Breaking up is hard to do – – dairy chronicles

….So here I am standing in my dining room, speaking into the Iphone microphone to tell you what’s on my mind as I fold two loads of laundry. At this very moment, it’s two weeks from my 37th birthday! I can tell you that I am totally looking and feeling better than I have in 20 years!! On August 21, 2019 I will be dairy-free for THREE years. Let’s say it’s my 3rd anniversary of being weaned off the cows teat. (insert grossed out face here).

Let’s flashback to my bEARTHday celebration in 2016 – taking a trip down memory lane to the summer of 2016. A critical and life changing event leading to the last time that I purposely consumed dairy. Simply speaking dairy includes yogurt, milk, creamer, cheese, ice cream, heavy dressings and dips.

So the story begins!!! It was a sticky icky, hot, humid, blood, sweat and tears type of summer day in the mountains of Sharon Springs, NY. I was on a mission! Shannon Theresa, my little sister (with her 1 1/2 year old toddler) and my stepmother needed a hand moving from one house Upstate in the wide-open countryside to a quaint little town farther down off the mountain into a more urban area and closer to Connecticut. The move itself made my heart smile. To top it off I was hanging with my sissy, it was my birthday weekend, no other place I had rather be at the moment. You know, besides sitting under a rainbow umbrella, lakeside with my feet in the water… *wink wink. My very grateful stepmother showed her gratitude by ordering two large pizzas, buffalo wings with a antipasto salad. I was very grateful for the big meal to share with my family. We had spent all day moving from one house into another. Tired yet humbled I sat down to eat a pretty groovy plate full of flavorful food knowing that my tummy would soon be turning and churning from the cheese on the pizza and hot wings smothered in blue cheese. My plan was to stuff my face, hang out late night, get a good night’s sleep and head home at the crack of dawn. Let’s just say that that didn’t go as planned. Ok, it didn’t go well at all. Sigh. I literally was sick within roughly ten minutes of my first serving of food. I immediately felt my stomach extend. My jeans felt like they needed to be unbuttoned. Uh oh…. First thought at that very moment: use the bathroom, quietly wash my hands, kiss the family goodbye and drive like an NYC taxi driver back to my home in southwestern Connecticut. Again, all was not OK. I felt so ill I wasn’t sure if I was going to vomit or go back in the bathroom and explode from the gas build up (tmi- sorry, eww, I know). The plan was very calculated. Thank carried it out flawlessly.

Finally, I made it home -Praise The Most High! Boom, crashed and landed in the second floor bathroom. Not a fun ride home in total discomfort or agonizing walk to the second floor with my 137 pound rottweiler trailing beside me in excitement to see me! I ended up curled in a ball on my bed for hours with the worst stomach pain ever… it was a year of having pretty bad reactions to dairy but never like this time.

At this time in my life I had only been dating my now husband, Alberto, for one week. I called him to let him know I was home from my journey in the mountains. After talking about my completed mission of moving an entire house; I nonchalantly mentioned how I having pain worst than my 17 hours of childbirth back in 2004 and didn’t know how I made it home. Hey, here’s to being transparent (cheers)! I left no detail untouched. Alberto had been lactose intolerant for many years (he was living as a vegetarian for a few years) and said he knew the feeling all too well. Then, the sad sad sad moment that I realized I knew the next truthful statement that was going to come out of his mouth, “you know it’s only gonna get worse”. My eyes opened in pure fear as I thought OUCH!! My reply was “I’m never eating or drinking dairy again, ever.”

That afternoon, I broke up my hot and heavy romance with dairy. Me, Jona, the woman eating double slices of cheese on my morning egg sandwich, a yogurt on my break, shredded aged cheddar or feta on my lunch time salad, parmesan cheese on my pasta and chicken for dinner, frozen yogurt for dessert every night and steaming hot coffee with heavy cream as I read books until I fell asleep, was no longer in a relationship with dairy.

The break up was excruciating!! What the heck do I now I thought over and over as a few days passed… I started looking at plant based m!lks, plant based cheez and coconut based yogurts. Wowwww, a whole new worrrrld! A new fantastic point of view. No one to tell us no or where to go… sorry, I starting singing. Oops 🙂 but seriously – I was absolutely amazed at the selections there was to choose from.

By Christmas week I was a professional at saying “NO” to all dairy. I weighed myself Christmas morning and realized I had lost 17 pounds. My weight when I started dating Alberto was 172 pounds. [Just for reference I’m 5′ 2″] That’s 17 pounds from August 21 to December 25. I was absolutely shocked! I knew I had lost weight because my clothes were a little looser. But I had no idea of the actual pounds shed just by making the permanent choice of eliminating dairy.

The moral of the story is that I can’t believe all the damage I was doing to my body just because I liked the taste dairy products. Don’t be like me, suffering, “eating it anyways” or having unnecessary weight that causes joint pain or just plain discomfort.

Make the switch!! You can find more info on my Facebook group:

Become a healthier version of YOURSELF

https://www.facebook.com/groups/406634116383541/?ref=share

Ditch dairy, you won’t be disappointedly the results!

Sincerely,

Ex-Cheese Addict,

Jona Marie

📸 Florida, USA. Same beautiful Jona, same bathing suit – healthier lifestyle.

40 pound weight difference.

📸 In my kitchen … Ripple chocolate m!lk made with peas and my Connecticut area code glass.

From bloody roast beef and swiss cheese sandwiches to vegan overnight… 1,2….3

Oh the things I have eaten that you may never taste or think to taste!! How do I even start to explain this list?! I’m born and raised in the Northeast, United States and I was well vacationed in the Caribbean and Mexico as a youth with my family.  Let’s begin – I’ve eaten and enjoyed black bear, elk, moose, raccoon, squirrel, snake, duck, goose, iguana, frog legs, shark, gator, deer, lamb, goat, ostrich eggs, quail eggs, guinea pig, wild boar, rabbit, mahi-mahi (dolphin-fish), almost every salt and fresh water fish, eel, shellfish and then all the American chosen three – pig, cow and chicken (and chicken eggs)… and God knows what I didn’t eat from the local Chinese food places here in our big city! [Inserted gagging sound effect here].

I literally went from eating savory sesame seed topped hard rolls stuffed full of bloody roast beef, swiss cheese, horseradish, mayo, lettuce and tomato sandwiches to being a hardcore vegan. I don’t regret being a fisherman or hunter because I used the harvest to feed myself, family and friends. I also didn’t know that I could survive without meat, dairy and animal by-products.  BUT I can painfully say, honestly, wish I went vegan 20+ years earlier for the animals and my health.

You may think; WOW that’s wild!! Well, it really is! The end summer of 2016 I started dating the wonderful man who is now my husband; Alberto was dairy free and vegetarian.  As he started hanging out at my home more and more he actually started eating small portions of chicken/turkey I would make dinner for my daughter, him and I.  Overall I was o.k. with him not eating the meat part of the dinner I prepared but I guess it smelled amazing enough for him to want to eat it right along with us.  I’m a pretty good cook after all. *wink*wink My daughter was almost twelve years old and took a huge liking to Alberto; praise to the Most High. She started requesting him to stay with us for dinner quite frequently within the third month of us building a close knit bond. a few months passed us by and early November I started making meatless meals every other day.

….here comes the push, tug and battle!!! I started using Pinterest to look up “dairy-free and meatless” meals. The more I search the results were amazing – I was completely floored by the delicious recipes and stories about plant living!! Then there were the post that shook me right to the core. Animal Rights Activist exposing abuse at chicken meat factory. I watched the 3 minute video with tears in my eyes. I scrolled up a few inches and saw a pin of the egg industry; it was how chicken got on your plate IN REVERSE. From the dinner table to the chicken growers (yes, its a thing) and I decided once and for all to take off my rose color glasses and see the truth. Over and over again my heart was ripped out of my chest (I was sure I didn’t want it inside me anymore because I couldn’t take the emotions that came with it) as I watched a few documentaries on the “American meat and dairy industry”.  I became very very intrigued and disgusted with the thought that no only were the animals raised in awful condition but also tortured as they make the journey to slaughter.   TRUST me I tried to just keep scrolling but the screen couldn’t move fast enough.  There I went down the proverbial rabbit hole!!  Secretly, for many years I felt bad about serving meats knowing that it was the same animals I was petting at the local sanctuaries, nature centers and farms.  Suddenly, almost overnight the connection was there that made it come all together…  The studies of plant based diet and animal suffrage was enough to not put meat of animal by-products on my plate Christmas Dinner 2016.

BOOM!! A vegan was born. I will definitely talk about my health before and after my lifestyle change on a future blog.

P.s. Thank you for spending time with me,

Sincerely, The Ex-carnivore,

Jona Marie

slaughter

 

 

Discovering minimalism and simplicity…

These two words are major components in my life and totally go hand-in-hand.

Flashback into 2013, age 31 I had a big health scare!! I was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. It was my third Pap smear (annual preventative testing for the female reproductive organs) that came back irregular and had to be handled with a medical procedure. Unfortunately in the same month I had just gone through a two year relationship that ended in a break up; not just my heart but my daughter’s being that she was at the tender age of 9.

This storm in my life rattled my very soul. I had to have surgery while under anesthesia. I had to clean up and remove everything that reminded me and my daughter of this person that walked out of our lives. Even though I was suffering both physically and mentally I had to begin to heal not only my heart but my daughter’s heart also.

I begin to search online on how to unclutter my mind. Ooooh my gosh did Pinterest set off a spark that lit the fire and opened me up to a world I have never known having grown up both my mom and step dad being boarder line hoarders. Seeing post after post on decluttering and simplification of belongings, living with less, anti-consumerism, simply having less to maintain and all balled up with simpler parenting methods. Ahhhhh!! Eureka!! Where has this gold mine of information been all my life?!? Night after night after my daughter was ticked safely into her bed I began reading for hours about how to achieve this picture in my head of how I wanted my home, my sanctuary from the world, to be. Down into the rabbit hole I fell… not knowing where it would lead me- but trusting the calmness the theory brought to my heart and soul.

Minimalism, at least in the home, is living with only the things that you need and love. Not just the necessities but also items that make your life comfy. Also meant getting rid of so much stuff. I started to look for books on the minimalist lifestyle and I found a book by Marie Kondo. I rad this book for an hour every night. It took a few night to get through and I thought should I read it again or just get on with her methods and put them to work. Just for reference Marie Kondo is a Japanese organisation consultant and author of four popular books. “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up” was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Kondo has also been named one of Time Magazines 100 Most Influential People.

When the weekend arrived I thought to myself where do I start? I grabbed the book I had read and Kondo gave precise instructions On starting with every piece of clothing that I own. How overwhelming! I got it all done in three hours. This sorting of every piece of clothing and pairs shoes that I owned ended in having eight black contractor bags To be dropped off at my local second hand store and the rest of my stuff had to be folded in a specific way to fit in my drawers and closet all to be seen that one glance. I also cut up the 5 items that were not in good enough condition to be used a household cleaning rags. I can tell you this… This first journey into minimalism was a big eye-opener! In the end I had only kept 10 pairs of pants, 15 shirts, 3 well fitting dresses and 8 hooded sweatshirts.

All I can say is WOW!! This process also continued with my daughter’s clothes and footwear. Much to my surprise she was awesome in learning the process and carrying out the job at hand.

The Weekend came and went and we were exhausted! Her and I both loved the outcome of having absolutely conquered going through this process according to this precious; yet powerful, little book that I found.

As I went through the steps in the book or a whole house transformed with in one month. It was a great distraction and bonding for both my daughter and I. All of a sudden my life got a little simpler. And I couldn’t be happier with this journey. As I went through the steps in the book or a whole house transformed within one month. It was a great distraction and bonding for both my daughter and I. All of a sudden my life got a little simpler. And I couldn’t be happier with this journey of minimizing and realizing what we really need to be joyful and comfortable in our home.

It now being 2019 and I remarried 2 1/2 years ago the journey got a little harder when my husband moved in and we had doubles of everything being that he came from a two bedroom apartment into our home. Let’s just say he quickly learned on how living a minimalistic lifestyle greatly reduces stress and anxiety the minute you walk in your well thought out, organized yet very comfy home. We carried out the same process over again within months of our union. We now do a major decluttering a few times a year because some house stuff just slips in to the home. [Insert laugh here because I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about]!

Long story short learning to live a more minimalistic lifestyle and having a home that looks like a scene out of a simple living magazine has not only healed some very big wounds but also became a major part in learning to move on and rebuild. I couldn’t be happier that I took the time to read that little book.

I do suggest picking up Marie Kondo’s best-selling book and doing things exactly how she says because her methods have proven not only for our family but for many other people also- to be very life-changing.And lucky you; it’s 2019 and Kondo has a small video series on Netflix called “Tidying up with Marie Kondo”.

I promise you you will not be dismayed with the process and setting the goal of living a more minimalistic life.

Sincerely,

the child of acute hoarders,

Jona Marie

 

📸 …my uncluttered little kitchen 🍴

 

 

 

 

A little look into Jona Land

OK so here I am, one month shy 37 years old, wife, mother of a teen, with two rambunctious dogs, working 37 1/2 hours a week, keeping a functional household and trying to live a very simple life in a big city.

If I had to summarize myself in very short terms I would say that I am a loving wife, prayerful mom, minimalist, prepper, very low-waste, low toxins, healthy living coach, breastfeeding advocate, expert in decluttering and organization, impromptu animal rescuer, pro-choice for vaccinations and I stand tall and proud for what I believe in all the while respecting other families ways of living. These things all come together and make my life simply easier to focus on what matters.

I’m happy to share all of the aspects of my life and be very transparent as I start this blogging journey.

Interesting, maybe? Soon I will be uploading a break down of why and how I live like I do. It’s not always easy to live simple but it’s always worth it.

-Simply me,

Jona Marie

📸 June 29, 2019 @7am at my ma’s house in Lakeland, Florida, USA