What 97.5% of you don’t know…

Today is my 1 year vegan anniversary! I absolutely love being vegan, and I’d like to think that I’m at least a brown belt in veganism. That means no meat, fish, or dairy. No honey, leather or silk. All my beauty products are animal by-product free and not tested on animals. Plus I definitely get a level up for starting my transition to raw vegan! I could go on and on about this all day honestly. I could give you facts and figures about your health, the environment, and animals. I could post heart wrenching photographs and try to convince you to go vegan (you totally should), but thats not what I’m here to do today. I’m here to talk about how my life has changed in the past year, about how going vegan helped me recover from bulimia.

If you know me and are reading this (aren’t one of like 5 people) you’re probably pretty surprised.To be honest I’m pretty surprised you are reading this too, but its just something I feel like I need to do, and to be honest it feels right. I feel like I should start by explaining how this post came to be. A couple days ago, I wanted to know the exact date I went vegan so I figured I’d check the archive of my tumblr. I go back to November 2012 and find the exact date, but also am confronted with my past.

Back then, my tumblr was like 95% other people’s bodies, and 95% of those were severely underweight (examples: *trigger warning* 1234). It also includes text post gems like those I have at the end (again with the trigger warning).

It obviously makes me so sad to read any of that (how could I ever not want to run?!) but its inspirational in a weird way. I don’t feel like that person was me, and thats because she isn’t. Bulimia wrote those posts and reblogged those pictures. I was in no control and thats terrifying to think about. And I have control now. I have hope and happiness now, I wish that girl could have seen it.

I guess now, if you’re still reading, you want to know how I got there. There are only about a million reasons. First, I’ve always struggled with my relationship with food. I would say that starting in 8th grade I was monitoring my food and exercise and in high school it just got worse. I’m also perfectionist and coming to college was hard for me. I wasn’t effortlessly top of my class. I was getting in trouble and getting Cs for the first time ever. I had lived through a really traumatic event and ended an important relationship and both those things were obviously difficult. But really, the catalysts were a crazy starvation diet for Cancun, and feeling very betrayed by my sorority sisters. For someone who has never felt truly helpless (only about 2.5% of people in America suffer from an eating disorder, hence the post title) it would be hard to understand how even those events could cause something so drastic, but I’ll tell you, it doesn’t start out drastically. It’s a slow process that one day snow balls out of control. I didn’t set out to be bulimic. I didn’t set out to hate waking up in my own skin every day. I didn’t set out to fail a class because I was too busy thinking about eating and throwing up then eating more and throwing up more. I didn’t set out to be practically passing out during my half marathon work outs to make up for last night’s binge. I didn’t want to lose 6 months of my life, but I did. I went to sleep one night as a girl who made herself throw up for the first time, and I woke up as someone who was no longer in control of their life.

It took me more than 6 months to get that control back and it was a hell of a 6 months. There was never more than 3 days between episodes (I even purged on Thanksgiving) and it was crippling. I finally decided to start recovery on Thanksgiving actually. I spent the entire winter just determined not to use symptoms. When I came back to school in the spring I began going to group therapy because I was worried that going vegan was just another way for me to restrict. It wasn’t. Going vegan saved my life. It was far from a quick fix. That semester brought major anxiety and its own host of problems. It was a slow and arduous process of working through the emotional stuff while breaking the addiction. I think there is too much “feeling” in eating disorder recovery, when really they are mostly just any other type of addiction. I also slipped up a couple times this past summer, and then again this fall. But since really taking my nutrition seriously, and making the jump to raw till 4, I’ve noticed an amazing improvement in my health and happiness on a daily basis.

Vegan taught me that I could nourish my body, truly nourish it. I could rebuild my cells with plant based foods and rejoice in the gifts from the earth. I could thrive without hurting and killing animals. I could get my health and my karma in order at the same time. Going raw taught me about abundance. It taught me to eat as much fruit as I can possible fit into my body to reap maximum benefits. I don’t eat calories anymore, I eat energy, I eat sunshine, I eat light, and I eat love, and I’m happy.

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The View From My Bike Seat

The View From My Bike Seat

I’ve officially made my new blog! I’ll be writing about my fundraising efforts until June and then about the ride! If you follow me here, I’d appreciate if it you would follow this one too! Thanks!

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4K for Cancer

4K for Cancer

Hi everyone! I will be spending the summer riding 4500 miles across the country in a show of solidarity in the fight against cancer. 

Please check out my fundraising page and donate if you can, signal boost by forwarding it along if you can’t! As you can see on the donation form, if you’d like me to dedicate a day to someone in your life fighting cancer, I’d be more than happy to! This means they will be part of our morning dedication circle, and I will ride that day with their name written on my calf. 

http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/danielle-trefz/

You can read more about 4K and the Ulman Cancer Fund below!

The 4K was started with a passion for fighting a disease that leaves so many feeling helpless and alone. From this feeling of vulnerability often comes a conviction to get involved, fight back, and accomplish 
extraordinary things. This idea of fighting cancer in extraordinary ways is what the 4K is wholeheartedly about. The 4K is about motivating people and inspiring hope in those who have been rendered vulnerable. The 4K provides companionship amidst the deep hurt that cancer causes in the lives of so many people across the country. By coming together as a group, we become an effective tool capable of connecting with thousands of people across the United States.Through the hard work and dedication of our riders and leaders, the 4K for Cancer has been a tremendous success. In addition to donating over a million dollars to the fight against cancer, our riders have touched the lives of thousands of wonderful people across the country. In doing so they have found strength and hope for themselves.

In twelve years, the 4K has raised over $2,500,000 to support patients and families in their cancer journey. This past summer the 4K program raised almost $800,000 in the fight against cancer. Past riders raised the majority of this sum through many small donations from friends and families. We take great pride in putting these donations to use as effectively and efficiently as possible to further our mission and programmatic activities. The UCF spends 88% on mission related programs. It is the goal of the 4K program in 2014 is to raise over $800,000.

I’ll also be starting a new blog to document that! If you follow me here, you should get ready to follow that one in about a month or 2!

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Home

Today was my last day on Costa Rican soil. There isn’t much to say other than we took a van to the airport then got on our plane. It’s definitely bitter sweet. But I did catch some football when we landed in Atlanta! It’s time for bed after traveling for most of the day. Another positive is that I get to cuddle with my dog tonight!

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Sunset Porn

The sky in Costa Rica is honestly one of the most amazing and humbling things I have ever set my eyes on. Here is a slideshow of all the pictures I took of it!

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Categories: CIEE, costa rica, Monteverde, peñas blancas, study abroad, travel | Leave a comment

Snorkeling + deep sea

I spent the entire morning by myself in the hotel, and it was great! The rest of my family went fishing. As you all know, I’m vegan, so I don’t approve of fishing at all (even catch and release). I am weirdly proud of my brother though, and they did get some nice pictures.

We got lunch together when they got back (I could really get used to this buffet!) and then prepared to go snorkeling. A little dingy pulled right up to the beach to take us out to the sail boat. There are often days I dream I had grown up somewhere sailing was a casual after school sport. I love sail boats and was of course pleased with how beautiful this one was. Everything is prettier in Costa Rica. We sailed a little way to a secluded cove and then jumped right into the water to snorkel. I, of course, have plenty of poor quality, under water, disposable camera pictures of the fish, but I will spare you those!

My mom, dad and I stayed in the water the entire time while my brother went to the shore to see what the boat captain described as “baby deer”. I definitely wasn’t getting out of the water for something I see on my runs in College Park all the time! Steven however made that decision, and was very glad he did! They went up to a house of two men who lived near that cove. It apparently had a front door and 2 side walls but was completely open air in the back. In one of the rooms there were 2  2-day-old deer. The men kept them in there to keep them safe from the snakes, and although I wasn’t there, my brother described them as very cute.

After everyone made their way back to the boat we were served fruit and more rum punch. What happened next will probably change my life forever. We witnessed the most amazing sunset I have ever seen in my life. It went from blue to gold to orange to pink to what can only be described as the color of beauty. Being out in the water and watching the sky change around me is one of the high lights of this trip.

After that we had dinner an headed to the casino with a coupon someone gave my dad (oh dads). My little brother won like $140 of course! After that we went back to the room to prepare for leaving tomorrow. I am both SO ready and SO not ready to go.

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RUI Palace

This marks officially the last stop of the Trefz tour of Costa Rica. We woke up early for yet another long ride. This one was 4 hours but our driver was awesome and stopped to let us take pictures a bunch. We stopped first for lunch and to look at some beautiful parrots, then we also stopped as a cloud passed over us so my dad could take a very cheesy video!

When we pulled up to the RUI Palace, I was in utter awe. The hotel itself was located on the beach of Matapalo, a bay tucked away between mountains. The beach however, was public, which was awesome, especially after everything we learned from Karen about other all-inclusives. The pictures really speak for themselves:

A perfectly calm day turned a little crazy when my mom sicked a waiter on me. It was nice to be talking to someone in Spanish again, but the awkwardness of kisses on the cheek and being asked to join him at the ‘disco’ quickly outweighed that. I ditched him of course, and instead we went to the casino where my little brother won like $120.

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Family Dinner

After zip lining all morning, it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for drinks with the professors, and then dinner with my host family!

My mom and I hit a tiny little store I had walked past every day on the way to Spanish class, but had never been inside. I got an adorable little Om necklace and a present for Emma (finally!). We walked back the mile to the hotel and then got ready for a very busy night.

A little later on, my family headed to the Belmar for their legendary cocktails and meeting Karen and Alan! We sat and had drinks and talked (mostly about how awesome I am) and my mom even got attacked by one of those huge beetles. She freaked out obviously, which Alan and Karen found hilarious. It was so nice to see them and have my parents get a glimpse into what my summer was like.

After drinks, we all headed down the hill to my home stay house. The whole family was there and all the dogs, it was great. My family speaks no Spanish, and my tica family speaks no English, so it was supper funny and interesting. My mom gets now how you can tell what a person means by their face and body without understanding a word that they say! There was delicious food and card games and tons of laughter. I don’t have any photos from tonight, but thats a sure sign of a good time right?!

 

Categories: CIEE, costa rica, home stay, homestay, Monteverde, study abroad, travel, vegan | Leave a comment

Sky Adventures

Today was SUCH a great day. I can’t even explain how amazing it was but I’m sure as hell going to try!

The morning started with breakfast and then a short van ride to zip lining. We went to Sky Adventures in Monteverde which boasts the Sky Trek, where you whizz along 1.7 miles of cables slung between towering trees. To get to the zip line, you go on a little tour known as the Sky Walk and then ride the Sky Tram, which offers panoramic views of Monteverde hills and Nicoya gulf.

Started on the Sky Walk where a super cute Costa Rican guide walked us along suspension bridges and talked to us about the flora and fauna. The bridges varied in height and length and I knew a lot about the plants and birds our guide was talking about. It’s crazy how much I learned even if I resisted!

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We then geared up and got ready to zip line! The safety gear is super intense as always, but after the “practice line” I realized why! You really are flying during this! We start sorta in the forest/trees and then head out into the open with amazing views of the forest and even the gulf sometimes. Sometimes we would go as singles, and sometimes as doubles. I was legitimately scared sometimes, but of course Steven gets too much adrenalin on his bike for something silly like zip lining to scare him! We all had tons of fun and then sat down to eat lunch before heading back to the hotel.

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TV Tower or Bust

Remember that hike I posted about doing at sunset last week? Well if not you can read that post here and this post is about doing that same hike with my family!

We arrived in Monteverde and ate lunch at our hotel before we decided to head up to the station so I could show the fam where I’ve been living most of the past 9 weeks. We started down near where I did part of my independent research. I showed my family the weird collection of beetles Karen had pointed out to me, my dam, the huge fallen trees, and my little personal waterfall. We then headed up to the station where they met Kathy and Moncho and got to peak into the classroom and bedrooms (Moncho also let me walk around there with my muddy boots on, it pays to come back and visit!).

We finally started out climb to the summit and I have to say it was significantly easier in the daylight. It’s still a hard hike and I was and am so impressed by my parents for being able to do it. There was definitely some complaining (my dad didn’t have his glasses) but they made it through with flying colors. The pictures speak for themselves, but I’m sure my family would say the climb was worth it! They did hike up a mountain after all.

Categories: CIEE, costa rica, hiking, homestay, study abroad, travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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