Goddess of the Month: Kristen Runvik of Lagom Body Co.

Natural skincare has been a passion of mine since I was in my teens. Last spring I won a giveaway with some items from a local natural skincare company: Lagom Body Co. I fell in love with the simplicity and clean nature of the products and reached out to Kristen to see if she would be willing to do an interview for my blog. I am so grateful she did because her story is super inspiring.

What inspired you to create your own business?

I'm an incessantly curious and creative individual -- so having my own business provides a sense of freedom to explore new ideas. With Lagom, I'm able to bring to life these ideas through physical products that are infused with the healing powers of plants which brings me so much joy and excitement. 

Why natural skincare?

I've always been a skincare junkie and I've always been into plants. I was raised in the prairies of the Midwest and most of my childhood was spent chasing butterflies, running through fields, and smelling flowers. Lilac and Queen Anne's Lace immediately come to mind. I never really considered combining the two interests until I started studying herbalism. It was at that point that I realized how truly effective plants are for bringing the mind, body, and spirit back into balance... and I found that making skincare was my "thing." It was something that I was naturally drawn to and connected with. 

Besides feeling connected to the plants, I also feel that we're at a pivotal point in society where women need more invitations to slow down and appreciate their bodies in a way that is natural, beautiful, and harmonious to our natural state of being. There are incessant demands from the outside world and I feel that natural skincare is a way to invite ritual into one's life in a way that turns what might be a boring daily routine into something precious and necessary.

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

It's hard to choose only one woman because I'm blessed to be surrounded by countless amazing women. If I had to choose one, I would say my aunt Karen. Throughout my life, she's shown me what it means to really walk your talk. She's optimistic and positive even in trying times. She's a master gardener and she's chosen to live life off the grid. Despite how hard that lifestyle is, she still always believes that the best has yet to come.

What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is anything made with love from fresh, local ingredients. 

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

I'm a very visual person so I like to write everything down and hang it up as a reminder within my living space. I also love to lean on the wisdom of oracle cards as well as what's happening in the sky to make sense of life.

What is your morning ritual?

Most mornings, I wake up, make coffee, and read or pull an oracle card. If the weather's nice, I sit outside on the patio and if it's cooler or raining, I at least get my bare feet into the ground and face the sun. Being slow and intentional about my morning sets me up for feeling grounded throughout the rest of my day.

How do you honor your feminine body?

I honor my feminine body by both tending to my inner thoughts and ideas as well as moving my body. Lately I've found a love with running and, over time, seen how much my body's changed. It's stronger yet still soft. I could say the same thing about my mind. 

Where do you find bliss in your life?

Getting out in nature, especially near the mountains or the ocean. Surrounding myself with flowers. Creating art. Eating seasonally and wildly. Sharing sweet moments with my family. Embracing solitude and how much richness it offers my life, my mindset, and my heart.

What does self-care mean to you?

Taking care of my mind, body, and soul in a way that works best for me. Sometimes it looks like soaking my body in a hot bath. Sometimes it looks like setting healthy boundaries in my relationships. Every time, it's about honoring my inner wisdom about what's best for me... right now.

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

Look for small moments every day that bring you joy... and create more opportunities for that to show up in your life. You deserve happiness, health, love, abundance, and so much more... and it all starts with you, right where you are.  

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Bio:

Kristen Runvik is the founder and creator behind Lagom Body Co. She's an herbalist, writer, artist, life enthusiast, and world adventurer... constantly on a quest to uncover the best version of herself.

Adaptogenic Pumpkin Spice Latte

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It’s officially pumpkin spice season and I am definitely not mad about it. I have been on the pumpkin spice train since I can remember. It truly is my favorite blends of spices and there is actually a reason our bodies crave it this time of here. We are moving from the warmer months where our bodies get heat from the outside to the cooler months where we need to create that heat from the inside out. This time of year it is important to switch our diet from cooling to warming. Eating more winter squash, warming spices and cooked foods.

As you may have noticed, your body is naturally drawn to these types of foods and spices. Your body starts to crave that pumpkin spice. Here’s why:

Pumpkin spice traditionally has cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom and nutmeg. Some recipes omit or add different spices, but I wanted to give you some information as to why your body is craving these spices:

Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is a warming spice that is also high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, balances blood sugar and has been found to fight bacterial and fungal infections as well as having an anti-viral effect. This spice packs a punch, especially during cold and fly season. Inflammation in the body weakens the immune system leading to illness. By incorporating cinnamon you are providing your body with the extra support it needs to fight off cold and flu during the colder months.

Ginger:

One of the best spices for digestion, ginger can help ease nausea, calm inflammation in the body and help with menstrual cramps. It is a warming spice that particularly warms the digestive system to help aid in digestion and fights indigestion. It also helps to fight infection.

Clove:

High in antioxidants, kills bacteria and helps to improve liver health. It is also a natural analgesic (pain killer) and can treat toothaches and oral pain.

Cardamom:

Cardamom is one of my all time favorite spices. It is in the ginger family and has many of the same properties: anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, anti-bacterial and treats infection. It also helps to fight cavities and bad breath, has a neutralizing effect on acidity in the body and can even help to treat anxiety.

Nutmeg:

Also a natural pain reliever as well as helps with oral and digestive health. It too has an amazing effect on your anxiety and insomnia. This little nugget packs a punch and in high doses can be toxic to the body, so a little goes a long way.

You’ve probably noticed a pattern by now: all of these spices help aid in digestion, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and help to fight or treat viral or bacterial infections. All of these things are what can lead to weakness in the immune system. If you start the season off by loading your body up on things that support you immune system then if you do get sick, your body will have the support it needs to move through the illness more quickly.

So enough with why we crave all these things, where’s the recipe?

To make this latte extra special, I added a few immune boosting adaptogens. If you don’t have these, you can just omit them, but I will say that during cold and flu season, I always have these three around.

Astragalus for a power immune boost

Ashwagandha to strengthen the adrenal and nervous system. It’s a warming adaptogen so its perfect to add this time of year. This adaptogen helps to balance the whole body and give strength.

Reishi to fight fatigue, inflammation, provide adrenal support and help with anxiety and depression (use code bodyblisslife for a discount)

This latte is a great way to start your day or make with decaf coffee and use as your afternoon pick me up. I used organic pureed pumpkin from Trader Joe’s. You could also roast a sugar pumpkin at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour and use in place of the canned pumpkin (yum!). I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. It truly satisfies all my cravings (and quite honestly is WAY better) for that overly sweet, pumpkin-less alternative.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee

  • 1/2 cup homemade nut milk (or your favorite store bought)

  • 1 T pumpkin puree

  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

  • a pinch of ground clove, nutmeg and fennel seeds (fennel seeds are optional, but add a lovely flavor)

  • splash of vanilla

  • pinch of himalayan pink salt

  • 1/2-1 Date (or 1 tsp honey or maple. You could also use stevia)

  • 1 tsp-1 T ghee or coconut butter

  • 1/2 tsp astragalus, reishi and ashwagandha

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the nut milk, spices, pumpkin, sweetener of choice, vanilla and salt. Whisk until hot, but not boiling. In a high speed blender add the milk blend, coffee, adaptogens and ghee. Blend on high for about 30 seconds until everything is combined. Pour into your favorite fall mug and enjoy.

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Notes: If you don’t want to use all the individual spices you can use a pumpkin pie spice mix. Natural Grocer’s has a great one in their bulk section. I would say use 1/2 to 1 tsp of the blend depending on how spicy you like it.

To make your own ghee at home (its’ super easy), check out THIS blog post.

To make your own nut milk, check out THIS post.

My #METOO Story

DISCLAIMER: This post has adult content and may have triggering language.

I know I’m not alone in saying this: Every day seems like an assault on my body, my rights and my femininity. New info is released daily about another woman coming forward against her violator and every day people find excuses for the violator. “He was drunk,” “she was asking for it,” “it was just that one time.” It seems like there is more time spent defending the character of a man who is accused of sexual assault then there is protecting and defending the words and story of a woman who is asking to be heard.

My story is not a secret. If you know me, you most likely know that I have a history of sexual abuse. If you don’t it’s because until about 3 years ago, I never really felt comfortable talking about it openly. For fear that I would be judged, from experience of losing friends for telling them and for my own shame that has since been healed. I was driving to work this morning and felt a call to share. Not for attention, not for sympathy, for empowerment. Because if me sharing my story inspires ONE person to share their own story, to feel less alone or to help them heal, then it is worth it.

When I was 3, I was raped. It was not a one time thing and it was by someone I knew. I was terrified to tell anyone, but when my mom ask me, I told her. My story is a little different because I was heard and believed. I had parents who immediately put me in therapy, took me to doctors, talked to me daily to ask me how I was feeling. Does it make what happened to me any better? No, but it did help me to heal. What I want to make perfectly clear is that when you are sexually violated, it is not something that you just “get over.” It takes A LIFETIME of continued work. Triggers and PTSD come often and sometimes out of nowhere and you will have no idea why. You will constantly question yourself because we live in a country that constantly questions women when we tell our story. You see, when the outside world does not reflect what you KNOW inside yourself, it’s called “gaslighting.” What is happening in this country is a collective gaslighting. Women are coming forward with their stories and instead of believing them, we question them, tell them they are wrong of that there is no way THAT person could have done that. This not only makes us second guess what happened to us, but it also makes us second guess our entire reality and let me tell you, that is a real mind fuck. What’s worse about all this? When women attack other women for coming out about their violation.

Because I was given a voice and heard, I was able to start my healing process from a young age. Does healing from sexual violation come naturally? No. Do I still have things come up when I could have sworn I was done dealing with it? Yes, regularly. Healing from any trauma takes hard work. I like to explain it like an onion: peeling back each layer one by one and exposing a deeper level of healing. I had all the usual symptoms and behaviors or a sexual abuse survivor. I thought it was my fault, I thought I was broken and unloveable, I disassociated from my body, I was angry, sad, mad confused. These were very complicated emotions for a 4 year old to feel, but I was feeling them and I had to learn how to deal and move through them.

What did healing look like for me? It looked like talk therapy, art therapy, long conversations with my mom. It looked like yoga, meditation, screaming, crying, yelling, confronting my violator, telling them I hate them. It looked like forgiving my violator. It looks like continuing to bring myself back into my body every day. It looks like no longer fearing my sexuality but creating a healthy and beautiful relationship with a body I once thought betrayed me. It looked like taking it slow when I was ready to have sex. It looked like picking partners who felt safe to me, Who didn’t scare me. It looked like journaling. It still looks like dealing with PTSD and triggers as they come, learning how to recognize them and practice an extreme form of self care to bring me back into myself and out of fear. It looks like being afraid to walk alone at night, being afraid when a man walks behind me on the street, being afraid when I am home alone at night. It looks like continuing to heal every day. Continuing to empower myself by knowing that I am no longer a victim, but a survivor. Someone who survived something really fucking horrible and who is thriving.

What has gotten easier? Talking about my story in a more open and empowered way. Knowing that what happened to me had nothing to do with me or my actions. Understanding that this is a life-long healing process. I take each day as it comes and I am beyond grateful for the support system I have and have built along the way.

I am aware that I have an exceptional story. That the majority of young girls, boys, men or women who are sexually assaulted or violated do not get treatment right away, they do not get listened to right away and sometimes they never even get a chance to utter the words. Sometimes this weighs on me. Why me? Why was I given avenues and opportunities to heal that so many others aren’t? But, overtime, what I realized is that this is MY story and nobody else’s. It doesn’t matter why I had this life and others don’t. Because questioning it and having guilt over it is not empowering myself or anyone else. I’ve learned to take those thoughts and emotions and turn them into compassion and support for other survivors. For all the survivors who couldn’t come forward, who couldn’t say the words, who are no longer with us. I am speaking for you and I am here for you. I feel your pain, I know your pain and I am sorry. I am sorry that not only did you survive one of the most horrific things that can happen to a person, but that you also went through it alone. I am here to tell you you’re not alone. That every day more and more women come forward with their stories and that we are STRONGER in numbers.

If you got this far, thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for listening. This was not easy to write but quite cathartic and healing in its process.

If you are or have been sexually assaulted and feel like you have no one to talk to, you do not have to go through this alone. Please reach out to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). It’s a place to start.

Goddess of the Month: Lauren Kleban creator of LEKfit

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know by now that I am in love with LEKFit. LEKfit is a fitness modality created by Lauren Kleban. I came across this movement when I started following Busy Philips on Instagram. Every day she would post her #sweatyselfie and would be dripping sweat and happy as can be. I googled it and saw that they offered streaming and the rest is history.

First off, let me tell you why I love LEKfit. For starters, it is SO fun. Lauren doesn't tell you how many times you should work out a week, for how long or to do this workout on this and day and this one on that day. She just teaches you to move you body and to LISTEN. Listen when you need to rest, listen when to take it easier, listen when to push hard. Her philosophy aligned perfectly with mine. I also love that you feel like you are in the class with them. When you stream the studio classes there are women of all different shapes and sizes bouncing to their hearts content. It's nice to do a workout video that isn't just women and men with perfect bodies. Last, but not least, I LOVE the way it makes me feel. I feel happier, more content in my body and stronger when I do it regularly and that makes me very happy.

This was the first in-person interview I have done. I attended Lauren's class on a very hot Friday morning in LA and after, we chatted. We talked about movement, what bring her bliss, how she achieves her goals and kids. It was a really beautiful experience and I am so grateful that she took the time to sit down and talk to me. Lauren, thank you so much for creating a safe space for women to move their bodies, for making us all feel beautiful and worthy and for kicking my ass!

If you are interested in trying out LEKfit, you can get a free 7 day trial by clicking here.

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What inspired you to create your own business?

I was a dancer my whole life and I always knew that fitness would be a natural transition. Even as far back as high school I was teaching some sort of fitness, dance class. Then I taught all over LA. I lived in Vegas prior to LA where I was in a show and taught at UNLV and a studio very similar to S factor, so I did pole stuff also, which was really fun. Now if you told me to go upside down on a pole I would say you are out of your mind, but in my twenties I was like "sure, I'll swing my legs and crawl down." There was an x-stripper who started right around the time Sheila (the creator of S Factor did) and she would take strippers and regular dancers and teach us. So I did that and then taught a Jazz, cardio type thing at UNLV and then I moved to LA and taught at different dance studios, boutique fitness studios and an old school gym where I trained clients, all while dancing professionally. It was always a side thing. I don't think I really knew until I had my son, my first child who is now 5 1/2, that that's what I wanted to do. There are so many avenues now that X-dancers can take, but I knew I didn't want to travel. I didn't want to live out of a suitcase. I knew that someday I wanted to get married and have children and being from the mid-west, that was just not my mindset. I needed something to keep me wherever I was going to settle down, which ended up being LA. From there it organically progressed. I taught a ballet class, very similar to my Sculpt now, but less mat and more barre. I would teach that daily, but still go for a run and that was my best body. That was the body that felt strongest and healthiest, but then with Miles (my oldest) I couldn't just teach an hour and then go for a run. I couldn't do 2 hours plus to workout every day. The rebounder had been in my life before and I just started playing around. I did not start LEKfit with the rebounder. I started without, but I knew that I had to create a less than one hour interval workout that gave me the same results as an hour barre class and running Runyon. After years of trial and error this is where we ended up. 

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

Oh my god! I mean there are so many for different reasons. That is a really hard question. It's gonna sound so lame because she's like my number one, but Busy! She is the best. So inspiring! I'm not kidding, when she was filling in for Kelly on "Regis and Kelly Live" I was like "you're the next Kelly Ripa, you are gonna have a talk show." She said she wanted it and she made it happen. That is crazy to me!

What is your current favorite song to move to?

Oh my God! That's like harder than the last question. I'm very into R&B. Gallant, Neo, Leon Bridges, Maxwell the list goes on and on and on.

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

I think I just figure out what I want, focus on it and make it happen. I'm not into mood boards, I don't burn things. I just think I am really strategic about it. I'm also very practical, which sometimes I think is to a fault. I also try to stay in my lane, I'm not really phased by anyone else, which I am really happy about because I think that can make you crazy. 

What is your morning ritual?

It changes because I have children, so my mornings are not my own. I used to teach the 7 am class, so it used to be I would see nobody in the morning until I saw my clients. As my kids got older and started going to school, I wanted to be around, so now I teach the 9:30 and I usually get up, check my email, social media. Usually I've cleared everything the night before so I don't have anything important that I need to get to right away. I do breakfast and get my kids ready for school and then I am here for the studio. Sometimes my meditation is going into the studio when nobody is there, lock the door and just dance.

How do you honor your feminine body?

By keeping it healthy! Staying out of the sun. I used to be a sun worshipper. 

Where do you find Bliss in your life?

My kids! Most of the time, not all of the time (laughs).

What does self-care mean to you?

Whatever feels good to you. It's not something you can go outward for because it is a head spin. I can remember days where I would force myself to go to a yoga class or even a dance class that I just didn't want to go to and I would be like "Why am I doing this? Why am I spending the money and wasting my time?" When I would rather be on a hike or in the studio, to me that is the opposite of self care. 

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

The first thing that comes to mind is that our moms and grandmothers, for sure, relied on each other, but they relied on who was immediately near them so they all had a similar mindset. In the age of social media there is an ability as moms and as women to rely on each other as well, but in a much bigger way. We are getting so much more info and I think it's too much. We need to find those core people that you really trust. We definitely still need each other, but because of social media and because the world is so big now there is too much and it's so overwhelming. It's all a mind-fuck. Don't limit it, but find your group or community that you can hold on to and trust. 

BIO: 

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BIO: 

Lauren Kleban is a celebrity fitness instructor and founder of LEKfit, a dance-inspired fitness method designed to create long and lean muscles by using intervals of low impact, high intensity, fat burning cardio with muscle sculpting techniques created to strengthen and tone.  

LEKfit takes a musically driven approach to fitness with Lauren consistently drawing inspiration from her ballet, jazz, burlesque and yoga training to create fun and effective workouts that empower and promote body love and acceptance. 

LEKfit has developed a constant following of devotees, both in the LA studio and LEKfit on demand online, that come for Lauren and her team’s unique approach to dance inspired fitness.

How I've learned to cope with anxiety

This post has been a long time coming. I often get messages from people via instagram asking me if I deal with anxiety and if so, how do I cope. I thought it would be most beneficial to write it all down in one place. 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am speaking from my own experience and providing tips in hopes that it will help someone. If you deal with severe anxiety and anxiety attacks and feel it is interfering with your life, please reach out to a mental health professional. 

The short answer is, YES! I do have anxiety. Is it all the time? No. Is it more than the average person? Maybe. I remember being a very young child, maybe 2 or 3 and telling my mom I had a "funny feeling in my tummy." Looking back, I realize that was anxiety. The way it manifests may have changed throughout the years, but I have lived with anxiety most of my life. As a result, I have collected different tools and ways to cope that have helped immensely. I still deal with anxiety: Some days are better than others and sometimes I am freaking out inside when I look like I have it together on the outside. It's not about perfection, but progress and helping yourself to feel grounded and safe. 

Anxiety comes in so many forms and with so many different names. It can range from butterflies in your stomach to being doubled over, not being able to breath and feeling like you're having a heart attack and everywhere in between.

Figuring out the why can be helpful, but it can also engage the mind and make things worse. For me, if I can track the trigger, then I immediately know the why. This doesn't come as easy for everyone. If you find your mind racing to find the why, then maybe that doesn't matter in the moment. That is when I will start with my first suggestion...

Meditation and Breathwork:

For me, my anxiety is the worst when I am not in my body. When my mind goes to worst case scenario and I start to future trip like I'm getting paid. This is where I use my yogic training to get back into my body and bring me into the present. The first thing I do is either sit in a chair with my feet flat on the floor or in a crosslegged position on the floor. Place your palms face down on your thighs. I take 5 deep breaths (as deep as I can get). The intention is to make each breath longer then the previous. I then do a body scan from my toes to the top of my head. Checking in with each part of my body and bringing myself fully into the present moment in my body. If I'm still feeling anxious after this, I will do some spine circles or cat cows and I will mentally chant the words "Sat" (pronounced saht) on the inhale and "nam" (pronounced nahm) on the exhale. "Sat" means truth and "nam" means name or identity so you are connecting with your true identity. It is impossible for your mind to focus on more than one thought at a time so focusing on a simple mantra (you could even use "let" on inhale and "go" on exhale) will keep you focused just on that and hopefully help to relieve some of the anxiety

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Move your body and get outside:

For me, exercise has been one of the biggest components in helping me to cope with my anxiety. Hard cardio works best for me, but sometimes just getting outside for a walk, breathing the fresh air and feeling the circulation moving in my body does the trick as well. When I get a good sweat in 3-5 times a week, overall my anxiety is significantly better the on weeks when I just don't get it in. It really doesn't matter how you move your body, it's just important that you move. On days when I just don't have the time, I will get out for just a 10 minute walk or hop on my rebounder for a few minutes just to move the stuff around. When endorphins are released, it interacts with receptors in your brain that reduce pain and trigger a positive feeling in your body that is similar to morphine. Have you have done a really hard workout and halfway through start crying for no reason? Its because your body is moving emotion that has been stuck. I find that stuck emotion causes anxiety so get your body moving and move it regularly!

Journaling:

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Having a place to put your anxious thoughts is powerful. There are three ways we move emotion through out body: breath, sound and movement. Journaling is considered movement as you are moving your hand to get the words out. When our minds get the best of us, sometimes the best thing, for me, is to sit down and let it ALL out on paper. Without judging myself or editing myself. All the dirty, ugly, neurotic, catastrophic thoughts. There is nobody there to judge you or tell you you're wrong. There is nobody there to tell you you are too much or that you need to "calm down." It can all come out on those pieces of paper and when you are done you can close it up, put it somewhere safe and move on. If those thoughts come back, you go back and write some more. You write until you have nothing more to write.

Journaling has always been one of my most powerful tools. One of my favorite exercises to do it to grab 4-5 different colors pens and start writing on one page. I then write horizontally, diagonally, words over other words. When you're done you are left with a beautiful mess of colors and I always feel lighter. 

Products that help:

For me, managing my anxiety has been a lifestyle change. One of self care, checking in with myself, meditating, exercising and listening to what my body needs. I am going to share a few supplement and products that I have found to be very helpful. 

Ashwagandha: 

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic adaptogen (an herb that helps the body adapt to stress) used to strengthen the adrenal and nervous system. It has a wonderful calming effect. In a study, ashwagandha was used in place of lorazepam and found to be just as effective as the prescriptions drug. My favorite brand of ashwagandha is Sun Potion. This company tests three times throughout the process for toxins and heavy metals (which are common in things grown in India and China). They are also certified organic and has been most effective, for me. I simply put it into my morning drink and enjoy. 

Reishi:

Reishi is a functional mushroom and is also an adaptogen. It is known as the Queen of Plants. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. When used regularly, the mushrooms effects build in the body and can be quite effective. My husband says that he feels the effects of reishi immediately and that it works better than anything else he has tried. In studies it has been shown to effectively reduce anxiety with 4 to 6 weeks of regular use. It can also combat depression and fatigue. The only reishi I use is from Root and Bones. Use code "bodyblisslife" for a discount. 

Rescue Remedy:

This is a product I have been using as long as I can remember. My mom always had a vial (or 5) of it. It's a homeopathic remedy and it truly works. If you feel an anxiety attack coming on or just have that low grumble of butterflies in your stomach, you take a few droppers full and within a few minutes start to feel the calming effects. Since then, the company has released several other Rescue Remedy infused products. If you can't do alcohol (as it is alcohol based), the pastilles are a good alternative. They even have a sleep formula. 

Integrative Therapeutics Lavela:

These little lavender pills have changed the game for me. I keep a strip of them in my purse and as soon as i feel anything come on, I pop one in my mouth. Within 20 minutes, I feel a sense of calm wash over me. When I'm having a hard time, I will take one each morning preventatively. I am so grateful I found these and that they have made their way into my life. I have recommended them to several clients and they all report back that they work. They also give you a lovely essence of lavender in your mouth. :)

Plant Therapy "Worry Free":

This lovely essential oil blend has all the properties to relax the body and mind. I love to use it before meditating, before bed, in the morning or whenever I am feeling a little anxious. I place several drops in the palm of my hand, run my hands together to warm it up and then cup my hands around my nose taking several deep inhales. I take the remaining oil and rub it on the back of my neck, my chest and inside my wrists. 

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Anxiety is different for everybody. Learning to cope with or live with it is a journey and may look different from person to person. These are just a few things I have found to be effective and lasting. I still deal with anxiety, but I have found a good self care system that works for me. Recognizing when it's coming on and knowing what will be best for me to help calm and ground myself. Sometimes I do all of these things and sometimes a simple walk in the fresh air helps. I hope that you find these suggestions helpful and, as always, if you have any questions please leave a comment or email me. 

 

Creamy Lemon Avocado Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite summer condiments (yes, it's condiment because I put it on everything). This "upgraded" version has protein from the hemp seeds, lots of good fats from the olive oil and avocado and a delicious surprise with the freshness of the lemon. My favorite way to serve it is with pasta and cherry tomatoes. It's the perfect summer night meal when it's too hot to be in the kitchen. 

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  • 4 oz fresh basil
  • 1/2 medium to large avocado
  • 3 T hemp seeds
  • 2 T toasted pine nuts
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 T lemon juice (about a half a large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 T Philosophie Green Dream (optional)
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In a food processor combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Turn the food processor on and slowly drizzle the olive oil in, stopping to scrape down the sides halfway. Return the lid, turn on the processor and slowly drizzle in the remaining oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. This pesto can be kept in a glass container in the fridge for up to a week. Serve on pasta, pizza, add to salad dressings or eat straight out of the container with a spoon (I won't just you).

 Look at this green goodness!

Look at this green goodness!

Goddess of the Month: Holly Tristan of Holly's Keeping it Real

This month's Goddess is a super inspiring woman who is a mother, entrepreneur and business professor. She has created a simple, yet effective product that we all need in our lives: Natural deodorant. I think that her interview speaks for itself so without further adieu, here is Holly!

What inspired you to create your own business?

"I had tried so many brands of natural deodorant that did not work. So I created my own! I shared my Deodorant with family and friends, and since they loved it so much, I decided to start selling it."

Why deodorant?

There are only 4 ingredients - coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and therapeutic grade essential oil."

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why? 

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"This is a tough one. There are so many women who inspire me, but I don’t look to one in particular. I’m all about supporting each other, lifting each other up, and staying out of the comparison game."

What is your favorite meal?

"Simple simple simple! Ha! I’d have to say that my favorite meal is salmon (crispy outside and tender inside), with lots of veggies and some sweet potato. And always avocado!"

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals? 

"I’m big on lists. Writing out steps, and executing. I am making a conscious effort to spent more time dreaming and manifesting, but I’m also in the thick of raising young boys (which is my priority most of my 24 hours in the day)."

What is your morning ritual? 

"Kids! Haha! I love coffee before they wake. And a workout! I love to workout in the morning - it sets the tone for my day!"

How do you honor your feminine body? 

"By always being true to myself, and prioritizing self care - mentally, physically, and spiritually."

Where do you find Bliss in your life? 

"Usually in the small things. A moment with my family. A hot cup of coffee. On my yoga mat."

What does self-care mean to you? 

"Everything haha. I make it a point on the daily to do something nice for myself. Sometimes it’s just a hot shower and my nighttime skin care routine, others times it’s my favorite chocolate, or time away alone or with a girlfriend."

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be? 

"Learn who you are, what you want, and how to be confident in all that you do." 

About Holly: 

Holly Tristan is a wife, mama, business professor, and owner of an all natural deodorant company - Holly's Keeping it Real. She loves sharing her passion for food as medicine, and tips for a holistic lifestyle.

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Creamy Adaptogenic London Fog

I love anything earl gray. I have since I was young. The smell, the taste, the way it makes me feel. I have memories of sitting around the kitchen table with my mata ji drinking endless cups of earl gray with milk and scones. This morning my body wasn't feeling coffee and I was digging through my tea cupboard and found some earl gray I forgot I had. Out came this really lovely latte with coconut butter, chaga, he shou wu, mucuna pruriens and vanilla. It was the perfect start to my slow morning. 

Ingredients:

In a high speed blender, combine all ingredients and blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute until combined and frothy. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

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About the Adaptogens:

If you've been reading for a while, you know how I feel about adaptogens. If you're just joining, adaptogens are amazing herbs that help our bodies adapt to stress. Whether it be physical, environmental, emotional, mental, etc they give our bodies a little extra help so we can "adapt" to any situation. Adaptogens do not replace a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet, but they have had a huge impact on my life and I am a big believer in their power. In this latte I used Root and Bones Chaga and He Shou Wu. You can use code "bodybliss" for a discount at check out. My favorite brand of Mucuna Pruriens is made by Sun Potion. For information on each adaptogen, please read below. 

Chaga is know as the "King of Plants."It is high in digestive enzymes and helps to support the GI tract. A powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. Historically it has been used for centuries in Siberia and was used as a coffee substitute during WWII. It has a lovely sweet taste and blends will with chocolate and vanilla. 

He Shou Wu is a Chinese herb revered for its powerful anti-aging properties. It translates to "Mr. He's black hair" after an elder who restored his youthfulness with this herb.  It's both energizing and calming and increases fertility. It high in iron, boosts mood and supports the nervous and adrenal system. 

Mucuna Pruiriensalso known as the "dopamine bean;" is high in L-Dopa, the precursor to dopamine, the feel good hormone in our brain. Regular use of this adaptogen helps to lift mood, fight depression and soothes the nervous system.

Note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any health concerns, I recommend speaking with your ND, MD, acupuncturist or Ayurvedic Practitioner. 

Eggplant Involtini

Italian food is definitely on my top 5 for favorite cuisines. It is fresh, full of amazing flavor and, to me, the ultimate comfort food. Involtini is one of my favorite dishes. It is quite versatile, which I love. You can change the flavors in the filling or change out what you use for your "wrapper." Whether it be zucchini, squash or eggplant (chicken and veal is also used). This version uses Good Culture plain cottage cheese instead of ricotta. It is high in protein and adds a really lovely texture. I love all the layers of flavors the different vegetables add. Feel free to play with flavors and see what you create!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large eggplant
  • 2-5.3 oz cups Good Culture plain cottage cheese
  • 1 small-medium zucchini
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 T fresh rosemary
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • zest from half a lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch slices

 

Preheat the oven to 475. Peel the eggplant and cut (or use a mandolin) to slice into 1/4 inch slices lengthwise. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for 15 minutes until the eggplant has released some of the water. Pat with a paper towel and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until brown and soft.

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Shred or cut zucchini into matchsticks. Thinly slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic (reserving one clove) and rosemary.  In a skillet at medium head, add 1 T avocado oil. Add garlic and rosemary and stir until fragrant. Add zucchini and stir to coat. After the zucchini becomes soft, add mushrooms and salt to taste. Add the red wine vinegar. Cook until zucchini and mushrooms are tender and most of the water is cooked off. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, sliced artichoke hearts, remaining garlic, veggie mixture, lemon zest, oregano, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until combines, taste and adjust seasoning.

In a baking dish, drizzle 1-2 T of olive oil and several spoonfuls of pasta sauce. Spread around with a spoon. One at a time, place a slice of eggplant on a cutting board. Add a large spoonful filling to the end closest to you. Roll and place in a baking dish. Continue until all the filling is used. 

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Smother the rolls in pasta sauce and top with mozzarella slices and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Turn the broiler on and broil for 3-5 minutes, keeping a close watch as not to burn. This will make the top golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit 10-15 minutes. Serve with a green salad and sourdough garlic bread. 

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Cinnamon Pecan Frozen Coffee

I love coffee! I love the way it smells, the way it tastes and what it means to me. No, but really... I have at least 4 different ways to make coffee in my house. Living in Italy transformed my relationship with coffee from a sleep over every once in a while to a full fledged committed relationship. Though some would say I am not a TRUE coffee drinker because I often drink decaf, I beg to differ. Coffee was a part of my every day ritual in Italy. I would go to the same cafe, where they quickly learned my name, and as soon as I would walk in the door they would look up and say "ciao, vorrai un cappuccino decafinato?" (would you like a decaf cappuccino?) and with a giant smile on my face I would reply "si, grazie mile." Many hours were spent laughing with friends, learning Italian and creating memories in that cafe. Even thinking of it now brings tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart. 

Flash forward a few years with long work hours and a busy schedule. I noticed that coffee with cream was no longer working for me. I was getting jittering and anxious after drinking it and would crash a few hours later. It wasn't until I discovered adding adaptogens and fat to my lattes that I was able to have a cup every day or at least a few times a week. I no longer get the jitters or feel anxious as I am fueling my body with herbs that are helping it to adapt to stress as well as fat that keeps the caffeine from hitting my blood stream so harshly. 

One of my favorite coffee companies is Chameleon Cold Brew. Cold brew is great because it is less acidic and has a deep and smooth flavor. Of all the brands I've tried, this one has the best flavor, is organic and is ran by people who are truly passionate about sustainable and organic coffee.  I love to heat it up over the stove in the morning with a bit of homemade nut milk and then add it to my blender with ghee, adaptogens and spices. Its the perfect start to the day. Now that the weather is heating up, I enjoy a cold coffee mid morning or early afternoon. I created this Cinnamon Pecan Frozen coffee. It is slightly sweet and completely delicious. I used Astragalus for lung and immune support, cordyceps for an extra energy boost and endurance and reishi for adrenal and nervous system support. Tocos is great to add to any coffee drink as it is a bio-available form of vitamin E and adds a delicious creaminess. You could certainly leave the adaptogens and tocos out (but, like why?). It's the perfect addition to a hot summer day.

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Combine everything in a high speed blender and blend on high for 30 seconds to a minute. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy in the sunshine. 

Goddess of the Month: Chelsea of Juniper and The Sea

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A couple months ago I won a photoshoot with a local company called Juniper and the Sea. If you are unfamiliar with them, you should definitely check out their work. They are working to create a safe space for women to strip down (literally and figuratively) and have the most beautiful boudoir photos taken. These are boudoir photos like you have never seen before: They are for you and nobody else! Organic, raw and sensual without being overtly sexual. Chelsea and Simone have a gift of seeing your essence and capturing it in that moment. 

I didn't know exactly what to expect. I was told to show up with a clean face and dry hair. When I walked into the space I was welcomed with herbal tea, warm and inviting lighting, hugs and a team of amazingly talented women who transformed me into a woodland nymph. With Kendrick Lamar as my soundtrack (um, yes please) I worked with Chelsea and Simone to pick from the outfits I brought. I changed and we got started. Now, I teach women how to feel comfortable in their bodies; how to love the skin they are in. Full transparency, this is so challenging for me, at times. With Chelsea and Simone, I felt natural and comfortable to just be me in their presence. They gave suggestion of directions for me to turn my head, but pretty much gave me free range to move as my body loves to move. The last few photos I shot topless. I have never done a nude photo shoot before and have always been curious. I never once felt insecure about my body or felt like I needed to be a different size or a different shape. They made me feel safe and comfortable. Before I knew it, it was over and they sent me on my way feeling lit up and totally empowered!

When I got the photos back, I have to admit that I had a moment of wishing my body looked a little different. Wishing that I hasn't put so much weight on in the last couple of years. When I was showing them to a friend and she was saying how gorgeous they are, I realized that my body is beautiful exactly as it is. It doesn't mean I can't work to make it more fit or to lose weight, but that it is also just as valuable now as it would be if I lost 10 lbs. It took someone else looking at me and telling me I was beautiful to fully accept it. And you know what? That is ok. Sometimes we need the reflection of another to recognize the beauty within ourselves. 

I am counting down the days when I can do another shoot with these Goddesses. If you feel called to do this. DO IT!!! It is honestly one of the most beautiful and lasting gifts you can give to yourself. Without further ado, here is the beautiful interview with Chelsea.

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What inspired you to create your own business?

"We worked together and had previously shot weddings, but we wanted to give a different experience and capture something different. Both dealing with health and body image issues we thought it was important to document and make women feel good in their bodies without it needing to be sexualized."

Why boudoir photos?

"We wanted to tap into something that wasn’t being done in Portland and give women a space to feel liberated about themselves and their bodies and what they’ve gone through or what they are going through rather than just creating sexy photos that weren't for them or doing it for someone else to look a certain way. We wanted a space for women to feel comfortable and tap into that vulnerability or to celebrate whatever was going on. " 

Who is the most inspiring woman in your life and why?

"My Grandmother. She was such a tough person. She had 6 siblings all from different fathers and she raised all of them. She dropped out of high school and worked as a cleaning lady and she still does and she is 72."

What is your favorite meal?

"I feel if I say for Simone and I, it’s definitely steak."

What is your process in manifesting your dreams and your goals?

"I think it’s finding a balance so that we give ourselves time to give everybody else everything we can. A lot of this is a journey for us as well and I feel like if we ever feel burnt out or down on ourselves then we can’t give this business everything we want to. So I think its finding that balance and continuing to feed off the women we photograph. its a mutual back and forth."

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What is your morning ritual?

"For me, I wake up and, recently, I have been making a latte or tea. I usually stretch or hang out for a minutes. Especially now, I enjoy sitting outside. I give myself an hour or so to do that before I go to work. "

How do you honor your feminine body?

"I know I have struggled a lot with body image. For a long time I was tom-boyish and didn’t feel womanly. I played sports and didn’t feel feminine in the way that society feels so. I feel honored in expressing myself in anything that feels good. Whether that is doing typical girly things like going to get a massage or my nails done, but also just going outside if I’m feeling stagnant or wearing things that show off things that I like about myself. Just taking care of myself, staying in-tune and listening to what my body wants rather than just tapping into what you’re “supposed” to do to feel good."

Where do you find bliss in your life?

"I find bliss from just disconnecting from social media. Uncapping from the normal day: Getting outside, in nature and spending time with my partner. Mostly just getting outside and working in the ground."

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What does self-care mean to you?

"Self-care for me is taking a break. Just doing things that can shut my brain off from being inline with everything that is going on on around us. Just to chill and recharge. Walks, a bath, turning phone and computer off, not feeling like I need to reply instantly and giving my brain a rest."

If you could offer one piece of advice to women, what would it be?

"We are all in this together. Things are going to be ok. What you are going through, the person next to you is probably going through. Whatever we are going through is valid and to just be kind to each other."

Meet Chelsea:

She loves embroidery. In fact, she's super talented at it. You can find her crafting and thrifting in almost all of her free time. She also totally understands dietary restrictions, and would prefer to bike everywhere. She dreams of living on a lot of land and growing her own food. She tans really easily, loves folk music, and may or may not have a ton of house plants.

Honey Matcha Mask

I woke up this morning with a puffy face.  Partly from not drinking enough water yesterday and partly because I am on my cycle. I don't have any anti-inflammatory masks lying around so I thought I would make my own. This simple mask is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial,  loaded with anti-aging properties and is super nourishing and moisturizing.

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Matcha Honey Mask:

  • 1 T honey 
  • 1/2 tsp culinary matcha (my favorite is Mizuba Tea Co)
  • 2 Drops Rose Essential oil (you could also use lavendar)
  • Tiny splash of apple cider vinegar (optional: I mostly used it to thin it out a bit)

In a small bowl combine the first three ingredients. I recommend using a local, unfiltered and unheated honey as it is in it's most organic state. Mix until combined and see if you feel it needs to be a bit thinner. If so add the tiniest splash of ACV. Spread a thin to medium layer over you clean, dry face and let sit for 15-20 minutes. This is a slightly drippy mask so I recommend draping a towel across your chest or wearing a shirt you don't care if it gets dirty. Rinse off and follow with your favorite serums, moisturizers and SPF (Currently using this one.)

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Why honey?

Honey is a pretty much a miracle. It never goes bad, it's a perfect food; you can survive off honey and water (if needed) for a long time and it is loaded with so many amazing benefits not only for our body but for your skin. Here are a few amazing skin benefits of honey:

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  • Antibacterial: removing bacteria and impurities from the skin. This is why it is especially beneficial to those who have acne-prone skin or who struggle with acne. 
  • Antioxidant: Honey is loaded with anti-oxidants which naturally help to slow the aging process
  • Moisturizing; Honey is a humectant which means that it draws moisture from its environment and help to retain it in your skin. 
  • Gentle Exfoliant: honey acts as a natural exfoliant by gently removing impurities from your pores. 
  • Scar Reducer/heals burns: Honey's anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce inflammation in the skin which helps the skin to heal more quickly. It also speeds up the regeneration of skins cells
  • Pulls extra heat out: In Ayurveda, when the eyes become overheated and have a burning sensation, they create a barrier or honey around the eyes to help pull out the extra heat. The same thing happens when you do a mask with honey. You will notice your skin warming up and continuing to release heat a few minutes after you mask.

Why Matcha?

Matcha has many of the same properties that honey has: anti-oxidants, protects the skin against sun damage (due to the polyphenols and catechins), anti-inflammatory and evens our skin-tone and scarring. Matcha and honey are a match-mate in heaven for a mask as they both amplify the benefits of the other. 

Why Rose?
 

Rose is very hydrating to the skin and also smells lovely, calms the spirit and connects you to your heart. If you do not have rose essential oil, you can use lavender. Just make sure you use a high quality essential oil that is not hot (burns the skin).

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Happy Masking!

 

Resources:

ttps://www.skincarebyalana.com/blog/amazing-skincare-benefits-green-tea-matcha/https://www.dabur.com/daburhoney/benefits-of-honey/honey-for-face-and-skin/using-honey-for-face-and-skin#Scars-new <3 https://www.dabur.com/daburhoney/benefits-of-honey/honey-for-face-and-skin/using-honey-for-face-and-skin#Scars-new <3 https://beautisecrets.com/does-honey-heal-scars

Creamy Blackberry Nicecream

Now that the weather is starting to heat up, I crave something cool mid-day or after dinner. Dairy ice cream is usually not my friend and I try not to keep ice cream (dairy or not) around because I end up eating it and then not feeling so great. One of my favorite summer treats to make is nicecream. Nice cream is a banana based frozen treat that you can make super simple or add superfoods, fruits, nut butters, etc to make it extra creamy and delicious. 

The other night I was craving something sweet and pulled a few things out of the freezer. What came from it was a super creamy, super delicious "ice cream" that will now be a staple for the coming summer months. The trick to making this super delicious is waiting until you bananas are very ripe (not completely brown, but lots of brown spots) before freezing. Not only will it make it sweeter, but the starches in the banana break down more the riper the banana gets allowing it to cream up more easily. 

  • 3-4 very ripe frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries (you could also play with other berries)
  • 1 T cashew butter (I use Artisana)
  • splash of nut milk
  • pinch of salt

Combine everything, except the milk in a high speed blender. You will need the stopper for this. I use the "frozen dessert" setting on my vitamix. Use the stopper to push the ingredients into the blender. If needed, add a splash of milk, but not too much or it will become too runny. Continue to blend until creamy. Scoop into a glass container and freeze for 20-30 minutes before serving. If you're feeling extra, you can make my Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake cookies and make a nicecream sandwich. 

 

 

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Moon Cycle Survival Guide

I was 11 when I got my moon cycle for the first time and along with it came all the symptoms. The women in my family have all coped with heavy cramping, bloating and hard periods. I'm talking doubled over, nauseous, mind-numbing cramps from knees to mid back, black out pain. I'm grateful I have a hippy yogi mom and to grow up in an Ayurvedic home to help me learn what would work for my body. 

When I went to a gynecologist, they thought maybe I had endometriosis, but that was quickly thrown out. The next "resolution" was to put me on birth control, which we did not do. Over the years I tried cutting out all sugar, caffeine, hard cardio, warm compresses, prescription pain medication (which just made me high and didn't actually take the pain away), you name it, I've most likely tried it. 

Over the years I have collected recipes, remedies and techniques that have helped me to cope. For me, one of the most powerful tools I learned is to just recognize that this is how my body cycles. I put this guide together to make it as gentle as possible. Not saying this is how all women's bodies cycle. If you truly feel like something is off, I recommend finding a naturopath or gynecologist that you like and trust to see if there is something else going on. I am not a doctor and am just sharing what I have found works for me. 

Warm Gingner Tea: 2-3 Days before my cycle and the first few days of my cycle, I sip on ginger tea. This is an Ayurvedic recipe and it makes a huge difference. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and will help with bloating, indigestion and cramping. I will make a big batch of this tea each morning and sip on it throughout the day. Adding a bit of honey will up the anti-inflammatory factor. 

  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 3 inche fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup nut milk
  • honey to taste (optional)

In a saucepan, bring the water and ginger root to a boil and let it roll until reduced by about a 1/3. Add the milk and remove from the heat. Pour into a mug and add honey to taste.

 

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  • Pain Management: I used to pop 4 ibuprofen every 8 hours when I was on my cycle because it was the only thing that would touch the pain. I finally found a combination of supplements and herbs that really work.  I work in a chiropractic clinic and we sell a product called Formula 303. These magical pills are an herbal muscle relaxant made from valerian, magnesium and passion flower extract. They work like a dream not only for cramps but also tension headaches and muscle tightness. I take 2 every 3-4 hours to stay on top of the pain for the first 3 days of my cycle. I have found that these are not as effective is the cramping is already really bad. I have to make sure I take them at the first sign of cramping. I also take a dose of CBD each morning and evening to help with inflammation and pain. I currently use Select CBD.  I have been really happy with this source but don't necessarily think its the only one or the best one out there. Do you research and make sure you are getting it from an organic source. I will be doing a whole blog post on CBD soon.  When things get really painful I will add a Valerian Tincture, as well. This is formulated by the doctor I work for, but you can find valerian tinctures at most health food stores. 
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  •  Free and Easy Wanderer: This is a Chinese herb combination developed to help support the female reproductive system. When I am good about taking this every day, it makes a difference in my cycles. I take one dropper-full each morning in my glass of water. 
  • Ashwadangha: This Ayurvedic herb is truly amazing for the entire body. It helps to support the adrenal glands, nervous system and reproductive system. It very high in iron (if you have extra heavy periods, mix ashwagandha with molasses and nut milk). I take this herb almost every day. I feel that it helps keep my body in balance, and it also strengthens the uterine wall. Sun Potion is my favorite source for powdered extract. It is organic and tested for heavy metals (this is extremely important for products that come out of India). Portland Ashwagandha Farm makes a really great tincture as well. 

Note: I am also planning a post on adaptogens to support  your moon cycle so stay tuned for that!

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  • Warm Epsom Salt Baths and Hot Water Bottle: I'm a sucker for a warm bath. When cramping is really heavy, I light a candle, fill the tub, add epsom salts and climb in. I use this time to meditate and connect with my body. Sometimes I read a book, but it really helpful for me to just sit and listen to my body. I will place my hands on my abdomen and breathe through the discomfort. The warm water and epsom salts help to ease the cramping as well as low back pain and body aches. On days when a bath isn't possible or it's just too hot outside, I will curl up on the couch with a hot water bottle tucked next to tummy. This makes a huge difference and feels warming and comforting to my body. 

  •  Movement: Some people find it helpful to do cardio or movement while on their cycles. My body does not like it. I have a tendency to do very gentle and slow yogic stretches and gentle slow walks. This way my body is still moving, but not exerting. It's already working so hard to expel what no longer serves it. Some yoga poses that feel very soothing to my body are child's pose, gentle camel pose, and sitting in easy pose with both hands gently cradling your abdomen. Breathe all the way down into the bottom of your abdomen and breathe it all out. Whatever type of movement you choose to do during this time of the month, make sure you are connecting with your body and not pushing. 
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I am sharing these tools in hopes that it will provide some sort of support or help for other women. I know that I felt like this was just going to be my life and I couldn't do anything about it. It took me asking questions, trial and error and my yogic upbringing to find the things that worked. That being said, our bodies are always changing and always evolving so tomorrow I could wake up and none of these things work. Learning to tune into my body and truly listen has been the most powerful tool. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me directly or leave a comment below. 

Cacao Magic No-Bake Cookies

One of my favorite childhood treats was chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies. They were one of the few treats my papa would make. My favorite part was licking the pot while they set in the freezer. I haven't had them in years because I don't really eat like that anymore. When my husband asked for cookies the other night when it was 85 degrees and roasting in our house, I was like "um, there is no way I am using the oven." I remembered these delicious cookies and thought to myself, "I could totally make an upgraded, healthier version." You can use regular cacao powder in place of the Cacao Magic, but the cacao nibs add an extra delicious crunch as well as protein (each serving of cacao magic has 10 g of plant based protein) and superfoods. The cold brew adds an amazing element of flavor, but can also be omitted. 

Ingredients:

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and coconut sugar. Stir to combine and add cacao powder and cold brew. Once everything is melted and combined, remove from heat. Fold in the oats. With a cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop cookies onto a lined cookie sheet. Press down on the tops to flatted into a disk shape. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Devour with zero guild because you're eating superfoods and protein :)

Makes 10 cookies.

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Blueberry Lemon Cookie Bars with Coconut Butter Matcha Drizzle

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A few Saturday's ago I went to my friend Lauren's (founder of Mizuba Tea Co.) house to play with matcha and coconut butter. From this was born a delicious, refined sugar free, gluten free blueberry lemon cookie bar with a matcha coconut butter drizzle. *Queue drooling*

These little bars go together quite quickly and are filled with antioxidants from the blueberries and matcha, all the good fats and whole grains. 

Cookie Layer:

  • 1 cup GF oat flour
  • 1 cup GF oats
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut butter (I used Artisana)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat your oven at 375.

To make oat flour put oats into a high speed blender or food processor and process until it resembles flour. Place all the ingredients in a bowl. I found the best way to melt the coconut butter was to fill a large bowl with boiling water and sit the jar in it for about 20 minutes. It will get delicious and melty. Line a 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment and grease. Press the cookie crust into the pan with clean hands. 

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Blueberry Lemon Filling:

  • 1 cup frozen of fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Pour blueberry mixture onto crust and set aside. 

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Cookie Crumble:

  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. With your fingers, mix the coconut oil into the flour until it resembles peas. Sprinkle the topping on top of the blueberries. Place in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Let cool while you make the matcha coconut butter drizzle.

Drizzle:

Combine 1/4 cup melted coconut butter and 2 tsp culinary matcha. With a spoon drizzle, generously, over the cookie bars. 

Remove the bars from the pan by pulling at the sides of the parchment. Slice into squares and serve with tea or coffee. 

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Body Bliss Matcha Latte

The matcha obsession is real. This vibrantly green tea has a long list of health benefits including pure, unadulterated chlorophyll (the pigment that makes plants green. It helps to oxygenate your blood and produce more hemoglobin), packed with antioxidants and amino acids. Matcha is 100% shade grown and stone ground into a fine powder. Because of this, it has all the fiber and all the nutrients the plant has to offer. 

When making a matcha latte, you want to always use culinary matcha. Ceremonial grade matcha has subtle and different flavor profiles depending on how often they are harvested, where they are grown, etc. Culinary matcha is courser ground to withstand mixing it with milk, flour, sugar etc. Not all culinary matcha is created equally. My favorite is Mizuba. This company is local to Portland, organic and sourced directly from Uji, Japan. 

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All the ladies went crazy for my matcha latte recipe at my Field Trip workshop this past weekend. I thought I would share the recipe as a little teaser while I am in the process of writing my adaptogen latte ebook. This recipe has all the components needed for a nourishing and delicious adaptogenic matcha latte. Do not be afraid of the fat. Adaptogens are fat soluble, meaning they need to be combined with a fat in order to be absorbed by the body. My secret ingredient, fresh ginger root, adds a warming and delicious flavor. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion. You can enjoy this latte warm or over ice. I find it lovely anytime from morning to mid afternoon and still have no issue with sleeping. If you've been wanting to try matcha, this is a great starter recipe. Plus homemade is always better than from a coffee shop  :)

ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water (NEVER use boiling water with matcha, it burns it. You want it to be hot, but no boiling)
  • 1/2 cup nut milk (if you want to make your own, check out my nut milk 101 post.)
  • 1 tsp to 1 T ghee or coconut butter
  • 1 tsp organic culinary matcha
  • 1/2 tsp Sunpotion Yin Power adaptogenic blend*
  • 1/2 inch peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 pitted date

In a high-speed blender combine all ingredients and blend on high for 30 seconds or a minute. Pour into a much and enjoy

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*Use whatever adaptogens feel good to you in the moment. If you don't have any adaptogens on hand, you can leave them out. This blend is pricey; however, i use half the recommended dose and the jar is quite large. I would say that a jar would last you 6 months using it every day (which I don't). This blend helps to boost the immune system, balance your hormones, relief stress, help with mental alertness and boost your libido. 

Note: If you're like me then matcha and an empty stomach don't mix. If i drink matcha first thing in the morning without putting something into my stomach I get really nauseous and feel like I'm going to throw up. If this is the case for you, I recommend drinking this latte with or after a meal. I have no issues when taken this way. 

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Punjabi Bharta

I love Indian food. I honestly could eat it every single day. I particularly love Punjabi food. Punjab is the northern region of India and happens to be where my husband grew up. He normally does the Indian cooking in our house, but lately I have been feeling super inspired. The last time we visited India I would spend hours in the kitchen with my Auntie watching her work her magic. It was an experience I can't quite put into words. She had a sixth sense when it came to seasoning dishes without even needing to taste them and could roll out a roti with her bare hands in a matter of seconds. 

Bharta is one of my husband's all-time favorite dishes. Bharta means eggplant in Punjabi. This dish is nurturing, smoky and delicious. Indian food is designed to have an ease on the digestive track. I stuck to tradition with this recipe as I feel like it is perfect the way it is. Traditionally served over white Basmati rice, topped with ghee and with a side or yogurt or next to a roti or naan. 

Ingredients:

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  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 c frozen peas
  • 3 T ghee
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, ground coriander, cumin seed, curry powder and smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each turmeric, fennel seed and ajwain (caraway seed)
  • 1/4 tsp  each ground cardamom and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water

First step is to "smoke" or roast the eggplant. I do this by using two medium to large cast iron pans. Over medium high heat, place the eggplants into a dry cast iron skillet and allow them to cook for about 5 minutes. Turn the eggplants slightly so that the surface right next to the one you just cooked can be cooked. Continue to rotate every 5 minutes or so until the whole outside of the eggplant is charcoaled. Place the second pan, fave down over the top of the pan and turn the stove off. Let sit for an hour and sweat. Remove the eggplants from the plan, the skin should easily slip off. Remove all the skip and place the eggplant into a high speed blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until you have an eggplant puree. 

In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, melt the ghee on medium heat. Add all the spices and stir until fragrant. Toasting your spices in ghee before adding any other ingredients, releases the flavor as well as activates the turmeric. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook on medium-low heat until the onions are very soft (10-15 minutes). You want them to be transparent and starting to caramelize. Add the tomato paste and water (start with 1/4 cup, if it seems too thick, continue to add water 1 T at a time. You want it to be a thick gravy-like consistently). Add salt, eggplant and peas. Stir until combined and taste to adjust salt. Serve over steamed rice and top with yogurt 

Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

I'm a big fan of treats that satisfy my sweet tooth but also nourish my body. This past weekend I was craving cheesecake but didn't want all the sugar and dairy. These bars are so incredibly delicious. They are just sweet enough with the perfect tartness. I could easily eat one of these every day (I may or may not have since I've made them...). The blueberry cardamom variation is equally as delicious with a lovely floral note from the cardamom. Either way you can't go wrong. 

Crust:

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  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and pulse until the mixture is combined and resembles course sand. Pour into a bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Line a bread pan with parchment. Pour the crust into the pan and use a spatula to spread evenly. Place in the freezer.

"Cheesecake" filling:

  • 1 cup soaked and drained cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch os salt
  • 1/3 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 T The Philosophie Berry Bliss (optional-use code BODYBLISS15 for a discount)

Combine all ingredients but the raspberries and Philosophie Superfood Powder into a high speed blender or food processor and blend on high until creamy (30 seconds to a minute). Remove the crust from the freezer and pour half the batter over the crust. Pour the raspberries into the remaining filling and blend until combined. Pour remaining mixture over the white layer. You may choose to swirl at this point. To do this use a knife and zig sag back and forth until you reach the desired patter. Place the pan into the freezer and freeze for 1 to 2 hours until set.

The serve, run a knife around the edges, remove with the tabs from the parchment and slice into squares. Store in an airtight container in your freezer. Remove from freezer 5 to 10 minutes before eating.

Blueberry Cardamom Variation:

To make the blueberry cardamom version, sub frozen blueberries for raspberries, only use the juice from 1 lemon and add 1/4 tsp ground cardamom. 

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Banana Chia Pudding

The last couple months my tummy has not been super happy. I ate too many raw vegetables and too much roughage and my body has decided it was enough. So it basically shut down digestion. As a result I have been eating very simple, warming and gentle foods. Lots of steamed veggies, rice and tofu and a boat load of this delicious, gentle banana pudding. It has good fats from the milk and chia seeds, sweetness and potassium from the banana and a delicious spice from the cardamom. It resembles banana cream pie and may be my new favorite snack. You can adjust the sweetness according to taste and top with coconut cream. I make ahead of time and store in mason jars. Will keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator. 

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup nut milk or full fat coconut milk
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 extra ripe banana
  • 1 T maple or date syrup (optional. I only use if the banana isn't super ripe)

Instructions:

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk, chia seeds, cardamom and vanilla. Bring to a low simmer and simmer until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Mash the banana really well, until most of the lumps are gone. Fold the banana into the chia mixture. Pour into jars and refrigerate 2 hours until set and chilled. Top with yogurt or coconut cream and enjoy.