Author Archives: Alissa

Happy Mother’s Day

 

MomI have been thinking a lot about my mom lately because of some struggles I am going through, but also because of different YouTube videos I have seen on parenting lately. The videos on parenting reminded me just how much we did not get along when I was a kid. She just didn’t understand me and my husband can now sympathize with her 🙂 The only person who really understood me when I was a kid was my dad and I always thought I was just like him. I even look exactly like his sister, my aunt. As I became an adult I realized I had more of my mom in me than I knew.
Mom and dad poughkeepsieMy mom and I started waking up to the problem with health and food about the same time. She became vegan and lessened her sugar intake considerably at the same time I dove head first into juicing and a detox diet. I loved being able to share this part of my life with her, because, even though we didn’t see things exactly the same we were headed in the same direction. I always hear people ask questions about how to deal with their family and I feel so blessed because I was able to share my obsession with health with my mom.

girls funny smilesNow, five years later, we are both dealing with different struggles relating to healthy eating. Even though our struggles are different I still feel so connected with her. I have again been going through depression and I have moved past the dark days, so I feel more comfortable sharing, but I am not going to share everything just yet. My depression is always made worse through my thoughts on body image. Body image never causes the depression, but compounds the darkness.

When I was a kid I was always heavier than everyone around me, but I was so competitive I never thought to cut back on how much I was eating. People would praise my sister about eating so much and I wanted to be praised too so I ate a lot. As I went through my preteen and teen years my mom was always the beautiful, thin mom. She was the one wearing very short shorts to pick us up from school and going to a Christian school, we were not allowed to wear shorts any shorter than three inches above the knee 🙂 My mom also helped me to go on diets in high school. I remember drinking slim fast and eating packaged fruit cups and salad for a month. Then eating this raw food called pulse, which was actually very healthy. Then doing the South Beach Diet. She is a fitness Muscelsinstructor so I would wake up at 4:00 in the morning and go to the gym before school and she would go to the aerobics class with me. I never could lose the weight and I never was as skinny. I felt I would never be able to look like her, I would never be thin enough.

Then I found juicing and I did it! I reached the “goal” and kept going, because, of course I still wasn’t thin enough. I also got a new job, moved closer into the city and started a master’s degree. Suddenly my stress levels skyrocketed and my weight started coming back on no matter how much raw food and juice cleanses I did. I remember complaining to my mom and she said the best thing she could have said and I remember it all the time now. She said “Maybe your body wants to be that weight, maybe that’s what your body needs.” Of course I vehemently answered “I won’t accept that, I can’t accept that!” and forgot all about the comment.mom and me yoga

Through my last depression I realized I have some issues with perfectionism, which would surprise anyone who knew me as a child. But what spiraled my depression is not feeling like I was enough. I wasn’t good enough as a teacher, as a wife, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t healthy enough. I didn’t feel like I was enough. I have since learned that I am enough and I don’t have to be perfect and what my mom said to me, about five years ago now is stuck in my head, just like she is saying “you are enough and your body is smart, listen.”

Us at the topI have realized that skinny doesn’t mean healthy. Even though I am not super thin, I have one of the healthiest bodies I know. I am learning that thin doesn’t mean much and there are so many bodies and so many sizes and shapes. Everyone is different and everyone is beautiful. Thin is not healthy and fat is not unhealthy. My mom is struggling with some health issues and right now she is water fasting. Not to lose weight, she is beautiful and smart and focused, and she wants to be healthy. There are so many things in our lives that we do to ourselves and we don’t realize how much it is hurting us and sooner or later our bodies let us know.

Mom, thank you for teaching me. Thank you for telling me that I am enough. I know you don’t remember some of the things you said that have stuck with me, but you helped to make me the person I am today. I am so excited to keep learning with you through this journey of life!mom and me

Spring Roll Salad Dressing

I am still here, just not too much on the blog 🙂 My time is taken up with teaching 17 first graders to read, write, understand math, compost, and build and plant a garden. You know, things that take only a little bit of time.

This year has already been filled with ups and downs and a lot of life lessons. Hopefully I will get to write a post about some of those lessons. I have already dealt with some mild depression and through that depression I have felt burnt out at my job and just kind of burnt out on life in general. But I don’t like giving up and I am a fighter so with all the studying of health and health related topics that I am obsessed with I made some “rules” for myself. I try to go to bed at 8:00 pm and get up around 4:30 am to pray, meditate, and move. I also have a little schedule that I try to follow as closely as possible so I get things done, which helps me do some things for myself. I am also reading a great book that is teaching me more about resilience. 17-04-14 Snowshoeing

I realized recently that I lost my motivation to be creative, which is one reason I have not written in this space much. I felt like I had no time to myself or to do things I enjoy, but now that I have scheduled in reading and writing I feel more free and creative. I still feel like I have the same amount of time, but my mind is being freed to be creative again.

Right now I have been enjoying a plant based, mostly raw vegan lifestyle. I really love my fruit and I do not like the idea of restricting the calories that I eat. This is not to say I don’t go out to restaurants, which I absolutely love to do and I also enjoy french fries on many occasions. At home eating raw foods is my diet/lifestyle of choice though. Since I am eating lots of salads and my husband is eating them with me, I am experimenting with different dressings. My husband is a picky salad eater and when I make a dressing he really likes he says, “Make this one again! Write it down!” This recipe happened to be one of those so I wrote it down and now I will share it with you, because I really like it too.

Spring Roll Salad Dressing

1 zucchini

3 small cloves garlic

3 green onions

2 limes, juiced

2 tsp yellow miso

4 TBS almond butter

4 TBS Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or any other soy sauce)

1 small thumb of ginger

Couple drops stevia to taste or 1 small date

Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. I like to eat this dressing on zucchini noodles with red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and a little chopped lettuce. You could make any salad you felt like eating. Enjoy!

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Happy New Year

snowy-lakeHappy Snow Day in Denver! Our first week back to work/school and we get a snow day, this feels good 🙂 I love all my kids and enjoy teaching, but somehow Christmas break seemed awful short this year so its nice to have one more day to relax.

2017 has started. People have made New Year’s Resolutions and the gyms are filled. I find this practice a little annoying. Mostly because everyone starts to feel better by the second week of January because all the Christmas crap is finally gone and purposely forgets about their resolutions by the first week in February. This video pretty much describes how I feel about New Years Resolutions.

snowy-pathThat being said I am all about goals and I have listened to some helpful, but simple tips on New Years Resolutions. Some of my goals for the year are really refreshing my goals I made in August. The first tip I follow is to have a purpose for your goals. What do you want to accomplish? I want to feel good, be awake, wake up early, exercise almost daily, and think clearly. So my next question to myself is what can I do to insure success for my goal? Well I need to sleep at night, eat healthfully, go to the gym or have a home work out plan, be kind to myself, and spend time with my husband. Ok, so now let’s get specific, what do I need to do daily to accomplish these things? First, I will get ready for bed at 8:30 and go to sleep as close to 9:00 as possible. Second, I will eat raw (juice, then smoothies and fruit) throughout the day and a large salad with, maybe, some simple cooked veggies at night (spaghetti squash and potatoes are my favs right now). Third, I will have date night will my husband once a week and not stress about the restaurant we eat at or the food on my plate. I will enjoy each moment and each bite (Hello City O’City!) Forth, I will pin and download workouts from pinterest and set my alarm for 4:20 so I will get up, have worship, and leave the house around 5:00. I will also set out my clothes and food the night before so I am not stressed in the morning. Fifth, I will eat dinner with my husband at night and we can watch something short and amusing (favs include The Daily Show, Honest Trailers, and Thug Life, my husband also finds Conan pretty funny) but leave the Bones binges for the weekend. Finally, I will not stress for beat myself up for failing to do any of these everyday. I find that when I get up at 5:00 and tell myself I should have woken up early and I have to do better tomorrow, and now I won’t be able to get everything done I have a worse day. So basically, just roll with it 🙂

sunriseI have more goals for myself, but I wanted to share my tips with you and how I keep goals while staying sane and not losing momentum. Remember make your goals as measurable as possible. Goals like I will lose weight, spend more time with so and so, save more and spend less, and work out more will be on the list of forgetting what my resolutions were in February. Be consistent,  measure your progress, and be patient, and you will see progress. Did you make any New Years Resolutions? Do you keep your Resolutions throughout the year? What are your tips? Let us know in the comments.

If you want something tangible and quick join me for Jason Vale’s Big January Clean-up. It’s my favorite cleanse and I join almost every January. Let me know if your going to join me!

Happy Juicing!!!

Conditioner You Can Use Everyday

dcs_0337-edit-edit-2Once again, long time no write 🙂 If you are a teacher or you are close to someone who is a teacher you will understand why. When this school year began I had every intention of writing a post weekly and trying to write one three times a week. I even have a schedule written up and posted in my kitchen, but work always comes first. I love my first graders and pour myself into their learning every day. Once I get home I am so exhausted its all I can do to make dinner and make sure I have a healthy breakfast and lunch prepared for the next day. Relax a little with my husband while eating dinner then get all my workout clothes prepared for the next day so that I can, hopefully, wake up early enough to get to the gym for a half hour work out. Such is my life, but the well-being of children is worth the effort.

dcs_0429-edit-2So now I am sick and sitting in bed. I am still not sure why I am sick. I have been eating more raw food and this sickness has been very prolonged, but is not terrible. I hardly every get sick, but being around children can give present many different ‘bugs’ to ingest so here I am… and here is a perfected conditioner recipe you can use every day. I am not promising you can use it everyday because I only wash my hair once a week, but this conditioner doesn’t take an hour to soak into your hair so you could potentially use it every day. If you try it and it works, let me know in the comments.

Daily Conditioner

  • 1 TBs Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 TBs Olive Oil
  • 1/2 TBs Almond Oil
  • 1 TBs Honey (you can use Molasses for dark hair)
  • 1 TBs Aloe Gel
  • 1 tsp Argon Oildscn3041
  • 1 tsp Vitamin E Oil
  • 20 drops Essential Oil of Choice (I’ve been using Jasmine Absolute in Jojo
    ba Oil
    because I just love the smell of Jasmine flowers in my hair. I became addicted to it in India because they sell Jasmine flowers to decorate the women’s hair.)
  • 1/4 cup Bentonite Clay
  • About a 1/2 to 1 cup of Chamomile tea or water for dark hair

Directions: Mix all of the oils and honey together in a bowl or a jar. Then add the clay and stir until the clay becomes mixed in with the oils. Add the warm tea or water until the consistency of the mixture becomes similar to conditioner or shampoo. Keep the conditioner in the refrigerator when not in use because the oils will go rancid.

When you wash your hair with this conditioner use it before shampooing yodcs_0366-edit-2ur hair. Keep it in for a few minutes, I like to
shave my legs while I wait, then rinse it out and scrub your scalp with shampoo. The oils will still stay in your hair, but in my experience if you put the conditioner in after your shampoo your hair will be oily when you get out of the shower.

I also wanted to mention that all the photos I’ve included, except me with my beautiful little girl, are from our October trip to Mesa Verde National Park. Super fun trip, but a horrible place to take photos. Everything opens at 8:00 way after the sun rises and closes before sunset. It’s so hard to take photos with good light here, but the history and mystery is super interesting.

Happy Juicing!!!

Tuesday Travels: How to climb a 14er

How to Climb a 14er while eating low sugar and no nuts…What!

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Ok, so before I get into everything…I am not suggesting you eat only low sugar foods and no nuts. That is just how I have chosen to eat right now for various reasons, which I will get into later. This is more of an interest travel post 🙂

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For those of you who don’t know what a 14er is…a 14er is a mountain that is taller than 14,000 feet above sea level. There are those of us crazy individuals who choose to scale such mountains, take pictures at the top, brag to everyone about our accomplishments, and walk around limping the rest of the week. 14ers are usually more difficult climbs than other mountains and may be very long. The altitude is very high so it is easy to get altitude sickness if you climb too fast. My husband tends to get altitude sickness, which, for him is a headache.

Goat Sunrise

We chose to climb Grays and Torreys, two 14ers which can bmRTorr_501e climbed on the same day because there is a ‘saddle’ between them which you can walk. So late Saturday afternoon we borrowed my dad’s truck, because we decided our very low clearance Maxima would not make it to the summer trailhead. We arrived at about 10:00 pm, set up the air mattress and sleeping bags in the bed of the truck (very convenient) and slept until the alarm at 3:00 am. By 4 am with bags packed, clothes changed, and flashlights on we crossed the bridge and started up the trail.

 

Now, I do not eat at 4 in the morning so we had to take our food with us. I am eating low sugar and no nuts so this is an interesting eating adventure to take hiking. While my husband is eating apples, grapes, dates, and salty trail mix I am snacking on other (very water rich and not happy for above tree line and lots of people) foods.

Going Up

Low Sugar, No Nuts 14er Food Recipe

2 9.5 oz bottles of coconut waterGreen Juice

2 packages micro or macro greens

4 6 oz packages blueberries (washed and in a ziplock bag)

4 pints cherry tomatoes (washed and in a ziplock bag)

1 jicama washed and cut (optional)

1 kolhrabi washed and cut (optional)

1 small bag sugar free granola or cereal (optional)

Place everything into one backpack with 4 water bottles and fall over from the weight 🙂

I ended up drinking the coconut water with the green powder and eating the blueberries and half the tomatoes. The biggest problem with this food is that there is no place to pee 😦 So we get creative 🙂

GoatWe made both summits and started down. As we got off of Torreys and back onto the general trail, my knee started to really hurt. I had to walk super slow and take quite a few breaks. My kind husband finally made me give him the camera bag so he was carrying the water, food bag, and the camera bag and then came the fun part. We had climbed quite a ways down and sat by a sign to rest my knee, as we started walking again little pieces of ice began to pelt us. We walked being pelted with hail the rest of the way down the mountain. I was like “we have to get to the tree line” Yeah, what you don’t realize when you leave in pitch black is that the tree line ends just about when you start climbing.

🙂 All-in-all we had a wonderful time and I would definitely recommend climbing Grays and Torreys. And if you are going to climb get there the night before so you can actually park in the parking lot. This is an extremely popular climb and a very beautiful sunrise.

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Happy Juicing!!!

If you want to see more of my husbands beautiful photos go to salvadorarmendariz.weebly.com

Natural Conditioner

Conditioner and SmileHi all, I am back and, hopefully, really, fully back. I am so happy to announce that I am finished with my Master’s degree and I can now teach Special Education in Colorado! I am very excited. Teaching is one of my passions and especially teaching students who are struggling or learning another language (which really doesn’t have much to do with SpEd).

My plan is to share with you three different blog posts most weeks. One about the travels my husband and I have, with some amazing pictures that he takes. Another post about things I am reading or have been really impressed with during the week. Finally a post about my eating adventures, how I’m feeling, and some recipes. I have been doing some experimenting with different ways of eating for the last year and I want to share with you my insights and what I have found works for me. I have also been changing my outlook on eating, dieting, and how I see my body (thanks to Rande Moss) which I talked about in a previous post and I will talk more about later.

Today I wanted to share with you a recipe for conditioner or a hair mask that I formulated a couple days ago. I used to make Kibby’s hair mask from Kibby’s Blended Life, but she took down her site. I thought I had copied all of my favorite recipes from her, but now I can’t find any of them 😦 If anyone copied her Norito recipe, quinoa pizza crust recipe, or the sweet potato cookies I would love to have them. Those are three of my absolute favorite recipes, but are lost to me forever 😦

So this hair mask is inspired by Kibby’s recipe, but I added some things because I am trying to lighten my hair naturally. If you like dark hair look to the note on the bottom. The color of my hair did not change dramatically, but my hair was light and smooth and soft afterwards. I am so amazed!

Lightening Hair Conditioner

  • 1/2 can of full fat coconut milkConditioner just hair
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp almond oil
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 avocado (can add one more if you want the mixture to be thicker)
  • 1/4 cup prepared chamomile tea

Prepare the tea. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place about a cup of conditioner into a small bowl, you will have extra. Lather on hair until hair is completely saturated with the conditioner. Place a hair cap over head and let sit for an hour. Rinse off in the shower. (I do this at night because the oils do not all come out of my hair right away). In the morning wash your hair with shampoo (I keep my shampoo on for around 5 minutes before I rinse), then style as normal.

This is the shampoo I use, I bought it off of amazon and I really like it. My hair was getting really dry because I stopped making my own shampoo and started using a cheap “natural” brand and I was getting very frustrated. When I went to get my hair cut my hair stylist, who’s so sweet she doesn’t use any products I don’t want on my hair and I can bring in my own shampoo if I want, asked if she could spray some argon oil on my hair. I had never heard of argon oil, but I said “sure” and my hair was so amazing afterwards so I am hooked on argon oil for my hair.

Frozen Conditioner

You can save the extra in ziplock bags, a cup per bag, then freeze. Take a bag
out the night before you put the conditioner on your hair (I always forget). Do this about once a week for amazing results.

Note for Dark Hair:

If you do not want your hair to lighten take out the Chamomile tea and lemon. I have heard you can substitute molasses for honey. Also leave out the turmeric and cinnamon or you could try subbing henna powder for a slightly reddish brown hue. Also you would probably only need one banana, because the thickness will change when you take out the tea and lemon. If anyone tries this let me know how it works.

A Lesson Learned

This was an extremely interesting week for me and I have learned some things I hope not to forget. First I want to say even though this is a continuation, of sorts, from yesterday’s post what I have to say here does not necessarily have to do with intuitive eating. Some of the conclusions I came to this week have come from thinking over the ideas and principles of intuitive eating, but like I said yesterday, I am not necessarily following all the principles.

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Yesterday in my introduction I mentioned that I have been worrying about my body and the food that I was eating. I also mentioned that I have been beginning to feel peace around my body and food. Well, last week I was feeling frustrated again because my clothes were not fitting so I finally began to pray about all of my frustrations. I began to just tell God that I was frustrated with my clothes not fitting and that I really didn’t want to buy new clothes, but that I also wanted to feel good about my body. I finally came to the conclusion that I would do a five day juice cleanse and I felt complete peace.

So I went about stocking my house with beautiful fruits and veggies. I planned four juices or smoothies (I couldn’t waste produce I already had) a day and most of the recipes were from Fully Raw Kristina. Her juices are full of good fruit carbohydrates and I wanted to feel full and satiated. I also got out Jason Vales 5lbs in 5 days app and watched the videos each day, which were very inspiring. In one of the videos he points out that we should have an attitude of gratitude. To realize that you can eat whatever you want to eat and to do just that, for the purpose of the video I only wanted juices so “stop moping around for something you hope you won’t have” and “either eat it and shut up or don’t eat it and shut up, but shut up.” In other words eat what you want and don’t judge yourself for what you ate.

I really enjoyed juicing for these five days. I didn’t feel like it was difficult and I didn’t want anything, but juice. My mind was finally ready to drink nothing but beautiful juices for five days. On the last day God taught me a very important lesson. People say that juice cleansing helps your mind to not be so clouded and I don’t know, maybe I was ready to learn this lesson on the last day.

Most mornings I have my little ritual; I pray, meditate, and read the Bible. Sometimes I write when I pray, its good to remember the things I talk about and ask about. On this day in particular I started searching the word eat in the Bible. I don’t remember what I was looking for, but something else really stood out to me: Matthew 6:25  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” I realized that I had been thinking a lot about what I would eat and what I would wear, but I wasn’t thinking about the things that really mattered right now. I was living my life, but I wasn’t enjoying it, because I was too worried about my food, clothing and what my body looks like. us portrait

Later that day I had an experience that really made me realize how truly God takes care of us and that we don’t have to worry. Sometimes he even takes care of other people through us and we don’t realize it at the time. There are so many ways for him to fulfill his promises.

I also realized the things that we do to look good can sometimes be completely ridiculous. I was listening to a report on the radio, they were interviewing a holocaust survivor and one of the things that really stood out to me was when he mentioned food. He said they were allotted 500 calories a day and they were starving. He said when someone is starving all they do is think about food and there is not a time that food is not on their mind. We do this to ourselves instead of living our lives with intention and enjoying ourselves we get so caught up in needing to look like what the media tells us we should look like we decide that starving ourselves is a good idea. It’s no wonder we can’t keep from eating tons of food all of a sudden, all at once.

I decided then not to worry about what I was eating and to love my body and enjoy this season of my life and how I am living it.

 

 

A Shout Out to Rande

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but I haven’t found the inspiration I needed. I am in my last semester of grad school (YAY!) and super busy as always, but that never stops me from thinking (worrying?) about my health and body. The last few years have seen me super stressed and a lot has happened in my life, which I have already posted about. When I first started this blog I was on a high, I had lost 20 or so pounds and I was so excited to share with the world the life I had discovered. Since then I have gained almost all of my weight back and I have gone through frustrations, fears, anxiety, and depression as well as despising my beautiful body just for protecting me. This year I have started to once again feel balanced and I wanted to share with you a new part of my health journey I am just starting to embrace.

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This journey begins with Rande Moss. I have known Rande since high school, she is a beautiful person who has always been interested in health. After high school I lost touch with her and then in 2012 found her blog The Vegetable Centric Kitchen. I saw how healthy she was and her enthusiasm for living a detox life started me down the health “rabbit hole.” Sometime in 2014 her blog became somewhat silent, but what she wasn’t telling her followers was that she was beginning to understand a new and better way of living and eating. A way of living that brings freedom around food into life instead of a prescribed way of eating by a ‘guru’ or someone else who ‘knows’ what is best. In 2015 she started a new website and business randemoss.com.

I am going to be honest, at first I wasn’t convinced about this new way of eating called intuitive eating. She says to eat whatever you want and for however you want to feel. I thought, “If I do that I will never eat anything that is healthy, all I will eat is chocolate, veggie burgers and fries, pan dulce with arroz con leche, and Brazilian cheese bread.” Oh, and lots of oily south Indian food (if you are in south Denver Masalaa is the best). But I continued following her posts with interest, commenting often. I think she realized faster than I did how lost I was and how much I was wishing for something new and less stressful. So she offered to talk with me and of course I said yes! We chatted over scoconut carmel apple saladkype and she listened as I poured out my anxieties and frustrations with eating and my body. She was so sweet and listened so intently, making me feel like all of my problems were real and really mattered. Then she gave me some very well thought out advice and steps that I could begin right away to start feeling freedom.

 

I followed some of her advice and began small. I first rounded up all of the clothes that I was waiting to fit into and took them to a second hand store to sell. I then made sure I had clothes that fit me and that I enjoyed wearing. She also ‘gave me permission’ in a way, to stop stressing about the food choices I was making because I was stressed. She told me to not judge my choices and to not beat myself up about them, but to just let them be and whatever choice I made that is ok. I am still having a hard time with this one, but I can honestly say that I am much less stressed than I was and I am eating just as healthy even though I am letting go of my judgement and rules.

I also took part in a ‘cleanse’ Rande hosted at the beginning of the year and I am enjoying her lovely and informative posts in her facebook page. One thing that I have been enamored by for a while is women who do not have “perfect” bodies, but love themselves for who they are and what their bodies look like right now. I have never been able to do that, but reading Rande’s posts have really helped me to look at myself with acceptance and realize that I do not have to be a certain size to be beautiful. I am beautiful right now.

Rande is just starting a 12-week, group program called The Freedom Sessions which I highly recommend if you want freedom around food and your body. She has seen all the diets, fads, and cleanses. She knows how to look like she has it all together while feeling like she is falling apart on the inside. I believe one of her biggest strengths is that she understands what you are going through and she cares. Check out her blog and see what she has to offer and how you can start to experience the freedom you wish to feel in your life.

Winter Wonderland

I have learned more about letting go and feeling freedom in your life this past week and I really wanted to share it with you because I feel what I have learned is very important. But this blog post is already very long so look for another post coming soon.

 

A Visit to the Grand Canyon

WOW! Time flies by so fast. I can barely remember my last post, so much has happened. I think when I last posted I was writing about moving through my depression and grief. This past fall I realized that I had finally come full circle and I am living past the grief and depression.

I have to apologize, this is not going to be a recipe post. I have not been doing much experimenting with recipes lately, I’ve been too busy. I tried to go on a couple “cleanses” to see how they worked for my body, but I didn’t do a very good job. The best thing I have done for myself lately has been prayer and journaling. I’m not quite ready to talk about either of those right now so you will have to be content with some recent adventures.

First, though, an update. This past fall has been so incredibly busy, I’ve paused my studies because the school I work for moved locations right before school started in August and I got the job of First Grade teacher! I love teaching first grade, I am so much more content. Not that I didn’t enjoy teaching preschool, I just like being able to teach more and mother less. I will say, though, there is nothing like a hug from a four-year-old to make you feel better when you are having a bad day. I love walking by my former students in the hallway and stopping as they run up to me and give me a huge hug, they just make my day!

This past summer my husband and I decided we had been letting life pass us by while we finish school and decided we didn’t like that. We want to travel and we don’t want to wait for life to be ‘convenient.’ So we are going where we can and enjoying the beautiful places we are able to visit. This summer we made a trip to Arches National Park and this October we visited the Grand Canyon. I had been to both places when I was a kid, but my husband had never been to them. After my husband got into photography a couple years ago (and bought a new camera and lense this summer) this was the perfect trip. If you want to see more of his photos go to http://salvadorarmendariz.weebly.com/

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Yoga is your best friend after spending a night sleeping in the car. Besides I was in the middle of Sadie Nardini’s 14 day yoga shred challenge on Doyouyoga.

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The morning sunshine was so beautiful at this truck stop in a town just outside of Glenwood Springs.

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I just had to stop at Palisade for the end of the season peaches and other fruits 🙂 It’s a good thing too because we didn’t end up cooking at all on this trip. Sleeping in the car instead of a campsite seriously limits campfire abilities.

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It’s a very long drive from Grand Junction to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.

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We finally made it for the sunset. I wasn’t tired and cranky at all 🙂

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There is nothing like meditation on the edge of the Grand Canyon while your husband is busy taking photos. Meditation is much better on the North Rim, there are less people.

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Gorgeous sunset for our first night!

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Clarification: you are not allowed to sleep in your car at the Grand Canyon.

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But the sunrise is sooo worth it!

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More yoga? On the edge of the Grand Canyon? Yes Please!

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It is a five hour drive from the North Rim to the South Rim even though the canyon is about 10 miles across. But once again, so worth it!

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Night pictures in the cold? I’ll read a book, thank you.

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Did I say how beautiful the stars are at the Grand Canyon?

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While my husband was taking sunrise photos and meeting interesting people I was still in the car. He woke up to get the best spot and I told him to just park where I could see the sunrise 🙂 I am not lazy at all.

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Someday I want to hike down to the Colorado River.

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This time we contented ourselves with a four hour hike towards Horseshoe Plateau.

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It’s kind of nerve-wracking hiking down first instead of up. A Fourteener is almost easier because you know you will eventually go down. Hiking down into the canyon means that you will be going up all the way back. Yuck!

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The last gorgeous sunset before driving into the land of no truck stops.

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Seriously, in this part of Arizona there are no truck stops. My wonderful husband let me sleep and he finally found a very lighted parking lot to sleep.

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Stopping for coffee before heading to Utah. We didn’t know where we were, then we drove over a hill and…

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We were in Monument Valley just as the sun was rising! The landmarks were so much more impressive in real life especially because we didn’t know they were there. As we drove over the hill both of us gasped at the beautiful surprise waiting for us!

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This is definitely a trip I would make again. Such beautiful creation! I’m so glad we didn’t wait for life to be convenient before taking this breathtaking trip!

 

Honey-Nut Almond Butter Cookies

Last weekend my sister came to visit so all the family came for lunch on Saturday. My mom decided to ask everyone to make something that my Grandma Wanda used to make as a tribute to my Grandparents. I had been so busy with school and work I didn’t have much time to think about what I would make so my mom said “we need another dessert that is gluten free, make that.” Well, I thought, that’s easy. I got my grandma’s cookbook out and started looking through it, even though she made gluten free food a lot none of her recipes were gluten free and I didn’t recognize any of the recipes in the book. So I thought Honey-Nut Peanut Cookies sounded super yummy, then I looked at the recipe and I just couldn’t stomach all the processed sugar, eggs, and margarine that were in the recipe. I was even iffy about the peanuts so I modified 🙂 and after many mistakes they turned out wonderful! My Uncle Ron, who is gluten-free, asked for the recipe and my grandpa who struggles with type 2 diabetes said “those cookies were really good, I should have taken more of them.” So I thought I would add the recipe to my neglected blog. Enjoy! Honey-Nut Almond Cookies 1

Honey-Nut Almond Cookies

(Based on Honey-Nut Peanut Cookies from “Wandaful” Food pg. 85)

3 TBS Stevia (not liquid)

3/4 cup Coconut Sugar

2 cups Almond Butter

1 cup Coconut Oil or Nut Milk *see note

4 Flax Eggs

3 cups Sorghum or Oat Flour (I used Sorghum cuz that’s what I had)

1 tsp xanthan

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups Chopped Honey-roasted Almonds (or any sweet flavored almonds)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine stevia, coconut sugar, almond butter, and oil or milk; beat until as light and fluffy as possible. Add flax eggs and blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off. Add flour, baking soda and xanthan gum  ; mix well. Stir in almonds. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased (I used parchment paper) baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool 1 minute and remove from cookie sheets. Makes about 3 to 4 dozen.

*Note: I used a little less than a fourth of a cup of coconut oil and poured milk when I added the almonds because the dough was really dry. So feel free to experiment a little.

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 I am adding this picture because it’s the one that my husband likes the best. 🙂

Happy Juicing!!!

Love, Debbie

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