Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, Same Shit

             A new year, a chance to start over, to lose that last 10 pounds, to quit a habit or addiction, to start working out 5 times a week, to start eating healthier or to change the person you are. We always wait until the beginning of a new year and when we fail halfway through January, we promise ourselves “next year.” But again, we fail. We have the power to make a change during any time in our lives. It doesn’t have to start on January 1st. I made a change in April. It wasn’t a new years resolution, it was willpower and motivation to change my life. Last year, I had made a resolution to start loving myself more and by January 15th, I was back to the same ol’ depressed Justine. Faking a smile and telling everyone how happy I was. It wasn’t until I looked in the mirror on a random day in April that I was truly fed up of teaching self-love but never truly living up to what I was preaching. Telling other women to love their bodies, yet there I was standing in my bathroom looking at my reflection and hating everything about it. It was in that moment that I decided to make a change.
                It was only when I was actively working on being a happier person that I started to really feel a change. I was no longer just saying polite things to myself but actually believing them. This year has been a crazy roller coaster of slaying my inner demons and finally letting go of all the hurt and pain that’s haunted me for years. I was holding onto things that should have been let go years ago. Like that one time some ass hole at the pool called me fat and ruined my life forever. That was the part I always remembered but it didn’t hit me until I started to dive into these inner demons that I remember the other half of the memory… After that kid called me fat I picked up a basketball and nailed him right in the face with it. I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for. All those memories that I have of pain and hurt, I forgot about what I learned from those experiences and how much strength and courage I gained.  
                Life is all about making mistakes because that’s how we learn. I feel like I always have to learn the hard way for a lesson to really stick. These were all the lessons that went down the hard way.
  1)      I love fiercely. It’s just who I am and no matter how much I seem to get hurt in the process, I should never try to lose that part of me.
  2)      Being a bitch with a chip on my shoulder will get me nowhere. Thank you to my brother who finally opened my eyes.
  3)      Not all beautiful women are bitches, despite what my brain tells me when meeting someone new.
  4)      Keep those who love me close. I can only push away someone so much before I lose them for good.
  5)      The less fucks I give, the happier I seem to be.
  6)      2nd chances are okay, but 3rd, 4th or 5th chances aren’t worth it
  7)      Talking through my feelings with someone helps me understand them. Holding onto emotions is a one way street to misery
  8)      Sometimes the wrong person walks out of your life so that the right person has the chance to walk in
  9)      Being 21 isn’t as fun as I thought it would be
  10)   Green juice is life
  11)   I’m a horrible judge of character
  12)   When I force something to work out, it will never work out
  13)   Let shit happen
  14)   Falling in love sucks when the other person isn’t there to catch you

             This year was full of adventures. I made a positive change, boosted my self esteem, fell in love, got into a program that I didn't think was possible to be accepted into, met some amazing people, made some amazing friends, caught up with old friends, made a difference in someone's life and finally found myself. Life is all about learning, loving, laughing everyday, being kind, doing what you love, going on adventures, getting lost and having fun. I'm learning that whatever obstacles come my way, I can either learn from it, run from it or conquer it. I have no clue what kind of shit show is coming my way in 2015 but whatever it is, I plan to conquer it. Have a safe New Year!
                                           2014 playlist:
·         A Man who was gonna die young- Eric Church
·         We Are Tonight-Bill Currington
·         What Does: EYB
·         Whiskey In My Water- Tyler Farr
·         Until I Met You- Sundy Best
·         Thunder- Sundy Best
·         Burnin Bed- David Nail
·         Say You Do- Dierks Bentley
·         Blackbird- The Beatles

Friday, June 20, 2014


                I’m back! I just couldn’t stay away for too long. Last week was a rough one. I honestly don’t know what came over me. I was just feeling overwhelmed with life. Having no clue what’s in store for me was giving me severe anxiety. My whole life is up in the air right now and riding on if I get into the paramedic program or not. I let stress take over and ruin a lot of things; however, I learned something. It’s all about perspective. How you think about things is everything. You are what you think and I was definitely thinking negative. I should have taken the time to step back and look at the whole picture before I let the negativity consume me. When I applied for the program, I had the attitude that I was just going to let the wind take me wherever it blows. Then all of a sudden, I was fighting it. Trying to control my own life but sometimes God (or whatever you believe in) closes a door to simply tell you “wrong direction.” And that’s okay. It was an eye opener. Trying to force things that just don’t make sense was the wrong thing to do and because of that, I destroyed the few good things I had going for me. But today is a new day and I’ve changed my perspective. Shit happens, life knocks you down and sometimes you just feel hopeless but I woke up yesterday morning and decided to find the positives in life. Life knocked me down pretty good, but I stood back up stronger than ever. The day has color again, I’m smiling again, I’m laughing again and I feel better than ever. Funny what the mind is capable of. Old Justine would be lying in bed right now wallowing in self-pity, but the new Justine, the Justine I’ve been working on for over a year now got out of bed this morning, worked out, drank a green juice and soaked up the beauty surrounding me. Because life is beautiful, even when you can’t see the light, it’s there. It’s all about how you look at it.
                Being human, it’s normal to feel something. Our emotions are powerful. Instead of blocking out painful emotions and shoving them down, I let myself feel them. I cried. Then I wiped my tears and moved on. I acknowledged what I was feeling and then let it go. I’ve spent my whole life thinking that showing emotion wasn’t okay. I’ve been called an emotional black hole on numerous occasions. No more. When I feel something, I LET myself feel it because it’s okay to feel hurt, sad or angry. It’s okay to cry every once in a while, it’s okay to break down and feel sad but it’s NOT okay to let yourself be consumed by those emotions. Pick yourself up off the ground and keep moving. Despite some shit that went down, I feel good. Like years of pent up emotions has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s a crazy feeling. Just because I let myself actually feel something for once, I got my sunshine back. Let me tell you, feeling numb and empty is a hell of a lot worse than feeling sad or hurt. I would take any emotion over feeling like your soul has been ripped out of your body.
                I also want to thank everyone who has been so, so supportive and kind to me through this whole mess. The messages I received and the kind words that were spoken to me nearly brought me to tears. When I write this kind of stuff, I’m not looking for attention. I don’t do it so people feel bad for me. I do it so maybe someone who is going through the same thing doesn’t feel alone. I want people to know that they aren’t the only ones going through this, that there’s a silver lining. Because if I can get hit hard by life and get back up, so can you. I write to inspire, not just to live a healthy life, but to keep smiling and stay strong. Life’s a bitch but it’s beautiful. Everybody has bad days but it’s all about perspective (:


 I’ve had a ton of questions from people about my lifestyle so I’ll answer them here just in case I didn’t get back to you (:

Q) Do you count calories?
A) NOOOOOOO. Just the thought of counting calories stresses me out. I’m the type of person who obsesses about things like that. Before I found my way to whole foods, I counted calories. There was a time when I went over my calories by 5 and I broke down and worked out for an hour after I had already worked out that day. 5 calories! That’s all! I don’t think counting calories is healthy. I believe when you eat whole foods, counting calories isn’t necessary. Your body sends out a hunger signal when you need nutrients, when you eat a high nutrient density diet, you aren’t as hungry because your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. But if you try to ease the hunger signal with a high sugar meal or a burger and fries, you're essentially getting little to no nutrients, so a few hours later you’re starving again. 
Q) “I’m really self-conscious about my mid-section, but I’m okay with the rest of my body. How do I reduce just my belly fat?”
A) You cannot spot reduce. You cannot spot reduce. YOU CANNOT SPOT REDUCE! Overall body fat loss is the only way to lose the belly pooch. Sorry!
Q) Are you vegan?
A) No. I’m “selectively vegan”. Meaning that I like to stick to primarily plant based diet; however, put a grass fed steak in front of me, chances are I will devour it. As long as I know exactly where it comes from and what’s in it, I’ll eat it.
Q) “You don’t eat gluten, you don’t eat sugar, you don’t eat corn and you don’t eat animal products or byproducts, what do you actually eat?”
A) Fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains and the occasional grass fed beef or organic chicken and fish. My menu is basically endless. I still eat pasta, I still eat hamburgers, I still eat cake and I would never give up pancakes. But I’ve found that nearly every unhealthy dish can be made healthy with a few twists and kinks.
Q) What is your workout routine?
A) My workout routine never stays the same because I get bored too easily. I try to run once a week, sprints 1-2 times a week, lifting 2 times and week and I usually try to fit in a HIIT workout in there somewhere. Honestly, when I don’t feel like working out, I just try to move as much as I can, which means dance parties in the middle of my kitchen!
Q) How do you stay on track?
A) I don’t! I lose motivation, I get too tired, and sometimes I just don’t feel like getting out of bed. But I’ve found that reading books that inspire me to be healthy works. I always have my nose in a book, might as well use that for good! I’m always looking for new health material. Also, when I eat like shit, I feel like shit. That right there is motivation enough!

If you have any more questions feel free to ask! Once again, thank you to all the people that didn’t give up on me. You’ll never know how much I truly appreciate it (: 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Finding Myself

            It’s funny, the older I get and the more I learn about myself, the more insecure I become. When I feel like I have my shit figured out, it all comes unrivaled soon after. Truth is, as far as I’ve come, I have so much more work to do. I’m learning that happiness isn’t some destination down the road; happiness should be in the here and now. I keep waiting for happiness. “if I lose just a few more pounds, then I’ll be happy” “If I get into this program, THEN I’ll be happy” “If I move away from Portland, then I can be happy” No, if I ever plan to be happy, I have to be content where I’m at right now. My brother always says to me, “stay present”. I never understood. But now I do. I live 50% of my life thinking about the future and 50% living in the past. Of course I can’t be happy if I’m not focused on today. Thinking about my future gives me anxiety, living in the past and reliving all my past failures brings me pain. If I focus on my life right in this moment, I don’t feel any of that. The future will come eventually, but if I’m not happy in the present, my future will be no different.
                I feel like a hypocrite, I promote self-love but struggle with it every single day. I’ve come so far in my journey to find self-love, but I have a long way to go. I let my insecurities get the best of me to where I ruin, no actually I destroy my relationships. No one deserves to put up with someone who can’t put away her insecurities and just enjoy what she has. I let those inner demons consume me. Everybody has insecurities, but if you’re confident with who you are, you’re able to brush them off or just accept them for what they are. I’ve never been able to do that. And that’s something that I’ve been working on. Normally, I don’t deal with my problems, I hide from them. I hide them from everybody. If I could just work through them as they come, I could let them go. But instead I let them build and build until they all come unrivaled for some poor bastard to be left picking up the pieces. NO ONE deserves that.  I’m learning to love myself and it’s one hell of a roller coaster. If I don’t love me, then who the hell will? I’ve been pretty lucky to have the people in my life who love me unconditionally. That’s the great thing about love, no matter what; you’re still there for that person. My mom, God bless that woman, has put up with my crazy for almost 21 years now. I’m pretty sure she is the only human being on this planet who would do that.
                Self-love is something that I wish everyone had. Society really is fucked up. So many women out there deal with eating disorders because it’s engraved into our brains at such a young age that to be beautiful, you have to be a size 2. You have to have that God forsaken thigh gap, you have to have beautifully straight and white teeth and you have to have big blue eyes and long wavy hair. You have to be a certain height, a certain weight, you have to dress a certain way and you have to be as hairless as an Asian.  Big boobs, nice ass, petite nose, clear skin, wrinkle free and graceful.  This is what is promoted in magazines, TV, movies and the fashion industry. The idea that you have to be a babe to find someone to love you is ridiculous. Every woman is beautiful in some way. Sure, you have a few extra pounds on you, rock that shit! Be who you are. Someone out there thinks you’re the most beautiful girl in the world. Fuck the standards of society. I always say that beauty comes from the inside and I will hold on to that until the day I die. My mother told me that when I was just a little girl and I will pass it on to my little girl someday. I have a beautiful soul, I know I do. But my past issues are like a thunder cloud blocking out the sunshine of my soul.
                I’ve never been secure with who I am as a person. Growing up, I never fit into a typical click at school. I was never labeled as one thing. I got along with everybody; the stoners, the jocks, the popular kids, the nerds and the hicks. I was friends with everybody but I never put myself into a category. I didn’t know who I was for a long time, but within the last year, I’ve figured out who I am. I’m not one thing, I’m a little bit of everything. I’m still working on figuring out my life, but there are a few things I know for certain. I’m a small town girl at heart who has a love/hate relationship with this fast paced, ass hole filled city. I suck at math.  I’m a people person when I want to be but choose to spend my weekends by myself. I have a passion for helping people, that’s literally all I want to do. I want to live somewhere where it’s warm and sunny every day. I like sci fi/fantasy and post-apocalyptic books but I’ll read anything you put in front of me, because when I read, I lose sight of reality and that’s all I really want. I will never be as great of a cook as my mom, but I sure can bake a mean cookie. I hate the snow and I love my family. I love fishing and shooting shit. I have zero fashion sense; sometimes I wear things that even Portlander’s would make fun of. My idea of a good time is driving around with the windows down the music turned up. I’ve never understood women’s obsession with diamonds and jewelry. I enjoy watching a football game but listening to people talk about their favorite sports teams bores me to tears. I miss my hometown, but can’t help but find the beauty no matter where I live (even this god awful city).

                This is who I am; just a lonely girl in a crowded room. Screaming and yelling hoping that someone notices me, yet wanting to hide when someone finally does. I feel so much pressure. I put on this front for everybody. Everybody expects me to be happy all the time. I now have this stupid fitness account and I feel like I can’t be real when I feel like life just really sucks. I have to be fit, I can’t gain weight and I can’t be unhappy. People look to me for inspiration and I don’t want to let them down but I’m a human. Everybody has bad days, and in my case, a bad month. I put on a front 90% of the time. There are very few people in this world that I can be real with, who I don’t have to put up a fake persona of happiness with because I know no matter what, they’ll still be there when I’m done throwing my hissy fit. I’m going to take a break from social media for a while. I have some things to work on and I can’t have the pressures of this world pressing down on me while I try to figure it out. I’ll be back eventually but as of right now, I’m just tired. I’m running on fumes and I need to figure out what needs to be done to make me happy. Right now, I’m not even sure I know what that is and I don’t even know where to start. I have some changes that I need to make and all I need is the support of my loved one’s right now. I hope you all understand. I’ll figure it out. I’m a Cooley and Cooley’s are tough. I just need to take some time for myself right now. I only ask that those of you who are close to me be patient. I might be MIA for a while, but don't give up on me! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gluten: Satan's Sidekick

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
                This is my life, ya’ll. I find myself falling back into habits I know are bad for me and expecting a different outcome when really; it ALWAYS ends the same way. In this case, gluten. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone back on gluten only to find my body swelling, my face breaking out, my nose getting stuffed up and my depression squeezing its way through the wall I’ve built up to block it. Every. Flippin. Time. This time, I don’t know what I was thinking. Before, when I started adding gluten back into my diet, it was because someone told me that cutting out wheat is bad for me or whatever their reason was. This time, I added it back because for some unknown reason, I thought my body would be able to handle it. Wrong! A couple of days into adding whole wheat bread back into my diet, my face broke out. Not bad, but still enough to make me self-conscious. I noticed I my sinuses were burning and I couldn’t breathe at night because my nose was so stuffy. This morning was the final wake up call. I woke up and literally was swollen from my head to my toes. My ring wouldn’t even fit on my finger. I feel like a fricken balloon.
                I do this too often. Go back to things I know are bad for me. There are studies done that show that gluten/wheat is as addictive as cocaine. I’ve experienced this. People literally have withdrawal symptoms when they try to eliminate gluten from their diets. Gluten is in everything. Even things you wouldn’t think.

Almost any kind of alcohol
Food coloring/fillers/texturizers/thickeners ect
Clif Bars
Power Bars
Breaded meats
Hot dogs
Lip gloss/balms
Nutritional supplements
Sauces/salad dressings/condiments

                These are just a few of them. This shit is in everything. Why? Because it’s addictive and those food companies know it’s addictive. It keeps people coming back for more. What does that mean for those companies?? $$$$$$$$
                For me, the part that freaks me out the most is the neurological effects it has. Every time I start eating wheat again, within a couple of days, my depression hits. I never see it coming. It just slowly creeps up on me until I’m consumed by thoughts I thought I had gotten rid of. Day’s become less colorful, I find it harder to get out of bed in the morning, I stay home all day and lose myself in some stupid, mindless book and I start to withdraw from my loved one’s; all because of wheat. Before when this happened, I just thought I was being a typical over emotional girl, however; the more it happened, I finally made the connection. When we consume wheat, once it has gained entrance to our brains, it crosses the amygdala, hippocampus, cerebral cortex and other major brain structures. Wheat polypeptides bind to the brains morphine receptor, the same receptor that opiate drugs bind to. Morphine-like compounds, for example, occur during “runners high”. Wheat literally induces a form of euphoria. Anybody who’s had or currently has an addiction knows what it feels like to get that first high or that first buzz. That’s usually all it takes before you’re hooked. Once we reach our body’s pleasure center, there’s no going back. You’ll do whatever you have to do to get that feeling again. Some people grab a pipe, others reach for another cigg or in this case, you reach for that sandwich. Because it’s so addictive, you need to feel the euphoria that wheat gives you. The crazy part is that you don’t even know you’re addicted to it! But as soon as you try to eliminate it, you’ll start dreaming of bread, salivating over it, talking about it and constantly thinking about it.
                Wheat doesn’t just affect you neurologically; it also has some effect on your weight. One piece of bread can spike your blood sugar just as much as a tablespoon of sugar. Studies have shown that wheat is also an appetite stimulant. Maybe it’s my lack of self-control, but I could probably eat the whole bread basket that Olive Garden puts in front of you before your food is served. I could down that and still have room for my dinner. I could also eat a whole bucket of movie theater popcorn and still feel hungry, however; swap the popcorn for a bucket of grilled chicken? No way. These empty carbs allow us to eat way more than we should. What does that mean for these food companies? $$$$$$$$. Big money. The more they can keep you coming back for more, the better.
                Cutting out wheat is tough. Trust me; I’ve been through it too many times. There are so many alternatives to this addictive substance. Oat flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour are all great alternatives. They don’t bake the same as wheat and they sure as hell don’t taste as good, but it does the trick when you start craving wheat. Growing up in an Italian family, pasta was a main staple in out diet. I’m pretty sure we had some sort of pasta dish every day.  I’ve found that brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta have nearly the same exact taste and texture of regular pasta. Whenever I have a crazy carb craving, I’ll make brown rice pasta tossed in a little olive oil and salt and pepper with cut up cherry tomatoes and spinach. I get my pasta and it’s about 50 times healthier.
                These past few days have been a bit rough. I’m going to blame it on the gluten and keep it at that. No more. I can’t keep doing this to myself. Gluten just doesn’t work for my body. I think that everybody has a gluten intolerance of some sort. Whether it shows externally or not, the internal effects of gluten are all the same. Our bodies just weren’t meant to have a “food-like” substance in it. It’s not natural. I don’t know how many times it’s going to take me to learn. Wheat makes me feel like utter shit and this will be the last time I ever do this to myself again. Moral of the story: wheat is Satan’s sidekick. Get off wheat. Seriously, your body will thank you later.

                If you’re interested in eliminating wheat from your diet, “Wheat Belly” by William Davis is a great place to start. This book changed my life. It’s an easy read but it’s powerful. Sometimes I’ll reread it just to remind myself why I pass up that French bread at dinner every night. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Obesity is not the problem, it's the solution

             Yes, you read the title right. Obesity is not the problem in our bodies. Obesity is actually our bodies protecting itself from the chaos we put it through. I feel like the more I learn, the less I know. I’m constantly trying to learn more. In any free time I have in my crazy life, I’m most likely reading a book on nutrition or watching a documentary on the foods produced in this messed up world. In a way, I’ve actually done more harm than good by educating myself. A few months back, I actually gave myself an eating disorder of sorts. I was afraid to eat because I knew exactly what was in my food. I knew exactly what it was going to do in my body down to the cellular level. I was deathly afraid of carbs. Animal protein? Uhhh, no way. And don’t even get me started on fat! The problem is there is so much bullshit out there. How do we know what’s true and what’s not? We don’t. I truly believe we are, for the most part, completely fricken clueless when it comes to what is good for our body and what’s not. That’s why I stick to a diet based off of what Mother Nature has given to us (and yes, sometimes that includes locally grown, hormone free chicken or grass fed beef… sue me).
                I’ve had one single question since I started my research and studying on health and nutrition, a question that no matter where I looked I couldn’t seem to find the answer. There are people all over the world who live off of the earth. There are some people who live off of animal fats and muscle… And that’s it. And there are also people who only have fruits and vegetables available to them. If you look at these people, their diets are so different, but they all have two things in common; One, they are free of disease and illness and two, they don’t eat processed foods. No MSG, no hormones, there’s no antibiotics in their meat; there’s no chemicals in their fruits. They are, for the most part, CHEMICAL FREE. This is where the rest of the world fails. There is so many chemicals and just plain crap in the foods we eat. And the scary part is very few people are aware of it.
                I have people message me or come up to me and ask me questions all the time about my diet and exercise routine. My diet? Whole food. My exercise? I just move as much as I can. It’s literally that simple. But what people don’t understand is the whole foods part. I tend to get frustrated with people when they don’t understand. But I’ve recently come to the realization that when I first started this journey, I had no clue what was in food, what was good for my body and what happens to the food once it’s in my body. “Spirulina? What in God’s name is that? Wheat grass? Sounds like something I want to smoke. Kale? Ohh yeah that green shit, I’ve seen it.” It has taken me years of educating myself to fully grasp the concept. To most, it’s not that easy. For me, 5 years ago, it wasn’t easy either. I started out with weight watchers eating half a doughnut, counting my points and thinking I was healthy. I’m so angry that proper nutrition isn’t taught earlier in life… Or at all! We were always taught “drink your milk! Eat your dairy! Don’t forget to drink your orange juice!” It sickens me. People are clueless and it’s scary. Thank God the UK is now at the top of the list for the World’s Most Obese country and the US has been knocked down to number two. I’m ashamed to live in a country that has its priorities so fucked up. (New post about reasons to give up dairy coming soon!)
                Okay, I’m done ranting for now. I would like to write a whole post on the world’s obesity problems, but this post is an update on how my cleanse is going. I said I was going to write everyday but I found that this was way more personal than I thought it was going to be. I decided to write in the safety of my journal for the past two weeks instead. Most of the things I’m working on are not things I want to share with the public but I will say that the past two weeks have been one hell of an emotional roller coaster. This cleanse is a focus on me. Pampering myself, loving myself, learning thought processes that I never knew existed.  Learning to love myself has been the most difficult yet most empowering thing I have ever done. Years and years of self-doubt and self-consciousness has left my inner demons fighting every step of the way. Who knew it would be hard to like yourself?! As the days go by, I’m finding it easier and easier to say nice things to my body. Your cells have ears and their listening to everything you say!
                Taking time for me has also been a challenge. I’m so used to putting all my energy into making other people happy. I always ask myself “what will make them happy?” never before have I asked “what will make ME happy?” Funny thing is, when I asked myself that question, I had no clue what the answer was. That’s been a major focus for me. What the hell makes me happy? I actually had to sit down and write a list of all the things I love. It was harder than I imagined. This is what I came up with:
1)      Family time
2)      The sounds of a summer night
3)      Working out
4)      Walking
5)      The stars
6)      Getting lost in a book for hours
7)      Talking with a close friend
8)      Being outside
9)      Sunshine
10)   Fuzzy blankets
11)   Driving with the windows down and the music up
         Odd, yes. But these are the things that make me really happy. If I woke up tomorrow with only these things in my life, I would be content. I spend so much time focusing on others, I forget to do what makes me happy. Helping other people is easy, it’s what I’m good at. I love fiercely. Often times it gets me into trouble, other times, It’s the best quality about me. My life is focused around others. Even my job is about taking care of other people. Yes, I love taking care of other people, but there’s a time when taking care of me becomes more important. I can focus on me but still have time to make my mom dinner at the end of the day.  Balance. That’s what I’ve learned. My life needed balance.
        Through meditation, I’ve had a few unwanted emotions that I’ve been shoving down find their way out of my steel bolted wall. Some of which is bitterness and anger. I didn’t realize I was holding on to so many poisonous emotions until they came out. Bitterness from my past; all those people who’ve done me wrong, starting from the girls in middle school to the ass hole last week. I’ve been holding on to it. My body has been feeding off of it. One thing I had to focus on was forgiving. I sat down one night after work and wrote a letter to all the people who have hurt me in my life. I wrote down what they did, what I felt at the time, what I’m feeling currently and the last sentence always said “I forgive you and I forgive myself.” It took my hours. But when I was done, such an odd sensation came over me. Like running cold water over a burn; I felt relief… Some of the things I was writing down, I had completely forgotten about until that moment when it all came spilling out of my pen. So many things that I’ve shoved down hoping to forget all came pouring out. It was poison to my body.

        Learning to love, and actually love myself, not just saying it, was the biggest challenge by far. But it’s funny, the more you tell yourself how fucking awesome you are, the more you start to believe it. When I first started saying that I loved myself, there was always this voice in the back on my head saying “ha! How can you love those thighs? What about your man shoulders? What about the eyelid that droops lower than the other one? Who would love you?” After planting the thought of loving me into my head, overtime that voice got more and more quite. When I say that I love myself, I truly do. I appreciate my body for what it is and I accept myself; man shoulders and all. The concept of loving yourself is literally the key to everything. Hating yourself is like drinking poison every morning. It does you no good what so ever. Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience and what you will become in life. Just as the saying goes, “you are what you eat” You are also what you think. So think positive, think happy, think love, think laughter, think kind, think peace and think forgiveness. You might be surprised what these little changes in your thinking bring your way. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Power of Your Own Mind

             Aries Day 6: ‘My heart shares the joy I feel for my beautiful life.’  Words by aaryaa at - astrology for Self-development.

              So for the next 21 days I’ll be embarking on a journey; a journey to heal my mind. I have a ton of goals for myself. Some of which I’ve had for a long time but have never seemed to be able to accomplish. For example, Yoga and meditation. I used to be the type of person who was so close minded to the power of such practices. My brother has been shoving meditation down my throat for years but the stubborn side of my brain kept telling him that it doesn’t work. It was only within the past few weeks that I’ve been seriously contemplating the idea. The more research I did, the more books I read, the more I started to be convinced. I realize now that the stubborn part of my brain is exactly the problem.
                I’m so tired of hating myself. No matter what I do, I can never seem to get past the same road block. I’ve had so many self-esteem issues my whole life. I’m ready to change that. I want to radiate positivity and I want my happiness to be contagious. I want to enrich the lives of the people who surround me. I want to get rid of the negative thoughts about myself and about others. I want to unlearn and relearn thought processes. I want to finally forgive the people who have done me wrong in the past and more importantly, I want to forgive myself for all those stupid things I’ve done. I want to get past my past. I want to move forward in my life.
                Driving has always been my escape. Never underestimate the power of just driving with the windows down and the music up. The other day, I was trying to clear my head, so I went on a drive. The weirdest thing happened to me. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with love. Love for my family, for my very few close friends, my many new friends, the trees around me, the sky above me and the ground below me. I was so filled with joy and love I almost broke down in tears. There was not a cell in my body that had hate, anger, sadness or bitterness. It was like a high I’ve never experienced before.  I want to feel like that all the time. I want to be the Justine that my mind has never let me become. I want to be happy.
               So for the next 21 days I’ll be cleansing. It’s not just a food cleanse, but a cleanse of my mind. A cleanse of negativity and anger; of sadness and of bitterness. I will learn to forgive, I will learn to forget and I will learn to love. I’ve never felt so sure of anything in my entire life. I’ve come so far in my journey to find optimal health and happiness. I feel like I’m so close to a break through. I just need to keep pushing. I will be writing every day for the next 3 weeks, so keep an eye out for my posts about progress. You better watch out, I might turn into a Yogi/Buddhist/hippy/meditation freak. Haha just kidding, that will never happen. I’m still a Pendletonian at heart. Now I’m just a Pendletonian with a twist! 
#journey #happiness #meditation

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cave Girl Gone Vegan?

(Preface: I’m going to ask for people to keep their comments to themselves on this post. If you’re an asshole hillbilly who doesn’t respect other people’s life choices, then please hit the back button and continue scrolling through Facebook. Thank you.)
                For the past two years, I’ve known nothing besides eating like a caveman. High protein, high fat, low carb. Eating basically endless amounts of animal protein and healthy fats. Paleo changed my life. It opened up the gates to the world of whole foods, however; since going Paleo, I’ve done a ton of research. I’ve educated myself on just about every diet out there. Low carb, high carb, low fat, high fat, weight watchers, paleo, 80/10/10, vegetarian and vegan.
The past few months have been extremely rough on me. Starting with an emotional downfall in October then soon worsened by my seasonal depression, it’s safe to say I wasn’t feeling too well and all those pounds I worked so hard to lose eventually found their way back to my mid-section. Around January was when I’d finally had enough. I felt like shit. The crazy thing was that I changed absolutely NOTHING in my diet and workout routine. The pounds just kept creeping back up on me. I was so frustrated and so upset I didn’t know what to do with myself. On top of all of that, my naturopath encouraged me to drop my birth control which was the only thing that I felt was making me stable.  I was an unstable, emotional wreck. And I was fat again which in turn made me more unhappy and the cycle continued on down.
That’s when I found 80/10/10 diet. These are crazy fruitarians who eat literally nothing but fruit. 80% carbs (from fruit), 10% fat (which most of them cut out totally) and 10% protein (from plant based foods). I was fascinated with this lifestyle. I mean 10 bananas for breakfast? 6 mangos for lunch? 1lb of greens and more fruit for dinner? Yes please! I of course read the book cover to cover soaking up information on a low fat vegan lifestyle. Since the 80/10/10 diet was a bit extreme for me, I started exploring Veganism. I started doing my research. For me, it wasn’t about animal rights, it’s about what our bodies are physiologically made to process and break down.  
We have very little evidence of Paleolithic days. We have little to no evidence that Paleolithic man ate a wholly mammoth every day. Chances are they were probably gathering more than they were hunting. Here’s a few reason why humans aren’t made to chow down on a cow:
Walking: All carnivores walk on four feet. We walked erect on two feet.
Claws: Take a look at your hands… Could you rip through tough animal flesh with those things? Probably not.
Opposable thumbs: We have thumbs that make us well equipped to do things like pick up fruits and pick vegetables. We could no more catch and rip the skin or tough flesh of a deer or bear barehanded than a lion could pick mangos or bananas.
Colon formation: We have 26 feet of intestines. If you were to lay it all out, it would cover an entire tennis court. Carnivores have a very, very short intestinal tract. Meaning that it breaks down the food and shortly after, eliminates it. What happens to it in our colon? It takes hours to break down, then it stays in your intestines rotting away for a day or two until it is finally eliminated. Ummm, I don’t know about you, but I would rather not have rotting meat and cheese in my gut.
Vitamin C: Carnivores manufacture their own vitamin C, humans need vitamin C from the food we ingest.
Teeth: Take a look at your teeth. Could you rip through flesh with those things? No way.
Stomach Acid: The pH of a carnivore’s stomach acid is roughly 10x more acidic than a humans. The acidity levels help break down flesh.
Basically, our physiology is way different than a carnivore’s. What makes us think we can eat the flesh of other animals without backlash? Truth is we are getting some serious back lash from it. Heart disease, diabetes, cancers, strokes, clogged arteries, Kidney disease and the list goes on and on. These are all risks of a diet so high in animal protein and byproducts. And don’t even get me started on milk! At what age do mothers stop breastfeeding their child? 5 months? A year? It can vary, but it’s abnormal and downright weird to see a child older than 4 breastfeeding. That’s because we no longer need that nutrition anymore. We stop producing the enzyme Lactate to break down lactose. It’s estimated that 75% of the population is lactose intolerant. Isn’t it a bit weird that we stop drinking our mother’s milk, but continue to drink milk from another animal…? Is that just me?
It didn’t take much convincing for me to get on board the vegan train. I was 100% vegan for a month and had finally taken off some weight again. However, I was still feeling bogged down. That’s when I found the 28 Day Fast Metabolism Diet. This diet is supposed to heal your metabolism, adrenal glands and thyroid. It’s no different than how I was eating before. It’s simply whole foods. The only difference is that I have to eat certain foods on certain days at specific times. Crazy enough, I’m just starting my last week of this diet and I’ve dropped 18 pounds. Everything that I gained back and more. I feel like 75% better and am looking forward to getting back on the Vegan lifestyle as soon as this diet is over and I can go eat some sushi.
I guess the whole point of this post was to show that setbacks happen. For me, it was my hormones that screwed me over. I’m hoping that this year I can heal my mind and my body through a healthy lifestyle and meditation so that when winter comes, the depression doesn’t come with it. I truly believe that a Vegan lifestyle is the way human beings were supposed to eat. We are supposed to eat whole foods that come from the earth and are given to us to nourish and heal our bodies. Your body is your temple. Treat it with respect. The more I research, the more I learn. Nutrition is my passion and I will continue to go through life trying to find the ideal diet. I may have just found it.

I know I have a lot of readers from Pendleton. Since I grew up in Pendleton, I turned my nose up at any animal rights bullshit. Who cares if cows are slaughtered? I get a nice juicy steak and that’s all I care about! Trust me, I had that exact mindset. I know all you Pendletonians will give me hell for my change of lifestyle. Go ahead; call me a hippy or a hipster or whatever. Just take a look at this before you judge me for my choices. Maybe the next time you bite into a steak or hot dog, you’ll think twice. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Winter Favorites

I’ve had a ton of requests to post some of the recipes I’ve been posting on my Instagram (If you have an Instagram and don’t follow me, Fromfattytofit, go follow me and take a look at my journey!). These are just a few of my favorites, however; my diet doesn’t vary much. It’s not because I don’t have options, but because these are the foods that my body can digest without any problems. I’ve recently made some changes in my diet and fitness routine. That post will be up shortly. It’s a bit of a shocker. Anyway, back on track! Here we go.

1) Vegan Quinoa Chili: This shiz is the bomb. Ton of flavor and a crap load of protein.
½ quinoa, rinsed
1c water
1tbs olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 (15oz) cans of black beans
1 (15oz) can of red kidney beans
3 (15oz) cans of diced tomatoes
1 (15oz) can of tomato sauce
3tbs chilli powder
1tbs cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

1) In medium sauce pan, combine quinoa and water. Cook over medium head until water is absorbed. Set aside.
2)In large pot, heat olive oil over high heat. Ass onion and cook until tender. Stir in garlic, jalapeno, carrot, celery, peppers and zucchini. Cook until vegetables are tender.
3)Add black beans, tomatos, and sauce. Stir in the cook quinoa. Season with chili powder and cumin. Let simmer for about 30 minutes.
4)You can top this with whatever your heart desires. If you eat diary, top it with cheese and sour cream. If you’re like me and can’t tolerate dairy, top yours with some avocado, and crushed up tortilla chips. YUM.

2) Vegetable sauté: This is my go to lunch. Easy, fast and soooo good.

Ingredients: (This is what I use, but you can mix it up)
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
¼ onion, sliced
5 mushrooms, sliced
3 zucchinis, diced in quarters
1 jalapeno pepper
1 garlic clove
1tbs olive oil

1)Heat olive oil in a large pan on high heat. Add garlic and let cook for a minute or so.
2)Throw in all your vegetables and cook until almost done (usually about 5-6 mintues)
3)Add whatever seasoning you like. I usually add a bit of paprika, a large amount of chili powder, salt, pepper  and some cumin. I don’t measure out seasonings. I just add them in until it smells good.
I will sometimes heat up some black beans and put this over a bed of rice or I eat it as is. (Most of the time I eat all this in one sitting)

3) Banana Chia Oatmeal: I make this a head of time. It can be eaten hot or cold. This taste like freakin banana bread.

3/4c steal cut oat ground into flour
2tbs chia seeds
1 ripe banana, mashed
2-3c almond milk
2 tbs pure maple syrup
Cinnamon to taste
1tsp vanilla
Nutmeg to taste
1tbs walnuts, optional
2tbs raisins, Optional

1)In a high speed blender, grind steel cut oats and chia seeds until a powder forms. Remove and place into a medium sized pot.
2)Stir in 2c of almond milk and increase  heat to low-medium. Stir in the mashed banana and 1tbs of maple syrup. Heat for 4-5 minutes, adding milk for desired consistency (I like mine really thick).
3)Remove from heat and stir in your cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Top with 1tbs maple syrup , walnuts and raisins.

4) Chia pudding: This stuff is so amazing. You’ll find me over the kitchen sink eating this out of the jar… Sometimes I have manners and put it in a bowl first, but not very often.

2c Native Forest coconut milk (This shit is hard to find. The only place I’ve been able to find this brand is at New Seasons. If you’re reading this from Pendleton, you’re SOL. Any coconut milk will do)
1/3c chia seeds
1 1/2tbs pure maple syrup

1)Put coconut milk, chia seeds, maple syrup and cinnamon into a jar and shake it up. I add a liberal amount of cinnamon to mine because I’m obsessed with it at the moment.

1)Put in the fridge overnight. Top with your favorite fruit. I think mango compliments the texture and flavor nicely. I eat this for breakfast, a snack or dessert. It’s THAT good. 
This is only a few of my favorites. If I put all of them, this post would be a million miles long. Hope you enjoy!