I recently dropped one of my tried and true philosophies...and paid for it! Even when (especially when) you're overwhelmed and busy, self-care is imperative. These videos are slightly tricky to follow because they're from my Instagram stories and I usually lose my train of thought because the videos stop after 15 seconds SO, I will fill you in...
I have been desperately been trying to adopt a much more simplified lifestyle when it comes to STUFF. I can't even call it "minimalism" just yet because I attempted it before my move and I failed miserably. I ended up having two garage sales, sold stuff on Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace, gave things away, and donated two trucks full of decor and home goods! YET, somehow, that still didn't get me to the point of reaching "minimalist". Why? 1. Apparently, I'm not cool enough. (Totally kidding, but, really, I'm going to have to redefine the term and make it my own...I'm a stylist. I can't own three pairs of jeans and I'm not sorry.) 2. Because it took me three solid days of moving and three trips in a small U-haul van to clear out my house. This eventful topic will be a blog post on its own because I want to share my tips and lessons learned for those of you who are looking to shed some pounds...not on your body this time, but in you home and consciousness!
During those three days, plus the previous days I prepped for my move after working full days, I didn't really invest the necessary TLC in my honor...and I felt it. Without going into too much detail, it probably took me two full days before I came back into my body. No bueno.
Anyway, I frequently hear people plead their case as to why they haven't tried daily meditation, cleaner eating, or just fit in that warm and delightful "me" time-- and it's usually because work has been crazy, their kids have a lot of activities, they've been traveling, etc. The reality is, the more hectic your life is, the more imperative self-care is! Being mindful of balance and being mindful of just being mindful is HUGE when it comes to health, happiness, and genuine wealth.
Similar to why flight attendants instruct you to put on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping a loved one, you cannot give from an empty cup...or in the context of the airplane, you cannot save someone else's life if you yourself are incapacitated!
As always, I must close by saying that this is a constant evolution. Do I meditate, exercise, oil pull, call my family, spend time with friends, and cook 3 balanced meals each day? Nope. But opening up your consciousness to these truths each day is everything and will allow you to slowly reach a new spectrum of balance and ease!
Today holds a lot of significance for those participating in Ash Wednesday. If you don't practice Catholicism, you may be wondering "what is today?!" Well, click here for a great explanation.
While I'm not catholic, this year, I have decided to give something away for lent. Many of us self-soothe with a variety of vices. Anything that you regularly seek comfort from can sometimes be a slippery slope. Sometimes, seeking solace from people can create lofty/ false expectations that can easily lead to disappointment and/or co-dependency. Gravitating towards certain "comfort" foods can obviously equate to weight gain and/ or poor health. Running to substances like drugs and alcohol is never a great choice. If your vice of choice doesn't support optimum health-- you're only supporting a bad habit and an itch you can't really scratch. If your vice REALLY worked then you wouldn't continuously be reaching for it. (Writing this makes me flooded with tedious exceptions and clauses because it's a whole different thing when you replace nonsense with a happy alternative. Ex: I replaced wine after work with KeVita. People who smoke should consider "breathing breaks" instead of smoke breaks. These replacements are still technically a crutch-- so, simply consider being mindful of the fact that you're dependent on something to feel different...but, again, if it's healthy, that's okay.)
These vices not only allow us to feel a different way, but by doing that, you're also participating in escapism. This is where MY lent devotional comes into play. For weeks, I have been pretty overwhelmed and while I can handle stress much better than I used to, I noticed that I was watching a lot more TV in the recent month. I don't actually have cable, but I do purchase seasons of shows via Google Play and I stream Netflix. This is probably typical post-work behavior for most, but I have found myself really only wanting to watch reality TV. If you looked at the seasons of shows I've bought (that I spent actual MONEY on), I would probably be a little embarrassed because it's such trash! The image used for this post is an actual screenshot of some of the titles in my Google purchases. BUT, for me, reality TV is the most satisfying form of escapism because I am truly able to zone the eff out. Not only do most females over analyze, I am an introverted female, who is ALSO a highly sensitive person....whose profession partially requires analytical efforts. (sigh) So, for me, I own the fact that I watch garbage television because I get to quiet my conscious, finally. With that confession comes some more honesty-- I am realizing that I am trying to distract myself and avoid life a little via reality TV. I am about to experience a lot of change and some of this change requires loads of planning and a lot of it is utterly out of my control. Neither of these things are something I am totally comfortable with. I am using TV to escape and avoid some stuff that I really should sit with. Not because I should be all consumed, but because I shouldn't be all consumed. I need to feel it, look at ways to shift my perspective, control what I can, and give the rest to God.
So, tonight is the first night with no TV! I am allowing myself to watch lectures and the occasional classic movie because they light me up so much, but I am going to rely on God to get me through this time of transition-- not the dramatic lives of the elite. I will also have the opportunity to use my evenings writing more (ahem) and really sift through the rest of my stuff so that I can move with more ease and LESS....well. I was going to say less clutter, but I think just LESS sums it up.
Yay, God! I am replacing one empty thing and I will be replacing it with blessings...I can just feel it! STAY TUNED.
Giving something up too? Let me know in the comments below!
First of all, I laughed out loud when I wrote this title because even though it's extremely dramatic, it's not too far from the truth! In my quest to get my 30's off to a good start, I decided to go full tilt into my consulting business without much of a doubt. I had a strong strategy in line, I had a keen feeling LA was my future, and I pursued my dreams. Well, as most of us know, "we plan and God laughs". I will not go into a spiral story about how hard my life is because that's just ridiculous, but I also wouldn't say my life has been a bed of roses. For the sake of authenticity, I always speak my truth-- even when it puts me in a slightly vulnerable state...especially considering the social media world we live in where we show the public our "highlight reel" (most of which is staged). Well, that's just not my jam because I don't think that serves anyone. So, my personal preference is to keep it real and the wiser I get, the more I really want to air that all out. (Especially in my line of work-- I feel like our primary goal is to encourage others. SO, I don't think it's very productive to paint a perfect picture of yourself for people, simultaneously saying you're going to help them tap into their true, authentic self!)
So, on to my story, in the attempt to build a bit of a financial cushion, gain more exposure, and do something I love dearly (style), I recently got a job at Saks Fifth Avenue. I first have to say that the inner workings of this corporate company is quite impressive. Second, I have to say that by taking this position, I was able to learn A LOT about myself. Exposing myself to a once extremely familiar environment made me see just how much I've changed over the past few years. Actually, not only that I've changed, but that I've been able to really get to know myself, truly. Just being in that job role for a short period resulted in old anxieties coming up and with them a pile of food cravings (particularly my blast from the past, tried-and-true comfort food: Chinese take-out).
At first, this irrational behavior totally caught me off guard and I almost resented the feeling that I'd lost contact/control with my centered-self, but looking at it now makes me realize that by having this experience, I am able to relate to my clients that much more. There is value in remembering what it was like to feel like I sort of "needed" to eat/ drink __________. I was also watching myself opt out of daily forms of self-care! WTF was going on?!
One thing that didn't waiver was my ability to check-in. I felt off, fuzzy, disoriented, and far from myself so I was able to stop and ask myself what was going on. Apart from the obvious (working in retail and doing my consults meant I was working every single day), I realized that it was my intuition and basic human needs that were crying out. I had lost focus on what really matters and that is being a Lifestyle Consultant. I know that without a doubt helping people optimize their everyday by way of clean living is my calling.
I was so consumed with getting to point B that I had lost sight of the reason why I was wanting to have that cushion-- to be doing what I LOVE doing: helping people...and in order for me to do that, I have to be in my right mind/body/soul. I do still wholeheartedly believe that assisting people with their wardrobes does help them by making them feel a level of confidence, getting the most out of an evening or an event, being able to self-express, but there is a fine line. Absolutely! (Click here for a more in-depth entry on this topic.)
I also realized that to support my highly sensitive self, I really shouldn't overwork and in the process of overworking, I shouldn't decide to skip out on taking care of myself when it is the most opportune time to do so! Another whammy: I should honor my unique traits by opting for a more supportive work environment...one that is a little more controlled. P.S. If you're interested in more on the subject of Highly Sensitive People and finding the right workplace, this book is great!
Going into this situation, I could have told you what would happen, but I thought it could be an exception...maybe. Sort of like when you think drinking that third or fourth drink THIS TIME will be okay.... when is it ever okay?!
So, in conclusion, this experience was a wonderful opportunity to really FEEL these life truths:
1. It is never an okay idea to drop self-care. You need TLC in many forms: exercise, being in nature, good magazines, pampering, etc.
2. Cravings for foods that don't contribute to your health, also don't contribute to your goals or self-esteem. They are signs that you are out of balance and that you want a pacifier (a hug, a jog, a different job, a nap). The urges feel SO legitimate because they really, really are. Your serious life upsets that cause silly cravings are as legit as it gets. The key is to focus on the serious life upsets. Until you do this, your wires will get crossed and you'll think that they're "serious" cravings and your solution lies in indulging in that food when, really, it's never the answer.
3. HONOR YOURSELF. When you hear that sweet voice in your head and feel that pitter-patter in your heart, and the flutter in your gut-- that doesn't mean you are doomed! Get quiet, listen, validate, and make a change. (Or make steps towards making a change...do what you can, now.) You are more than worth it. If you feel as if you've lost yourself in the mix of life and stress, do whatever you can to evoke that real you. For me, it's classic cinema, words of inspiration (particularly lectures from IIN), listening to Elvis, meditation, reading about my Myers-Briggs personality traits...anything that you can immediately identify with, that will allow you to breathe, and make you feel validated.
Stay-tuned for more brutal honesty about my exciting life adventure! The goal is to get to LA by spring and I'm not going to assume it's going to be easy or simple, but I know it will be eventful! And that's exactly the desire God has put in my heart! xo
.To support those of you who are gearing up for your spring body OR are wanting to take control of your health and energy, I am hosting a special for the month of February! (It's quite special...50% off my typical client rate to be exact.)
Clients who have experienced this tour have said this session removed a lot of guesswork they had typically experienced when trying to find the right foods for themselves and their family. One had stated she now has a new appreciation for eating healthy because she's been introduced to a new way of eating it!
If you or any of your family have dietary restrictions, I am happy to accommodate your needs.
I typically conduct these sessions in the evenings-- so, slots are limited! Also, if you want to bring a spouse or a friend, that's not only fine, but encouraged!
I also highly suggest that you take photos with your phone, take notes, AND plan on shopping as we go-- to make this session that much more productive.
*Please note: discounted roll over rates do apply for any session surpassing one hour.
Not too long ago I created a blog post about my favorite things because I am frequently asked about products. In that post, I almost started to include my favorite beauty items, but realized it was such a loaded topic that I would have to devote an entire blog entry...so, here it is!
Since I was super young, I have been really interested in cosmetics and beauty products. I have honestly been a product junkie since middle school, BUT some major details have changed. One, I have minimized my consumption a TON and while my curiosity to learn about products hasn't wavered, I test with samples vs. buying full-size and I read reviews instead of insisting that I need to be the judge! Another whammy is the type/ quality of products I am in the market for.
Unfortunately, in the United States, we have very low standards for what is deemed "safe". This doesn't just pertain to body/ beauty products, but, also, our food! If you look at some worldwide distributors, you will find that the ingredients on the same items differ. Why? Because many countries outside of the U.S. have better regulations and purity standards. While colored dyes in cosmetics are outlawed in many places because of their impact on the body, ranging from behavioral, hormonal, and neurological, America keeps them--- not just in cosmetics, but also "food" "safe for consumption"! Ex: artificial red dye in food AND cosmetics has been removed from most places outside of the US. If you compare a Kraft Jell-o box from America and one in Europe, you will see that the ingredients aren't the same. (Although now they've been forced to put a disclaimer regarding the potential impact it will have on your child's behavior.)
Not only are topical toxins one of the main culprits to accelerated/ premature aging, toxic body products and household detergents are FULL of neurotoxins! You might be thinking, "well, what I put on my skin can't impact my health that much." Super valid thought, until you begin to realize just how effective nicotine patches are to reduce someone's addiction to cigarettes. Enough nicotine is absorbed through the skin from a TINY patch, that it is an efficient "fix" to someone's drug addiction.
In short, these ingredients can be found in: makeup, hair products, cleaners, skin care products, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, candles and can cause: infertility, cancers, autoimmune disease, respiratory disease, irregular hormone secretion, etc. ALL contributing to your body’s ability to deal, repair, and create tissue and healthy cells.
This is why it is so important to me that I only expose my skin to clean products.
That is where my "favorites" list comes in.
I have to make note: while I am a rep for Beautycounter, this isn't why I'm partial to their line. If you read their website, you will find that because they have SUCH high purity standards, they're responsible for actually developing new ones. Beautycounter has really raised the bar in not only creating safe, healthy products-- they're also just really great!
Click on the items below to see and read the product's full description. You can either purchase these items online, but if you want to buy some locally, I will list those vendors below! For all Beautycounter purchases, please click here!
Lip Sheer by Beautycounter, "plum".
I love, love this product. The color is honestly perfect for me, but I am also really looking forward to trying more shades because it feels like a super moisturizing chapstick! They also fragrance it with essential oil so, it smells lovely too!
Lipstick Butter by Mineral Fusion, "blackberry".
This was a really exciting find because I have been using Clinique's Almost Lipstick in "black honey" since high school and this is just like it! Unfortunately, Clinique seems like a line that would be clean, but it's not. This lipstick looks super dark, but it really just makes you look fresh-- giving you a nice vibrant, natural color for day or night. It's also really smooth and not sticky at all.
Lengthening Mascara by Beautycounter.
This product is an Allure Magazine "Best of Beauty 2016" award winner and after trying it, you'll know why!
Waterproof Mineral Mascara by Mineral Fusion, "raven".
This is a really great mascara that gives you plump, fuller lashes! Plus, it's waterproof-- which is tricky to find when it comes to pure cosmetic lines.
Organic Wear Mascara by Physicians Formula, "ultra black".
You can't really beat this item for the price! Although I have to say, it takes third place among these other top picks, but works really well for a day look.
Color Sweep Blush Duo by Beautycounter, tawny/whisper.
I love that this has two colors because you can do a little contouring, adding the brightest shade on the apples of your cheeks and the darker shade to enhance your cheek bones!
Liquid Foundation by Sappho Organic, "Kate".
This foundation is wonderful because it's really light, but it still gives you nice, smooth coverage and it smells really good (not a floral-- more essential oil-esque)! It comes in a very small pump, but it's well worth it! Funny story about the color though-- I purchased this after getting an organic spray tan and while the color looked very natural, it sort of masks your natural skin tone and now, this foundation is designated only when I have a spray tan!
Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer by Physicians Formula, "light to natural".
While Physicians Formula isn't THE cleanest product line, it is very affordable, and some of their "Organic Wear" cosmetics are formulated with 80% certified organic ingredients and are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and free of harmful fragrance. (This item is great if you're looking for light coverage and maybe not the best option if you have problematic skin and are seeking something with full coverage.)
Tint Skin Foundation by Beautycounter, "porcelain" and "sand" mixed are actually my perfect color.
Because the color of my skin fluctuates so much, I prefer mixing these two shades together. I love this product because it is really lightweight, but offers full coverage! Which is SO rare! It also doesn't make you shiny after a few short hours and it stays put all day. (What I'm wearing in the video above!)
Color Contour Matte Bronzer by Beautycounter, No. 1.
I love this because it's MATTE! So hard to find. I personally don't want shimmer on my face, unless it's on my eyelids or the tops of my cheek bones so, this product is really perfect and natural looking!
Concealer Duo by Mineral Fusion, "warm".
One, it covers it all: dark circles, sun spots, and blemishes. Two, I think it's genius that there are two shades. I don't know anyone who stays the same color all year round. This option allows you to mix the two together to get the perfect shade, for all seasons.
Pressed Powder Foundation by Mineral Fusion, "neutral 2".
This stuff is honestly amazing. With most powders, you would want to use a translucent option to set your liquid foundation, to avoid looking cakey. With this powder, you can pick a shade that will give you even more bonus coverage AND you avoid looking too made-up.
Local spots to purchase-
Mineral Fusion: Natural Grocers and Whole Foods
Physicians Formula: Ulta and most drug and grocery stores
Stay-tuned for my favorite skin care products! Spoiler alert: there is A LOT of great stuff to share!
While living in LA, one of my very favorite grounding foods was the lasagna at restaurant called Maggiano's. Well, as I usually mention in these recipe posts, while I loved it, once I changed my eating habits, I knew I wouldn't be eating that lasagna again UNLESS I revamped the recipe in a pretty big way! Luckily, I found their recipe, cleaned up the ingredients, made it gluten-free, tweaked measurements (actually removing a lot of cheese), and decided to cook it three years ago for Christmas dinner. Since it was so well received, I've made it each year since, gradually refining bit by bit to create this crowd pleaser CLEAN lasagna.
In this ingredients list, I prefer to select all organic, non-GMO options! When it comes to dairy/ animal products, it's especially important to choose antibiotic-free, grass-fed, organic, and non-GMO...if and when possible! While this recipe isn't necessarily "healthy", by improving the quality of the ingredients, you are removing a lot of detrimental additives.
For the Filling:
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 32 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1-1/2 tsp pink salt or sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp finely minced garlic OR 1 tsp granulated garlic
1. In a large bowl, add the eggs, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and garlic.
2. Mix well with a whisk. Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Mix until completely incorporated.
3. Scrape down the sides of bowl-- mix again.
4. Use immediately or refrigerate.
- One 9 oz. box of brown rice lasagna noodles, I prefer Jovial!
- Lasagna filling (above recipe)
- Two 25 oz. jars of marinara sauce, I prefer Mezetta's Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion, but Jovial's is good too.
- One 16 oz. bag of Italian Blend shredded cheese OR 1-1/2 cups of mozzarella, provolone, romano & parmesan cheese.
- 1 lb. of grass-fed ground beef, browned
1. Boil lasagna noodles for 4 minutes prior to assembly. (Don't cook any longer to avoid mush!)
2. Using a rubber spatula, spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce on bottom of baking dish. Lay a layer of lasagna pasta over sauce. (If using traditional lasagna dish or casserole dish, it ends up being approx. 4 lasagna sheets per layer. If needed, cut sheets to fit space) Approx dish sizes: 10" x 16" or 13" x 9".
3. Spread filling evenly over pasta with spatula. Then, evenly distribute the 1 lb. of browned (cooked) ground beef. Place another layer of pasta sheets on top, then spread 1/2 cup marinara.
4. Repeat this process until you reach 3 layers of noodles. Two layers of filling. The top of the lasagna should be a layer of noodles with another 1/2 cup of marinara on top.
5. Cover lasagna with a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, if storing over night.
If cooking right away, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake lasagna in preheated oven set to 350 degrees.
6. Cook lasagna for approx. 40-45 minutes. Then, spread 16 oz. of Italian Blend shredded cheese on top. Cook for additional 15 minutes, or until golden.
*Optional: add sliced zucchini to layers (shown below)
The mind/ body connection is so real. I witness it each day seeing stories from various coaches and practitioners and watching my clients' health improve just by focusing on what's going on in their world and how they process and cope. I have also personally experienced the power of shifting lifestyle factors and having symptoms alleviate! Even the type of people I invest my time with can sometimes have an immediate impact...for better or worse, depending on the person!
Read this article for more information on how/ why you can drastically impact your health by focusing on lifestyle factors such as relationships, career, creativity, spirituality, productivity, etc! (All of the areas we discuss during my sessions!)
My love for fitness has not only been a gift to stay in shape but, more so my mental health! I can be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, heartbroken, angry, etc. and exercise has been my go-to to dissipate unwanted emotions. It's my reset.
When I get the opportunity to travel, I make it a point to bring my running shoes (or rollerblades). People usually think, "why would you exercise when you're on vacation?" and in my mind, I think, "why wouldn't you exercise on vacation?" It's the ultimate form of self-care and the perfect opportunity to site-see! When you run in a new/ different city, you get to see it in a different light. Some of my fondest vacation memories were spawned from me taking the time to workout. When I went on a cruise in high school, I ran on a treadmill in the gym that was at the very front tip of the boat. Just when I thought it might be a silly way to spend my time, I saw dozens of dolphins racing alongside the ship. It was beautiful. My mom and I recently decided to walk the river bridge and all of a sudden, a bald eagle swooped so low and flew right in front of us. When I lived in LA, I was close enough to run down Wilshire and Rodeo to regularly take-in the revolving window displays. None of which would have happened unless I was inspired to keep moving.
These photos were taken during my workouts just within the past few years. I prefer exercising outside because of all of the beauty that you can come across...THIS is what keeps me moving. Even when the weather isn't right for an outdoor run, some of my most exciting mental breakthroughs and visualizations come from exercising indoors. It's so much more than the sense of accomplishment, mental clarity, and physical benefits, but you get all of that in conjunction with ALL of the beauty you get to take in!
If this concept seems foreign to you or maybe even unrealistic, the new year is the perfect time to change your character for the better. Just decide that YOU are now opening yourself up to loving a good workout too! You can do it! The power IS within YOU! Want some motivation and accountability? Click here to set up a complimentary 45-minute phone/skype consultation!
*P.S. Real talk: I have to add something. I didn't always have this healthy mindset when it came to fitness. When I was younger, I used to workout because I had body image issues. I thought I needed to compensate for the indulgent foods I ate to stay trim. Even when I went to the lake for a few days with my friends in high school, I made sure I treaded water or ran. At the time, I probably didn't realize the other benefits because they weren't my focus and I was too busy trying to reach "perfection". Growing up, I would actually run on my parent's treadmill while watching the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue "Behind the Scenes" Special that I had tape recorded and played on repeat. Which is pretty funny to look back on, but, also, SO sad! I am hardly 5'2" and I could run for eternity and still never reach that place because it's not realistic! I'm not saying having inspirational images is bad, but I urge you to find someone with your body type to look up to! I actually find encouragement from looking at pictures of myself when I was at a really fit point or look to someone like Kourtney Kardashian because she and I have very similar body types and it's a healthy, realistic goal.
Moving forward, I want you to realize that finding a source of inspiration or motivation that goes beyond "image" is SO imperative. Doing this allows you the opportunity to avoid feeling discouraged since you're doing it purely because exercise makes you live longer, slows down the "deterioration process", gives you a sense of accomplishment, it increases endorphins that give you a state of well-being, and connects you to your body, mind, and soul. Weight loss and muscle tone just happen to be a bonus!
The activities we partake in each day have a huge impact on our health. Feeding our souls with newness keeps us learning, evolving, and getting inspired....which ends up empowering us to become who we're meant to be. That is why going on field trips is actually one of my TOP wellness tips! Exposing yourself to beauty and exploring is SO important to your development. When we become stagnant in our lives, that's when negative talk can trickle into your brain, you feel less energized, and you use food for entertainment to fill that "lack". (What mindset we're in-- happy, sad, stressed, actually affects the way we metabolize/ assimilate our food and if it has an inflammatory effect on our bodies or not! Studies show that you could be eating healthy, but if you're stressed, it could cause just as much inflammation as someone eating poorly!) So, I suggest you get out and go to the museum, the library, the park, anywhere where you can absorb some culture and breathe in some life!
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a little tradition and FOOD! One of the most common things I hear this time of year from clients is that they sort of see December as a "cheat" month because people gift them with goodies, they have their traditions, and/or they feel the need to accommodate their family. While I can understand these justifications, it honestly is just a tragedy to think that people will practically destroy their hard work and health by falling "victim" to tradition, family, and food! I'm sure "tragedy" seems a little dramatic, but if someone uses this type of justified thinking during the holidays, they're probably going to use it every holiday, family gathering, or in times of stress-- and it is MORE than unnecessary considering the vast options out there!
Recreating traditional recipes or craving whims is one of my favorite things to do because you're honestly not missing out. Not only do you get satiate that craving by getting partake in the tradition of still eating xyz, you also get that bonus satisfaction from the fact that you're not eating foods that make you susceptible to weight gain, illness, inflammation, and disease. I realize how good "conventional" holiday treats can taste, but at the end of the day, it really and truly is so much more about the emotions that food evokes than the actual food itself. It's a placebo effect. Daily, people are putting their life on the line (quality and longevity) for what? FLEETING moments of bliss and/or mindless eating. Because? As humans, we just want to feel good. So, if it means grabbing fast-food or eating Christmas cookies, we think it's worth it at the time because, again, we just want to feel good. But what we don't stop and realize is that food is just a short-term patch. A patch that will last an hour or so...until we feel back to where we started, OR worse because we're feeling guilty about what we just ate.
I just challenge you to go to the source of your discomfort, pain, or sense of dull and see what it's REALLY about. Usually, in my program, we touch on "Primary Foods": relationships, career, home environment, creativity, spirituality, finances, etc. These are the things that give us our primary source of energy, not food. When we're high on life and full of soul-food, ingestible food becomes an afterthought. SO, try thinking of ways you can elevate your sense of self without food-- realizing that we've built an emotional relationship with food that usually never ends well. TAKE YOUR POWER BACK.
One way to do this? When you want some indulgence via food, opt for healthier options/ alternatives. Trust me, they're out there! I would also like to highlight that while it isn't always easy-- it's also isn't always hard! When I first started this change, I had moments of withdrawal, but, now, someone couldn't pay me to eat most conventional treats/ foods. I don't see value in it-- not only because I now see the light and know that you can eat healthy AND delicious at the same time, but because that food just isn't appetizing when I know the harm it could have on my body, energy, and mental health....and what it's really made of. (Hint: it has just about as much real food in it and/or health benefits as eating a Christmas ornament.)
IF you would like some support and assistance in making this transformational transition, contact me for a complimentary 45-minute consultation....now, ENJOY THE RECIPES BELOW!
Basmati Rice Pudding
This is by far one of my favorite new food traditions! I do suggest making double because it's amazing right out of the oven AND eaten chilled the next day for breakfast...SO good. (The video above is from my Instagram story I recently posted.)
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup white basmati rice (rice with the lowest GI)
- 1 - 14 oz. can organic coconut milk
- 2 raw egg yolks only, beaten (the most nutritious part of the egg! Contrary to popular belief, studies show that yolks can actually lower your chance of heart disease!)
- 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp lakanto, xylitol, erythritol, or brown coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut, optional garnish.
- for added "holiday" flavor, omit the 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg and use 1 1/2 tsp of premixed pumpkin pie spice- or, just add allspice, cardamom, clove, etc. You can also add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or Frontier's vanilla flavoring before baking.
To Cook Rice: In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups water to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 30 minutes until rice is tender.
To Make Pudding:
1. Combine coconut milk, sweetener, egg, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. Combine liquid ingredients with cooked rice. Mix well.
3. Fold into a baking dish or casserole dish that has been coated evenly with quality butter or coconut oil.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.
5. Serve warm or chilled! This dessert/ breakfast is delicious when topped with shredded coconut, berries, pumpkin seeds, and whipping cream, if desired.
- 1 can of organic coconut cream
- 1 - 2 Tbsp of sweetener (optional)
1. Using an electric mixer or hand help blender, whip cream and healthy sweetener of choice at highest speed until stiff peaks form (approximately 3 minutes).
2. Store in an airtight container for at least 4 hours (best overnight).
Mini Egg Casseroles
For this easy crowd pleaser, measurements really all depend on how many people you're cooking for! My mom and I have separately made these a handful of times without an actual recipe and we've both eyed it and it came out pretty much the same.
- Eggs, organic and pasturized is best
- Almond milk, unsweetened
- Additions: chopped zucchini, spinach, bell pepper, onion, beef or turkey sausage, quality, goat cheese, tomato, shredded red skin potato-- really anything that you might desire in an omelet! Also, it's fun to have at least few different options to appeal to larger groups. Maybe one meatless and/or cheeseless.
1. If you're using meat, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, or anything that takes a while to cook through, first, cook in a pan. I prefer sauteing onion, zucchini, and my peppers a little before baking to ensure that they're tender. Also, partially brown any meat before baking!
2. Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Add a splash of almond milk. For approx a dozen eggs, maybe 1/4-1/2 cup of almond milk. Add salt, pepper, etc. to taste preference.
3. Evenly pour into lightly oiled muffin tins (ghee, butter, olive oil) or paper liners (they do stick a bit to the paper, but it does make serving a little easier)
4. Bake at 375 for approx 18-20 minutes.
Pairing suggestion: these taste great with piped whipped avocado! (Sort of like a frosting. You just blend avocado with a little bit of olive oil to make it smooth and creamy. Then, add the mixture to a ziplock bag with a tiny corner snipped.)
This recipe was a fun one to create because I have always had a LOVE for ginger cookies (especially the giant ones at Whole Foods), but in the persuit of eating foods that align with my body, I don't choose to eat gluten or refined cane sugar-- SO, this delicious cookie was created! Pairing suggestion: Hallmark Christmas movie ; )
- 3/4 cup organic palm oil shortening (Nutivia has a responsibly sourced option that doesn't harm the orangutan's natural habitat)
- 3/4 cup packed brown coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup amber coconut nectar (Big Tree is a good option)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea/pink salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 cup xylitol (optional garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, mix together shortening, brown sugar, and nectar.
3. Whisk in egg. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (minus xylitol).
5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and blend until fully combined.
6. Shape dough in small balls (approx 1 1/2 inch...a little smaller than a golf ball) and gently press dough on a plate of scattered xylitol.
7. Transfer to baking sheet 1" apart.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
9. Let cool for 5. Then, transfer to cooling rack.
Seasons Greetings and Happy Eating!
My video programming has been malfunctioning lately so, apologies for the abrupt end! This is why I decided to include specific points for you to read below! But, to continue my last point from the video- we sometimes hold on to labels, false beliefs, and somewhat silly phobias. Those are as relevant as we allow them to be in our lives. If you have an unfavorable characteristic that's a disservice to you and holds you back from stepping into your ultimate potential level of awesome, y.o.u have the power to change it!
Here are some more benefits of doing a group program:
1. A Personal Support System - Group sessions give you the valuable chance to share your feelings with others and potentially develop a genuine connection. Sharing in struggle and success will help you develop the confidence and motivation needed to tackle your goals and life's hurdles!
2. Amplified Opportunity to Achieve Your Goals - You’re much more likely to stick to your resolutions when you have someone sharing the same goal, right? The same is true with group sessions. When people are part of a group, they procrastinate less, accomplish more, and reach their goals faster.
3. Benefit from Collective Wisdom - You’ll brainstorm solutions, open creativity channels, and uncover opportunities you may not have discovered working solo. Have you ever been in a study group where you’ve learned from a classmate who gets it? Other group members help you master new concepts like a pro!
4. Gain a New Perspective - When you work alone, you examine situations from one perspective – yours. But when you work in a group, you’re exposed to a variety of insights that empower you to see a situation from multiple angles and motivate you to develop new solutions. Ever get a precious nugget of advice from a really honest friend that you just couldn’t see on your own? It’s like that.
5. A Great Value - Get the same quality coaching, but at a fraction of the cost of individual coaching. Group coaching is a smart and affordable way to receive top-notch guidance.
6. A Team Invested in Your Success - When you work in a group, the whole team celebrates your success. Just like when a hockey player scores a goal, resulting in a win for the entire team. In this case, no ice skates are required!
7. Turn Work into Play - It’s more fun to go out to dinner with friends than by yourself, right? Working with a group is a social event that participants look forward to. You’ll join a close-knit group that is energizing, motivating and most of all – fun! Group members often become lifelong friends.
*These benefits were in part provided by The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
If you caught my interview yesterday on KRMG's Living Well, you know that open-enrollment is happening NOW and will end in the new year! This is your perfect opportunity to make sustainable change in 2017 and HAVE FUN doing so! Reserve your spot today (only 8 slots left)!!!
Ps. Not putting on makeup before this was an oversite, but my personal goal is trying to post more videos...and they just don't happen if I only do them when I'm totally "camera ready"!
Pps. There IS such a thing as fulfilling your New Years resolutions!
During my client sessions, we consistently touch on what fuels them. It's so imperative to pinpoint the activities that bring you joy, energy, and keep you moving. These very things are what belong in your personal "manual". When you're not feeling your optimum self, they're your go-to's to replenish, inspire, and bring you back to life. One of MY personal "weapons" in my arsenal is art. Almost any art or creativity will do, but some of my favorite art happens to be housed in The Getty Museum in LA. Not only is the artwork stunning, but the actual museum grounds and gardens are masterpieces alone. Here is my afternoon at the museum.
First of all, THANK YOU so much to those of you who were able to come to my may your skin be Merry and Bright workshop! It was a fun little social hour, complete with a menu carefully selected to promote happy skin: quinoa salad, veggies + grass-fed yogurt dip, dark chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (gluten-free and refined sugar free), red wine spritzer, and rose water + collagen beauty shots! Not to mention the fabulous door-prizes from Slate Tulsa, Recover Therapy, Lymph Candy, Beautycounter, and Natural Grocers.
I also did a little educational presentation about how to support your body to promote healthy, radiant skin! (If you missed this informative talk, I will be hosting another in the near future-- so, stay tuned!) One of the things I was the most excited about was debuting my first GROUP PROGRAM: Project Radiance! I can't tell you how often I hear beautiful, intelligent, and loving women say they're lacking support, accountability, and understanding from like-minded women. Because this isn't foreign to me and my personal life, I've felt led to create a group program that not only promotes empowerment, it also endorses women kicking ass and being the BEST versions of themselves that they can be! With the weight of life, work, below par relationships, and media, it sometimes feels like an uphill climb to achieve all that we're capable of.
I also think sometimes females get a bad taste in their mouth being around other females because there's this notion that if you're both competitive and tenacious, instead of coming together and only enhancing your superpowers, you feel like you should dart in the opposite direction because they're perceived as a threat! BUT I think it is time to throw that mentality in the trash and come together for a lot of support, positive vibes, FUN, and encouragement!
Read for the exciting details below! ....remember: only 10 slots available (actually, only 8 now--so sign up ASAP to reserve your spot!)
This Medicine Woman recipe is perfect for those of you who would like a holistic way out of a common cold, flu, minor aches, etc. This is MY flu shot. I can honestly say that I always experience major turnaround by drinking regular doses of this and my clients can verify it's magical powers.
Most people don't realize that antibiotics are for bacterial infections- not viral infections!
If you have a sick child and you know they won't drink this, use these seasonings (skip the cayenne for small children) and/or tea and mix it with a good quality broth (bone broth is best, but chicken or vegetable broth will do), veggies, and brown rice noodles!
Last note: I know it's so tempting to self-soothe with treats (sugar, refined carbs, dairy), but know that not only will it delay your recovery, but will also contribute to infection, mucus, and inflammation! Yay vegetables!
I was so excited to be able to stop by Goop's pop-up holiday shop during my recent trip to LA! Not only was the product on-point, but the store's layout made shopping a breeze. Each enclave was organized by category, perfect for each person in your life: the foodies, health nuts, travelers, romantics, etc. Lucky for my loved ones, I got most of my Christmas shopping accomplished here (...even a few goodies for me)!
I was extremely excited when I was offered the opportunity to try this out and it didn't disappoint! This was an extremely cool experience. If you're prone to storing stress in your body (who doesn't), this therapy is a wonderful option to rejuvenate a tired bod AND an overworked mind! The room was nice and toasty and you really do float on the surface, with no effort.
For those of you who missed my Clean Thanksgiving cooking demo at Natural Grocers, you haven't totally missed out! I am sharing my entire menu for this special holiday. I usually try a new recipe each year for kicks, but because we're having such a small gathering, I am sticking with the basics! Not only do I think Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to share love with your family by cooking them a lovely meal, I also think it's an equally fabulous opportunity to think about what you are grateful for...or what you should start being grateful for. Read more to see the recipes for all of my holiday menu items! Also, take a look at this scary article to see what you're REALLY missing by eating a clean Thanksgiving! Hint: it's not flavor.
The Wall Street Journal recently posted this exciting interview online Can A Health Coach Help You Achieve A Healthy Life Balance? with an IIN grad! "As health concerns mount along with the desire to achieve a better work-life balance, health coach Robyn Youkilis joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero and explains why hiring a health coach may help you achieve your goals."althy
I recently took a trip to Whole Foods because I was in a jam and needed cookies to celebrate my dad's birthday! Well, I was super dissapointed to see that there were zero options for people who are mindful of gluten AND sugar content! Most of the baked goods had so many unnecessary ingredients and poor quality to top it off! SO, not only did this inspire me to offer my clean cookies again, but, also my lovely clients and others who have vocalized their request for my healthy options! SO, here's your chance. I'm happy to oblige! PS. a NEW added option for bonus protein and skin benefits is now available... I am now offering Bulletproof Collagen Protein Powder for an addit. $3!
When most of us think of "authentic" Thanksgiving, we think of a large feast provided by loved ones....and a special thanks to Mrs. Smith, Libby, Stouffer, Pillsbury, Stovetop, Jiffy...etc, etc. This was MY "authentic" Thanksgiving tradition during my teen and young adult years-- although, we did also cater some from Furr's Cafeteria.
If you're on this blog then you probably already know by now that almost 4 years ago, I had to drastically change my way of life. At first, it started with the foods I ate, but it quickly evolved into something much greater. I truly believe when you start to honor yourself in such a loving way, via real nourishment, you become much more aware of other areas of your life where you can continue with a FULL life detox (behaviors, friends, etc).
Since beginning this new and improved way of living, I have learned that leading by example is the best form of persuasion. Luckily, I have a supportive family and I have been overjoyed to see the ripple effect in action. When it came to my first Thanksgiving eating clean, I was extremely apprehensive. Not only was I eating clean, but I was on stage 1 of the Body Ecology Diet (which is FAR more exclusive than just eating clean). Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because I have been a foodie since birth. I assumed that swapping my "tradition" for these different recipes would taint MY holiday. Well, not only was I pleasantly surprised at the outcome of our first CLEAN Thanksgiving spread, but so was my family! It also got me thinking. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and tradition. If you were to really think about this holiday's origins, you would come to realize that these people joining together weren't breaking bread made from a box with GMO wheat and harmful nonsense. They were eating food made from pure, clean ingredients! This not only adds value to the quality of the food for obvious reasons, but I believe that that labor of love truly enhances the food.
SO, JOIN ME to learn how to kick it old-school with some delicious samples and recipes-- so that you can share a NEW, more authentic Thanksgiving tradition with your family...and when you go around the table and give thanks for your health, you can truly feel like you gifted your family with food that will go to the healing and nourishment of their bodies.
I have gone through quite a few carrot cake recipes over the years to come up with the perfect birthday cake for my lovely mother!
She has always been quite particular about her carrot cake, enthusiastically expressing that she doesn't want a "spice cake"...meaning, she wants actual carrots in the carrot cake AND a lot of walnuts!
In my process of cleaning up recipes, I usually use Google to find a "traditional" recipe with good reviews and then, I make the necessary swaps. In this particular recipe's case, I used all organic ingredients, changed the oil, exchanged some oil for apple sauce, swapped the wheat flour for brown rice flour + tapioca flour, replaced the sugar with lower GI sweeteners, improved the quality of salt and butter, and for the sake of my beautiful mother-- amped up the amount of nuts and carrots!
I hope you enjoy!
FOR THE CAKE
2 1/2 - 3 cups lightly packed, grated carrots (approx 4-6 carrots)
3/4 - 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (more for topping the cake if desired)
1 3/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp pink or sea salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown coconut sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or Frontier vanilla flavoring
FOR THE FROSTING
(I don't prefer a thick layer of frosting so, if you are someone who does, I would suggest doubling this recipe or doing an additional half.)
1 lb. organic cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grass-fed, unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
3/4 cup xylitol, powdered (if you prefer, you can also use non-gmo erythritol or stevia. If using stevia, measure to taste...start at 1/2 tsp and you may want to double the recipe because it won't leave you with much frosting)
1 TBSP pure vanilla extract or Frontier vanilla flavoring
1/2 tsp pink or sea salt
For Cake and Frosting
There has been something weighing heavy on my heart the past few days so, I figured I should write it out. If you're like me, you regularly come across inspirational quotes and literature stating that happiness isn't something that can be acquired, but is simply a frame of mind or a decision. One of the more common quotes by Abe Lincoln states just that, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be". While I absolutely agree with this, I also feel a bit guilty for being one of those people who posts these things on social media, making it seem like being happy is so simplistic.
When I read these motivational quotes, depending on my mood, it can either help me immediately snap out of a rut or it just pisses me off. Some people require a little more than a change of tune or getting up on the "right" side of the bed. As a highly sensitive person, this is something I've dealt with my whole life. Since I was a small child, if I was experiencing internal hardship, which usually resulted in my acting out or falling into a slump, people would frequently tell me to essentially get over it or, my least favorite, "this too shall pass". This coffee cup advice seemed to work for so many people that I began to think that I was a defected human because I just couldn't shake it that easily.
Sometimes, if we are experiencing an imbalance, it isn't so easy to just snap our fingers and get happy because there is a correction that needs to be made. While this imbalance can inconveniently get in the way, it is wise to shift your perspective and be so grateful for it because it's your body's way of saying, "there is an area of neglect"! If we avoid this area or dumb it with a vice, it can manifest into a lot of mental and physical burdens, ten times its multitude. While it isn't always easy to get to the land of happy, it is SO important to point out that it is possible to get there and rise above!
During my 6-month program, my clients and I focus on goals. One of the most common things discussed is their goal to achieve a state of well-being, peace, and happiness. It's always a difficult subject, only because there are so many components to this weighted issue. Happiness is a product that has to be broken down into the many actions that we identify this feeling/ emotion with. Perspective is absolutely everything because while newlyweds think financial freedom brings "happiness" and think they will acquire joy by way of money, the single entrepreneur who is sitting on a large sum of money and has a comfortable cash flow thinks they could achieve happiness, if only they could get married. The interesting part of all of this is that through many studies, one Deepak Chopra performed, it has been proven that the amount of money someone acquires does not improve long-term happiness. The only time money does affect long-term happiness is when you worry about not having enough of it, which then reduces your state of well-being.
Touching on this point a little deeper, while being goal-oriented is invaluable, there are some people who are constantly focusing on their horizon/ future. "When I reach this level of success, I'll be happy." I think big picture goals are great, but if you don't make note of daily and weekly accomplishments and celebrate the mile-markers, you are selling yourself short. By the time you get to your end goal, or "destination", you won't get to reap the oh-so-nourishing sense of achievement because being a "future seeker" means you will already have your sites set on that new horizon. Being in the present will allow you to see your success and enjoy it. Staring at the horizon means you will keep going and finally stop once you've "arrived"... when you're dead.
I recently listened to an amazing lecture Deepak Chopra gave about something called the Happiness Formula. I found this extremely interesting and probably the soundest self-help I've come across. This formula is: H = S + C + V.
"H"- happiness, "S"- set point in brain that depicts if you're happy or not, stemming from how you received loved and were cared for in the first three years of your life, which can be changed with some mindfulness (50%), "C"- economic conditions of living/ how often you think about money (12%), and "V"- voluntary choices you make every day to receive pleasure (38%). Not only does this formula go much deeper in detail, Mr. Chopra has also developed a "well-being test" that is said to be a very solid predictor of what's going to happen in your future. The results are based on the calculated scores in areas of well-being including: social, career, physical, financial, and community.
So, on to rounding about this jumbled mess I've created. For anyone experiencing days of sadness, depression, fear, or, "analysis paralysis", please know and consider that there are things that you can do to alleviate this pain that doesn't come in a prescription bottle. While I am not a doctor and don't aspire to be, I have seen countless founded studies and have personally experienced the outcome of the many actions humans can take to rise above a rut and diagnosed depression.
So, is achieving happiness as easy to receive as simply subscribing to it? Yes and no. I think making a decision to make the necessary steps to obtain happiness is the golden ticket. What steps am I talking about? The ones Deepak Chopra touched on, the "primary foods" that are emphasized throughout the teachings at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my certification. Not only has exercise proven to be hugely effective in fighting depression, diet is the ultimate whammy in the world of rebounding from mental and physical ailments, along with meditation, proper sleep, and spirituality/ religion. Supplementation like omega-3's, L-5-MTHF, and SAMe are gaining a lot of popularity and acceptance, even in the medical field, in assisting to help alleviate depression. There are also a handful of amazing authors, specialists, and doctors who have created some lovely soul food in the form of books! Please know that you aren't defected because bumper sticker "words of wisdom" aren't enough for you.
Probably one of the largest factors that influenced my personal journey was learning about the importance of gut health and the major role it plays in your body's ability to cope and create your "happy" hormone, serotonin. "Gut bacteria creates 95% of the body's serotonin." To read more about gut health, Donna Gates is an amazing source of knowledge. Another enlightening condition that can affect your state of well-being full tilt is adrenal fatigue, which can be caused by something as ordinary as excess caffeine, but can result in depression and/or very similar symptoms to depression.
So, in conclusion, if you're trying to acquire happiness, I am a firm believer that you can achieve it because it is already within you. While state of mind IS everything, sometimes, it isn't as easy for everyone. We are all built differently, we all require different levels of self-care, and supplementation. Lifestyle plays a HUGE part and so does being mindful of the way we listen to and nourish our bodies. Please entertain the many holistic ways you can actively work towards tapping into your internal happy. Again, while it isn't always easy, it is within your power.
I am extremely excited to announce that I will be participating in my very own 6 month program. Some of you may know, November will mark my fourth year anniversary to eating clean and never looking back! While it has been an amazing and rewarding journey, I want to take it up a few notches. While acquiring my certification, the various inspiring lecturers moved me to amp my self-care times ten. Not only was I so excited to share everything I learned with my radiant clients, I quickly applied a lot the positive practices in my life.
After I recently realized I needed to move back to LA, I casually approached my landlord to discuss my month-to-month options since my lease would be up this October (assuming it would be no problem at all). It came as a huge surprise when I found out that I could not do month-to-month in my current lease and the best they could do was have me sign a 6 month contract. I was pretty deterred. Once I set my sights on something, I am sort of like a freight train. SO, I decided to make this derail a positive change. I figured if I was going to be in Tulsa for 6 more months, it would be the ultimate opportunity to subscribe to my 6 month program and go full tilt on self-improvement. I know moving will be slightly stressful and transition isn't always the easiest thing-- so instead of thinking this is a negative, I am forcing it to be a positive so that I can arrive in California, maybe not new, but, improved!
So, join me as I embark on the various forms of self-care, using my lovely Primary Food chart pictured above (created by IIN). My goals for October is to focus on my career, physical activity, and home environment. Therefore, I have created a variety of action steps that you will get me to those goals. My first action step I just accomplished: garage sale. I want to shed my baggage (literally and figuratively) and the best way to do that is to get rid of stuff...including the stuff that has blah memories/ energy attached to it. Last weekend, I was able to have a two day cleansing process by selling my belongings and donating the rest! It felt ah-mazing. Not only has it improved my current Home Environment, it will make moving into my new home that much easier.
Finding ways to accommodate yourself is truly one of the most rewarding things to practice! Stay tuned for more personal triumphs!