Tag: fitspo

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

Happy HUMP day y’all!

For this weeks post I wanted to share with you tips I’ve been using to help calm my ever-so-racing mind! Being an adult is hard AF. The number one thing that’s been giving me a bit of anxiety lately has been around finances. Who else can relate? It’s unfortunate that money tends to be the number one culprit behind anxiety and stress for the average person. As you all know, I left my steady paycheck to pursue starting my own business. Luckily, I have no family, kids, college tuition, etc. to pay for…but that doesn’t mean I’m not covering rent, internet, gas/electric, car insurance, car payments, groceries, boston city parking tickets and tow fees (LOL) and oh just trying to have a social life as a 25-year old living in a thriving city. Yep, costs certainly add up and unfortunately, they’ve been leaving me with quite a bit of stress these days. I know I’m not alone and knew I had to share with you my personal tips that help me to calm my crazy mind. I wish I could say these would help to solve all financial issues (haha wishful thinking) BUT they certainly help to get into a right headspace, to then be able to better tackle solving those financial burdens.

1) Take a walk and listen to your favorite podcast.

I know this sounds obvious, but I promise you it’s an INSTANT mood-booster and gets your mind off of things. Find a podcast (or two) that you’re super into and commit to listening to them on walks. My podcast list is growing which leaves me with more motivation to get out the door and kill a podcast or two each day. Plus, the added vitamin D is SO crucial and hello, walking = happy endorphins!

PS – here’s a quick list of some of my fave podcasts at the moment. They’re all available on itunes and are FREE!

  • The Chasing Joy Podcast (positivity, wellness, self-love)
  • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast (wellness, blogging/business tips, marketing your brand)
  • Actually Adultish (wellness, “adult” things for people in their 20’s and 30’s)
  • Rich Roll Podcast (wellness, entrepreneurship, spirituality, veganism, endurance training)
  • BulletProof Radio (wellness topics)
  • The Lively Show (high vibe living, law of attraction)
  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (wellness, positivity, self-love, entrepreneurship)
  • The Balanced Blonde: Soul on Fire (Spirituality, health & wellness)

2) Essential Oils, Diffusers, Candles, and Incense

This has been a big part of my practice lately, whether during yoga, meditation, or just hanging out at night before bed. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the back of your neck, your third eye, on the inside of your wrists, or pillow before going to sleep. The aroma of the “lavender helps to remove nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while increasing mental activity.” I love adding it to my diffuser before going to bed.

I’m also obsessed with lighting candles and incense. Incense are so cheap to purchase, you can buy various scents (including lavender if you wanted to keep up with that calming trend), they smell amazing, and instantly have a calming effect on me. I think personally, incense remind me of a yoga studio, which tends to be a calm, peaceful place that I can mindfully take myself to in the comfort of my own home.

3) Get upside down AND practice light, restorative yoga.

When in doubt, I always get upside down! Whether it’s headstand, forearmstand, handstand or just a simple, legs up the wall, inversions have been proven to have a calming effect on the mind and get the blood circulating which is KEY. If you can’t do a headstand, DON’T YOU WORRY! It’s just as effective to put your legs up the wall! Find any way to get your legs comfortably vertical. Also, peep my blog post on simple yoga moves to help relive stress and anxiety!

4) Whip up a calming beverage before bed or in the morning. It also never hurts to have a side of Cacao Vegan Chocolate 😉

There are a number of go-to concoctions I’ll whip up if I’m feeling super stressed or anxious. Most importantly, you certainly want to AVOID caffeine if you’re already feeling very uneasy. My go-to beverages include:

  • a calming tea: chamomile tea, peppermint tea, lemon balm tea, passion flower tea, rose tea
  • OR you can boil warm water, add fresh squeezed lemon, fresh ginger, and a drizzle of honey
  • CALM VITALITY – all natural anxiety relief powder that you add to warm water. Promotes healthy magnesium levels and calcium intake. You can learn more about the product here.
  • Make a healing “golden milk”. Golden milk is a medicinal drink that has been used for years in eastern medicine. Simply add 1 tsp of turmeric, a splash of cinnamon, ginger (optional), cardamon (optional), a pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp coconut butter (optional) a sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, or organic vanilla extract) with 1 cup of warm coconut milk and mix well. Occasionally I’ll throw it in my nutribullet, but if I’m lazy, I just use a mini whisk! I love having this before bed. It makes me feel SO good and you get so many anti-inflammatory benefits!

And for my favorite go-to vegan chocolates?

5) MEDITATE.

I know, I know you probably hear this ALL the TIME. But, I promise you, it does help and can instantly put you in euphoria. I had been playing around with different methods of meditation, which I’ve shared below.

  • Guided meditation. There are SO many free ones on youtube. Just search “5 or 10 minute guided meditation” and find one you like.
  • Candle light mediation. Best done in the dark (Either early morning or at night). Sit upright on the floor. Stair into the candle without trying to blink as much as possible. After 5 minutes or so, close your eyes and focus internally on your third eye. You should see a colorful image of the flame still burning. Use that as your focus point. If you lose it, you can open your eyes again and refocus on the flame for another minute or so before shutting the eyes again.
  • Silent, seated meditation. This has been working the best for me lately, however, I advise you play around with timing of the day. I used to try and practice in the morning but found this just did not suit me well. I started mediating between the hours of 4-6pm which seem to work MUCH better for me. Usually at this time of day, my to-do list is out of my head and I’m actually read to just sit and be mindful. I’ll usually set my timer for 10 minutes, while sitting up right on the floor with a block under my butt (helps with comfort).

Though these work well for me, everyone is different! Play around and see what works for you. Also, if you have any ideas/or tips that aren’t posted about, please comment and share below! I love hearing what everyone else does to relieve stress and anxiety.

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Happy Friday Friends!

For this weeks blog post, I wanted to talk about positivity and manifesting your own storyline. I’ll be completely straightforward with you – I’m not always the most happy, positive person, though I tend to put on a facade. And sometimes, especially over these past 2 weeks, I have a tendency to drive myself into a damaging FUNK. If you follow along with me on my instagram, you may have noticed me talk about this series of bad luck that seemed to have just hit me one after another. I cried, a lot. I felt sorry for myself. I became a victim of my own sorrows. I vented to my fiance, my friends, and my family. What did I do to deserve this? Though I was given advice and comfort from those who I emptied my feelings on, none of that seemed to make a difference for me. I had made the internal decision and suddenly believed that I was doomed for bad luck. I was the one who started reading into things and created this ridiculous connection between a series of events that honestly, were my own wrongdoing. At the end of the day, the series of bad luck that came storming at me over the past 2 weeks, could have happened to anyone. I chose to believe that it was ME and that the universe was against me. But in reality, it almost seemed easier to play the victim card and accept things as they were. I personally think I used these “events” to cover up the fact that sometimes life isn’t always easy and you have to make hard decisions that may affect your career, your routine, your habits, your personal life and so on.

So why am I bringing all of this up now? Well, I conveniently started Gabby Bernstein’s book, “The Universe has Your Back” in the midst of all of this “chaos” I was facing. How cliche am I grabbing a self-help book at a time in need? I completely understand now how SILLY my “troubles” are in comparison to the REAL struggles that most of the world is facing. I’m very well aware that I fall into the 1% of the world and I’m oh so grateful for what I have every second of the day. It’s okay to have bad days and feel sorry for yourself, but getting out of that is key. Being able to clear your head, take a step back, BREATHE, and just remember how much you have to be grateful for can go a long way. That was the first step I needed to take to pull me out of this funk. Not going to lie, I’m really bad at finishing books. I’m easily distracted by instagram and ridiculous reality tv shows like real housewives. It’s crazy to me that those take priority over a book that can become an extremely powerful tool in changing your life for the better. So, here I am, making a commitment to all of you, that I will read at least chapter a night. Luckily for me, Gabby caught my attention instantly by sharing a glimpse of her own spiritual journey right off the bat.

The first chapter resonated with me BIG time and was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Joy is our birthright. What blocks our joy is our separation from love. The way back to love begins with understanding how we disconnected in the first place…we separate from the love of the Universe by giving purpose to pain and thinking power comes from outside sources. We deny the power of love, and we save our faith for fear. We forget love altogether.”

“Our projection is our perception. You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image-maker.”

– Gabby Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back

Ah-ha. This all made sense. The second you start connecting a negative connotation with yourself or something in your life, the second that becomes your reality. If you truly believe you’re destined for sadness, there’s a really good chance you’ll likely find more reasons to be sad in your life. You’ll unknowingly put yourself in negative situations. However, YOU and only you, have the ability to shift this perception. You can’t just say you’re going to be happy or that you’ll become successful, you have to truly believe it. And sometimes, that can take time. The second you’re able to get a taste of what it feels like to truly believe, is the important shift that you’ve been waiting for. It comes back to the classic law of attraction. Positive people will attract positive things and vice versa. I’ve experienced this feeling on and off. I’m the type of person that has really HIGH highs and sometimes, LOW lows. I can see it first hand when I’m ultra positive and optimistic. It’s like everything seems to work in my favor. BUT the second I face one speed bump, it’s like a downward spiral. So, my focus now is trying to take EVERY negative situation and find a positive in it. I’m going to accept that I’M the only who has control over a negative situation and at the end of the day, I’M the only one who change that perception.

Saying no to the “wedding diet”

Saying no to the “wedding diet”

I’ll be honest with you, one of the first thoughts I had after booking our wedding venue for NEXT year was “alright, so I have more than a year to kick my butt into gear for the wedding day”. Was this REALLY one of the first things that came to my mind after booking the venue? Am I wrong for thinking this? Or is this a result of diet culture and the wedding industry? Sadly, I feel it’s a mix of all of the above. It’s no surprise that I’ve battled body insecurities, as most women do growing up in their teens, early 20’s…and let’s be honest, is there any age were women feel 100% beautiful? Sadly…I’m not sure?? As I’ve blogged about in the past, my own insecurities have developed over the years, beginning in high school where I was heavily influenced by social media, TV, magazines, and more, running competitively in cross-country and track & field, and of course, the continuous diet culture that we can never seem to get away from. So of course, it’s only natural that when we as woman finally have a wedding date set, it’s an immediate reaction that we must now start the countdown to getting that perfect wedding “bod”.

Ironically, I was in the middle of writing this blog post right before heading to my engagement photo session yesterday and of course, I couldn’t escape those negative thoughts developing in my head. The ones that tell you you’re not ready for a photo shoot. Your skin looks like shit. Your hair looks dry. You feel bloated in the face and belly. You don’t have the right outfit. You can’t afford to get your nails or hair done. Oh the list just goes on! Like, Calli, do you think this is a progress photo or something? Am I expecting to drop weight between todays engagement photo and my day-of wedding photos?? Personally, I think the most difficult thing for me is falling in that comparison trap. Being a blogger, I see fitness photos posted ALL the time as I scroll through instagram. On top of that, I’m now constantly scrolling through pinterest looking at wedding dresses and of course, every woman looks nearly perfect in the wedding dress.

I don’t believe this wedding diet mindset is coming from a negative place at all. I think it’s entirely innocent and we shouldn’t be ashamed in ourselves for thinking like this. Unfortunately, it’s become a somewhat major part of the wedding and fitness industry. Both industries obviously financially benefit from this, so it’s no surprise that they’re taking advantage of marketing and advertisements targeting women looking to lose weight for the big day. Again, not trying to point fingers, we’re all guilty of playing a part and creating this wedding/diet culture. For example, just look at how many articles are shared on Knot.com regarding wedding diet tips, meal plans, celebrity workouts, etc. How many fitness studios around you offer wedding packages? How about the fact that when you go to your first fitting, it’s almost 100% likely you’ll request to schedule several more in hopes of being a smaller size? How about the thousands of posts you’ll find on pinterest about wedding diet and workouts? It’s even become normalized and totally OK in conversation between friends and family. If you look around, it’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid? Even those who likely never struggled with weight or body issues before, are now feeling pressured to get into wedding shape.

But, for what? To look a certain way on just one day? I’ll be honest, I was totally deep in the wedding diet mindset (and still am struggling with it) until recently when I listened to an older podcast on the Healthy Maven (episode #22 with Robyn Nohling (the Real Life RD)) where they discuss this topic. It was such an “aw-ha” moment for me because I didn’t even realize I was THAT girl obsessing over how I would look on my wedding day. The sad part is, most times, we’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re doing it so we can look good in front of the 250 attendees at the wedding. Yep, you heard that right. Potentially expecting 250 people at the wedding next year. Talk about added pressure, right? Honestly, I wish I could say that my motivation behind looking good for the big day was for me. But the truth is, I want to look good for all of the 250 people attending. I’m typically not that type of person at all, but for some reason, on this particular day, I’m already concerned with what people will say about my appearance. Again, I realize this is all crazy delusional, but this is how my mind works and I’m sure I’m not alone here. We shouldn’t be concerned about looking good. We SHOULD care about FEELING good. The other point that I found really interesting that was made on this podcast, is do you really want to look back at pictures and say “wow, I wish I could get back to my wedding body some day”? Like, do I really want to kill myself all to look good on ONE day?? Is that really how I want to remember my wedding? Do I want to spend my life trying to get back to that point of likely eating minimal calories and obsessively working out? Absolutely not. I don’t think anyone wants that. I want to look back at the moment and know that it was the happiest moment of my life!

Realizing all of this was half the battle. The most challenging part is doing my best to just observe and ignore those negative thoughts that creep in. Being able to admit and just be aware that these thoughts are REAL will make being able to push them aside that much easier. Though I don’t have any major, life-changing tips here, it certainly helped listening to that podcast and reading this blog from Robyn Nohling (aka the Real Life RD). Definitely worth a read! At the end of the day, Robyn said it best, “thinness does not equal beauty. Marriage is not about the wedding. And a wedding is not about the size of your body.”

XOXO,
Cal

Lessons Learned: From the Desk to the Farmers Market

Lessons Learned: From the Desk to the Farmers Market

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking out my last blog post “My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business” before diving into this one! The last one is truly my full story on why I left my job, how I got to launching BerryGood Bliss, and some of the challenges, fears, and successes I faced in that process. I really want to focus this blog post on the present, where I am now, and lessons learned.

The reality of starting your own business is that unless you get things handed to you on a golden platter, you truly need to start from the bottom and work your way up. It takes a hell of a lot of determination and believing in yourself and your company. I’ll be honest, going from working in a corporate setting to selling my products at local farmers markets is quite humbling. I no longer can wear nail polish on my fingernails because of working in the kitchen each and every day, to getting my hands and nails dirty while setting up and taking down my farmers market stand. I wear dirty converses, jean shorts, and a t-shirt every day. My hair is usually tied up in a messy bun. I usually smell by the end of the day (LOL). I’m running off of endless coffee, yet avoiding water since I don’t have time to run and pee during the market (also LOL). I can’t ever drive anyone in my car since it’s quite literally packed to the brim with a portable freezer, a 10×10 tent, a yeti cooler, tables, supplies, and so on. My beach weekends are now devoted to 5:30AM wakeup calls to work Saturday and Sunday markets. But guess what, I’ve never felt more fulfilled then I do now.

I’m not sharing the above to ask for sympathy or a pitty card, I simply just wanted to share the reality of the situation! This new lifestyle of mine certainly isn’t for everyone and that’s totally fine! It’s definitely not a glamorous job. It takes a lot more manual labor than you think. And honestly, had you told me this 3 years ago that future Calli would be selling popsicles at a farmers market I’d laugh in your face.

What keeps me motivated? Interacting with the customers. Learning about the people who are consuming my goods. What do they like? What don’t they like? Are they newly vegan? Have they faced health issues? Do they have a gluten allergy? Are they struggling to find healthy food that also tastes good? THIS is what keeps me motivated. Knowing that I’m positively impacting someones day, even if it’s through a simple, healthy popsicle! I LOVE that I’m able to touch every step of the process. From prep in the kitchen to selling directly to the customer. When you’re finally able to see your work appreciated by the consumers of your products, it feels as though I finally have a meaningful purpose, even if it’s through bringing simple pleasure to someones tastebuds!

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work these farmers markets for so many reasons. The biggest and most meaningful has been the new friends I’ve met along the way. Through all the bad s*** going on in the world right now, I still see so much hope and potential in our little community here in Boston. I’ve met the kindest, sweetest, most personable, and supportive people. Sure, I’ve gotten a few negative comments here and there, but that comes with the reality of putting yourself out there. The positive people far make up for those few negative ones here and there. It’s amazing to see how supportive people are. They truly want to see you succeed and grow. Whether it’s women supporting women, young entrepreneurs, kind elders, or super ambitious college students who are just into healthy eating – you can tell they’re sincere in their support and interactions. I love getting caught up in conversations with folks who come by my tent. THIS is what I look forward to when attending the markets. I’ve had the opportunity to share my knowledge with folks and also have received a wealth of knowledge from those who have stopped by and started up a conversation.

I’ve always been taught that networking is KEY if you want to succeed. However, it’s important to be SINCERE in your networking verse being fake and trying to hard. There’s a fine balance between give & take. If you’re networking to quickly climb to the top, but never giving back what you get, karma can and will bite you in the bum! That being said, there’s 100% a right way to network. Let’s be honest, networking is part of human nature. It’s also a win-win for the BOTH of you if you connect and have things to share/offer to one another, while still establishing a meaningful relationship. That’s truly the power of building connections. It feels good to help someone out and most likely, there’s a future point in your life where that person will have the ability to then help you out in ways that you least expect. It’s especially important while building a brand and your own business to make these connections, show sincere interest, maintain relationships, learn & grown from one another, and ensure you’re portraying a positive reputation.

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

My overall goal from attending these markets this summer was to establish myself as a legitimate company in the Boston area, build my brand, meet and connect with a diverse group of people, and hopefully establish relationships with other small store/market owners. I’d love to be able to continue doing a few small winter markets to maintain the connection with the community, work with various companies and fitness studios to host events, while also stocking my pops & energy superfood balls in local speciality stores. Although these goals may seem ambitious to some, I just continue to believe in myself and what I’m representing. Sure, plenty moments of doubt seep in nearly everyday, but I do my best to ignore them and focus on the future.

So in summary, here are a few lessons learned from this summer so far in launching my business:

1. Be Open Minded & remain humble.
2. You need to start from the bottom & work the grind.
3. Assess EVERY opportunity. Don’t shut anything down right away.
4. Don’t beat yourself up if someone gives you negative feedback. See how you can use that feedback to only improve.
5. Reach out! Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
6. BELIEVE in what you’re doing. If you are truly passionate about your product/company, people will instantly be drawn in. Positivity is contagious.
7. You need to be put in money, to make money.
8. CONNECT. NETWORK. BE KIND. PERSONABLE. This will go a long way.
9. Social Media is your friend (and also FREE marketing).
10. Interact directly with your consumer. Learn from them and adjust accordingly.

XO,
Cal

Simple Self-Care Routines to Incorporate into your Day

Simple Self-Care Routines to Incorporate into your Day

Hi there friends!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on what it means to focus on “self-care”. Self-care seems to be the hot topic of 2017, but what exactly does self-care look like? Personally, self-care to me, is doing things that make ME smile. What sets your soul on fire? What gives you LIFE? What gets you out of bed in the morning? It can be as simple as finding bliss in just a few short minutes or it can be a more drastic, long-term change. At the end of the day, there’s a REASON why self-care has been a trending topic lately. We’ve realized that for too long, we’ve been putting ourselves (mind, body, and soul) last and sadly, it’s had repercussions. Though we may in theory be eating “well” and working out “regularly”. Those two make up just a portion of our overall well-being. If you’re constantly stressed out at work or your stuck in a downward-spiraling relationship or if you haven’t forgiven something from the past – these things have a tendency to weigh you down and unfortunately, all of the healthy food & workouts in the world won’t be able to mask these obstacles.

This is where self-care comes in. This is one of those occurrences in life where you CAN be selfish (although I hate using that word in this context). The point is, you’re allowed to do things for yourself and you absolutely should not be judged for it. Honestly, at the end of the day, you’re probably the one being the harshest critic on yourself. Unfortunately our society has created an extremely judgmental environment.

To go slightly off topic, in yoga, we learn about the 8 Limbs – 2 of which include yama (the restraints or ethical practices) and niyama (the observances or daily practices). Svadhyaya (self-study or non-judgement) falls under the niyama’s or becomes part of our “daily practice”. “The first tenant of yoga is to do no harm. Passing judgment is harmful because that energy of criticism lives in you. It affects you. When you judge someone it defines you not the other person” – Healthy Yoga Life. It’s human nature to judge when we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin. So at the end of the day, you need to ignore what society is telling you to do and rather listen to your OWN body. Do what makes you the HAPPIEST and LIVELIEST individual you can be!

Here are some of the simple self-care tips I do incorporate as much as possible:

My Morning Routine: Wake up no later than 7am. *Attempt to meditate for at least 5 minutes (I’m not going to sit here & tell you I do this everyday, but I really am trying to make an effort too). Write three things I’m grateful for every morning in my journal. Start with 2 mason jar size cups of warm water w/ lemon in the morning to help alkalize the body, stimulate the digestive system, and HYDRATE. Then turn on some morning music (whatever I’m in the mood for). Sometimes I’m feeling light jazz, sometimes I’m feeling indie coffee shop music, and sometimes I’m feeling those upbeat summer vibes. Light a candle or incense. Do some very quick and light stretching for 5 minutes (a few downward dogs, forward folds, and shoulder openers). Throw together my favorite matcha latte recipe! — I totally notice a difference on days when I start with this routine vs. those where I skip over it.

Going to a yoga class. This is a treat for me since most times, I practice yoga at home (mostly out of convenience, but also because I’ve grown to really enjoy free-flowing, playing my own music, practicing inversions, and wearing whatever the heck I want!) However, it’s really nice to go to a class every now & then to let go and for once, not be in control. Going to a yoga class is nice because you’re there to be guided on a journey. There’s no over-thinking involved. You just flow & go inside your own body.

Vacations. These are SO important to me. THIS is what gives me life. Makes me smile. Traveling. Seeing the world. Learning about other cultures. Stepping outside of my little bubble. When I think about my most vivid or memorable moments, they’re most often, 8/10 remembered on vacations or trips. I met my boyfriend abroad in Spain. I’ve witnessed the most amazing sunrises and sunsets over the water. I grew up traveling with my family & exploring places that were so exotic to me at the time. These are all of the memories I look back on my life. I always say that if I’m going to spend my money on anything it’s food and traveling. I could care less about buying a huge house or a nice car. As long as I can continue traveling for the rest of my life, I will be the happiest!

Skin Care Routine. For a while now, I’ve preached consuming real, wholesome foods that are good for your body. At the end of the day, your body runs off of energy. Like a car, you can choose to feed it with the highest quality or the lower alternative. If you had the choice, wouldn’t you want the premium energy for your body?? However, lately I’ve realized it’s not only important to watch what goes in your body, but also what goes ON your body. Up until recently, I was using lotions & face washes full of toxins. I’ve now noticed such a difference in my skin using all natural skin care options. It’s glowing, it’s fuller, it’s no longer acne-prone, and so forth. I consider my skin care routine SELF-CARE as well, so see below for a few things that keep my skin HAPPY and glowing!

Honoring my body. I know this is a very vague tip, but at the end of the day, listening to your body is the biggest form of self-care. This is something I’m still working on everyday. For years, I pushed my body through so much – working out for hours, running two-a-days all summer long, not properly fueling it with enough nutrient-filled food, or doing the opposite and over-indulging on fatty, sugary food all day to subside the negative emotions I may have been feeling. At the end of the day, what I realized was that none of the above was helping in any way. My body is a temple. I need to honor it and nourish it, not beat it up and destroy it. If that means taking days off to let it heal, than I NEED to do that. If it means practicing more yoga than running, that I NEED to listen to my body.

Music. I slightly touched on this above under my morning routine, but I never realized how important music was to me until recently. Going to festivals & shows, dancing with no care or judgment in the world. Flowing on my yoga mat to my own playlists that help to create an experience. Blasting classic rock as I’m driving down the highway with my windows down on a warm summer day. Playing upbeat music by the beach as I soak up the sun. Running to music that gives me drive and determination. So much of my day revolves around music. I recently read a quote relating music to yoga, which I feel is fitting…

“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.” – BKS Iyengar

Anyway, as I mentioned above, self-care comes down to doing things that make you happy. So what makes me happy, might not necessarily do the same for you. The above is just to give you an idea on what my self-care routine looks like as of lately! If anything, I hope that it’s inspired you to go off and find things that make you smile. Remember, it’s MORE than OK to put yourself first.

Spring Cleaning 101: Detoxifying the Mind, Body, and Soul

Spring Cleaning 101: Detoxifying the Mind, Body, and Soul

We all feel it. Spring is finally here. You can smell it in the air. You can see it in the small tulips beginning to bloom. You can hear it as the birds chirp away in the early morning. Lastly, your mind, body, and soul can sense it more than anything. Our bodies are incredibly smart and they can sense when there is a change in season. This is why it’s so important to align with mother nature and not resist it. Ever wonder why you’re craving warm soups or hearty desserts in the winter? Or why you may crave juicy, citrus fruits like oranges in the spring and summer? Though it may seem too obvious, this has to do with how our bodies adapt to the changes in temperature and seasons. In order to successfully keep our bodies running at 100%, they need the proper fuel. Our digestive system is especially impacted by these changes. If we feed our bodies the wrong type of fuel when it needs soup, not ice cream for example, it initiates a more challenging process in breaking down and digesting the food. I’ll share with you throughout the blog post how you can successfully detox your way into Spring through all aspects – fuel for the body, exercise, self-care, mental stability, etc.

Before I go into detail on tips to help detox your way into Spring, I want to briefly introduce a quick background on Ayurveda and what it is/how it works. At a high level, the “traditional science of Ayurvedic medicine is designed to bring the body back into balance so it can heal itself” naturally. Like Chinese medicine, this holistic approach has been practiced for at least 5,000 years. A “holistic” approach means discovering the root cause of what may be causing stomach or digestive issues for you as an example & looking at the whole person, not just a specific organ or system involved. This essentially ties back with why our mind, bodies, and souls are SO connected.

One more interesting thing to note is that if you understand your own body type (or “dosha” as it’s used in the traditional form) you can better adjust appropriately. This is important because as you know, everyone’s body is different. What my body may need, could very well be completely opposite from what your body needs. This Ayurvedic Spring approach is a general guidance, however, if you’d like to learn more about your own body type, take this quiz and then feel free to read more on that specific body type via this link. There are complete lists of foods and drinks to eat, as well as appropriate exercise, etc. to help balance out your specific dosha (i.e. body type). If you’re interested in learning more on Ayurveda and how you can implement parts of it to help bring your body back into balance, I’ve added a few source links at the bottom of the blog.

Alright, now back to spring cleaning! In Ayurveda, Spring is a crucial part of the season routine since in the winter, our digestive system is high and people tend to eat more sweet & heavy food. Interestingly enough, our digestive systems are quite adept at adapting to these hard-to-digest foods, so “ama (the sticky, toxic product of incomplete digestion) starts accumulating.” As Spring rolls in, “the ama melts and the volume of ama becomes so great that the shrotas, the microcirculatory channels of the body, become clogged.”

Below are some tips on how to detox & cleanse your way into Spring:

1) Avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods. A general tip is to just eat WHAT IS IN SEASON! As long as you’re shopping at your local farmer’s market, you should avoid any “hard-to-digest” foods. Ex. Root vegetables (potatoes, squash, taro root, zucchini) as these are no longer in season. It also helps to steam any vegetables prior to digesting. Carrots, broccoli, and kale are all great options.

2) Eat bitter foods such as, endives, radicchio, bitter melon, daikon radish, and dandelion greens.

3) Avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes — your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated ama. Use pink salt to season your food for it’s high mineral content.

4) Sweet, juicy fruits can help detox your body (ex. Papaya, pineapple, watermelon) – just try to eat these earlier in the day or before sunset.

5) Adding high anti-inflammatory spices & other beneficial herbs to your food or tea such as – coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, mint and fennel — to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin.

6) Begin your morning with a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon or lime. This will cleanse your digestive tract and initiate your metabolism first thing in the morning. You can also add fresh ginger juice as well (this is a great anti-inflammatory). Honey is another option to add in if you’d like. Also, drinking a few sips of Kombucha (fermented tea) first thing in the morning, can also help to balance out your PH. *Lastly, drinking room-temperature water throughout the day is much easier on your digestive system than ice cold water!

7) Dry brushing your skin. This should be done close to first thing in the morning, right before you shower. You should brush in an upwards motion. “Dry skin brushing helps keep the pores clear and the skin active to assist the body in this cleansing process. It also helps to increase blood circulation. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin’s outer layer and stimulates the sweat and oil glands, providing more moisture for the skin.” You can find dry brushes in the health section of Whole Foods.

8) Keep to a consistent routine – simply try to wake up with the sun and go to sleep with the moon. Also try and keep a regular routine with when you eat your meals.

9) Spring cleaning is also a great time to start fresh & give things like meditation a try. Meditation can be so valuable, even if you can only find 5 minutes in your day. A great guided meditation app to help people that are new to meditating is called: Headspace.

10) If you’re a seasoned yogi or completely new to yoga, it’s beneficial to incorporate plenty of twisting poses throughout your practice or to kick-start your morning. Twists are really great for detoxing the body & creating space in the abdominal region. Here are a few simple poses to follow.

11) Get outside and walk throughout the day as much as possible. The endorphins from walking outside & exercising will be at an all-time high.

12) Try incorporating mood-enhancing and stress & anxiety reducing superfoods like Maca Powder, Cacao Powder, and Ashwagandha powder to your coffee, lattes, or smoothies.

13) Literally spring clean – a clean, organized home creates a clear mine. Get rid of and donate the winter clothes you didn’t touch all year. Clear out your pantry. If you work at home or in an office, try and keep that space clear but also add a few personal touches that will help keep you creative and inspired.

14) Amplify your space with fresh plants and flowers. I tend to be drawn towards plenty of succulents since they need little attention, but they look pretty! 🙂

15) Lastly, don’t forget how important SELF-CARE is. Everyone needs to look out for themselves. So among trying to incorporate some things from above, go get a massage or a facial, take a bath, read a book, take a “day-cation”, DIY your own face mask, etc.

I hope you found this information useful! Please note, the purpose of this is to simply share what I’ve learned about the tradition of Ayurveda. I’m no expert or professional in this field, I’m simply just interested in learning and expanding my knowledge. Take it or leave it! These are some things I’ve found useful in the past and am exploring with this season. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively.

Happy spring cleaning!

Sources:

http://lifespa.com/about-lifespa/ayurveda/what-is-ayurveda/#
http://www.ayurveda-holistic-medicine.com/
http://www.ayurveda-holistic-medicine.com/ayurveda-body-types.html
http://www.fusionaryformulas.com/learn-live-according-dosha/
http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/assessment/Dosha?gclid=CI7am4OvnNMCFdWIswodK_UN4A
http://www.chopra.com/articles/garshana-detoxify-at-home-with-ayurvedic-skin-brushing#sm.0000m771scytberbu271tfp7oa8gf
http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/types/twists/

15 tips that have helped me: GET OUT OF A RUT

15 tips that have helped me: GET OUT OF A RUT

Hi all!

I’ll start by saying that I love instagram HOWEVER it definitely paints a “perfect” picture when in some cases, that’s not always accurate. The reason why I bring this up is because like most people, us “health and wellness” bloggers get caught up in a rut from time to time as well. No one is perfect. Recently, a few weeks ago, I was feeling stuck in a rut – lazy, a bit unmotivated, tired, lacking my usual “bubbliness” and of course on top of that, feelings of personal doubt and helplessness began to takeover my mind. I personally believe I do suffer from seasonal depression and when you’re stuck inside for a few days straight due to the harsh winds, snow, and below freezing temps, it can certainly take a tole on your emotions, some people (like myself) may be even more affected by this. When these types of emotions begin to pile one on top of another, I fall into a somewhat unhealthy behavior. These emotions in turn trigger my stress and anxiety therefore even worsening my sleep deprivation. I will be the first to tell you that the second I can feel my body lacking the sleep and rest it needs, it automatically goes into a fight or flight mode which leads to stress and emotional eating.

Though my usual go-to, stress eating meal sounds “healthy” in some regards (it’s certainly not a sleeve of oreos or a pint of ice cream), it’s still a form of over-eating for me as it’s not typically part of my “normal” intuitive routine. This meal may (and usually does) resemble something along the lines of a huge bowl of coconut yogurt, piled high with granola, almond butter, a crumbled up macrobar, and allllll the other goods. By the time I’ve finished this “parfait” (if you could even call it that…) I’m stuffed beyond the point of getting off the couch and I just feel my anxiety levels increase even more even though this was my form of so called, “curing that stress”. So, this unfortunately becomes a somewhat ebb and flow cycle depending on how long I’m stuck in this rut.

However, luckily, if I can find the motivation and determination within myself (which I usually do after a few days of this) I am able to slowly get out of this slump. Not going to lie, it takes a LOT of self-motivation and will-power, but MAN does it feel good when you finally wake up that morning knowing it’s going to be a GOOD day. Below are some quick tips, take it or leave it!

1.) Get Journaling!

I think I’ve listened to enough of Katie Dalebout’s podcasts to see the benefits behind jotting a few things down! I’ve taken some of her tips and now wake up every morning and ensure the FIRST thing I do within that hour of waking up is writing down THREE things that I’m grateful for. It’s seriously THAT easy. Takes less than 1 minute and overtime, you truly do feel the positive benefits of sharing your gratification.

2.) Meditating

I’d by lying if I told you I was consistent with meditating everyday. Trust me, it’s been a struggle for me. I’ve downloaded and tried a number of apps, but some mornings I just wake up with too many thoughts and can’t even bare the thought of sitting still for 10 minutes. HOWEVER, I can totally tell the difference between my days where I start with meditation verses those where I miss it completely. A good 10-minute guided meditation is a really nice way to check in with yourself and start getting out of that slump.

3.) Play Music

I’m absolutely a LOVER of music. Music is good for the mood, the soul, the bod – literally everything and can instantly bring your mood from 0 – 10 just like that. Since mornings are where you really need to take control of your day and start it on the right note, I find a few different styles help to get me back on track.

4.) Inversions, Yoga, or Just a good Sweat Sesh

Being upside down circulates the blood flow, helps to relieve anxiety, stress, etc. Or partake in some backbends and hip-openers to release those tied up emotions.

5.) As soon as the suns out, force yourself to walk for an hour & listen to a positive podcast.

Unfortunately living in Boston has it’s downfalls in the winter. There may be 5 days straight where its cold and cloudy. But, the second that sun peeps out, I force myself to get out, walk, and tune into a good podcast. Here are some of my fave ones:

6.) Feed your body with ALL the good mood superfoods.

Maca powder, raw organic Cacao Powder, coconut, spirulina, goji berries, hemp seeds, etc.

7.) Self-Care

Give yourself a face mask, treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi.

8.) Plan a trip or event to look forward to.

We just booked a trip to Colorado in the fall and I CAN NOT WAIT. Nature, Red Rocks Amphitheater, GOOD FOOD, quality time with the boyfraaan.

9.) Organize and Clean.

A lot of times when I’m in a funk, I blast music and get into a crazy cleaning mode. I can’t tell you how many times Justin has come home and I have a bag full of random things in the apartment that I’m either throwing away or donating. Sometimes purging items can be so beneficial to your own health. Plus a clean, organized space definitely plays a part in an organized life.

10.) Get rid of old clothes you don’t wear.

^ same concept as above.

11.) Help out a local charity.

Nothing helps more than giving back. It’s so fulfilling to help others out and you’d be surprised what karma you get in return.

12.) Cuddle with dogs (or bae).

I mean, does this even need an explanation?

13.) Get rid of the food (for now) that is your go-to when you’re stress/emotional eating.

Putting the emphasis on “for now” because I don’t believe these should be cut out indefinitely. I just sometimes need a week or 2 without them to set myself back to normality.

14.) GET SLEEP!!!!

I can’t stress this enough. Sleep deprivation is always the main culprit for putting me into these “ruts” in the first place. So even if this means staying in all weekend and rescheduling plans with friends – do it. You need that time to unwind and reset.

15.) Make to-do lists and get yourself back in a routine.

Hopefully a few (or all) of these tips can help you out if you’re ever feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. PS – you’re not alone. So many of us fall into this, so don’t beat yourself up over it. That will only make things worst (trust me, I’ve been there, done that)!

** LAST last bit of advice – FIND SOMETHING THAT INSPIRES YOU **

Building a Buddha Bowl in 6 Easy Steps

Building a Buddha Bowl in 6 Easy Steps

Hi all! For this week I wanted to chat about buddha bowls. Let’s be honest, it would be wrong of me to deny any kind of obsession with these since I make them on the REG. They’re SO delicious, yet they keep things exciting, while nourishing my body with REAL foods and nutrients.

Too often, I hear people say “I hate salads”, “salads never fill me”, “I get bored of salads”, and so on – you get the point AND maybe you’ve found yourself saying this every now and then! I know I used to. Once again, I’ll pick on my boyfriend as a perfect example of this. I’ll start by saying, HUGE credit to him for even taking a stab at making his own salad for lunch. The toughest part is making that commitment to yourself to take the next healthy step. However, his salad turned out to be a (small) handful of mixed greens, a few diced up cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup of bland chicken, 1/4 cup of chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic – sounds exciting, right (cue the sarcasm)!?! Maybe this works for you, and if so, that’s great! However, I know with my active lifestyle and my need for good tasting food, I would not be able to get by with a salad like this everyday for lunch. Again, this could totally be personal preference, BUT, if you’re feeling like your in a rut with this, then maybe it’s your time to try building your own buddha bowl!

I broke my steps to building a buddha bowl down into a few easy play-by-plays.

1.) Building your base & and mix with a sauce/dressing.

– This can be mixed greens, grains, or a mix of both! See suggestions below.
– Mixed dinosaur kale (rinsed, leaves peeled off of stems, chopped up) + 1-2 TBSP of a lemon tahini dressing (recommend Whole Foods 365 Lemon Tahini OR Annies Homegrown Lite Goddess dressing OR make your own!) + a sprinkle of garlic powder + black pepper + dash of himalayan sea salt + sprinkle of hemp seed shells (for an extra nutty flavor).
– Recommended grains: quinoa, barley, basmati rice, wheatberry, etc.

2.) Pick 3-4 (warmed) veggies / roasted / steamed / sautéed.

– Recommended veggies to roast: butternut squash, sweet potato (fries), cauliflower, brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, purple or fingerling potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash.

* Coat & season veggies in coconut oil, or avocado oil, or olive oil + top with optional seasonings like garlic powder, himalayan sea salt, black pepper, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, basil, paprika, etc. (these are typically my go-to options)
* For root veggies or potatoes: roast at about 420 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.
* For other veggies: roast at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

3.) Pick 3-4 cold or raw veggies.

– Recommended veggies to eat raw (I prefer the balance of cold & cooked): Radishes (purple & watermelon radishes not only look pretty, but they add a really nice crunch), cooked beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, microgreens, etc.

4.) Pick 1-2 protein sources and healthy FATS.

– Recommended PROTEIN options: 1/4 cup cooked edamame, 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1/4 cup roasted/crunchy chickpeas (I LOVE biena foods sea salt chickpeas or Saffron Road Foods chickpeas), 1/4 cup of any type of beans (black, white, kidney, etc.), 1-2 hard boiled or fried eggs, veggie burgers (I recommend Hilary’s Eat Well or Engine 2 Diet for real ingredients/good tasting veggie burgers)

– Recommended FAT options: 1/2 avocado, handful of either roasted/sprouted almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc., 1 TBSP olive oil, avocado oil, or flax oil, 1 TBSP Kite Hills cream cheese (made with almonds), salmon, tuna, flax seeds, hemp seeds, etc.

5.) Pick a fermented food option (optional) but GREAT for good GUT-HEALTH.

– Recommended options: Sauerkraut (LOVE Wildbrine or Farmhouse Cultures), Kimchi, Tempeh, pickled veggies

6.) Optional (extra) toppings – because why not?!

– Recommended Options: Hummus (homemade or from one of my faves like Hope Foods Hummus – so many fun variations), homemade pesto (check out my vegan pepita recipe here), drizzle of tahini, dollop of salsa, drizzle of Sriracha, etc.!

Enjoy!!

Raw Vegan Cookie Almond Butter Chocolate Cup

Raw Vegan Cookie Almond Butter Chocolate Cup

I realize the title is quite obviously a run-on sentence but after creating this mouthwatering treat, I struggled trying to find any words to describe all of these BOMB flavors in one bite. So here you have it! I find it’s nutty chewy inside similar to a raw/vegan dessert bar, but it’s outside chocolatey moist layer to reflect the same taste you have when biting into a peanut butter chocolate cup. This dessert was one of those random experimental, “let’s throw everything in a food processor and see what happens” moments, and lo and behold – it turned out to be #1 boyfriend approved (which let’s be honest, anything that’s identified as a “vegan dessert” tends to be shut down immediately as he grabs for his box of girl scout thin mints). See below for details!

What you’ll need:

  • Tart tin (I used frieling tart pans) / but a bread tin or cupcake tin will work just fine as well!
  • Parchment Paper

For the bottom layer “raw cookie”:

  • 1/2 cup soaked & then drained cashews (soaked for ~ 1 hour)
  • 3 dates
  • 2 TBSP almond butter (I used justins vanilla almond butter)
  • 2 TBSP almond flour (via Bobs Red Mill)
  • 1 TBSP unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon & himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1 tsp organic maple syrup

For the the chocolate layer / recipe inspired via: The Coconut Mama

  • 1/3 cup and 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP coconut butter
  • 2/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla

Directions:

Throw all “bottom layer/raw cookie” ingredients together in a food processor until well-blended. Crust should look a bit crumbly and will feel sticky enough to mold together in tin. Line each tin with a square of parchment paper. Each tin can be filled with about 2 heaping TBSP of the raw cookie layer. See below picture for visual details. Put in freezer and let sit for about an hour.

Once your crust has hardened in the freezer for about an hour, you can begin to prepare the chocolate layer. In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil & coconut butter on low heat. Once melted, add in the remaining ingredients & mix well for about 30 seconds to a min. Remove from heat and spread evenly over each of the bottom cookie layers. Once your chocolate is evenly spread throughout, sprinkle some extra shredded coconut on top and place in freezer. These treats can be eaten after sitting in the freezer for about another hour or until there is a hard shell formed. Once that process is complete, you should easily be able to remove the entire dessert from the parchment paper and place into an air tight container. Store in freezer otherwise chocolate may melt. Oh and feel free to drizzle with EXTRA Peanut Butter because WHY NOT?!

Smoothie Time with Organic Living Superfoods

Smoothie Time with Organic Living Superfoods

Hey guys!

Let’s talk all things smoothies, superfoods, and …supporting your local food friends in today’s blog post! I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that this word “superfood” can be a bit overwhelming. It seems as though each month brings a new superfood that is hyped up around it’s unique nutrients and benefits. With all of these new superfoods being introduced to the wellness community, how do we decide where to spend our money and understand what OUR bodies need? Let’s be honest, these superfoods aren’t exactly “cheap”. They are after all, a SUPER food for good reason! They’re usually rare to find, extremely labor intensive, and often come from indigenous locations – therefor driving up the cost for high quality products. With that, how can we make a wallet-conscious decision on which superfoods to invest in?

Honestly, I didn’t really have the answer to this until I was introduced to Organic Living Superfoods. Before I tried their product, I would usually dabble in 1-2 superfoods, depending on what items were on sale at the time. However, I couldn’t have been more excited to hear from Organic Living Superfoods, a company local to the Boston area and super passionate about providing high quality, 100% organic superfood powders to the community. I’m all about supporting local companies that are authentic and transparent in their process of sourcing real ingredients and OLS definitely sets the bar high here!

Not only are they transparent in sourcing the best of the best ingredients, but I’m quite honestly OBSESSED with their customized superfoods blend. This solves so many of my dilemmas around which superfoods to buy and invest in. Through their website, you have the opportunity to choose 10 of the 28 different superfoods they have to offer. Not only are their options endless, but they provide thorough descriptions on where it comes from, the insane amount of nutrients it obtains, what the well-known benefits are, and so forth. I found this part to be so helpful in choosing which superfoods I felt were right for me. PS – don’t be concerned with mixing different flavors – honestly, when it’s all blended together and then mixed into a smoothie for example, you would never be able to detect a funky taste! Once you’ve decided on your superfood smoothie blend of choice, it’s then packaged in a 10oz bag and sent your way!

Here’s what I ended up going with for my superfoods of choice (PS – these benefits were taken directly from the OLS site):
A S H W A G A N D A: you be familiar with this one from my latest blog post on my superfood coffee. As a reminder, Ashwaganda can aid in lowering stress & anxiety levels, improving sex drive, mood, menopausal support, fertility, and memory support.
B A O B A B: has been known to increase energy and stamina, improve sexual function in men and women (often called “herbal viagra”), reduce hormonal dysfunction during menopause, regulate hormonal imbalance, and enhance mental ability.
B E E P O L L E N: Bee pollen contains 96 known nutrients, and they’re all highly bioavailable. Bee Pollen contains 40% high quality protein, it’s packed with live enzymes, and is the highest dietary source of rutin, which helps controls blood pressure and increase the strength and integrity of cell walls and the heart. It’s also a natural antibiotic, it increases energy levels and endurance, and is an excellent free radical scavenger.
M A T C H A: known for having preventative cancer, anti-aging, and heart disease properties, as well as being a helpful weight loss aid, detoxifier, mind enhancer, and energy booster.
S P I R U L I N A: is high in chlorophyll, plant blood which has magnesium as its central atom and gives plants their dark green color. Human blood has iron as its central atom, which aside from that, they have basically the same chemistry and can readily repair tissues, strengthen immunity, boost energy, support cellular health, cardiovascular health and eye function.
M O R I N G A: contains powerful antioxidants and inflammatory compounds. It is also a good source of protein and dietary fiber. Moringa helps with balancing cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels (hence it protects against diabetes), boosting immunity, stimulating metabolism, aiding in digestion, promoting a feeling of well-being, and assisting in weight loss. It’s also a great energy booster, anti-bacterial, it protects the liver and kidneys, provides fast recovery after grueling workouts, and it can be used as a water purifier and due to its amino acid content.
L U C U M A: It’s been a symbol of fertility for millennia. It also helps to curb cravings and appetite. Lucuma is high antioxidants, fiber and B-vitamins like beta-carotene and niacin (B3).
G I N G E R: used as a digestive aid, helps to promote healthy sweating, a form of detoxification which is often helpful during colds and flus. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds — these substances have been shown to provide relief for those suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis – as they can help reduce pain levels and improve mobility.

…One more thing – did I mention that you can use my discount code at check out – CALLILOVESOLS for 20% off ANY of their products!

Now that you have a pretty solid idea of why superfoods can be such a great addition to your daily diet, here are some ideas for how to incorporate these friendly ingredients in day-to-day meals! Simply click on the photo and follow the link to the instagram pic for details on ingredients. I’m happy to go into detail on measurements in a later blog post if folks are interested! Unfortunately, I have a tendency to just estimate!

Green Superfood Smoothie
Warm Coconut Superfood Chia Bowl
Green Superfood Smoothie BOWL
Green Superfood Smoothie II

Enjoy!!

Will I do the liver cleanse again?

Will I do the liver cleanse again?

Hi all!

Apologies for the lack of posts in the past week. I thought for the next post I would share my recap on my Liver Cleanse. For those of you who follow me on my instagram page, you may have seen my insta stories chugging a liter of Apple Juice each day or maybe you caught me with the epsom salt and olive oil/lemon combo! Either way, you were probably thinking “what in the WORLD is she doing and WHY would she put herself through that?!” Well, I’m here to tell you why first and foremost and secondly, would I do it again?

I first learned about this holistic liver cleanse while on my yoga teacher training in Spain from my teacher, Maria. To begin, WHY is it even necessary to flush your liver and gallbladder? Up until my yoga training, I had never even heard or thought about the idea of naturally cleaning these organs. This liver cleanse has been done for centuries in both the Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine practices – both holistic approaches. Some of the main reasons for doing a liver cleanse can be to help aid in weight loss, eliminate liver stones, detox your body, increase your energy, and look and FEEL 5 years younger! I found these points on the Global Healing Center’s site and they go into even more details behind these benefits. At a high level, David (Avocado) Wolfe describes the benefits as such:

“Gallstones severely disrupt the performance of the liver, which has over 500 functions —which is why doing a flush is one of the most important things you could ever do for your health. Cleaning your liver can add years to your life, reverse or slow down the aging process and heal your body on a deeper level than you ever thought possible. Many people who have done a series of these flushes see remarkable changes in all areas of their health, some even being healed of stubborn illnesses that they lived with for years!”

These benefits were enough of a reason for me AND my mom, her boyfriend, and my sister to all give it a try! Plus, I’m pretty good at convincing and let’s be honest, it’s way easier to do one of these cleanses when you know you’re not suffering alone! So if you’re interested in doing the liver cleanse yourself, you’ll need to follow ALL of the instructions exactly as described. It’s very important that you do all of the necessary requirements over the 6 day prep for the day 7 cleanse in order for it to work properly. You can follow all steps on David Wolfe’s page.

Try and choose 100% ORGANIC Apple Juice

As you can see from the instructions, the 6-day prep really wasn’t too bad and definitely not a big change for me seeing as my diet is primarily vegan/plant-based. They HIGHLY recommend to maintain an all vegan diet during this cleanse. In addition to eating vegan for the 6-day prep, it also requires you to drink a liter of organic apple juice a day as the malic acid found in apples softens the gallstones, making it easier to pass – so don’t miss this step! Also, they suggest you clean your colon via an enema prior to the cleanse. We didn’t do this initially, however, we ended up doing it the night prior to the cleanse and I do believe it made a difference. If you’re like me and my family, you’ll probably want to avoid this unpleasant step, but I’m telling you it is HIGHLY recommended and it’s really not as bad as it seems 🙂 Also, I’ve shared a few meal ideas below if you’re in search of some tasty vegan meals to keep you satisfied throughout the week!

Buddha Bowl – Mixed Greens, Roasted Veggies, Avocado, Hummus, Pesto, Sauerkraut, Potatoes
Turmeric Slow-Cooked Oatmeal with added fruit, almond butter, & vegan snack bar

Okay – so let’s talk about day 7 – the actual day of the cleanse. Breakfast consisted of plain oats and lunch consisted of straight up veggies – no added oils, fats, etc. These steps are CRITICAL. After lunch, you’re fasting for the rest of the day. You’ll be drinking 2 epsom salt concoctions before bed. This taste I did not enjoy, I’ll be honest haha but we chased it down with a drop of fresh lemon juice. The last step is the DELICIOUS olive oil & fresh lemon juice mixture. If you couldn’t tell from above, I’m being completely sarcastic. I did not enjoy this mixture, but I did my best to chug it in one sitting and then lay in bed while following the rest of the instructions. Though I was not a fan of the fresh lemon juice with olive oil, I’ve heard from my fellow yoga teacher training friends that they didn’t mind the olive oil with freshly squeezed grapefruit – so I plan on giving that a try the next time around!

Day 7 – Breakfast / Plain Oats, Honey, Cinnamon, & Fruit
Day 8 – Lunch / Turmeric Quinoa, Roasted Veggies, & Spices

Personally, I had a little bit of trouble falling asleep after drinking the olive oil/lemon juice mixture. My stomach was making ALL kinds of rumblings and felt on and off nauseous for about an hour. After a somewhat rough night of sleep, I woke up to my 6AM alarm where I then had to chug my third mix of epsom salt & water. Following that, it’s advised you wait 2 hours before drinking the LAST epsom salt mix (thank goodness)! Now here’s where it may get a little TMI – so I’m giving you a FAIR warning! It was a little after that last epsom salt drink where all four of us began having LOVELY bowel movements HAHA and we began seeing the little green “stones”. They were pretty light in the morning and early afternoon. However, it happened to be around 5PM – 7PM where I saw the majority of my stones pass through. None of this process was painful and I was eating my usual size meal by the end of the day. The next morning, I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel TOO different, but definitely felt like I had a little more pep in my step and the brain fog was not existent. Because this was my FIRST time doing this cleanse, they suggest you flush a few more times in order to truly and fully clean your liver and gallbladder!

Overall, day 1 – day 6 were easy and painless. I definitely did not enjoy day 7. However, when you look at this cleanse compared to say a 6-day juice cleanse, I would take the liver cleanse over that ANY DAY because hey, you at least get to eat and you’re only fasting for half a day. My mom, her boyfriend, and my sister all survived (although my sister ended up throwing up Saturday night …she also didn’t do the enema* so this is why I advise you clean your colon!) We’re planning on doing it again in March and are totally welcoming “SPRING CLEANING” in with open arms! Anyone else want to join along?!

Lets talk TURMERIC / Part 2!

Lets talk TURMERIC / Part 2!

Hello! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! Mine was not exactly the IDEAL way I’d like to spend my weekends, but I certainly feel refreshed, healthy and rejuvenated following my Liver Cleanse! I definitely plan on sharing details on that cleanse later in the week, but for now, I wanted to chat some more about Turmeric!

Turmeric obviously seems to be the hot topic lately and for good reason! When we look at superfoods from around the world, turmeric is one that is so incredibly powerful and beneficial to our health, yet is also so affordable. I also find it overwhelming to a) figure out which superfood I should be eating and b) to then spend a lot of money on that particular superfood. Unfortunately, because some of the well known superfoods out there are super labor-intensive, 100% organic, rare to find, and being shipped from across the world, the prices tend to rise. Luckily, turmeric is definitely a number 1 superfood on my list that is easy to find and also affordable, so why not take the leap and begin to add this into your daily diet?

As a recap – some of the AMAZING benefits include:

  • Has been used for centuries in Chinese and Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory to help combat a number of health conditions.
  • Strong Antioxidant
  • Supports healthy digestive and cardiovascular system
  • Brain Function (clears that brain fog!)
  • Liver Function
  • Joint Health
  • and can even help fight cancer cell growth!

One brand I’ve fallen in love with lately is Temple Turmeric. They truly believe in providing a powerful superfood blend that is prepared with love and authenticity. They certainly resemble what it means to honor your body and nourish it with care. What I love about their products is that they make it easy to incorporate turmeric into your daily diet in a way that tastes good and is packed with so many essential nutrients, including turmeric of course.

Two of their more recent products include their turmeric shots and their vinegar drinks. The shots are great for grabbing on the go and fueling up post-workout. I know I talked a lot about anti-inflammation in my last blog post on turmeric and I really want to stress that again, especially for athletes or anyone who is regularly active! I see so many people go for the sugary post-workout drinks, when they simply could recover more naturally and quickly by incorporating powerful anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric! I love doing high intensity workouts like running and HIIT but I also enjoy lower impact workouts like yoga. Either way, participating in any of those above activities will certainly lead to inflammation in the muscles, tendons, and joints. What I love about these shots is that they’re also packed with a number of other nutrients and adaptogens like ashwaganda, organic ginger, and organic yerba mate to name a few!

As for their vinegar drinks, I’ve found these to be really great substitutes for liquids in some of my meals, such as a vegan chili I made recently! Their “Pure Fire Tonic” for example, is loaded with ingredients like apple cider vinegar (which promotes healthy blood-sugar levels & cholesterol to name a few!), ginger, turmeric (of course!), horseradish, and ghost pepper. These ingredients make for a perfect tart & slightly spicy liquid base that can be added to all kinds of soups, sauces, or even just sautéing vegetables! One way in particular I love to sneak these drinks in is by using it with either quinoa or rice. For example, I’ll boil 1 cup of quinoa with 1 cup of the vinegar drink & 1 cup water. This way the quinoa absorbs all of those yummy & nutritious flavors! PS – your local Whole Foods Market should be stocked with Temple Turmeric – so keep an eye out for it!

I know I named a few ways to add turmeric into your staple foods, but here are just a few more ideas!

  • Soups, chilis, stews (pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, beans, coconut curry, etc. – all would be a great compliment to the turmeric)
  • Vegan meatballs (use the turmeric shot to blend w/ garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, panko bread crumbs)
  • Smoothies (pair it with something sweet like coconut milk, frozen peaches, frozen banana, frozen cauliflower, cinnamon, etc.)
  • Savory Oats, pancakes, or waffles
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Homemade Hummus (blend w/ garbanzo beans, garlic, salt, black pepper, a bit of olive oil)
  • Other dips for chips & crackers
  • Tahini based salad or buddha bowl dressing

…if you have any recipe ideas, feel free to share & comment below! Hope you had your TURMERIC today 🙂

Easy & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry-Oat Pancakes

Easy & Delicious Gluten-Free Banana-Blueberry-Oat Pancakes

Hello Friends!

For today’s blog post I wanted to share with you my latest recipe for my gluten-free banana-blueberry-oat pancakes. I don’t know about you, but I find myself struggling to re-create that perfect pancake consistency. You know what kind I’m talking about – that good old box of bisquick pancakes that we used to devour as children every Sunday. I kid you not, my dad would make these every Sunday and it was as if it was a food eating competition to see who could take down the most pancakes – me vs. golden retriever(s) vs. rest of the family. I’d say we usually peaked around 20 or so cakes, yet somehow still managed to not blow up like a balloon! I digress..

I find this recipe to be reminiscent of those pancake eating Sunday’s. I swear you wouldn’t know the difference between these and ones loaded with sugar and butter. What makes this recipe also ideal is that the prep is under 10 minutes!! I swear. So here’s the quick and dirty on the pancake recipe…

Serving Size ~ 6-8 medium size cakes

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBSP of ground chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1/2 a large ripe banana (I used a little over a 1/2)
  • 1/4 unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 cage-free egg
  • Optional: Blueberries
  • 1 TBSP Fourth & Heart Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ghee (coconut oil or butter can be a substitute)
  • You’ll also need a food processor and non-stick pan!

Directions:


In a food processor blend the following ingredients: oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and the chia or flax seeds. Once those ingredients are well blended into powder form, transfer it to a larger bowl. Next add in your 1 egg, 1/2 ripe banana (it may help to smash this in the bowl before hand so that it’s easier to mix), and the almond milk. Mix these ingredients well so that it forms a thicker batter.

Meanwhile, begin to warm up your pan. I usually cook my pancakes on medium/low heat (~ 5-7). You can add your TBSP of ghee (I swear this is a life changer with pancakes – SO TASTY). Next using a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop your batter out and form about 6-8 medium size pancakes. Then add blueberries to each pancake if you’d like. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Typically the batter will start to slowly bubble, at which point check the bottom of the cake to see that it’s a golden brown.

Optional toppings could be…

  • more fruit like blueberries, raspberries, and bananas
  • bee pollen
  • goji berries
  • cacao nibs or dairy-free chocolate chips (enjoy life is my fave brand)!
  • organic maple syrup
  • honey
  • Blueberry “sauce” (simply warm up 2 TBSP of frozen blueberries in a microwave save dish for about 30 – 45 seconds for a sauce/syrup like consistency to pour over pancakes
  • organic almond butter or peanut butter
  • unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, Veggie, & Squash Buddha Bowl

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, Veggie, & Squash Buddha Bowl

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog all about Turmeric. If that post didn’t convince you enough to introduce turmeric daily into your diet, check out this one from Positive Health Wellness. Some of the main benefits they talk about include the ease of inflammation, cancer preventative, improved brain function, lower the blood sugar, reduced joint paint…and oh, the list could just go on! An interesting thing I learned from their blog was that you should try to incorporate black pepper when you’re consuming turmeric to help with the absorption & increase the potential benefits!

Anyway, the reason why I bring up my fave new spice again is because of this weeks buddha bowl! Typically I’ll add quinoa as my base, however this week, I opted for cauliflower rice as a fun alternative! I’ll be honest, I took the lazy way out and bought the bag of already “riced” cauliflower, but HEY, anything I can do to cut down the time of my Sunday meal prep, right?!

Ingredients for the bowl (yields enough servings for 5 days):
• 3-4 cups of brussel sprouts
• 2 large Broccoli florets
• 1 Bag of Cauliflower Rice (most grocery stores stock brands like Green Giant OR if you’re feeling ambitious you can make your own by following a recipe from the Minimalist Baker)
• 1 clove of minced garlic
• 3-4 cups of butternut squash (Whole Foods typically sells these pre-cut as well in small, cube-sized pieces)
• Coconut oil
• Lemon juice
• For the Rice – 1 TBSP of turmeric, 1/2 TBSP of curry powder, shake of black pepper & salt
• Additional spices include: cinnamon, paprika, rosemary, nutritional yeast
• 5 eggs (to prep & make hard boiled eggs for the week)
• For additional “buddha bowl” toppings …scroll to the bottom of the page for some of favorite brands/toppings!

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For the bowl –

• Start by setting the oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, begin slicing your Brussel sprouts in half. On a baking sheet coated lightly in coconut oil, add your Brussel sprouts and layer another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, mixing in a pinch of salt, black pepper, and rosemary. You’ll want to follow the same steps for your broccoli – however, I choose to coat it in salt, black pepper, and nutritional yeast for a “vegan cheesy” alternative. Once those are lathered evenly throughout, place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, checking on them/mixing them around every 5-10 minutes. I personally like my brussel sprouts charred and slightly burnt, so I tend to keep them in for 20 minutes (just make sure to keep an eye on them as they’ll cook fast in the high heat)!

• Next, either dice your butternut squash into bite size pieces or if you’ve bought the pre-cut, you’ll want to cover a baking sheet lightly in coconut oil. Layer your squash evenly on the baking sheet. Add another 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, and paprika. Using your hands, spread the oil & seasoning throughout the squash. These may need slightly longer than the brussels & broccoli – I tend to let them cook for about ~ 20-25 minutes.

• While the Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and squash are cooking, take out a large, stick-free, sauté pan, add your minced garlic with about 1-2 TBSP of coconut oil. Let that cook on low heat for about 1 minute. Next, add your bag of cauliflower rice to the pan. Add in your turmeric, curry powder, black pepper, & salt. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes. If you find it sticking, rather than adding more oil, I’ll usually add some lemon juice which adds a nice flavor as well! The cauliflower rice really only needs like 10 minutes to fully cook.

• While everything else is cooking – get a small pot, fill it with enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Then add your 5 eggs into the pot, slowly bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, take the pot off of the heat, let it sit for 10-12 minutes. Then rinse it under cold water for a few minutes. Finally, using a spoon, you can crack the shell and peel off. The hard boiled eggs are fine being stored in the fridge for the week.

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• Now for the fun part – bringing your bowl together! I personally like to top my bowls off with 1 hard boiled egg, a heaping spoon of sauerkraut (GUT HEALTH Y’ALL), 1/2 an avocado (because I LOVE my healthy fats), a sprinkle of crispy chickpeas (because I love a little bit of crunch & they’re a great added protein source), and lastly, feel free to drizzle some lemon tahini dressing to top it off!

Here are a few of the products I use for the above ^ toppings:

Biena Foods Crispy Chickpeas
• SauerKraut – either WildBrine (they’re cauliflower & curry flavor is to DIE for) or FarmHouse Culture KRAUT (huge fan of they’re garlic & dill flavor)
• Annie’s Homegrown has an awesome “Lite” Goddess Dressing that tastes SO GOOD on top of these bowls

Hope you enjoy these bowls as much as I do! 🙂

Intensive Yoga Flow & Workout Playlist

Intensive Yoga Flow & Workout Playlist

Hi there!

I haven’t shared my workout playlist in a while and figured for the next one, I’d share my fave yoga flow playlist. This is for the yogi who likes to get their sweat on through an intensive flow session. The music definitely picks up a bit, so flow to the beat and feel the BURRRRNNN. I’d describe these songs as a mix of being melodic, dreamy, trippy, electronic, dubby, empowering, and so on (you get the idea).

Some of the artists include:

  • Big Gigantic
  • Flume
  • Adventure Club
  • Disclosure
  • Tove Lo
  • Bassnectar
  • Shaun Frank
  • Anna Lunoe
  • Zeds Dead
  • Sevon Lions
  • Kill Paris

…and so many more!

With more than 60+ songs to keep you going all day long – throw it on shuffle and let me know what you think! I love discovering new artists – so please feel free to share & comment!

— Also, feel free to give me a follow on SoundCloud so you can stay updated on new music & check out my other playlists as well!


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