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

optional
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!

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. 

 

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. 

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!

Herbs

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?

Skincare

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!

Things

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!

Cookbooks

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. 

Teachers

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!

For You...


I've realized that I still have a lot of grief over the election, which has also translated into grief over the Dakota Access Pipeline and general humanity (elephants being born without tusks because of poaching, etc...). If you're feeling the same, whatever side of the aisle you fall on, I invite you to discuss it here in the comments, or text, email, message, Instagram, Facebook me, and let's talk about it. I know I'm not alone in my feelings and you aren't either. 

 

**P.S. Please refrain from any insults or unkind words. We all process things differently, and I hope we can allow each other the space to feel whatever feelings we're feeling in a kind, inclusive way. 

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. 

From the Beginning...


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I want to begin with how I got to now and why I'm starting this blog.

Since I was a kid I've always had bad skin and a bad digestive system. I just never connected the two. In high school, my dermatologist put me on skin treatments that exacerbated the situation so I let go of the (expensive) creams and stuck with good ol' Clearasil. But nothing changed. For years. Instead, my hormones were imbalanced, my digestion was inflamed, and my skin was a mess. 

As a 24 year old, I began having terrible cystic acne, the worst IBS symptoms for a time, and developed menstrual cramps that made me feel like I could pass out. So I turned to the gynecologist and dermatologist for help. My gynecologist found nothing wrong, but my dermatologist said that the jaw/chin acne were clear signs of an hormonal imbalance. So she put me on a birth control pill to balance my hormones. My acne cleared and my insane cramps went away. Miracle! It was like magic. And I was telling everyone how I had been healed and recommended they do the same if they experienced any similar symptoms. 

Cut to 3-4 years later, skin still free from cystic acne, but painful cramps every so often and low energy, I learn from Nicole Jardim that my miracle pill is just covering the problem like a Band-Aid on a giant gash. My body is tricked into thinking it's pregnant (are anyone else's alarm bells going off???) and what I thought was my period is just bleed-through. The pill I had put my hope in was nothing but a lie. Here starts the drastic change that would ensue. 

A blood test later would reveal I also had hypothyroidism (possibly Hashimoto's autoimmune disorder, but more on that later), a vitamin D deficiency, and high cholesterol and triglycerides. I started working with a naturopathic doctor for three reasons: get off birth control and balance my hormones naturally, calm my digestive system, and improve my thyroid health. 

Now at about five months later, I've been off birth control for 3 months using food and supplements to balance my hormones. This is a work in progress, however. My period has become regular and cramps have subsided and I'm thankful for that. My thyroid health has improved and my energy has increased. My digestive tract is much happier than before and still somewhat inflamed.

So here we are. My mental and emotional state during this transition has taken more time to process than my physical health. I want to explore that, too, since they are so interconnected. I want to use this space to discuss these topics and my progress more in depth. If you have questions about what I'm doing, I want to explore them with you. I believe in community. I believe in a shared life. So share with me. Tell me how you feel healthy and well.  

P.S. Two books that helped me begin my journey were Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore and Woman Code by Alissa Vitti. I will talk about these books more in depth later, but if you need a place to start, these are great reads that really get to the heart of the matter.