Mediterranean Paleo Cooking Book Signing & Paleo Popup Brunch

Hey friends,

How have you been? I’ve been great and I wanted to share with you what I’ve been up to this past weekend.

Mediterranean Paleo Cooking Book Signing

 

Med Paleo

On Saturday, I attended a book signing for Mediterranean Paleo Cooking and had the opportunity to chat with the authors Caitlin Weeks of Grassfed Girl, Chef Nabil Boumrar (who happens to be her husband, or as I like to refer to him, in my head: “Grassfed Boy”), and Diane Sanfilippo, author of Practical Paleo and the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

They were all wonderful to chat with in person. The book is absolutely gorgeous and filled with tantalizing recipes.

 

So far, I am super impressed with how useful the book seems to be, as it has taken into consideration food intolerances and allergies, which many people have. Stay tuned for a full review of the cookbook.

SF Paleo Pop-Up Brunch

On Sunday, I attenIMG_8084ded a Paleo Popup Brunch. Early on in my holistic nutrition program, I connected with one of my classmates as we discovered we were the only two students who were “paleo people”. We quickly bonded over our shared values of a nutrient dense, whole foods-based diet.

Recently, she told me about a popup brunch she was organizing with a few of her friends. Eager to support the growing Paleo movement in my community, I attended the event.

The food was delicious, and was by definition grain free, gluten free, legume free, minimally processed, organic, and free of refined seed oils.

In addition to being seasonal and delicious, special offerings were available for vegetarians as well as those with nut allergies.

 

 

 

Fritatta with squash and greensFritatta with squash and greens. Bacon, kale, and sweet potato hash.

Smoked Salmon and Dill on Cucumber

Smoked salmon with dill on cucumber

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Paleo Coconut Banana Muffin with butter

 

 

 

Paleo Muffins: Coconut Banana, Pumpkin Walnut

Paleo Muffins: Coconut flour based banana muffins & Pumpkin based walnut muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo Brownies were provided by SF based Paleo baked goods company Real Food Kitchen. Although I didn’t personally try them due to a nut intolerance, people seemed to gobble them up. You can find Real Food Kitchen here.

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At the brunch, I connected with several like-minded individuals who are equally as excited as I am to be a part of the real food movement. I sat next to Zoe Wong of Revive Foods, which produces minimally processed jams that are made from local and organic surplus fruits. The jams that were available to sample at brunch were made from “rescued” fruit from Whole Foods Oakland.

Zoe explained that produce that is perfectly good to eat, but may be aesthetically unfit, such as bruised fruit, often go to waste. Zoe’s mission is to reduce food waste while producing delicious and healthier products. Revive Foods is still in its start up phase, but you can keep up with them on their FaceBook page.

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SF Paleo Popup

The lovely organizers of the Paleo Popup Brunch

 

At this time, the organizers of this brunch do not have a website, however, I will provide updates to this blog post if this changes in the future

******** Update 11/4/14*******

If you’re interested in attending future pop up events, you can keep up with Paleo Pop-Up here and here.

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The Paleo community is small but growing here in the Bay Area. I had a great weekend connecting with like-minded people. I love to know that there are people in my community who value nutrition in the same way that I do.

I encourage you to get out there, and connect yourself with people in your community who share the same interests as you do. You never know who you’ll meet or what opportunities may come your way.

Love and light,

vm

Double Chocolate Macaroons

Paleo Double Chocolate Macaroons by Against All Grain

Double Chocolate Macaroons by Against All Grain

I’m back with a crowd-pleasing recipe from Danielle Walker‘s cookbook Against All Grain. Recently, I attended a potluck at my gym. It’s a very family-oriented community, so it meant fun times and lots of food (I mean LOTS of it). I opted to contribute Double Chocolate Macaroons because..

1) They’re delicious.
2) People love ’em.
3) They’re Paleo*.

* A note on the word “Paleo”: When I say “they’re Paleo”, I don’t mean “cavemen must have eaten chocolate macaroons”, no. What I DO mean is that the food item contains nutrient-dense, whole ingredients. It’s free of refined oils (like nasty canola, hydrogenated oils, and industrial seed oils), grains, gluten, refined sugar, and anything highly processed. Although “Paleo” is a word that has been abused, overused, debated, and associated with fad dieting, I view it as just a handy word that communicates clean food in 3 easy syllables.

Now that we’re on the same page, here’s the recipe:

*   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Double-Chocolate Macaroons

Source: Against All Grain by Danielle Walker

Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  30 mins
Total time:  40 mins

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 3 C shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • ½ C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ C honey
  • ½ C coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • pinch sea salt
  • ½ C dark chocolate chips, melted

Instructions

  1. Mix the first 6 ingredients together
  2. Add a pinch of sea salt to the egg white and beat with a mixer or by hand until peaks form
  3. Add egg white to coconut mixture by gently folding in
  4. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, form balls onto parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Bake for 30 mins at 325 degrees F, rotating the tray halfway through. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour
  6. Dip the bottom of the macaroons into the melted chocolate and set at room temperature for 1 hour, or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes

*   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Macaroon 6Recipe Tips

I opted to make a bite sized version of these by making them 1/3 of the size. If you do this, decrease the oven  temperature and cooking time. This may vary depending on your oven, but I reduced the temperature of my oven to 310 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes. Remember to check on them by pushing down gently and rotate half way to avoid burning!

I find that making them smaller helps to retain moisture, and are a more enjoyable texture since you’re not chomping down on a ton of shredded coconut all at once. The dark chocolate to shredded coconut ratio is also higher this way. I’m no mathematician, but methinks more chocolate = more better.

Read the label, and go for the soy lecithin free chocolate (Soy = GMOs) that is at least 75% cacao. I used a combination of Enjoy Life chocolate chips and an organic fair trade dark chocolate bar. For the coconut, I also used the Let’s Do Organic brand. All of this can be found at Whole Foods or Amazon.

Lastly, if you don’t have parchment paper on hand, foil works just fine. Just be gentle.

Nutrition Tid Bits

Dark Chocolate

  • Consumed and fermented by certain bacteria in the intestines into anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart (1)
  • High in polyphenols which lower blood pressure (2)
  • Protects against UV damage (3)

Coconut (4)

  • Contains lauric acid and capric acid which are both converted in the body to substances that are antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal
  • Coconut oil protects against heart disease
  • Promotes weight loss and increases the body’s metabolic rate

These macaroons are a delicious snack or dessert that are suitable for many people since they are gluten, nut, seed, and grain free. Although these are better for you than most desserts, remember that the sugar content is still high due to the honey.  So enjoy them as a treat and not as an everyday staple.

Love and light,

vm

Sources:
(1) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154725.htm
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23209885
(3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16702322
(4) Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005).The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Carton Labels: What do they mean?

Hi wellness friends,

Is it just me, or have you also been bombarded with buzzwords when you’re cruising down the egg aisle? Cage-free, organic, pastured..what do these terms mean? Which eggs are the healthiest ones to buy? And which labels are flat out meaningless?

I put together this guide to help answer some of these questions.

Take a close look! Like me, you might be surprised to find how misleading some of these labels are!

(Click on the image below to enlarge)

Egg Labels

Final thoughts:

The best eggs you can buy are pastured organic eggs from local farms. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Pastured means that the hens laying the eggs are raised on pasture. This means they have access to fresh air, sunlight, and are able to roam around and engage in their natural behaviors. This also means that they are fed their natural diet which includes protein in the form of insects. (You read that correctly, chickens are not naturally vegetarians!)  Tests have shown that pastured eggs are much healthier (higher Vitamin A, Vitamin E, beta carotene, and omega-3 content) than those that are not pastured. For a farm near you, visit http://www.eatwild.com.
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  2. Organic eggs are free of antibiotics and pesticides.
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  3. Eggs from local farms afford you the ability to both research and ask questions about the welfare of the animals. Plus you are supporting your local economy.

A quick note on meaningless labels:

Terms like “Fertile” and “Natural” are virtually meaningless. They are unregulated terms and tell us nothing about the welfare of the animal (how it was raised, what it was fed). If it’s natural, it must be good for you, right? Nope. I wish it were that simple.

The next time you’re in the egg aisle, don’t be fooled by some of the appealing buzzwords that are thrown at you!

Love and light,

vm

Eco Diva Beauty featured my book review!

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body

Exciting news! Eco Diva Beauty recently featured my book review on their blog. Here are just a few reasons why I am so very honored:

  • They are one of my favorite places to shop for nontoxic beauty. (Top of the line natural products, incredibly personalized experience, lightning fast shipping..what more could a girl want?)
  • Their values of conscious, healthy living align with mine
  • Their founders, Charlene Swanson and Garcy Fry are incredibly inspiring female entrepreneurs. Plus, they are sweethearts.

Now about the book review..

If you are curious about the mind-body connection or are experiencing a health ordeal that leaves you feeling powerless at times, I would highly recommend the book How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body by David R. Hamilton. This book helped me get through a very scary time in my life and I think it has the ability to improve many lives.

For my full review, click here.

Shop at Eco Diva Beauty by clicking  here.
Follow Eco Diva Beauty on Instagram: @ecodivabeauty

Love and light,

vm

 

Paleo f(x): Will I see you there?

Hi there. Remember me?

I have been MIA lately and have admittedly neglected this blog. I’m human, do you forgive me?

I have been caught up in the chaotic whirlwind that is my life lately. In addition to doing the school and work juggling act, I recently moved after three years of being a clothes hoarder and have also been experiencing some serious family matters.

As things are settling down a bit (and I’m coming up for air), I thought I’d check in, say hello, and tell you where I’m headed.

On Thursday, I will be flying to Austin, Texas to attend PALEO f(x)!

What is Paleo f(x), you ask?

Paleo f(x)™ is an organization dedicated to advancing and promoting the functional paleo approach to health. Our mission is to show how theories of evolutionary health can be “made functional” — turned into real­ world practices that improve human health and wellbeing.

…Our chief focus continues to be our yearly symposium in Austin each Spring, and we have grown considerably each year. Spanning over three days, Paleo f(x)™ features multiple stages and a massive “expo floor.” It has an array of presentations, Mastermind panels, cooking demos, and workshops, all led by cutting ­edge health practitioners, scientists in a variety of fields, coaches and gym owners, New York Times best­selling authors, popular bloggers, community and sustainability activists, and more. It is the largest paleo health event in the world.

In addition to connecting with like-minded individuals, I am really looking forward to the presentations and cooking demos featuring the following very knowledgeable and inspiring people:

What else am I excited about? Why, the local gluten-free and Paleo friendly eats, of course!
Here’s a list that I’ve been compiling:

  • Picnik
    ” Picnik Austin is your home for paleo, primal, gluten-free, grain-free, clean, healthy, ancestral cooking and baking in Austin, TX.  We source organic and farm-to-table ingredients whenever possible, and we believe in serving the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.”
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  • 24 Diner
    “Chef Inspired Comfort Food.” They have a sweet gluten-free menu.
  • Lick Ice Cream
    “Honest ice cream..we base our flavors on what the land has to offer us and when the season is right for each ingredient.” Lick uses only local, hormone & antibiotic free, and grassfed dairy. They proudly state that they know where every ingredient originates.

Have you heard of Paleo f(x) before?
Will I see you there?
Do you have any places to add to my list of good eats?

Let me know in the comments below!

Love and Light,

vm

 

 

 

 

Monday Morsels 3/17/14

Happy Monday and Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Welcome to another edition of Monday Morsels, where I share the last week’s happenings in the wonderful world of wellness (say that three times fast).

Recipe

The Paleo Mom aka Sarah Ballantyne posted a link to one of her recipes on facebook this week.  Sarah is a scientist, wife, mother, blogger, and author who is a passionate advocate of the Paleo diet. She is quite an inspiring individual. By eating Paleo, she lost 120 pounds and was able to discontinue the use of SIX prescription medications. As Sarah has personal experience with autoimmune disease, she writes a lot about the Autoimmune Paleo Diet (AIP). Lots of people with autoimmune conditions, intestinal disorders, or any type of systemic inflammation can benefit from this type of diet. I, myself, have tinkered with AIP and it has helped in my healing. Check out her blog for more info on AIP and other science backed Paleo information! On to the recipe..

Ginger Chocolate Freezer Fudge

This recipe tickled my fancy because I heart ginger.

If there was a “who loves ginger the most” contest, I would be the winner. I love to stir fry with ginger. I love to make fresh ginger tea. I love ginger juiced raw with other fresh organic fruits. I’m starting to sound like Forrest’s best friend Bubba with all of this ginger talk.

I know lots of people can’t stand its strong taste, but I mostly love ginger for its many healing properties. Just to name a few:

  • reduces inflammation
  • reduces nausea
  • aids in digestion
  • soothes an upset stomach

The Paleo Mom’s recipe is well, Paleo-friendly, which means that the ingredients are grain free and squeaky clean. I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a go, and I hope you do too.

Health

Last week, I got in my car after work and was delighted to turn the radio on to hear NPR discussing gut bacteria and Crohn’s disease.

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned from my serious health ordeal is the importance of healthy intestinal flora. Your gut bacteria plays a major role in mediating your immune response. We live in a culture where it is easy and commonplace to get antibiotics (aka killers of good AND bad bacteria) to treat just about every little cold.  Taking care of your intestinal bacteria as a means to health and wellness is very rarely talked about in mainstream news. This segment and article from NPR indicates that things are starting to change.

Many people who have Crohn’s disease end up having parts of their digestive tract surgically removed. If more people were aware that gut microbes play a role in their disease, they could address their conditions by taking natural, less invasive routes to healing. As I have said before, many people are thriving on diets that greatly reduce inflammation and support intestinal health, such as the Paleo diet, Paleo AIP, and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.

Click here to read or listen to NPR’s segment:

Mix of Gut Microbes May Play Role In Crohn’s Disease

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you have a great week!

Love and light,

vm

Monday Morsels 3/10/14

How To Live Your Life in Flow State

Happy Monday, wellness people! While perusing my Facebook feed last week, I came across a brilliant image that presented this idea called the “flow state’, which is defined as the state in which you reach a balance between two things:

  • Being happy in the now
  • Having a vision of the future

You are most productive and effective when in this “flow state”.

I love everything about this image, from the lingo (blisscipline, Brules), to its core values.

It really speaks to me. Since quitting my old job last year, I have enrolled in a holistic nutrition school, started this blog, and landed a newer, better job at a really great company. My life has been a bit of a juggling act, but I have never been happier with where I am in my life both personally and professionally. At times, I do find myself overwhelmed.  There are so many directions I want to take, and I question whether I should be pursuing the paths that I am. However, giving myself fully–my time, my energy–to my passions in life, as tiring as it can be, energizes, fulfills, and excites me.

This visual puts things into perspective and reminds me that I’m on the right path.

If you’re curious, the visual above is based on Vishen Lakhiani‘s brilliant talk called “Why Happiness is the New Productivity”. It is worth your time and I highly recommend watching it here.

In the spirit of “trusting the journey”, I want to leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs.

In 2005, a cousin of mine graduated from Stanford which was the same year that Steve Job’s was a guest speaker. I was fortunate enough to hear his speech. Something he said that day always stuck with me:

 …you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

Love and light,

vm

Monday Morsels 3/3/14

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Happy Monday!

For some of the newer readers here, Monday Morsels is a series where I share recent articles or blog posts on the topics of nutrition, wellness, and clean beauty.

Nutrition

Recently, I read an important article written by Chris Kresser that examines the vegetarian diet from a nutritional standpoint.

A large majority of my audience comes from the green beauty community, which is comprised mostly of vegetarians and vegans, so I thought that this would be relevant to share.

Holistic nutrition is my passion and this topic is in line with my nutritional approach.  Although I may be one voice in a sea of many green beauties, I wanted to share my thoughts.

To all of my vegetarian and vegan friends: Although I am not a vegetarian myself, I respect your choice to eschew meat due to ethical, spiritual, religious and social reasons.

The aim of this post is not to convince anyone to eat meat.

The purpose of this post is to raise awareness about the possible negative health implications of a vegetarian or vegan diet, if not properly implemented. 

Many people who choose to adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet do so because they assume that it is healthier than diets which include meat. Many people are not aware of the potential nutritional deficiencies that they may develop.

As a side note, I believe that anyone pursuing any type of diet (meat or not) for the sake of health should have a deep understanding of the implications of that diet.

Chris Kresser discusses this in a fair manner and his article is an important read for those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan for optimal health. I should note that the author is a former macrobiotic vegan. Click here to read his article:

Why You Should Think Twice About Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

The biggest takeaway is that thriving on a vegetarian or vegan diet is possible, but it requires an active and meticulous awareness of the nutritional composition of your intake of food.

I Choose to Eat Meat

Being a green beauty blogger, it’s easy to feel like I am the only meat-eating one. I follow a Paleo framework which is a diet that is based on nutrient-dense whole foods.

Foods That I Eat:

  • Grassfed, pasture-raised, organic meat (I consciously purchase ethically and sustainably raised meat whenever possible)
  • Eggs (ideally pastured)
  • Fish and other seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Starchy tubers (sweet potatoes, taro, etc)
  • Fruit
  • Foods that support intestinal health (bone broth, raw sauerkraut)
  • Traditional, unprocessed fats (grassfed ghee, cold pressed coconut oil)
  • Other nutrient dense foods such as organ meats and fermented cod liver oil

Foods that I Exclude From My Diet:

  • Processed foods
  • Gluten
  • Most grains (except white rice) and legumes
  • Refined oils (canola, safflower, sunflower, etc)

What I Value:

  • Ethically raised animals
  • Local, sustainable, and organic food sources
  • Food that is closest to its natural state
  • Food that nourishes the body, supports long-term health, and prevents illness & disease

Why do I eat this way?

As I’ve mentioned before, in 2013, I became very ill with Histamine Intolerance, Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO), and a pathogenic intestinal infection. At the beginning of my sickness, I was incredibly reactive to most foods.

As I struggled with navigating what I could and could not eat, I dove deep into learning about eating to heal your body. More and more, I came across an underlying theme of the importance of eating for intestinal health by eliminating all inflammatory and irritating foods while incorporating nutrient dense foods.

Lots of people, myself included, have turned to eating a Paleo/ancestral/traditional type of diet to cope with autoimmune conditions like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease, and Celiac disease or to prevent these diseases. Eating this way has helped many people not only cope but also thrive despite their very serious conditions. (Read about Danielle Walker of Against All Grain and her inspiring story here).

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise , and I truly believe that it is due to environmental factors as well as the lack of proper nutrition due to factory farming, GMOs, and the prevalence of highly processed foods.

I feel as though the Paleo/ancestral/traditional diet community is misunderstood by the green beauty community. For a long time, I didn’t know how to share my thoughts about this, but once I read Chris’ article, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity.

Eating a Paleo diet has a lot more in common with living a nontoxic lifestyle than one might initially think.  Both require conscious decision-making with the aim of optimal health. Both are environmentally conscious and value food/cosmetics/products in their purest, most natural forms. Both recognize that conventional food/products contain toxins and have a desire to go back to the basics.

I choose to eat meat in following a Paleo framework as it makes me feel like (and actually become) the healthiest version of me. Eating healing foods while excluding inflammatory foods has helped me heal from the scariest, most life-altering health ordeal of my life. Eating Paleo also upholds certain values of mine such as supporting local, sustainable, and ethical farming and food sourcing.

What about you? How do you choose to eat and why?

Love and light,

vm

February Favorites

February Faves

Happy March! Can you believe that Spring is just around the corner? California’s in the midst of a drought which makes it feel like it is already spring.

February Favorites

It’s an exciting feeling when you realize you’ve gone “all in” with nontoxic beauty products because day after day, you’re reaching for and loving the same items. It’s a bit like that moment you realize you’ve got a keeper on your hands when you start dating someone new.

So I guess what I’m saying is that nontoxic beauty and I are past the infatuation phase; we’re going steady. If that’s not too strange of an analogy for ya, read on..

Lovely Lady Stick Moisturizer1)   Lovely Lady Everlasting-Argan Solid Lotion Moisturizer – Helichrysum $15.99

This moisturizing balm has been a savior this month. I came across this brand at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo that I attended at the end of January. The woman at the booth explained to me that her son has eczema and that the Helichrysum moisturizer in particular really helps to soothe his skin. I’ve got sensitive skin myself, and with the risk of TMI-ing you to death, I’m working through food sensitivities right now which sometimes causes a mild rash on my stomach. A few swipes of this at bedtime, and the inflammation on my skin is tamed by morning. I love the fact that the product is in stick form as it makes application easy peasy.

Acure Cleansing Creme2)   Acure Organics Facial Cleansing Crème Argan Oil + Mint $14.99

I bought this a while back at Whole Foods and didn’t see the beauty of it until now. My skin has been a bit dry this month and a few weeks ago, I randomly reached for it in the shower and was pleasantly surprised at how this gentle cleansing crème really helped to moisturize my skin.

Tongue Scraper3)   GUM Dual Action Tongue Cleaner $2.59

Yes, you read that correctly. I discovered the beauty of tongue scrapers in February. Where have I been, and why didn’t I try this sooner? It ain’t glamorous, but two phrases: Oral hygiene. FRESH breath.

Trust me, try it.

Rahua Voluminous Spray4)   Rahua Voluminous Spray $28 6oz / $12.99 2oz

This hairspray gives my naturally straight and limp hair a nice little boost and tames flyaways.

I received this 2 oz bottle as a sample with my purchase of other goodies. I would definitely purchase it on my own. You can get the smaller (2 oz) size here.

Kjaer Weis Desired Glow5)   Kjaer Weis Cream Blush -Desired Glow $54 compact / $30 refill

The month of February was the month I fell in LOVE with cream blush. It took me a while to grow accustomed to the switch from powder to cream, but Kjaer Weis’ has made me a cream blush convert. I’ve read a lot about the Desired Glow shade, and listen up ladies, the hype is REAL.

I like to apply it with the Real Techniques Stippling brush ($10), which you can purchase here.

Kjaer Weis Blissful6)   Kjaer Weis Lip Tint – Blissful $48 compact / $28 refill

More often than not, I’m a sheer red lip girl, but I thought I’d switch it up and go for a light pink shade for my intro to Kjaer Weis lip tints. I am SO glad I did as I find this shade to be so effortless and feminine.

Afterglow Stencil

7)   Afterglow Cosmetics Organic Infused Eco Eye Shadow – Stencil –$21 compact / $17 refill

Since I wore Kjaer Weis’ Blissful lip quite often this month, and it’s such a subtle light pink shade, I wanted to intensify my eyes a bit more. Enter Afterglow’s Stencil, which is a taupe with a gorgeous satin finish.

As a side note, I like to purchase pressed eyeshadow refills whenever I can and keep them in my Z pallete. It saves on three things: money, storage space, and precious time in my morning routine.

See any of your own favorites in this list? What have you been loving lately?

Love and light,

vm

Monday Morsels 2/24/14

Happy Monday!

I was MIA last week, and it was because of this:

Tahoe

And this:

Tahoe

And this:

Tahoe

I went to the snow (Lake Tahoe) with a group of 12 people, left the laptop at home, and holed up in a cozy cabin. I felt compelled to disconnect for a bit to live life in the moment. Can you relate?

Wellness

This Monday Morsels features a very important topic: SLEEP.

I don’t get enough of it. Getting to bed by 10:30pm is a goal that I am constantly chasing.

Are you one of those people who believe that you can sleep when you’re dead? I used to be one of these people.

I began looking at sleep much differently about a year ago, when I became ill with Histamine Intolerance (debilitating food and environmental sensitivities), a pathogenic intestinal infection, hormone imbalance, (..and I could go on).

Back then, I was sleeping an average of four hours each night, fighting sleepiness at work and then intensely crossfitting 5 times/week. At the time, I treated my body as an unbreakable machine. Was it a coincidence that I was overworking myself and under resting while I became so very ill? I think not.

It sounds so silly to think that I was doing this to myself, but when I was caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, I truly believed that getting to the gym regularly was benefitting me, regardless of my lack of sufficient sleep. I am learning every day how important it is to be kind to my body, to monitor the different aspects of my wellness, and to listen to what my body needs.

If my story doesn’t compel you to get more Zzs, this article might: 25 Horrible Things That Can Happen If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep.

Nutrition

I’m an “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” type of cook. I get in the kitchen, assess what I have, and concoct it on the spot. I love cookbooks, but I often find myself lacking the patience to work from one on a busy weeknight.

Tonight was no exception. My boyfriend and I made pork chops with caramelized onions and apples sautéed with garlic, ginger, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Paleo Pork chop with caramelized onion apple

Pasture-raised Pork Chop with Caramelized Onion, Apple, Garlic, Ginger, and Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with a side of Smashed Cauliflower & Carrot

When he got home, he placed the chops in a brine of salt, pepper, and fresh chopped garlic. An hour later, he seared both sides of the chops, and finished cooking them in the oven.

Meanwhile, I concocted the onion apple topping. I knew pork pairs well with apples, and apple cider vinegar seemed like it would balance out the sweetness. Let’s just say it was an experiment gone DELICIOUS. We MMmm-ed our way through dinner and will definitely be making this again.

The pork chops were from our first box ordered from Marin Sun Farms, which is a Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) that offers local, sustainable, humanely cared for, ethical, pasture-raised, grassfed meat. Check them out if you live in or near the SF Bay Area!

Have a great week!

Love and light,

vm