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.

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!

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. 

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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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. 

Herby Falafel Recipe

A few months back I came across a falafel recipe where you don't cook the chickpeas and I was intrigued. I have a recipe for falafel that uses cooked chickpeas and it is delicious but it doesn't have that traditional falafel crunch. I thought I would try it out. The herbs add a lovely freshness while the lemon brightens the flavor. I think these may be my new favorite comfort food.  

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  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 T chickpea flour (if you don't have this, wheat or GF flour will work just fine)
  • 1 T lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (if you like a stronger flavor you can use 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • oil for frying (I use avocado)

Place the chickpeas in a bowl and cover with 3 inches of water. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. 

Rinse the chickpeas and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients, accept the oil. Pulse until combined, scrapping the sides as needed. Continue to pulse until the batter resemble gravel or course sand. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. The dough will taste a bit salty, but it will mellow as it sits and be perfect once they are cooked. 

Place a large fry pan on your range at medium high heat. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil into the pan. Wait until hot, but not smoking (I will drop a tiny piece of the dough into the oil, if its sizzles, it's ready). Shape the dough into 1 1/2 in flattened balls (I use a cookie scoop and flatten and round with my hands). Cook 5 or less at a time, make sure not to overcrowd your pan. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain. I love to serve these atop a green salad or as wraps with pitta, yogurt sauce and greek salad. 

GHEE: The Good Fat

HISTORY

Ghee comes from a sanskrit word meaning "clarified butter." It had been used in Indian culture for over 5000 years. It is made by simmering butter at a low temperature until the milk fat has separated. The impurities are skimmed off the top and the golden liquid is strained through cheese cloth and the residue on the bottom is discarded. Because the milk solids are removed, it can be left at room temperature and won't go rancid. 

Ghee may be the single most important ingredient in Indian cooking. It is a staple in their household and the beginning of all Indian dishes. Ghee is held with high regard as it is made with butter from cow milk. Cows are a sacred animal in India. The mother cow is revered as the physical manifestation of the Goddess as she nurtures and mothers all of us with her nectar. Because the milk solids have been removed, it withstands high heat without becoming caustic or burning. It it also used as a base in Ayurvedic remedies as many of the Ayurvedic adaptogens are fat soluble. This means that their effect and your ability to absorb their benefits in greatly increased when fat is the carrier. 

WHY GHEE?

Ghee is a wonderful source of fat for many reasons. As I mentioned before it is great for high heat cooking, but it is also super nourishing for the body. Some of the benefits of ghee includes, but are not limited to:

  • Free of lactose and casein (all my lactose intolerance friends and family, you can have ghee!)

  • High in fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K

  • High in Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid beneficial to gut health. It causes the growth and repair of new tissues in the digestive tract. Butyric acid also balanced and strengthens gut flora and can help to combat candida.

  • Because it is high in medium chain fatty acids, ghee helps support a healthy metabolism and supports weight loss

  • Digestive Health

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Brain Health: Saturated fat is essential for proper brain health and ghee is one of the highest quality saturated fats available.

  • In Ayurveda there is a term called “Ojas” or life force. Ghee is revered for being high in Ojas and giving vitality and life to the mind, body and spirit.

Any recipe that calls for oil or butter, ghee can replace. I use it to roast veggies, sauté, fry, bake. I drink 1 T of ghee in my latte every morning. It nourishes my body and “gets things going.”

WHY MAKE YOUR OWN

I've been eating ghee for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my mom used it to make Kitcheree  (I will share my recipe soon, but in the meantime check out THIS one), spread on toast, add to popcorn and melted over steamed veggies. It wasn't something you found regularly on the grocery store shelves, so we made it ourselves. In the last 5 years, ghee has become more and more popular in the United States. There are a lot of wonderful ghee products out there, but I personally feel that many of them are overpriced for what you get. I find it to be quite important that my ghee is organic. Ghee made from conventional butter may have GMOs, pesticides and toxins. If you can find organic and grass-fed butter, that is even better. If you have to choose between organic and grass-fed, I would go with the organic. 

HOW TO

There are several ways to make ghee at home. I am going to share my favorite. It is easier then you can imagine, costs under $5 and once you start you will be wondering why you haven't been doing it all along. All you need is a pound of organic, unsalted butter.

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Step 1

Start with 1 lb of organic, unsalted butter. I usually get mine at Trader Joe’s as it is affordable.

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Step 2

Place butter in a saucepan and put on your stove over medium heat. Once the butter is completely melted, lower the heat to medium-low

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Step 3

As the butter simmers, the fat solids will rise to the top (some will also fall to the bottom). The process of separation takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes. You will know when it is done when you use a spoon to scoop some of the solids off the tops and the liquid underneath is a clear golden color.

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Step 4

This is what the milk solids will look like when the ghee is done. Remove from heat. To make the straining easier, you may choose to spoon the milk solids off the top and discard.

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Step 5

Place a piece of cheesecloth that has been folded over several times over a glass jar and slowly pour the ghee into the jar. Keep an eye to make sure that no milk solids are falling through (if so, you just need to do a second strain.)

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Step 6

You now have your very own, homemade ghee. If you want the ghee to be super creamy (like fourth and heart), put it in the freezer overnight and take it out in the morning. If you want a more traditional ghee texture, leave it on your counter. Store at room temperature.

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN

90% of the time I make my own ghee, but there are those weeks when I just don't have time or I wanted to get some fun flavors to add to my dishes. When those times arise, I reach for Ahara Rasa Ghee or Fourth and Heart . Ahara Rasa is a local Portland company that is both organic and grass fed. I love them as they have fun flavors like garlic & lemon, chai spice and vanilla. Fourth and Heart, though not organic has a delicious creamy texture (you get that by putting your ghee in the freezer while it is still hot) and is made from New Zealand dairy (they have different standards then the US).

Whether you choose to make your own ghee or buy it form the store, it is a great fat to add to your diet.

Chickpea Flatbread with Greens & Roasted Veggies

Chana (chickpea) flour is a staple in Indian cooking. I love the texture and flavor it provides. Many of my favorite Indian sweets are made with a base of chana flour and ghee. These flatbreads or pancakes were inspired by my travels in India and an old recipe by Yogi Bhajan for jalapeno pancakes. These make a wonderful brunch or dinner. They are loaded with protein and absolutely delicious. A perfect addition to your weeknight meals. 

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Flatbread:

  • 1 1/2 cups chana flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (if you want more heat, add some of all of the seeds)
  • 3-4 large green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Roasted Veggies:

  • 1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3-4 small to medium zucchinis, cut into half moon pieces.)
  • 1 T avocado or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Greens:

  • 2 bunches collard greens, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 T ghee
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings:

  • goat cheese whipped with lemon zest, lemon juice and pepper
  • cashew or nut cheese
  • labne (Lebanese yogurt cheese)
  • avocado
  • zataar

Preheat the oven to 400. On a lined baking sheet, toss the yams and zucchini with oil, spices and salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through until golden brown and soft.  

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In a bowl combine water and chickpea flour. Whisk until smooth. Add salt, green onion and jalapeno. Add a generous amount of oil to a cast iron skillet and bring up to medium heat. Ladle batter into pan and cook for several minutes (until golden brown), flip and cook until golden brown on the opposite side. Continue until the batter is gone.

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In the same pan used to cook the flatbreads, add 1 T ghee and garlic. Top with the collard greens and 1/4 cup water. Stir and cover. Steam the greens until tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from heat. 

To assemble: Place a flatbread on a plate and top with cheese (if using), greens, roasted veggies, avocado and zataar. Drizzle with olive oil and dive in. 

Herby Lentil Tart

I love this tart. It has so much flavor, is warming and comforting. I developed this recipe last Thanksgiving when I needed a main dish, but wanted to do something different. This recipe is super versatile, as you can play with the flavors in the filling. It would be delicious in the summer with  pesto seasoned lentils. You can also create mini tarts and serve as an appetizer. Enjoy!

Recipe:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp each of fresh sage, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 T pomegranate molasses
  • 2 T mustard
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Preheat your oven at 425. Remove puff pastry from the freezer and let it come to room temperature.

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized. Add a sprinkle of salt and the herbs. Stir until fragrant and add the lentils. Season with a bit more salt and cook until everything is combined. Taste and adjust flavors to your preference. 

In a small bowl combine molasses, 1 T olive oil, 1 T mustard and pepper. Pour over lentils and stir until combined. Allow the liquid to cook down by about half. Add the chopped walnuts and stir to combine. 

On a parchment lined baking sheet, roll out the puff pastry. Brush with olive oil, leave a 1 inch border around the edge. Brush the edge with water and fold over 1/2 inch to create a raised crust. Brush the center of the tart crust with mustard. Pour the lentil mixture into the center of the crust and spread until even. Sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola and place in the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a beautiful green salad. 

Drool-worthy Twix Bars

About a year ago I thought to myself "there has got to be a way to make a healthy Twix bar." I have no shame in admitting I have eaten way too many of these in my life. So into the kitchen I went to create. It took a few tries, but I think I nailed it. The cookie is slightly sweet, salty and crunchy. The caramel has the perfect texture; chewy and delicious! These are perfect for the holidays (or, let's be real, anytime of the year). They are gluten, grain, and refined sugar free and vegan. If you make these, make sure to use #bodyblissrecipes on instagram so I can see your beautiful creations! Happiest of Holidays to you! May it be filled with family, friends and so much love!

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Cookie:

  • 3/4 cup organic peanut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (I also successfully used hazelnut meal)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the over to 350. Mix everything together in a medium bowl. Line a bread pan with parchment paper and press the cookie batter into the pan. Using your hand or the a wet spatula to smooth out the top. Pierce the cookie several times with a fork at bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in the freezer.

Caramel:

  • 10 dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes
  • 2 T cashew butter (almond butter also works0
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp each of pine pollen, reishi and maca 
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Put everything into the bowl of a food processor and process until creamy (I like to make sure it is a creamy paste and no date pieces remain). Remove the cookie from the freezer. With wet hands, spread the caramel over the cookie. Take a wet spatula and smooth it out until it is flat and place back in the freezer. Let set at least an hour.

Chocolate:

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In a double boiler (if you don't have one, place a glass bowl over a pan of water and bring to boil, make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl when it boils). Chop or break up the chocolate and add it to the bowl with oil and cacao magic. Stir until melted. Remove the bars from the freezer. With a sharp knife cute in half length-wise and then into 1 inch slices width-wise. Dip into chocolate either on all surfaces or dip the bottom and drizzle over the top. Place on a cookie sheet and put back in the freezer until set. 

Spiced Golden Milk

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Golden Milk: You've probably heard of it as turmeric is now the "it" superfood. Growing up in a yogic household, golden milk was served to me regularly. A rich golden cup full of turmeric, honey and almond oil.

These days you will find it at coffee shops, in the refrigerated section of your grocery store and in powder form on the shelves. One important aspect about turmeric that many do not know is that in needs to be activated in order to be usable by the  body. This can be done by combining with a good fat (ie, ghee) or by cooking at a low temperature for an extended period of time. 

It is a common misconception that black pepper helps with turmeric absorption. Black pepper contains a compound called peperine, which inhibits the metabolic breakdown of turmeric in the gut and liver so that it remains in the body longer and increases the effects. So it is beneficial to combine black pepper with your turmeric, but it does not help with absorption. For this reason I like to add black pepper in addition to either simmering the powder in water or mixing with a healthy fat.

Most of you already know that Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, but did you also know that turmeric has a long list of benefits including, but not limited to:

  • blood purifying
  • lubricates the joint
  • can repair damage to the nerve center caused by drug abuse
  • promotes digestion
  • immune support
  • nourishes the heart and circulatory system

If you're going to make golden milk, I find the most effective way to do so is by cooking the turmeric powder in water. The turmeric powder needs to simmer at a low temperature for at least 8 minutes to make a paste. 

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I grew up using a recipe by Yogi Bhajan. I use his traditional way of making turmeric paste, but have made a few adjustments and added some delicious spices. 

Golden Milk:

  • 1/8 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup nut milk
  • 1 T ghee, almond oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • a pinch of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp grated ginger root
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In a saucepan add the turmeric powder and filtered water. Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer. Set a timer for 8 minutes. Continue to whisk the paste while it simmers. Cook until a paste forms (at least 8 minutes or longer). Add the milk, ghee, pepper, cardamom and ginger. Bring up the heat until the milk is hot, but not boiling. Once hot, remove from heat and strain through a mesh strainer. Add sweetener to taste and enjoy.

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Note: You can make a larger amount of paste to keep in a glass jar in your fridge for up to 40 days. Just increase the amount of turmeric powder and water. When you want to make golden milk, simply heat up your milk and other ingredients with anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 T of turmeric paste, strain and enjoy. 

Add-ins: To superpower this already amazing drink you can add reishi, ashwagandha, pine pollen, spirulina or chlorella. The possibilities really are endless. For adaptogen companies I love and trust head over to my "Products I love" page. 

Once you've made the paste you can add it to other dishes and drinks.  I like to add it to oats, lattes, curries, stir fries, etc. 

Turmeric is an amazing root that can have really impactful benefits on your health. I highly recommend making it a part of your regular diet. To add to all the incredible benefits of turmeric, regular consumption can lead to a beautiful golden glow. You really can't go wrong. 

Resources:

https://www.3ho.org/3ho-lifestyle/yogic-diet/yogic-foods-recipes/golden-milk-healing-tonic-vitality-and-flexibility

https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/herbs/turmeric/

https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/is-turmeric-effective-only-when-combined-with-black-pepper/turmeric_black_pepper/

Banh Mi Bowl

Fun fact about me; my husband and I lived in Vietnam for a short time a few years back. One of the things I loved most about it was how many veggies are in the daily diet. Vegetables were always the star of every dish. We would go to the market and the isles would be lined with bins overflowing with brightly covered fruits and veggies. It changed the way I cook and I am forever grateful for that. 

The other day I was missing our beautiful little apartment in Saigon and the flavors of the city. I threw together my take of a banh mi. A banh mi is a sandwich, usually eaten for breakfast or a snack. This version is deconstructed, vegan and served on a bed of pad thai noodles. 

For the Bowls:

  • 1-8 oz package rice noodles 
  • 1 package extra firm tofu (my favorite is Hodo soy)
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced

Noodle Sauce:

  • 3 T Tamari
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil

Cashew Sriracha Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for several hours or overnight
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 2 T sriracha
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water

Cook noodles according to package instruction. Drain and toss with a bit of raw sesame or avocado oil. 

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Drain the tofu and wrap with clean kitchen towel, place a plate on top of the cake and let sit for about 30 minutes. If you are using Hodo Soy Tofu, you can skip this step. Slice the tofu into 1/4 inch slices. Place corn starch and salt in a bowl and toss until coated. Heat a pan on medium to high heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan (I like to use a cast iron). Place tofu in the pan and let cook until golden brown (3-4 minutes on each side). Remove tofu from the pan and place on a paper towel.

Prepare the veggies.

To make the noodle sauce combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

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In a high speed blender add all ingredients and blend on high until creamy (about 30-60 seconds). If you want it to be thinner, add a bit more water. If it gets too thin, add a small handful of cashews. 

Assemble the bowl by placing the noodles in a bowl. Drizzle a couple spoonfuls of the noodle sauce over the noodles. Arrange the tofu and veggies to your liking. I like to bunch them together around the side of the bowl. Drizzle with cashew sriracha sauce and sesame seeds. Dive in!

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Goddess of the Month: Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie

I have been so incredibly excited about this Goddess of the Month. Body Bliss Lifers meet Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie!* I first discovered Philosophie Superfoods while staying with a friend in LA. She showed me her smoothie cupboard and pulled out three brown envelopes with bright labels. She said they were created by a local mom and vegan/raw chef. I used them every day for the remainder of my trip. When I got home, I immediately placed an order and I have not been without since.

Not only does this beauty make amazing superfoods blends, but Sophie is a true inspiration. She teaches to believe in magic, to be the best you, you can be and to work your ass off to live the life YOU want to live. I am beyond grateful to have her as a friend and support system in this life. Without further adieu, let's hear what this Goddess has to share:

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What inspired you to create your own company?

I wanted superfoods to be accessible to anyone and everyone. I also wanted it to be easy to get a nourishing boost of superfoods, all rolled into one bag. I know for myself personally, I was so sick of running out of a certain product, mid way during my smoothie, having to run over all of LA to find the right Maca, hence philosophie was born!

My husband was a big push behind starting philosophie superfoods! We were floating in the sea in Israel, realizing I was starting to really wear myself down with meal planning and cooking for so many different people all through out LA.  I knew creating my own personal blends for people to use on their own, was the natural and organic next step. 

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Why superfoods?

Because I fully believe in them, and the impact and power they have on our bodies!

What is your morning routine?

If the kiddos actually end up sleeping in their own bed (which rarely happens ;) ) I'll try and get a few extra minutes of sleep! If they are with me, its major snuggle time, then brekkie! We love to make superfood smoothies or waffles together, depending on what everyone is craving! In our house, we REALLY listen to our bodies! 

Once we get them out the door to their school (a Waldorf, obsessed with it!) i try to find some beautiful morning light to stretch a bit. Next up, its time for a sweat! Hot8 yoga, Soul Cycle, or the Culver city stairs are my main go to's lately! I'll rush home for a quick shower then its time to check my ever growing email, and get to work!

My favorite Superfood Coffee recipe found here:

So easy, I throw these ingredients into my Vitamix Blender:

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

I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by so many incredible women, from friends to family. My incredible, beautiful, inspiring mother Phyllis, is also a huge impact on my life and philosophie. She also braved a huge battle with Stage 4 Breast Cancer, and was one of the most terrifying experiences of our lives. I was so inspired by this that I created the Cacao Magic Mushroom superfood blend which includes 3 medicinal mushrooms: ReishiChaga and Cordyceps. These 3 mushrooms have been used for centuries to heal people and are known as “the ultimate herbal substances”. I began to do more research than ever during the time she had cancer to get to know the magical herbs of the world and using them myself.

If you were stranded on an island and could only take two adaptogens with you, which two would you choose and why?  

Reishi and Chaga for their incredible healing benefits! Truly foods you can live off of.

How do you honor your feminine body? 

By speaking kindly to it and allowing my self to be authentic and free!

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Where do you find Bliss in your life? 

Through my kids, husband, work, workouts, helping others, laughing, a great meal! A sweaty yoga flow does wonders for the soul and mood. Making time to move your body is key in maintaining Bliss for me!

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

Don't listen to the noise, trust in yourself and your authentic being! only YOU know whats best for you, and don't hesitate to say NO to something that doesn't serve you!

 

*To receive 15% off your total purchase with The Philosophie, use code "bodybliss"