Banana Island Detox & What It Taught Me

For the past 7 days I have been on a cleanse called banana island. I wasn’t sure why I was doing it, I just felt like it was necessary at the time.

Banana Island is a detox where you eat only bananas and greens for a set period of time.

I had been eating 20 bananas a day minimum, along with a head of romaine. I was also drinking a gallon or more of water (most days).

Around days 4-6 I experienced gas and bloating. I realized later this was due to a few reasons:

  1. The bananas weren’t full ripe. I couldn’t find brown spotty ones and settled for bright yellow. This caused constipation.
  2. I was not drinking enough water. Once I realized this and started drinking more water, all gas and bloating diminished.

Takeaways:

  1. If you are to embark on banana island, prepare ahead of time with plenty of spotty brown bananas. If they aren’t ripe and spotted, the starches have not yet been converted to sugars and are much more difficult for the body to break down and use for energy.
  2. Always drink enough water. It is much more important than the food you are ingesting.

Overall my experience was very rewarding. I had more energy, I felt stronger and could go for longer while working out, and I was also much more peaceful. I typically have crashes midday and am easily susceptible to mood swings.

However, I did experience a drastic shift on day 7.

Day 7 I was already off as I was feeling a bit sleepy. Later on in the day a coworker started talking calories. Calories are never something I worry about. I am more of the “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full” kind of person. I adopted this mindset after years of binge eating disorder followed by a physically and emotionally exhausting period of time where I… you guessed it: counted calories.

I won’t get into the details of the conversation, but basically I had already met my RDA of calories after lunch time.

My first instinct was to get angry. I had spent my whole life with an eating disorder I thought I was over and now I have someone telling me that scientifically speaking, it was the opposite case.

I was in disbelief. I became stubborn in my mind and let this fester for hours. I kept asking myself, “why am I so mad about this? If I know I am doing what is best for me and I have good intentions then why should it matter? All I am doing is listening to my body, I know what’s best. If I know what’s best then why am I so angry? Why can’t I let this go?” and so on…

When I was eating I never felt a definitive “full” feeling. I stopped once I was satisfied and ate again when I felt my tummy asking for more. Could I have been eating too much? Possibly. It could have also been what was causing constipation and I didn’t realize it. Yet, it still felt like something deeper….

Then, it dawned on me. It didn’t matter how much I was eating so much as it mattered why I was eating.

When I started this journey, I felt a bit lost. I felt like I hit a fork in the road, but both of the roads had a very dense fog on them. I had no clue what way to go. By the end of my journey, the fog began to lift and I realized it was the same road all along. The problem was that I was running.

Sometimes I can be a bit of an escapist. Two popular tools I abuse are my phone…and food. When there is something coming up that I am not quite ready to face I will avoid it at all costs. I can not yet answer why. I often envision the life I want for myself, the things I would love to create, manifest, and mold into reality. I can see it all perfectly. In all this daydreaming I easily lost sight of my passion. I forget to hold dear the drive that can get me to where I want to be. I love to think about what my life could be, but when it comes to putting in the work? Nah… forget about it…  I’ll just eat/check instagram instead.

On Day 7 I was faced with a harsh reality check. When I arrived home from work with my last banana meal in the seat next to me, along with my keys and phone, God gave me a kick in the ass. I unlocked the passenger door before getting out of the car so I could pick up all my stuff. When I got out on the drivers side I subconsciously locked the car and shut the door.

Well, Shit.

Now all of my stuff was locked in the car. My last bundle of ripe bananas, my phone, keys, my highly perishable probiotic! Woe is me! Whatever will I do now?!

I walked to the lawn and laid down in the sun defeated. Okay lord, you win. I am done with my consumeristic ways from now on. I will face my reality and start living in line with my passions. You sent a sign and it has been heard.

This isn’t the first time something like this has come up for me. By this point it was becoming common knowledge to me that when I focus on creating and doing things I love, food and all other distractions become secondary. When I focus on painting, for example, hours could go by before food even crosses m mind. During the duration of this cleanse my main focus was all about food. “Do I have enough bananas? Am I hungry again or thirsty? Did I eat enough for the day?” I let my self and fall on the back burner. I forgot about my own desires and passions.

Thankfully, my brother was home to let me in the house (my mom wouldn’t be home for another 5 hours), so I could get a small start on loving myself again. I was able to change out of my work clothes, do yoga, clean my room, and watch The Matrix. I had never seen The Matrix until that moment; It was further testament that I need to start believing anything is possible, and I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to.

Who knew that deciding to eat only bananas for a week would help me realize that I was subconsciously avoiding self-love and living in line with my passions? Who knew that by doing a cleanse, I was really avoiding myself? And how ironic that what really got cleansed out wasn’t necessarily physical toxins, but mental ones? Negative self-talk and depressive thinking.

It’s always a good idea to cleanse every once in awhile. Even if you’re the healthiest person alive, you may still find that there could be some benefit behind it. Just remember to stick it through and have faith in yourself. You can achieve anything you put your mind to.

 

P.s. be sure to drink enough water.

20+ Quick Plant-Based Milk Recipes

This is a master post of Plant-Based “Mylks”; From cashew to banana, and everything in between. I promise, it is way easier (and tastier!) than you think.

Whether you are vegan, sensitive to dairy, or looking to try something new, these plant-based nut milks (mylks) were designed just for you!

Some of you may be thinking: “I don’t have time to make my own milk. I can go to a store and buy it, why should I bother?”

Well, I’m not going to go into the ethics or gorey details of why you should limit dairy consumption. Google it and look at any of the 39,700,000 results. I will, however, tell you why you should aim to make your own plant-based milks over buying ones on the shelf.

Store-bought plant-based milks are often filled with preservatives, thickening agents, gums, isolates and lecithins, and unless you buy unsweetened: roughly 14-24 teaspoons of sugar. It isn’t just plant-based milks, though. Standard cow’s milk could contain anywhere from 22-28 teaspoons of sugar. All of these “natural” ingredients in store bought milk could lead to inflammation, insulin spikes, leaky gut, digestive discomfort, bloating and excessive gas.

There is also the simple truth of the matter: it just tastes better. When you take the time to make it yourself, put love into it, and use fresh ingredients that have not been processed, it is hard to go back to the store-bought stuff!


DIY Plant-Based “Mylks”

 

Banana

Naturally Sweet and Creamy!

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

1 Banana

1-2 Dates

Put ingredients in a blender and blend. Enjoy immediately.


Coconut (Lazy Version)

Easy-Breezy and Smooth Going Down

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

2 Tbsp Coconut Manna or Butter

1-2 Dates

Blend and Enjoy!


Coconut (Lazy Artisan Version)

One of my favorite methods. The result is Rich, Indulgent, and Full-Bodied.

Serves: 4-6

4 Cups Water

2 Cups Coconut Shreds

2-4 Dates

Heat up the water to the point of steaming. Pour in a bowl with the Coconut Shreds and let stand to soften (can skip if you have a high quality blender).

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend from low to high until smooth. Pour through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.

Store in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Coconut (Artisan Version)

I recommend investing in a CoCo Jack for this one….

Serves: 4-6

4 Cups Water

Flesh of 2 Coconuts

Crack open the coconut and scoop out its flesh. Remove as much of the shell fragments as possible.

Place ingredients in a blender and blend until creamy. Strain through a few layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store up to 5 days in fridge.


Nut or Seed of Choice (Lazy Version)

I like doing this in my Coffee for an Easy and Satisfying Latte.

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

2 Tbsp of Unsweetened Seed or Nut Butter

1-2 dates

Blend and Enjoy!


Nut or Seed of Choice (Artisan Version)

Pro-Tip: Always soak the nuts in a bowl of water overnight, at least 8 hours. For seeds, soak at least 2 hours. Remove the ones that float to the top. This gets rid of the bad ones and makes them easier to blend.

Serves: 4-6

4 Cups Water

1 Cup Raw Nuts: Almond, Cashew, Pecan (add extra ¼ cup), Pistachio, Macadamia, Hazelnut, Brazil

OR

1 Cup Raw Seeds: Sesame, Sunflower, Pumpkin, Hemp or Chia (no need to soak)

2-4 Dates

Pinch of Sea Salt

Place ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour ingredients through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store in fridge up to 5 days.


Hemp (Lazy Version)

This one gets a special feature because of how easy it is to make. It is one of my go-tos as it is super frothy and great for homemade lattes!

Serves: 1

8 oz Water

2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

1-2 Dates

Blend and Enjoy!


Oat

You don’t know creamy until you have tried oat mylk.

Serves: 3-5

3 Cup Water

2 Cups Oats

1-2 Dates

Pinch of Sea Salt

Strain through several layers of cheesecloth and store in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Quinoa or Rice

Slightly nutty in taste. Not bad at all.

Serves: 4-6

3-4 Cups Water

2 Cups Cooked Quinoa or Rice

1-3 Dates

Pinch of Sea Salt

Optional: 1 tsp Vanilla

Add ingredients to a blender and blend until well combined. Pour through several layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days.


Notes and Tips:

  • Use filtered water for all of the recipes.
  • Experiment with different flavors! You can add cocoa or cacao powders, vanilla, different fruits… It doesn’t have to be plain!
  • I use dates in my recipes to sweeten, as they are a whole food and won’t spike your blood sugar like refined sugars do. Adding them is optional, as these all still taste wonderful without. If you choose to use the dates and they’re a bit on the harder side, soak them prior to using (approx. 30 minutes). You may also swap them for your preferred sweetener.
  • Always use an airtight container to store these in to prevent spoilage. I personally use 64 oz mason jars for the stored batches.

 

What is your favorite milk alternative? Are there any unique flavors you can think of and would like to try? Let’s get creative and start a conversation in the comments below!

10 Easy Ways to Survive the Summer Heat

Here in Michigan, Summer came creeping up from behind quickly, and with a story to tell. We were all feeling it as the sun blazed down and the sweat started to form a sticky layer that seemed to become a part of the skin. I had to learn quickly how to adapt to this heat wave, just to be comfortable in my own home. Now I would like to share a few tips and tricks with you on how to survive these coming summer months. After all, this is only the beginning….

First, we will start with some of the obvious:

  1. Loose-Fitting, Cotton Clothing

It’s breathable and will increase airflow around your body.

      2. Drink Plenty of Water

You are roughly 60-70% water. It is vital for regulating body temperature and keeping you cool, especially as these hot summer months can suck the moisture right out of you! (Gotta love that sticky humidity) Be sure to stay extra hydrated, I aim for at least 3 Litres of water a day, if not more. Listen to your body to find what works for you. If you’re one of those people who don’t like the taste of water, try adding fresh fruits and herbs! Experiment with different flavor combos. Here are a few to try out:

  • Cucumber + Lemon (Alkalizing and contains Electrolytes!)
  • Blueberry + Lavender (High in Antioxidants and Relaxing)
  • Watermelon + Mint (Summer in a Cup)
  • Strawberry + Lime + Mint (Refreshing Detoxifier)
  • Green Tea + Lemon + Ginger (Metabolism Booster)

      3. Turn Off and Unplug

Pretty straightforward. Electricity emits heat. Keep the lights off and unplug electronics at night.

      4. Hang a Wet Sheet

This might be a new one! Hang a wet sheet in a doorway or on the windows. The air blowing in will pick up moisture from the cloth and quickly cool down the room.

      5. Avoid the Stove and Oven

Have you ever cooked something in the oven during a hot summer day and dreaded going into the kitchen after? I would too, having a large appliance emitting waves of 400 degree heat.
Opt for eating more fresh and raw foods, especially ones with high water content to cool down and regulate body temperature (Easy Summer Recipes coming soon!) Some good choices include fruits (Berries, Watermelon, Peaches, Apples…), celery, cucumber, leafy greens, peppermint, and tomatoes.

      6. Sleep Outside

I’ve taken a liking to sleeping outside on my porch. It’s much cooler at night, but sometimes the house is left still humid and hot from the day time. Go rustic and set up a tent in your backyard for the night. If camping was never really your style, try glamping! You could even invite some friends over and make a little party out of it.

     7. Put your Sheets in the Freezer

Place your sheets in a reusable bag and store in the freezer for a few minutes before you go to sleep. It won’t last all night, but can at least keep you cool while you’re drifting off to sleep.

      8. If You’re Sweating, Up your Salt Intake

Salt is a vital mineral for regulating body temperature and has a cooling effect. As you sweat, you lose salt through your pores. If you’re a coffee drinker, you may need salt even more, as it leeches it from your body! Take a small pinch of high quality sea salt (I like Celtic Sea Salt) and add it to your food or water throughout the day.

      9. Go Cold Brewed

You could brew coffee or tea traditionally and pour it over ice, but boiling the water could add excess heat to the air.
For Iced Tea, I like to add around 8-10 tea bags to a half gallon container and store it in the fridge overnight.
For Cold-Brew Coffee, add 1 + 1/3 Cup of ground coffee to a jar with 4 cups of water and let sit in the fridge overnight (at least 8 hours). When ready, pour through a fine mesh strainer and serve! It will turn out quite concentrated, so I recommend diluting it to your liking.

      10. Exercise… your Green Thumb

You thought I was going to tell you to actually exercise didn’t you?

Did you know there are plants that can help keep your house cool? Most of them are the same ones that remove pollutants and toxins from the air! Bonus!
Just to name a few:

  • Snake Plant
  • Ferns (especially good for humidity)
  • Areca Palm Tree (removes benzene and formaldehyde)
  • Ficus Tree
  • Aloe Vera (will also come in handy for the sunburn you’ll be getting!)

Have you tried any of these methods, or have tips and tricks of your own? Leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you!

My Story.

I struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life growing up. I was shy and had trouble making friends. I felt insecure about my appearance because of the hair on my body, my crooked teeth, and my bloated belly. I sat around and played video games or watched television the whole day. If I wasn’t laying on the couch I was in the kitchen, debating what I would snack on next. Cheese-Itz? Fruit Loops? Frozen dinosaur nuggets and mozzarella sticks?

The most fruit I ate was gummy snacks. The closest thing to a vegetable I would eat was french fries. I always had trouble using the restroom growing up. I remember going to the doctor once when I was younger and seeing the concern on his face when I told him I didn’t remember the last time I pooped.

Luckily, my mom got me started young on the organic, hormone-free, cage-free, etc… so for most of my life I’ve had a slight interest in the purity of what it was I was putting in my mouth.

In middle school I had my first try at being vegetarian. I was and still am an animal lover, so naturally that led me to not wanting to eat animals. It didn’t last for long; My mother supported me with some hesitation, but regardless. My dad, however, showed little support and made me eat a philly cheesesteak the day I told him.

I never had a very tight relationship with my parents. Everyone in my family had the tendency to keep to themselves, so I never quite learned how to interact with others and speak my mind. I also became quite the loner in my teenage years. I spent most days in front of a t.v. or computer playing video games and trying to make friends online. I wasn’t allowed to have friends over because my dad worked nights and wanted to sleep during the day. I had trouble reaching out, and when I did I would often explode after holding in my emotions for so long. This led me to fear reaching out even more. I didn’t want to be mean to people and figured it was my nature, so I avoided interacting as much as possible. On the bright side, through these experiences and isolation I had learned to be self-reliant and independent. I dreamed big and wanted an amazing future for myself, I knew I wanted to help others and I wanted to make a lasting impact on the world around me; For the environment, the animals, and fellow human beings. The only problem was that something was still missing from my life. I would constantly search to fill a void I could not pinpoint. I developed unhealthy eating habits with overeating, then eating less or skipping meals when I felt “fat” or gained too much weight for my liking. My mother was always worried about her weight and talked about how “fat” she looked, so I felt I should be doing the same. I was told, as a 145 lb, 5’8” teenager that I was overweight and needed to watch it. As a child I didn’t know what that meant. How do I watch my weight? What do I do to fix what everyone is telling me is broken? My whole world was what I grew up on; the Standard American Diet, staying indoors because there is sunburn and bugs outside, and keeping to myself because I couldn’t spend time with friends until after my parents divorced while I was in middle school.

This began the cycle of binge eating on foods I thought were healthy because they were organic, starving myself when I started gaining, and then wasting away summers on the couch not eating or drinking anything. I slept and played video games because nothing else was working, so why do anything?

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when I decided something needed to change. I was still in a cycle of binging and starving, but I started picking healthier options to binge on. I swapped my cheese-itz for popcorn and traded the pb&j sandwich for a turkey wrap with spinach. I was never a soda drinker, but I did make sure I always had water with me. I was still depressed and anxious, spending most of high school in a state of dissociation to make it through the day. I felt like a ghost, going through the motions, numb, and observing from the outside.

By the end of my senior year I had met my best friend Erin who happened to be a vegetarian. She taught me to trade in meat for boca patties and morningstar sausages. Though still not the healthiest way of eating, I was already starting to feel better physically and mentally by eliminating animals from my diet. This opened a door to the realization that how I feel physically has a correlation with what I put into my body.

Summer came along and my depression got worse. I immediately moved out of my hometown to a house an hour away. I had no license, only a couple of my few friends had licenses, and I spent the majority of the summer alone in my bedroom, journaling about how lonely I was.

When I went off to college I shared a dorm with two dear friends; my cousin Olivia and her high school friend Sam. We all kept each other sane through our first semester at University. The piles of homework had us depressed, stressed, and for them, missing home. I didn’t mind being away at college. I was enjoying my time there with Sam and Olivia more than I was at home all alone. The college experience itself, however, had me ready to kill myself. It was drastically different than what I experienced in high school where all you have to do is show up to pass. I dreamed of being an art major until taking an advanced class in high school and deeming myself not good enough. This led me to go the complete opposite route in college where I tried majoring in business. I couldn’t even last half a semester in my math course. I was completely lost. I had no vision of a future for myself. I was amazed I even made it into college at all, thinking I’d have offed myself by the time I graduated high school.

This was a very introspective time for me. When I wasn’t doing my school work and listening to depressing music, I was journaling. I was and still am very big on writing down my emotions and what I’m going through.

 

“If this is what life is like, then what’s the … point? I feel like I’m going through some kind of self torture.”

 

“Life is just stress, anxiety, and depression with rare good moments that convince me it’s worth it. Either way I’ll end up in a … job I don’t want but need to survive, I’ll go through a midlife crisis with debt and more stress, and then I’ll die. I might as well just die right now and save myself the trouble.”

 

“I wasn’t made out to go to school and get a dead end job purely for the ability to keep living in this hell, but it seems to be the only option. I’m really trying. I’m trying so hard and I feel like it just won’t be enough.”

 

“I can’t live in this world and be happy.”

 

This is what was going through my mind day in and day out. This is what I was manifesting every moment of every hour. I was constantly living inside a dense and heavy cloud of negativity towards myself and this life I felt cursed into.

After dropping my math class, I had a lot of time on my hands. Erin regularly enjoyed documentaries and shared interesting ones she found with me. I mainly watched ones on nature, but one day I noticed a documentary called “Vegucated.” I started watching it thinking it would teach me how to incorporate more vegetables into my life, but instead it dove me into the world of Veganism. I was thrown onto a rollercoaster of emotions over the planet, the animals, every individual impacted by what I chose to eat, and how I was fueling my own body.

Halfway through the documentary I was in tears. This was the push I needed. I texted my mom before I even finished watching to tell her that I was vegan from that day forward, though it took me a few more months to fully transition.

I replaced my cheese with daiya and started eating more whole grains, bean, and vegetables. I watched as my life slowly started working its way up out of the heavy cloud I created. I felt infinitely better now that my lifestyle was beginning to match up with my beliefs. My bloating was going away and my bathroom visits became regular for the first time since childhood. I started dropping excess weight effortlessly.

By the time the next summer came around I was 30 lbs lighter. I began exploring my personal beliefs and spirituality. I dropped out of college after that first semester to reconnect with myself, get involved in a regular yoga and meditation practice, and learn how to cook healthy plant-based meals. I was so excited over this world of health and wellness I discovered that it didn’t take long before I was obsessed.

The sunshine and rainbows didn’t last long. My stress over not being or doing enough followed me. I was doing a lot more now, living for myself, living the healthy lifestyle, but something was missing. I was doing everything I read about online! I was following all of the new fads, doing what the nutritionists do, shouldn’t I be happy and stress free?

Not necessarily. I was doing all of these things out of the wrong place. I was doing it because I felt like it was what I should be doing. I wasn’t doing it because I believed it was what’s best for me. Sure, I wanted to save the world, be healthy, slim, peaceful, successful, you name it- but I wasn’t doing it out of love for myself. I was doing it because I felt like I needed fixing. I was doing it because I was lost. I needed something to follow, to encourage me to keep going. I needed something to give me the power I didn’t see within myself.

The next summer rolled around and I found myself in an unhealthy “relationship.” He was everything I looked for in a partner: vegan, big on cleansing, exercise, and spiritual practices. What took awhile to realize was that he was also obsessed with perfection. He had a large ego searching to consume all innocence and replace it with what his idea of perfection was. I was lacking in self-confidence during this time, still didn’t speak up and aimed to please others. I was self-conscious, constantly wondered if what I was doing was enough and what he would think of me if I didn’t do what he thought was best.

He wanted me to be a raw vegan, and he was personally aiming towards breatharian. I developed an eating disorder around the purity of what I was eating, and if I was eating enough to get the nutrition I needed or too much to be connected with the universe. Eating became a coping mechanism, to distract myself from what was really going on. I put my passions on hold until one day, I found a school called The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN).

I finally remembered why it is I do what I do. This school combined my passions of making a difference in the world around me, others lives, and my own. IIN taught me to go back to the basics, remember who I am, what it is that I really want for myself, and helped me find what I had to do to get to where I want to be.

Instead of shaming myself after a large meal or eating something “unhealthy,” I began listening to my body. I learned how to fuel it with what it’s asking for and listen to the natural signals of when to start and stop eating. I became mindful of my dietary habits and how they reflect what’s going on in my life. Before noshing down on that candy bar, I’ll take a step back and ask myself what’s happening inside myself and in my environment to make me crave the sweets.

I began tearing down my walls, uncovering layers of dust that have been thrown onto my canvas through the years. I built up a new foundation for myself, based on what I believe and know is best for me. I began living from a place of compassion rather than fear.

My time with the boy soon ended as I learned more and more about what it means to love myself. I knew I had a lot of work to do inside before I could know what I truly want for myself, especially in the realm of relationships.

How I see others and how I interact with others is a direct reflection of my beliefs and how I feel about myself. Any judgements that rise about other people are really what I judge about myself, and what I perceive to be a certain way. What I admire in other people is what I would strive to manifest within myself. If they could be that empowered, why couldn’t I?

I began looking at the world from a different perspective. I now see life less as a destination, and instead as a journey that is always growing, shifting, evolving, and bringing me along with it. I released expectation to outcome and began manifesting dreams into reality one moment at a time. I use stress as a tool, found ways to keep myself grounded, and balance time between work, play, and rest.

You may be wondering, why am I telling you all of this? What interest is my story to you?

Everyone has a different background, different struggles, different way of handling emotions. However, we are all capable of getting to where we want to be. When we let go of expectation and start living for ourselves from a place of love, then we can achieve anything we put our minds too.

Do I want everyone to suddenly drop out of high school, do yoga and become vegan? Not necessarily. I want to encourage you to experiment. Listen to what your body and intuition are telling you and find what works best for you.

Through personal experience, I have learned to rise from a place of hopelessness to one of endless possibility! I was able to release baggage I had no idea I was carrying and build a new platform to stand upon. One that is flexible, sturdy, and treats life as a dance, rather than a battle.

I was able to tune into myself, my body, and my dreams. Now I know it is my journey to help others do the same. What I experienced is not entirely unique to me. Each individual has the power within themselves to cultivate their dreams into reality. Everyone has the power to overcome fears and negativity, and start living gracefully while chasing the burning passion within. You have the power and the right to know and live the lifestyle that is best for you! Together, we have the tools to build you a new foundation and rise out of the ashes. Why not start now?

10 Things You Can Do To Help Our Home Planet

Happy Earth Day!

This is a beautiful time (like any) to honor mother gaia and all she provides for us.

Without this planet, we would not be here. We are made up of the earth itself; the same star stuff, minerals, freshwater, and food grown from the soil. The trees provide the oxygen that fills our lungs to keep us alive. Living in perfect distance from the sun that nourishes this planet and our own bodies, so we too may grow strong around the fire within.

Take time today to honor and connect to the Earth. This planet is more than a rock floating in space that, over time, we somehow evolved on. It is a living organism, a mother, constantly growing, nurturing and bringing new life. We did not get to where we are today without her help. Now is our time to give love back.

 

Here is a list of things you could do this Earth Day:

  1. Pick up litter
Eye-Opening Statistics on Littering

See more at: http://visual.ly/eye-opening-statistics-littering#sthash.QwS5cGaz.dpuf

      2. Go Vegan for a day

Before you get skeptical, know that veganism is so easy! Just one day! Swap out the animal for some fresh beans and legumes, and trade the dairy for plant-based milks, cheeses, yogurts, icecreams, you name it. There are thousands of recipes all over the internet for you to choose from, and a whole host of products in stores! It doesn’t have to feel restrictive.

Here’s what you would be saving by being vegan for just one day:

vegan in a day

      3. Go the whole day without buying anything in plastic

Bonus points for going completely package free. That means sexy naked fruits and vegetables, and bulk bins 😉

      4. Use your own bags!

If you go shopping, bring your own bags! Most places will even offer you a discount, donate to charity, or offer a raffle for bringing your own bags!

      5. Go for a hike

Not only is it exercise, but just a 10-minute walk in nature has the power to help rewire your brain and reset hormones, lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and boost your mood!

      6. Plant some plants

Whether it be a tree, household plants, for the garden, or a small succulent.

      7. Hug a tree

Did you know hugging trees offers real benefits to support your health?

Hugging trees is known to show improvements in mental illnesses such as ADHD and depression, stress and inflammation throughout the body, along with cognitive and emotional functions.

Now that is some affordable health care!

      8. Look for an event in your area!

Many places will hold festivals in honor of the earth, or marches and rallies to support positive changes in the environment. Look online and see what’s out there!

      9. Skip the vehicle

Walk, ride a bike, roller skate, longboard, skateboard, scooter, take the bus, carpool… whatever you can do to cut the pollution!

      10. Unplug

Turn off the lights, keep the blinds open and use candles! Unplug from the wall any devices or appliances that are not being used. Skip the TV and video games for going outside in nature!

Decadent Raw Orange Cardamom Avocado Cake

Recently I finally made the decision to cut out flours, grains, and sugar (except whole fruit sugar). With my birthday only a few days from this decision and 8 guests coming, I had a very important question to face: what the heck am I going to make for dessert?!

After a few hours of brainstorming and pinterest browsing, I finally had written the perfect recipe!

This moroccan-inspired cake was filling, sweet, decadent, and a huge hit among the guests!

This recipe makes a small cake, about 7-8″ across. If you want a bigger cake, I recommend doubling the ingredients.

Raw Orange Cardamom Avocado Cake

Serves: 8

Ingredients Crust:

½ cup Raw Pistachios

6 Medjool Dates, pitted

3 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted over low heat

1 tsp Cinnamon

Optional, to taste:

⅛ tsp Salt

1 tbsp Maple Syrup

Filling:

2 Avocados, peeled and pit removed

3 Dates

Juice of 1 Orange

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tbsp Orange Zest

¼ cup Raw Pistachios

Seeds of 6 Cardamom Pods

1 tsp Vanilla

Optional Toppings: Chopped pistachios for sprinkling, rose petals, orange peels rolled into flowers, orange zest

Directions:

Add pistachios and dates to a food processor and pulse until incorporated. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until well mixed.

In a springform pan, push the crust evenly across the bottom. Place pan in freezer while preparing the filling.

In a blender, add the all of the ingredients and blend until well mixed. Pour filling onto the crust and gently flatten.

Add any desired toppings and place in fridge to stiffen for 5 hours, or overnight.

I recommend taking the cake out of the fridge to thaw for 45 minutes to an hour before serving.

That’s it! Super easy and simple. I will definitely be making this cake again in the future! If you try it, let me know what you think! I would love to hear from you!

 

Vegan Mint Cacao Coconut Bliss Balls 

Better late than never, right?! These melt-in-your-mouth yummy bliss balls, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day, are the perfect healthy snack for any time and make a great pre- and post-workout! Packed with healthy fats, fiber, and 5 grams of protein per serving (and let’s face it, you can’t eat just one!) 

St. Patty’s Day Mint Cacao Coconut Balls

Ingredients

    1 Cup Shredded Coconut

    1 Cup Almond Meal

    ¼ Cup Pascha Cacao Chips (I used 100%)

    2 TBSP Coconut Oil

    2 TBSP Sweetner of Choice

    1-2 TBSP Chlorella or Spirulina (I like Spirulina for the protein, if you can handle the taste!)

    ½ TSP Peppermint Extract

    ¼ Cups Hemp Seeds

Add all ingredients except the Cacao Chips in a bowl. Mix well, then stir in Cacao Chips. Shape into balls and store in fridge in an airtight container.

Serves: 11

Commit To Yourself

Sometimes I wonder if the love comes after the commitment.

How often do you experience something new and feel a spark? Whether it’s talking to someone you resonate with, painting, writing a short story, creating a beautiful meal, etc. One day you decide you want to go back and do it again, but something is different. The same spark is gone. It might even be a bit more challenging this time.

I recently talked to someone who chases their dreams. He took risks and was rewarded for it by the universe. He was completely taken care of up to the point I talked to him last. I asked him what it felt like to be in the flow, always encouraged and provided for by the universe. He said it felt more like he was walking into the wind.

This led to a sudden awakening for me. All of my life I have been waiting for everything to flow. I had been looking for something to awaken my soul and suddenly everything would be laid out before me; I would progress through life easily and carefree. That is not how life works.

Every day I am given opportunities. Every day I pick and choose what is within my comfort zone, but taking risks is the only way to grow stronger. When I step out of my comfort zone and chase a spark I once felt, that is when I grow the most. That is when I gain experience, feel abundant and provided for, and open more doors.

It is rarely an easy task to face fears and go against the flow of what is comfortable, but once done, life is given new meaning. Hope is renewed and passion presents itself. Commit to what gives that initial spark. Run after it at full speed until all the barriers are broken and that spark turns into an all-encompassing light.

“I just have to take the first step.”

Lost Connection

Yesterday I did one of the worst things imaginable that someone in today’s day and age could do- I lost my phone.

Okay, I’ll admit I may be exaggerating a bit there, but let me explain why this is one of the worst and best things to have happened to me.

When I realized I lost my phone, I experienced every stage of grief.

  1. Denial

I was frantic. It had to be on me or in my car somewhere. I just had it. There is no way I could have lost my phone during the time of driving. I didn’t even bring it into the store!

      2. Anger

I could feel the black cloud rush over me. I wanted to scream and hit something. I would take my anger out by being rude to anyone who tried talking to me.

      3. Bargaining

I called the store I went to asking if they had seen a phone and to call if they found one (they didn’t).

      4. Depression

I was devastated. What am I to do without my phone? Who am I supposed to talk to the friends I never get to see? How will I know when to wake up for work?!

      5. Acceptance

I have lived years without a phone in my hand. People before me lived their whole lives without a phone in their hands. I don’t need a phone. Heck, this whole time of having one I would talk about how I wish I didn’t have one. If a stupid piece of technology makes me feel such strong negative emotions, then I shouldn’t own one in the first place.

What I allowed myself to feel truly scared me. I feel that I lost that phone for good reason. I needed to detox.

One study suggests the average person spends close to 4 years of their lifespan using a mobile device!

When I look back on my life I don’t want to think of all the things I didn’t do because I was too busy distracting myself with social media. Instead of looking at beautiful pictures of people’s adventurous lives, I should be out taking my own pictures and experiencing all nature has to hold! Why look at pictures of smoothie bowls on instagram all day when I could be making my own and learning to cook?

Life is too short to waste away in front of a screen. Life has so much to offer. What good comes out of going through the same old routine every single day? The story barely changes, the same emotions are felt in a different sequence.

The only time we have is RIGHT NOW. Life doesn’t wait for anyone. The only thing that can hold someone back is themselves. This whole time, I had been holding myself back by distracting myself from living dreams and exploring interests.

Thank you for reading this little snippet of my momentary madness, and if you relate to it at all I encourage you to join me on a journey of leaving the technology behind in favor of the natural world and real life experiences.

Explore your hobbies, do something you have never done, use your phone to take pictures and videos of trees and mountains while hiking somewhere you have never been!

I’d like to end this with a short list of things you could do instead of staring at a screen:

  • Paint and/or draw
  • Cook something new
  • Go for a walk/hike
  • Volunteer
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Write a book
  • Clean the house

And how you can put a phone to good use:

  • Call your friends and/or family
  • Plan a meetup with like-minded people
  • Take pictures and videos of things you find beautiful
  • Use the calendar to plan all of your amazing adventures
  • Download inspiring books
  • Download mindfulness apps that remind you to remain present

Thank you,

Allie