Big Moves!

Hey Guys! Soo for the next couple of days my site will be in construction mode as I move it over to a real, self-hosted, all my own web page. (Not that this one isn’t real) It is a huge process that I didn’t think would be so time consuming, actually I knew it would be a pain in the neck I was just hoping everything I read about it was wrong. Sooo please “pardon my dust” as the site is under construction! It is up and running right now, but not at all what I want it to look like. Hopefully in a couple of days I can have the grand opening. Then I will be redirecting all of you to the new site! It’s still quite a ways away and I have so much more to work on before then. Maybe in a week? If anyone has any tips about going from a wordpress.com blog to self-hosting, building websites, or any advice I would appreciate it SO much, because let’s be honest, I have no idea what I’m really doing half of the time. I promise it will be worth it though! In the mean time, I will continue to post here and let ya know when the switcharoo is happening! So for today…enjoy these pictures of Costa Rica. 🙂PlayaOcotal
Sunset at Playa OcotalP1110519.jpg Just a day at work!
PlayaConcha

Happy Friday!

Web design, blogging, self-hosting advice? Leave a comment or e-mail me at Yakkafit@gmail.com. Thank you!!

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Gardening isn’t just for Grandmas.

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Maybe I just used to think that only old people had gardens, or maybe just recently with the whole Real food, eat local movement gardening has becoming more “in”, or maybe when you’re in high school gardens just aren’t cool or something? I don’t really know, but I think they are awesome! It is so rewarding to grow a large portion of the food you eat all year round. I love popping open a jar of pickles mid winter and dram about the fresh dill that lined the garden. After all, your backyard is as local as you can get!

Welp, summer is in full swing! I honestly can’t even believe it is already July…mid-July, holy crap! We went on a trip to the Adirondaks and Burlington Vermont and came back to a jungle in the garden. I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails asking about the garden after I’ve featured some recipes from ingredients found in it! (And there are more to come) I’ve been meaning to do a post about it anyway so that I can compare to what it looks like in late summer, so I know what to do or not do next year, and so that I can show you guys! Sooo here we go. The lower part is mostly herbs and stuff that I wanted to plant. The upper portion is more of a joint effort from my finance (accent on the e) and I. (no longer boyfriend—eek!!)

garden2014This year the garlic is growing much better since I didn’t insist on leaving the volunteer sunflowers growing up from the middle of it. I also planted five different flavors of basil this year! I didn’t even know that many existed, and one of them is purple! Which is why my basil lemonade was is a little funky colored this year.

Garden 2014.jpgThese pictures were taken about a week ago, and it is crazy how much bigger the herbs and kale are now. I can’t believe it! Kale

Then in the upper half we have more of the larger vegetables and some companion herbs. I planted parsley with the onions, basil with the tomatoes.Gardening101Then in the very back we have the tomatoes, and a couple of rows of beets. We also have the big vine-y vegetables, like the zucchini’s, squashes, pumpkins, and maybe a watermelon here and there? This is the first year we have used the tomato cages, usually we just let them run free and they take over the entire garden. Last year we planted them all around the perimeter…not a good idea.TomatoesHere are some great quick tips for gardening. I am by no means an expert..at all! My dad kept a garden my whole life and I learned a lot from watching and helping him. My fiance has also always kept a garden, last year was pretty much the first year I helped through the entire process and had more of our own garden. So I really don’t know too much of what I’m doing, I just learn a bit more each year.

Quick Tips for A Happy Garden

1. Plant according to the seed package. If it says to plant 1 inch deep, 6 inches apart follow those measurements. I mean, you don’t have to get a ruler out or anything, but don’t go throwing the seeds all around the place.

2. Keep weeds away! Weeding is a pain in the butt, I know it sucks. Plants need to be able to receive the water and nutrients from the soil. And weeds are very good competitors, they will steal those precious resources from your veggies!

This year we totally accidentally planted the rows the exact distance of our small rototiller. So we just run through the rows and all of the weeds get torn up from their roots. Great weed control. We have also tried using paper feed bags under the vined plants. That way the vines can reach out without being over grown by weeds. It also helps stop the squash, or pumpkin, or whatever from getting rotten so quickly. IMG_7292

3. Try companion planting. Just like when foods are cooked together they complement one another, the same can happen while they are growing. This chart, from afristar is amazing for comparing which plants are friends, and which are enemies. Companion planting

4. Use compost! We compost our organic scraps, and this year we just rototilled the whole contents of the bin into the garden prior to planting. You can also add compost after the plants have become established. I try to stay away from chemical laden plant foods and go for a more natural approach- leaf litter, fruit and vegetable food scraps, manure (oh ya!).

5. Water your garden! I’m really  bad at following this advice. Luckily, this year hasn’t been too dry here, but last year our garden did not fair too well, and I definitely think the lack of rain/ lack of us watering it was a huge factor.

Even though we are well into the growing season the planting stage is not totally over with. These vegetables can be planted in mid summer for a fall harvest. Some root crops, greens and other vegetables can be successfully grown from late July or even August plantings. It’s important to know the average first frost date in your area, in order to calculate when to plant these late vegetables so they’ll mature before being killed by cold weather. Some plants can tolerate cold weather better than others, so it’s good to consider those characteristics as well. I found this information here. Late Summer Planting

How is your garden doing?! I would love to see, send me a picture through e-mail, twitter, or tag me on instagram and I will share them here! Are you planning on planting any vegetables this summer for fall harvest?

New addition to our Garden…Honey Bees!

We were so lucky to receive a bee box from my boyfriend’s mom to keep in our garden this year! I am so excited because honey bees are incredibly beneficial to not only the garden, but the entire ecosystem! Honey bees are vital pollinators, they are very complex organisms that work together in highly complex societies. The more I learn about honey bees (and I am definitely a complete newbie on this subject) the more I am amazed at their incredible, intricate organization and complexity, and I now appreciate the sweet taste of honey so much more!

Bee BoxOur bee journal is starting today, well yesterday actually. First we moved our box to a more shaded and protected area. We wanted to make sure the entrance to the hive would be pointing away from the west where most of our weather comes from. We also wanted the hive away from normal day to day disturbances like lawn mowing, animals, and… Clementine. It is also important to keep hives away from fields that are sprayed with pesticides or insecticides, but we don’t have to worry too much about that here.

AddingBeesThe next step for our hive was to receive a Nuc, pronounced nuke, is a nuclear hive. It was taken from their hive and consisted of eight frames. It is considered the nucleus of the hive because it contains the queen. The worker bees are loyal to their queen and working well together before they are removed from the other hive. The frames also include honey, pollen, and larvae. You can see the capped larvae, and pollen in this picture. There were also some exposed “c” shaped larvae in the hive!Hive

But the most important part of the hive, is the Queen! She keeps all of the worker bees (which are also all female) together and working efficiently. She also lays all of the eggs, some of which are the drones, or male bees. The strong pheromone of the queen, called the Queen mandibular pheromone is extremely important, this pheromone inhibits other female bees ovaries, and keeps them from being apple to lay eggs. The Queen’s pheromone also promotes stability of the hive- it has a “calming” effect on the hive! The queen also promotes efficiency, mating, and maintenance of the hive. The Queen was spotted in our hive, she’s the one with the extra large bum!QueenBee

You can call me Queen Bee!

Bee FactsSo, we moved the 8 frames from the nuc box into our hive. We knew the Queen came along too because we spotted her! I actually suited up and helped move the frames! It was so awesome. The sounds of the bees buzzing is incredible. They are such crazy creatures.IMG_7045

Next we puffed a bit of smoke on top of the frames so that the bees on top went down into the hive so we could place the top on the hive. Next, Vince, The master beekeeper! knocked the nuc box on a rock slightly so that the bees marched into the hive, following the smell of their queen.
Bee Smoke

And now we have a happy hive, hopefully they love their new home!  Bees also need a source of freshwater within a 1/4 mile. Even setting out a small dish of water is enough, but make sure it is filled and clean, and the bees have a place to land. MeandtheBeesWe placed the inner and outer cover on the ‘super deep’. In a couple of weeks we will place the ‘supers’ on top. The supers on top is what the honey bees will fill with nectar…or honey to us! I planted some snap dragons and lavender around the hive! Hopefully they will love it here.BeeHive

What do you think about honey bees? Would you ever add them to your garden?

Celebrate the Earth!

I know Earth Day was yesterday, I’m a little delayed, but I think we should celebrate the Earth every day, not just on Earth Day. Most people don’t even think about all of the magnificent things Earth provides us with, we take them for granted. Humans are damaging ecosystems, exploiting non-renewable resources, and having irreversible impacts on our precious Earth. Here are some things you can do, right now, to have a positive impact. They may seem small, but if everyone pitches in, even small changes can make a big difference. Earth

Most of the food we (Americans) consume travel thousands of miles by the time it is transported, processed, packaged, stored, and finally shipped to our grocery store, where we pick it up in our gas-guzzling cars. If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week composed of locally raised produce and meats, we could reduce our country’s oil consumption y over 1.1 million barrels every week. MILLION. BARRELS. Reducing that number doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

1. Know where your food comes from- and try to chose foods that are in season and local. Search for local Farmer’s Markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, local food labels in grocery stores, or plant a garden.

Eat more organic, locally, humane-raised animals. Or eat less meat. Factory farms, often confining thousands of animals, are major culprits in climate change. These mega-farms create huge amounts of manure that pollute the soil, water, and air. Animal factories also waste grain, water, fuel, and other resources. Even replacing just a couple of meals a week with vegetarian options can have tremendous impacts.

2. Conserve Water

One of the most valuable resources we have is freshwater. And we waste an incredible amount of it. Its almost impossible to know how much, but we are seeing the consequences of our wastefulness now. With the growing population, climate change, and our continued carelessness, water shortages will become much more common in the near future.  Shaving irrigation water by 10 percent would save more than is used by all other water consumers put together. It might of been a good idea to keep the desert a desert…but we’re past that now. And if every person makes these small changes we can have a positive impact. Here are some things you can do now to help.

Conserve Water

  • How to make and use a rain barrel.
  • Unless you have had a toilet installed within the last couple of years, you are wasting 4-6 gallons of freshwater every single time you flush the toilet.
  • Native plants and flowers will be used to the conditions and therefore more tolerant to the natural water conditions of your area. Try to limit the amount of fertilizers you use on plants, and  your lawn. More fertilizers means the lawn will be “thirstier” and all of the chemicals it can’t use will run-off into our freshwater sources.

3. Reduce Waste

  • Compost organic scraps.
  • RECYCLE- Support business that recycle their waste. Try to promote recycling at schools and businesses
  • Decrease your dependence on plastics…they are killing the ocean.
  • Use reusable shopping bags
  • Use refillable water bottles
  • Use glass or metal food storage containers instead of plastic baggies and plastic wrap
  • Buying local and food in season will also decrease the amount of waste and packaging

BottledWater1

Don’t wait for Earth Day, celebrate everyday! Make small changes and spread the word.

I saw this article after I had written this one, and it is pretty awesome! And i LOVE her reuse board.

1. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Barabara Kingsolver.
2. Scientific American

Have You Seen Blackfish?

The film “Blackfish” has become a well known controversial story about the orca whales captured, living, and being trained at SeaWorld. The film tells the tragic stories of accidents and deaths that have occurred there and at parks similar over the past years. I know this is a health and fitness blog, but I have a love and some educational background in marine biology. I felt I had to establish my stand on this subject. I pray for a day when the idea of large marine mammals, (or any marine animal) living in captivity is an absurd idea.

kwPictureSource

The original article: CEO of SeaWorld Suggests Trainer was to Blame for Her Own Death

It shouldn’t be a question whether the whale was acting in aggression or not, or if the trainer made a mistake. We should be asking how a company can capture, exploit and abuse wild animals, and misinform, brainwash and fail to protect its employees. Most of the trainers are not marine biologists, they have little to no knowledge about the lives of marine mammals. Orcas swim hundreds of miles a day and live up to 100 years in the wild, there is nothing “natural, safe, and humane” by keeping them in captivity. It shouldn’t be an argument about why a whale kills. It is a tragedy; a tragedy that was preventable, SeaWorld should not even exist.

Watch Blackfish, read the articles, form your own opinions…I’m excited to hear them!

3 Day Detox Recap!

3Day DetoxDay 1:

Morning: Experimenting with the recipes. I loved the ‘Good Morning Sunshine’ smoothie. It was the perfect pick me up in the morning. However, I did miss my morning coffee. I had a slight morning headache. I also made some skin detox tea to sip in my travel mug, and trick myself that I was getting my morning jolt of caffeine. Each bag of Yogi Skin Detox tea has 18mg of caffeine, compared to 90mg in an 8oz cup of coffee.

Yogi Detox

I had a couple of snacks after my morning smoothie and tea. I cut up some sweet peppers, cucumbers, and carrots. I made the first Immune-Boosting smoothie. The blueberries and cocoa powder combination was not my favorite, but not terrible, and you couldn’t taste the spinach at all! I did a great job of drinking lots of water throughout the day, but I was pretty hungry when I went to sleep.

Day 2:

Another smoothie and more tea. I was alright through the morning. I put off having my afternoon smoothie until I was done working my first job and heading to coach. I didn’t end up drinking it until around 3pm. Even after downing the (delicious) Clear skin smoothie I was still so hungry. I didn’t have anything to snack on except for some cut up peppers. I felt pretty foggy and sluggish. When I got home around 6:30 I made another smoothie, had a banana and a clementine and felt much better. I did have a big headache, but I did a terrible job of staying hydrated on day 2- I definitely made a mental note to drink much more water!

Day 3:

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I swear, I woke up feeling awesome on the third day! I made another Good Morning Sunshine smoothie, and I didn’t even have the slightest craving for a cup of coffee. This time I was much more prepared, when I left for work I had a bag of mixed vegetables, a dried fruit stick, and a clementine to snack on. I made sure to drink a lot of water throughout the morning and afternoon. I had noticeably more energy and felt just…brighter. I don’t know how to describe it, maybe just clearer. I made the third smoothie when I got home from work. I did cheat a little bit by having a vegetable soup for dinner- that I’m sure had ingredients other than just vegetables. But it was the end of the cleanse (I know, that totally isn’t an excuse).

Day 4 and on:

I woke up with a clear head and no grumbling in my stomach! I didn’t have any cravings, or really any desire to start my day with the sugary junk that I had been eating for breakfast before I started the cleanse. It was much easier for me to eat vegetables, because I actually enjoy eating them again. I have replaced the junk food I have been eating with much healthier choices. Now that I have spent three days resetting my body I don’t want to reverse my progress! Of course, small indulgences are perfectly alright, but that is what they are, indulgences. I will have some dark chocolate or a glass of wine as a small treat, which is much different than my desire to eat cookies for breakfast-(which is gone!). I have added my morning cup of coffee back to my day, but I am now much better about drinking water throughout the day. My skin is brighter and has cleared up quite a bit. I think this is the result of drinking more water, drinking the Yogi Skin Detox tea, and limiting my sodium intake for three days. Overall, this was a fantastic experience and definitely well worth buckling down for three days. Now I just have to keep making healthy choices, but they are now so much easier to make!

Did you try a detox this year, or in previous years? What kind of detox was it? What were your results?!

Grocery List: 3 Day Detox

Here is the grocery list for the three day detox. It may seem like a long list of items, but many of them you probably already have stashed away in your cupboards. The fruits can be used fresh or frozen depending on what is in season in your area. I tried to use a similar recipe scheme so that ingredients could be bought in more of a bulk form to save more money. Also, unlike other types of juicing cleanses you will have some leftover ingredients (flax seeds, chia seeds, and coconut flakes for instance!) that can be used in other recipes after the cleanse.

Detox Grocery List

The suggested amount of each ingredient is based on making one of each of the smoothies. If you want to repeat a smoothie over the three days just adjust your grocery list! If you don’t like a certain fruit or veggie, it can be replaced with a similar texture ingredient.

*Cocoa powder, vanilla extract, green tea and ginger are not on the lists-but if you don’t have them already, these ingredients are part of the smoothie recipes!

I lost my receipt, but I plan on doing this cleanse again and recording how much was spent. I know it is far less than some of the popular juice cleanses out there. Leslie at …and her little dog too, does a nice cost comparison for a DIY juice cleanse versus store bought. This is a little different because these drinks are more smoothie-like, using a blender rather than a juicer, but you get the point!

Are any of you planning on attempting this or any other type of cleanse? Let me know how it goes! I have moved my start day to Sunday…such a procrastinator..but I have a reason, really I do! 🙂