Forest Bathing // Shinrin-Yoku

Shinrin-Yoku is the Japanese practice of “forest bathing”. Forest bathing is fairly self explanatory; just take a relaxing walk under the forest canopy, breath deeply, and soak in all the health benefits. It’s a popular preventative health care practice in Japan. I’ve always noticed a significant positive shift in my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state after spending some quality time in nature but I’ve never really understood exactly what attributed to that. Vitamin D, fresh air, and exercise are all fabulous benefits of getting outside but there are many other scientifically proven benefits to forest bathing. Some of these benefits include: improved mood, reduced stress, increased energy, reduced blood pressure, and accelerated recovery. One of the most impressive benefits is boosted immune function. Trees emit organic compounds that actually support our natural killer cells (cancer killing cells) and decrease our stress hormone levels. Literally forest healing! How fricking cool is that?! Nature is so incredible and so powerful. I enjoy forest bathing with my husband and dog! I take conscious, deep breaths and touch the forest floor and fallen leaves. One of my favorite things to do is to just stop and listen to the silence of nature, it’s beautiful. Get curious- touch, smell, listen, observe, and bathe in the forest.

10 Things: Fall Edition

1. This is my first “10 things” blog post and I am going to start doing them seasonally! I think they’re a great way to catch up and share little life details that otherwise wouldn’t make it into a blog post. There is magic in the mundane! I also love reading other bloggers “10 things” posts so that’s kind of what inspired me.

2. This is my first time experiencing fall in Virginia/on the East Coast and let me tell y’all, it’s the real deal. Summer has always been my favorite season but fall is a close second. It’s been somewhat of a late and dry fall but the Blue Ridge Mountains are covered in deep, dramatic hues of yellow, orange, and red. It’s such a beautiful, romantic time of the year.

3. Apple picking. And apple cider donuts. Enough said. Check out my previous post.

4. I’m really stoked for Halloween this year! There are tons of kids in our neighborhood so I’m excited to hand out candy to all the cute little trick or treaters. We never got trick or treaters when we lived in Boulder so it’ll be fun for us. And our next door neighbor is having a Halloween party!

5. We are still in the process of decorating our house and I don’t know if we will ever be “finished” haha but I’m really enjoying the process of finding our personal home style as a family- minimalist, clean, cozy, modern, and organic (aka lots of indoor plants).

6. My not-so-new favorite Netflix show is Friends. Jennifer Aniston is goals. I think everyone can agree on that! Tyler and I recently watched all 10 seasons.

7. I’m grateful that we will be spending Thanksgiving here in Richmond this year. I’ve traveled home to Louisiana every Thanksgiving for the past 6 years (except 1 year) and it’s nice that we can just stay here, be with family, and relax. It’s one of my favorite holidays but it’s also probably the most expensive and stressful holiday to travel. We plan on making a bunch of vegan dishes! It’s all about the sides.

8. I started a new job last month as a recruiting consultant. High five to adulting & paychecks!

9. We have been thriving and loving eating a whole foods plant based diet. I never feel deprived because we make so many delicious plant based meals at home. I feel amazing and more in tune with my body than ever. This is legitimately how humans are designed to eat for optimal health. Plus I’m not contributing to any animal cruelty! Now that it’s gotten cooler we are making more soups, stews, and warming foods.

10. Tyler, Waldo, and I escaped to the mountains this weekend and it was so rejuvenating. Much needed time as a family in nature. We cooked, hiked, and just unplugged. Here are some photos from our weekend!

Continue reading “10 Things: Fall Edition”

Apple Picking

Apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard had me feeling all the fall vibes this weekend! It was foggy, chilly, and a little muddy up on the mountain but oh so beautiful and mystical. We picked plenty of Fuji apples for eating (they’re our favorite) and Granny Smiths for baking an apple pie. It was so fun to pick them fresh off the trees and snack on them. Although apple picking is such quintessential fall activity, it was actually my first time ever doing it. I love planning little day dates for the weekend so that we get to spend time together doing something fun in nature. It’s always so rewarding and rejuvenating! Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Continue reading “Apple Picking”

Plant Based Family

Tyler and I recently made the decision to become plant based vegans. We are super stoked to be on this health journey together! We made this decision after a lot of research, experimentation, thought, and consideration so it was definitely not on a whim. We are feeling better than ever and it’s only been a week so far! We have been eating in abundance and are having so much fun in the kitchen cooking plant based meals. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.

We are adopting this lifestyle primarily for health reasons. We both want to live long healthy lives full of vitality and free of health issues. We are so fortunate that we are both healthy young adults without any health problems but we want to ensure that for our future so that we can thrive, not just survive. Our bodies are temples so we should power them with the best possible fuel, which are plants. Plants are the most nutrient dense food on the planet and our bodies are biologically designed to eat them. Plants are also wondrously not calorie dense so there are no caloric restrictions when eating a plant based diet because there’s no way you can get fat by eating plants. That’s pretty cool if you ask me! Some people think being a vegan is extreme but it has been truly freeing to eat until completely satisfied without feeling guilty.

A plant based vegan diet has proven in many studies to prevent, and even reverse, cancer and disease, the two things that are killing our population more than anything else. Processed meat is classified as a group 1 carcinogen, just as smoking cigarettes are. That’s crazy!! Most people probably don’t realize that their diet is doing the most damage to their bodies. There is truly no reason to consume animal products and there is nothing that you need from them that you can’t get from plants, even adequate protein!

Another reason to go vegan is for ethical reasons. I’m not going to dive into this too much but we want to be socially and environmentally responsible. I personally do not want to promote animal cruelty or industrial agriculture. One of my favorite quotes is, “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian” by Paul McCartney. It’s very hard to watch but educating yourself will make you realize there is an awful lot of suffering that occurs to produce food products that we are really not meant to eat. It’s actually making our population fat and sick. Voting with your dollar is the most effective way to make a change and promote what you stand for.

We initially took steps towards clean eating back at the beginning of 2016 by adapting the paleo diet, which I shared here on the blog. We both lost weight/toned up however, we didn’t feel better on the inside and didn’t feel truly nourished. It was really not sustainable eating a very high protein and low carbohydrate diet. You don’t feel well. The carb flu is real and not fun. We are enjoying eating a diet rich in plant based carbohydrates! We also realistically do not need nearly that much protein, no one does. Bottom line, paleo may work for some people but it did not work for us and we knew it was not a healthy long term lifestyle for us. The health of internal organs is much more important than the size of your waist. However, loosing weight on a vegan diet is just an added bonus! I’ve actually read about many former paleo people going vegan because of similar reasons to what I stated. It’s always good to become an expert on yourself and learn what works best for you and try things out for yourself because everyone is different.

Check out What The Health and Forks Over Knives on Netflix, The China Study book, and of course there is a ton of great information on the word wide web. A few of my favorite vegan bloggers Ellen Fisher, Earthy Andy, and Oh She Glows. Serious Eats also has a really awesome vegan recipes section. There are so many resources out there to educate yourself on why a plant based diet is truly optimal for health and wellness!

We will definitely be posting some of our favorite vegan recipes on the blog, and maybe even some cooking videos! Here are a few photos of some vegan dinners we have enjoyed.

vegan sushi
vegan vermicelli with a side of kimchi
local pawpaws- they’re like a mango, banana, and citrus had a baby DELICIOUS
vegan ramen

Earth + Ocean Inspired Skincare

I first discovered OSEA Malibu skincare products at the Halele’a Spa at the St. Regis Princeville on Kauai. I instantly fell in love with the glass packaging, plant based ingredients, natural scents, and luxurious textures. OSEA products are made with quality ingredients such as seaweed, plants, flowers, salts, botanicals, and essential oils. So much goodness!

I don’t know about y’all but every time I go to the beach my skin just looks and feels healthier. One of my favorite parts about using OSEA products is getting that same effect at home! Seaweed is the foundation of most all their products. The organic proprietary seaweed trio is rich in bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. It’s important to nourish your body using natural ingredients from the Earth + Ocean.

I am admittedly very picky about what I put on my skin and I believe everyone should be! My primary concern is using non-toxic products and my secondary concern is efficacy so I am happy to find such an awesome company that is in line with these values. I have been using the Ocean Cleanser, Atmosphere Protection Cream, and the Red Algae Mask for about 2 weeks now and I am loving the results! The Ocean Cleanser is so refreshing and balancing. The Atmosphere Protection Cream is the perfect moisturizer because it’s light yet hydrating (so thankful for humidity because now I don’t have to glob on heavy creams). The Red Algae Mask is purifying without drying and can be used once or twice weekly. These are the products recommended for my skin type (normal/combination) however, OSEA does have oily/blemish prone, age defying, and dry skin products to address your specific skin concerns.

Continue reading “Earth + Ocean Inspired Skincare”

Green Smoothie

I created a delicious & nutritious green smoothie in my Vitamix that I want to share with y’all! I have the Vitamix 750 Professional Series and it is seriously a life changer! It was a huge investment but probably one of the best I’ve made thus far because I use it at least 2-3 times a day. It does everything- smoothies, nice cream, sauces, condiments, soups, nut butters, nut cheeses, nut milks, grinds whole grains, and sooo much more. It can also make baby food so I’m excited to do that with it one day!

This creamy green smoothie is loaded with antioxidants, plant based protein, ripe fruit, fiber, and healthy fats! It’s the perfect balance of nutrients. I feel like I hit the sweet spot with this green smoothie because it’s not overloaded with fruit or greens but has just the right amount of both. Make sure to blend it really really well until it’s completely homogeneous because there is nothing grosser than chunks of kale in your smoothie. Add a few ice cubes in towards the end because the blender does heat up its continents after blending on high for a while.

here is what you’ll need:

  • 3-4 kale leaves
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 apple
  • 1 mango
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup hemp milk or nut milk of your choice
  • few drops of raw honey/agave/maple syrup (optional)
  • few ice cubes
  • high powered blender (Vitamix is the way to go)

IMG_1080

IMG_1094

Continue reading “Green Smoothie”

Spring Cleaning!! DIY body products + some favorites

Spring is finally here!!! Boulder’s weather is so bipolar, it’s been snowing on and off but I’m crossing my fingers that this fabulous weather is here to stay!! I’m loving all the blooming flowers everywhere. Spring also means spring cleaning!

IMG_2196The other weekend, Tyler and I did a huge purge of old clothes and other unnecessary junk in our house and gave it all to the Goodwill (I swear we had like 6 trash bags FULL of stuff). We also did a deep clean of our house which felt really good. Along with spring cleaning, we have been trying to “clean up” in other ways.

Tyler and I are both super conscious abut using body products that are safe, effective, and as natural as possible. I once heard that you should only put on your skin what you would put in your mouth, and that has kind of always stuck with me for some reason. After all, our skin is our largest organ that quickly absorbs whatever you put on it so it’s important to only use stuff that would be potentially edible (or almost). We try to make as many of our products at home as possible to ensure quality and to save money. That being said, we have a few creations that we want to share with y’all!! I am also going to include a few other natural/organic products that I couldn’t live without (links to all are at the bottom). Tyler created an amazing homemade shampoo/body wash that we’ve been loving and I recently made a body scrub that is seriously the best scrub I’ve ever tried! We both felt like we scrubbed a pound of dead skin off ourselves after using it…sorry if that’s TMI but this stuff works! Both are simple to make. We have also been using raw, organic apple cider vinegar as a toner/astringent and it’s the best! It’s cleansing, tightens the pores, and evens out complexion.

Continue reading “Spring Cleaning!! DIY body products + some favorites”

(n)ice cream

I did a previous post on smoothie bowls but, I want to focus more specifically on how to make delicious nice cream bowls. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how to make it so I figured I’d do a post on it! Nice cream has been my go to treat lately, I love it!! If you’re wondering what in the world nice cream is, it’s just like ice cream but it’s made of frozen bananas in a blender. Part of eating paleo is not consuming any dairy products so this curbs the ice cream craving for sure! The key to achieving that super thick, creamy, ice cream texture is to use as little liquid as possible. This was tricky for me at first but, if you use too much liquid it turns into banana soup. A powerful blender is crucial for making nice cream. I have a pretty high powered blender and it barely does the trick so I’m dying to get a Vitamix!! My 3 favorite variations of nice cream are: chocolate, acai, and mango. Here is how to make them! Feel free to message me on Instagram, email me, or comment below if you have any questions or want more recipes!

Chocolate nice cream: 3 frozen chopped bananas + spoonful of coconut milk + about 2 tablespoons of cacao powder + little bit of sweetener (totally optional- I use coconut nectar or a few dates) + unsweetened pure dark chocolate chips/chunks (add this towards the end so they don’t get overly blended). Top it with more chocolate chunks, nut butter, bananas, or whatever! This is arguably my favorite type of nice cream. It’s definitely more of a sweet treat/dessert variety but trust me it’s the bombbbb.com!! Seriously it tastes just like chocolate ice cream.

Acai nice cream: 3 frozen chopped bananas + an unsweetened Sambazon acai packet + spoonful of coconut/nut milk. Acai nice cream is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or a snack on a warm day! This bowl is packed with tons of flavor and antioxidants. I love to top my acai bowls generously with homemade grain-free granola, assorted fresh fruits, coconut shred, nut butter, etc.
Mango nice cream: exact same formula as the acai bowl just substitute the acai packet for a large handful of frozen mangoes. I suggest topping your bowl with fresh mangoes and coconut shreds to layer the flavors!