Monday, December 14, 2015

Reducing your toxin exposure could help you lose weight and stay healthy

view from top of Mt. Willey, NH
Day 67 of the #NakedTruth challenge. I went on my first winter camping/hiking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this weekend.  The conditions could not have been better for a mid-December weekend in the mountains.  It reminded me of how little I need, and how good being outdoors makes me feel.

Being in nature exposes an innate sense of wonder, pride, joy, strength, appreciation, and peace.  We reconnect with the earth, its life force, to become one with our environment. The place from which we came.

This week I watched a relevant discussion between Dr. Pedram Shojam and Tom Malterre on Well.org, called, "How to Avoid the Deadly Chemicals All Around Us." (Watch it free here) This super informative video discusses how the air we breath, what we put on our skin, and what we involuntarily ingest is significantly contributing to obesity and the onslaught of modern day diseases; diseases that only started appearing at the turn of the century, a time when chemicals and pollution started being produced on a mass scale. As Dr. Shojam says, "Just because something doesn't kill you, doesn't mean it's not harming you."

Here are some mind-blowing facts discussed in the video:
  • There are 74 billion lbs of chemicals that exist, 745 million were introduced in 2012 alone.
  • Over 12 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year.
  • Bisphenol A, or BPA was created in a lab in 1891. By 1930 BPA was primarily used as a synthetic estrogen to fatten up livestock.
  • These synthetic estrogens, or xenoestrogens are so potent, that they are actually stronger than the natural estrogen our bodies produce.  
  • Studies show that hundreds of chemicals are being found in cord blood of unborn babies. 
  • The average westerner generates 4.4 lbs of garbage daily.
  • Plastic NEVER biodegrades.


That's terrible, but how is all this affecting me?


Do you experience fatigue? Have a hard time remembering things? Watery eyes? Difficulty breathing? Migraines? Eczema? Can't get an erection? These are all signs of toxin exposure. I've experienced most of these, and yeah, it sucks.  Especially since ingesting, breathing, and smothering our bodies with these toxins seems nearly impossible to avoid. 

Founder of Whole Life Nutrition and Tedx Speaker Tom Malterre, explains how eczema and asthma are associated with a loss of tolerance of our immune system. When the immune system is constantly attacking these toxins, our bodies can't function properly.  Do you find that you can't tolerate certain fragrances anymore? Do you break out in a rash easily and don't know the cause? Or have you developed an allergy that is progressively getting worse?

These prolific chemicals are contributing to diseases like obesity, diabetes and cancer.  Young women can't get pregnant and babies are being born with allergies. Our bodies, which are under a constant state of attack, over-react to foreign substances in our environment leading to damaging effects on our physiology and neurology.

But wait, there is hope! We can mitigate toxin exposure and overtime, restore our bodies to homeostasis.  
photography by the talented Mike Plassmann

So what can I do to reduce my toxin exposure?

Here are some ways I try to reduce my exposure:
  • Go for a hike in nature or walk in a park.
  • Eat foods your great grandparents would recognize. Think fresh foods, seasonal and local when possible, and definitely organic.  This alone reduces your BPA exposure by 66% (Malterre, 2015).
  • Eat and drink from glass, ceramic or stainless steel glassware and dishes.  Same goes for storing leftovers.  I love using ball jars for fruit or herb infused water and tea. You can also reuse glass jars for storing leftovers.
  • Bring your own to-go cup for coffee or tea.
  • Ask for no straw when you order a drink
  • Take epsom salt/magnesium flake baths.  Magnesium helps detox the body.
  • Sweat! Working out is a great way to detox.
  • Blue-green algae and wheatgrass are super detoxifying. You can easily add them to a juice or smoothie.
  • Sulfer-rich vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts bind to toxins in the body to rev-up detoxing.  Incorporating more of these foods into your diet will help you shed excess weight and improve your memory.
  • Be a conscious consumer.  Look at the label next time you go shopping, think about all the factors that brought that product into your hands.  Was it made locally or internationally? Is it a socially responsible company? Are you buying new or second hand? It's not about right or wrong, but rather just to become more aware.
  • If it smells like cancer (chemicals) it's probably harmful.  Think paints, ink, exhaust, fragrances, soaps, candles, car fresheners, detergents, fabrics, lotions, cleaning supplies, nail polish, makeup. 
  • It's hard to hear, but your beauty routine could be making you sick.  Try making your own lotions infused with essential oils or buy them from your favorite local herbalist.  At the bottom, I've included a list of some of my favorite natural products and where you can buy them.
  • You can bring your own canvas tote bags to the grocery store, or any store for that matter.  I always keep extras in my car. 
  • Avoid canned goods, most of them are lined with BPA or other phthalates.
  • Bring your own produce bags, canvas bags, or jars to the bulk section of the grocery store to save money and reduce waste.  Some stores even offer bulk teas and spices!
  • Replace paper towels and napkins with old cloths or rags. (check second-hand stores too!)

Katie's Favorite Health and Beauty Products
http://www.justherbals.com/products.html  I worked with Emma this summer and her products are just incredible
http://fatandthemoon.com Based out of Northern California
http://www.rebeccasherbs.com my favorite apothecary based out of Boulder, CO
http://wellnessmama.com for tons of non-toxic beauty and home care recipes
http://www.ewg.org tests thousands of products for chemicals and then rates them
lifewithoutplastics.com for more ways to reduce consumption

References:
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20151207-the-air-that-makes-you-fat
http://well.org/green-living/how-to-avoid-the-deadly-chemicals-all-around-us/
photography by Mike Plassmann

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why I believe the FDA is more frightening than terrorist attacks

Day 44 of the #NakedTruth Challenge

Are you nervous to travel right now?  Do you live in a big city and feel wary about walking down the street?  Do you feel anger, sadness, hate, disgust, or defeat? We have been so focused on the recent violent attacks happening through Europe and the Middle East that we have forgotten that we hold power too.  You and I have just as much power as anybody else.  Yes, maybe they have weapons and financial backing, but they don't know how to trust their heart. And I think you do. I know it, actually.

Sir Richard Branson makes a good point in regards to Republican Governors who refuse to let Syrian refugees into the U.S., "These positions fuel a paranoia that tends to be more interested in confirming existing biases than the truth."

These recent mass murders and bombings are incredibly saddening, however it's not going to keep me from living my life.  I don't wish death on anyone, not even a terrorist.  In fact, I pray for them.  Mercenaries don't know how to listen to their own hearts.  They haven't heard what their hearts are saying.  The same goes for the powerful leaders in government, including the FDA.  Money-hungry corporations are much more frightening to me than a terrorist attack, because these corporations impact me directly.  They are really fucking scary.

I believe many people in government are fighting against the general population.  Big businesses like conventional farming and dairy and Monsanto are gaining power over our food industry.  These are the real terrorists, killing us slowly through our food system, contributing to devastating diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer rather than violent mass murders.

For those of you who aren't familiar with GMOs, let me give you a quick intro:

"GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights."  -the non-GMO project

The New York Times just released this article explaining how genetically modified salmon (GMOs) is recently "approved for consumption."  What the fuck does that even mean? Yes, maybe it is edible.  But so are Crocs, and you don't see people eating those every day? Do you want to eat something created in a lab, when nature designed it to be perfectly nutritious and healing on it's own? When people and animals have been consuming whole foods like salmon for thousands of years, fully sustaining populations?
Sabrina Moore Photography 
We deserve to have a choice.  We deserve to know what we are putting in our bodies. And I believe with my whole heart that we can make a difference, right here and now. We can start buying REAL whole foods, locally sourced when possible, organically raised meat, and eggs from pasture-raised chickens.  We can plant our own gardens or eat what we find in our backyard.  We can share our abundance with our friends and neighbors.  Support local business, even if it's a little more expensive. We can talk about this, getting the message out and informing people who would otherwise have no idea.  We can stop focusing on the death and destruction and sadness, whether it be a murder or a cancer diagnosis.  Let's show love to our local communities, nourish our bodies and minds, and enjoy life fully, rather than living in fear.  Get to know our community. Learn where our food comes from.  Talk to farmers and distributors and retailers and all the hands that touch our food before it reaches our plate.  Stop eating in front of the TV where we are being forced to consume disappointing news along with our meal.  Eat with someone you care about, including yourself.  This mindfulness allows us to turn off the noise in our minds and begin focusing on opening our hearts.  The result: a more peaceful world.

Does it make any difference? We won't know if we don't try.

References

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/sir-richard-branson-blaming-all-muslims-for-paris-attacks-like-blaming-all-americans-for-past-a6742571.html
http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/business/genetically-engineered-salmon-approved-for-consumption.html?_r=0

Sunday, November 8, 2015

How my shameful relationship with Marijuana transformed into a healthy, self-care habit

Shame, guilt, judgement, using drugs, getting stoned, lazy…these were the thoughts I used to associate with cannabis. Now I see a different side.

This is day 30 of my #NakedTruth Challenge.

My parents have predominately lived by the "Work hard, play hard" mantra.  They've worked in the wine and spirits industry most their lives, so you can guarantee they were a fun clan to be around.  I even have pictures of my dad in college smoking joints while hiking trails out in Colorado. And for as long as I can remember, my step-dad would come out of the garage after "taking out the trash," reeking of skunk and Listerine.

Nice doobie, dad
I remember one of my very first shows I smelled that same skunk perfuming the air of the concert venue in SF and I proceeded to feel light-headed and intoxicated.

From then on, I would occasionally smoke with friends, because I thought it was cool.  There was something exciting about sneaking around and experiencing an unfamiliar state of consciousness.  Most of the time though I didn't enjoy it fully.  It was hard on my lungs. I usually felt paranoid or anxious.  In the back of my mind, I knew it wasn't right for me at the time, yet I continued to smoke.

I created secrecy and shame around using marijuana because of judgement. It was an avoided topic in our home.

I thought my step dad was abusing the substance.  I could usually tell when he was high, which felt like a frequent occurrence.  When I put myself in his shoes, I understood why he would use substances, whether it was pain killers, alcohol or marijuana. He didn't want to live with his thoughts so he would numb the pain.  But I do this in my own way too.  I want to eat sugary fat-filled treats when I'm feeling stressed and out of control.  Or I'll put up a wall to keep from connecting with people, to protect myself from possibly getting hurt.  I'll even make myself smaller so I don't bother anyone.

I held onto these beliefs around marijuana through college, seeing a fiercely "negative" side of the plant. I saw potheads without motivation and kids spending their money and days off on drugs.  I saw how some people relied on it to get through their day. I listened to the negative mainstream views on plant medicine and cannabis, without coming up with my own ideas about it's therapeutic benefits. I believed my step-dad and my peers were letting the incredible potential between their ears waste away.  And here I was, smoking to fit in, and to avoid facing my own problems.  I judged myself just like I judged others, believing that I was a bad person for smoking marijuana.

Slowly, I started hanging around more people that made me feel good. In college, I found myself hanging out at The Shed, a garage near my dorm that a bunch of students designed into a peaceful gathering space with music, art, and of course, pot.  I loved escaping to this spot and for the laid back people it attracted.

I found myself experimenting with cannabis more, to see what I could handle, how it would affect my head or my body, make me sleepy or giggly or energized.  I played with it, learning about the strains, doses, applications, what worked for me and what didn't. In my heart I knew marijuana could be used therapeutically, but I wasn't sure how when I saw it being abused.

Holistic Entrepreneur and business leader Garyn Angel in an interview with Dave Asprey of Bulletproof, explains how cannabis can be used as a high performance drug,

 "It's not about cannabis, it's about herbs and just eating green and eating healthy, living well, drinking water, doing the things that you have to do and taking control of your health and happiness and it all comes as one."

As a natural chef and health coach, I believe whole-heartedly that food has the incredible power to heal if we allow it.  I'm sure you've experienced this before, where you ate a juicy peach in the middle of summer and your taste buds danced with pleasure.  Or on the other end of the spectrum, you drank too many margaritas at Taco Tuesday and Wednesday morning at work feels like death. What if we start thinking of food as medicine that can be grown in our backyards? Imagine how our view of health can change.  If we eat a meal prepared with love, sprouted from earth rather than a box or factory, if we enjoy the meal mindfully by giving thanks, surrounded by good company, could you see how this becomes powerful nourishing medicine?

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -Hippocrates

Listen to your body, become more aware of what it's saying, pay attention to how to you really feel.  I often find myself having my deepest conversations and reflections when I'm tuned in and aware. Just like with people, the better you get to know them, the more you begin to see who they really are, and you love them for it. The more open you are to trying something new, the more you practice or spend time creating a positive habit, the stronger your connection with that food or activity or person becomes.  (This is your amazing authentic self that we all want to see!)

My purpose isn't to tell you to go take ayahuasca in the jungles of Peru or take psychedelics at a Phish show and then you'll have your life all figured out. That's for you to decide. I'm sharing with you my story of how marijuana helped me gain self-awareness so I can be more loving towards myself and others.  It helps me see situations differently. To have greater empathy towards others. I'm more aware of my physical body and the sensations I feel.  It gives me freedom to express myself without limits.  It lets me recharge my soul.  I don't want to use it to avoid my fears and obligations, but I do that sometimes. What I really want is to feel the emotional pain and discomfort and face it head on.  To face my truth. Who am I, really? What can I do to be better?

It does not matter which plant medicine you choose, whether it's a warm cup of tea, a bowl of homemade soup, or a different kind of bowl packed with greens.  All that matters is that you are serving a purpose, one far greater than what you think you are capable of.

~~~
References
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/marijuana-compound-found-superior-drugs-alzheimers
https://www.bulletproofexec.com/garyn-angel-cannabis-entrepreneur-cbd-vs-thc-pharmaceuticals-241/

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

"we all got a lot to say about everybody else…"

This is a line from my newest favorite artist, Rising Appalachia. I have just recently discovered this sister duo and am totally enamored by their expressive, soul-stirring sound and powerful lyrics.  Leah and Chloe maximize the musical experience as a tool to get in touch with our roots again, to manifest greatness in all. Their intention is to spread love through music: love towards ourselves, our communities.

"Swoon" by Rising Appalachia 

Feeling totally empowered by these gorgeous storytellers I find myself tapping deeply into my own creativity.

I've never considered myself a good writer, I've always had a hard time with reading and comprehension in school.  I have a difficult time putting my thoughts and feelings into words. Maybe it's because I don't have a crossword-worthy vocabulary or quick-retrevial brain. I think that's why I keep a rolodex of facial expressions.  However since I started journaling and blogging over a year ago, I've become so much more expressive and confident in my writing.  It leads me to believe, anyone can do anything they want, with some practice, persistence, passion and most importantly, a solid belief in yourself. Get rid of those limiting beliefs that you play over and over in the back of your head, they are holding you back.

"I consider myself a skeptic, but I'm an optimist in soul." -Rising Appalachia.

One of the ways I've naturally begun to express myself is through poetry. I don't really know how poetry works, but that's ok. All I know is I enjoy it.  Don't ask me how to write a haiku, I don't remember.  I love languages, the beauty in simplicity and the abundance of ways to express oneself to another.  I've been reading The Purpose Principle by Jake Ducey and he shares the Hawaiian mantra, Ho'oponopono which means, "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me."  So simple yet all encompassing.

It's day 19 of my challenge, Living Your Naked Truth.  Here is my #NakedTruth this week, sharing with you one of my poetic creations.

Dirty Hair

Why do I let others dictate what I want? How my life should be lived?
I let them decide what is beautiful.
The way my hair falls in my face. Or doesn't.
Or how it sticks up in the back because it's shiny and dry and messy.
It's too short or too long or it hangs in my face.
It is always in my face.

Now I purposefully leave it in my face.
Sometimes it covers my eyes and I can't see.
I like not having to see for a minute.
I want to wear my thick natural waves however they may be.
Because who cares?
It should be in my face.
Dirty. Wild. Free.





Sunday, October 18, 2015

4 Girls. 4 Skateboards. 300 Miles. 2 Weeks.


Day 10 #NakedTruth. Claire, Carissa, Carly and Jaime have spent the last week skateboarding 150 miles down the coast of California to raise money and awareness of their new non-profit Duchess Ride, a youth-development program designed to cultivate tenacity in young women through participation and progression in board sports.

I met Duchess Ride co-creator Claire Altenau three years ago when I moved to Vail Valley, Colorado to give resort life a try (aka ski bum life).  I was always in awe of her laid back attitude and drive.  No matter how poor the riding conditions were, she was always stoked to be on the mountain teaching girls how to freestyle (including myself, thank you for the buttering lesson!)  

In order to raise money and awareness for their new non-profit, Claire and her crew are skateboarding 300 miles down the coast of California from Santa Barbara to Mexico.  Want to know if they're making it happen? Find out in my interview with Claire below...

Q: Tell me about your non-profit Duchess Ride? How did it come to fruition?

Claire and fellow co-founder Jaime started out as snowboard instructors in Beaver Creek, Colorado, empowering young girls through self-expression on and off the mountain.  Carly joined, then Carissa too.  These four ladies had a big idea, and their collaborative ambition made Duchess Ride a reality.

Board sports are high risk and scary. Just like anyone else, Claire, Jaime, Carly, and Carissa all started somewhere. It wasn't long ago that Claire learned how to skateboard, and now she's alternating legs at 26 miles a day! These women wanted to make it easier for their younger counterparts to get into board sports.  This makes the snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing all about encouragement, about pushing one another to their limits, but in a supportive, less intimidating environment that is typically dominated by men.  These chicks are changing the way women do sports.  

Q: How did you ladies come up with the idea to skateboard 300 miles across California?

It's hard to get the word out when you're just starting out.  They decided that in order to get some serious attention, they needed to do something BIGCarissa heard about Mike Smith, a fellow skater who rode 300 miles across Nebraska to raise funding for his nonprofit empowering youth through skateboarding and assisting the lesser fortunate in his community. However no women had ever completed a ride to this extreme.

This ride was the way to get the attention they needed.  They decided to do the ride through SoCal because that's where all the board industries are, but it's not a bad place to be, either.  They will (and have!) run into a lot of people, especially when their route runs the boardwalk.

Q: What keeps you motivated?

Riding at least 20 miles each day in sunny, 90 degree weather, climbing hills no less, with swollen hands and feet, and achy bodies.  Not only are they building endurance, skill (imagine having to ride switch for 10 miles!), awareness and funding, but they're showing other girls and women that anything is possible.  They all have other jobs to pay the rent, but still, they're giving every ounce of their passionate energy into this cause.  


Q: Who inspires you?

Claire told me it's ironic that I asked her this question, because throughout their ride, they've been approaching other women, asking which women they've been inspired by.  Claire, Jaime, Carly and Carissa all agree that they didn't have a female role model, a mentor, when they were younger, aside from their parents. 

They asked themselves, "How can we change this?" Together, they want to be more inspirational, to get more women out there who inspire them, and each other.  Their desire to inspire others manifested from feeling inspired by the incredible young girls and women in their growing crew.

Duchess Ride recognizes that women are doing more noteworthy things, such as having the freedom to express themselves creatively and with the support of other women.  Claire says the girls she's talking to are inspired by woman for being really nice or really pretty.  These ladies behind Duchess Ride want women to be inspired by a woman for where she's been and her aspirations.  This speaks beyond superficiality. Who is this woman? How is she doing it? Guys have a different standard, and these ladies are breaking that down.
·       

Q:What significant roadblocks have you faced? What do you do to move past them?

#1 is money. As for any new start-up, it's really difficult to find finding.  While they do have unofficial sponsors, it's tough to get money when you're new.  People want to know these ladies are serious about this, that they're reliable and trustworthy.  It takes time to get their mission out there. They've encountered a few doubters, the random dude in the In-N-Out parking lot who didn't believe they were actually skateboarding down the coast, or the occasional hater on Facebook who's killing their vibe.

All that non-sense is forgotten as they've starting getting some serious attention. They've run into girls who have decided to join them for part of their ride.  Famous photographer Bo Bridges snapped their picture mid-ride.  An artist came up to the crew while they were skating and recognized them from social media.  This small Colorado-based non-profit is picking up momentum right before their eyes.  And most importantly, their family and friends are sending them supportive texts along the way. 

Even though the first 150 miles have been totally exhausting, they have to keep going.  They want to teach girls that whether you make it or fail, it is OK.  And since all four of them are in it together, they are supporting each other along the way.  They are embodying their mission, through the fun times and the challenges.
·    
Q: How do you see Duchess Ride changing in the next 5-10 years? 

I asked Claire this question, because it's fun to create a future with crazy, exciting goals.  Claire envisions Duchess Ride being offered to women, young and old, in mountain resorts across the states from Mammoth to Washington and even the East Coast (yay!).  She wants to start international surf camps in New Zealand and Australia.  She also plans to get older women involved too, breaking their thoughts and building them back up.  Duchess Ride wants to change the way we've been taught to approach things, explaining that failure is all part of it, but stay tenacious, and it will all work out. 

They have 3 progress points in place: Tenacity, Creativity, and Crewistance.  The word teamwork doesn't work for these badass ladies, so they made up their own version.  Crew + persistence.  They believe these are the key ingredients to progress through life, rather than just waiting for things to happen. They live this daily.  

Q: What can we expect after the ride is over?

So far, Duchess Ride has two pilot sessions in place for 10-12 year olds in an after school program in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  For six weeks, six girls will progress and that other word will spend one day on snow, one day off snow. Together, they'll focus on their strengths, weaknesses, image, self-esteem, accepting failure and building confidence.  The girls in the program will form their own teams organically to keep up that crewistence, where friends continue to creatively progress, as a group.  Supporting each other rather than battling each other for a win, to reduce competition that so many youth face.  Targeting girls before their teenage years is their mission.  Just as I show people how to use food as preventative medicine, Duchess Ride wants to build crewistance and confidence in young girls so they can better equipt themselves when they feel the hit of societal and cultural standards that are experienced in high school and beyond.  

These adventure-loving ladies are giving young women a chance to rise into their power, discover their gifts, and share their passion for board sports in a supportive tribe.  I can honestly say the inspirational women and girls I've rode with over the last 15 years with have pushed me past my snowboarding comfort zone, which has cascaded into other aspects of my life.  

We would love your support, especially as the crew is 150 miles into their ride down California's Coast.  Right now, if you donate $100, you can choose one of the four Duchess Ride ladies and they'll come up with a ridiculous way to throw a pie in the face of whichever chick you choose.  All of this will be documented and filmed-- so head over to their site www.duchessride.org for more videos and to follow their journey.

If you want to support these ladies and their awesome cause, donate here:




References:
Pictures from Claire Altenau and Duchessride Facebook Page
www.Duchessride.org
http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/local/founder-of-local-non-profits-to-skateboard-across-nebraska-for/article_1a32cce0-dcd1-11e2-8e35-001a4bcf887a.html

Friday, October 9, 2015

Warning: my most personal blog post yet

Day 1 of 100.

I am a little nervous to share that I have never lived a life that is completely, 100% truly my own. When I was a child, I played silly games, made funny voices, acted, had tea parties with stuffed animals, dressed up, danced, sang from the top of my lungs, ran around naked, and did it all with the loving support of my family and friends.

Prime example of my childhood: Goofin' around in my aunt's leggings 
Then, something happened.  I think I was in middle school.  I remember someone I cared for called me out on being too immature, or saying something along the lines of, "We're too old to do that."  As an impressionable kid, that stuck with me. From then on, I stopped acting so silly and I started to get serious.

Now, I'm trying to reverse this so I can fully be myself again.

I was 2 when I witnessed my father's sudden death. I had to cope with my mother's experience of mourning quickly, gracefully, and then raising me, alone, while working well over full time to provide for us.  My father's side of the family, whom I am extremely close with, always told me I was too young to realize what had happened, but who are they to tell me what they don't know? I wasn't too young to feel the full impact of my father's death.  Up until my teenage years, I didn't stir the drama pot in our home because I wanted to keep the peace. And I am just now, within the last couple years, starting to sort through all the emotional shit I've held onto, starting with this.

We all have a story that needs to be shared. I need to share my story with you, not only for me, but for you too.  I mean, the only reason I'm writing this right now, is because I was inspired by others who have shared their experiences too.  Our unique story is the hardest one to tell, but no soul journey is easy.  My mother raised me to be a strong, independent woman, however I'm learning there is incredible power and freedom in vulnerability.

My truth is unique to me, and therefore that is what makes me different.  I am asking you to show up as who you want to be.

Or maybe you're like me, and you don't know who you are or what your purpose is.  

How would you like to stop living the life you think everyone wants you to lead, and start living your own dreams? 

So today marks the start of my challenge, are you interested?

100 Days of Living your NAKED Truth.  Naked because being naked is freeing, vulnerable, and honest.   Truth because you can't hide anything when you're stripped down to your metaphorical skivvies.

Each week for 100 days, I'll be sharing my deepest, most honest feelings and experiences, sometimes the ones that only my journal sees. So join me! I'll be giving away my super authentic, no-BS secrets about holistic health, empowerment, spirituality and sexuality (this will be juicy, stay tuned).  I'll reveal to you tips and thought-provoking exercises so you can get closer to uncovering who you really are.
I'll be interviewing friends living their soul path, sharing ways you can bring more naked truth into your life, introducing you to my favorite teachers, leaders and coaches, and inspiring you to be the best god-damn creature of love I know you are.

I would love nothing more than to have you join me during these 100 days! You can subscribe to the blog, or simply skim when you're feeling bored.  Post a picture of yourself doing something that you love or share an experience you had that impacted you in some way. Use the hashtag #NakedTruth if you're on social media.  Tag when you are baring a little or a lot of your soul.  By the final day, you might find yourself living your wildest dreams and that anything you want can be yours.  KNOW that we need you to share your Naked Truth with us! I am dying to hear your stories! Please leave comments or send me an email or Facebook message with your story.  Or if you would like to get featured on my blog, I'd love to have you!

The countdown begins...


Friday, August 28, 2015

What I'm doing to have (more frequent) blissfully happy days

Sabrina Moore Photography 

When you're having a crappy day, does everyone ask you what's wrong?  And that bothers you even more, right? What about when you're having a great day, does it ever feel like others pick up on your higher energetic vibe?  And you may notice the unhappy customers at work don't bother you like they normally would.

A couple weeks ago, I was having a perfect morning. For the record there was no coffee involved.  I did pick flowers and bring them into work.  That same morning, right after we opened, a customer approached me at the register and said to me, "You are definitely a morning person. Like one of those morning people who, when you wake up next to them, is showered by sparkly fairy dust and Disney music. There's probably f***ing rainbows too."

No joke.  He said all of this, verbatim.  And while that's definitely not usually the case, that particular morning I did feel like 'f***ing rainbows.'

And again, this week, I woke up one morning and felt even BETTER than the last time with the fairytale music and butterflies.  I don't know exactly when or why this phenomenon occurs, but I'm gonna let you in on my secrets to attaining this bliss buzz. I am PROOF that these experiences do happen when you're least expecting them: when you're single (shocking, right?!), when you're at work, and you haven't started your morning with a killer green smoothie.

Now, the following isn't a list of things I do everyday, but they're some noteworthy events that deliver extended release happiness throughout the day. Inspired by the observant man at the register, let's call this my Bliss Buzz Cocktail. 
  • Put down the phone
    • As soon as I wake up, before I reach for my phone (I am soooo guilty of this most mornings), I'll lay in bed, noticing my warm blankets and soft pillows.  With my eyes still closed, I give gratitude to whatever I want; my family, friends, my job, my car, my health, my great ass :)
  • Affirmations
    • At some point in the morning, I'll glance at my Spirit Junkie app or turn to Louise Hay for a specific remedy for a positive affirmation.  I don't usually repeat it to myself throughout the day, but reading it even once I know it sticks subconsciously. I believe changing your thoughts can radically change your physical and emotional state.
  • Treat yo' self
    • I do something special for myself in the morning.  When I can, I'll take time in the morning to chill. It sets a good pace for how the rest of my day will be.  I make a cup of tea before I eat anything because I'm pretty much always dehydrated. I'll sit on my bed or the floor and stretch. I'll read about some recent health news.  There's an abundance of health information out there, so I love staying updated.  It keeps me focused on my goals.
  • Sabrina Moore Photography 

  • Mediation
    • I hate the word "should," (I wrote a post about this a few months back) so instead I'll say, I would like to make more time for meditation. On these blissful days, I'll make time for a 10-15 minute meditation before I leave the house.  If you think meditation is intimidating, you can find some really great guided ones here, to help you get started.
  • Release expectations
    • This is so hard for me!! But really just being open to whatever is in store can unveil really beautiful outcomes.  I find that I'm more open to new ways of thinking or doing something that I never would have thought of. A rainy day doesn't have to suck, you can do something productive indoors, or simply relax. A friend bailed on me? That frees up my schedule to go run an errand I've been meaning get to. 
  • Laughing and playing  
    • This is what life is all about! Even if we hate our jobs, we hate being single, or we hate our limitations…lets find the good in it.  Yes, there can be TONS of drama at work and some days I find myself picking on my mangers or getting pissed at customers. But mostly I love the atmosphere because I make it a time where I can hang out with some really cool people I otherwise wouldn't know, I can be myself, and I am financially rewarded.  We laugh, sing, gossip, dance, take juice shots. 
  • Eating a mindful meal
    • At least one meal this day I'll enjoy alone, without my phone or a TV to entertain me.  I give thanks for the meal. I get the full sensory experience: I'll really check out the plate before I bite into anything, I fully smell and taste each bite, putting my fork down in between. Ultimately I'm trying to get the full food porn experience here.
  • Being Present
    • I mentioned this in my last post Why I'm making personal sacrifices for a very scary end goal, but it's really an anchor for my happiness.  When I'm present, I don't worry about the future or replay past events over and over in my head.  I know we all do this, especially in relationships. I'm finding little joys in what I can create out of right now.
  • And finally….Sharing the love
    • Days like these, I find myself being friendlier.  I'll smile at strangers (it doesn't have to be creepy people), I'll compliment others, or find little things to be thankful for like not having a parking ticket on my car or when that really nice guy let me cut him in line. Little things.  I text or call someone I haven't heard from in a while, telling them how much I love them, how much they inspire me. Who doesn't love warm fuzzies?!
From my experiences, I've noticed that when I invite these small details into my daily life, I definitely feel heightened joy.  On these days, which are becoming more frequent now that I see how good this bliss buzz is, I feel like life is perfect, that everything happens as it should.  So lets make more effort to be our best selves and share that love with others.

Sabrina Moore Photography 


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Why I'm making personal sacrifices for a very scary end goal


WHEW!! I don't know about you, but I feel like summer has been flying by! I cannot believe it is already August.  Since my last post nearly a month ago, I've been getting sucked into my work routine.  I've been working my tush off and not making enough time for myself.  A beautiful assortment of part time jobs, dog sitting, housesitting, gardening, family time, friends….So while I am contributing to my community, helping neighbors, and saving money, I'm slacking in the Katie department.  I'm placing other people's lives in front of my own.

I haven't had the time to cook for myself or even grocery shop for myself.  I crave this.  It's part of my mediation and self-care regime. Instead I'm buying 8 bags of kettle pop chips and Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Cake Muffins for my adorable 90-year old mommom because I want her to feel happy and comfortable during the time I don't spend with her.  My regular yoga practice has evaporated along with my desire to work out, as I'm totally pooped after hustling through shifts at work. I'm behind on my health coaching program….which I'm totally obsessed with, but I find myself unable to focus on the modules.  I definitely haven't prioritized this blog. She's my accidental 10 month old baby, giving me an outlet where I can write without inhibitions and hopefully feed your soul through my honest words. And I'm definitely not showering every day, or every other day.  And it's really fucking humid and buggy out East and working outside makes me hot and sticky and thank god for deodorant (see?! There's always something good to be found in something unpleasant). Check out how to make my homemade spray deodorant here.

Lately I'm feeling like I need to slow down more, be more present. One of my mentors and well-known entrepreneur and coach, Cynthia Pasquella, said that when she notices her mind start to wander, she'll think, "…and I'm back."  I've been trying this method out for the past week or so, and it's working beautifully.  I'll be having a conversation with someone and I start to focus my attention on another task (because I feel like I always need to multitask, which is one of my downfalls) I'll think, "...and I'm back" so I can be present in our conversation again.

If I want to be heard, I need to listen to others first. 

Yesterday I picked flowers and brought them into work.  I knew I would be standing in front of a POS system all day talking to people so I thought, if I had flowers, not only would they remind me to be more present, more grateful, but I could also share them with customers who might also find pleasure from them. It worked :)


I keep myself distracted through work, visiting with family, staying focused on making money so I can feel secure enough at the end of summer to move out of my aunt and uncle's house and sign my VERY FIRST LEASE since college. Holy fucking commitment, bring it on!! I'm ready for you, and I'm going to embrace every uncomfortable part of it with warm fuzzy hugs.  I've been so scared to sign a lease because it's the opposite of my gypsy lifestyle.

It's not what I know.  It's not familiar to me.

But I'm learning to stop running away from things that scare me and to face them head on.  Instead, I'm going to move into a new place, in a new city, and stay for awhile.  I'll manifest a rad community. I want to make roots and settle for at least a year.  I want to put more energy into my dreams and share them with others, and be successful at it.  And it is OK to rely on family and friends.  It's OK to take care of myself, to shower every other day, to take long walks without my cell phone, to browse Instagram for 15 minutes and not feel guilty about it.  It is OK to stop controlling my future and let life run it's course. I want to face my fears head on AND embrace them.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I'd like a big scoop of free-time please….hold the hard work


Are you an early riser or a night owl?  I love mornings…most of the time. Morning is a time for me to get my brain and body moving, slowly and peacefully, aka please don't give me a to-do list or force me to listen to your loud, upbeat music, I'm just waking up and I'll continue to do it for the next hour or so... ok? Great. 

Theres something so satisfying about spending a quiet stormy morning in bed, frothy coconut milk herbal coffee in hand, definitely no pants on, fluffy pillows for optimal comfort, and a blank page inviting me to share my thoughts.  And this A.M. I've got some deep ones so brace yo self.

I think about why I drove from California out to Massachusetts in the first place:

To feed my adventurer's soul.
To escape an environment that didn't nurture my growth.
To refocus on my passions.
To remind me of what's truly important.
Oh and hot beaches.

I've been in a bit of a funk recently…Things just aren't flowing like they were a month ago.  As I sit and reflect on these feelings, everything starts rushing to the surface, but one thing in particular is resonating with me today.  I am reeeeally good at grasping onto the day-to-day happenings that provide me with solace.  Good friends, family time, nature, media, music, cooking, work.  I tend to give myself excuses because, "How can something fun be bad?" I'll go to the beach, do yoga, spend all night cooking (I actually like doing this, I am not crazy) or catch up with a friend for 3 hours.  These habits can be great, but I have a tendency to do this in excess.  

I am terrible at making sacrifices. I am going to blame that on the fact that I'm an only child… is that allowed? I'm learning that when I have a lot of work that needs to be done, and on those days it's especially important to make "me" time, I have to be realistic too.  So today I'll just have time for a short beach walk.  And lucky me, I live near the beach, so I can do that! Instead of thinking, I only get to spend 20 minutes outside today. Wahh Wahhhhhh, closed-minded thinking wins again.

Lately though I've been using this personal time as a distraction so I don't have to deal with my shit right now.  Shit being my deeply-rooted problems that I'm too scared to face.  Like, why can't I open up and be totally honest with myself?  Why can't I look at myself in complete perfection, as Intended? Why can't I let my heart shine and be free from judgement and self doubt and fear? Why am I too scared to push forward with my business, when there is absolutely NO PERSON telling me that what I'm doing sucks.  Yet my daily distractions keep enticing me to play and explore.  While fun is crucial in life, I need to find balance. I can't be healthy when I'm serving myself a big slice of entertainment with a condiment-sized portion of hard work.  

If I want to see results in my personal life and professional career, I need to put more work in.  I am trying to figure out how to make "fun" sacrifices and manage my time to bring these terrifyingly beautiful goals to fruition.  It's all a balancing act!

When in Bruges, beer and best friends always win :)


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How I connect with my intuition after a draining day at work


Happy July friends! Summer is in full swing, I've just returned home from an AWESOME girls trip in Paris (I'll give you all the deets on that soon), I gotta fresh new short do aaaaand to top it all off tonight we'll see the first of the two full moons to rise this month.  I've just finished reading Anita Diamant's gorgeously written novel The Red Tent-- so feeling super inspired by tonight's full buck moon.

Last night after work I headed out to the beach, initially to avoid surfing the internet but also to get a better look at the moon.  Although I adore my job, it can be exhausting.  After a long day of talking to my coworkers, customers and running around creating smoothies, juices and cleaning, all I want to do is unwind and ground myself again.  Sometimes I want to binge on bad TV shows with a pint of Phish Food because that requires negative brain function and happy sugar rushes. But I'm in the business of holistic health so I try to switch this thinking.  When I don't know what I want to do after I get off work, recently I'll escape to the sand and ocean.  It's my "stop everything and just be" break.  My chance to reconnect with what I want and what is happening in my life.  To appreciate everything, good or bad that is going on around me.  

So here I'm sitting staring out at the nearly full moon, breathing in the wet, salty air and feeling the damp breeze in my hair.  I listen to the chatter of people walking around and the seagulls hovering above the glistening water.  I close my eyes to take it all in.  I relax my mind and my body so I can receive all the feels.  I open my eyes and the moon looks even bigger and brighter.  I see it's golden specks flickering on the water's surface, mixing with the dark blue of dusk and warm shades of sun-setting pink and red. 

This is my preferred meditation.

While I'm noticing all of this, I observe how I'm feeling.  What is surfacing in this moment?  What's truly important or relevant to my life right now?  What can I learn in this moment? How can I enhance this feeling even more?

These are a few of the thoughts that came to me.

Gazing out into the vastness, this is what I feel: Connection.  Maybe it is the full moon, the people sitting around me, or my own vibration.  It doesn't matter.  In this moment we are all connected.  We are one with our gorgeous, heavenly surroundings, the people and things we interact with, and most importantly, our hearts and mind.  We are all of it.  You and I are the same.  We are the ocean, sky and everything in between. 

When I feel this power, I honestly believe I can do anything.  That's because I can.  And so can you.

So try this.  You don't need to live near the beach.  When you get off work today, go to place in nature that gives you peace.  Maybe it's a bench in a park, some rocks along a river, or even your backyard.  Just get out and observe the space surrounding you.  Embrace it's power and maybe ask yourself these questions I reflected on above.  Take in all the feels.  Share your thoughts with a friend or your journal.  I would love to hear how it goes if you would like to share with me.  


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Raw Cacao Covered Cherries


Growing up, one of my favorite treats were the chocolate covered cherries from See’s Candies. I still love them, but since I don’t find myself indulging in sugary chocolates anymore, I decided to put my own healthier spin on the classic treat.  

I've chosen to use raw cacao versus chocolate.  Raw cacao is naturally high in magnesium, a necessary mineral that promotes relaxation.  Much of the chocolate we consume today has been highly processed with sugar, trans fats, and preservatives and therefore lacks these nutrients of raw cacao.  Additives in processed chocolate do not promote healing. Sticking as close to raw as possible allows the vitamins and enzymes to be more bioavailable. 

This antioxidant rich dessert is high in iron and fiber. Cherries help cleanse the bowels, and support healing of arthritis, rheumatism and anemia.  They also help combat migraines.  

Yields 8-10 servings

Ingredients
1 lb bag fresh cherries, rinsed and dried
5 oz unsweetened chocolate 100% cacao, I used Dagoba brand
2 Tbs coconut oil
3 Tbs honey or maple syrup
pinch of sea salt

Procedure
  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Boil water in a double boiler or in a large glass bowl that can sit securely over a saucepan.
  3. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in double boiler or large glass bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine coconut oil and sweetener in a small bowl and melt together.  I do this by letting it sit on the stovetop while I boil water to melt chocolate.
  5. Once water comes to a boil, place bowl with chocolate over saucepan.  Stir until melted.  Then add liquefied coconut oil mixture.  Stir to combine.  Finish with pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
  6. Holding the stem, dip the cherries into the chocolate sauce until fully coated.  For the cherries without stems, I use a spoon.  Place on parchment to solidify. Continue with remaining cherries.  You can put the cherries in the freezer briefly to help harden chocolate coating.  Store in fridge for 5 days.  

Sources
Institute of Transformational Nutrition Slides 2015

Creamy Vegan Queso

I paired mine with local radishes and turnips
When I was in school in Denver my friends and I would frequently hit up our favorite Mexican restaurant, Illegal Peets, for margaritas, chips and queso.  Since my body doesn't tolerate dairy as well anymore, I've come up with this cheesy vegan alternative that, let me tell you, is even more satisfying than cheese dip…and it doesn't leave you feeling sick. 

This recipe is great paleo followers and vegans alike! Its satisfying, creamy texture and cheesy flavor makes it a perfect dip when paired with sweet potato chips or smothered over a taco bowl.  Nutritional yeast is high in B12, a vitamin that many are deficient in, yet is crucial for supporting our nervous system and helps the body utilize proteins, fats and carbs.  Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable high in sulfur, a detoxing nutrient necessary to help the body excrete toxins.  It also helps promote a healthy digestive system.

Yields 6 servings

Ingredients
½ head orange cauliflower or roughly three cups cooked
½ cup water
1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water at least 30 minutes
3 Tbs nutritional yeast
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp sea salt
several liberal crushes of fresh ground pepper
optional: diced jalapeƱo, red peppers, or onion

Procedure
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-2 inches of water to boil.  Fill steamer basket with cauliflower and steam until tender, about 5 minutes.  It is ok if they are still a bit al-dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Rinse cashews and add to high-speed blender.  Add cauliflower and remaining ingredients.  Process on high until smooth and creamy.  If consistency is too thick, add more water one tablespoon in at a time.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Store in fridge for 5 days. 

Salmon with Rosemary Pesto and Butternut Squash

These no fuss plates are my favorite kinds of meals to put together.  Ya know why? Because this nutrient dense dish is actually SUPER easy, inexpensive, quick to put together and will definitely impress your significant other.  I love this meal because you’re getting three delicious servings of healing vegetables as well as brain-boosting essential fatty acids from the salmon.  

The creamy pesto does require a high-speed blender.  If you don’t have access to one, try a food processor, which will yield a chunkier pesto. Be sure to mince the garlic and rosemary before processing if you don't use a blender.  Several springs of chives would be a nice alternative to the rosemary if you have some growing wildly in your backyard (or your neighbors).

Yield 2 servings

Ingredients
1 can sockeye salmon (I bought mine from Trader Joes)
2 cups frozen butternut squash cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 Tbs ghee or coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Pesto
½ an avocado
2 large cloves roasted garlic (you can also use raw, I personally don’t enjoy the flavor as much)
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs or more of water
3 generous handfuls of kale, spring greens, or whatever fresh greens you have.
1 spring fresh rosemary, or any other fresh herbs available. 
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Procedure
  1. Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2 inches water.  Once boiling, fill a steamer basket with squash and frozen peas and place in saucepan.  Cover. Steam for 3-5 minutes or until tender.  Drain.  Set aside.
  2. In a high-speed blender, add all ingredients for pesto.  If mixture is too thick, thin it out with more water, one tablespoon at a time.  Process until pesto is creamy and smooth.
  3. Add vegetables back into empty saucepan.  Toss with ghee or coconut oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Divide the vegetables between two bowls.  Divide the salmon between the two bowls.  Lastly, top each portion of salmon with a couple generous dollops of pesto.
  5. Enjoy!