Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Thankful Thursday: Our Trip Part 2

For my second Thankful Thursday post, I would like to take a moment to thank my Aunt Susan and Uncle Tom for having us stay with them in New Hampshire. I’m so thankful for their hospitality and kindness while we were with them. Geoffrey and I have never traveled together before, so this was a real adventure for us. We had so much fun in New Hampshire, it is absolutely stunning there! There are so many beautiful things to see, there is no way you could see it all in one visit. I cant wait to visit New Hampshire again!

My aunt was gracious enough to pick us up from Chel’s house in Massachusetts. From there we drove to Boston to pick up my cousin Alyssa from the airport. We were lucky to be visiting at the same time as she was so we got to spend some time together! We decided from there to spend the afternoon sightseeing in Boston. We went to Quincy Market and had an amazing lunch. I had Bubble Tea for the first time! Then we went to the Holocaust Memorial. The memorial is six towers, each representing an internment camp and the  Jewish lives lost. Parts of the towers are inscribed with the numbers forcibly tattooed on every Jewish person in the camps.

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2,280,960 of these numbers cover the towers.

I felt overwhelmed with grief and sadness while walking through the memorial. It wasn’t sightseeing, it was eye opening, thought provoking, and a reminder of the conversation that needs to be on-going. A memorial that depicts such a hateful time in our history is something that shouldn’t be forgotten, especially now when hate seems to be spreading like wildfire through our own country.

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Always, remember.

Afterwards we wandered through The North End and Long Warf of Boston. We took some beautiful photos at The Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.

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From there it was time to make our way back to my Aunt Susan’s home in New Hampshire. We had a long drive ahead of us but after a long day in the car, we made it to our destination. We ate at a Mexican restaurant (with great Vegan burritos) for dinner and then spent the rest of the night unpacking and relaxing. The next day we woke up fresh and ready to go. We spent the day in Conway with my cousin Alyssa. We went to the shops and met her friend for lunch at a nice pub and then did some more shopping and sightseeing! That night, Alyssa and I went on a walk down to the lake right down the street from my Aunt’s house. It was absolutely beautiful!

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The mountains from Conway.

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The next day my cousin Alyssa went on a big hike with her dad through the mountains. We did some sightseeing on the way to go pick them up and had a bonfire and some great food afterwards. It even started to snow lightly in the dark over the fire.

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On our last day in New Hampshire, we had lunch with my aunt and uncle, did some shopping and went to Castle in the Clouds to look at the view even though it was closed for the season. It was a nice calm way to end our trip and we had plenty of time that night to pack and prep for our big train ride home the next day.

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Shopping in Mill Falls!
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The view from Castle in the Clouds.

The next morning we woke up early and got all of our bags in the car and made the long drive to the train station in Providence, Rhode Island. Once we got there we said our goodbyes, which was hard, and made our way into the station. Since the Septa strike had only just been settled, our train was packed! Geoffrey and I couldn’t even sit together for the long train ride home. I spent a good portion of the ride working on my computer and listening to an audio book. On the bright side, since we left at a later time than our previous train ride, there was daylight outside and we could enjoy the views from the train windows. After what seemed like forever, we were home! In Philadelphia! My dad picked us up at 30th Street Station and I gave him a huge hug. I had an amazing 11 day trip but I certainly  missed my family and my home. Our trip was amazing, we had so much fun on our first trip together as a couple and I cant wait to travel more!

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, Mental Health, Uncategorized

World Mental Health Day

As many of you may or may not know, as I myself was unaware, World Mental Health Awareness Day is today, October 10th. First started in 1992, it is now celebrated in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its goal is to bring attention to mental illness and the major effect it has on people (1). When I was deciding what to write about for this post, a picture and an idea was making it’s way around the internet.

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Over 41 million people in the United States take an antidepressant (2).

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States (3). It affects 16.1 million adults over the age of 18 (4). Depression can cause severe symptoms affecting sleeping, eating habits, personal relationships, and work life. It can cause a loss of interest in activities, feelings of hopelessness, sadness, irritability, decreased energy, appetite changes, physical pain, digestive problems, and thoughts of suicide and or attempts. These are just some of the symptoms that people with this disorder have to live with everyday. This is a serious illness that affects a large population and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

A diabetic cannot go without their medication and you would never expect them to. So why do we treat mental illnesses and depression differently? Without insulin a diabetic could go into diabetic ketoacidosis, a coma, or even die. Without their antidepressants a person can fall into a deep depression, become recluse, and or commit suicide. This article explains perfectly how suicide is a symptom of mental illness  Stop Looking For Answers: Suicide Is No One’s Fault.

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I prefer this version!

The original post of the above especially got to me, not only because it is Mental Health Awareness Day, but because of a pharmacy snafu, I found myself without my antidepressant for 3 days this past week. That might not seem like a lot of time, but in my experience abruptly stopping any antidepressant causes me to quickly show signs of withdrawal. After the first day I started to experience severe stomach pain. I later realized, after blowing it off, it was withdrawal when I suddenly started getting dizzy. My eyes felt as if they were throbbing in my skull and I felt as if I was sea sick. I knew I wouldn’t be getting my medication for a few more days but I was already so sick without it. I was terrified. I found myself struggling for control over my depression. I would just cry for no reason. Finally, after three days and countless phone calls I was able to get a 2 week sample of my prescription from my doctor, but my pharmacy still could not fill my prescription for a week.

Even after being back on my medication for two days, I was swinging in and out of a depressive state. I was afraid to be alone. All of my fears and worries came rushing back, as if a dark cloud was looming overhead. The next day I called my doctor and  we figured out a new game plan and I’m feeling better, but I’m still not back to where I was before. I’m afraid I may never get back to that place again. That is the delicate balance of a mental illness. After all that I’ve been through, to say that depression is not a real illness, that it is something that can be brushed off by a walk in the woods, is ignorant to those who struggle everyday. On today of all days, everyone should know that depression is something that many people can’t manage on their own without relying medication.

I am one of those people.

I have depression, and it doesn’t have me. Everyone with a disorder, disease, or illness are not defined by it. It’s important to understand managing whatever you have, so that you can express who you really are to the world.

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Let’s not shame those who are brave enough to seek help for their illness. Only 44% of adults with a mental illness ever seek treatment according to this insightful article about Mental Health Facts and Myths. So many suffer in silence, too afraid to ever get the help they need. Let’s raise each other up and embrace our differences, instead of judging one another.

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Read more about my battle with depression here.

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Sources:

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Mental_Health_Day

2: https://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-drugs/people-taking-psychiatric-drugs/

3: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml

4: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

5: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/myths-facts/

Posted in Cooking, Recipe, Seasonal, Uncategorized, Vegan

Cleansing Squash Soup

Autumn is a time of hearty foods such as pumpkin pies, stews, and heavy breads. Our systems can get overwhelmed with the indulgence of it all. This soup is a great meal to take a break from those heavy foods while still enjoying an Autumn themed meal. It is cleansing and boosts immunity to prep you for when those bugs make their rounds this winter. Add some quinoa or rice to bulk up this soup and make it a nice family dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups of Vegetable Broth
  • 2 teaspoons of Minced Garlic
  • 1 Apple, peeled, chopped
  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled, chopped
  • Carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 Cup of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 teaspoon of Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut or Almond Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • Garnish with fresh greens
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

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Step One-

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Peel your vegetables and apple. Remove the seeds from your squash and apple. Chop everything into quarter sized chunks, put your apple aside for later. Fill pot with water and place in squash and carrots. Bring your pot to a rolling boil and let your vegetables boil for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes drain your vegetables from your water and put aside.

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Step Two-

In a crock pot, add your vegetable broth, garlic, carrots, apple, squash, salt, turmeric, brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut oil, and pumpkin spice. Put crock pot on high and let cook for 1 hour.

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Step Three-

Take everything in your crock pot and place it into a food processor, or a blender, and puree until smooth. Place your soup back into your crock pot and let steep on high for an additional 2 hours until creamy.

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After your soup has cooked, add the milk and maple syrup. Whisk well.

Add  garnish, salt, and pepper to taste.

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Enjoy!

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