BLOG

Category

  • Wild Orange Balls

    Wild Orange Balls

    WILD ORANGE BALLS

    These balls are a hit everywhere I bring them. The only modification I make is to serve them with sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter, as the original recipe suggests. (Both options are delicious!)

    Healthy sources of fat and protein, mixed with the sweetness of a raw, local honey is a winning combo - and one you can feel good about!

    I serve them at every essential oils class I teach - and we devour any (if there are any!) leftovers within a day! 

    Ingredients:
    1 cup finely shredded coconut, divided
    1 cup sunflower seed butter
    1 cup dried cranberries
    1/2 cup raw honey
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    2 tablespoons chia seeds
    3 drops Wild Orange essential oil

    Instructions:

    • Combine 1/2 of the coconut and all other ingredients in a larg bowl
    • Roll into balls (about 1-inch in diameter is awesome!)
    • Roll balls into remaining coconut
    • Store in fridge - and enjoy!

    Hope you love the as much as we do!

    -----

    Curious about the versatility of high quality essential oils? It's my passion to share the beautiful and incredibly empowering world of natural health with others. Reach out anytime to learn more! 

  • My Two Cents On: The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

    My Two Cents On: The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

    Today is the day!

    If you're a fellow CNE, you'll know this mantra well.

    It's a line from Academy of Culinary Nutrition (ACN) founder Meghan Telpner's official creed, and it's become something of a battle cry for those in the program.

    Today's the day:
    To dare to live life differently,
    To say yes to your heart,
    To chase your dreams,
    To make things happen, and
    To infuse it all with a whole lot of love, community, and integrity.


    When I first stumbled upon Meghan's blog, I was finishing up my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

    I was in search of deliciously nourishing real-food recipes, and oh-my-goodness did I find them! Meghan's are still some of my all-time faves!

    The last year and a half had been an adventure in learning to eat to live.

    Changing the way I ate had given me my health and my life back and catapulted me onto a new path that felt so right I could hardly stand it. But something was missing.

    I wanted to feel confidently comfortable in the kitchen, learn to create awesome recipes, and take a deep dive into the world of food for healing.

    So when I saw the announcement about the debut of an online Culinary Nutrition Expert (CNE) program, it was an immediate yes(!) for me.

    I knew, in my gut and my heart, that I had to do it. 

    What I didn't know was how incredible it was going to be, how it would challenge and transform me, or that I'd meet some of my best friends there.

    It remains one of the best programs I've ever completed.

    And here, my friends, are just a few of the reasons why:

    1 - IT'S THE REAL DEAL

    This program is legit.

    Meghan and team are committed to providing a rigorous, professional level, high quality, potentially life-changing experience. No fluff. They deliver on everything they promise and more.

    It's not easy. It requires dedication, time management, and organization. It assumes you are passionate about the study of culinary nutrition and challenges you to rise to the occasion and make the very most of your time in the program.

    When you receive your congratulatory letter and official certification at the conclusion of the course, you'll know that you earned that baby, and it will feel darn good.  

    2 - SERIOUS CULINARY NUTRITION KNOW-HOW

    Research, shared learning, and hands-on experience make for a powerful combination!

    You'll be asked to develop your own unique food philosophy, read the best culinary nutrition books out there, watch inspiring documentaries, create condition-focused recipes and meal plans, plan and teach a cooking class or workshop, and prepare amazing meals in your kitchen every week.

    By the end of the program, you'll have developed a comfort level in the kitchen like you'd never imagined.

    3 - CUTTING EDGE TECH, ONLINE PRESENCE, AND VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE

    This ain't your grandma's cooking school!

    The small-but-mighty ACN team has gone to great lengths to provide a high quality, visually appealing, professional level experience.

    You'll find beautiful images, awesome videos, and smoothly integrated tech. Whether you're an experienced online learner or brand new to the concept, you'll receive the support, guidance, and resources you need to succeed.

    The Academy is also well represented across the various social media platforms and committed to staying current and connected, which is something I appreciate and admire as an entrepreneur with my own online presence.

    4 - STELLAR SUPPORT

    You're so not alone here.

    You'll find an amazing community (more on that in a moment) in your fellow CNE students and alums.

    You'll also get to connect in real time with Meghan and your classmates on the weekly live call!

    You'll find an incredible support and beautiful soul in Ashley, the Academy's Director of Outreach and Customer Happiness.

    And, of course, you'll have your Program Coach (it could even be me!), who will offer valuable feedback and support throughout the program. 

    5 - THE CNE FAM

    Saved the best for last!

    The friends I've made as a result of doing this CNE program are the absolute best thing about it! They are co-creators, inspiration, motivation, expert resources, colleagues, business partners, team members, and so much more to me.

    There is something so extremely empowering to be said about finding your tribe, your peeps.

    Intentionally connecting with likeminded people, especially when you're in the natural health world, can be one of the most transformative things a person can do for themselves. It's a gift of shared enthusiasm, feeling understood, and finding the support and encouragement you've been looking for. 

    Here are just a few of the beautiful people I've been fortunate enough to meet (and snap a photo of) in person! So many of my CNE buddies have become dear friends, and I can't wait to meet them in person! 

     

    I'm often asked to share my CNE experience with folks who've been thinking it over and seriously considering the program. I hope this post helps!

    Today, I use what I learned in the CNE program without even thinking about it. It's become second nature, a part of what I do in all areas of my life and work. My clients, customers, family, friends, and team members have all been touched by what I learned at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.   

    I love connecting with you, learning a bit about you, and answering any specific questions you might have. If you're local, let's grab a cuppa tea and chat. If not, a virtual tea date works for me!

    Feel free to reach out anytime. Perhaps today's the day?!

  • Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    There's nothing better than getting presents in the mail!

    Am I right?!

    And if you're as enthusiastic about raw honey, beautiful loose leaf teas, hemp hearts, and turmeric as I am (and that's pretty darn enthusiastic, let me tell you), then you're going to love today's feature! 

    Last month, my friend and fellow culinary nutrition expert Julie Tadeson, wrote to let me know her incredible company, Jule's Wellness, had officially begun shipping to the United States!

    Cue happy dance!

    What it comes down to is this: If you love sampling and collecting carefully curated health + wellness goodness (food, skincare, supplements, and more), you will definitely want to check them out. (And their monthly subscription box is only $34.32!)

    Happily, I got to sample the April Anti-Inflammatory box (thanks, Julie!), and I thought you might like a little peek at what was inside. 

    If you read my blog, then I have a feeling you'll appreciate each of these items just as much as I do!

    Food is powerful, and we can harness that power for good: Overall wellness, immune support, and more! That's what this box is all about. So let's dig right in, shall we?

     

    1 - APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

    And they weren't messing around! They sent me a whole bottle of the good stuff: Certified Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. It's my favorite brand, and this bottle even comes with "the mother", a strand-like sediment that contains raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria! ACV (as it's affectionately known) is majorly anti-inflammatory, supports a healthy immune system, supports healthy weight management, and maintains healthy looking skin! Try it in this addictive Garlicky Kale recipe!


    2 - TURMERIC

    I like to think of turmeric as "the king of spices". It packs a serious anti-inflammatory punch, as it's rich in curcumin and other phytonutrients! This beautiful little package appears to have been sealed with a personal touch, and it's from Fairtrade certified Cha's Organics! I use it in lots of things, but probably most often in my favorite immune-boosting Turmeric Powerhouse Tea.


    3 - RAW HONEY

    I admit it: I have a little bit of a raw honey obsession. The new and most impressive honey section at our local MOM's Organic Market makes me swoon. I was so excited to find a jar of Dutchman's Gold Raw Honey in the box! Because it's raw and unfiltered, we get the extra benefits of the tiny bits of beeswax and bee pollen. I use raw honey in a lot of my sweeter recipes. Try it in my Get-Happy Ginger Cookies or Blackberry-Pear Chia Jam!

    4 - OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

    It's been mainly just in last two years that I've dug into and discovered the value of high quality omega-3 fatty acids. The average American gets about a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, while a healthy ratio is more likely around 2:1! Fish oil is one option, and it's a good one for those who consume seafood! But for those who are strictly plant-based, there are other great options to consider, like chia, spirulina, walnuts, and flax. Beyond promoting strong bones and teeth, fish oil offers many other health benefits. Check out this awesome article for more on its many benefits! My April subscription box came with a brand called NutraSea+D, which appears to be eco-friendly and to have been sourced sustainably! 

    5 - CINNAMON + CAYENNE

    But more specifically, loose leaf tea that's got the anti-inflammatory giants of turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne in it! I am loving this gorgeous blend from Lemon Lily

    6 - HEMP HEARTS

    Hemp hearts are a constant in our home, and Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand! Impressively, hemp hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas (plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber) in every 30 gram serving. They're also super versatile. We use them in smoothies, dressings, dips, salads, and so much more. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere, guys! Try them in this Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    BONUS:

    There was also a bonus item, which I devoured immediately. These Martin's Crispy Apply Chips hit the spot!

    Interested in learning more about snagging your own Jule's Wellness monthly subscription box? I loved this one, and I hope to try many more in the future!

    Keep that real food love alive, my friends!

    And if you need a little extra love + support along the way, reach out! 

  • Healthy Skin, At Last

    Healthy Skin, At Last

    This one's been a long time coming.

    I haven't written very much about my struggle with acne,
    But it's a story worth telling, worth sharing, I think -
    If for no other reason than to be honest, real, and transparent
    About this piece of my wellness journey.

    My intention is to send a message of hope.
    If this helps even one person then it's totally worth it!

    Earlier this week, I posted the photos below on my Facebook page.
    They sparked a lot of interest,
    As well as many kind comments from friends, family, and even strangers.
    Thank you so much for your kinds words. XO

    Mine, it turns out, is not a rare experience.
    So many deal with acne, L O N G beyond adolescence.



    And there's a lot more where those "before" photos came from.

    A little over a year ago, I decided to commit, 100%, to finally "going natural" when it came to skincare. I documented the experience with my iPhone. All the photos are unedited and makeup-free. 

    Over the years, I've tried just about everything:

    • Prescription medications (creams, antibiotics, birth control)
    • Various specialty brands targeting acne sufferers (Proactiv, Murad, Rodan and Fields, acne.org, to name a few)
    • And, more recently, many natural concoctions (manuka honey, local raw honey, baking soda, witch hazel, aloe, lemons, egg masks, clay masks, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, oil cleansing, hot washcloth scrub, washing my pillowcase super often, and more)

    The one thing that worked for me was benzoyl peroxide, at a low percentage, applied gently and generously. Nevermind the tedious process of cleansing, toning, and applying this mask-like amount of BP. Nevermind all the discolored and ruined towels and clothing (mine and others') the BP touched. It was all worth it, you see, in order to feel confident with clear skin.

    Except here's the interesting thing that happened along the way: When I first discovered this particular method, I realized that I'd have to commit to a transition period. No makeup. Nothing to interfere with the process at all. 

    As a result, I spent many months with severe, cystic, red, painful acne, and nothing to cover it up. It was raw, dry, often painful. This was during the time I was in grad school, so I was in my mid-twenties.

    A very strong part of me decided that the people that really mattered and cared would love me as I was, and I wouldn't allow myself to wallow (too long) in the emotional pain of acne. Instead, I would focus on school, studying, learning, and connecting with my nursing school friends.

    The result? Back then, in my mind, the miracle of that experience was that my skin finally did clear up. And with persistent BP use, it stayed mostly clear for a good long while!

    However, the true beauty of that time was that I learned to be more-than-ok with myself, to accept myself, to share myself with others (and not hide), and to face the world head-on, despite the pain/embarrassment.

    People saw past the acne. Some, I think, didn't even see it at all, once they got to know me. 

    That was the greatest lesson I learned.
    And it would come back to me years later, when I decided to go natural.

    My own health journey is an interesting one. Ups and downs and ups. 

    But the most significant changes have come about as a result of embracing a plant-based lifestyle. I eat mostly (not all) plants, and I also turn to plants (most of the time) to further support my body, mind, and spirit.

    Through study, education, and experience, I've become acutely aware of the dangers of toxins in our environments. Unfortunately, this can be an especially ever-present and overwhelming challenge when it comes to skincare.

    Nonetheless, as the great Maya Angelou said, "When you know better, do better."

    And, guys, I knew better.

    I'd read about the many carcinogenic, endocrine-disrupting, system-disturbing chemicals in the products I was using. But I'd been too scared to stop doing what had finally worked to keep my skin clear.

    THE CAVEMAN METHOD

    In my quest to find something natural + effective, I stumbled upon the life-changing concept of "the caveman method", through this gal. She embraced a holistic approach, with a lot of natural support along the way. Great information on gut health, diet, stress, and other crucial pieces of the puzzle!

    The thing was, I'd already addressed those pieces.

    But what was most fascinating to me was the cavement method she talked about. Want to know what it's all about? 

    Well, let me start by saying it sounded terrifying! But when you're desprate to make a change, you're willing to give "crazy" ideas a go!

    Here's the idea: There is a very fine, slightly acidic outer layer of our skin called the acid mantle. When it maintains a healthy pH, the acid mantle helps to naturally protect the skin from bacteria and other potential contaminants. 

    But guess what screws with the acid mantle and disrupts its perfect pH? All those funky products we've been using on our skin for years!

    In a nutshell, that's the basis for the caveman method:

    Stop putting things (especially all the unnatural products, soaps, lotions, magic potions, etc.) on your face, let the acid mantle return to balance, and watch what happens.

    In my case: M A G I C

    Did I have to embrace a transition period again?
    Yes. But I could see the gradual change over time.

    Was I able to handle it better this time around?
    Yes, I'd learned a lot from that first go-round.

    Did I stop washing my face?
    Yes! Just a little splash of water in the shower/after working out.

    Did I stop putting products on my face?
    Yes! (So liberating, and money-saving!)

    And did my skin clear up?
    Yesssss, my friends! It did!


    So do I still follow this method?
    Pretty much! I now use some very natural and gentle oils to soothe, nourish, and hydrate my skin. Just a little dab here and there is all I need. I'm keeping things super natural, super clean, and very high vibe. Quality is key.

    The best part was knowing that I was no longer putting funky chemicals on my body. And the even better part was watching, slowly, as my skin returned to balance and cleared up, which you can see in the photos above. The human body is truly an amazing thing!

    Today, I have a new level of respect for my skin. I love it and celebrate it. I thank it for taking care of itself and me. I trust myself to give my body the things it needs to return to balance. And I don't mind if a little blemish pops up here and there. I know that, if I leave it alone, it will go away quickly. 

    Please feel free to share my story. And also to reach out if you'd like to connect personally for more support.

    There's so much we can do to help our bodies do what they are naturally meant to do.

    Sending you love + hope + hugs on this journey.

  • Pears + Parsnips + Market Love

    Pears + Parsnips + Market Love

    Pears + Parsnips

    What a weekend we had! I'll take all the sunny days I can get before the gray of winter sets in.

    Our normal CSA is gone from the Farmer's Market these days (to return again in the summer), but there are still delicious offerings on hand and several other great farms representing.

    We love to split a cup of Hex Ferments kombucha and indulge in a sweet (or savory) treat from Harmony Bakery. B'more Dills Fresh Pickles are thebomb.com, the Farm to Face Falafel wraps (try yours in a collard) are mouth-wateringly awesome, and the it's nearly impossible to walk by the folks from Locust Point Flowers

    When it's in season, clean, and locally available, we get most of our produce from the Farmer's Market. Otherwise, we generally get it at our local Whole Foods. These ingredients were sourced from both!

    And there really is nothing quite like roasted root vegetables, especially when they're in their prime! This week's recipe is a winner, especially great for those who haven't tried parsnips (I hadn't until a couple years ago), which, it turns out, are super delicious. (Particularly when paired with pears and walnuts!) 

    As the weather turns colder, warm up - and get grounded - with some roasted roots. Comfort food for real:


    Ingredients:

    3 pears, diced
    3 parsnips, peeled and roughly sliced
    3 carrots, roughly sliced
    1 red onion, roughly chopped
    2/3 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp dried parsley
    1 tbsp dried basil
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1 drop rosemary essential oil or 1/2 tsp of the dried variety
    1 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
    2 tablespoons EVOO

    How To:

    • Preheat oven to 400F
    • Add all ingredients to large bowl and toss to combine thoroughly
    • Spread mixture over parchment-lined baking sheet
    • Bake for 30 minutes
    • Devour

  • Creamy Zucchini Hummus + The UnDiet Cookbook

    Creamy Zucchini Hummus + The UnDiet Cookbook

    Many of you know that I studied Culinary Nutrition (aka: Food As Medicine) with nutritionist Meghan Telpner a few years ago.

    When it comes to food, Meghan's philosophy is very much in line with my own, which you can read more about here, in How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again

    Michael Pollan's now famous Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants. sums it up quite well. And it's a simple philosophy to remember:

    Cut out the processed, chemical/hormone/pesticide-laden, genetically modified crap. And embrace clean, local, seasonal, humanely-raised, nutrient-dense options instead.

    The result?

    You'll feel better than ever and your body with thank you for it!

    I remember when I first happened upon Meghan's blog. I was drawn to her laid-back, eat-clean, labels-are-for-tin-cans approach right away.

    I don't believe in counting calories or that one single diet is right for every person. And I feel strongly that there is so very much we can do ourselves to help our bodies to heal themselves, which is something else Meghan knows a lot about.

    Her first book UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health was (and still is) a staple in our home.

    And her new book, The UnDiet Cookbook, is even better! It's a much more in-depth collection of beautiful, nourishing, delicious, gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. And it's a must-have resource for people who want to eat clean and feel great again.

    If you're looking for that one book that will give you miles of culinary inspiration and never seems to disappoint, this right here is it.

    After graduating from the flagship Culinary Nutrition Expert certification program, I was approached by Meghan to come on board as a Teaching Assistant (we're now called Program Coaches). 

    Through my coaching at the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, I've been very fortunate to have been able to remain a part of this special community, where people support and respect one another - and where we do our best to empower others to play a bigger role in their own health and happiness: To share the health!

    And it is with this in mind that I get to share one of the awesome recipes from The UnDiet Cookbook with you: Creamy Zucchini Hummus.

    I made this one for our first ever Baltimore Cookbook Club, and it was a big hit! I'll definitely be putting it into regular rotation!

    Enjoy, my friends. To your health! 

    CREAMY ZUCCHINI HUMMUS
    Nut-free / Soy-free / Grain-free / Raw

    PREP TIME: 15 minutes
    MAKES: 1 1/2 cups

    Ingredients:
    1 zucchini, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
    1/2 avocado
    1/4 cup tahini
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1/2 inch ginger
    1/2 clove garlic (or a full one, if your friends can handle it) 
    Pinch of cayenne (optional)

    Make It Like So:

    • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
    • Stop occasionally to wipe down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
    • Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

    Excerpted from The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner. Copyright © 2015 Meghan Telpner. Photography Copyright © Maya Visnyei and Catherine Farquharson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., A Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement by the Publisher. All rights reserved.

  • Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    Metta Meditation + Things I'm Grateful For

    In yoga class last night, 
    The flow was good. Very good.
    But the message was even better.
    And the timing was perfect.
    Brittni led us through a loving-kindness meditation.
    Metta meditation.

    Not familiar?

    The Greater Good Science Center, out of the University of California Berkeley, describes loving-kindess (or "metta") meditation as the simple practice of directing well-wishes towards other people

    And also yourself.

    It's a simple, yet powerful way to feel happier, pump up the positivity, get yourself on a trajectory of growth, feel more connected, and even change the way you approach life! 

    Pretty awesome, eh? 

    How does it work? You simply direct kind, loving feelings to yourself, others (those you love, as well as those you've been feeling tension/negativity towards), and finally, all beings everywhere. It only take a few minutes to do, and it's something anyone can do - including the little ones!

    Check out this awesome video to get a better feel for how this works!

    I'd gone into class feeling some tension about something (doesn't matter what) someone (doesn't matter who) had said earlier this week. And the metta meditation was exactly what I'd needed.

    It left me feeling peace, ease, perspective, compassion, and love for the person who'd been weighing on my mind. It felt like a weight had been lifted: Free from the negativity and the tension. Ready and able to move on. 

    And that's where the gratitude comes in.

    To me, gratitude is like a reality check.
    Yeah, things may be crazy at times.
    Life may feel really hard.
    And it may seem silly to stop and think about what you're grateful for. 

    But I've found that, especially in those most challenging moments, when we take the time to focus on what's good in our lives (love, friendship, being brave, overcoming fear, telling your story, time to listen, being heard, sitting in the sunshine, making a big change, a hug, a hand, doing what's right), something incredible happens.

    A shift.
    And a lightness. 
    And over time, it grows. 


    So I invite you to pause for a moment today.
    Or even a few times today!
    To direct some metta at yourself, the people in your life, and the world. 
    Lord knows we can (all) always use more loving-kindness.

    Maybe even start a list!

    I'll kick things off with 5 big things I'm feeling especially grateful for this morning:

    • Love in my life.
      From family and friends.
      People who lift me up, cheer me on, and genuinely care.
      I am so grateful for you.
    • Community.
      My tribe.
      And there are many, actually.
      This one is forever shifting and expanding.
      But the magic that happens when you connect with people who "get" you is hard to describe. 
      And I am so grateful for this.
    • Meaningful work.
      The opporunity to do soemthing that lights me up and makes me feel alive.
      With food, natural health, self-care, supporting, educating, empowering.
      But most of all: People
      For this I am massively grateful.
    • My Health.
      The ability to breathe clearly, move freely, dance, stretch, run, relax, travel, and snuggle.
      These were not always things I could easily do.
      And I cherish them now more than ever.
    • And even: The Hard Stuff
      Because it's shaped and molded me into who I am today.
      It's an excellent teacher.
      I am stronger, clearer, and more confident in who I am and what I'm capable of because of the challenges.

    And you? What are you thankful for right now?


    Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!

    Wherever you may find yourselves today,

    May you be happy,
    May you be healthy,
    May you be safe,
    May you be peaceful,
    And may you be at ease.

    Katie
    XO

  • Turmeric Powerhouse Tea

    Turmeric Powerhouse Tea

    This one's for when you're under the weather and need a little BOOST. 

    I'm sharing my favorite Turmeric Powerhouse Tea, originally inspired by this gem.

    The base of it is suuuper simple to make ahead of time - and makes it easy to quickly whip up multiple cups of this goodness, when you otherwise don't feel like doing much of anything. (Like me, today.)

    Ingredients
    Raw honey, organic and local is best
    Turmeric, ground
    Black pepper
    Raw apple cider vinegar, aka "ACV" (I love Bragg's.)
    Freshly squeezed lemon juice
    H2O

    How-To

    • Prep a BASE: Equal parts honey and turmeric, with a generous addition of freshly ground black pepper (crucial, if you want to take advantage - and you do! - of all the benefits turmeric offers). You can save this base in a mason jar, taking a bit here and there when you make the tea.

    • For 1 mug of tea: To the mug, add a spoonful of the base honey-turmeric-pepper mix. Add 1 tablespoon of ACV and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon). Top with warm-to-hot water, stir to combine, and sip away!

    Feel better soon, love! 

    XO

  • Butternut Kale Salad

    Butternut Kale Salad

    I've been spending a lot of time on the couch in my office this weekend. Something's hit me - and it's hanging on tight.

    The good news: I've got everything I need to tackle this thing, and I'm loading up! Garlic and raw honey. Ginger + echinacea tea. My turmeric powerhouse concoction. Miso soup. My oils. And rest!

    The bad news? I've been spending a lot of time on the couch in my office this weekend.
    Wallowing a bit, if I'm being honest.

    I can't smell.
    And I can only partially breathe (through my mouth).

    And I figure maybe if I do basically nothing, my body will have the energy to heal and recover faster.

    But it's getting boring.
    And a little frustrating.
    And: You'd think my aim would've improved by now. But, sadly, you'd be wrong.
    I guess I'm mainly just sort of throwing things in "that general direction" at this point.

    Eddie's away at his annual Alumni Soccer Game (they won!) day-long extravaganza, and our housemates are out, so it's just me here. And as much as I'd love for someone (Mom?) to come take care of me, it's just not gonna happen. 

    I decided it was time for a change of pace.
    (1) I was craving kale (need those healing greens!), and
    (2) it looked gorgeous out. (Figures.)
    Sunshine and fresh air and...kale. All good things.
    And it was up to me to make it happen.

    So I did. 
    I got dressed.
    I tied my hair up in a knot on top of my head.
    And I savored the walk (in the sunshine and the fresh air) to the market.
    It was lovely!

    And then I came home - to make a kale salad.
    I was hoping someone would bring me this one or make me this one.
    But since I never actually communicated that to anyone...
    And since it's just me here...
    I decided to throw something else together.
    And here's what I got:

    It's a winner! So I'm sharing it with you:

    BUTTERNUT KALE SALAD
    Serves 2

    Ingredients 
    4 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
    1 apple, diced small
    1 small-ish butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and diced small
    1 tablespoon olive oil + a drizzle for the diced squash
    2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I like Grade B.)
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

    How-To

    • Toss diced squash in a light drizzle of olive oil (about a tablespoon) and bake at 350F for about 25 mins, until just soft.
    • While the squash bakes, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: Olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
    • In a large bowl, combine kale, apple, baked squash, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, and dressing. Toss well to combine.

    Grab a fork and enjoy!

  • Here's to the simple things + Acorn Squash

    Here's to the simple things + Acorn Squash

    Autumn. 

    The sweet spot between Summer and Fall.
    And my most favorite time of year. 

    Open the windows, build a fire, breathe in those gorgeous turning leaves.
    Before they've fallen to the ground, all brown and lifeless and gone.
    Until the Spring. 

    A time for getting grounded. For introspection. 
    For checking in.
    And seeing how you're doing.

    How's it going these days?

    Are you feeling more up than down? I hope!
    Comfortable in your skin? More so every day? 
    Or are you itching, stretching, can't stand it anymore, ready for a change?

    What change?
    What do you want more of?
    How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be? 
    And how thrilling to be on the verge of a shift!

    As much as I know there's a whole season between now and the new year, I can't help but feel like I've already begun to reflect on 2015. And it's been quite a year. (Too much to process just now. But that's coming.) Another post. Another day.



    For now, I'm content to pause.
    And appreciate the still-mostly-green leaves on the trees in the backyard.
    To slow down when my body says it needs to.
    To not push, even when my head says don't stop.
    To reflect on all the goodness. All the joy. All the love in my life. 

    I've got my head in the clouds.

    Still dreaming, believing, creating, achieving, and growing.
    Into the person I am.
    And the person I'm always becoming.
     
    Sometimes I stumble. 
    Sometimes I screw up. 
    Sometimes I fall.
    Or overdue it.

    But I can come back from that.
    Can right my ship and adjust the course. 

    And my feet on the ground.

    Grounded.
    Not always, but as often as possible.
    I'm reconnecting. 
    Appreciating.
    Offering up gratitude.
    For all that I have and all that I'm able to do.
    Even when it's small.

    Especially then.



    Here's to the simple things.

    Like acorn squash at the market!

    The smallest of pleasures. 
    The changing of the seasons.
    The going on of life.
    And taking the time to notice. 
    And celebrate.
    Even if you do it quietly. 

    Even if you do it by yourself.

    Especially then.

    Sending you LOVE, my friends.
    And squash. :)





    ACORN SQUASH, SUPER SIMPLY:

    1. Wash it.
    2. Halve it.
    3. Drizzle it with oil.
    4. Bake, flesh sides down, for 45 minutes at 385F.
    5. Sea salt, pepper, and good maple syrup. Ahhhhmaaazinggg.

  • Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    Essential Oils: 5 Simple Faves for Home + Beauty

    When you think of essential oils, what comes to mind?

    A massage, maybe? Aromatherapy? When a friend first introduced me to oils, I had no idea how much they would change my life. I was simply looking for a way to go more "natural" when it came to the many products I was using. To simplify. 

    What I discovered was a whole new way to take care of myself, my family (and friends!), and our home. They are soothing, cleansing, calming, supportive, energizing, protective, and balancing to mind, body, and spirit -- and beyond. Their uses are seemingly endless. You will be amazed at the power of pure, exceptionally high quality essential oils.

    But for now, I'd like to introduce you to just a few: My top five must-have essential oils for home and beauty! They are: Lemon, Lavender, Melaleuca, a special blend of protective oils I love, and Frankincense.

    LEMON

    Lemon essential oil is a little bottle of joy! All of the citrus oils are! (I love Grapefruit and Orange, too!)

    Pop open the top, close your eyes, and take a deep breath in. Immediately, you begin to feel uplifted. It naturally promotes positivity and cognitive ability, and it's also wonderful for both beauty and keeping your home sparkling clean. A couple simple tips:

    • HOME: Make your own multipurpose spray cleaner! Lemon cleanses and purifies the air and surfaces. Need to freshen the air? Pop some Lemon in the diffuser, or make your own "Fresh Air" spray with just a simple glass spray bottle, water, and 15 drops of Lemon. (A few drops in a bowl of baking soda is super effective, too!) Bonus: Lemon essential oil is amazing for removing all things sticky, from glue to gum and even permanent marker!
    • BEAUTY: Try just 1 drop of Lemon essential oil in a big glass of water. (Stir it in to mix evenly.) It naturally cleanses the body and aids in digestion. And healthy digestion equals glowing skin - plus a whole host of other benefits! It also helps to ward off free radicals with its antioxidant properties, so drink up!

    LAVENDER

    Lavender essential oils is widely used and touted for its calming and relaxing qualities. Who couldn't use a little more of that?

    These days, with our crazy schedules and the unfortunate glorification of busy, one of the best things we most need to do for ourselves (and the people we love) is slow down. And that can be tough! Find comfort and ease in Lavender. 

    • HOME: Diffuse 3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil at bedtime to help slow things down and get ready for a restful night of sleep. Have guests coming? Go fancy on them and spritz a bit of Lavender water (mix 2 oz. of water and 10 drops of Lavender in a spray bottle) on their pillows and in their rooms. Smells aaahmazing and will ease the tensions of the day. 
    • BEAUTY: Lavender is soothing to the skin. Whether we're talking daily beauty routine (add a drop to your moisturizer for glowing skin) or a homemade after-sun balm (the absolute best thing you can use for too much sun), Lavender's got ya covered, helping skin to recover quickly. My first (and a classic favorite) combination for an all-natural deodorant that really works(!) also calls for Lavender. Dare you to give it a try - and experience how well it works for yourself.

    MELALEUCA

    Also known as Tea Tree, Melaleuca essential oil is renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. But it's also incredible for helping to freshen and purify the air. It's seemingly limitless applications have earned it the nickname of "the gentle giant". I love it for:

    • HOME: Make your toilet shine with a DIY toilet cleaner combo of 10 drops of Melaleuca, 1/2 a cup of baking soda, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar. Amazing, I tell you! (I like to add 10 drops of Lemon, too!)
    • BEAUTY: Melaleuca promotes a clear, healthy complexion. I used Melaleuca (along with Lavender) in an all-natural after Shave lotion for my husband- that he loves! Try adding a drop to your moisturizer - or even your shampoo!. It also soothes minor skin irritations. And remember: A little goes a long way! I love the combination of Lavender and Melaleuca for any of the minor skin stuff that comes along with summer - especially for the little people in our lives!

    MAKE YOUR OWN PROTECTIVE BLEND

    The gorgeous "protective" blend of Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils is a powerful, natural, and effective combo for immune support. It smells like Fall and Winter to me - spicy, warm, energizing, uplifting, and soothing - but it's wonderful year-round.

    • HOME: It's safe to use on countertops, as a non-toxic way to cleanse surfaces, or to cleanse the atmosphere by diffusing. Make your own cleanser, hand wash, air freshener, laundry detergent. I love knowing that the products I'm using in my home are non-toxic and health-supportive. Taking out the trash? Give the inside of your trashcan a spray with a simple mix of water + this blend of oils (10 drops of the blend in 2 oz. of water) combo! (I use that same spray for an on-the-go hand cleanser, too!)
    • BEAUTY: This blend is also wonderful for purifying the skin while promoting healthy circulation. Try a drop, massaged into the bottoms of your feet, each night before bed. I also love it for oral health! I use it in my toothpaste, add a drop to water to make mouthwash, and add a drop to a spoonful of sesame or coconut oil for oil pulling. 

    FRANKINCENSE

    I can't wrap up my top 5 without mentioning my favorite oil of all: Frankincense. Royal, resin, and woody, Frankincense is considered the King of Oils. Why? Among other things, it helps build and maintain a healthy immune system. It promotes cellular health, reduces the appearance of blemishes, rejuvenates skin, and promotes feelings of peace, relaxation, satisfaction, and overall wellness. Heavy hitter, right? 

    • HOME: Frankincense smells intoxicatingly wonderful - and uplifts the mood. Diffuse 3-5 drops of Frankincense (I love it with Orange, too) in your home to promote ease and emotional balance. If you meditate (it will change your life), try starting your practice with a drop of Frankincense in the palms of your hands, slowly inhaled over a few deep breaths. Or: Rub 1 drop of Frankincence under your nose and massage into the base of your skull. 
    • BEAUTY: Nourish your skin this summer (and year-round) with Frankincense. It promotes youthful, radiant looking skin and slows the signs of aging. This is the main oil I use on my skin, and I use it every single day! A drop in a carrier oil (like jojoba, coconut, or sesame) massaged into your skin (or even along with your moisturizer) is fantastic. Try a DIY clay facial mask! Talk about self-care. Smells and feels amazing!

     
    Have I piqued your interest? One thing that's absolutely crucial when it comes to oils (and most things in life!) is QUALITY - and that you're using only the highest quality of oils (pure therapeutic grade, sourced indeigenously, thorough testing) in your homes and on your bodies. 
    It's truly become a passion of mine to support people in learning how to properly use essential oils and incorporate them into their daily lives. So if YOU'd like to learn more about my favorite essential oils and try them for yourself, check out the Essential Oils section of my website - or reach out to me here. I love hearing from you!

    [Originally published on the beautiful Lenore Design!]
  • How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    A few weeks ago, I sent my top five tips for transitioning to cleaner eating to the fine folks over at Jule's Wellness, an awesome Canadian wellness company on a mission to help you feel healthy, strong, and more conscientious in your life. (Love their stuff! I've got my eye on their monthly subscription box!)

    Eating "clean" isn't nearly as complicated as you might think, but with all the different points of view and diets out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused! I know I used to be. 

    It took getting sick (asthma, IBS, allergies, acid reflux, relentless colds), taking a bunch of meds that didn't work, and feeling hopeless, for me to finally find my way.

    And I'm still learning every day! But that's, I'm quite confident, how it's supposed to be.

    The secret?

    There really is no one-size-fits-all diet. Not in my book, anyway. We are all individuals with unique bodies and needs, so it only makes sense that we would need to take a similar approach when it comes to food!

    Here, I'm breaking the whole "eating clean" thing down into five simple steps. Start where you are, and remember: It's not a race. It's a journey.

    The idea here is to do a little better all the time.

    1 - EDUCATE YOURSELF

    I have a Bachelor's in Secondary Education, a Master's in Science, and 5+ years working as a Trauma/Emergency Department registered nurse, and I still had to go back to school to figure all this stuff out!

    Your story, surely, will be different from mine. And I'm not saying you need to do everything I did! But in some form or another, you're going to need to begin to dig a little deeper and explore a little further than what you've always heard about health and wellness. (Hint: Counting calories, buying non-fat, and opting for "magic pills" will not be getting you to where you want to be, my friends. At least not in any lasting way.)

    For me, it all started with the documentary Forks Over Knives. (You might like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead or GMO OMG!) From there, I devoured book after book on the subject of food as medicine. A few early favorites were The Omnivore's Dilemma, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole, and UnDiet. If you haven't read these yet, I assure you they will shed new light on old "truths". 

    Having experienced what felt like was my own "health miracle", I craved expert guidance, to deepen my understanding of nutrition. And I felt a very clear calling to help others begin to take back their health, too.

    I enrolled in T. Colin Campbell's Plant-Based Nutrition course, followed by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which truly expanded my vision of health (so much more than food!) and taught me the concept of bioindividuality, that what works wonders for one person might not be what's best for another. It was throughout my time at IIN that my vision of health and wellness (and happiness!) began to take shape. 

    If you're anything like me, you'll find that what makes you feel happiest and healthiest may (and likely should!) change over time. Be gentle with yourself as you explore and, ultimately, discover what works best for you. Consider hiring a coach to help you along the way. There is truly something extremely powerful about having a loving, supportive, empowering person in your corner, especially when you're taking on big changes like these.

    2 - THROW AWAY THE CRAP

    As soon as you start re-educating yourself, you'll likely begin to feel like there's a lot in your fridge and pantry (and perhaps hiding under the bed or some other secret stash location?) that simply must go!

    Warning: This could be a little painful. You may want to enlist the help of a supportive friend (maybe after watching one of those awesome documentaries together!), family member, or coach. 

    But, I promise you, this is a critical and crucial part of getting you feeling amazing again!

    You must must must get rid of the bad if you wish to bring on the good. (And I know you do!) If it hurts too much to throw it away, consider donation. Remember: The longer you keep it around, the longer it will take for you to get healthy again! This is something you're going to want to go "all in" on.

    CRAP: I mentioned earlier than I'm of the belief that what's best for me might not be best for you. That being said, my experience and education has taught me that there are a few key offenders that seem to cause a lot of trouble for people. If only for a while, I urge you to consider removing things like dairy, gluten, and processed sugar/sweeteners. Processed anything, really, should go!

    What you want left over is, quite simply, real food. (Not the creations of the food "industry", not those long ingredient lists of unrecognizable items, and definitely not those "fake" and "imitation" animal products laden with processed soy, sodium, and other questionables.)

    3 - REPLACE IT WITH THE GOOD STUFF

    Hint: Good stuff = Real food.

    And here's where it gets fun again! (And the produce department of the grocery store becomes your new best friend!)

    Think seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible.

    Wary about spending more on organics? This little video on The Organic Effect will inspire you to choose "cleaner" options. I also love the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, which help you choose the cleanest options while also being budget-conscious.

    Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is another great tip! (Allows you to skip the a bunch of the processed stuff in the middle sections.)

    A couple of my favorite rules of thumb from Michael Pollan (and your great-grandma) that I like to use are: (1) Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And I also love Rule No. 19 from his fabulous book Food Rules: (2) If it's a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.

    Beyond these, if you're eating animals, please be mindful of their source, what they were fed, and how they were raised. Always look for words like pastured, organic, and non-GMO. If you'd like to learn more about conscious "clean" farming, check out the work of Joel Salatin.

    And if you're looking for another all-around excellent guide to help you identify the crap (and get rid of it), check out Meghan Telpner's down-to-earth and inspiring take-back-your-life book UnDiet. You will love it!

    4 - EAT THE GOOD STUFF

    And make it delicious!

    After throwing together random "plants" for a year or so, I realized I should probably actually learn how to cook! As much as I'd always loved food, I'd never really felt comfortable in the kitchen - until I found Meghan Telpner and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

    Mind = Blown!

    I learned that health-supportive, nourishing, healing food can (and must!) taste mouth-wateringly delicious. And I learned that even I could make amazing food! (This shocked me, I tell ya!)

    I started by just watching her free videos, reading her blogs, and experimenting with some of her recipes, which are - to this day - some of my favorites to recommend to clients, friends, and family!

    If you're not used to cooking with a lot of plants and doing it in a way that is nourishing and healing to the body, just do what I did and start trying out a bunch of different recipes - until you find the ones you looove!

    Over time, as you practice and play and experiment in the kitchen, you'll develop a natural intuition about food and ingredients, and you'll begin to find it easier and easier to throw together something that's both delicious and nutritious for you and your family.

    I've got a bunch of recipes here! A couple other favorites (I have so many) are Rachel's Nourishing Kitchen, Green Kitchen Stories, and Sondi Bruner. Oh - and definitely take some time to browse through all the awesomeness in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition's Top 50 Clean Food Blogs!

    5 - REPEAT (WITH FRIENDS!)

    And there you have it! Educate yourself (lots of great books, documentaries, and classes out there to explore), get rid of the bad (seek support if you need it), bring in the good (lots of plants, think seasonal, local, and organic), make it delicious, and eat it - with friends!

    That's how you transition to cleaner eating. In a nutshell. 

    But the learning doesn't stop there, and there are certainly going to be ups and downs as you find your way. So, I'd like to say a word about your support system. 

    Finding a group of supportive, encouraging, like-minded folks will do wonders for your health, both mental and physical! If you can't find one you love, join mine!

    Making changes to the way you eat isn't always easy. You're going to need to have someone(s) to turn to when you looking for an answer to What the heck do I do with rainbow chard?, or your husband isn't exactly thrilled about your newfound plantiful ways, or you just want something sweet to eat, for God's sake! - but you don't know which ingredients are best.

    Why? Because this is the important stuff. This whole "figuring out what to eat" thing will keep you living and thriving and loving life for a very long time. It's completely changed my life, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you!

    YOUR TURN NOW

    Now it's your turn to share!

    Where are you in this whole process? Wherever you are, I hope you've found something useful here. What's been your biggest takeaway, and where would you like more support?

  • DIY Deodorant (Completely natural AND awesomely effective!)

    DIY Deodorant (Completely natural AND awesomely effective!)

    Do yourself a favor and make this tonight! 

    It's the best deodorant I've ever tried AND it's all natural! (No, but really all-natural.)

    You'll find that when you change the way you eat (the real-food way), you start to pay more attention to other things you're putting in and on your body. And you won't want any of these potentially harmful/carcinogenic/dangerous ingredients on the list:

    • Parabens
    • Aluminum
    • Propylene Glycol
    • TEA & DEA
    • Triclosan
    • Artificial colors or scents

    Another cool thing about this deodorant is that you'll only need a little bit (I used to work in an ER and I do hot yoga - and this stuff holds up) and it will probably last you around three months!

    You'll need:
    1/8 cup arrowroot powder
    1/8 cup baking soda
    3-4 tablespoons coconut oil (the organic, solid kind)
    6-8 drops of your choice of essential oils*

    *You can switch these up and use more or less according to preference. Keep the added oils to a minimum initially, in case of irritation. I used Lavender and Melaleuca, for their soothing and protective properties. Melaleuca is a particularly strong one - but great for helping to keep the odors away!

    Combine and mix well. It takes a little time, due to the solid coconut oil, but will soon come together nicely. Store in a small mason jar - or try it in an empty deodorant container. 

    Share it with your friends! And if you'd like to sample some oils, hit me up (if you love them and want more of them, I can show you how to get wholesale prices). 

  • Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    Seasonal Wellness: Top 6 Natural Solutions Here!

    It's that time again. 
    But don't worry, I've got you covered!

    I feel your pain. A few years ago, I too was struggling to build and support a healthy immune and respiratory system, to combat irritating (to say the least) seasonal and environmental threats.

    After quite a bit of time experimenting with various options that made me feel foggy, sleepy, and just generally like I wasn't myself, I was fortunate enough to learn that by changing my diet, I could change a lot of other things, too. Including my health issues.

    This blew my mind. And I knew, immediately, that there was a whole world out there that I needed to explore.

    Since then, I've been on a mission to learn as much as I can about natural healthcare, and to share my experience and knowledge with others. Here, I'm sharing what I've learned about managing seasonal threats naturally.

    There is hope!
    And if you have something awesome to add, please, leave a comment. I love hearing from you!

    1 - EAT + DRINK CLEAN FOOD

    It always starts with food. That's been my experience, anyway. Transitioning to clean eating has been hugely beneficial to my overall wellness. Why? A massive portion of our immune systems is located in the gut. Clean up what you're putting in there, and you'll start to notice a shift in how you're feeling pretty quickly.

    What can you do right now? Begin to move in the direction of a whole food, plant-based diet. That doesn't mean you have to become a vegan. Or paleo. Or anthing in particular, really. But it does mean paying attention to where your food comes from and how it was grown/raised. Some of the most common triggers to avoid include processed/packaged "foods", overdosing on sugar, conventional dairy, and (for some) gluten.

    We are all different. This is the concept of bioindividuality. What makes your body feel amazing might do the complete opposite for someone else. If you think you could use some help sorting that out, consider hooking up with a health coach for a seasonal cleanse (elimination diet approach) or a few personalized sessions. Every body is unique.

    2 - SPOONFUL OF HONEY

    Wild, raw, and local, to be more specific. And just a quarter (tea)spoonful or so at first. Why? Those beautiful bees, as they're buzzing about doing their thing, pick up pollen from their environment. The result: By consuming a bit of wild, raw, local honey, a little at a time, you may help to desensitize your body to the pollen. You'll want to start with a smaller amount in the beginning and gradually work up to the full spoon.

    3 - ESSENTIAL OILS

    Until about a year ago, I had no idea how significantly these guys would change my life. When a friend of mine introduced me to essential oils, touting, specifically, their therapeutic properties, I was hesitant and skeptical at first. But I just kept hearing more and more good things about them. Eventually, wanting to really understand the why behind essential oils and their theraperic properties, I took a leap and ordered myself a kit.

    And I am so glad I did. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils are known for their ability to support clear breathing and a healthy inflammatory response when combined together. Used by both veteran and novice essential oil users, this well-known blend is frequently diffused or mixed together for its respiratory health benefits. A little goes a long way.

    4 - HERBS & SPICES

    In conjunction with eating clean, a couple of standout herbs and spices that are really worth mentioning here are turmeric and nettle. 

    Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is a phytochemical with many beneficial properties. One of my favorite simple turmeric recipes is "Turmeric Tea", from 101 Cookbooks. Super simple, soothing, and delicious.

    Nettle is another great one, as it contains ingredients believed to support a healthy inflammatory response. Used regularly, many report significant improvement. And it's wonderful for lots of other things, too. Side benefits. My preference is nettle tea from Traditional Medicinals

    5 - OIL PULLING

    Oil pulling is thousands of years old and comes from the ancient practice of Ayurveda, the science of life. I love it because it's an age-old, all natural option for improved overall oral health, clearing out toxins hiding in the mouth and sinus cavities, combatting seasonal threats, supporting a healthy respiratory system, and freshening breath.

    I also love how simple it is. All you need is oil! Coconut, sesame, and olive oils are great options. But stick with the cleanest, most natural version you can get your hands on. 

    How does it work? The fat cells in the oil pull out the bacteria and other harmful toxins from your saliva and around your teeth, tongue, and gums. It’s super easy, painless, safe, and affordable. See the simpe how-to right on over here.

    6 - BREAK OUT THE NETI POT

    The neti pot is another old standby when it comes to respiratory health. The concept is simple: Flush out the problem before your body's had time to mount a major attack. Most folks recommend using the neti pot morning and night to most effectively clear the invading substance(s). 

    Have you explored any of these natural options for combatting seasonal and environmental threats? Any others you swear by and would love to add? Please share, if you like. I love reading your recommendations!

  • Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Suddenly, nothing else matters.

    There are times, sometimes, when I look back on my life and can see how everything that's happened has brought me to where I am.

    All the people I've met, people I've loved, people I've traveled with and worked beside.
    People I've lost. People I've let down. People I've hurt.
    And everything (and everyone) in between.
    All the ups and downs and tears and fears and fights and disappointment.
    All the laughter, love, and joy.

    Has brought me here now. Has taught me something.
    Has molded and created the person you see before you. 

    In tiny moments of flashes of light, I see that it has only been through the careful and consistent decision to follow my heart and do what feels right that I've begun to grow into the person I was meant to be.

    Somewhere along the line, something happens to people. We get a glimpse of our own mortality. Or someone else's.

    And we begin to see, to grasp, to feel in our bones - that there is only so much time we have here. So much space to fill. 

    And suddenly, nothing else matters.

    Nothing -- except the urgent, frantic, burning, bleeding, overwhelming need to love absolutely everything and everyone in our lives.

    And to accept nothing less than the right people, the right work, and the right adventures.

    To spend our time doing ONLY the things that really mean something. Or, at least, to do things differently now, savoring each moment: The soapy water in the sink, the colors in the produce section at the market, and the beautiful ritual of oil on your skin after a shower.

    To be held, to breathe it all in, to hold each other a little longer. To linger. And connect. And love MORE. (And more. And more.)

    To feel the sun on your skin, the earth beneath your feet, the rain on your tongue.

    To buy flowers, to cook from scratch, to breathe, to snuggle, to sing, to dance, to PLAY.

    Big or small, everything else (the fear, the pain, the anguish, the confusion, the overanalyzing, the anger, the perfectionism, the doing-too-much, the self-neglect, the self-doubt, the resentment, and all the wasted time and energy) must go.

    Because there is, at long last, no space for it here.

    Not anymore. And not ever again.

    As much as we can help it!

    Because life, it turns out, is far far FAR too short.

    Blink - and it's gone.
    In the meantime, I plan to make it count.

    Every single gorgeous second of it.

  • DIY Perfume for Mother's Day

    DIY Perfume for Mother's Day

    Make Your Own Perfume

    More than likely, the "fragrances" in your favorite perfume, body spray, shampoo, deodorant, and so many of the wildly popular store bought self care items are not as natural as  we'd like to think. What we might think is Lavender, for example, is very likely a chemical concoction meant to make us think we're smelling real Lavender. Synthetic fragrances are everywhere, and unfortunately, they're no good for our bodies. Beyond messing with our endocrine systems (throwing our hormones out of whack), they can also cause allergic reactions and sensitivities that can result in sneezing, rashes, runny noses, dry skin, and more. 

    These days, I'm all about the 100% pure, natural options. And essential oils have given me just that. The peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what I'm putting in and on my body makes me feel extra awesome about all the amazing DIY self/skin/body-care stuff I've been whipping up. Plus, it's super fun!

    With Mother's Day right around the corner, I'm thinking this little combo will be the perfect gift - along with some homemade chocolate, of course! Feel free to give it a go yourselves:

    Ingredients
    10 drops Vetiver essential oil

    20 drops Fennel essential oil
    15 drops Orange essential oil
    Spring water or alcohol* (I used an organic vodka)

    *Alcohol will help to meld and preserve the scents.

    Instructions

    • Add essential oils first. For best results, allow just the essential oils to sit in the container for a couple of days. This will help them mix and meld nicely.
    • Top off with water (or alcohol). 
    • Shake well. Allowing everything to sit for a couple weeks will help everything meld together, allowing the alcohol scent to fade and oils to intensify.

    If you'd like to learn more about the essential oils I love the most, just shoot me an email! Happy Mother's Day, mama friends!!

  • Mango Cacao Smoothie

    Mango Cacao Smoothie

    Mango Cacao Smoothie
    A healthy + delicious solution for the 3pm slump.

    This one is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, especially as the weather turns warmer. It's refreshing, nourishing, and satisfying. Skip the coffee (and sugary snacks) and whip up one of these instead.

    Ingredients
    1 cup frozen mango
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1/2 tablespoon raw cacao powder
    1/2 - 1 cup water, according to desired consistency
    Pinch of sea salt

    Blend until smooth - and enjoy!

  • Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Make Your Own Chocolate Bark
    Great to throw together for a party or just enjoy at home.

    This is a really fast and easy solution to the all-too-common "I've run out of chocolate" problem so many of us experience. (Happened to me last night.) If you have raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and sea salt, you're covered. How cool is that?

    High quality, organic, fair trade chocolate is not only decadently delicious, but can also good for you. Just don't go eating it all day long. My feeling on chocolate is that it's meant to be savored and enjoyed, a little at a time.

    Cacao beans (where all real chocolate begins) are rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and manganese. And they contain more antioxidant flavenoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries. They're also high in resveratrol, a potent antioxident that protects and supports the immune system.

    What's the difference between cacao and cocoa? Good question, my friend. What you're looking for here is "raw cacao". Why? Here's the low-down, straight from the folks over at foodmatters.tv:

    Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). 

    Cocoa looks the same as cacao, but it's not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that's been roasted at high temperatures. The roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, which reduces the enzyme content and lowers the overall nutritional value.

    Making your own chocolate with raw cacao is where it's at! And it couldn't be easier.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup coconut oil
    1 cup raw cacao powder
    1/2 cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
    pinch of sea salt
    pinch of cinnamon, optional
    pinch of cayenne, optional
    chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit, optional

    Instructions:

    • Over the lowest possible heat, heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. You can even create your own double boiler to further remove the cacao from the heat.
    • Once coconut oil has melted, remove saucepan from heat, and immediately stir in cacao powder and maple syrup, until well combined.
    • Mix in sea salt. (Mix in cinnamon and cayenne, if you like.)
    • Pour mixture over parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    • Sprinkle with optional nuts, seeds, dried fruit.
    • Place in freezer to harden.

    Note: 
    It will melt quickly (remember that coconut oil is liquid at room temperature), so don't leave it out too long, unless you're planning on eating it all in one sitting -- with your friends, of course.

  • Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Sesame Garlic Garbanzo Sauce

    Making my own sauces is one of my favorite things to do. You can play with the different ingredients and consistencies and personalize things to your taste. No hidden, scary ingredients. No overload of salt or sugar. It's the best! Simple, clean, and nourishing. So you can feel free to drench your veggies in deliciousness!

    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    1/4 cup garbanzo beans
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup water
    2 cloves garlic
    2 teaspoons tamari
    2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon maple syrup

    Instructions:

    • Add all ingredients to high speed blender
    • Blend completely, until creamy and even
    • Optional: Add an additional 1/8 of water to thin (that's what I did), depending on desired consistency
  • Yogi Tea

    Yogi Tea

    Yogi Tea

    I have a feeling you're going to love making (and sipping) this warming, soothing yogi tea. I first learned how to make yogi tea during Culinary Nutrition School. It's believed to strengthen the immune and nervous systems, energize the body, and calm the mind. I've also read that it helps to purify the blood, lungs, and circulatory systems - and cleanse the liver. It's a warming, spicy blend of cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, clove, and cinnamon, sweetened with a touch of local raw honey.

    Ingredients:
    2 quarts (8 cups) water
    5 sticks cinnamon
    1 tablespoon whole cloves
    1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
    1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
    1 inch ginger root, freshly sliced
    almond milk, optional
    raw honey, optional

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot
    • Simmer for 20-30 minutes
    • Serve alone or with a touch of milk and raw honey

    Note:
    You can simmer much longer (2-3 hours, even) if you like, but 20-30 minutes will do the job.

  • Coconut Veggie Curry (Plant-Based + Gluten-Free)

    Coconut Veggie Curry (Plant-Based + Gluten-Free)

    Coconut Veggie Curry

    This easy veggie curry is super simple to throw together, tastes amazing, and will last you about a week! My über talented husband, Eddie (inspired by my dad!), was the brains behind this one. And I was the sous chef. He sat down with me last night to type it all up for you. It was a big hit at my Afternoon Tea + Oils event last week, and we hope you love it, too.

    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons coconut oil 
    1 onion, roughly chopped
    5 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 cups carrots, chopped
    4 stalks of celery
    1 crown of broccoli, roughly chopped
    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, more to taste
    1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more/less to taste
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 BPA-free can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
    1 BPA-free can coconut milk
    8 cups vegetable stock (or water), more or less depeneding on desired consistency

    Instructions:

    • Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat
    • Add all vegetables to the pot
    • Add spices and sautée until just softened, about 10 minutes (stirring frequently)
    • Add diced tomatos, coconut milk, and vegetable stock/water
    • Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes
    • Allow to cool (enough to transfer to the blender)
    • Puree soup (we used the Vitamix), then return pureed soup to pot, rewarming as needed
  • In Words + Photos: Afternoon Tea & Oils

    In Words + Photos: Afternoon Tea & Oils

    Back in January, I posted a photo on my Facebook page from a Tea & Essential Oils gathering I'd hosted the night before.

    I'd invited a couple of friends over who'd expressed an interest in learning more about essential oils. I served tea and chocolate, shared my essential oils story, and taught my friends the basics of essential oils. It was a lot of fun! Super laid back and chill.

    About a week later, I was on the phone with a friend from upstate New York. She'd seen the photo and had a crazy [awesome] idea.

    For at least two decades now, she, her sister, and their mother have been getting together once a year for a mother-daughters afternoon tea. They'd meet somewhere special, spend a few days together exploring the area, and, of course, have tea. They've been all over New York City, in various other cities and states, and even had tea at the beach one year! 

    And this year, my friend was thinking, maybe it was time to come to Baltimore! Inspired by my photo, she wondered if I'd be interested in hosting a "culinary nutrition" style Afternoon Tea & Oils class for her, her sister, and her mom. 

    I instantly said: Yes! 
    And then thought: What the heck will I do?!

    I've been to one high tea before - at the Ritz Carlton, with friends of mine, in elementary school. (With our American Girl dolls in tow, if I'm not mistaken.) So I certainly was no expert on planning tea parties. But I reminded myself that my friend had invited me to get creative, do what made sense to me, and to give it the culinary nutrition twist that she knows I love.

    And here's the thing: I love tea, food, and essential oils. So to get to plan a day around those three most wonderful things, for three incredible women, was going to be amazing! And adventure? Yes. But definitely amazing. What an opportunity!

    PREP

    My tea party guests had booked their flights and hotel and were Baltimore-bound, flying in from New York the day before the big event. They'd be staying at the Inn at the Black Olive, a luxury organic-themed, eco-conscious boutique hotel tucked just between Fells Point and Harbor East. I'd heard wonderful things about it!

    I stopped by that morning to drop off a welcome card and gift: A bottle of Grapefruit essential oil. Just a drop in your hands, cupped in front of your face and breathed in deeply is instantly uplifting. It's also awesome in a glass of water, adding the perfect amount of flavor (I use two or three drops) and helping to support the metabolism and curb cravings. I thought it would make a refreshing welcome for weary travelers.

    If you haven't yet been to the Inn, I recommend putting it on your to-do list. The Agora Organic Market on the ground floor is lovely! Green juices, smoothies, organic cafe fare, and even a selection of biodynamic wines. 

    That evening, with help from my best bud, I set the table with some of my favorite colors, textures, patterns, and flowers: A table runner from our trip to Bali, gorgeous cloth napkins from Anthropologie, a sugar jar Eddie brought home from México, and a bright bouquet of red tulips, gifted to us by a recent guest. Thank you, Kath and Mel.

    Next up? Prepping the menu. I wanted to feature a mix of my favorite brands, Baltimore makers, and homemade items. Here's what I came up with:


    TEA

    The first course was Tea. In keeping with my culinary nutrition theme, I decided on a traditional yogi tea, which, according to Ayurvedic wisdom, helps to purify the blood, lungs, and circulatory system and cleanses the liver. It's a warming, spicy blend of cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, clove, and cinnamon, sweetened with a touch of local raw honey. Simmer for about 15 minutes and you're good to go. It was a hit! On the side, I offered coconut palm sugar, homemade maple hemp milk, and a local organic milk (just in case). 

    In addition to the yogi tea, I offered a selection of some of my favorite organic teas from Traditional Medicinals: Ginger, Raspberry Leaf, Cup of Calm, and Peppermint, each of them soothing and health-supportive in its own way.

    Yogi Tea

    Ingredients:
    2 quarts (8 cups) water
    5 sticks cinnamon
    1 tablespoon whole cloves
    1 tablespoon whole cardamom seeds
    1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
    1 inch ginger root, freshly sliced
    almond milk, optional
    raw honey, optional

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in a medium-sized pot
    • Simmer for 20-30 minutes
    • Serve alone or with a touch of milk and raw honey

    Note: 
    You can simmer much longer (2-3 hours, even) if you like, but 20-30 minutes will do the job.

    The last of the teas was, I think, an unexpected one: Kombucha, from Hex Ferments, which I picked up at our local Farmers Market the morning of. Hex is awesome because they use organic tea, organic free-trade cane sugar, filtered water, and local, organic and wild foraged herbs to create their super lovely and unique kombuchas. For our afternoon, I chose the Butterfly Lime (the purple one up there) and Parsley varieties.

    Kombucha is a big culinary nutrition player because it's a natural source of probiotics, which help to keep our guts (where nearly three quarters of our immune systems live) strong and healthy. 

    SNACKS

    For the savory portion of the menu, I served a beautiful Coconut Veggie Curry, which my incredibly talented husband (primarily) whipped up the night before. He's so amazing with food, and - having witnessed my "food as medicine" journey and hearing me teach about the importance of understanding the quality of the food we eat/buy - he's very much on board with what I do these days. He's the greatest. Thanks, Babe.

    To accompany the curry, I made the most adorable little tea sandwiches, inspired by the one and only Meg, of Beard & Bonnet. Hummus, lentils, cucumber, dill. Simple flavors that came together very nicely, I thought. Loved them. And have already made them again several times.

    Coconut Veggie Curry

    Ingredients:
    3 tablespoons coconut oil 
    1 onion, roughly chopped
    5 cloves of garlic, minced
    2 cups carrots, chopped
    4 stalks of celery
    1 crown of broccoli, roughly chopped
    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    1 tablespoon dried basil
    1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, more to taste
    1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper, more/less to taste
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 BPA-free can diced tomatoes, fire roasted
    1 BPA-free can coconut milk
    8 cups vegetable stock (or water), more or less depeneding on desired consistency

    Instructions:

    • Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat
    • Add all vegetables to the pot
    • Add spices and sautée until just softened, about 10 minutes (stirring frequently)
    • Add diced tomatos, coconut milk, and vegetable stock
    • Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30 minutes
    • Allow to cool (enough to transfer to the blender)
    • Puree soup (we used the Vitamix), then return pureed soup to pot, rewarming as needed

    SWEETS

    My favorite course, of course, was the Sweets. And this one I've gotta share a little story about.

    Synchronicity. God. The Universe.
    Whatever you believe, somebody had my back and believed in this tea party.
    And I have proof.

    First, I made a trip to Jinji's (chocolate genius) the day before the party, to pick up a few items. All of her ingredients are raw and vegan, and she does everything in the most creative, quality, heart-filled way imagineable, with the most interesting flavors and combinations. On top of that, she is just the nicest - and so is the whole Jinji's team!

    And would you believe that, just as I arrived, she was putting the finishing touches on a green tea truffle?! It was obviously M.T.B. Meant to be. She sent me home with a collection of Matcha Gunpowder, Mace Stuck Pot Rice (a new favorite), and Lavender Lemonade beauties.

    And then: I wandered over to PlantBar to see if they might have anything there that would fit the occasion. And guess what!? They had a raw Chai Cheesecake. Craziness! And oh my goodness was it good.

    Inspired by a recipe my aunt brought to our Easter get-together this year, I also created a batch of Lemon Blackberry Melts, but with a raspberry surprise in the middle! Such a genius idea, and one I'd never seen before. The only thing I changed was: I used a combination of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and three drops of Lemon essential oil. They were a challenge to recreate, but so worth it. 

    OILS

    To finish off the afternoon, I planned an Introduction to Essential Oils class. 

    What are essential oils?
    How long have they been around?
    How can I use them?
    What can I use them for?
    What do I need to know in choosing the right essential oils for me and my family?

    All this and more was covered, along with a lot of sampling and smelling of the oils, discussing common uses, and sharing some of my favorite resources. We even did a little DIY session, creating customized fresh air sprays and sugar scrubs for the bath or shower. Lavender, Vanilla, Frankincense and Orange, Grapefruit, Clove, Peppermint. A feast for the senses, to be sure. Want to learn more about my favorite oils? Shoot me an email here.

    The sun was starting to set as I waved goodbye to my friends. It had been a beautiful day, getting to know these three beautiful women and, I hope, providing a space to sip, savor, relax, connect, and learn together.

    I am beyond grateful to have been invited to be even a small part of such a longstanding, special tradition. I hope they enjoyed themselves! And I hope it won't be long until they find themselves in Charm City again.

    They'll always be welcome here. With love and tea and oils.

  • What You'll Find Here

    What You'll Find Here

    Hello Love,

    I love this photograph from our trip to Tulum. 
    It feels like freedom, peace, and warmth.
    Invites you to have a seat. To share some food together. To share some time together.

    How are you, my friend? 

    I've been meaning to write this for a while now. Just haven't known exactly where to start, I guess. It's been a long time since we've connected this way, and I've missed you

    How've you been? I mean, really: How are you? 

    How do you feel?
    What's good in your world?
    What are you loving right now? And who?
    What do you want more of?
    And how do you want to feel?


    In a way, I suppose I've been asking myself these very same questions. 

    It's amazing how easily we can get lost in our lives, as we're learning, exploring, fumbling, feeling, and finding our way through. 

    Things can get heavy. And tight. And confusing. And feel like too much.


    Sometimes (used to be most times), when that happens to me, I turn inward. Push through. I keep those feelings of overwhelm and fear to myself. 

    Other times (better times), I breathe, meditate, and create. 

    And that helps. A lot, actually.


    But what I've discovered is that the real magic, the release, the ease, the acceptance, and the greatest sense of love is in connection.

    Community. Support. Sisterhood. Family. Tribe.

    Sometimes it's a community of two. Sometimes 10. Sometimes many more.

    But feeling understood and loved, unconditionally, is where it's at.

    Being honest, being vulnerable, being who we are. With ourselves and our people.

    These days, I'm craving simple things. 

    Clean, nourishing food. Gentle movement. Connection. Fresh air. And soothing spaces.

    I'm hugging more. Telling you I love you, because I do. And because if not now, then when? 

    I'm practicing being in the moment. And trusting the timing. 

    Letting go. Accepting. And re-connecting.

    All the while, I'm taking my time and being patient with myself, as I become the most genuine version of myself I've ever been, stripping away the superficial stuff. 

    I share this with you because I want to let you in. I want you to know where my mind's been. And where I am now.

    The past year has been full of joy, challenges, love, leaps, and figuring stuff out.

    It's been wonderful and tearful and beautiful. 

    So what's good in my life?

    So much love. Friends + family. Work - coaching, teaching, collaborating, empowering, leading - that is more aligned with what I believe than ever before. Adventures. Community. And peace.

    And what do I want more of?

    All of the above. I want to let go of what no longer serves me, take better care of myself, do yoga, laugh, learn, and connect with people who want the same.

    In the end, I want to leave more love in the world and help people find their happy place.

    Which brings me to you, my dear friend.

    Because that's what you'll find here.

    Food? Yes. But so much more. 

    Because there's so much more to life than food.
    And especially worrying about food.

    So let's enjoy food again. Let's uncomplicate, savor, and appreciate.

    And while we're at it, let's not forget about all the other things that make life awesome.

    Whether it's real food, culinary nutrition, travel adventures, holistic living, essential oils, natural solutions, yoga, musical medicine, inspirational folks, mindful living, life stories, or community you're looking for, it'll be here.

    Shared honestly and freely. From me to you. 

    Though I do hope you'll share, too.

    And I thank you, so very kindly, for being a part of this community. Part of my life. It surely wouldn't be the same without you. 

    Love + Light,
    Katie
    XO

  • Books + Documentaries that Might Change Your Life

    Books + Documentaries that Might Change Your Life

    Inevitably, when I share what I do for a living with someone, we get into a great discussion about this book or that documentary that is a "must-see". Over the years, I've been collecting (mentally and in hard copy) books, documentaries, and other inspirational pieces that have changed my life.

    I'm keeping a list here, for days when you feel like you need a little inspiration, want to check out something new, or are trying to remember the name of that book or film that chaned your life. Please, share your favorites. This list is ever-expanding.  

    TED Talks + Other Inspiring Shorts

    Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
    Daniel Amen: The Most Important Lesson from 83,000 Brain Scans
    Diversity & Inclusion - Love Has No Labels

    Libby Weaver: The Pace of Modern Life Versus Our Cavewoman Biochemisty
    Maysoon Zayid: I Got 99 Problems ..Palsy Is Just One of Them
    Robin Sharma: How to Wake Up Early
    Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
    The Story of Cosmetics
    This Girl Can

    Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do
    Tree Change Dolls

    Documentaries

    A Place at the Table
    Black Fish

    Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
    Burzynski: Cancer is Serious Business
    Food Inc.

    Forks Over Knives
    Genetic Roulette
    GMO OMG
    Happy

    I Am
    King Corn
    Pink Ribbons, Inc.
    Revolution
    The Business of Being Born

    The Gerson Miracle
    The Promise
    Vegucated

    Walmart

    Books

    Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy
    Becoming Vegan
    Change Your Brain Change Your Body
    Coyote Medicine
    Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Tranforms the Way We Love, Love, Parent, and Lead

    Diet for a Small Planet
    Grain Brain
    Eat to Live
    Emotional Healing with Essential Oils
    Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
    Farm City
    Food Rules: An Eater's Manual
    Holistic Dental Care
    Integrative Nutrition: Feed Your Hunger for Health and Happiness
    Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole

    Live Raw: Raw Food Recipes for Good Health and Timeless Beauty
    Medical Aromatherapy
    Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof that You Can Heal Yourself
    Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your Purpose
    Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils
    Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom
    Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide
    Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure
    Salt Sugar Fat
    Start with Why
    The Alchemist

    The Blood Sugar Solution
    The China Study
    The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
    The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms
    The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
    The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy
    The Hormone Cure
    The Icarus Deception
    The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out

    The Omnivore's Dilemma
    The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living
    The War of Art

    UnDiet
    WomanCode
    Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

  • Travelogue: Tulum

    Travelogue: Tulum

    We're back! 

    A couple months ago, Eddie and I decided it was time to get away. Time for a little rest + relaxation.

    Ever since full-time entrepreneur life began, I've had a hard time closing my laptop and focusing on taking care of me. Why? I love the work!

    But I've learned that it's completely up to me to set these self-care parameters for myself, and it will only get better with practice.

    We both agreed that we needed sunshine, and we didn't really feel like doing too much. Just needed a place to park ourselves and stop go, go, going all the time. Unplug. 

    The solution? Tulum, way down along the east coast of the Yucatán peninsula in beautiful Quintana Roo, México. Home of the Mayan walled city of the same name (pictured above). And, I was told, a fairly holistically-minded type of place.

    Awesomely, Southwest Airlines is offering non-stop flights from BWI to Cancún these days, so we cashed in some miles and started making plans.

    Well, mainly Eddie made the plans. Don't get me wrong: I was DEFinitely psyched! I love México. It's mi segunda patria. It's where my love of Spanish and all things Latin American culture began.

    But I didn't really get involved until the day before we left. That's when I happened upon the New York Times article 36 Hours in Tulum. And got really excited!

    We pretty much always find places to stay using Airbnb. If you haven't tried them yet, you really must. Best tip: Find places with excellent ratings - and a lot of them. It's kind of hard to go wrong (knock on wood) with that approach. And especially if you've got a bit of an adventurer's spirit, I bet you'll love it. 

    The first two nights, we stayed inland. In a hut. In the jungle. With two of the most lovely people (and hosts) we've come across!

    Elisa and Alfredo are kind, caring, gifted people. Both artists, but in different ways. Everything about them is so genuine and warm. They've created a beautiful space, tucked away in the trees, barely visible from the dirt road that leads you there.

    We stayed in the Mayan Room, a small hut constructed in the traditional Mayan style. Gorgeous, simple, everything you need.

    You sleep in a hammock or on the floor and see by candlelight (and flashlight) at night. Oh - and walk to a separate bathroom/shower hut across the property, complete with a super eco-friendly composting toilet. Very cool!

    In addition to being a joy to talk to, Elisa and Alfredo also cooked us delicious food, gave us wonderful fresh mango and papaya in the morning, introduced us to café de olla, and even shared an impressive home-brewed stout (compliments to Elisa) with us. 

    We hope we'll see them again one day. So very grateful for their hospitality. Books they recommended checking out, in case you're heading their way anytime soon are:

    Diego de Landa, RELACION DE LAS COSAS DE YUCATAN 
    Sylvanus Morley, THE ANCIENT MAYA

    If you ever find yourself in the Tulum region, definitely make time for a trip to the ruins of the city of Cobá.

    You'll be tempted to skip it and just visit the more popular seaside Tulum ruins, but trust me, you'll be glad you made the trip.

    Less crowded, much more to see, lovely tree-lined streets.

    You can walk, rent bikes, or hire a bike taxi to get around. And here, unlike at Tulum, you're still allowed to climb the big pyramid, which (at its peak) is the highest point on the peninsula.

    On your way out of Cobá, ask the guy at the entrance for a ticket to Multun Há, which Eddie has declared his favorite of all the cenotes. (Another recommendation from Alfredo and Elisa - thank you!)

    What the heck is a cenote? It's a sinkhole, more or less, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes fresh, azure-blue groundwater below.

    The guy will sell you a ticket and give you a map. It's not far from the ruins.

    Once there, you'll walk down three stories of a wooden spiral staircase (into a hole in the ground, essentially) before it opens up to one of the coolest scenes you've seen. 

    Just wow. These picture don't even do it justice. 

    Rent a mask and snorkel and hang out for as long as you like. We practically had the place to ourselves. Amazing!

    Back in Tulum, over on the beach side, we hit up some pretty great spots for food.

    Zamas, with tables practically on the beach, was the perfect start the second half of our trip. Eddie got the famous huevos rancheros and I got fresh pressed green juice (with a base of chaya, somewhat similar to spinach), and fruit with homemade yogurt and granola. YUM!

    With full bellies, we headed to the Tulum ruins. I'd been to this part of México twice before and am embarrassed to say I never went to see Tulum. (Too busy sipping fruity frozen beverages by the sea. Shameful.)

    Tulum is beautiful, but it was somewhat painfully hot and crowded. If you're going, go early (or late) to miss the crowds and scorching sun. And probably best to hire a guide! They seem to have a wealth of information to share.

    Since leaving teaching, the details I once remembered about this gorgeous place have gone foggy. I really wish I'd read those books Alfredo and Elisa recommended before getting to México! Time to backtrack, I guess. :)

    We ended our trip to the ruins with a swim (Eddie did - I forgot my suit) and homemade popcicles of mango and coconut. Perfectly refreshing doesn't even begin to describe them! Ahhh.

    Our next stop was lunch at the fabulous Restaurare, a popular vegan restaurant we'd read about in the New York Times article. It did not disappoint! I got fresh pressed cucumber and mint juice and Eddie ordered a local craft beer called Akumal.

    The food was phenomenal: Mushroom ceviche, a gorgeous seasonal veggie dish, and loads and loads of mole. When in México!


    Our second Airbnb rental, a Treetop Cabana deep within the biosphere of Sian Ka'an, was the next stop.

    To get there, you've got to get to the very end of the main drag in Tulum, and then just keep on driving down a (seemingly endless) dirt road.

    For nearly an hour.

    It's pretty far out there. Which was exactly what we needed.


    The place was just perfect.

    Right on the beach.

    Beautiful views.

    Sea breeze.

    Warm water.

    Fresh fruit, corn tortillas, and limonadas every dang day.

    A private bathroom.

    AND you didn't even have to get out of bed to see the sunrise! 

    We were very happy.

    And yes, that had a lot to do with the fact that we were at this crazy gorgeous place on the beach.

    But also - a lot to do with the insanely lovely people we met there! Friends we hope we'll stay in touch with for many many years to come.

    Not to mention this little sweet pea.

    It makes my heart so happy to have been able to share our trip with them. We even all piled into our SUVs and trekked back into town to have a special night out together at the completely dreamy Posada Margarita.

    Hand rolled pasta, fish poached in sea water. Vino. Fresh greens. Pistachio gelato. It was heavenly! Go, you must. (Gluten? What gluten?)

    On the way back to Highway 307, our last morning in México, we stopped at Maya Tulum.

    We'd hoped to make it to one of their traditional temazcal (sweat lodge) ceremonies, but timing just didn't work out, unfortunately. Friends have told us it is a must.

    It'll have to wait until next time for us. Instead, we had breakfast.

    Watermelon juice for me, followed by more fresh fruit, homeade granola, and yogurt.

    With happy bellies and full hearts we hit the road for the Cancún Airport. Hard to say goodbye, so we'll just say until next time. And thank you

    Hasta la vista, México. Gracias por todo.

  • Real-Food Shamrock Shake

    Real-Food Shamrock Shake

    Shamrock Shake? Do you KNOW what's in those things?!?

    Seeking a healthier, real-food version of this seasonal treat? Gotcha covered!

    Try This:

    2 cups packed greens
    1 tablespoon moringa
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1 tablespoon ground flax
    1 banana
    1 tablespoon chocolate chips
    2 drops Peppermint EO
    1 cup water (or non-dairy milk)
    Handful of ice, to taste

    Blend and enjoy!!

  • Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

    Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

    Here's another simple morning smoothie you can throw together in no time at all!

    Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup (frozen) blueberries
    1/2 cup packed spinach
    1 tablespoon ground flax

    1 tablespoon hemp hearts
    1 tablespoon almond butter
    1/2 banana
    1/2 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup water

    Instructions: Blend everything together. Enjoy!

  • Food for a Cause: From Scratch is here!

    Food for a Cause: From Scratch is here!

    Oh, just one more reason I love the Academy of Culinary Nutrition!

    Their mission reaches beyond the "classroom" and beyond the kitchen.

    They're out to change lives and empower people to take back their health and create the lives they desire and deserve!

    What does this latest compilation, From Scratch, from the Culinary Nutrition Experts have to do with changing lives? 

    Well, for one: The recipes are downright dreamy: Gorgeous photos of food-for-healing style recipes, created by yours truly and a whole bunch of my extremely talented friends!

    But much more importantly, 100% of the proceeds (your donations!) will be donated to Kiva, an amazing lending program that helps people around the world kickstart their own businesses - and change their lives!

    This year's edition of the From Scratch Cookbook includes:

    • 35 plant-based, entirely gluten-free recipes
    • Options for vegan, dairy-free, and allergy folks
    • Culinary nutrition tips

    AND it's all available at pay-what-you-can pricing!

    But only through March 6th, 2015!

    So, come on! What are you waiting for?

    Jump on over here and grab your copy:

    I've already donated and downloaded my copy! (It's stellar!!)

    And THANK YOU for supporting this special project. It is truly an honor to be a part of this awesome community. 

  • Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bites

    Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bites

    Welp. We ran out of dark chocolate yesterday. Never a good thing! I like a piece of high quality dark chocolate from time to time. And my husband looks for it every night!

    After the success of the Wild Orange Power Bites at my essential oils class last week, I was really wanting to put together a chocolate-themed "bite" *for all the lovers* this Valentine's Day. (Or any day!)

    These are super easy, satisfying, and frankly, quite healthy! Throw them together today, pop them in the fridge, and enjoy throughout the week. Warning: They go fast! 

    Ingredients:
    1 cup almond butter
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    1/4 cup hemp hearts
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/4 cup cacao nibs
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1/8 cup chia seeds
    Several dashes cinnamon
    Pinch of sea salt

    Instructions:

    • Place all ingredients in mixer bowl.
    • Mix thoroughly, until well combined.
    • Shape into 1-inch balls.
    • Place in fridge to store.

    And enjoy!

    Happiest Valentine's Day to you and yours! Lots of love from me! 

    Katie
    XO

  • Warm Sweet Potato Spirals

    Warm Sweet Potato Spirals
    Ah, the sweet potato. Love it or leave it, this tuberous root veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness. 


    But it's not just good for your body! Its sweet, beta-carotene orange flesh is rich in magnesium, which promotes relaxation, calmness, and a good mood, according to Psychology Today. 


    And don't be afraid to add healthy fats to the mix. Aside from being vital to keeping our bodies functioning optimally, healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocado), when eaten along with sweet potato, help the body to more efficiently absorb beta-carotene!


    De-stress and give your body some love with these simple Steamed Sweet Potato Spirals. This recipe is so super simple, and it works great as a nutrient-packed veggie side or a mini-meal. 


    Serves: 3
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
     
    ​Ingredients:
    Spiralizer (Or something similar. Even a simple veggie peeler will work.)
    1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed (More to taste)
    Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
    1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, to finish
    Avocado, sliced lengthwise (Optional)


    Instructions: 
    • ​Spiralize the sweet potato.
    • Fill the bottom of a large pot with 1/2 of water, place steamer basket in pot, and place sweet potato spirals in steamer basket. Steam on medium-to-high heat for 10 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure desired tenderness.
    • While sweet potato steams, mix EVOO and lemon juice in a separate dish.
    • Once steamed, remove spirals from steamer. Add EVOO-lemon juice mixture, tossing to lightly coat. Taste test: Add more oil and/or lemon juice as needed.
    • Finish with sea salt, pepper, and sesame seeds to taste.
    • Garnish with avocado slices.

    Enjoy!