America’s Cancer INDUSTRY

Please take a few minutes to watch this eye opening talk on America’s food/cancer industry. The statistics are shocking. PLEASE educate yourself and your family on making smart food choices.

The food revolution can start with you!

According to youarewhatyoueat.tumbler.com:

“Oncologists have long been using crude weapons to fight cancer — cut out tumors or use chemotherapy that kills good cells as well as bad ones. Drug companies say that new cancer drugs will change this — for a price. Last year Gleevec grossed $4.3 billion, Herceptin made $6 billion and Avastin $7.4 billion.

Cancer drugs are often horribly expensive. Last year biotech drugs accounted for 70 percent of the increase in pharmaceutical costs in America. In general, cancer plays a huge role in raising costs. America’s National Institutes of Health predicts that spending on all cancer treatment will rise to $158 billion in 2020 — or, if drugs become pricier, as seems likely, as high as $207 billion.

None of this is likely to change so long as the conventional medical establishment and organizations like the American Cancer Society, which appears to be far more interested in money than it is in finding a cure, continue to have their way.

(Source)

Fast Food vs. Home Cooking: A Price Comparison

And don’t forget to include the long-term healthcare costs of eating fast food regularly when deciding what is really less expensive….

 


(Source)

Atha yoga anushasanam

Yoga Sutra 1.1  “Now, after having done prior preparation through life and other practices, the study and practice of yoga begins”  (atha yoga anushasanam)

Over the weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a discussion with Kino Macgregor, a world renowned ashtanga yoga teacher and founder of the Miami Life Center.  Her presence is beautiful and she literally glows as she is talking about yoga, her life’s passion.  Knowledge of the yoga sutras poured out of her and her sanskrit and chanting seemed to come from another world – a place much older than this one.  She has the ability to channel something sacred.  With my eyes open, I saw an attractive young woman, but with my eyes closed there was a very old and wise soul in the sound of her voice.  A soul moving toward moksha.

Although, my head was swirling with information after her talk, there were a few key points that stuck out to me.  First, practicing yoga equals diving head first into the murkiness that is our thinking mind.  Yoga has the ability to bring to the forefront of our thought the ugliness that we have been hiding from.  This idea really made an impression on me.  As a counselor, I strive to help my clients understand that without going into those scary places, healing will not occur.  And the thought that dedication to yoga also means entering these very same scary places means allowing the samskaras to play out on the mat as well as in the default world.

Another topic that Kino shared with us was dedication to practice.  Without dedication, we will never truly bring to light and let go of our samskaras.  We cannot just practice yoga when it is convenient, or when we feel like it. We must practice everyday.  Whether it be 10 minutes of sun salutations or 90 minutes of vinyasa, we must be dedicated.  Something that really struck home for me was when she gave the example of choosing to have a few glasses of wine rather than practicing yoga.  I have struggled with balancing my ‘social life’ and my ‘yoga life’.  This Friday, I have the opportunity to practice with one of my favorite teacher’s teacher.  As much as I would love this experience, I keep shying away from it because of possible social gatherings.  Yet, Kino’s voice continues to reverberate in my head and I know deep down that I should go to the workshop.

Something has guided me to yoga, and now there is an even stronger force daring me to jump in head first.  And as I teeter on the edge, I can’t help but wonder where it will take me…….

Chipotle Rice and Beans & Cream of Cauliflower Soup

These recipes come to us from the Urban Zen Foundation- an amazing movement founded by fashion designer, Donna Karen.

Urban Zen’s mission statement:

“The Urban Zen Foundation creates, connects and collaborates to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being, preserving cultures and empowering children in mind, body and spirit. Urban Zen designs forums, partners with existing organizations and brings together experts to define solutions and implement action.”

After supporting her husband and best friend during their battles with cancer, Donna Karen noticed a hole in the healthcare system thus starting the wellness initiative at the Urban Zen Foundation.  The wellness initiative focuses on a much needed shift toward hospitals integrating holistic wellness into their treatments rather than just treating the disease.

Urban Zen now has an amazing Integrative Therapy Program which trains members of the yoga and healthcare communities in the modalities of yoga therapy, reiki, essential oil, nutrition, and contemplative care.  There is even a program at my alma mater, Kent State University, educating the nursing students on the importance of self care.

So when @Urban_Zen posted these recipes on twitter, I was on board!  The recipes are easy, healthy, and take minimal ingredients (in other words-cheap) so I knew they were Poor Girl worthy!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

SERVINGS: 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into chunks
1/2 medium yellow onion, halved
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons rice flour
6 cups water
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • In medium pot, combine cauliflower, onion, rosemary and water. Cook on medium (covered) for roughly 25 minutes or until cauliflower is soft to fork’s touch
  • When done, remove rosemary sprig then add mixture to blender in 2 batches adding 1 tablespoon of rice flour to each batch
  • Purée until smooth and creamy
  • Pour back into pot; salt and pepper to taste

Chipotle Rice and Beans

SERVINGS: 6

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sundried tomatoes (unsluphered), rough chop
1/2 teaspoon ground chipolte chili powder
1 cup white basmati rice
1 15 oz can black beans
3 cups vegetable broth
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, rough chop

METHOD:

  • In a large pan, add olive oil and sauté onions, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and chili powder on medium low until onions are browned (about 3-5 minutes)
  • Add rice, black beans and broth. Mix well, cover and cook on medium low for 20 minutes
  • Salt to taste
  • Finish with parsley

Try them out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Chugging Along….

Holy Moly, these past couple weeks have been busy for me!  I’ve been going and doing non-stop and can feel the fatigue setting in.  A solid 48 hours of just being would suit me well right about now, but unfortunately the ‘nothingness’ that I am craving is not an option as of yet.

So, here is my plan to keep on keepin’ on:

1.  Have some fun tonight with my hubby!  If that means a dance party in the kitchen, then so be it.  I want to get my boogie on.

2.  Set my own schedule for tomorrow.  My schedule has been dictated by clients, yoga classes, and family lately.  Tomorrow-I’m calling the shots.  Sleeping in and vegan baking are both on the agenda! (oh yeah, and of course yoga)

3.  Coffee.

4.  Get re-organized.  Keeping things straight between my internship, yoga training, and class has been quite a task.  Especially when my ‘office’ is me sitting on the couch with a laptop surrounded by books and paperwork that my cat insists on laying on.  Today, I’m going to take some time to get everything back in functional working order.

5.  And last but not least, nutritious foods to keep me going-Duh!

 

Ok, so I admit- maybe this post was all about me, but I have been putting ‘me’ on the back burner lately.  And I needed to vent.

What do you do to stay motivated when life gets hectic??

 

What the Average American Eats in a Year

Americans are averaging 2,700 calories per day.  Check out this graphic that represents what we are filling our bellies with.

Source: http://tiny99.com/782789

Poor Girl Recipe: Kale Salad

What do you do when you have a bunch of kale in the refrigerator and don’t feel like cooking?  Make a kale salad.

Dressing:

1/2 red pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

Salad:

1 bunch of kale, spines removed, chopped
1 large carrot peeled with a vegetable peeler
1 green onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup almonds roughly chopped

Pour the dressing over the salad and massage into kale leaves. This is good when eaten immediately, but REALLY good the next day (if it makes it that long)!

This salad is cheap, and super healthy providing lots of vitamin K, A, C, fiber, B6, B2, potassium, magnesium, and more!

To good health!

How to Have a Poor Girl Organic Wedding

In honor of my 1st wedding anniversary on September 18th, I am writing a post on how I put together an organic wedding on a poor girl budget.  What is an organic wedding?  It’s a wedding that comes together organically through a mish-mash of alternative vendors, creative thinkers, and lots of love.

Going into our wedding planning, my husband and I both knew that we wanted something different.  We have attended dozens of beautiful ceremonies but knew that we would need something personalized to us which would mean completely out of the norm.  It was also apparent that we did not want to spend anywhere near today’s average wedding costs of around $25,000- yikes!  So we put our heads together with some of our amazing family members to pull off the most incredible wedding in the history of weddings.  Okay, maybe I am a little biased.  ;)

So, here are my recommendations for putting together your dream organic wedding on a budget:

First and foremost, search for vendors that are NOT typically associated with weddings.  Here is how we did it.

Food:  We contacted a private chef rather than the ‘wedding caterers’ in town.  This guy was the chef at a large sorority house at Indiana University where he fed 200 hungry girls every day.  He knew how to cook large portions, but the catch was we wanted an all vegetarian wedding!  He admitted to us that this would present a challenge for him as he wanted to prove himself and make sure that no one missed the meat.  The first time we sat down for a ‘practice run’ of his creations, we knew he would have no trouble pleasing the crowd.  His food was amazing!  And he charged us HALF of what the next cheapest wedding caterer would have cost!  People are still talking about how good the food was.

Flowers:  Again, don’t go with the first florist that pops up when you google ‘wedding flowers’.  We stumbled upon Harvest Moon Flower Farm when my aunt saw a desk bouquet at her dentist’s office and asked where it was from.  The discovery that ensued was magical.  We visited the farm and met the lady who runs it (and lives there).  She showed us around her land and we fell in love with her, her flower farm, and the barn where she arranges her flowers.  She told us that she had not taken on a wedding of our size but was up for the challenge.  She put SO MUCH love into our flower arrangements, and I could tell that she was just as excited about my wedding as I was.

Photographer:  We really went out on a limb for this one.  We hired an 18 year old fresh out of high school that had only shot one other wedding.  I could tell from his online portfolio that he was very talented, so we thought, why not!?  Let’s give this kid a chance!  He took beautiful photographs and was less than half the price of the other ‘wedding photographers’ that we talked to.

Music:  We knew right away that we wanted live music involved with the wedding.  We asked a good friend to play his acoustic guitar as I walked down the aisle and his mandolin as we left the ceremony.  A local Bloomington 3 piece band, Blue Cut played during the cocktail hour and my uncle performed Waste by Phish for our first dance.  It was really special seeing people that we knew and loved involved in those critical moments.  As for the party music, we asked a friend of a friend to DJ.  He was amazing and stayed far from typical wedding DJ music.  One of my favorite moments is when he played ‘Seasons of Love’.  This song is very special among my friends, so it was quite sentimental.

Decorations:  Since our theme of the wedding was organic, we went for clusters of organically shaped, recycled glass bottles as the center pieces on the tables.  These bottles had been collected over a year from thrift stores and garage sales by us and our moms.  Each cluster of bottles sat on a doilie.  All of the doiles were handmade by my grandma and my husbands grandma.  Right after my grandma passed away and I saw her large collections of doilies that she made, I knew I would use them in my wedding one day.  It added a really lovely visual and was a great way to represent my grandmother.

Officiant:  We thought this was going to be a really tough thing to agree on.  We do not go to church, therefore do not have a default pastor, and we had no idea who in the heck would marry us.  In comes Paul.  Yoga teacher, music producer, and all around incredible soul.  Paul was a friend of my aunt and uncle and they suggested that he would be perfect to marry us, and he agreed!  Paul was certainly operating on the same frequency as Mike and I and wrote the most beautiful wedding vows.  He even had us practice meditation for 40 days leading up to the wedding, and with the wedding being the 40th day asked all of the guests to open the ceremony by joining in the meditation together.  It was incredible and as I walked down the aisle, I knew that our space was vibrating with love and joy.

Accessories:  I tapped into my creative circle of friends and acquaintances for help with pulling my wedding day look together.  My veil was purchased on Etsy and the amazing hairpieces were specially designed for me by a good friend at Little Bee Designs.  It was probably my favorite part of my whole outfit!

Invitations:  Okay, I admit I got lucky that my husband is a graphic designer on this one.  He designed the whole invitation suite and had them printed for free.  This saved us SOOO much money!


Wedding Cake:  Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a big fancy wedding cake I ordered a plain cardboard cupcake tree and got crafty!  Then filled it with red velvet cupcakes and fresh flowers.  It turned out super cute!

So the moral of the story is to tap into your resources.  If you are trying to save money, don’t go with the typical wedding vendors.  These people have sky high prices because they know that most brides don’t want to deal with researching other options.  Don’t be mistaken though.  Pulling together a group of vendors like this is a lot of work.  I definitely could have gone with the main wedding planning company in town and had them provide food, drinks, music, and photographer, but it would have probably doubled my costs.

Lots of people out there are willing to help out a friend or acquaintance, so don’t be afraid to ask around.  You never know who knows who.

Lastly, I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who helped pull this shindig together.  My parents and in-laws for helping so much financially, my Aunt Susie for being the best wedding coordinator ever, Uncle Dave for providing so many connections, Ashley for coordinating the rehearsal and setting up the cupcakes, and Jake for playing during the ceremony.  And especially all of our friends and family for traveling great distances to celebrate our love.  It was an incredibly magical day and you all played a huge role in making it the best day of our lives.

 

 

 




 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

There are two things that I could happily eat almost everyday- Sweet Potatoes and Mexican food.  So when I discovered a tiny little taco joint that served black bean and sweet potato burritos, I thought I had died and gone to food heaven.

The sad part: this amazing taco joint, Taco Tontos, is in Kent, Ohio where I spent my undergraduate years at Kent State University.  So saying good bye to college life also meant saying good bye to Taco Tontos, and the last thing I did as I left town with my car packed (and a tear in my eye) was stop and eat the El Biggo Sweet Potato burrito.



That burrito was damn good, but I may be giving it a run for it’s money with this quesadilla!  This recipe is adapted from my “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home” book and is one of my favorite healthy treats!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet potato grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
large pinch cayenne pepper
1 can black beans well drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
5 ten inch wheat tortillas

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil until onions begin to turn translucent.  Add the grated sweet potatoes, oregano, cumin, cayenne, and chili powder and saute on medium-high for about 5 or 7 minutes stirring frequently.  Add about 1/3 cup of water to the pan and quickly cover with lid and allow to steam for about another 5 minutes stirring once during steaming.  Once the sweet potatoes are tender add in the drained black beans, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine and heat the beans through.

Place a tortilla in a large skillet or griddle and spread a thin layer of the potato mixture onto the whole thing.  Once the outside of the tortilla begins to lightly brown, fold it in half and cook a few more minutes on each side.

Serve with plain greek yogurt (or sour cream) and salsa.

These healthy quesadillas provide fiber, vitamin C, protein, and lots of antioxidants.  This recipe could easily be doubled or tripled and made in small tortillas to serve as an hors d’oeuvre at a gathering of friends.  Also, you could definitely add sharp cheddar cheese, but I like to keep things vegan when possible!

Enjoy!!  :)

 

 

10 Ways to Improve Your Day

This morning I am totally loving the silence of an empty apartment, a cup of green tea, and time to contemplate my new adventures.

These past couple weeks have brought on a major change in daily schedule for me, and with my yoga teacher training starting on Sunday, I am really going to need to settle into this new rhythm of all that is on my plate. Already I am feeling some anxiety about the upcoming year of internship, school, and yoga, and it is going to take immense stamina to complete all of this and not go crazy when my laundry starts to pile up (like it is now).

 

This is how I feel right now (minus the baby carriage. Thank god.)

 

As a counselor, self care is very important and we all need to schedule in time to practice it everyday.  I wanted to share with you some of the things that I do/plan to do each day to retain a calm mind.  I found this list that Ashley Turner wrote to be perfect.  She is one of my mentors and I can’t wait to meet her this spring with she visits my yoga studio!

1.  Meditate 15-30 min./day. Plug into Source.

2. Set your intention for the day. What quality do you want to show up with today? (ex. grace, courage, joy, self-acceptance…)

3. EXERCISE! Run, walk, yoga, weights, pilates…Get your motor running (minimum 30 minutes). Power up your endorphins. Train your body to recognize + imprint feeling good.

4. Gratitude. First thing in the morning: Pray in gratitude for all your gifts. Last thing at night: review your day and all the good things that happened. Build your gratitude muscle and train your mind to focus on the good. (Are you alive? Do you have clean water? Do you live in a peaceful land?)

5. Listen to uplifting/inspirational speakers on your ipod, while you’re working out, driving, on the subway, etc. (ex. Abraham Hicks, Ram Dass, Dr. Michael Beckwith, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer) Be careful what you’re filling your head with. Choose nutritious brain food.

6. Drink a green vegetable juice.

7. Sit quietly in the sun for a few minutes. Remember who you are.

8. Journal about your dreams, desires, the life you are creating.

9. Play great, uplifting music, sing along!, dance (the proven, fastest way to change your mood, open the heart + free the mind, a.k.a. ‘Bhakti Yoga’).

10. Reach out to a loved one or friend just to say ‘Hello’ or catch up.

 

Actually, just reading this list calms my mind! I’m going to print it on bright paper and put it on my refrigerator as a reminder to myself.

Now, I’m going to go make a green smoothie, turn on some good tunes and rock the laundry!

 

The Poor Girl Guide to All Natural Cold Relief

After an amazing weekend at North Coast Music Festival, my body reacted to the sudden drop in temperature on Sunday night with a killer cold.  By Monday afternoon I was a sneezing, snotty mess, and with an extremely busy week coming up I knew I needed to attack it head on!

This cold came on like a ton of bricks, but after only a day of natural treatments it faded as quickly as it arrived.

So, how do you treat a cold without good ol’ Nyquil?

1.  Blow your nose!  Stop sniffing the mucus and germs back up to your brain and grab a tissue.  If you have a nose that is pouring snot like a faucet then take a tissue, twist one side of it, and leave it hanging out of your nostril.  You will look like a freak, but it’s helpful!

2.  Try an herbal steam once or twice a day.  Add dried basil and oregano (or oil of oregano, if you have it) to a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam for about 10 minutes.  Besides opening your sinuses, I’ve also heard that this is good for the skin.

3.  Increase your vitamin intake.  Add a Zinc tablet and a Vitamin C tablet to your daily vitamin regimen.  Also increase the vitamin C you are getting in your nutrition.  Eat meals that include kale and sweet potatoes- 2 of my favorite forms of vitamin C.

4.  Drink warm liquids.  They are super soothing.

5.  Sleep with an eye mask to help ensure more restful sleep.

6.  Surround yourself with lavender scents.  I use my organic lavender bubble bath during a steamy shower to help relieve stress and combat cold symptoms.  Light a lavender candle,  or add a drop of lavender essential oil to your pillow case.

7.  Rest!!!!!  Slow down for a day and allow yourself to lay on the couch with a box of tissues and a good movie.

***These are my personal recommendations, and not from a medical professional.  Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if symptoms progress***


 

Poor Girl Recipe: Pasta with Swiss Chard & Lentils

This dish fulfills all of the requirements of a Poor Girl dish.  It’s healthy, easy, cheap, and most importantly delicious!

What you’ll need:

12 oz package of whole wheat spaghetti or linguini
1 bunch of organic swiss chard
1 can of organic lentils drained and rinsed
1 small onion chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes (less or more to taste-I love it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Directions:

Begin cooking pasta according to the directions on the package.  Cut the stems off the chard and chop into 1/2 inch pieces.  Chop the leaves into about 1 inch ribbons.  Saute the garlic, onion, and lentils in a splash of broth in a large non-stick pan until the onions begin to turn translucent.  Add the chopped chard stems to the pan and another splash of broth.  Add the red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper.

I used rainbow chard which is why it's so colorful and pretty. You can use whatever kind of chard you can get your hands on.

Saute on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until the chard stems begin to soften.  Stir in the rest of the chard leaves and another big splash of broth.  *note about the broth- the mixture should be very moist but not soupy.  Just add as needed*  Cover pan with a lid for about a minute or until the leaves are wilted and brighter green.  The lentils will be falling apart at this point and that is fine.  They will combine with the broth to create a thick sauce.  Once all of these ingredients are cooked together cover the top of it with a light dusting of parmesan cheese and stir to combine.  After the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the chard mixture and mix to combine while heating together.  Plate it, sprinkle with a little more parmesan to taste, and enjoy!

This recipe will make serve 4 to 6 depending on how hungry you are, and only costs about $1.85 per serving!!  This recipe will leave your body full of healthy protein, antioxidants, iron, fiber, and vitamins.  And it is seriously SO good and SO good for you!