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.  Speaking of ghee, this recipe features my favorite local ghee company, Ahara Rasa. This ghee is grass fed, organic and filled with so much love. I like to use the Nitre Kibbeh in this recipe to add some extra flavor, but feel free to use the Traditional Ghee throughout if that suites you. This recipe was inspired by my travels to India and a recipe for jalapeno pancakes I grew up with. I like to change up the ingredients to fit the season.

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Flatbread:

  • 1 1/2 cups chana flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)

  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water

  • 1 T melted Ahara Rasa Nitre Kibbeh Ghee (use code BODYBLISS)

  • squeeze of lemon juice

  • 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 Traditional Ghee

  • 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 Traditional 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 ghee, 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, chickpea flour, lemon juice. Whisk until smooth and let sit 10 minutes. Add melted ghee, salt, green onion and jalapeno. Add a generous amount of ghee 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. 

Note to Reader: I am affiliated with Ahara Rasa Ghee. Clicking on any of the ghee links in this post will provide me with a small percentage of your purchase. I proudly use and love any products that I am affiliated with.

Interview: Lindsey Wilson of Owl Venice

Happy Monday! This interview is long overdue. I reached out to Lindsey of Owl Venice several months ago asking if she would be interested in doing an interview for the blog. I feel like what her and her partner are doing in the wellness world is long overdue and so needed. In an industry that prides itself in empowering women in honoring and loving their bodies all the while telling us we constantly need this pill, this cleanse, this powder and this cream, it can be very confusing and intimidating. Lindsey has created a food based cleanse that is all about deeply nourishing your body, listening to what it needs and loading it up with nutrients. Its a bone broth and smoothie based cleanse with adaptogens and superfoods that help to heal your gut, nourish your body and leave you feeling connected to yourself. The best part about it? They have a completely vegan option (no need for the vegs to feel left out on all the nutrients a broth based cleanse can offer). This is a “cleanse” this holistic health coach can get on board with. If you are intrigued by this concept, use code BODYBLISS for a discount HERE.

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Lindsey, thank you for taking the time to so truthfully answer these questions. Welcome to the Body Bliss Family!

What inspired you to create your own business?

I've always wanted to start my own business, and this wasn't my first. My other attempts, I lost interest before it caught on. The broth really came to me, while I was on my own healing journey, and the business really created itself. It helped me so much that my friends and family took notice. I made a big batch for a friend of a friend, and had some left over jars, so I put up a post on Facebook and got 100 orders in a week. I went and bought some big pots and just went with it. It's been a challenge ever since, making sure that I'm dictating the tempo, and not the business.


Why Cleanses?

I created the cleanse to help heal my own digestive issues. I was inspired by the all liquid concept of a cleanse, but wanted to create something that would be nourishing, and not depleting, and also void of sugar and any common allergens. I was inspired to create something colorful and flavorful, despite all the restrictions. I was inspired by Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, as well as chronobiology. It really is a research-based program I designed to reboot the digestive system. 

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

My grandmother! She is the epitome of grace. I always felt like I could share anything with her without judgement, and that's how I hope people feel with me. 

What is your current favorite song to move to?

Matt Simmons, Catch & Release. Andre and I both love dancing to this song! 

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

Having a clear vision, and an action oriented plan to achieve is so important! To get clear on my vision, I do a lot of feeling into the way I want to feel, journaling, and getting in touch with my ultimate desires. I envision my ideal life and put myself in it. Then, I research how to make it happen, how much do these things cost, what will I need to get there, find other people doing it, ask them questions, and put it out into the universe that this is what I desire and I will find a way to make it happen! I write things down over and over again, make to-do lists, and to-contact lists, and remain open to my plans changing, and things looking differently than I envisioned at the same time.

What is your morning ritual?

My fiance, Andre, usually wakes up before I do and prepares hot water with lemon while I meditate. I usually meditate for 11 minutes, then I stretch a little bit, and drink my lemon water while I slowly start moving. Then, prepare food for the dogs and make myself a morning coffee or tonic before I prepare my workspace for the day. I usually dive right into emails, get into the flow, and save my workout for 4pm when we typically wind down the work day. 

How do you honor your feminine body?

I move slowly in the mornings. I get manicures and take baths. I stick to light workouts when I'm on my moon cycle. I try to get my heart rate up every day. I allow myself to feel whatever I'm feeling. 

Where do you find Bliss in your life?

I find bliss in my relationship (we're currently planning our wedding and it is so fun!), also in growing this business (so rewarding growing this community and fostering healing and connection), in cuddling & adventuring with our sweet pups (kismet & karma), the days I'm able to make it to a yoga class, and spending time in nature!

What does self-care mean to you?

Self care means loving yourself! It means taking the time to honor your body and get quiet enough to listen to your intuition. It means putting your needs first, and creating healthy boundaries for yourself and the people you choose to keep in your life.

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

You're stronger than you think! Too often I see women second guess themselves, especially in business and relationships. Just move forward, and you're bound to figure it out. Don't assume anyone knows better than you, and also know that there's opportunity to learn from everyone.

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Bio:

Founder, Lindsey Erin’s journey to health began 6 years ago, when her mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Despite the challenge of supporting a sick loved one, the event inspired Lindsey to take control of her own health and began research how to minimize the risk of disease through good dietary choices.

After years of experimenting with organic, vegetable rich regimens that strictly limited meat and processed foods, she found herself still struggling with constant allergy symptoms, digestive issues, and acne. Inspired by her research and peers, Lindsey began a diet geared to treat GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) which largely incorporated bone broth. Lindsey began making her own bone broth at home that was void of common allergens and instead highlighted a vast array of herbs, refining the recipe to one that taste more like a tea than a traditional stock, which would become OWL’s signature flagship product.

One year after launching OWL, Lindsey met fellow health enthusiast and fitness expert, Andre Bolourchi. This dynamic duo joined forces upon meeting, and are now growing OWL together.

OWL currently offers chicken, turkey, beef, and vegan mineral broth elixirs that are sold throughout LA county (see locations here), as well as 4, 6, and 8 day cleanse experiences that work to heal and seal the gut, as well as meal prep, holistic catering, and physical training services. 

As more people discover the benefits of using OWL products, Lindsey & Andre will continue innovating, exploring and sharing new ways to live better with those looking to transform.

My experience with Morning Pages

I was going to write this out in an Instagram post but had more to say and felt that it was important for me to share. Morning Pages is a concept is from a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. Her idea is that you wake each morning, grab your journal before you are able to engage in, change or judge your thoughts and journal for 20 minutes. It gets all those thoughts floating around in your head on paper, engages your creativity and lets magic flow. It’s a safe place for your darkest ugliest thoughts, poetry, gratitudes, everything. There are no limits and some mornings you can literally start with “I have nothing to write today, the sky is blue…” You keep writing until the timer goes off. I have heard of this idea before and it kept presenting itself to me. When Julian Hough encouraged a 10 day challenge on instagram I decided to finally give it a try.

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If you’ve been a reader for a while, you will know that I am a huge fan and advocate of journaling. Journaling has been a part of my practice on and off since I could write. I think my mom gave me my first journal when I was 6 or 7 years old. Sometimes I use journal prompts, but I mostly I just journal steam of consciousness. I had never committed to journaling for a certain amount of time every day for a certain amount of days. So this was my experience:

  • This challenge could not have come at a better time. Some challenging things happened in my life about halfway through the ten days. It gave me a place to write out all my fears, sadness, grief and all the anxious thoughts running their way through my head. I am super grateful for having this avenue of healing at this time.

  • I noticed that my mind was much less active throughout the day because I had given myself permission to let all the thoughts flow onto paper in the morning without judgement.

  • I felt more flow in my life the last 10 days. It was like something was opened up inside of me to let more creativity and flow into my life.

As a result, I will be continuing the morning pages as a part of my Self Care Checklist and morning practice. It fit into my life perfectly and has given me permission to truly let my thoughts go again. Life throws crazy unexpected shit at us sometimes and if we have an outlet for that stuff to go, we can process it in a different way. As a water sign, I feel all the feels and sometimes it is absolutely overwhelming. Having a blank page each morning waiting for me, makes me feel safer, more connected to myself and to the divine. I highly recommend this practice, even if you are skeptical or feel not connected to it at all. You never know what kind of magic can flow into your life when you open yourself to something new, unknown and scary.

Grain Free Biscotti

When I lived in Italy, one of my favorite afternoon activities was sitting at a cafe with a cappuccino and biscotti (I know, I know, cappuccinos are morning beverages, but I love them!). There was truly nothing more delicious then dunking that crispy sweet cookie into the creamy cappuccino to make it all soft and melt in your mouth. I wanted to create a “cleaned” up version without gluten. In northern Italy it is traditional to add corn meal to the cookie. This adds another layer of sweetness and crunch. I am very pleased with the way these beauties turned out. You can make them completely vegan or with eggs (I tried both) and they are both equally crunchy and delicious. The thing that makes biscotti special is the double bake. You bake them once in a loaf and then slice and bake again. This element creates that super crispy and delicious texture. I love these any time of year but they are perfect for holiday gift giving and eating (let’s be real, I’m eating more than giving). You can leave the recipe as is for a simple, yet delicious biscuit or you can play around with the different variations I listed below or create your own. There really are no limitations. Add dried fruit, nuts and seeds to your liking. I hope you love these as much as I do.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 cup corn meal (make sure it is organic and non gmo)

  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 T arrowroot powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 eggs or 2 egg replacers (I used Bob’s Red Mill egg replace and it worked great)

  • 1/4 cup nut milk

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 tsp anise extract

*See flavor variations below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine all wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Create a well in the dry ingredients, pour wet mixture in and fold together. Line a large baking sheet with parchment parchment paper. Split the dough into and shape. You may want to wet your hands a bit so the dough doesn’t stick too much. Shape into little football shapes (about 2 inches thick). Place in oven and bake for 18-22 minutes. With a cerated knife, slice the logs widthwise into 1 inch slices. Place slice side down on the cookie sheet and place back into the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cookies cool in the oven. Remove and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with coffee or tea any time of day.

*Flavor Variations:

  • Chocolate hazelnut- 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts and 1/4 cup dark chocolate

  • Lemon Pignolo-1 T fresh lemon zest and 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

  • Cardamom Almond: sub 1/2 tsp almond extract in place of anise and 1/4 tsp ground cardamom

  • Dark Chocolate Cherry-1/3 cup dried cherries 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate

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Body Bliss Life and Daughters of Culture 5-Day Yogic Lifestyle Challenge

Join Amrit-Sadhana of Body Bliss Life & Daughters of Culture 

for a 5-day yogic lifestyle treat!

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Living a yogic lifestyle can bring flow, simplicity & ease to your life. Even adding a few yogic techniques can make a difference. As a community we will cook together, meditate together & connect with ourselves & each other.

With December comes the Winter Holidays & with the Winter Holidays can come stress & anxiety. For some, this time of year can be really challenging emotionally. Going through the holiday's having stability & balanced emotions will keep your stress low & your nervous system strong.

We are very excited to share this with you, as we are coming to the closure of 2018 we feel this is a nice way of us coming together as a community, as a true sisterhood.

This meditation was taught by Yogi Bhajan in November 1991, he said “This meditation is especially useful for dealing with stressful relationships and with past family issues. lt addresses phobias, fears, and neuroses. It can remove unsettling thoughts from the past that surface into the present. It can take difficult situations in the present and release them into the Hands of Infinity.”

This meditation with instructions can be found HERE.  (Link: https://www.3ho.org/3ho-lifestyle/authentic-relationships/stress-relief-and-clearing-emotions-past)

December 13th at 6 PM PST we will do this meditation together on IG Live as a community.

Ayurvedic Adaptogenic Latte:

I love adding herbs and adaptogens to my morning brew. They help to support my nervous system and make delicious lattes. You can choose to use coffee, matcha or a non caffeinated drink for this recipe, it’s up to you. Listen to your body each morning. Maybe one morning you feel like coffee and others, you will feel like tea. If you’re not used to introducing fats into your morning beverage, start with 1 tsp and build from there.

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  • 1 cup coffee or tea

  • 1/2 cup nut milk (if you don’t make your own, try and find one with a short list of ingredients. Malk is great!)

  • 1 tsp to 1 T ghee or coconut oil

  • 1/2 date

  • 1 tsp ashwagandha

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger and cardamom

Blend everything in your high speed blender and pour into your favorite mug. Wrap your hands around your mug and set an intention for the day.


Ayurvedic Morning Porridge:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats (soaked overnight, This is a MUST as it will help with digestion and cut the cooking time in half)

  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water

  • 1/2 cup nut milk

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a saucepan over medium high head combine oats, water, milk and turmeric. Bring to a bowl and reduce to a simmer. Cook until oats are soft (this should only take about 10 minutes since you have soaked them). Add cinnamon, ginger and applesauce. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat and stop with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds or almond butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy Notes: This porridge is great for the winter months as it is going to help to warm you from the inside out. The cinnamon and apple will help to balance blood sugar while the turmeric and ginger provide anti-inflammatory properties. The oats are loaded with fiber to keep you full for a longer time. If you cannot tolerate oats: you can use a mixture of chia seeds and shredded coconut. Combine 1 cup nut milk with 1/4 cup hemp chia seeds and a 1/3 cup shredded coconut. Prepare as directed without the water and using the chia and coconut as the oats.


As yogis, we eat simple diets. We do not eat anything that can’t be digested within 24 hours which is often why meat is not on the menu (although, I truly believe in intuitive eating and if that is what serves your body, this is a completely judgement free zone). A great way to cleanse the body it with a kitcheri diet. You can choose to eat this simple lentil and rice porridge for every meal or you can choose to eat it for one meal a day and supplement with steamed veggies,

salads and simple meals the other two. This is a traditional recipe given by Yogi Bhajan with a few personal adjustments. 

  • 4 1/2 cup filtered water or veg broth

  • 1/2 cup whole mung beans, soaked overnight

  • 1/4 cup white basmati rice or quinoa

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup peeled and finely chopped ginger

  • 3 cups chopped veggies (I find carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and broccoli works best)

  • 1 T ghee or coconut oil

  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp coriander

  • 1/2 tsp cumin

  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a big soup pot, over medium heat, melt ghee and add onions, ginger, garlic and spices. Cook until the onions have just begun to caramelize. Add veggies, stirring occasionally so they do not stick. Rinse the soaked mung beans and the rice and add to pot. Stir until coated in onion and spice mixture. Add water or vegetable stock and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and let cook until the rice or quinoa have broke down and let cook until the rice or quinoa have broke down and thickened the mixture. Taste and add extra salt, if needed. Store in a glass container in your refrigerator.

Can be served with a spoonful of ghee, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Here is your Yogic Schedule for the week:

  • Wake up 15-30 minutes earlier than your usually schedule to have time for your morning practice and meditation.

  • Hydro Therapy is optional, but I highly recommend giving it a try. Once you are done with your warm shower in the morning, turn your shower to cold and run your body as the cold water hits your skin. Make sure that you tune around to get your back, legs, arms, face etc. Bonus if you can hop straight into a cold shower, but I’ve been a yogi most of my life and the only time I can do that is the middle of Summer when its 100 degrees outside. If you are on your moon cycle, this is not advised as it increases blood flow and your body needs to focus on releasing what no longer serves it at this time.

It is also advised to start slow if you have high blood pressure or sciatica issues.

Benefits of Hydro Therapy:

• Opens capillaries and clears toxins at the deepest level of the body

• strengthens the immune system

• strengthens the nervous system

• prevents fatty liver

• increases metabolism

• improves circulation and flushes the organs

I don’t want to give you an outline with times because I feel that everyone has their own schedule so I am going to give you a layout for a day.

1. Wake up, drink a quart of warm water (you can add a squeeze of lemon if you’d like), get ready (cold shower!)

2. Make breakfast and adaptogenic latte

3. Morning practice with Emotional Balance meditation

4. Journal 3 things you are grateful for :)

5. Be mindful of your thoughts throughout the day. Allow emotions as they come, write them down if you need but see if you can honor them, feel them and then make no judgements.

6. Get some movement in! Walk, run, dance, however you choose to move is your choice, just move!

7. Drink TONS of water. 3 quarts if you can.

8. Make your kitcheri ahead of time so it is easy to heat it up for your meals. Serve with sides of steamed greens, salads, or steamed veggies. Keep your diet simple and allow your body to find flow in the simplicity.

9. Stop to check in with your body and breath several times a day

10. Keep a journal and write about your experience at the end of each day. 

  • Do you feel more or less connected? 

  • Do you feel more or less grounded?

The intention for this week is to help you to connect with your highest self, let go of what isn’t serving you & ground you deeply for the holiday season. Cultivating community is a huge passion of mine & collaborating with Daughters of Culture Sisters is a great way for us to unite. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at bodyblisslifepdx@gmail.com.

Guided & Led by Amrit-Sadhana of Body Bliss Life

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Body Bliss Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday gift season is upon us. I am so excited to introduce the first ever Body Bliss Life gift guide. Your guide to high vibration, thoughtful and wellness inspired gifts. Many of these companies are having amazing Black Friday Sales, so now is a great opportunity to try these products for yourself or your loved ones. So grab your adaptogenic hot cacao and read away.

Adaptogen and Herb Companies:

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Anima Mundi Herbals

Anima Mundi translates to Spirit World and that is what these herbs make you feel like. This beautiful company is woman owned and operated. The owner believes in keeping the sacred nature of these herbs in tact and it shows in everything from the quality of the herbs to the packaging. My go to products are the Collagen Booster and the Coconut Cream Powder (transforms your coffee or tea).

 
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Sun Potion

High quality and vibration adaptogens and superfoods. This is my go to company for Ashwagandha (which I used daily) and Mucuna Pruriens (great for this time of year with SAD). They are having a HUGE sale right now, so if you were wanting to try them out, now is the time.

 
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Philosophie Superfoods

If you’ve been following along for a while, you will know that I use this stuff regularly in my kitchen. I put the coconut butters in my coffee and chai, the green dream powder in my pesto and dressings, the cacao magic goes into anything and everything I want chocolaty and the berry bliss is staple during flu season. Not only is this line incredibly high quality, organic and has no fillers, or additives, but it is ran by one of my dearest friends and she has worked her butt off to create these amazing products. What do I love most? That you can literally make every food a superfood by adding anywhere from a teaspoon to tablespoon of any of their products. Code: bodybliss15

 
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Four Sigmatic

This functional mushroom company is my go to for gifting. It comes in convenient packets which are great for traveling and they are having a killer sale for the Holiday weekend. My favorites are the mushroom coffee blend, mushroom hot cocoa and the travel reishi packets. The SALE link won’t be live until 11/22. Code: bodyblisslife

There are several other adaptogen companies that I absolutely love and they are listed on my Shop page.

 

Conscious Clothing

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Lively

One of my favorite bra companies. They make affordable and super comfortable bras and bralettes that are comfortable and made for women by women. You can get $10 off your first order with code AMB-Bodyblisslife2

 
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Pact

Ethically made and affordable organic cotton clothing. That is hard to find, but this company has done it. They make super comfortable simple pieces and are my go to for t-shirts and leggings.

 

Other Gifts

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Robyn Youkilis’ Thin From Within

This book changed my relationship with food. It gave me permission to relate to food in a different way. Even if that’s not your thing, there are a TON of amazing recipes that have become staples in our house.

 
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Sahara Rose’s Eat Feel Fresh

If you have been curious about Ayurveda or are a seasoned Ayurvedic cook, this book is for everyone. It is filled with pages of incredible color and photos and recipes that are not only deliciously flavorful, but will nourish your body in the way it wants and needs to be nourished.

 
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The Universe Has Your Back Journal

This is one of the most beautiful and thought out journals I’ve purchased in a long time. Each page has a beautiful inspiring quote or question and illustrations. Whether you are using it to write out your intentions or dreams or gratitudes each day, this is the perfect gift for any avid journaler or beginner.

 
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Saje Essential Oils

Good quality essential oils are a great gift for anybody. I use them to deepen my meditation practice, as non-toxic perfume, to make homemade cleaning products and to defuse. They are powerful medicines and a great gift. The pocket pharmacy is a perfect gift set. The Good Cheer Diffuser Set will make your home smell like a Holiday wonderland and is a great hostess gift.

disclaimer: I am affiliated with some of these companies. If you make a purchase through the link, I will received a small portion of the purchase.

Keto Cinnamon PB Cup

Chocolate and peanut butter are at the top of my list for favorite combos. This time of year it is nice to have a sweet treat that doesn’t spike your blood sugar. I created these little fat bombs to be enjoyed any time of day. They are perfect for an afternoon pick up me up with a cup of chai or coffee. The cinnamon is a lovely, unexpected addition.

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For the chocolate:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 100% chocolate bar)

  • 2 T Cacao Magic or Cocao Powder (use code bodybliss15)

  • 7 drops Stevia (I used Sweet Leaf Vanilla Cream)

  • pinch of salt

In a double boiler or a glass bowl over a saucepan of water, combine the chocolate, coconut oil and cacao powder. Stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat and stir in stevia and salt. Line a mini cupcake pan with 10 cupcake liners and spoon half the chocolate into the cups. Place in freezer for 2 minutes (do not let freeze solid)

PB Center:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter or other nut butter of choice

  • 1 T coconut flour

  • 10 drops Stevia

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Remove the chocolate from the freezer and scoop the peanut butter into each cup. Top the peanut butter with remaining chocolate. At this point you can top the cups with salt, hemp seeds or cacao nibs. Place the cups back in the freezer for 20 minutes. Store in freezer and enjoy as you please.

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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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