Warming Ayurvedic Kitchari

Let me first disclaim that I am by no means and Ayurvedic health professional, just a gal who likes to research wellness and add some things into my routine if they work.

Kitchari (pronounced kich-uh-ree) is a traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda, the ancient, holistic health science of India. It has long been used to nourish babies, the elderly, the sick, and the healthy during special times of detox, cleansing, and deep spiritual practice. With a combination of basmati rice, split mung dal, and warming spices, this dish is comforting and satiating. Every so often, I make a giant pot and do a kitchari cleanse - that’s right, nothin’ but bowls and bowls of kitchari for several days. It gives my digestive system a chance to reset and cleanse. Unlike juice cleanses, kitchari is delicious, nourishing, and keeps me full throughout the day.

benefits of eating kitchari

IT’S TRI-DOSHIC

This warming dish is balancing for all constitution types. Not sure your specific dosha? Find out more about that here.

EASY TO DIGEST + NOURISHING

The combination of basmati rice and mung dal provides all the essential amino acids needed to form a complete protein. The protein content of kitchari supports stable blood sugar levels (crucial for us hormone-balancing gals!) so that energy and mental clarity are balanced during the cleansing process. Taking a mono-diet of primarily kitchari for several days gives the digestive system a chance to reset because the diet is so simple.

REMOVES TOXIC BUILD UP

Mung dal has an astringent (dry) quality which has a natural pulling action that helps remove toxic build up from the intestinal lining. This particular pulling action is much gentler than the harsh or abrasive “scraping” that can happen with cold or raw foods, particularly raw vegetables. Once the toxins are loosened from the body, it’s essential that they are properly eliminated. Split mung dal provide 15grams of fiber per 1 cup serving, thus making it easy to move the toxins through the G.I. tract and out of the body.

GUT HEALING

With 95% of the body’s serotonin produced in the gut, it’s clear we process our stress through the intestinal wall. Chronic stress will irritate the intestinal wall and compromise digestion, the ability to detoxify through the gut, and cope with stress. During a kitchari cleanse, the digestive system can heal. This gives the body a chance to reset and restore.

REMINERALIZES THE BODY + ANTI INFLAMMATORY

I’ve been particularly enjoying this kitchari cleanse during my menstrual phase because of the anti-inflammatory properties and the ability of the dulse/kombu to remineralize the body. During menstruation, our bodies lose a fair amount of iron and zinc which can be easily reintroduced into the body through the addition of seaweed. The addition of turmeric in this recipe also provides some wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, great for decreasing those pesky period cramps. It’s no secret that heat is a wonderful way to alleviate cramps, and I find that eating warming foods and dishes while menstruating decreases my cramps substantially.

warming Ayurvedic kitchari

65CFFF5E-F477-4816-BA8E-538785F7E908.JPG

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice

  • 1 cup split mung dal

  • 1 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seed

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

  • 5 cups filtered water

  • 2 sheets of kombu or dulse (or any seaweed)

  • Veggies of choice - I like to use broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and kale

HOW TO MAKE

  1. In a heavy-bottom dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add in your spices, stirring for about thirty seconds to wake up the spices.

  2. Add in the rice and mung dal and stir for another thirty seconds, making sure they’re coated with the spices and oil.

  3. Add in your liquid (you can omit the veggie broth if you don’t have it, but I find it adds a nice flavor), and bring to a boil.

  4. Once the mixture is boiling, add in the sheets of kombu or dulse and reduce to a simmer.

  5. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rice and dal have absorbed most of the liquid.

  6. Add your heartier veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) about halfway through the cooking process and stir leafy greens in at the end.

  7. When the kitchari is finished, dispose of the dulse/kombu.

  8. I like to top my kitchari with cilantro, avocado, and tahini paste. Enjoy!

With love and light xx

Tips for Resetting Your Mind + Body After Traveling

If your summer has been anything like mine, it's been jam-packed with weekend getaways and a bit (or more than a bit) of overindulging. As someone who keeps a pretty routine schedule from day-to-day, this can do wonders to my digestive system, brain function, and overall mental health. I've created some magical memories this summer, and have become so in tune with my body that I'm able to reset rather quickly after ingesting foods and drinks that aren't a part of my typical routine. 

Facetune_11-08-2018-22-44-24.JPG

I recently took a little weekend trip up to my family's cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan - it was magical, dreamy, and the perfect rejuvenating weekend that I needed. I spent my time floating in the lake, reading, napping in a hammock, laughing til my ribs hurt, and indulging in all the gluten/alcohol/sugar/snacks my heart desired. Needless to say, I woke up feeling a bit like a beached whale on Monday morning. But, I didn't freak out as I normally would have a couple of months ago. I've quickly come to realize that the experiences and memories outweigh the physical symptoms tenfold.

symptoms I experience

There are a slew of symptoms that I can experience after my body has been out of its typical routine. These include:

  • Bloating
  • Brain fog
  • IBS or IBS-C  
  • Breakouts
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Inflammation

These may not be the same symptoms others experience, our bodies are all different. But we could all benefit from a little body reset after a well-deserved vacation.

how I reset

PHYSICALLY

  1. Green juice. This is a great way to reset your metabolism, lower inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and quick start proper digestion. There are also so many benefits for the skin (post-vacation breakouts really blow) and this helps me de-bloat on those extra puffy mornings. Recipe is here.
  2. Hot water with lemon. Every morning I sip on this to kick start my metabolism and detox the body.
  3. Lighter, simpler meals. There's no need to overcomplicate anything, just a few ingredients will do the trick. Chances are, your body is already working overtime trying to digest, so adding even more foods into that equation could stress your body out even more. Avoid raw foods if they're hard for your body to digest and gravitate towards warmer, cooked meals. 
  4. Fiber-rich foods. Getting both soluble and insoluble fiber is essential for proper digestion, and both can be found in plant-based foods. Soluble fiber is liquid-absorbing and filling and can be found in oats, berries, beans, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Insoluble fiber helps move things through the bowel/shuttle all the crud out and can be found in vegetables, brown rice, or wheat. 
  5. Get your gut in check. Gut health is a hot topic today, but it's being talked about for a reason. The bacteria in your gut line your entire digestive system and affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immunity. Incorporate more fermented and fiber-rich foods into your diet and lower your sugar intake which can kill the good bacteria. When your gut bacteria is off, it can cause bloating, IBS, IBS-C, anxiety, depression, inflammation, and a slew of other symptoms. The gut-mind connection is no joke, peeps.
  6. Hydrate. Seems like such a simple thing, but often times we forget to drink water throughout the day and after filling up with sodium-packed foods and alcohol, that post-vacay body can pack some serious bloat. Drink tons of water (half your body weight in ounces is the recommended amount) throughout the day to help flush out excess toxins and release that extra weight and bloat. I carry a 40oz HydroFlask with me everywhere so I'm always reminded to sip!
  7. Eliminate foods that cause sensitivities. When I travel I tend to consume foods I don't typically incorporate into my diet. For me, these include gluten, processed sugars, alcohol, and processed food (Skinny Pop where you at). I used to be very rigid about eliminating these foods all the time, and while I definitely feel the affects after consuming them, it's not the end of the world to consume them in small quantities while on vacation. But, I know that I feel my best eliminating these foods 95% of the time. Becoming aware of the foods that cause sensitivities for you is super important if you find that you're experiencing some of these symptoms on a more consistent basis. Try eliminating gluten or processed sugars for a couple of days, reincorporate it into your diet, and notice if anything happens. Maybe nothing will, but that's the trial and error type of practice that needs to take place to become aware of these things. 

EMOTIONALLY/MENTALLY

Adaptogenic smoothie bowl with ashwagandha and cordyceps

Adaptogenic smoothie bowl with ashwagandha and cordyceps

  1. Rest. It's so important not to push yourself too much, especially the first couple of days after you're back. Maybe there's a workout class that you religiously attend on Monday mornings, but if you're body is still readjusting, you're just going to stress it out even more. If your sleep schedule has been thrown out of whack, sleep in a bit longer or take an afternoon nap without guilt. Be okay with allowing yourself to rest and take things slow. 
  2. Adaptogens. They're a specific group of healing plants that support your health and adjust your body to natural stressors. I find that incorporating specific adaptogens into my diet really increases my mental clarity, digestion, and alertness throughout the day. As always, do your research and buy from reputable brands such as Sun Potion and Mountain Rose Herbs. Some adaptogens I like to incorporate into my diet include: ashwagandha (soothes the nervous system and boosts mood), reishi (supports immunity), triphala (supports digestion), and cordyceps (supports brain, kidney, and liver function). Start small by incorporating a half teaspoon into a smoothie or your morning latte.
  3. Say no to things you don't want to do. I find that this is so important for my mental health. If the thought of engaging in something causes anxiety or irritation, I inherently know that I will not be present and authentic. It's okay to cancel plans to make time for yourself. Take this time to practice some type of self care, whether it's a bath, reading, napping, or creating. This will recharge your mental clarity and allow for you to be more present when you're around others. 
  4. Meditate. Take just five minutes every day to sit and be still. If your mind is full of thoughts and ideas, let it be full. There's a misconception that your mind needs to be completely clear or blank in order to practice "proper" meditation, but this is not the case. Meditation for me is a time to sit, to be present, to tap inward. These have been some of the most pivotal moments of personal growth and not one time was my mind completely clear. There's merit in calming the mind through various breathing and mindfulness techniques, but there's also merit in simply sitting and breathing. 
  5. Routines. Whether it's my skin care routine or meal prepping, this is a sure fire way to get me back on track mentally. I covet my routines and when they're out of whack, I tend to get antsy and anxious. I'm one of those travelers where the second I get home I unpack everything and get my apartment back in working order, even if it's 1am. For some people, this may heighten their anxiety and stress, but for me, this is insanely therapeutic. Find a routine that brings joy to you and make it a priority. 

The biggest tip I have when it comes to resetting your body after traveling is to have self compassion. It can be easy to get caught up in the self deprecating thoughts such as "I shouldn't have eaten that" or "I shouldn't have drank so much alcohol," but it's important to remember that these are not life-altering things. Yeah, you might feel uncomfortable for a day or two, but chances are you created some beautiful memories, as well. I used to get so stressed out about getting my body back to normal that it would completely overshadow the experience I just had. It was almost like it never happened. Learning to soften around those times of rigidity has helped me reset quicker and more positively.

With love and light xx

 

 

Chickpea + Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Whether it's a holiday or just a random Sunday, I love to bake. There's something so soothing and therapeutic about it for me. Since I changed my diet, I haven't been baking as much simply because I like to avoid sugar - but sometimes a gal needs a sweet treat and these do not disappoint. These sweet little nuggets are vegan and free of gluten, grains, and refined sugar and so friggin' delicious! There's also some added protein in there from the chickpeas - it's a win win. The best part? You can swap out the nut butter with whatever you have in the pantry (peanut, almond, sunbutter, etc...) - it's so easy!

Happy baking y'all!

Get yourself a napkin to wipe up that drool

Get yourself a napkin to wipe up that drool

INGREDIENTS

Facetune_17-06-2018-14-41-20.JPG
  • 1 15oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup creamy cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line one baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips to a food processor and blend for about a minute until dough is well combined. The dough should be smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer the cookie dough to a bowl and fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Using a spoon, scoop dough into balls and place evenly on the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the cookie size. The tops should be golden brown.
  6. Remove and let cool.
  7. Enjoy with a tall glass of hemp milk - yum!

Do you like to bake?

With love and light xx

Tips and Tricks to Beat Bloat + IBS-C

We all know the feeling of being so bloated that you can hardly button your pants. As the day goes on, the gas gets worse and your stomach turns into rock hard bloat instead of rock hard abs - the worst. This takes a toll on the body’s digestion and your mental health - feeling good on the inside = feeling good on the outside. 

There’s a difference between feeling full and feeling bloated. Sometimes we can eat a little too much at mealtime and feel like our stomach is at full capacity, but that’s not the same as when your body is having a hard time digesting and you feel like you’re about to burst even when you haven’t had anything to eat. Ever wake up feeling like you have a concrete block of gas in your stomach? That’s full on bloating. This happens when you’re eating the wrong foods at the wrong time and your body can’t digest the nutrients fast enough. 

This can also lead to some pesky IBS-C symptoms, aka constipation. This can be incredibly uncomfortable and is quite unhealthy. Constipation is when the bowels sit in your digestive tract for too long and the body begins to reabsorb the toxic elements back into the bloodstream - yikes. Eliminating within 30 minutes of waking up is said to be a surefire way to know you've beat the IBS-C symptoms.

Lemon H2O all day erryday 

Lemon H2O all day erryday 

MY HISTORY WITH BLOAT AND IBS-C

I used to experience some degree of gas and bloating every single day. I never tried to do anything about it because I just thought that's how my body was supposed to feel after eating three meals a day. My bloating would be so intense throughout the day that I would have to unbutton my pants when I got behind the wheel and would have sharp shooting pains in my abdomen. 

I also experienced some pretty gnarly constipation and would go days and days without eliminating (sometimes as long as a week). This, of course, added to overall discomfort and really took a toll on my overall health. Back then, my diet was not great. I had been a vegetarian for 10+ years and switched over to veganism about 1.5 years ago, but I was eating a ton of gluten, soy, processed sugars, processed foods, raw salads, onions, garlic, and drinking wayyyyy too much alcohol almost every weekend and hardly any water. I've since found in the last 6 months or so that these things all contribute to my bloat and IBS-C issues. I've eliminated these foods from my diet and can almost instantly feel the effects when I consume them. I talk about this more below, but taking the time to find out what foods your unique body is sensitive to is so, so important if you want to banish the bloat. 

Since I've changed my diet and my meal routines, I hardly experience any bloat and I eliminate every morning within 20 minutes of waking which was completely unheard of for my body before. Food is truly medicine for the body, peeps! Now, there are times where I might overindulge or eat some of the foods that I eliminate on a daily basis. I am, after all, only human and sometimes a girl just needs a Justin's Peanut Butter Cup to brighten her day. But, by using these tips and tricks that I've listed below, I can banish the bloat and constipation more quickly and with more success than I did before. 

TIPS FOR BETTER DIGESTION + BEATING BLOAT

  • Drink lots of water. Every morning I drink 30oz of room temperature water with lemon before I do anything. On mornings where I’m feeling a bit more bloated I drink hot water with lemon. This helps detoxify the body and gets things movin’. Get yourself a large reusable water bottle (I use a 40oz HydroFlask) and make it a goal to drink at least 2-3 of those a day. Even if you're not feeling thirsty, drink that H2O.
  • Read into your hunger cues. This has helped me a ton. Before, I would wake up and immediately eat my breakfast within 20 minutes. I felt like I had to because breakfast is “the most important meal of the day.” Right after I would finish an average sized breakfast of either oats or a smoothie bowl, I would feel so uncomfortably full and the bloat stuck around all day. These days, I don’t eat breakfast until I actually feel real hunger cues, which is usually up to 4-5 hours after I wake up. I'll have my matcha after I finish drinking some water - usually around 7:00-8:00am - and the coconut butter holds me over for awhile. It has helped my digestion a ton and helped relieve most of those pesky constipation symptoms I was experiencing before. By doing this, I'm giving my body the time it needs to digest and process before giving it more work to do.
  • Look at your diet. This is most likely the number one cause of bloat and indigestion. A lot of us get stuck in certain food patterns and aren’t truly aware of the foods that our body is sensitive to. It takes a lot of trial and error, patience, and dedication, but it’s so worth it. I’ve found that onions, garlic, dairy, gluten, soy, processed sugars, and some nightshade vegetables do not agree with my system. I’ve eliminated animal products and gluten completely but occasionally have the other ingredients and can immediately feel the effects on my body. If you're interested in finding out more about food sensitivities, try an elimination diet or look into the Clean Program 21-Day Cleanse to reset your body. Experiment with eliminating one food (i.e. gluten) for a few days, add it back in, and then notice the effects. Maybe there aren't any, and that's okay, too.
  • Take your time eating your meals. This is something I’m still struggling with. I grew up around family members who eat incredibly quickly, so it’s kind of engrained in my mind so scarf down my meals in no time. It takes a lot of mindfulness to slow down, be present, and really taste the foods you’re eating. Breaking down the food more before swallowing speeds up the digestion process. When I eat a meal a little too quickly, I immediately experience gas (burping) and I can feel my body working a little bit harder to digest the meal.
  • Make herbal teas your friend. Drinking warm or hot liquids throughout the day, especially after meals, helps the body break down what you’re putting inside of it. It takes a lot more energy for your body to digest cold water than it does room temperature/hot water. I like to sip on licorice tea, peppermint tea, ginger/turmeric tea, or hot water with lemon.
  • Lean more towards smoothies and warm, cooked meals. Whenever I’m trying to reset my digestive system after a weekend of overindulging, I avoid cold, raw meals like the plague. It’s takes your body a heck of a lot longer to break down a big salad than it does to break down a warm meal. I’ll still eat cold condiments such as kraut or kimchi, but I like the base of most of my meals to be warm. Smoothies are an exception here, though. I find that since the ingredients are already broken down, my body doesn’t have as hard of a time digesting them. If I'm going to eat a salad (because they are delicious), I try to have it for my lunch so my body has more time to break it down. I almost never have cold or raw dinners, as I find it takes a toll on my body and I will, most likely, wake up feeling bloated as heck.
  • Move your body. Stagnant body = stagnant digestive system. It’s no secret that exercising makes you feel better all around. Even if you feel like the bloat is weighing you down, take a gentle walk and allow for the crud to move through you.
  • Get some beauty sleep. Getting enough sleep is crucial for proper digestion. While we sleep, the liver is breaking down the nutrients from that day and preparing the body to function properly the next day. If your sleep patterns are all off or you’re only sleeping from 2am-5am, you’re not giving your body enough time to break down the food you ate the day before. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule makes a world of difference.
  • Cut back on the sugar and alcohol. The hardest task of them all and one I’m still struggling with all the time. Sugar is more addicting than any narcotic on the market and is in virtually everything, making it so, so hard to avoid. Alcohol is a super social thing in our society and it can feel really isolating when you’re the only one not drinking in a group. But, these are moments where you can really tap into what you want to do, not what’s seen as socially acceptable. Not to mention, hangovers are brutal and it feels pretty dang nice to wake up and be able to function without a pounding headache and nausea. I get sugar hangovers, too. 
  • Give yourself a belly massage. This works wonders when I feel bloated or have cramps during my period. I use some clary sage essential oil and apply moderate pressure in a circle motion to my low abdomen (or wherever you're feeling the bloat the most).

TIPS FOR BEATING IBS-C SYMPTOMS (CONSTIPATION)

  • Take a daily probiotic. This goes along with getting your gut bacteria in a healthy place. Include more fermented foods in your diet, as well, and you’ll find you’ll have a much more regular poo schedule. 
  • Drink lots of water. Noticing a pattern here? Water is nature’s best healer. Flush that poo out one sip at a time.
  • Develop a routine eating and sleeping schedule. Schedules can get hectic and I know how stressful it can be when you’re running around and still have to get a meal in. But, if you’re eating dinner at 10pm one night and 5pm the next, it’s going to throw your body out of wack and it’s going to take longer to adjust. Try to meal prep as much as you can so you have stuff on hand for quick and easy meals. Same goes for sleep, try to get to bed by 10pm every night and avoid sleeping in too long.
  • Ashwagandha. I put this healing plant in my matcha latte every morning and find that it speeds up the elimination process if I haven't already gone. You can also add a teaspoon to a smoothie, oatmeal, or bulletproof coffee.
  • Eat more fiber. One of the easiest tricks in the book. Eat a tablespoon of flax meal at every meal, add more legumes into your diet, and get those veggies in!

Beating those pesky bloating and IBS-C symptoms really is about how much you're willing to change in your diet and eating patterns. Maybe it starts with simply drinking more water and incorporating a probiotic pill into your daily routine - you certainly don't need to do a 180 overnight. But, if you are experiencing some of the symptoms I talked about, my hope is you can take a few tips from this post and start feeling like the best version of yourself.

With love and light xx

Vegan + Gluten Free Seed and Nut Bread!

Today I'm finally sharing the recipe for this dense, thick, and super nutritious seed and nut bread! This recipe is 100% inspired by Josey Baker's Adventure Bread - I just offer a few substitutions here and there.

Vegan and gluten free bread can be very hard to find in grocery stores, and when you do find it, it's insanely expensive and usually pretty crappy. A lot of them fall apart and taste like cardboard, quite frankly. Other than the Sprouted For Life breads that I buy on occasion, I've been making this delish seed and nut bread for a couple of months now and love it. It's super filling and thick so one loaf lasts awhile for me (sometimes...).

Feel free to get creative and add more or less of one ingredient. The recipe is pretty forgiving so if I don't have a particular nut or seed on hand, I just swap it out for another one or add double the amount of one I'm already using. It's also pretty painless to make and takes hardly any time to prepare - my kinda recipe. Have fun with it!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 C sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 C walnuts
  • 1/2 C pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 C almonds
  • 2 1/2 C gluten free oats
  • 3/4 C ground flax
  • 1/2 C ground psyllium husks
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 C avocado oil (can sub with olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 2 1/2 C filtered water

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop the larger nuts into smaller pieces and place on a baking sheet with the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Toast for 15 minutes or until golden brown - keep an eye on them because they'll burn quick!
  2. When the nuts and seeds are finished toasting, combine all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir well to make sure everything is incorporated. The mixture should be mushy.
  3. Prepare a loaf pan by coating the bottom and sides with oil, then dump the bread mixture into the pan. Press it down slightly so all the ingredients are tightly packed together. Cover and let sit in the fridge anywhere from 10-24 hours.
  4. To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and allow the bread mixture to come back to room temperature before baking it for 60-70 minutes.
  5. Put your patience pants on and let the bread cool for 2 hours before cutting into it - it's hard but worth it!

Top a toasty slice with anything you'd like - make it sweet or savory! Enjoy!

Half a slice topped with smashed avo + everything but the bagel seasoning and half topped with Coconut Cult probiotic yogurt and fresh blueberries - so gooooood.

Half a slice topped with smashed avo + everything but the bagel seasoning and half topped with Coconut Cult probiotic yogurt and fresh blueberries - so gooooood.

With love and light xx

The Best Vegan Pesto Recipe

I whipped up this pesto recipe one night as I was scrambling to make dinner and had some basil in the fridge that needed to be used up. I threw all the ingredients in a food processor and audibly gasped when I tasted it - it’s freaking delicious! I try to always have a fresh batch on hand, swapping out the nuts to benefit whatever cycle I’m in. 

Sautéed spinach, flax tempeh, and purple cabbage with Banza chickpea pasta and walnut pesto - yum!

Sautéed spinach, flax tempeh, and purple cabbage with Banza chickpea pasta and walnut pesto - yum!

Basil is packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties, and provides a healthy dose of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and magnesium. It’s also an important medicinal herb in many traditions and has been used in Ayurvedic herbal treatments for thousands of years.

The addition of nutritional yeast, or nooch, in this recipe adds a nutty, cheesy flavor among a slew of health benefits. Nooch is packed with B-complex vitamins (super important for vegans and vegetarians to incorporate into their diet) and contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium, and zinc. It’s one of the tastiest superfoods! Just one dollop of this green sauce is a tasty, nutritious addition to any meal - not to mention it hardly takes any time to whip up.

Toast with smashed avocado, walnut pesto, and hemp seeds

Toast with smashed avocado, walnut pesto, and hemp seeds

Vegan Pesto Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (can sub with almonds or pine nuts)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup avocado or extra virgin olive oil

Optional: 1 clove of garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: 1/4 cup hemp seeds (aid in digestion/additional protein)

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Place all ingredients except oil into a food processor and blend until combined.
  2. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in your oil of choice until desired consistency. You can add more or less oil depending on how thick you’d like it to be.
  3. Place in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze the pesto into ice cube molds to prolong the shelf life and make for easy meal prep! Just pop as many cubes as you'd like out and add to a skillet with your favorite ingredients.

Add a dollop to your favorite pasta, sautéed veggies, salad, or avocado toast - I literally put it on everything. Enjoy!

With love and light xx

Lemon-Turmeric Bliss Balls

Now that spring is (kind of) here, I'm craving light and fresh flavors. I always keep bliss balls on-hand for snacking, so I decided to add a little lemon to the recipe to freshen up the flavor. They're easy on the eyes, too.

These little nuggets pack a mighty punch. They're great before or after a workout, as an afternoon snack, or added on top of a smoothie bowl. It's hard to stop at one...

7625EAE4-33E7-4FF6-8541-1C44C252F3A3.JPG

Lemons aid in digestion and are a great source of Vitamin C.

Turmeric contains curcumin which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a strong antioxidant. It also adds a vibrant, yellow hue to these bliss balls. Curcumin is fat soluble, so the addition of coconut shreds and coconut butter helps with the absorption of this compound. 

Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and provide fiber, iron, plant-based protein, and calcium.

Let's get to it!

5B7A232D-85F2-4F38-8E6D-F50FE7C2C45D.JPG

Lemon-Turmeric Bliss Balls

Makes about 12 balls

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup coconut shreds
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined. It should resemble a wet dough.
  2. Form the dough into balls - feel free to switch up the sizes for different hunger levels! You can use a tablespoon measuring cup or small ice cream scooper if you want more uniform balls.
  3. Place in an air-tight container in a single layer to prevent sticking and pop them in the refrigerator.

These are great on their own or you can top them with nut butter or coconut yogurt. They're low in sugar and packed with good fats - so satisfying!

With love and light xx

Mad About Matcha

Happy Sunday everyone!

I'm sharing this to give you all the 411 on matcha - where to buy it, how to use it, and why it benefits you. 

F0614D76-E7F3-4C98-A489-72800F350A47.JPG

I've never really been a big caffeine person.

I’ve never had a coffee habit that took me weeks to kick or any addiction to other caffeine sources. I would occasionally get a latte to-go at a coffeeshop that was laced with processed sugars and the only time I drank soda was mixed with alcohol. 

I find that coffee, similar to alcohol, is a very social thing in our society. People meet for coffee at all hours of the day, cap off their nights with an espresso (genuinely confused how those folks fall asleep…), or grab coffees for coworkers. Even when I didn’t want to be drinking coffee, I’d find myself ordering one here and there because I was usually with someone else doing the same. The power of peer pressure.

Some people drink a cup of coffee and feel perfectly fine. Others, including myself, find it very hard to digest. After I would finish a cup, I would experience nausea, sweating, irritability, jitters, acid reflux, indigestion, increased heart rate, clammy hands, and was easily startled.

Not an ideal situation first thing in the morning or during any hour of the day for that matter.

I switched to hot, herbal teas a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since.

MORNING MATCHA RITUAL

There’s nothing I love more then a slow, sweet morning. 

Getting to enjoy my rituals and not rushing to pull myself together before leaving for work or yoga is heavenly and helps set the tone for the rest of my day.

I began seeing matcha popping up all over my Instagram feed awhile ago and became curious about this green potion. It looked so inviting and cozy so I decided to give it a shot with a recipe I found online. This particular recipe included salt (why…just why?) and I remember immediately spitting it out after my first sip. I thought it was disgusting so I set matcha on the back burner for a bit.

But, I continued to find myself being drawn towards matcha. I knew there had to be a recipe out there that I would enjoy if so many people were raving about it. I found a salt-free recipe, gave it a whirl in my blender, and it was delicious.  

Since I deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as I talked about previously, I got a little weary of reintroducing caffeine into my system because I didn’t want it to cause mood swings or any type of hormone imbalance. I’m pretty in-tune with my body so I observed any side effects matcha might have had on my body after my first cup and was pleasantly surprised. I still felt calm, my mood was elevated, I didn’t break a sweat, and I was ready to take on the day. 

I also think it's worth noting that I don't drink matcha every single day and I don't rely on the caffeine in matcha to function properly. I like to have one cup about 4-5 times a week and I don't find that I experience any withdrawal symptoms if I don't have it.

SO, WHAT IS MATCHA?

Matcha is a green tea powder made from a specific tea leaf that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. White and black teas also come from this particular plant, but matcha is harvested from plants covered and grown under shade for 20 weeks which boosts their chlorophyll levels, hence the vibrant green hue.

Matcha has been used for centuries in Japan as a sacred ceremonial drink, whereas today you can grab a matcha beverage at any trendy neighborhood coffee shop whenever you’d like. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

This vibrant green powder packs a powerful punch and has been proven to:

  • Sustain energy and produce a lasting calming effect. Matcha contains L-Theanine, a non-dietary amino acid that assists in boosting alpha waves in the brain, which works simultaneously with the caffeine from the green tea to produce a sustainable calming effect. Since matcha is ground into a fine powder, it provides the entirety of the Camellia sinensis plant’s benefits unlike traditional green tea that you would steep in hot water.
  • Improve mental clarity. The L-Theanine found in matcha has been found to reduce anxiety levels and enhance your overall mood by promoting a natural state of relaxation while simultaneously improving your mental alertness. 
  • Protect you from harmful free radicals. Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants in the form of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants protect your body from harmful free radicals AKA the pesky guys that are responsible for aging, tissue damage, cancer, and some inflammatory diseases. Just one cup of matcha has the same amount of antioxidants as ten cups of regular green tea!
  • Boost immunity. Those powerful antioxidants found in matcha are also responsible for helping your body fight diseases and infections, thus boosting your body’s natural immune defense. Matcha also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps boots immunity and promote overall wellness. The EGCG also plays a big part in fighting harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause staining in the teeth, cavities, and bad breath. 

KEY TOOLS & INGREDIENTS

  • High speed blender. I'm currently using a Vitamix which is the real MVP of blending, but it is quite pricey. I've used a NutriBullet before with success, but be extra careful as I've read some reviews of people's NutriBullets exploding from the hot liquid. Always blend hot liquids with caution and never, ever put boiling water into a blender, you'll set yourself up for a third degree burn.
  • Tea kettle or small saucepan. Unless you can heat your liquids up with magic.
  • High quality matcha, duh. There are a ton of different matcha brands out there and some can get quite pricey. I'm using Ippodo Matcha right now and I'm really enjoying it. If you're new to the matcha world, I would definitely recommend finding a cheaper brand so you don't have to spend $50 on a 40g container not knowing whether or not you'll enjoy it. Mizuba Tea Co. has some affordable options as well as Whole Foods. Always check the ingredients list when searching for matcha online, a lot of brands can add fillers so make sure it's 100% matcha and preferably sourced from Japan. Quick note, I store my matcha in the fridge to prolong the shelf life and keep it fresh!
  • Coconut butter. The stuff that makes a matcha latte so creamy and dreamy. I don't use any nut or seed milks in my matcha latte, so coconut butter is essential to create maximum frothiness. You can always add half water, half milk of your choice to your matcha recipe if you really want to up the creamy factor, but I just find that it's an unnecessary extra step in the mornings. Coconut butter also provides a healthy dose of fat which prepares the stomach lining and can eliminate some of those not-so-pleasant feelings that result from drinking plain green tea or matcha on an empty stomach. I love the Artisana Coconut Butter.
  • Adaptogens. First off, these are not necessary. But, why not pack your matcha latte with a little more healing power and health benefits? If you're not up-to-date with the recent adaptogen craze that's taken the wellness world by storm, they're a specific group of healing plants that support your health and adjust your body to natural stressors. There are so many adaptogen options out there, but I typically stick no more than three adaptogens in my lattes. My favorites are ashwagandha (soothes the nervous system and boosts mood), reishi (supports immunity), triphala (supports digestion), and cordyceps (brain power while supporting the liver and kidneys), but I encourage you to do some research and find some that speak to you. Sun Potion has great options that are worth the investment. 

EVERYDAY MATCHA LATTE

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.  
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug or tea bowl and enjoy!
8D65DB0C-C5D0-4EF4-8DAB-37C33F11A8AF.JPG

HORMONE-BALANCING MATCHA LATTE

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
  • 1/2 teaspoon maca 
  • 1/2 teaspoon reishi 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

GINGER-TURMERIC MATCHA LATTE

Those nails doe

Those nails doe

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender. 
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

Leave me a comment letting me know if you tried out one of these lattes! 

With love and light xx