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!

COOKIES!!


I love cookies. If I get married, my wedding cake will be a cookie cake, that's how much I love cookies. So when I finally got around to making the Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the One Part Plant cookbook, I was pretty excited to realize that these are pretty much the best gluten-free, vegan cookies I've ever had. If I'm honest, I miss gluten. I miss flaky croissants and baguettes and pie. BUT these cookies make up for everything I've been missing. If you are wary of baking without gluten and without eggs, these are the cookies for you. They were super easy to make, the dough is just as delicious (which is my favorite part), and they take 10 minutes to bake! 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

from One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane

Makes 20 cookies

1 tablespoon flax meal

3 tablespoons water

2 cups almond meal 

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chunks or dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make a flax egg: mix flax meal with water in a small bowl or glass and set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Whisk flours, salt, and baking soda together in medium-size bowl. Combine the maple syrup, vanilla, and flax egg in a large bowl. Begin to pour the flour mix into the bowl of liquids a little at a time, stirring as you go. When it is all incorporated, pour in the coconut oil and chocolate chunks and give it a few more stirs. 

Use a tablespoon to drop the dough onto the prepared sheet. These cookies won't spread much, so you can put them pretty close together. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, then check on them. They should be slightly brown on top and still feel a little bit doughy. If they're not there yet, you can bake them for a minute or two longer, but you don't want to overcook these. After they've cooled, they'll harden a bit. Store them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week or in the freezer for even longer. 

*Few notes: I subbed in almond flour for the almond meal because that's all my grocery had. They came out pretty light, but I'd like to make them again with the meal to taste the difference. 

I cooked these just about 10 minutes even. They came out a little doughy (which is the way I like them) and in the fridge they definitely harden up a bit more. 

Check out Jessica's website for more ways to incorporate plant-based meals into your everyday. If you make these cookies, be sure to tag @onepartplant and #onepartplant and share your snaps with me! 

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. 

 

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.

Giving Thanks + The Best Granola Ever


This week I thought I might tell you about one of the things I am most thankful for: cooking. Cooking has been a saving grace for me when things in my body feel outside of my control. It has been so wonderful to control the quality of what I put in my body and infuse it with as much joy and love as possible. There are days when I feel uninspired, but it is truly a satisfying thing to be able to have the time to cook for myself.

One of my favorite recipes I've put together has been my gluten-free granola. I love homemade granola. Maybe it's my mother's influence but it tastes better than anything on the market. This recipe I adapted from Juice Press's Super Popular Granola. Sometimes it just ends up being the entire contents of my pantry with everything I throw into it. The great part is that you can add or subtract the things you want or don't want and it will still turn out delicious. 

The Best Granola Ever

(Gluten-Free, Vegan if using maple syrup)

About 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill for most all of the dry ingredients)

1/2 - 3/4 cup dry quinoa (depending on how much crunch you want)

1/2 cup dry amaranth

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

1 tbsp cinnamon

Optional: extra spices of equal measure such as cardamom, nutmeg, or cacao powder + dried fruit such as raisins, goji berries, blueberries, or mulberries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together in small glass bowl (can use double broiler for a quick melt, but I also like to just put the bowl in the oven for a minute). Mix in cinnamon and other spices if desired to oil mixture. Lay out dry ingredients (but not dried fruit) on lipped roasting sheet and coat evenly with oil mixture. Stir to coat thoroughly. Place in oven for 15 minutes or until lightly toasted. Mix in dried fruit if desired to cooled granola mixture. Once cooled, granola can be stored in glass containers on the counter for about a week. 

I hope this recipe inspires you to get creative in the kitchen. You can substitute so many things for other dry ingredients so play around with it until you find what you like best. As always, feel free to leave questions below or comment on your favorite granola additions!

Why I Pet Patches the Cat Everyday (And Other Forms of Self-Care)


Whatever side of the aisle you fall on, this was a hard week for a lot people. We're all searching now for a little peace in this increasingly chaotic world (or maybe you're still protesting and that's okay, too). We're wondering what we can do to get through this, to heal, to understand, and to move forward in a place of strength and solidarity. I want to make this space comfortable for any person from any party to be able to bring who they are in an open dialogue, so I will only touch on politics to say I'm still in denial. I still feel as though I am in a dream, still sitting and watching it all unfold at an election party. But I'm not there and we must move forward. How? Day by day and step by step. 

One step I would like to offer up is self-care. You may be hearing that word a lot right now, mostly coming out of the wellness industry. I think Renee Byrd from Will Frolic for Food said it best, "Self-care, for me, is about developing comprehensive, preventative, daily practices that lead to improved long-term emotional and physical wellbeing." It's the little things or habits that we incorporate into our daily lives to bring a sense of calm or do something meaningful for our future health. When I add fermented ginger carrots to my food, my digestion doesn't miraculously feel amazing, but I know that it is improving the way I will feel further down the line. 

It may be reading your Bible before going to work. Repeating affirmations to yourself before you step out of bed. Making a cup of coffee in your special mug and enjoying it before frantically trying to get dressed. Spritzing lavender pillow spray before going to bed. Spending a few minutes petting your cat or dog. Maybe it's adding a few drops of a flower essence, tonic, or tincture to your morning cup of water. Holding a crystal in your hands or putting your feet in grass to remember your connection to the earth. Whatever it is, repeat and repeat again. The amazing thing about our minds is that they are malleable. New neural pathways can be created and we can interrupt our way of thinking and put in a new thought to create positive change.

Here's a few things I do to create a practice of self-care:

Ashwaganda, turmeric, and lemon tonic in hot water made in my special bowl and mixed with a chasen (bamboo whisk). This adaptogenic (stress-balancing) and inflammation-calming tonic is good for my body, but also is a small dose of meditation. Japanese tradition says creating a bowl of matcha refocuses your concentration from your thoughts to the movements with the whisk.  

Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic form of full-body self massage that not only stimulates the lymphatic system, but connects you to your body. I use cold-pressed sesame oil or calendula-infused apricot kernel oil, but you can use any oil you like. I also occasionally use Naturopathica's lavender body oil as it is extra stress relieving. The practice is usually done before a bath, but can be done before or after a shower. *Beware of slippery tubs if massaging before the shower. (See more here.)

I touched on this earlier, but fermented foods are finding a big place in my self-care practice. I am in love with Hawthorne Valley's fermented ginger carrots to throw on EVERYTHING or Miso Master's chickpea miso to add into soup. Building up my gut health is so important for my overall health. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said "All disease begins in the gut," so I'm taking good care to build up happy, healthy bacteria for my mind and body. Kombucha, kefir, yogurt, or sauerkraut are also great additions to any daily food routine (although I would limit kefir and yogurt to 2-3 times a week because of the dairy). 

Pet my cat named Patches. This is going to make me sound like a crazy cat lady and that's okay. I'm usually alone in my apartment and having another creature here is so comforting. We've been together since I was in 7th grade and my sister will tell you we have a weird connection (at least I think she will). She knows when I'm hurting and knows when I really need a snuggle. Petting or combing her, especially her favorite spot, the head, is a way that I honor her place in my life. 

These are just a few ways I'm starting to practice self-care. However this practice manifests for you is perfect. It's all about what works best for you, what fits into your schedule and creates calm, and what brings you the most joy. I've been trying to strive for perfection in this and do these things everyday, but some days I forget and that's okay. You'll know to do it when you need it.

I'd love to start a conversation with you and help you find a self-care practice to incorporate into your daily life. Or maybe you're an expert at self-care and want to share your practice with others. Use the comments below and let's start a dialogue of support. We're stronger and better together. Whatever you're feeling, please keep an open mind and utilize words of kindness instead of insult.