At first glance, my diet is pretty uninteresting. I mix some of my favorite vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini, cucumber, and kale (sometimes). I top them with some sort of protein: usually lentils, hummus, or another chickpea dish.
Ok, maybe you’re right. I’m getting bored just writing about it.
So how do I eat so many veggies day in and day out without running screaming to the nearest restaurant? The secret’s in the sauce.
For 10 minutes every morning I have one sole purpose: breathe.
I meditate daily, and have for about the last 4 years. Why? Well, it started after reading that meditation was going to improve my focus, my mood, and my relationships. Over time, I’ve realized that meditation is the one time when I’m not supposed to problem solve, manage, or be productive. Instead, I get to simply BE.
You’d be surprised, but BEing isn’t all that easy. Even after some 1,000 meditation sessions, some days go smoother than others.
On January 3rd this year, I decided to go alcohol-free for 40 days. I was going to be in Indian the first week of February, and it felt like a good time to experiment.
I’ve always had a healthy relationship with alcohol. I enjoy good wine, get excited about special cocktails, and appreciate a craft beer. And while in general I wasn’t drinking heavily, I did notice that between Happy Hours, date nights, and the occasional night cap, I was having a drink more than I realized – often 4-5 nights per week.
I take care of my body well, and hangovers were few and far between, but I still wondered: would cutting alcohol out for an extended period of time significantly alter my happiness, health, or well-being?
And so I did it. 40 days, no alcohol. Here’s what happened.
As the hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer come to an end, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy delicious summer flavors.
This year, I revived an old favorite recipe for a watermelon mint tonic that is just the best. It’s tangy, sweet, and refreshing.
I’ve had my moments where I’ve thought that in order to be successful, I need to act alone. I’m the queen of self-reliance, and I know that I have a hard time asking for help.
However, last January, I heard the impeccable Madame Gandhi speak at an event thrown by WORN. She talked about how “the future is female,” and that she envisions a world that is “linked not ranked.” She talked about how we’ve been taught that self-reliance and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps is the ultimate marker of success, but to actually succeed in this world, we need to embrace a more collaborative spirit (which many would typify as a more feminine vs masculine viewpoint).
A switch flipped in my head. Here I was thinking that I needed to act alone in order to make the best impact, when in actuality it was the opposite. If I work with, everything is more successful.
This spirit of collaboration inspired me to put together a collaborative event. I invited Madame Gandhi to lead a live DJ set while I taught a yoga class. Jessica Guzik took on the role of event planner, Lauren Louise as photographer, and Alex Triana from Dacha lended the venue. We knew we wanted this event to be for charity, and specifically to benefit women. When I learned about Global Fund for Women from my friend Heather, I knew we had the perfect partner.
Global Fund for Women’s vision is that “every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions.”
This vision resonated with me because it reflects a collaborative spirit. Being heard necessitates that there’s a listener – there’s a dialogue. That is collaboration. When we are heard – truly heard – that’s when we feel our strongest and most powerful.
The morning of the event, the positive vibes could be felt throughout the building. We moved, we danced, we laughed. It was an amazing day.
I could help but recognize that the success of the day was because of the collaboration of these women coming together, not in spite of it.
A few months later, I got the itch to do it again. I missed the camaraderie and togetherness. With Jess moving to Berlin and Madame Gandhi living in LA, it was time to build new partnership and friendships.
Truth: I worried. I didn’t know if we could recreate the magic of our first event. And I had some doubts as the date drew closer. But once the party started…voila. Once again we proved that positive energy and collaborative spirit reigns supreme. Odetta wowed us all by playing guitar, violin, and tuning forks through the class, and we shat and chatted long after the class was finished. These photos tell the story better.
All in all, we raised over $1,000 for Global Fund for Women.
How this helps me
For me, it proved the power of collaboration. I realized that self-reliance can sometimes assume scarcity. It’s assuming that having more people will dilute your personal gain. Instead, I found the opposite to be true. As we added more partners, the event only got better.
I’m not sure what form our next music/yoga event will take (soliciting ideas….), but I do know that there will be a rag tag team of awesome women to make it happen.
Try this quick and cooling cucumber soup recipe this summer. It’s delicious and simple to make!
It’s official. The dog days of summer are here. Washington DC turns into a bit of a swamp, and the humidity keeps on rising.
And while we all love summer produce, most people’s diets don’t change all that much during the summer. Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s easier to stick to the same routines and patterns.
However, that shift in weather does impact our bodies, and to fuel ourselves optimally, we need to switch our food intake as well.
Eating to stay cool
In Ayurveda, certain foods are cooling or heating. Unfortunately, a lot of summertime favorites are heating for your body. Some heating foods include meat like burgers and hot dogs, vinegar-filled mustard, or carb-heavy pasta salad. Hot sauce and spicy foods are a no-no.
Instead, now’s the time to enjoy all of your raw salads and fruits. Instead of your usual olive oil, use coconut oil based dressings (don’t worry, it’s so hot it will melt!) Avocado is another great source of fat that cools your body down. When you season your food, use dill, fennel, parsley, and basil instead of black pepper of cayenne.
Additionally, we need to focus on hydration. I’m sure we’ve all noticed an increase in sweat production, and that water loss adds up throughout the day!
The answer isn’t to down another 2 gallons of water. What’s more important is that you hydrate intelligently. Get a good source of electrolytes (the vitamins and minerals that make your body work their best) alongside your water from healthy fruits and vegetables. The electrolytes make sure that your hydration brings you into balance, rather than simply water-logging your body (and causing you to have to go to the bathroom every half hour).
I recently came across a recipe for a cucumber soup, and I realized it would be the perfect summer tonic. I tweaked the recipe a bit to make it even more Ayurveda and summertime friendly. In addition to cucumber, it features avocado, lemon juice (which is actually cooling for your body even though it doesn’t seem like it should be!), and cooling spices. It only takes 5 minutes to put together, and it will leave you feeling delightful. You can use this recipe as a side dish to your meal, or drink it just like a smoothie!
Take a look at the food you eat over the course of this next day. What’s your guess – heating or cooling? After you eat it, notice how your body feels. Perhaps you can slowly start to introduce some more cooling oils and spices into your daily routine. Leave a comment below on what you find!
Use this super quick hemp milk recipe as a morning coffee replacement, in smoothies, for your cereal, or as a pre-bed tonic!
When I first discovered hemp milk in the grocery store – I was overjoyed to find a soy milk alternative that had some heft (more on why I was looking for a soy milk alternative here). I had previously used almond and cashew milk, but these are more like almond and cashew water…the unsweetened varieties only have about 30 calories per serving and not a crazy amount of flavor. Plus, there was a bunch of added thickeners and stabilizers to make it taste more like “real milk”.
Hemp milk on the other hand was actually full of protein and good fats. Hemp seeds are a powerful little seed and are filled with tons of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. It more closely resembled soy milk in it’s nutrition which means that I could actually justify buying and using it to supplement my breakfasts.
Unfortunately, the hemp milk I was buying was 1) expensive and 2) still full of the same stabilizers that almond and soy milk had. I wanted to try making my own hemp milk at home, but I was a little intimidated.
People have been asking me about starting a food company since I originally started Happy Healthy Human back in 2014. I was resistant for a long time – I believe in the power of quality, homemade food, and I didn’t want to have to compromise on my values and standards for a high quality product.
Eventually, the internal and external pressure to start a company won. I realized that creating a product didn’t have to compromise my mission of providing personalized nutrition and the best ingredients to my clients and customers. Instead – Happy Healthy Human snacks were born. Each snack is specially designed to help you feel Balance, Calm, Motivation, or Relief. Each one has a completely unique flavor profile and includes different ingredients to impact your body and mind in distinct ways.