LOVE YOUR BODY - 16 ACTIONS FOR A POSITIVE BODY IMAGE

I've never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but I do appreciate the awareness around this holiday about expressing love. Whether you're single or in a relationship, it's important to love yourself first. Without self-love, your relationships won't be strong. Without self-love, looking in the mirror at yourself is a struggle. Actually, it's hell. I know this feeling. I've been there.

Self-love might seem narcissistic or egotistic, but that isn't what true self-love is. Self-love means unconditionally accepting yourself for who you are - no matter what your body looks like, how much you weigh, how much money you have, or what your relationship status is. Self-love is love without judgement. It means respecting yourself. Setting boundaries. Being gentle.

Body Image has been a hot topic lately. People are starting to become aware that the diet and body obsessed culture isn't working. Many are fed up with body shaming themselves and witnessing it happen towards other people. Thankfully we are starting to wake up to the affects that body shaming has on our health, relationships, physical wellbeing, and on young girls & boys. In fact, healing my body image was the #1 reason I became a health coach in the first place. Here's my story on how I healed my relationship with body image. 

I'm going to give you some practical tips that I personally used (and still use) to practice healing my body image. Remember, this is a practice. You can't go to the gym once and expect big changes. You can't eat a salad and become healthy. Incorporate these tips into your lifestyle. There's no quick-fix. I feel like this a no-brainer...but I also feel responsible to write this because we live in a world where there's quick-fixes everywhere. They're band-aids covering the problem, not healing the root of it. These tips I offer are truth bombs to help you actually HEAL the root of body image issues. You'll find that a lot of them have nothing to do with your body. That's because the healing starts in your mind, your perspective. These tips come straight from my experience of learning how to love my body.

REMEMBER - Loving your body directly depends on your willingness to change your thoughts about your body. Recognizing that you want to change your perspective of your body is the first step. Become aware of the thoughts and feelings that come up around your body, without judgement. Look in the mirror and acknowledge these thoughts and feelings. Start where you are. Be proud of yourself for acknowledging your feelings and get ready to do some transformational work.

Do these actions of self-love every day. This is what I did every day (and still do) to maintain a positive body image. It's not easy. If you've been living in hell for years, it's going to take some bad days and lots of time to change your mental dialogue. Be gentle with yourself. You will get there. Just do these things every day.

 

15 Actions for a Positive Body Image

1. Accept and love yourself just as you are, right now, unconditionally.

2. Unfollow all social media accounts that bring you down or trigger comparison. Read my article here about cultivating self-love in the age of social media.

3. Limit time with or cut the people out of your life that are toxic or you don't feel comfortable being 100% yourself around.

4. Practice extreme self care. This looks different for everybody. I love: massages, sleeping, dark chocolate, baths, yoga, aromatherapy, time alone, reading books, spa days, nails, hair...treat yourself!

5. Embrace your natural figure. A curvy, feminine body isn't meant to look like a skinny little boy. Stop trying to fit into a body type to be accepted. When I stopped starving myself, my natural womanly curves emerged. Love whatever it is about your body that makes you, YOU.

6. Do things that light you up. Cooking, painting, playing, adventuring, reading, running...whatever it is, do things that feed your soul.

7. Breathe. Try yoga, breathwork classes, or meditation.

8. Assess your life and what you need right now. Maybe it's therapy, working on your relationships, leaving unhealthy relationships, spending more time with family, going back to school, or quitting your job... do what you need to do to respect your wants and needs.

9. Find a spiritual practice, whatever that may be for you. Maybe it's yoga, church, meditation, cycling classes or just being quiet for 1 minute of the day. I love The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle when I need to re-center.

10. Sweat. Find workouts that help you feel confident in your body and stick with it.

11. Detox your closet. Get rid of all the clothes that you don't fit into, are out of style, and are taking up space. Sell them on Poshmark or donate them. This can be very emotional. Let yourself cry if you need to.

12. Understand that counting every meticulous calorie and obsessing over your weight is not helping your body image issues. These actions are feeding the problem. When you eat real, whole foods, you're much more likely to keep the caloric intake at an appropriate level. Muscle weighs more than fat. Don't let a scale dictate the way you feel about yourself. YOU are the only thing that can choose whether you are happy or not. Don't allow a scale or calories to have that much power over you.

13. Change the conversations you have. Stop gossiping. Have real conversations with people, be honest about how you feel. When you talk about your body with other people, be kind and say only positive words. Don't tolerate negative convos with others who are body shaming themselves or others. Leave the convo. Let go of self depreciation and weight talk. Monitor the words and thoughts coming out of you. When in conversation, lift others up! Don't bring down the convo by how you wish you could change xyz about yourself.

14. Forgive yourself of any negative thoughts you've had about yourself. Forgive yourself of any mistreatment you've given yourself (skipping meals, starving, extreme dieting, feeling guilty about food, body shaming, negative self talk, bingeing, purging, etc.) Thank your body for all it has done for you.

15. Stop being a people pleaser. Create boundaries. Set standards. Do what YOU want to do. Don't settle. Stop saying yes to everything. Listen to your body and respect it's needs. Everyone is different. Some of us need more rest, sleep, food, and/or time alone. This is okay.

16. Know your value and worth as a human being, which is far, far beyond your appearance.

4 easy ways to bounce back after indulging

If you feel like you indulged a little bit too much last weekend, don't stress. Here are 4 easy things you can do to bounce back to healthy living.

 

Remember this? Everyone wanted to order dessert, and even though you were full, you gave in and said yes. Or you had a fun night out with friends (which may or may not have involved alcohol) and somehow you wound up at in-n-out, gorging on animal fries at 2am. Or maybe you were invited to a dinner party with tons of decadent foods that you don't normally eat, but hey, you wanted to celebrate, so you went a little overboard. Or your friend begged you to have "just one more drink" with her, which you knew was one over your limit, but you gave in anyways and paid for it with a killer hangover the next day. Maybe 1 cupcake turned into 5, and then you just said "F it" and ate everything in sight for the rest of the day because you "cheated" on your diet and all of your hard work was cancelled out anyways.

Not only does sabotaging yourself with excessive indulging have unwanted consequences immediately after (i.e. bloating, indigestion, dehydration, fatigue, unclear thoughts, hangovers, mood swings, lack of motivation, cravings, guilt), but these side-effects can linger days or even weeks after your indulgences. Some people have the youth of a 17-year-old and can bounce back immediately, but if you're anything like me, you feel the effects well into the next few days. This is not to be confused with treating yourself every once in a while! Please, if you want a cupcake, EAT THE DAMN CUPCAKE! What I want to make clear is that if you are harming your body by excessively indulging over your limits and guilt tripping yourself after, or you want to be healthy after the holidays, I've got your back!

No amount of beating yourself up will make  you feel better. In fact, you'll feel even worse if you kick yourself for splurging once in a while. If you've completely overdone it, and your one innocent french fry turned into a downward spiral of poor food choices for a few days or weeks, it's okay. Forgive yourself, learn your lesson, and move forward.

 

Here are my 4 actions to help you get back on the healthy train after indulging:

1. Be willing to choose a new perspective. Understand that this unhealthy choice is just a setback in your health journey, and that you WILL feel better. See this setback as a learning lesson and remember the consequences of your unhealthy choices when you are influenced to make  this decision again. Forgive yourself for all harm that you did to your body, and make a promise to yourself to love your body and treat it the way it deserves to be treated: with love. Know your triggers and your boundaries. If your friend is pushing you to have just one more drink with her, and your intuition is screaming, "NOOO!!", honor your body, remember what happened last time you had "just one more drink", and politely decline. For many of us, this may feel uncomfortable, but after a few practices, you'll be respecting your body in no time. If you know that your trigger is donuts in the office, when one bite is enough to send you into a wild donut frenzy and next-day sugar hangover, it's time to get real with yourself. It's time to take a minute to think about and be aware of all of these tempting choices, and honor what you and your body truly wants.

2. Set up a game plan. It's only going to be easier to give into your cravings if you don't have your meals set up for you. The first step starts with carving out time to go grocery shopping: the farmers market is a wonderful choice, and if you can't make it there, start at your local health food store. Trader Joe's has affordable prices with relatively healthy options. Pick up some whole, unprocessed, fresh ingredients at the store and start cooking. Check out  my meal prep hack that will save you hours in the kitchen on MindBodyGreen here! Set yourself up wisely to love your body and treat it with healthy, clean meals that you know you love and enjoy. One benefit to home cooking is that you will have more $$ in your bank account for all the things you love to do that doesn't involve food. Eating out all the time can really add up!

3.  Move. I don't care if it's taking a 5 minute walk around the block at work on your lunch break or hitting the gym every day. The more you move and sweat, the more toxins you're releasing from your body. When you move, you're allowing your body to excrete stagnant energy and emotions that take up valuable space in your body. You're clearing more room to heal and repair from the inside out. You'll get a kick of endorphins when you workout and a huge confidence boost . Don't forget to hydrate more than usual to help with flushing toxins, especially if you've been drinking, which is seriously dehydrating. Working out more and enjoying it means you'll make better food choices. I promise. It's one of those things that goes hand in hand. You'll feel better in your body and more motivated to continue taking care of yourself in the kitchen.

4. Self care. This is my favorite tip. Think of all the ways you love to take care of and pamper yourself. Start by doing one of them! Self-care is one of the highest forms of self respect that you can practice, which combats all the stress you've been putting your body through. Taking care of yourself will reap wonderful benefits, such as stress reduction, body love, increased confidence, a sense of peace, and a heightened awareness of your body's messages to you. Here's a list of my favorite self care practices:

    •    taking a hot bath with essential oils, candles, and epsom salt

    •    getting a massage

    •    getting my hair and nails done

    •    DIY facials

    •    taking extra time to do hair & makeup

    •    wearing a favorite outfit

    •    cooking a nourishing, healthy meal with good music & company

    •    hot yoga (super detoxing)

    •    swimming in the ocean

    •    hiking with a  friend

    •    dancing

    •    journaling

    •    meditation/prayer

    •    volunteering

    •    puppies

    •    random acts of kindness

    •    calling/texting a friend

    •    making a hot cup of tea

    •    deep belly breathing

    •    positive affirmations

I can barely believe that I used to party almost every weekend in college and go on late night food binges with friends. I know firsthand the effects this destructive behavior has on the body and every aspect of your life. Please reach out if you'd like more help with getting back into a healthy routine for the New Year. I'm offering complimentary initial Health Coaching Sessions for the month of January!

WHAT I'VE BEEN LOVING LATELY

If you've read my article on Sivana East's Blog here, you know how important it is to your health and wellbeing to consume high quality media. This includes books, internet, movies, TV, newspapers, magazines, and of course, social media.

 

Once you've detoxed your feeds from negative accounts, ended the game of comparison to people's highlight reels, you can focus on media that uplifts and truly benefits your life.

Here are my FAVORITES I've been consuming lately:

BOOKS:

PODCASTS:

  • The Lively Show, by Jess Lively
  • Young Hustler, by Grand Cardone
  • The Crave Cast, by Alexander Jameson
  • Beauty Inside Out, by Kimberly Snyder

INSTAGRAM

  • Alicia Keys, @aliciakeys
  • Katie Wilcox, @healthyisthenewskinny
  • McKell Hill, @nutritionstripped
  • Steph Smith + Laura Henshaw, @keepitcleaner
  • Gabrielle Bernstein, @gabbybernstein

What are media sources that motivate and inspire you? Please share! xo

HEALTHY OVER THE HOLIDAYS - 3 WAYS TO STAY SANE THIS SEASON

Your Wellness Guide to Stay Sane and Healthy This Holiday Season

Life is pretty funny. I have been writing this Healthy Holidays guide and I got a sick in the middle of it - life wanted me to TRULY practice what I’m teaching!

In this guide I’m going to fill you in on all of my favorite ways to be more calm, peaceful, and healthy over the holidays.

We’ll cover 3 topics:

    - immunity

    - healthy eating guidelines for holiday parties

    - self care practices

First, I need to go over the importance of seasons and why being in tune with the seasons is so important to your health.

Our bodies are constantly trying to be in a state of balance and harmony. When the seasons and weather change, we tend to crave food and activities to balance ourselves energetically and by temperature. For example, in the summer we crave cooling foods like smoothies and raw, cooling fruits and veggies. In the winter we crave warming, grounding foods like soups, stews, meats and root vegetables. We also crave typical holiday foods like turkey, stuffing, and pies. These are examples of our bodies communicating what it needs to be balanced. There is nothing wrong with cravings, we must listen to them and honor our bodies with what they need.

 

IMMUNITY 101

I’m all about preventative health. This means ensuring you have a strong, healthy immune system so you don't get sick in the first place. Instead of slacking on taking care of your body and searching for last minute band-aid solutions (i.e., pain relievers, over the counter drugs), living a balanced lifestyle day in and day out will provide you with he solid foundation so you stay healthy through the tough times.

 

  • GUT HEALTH: Did you know that 70-80% of your immune tissue is located in your digestive system? Our gut is the first entry way of exposure to pathogens (diseases) and your gut is the first place it attacks. Billions of bacteria are located in your gut and are how your body absorbs nutrients. If this lining of your intestinal wall is healthy, you’re able to absorb nutrients more efficiently, therefore creating a stronger, healthier gut. Your gut feeds off of what you eat. Too much “bad” growth of bacteria weakens the immune system, causing poor health, sickness, and other problems. When you’re feeding your gut with probiotic rich foods, you’ll have a stronger immune system. Two ways to do this:

    1. Probiotic Supplements

    2. Fermented Foods. Examples: yogurt, kefir, Kombucha, fermented pickles, sauerkraut, dark chocolate and cacao, miso, tempeh, grains like sourdough, kimchi, pickled ginger. The key is variety!

 

  • VITAMIN C + NUTRIENTS:  greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc.) fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, sage),  spices (ginger, turmeric, cayenne), lemon, lime, tangerines, oranges, garlic, root veggies. Incorporate these into your diet and you’ll be golden.
  • STRESS - see self care tips below
  • SLEEP - 7-8 hours or more depending on your lifestyle and what your body needs
  • EXERCISE - find movement that is FUN and makes you sweaty!
  • HYGIENE: wash your hands all the time, sanitary wipes on public handles, hand sanitizer.

SOS: What to do when you’re actually sick, or feel like you might be getting sick? Here are my quick emergency tips:

Soup, bone broths

Garlic

Manuka Honey

Echinacea

Lemon

Dandelion

Spices and roots- cayenne, ginger, turmeric

Oil of Oregano

Tea

Lots of water

Sleep!

Neti-pot

Hot showers, baths

Aromatherapy - tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, rosemary, lavender, pine

 

NAVIGATE HOLIDAY PARTIES LIKE A PRO

 

  1. Prep. Before parties and holiday dinners, I always check in with myself and eat a healthy snack before hand, like an apple with some nuts, maybe some tea, and drink lots and lots of water. I make sure I’m not ravenously hungry when I show up. This will prevent overeating at the party!
  2. Plating.  Always fill 1/2 of your plate with vegetables. No, this doesn’t mean all of the green bean casserole (but please, if you want some, eat some!!!). Instead, choose the healthy options: salads, veggie sticks (minimal or no ranch/sour cream dip) and eat these first. By eating your veggies first, you’ll fill up faster and eat less of the decadent stuff.
  3. Protein. Make sure you get enough protein. Yes, eat the turkey, ham, beef, but check in with your body and see what it wants. This will help you feel fuller and more satisfied at the end of your meal, not stuffed. Remember what being too full feels like. Honor your body with just enough to satisfy you.
  4. Pleasure. Don’t deprive yourself. Choose 1-2 of your absolute favorite dishes and serve yourself a small portion size (mine is stuffing and pie). My only rule about eating the decadent food that you must ENJOY it. Eat slowly. Be mindful. Savor it. Eat with gusto, joy, and love :) Savor your food so much that you don’t want to go back for seconds!
  5. Party time. Please, by all means, have a drink or two. The most important part of drinking is to stay hydrated. For every glass of alcohol, have a large glass of water (put water in your glass and nobody will know it’s water!) However, before you drink, consider that a glass of red wine (5 oz.) has 125 calories. A glass of champagne (4 oz.) is 90 calories. I’m not telling you to count calories, but know that liquids can really add up. Alcohol can also push you over that tipping point to indulge more than you thought you would…AKA your appetite increases, AKA, drunchies. If you’re going to have a drink or two, I love to make little low calorie and delicious cocktails that limit your alcohol intake and are actually healthy! Here are some ideas:
  • White wine + Kombucha + blackberries/raspberries
  • Beer + Kombucha
  • Gin + Lime + Sparkling water (la croix is delish!) + a touch of maple or honey
  • Champagne + Juice (like Pomegranate, Orange, make sure its a small portion for less sugar)

 

 

#1 MOST IMPORTANT PART: SELF CARE

 

*de-stress yourself*

fact: “Stress is the basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease.” - The American Institute of Stress

I always tell my clients that taking care of yourself is #1 priority. It’s like the oxygen mask rule - you can’t help others until you help yourself first.

BUT - the moment self-care becomes a chore, it kind of defeats the whole purpose. Self-care is about letting go, surrendering, relaxing, and releasing every single bit of stress out of your life. It should be something you look forward to!

That being said, taking care of yourself will look different to each person. Everybody is different and leads completely different lives, has different bodies and therefore requires different forms of self-care. It’s up to you to figure out what works best for you. Taking care of yourself means not only on a physical level, but also emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

Pause right here. Put your hand on your belly, take a big, deep belly breath, and release. Let go. Check in with your body - is there anything going on right now that is calling to you? Maybe your shoulders are tight. Maybe you feel really overwhelmed at home right now with the holiday stress upon us. Maybe you’re worried about money and how you’re going to pay your bills this month. Just listen to what’s going on inside and become aware, without judgement. What do you need to do to take care of yourself?

Being gentle, kind, and loving toward yourself and exactly where you are, your current situation is key, and we need to honor this. Often times we rush out of the house without breakfast, chug some coffee, and struggle through our day between all of the “stuff” that we need to get done. What could make this easier? That’s right. Put your oxygen mask on first.

Easy ways to cultivate more self-care in your life:

  • Nourish your body from the inside-out. Listen to what foods you want to eat. It’s colder, so usually that means more soups, cooked veggies, healthy fats, warming spices, teas, and comfort foods. If you’re craving an unhealthy comfort food, try to find a healthier alternative.
  • Bubble baths. Water is one of the ultimate healing modalities we have. Cleansing and detoxifying, it can quite literally wash away stress and unnecessary worries we may be holding onto. Schedule out a time for yourself to take a hot bath, jacuzzi, or even a shower. If you schedule an appointment with a Spa, you’re more likely to go - saunas, steam rooms, and hot springs are also great. When you’re taking a bath, make it a lovely experience by using calming essential oils (like lavender and rose) light some candles, and put on some relaxing music.
  • Pamper yo-self. Mani-pedis, spa days, facials, haircuts, and massages. Get your hair or makeup done! (Save some extra $$ and have a talented friend help you out, and decrease your stress for getting ready for your next holiday party). Be a queen for a day!
  • Breathe. Take a breathwork class or a yoga class.
  • Sweat. Be gentle with yourself and listen to what your body needs. Maybe it’s hot yoga, a long run, or simply walking your dog. Taking the time to detox your body and mentally stimulate will give you more energy and clarity to handle the holiday stress. This also helps boost your immune system.
  • Light some candles and journal. Let out your emotions. Get inspired, create a Pinterest vision board. Talk with friends and family about your dreams and ideas and desires!
  • REST. During the holidays, we are in the go-go-go mode, and we need to just stop and relax for a second. This might mean making your favorite cup of tea, curling up with a good book, snuggling with your dog, watching a movie, ordering takeout (with extra veggies!)…just doing nothing!
  • Sleep.Not to be confused with Rest. Sleep is imperative to self care. See Ariana Huffington’s position on why sleep is so crucial to success, health, and her business.This is a no brainer.
  • Get offline. I love unplugging from my phone, computer, and TV and letting my eyes rest from the blue-light and also from the energy invested in social media and communication. We need a break every once in a while. Try to get your family and friends to join! This surprisingly helps you get more focus, grounded, and recalibrated so you can focus more on yourself and honor your body and where you are at right now. Set some boundaries. Don’t look at your email or social media first thing in the morning or right before you sleep. Maybe it’s you set the boundary from 7pm-7am you’re not on your phone or laptop. Instead, take this time that you’re awake to mediate, be with loved ones, workout, get inspired (books, audio books).
  • Laugh! Funny Youtube videos, a silly movie, being around funny people…just being goofy with friends and family, playing games…these are all ways to incorporate and cultivate more happiness and laughs into your life! This is crucial to our health, yet many people overlook it and wonder why they’re so dang stressed out all the time.  “A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.” - helpguide.org, “Laughter Is The Best Medicine”

 

What are some ways that you like to take care of yourself?

What are 1-2 acts of self-care that you are committing to this week? Schedule them into your calendar now. 

Cravings Are NOT Bad: 8 Reasons You Have Cravings

Cravings are your body's way of communicating what it needs. If you're craving something like ice cream, what about it are you craving? Maybe it's a hot summer day and you want something sweet and cold. Maybe you're craving it because you used to eat ice cream as a kid with your family, and you want to feel comforted. Maybe your life is lacking love and physical touch...and you use ice cream to fill that void. 

Understanding your cravings can be a really powerful tool to help you feel better. All it takes from you is a little bit of introspection and awareness. If you can figure out why you are having cravings, it will help you see clearly what your body needs to feel satisfied.

So, check in with your body. What are you craving?

There are 8 different causes of cravings. Many of them have to do with your physical body, but some cravings are because of many important areas of your life and how they are all connected. Fulfillment and balance in relationships, physical activity, career, and spirituality all play a big part in the things you may be craving.

Causes of cravings:

1. Lack of primary food (Relationships, Career, Physical Activity, Spirituality) - You might be filling yourself up with a satisfying career, but have stopped cultivating the relationships you care about. Many people try to satisfy their hunger for primary food with actual food. You may be reaching for the bag of chips, but maybe what you really are craving is a hug from a friend.

Simple Solutions (you can do today!) to Satisfy Primary Food Cravings:

  • call a friend
  • compliment someone
  • go for a walk
  • get a massage
  • be in nature
  • set a goal for your career
  • write in a journal
  • take some deep, therapeutic belly breaths
  • laugh!
  • play with your dog
  • ask someone out

2. Water (dehydration or over-hydration) - This isn't news: dehydration is commonly mistaken for hunger. So, before you start eating, try having a glass of water. Carrying a water bottle during the day will help you remember to stay hydrated. Often times, this is the number one cause of sugar cravings.

3. Food imbalances - We can get addicted to foods. Let's say, that new poke place down the street, because it's so freaking delicious and convenient. However, eating sodium-rich foods like poke almost every day can cause food imbalances. When we have too much of one thing, our body starts craving it more or even the opposite type of food to balance it out. After observing that you've been consuming too much of one thing, start by deciding to decrease your intake by little amounts and remember to drink plenty of water.

4. Inside coming out - Some cravings are associated with foods our ancestors ate, foods we ate as children, and foods we ate recently. Try experimenting with foods your ancestors ate and healthier versions of foods you used to eat as a kid.

5. Seasonal - We crave foods that will help us balance, especially seasonal foods. When it's summer, we tend to crave cooling foods like raw food, fruit, vegetables, and ice cream. In the Springtime we crave detoxifying foods like greens and smoothies. During the Fall we crave grounding foods like nuts, root vegetables, and spices. During the Winter we crave warm foods like meats, soups, and stews. Many cravings can be associated with the holidays, like sweets or specific holiday dishes.

6. Lack of nutrients - If we are not eating plenty of beautiful, nutritious foods, the body lets us know what it needs through cravings. This can happen when we eat too much fast food or when we completely eliminate a food group (like going on a specific diet). In this case the body may produce intense cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy like caffeine.

7. Hormonal or stress - Imbalances in hormone levels can cause unique cravings, especially for pregnant and menstruating women.

8. "De-evolution" - When things are going well, sometimes we sabotage ourselves and crave foods or situations that throw us off, causing us to crave even more things that bring us down. This can happen because of low blood sugar levels, which can lead to intense mood swings.

After practicing being aware of your body, you will begin to acknowledge the differences between these cravings. Whether they are physical, emotional, or spiritual, you will start to see how these cravings show up in your life. Find what works best for you to help you understand your body more and feed it what it really needs.

 

Acai Bowl Recipe

If you haven't tried an acai bowl yet, you're seriously missing out. I first tried one at a little Brazilian spot when I lived in San Francisco and have been hooked ever since. This sweet, nutritious bowl makes the perfect summertime breakfast.

Acai has been an extremely trendy superfood for a while now, and for very good reasons. 1. It's absolutely delicious. 2. This Brazilian berry is loaded with antioxidants and healthy omegas, and when blended into a frozen bowl, is so satisfying on a hot day. You can find frozen packets of pureed acai (make sure to get unsweetened) at your local health food store. 

Making an acai bowl is so easy. Here's a variation of a recipe that I love:

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of unsweetened, pureed acai (I like the Sabazon brand)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • unsweetened almond milk or coconut water, to your consistency preference
  • seasonal fruit like mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc. can be blended into the bowl or as toppings
  • toppings, like shredded coconut, sliced fruit, granola, nuts, and sweetener if desired

Directions:

Blend acai, banana, milk or coconut water, and other fruit you like in a blender. Add more liquid for a smoothie consistency, and less for a bowl. Then add your toppings. That's it! It's soo easy and yummy.

Clean Dark Chocolate Chip Almond Oatmeal Cookies

One autumn evening, I was craving sweet, salty, cinnamon-y chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. Feeling playful and creative, I threw a bunch of “clean” ingredients together and popped them in the oven, hoping they’d taste okay and be satisfying enough for a cookie craving.

I had no idea what kind of addiction I was getting myself into. These little cookies are so light, crumbly, and have just the right amount of sweetness. They remind me a lot of the cookies my friend’s mom used to make, which are THE best cookies in the whole world. I can safely say these are THE best "clean" cookies in the whole world. The secret is sliced almonds and coconut oil, which make them super flaky and light.

You can add spices like cinnamon and even nutmeg or cloves if you feel so inclined when the weather gets colder. The best part about them is that there are no “bad” ingredients. They’re completely vegan, gluten-free, and contain no flour or refined sugar.

Oat flour is easy to make. Just add oats to a food processor or blender and blend until they are a flour-like consistency. Make sure the nuts are raw to get a toasty, crunchy texture, while preserving some of the nutrients.

High quality dark chocolate chips with 70% or higher cocoa content delivers more nutrients and a richer taste.

They can be stored in an airtight container for a few days. They are extremely crumbly and delicate, so make sure to handle them gently. 

Tip: I like to pour almond milk over the crumbled bits for an afternoon/late night snack. You can also use the crumbles as a replacement for granola, as a topping to an Acai bowl, your favorite yogurt or Nana ice cream!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups oat flour

1/2 cups oats

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup raw sliced almonds

1/2 cup raw chopped walnuts

Lots of dark chocolate chips!

Directions:

Whisk the maple and coconut oil until combined, then whisk in the vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then mix in the nuts. Add the dry into the wet ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop about 1-2 tablespoonfuls for each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy ❤️

EXFOLIATE: DIY srubs

Hey ladies (& gents),

I'm not much of a DIY girl, but when I was walking through Whole Foods the other day, I passed by a "make your own body scrub bar" and laughed. I realized I don't have to buy body scrubs because I have all the ingredients at home to make my own. You probably do, too. I was inspired to create some moisturizing and exfoliating body scrubs that rock because: 1. They are SO SIMPLE and 2. They actually work.

 

Another big reason I use DIY srubs is because I can control exactly what goes into them. I am a big believer that whatever you put onto your skin, you are putting into your body. This is because our skin is the biggest organ of our body, and when you put something on it, your skin absorbs it. The more natural products you use on your skin, the better. All of these ingredients are safe. Try to choose organic whenever possible. Have fun with it! Happy scrubbing :)

Here are 2 easy recipes you can use to create your own scrubs. All ingredients are customizable to your liking:

Peppermint Coconut Scrub:

  • 1/2 part sea salt
  • 1/2 part sugar
  • 1 part coconut oil
  • a few drops of peppermint essential oil

Essential Oil Aromatherapy Scrub:

  • 1/2 part sea salt
  • 1/2 part sugar
  • 1 part coconut oil or olive oil
  • a few drops of your fav essential oil - I like the combo of Ylang ylang & Rose.
  • 1-2 tbsp. honey (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight jar. Keep in your shower for an easy pre-shave exfoliant or when you want your skin to feel extra soft and hydrated.

Want more clean beauty tips? Click here for 7 clean beauty products I love to use.

what should I eat for breakfast?

We've all been there. You're sick and tired of eating oatmeal every day for breakfast. With a multitude of "healthy" breakfast options out there, you might feel lost, overwhelmed and a little hopeless about what to eat every morning. You're not alone.

 

I've recently become breakfast obsessed. I used to have no idea what to eat, and for a while, I was eating a banana with almond butter out of the jar every day...yikes. One day I decided I was so over eating the same thing every day, so I got a little creative in the kitchen and learned that making a delicious breakfast doesn't have to take much effort at all. One of the most popular questions I get asked as a health coach is, "What do you eat for breakfast?" I always start my mornings with lots of water (usually with lemon) and a probiotic supplement. I take Garden of Life Primal Defense. Then I eat a filling, yummy breakfast. I always take the rest of my morning to slowly sip either a hot cup of water with lemon and ginger or tea or coffee with almond milk. Here are some healthy, yummy breakfast ideas you can make for yourself this winter season:

  • Sautéed Veggies & Fried Eggs -

    • This is my go-to breakfast because 1. It's so EASY and 2. It's yummy. I like to chop up onions, garlic, and 2-3 veggies (keep your veggies seasonal). Don't neglect the power of leftover veggies you cooked that week. You could toss in sweet potatoes, cabbage, chard, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, squash, or tomatoes. Fry up an egg or two and season with salt & pepper. On cooler mornings, or days when you want to jumpstart your digestive system, spice up your dish with warming red pepper flakes, dijon mustard, salsa, or your favorite hot sauce!
  • Avocado Toast -

    • My favorite bread for years has been Ezekiel Bread. It is a complete protein in and of itself, and the ingredients are clean, few, minimally processed, and sprouted. It's such a filling bread and doesn't turn to sugar when digested, like so many "whole grain" brands offer. Keep the bread in the freezer to make it last longer and to prevent mold. Toast up a slice or two and smash avocado on top. I love seasoning with lemon, garlic salt, and sometimes red pepper flakes for a spicy kick. You can even turn this into a breakfast sandwich by adding an egg on top or slices of turkey bacon.
  • Nut Butter Toast -

    • Same as above, just replace the avocado with your favorite nut butter. There are so may nut butter options out there, so make sure you're getting the highest quality with the fewest ingredients (aka NO SUGAR added). I love Justin's Almond Butter (unsweetened). You can also experiment with cashew, peanut, or sunflower. Try slicing up some fruit (honey crisp apples are my fav), or smashing berries on top for that pb&j effect,  sprinkling cinnamon, or drizzling with a touch of raw, organic, local honey.
  • 2 Ingredient Pancakes -

    • It doesn't get much easier than this. Blend an egg or two and a banana in a food processor or blender. Pour into a nonstick or greased skillet and cook for a couple minutes on each side. Drizzle pure, organic maple syrup on top and sprinkle with cinnamon if you'd like. Or spread on some nut butter & serve with fresh fruit. Click here for the recipe & tips on cooking these!
  • Breakfast Burrito -

    • This one could be eaten for any meal of the day. Cook up any ingredients you'd like - try potatoes, onions, eggs, spinach, peppers, maybe some local, quality cheese if you eat diary, and if you eat meat, chop up your favorite breakfast meat like turkey bacon (with minimal ingredients & no nasty additives, chemicals, or preservatives). Warm up a tortilla or wrap of your choice - I love Ezekiel wraps - and add avocado if desired and in season. Wrap it all up and enjoy with salsa, hot sauce, or as is.
  • Oatmeal -

    • This is like oatmeal's hot older sister. It's more delicious, keeps you fuller longer, and is so far from boring. I prefer steel cut oats, but you can also use quick oats for your bowl. Cook the oats and add any toppings that tickle your taste buds. Some ideas could be: raw unsweetened shredded coconut, nut butter, nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews), seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin), raw organic cacao powder, cinnamon, honey, maple syrup, chopped dates, vanilla extract, fruit toppings (pumpkin, berries, apple, banana, persimmon, pomegranate seeds) 
  • Smoothie -

    • I prefer smoothies in warmer seasons, but if you're craving something cold and energizing, try a smoothie. For a "bowl" consistency, don't add as much liquid. My favorite combos are:

The Acai Bowl: unsweetened, frozen Acai Packet (can be bought at your local health food store), unsweetened almond milk, a frozen banana, any other fruit you'd like, topped with granola, flax seed, & unsweetened shredded coconut

Green Smoothie: kale, frozen banana, almond butter, almond milk, a dash of raw cacao powder (not to be confused with cocoa powder!), dates, and chia seeds (tip: mix in the chia seeds after you pour it into your cup, it's easier to clean your blender)

I hope you found some useful tips to apply to your morning routine that will help you feel better as we enter into this season. Please share any tips or tricks you find useful in your breakfast game, and let me know what you're cooking in your kitchen these days! Thanks for reading. xo