Hey Loves! Y’all know that I mostly talk about important healing topics like empowerment, positivity, self-love, body positivity, living a life you love and using your voice. Can’t shut me up about it and that hasn’t changed!
Occasionally I get to share some delicious healthy recipes with you, too.
If you followed me through The Cocoon: Empowered Transformation (my healthy living program for people in bigger bodies) then you already know that I am a big fan of SMOOTHIES. Mmm! So easy and a yummy way to get more fresh fruits and veggies into your awesome bod! Well, this morning I made a delicious smoothie bowl using some of the goodies from my Imperfect Foods box.
If you aren’t familiar with Imperfect Foods (formerly “Imperfect Produce”), they are a wonderful organization that is working to fight food waste in America by directly shipping “imperfect” produce- fruits and veggies that have been deemed too ugly, too small, or too much (surplus) for traditional grocery stores to accept- straight to your home with minimal packaging (another environmental win!). PLUS, they donate loads of healthy food to hungry people living in all kinds of shelters. I absolutely love them!
Whether you prefer a long hike or a gentle stroll, or even if you just want to enjoy a healthy snack to munch on at your desk or during your afternoon commute- my Goddess Trail Mix is an easy winner. It packs a high-energy punch, hits the sweet and savory notes, is low in sugar and high in good fats and even has tasty dark chocolate antioxidants. Gluten Free, Paleo friendly, and Vegetarian.
You can substitute different nuts if you prefer, such as walnuts or pecans. Here’s my super simple recipe:
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup natural roasted macadamia nuts
1/3 cup unsalted plantain chips
1/3 cup yogurt covered cranberries
1/3 cup dark chocolate covered coffee beans
Mix together in a big bowl. Transfer to smaller resealable bags or containers. Enjoy! Makes 1 dry quart.
I do love to eat a tasty dip! Even better when it’s healthy AND tastes great, just like my favorite Creamy Dreamy Carrot Dip. This one is Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Paleo-Friendly, Vegetarian and Vegan. And it still tastes great! It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and a whole lotta awesome.
Here’s the super simple recipe. Enjoy!
One package organic baby carrots
1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
Juice of ½ a lemon
1½- 2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp cumin
⅛ tsp ground coriander
⅛ tsp smoked paprika
Salt & pepper to taste
Using either a veggie steamer or a large covered saute pan, steam the carrots until just soft (but not mushy)
Place the steamed carrots & any remaining liquid in a blender or food processor.
Add olive oil, minced garlic, dry spices, and lemon juice; blend on high until desired creamy texture.
Stir in salt & pepper to taste, then chill before serving.
On September 1, I started my 30 Day Challenge which included a 10 minute daily walk, daily gratitude journaling, and eliminating certain foods from my daily diet (no sugar, dairy, grains, or alcohol). Aside from the total of 5 days of planned travel in which I released my food restrictions (4 in NOLA, 1 in Vegas), I was able to stick to my Challenge in all three areas! I’m feeling pretty accomplished and I have to say, pretty darn proud of myself.
On this final day of my Challenge, here are my observations:
This wasn’t about counting calories or weight loss, but about feeling better in my body. The weight dropped, honestly, was minimal. Maybe 5 lbs? BUT the fact is that I truly do feel better. Not having pain and inflammation in my joints and bloating in my gut is worth saying “no thanks” to the foods that were hurting me. Being able to love myself enough to listen to my body, take good care of her, and do what feels best for me really sums up my personal mission of helping women to love the body they are living in. You can find support and guidance in my program, The Cocoon, if (like me) you are living in a bigger body and want to take some easy steps forward in your health & wellness.
Making time to move my body and get a little sweaty each day is a legit battle. Oh my gosh, the mind games I played with myself to try and talk myself out of it! Every. Damn. Day. But I would lovingly make myself do it, and each time I felt great. My body felt better physically, I released any pent up emotions, and cleared my mind for exciting new ideas. I know the struggle is real, friends, but the rewards are there for the taking. It’s just 10 minutes. If you are able, get out and walk! If walking is not something your body allows you to do, spend your 10 minute doing something physical such as modified chair exercises.
Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Corn too. WTF? These two foods, I believe, have been my body’s primary enemies and main sources of inflammation. I read ingredients labels now for everything before putting it in my shopping cart at the grocery store. Corn syrup, sugar, corn oil, sucrose, cane sugar, cane syrup – if any form of these were on the ingredients label, I didn’t eat it.
I know that I will be A LOT more careful and conscious of what I eat. For sure, I will be reading ingredient labels moving forward. And yes, sometimes I will indulge a little and have some sweet treats when I’m celebrating with friends and loved ones- but it will not be part of my everyday meals.
Whole foods > Junk foods. Well, duh. Of course they are, but I mean they just realllllllly are so much better. They look better. They taste better. They provide better & longer-lasting energy. They are not difficult to prepare. They inspire culinary creativity. They do not leave me feeling gross, tired, bloated, blah. They keep my head clear and mind focused. They are easy to pronounce. They are a better value for the money. Even on nights when I was tired after a long day and didn’t have the stamina to create a fabulous dinner, we could still enjoy no sugar added, uncured smoky bacon & eggs. WINNING. I’ll be sharing a collection of my favorite recipes from this Challenge, so if you’d like to receive them in your inbox just complete the form below! (Including this SO TASTY Pot-Roasted Chicken)
I really like a good glass of wine. During my Challenge, sometimes I craved a sweet dessert, but that craving would pass quickly. Some mornings I craved a latte, but again, it would pass quickly. If I really hardcore wanted something sweet and indulgent, I had some Medjool dates or a Frozen Smoothie Pop. As I was getting closer to the end of my 30 days, though, I found I was really looking forward to enjoying a glass of fine wine with dinner. Maybe I will feel differently after that first glass tomorrow, but I don’t think so. CHEERS!
Adulting can be so hard sometimes, AMIRITE? Don’t worry Lovelies, you can do this! Whether you are trying to get yourself out of bed and back to work after a long holiday weekend or perhaps an even longer vacation break, there are a few simple things that you can do right now to make your reintegration to Responsible Adult Life a breeze.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday:
Re-Hydrate! Top of the list for getting your body back on point. Spending fun times with friends and family almost always revolves around food & drinks. You probably ate a lot more than you normally do and probably ate and/or drank things that you don’t normally indulge in. Good! Life’s short, it’s OK to splurge and have fun! Now it’s time to give your body some extra-love by flushing out all of the extra junk from your system. Drink LOTS of fresh clean water and give yourself a time-out from soda & alcohol for at least a week.
Rest! Whatever your age, your body needs sleep to recharge and regenerate fresh new cells. It needs even more after you’ve been partying it up, and more still if you’ve been hopping in and out of different time zones. For your first 2-3 days back after a holiday, give your body the opportunity to readjust by going to bed early, taking 10-15 minute naps during the day, and saying a polite but firm “No thank you” to social engagements.
Move Your Body (Gently)! Your body will greatly benefit from getting back into a regular exercise routine sooner rather than later. It’s important here to ease into it instead of going hard your first 2-3 days back to avoid injury and setting yourself back for weeks or more. Keep your exercises incredibly simple and short for your first 3 days back with 30 minutes or less of walking, yoga, and weightlifting each day.
Eat Clean! Don’t make the mistake of trying to starve yourself or otherwise deprive yourself of good food just because you may have gained a few pounds during your holiday. That kind of punishment is not even remotely healthy for your body, mind, or spirit. Honey, you earned those pounds (or more likely, ounces) and the good memories with loved ones are totally worth it! Treat yourself to fresh fruits, veggies, and clean protein, but take a break from fast foods and sugar-packed desserts & baked goods for at least a week.
Share Your Stories! You had a great time, right? Share your fun stories, recommendations and favorite moments with your family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, or boss if appropriate and let them experience life through your eyes. Savor the great memories you created, and record them in a journal, photo album, or video montage to look back on.
If you would like a free 10 minute gentle workout video from my private membership class The Cocoon, leave me your email here:
For the past couple of years, I have been wanting- no, longing to- create a series of fitness videos for people living in bigger bodies, with a crazy twist: I don’t want you to lose a bunch of weight (unless that is something YOU want for yourself). Instead, I wanted to simply love, support, and encourage people just like me to love the body that they are already living in, and provide them with some easy action-steps to help guide them to a healthier lifestyle.
I had this radical notion that I could begin to deeply, truly LOVE myself exactly as I am instead of constantly feeling shitty about the way I look & thinking that “If I just lose this extra weight, I’ll be happier”. NOPE! Life is too short, and I decided that I don’t want to waste any more time trying to get my body to look like it did when I was wearing size single-digit before treating myself like the beautiful, strong, wonderful and valuable woman that I already am. Talk about a game-changer! It’s what led me to create my very own body-positive holistic health & wellness program for bigger bodies, The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation.
The truth is, and trust me when I tell you that the bazillion dollar health & fitness industry doesn’t want me to tell you this: You can achieve good health and still live in a plus-size body. I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t take good care of yourself; no, I’m saying that you don’t have to fit into standards set by the beauty industry in order to be healthy, beautiful, and utterly amazing. YES! You can adopt a healthier lifestyle AND you can start loving the body you have right now. What a crazy concept, hey? Here are my five top tips to get you started:
Develop a more positive mindset. Instead of constantly tearing yourself down, criticizing, and comparing, retrain your brain to shift the focus on to what is good about you, and on what you are doing right. Find the positive spin. Speak to yourself with love and kindness daily, and especially in times of great stress and challenge. Talk to and about yourself as you would your best friend. Believe in yourself!
Move your body every day. Be intentional about creating more movement for your body every day. Do at least 10 minutes of physical activity each and every day. 1, 2 or 3 times a week, add in some fun physical activity for 20, 30, or 60 minutes. Build up slowly, and try different things to see what you enjoy the most.
Food is not optional, so make it great. Whether you choose to eat as a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore, the food we eat should nourish our bodies and delight our taste buds. Always opt for organic, non-GMO certified foods whenever possible. Choose the freshest fruits & veggies you can find. Cut way back on sugar, but not on healthy fats. Cook your own meals whenever possible and develop some mad skills!
Hydrate! There are so many benefits to your body from drinking plenty of water each day. Improved organ function, fresher breath, eliminating toxins, reducing headaches, clearer, more supple skin, and more. Start with drinking a glass in the morning before you get out of bed and aim to drink 8 more throughout the day. If you don’t already love the taste of fresh pure water, infuse itwith fruit or herbs. Drink up, Buttercup!
Throw out that damn scale. Seriously, just ditch it. Don’t be owned by a number whether it is on a scale, a pair of jeans, a bank account or a birthday cake. You are WAY more valuable than any of those. In fact, you are priceless. (See Tip #1!)
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When I had finally reached my true rock bottom, I had reached a place of complete and total surrender. At the young age of 29, I just wanted everything to end. I was done with life and the mess I had made of it seemed impossible to redeem.
There, in my most broken moment, God/Spirit/My Higher Power answered my most desperate prayer to “take my life and recycle my soul.”
When my childhood friend Robert called my parents’ house late that night, he had no idea what I was about to do. He had no idea that I had just swallowed a handful of pills and was on my way out the door to die quietly, out of sight. He didn’t know that somehow, miraculously, the God that he had come to have faith in was going to use him to save me that night. But that’s exactly what happened.
Catalina Island + Jesus Freaks
A few days later, instead of being dead, I would be off on a boat to Catalina Island for a camping trip with a group of college-aged men and women who also happened to be a bunch of total Jesus Freaks (I say that in love!), and their leader, my friend Robert. Robert, the squirrelly boy who grew up across the street from me. Robert, who had found a higher calling and become a youth pastor at a local church. Robert, who unknowingly saved my damn life with one phone call.
It wasn’t my first experience with church, or camp, or church-camp. I had attended Sunday School and mid-week Bible studies, retreats, and the like throughout my childhood and high school, so the concept wasn’t new to me. I had already heard all the Bible stories and I had gone forward about a million times during peer-pressure soaked alter calls. Hell, I had even been baptized and “born again” a few times. This time, however, something (everything?) was different.
There wasn’t any kind of emotional formula or scare tactics involved, no pressure to “come forward and accept JESUS” or anything like that. Nobody carrying giant yellow signs telling me that I was going to Hell. Actually, the people I met on that trip were just… nice. And they were so genuine. You know that saying, “Sweating like a whore in church?” These people weren’t about trying to judge me, and they weren’t trying to get in my pants. It was just nice, and normal, and casual, and dare I say- it was fun. It was peaceful. And the most significant difference is that there was just a presence this time that I had never quite understood before, and I began for the first time in my life to experience a sense of deep, deep love in my soul that this presence was somehow tapping into and calling to life.
I know, I know. It sounds crazy-pants.
No, I was not high.
Yes, it kinda freaked me out… but I decided eh,what the hell, I’m just going to go ahead and see what this is all about. And I am so grateful that I did!
It was on that camping trip that I began to discover that what I understood as God- however you may understand this divine presence– is beautifully real, and exists within every living thing. And holy crap, for the first time ever, I could actually feel this divine presence living in me. Me!
Seeking the Divine & Skipping Church
I would spend the next 15+ years seeking after the Divine and going through some intense and powerful emotional healing. I began dealing with the many scars and fears I harbored inside myself, slowly and very deliberately allowing Divine Love to bring all of my funky junk to the surface, without fear or judgment or shame. I learned how to soften, and I learned how to forgive. I learned what it meant to be blessed, and express gratitude. To see beauty all around me. To see goodness in people, and in myself, again. I learned about strength and trust and hope and joy. And although I would still make plenty of mistakes along the way, I didn’t have to run away anymore. I didn’t have to hide anymore. I could just do the work, and find a new purpose for my life.
I don’t “go to church” anymore, and that’s perfectly fine for me. I consider the whole world as a sacred place, and I consider my ministry or my purpose to extend far beyond any man-made walls or theological boundaries. I like to think of those years of healing as my own personal cocoon where I was being infused with Divine Love in every part of my being, and I was slowly transforming into someone completely new, and dramatically different, and impossibly free. Maybe, if this divine presence could exist in someone like me, I could have the chance for a do-over. Maybe I wasn’t beyond repair after all. Maybe, I could begin to pick up the pieces of my broken shit-show life and start to make something useful, something helpful, something beautiful out of it. I’ll take a Maybe any day, because Maybe = Hope, and Hope = Everything.
Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. In my program The Cocoon, I challenge the notion that bigger, fatter, or less flexible bodies are not as good as smaller, thinner, or more bendy bodies!
FACT: You are Beautiful already, exactly as you are. Now let me help you believe it and see for yourself!
If you are ready to kick-start your own healthier lifestyle & start loving the body you’re living in, I invite you to join me for my upcoming FREE 5-in-5 MiniSession!
I’ll show you how just 5 minutes a day can improve your mindset, strength, & flexibility. 5 MINUTES.
WHAT: I’ve created 5, five-minute modified versions of my popular Stretch & Bless workouts from The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation, and I’m packaging them up to share with you for a free, one week mini session. No special equipment required, just a little bit of space and 5 MINUTES of your day.
WHEN: Challenge dates July 18-22, 2016
WHERE: Videos delivered straight to your inbox the week of July 17. Join in on the Facebook page for fun bonuses, the LIVE mini meditations, and more!
Sign up now to register for my FREE “5-in-5 MiniSession” today. You deserve it! ❤️
A great make-ahead salad that’s perfect for your lunch break. Just the right combo of sweet:savory and a nice energy boost that tastes fantastic! As always, use fresh, organic and non-GMO produce for the best flavor and health benefits.
3-4 leaves kale, stripped off stems and torn
1/2 apple of your choice, sliced and cut into small chunks
About a tablespoon of hempseed oil
Handful of raw pecans
Handful of roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
Place the kale in small resealable bowl and drizzle hempseed oil on top. Cover and shake. Add apple, nuts and seeds. Cover and shake again. Pop in fridge for lunch later, or enjoy it now if you’re ready!