Get to Know Your Cycle: The Follicular Phase


Well, hello, again. It's been a bit since I worked on this series, but some new inspiration has hit and I'm ready to get back to writing about your cycle! 

In the first post of this "Get to Know Your Cycle" series, we discussed the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and their importance in your cycle. If you missed it, find the post here. This time, we're discussing the Follicular Phase. 

What is the Follicular Phase?

Let's start with the breakdown of what the four phases of our cycle are. You will often see only three phases on hormone tests that you may have done, but the four phases give greater clarity to our cycles and what our bodies need during each phase. Alissa Vitti, the hormone whisperer and founder of FloLiving, has delved deep into our cycles and makes some of the best recommendations on how we can support each phase. Her book WomanCode is my biggest reference for this series. 

The Four Phases

Follicular: Starts right after your period ends and lasts between 7-10 days

Ovulatory: Follicular phase leads up to ovulation, or the release of the egg from the follicle. It can last between 3-5 days.

Luteal: When the egg has released and peak ovulation (your most fertile point) decreases, your luteal phase begins. This phase lasts 10-14 days.

Menstrual: Begins the first day you bleed. This phases can last 3-7 days, but can be longer or shorter depending on hormonal imbalances.

Follicular Phase

While technically the second phase, as menstruation is considered the first, this is the phase that starts everything over again. Hormone levels have dropped during menstruation as the lining is shed from the uterus, but they slowly begin to increase in concentration. The hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to send Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) to the ovaries. This helps mature an egg for release, swelling several egg follicles in response. The uterine lining starts to thicken thanks to an increase in estrogen to prepare your uterus for an egg. This phase peaks at ovulation when an egg is released from the follicle. 

Vitti has a lot more to say on this phase from what the body's energy is like to how to harness your creativity during this time, but I'll let her book (and app!) tell you about those. I want to focus on food and herbs. 

Food and Herbs for the Follicular Phase

The follicular phase is the time when the body is being prepped for ovulation while also flushing out the old hormones from the system at the start. I can't stress enough how important proper elimination (aka pooping!) is during this cycle (and all others). Our bodies flush out our sex hormones from the liver, while they can be reabsorbed by the large intestine. If the system is not eliminating on a regular basis (e.g. you're constipated, or have less frequent bowel movements) those sex hormones that the body is trying to get rid of can go back into the system, causing hormonal imbalances. Light, fresh food is important during the follicular phase to help keep your body energized and lots of fiber help promote regular bowel movements. 

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can help your body metabolize the estrogen through their phytochemical Indole-3-Carbinol which breaks down into Diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM can also reduce the amount of estrogen in the body. So as estrogen is increasing in the body during the follicular phase, it's good to have a way to keep it in check in the body, especially if you have estrogen dominance, but we also don't want to thoroughly decrease it through too many cruciferous veggies. Save that for luteal phase when estrogen is at its highest. 

Herbs such as red clover and marshmallow leaf and root can promote moisture in the body and increase cervical mucus as the body nears ovulation. To continue helping with estrogen balance and flushing the detoxification system, roots like burdock, dandelion, and yellow dock, as well as milk thistle, can be of assistance during this phase. As with all things herbal, slow is best, so I recommend a tea blend that can be tailored to your needs at this time. 

Have you adjusted your eating habits to your cycle? How has the change affected your cycle and symptoms?

Stay tuned for the next post in this series when we discuss Ovulation!

Grief, A Year Later


Oof. This is going to be a hard one to write. Even as I just sit thinking about the general last year of my life tears start to come to my eyes. 

Last year was hard. 

It was a year full of upheaval. Full of loss and grief. Change and fighting stagnation. Sadness and joy. 

This time last year I put down my cat, Patches. I have never made a harder decision in my life. Moving to Paris was easier. Buying a car was easier. Nothing has torn at the fabric of my soul so much as that decision. I frequently still mull over whether I made the right choice. And I keep reminding myself that I did. 

Patches was in her 17th year. She had been my cat friend since I was 12. Her illness came on fast. It was inconclusive and not diagnosed. She had fits where she could barely breathe at the end. But she was still my grumpy lady, knocking over water bowls, watching TV with me, and purring. She certainly didn't make the decision easy. 

I play those images, Patches sitting on the couch, those last moments before the vet put her down, over in my head often. Sometimes I bring them up purposefully, most of the time accidentally. Does that seem tortuous? It is. (If I wasn't crying earlier, I certainly am now.) But it is also a reminder that I don't take anything lightly. This life can be over so quickly, and we better make the most of it while we can. 

Patches' passing was the catalyst I needed for change. I was stuck. I had moved to New York for a job I thought I would love for a long time. My interests had evolved quickly in that year, though, and I felt a deeper yearning to move into the healing space, to give my time and knowledge to helping others find balance in their bodies. 

For a few months after Patches passed, my thyroid function tanked deep. It was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work. I have never felt so physically exhausted as I did then.

About a month later, I adopted a 5-month old kitten, and she quickly broke up the stagnant grief that was forming. Cricket was (and still is) a ping-pong ball of energy. After coming home to find my room in pieces one day, I questioned if this kitten was the best move. I had an appointment with my facialist, Melanie Herring, and talked about it before our session. As I laid on the table, Melanie doing her magic, she said could feel that this kitten was a good thing for me. I needed something, and someone, to break things apart. To break the grief. And that was Cricket.

While this past year has also included the passing of a beloved aunt, quitting my job, moving to a new city, struggling to find a new job, balancing two jobs, and getting accepted into herb school, that grief over my baby cat Patchy has still been there. Still is there. Sometimes I call Cricket Patches. Sometimes I confuse their images in my brain when I think of Cricket. I have to remind myself that it's Cricket, not Patches, who waits for me at home. 

Has my grief transformed? Wholeheartedly, yes. It has softened. It is not gone. Nor do I really wish for it to be. If I'm honest, I want to hold on to that image forever--the image of my last moments with Patches--to remember what I have lost, the consequences of each decision I make, and the joy that comes with loving. 

I'm not sure what my future grief may look like. I will love and lose again. That is the nature of life. But I will hold on to each precious moment and tell my loved ones how much I care for them while I can. Even if that's just giving little Cricket an extra treat tonight.


If you are grieving, reach out. Find someone to talk to. We cannot do this on our own. I am infinitely grateful to the friends and family who have been there for me this year. 

The Magic Art of Tidying-Up

Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselebidis

Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselebidis

Before I moved from New York, I had the opportunity to have my friend Lisa Tselebidis, a Certified KonMariOrganizing Consultant, help me “konmari”the heck out of my apartment. If you are unfamiliar, the KonMari Method is a decluttering and organizing approach created by Marie Kondo -a Japanese professional organizer who wrote a best-selling book called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". The suggestionof the book is to only keep those items around you that spark joy. It was such a pleasure to have Lisa help me through this arduous process and I thought I would share my takeaways here in case anyone wants to attempt this for themselves (or hire Lisa for help)!

The Process

Marie Kondo recommends tidying by category(not by location) – a key element of the KonMari Method.The five categories are clothes, books, papers, komono(miscellaneous items) and mementos (sentimental items) – to be followed in that order, from easy to more difficult. We fully processed one category before moving onto the next one. Everything of one category (or sub-category if the entire main category was too big) was laid out in one space. For instance, all (and I mean ALL) of my clothes on my bed. This way you see everything you own (and how much you own) more fully. From there I would pick up one item at a time. If it sparked joy, it went into one pile. If it needed something done, like bringing a pair of pants to the tailor, it went into another pile. If it was able to be donated, it went in another pile. And if it was trash, it went in a bag. And once all of the items were separated into the various piles, we organized. I learned a great folding technique that revolutionized my dresser. We put my komono into labeled clear bins so I can see everything that is in them and don't have to hunt for things. Surprisingly, I didn't really have to purchase any containers, but was able to use what I had at hand or was able to get from work.

The Magical Folding Method | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

The Magical Folding Method | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

Takeaway 1. Detach Emotions from Things

As you can probably tell, this wasn't all accomplished in one day. Over the course of 7 sessions, Lisa helped me hone in what I was really feeling about my stuff. I am a keeper of things. I have always been a keeper of things. Especially small things, like shells and little wooden animals. And those things weighed on me without me even realizing it. I think I felt most guilty when it came to my books. I love books. I love receiving them as gifts. As my interests evolved, however, I had all these beautiful fashion books with no real interest in wanting to keep about 90% of them around. Most of them were gifts, which is definitely the hardest aspect of letting go. I always assume someone is going to ask me if I still have that gift they gave me so many years ago. I'll have to explain to them that I no longer have it and then I will have disappointed them. Lisa opened me up to thinking about how my gift-givers just really want me to be happy, so keeping something around because it made me feel guilty or obligated was doing the opposite of that. I'm still working on that one, but detaching the stuff from the memories is how I get the clutter-free room I want.

Takeaway 2. Keeping "Just In Case" Items for Too Long

Another big issue I had was around keeping things "just in case". This is an inherited trait as my Mom who is a quilter has a closet full of fabric scraps for "just in case". While there is nothing wrong with this, especially if you have the space and it's well organized, my "just in case" items were overwhelming. I narrowed down to the items I really wanted to keep around and got rid of the things I no longer saw a future need for. 

Takeaway 3. Intentional Purchasing

This is probably the biggest takeaway for me. Declutteringand organizing with the KonMari Method is supposed to be a once-in-a lifetime happening and from then on you only bring items that spark joy into your space. Perhaps you'll switch out books you no longer want, or get rid of unnecessary papers, or clothes that don't fit, but you should never have to completely overhaul again. This is my goal, too. Seeing how much stuff I had opened my eyes to the many nonessential things I was holding on to. This process made me realize the power of my purchases. Every thing I buy, from small things like a keychain to big things like a rug, are made with the intention to keep for a long period of time, and be something that I love. My Aunt Lynn used to say, "If you don't love it, don't buy it." It's been my mantra for a while, but it took seeing my room the way I wanted it to be for that to really sink in. I have the capability to love a lot of things, but now I think about if this purchase fits in with how I want my room to look, how I want my life to look.

Takeaway 4: Don't Underestimate Labeling

Having things nice and organized in bins is great, but the labels are AMAZING. Lisa made really simple labels for my bins using brown paper post-its and tape, but she included everything that was in the box. Not just "Stationery", but "Postcards, Card Sets, Stamp, Stickers, Seal & Wax...". And it makes me so happy. No longer wondering if my stickers are in this box or this box, but perfectly labeled to know what is where. 

Takeaway 5: Ditch the Brand Labels

Labels are really annoying to peel off. BUT! If you can get them off of your jars and other containers, it really does make the world of difference. This may seem to contradict my above statement, but I'm speaking of brand labels, the sometimes-bright-colored-covered-in-words labels. Marie Kondo sees labels as an added layer of noise in our home. I LOVE going label-less. It doesn't mean I have no idea what is inside of the containers, but I am able to add my own simple label (I've been using washi tape) that cuts through the brand names and hundreds of words that would otherwise be there. And if you can't get it off, cover it. Use some brown paper or other pretty paper that you have to wrap around the outside and secure with tape. This process takes time, but it doesn't all have to be done in one day. You can start the process little by little, room by room. 

I'm so happy that I was able to go through this process with a guide. Lisa really helped me to not only sort through my feelings by asking the right questions at the right time, but her ideas helped me see my stuff in a new way and how tidying can actually be freeing. It's freeing to know where everything is, not be burdened by stuff, and move through life without things all over your floor! I'm not going to say I'm 100% perfect (my dresser is starting to accumulate a few things), my goal is to stay tidy and organized and THAT is improvement. 

Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

Before & After Tidying | Photo from Lisa Tselbidis

Have you tidied your room using the KonMari Method? I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below. And be sure to follow Lisa on Instagram where she shares organizing & KonMari tips or visit her website.


Get to Know Your Cycle: The Hypothalamus and Pituitary Gland


I've been reflecting on why the word "hormones" seems to pop into my mouth any time I talk about my passions or what I want to do with my life. My hormone journey really started with my skin. My acne was embarrassing and painful. Even today, I still struggle with it, and it affects more than just what my face looks like. It affects my mental state. It's an endless cycle of stress, acne, and shame and anger. For me, hormones in balance indicate a thriving life. And THAT is what I want for you. 

For a while, birth control was a bandage for my imbalanced hormones. When I realized that not only were the birth control hormones interrupting my body's natural processes, but they could not actually fix the problem, I knew I needed to get off the pill and figure out what was really going on. Debilitating cramps, acne, and digestive issues were alarm bells I didn't know to pay attention to, because I wasn't educated enough to know there was a problem. When I finally started paying attention and listening to what my body was telling me, I stopped feeling out of control and started to feel that there was something I could do to help. Understanding your cycle is knowledge and knowledge is power, at least when it comes to bringing your body back into balance. 

This is going to be the first in a series I like to call "Get to Know Your Cycle". I've gotten to know my cycle better over the past year and am continuing to experiment with how I can prevent further hormonal imbalances. I want to share that information with you through a monthly series getting to know the female reproductive system. It may seem daunting to figure these scientific things out, but it is amazing how simple (and, at the same time, complex) our bodies are to understand. Everything has a purpose within the body and everything connects together. It really is a magical thing once you start to understand how everything works! We're starting from the top this time to find out where our cycles begin: the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.

No one talks about hormones better than Alissa Vitti, the hormone whisperer and author of WomanCode. She writes, "Hormones that flow from glands in your brain dictate what organs throughout your entire body--all the way down to your ovaries--do. The hormones that those glands release, in turn, govern every major process your body performs, from setting your internal thermostat, to metabolizing food, to keeping your heart beating, to regulating your mood, to determining your fertility, and so much more." And this flow of hormones starts in your hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is an almond-shaped region in your brain that receives information from the bloodstream about concentrations of hormones in the body and speaks to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland lies below the hypothalamus and speaks to other glands and organs in the endocrine system: the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenals, and ovaries. For example, beginning in puberty, the hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to signal the pituitary to send out follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to signal to the ovaries when it's time to start maturing an egg, the start of your cycle. Through the hormones it produces, the pituitary gland controls many vital processes and functions of the body, including growth, metabolism, blood pressure, reproduction, and sexual maturation.  

The little hypothalamus is also tied to the limbic system of the brain which controls the emotions and feelings, has a direct pathway to the adrenals, bypassing the pituitary gland in times of stress, and is also directly connected to the digestive system. It's such an important part of our brain!

So to simplify: A little region in the brain named the hypothalamus reads your blood to learn how much hormones flows throughout your body. That region talks to a gland below it, called the pituitary, by releasing hormones. In turn the pituitary is signaled to send out hormones of its own to other glands and organs. Those glands and organs then produce their own hormones which compensate for any lack in the system or are needed to release at a specific time in your cycle. 

There are some things we can do to keep our hypothalamus functioning well. According to Dr. Josh Axe, author of one of my favorite books Eat Dirt, healthy fats, good sleep, reduced stress, and exercising regularly are all important to a healthy hypothalamus. Also adding in chromium-rich foods, such as broccoli, apples, bananas, oranges, potatoes, green beans, basil, and garlic and utilizing frankincense and myrrh essential oils are all great ways to keep the hypothalamus happy. Some herbs like vitex berry and maca can also be helpful, though I would recommend working with a practitioner to incorporate them into your routine. 

Next time, we'll talk more about the different phases of your cycle and focus on the follicular phase. 

If you want to dive deeper until then, I found the website You and Your Hormones really helpful at getting at the basic understanding of each layer of your endocrine system. It is a great resource from the Society of Endocrinology. This video from Crash Course is also a good visual lesson to go along with this series.



I'm in a time of transition. There's a lot I can't really tell you yet, but I want to share some of what's been going on for me in this time. Something keeps coming up for me as I process my wants and desires for my future, and that's the word "can't". As in "I cant't do this. I can't understand that. I'm not able to do that. I'm not enough for this." I'm really struggling to understand where this comes from.

I've always prided myself on being a little fearless. I moved to Paris two days after college graduation knowing two people there and had a hostel room booked for 10 days. Did I cry every day for a month? Yeah, but I still did it. I started a career in the film industry knowing nothing about it. And eventually I thrived there. I moved to New York within a month of getting a job offer. Can't has never seemed to have a place in my vocabulary, and yet this year it has dominated my thinking. I can't stay up late or my thyroid will hate me. I can't eat that pizza. I can't learn the science of herbalism. I can't do [insert a host of things here]. What is it about experiencing weakness in my body that has wounded my confidence so much? 

I struggle with this more because this year I've kind of lost myself. Or at least lost the person I thought I was. This weekend I listed all my favorite fashion books for sale. The books I begged my mom for, spent so much money on, and thought I would have forever. Getting rid of them feels like I'm getting rid of the old self just a bit more. And it is painful. I don't really know what I want anymore. I have vague ideas but no solid trajectory. Nothing really to stand firm on. And I'm terrified. Who am I without my love of fashion? What do I love? What do I like? I'm grieving in so many ways. There's a lot I want to know about my future and about myself. I guess this post doesn't really have an end except to say I'm trusting in this process and trying to have patience with it and myself through it all. If you're finding the process a little tough to get through, know you are not alone. Be patient. I know all will be revealed in due time. 

Veggie Niçoise Salad + Superfood Toppings


My friend, Laura thinks up most of my blog posts  Well, she asks really great questions. Like what do I carry in my purse and what do I put on my salads. 

I love Niçoise salads. Maybe it's the way the veggies are grouped together, or how much I love potatoes on my salads. Skip the tuna (or not) and throw all these delicious veggies together then load with toppings. 

Veggie Niçoise Salad

Serves 2

2 small radishes

2 small carrots

Handful of green or yellow beans

4 mushrooms, whatever kind you like

2 small-ish red potatoes

1 avocado  

Few handfuls of arugula, or any kind of lettuce you like

Cut the potatoes in half and boil until pierceable with a fork. Chop up all the veggies after washing. Assemble all the pieces starting with the arugula. Slice the avocado on top. Use your favorite dressing. My preferred? Simple lemon juice with a little extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. 

And then throw on a bunch of toppings!

Black Sesame Seeds - High in calcium (1/4 cup has more calcium than a cup of milk!), magnesium and many other trace minerals necessary for proper body function. The hulled seeds do not have as many of the minerals so be sure to get actual raw black sesame seeds. Sometimes the cheap version are just hulled seeds burned.

Wakame Flakes - High in iodine which means they're a great addition for maintaining thyroid health. Wakame is also high in manganese, calcium, and other trace minerals which can ease PMS symptoms. 

Nutritional Yeast - Originally derived from the cast off yeast created from brewing beer, nutrional yeast is super high in B vitamins, including B12, and is a great source of protein. Sub in for parmesan since it has a slightly cheesy flavor.

Ground Flax or Chia Seeds - A little extra protein and a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids which keep inflammation down and lubricate everything from your skin to your joints.

Pink Himalayan Salt - With more trace minerals than standard table salt, the salts we once thought were fancy are now the best for us. Ditch the iodized salt and pick up some wakame flakes and pink salt instead. 

What's on your salad? Comment below or tag me on Instagram @lisammagee. Looking forward to seeing some superfood speckled salads soon! (Say that 5 times fast!)

Golden Milk + The Month of Action

This month is supposed to be a month of action. If you don't use the energy to move, it will move you. There's a lot I want to share with you, but as I don't have things all figured out yet, I'm going to keep it under wraps until I do. Needless to say I'm definitely looking at this summer season as a season of action. Let's put things into motion that we've been waiting to do for far too long. If you want to take that trip, go back to school, end whatever is not serving you, do it now. Sometimes it seems like we wait too long to do the important things, but maybe we just weren't ready. But I'm ready now. Let's go!

If you happened to catch my Instagram stories yesterday, you caught a glimpse at how I make an Ayurvedic beverage called golden milk. It's pretty trendy right now (even Starbucks has a version), but with good reason. Golden milk is a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory properties and warming spices. The important thing to remember when making this drink is the addition of fat and fresh ground pepper. Both help the body more readily absorb the ingredients, especially the turmeric. The recipe below is from my favorite Ayurvedic practitioner in the city, Noël Graupner. She does plenty of workshops in the city so be sure to check out her website if you're interested in learning more!

Golden Milk
2 cups cows milk or alternative (coconut or hemp are best)
1 Tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 inch ginger, grated
2 inch turmeric, grated (you can use 2 tsp dry here if you don't have fresh)
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 black peppercorns, ground

1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tsp nutmeg or cardamom
2-3 dates
*There is also an opportunity here to add in powdered herbs like ashwagandha, shatavari, astragalus ...

In a small sauce pan, add all ingredients and, over medium heat, stir constantly until spices are will integrated into the milk, about 5-7 minutes. You can also chill this and serve iced if it's too hot of a summer day!

Have you tried golden milk before? What's your favorite addition? If you make this recipe, tag me on Instagram @lisammagee!

Ladybugs + Processing Emotions


I heard that ladybugs come at moments when we need them. I chanced upon this one on one of my favorite herbs, red clover, and was waiting to find out what it could speak to in my life. Apparently, ladybugs caution us to not rush into striving to fulfill our dreams, but to enjoy life as it unfolds. Funny how those things happen sometimes...

Things have been really hard lately. I can't remember the last day that I haven't at least teared up once or full-on cried. I had my first therapy session this past week. The first thing the therapist said when I sat down was "This was a big step." And she's right. It was a big step. It was admitting that I can't process all the thoughts in my head. That I need someone to help me make sense of what I'm feeling. My emotions are so surface-level that I can cry at a moment's notice. It hurts, y'all. The grief. The anger underneath the grief. The lack of trust in the unfolding of my future. The need to hold on so tightly and have it all together. I just wanted to write this short note to remind you (and me) that you are not alone. If you are hurting, if you are broken, there is always someone experiencing the same thing as you. Thank God we were not put on islands all by ourselves. This is also a reminder that sometimes the best thing you can do for others is to take care of yourself first. It's just like they say on airplanes about oxygen masks. Sometimes you need fall apart to be built back up, but reach out. Ask for help. Feeling emotionally unwell sucks (trust me), but the good news is we don't have to be there for long. I'm so thankful for the family and friends I have around me who have been patient in this time and respond when I reach out.

The Wellness Project Book

While I still am not 100% sure whether or not I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis (GP says no, naturopath says yes), I'm taking all my happy thyroid cues from Phoebe Lapine, the leader of the #HashiPosse. I was so excited to help launch her new book The Wellness Project, which started as a year-long experiment of monthly challenges to improve her health. 

As part of helping launch her book, I participated in the #4WeekstoWellness challenge. I decided to work out some of my gut issues and proper elimination. I began my making my own bone broth (see recipe below) and drinking 1/2 cup to a cup every morning. I also tried to up my leafy green intake to help the process along. The second week I tried to up my hydration level, which is so hard! I always think I drink so much, but I am always so thirsty when I leave work. In the book Phoebe says that if our body goes thirsty one day it can replace the thirst desire with a hunger desire. I have definitely noticed that feeling, especially mid-morning when hunger strikes, but I really just need to drink more water. 

The third week I began to cut out sugar. While my sugar level has significantly dropped from a year ago (I no longer eat a bag of gummy bears in a sitting), I have been eating a lot of dark chocolate. It's been a stressful year and dark chocolate is my go-to de-stresser. These days I'm trying to cut out the sugar and see if the acne that has set up shop on my jaw dissipates. It's been two weeks and, while I'm also doing my best to stop leaning on my hands so much, it seems it's finally starting to fade. I've been upping my fruit intake to curb the sugar cravings which includes lots of fruit: frozen fruit smoothies, dried fruit, & fruit with nut butters. Fruit, though high in sugar, contains fiber which slows the release of glucose into your system (which is why they say smoothies are better than juices). 

I'm happy to report that even though my digestion has been upset with some of the foods I've event lately (ugh, onions!), I've been fairly regular and that is pretty fantastic. Why did I choose focusing on my elimination patterns? For anyone with a hormonal imbalance, it is imperative to have a regular system of elimination. I'll get into this further in another post, but our excess sex hormones are flushed out through the large intestine and if they sit in there for a longer period they can be reabsorbed back into the body. That re-absorption can lead to further imbalance which can manifest in a myriad of ways, acne included. 

If you're interested in learning more about how you can start your own #4WeekstoWellness challenge and focus on a specific issue you may be dealing with, check out Phoebe's site, Feed Me Phoebe, or order the book! It was such a great (and funny!) read filled with so much valuable information on healthier lifestyle patterns. 

Want to make your own bone broth? Here's the basic recipe I used from The Bone Broth Miracle by Ariane Resnick:

Basic Bone Broth

1 lb of grass-fed (VERY IMPORTANT) beef bones. You can use more, but it will be equal to how much water you can fit in whatever pot you use.

1 quart of water per pound of bones

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per quart of water

1 teaspoon of sea salt per quart of water

1 bay leaf or tablespoon of dry herbs of your choosing

Roast the bones slightly for added flavor, if desired. If using a crockpot, combine all the ingredients and set on low for at least 24 hours, but it can go for up to 48 hours. If using the stove, set the temperature to as low as possible and simmer for 24 hours or longer. 

Strain the bones, bottle, and store in the fridge up to a week. Reheat on low whenever desired. 

Reading The Wellness Project? Making some bone broth? Tag me @lisammagee and @phoebelapine. If you begin your own health challenge be sure to use the tag #4WeekstoWellness. 

Everyday Essentials

Little bag season is starting and nothing makes me happier than wearing a small purse instead of my backpack. I have a tendency to shove all sorts of things for winter into my backpack, especially when I need a place to put my gloves, hat, and scarf when I'm inside. For the summer I try my best to pair down to the bare minimum, which leads me to today's post: everyday essentials. I'm sharing the things I fit in my little bag that help me get through the out-and-about-all-day kind of days.

Baggu Bags - From the leather, Made in the US crossbody bag, to the foldable tote in its own carrying case, Baggu has me covered for little bag season. I try to always carry a tote because I really do not like getting plastic grocery bags. It's large enough to carry a lot of groceries and not crush things. 

Blue Avocado Reusable Produce Bags - I have three varying sizes of these mesh bags and they all roll up to fit into my Baggu crossbody. If you are trying to cut down on your plastic consumption, this is definitely the way to go. I don't always remember them, but when I do I am ecstatic that they can fit a bunch of kale, mushroom, and whatever else I might find in the produce aisle. (These seem to be possibly discontinued, but just search "reusable produce bags" and there are lots of options.)

Urban Moonshine Digestive Bitters - ALWAYS in my bag. If I eat too much at a restaurant or start feeling gassy or nauseous, these bitters are my BFF. The fact that they come in a spritz make them that much more magical. I also like that I can buy a bigger container of bitters and then just refill the spritzer when it runs low. P.S. Bitters are just like they sound, bitter herbs steeped in alcohol (but they come in cider vinegar now!) which aid in digestion. 

Cocokind MyMatcha stick - A necessity from my dry hands to my dry lips (working on that inner hydration, but not quite there!). It has the best smell of any balm I've ever used. P.S. You can now find these sticks at Whole Foods in the New York area and in Louisiana!

Cocokind Raspberry Vinegar toner - Just made up this little glass spritzer with my new favorite toner this weekend, but it will be a mainstay come summer. I'm definitely a sweater (sweat-er?) and I'd like to avoid the sweat acne I inevitably get around my hairline during summer. 

Bite Beauty Lush Lip Tint - Apparently this is now discontinued (sorry! Try the Multistick!), but Bite makes my favorite lipsticks and tints with natural and organic ingredients, meaning when you inevitably eat your lipstick (as we all do consciously or not), you aren't ingesting harmful chemicals. I use my lip tint similar to the Multistick on my lips and cheeks if I forget to put blush on in the morning.

Bach Flower Rescue Remedy - Another good spritz! This one is a combination of flower essences that aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety. New York City is full of stress, from missing the bus to being in a crowded train, and this little bottle helps your body deal with it. Delve into more information on the Bach Flower Remedies website. 

Handmade Salve - I made this salve with calendula-infused apricot kernel oil and rose geranium essential oil a while ago. It's a do-it-all salve from dry hands to elbows to hair ends. 

Foldover elastic hair ties - If it's not on my wrist, then it's in my bag. My former roommate, Sarah, made some for me and I'm eternally grateful for the introduction. I can't use any other tie now!

Teaonic glass bottle - Love My Liver tea is delicious and a great herbal flush to aid one of the hardest working organs, but it also is a tiny reusable bottle that I like to fill with homemade kombucha or tea. AND it just so happens to fit into my Baggu. Magic!


What's in your little bag? Any reusable items I should know about? Share in the comments below or tag me @lisammagee! 

Jessica Murnane + Reflecting on the Old Self

Photo by Nicole Franzen for One Part Plant

Photo by Nicole Franzen for One Part Plant

My sister is a treasure trove of information. I don't know how she does it, but somehow she finds most of the things that make me happy. I have her to credit for putting me on to today's interviewee. Jessica Murnane is an inspiration. She's a podcast host, cookbook author, plant-based eating evangelist, and mother to one of the cutest kids I've ever seen (seriously). I had the chance to meet her through helping to launch her cookbook baby, One Part Plant, into the world. I was so excited that she agreed to let me interview her to share with you here. 


Before jumping into the interview, I wanted to share something I've been struggling with that Jessica addresses below: the old self. The old Lisa has been haunting me a bit lately. Old me ate until she was beyond full. She shoved every sugary thing in her mouth. She was sick, but she ate anything that she wanted. It isn't hard for me to admit that I miss old Lisa, even if I didn't feel well then. I want to eat pizza and not stress about what on the menu I CAN eat. What IS hard for me to admit is that I actually really like the idea of the new me. While I've still been feeling pretty fatigued, I like the idea of enjoying exercise and having great digestion. Of balancing my hormones and skin naturally. It's a work in progress, but I have to remember that it's barely been a year since I radically shifted my lifestyle. One day, this will be easier, but for now I just need to have a little patience with myself and keep up the good work. 

[Side note: In case you are unfamiliar, endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that makes up the lining of the uterus attaches itself to other parts of the body, usually within the abdomen. As the lining builds up during the cycle, the rogue tissue builds up as well causing pain and cramping. Jessica refers to this condition below.]

Tell me about why you started the One Part Plant Movement?

I changed my diet because of my Stage IV endometriosis. Well, I should say I "tried" to change my diet for Stage IV endo. I didn't think it would actually work. I had tried so many things to manage my pain and symptoms and nothing helped. I planned on getting a hysterectomy before a friend intervened and suggested I try a plant-based diet. I told her I would try it for three weeks and see what happens. In the back of my mind, I thought I'd still get the surgery. But then in just a couple of weeks, I began to feel better. I was able to get out of bed, exercise, and feel alive again. I never got the hysterectomy. 

But changing my diet was one of the hardest things I've ever done. There were moments where I thought it would just be easier to get a hysterectomy. I didn't know how to cook. I didn't know what to eat if I did cook. I felt so alone in my new food choices. I created One Part Plant for all those people like me. People that didn't wake up loving kale smoothies. People that struggle with food choices and change. I never want anyone to feel the way I did! 


Did endometriosis affect your digestion, skin, or hormones before you changed your diet?

I mean, my endo still affects my digestion, skin, and hormones. But now it feels manageable. In the old days, the week before my period you'd find me curled up on the bathroom floor crying. I was out of control emotionally. My face would be a mess and had terrible digestion. 

Now is a different story. I'm not saying I don't get moody now, because I can still be a little asshole the week before. But I'm more in control. I'll still get a pimple from time to time. And if I go off my endo diet, I'll have bathroom issues. But I'm a completely different woman!! 


Once you changed your diet and your endometriosis began to be managed, did you notice any other changes physically?

I still battle with inflammation issues (which I'm working on), so I'm not rocking a six-pack or anything . But overall, I just look healthier. My eyes are wider and whiter, my skin is softer, and I just feel so much better physically. It's been a huge lesson in my relationship with food. I make food choices based on managing my pain and symptoms and not on what foods make me "skinny" or "fat". 


What about mentally? 

There is a huge difference mentally for me. When you live with chronic pain and you know that every single month that you will lose a few days-week of your life because of your illness, it can put you in a very dark place. I was severely depressed and there were some days that I just didn't want to wake up knowing the pain I'd be in. 

I think it's so important that we raise more awareness about endo because of infertility issues and unnecessary surgeries, but we can't forget to talk about the mental toll it can have on a woman. It's very real and needs to be talked about. 


On a recent podcast you spoke with Minaa B about your "old self". This is something I am grappling with right now, too. Can you tell me what your old self was like? Do you ever miss her?

My old self still lingers around. I don't miss her, but do recognize the fact that she's made me who I am. She's the reason I got to change my life, write a book, and talk to you right now. She's insanely strong and determined, but was just in so much pain, (mentally and physically). She creeps back in when I'm struggling with negative self-talk. She can VISIT, but I kick her out because sometimes she overstays her welcome! 


What has been toughest about reconciling your new self to your old self?

Pizza. Kidding. But not kidding. Pizza meaning just being able to go out with a group of friends to grab some pizza and not having to plan ahead about what options I can eat there. I get bummed about this, but then remind myself just how shitty I felt after eating that pizza. I could be in bed for the day because of it. Having to plan ahead is worth feeling good...even if sometimes it feels like a pain. 


How do you celebrate the person you've become while still honoring your past?

By acknowledging her and not pretending that it wasn't hard to get here. 


As a teen, and even into adulthood, I had no idea what was going on in my body. You've been starting to speak to young girls about endo. What has the response been? Are things clicking for them?

At first they are like "who is this chick coming in at 8am to talk about periods?!". I'm a pretty open person and have to remind myself that they are still teenagers and aren't as open yet (and may not ever be) talking about periods. The thing that always gets them to get more engaged is when I tell them that 1 in 10 women have endo. They can look around the room and know that one of their friends or themselves might have it, it makes it less of an abstract idea. 

The most important thing is for them to know the symptoms. This is something I focus on a lot in my sessions with them. Just knowing the symptoms is a huge education moment. Not just for themselves, but they might be able to help other women around them. 


When you began this lifestyle and diet change did you use any herbs or essential oils to assist you in the transition?

I didn't! I wish I did. It was weird enough to me that I was eating vegetables, essential oils were not even on my radar. Since then, I know the power of them. My friend, Giselle Wasfie (she's a Chinese Medicine Dr.) has educated me on all things herbs and oils. My favorite phrase she says is "HERBS WORK". They do. They are so powerful and it's important to find which ones work and don't work for you. I loved my interview with her on my podcast


Do you have a daily self-care routine? 

It really varies every single day depending where I am in the country. I've been traveling a lot on my book tour. But I always try to get in some form of body movement. Even if that's just doing a 20 minute yoga class on my Aaptiv app in a hotel (I just did that on Saturday!) or finding a quick workout somewhere in the city I am visiting. I always make sure to take my Tumeric, B12, and D. Eat something green. And I try to make someone happy everyday. 

I think lots of potions, powders, and self-care "stuff" is cool. But I try to keep it pretty simple, so I don't get stressed about adding more to my day or feeling guilty because I forgot to skin brush. P.S. I do love skin brushing, but am usually half-way through my shower when I remember I was supposed to do it! 


Before guests leave your podcast they always share their favorite plant-based recipe. What are you sharing with us?

AH! Turning the tables. I love this Creamy Mushroom Lasagna from the One Part Plant Cookbook. It's one that for sure doesn't taste "healthy" and you can share with all type of eaters in your life, plant-based or not. 


Photo by Nicole Franzen for One Part Plant

Photo by Nicole Franzen for One Part Plant

Creamy Mushroom Lasagna

serves 8

Olive, grape seed, or coconut oil, or veggie broth for sautéeing
3 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounces mushrooms, chopped (you can use a mix of different mushrooms)
1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours (overnight is best), drained
1 cup veggie broth
2 big handfuls spinach
10 ounces gluten-free lasagna noodles (I love Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta)
4 cups marinara sauce, store-bought (a 32 oz jar) or homemade
Nutritional yeast (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat a glug of oil or veggie broth over medium. When the pan is hot, add the garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant. This will take about a minute. Add the mushrooms, tamari, and thyme. Cook, stirring every minute or so, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms release their water and a little broth starts to form.

Combine the cashews and veggie broth in a high-speed blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth. This might take up to 5 minutes, depending on the speed and power of your blender. Pour the cashew sauce into the pan with the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for a couple minutes to let the sauce thicken, stirring frequently. Throw in the spinach and stir for another minute.

Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Make sure to do this after your mushroom sauce is ready to go, so the noodles don’t sit for too long and start sticking together. Spread a third of the marinara sauce on the bottom of an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with half of the mushroom cream. Add a layer of noodles. Use another third of the marinara to cover these noodles. Add the remaining mushroom cream. Add the last layer of noodles and cover it with the remaining marinara sauce. 

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast over the top, if you like, and bake for another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Thank you so much to Jessica for answering my questions! You can find out more about her and the One Part Plant Movement by heading to her website and connecting with her on Instagram @jessicamurnane and @onepartplant. Be sure to tag @onepartplant and #onepartplant if you make this yummy lasagna!

Notes on Grief

I've been trying to think of what to write to you for a few weeks now. I want to tell you that I'm doing fine. That I have the answer of what herb has been getting me through my grief. That I have all the answers of how to move through this time with strength and peace. But I have no answers for you. The only things that have helped get me through this loss have been my faith in God as my comforter and the love, support, and kind words from my friends and family. So this is what I want to tell you, because I don't want to leave things unsaid, as if I will just jump back into talking about cooking and face masks without acknowledging that something awful happened:

Almost three weeks ago I had to put down my best friend of 16 years, a grumpy, chubby, weird, and so sweet cat named Patches. The loss has been devastating. I walk in the house every day expecting to see her wide-eyed sitting on my bed ready to greet me. But she is there no longer. My heart is broken in ways I didn't quite know were possible. Everything feels tinged with a sadness and a wonder in its value in my life. I still feel somewhat guilty in smiling or laughing and I remember how much joy P brought into my life and I can't help but smile. Her sweet face made even the worst days better. One day I will get another cat, and it won't be P, and I will get through it. I will learn to love deeper through the love that she has given me. 

So thank you, friends, for your kindness during this time. It has meant so much to know I'm not alone in this.

Three Things Keeping Me Healthy This Winter

The weather has been weird lately. It was 19 degrees last night and in the high 60s last week. Since this weird, global warming winter has been shaking things up internally, it has been a good sign to check in on my health. I used to be the person that would get sick every time the weather changed, so I try to be very aware of how I'm feeling physically whenever a new season is upon us. I'm offering a few of my favorite ways to stay healthy below (plus a few things that are keeping me occupied indoors while the cold works itself out). 

Elderberry Syrup - High in Vitamin C, a little bit of this in my daily hot lemon water has been a delicious start to my day and a great immune boost first thing in the morning. Currently, I'm sipping on Mother Mountain Herbals' Elderberry Oxymel that was steeped for over 8 months. My other favorites included Wooden Spoon Herbs' Elderberry Sumac Syrup and the Organic Sambucus Elderberry + Zinc Lozenges

Kitchari - This is Ayurveda's answer to a cleanse. This lentil/rice porridge with veggies is so stewed down that it gives your digestive system a rest. It's the perfect way to change seasons, take a break after an eating holiday, or any other time your digestive system feels taxed. Here's my favorite recipe for kitchari from Noel Graupner, an Ayurvedic practitioner in NYC. If you have any questions about the recipe, email me or comment below!

P.S. This recipe makes a few days worth which is really all you need to reset, but you may want to use Triphala (a mix of berries and herbs in pill form) to help you poop daily since there isn't much roughage. I usually take 2 pills before bed. 

Noël's Spring Kitchari
1 cup split or whole mung dal
1 cup white basmati rice
½ tsp mustard seed, whole
½ tsp cumin or kalonji seed, whole
½ tsp coriander, ground
½ tsp fennel, whole
½ tsp turmeric, ground
½ tsp fenugreek, ground
½ inch ginger root, chopped or grated
¼ tsp mineral or soma salt
2-3 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1-2 cups of spring veggies, chopped (bitter melon, daikon radish, celery root, asparagus, pea, fennel, etc.)
1 cup bitter spring greens (mustard greens, dandelion, sorrel, nettles, collards, arugula, kale, spinach)
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves
6 cups of water, filtered if possible

First, sift and sort through lentils and grains to remove any stones. Soak lentils and quinoa 5-8 hours or overnight, rinse well twice in cool, preferably filtered water. Soaking and rinsing will improve the digestibility of the kitchari.

Add the 5-6 cups of water along with the rice and mung beans to a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid slightly ajar, and cook until the grain and beans have become soft, between 20-30 minutes. While the rice and beans are cooking, prepare vegetables and greens of your choice, add them to the pot of rice and beans, and continue cooking until they have become soft. The result should be a soupy porridge. Allow to cool slightly and  divide into bowls. 

In a separate saucepan, warm 2-3 Tbsp of ghee over the lowest heat possible. Add first the whole spices, stirring constantly until they begin to pop, then add the remaining ground spices to the ghee until well integrated, about 1 minute. Remove from heat before the aromas of the spices are lost from the ghee mixture to the air. Generously spoon the seasoned ghee over the cooked kitchari. Top kitchari with a sprinkle of mineral salt, garnish with fresh cilantro and serve warm. Enjoy, chewing each bite well before swallowing!

Tea - If you know me, you know I drink a LOT of tea. Mostly herbal since I cut out caffeine for the most part (Is now the time to tell you that it increases the chances of infertility by 50%?) Anything that keeps my digestion happy will keep away sickness and I know how much my body loves hot water. I'm drinking lots of immuno-happy herbs like lemon balm, nettle, peppermint, turmeric, and ginger. My favorite thing lately has been to just cut a few slices of fresh ginger and put them in my cup to refresh with hot water throughout the day.

Things I'm Loving Lately

Podcasts - Trying my best to keep informed by listening to NPR Politics which breaks the news down gently for me and trying to stay uplifted by listening to The Cookbook Deal by my favorite cookbook author, Jessica Murnane (P.S. If you aren't following me on Instagram, you probably haven't seen my hundreds of pictures of her cookbook but it is beautiful!).

Music - When I feel like I'm full up on people talking in my ears, I've been listening to and remembering my love for music. Right now I can't stop playing Aaron Copland's Rodeo and Chance the Rapper's All Night. What can I say? I have diverse taste...

Books - I had a chance to read Adina Grigore's second book, Just the Essentials, in advance and I am so excited for you all to read it! It is everything you need to know on essential oils and how to use them with lots of recipes. I made the Rosemary Clarifying Shampoo this week and it is GOOD. P.S. If you pre-order the book now you can get a free functional fragrance! Also enjoying Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander's The Art of Possibility. It provides tools to open you up to more (ahem) possibilities. 


What are you loving this week? What is keeping you healthy? Comment below or find me on Instagram @lisammagee. 


Free + Native's Tea of the Feminine

If you've been over to my apartment, I've probably offered you some Tea of the Feminine blended by Lacy Phillips of Free + Native. It's one of my favorite teas and I use it regularly during the month to nourish my cycle. I was asked recently what the blend is, so I decided to post here as I merge two different recipes into one. The first recipe is from Free + Native's website and the second is from Claire Ragozzino's Vidya Living though blended by Free + Native. I do a slight variation on this recipe and will sometimes add other herbs that I feel I need at the time. 

Free + Native's Tea of the Feminine (adapted)

1/2 cup Red Raspberry Leaf

1/2 cup Stinging Nettles Leaf

1/2 cup Alfalfa Leaf

1/2 cup Red Clover

2 tbsp Peppermint Leaf

2 tbsp Oatstraw

2 tbsp Lemon Balm

2 tbsp Licorice Root, separated

Optional: Add in 1/2 tsp per cup chamomile or rose for calming and heart opening effects. 

Mix all ingredients except licorice together in a large bowl. Store in a large jar with a label and date. To brew, bring 1.5 cups filtered water to a boil in small saucepan. Add 1/2 tsp (or a little more if you like) to boiling water, lower to a simmer, and cover for 10 minutes. Turn heat off. Add level tablespoon of other blended herbs and steep for an additional 7-10 minutes off the heat with cover on. Strain and enjoy. 

P.S. I haven't added the health benefits of each herb to this recipe because Free + Native does a complete job of explaining on the websites above so I encourage you to head over there to learn more. While these herbs should not contraindicate with any medications, they should also be used slowly, building over time. 

Reflections on Eating

Creamy Cocoa with Sweet Potatoes Soup from the Soup Cleanse Cookbook by Nicole Centeno

Creamy Cocoa with Sweet Potatoes Soup from the Soup Cleanse Cookbook by Nicole Centeno

What do you eat when you grieve? This week has been hard. Not only has the country felt like it's in a state of upheaval, but I've been going through some personal issues as well. The health of my sixteen-year-old cat, Patches, has started to decline with no cause as of yet and this week brought not great news. I can either spend a ton of money and put Patches through a lot to find an answer, or I can try an antibiotic and steroid and hope for the best. The possibility of losing the cat I've had since I was 12 is one of the hardest things I've had to face as an adult. Making the choice for someone else about how they want to live (or go) is not a decision I feel capable of making. For now, we're going to try some antibiotics and say some prayers. 

As I reflected on my week, I started to notice a pattern in my food habits. This week I made a few batch soups from Nicole Centeno's Soup Cleanse Cookbook. They were a lifesaver! They've been breakfast and dinner and lunch, at least one to two times a day. Quick soups easily heated up on the stove feel so comforting to me and help me not to worry about what I will be eating. I think that's the hardest part of eating when you feel sad. When you don't feel the energy to cook, but need to eat, what do you do? When you are reduced to only eating for the need to survive, does that make the act of eating meaningless? I've tried to practice more mindfulness in my eating habits, but I just couldn't seem to focus. I also noticed how much I eat when I feel sad (and bored). Once I noticed this habit I was able to start asking myself, "Do I feel hungry right now?" If the answer was no, I shut the fridge door (or gave into a cookie, I mean, let's be real, I'm not perfect!). I'm going to start asking myself this question more and hopefully be able to listen to what my body wants, and not what my mind is craving. 

What do you eat when you are grieving? What do you eat when you are sad or heartbroken? Do you eat at all? I'd love to hear how you deal with eating during trying times or ways you've started to break patterns in your food habits. 

Three Face Masks to Soothe Your Soul and Face

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling this influx of daily news on a pretty deep level. And while all I want to do is talk to you about why I marched in the Women's March or why pushing through the DAPL cuts to my core, I also recognize that we are being bombarded on every side and every social media network with people's political opinions. So for now, I just want a little respite. It doesn't mean I'm not fired up and ready to go and that I'm not here to listen to how you're feeling about everything. Please use the comments as much as you like! But it does mean that I want to shine a little light into a world that's feeling a little dark with some fun face masks. Sound okay to you? Great! Let's jump in.

My face is breaking out. My naturopath had me do some blood tests which concluded it's most likely not hormone related. Great! Then WHAT IS IT? She says it's stress. I say, whatever it may be it's annoying. So, to combat the stress and the breakouts, I'm taking to face masking. DIY-ing lifts my spirits and I'm incorporating some skin and soul soothing ingredients. *P.S. All of these masks are strongly colored, especially the turmeric, so take care to watch what they come in contact with. 

First up, Cocokind's Organic Ultra Chlorophyll Mask. This detoxing, nutrient-rich mask is easy to use with just a little bit of water, but I love to add raw honey for its skin healing elements. After 10-15 minutes, my skin feels refreshed. Want to up the ante? Take it to the steam room! Cocokind founder, Priscilla Tsai, says the steam helps open up the pores which allows the chlorophyll to clear out more dirt. No steam room? I like to put it on before I shower and just sit in the bathroom for a few minutes before hopping in to wash it off. 

Second, Jessa Blades' DIY turmeric, honey, & yogurt mask. Mix about 1/2 tsp turmeric powder with 1 tbsp full fat yogurt (or I used goat kefir, which is different but still has a good bacterial count), and 1 tsp raw honey. A little goes a long way here, but the slight exfoliation of the turmeric and the cool kefir was so lovely and soothing. The anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric, skin healing honey, and cooling kefir is a great way to keep my redness level down. 

Lastly, Adina Grigore's Dessert Mask from Skin Cleanse. For about one use, mix 1 tbsp organic olive oil, 2 tsp raw cacao powder (not heavily processed), and 1 tsp fine grain sea salt. This mask is like a brownie for your face. The olive oil is really nourishing, while the cacao is antioxidant rich, and the sea salt scrubs away the bad leaving glowing skin behind. 

Do you have a favorite DIY mask? Leave the recipe in the comments below! Or better yet, make some and tag @lisammagee in your instagram photo so I can see! 

Sometimes I Need to Hear Things Twice

Sometimes I need to hear things twice before I REALLY hear them. Such was the case this past week when I attended The Class by Taryn Toomey on Wednesday. They mention on the website how cathartic of an experience The Class can be. The sounds, movement, and sweat can really get emotions flowing. While in the cool down after intense cardio, I contemplated what I needed to leave in the room before I headed back into the world. My mind immediately jumped to something Erin Stutland says in her "Soul Stroll" audio.

"What you used to think was hard is now easy. Just see if you can take on this idea that it's easy. That life is just getting easier. " 

These words brought tears to my eyes. As crazy hard as the workout was, my life has been feeling harder. It's been so hard to see my face breakout. To see my thyroid hormone plateau at an elevated level. To not know if something I eat is going to make me feel terrible. But as I sat there on that mat and heard those words again (which to be honest, I've heard them at least 20 times), I realized I had a choice to make. I could either choose to let my life feel hard or I could choose to let my life feel easy. I don't know about you, but I want any easy life. Does that mean I won't have bad days? Of course not. But choosing my health is an easy choice. Choosing to not eat specific foods because they can disrupt my body's processes sounds like an easy choice. Is it challenging? YES. But it is the easy choice to make. I keep thinking how hard it is to have to watch what I eat so carefully. And is this going to be life for as long as I live? It probably will be. But that doesn't mean it has to be hard. It may feel hard for awhile. Hard to figure out what my body responds well to, but it will get easier. The more I pay attention to how I feel with certain foods, exercises, and daily habits, the easier it will be to stay on the path of health. 

3 Ways I (Try to) Cope with Anxiety

I wrote the post below while sitting on a plane heading back to New Orleans for Christmas. I'm going to be honest, it's pretty personal, and possibly TMI. It also feels good to post it knowing that the people who need to read it will, and anyone else will just know my digestive system a little better. Also, to my cousin Charlotte who sat next to me on the plane, if you read this, sorry and I love you!

At present, I'm sitting on a plane with Debussy in my ears while still hearing the screeching cry of a baby a few rows away. And I am feeling that baby's pain. Maybe not that much. But I'm uncomfortable. My stomach is popping little gas bubbles all the time and I can't figure out why. Yes, those zucchini potato latkes at the airport may have been a bad idea. But why? They were oven baked. Nothing weird. And the few fries I had? Not out of the ordinary. Somehow though immediately upon consumption I felt terrible. Sharp stomach pains then annoying bloating and gas. And then I ate some banana bread. And some dried mango.

I've been having weird stomach problems for a few days now and it's something that comes and goes. Overall, my digestion is better. Better than it was last year. Better than it was 6 months ago. But I'm going home. And that brings anxiety. Sometimes I am the strongest disciplined person, able to say no to the things I don't want and know will make my body feel awful. But lately I've been giving into cookies and sugar and things I know I don't want to consume. The anxiety I've been feeling over going home, over the election, and the stress my family has been under because of it has taken a toll on my strong will. I want comfort. I want mac and cheese. I definitely don't want kale. I want a po-boy and bread and cookies. I want bacon. These are things that have never made me feel good. So the question becomes how do I move through this? How do I cope with anxiety and the stress I feel I'm under? Well, I'm still figuring that out. 

One thing that seems to work well for me is writing. Even a few minutes helps release a lot of tension that I feel. Writing this now I'm consciously having to unclench my jaw just from the build up of anxiety that's manifesting itself in my body. 

Another thing is breathing. Consciously, deeply breathing. I'm a breath holder. It's unconscious but sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. 

Talking (and usually crying whilst talking) has also become a big part of moving through this season. I'm a very emotional person anyways but this season has brought an uptick of sharing my feelings with others and looking for support and someone to talk it out with. My sister has been a big part of this as well as a few other dear friends without whom I would be a mess. I'm also looking forward to potentially seeking some professional guidance in the new year. 

This outlet of talking is also coming forth in community. I've set up a meeting this month for women who have (currently or otherwise) health issues and need space to be supported by other women. As I've reflected on this year, I've realized how far I've come, while also feeling like I haven't moved at all. I've been getting a lot of advice but I see the need to just vent and cry and be comforted in the unknowing of what my health looks like and will look like in the future. If you're in the NYC area and interested in participating, please email me at the address in the About section. There is no better time than the present to hold each other up and give comfort and support.

Putting Those Gift Cards to Good Use

Happy New Year! Ready to move into 2017? Me neither! I've been reflecting on this past year and, in particular, the amazing shops and teachers I've come across in 2016. I always get gift cards and cash for Christmas, and once what I need is bought, I like to spend a little on things I have wanted for a while. Consider this list of favorites the gift guide I meant to write before the holidays!


Mother Mountain Herbals - Stina Swesey's beautifully packaged teas, skincare, and tinctures would make anyone happy. She uses a lot of foraged ingredients which I think make her products even more special.

Wooden Spoon Herbs - Lauren's elderberry sumac syrups is one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted and it will help keep you from getting the cold your office is passing around. Another favorite is the Bless Your Heart Tea which strengthens (actually physically and emotionally) the heart, and who couldn't use that right now?

Ginger Tonic Botanicals - I first heard Lindsay Kluge on the Being Boss podcast and immediately fell in love with her philosophy. I recently tried her Daily Nourish Tea thanks to an Instagram contest and it is wonderful. Also, Richmond friends, she's a local herbal practitioner. Why not get a consult?


Marble & Milkweed - Briar's beautiful, handmade skincare line is completely inspiring. Not to mention she's a proactive activist which makes me love her more. 

Apoterra - One of my facialist's favorite skincare lines, I love that Apoterra is handcrafted in NYC and infused with tons of florals. 

Cocokind - As a brand ambassador for Cocokind, it's basically my duty to tell you about this company, but more than a duty, I LOVE this organic, great-for-sensitive-skin line from a women run business. I am so proud to represent this line and the lifestyle founder Priscilla Tsai is promoting through Cocokind. My faves? The rosewater toner and matcha face moisturizer!

S.W. Basics - I cannot say how much of an effect S.W. Basics and founder Adina Grigore's book Skin Cleanse had on my understanding of what goes in and on my body. The S.W. Basics line consists of five or less, organic ingredients that really work! Adina also has another book, Just the Essentials, all about essential oils coming out soon which I am really looking forward to!


IMBY - Sara, a friend of my sister's and Tulane grad, created IMBY for those seeking pieces "Made in the USA under safe working conditions by workers paid fair wages with American-crafted, ethically sourced, and even deadstock/surplus fabrics that otherwise would have been destined for the landfill." I love the selection of pieces and look forward to ordering some new basics this year!


One Part Plant - If you aren't listening to Jessica Murnane's One Part Podcast, you should be! I'm super excited for her first cookbook, One Part Plant, to come out early this year! One Part Plant is all about incorporating plant-based meals into your weekly routine in an easy way. Pre-order the cookbook here.

YUMuniverse - I really enjoyed reading through this cookbook from Heather Crosby. She has a very thorough knowledge of how to transition your diet to a more plant-centered way of eating. The best part is Heather's expansive website dedicated to creating a community around the plant-based lifestyle. 


I've been able to meet some amazing teachers this year and I encourage you to explore their sites, blogs, and how you could work with them:

Jessa Blades (and find her picks for natural beauty products here)

Melanie Herring

Erin Telford

Lacy Phillips of Free + Native

Morgan Yakus

Erin Stutland (I highly recommend her Soul Stroll audio!)

Claire Ragozzino of Vidya Living

Happy 2017, everyone! Looking forward to growing this blog with you over the next year!