Tuesday, November 13, 2012

hang on, little tomato

Have you ever had one of those moments while watching a movie,where you're starting to get all weepy and you're really feeling for those actors, because they're doing such a darn good job acting, and all of a sudden you're crying and they're crying and everybody's crying even though it's just a movie?


Well let me tell ya it's like the cosmic forces have just adjourned their meeting and they know where you live.

It's not a bad thing. Necessarily.

But when you're watching a movie called "Everybody's fine" and you're thinking "wow this is my life" only it's not really, because you are not an old man who is traveling across the country to track down his kids who don't have time to visit only to learn they are hiding a secret, blah blah blah.

Relative to my own experiences, the movie made sense and it kind of hurt a little.  In a world where "everybody's fine" someday's we just don't feel fine at all.

People can be so mean.

Life is confusing and sometimes sad.

Things don't turn out like we hope or plan.

My latest doctor/patient discussion resulted in me being on a strict gluten free diet.  But I swear my doctor is confused, because "strict" is not in my vocabulary.

So what do you do when habits like eating toast and baking bread are now the devil and along with every other thing you were trying to deal with, you have to relearn how to eat.

It's ridiculous and maddening and needless to say headache-inducing.

And the answer is that I don't know.  I really don't. I'm just doing it and today I'm hating it and tomorrow I hope will be better than today.

And the truth is I haven't written for awhile because things have been really hard. But I've decided that shouldn't stop me from writing.

We are all going through hard battles.  Gluten is the least of my worries..it's just made things a whole lot more complicated.

A friend recently asked me, "April didn't you just go on a Raw diet voluntarily? What's the big deal?"

The simple answer to that is that when it's not something we choose, we tend to not favor it so much.

Sometimes the battle is a consequence of our choices, but does that make it easier to face?

This blog really inspired me to stop thinking so much about myself and start thinking about who I can help.  What an incredible thing it is to see someone standing up to their fears.

Are you "fine"? If not, consider..

If I'm hurting that's awesome, because there are a lot of hurt people in the world and I can relate with them and help them through it.

If I'm lonely, that really sucks, but also it's a good reminder that there are other people that are lonely too and since I know how lame it is I can show them I care and that they aren't alone.

If I need to feel loved,  that's the perfect time to look for ways to help other people be happy. A hug, a plate of cookies (gluten free of course), or maybe just working on those listening skills.

And I think that if I'm seeking ways to love others, God will help me feel better, therefore solving problems 1, 2, & 3.


Hang in there peeps. I'm fighting with you.

And now a word from Pink Martini:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

sunday best

This week has been filled with an abundance of:

*Downton Abbey...why can't I ever get enough of this?!
*Green Smoothies
*Time with my little babe thanks to being sick. Never have I appreciated sickness so much before.
*Joy-from finding the most incredible pair of jeans I could ever dream of
*Reminders that in 6 months I will be saying farewell to Utah forever
*Great flicks- "Trouble with the curve" "Katy Perry: Part of me"...I joke. I kid. No actually I loved it. 
*Beautiful changing colors every time I walk outside
*Fall bike rides

There's been an absence of these over the last week as well:

*Sugar, Fast Food, and really anything that doesn't belong in that vegetable marked drawer in my fridge
*Frustration because I'm still doing the same old dumb thing while hoping for different results
*Football...major bonus of not having tv
*Cleaning...hey I tried.

Things are as hectic as ever and I know it seems strange to add more stress (like what the heck will I eat because I can't handle anymore spinach..), but actually that kind of stress is irrelevant compared to the constant nagging I did to myself before beginning all of this. 

Tonight was a family dinner and I wasn't even slightly tempted by those homemade brownies and lasagna. No really. I could have those anytime in my life. In fact I've probably had them more times than I can count. So what's the big deal anyway?

I just told myself that I could eat that lasagna instead of my sprouted wheat bread with almond butter, (by the way my entire family thought I had lost my mind) but that I just didn't want to. Somehow, because it made it sound like I was more in control of the situation, I believed myself and did not partake of said unhealthy-not raw in any way-kind of gross when you think about it- food.

It was worth it. I feel awesome.

-My nausea is minimal compared to everyday of the last 3 1/2 years
-I'm tired, but seem to have a lot of energy still
-Feeling great in the mornings (miracle)


Thursday, September 20, 2012


Well it happened.

I went about my biz-nas today and inevidably it came up how I'm doing this whole raw thing and people looked at me like I had lost my mind. Or like my hand just fell off or something.

And then they offered me tamales and cupcakes.

Although it was slightly tempting, what occurred to me was just how tough it is to change.

I think we all want it. I do. I talk about it all the time. Change this, do that..we all do it.

But when we do actually summon the courage to make a change and we give it all we've got, there are still those few people that turn into cheerleaders. But not the good kind of cheerleaders (is there actually a good kind?) The kind that start cheering for all the things you're trying to avoid or stop doing, or change. And they question you like you've just committed a crime or something.

And it's just really so unhelpful to say the least.

Fortunately, I came prepared. I had already considered those types of conversations and really there's just something in me right now that says, "do or die April" and it's pretty remarkable, because I'm not really a do or die sort of person. I'm more like "do and if it doesn't work out then oh what a shame".

But that kind of thinking gets me nowhere. Literally. NOWHERE.

If I don't at least begin trying to change these things about myself now, then in ten years I could very well be the same girl I am now. So then what's the point of life if not for change?

So regardless of what it is that you or I are trying to change I think first and foremost it must be decided that it's the right thing to do.

I mean, is it?

For your future? For your happiness? For the happiness of those around you? For xyz...

Going on a raw/whole foods diet is something I've wanted to do for a long, long time. For me. Because it sounded right to me. It sounded good in a way that you just nod your head thinking, "yeah I should do that". And because it sounds right to me and because it's my life, I'm going to do what feels right for me. It's absolutely going to be hard and at moments I may truly loathe this change I brought upon myself.

BUT can I just say how great it feels to be in a world where everyone wants to change and to know that I'm actually doing it.

It feels so incredibly good.

I'm changing. Inching along. It feels awesome, it really does.

Rediscovering yourself is such a challenge. Partly, because you have to talk yourself into it and mostly, because I think at times we may find ourselves with people who are afraid of change. Or think it's ridiculous or unnecessary.  And they're not afraid to tell you. Oh no, they will make themselves loud and clear how they feel about it. But they're speaking from what they want or need, usually not considering the most important part, which is want YOU want or need.

I confess that the last four days have been really difficult, but I'm honestly happier than I've been in a long time.

I feel:


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

too much driving, not enough chocolate

My day:

I woke up so tired this morning I literally didn't even open my eyes until I reached the bathroom to brush my teeth.

I drove Elle up to Salt Lake to meet my aunt who takes her for a few days so I can be at school like a madwoman and still have most of the week with my little babe.  It is exhausting for all us.

I then stopped by the market to get some more produce, came home and made a green smoothie, showered and went to school.

I was at school for less than an hour when it was discovered that Elle has that hand-foot-mouth-disgusting-thing that apparently can be caught from dirty church floors and other small children.  So I left class to drive back up to North SLC to get her and then drove home..still drinking my now warm green smoothie. Poor girl slept the whole way home.

When your baby is sick it really throws you off I tell ya. I couldn't focus on anything..mostly because I was busy fussing over her and mostly because she has been glued to my side and cries when I move without her.  It really is so wonderful being a mother. But it's heartbreaking to see them hurting with not much for you to do about it.

So I took her on a walk. She played with the leaves and we both enjoyed the sun for awhile. It was warm and comforting and made us both happy.

This "raw" thing is still going great. Okay it sucks, but I haven't cheated once and I'm determined to stay with it. It only sucks, because today every craving I've ever had in my life came back to me.

Enchiladas. Tortellini. Tortilla chips.

Tomorrow my school is doing a fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes and I'm supposed to make something for the bake sale. I volunteered my services long before I knew I wouldn't be able to have even a single bite. It still counts if someone else bakes it, true? Like Lofthouse or Great Harvest?

Because the smell of cookies or something in my house would mean complete torture and I prefer to not use torture methods in this little apartment of mine.  Could I really not even try the batter?  Pssh. Nope. Let's get real here.  It's only day 3 not day 30 and I am lacking willpower today.

I did find a way to cure my sweet tooth for like a second. Shout out to Pinterest.

These are really, really, ridiculously tasty (only better with chocolate, but anyway..)

Raw Sugar Cookies:

1 C. Almonds
1 C. Dates

Blend together in food processor or high powered blender until sticky. Roll out with rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick. Use your fav cookie cutters to make them all cute and stuff.

I feel decent. I'm soo tired, but I'm not sure if that's from needing more energy (From what I'm eating) or because I woke up at 5 a.m.

In a little while I'll go for a run and then welcome bedtime with my fav Sleepytime Vanilla Herbal Tea.

Here's to tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Day 2: Breakfast for this champion!

I woke up this morning feeling..oh I don't know...BOMB DIGGITY AWESOME!

Seriously I woke up just feeling good. I think my body is pretty happy with me.

And guess what? I feel pretty happy with myself. I finally stopped talking and started DOING. 

Who knew it really would be so fantastic? 

This ain't no fluff. I wouldn't lie to you.  Try it and see for yourself!

Some of you have been asking what book I've been referring to as I go about this Whole/Raw Food adventure. 

I found this treasure and have really been in love with it. There are recipes and a whole plan laid out if you want to go the Raw Food route. I've decided I'm doing a combination of both a Raw and a Whole Food diet. 
My real goal is to completely free my body of all the crap I've been eating for years so I think the Raw diet is really effective in helping me do that. Then I plan to move forward in about three to four weeks with a Whole Food lifestyle. I'm not limiting myself to just one way, but I will also tell you I don't feel limited anyway.

A blog I've also been referring to is 100 days of real food which I have been reading for awhile now. There's a lot of great information, recipes, and the how to begin taking yourself and your family off processed foods. I love it!

Whole foods on a budget is a really helpful blog too. I'm sure I'll continue to find them and I'll let you know about the good ones!

For this morning..

Usually I'd probably eat maybe a bowl of Reeses Puffs or Kashi Cinnamon Harvest. But I often would just skip breakfast.

What do you normally eat for breakfast? I found that if I stopped to think about what I'm actually putting in my body, it's not shocking why it doesn't feel great or work the way I want it to.

So I made Pancakes!

But not just any pancakes..Sweet Potato Spelt Pancakes. 

Sweet Potato Spelt Pancakes: (Adapted from Life Force Energy)
1 C. spelt flour 
1 organic egg
1 C. unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tbs. organic butter
fresh fruit
 raw almond butter

Whisk all ingredients together (Except butter and fruit) until perfectly smooth. Heat butter in skillet on high heat. Using about 1/4 cup at a time, place medium sized disks of batter on skillet.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Top with almond butter and berries. Share with someone you love!

 and I had never actually had a green smoothie before so I tried it out..SO delicious.

Pineapple Peach Green Smoothie: (Adapted from Fresh Blends)
1 C. unsweetened almond milk
1 medium banana
2 C. spinach
1 large ripe peach (pitted and sliced)
1 C. fresh pineapple sliced
1/2 C. fresh squeezed pineapple juice
1 C. ice
Put all ingredients in blender with liquid first. Blend until smooth. Fall in love.

I had NO idea that green smoothies tasted like this. I think the freshness of the fruit made a huge difference. You can use frozen fruit, but I think you'd be compromising on taste. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 1: easy peasy light and breezy

Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream

You guys.

On a scale of 1 to awesomeness...today was so so good.

I don't think I've ever been so excited to make such a significant change in my life.

Minus Andrew and Elle because that was easy...somehow Love just makes new things a breeze.

So when I tell you how much I love chips and salsa or Tillamook ice cream, you should know that when I thought about beginning this journey I imagined myself crying outside of Kneaders or something.

And although I don't "love" the idea of shunning a few of my favorite things, the idea of feeling really, really great for the rest of my life just seemed too good to pass up.  This is me learning to sacrifice good things for great things.

I'm ready.

I went to Sprouts (formerly Sunflower Market) to pick up the essentials.

They always have great produce and it's better than a bigger chain and cheaper than a smaller grocery store.  I heart that place.

If you were to take a gander at my cart this is what you'd find..

-Alfalfa Sprouts
-Raw Almond Butter
-lots of veggies
-Organic Butter
-Almond Milk
-Agave Nectar

-Sprouted Wheat bread
-this and that

Lucky for me, I have the kind of husband who knows that support is crucial to being successful with such a big change in lifestyle.

So he bought me this!
And I can't even begin to tell you how awesome this has made my life. Within the last five hours at least..

It's a dream come true.

All I had to eat this morning was an apple..mostly because I wasn't really hungry and also I wasn't a hundred percent sure what I could eat other than fruits and veggies.

So I made myself a snack of toast with raw almond butter and fresh peaches with cinnamon.

It was even better than I imagined. The peach was perfection.

Seriously it was bomb.

For dinner I made Tortilla Soup..minus the tortilla. Maybe you're just supposed to imagine the tortilla is there.

Tortilla Soup:
2 C. warm water
2 roma tomatoes
1/2 large carrot (I used four snack size carrots)
3 mini red pepper or 1/4 slice of a regular size pepper
1/4 avocado
1 onion wedge
3/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Blend together! Add lime juice to taste. Add corn and slices of avocado if desired.

Delicious and sooo easy. Ellie loved it. Seriously she kept asking for more.

And finally, because Fall is the most wonderful time of the year, I decided to make some Pumpkin ice cream.

It was literally the best ice cream I've had in a long time. No refined sugars. No fillers. Nothing but pumpkin-y goodness!

Pumpkin Ice Cream:  
3/4 C. unsweetened chocolate almond milk 
1/8-1/4 C. raw agave nectar
1 med. banana
1 1/2 tbs. vanilla extract
3 C. ice
1/2 C. pure pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Blend together (any blender will do) and then try not to eat the whole thing in one day. Ellie and I shared some and it made so much that I put the rest in the freezer for another day when I'm craving something sweet.

I feel:
Pretty great. No really I do. Surprisingly I've had a lot of energy today and I don't feel hungry or deprived. One friend who just went Vegan reminded me the other day to focus on what I'm "adding" to my diet and my life instead of what I'm taking away.  Brilliant advice. 

There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from finally doing something that you know is good for you. Deciding to do it was actually much harder than the actual process. 

Tomorrow should be challenging though..I'm at school for 12 hours and I'm definitely a social eater. Mind over matter mind over matter mind over matter. My plan is to be prepared, have back up plans, and stay positive when people find out what I'm doing and make discouraging remarks. 

It's cool. I got this. 

Jump then fall..whole foods here I come!

Yesterday I almost died.

And by that I mean I suffered from a certain amount of pain that should only occur if one is dying, because there really is no other good reason to writhe in agony as I did.

This is getting out of hand, really.

If you'll take just a sec to reminisce with me upon days of old, you will find THIS will give you a glimpse into my life. Unfortunately, not much has improved since that time.

Surgery: Waste of a lot of $$ that would've been better spent at H&M.

Since then..giving my life savings, current paycheck, and our retirement fund to doctors who seem to be guessing at this point is no longer in the plan.

So after much deliberation I've decided to embark on something new.

Improve my health by going on a Whole Foods Diet.

I am a little frightened. If I was going to lie about this process I would just tell you it's totally awesome and I love it and I'm so pumped.

My goal is to be able to say those things in about 3 weeks..that's when apparently your body starts feeling really good and it's adjusted to the absence of foods that you (think you) love.

After watching Forks Over Knives last year on Netflix, I've contemplated off and on if a whole foods diet was not only something I should do, but also if it was something I actually could do.

Who has that much self discipline?!

But then I see things like this
Pink Slime.

Not sure what it is? Watch this:

You should have some sort of container next to you, because you will probably want to throw up. I actually had to FORCE myself to watch this.

Even Ellen has something to say about it..

The actual point of a Whole Foods diet is just a healthier way of living and eating. Oh and you know exactly what's in your food.  And you have increased energy, feel better, and on and on the list goes.

My problem I think lies in the detoxing. Because that always sucks. I've done it from sugar before and the first few weeks were miserable. Just plain miserable.

But after a few weeks you begin to see those foods you "love" for what they really are. Unhealthy, refined, and truthfully the thought of eating processed foods is unappealing to say the least.

The BEST part is that I felt so good. SO so good. 

Unfortunately, bad habits creep in and slowly here and there you find yourself eating those foods that you eliminated from your diet and before you know it you're back to where you started.

A lot of my health issues come from my body producing too much acid. The Whole Foods diet is a plant based diet which is naturally alkaline producing and known to balance out the ph levels in your body along with give you more energy and better sleep among other things.

What I feel like now:

a.) severe heart and chest burn daily and sometimes hourly
b.) trouble sleeping
c.) daily headaches
d.) nausea (no I'm not pregnant)

e.) low energy and sluggishness
f.) sick to my stomach after eating
g.) strong food cravings
h.) late night hunger
i.) trouble breathing and swallowing
*It's rare when I actually feel good..sometimes I struggle with most of this list on a daily basis all at the same time.
j.) sugar is my drug of choice

I obviously don't want to feel this way anymore. I'm confident that by changing my eating habits drastically I will feel better, look better, and help others do it too.

Everyday I will be posting my progress and meals! I expect this first week to be pretty rough, but I feel as though this is inspired and I think the only way to do it is to take it one day at a time.

Want to do it with me?! Email me at abrisun@live.com