socially? I love going out to eat, so I have to find a good balance. Which can be tricky but I’m up for the challenge.  Life is about living to the fullest – and if going out to eat and eating a cooked vegan meal makes me happy, that’s what I will do.  What will I cook at home now? Raw vegan.  I’m working on some awesome recipes! So stay tuned to see what I’m doing in my kitchen.

On Christmas, while drinking my morning coffee, cutting out caffeine for 21 days seemed so so hard.  And now, I don’t even think I need coffee anymore.  Insane how our bodies work and what seems impossible to change, our bodies adapt.  Challenge yourself to cut out something that you never thought you would be able to live without – I bet you can do it.

first interview sneak peek

Recently I was asked to do an interview for a well-known blogger in Philadelphia!  She has such a great spirit and I love reading her blog  – and I can’t wait to meet her on Monday for my interview. (!!!) She asked me to answer a few questions which I emailed back to her today.  I thought I would share some of my answers – i’ll post where to see the full interview later this week!

Why did you choose this path/career?
A: When I was 16 years old I asked for a juicer for Christmas. And ever since then I have been on the same path – a path to reach optimal health and to be my best self by eating healing foods. All throughout my childhood I knew my mom as having multiple sclerosis. I never once thought to myself I would be diagnosed with the same disease, but I often wonder if subconciously I was taking preventative actions. Nine years later, I am still on the same path. After my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis in 2013, I am so thankful my journey started at 16 years old. I am now equipped with all the knowledge I have gained over nine years to eat the right foods and live a lifestyle that can keep me healthy. I feel so confident in my knowledge I chose to not be on any medication, even though my doctors give me disapproving looks. After leaving New York City, where I studied Communication Sciences I found myself in Philadelphia as the GM of Animo. I am so thankful for this job. It allows me to be surrounded by raw juice and organic produce. (People often tell me the hardest part of eating healthy is eating healthy at work – which is not the problem for me. Thank goodness!) So yes I chose this path, but I don’t think I chose this career. This might sound cliche, but I believe this career chose me. I never thought I would be returning to school to study holistic nutrition. But when it comes to your body, life, and health especially when dealing with an incurable disease, I take it seriously, and I urge everyone else to as well.

What is your journey?
A: My journey is to maintain how I am now. I am in good health, active, and thriving. I want to still be walking and be able to run my children around one day. If I can lead a healthy, strong, active life for the rest of my life, I have reached my goal.

Who are you trying to reach?
A: I often feel that as a society we have set the bar to low for feeling “fine”. We are often weighed down by ailments, feel sluggish, and are unhappy at our weight. My audience are people with “incurable” diseases chained to medications. My audience are people who always have headaches, feel tired, and don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning. My audience are people who have ever said “I should eat healthier.” Believe it or not, our bodies are designed to feel good.

What have been the highlights and challenges along the way?
A: My first MRI was done and on my brain, I had three lesions that correlated with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. The last MRI I had done I had one lesion that was stable and the other two were gone. No progression.

Challenges. Hm. Well, I must say it is a constant challenge. Living a plant-based whole food vegan diet differs dramatically from the Standard American Diet. I don’t crave non-plant based foods, but socially it is difficult. Even my parents will make remarks about how my lifestyle is difficult to deal with. Someone once said to my best friend, “Monica is perfect – except for the whole vegan thing, I don’t know if I could look past that.” That breaks my heart. No one would say a word if I injected myself with disease modifying drugs and constantly drove through the McDonalds drive through. That’s a big challenge, especially when you are single, 24 and living in a new city.

Tips or Advice for our readers?
A: It took me 9 years to get where I am today. It started 9 years ago with some green juice. If you can have ONE meal a day that is nutritionally dense and filled with plant-based whole foods, you are on the right path. I’m telling you, your body will react so well to that one healthy meal you will want to keep going. LEARN. Read books, documentaries, youtube, blogs, etc. Educate yourself.