Coconut Milk by lee tilghman

Almond milk is sooooo 2016. 

Welcoming coconut milk into my arms this summer with this simple and delicious recipe. Save money, time, and the earth by making your own nutmilks. If you have a cheesecloth, great! but know that you can also use old pantyhose or tee-shirts to strain nut milks.

Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Instructions

  1. Blend on high for 2 minutes
  2. Strain with a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, pantyhose or an old teeshirt.
  3. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 days. Shake before consumption and enjoy!

All About Adaptogens by lee tilghman

If you're into health, you've probably been hearing the term "adaptogen" thrown around like crazy recently. Well, there's a reason why. Adaptogens have actually been around for hundreds of years but they are finally getting the attention that they deserve. There is definitely a distinct switch in the health world from the pharmaceutically dominated Western medicine to a more holistic, natural approach to things. And that's where adaptogens come in. 

What are adaptogens?

Essentially adaptogens are specific group of healing plants. Phyltothreapy (the use of plants to heal) has been used in medicine for a long time…way before it was trendy.

Adaptare in Latin actually means to adjust, which is exactly what adaptogens help your body do- adjust to the different stressors in your life.

Adaptogens are an all natural way to support your health, but you should still proceed with caution when using them. There is such thing as too much of a good thing! Speak to your primary health care provider before adding adaptogens into your diet especially if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.  

Which are my favorite adaptogens and what do they do?

There are hundreds of different types of adaptogens. Don't think you need to go out and buy every single one. Below is my list of my favorites. But if you are gonna pick one, go with ashwagandha, my favorite. 

Where do I get my adaptogens?

I like to buy my adaptogens from Mountain Rose Herbs + Sun Potion. 

Ashwagandha

Probably the most known adaptogen today- ashwagandha is great for soothing your nervous system and boosting immunity. It can aid in fertility and supports you during your menstrual cycle- mainly because its such a rich source of iron.

Cordyceps

Cordycepts are a mushroom based adaptogen great for maintaining good liver and kidney function. Traditionally they have been used to aid fertility but today they’re often used to increase athletic performance.  They are also great for the brain. 

Chaga

Chaga mushroom is a great grounding herb. It's perfect for easing anxiety, stress, and nervousness. A great herb to take with you on a flight or before a stressful day at work!

Eluthero Root

Eluthero is a great everyday adaptagen. It can enhance brain function, ease anxiety, boost the immune system, support healthy cholesterol levels, and boost endurance levels.

He Shoe Wu

He Show Wu nourishes your liver and kidneys, can improve feelings of weakness and fatigue, and can help with insomnia. It has also been used to treat low back pain and anemia.

Moringa

Moringa is great for reducing inflammation in your body, regulating your blood sugar levels, and improving digestion. Long term users have increased energy, more restful sleep, and stronger immune systems.  

Pine Pollen

Pine pollen is most often used to balance your hormones. If you have low testosterone levels (which is common in both men and women) pine pollen can be especially good in naturally increasing them. It is also great for protecting your immune system.

Reishi

Reishi is the ultimate balancing adaptogen. It supports your immune response by increasing or decreasing your immune function sensitivity depending on what you need. It also supports your cardiovascular system and sooths your nervous system. It’s important to note that because reishi is a mild adpatogen it needs to be taken over a longer period of time to get the full benefits.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a get S#IT done kinda herb. It's great for boosting productivity, balancing your blood sugar levels, protecting your heart from stress related damage, and boosting your immune system. Be sure to take rhodiolia in the morning time though because it can cause isomnia if taken too late!

Triphala

Triphala is a great adaptagon for anyone with any sort of digestion issue. It’s aids in detoxification and is a great source of vitamin C. Read all about my digestion story here.

My favorite ways to add adpatogens in?

What are some of your favorite adaptogens?

How to Beat Bloat+Constipation by lee tilghman

On a scale from 0 to sexy, being bloated and or constipated is probably listed at -100000. We all know that feeling good, energized, sexy and ourselves comes from WITHIN. If you feel good inside, you feel good outside.

Well, if you’ve ever been bloated or constipated, or struggled with other uncomfortable and often not spoken about IBS symptoms, then you KNOW how hard it is to feel good or even think straight. 

What is bloat?

First, I want to differentiate a common misconception between being bloated and being full. The two are completely different things. Feeling full or slightly overeating is when you go past your body and stomach’s level of comfort.  We all know that we are supposed to stop eating RIGHT before we get full to avoid this common discomfort, but it happens from time to time and is part of life. Feeling full is a fleeting sensation that can go away with time, water, and a little movement. 

However, being bloated is when you feel this sensation of fullness or you feel like you are “about to burst” even without food in your belly. It happens when you are eating the wrong foods at the wrong times. Being bloated is when your stomach, gut, and digestive tracks are inflamed. This also affects your energy levels: bloat is normally accompanied by feelings of sluggishness, anxiety, depression and fatigue. If you’ve ever woken up bloated and foggy brained after a salty, heavy meal out at a restaurant and find it hard to button up your jeans in the morning then you know what bloat is.

We all deal with bloat from time to time, and up until this past year, I thought I was doomed for a life of bloat. But I'm not, and there is LAB (life after bloat).

My Bloat Story: 

In the summer of 2016 I was suddenly plagued with horrible bloat (and gas). I was eating all the same healthy foods that I had always turned to: tons of veggies, beans, smoothies. But I was struggling with constant inflammation of the gut lining, so much that sometimes I couldn't even button up my pants some days. This was really uncomfortable and embarrassing, not to mention it totally got in the way of my social life as I just didn't feel like spunky, lightning bolt Lee. I was also self conscious about my gas and it was just all really depressing.

So I took charge and saw a functional health doctor at Parsley Health and explained my symptoms. We began eliminating foods, as my coach was pretty sure I was dealing with IBS and that a diet lower in FODMAPS would help. I soon found out that onions and garlic were 2 of the biggest triggers of bloat for me, and once I removed those, almost all my bloat went away. 

Now, I am really educated about what my body likes and doesn't like and have a good few years of body wisdom under my belt so I have some tips to share.

How to Combat Bloat:

  1. Make digestive enzymes your new BFF. They help your body digest food better.Take them WITH your food (they won't work as well if you take them before or after). While your symptoms are bad, taking 1-2 at each meal can help tons. For me, I only now take them when I am traveling out of my routine or out to dinner. I like Enzymedica and Clean Program's. 
  2. Slow down at mealtimes. Remember to sit down, chew, put your fork down between bites, and sip on water. I know how tempting it can be to scarf down meals like it's your last, but trust me, it's 10x more enjoyable when we savor every bite. I like to remind myself to "Treat every meal like it's your last". If you knew that your avocado toast would be your last time ever eating, would you swallow it whole? Probably not. Remind yourself to really enjoy your food, eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Not to mention, slowing down at meals and CHEWING helps to reduce bloat by a TON. If you are eating with a friend, hold a secret contest to finish your meal last. If you are eating alone, put away all electronics and distractions and just really focus on your food. 
  3. Make some ginger turmeric tea. As soon as you feel the bloat come on, pour some hot water over peeled + chopped organic ginger and turmeric. 
  4. Knix the kombucha and carbonated beverages. They make bloat even worse. In fact, sometimes they can even cause bloat. If you are bloated, try removing these foods from your diet and see if conditions improve. At times, I drink only 1/4 bottle of booch at a time.
  5. Make a smoothie. Sometimes eating big fresh raw salads can make bloat even worse. I find that blending my food into either cooked soup or smoothie works wonders for my digestive system and actually reduces the bloat.  
  6. Drink water. Water heals all- truly. I tell people to drink water when they're thirsty, and when they're not thirsty. Water helps move things along and is one of the best detoxifiers around. 
  7. Move around: get some exercise. I know that being bloated is uncomfortable and makes us feel sluggish, but keep your body moving. This will help reduce anxiety and by moving your body you are telling your mind to move and the bloat to move. It's a manifestation thing. 
  8. Get some sleep. Yeah, that's right. Sleep well and sleep long. Get black out shades, get a white noise machine, wear an eye mask and rest. 
  9. Look at your diet. 
    1. Is there something you are eating that continuously causes you to feel sluggish and bloated? If so, remove it.  Common bloating foods are gluten, dairy, soy, sugar, processed foods, raw foods, and artificial sweeteners and sodas. Everyone is different so what works for someone may not work for you. Experiment. 
    2. If you have done at eliminating the foods you believe to be causing you bloat and still feel like crapola, I definitely suggest looking into a 21 day reset or elimination diet like The Clean Program. Sign up here for $40 off the 21 day cleanse!

What is Constipation?

According to some experts, if you don't go to the bathroom within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning, then you are constipated. Constipation is not only uncomfortable but it;'s not good for our bowels to sit in our digestive tracts for a long time or else our bodies begin to re-absorb their toxic elements back into the bloodstream, and we don't want that! A happy, flowing gut is a happy, flowing brain. They are deeply connected!

I used to struggle with constipation, and below are some tips for dealing with it. 

How to Beat COnstipation: 

  1. Take magnesium chelate for constipation before bed. I love this brand. Also great for traveling if you get constipated. 
  2. Drink 8 oz. of water before you get out of bed and tons of it throughout the day. This is the most important part of a healthy, balanced, body 
  3. Spend 30 minutes at home before walking out the door to give yourself time to eliminate. AKA, don't rush your morning!
  4. Ashwagandha: the magical herb. I take 1/2 tsp every morning within a few hours of waking up. Ashwagandha helps get stuff moving for me, and maybe it will work for you oo!
  5. Most importantly, develop a routine eating and sleeping schedule 
    1. This is probably one of the most important factors in developing a healthy pooping schedule. Your body is a clock and works best when you have set times for things like eating and sleeping. For me, I like to eat dinner at 6:30 and go to bed by 9:30. If I drink tons of water I normally have no problem going to the bathroom first thing in the morning as long as I am comfortable and in my element. 

What are some of your favorite bloat + constipation tips?

Pantry+Fridge Must-Haves and organization by lee tilghman

Healthy eating can seem really overwhelming, expensive, and timely. The truth is, not all of these statements are false.

Healthy eating IS a commitment, but it's one that is so worth it. It's one of the best decisions you can make for yourself. Once you start to eat healthy, you will begin to see so many positive changes in your life, and you feel so good, you will never want to go back.

I know it can be very overwhelming with all the newest superfood trends on where to begin, which is why today I'm sharing with you guys my top favorite food and pantry staples that I always have on hand. These items are very versatile with multiple ways to prepare them. All my other purchases vary with the seasons and such. 

FRIDGE

  1. Organic Heritage Chicken: Chicken is high in protein and one of my favorite meats to use. It's easy to cook and can be the star of the dish or pulled apart to be used in soups, tacos, or as a topping on a pizza. If possible, make sure the chicken is organic and/or pastured so that you can avoid any additives or hormones. I get my chicken from Belcampo Meat Co. 
  2. Leafy Greens: All leafy greens are extremely nutrient dense, whether it be spinach, arugula, romaine, or Swiss chard. They are high in vitamin K and calcium, which helps with strong bones. They are also high in vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and helps fight free radicals in the body. Greens are good as a base to a salad, sautéed as a side, or added into your sandwiches. I normally pick my greens by my cycle or by what's in season/available. I always be sure to buy organic greens since they are sprayed the most. 
  3. Eggs: Oh man, what would my life be without eggs? Eggs dress up any old salad or bowl and make it fancy and tasty. They are a great source of protein and Omega-3's. Eggs are extremely versatile - you can eat them scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, and they are the perfect addition to go on top of avocado toast. I get my eggs free range from the farmer's market or Belcampo Meat Co. 
  4. Hemp Milk: I haven't purchased packaged nut milk at the store in 5 months. Nope, now I just make my own hemp milk. You don't need a strainer or a cheesecloth. You can find the directions on how to make it below. Hemp is a great source of plant-based protein and the milk can be used as a replacement for regular milk, whether it be in your smoothies or used as base to a latte. See below for recipe!
  5. Avocado: My love for avocados goes far and wide. I eat 1/2 an avocado a day. Loaded with healthy fats and fiber, these babies are also high in potassium, which can help with healthy blood sugar levels. Avocados can be smashed onto a piece of toast, sliced as an addition to a sandwich, or made into guacamole. I normally buy organic avocados but I am not too strict about it. 
  6. Frozen Cauliflower: Full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and anti-inflammtory properties. Frozen cauliflower can be kept on hand to be steamed or roasted, or they can even be added to smoothies to add creaminess and extra nutrients without the sugar. Check out my favorite cauliflower smoothie recipe here
  7. Almond Butter: AKA CRACK! Am I right?! The monounsaturated fat in almond butter helps control blood sugar, which is great because I eat a lot of it. Almonds are also high in vitamin E, which nourishes the skin. Whether it's in a smoothie, spread on top of toast, or drizzled on top of yogurt, I can't get enough! My favorite brand is Once Again Nut Butter or Woodstock Foods. I always buy organic almond butter (and nut butter in general)
  8. Bulk Items: Cashews, ground flax, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut shreds, and flax seeds are my go-to bulk item purchases. They last a long time when kept in the fridge. I like to store them in Weck jars to keep them looking pretty. They go on top of smoothies, yogurt bowls, in nut milks, or by themselves for a quick snack. 
  9. Black Bean Dip: Another quick and easy recipe, which is filled with protein and is a great to have on hand to eat with veggies or used as a spread on a sandwich.  It's so easy to make and perfect for parties or meal prep. You can literally use it for anything! Baked eggs, sandwiches, tacos, or macro bowls. Go crazy!
  10. Grain Free Granola: Perfect atop a yogurt bowl or smoothie, grain free granola is my favorite little treat. Make sure you to measure this stuff out- 1 serving is only 1/3 cup. It's all too easy to eat this stuff by handful but be mindful as it is a bit higher in sugar. Favorite brand is Paleonola
  11. Coconut Fat Balls: I can't go the day without a snack- whether it's the 3pm slump or right before bed, snacks keep my metabolism going and my blood sugar from crashing! My coconut fat balls are a great alternative to packaged protein bars. They are a filling snack to take on the go. They are filled with healthy fats and proteins to keep you satiated and are also low in sugar. Below you can find the ingredients and how to make them. See photo below for recipe. 

Pantry

my new pantry organized with the help of Life In Jeneral!

my new pantry organized with the help of Life In Jeneral!

  1. Ghee: This stuff tastes amazing and you can use it for everything Ghee is also known as clarified butter and is a clean source of healthy fats. It is lactose and casein free, which means that it is safe for those sensitive to dairy. Ghee has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for cooking. It can also be added into your morning bulletproof latte to add a dose of healthy fats that will give you sustained energy for your day. My favorite brand is Fourth & Heart. 
  2. Coconut Oil: Full of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that improves brain function. The MCTs are sent to your liver which then get converted into energy, which makes it a great addition to your morning latte or oatmeal. Not only is this oil great for cooking, baking, and adding into your smoothies or lattes, but it is great as a topical moisturizer for your skin and hair. My favorite brand is Carrington Farms. I always buy organic coconut oil since I use it for just about everything.  
  3. Matcha: My drug of choice! Matcha is a more concentrated form of green tea, where the tea leaves have been ground into a fine powder. Since I don't drink coffee anymore, I am a matcha queen. Matcha is extremely high in antioxidants, specifically catechins, which is known for its cancer fighting properties. It contains L-theanine which is an amino acid that induces relaxation so even though it is high in caffeine, it gives you energy without the crash, making it a great alternative to coffee. It is great for concentration and focus. Matcha can be made the traditional way, using a bamboo whisk and ceramic bowl, or blended with hemp milk to make a matcha latte. My favorite brand is Ippodo Tea.
  4. Vanilla Protein Powder: I usually try to get my protein from a food source, but I like to add protein powder into my smoothies to get an extra filling protein boost. Protein is good for building muscle and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. My favorite brand is Clean Program Vanilla. I like vanilla since it is way more versatile in flavor than chocolate, but you can have both around if you please. 
  5. Organic Cinnamon: Often overlooked, this widely-available spice is the secret to stable blood sugar. Cinnamon is one of the best ways to spice up your smoothie, latte, yogurt bowl or pancake recipe. Make sure you buy organic as this is one of the most commonly sprayed spices.
  6. Ashwagandha: My favorite go-to adaptogen. This herb also helps your body adapt to internal and environmental stress. It can boost brain function, lower blood sugar levels, and lower your stress hormone (aka cortisol). If you are going to get one adaptogen, get Ashwagandha. My favorite brand is Sun Potion.
  7. Collagen Peptides: this stuff goes into my matcha on the daily. I love the brand Vital Proteins. Collagen is good for hair, skin, nails, and leaky gut. Plus, it makes your drinks foamy. Could you ask for anything better?
  8. Herbal tea: I drink anywhere from 1-4 cups of herbal tea per day. I usually almost always end my meal with a cup of peppermint or licorice tea to aid in digestion. It usually helps stave off any sugar cravings I may experience.  My favorites are Kava Stress Relief from Yogi Tea, Happy Tummy by Mountain Rose Herbs, and Sleep by Aloha

Organization

Fridge Organization Tips:

  • Switch to glass tupperware NOW. Throw out all your plastic containers- they're worth the investment, last longer, and are better for us + the earth. I like Glasslock.
  • I keep all my nuts + seeds in the fridge so they don't spoil. This includes coconut, hemp, chia, flax, and ALL nut butters.
  • Avocados last longer if you refrigerate them.
  • Always use a nontoxic cleaner when cleaning out your fridge as you'll be putting that cleaner into your body as it will inevitably touch your foods. i use a DIY nontoxic cleaner: 1/3 lemon peel concentrate with 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 2 cups water. •in an effort to use less plastic, i've been experimenting with  @theswagusa to keep my produce crisp so i don't have to keep my veggies in plastic.
  •  

Pantry Organization Tips:

  • Keep everything in labeled bins. Containment is key to organization!

  • Make sure everything is visible. If something’s not visible, that’s when the rummaging around and messes get bad.

  • Keep whatever you use the most at eye level. This can change, so be sure once a month to check in and make sure everything is easily accessible. 

  • Organize by type of food. I keep all my baking stuff in a separate container than my nuts/seeds.  

Before my pantry renovation

Before my pantry renovation

After my pantry renovation!

After my pantry renovation!

Ketosis Bites by lee tilghman

Ketosis...WHAT IS IT? Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body starts to burn fat rather than glucose. The aim of ketosis is to try and burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy. Just to get that out there: I do not follow a strict ketosis diet!

I am SO excited to share these Ketosis Bites with you guys today! They were made in collaboration with Crosby Tailor, a high-fat low-sugar chef based here in LA. Crosby and I met a few months ago and knew we had to collaborate on a recipe together. Crosby was inspired by my fat balls, but since he's lectin free, we set out to make a different kind of desert. One that tastes good and doesn't spike your blood sugar...'cause ya'll know I'm all about that lifeeeee.

These guys are 100% nut free, sugar free (that's right..not even a date is in this baby), high in fat and quality protein. The addition of collagen aids in healthy hair, skin, nails, and helps repair leaky gut.

A note about the ingredients

One main ingredient that is necessary for this specific recipe is Monk fruit extract. There is no substitute for it. This is what makes the bites ketosis. It helps them taste sweet without any added sugar. We used the Lakanto brand but you can use any brand available to you!

Monk fruit extract has zero calories, won't spike your blood sugar, and has zero impact on your insulin (especially good for those who have PCOS *raises hand*). It's also a 0 on the glycemic index. 

Crosby and I made 2 flavors: Blue Majik Mint and Cinnamon Maca. You can experiment with just one flavor if you want, or just make both. I prefer the Blue Majik Mint one but they are both amazing!

Ketosis Bites

Ingredients

Cinnamon Maca 

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut shreds
  • 2 Tablespoons collagen peptides (Bulletproof or Vital Proteins)
  • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit Sweetener (available at many health food stores or easily purchased online here)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tsp pearl powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp maca

Blue Majik Mint

  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut shreds
  • 1 tap blue majik powder
  • 2 Tablespoons collagen peptides (Bulletproof or Vital Proteins)
  • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit Sweetener (available at many health food stores or easily purchased online here)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 tsp pearl powder (optional)
  • 20 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs (plus more for garnish if you want)

Instructions

  1. Place all your ingredients in a food processor. Process for 1 minute or until everything is blended together.
  2. Using a silicone ice cube tray (or any freezable mold you can find), spoon the batter into the molds.
  3. Freeze for 1 hour or until frozen solid. Let thaw for 5 minutes before attempting to remove from the molds for easier removal. 
  4. Store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks!

Traveling Healthy by lee tilghman

Traveling is one of life's greatest joys. 

There's nothing like the excitement of visiting a new place for the first time. However, that excitement and anticipation can come along with anxiety, stress, and fears. Whether you are afraid of flying, routinely run so late that you have to beg the attendants to let you onto your flight, or experience crazy digestive issues while traveling so much so that you can't go to the bathroom, then this article is for you!

I decided to share my healthy travel tips - things I've learned over the years of traveling across the country multiple times a year (my family lives across the country). 

Ahead of Time

If you live in the states, consider signing up for TSA Pre Check/Global entry. Purchasing this has been a huge game changer in decreasing the amount of stress I feel when I get to the airport. Now I don't have to worry about the crazy TSA lines. 

Even if you don't have TSA Pre, still plan to arrive to the airport at least 2 hours before your flight. This gives you a solid hour to check in and go through security and a safe 30 minutes to use the bathroom, fill up your water bottle, buy a magazine. This extra time and routine helps decrease the amount of adrenaline and calms the nervous system. 

What to Eat

MORNING TRAVELING: If you are flying early in the morning (6AM, 7AM, 8AM), eat a lighter meal high in protein before your flight. I like hard boiled eggs, avocado toast, or a paleo bagel with almond butter. I sometimes like to have a bulletproof matcha latte full of adaptogens before flying too. This ensures I get in some healthy fats and the adaptogens help to relieve stress and anxiety. If you plan on fasting during your flight, the addition of collagen not only helps my hair, skin, nails and leaky gut, but it also provides 21 grams of protein which aid women in completing the ketosis process. Ketosis is when your body burns fat rather than glucose.

AFTERNOON/EVENING: If you are traveling later in the day, be sure to eat a hearty meal before you fly. I like big salads or macro bowls with roasted veggies before a flight.  Make sure to include healthy fats and lean proteins to keep you full and satisfied and not reaching for the candy aisle. 

Fasting

Personally, I used to look forward to bringing a huge homemade packed meal for my flight. I never understood why I'd feel SO bloated, lethargic, cramped and gassy afterwards. I get very anxious on flights and eating would bring me comfort, but it would make me feel so crappy.  After mentioning this to an ayervedic practitioner (my friend Sahara of Eat Feel Fresh), she told me this happens to most people, and that fasting while traveling is an excellent way to reset your body. I took her advice and she was right- fasting made me feel so much better during and after my flight (if you prepare!)

Use travel as a time to give your body a break and a reset. It's the most beneficial time to fast as your digestion becomes "vata" (air and space) making it hard for your body to break down foods. Vata is the cold, dry, moving, dosha that is unpredictable, scattered and rough which can lead to bloating, constipation gas, malabsorption, and forgetfulness. Ever wonder why you feel so out of it after flying? That's because your literally moving in a vessel through the air and you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually un-grounded. 

By fasting you also have one less thing to worry about for the flight. You can focus on other things: sleep, watching a movie, journaling, listening to your favorite album or reading. The best part? You can treat yourself to a fresh meal as soon as you get off the plane and arrive at your destination. 

Sahara suggests drinking hot tea throughout the flight, and avoiding cold, dry foods such as crackers, pretzels, nuts, smoothies and chips. Pre flight, its a good idea to eat as many grounding foods as possible such as sweet potato, squash, root vegetables, ginger, turmeric, beans and cooked veggies.

If you are going to fast- make sure you eat something beforehand. I like hard boiled eggs, bulletproof matcha, or some sweet potato avocado toast. If your flight is longer than 6-8 hours, fasting may not be the best option. And of course, if you are so hungry and fasting isn't working for you, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. 

Be Prepared

For the plane/car ride, be prepared. The last thing you want is to be stuck on a 8 hour flight with no backups- so prepare yourself. 

  • HYDRATE: 24 hours before traveling, beginning upping your water intake. For the actual flight, bring an empty water bottle and continuously refill it on your flight. Don't accept those plastic water bottles. Horrible for our planet and health. Bring your own refillable one and kindly ask the attendants to refill it. Don't worry that you are annoying them, you are doing the planet a SOLID.
  • TEA: Drink hot herbal tea, hot water with lemon, whatever works. Warm liquids help ease the digestive system which can sometimes get flustered while traveling. 
  • ESSENTIAL OILS: I like to bring ylang ylang and lavender essential oils with me while I travel. These both help to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety, something that can pop up a lot whilst traveling. 
  • SELF CARE: I love the cactus collagen pads from Honest Hazel. I like to pop these on in the beginning of my flight and keep them on until landing. They help make the plane ride a bit more fun and remind me that self care comes first. 
  • HAIR/SKIN: I love to lather my hair and skin with coconut oil during travel. It's easy for skin to get super dry, so it's a great time to self-massage some oil onto your skin for some extra TLC! Also if you are oil training your hair, this is a great opportunity to moisturize those locks before washing. 
  • ENTERTAINMENT: To make the whole process less stressful, use this time on your flight to treat yourself to something you keep pushing off when you're on the ground. Buy yourself a magazine, delve into a good book, catch up on podcasts, watch that movie you've been dying to see, start writing that novel. 
  • MOVE: Make sure you get up every 30-60 minutes during the flight. Slowly walk up and down the aisles, do some light stretches (lift your knees to your chest, do a quad stretch) and torso rotator twists. Try to get an aisle seat so you don't bug your neighbors!
  • MEDITATE: I love using the Calm App on my phone to sit with myself for 10 minutes. I usually do this on the plane once it gets moving. Focusing on your breathing is an excellent way to feel grounded and connected. 

On the Trip

  • EXERCISE: It's important to stay moving, even on vacation or while traveling. I love walking when I travel, it is the best way to see a new city. Check ahead of time to see if your hotel has a gym, and utilize that if so. If not, bring running sneakers and go for some power walks throughout the city. Or, research some boutique fitness studios so you can fit in your workouts as planned.  Discover a new yoga studio. Go on a hike. Working out while traveling makes it 10x easier to stay on track and keeps your energy up!
  • SUPPLEMENTS:
    • Enzymes are your BEST FRIEND. Trust me. Stock up on them before you travel and bring them with you everywhere you go! When you travel, you are eating at different times, other people's foods, most likely at restaurants who use different oils and styles of cooking. Digestive enzymes are A LIFESAVER. I love Enzymedica and Clean Program's.
    • A good probiotic to take with you when traveling is the Probiotic from Clean Program. It doesn't need to be refridgerated, making it the perfect travel companion. Also, the single-serve packets from Vital Proteins are dope. 
    • Magnesium to help you stay regular. I used to be a victim of constipation while traveling and taking 3-4 magnesium pills before bed each night is a huge help. I like the magnesium from Designs for Health
  • ADAPTOGENS: are key too. I like to make little bags full of adaptogens to add to my waters, teas, and smoothies while on the go. I like bringing Sunpotion's Ashwagandha, Chaga, and Reishi as they help me stay calm. 
  • SNACKS: I always bring some snacks with me for when I arrive. I love the Bulletproof Snack Bars. Full of healthy fats and low in sugar. 
  • SLEEP: I know how hard it is to adjust to new time zones, beds, and sleeping schedules, but do your best to adjust your internal clock to your region's time zone. If you are flying to London, try to go to bed when they go to bed and wake up when they do. This will help make your trip much much easier. 
  • VEGETABLES: Eat your vegetables! Check yelp for healthy, organic eateries that offer salads, organic macro bowls, or go to the grocery store and make your own using the hotel's kitchenette or AirBnB's kitchen! When eating out a lot, make sure to fill up on veggies first with an appetizer of a side salad or vegetable soup. Traveling is an amazing time to eat all the different foods that different cultures offer but you will feel much better if you get in those necessary vitamins throughout!
  • HAVING GRACE: Remember, you are traveling, you are not home, nor grounded, so have some grace with yourself! The goal is not perfection, but progress.

What are some of your favorite travel tips?

Fruit Free Nice Cream by lee tilghman

Nice cream, otherwise known as the vegan "ice cream", is a delicious blend of frozen bananas, sometimes dates, and other sweet things in a food processor or Vitamix to mimic the taste and texture of ice cream. It sure is delicious, but it's also high AF in sugar and can cause all sorts of issues: bloat, migraine, spiked blood sugar levels, fatigue, acne, and hormonal imbalance.

So, I set out to make a protein packed, veggie-filled, "nice cream" for those looking for a lower in sugar recipe.  It's great post workout as it's high in protein too. This is a great base recipe and you can make it your own by adding greens, cacao, adaptogens, matcha, or different nut butters. 

Ingredients

  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder (i use @alohamoment or @cleanprogram
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (make sure it’s ground first, ground flax helps thicken it up and is easier for your body to digest!)
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter (or almond butter)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seed
  • 1 cup frozen steamed zucchini
  • 1/4 frozen avocado (i know its TECHNICALLY a fruit, but its so low in sugar and high in fat i always count it as a veg)
  • 1/2 cup frozen steamed sweet potato
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 2 cups hemp milk (or any nut milk works here just make sure its unsweetened) 

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients a food processor or vitamix.
  2. Blend for 2-3 minutes, until its super thick and creamy. Make sure you use your tamper on the vitamix or continuously scrape down the sides.
  3. Top with coconut flakes!

how to quit processed sugar by lee tilghman

People ask me all the time what the single biggest thing I did for my health and hormones was.

When I look back on my health journey, there were many small lifestyle changes I made to get to the place I am now. I went from a tired, imbalanced, depressed, restricted and overexerecised vegan with PCOS in 2015 to a girl who gets her period, maintains a healthy weight, who's PCOS is in remission, sleeps well and has great energy throughout the day in 2017. And if I had to pick the biggest change I made to my diet- it was eliminating all processed sugar and limiting sugar of all kind.

For me personally, removing sugar (even most fruit) was the best thing I could have ever done for hormones, my skin, and my health. Everyone is different, but for me, this is what worked.

reality check

I first awoke to the damage sugar was doing to my body when I realized I was intolerant to bananas and had PCOS. I didn’t realize that sugar was feeding so much bad bacteria in my body, and putting my hormones and body so out of balance that I developed PCOS, lost my period, and had to deal with hormonal acne around my neck and chin. As a vegan, I was supplementing the lack of protein with fruit-heavy breakfasts and that would send my blood sugar on a spiraling rollercoaster throughout the day. This also was the cause of my crazy food cravings- I was stuck in a cycle of low energy and anxiety. Not the most fun thing ever, trust me. Reading Womancode also opened my eyes to all the sugar I was eating and how it definitely was not helping my PCOS. PCOS-ers are known to be insulin resistant, and high sugar diets can be catastrophic for PCOS.

It's important to note that fructose (fruit sugar) in small quantities has been a staple in the human diet for centuries. But with the way us humans consume sugar now (especially if you are a child of the 90's, we were PUMPED with that stuff) you may have an addiction to the stuff.  

sugar + hormones

A lot of people also ask me if I eat fruit, if I eat sweets, and the answer is, I don't eat much fruit, but I do eat things like fat balls and dark chocolate from time to time and treat those as my desserts. I also drink kombucha which has 7g of sugar in it.

I used to have the biggest sweet tooth, but over the course of the past year I have educated myself on the damage of sugar to our health and even felt it first hand. I am very in tune with my body and believe in body wisdom. When I eliminate sugar I feel amazing, calm, light, clear-minded, ready to tackle anything that comes my way. As soon as I eat something with sugar I can immediately feel the negative affects- hyperactivity, anxiety, migraine, bloat, indigestion, constipation, scatter-brained. In general, fruit makes my blood sugar spike, which negatively affects my hormones and thus makes me feel lethargic, scatterbrained, anxious and not myself.

However, if fruit makes you feel good, there is no reason to eliminate in completely. But being aware of the amount of sugar you are eating (even sugar in fruit) is a good idea! I am in no way bashing fruit, I think it works for some people. But for me, fruit makes me feel SOO off. I monitor my fruit intake to only 1/2 - 1 serving per day, and its usually something low glycemic like blueberries. 

I know it seems counterintuitive to limit sugar as it's what we've been told gives us energy, but believe it or not, sugar actually causes us to become more tired and crave it even more! That's why I am such a proponent of healthy fats, proteins, and quality carbohydrates like sweet potatoes which all help to aid our blood sugar levels.

Quitting sugar helped to stabilize my hormones, better my sleep, brighten my skin, have more energy - basically all the things we want in life. Below I have outlined some tips on how to quit the processed white sugar and overall reduce your sugar intake if that's something you are interested in trying. 

changing perspective

The industry tells us sugar is okay, and to avoid fat because fat makes us fat. This is the biggest lie ever. The right fats (avocado, ghee, grass fed butter, coconut) can actually help us stay satisfied for longer and help maintain a healthy weight. 

Monitoring your sugar intake is KEY to living a healthy lifestyle. 

These days, there’s sugar in literally everything. Even some foods that deem to be “healthy” have sugar in them. Kale chips, nut butters, pre-mixed chai teas, yogurts, gluten free breads.

Sugar is everywhere, and its causing a big problem. Make sure you check all ingredients before you buy something - sugar sneaks into SO many things. When possible, make your own protein bars, your own smoothies, your own juices and dressings and dips. That way you have full control and it will likely be lower in sugar. 

how to quit the processed stuff

Clean out your pantry

Plan to spend one morning or afternoon going through everything in your pantry, cabinets, and fridge, reading ingredients. It's gonna take some time, but it will be well worth it! Put some good music on and invite a friend over to help you. Make it fun!

Throw out or donate anything that has added sugar to it- including added agave, cane sugar, Cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, brown rice syrup, These are all undercover names for the sweet stuff, and you want them OUT.

curb your cravings

If you find yourself reaching for sugary treats late at night or right after lunch, check your diet. A balanced diet is IMPERATIVE to keeping your blood sugar levels stable, thus reducing the urge to go for that brownie. Upping your fats (ghee, avocado, quality olive oils, salmon, quality bone broth) can help keep us fuller longer and therefore reduce the sugar cravings later down the line. I recommend working with a nutritionist or RD on a meal plan or experimenting yourself. 

substitute with lower sugar snacks:

Fat Balls - I make these every single damn week. They are just so good. 

Keto Bites - A delicious recipe I made with my friend Crosby that are sugar free and oh- so- delicious! (recipe coming soon)

Bulletproof bars - their vanilla flavors are my favorite!

Pressed Juicery Freeze - sadly not available nationwide yet but I know it's in SF, LA and NYC. This is a great low sugar option for when I want something sweet. 

Eating Evolved - their products are legit. 

Educate yourself

Reading books like Womancode and this article from Dr. Mark Hyman are all good places to start if you are interested in learning more about lower sugar diets. Do plenty of research and remember to experiment with yourself. Be open to all possibilities and changes in your diet. One year, fruit may work for you, and then suddenly you may realize it's on the "no" list. Our bodies are ever changing and it's super important to keep this in mind.

have grace

Of course, we can’t be perfect all the time and I do believe that life is to be enjoyed. Birthdays, holidays, they are part of life. The key is not to be perfect all the time but to show up to these occasions prepared and confident in your knowledge and expertise. It’s your body and you are 100% in control of what you eat. If you want to indulge, do so, but do it knowingly! 

Do you eat fruit? How does fruit make you feel?

The Best Herbs for PCOS by lee tilghman

Living with PCOS isn't always easy, but it is possible. When I was diagnosed with PCOS, I knew I didn't want to go back on birth control, but I wanted to heal it naturally.

I have been in PCOS remission for about a year, and herbs and adaptogens have quickly become the biggest way for me to keep my symptoms at bay and make sure things are running 100%. Herbs are a part of my every day routine, and I know there are so many to choose from and it can be kind of overwhelming.

Adaptogens get their name from the word "adapt" because of their insane ability to help humans adapt to any stressful situation. And as we know, those with PCOS are highly sensitive to stressful situations and need to do everything they can to keep their stress levels on lock.  

I like to take my herbs and adaptogens in the morning with my matcha latte. If you follow me on stories, you'll see every day I add a different combination.

If you are new to the herbs scene, I definitely recommend starting out small and adding about 1/2 tsp to your favorite tea. Remember to consume no more than 3 different herbs at any given time. Herbs are powerful and they are best taken in small doses over long periods of time.

Below is my list of my favorite herbs to take to help fight PCOS.

NOTE: I am not a doctor and recommend that you see a trained professional, herbalist, health coach or doctor before getting into herbs, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Ashwagandha

Why it's good: Ashwagandha is a natural stress reliever and eases the nervous system. Also known as the hormone balancing superhero, it reduces depression, and improves memory.  

Where to get it: Sun Potion has the best ashwagandha. I love adding it to my morning elixirs and teas.

Chasteberry (Vitex) 

Why It's good: Chasteberry is good for those who have missing or irregular periods, or light spotting at the beginning and ends of their periods. It helps with those who have low progesterone. 

Where to get it: I love Gaia's Vitex blend. Available at Whole Foods or Amazon. 

cinnamon

Why it's good: Cinnamon is a natural blood sugar stabilizer. It has also been shown to greatly reduce insulin resistance by slowing down the food from the stomach to the digestive system. It's also helpful for reducing cramps!

Where to get it: When buying cinnamon, make sure it's organic. I get my cinnamon in the whole stick form, and love this Vietnamese cinnamon as it's super strong and sweet tasting. Love adding it to my smoothies and morning drinks. 

Cordyceps

Why it's good: Cordyceps improves digestion, balances blood sugar, helps fight fatigue, improves sleep, activates liver and balances hormones. 
Where to get it: Sun Potion has quality cordyceps. 

Maca

Why it's good: Maca helps to balance estrogen and progesterone in the body which may help to encourage a healthy menstrual cycle. It's also a natural hormone balancer and energy booster. 

Where to get it: I get my maca from Organic Burst

Saw Palmetto Pills

Why it's good: Saw Palmetto is known to reduce thinning hair and excessive hair growth (hirsutism), both 2 very stubborn symptoms of PCOS.

Where to get it: Saw Palmetto doesn't taste that great so most people like to take it in pill form. Most natural food stores sell it in pill form, so go with whatever is in budget or available.

 

What sort of herbs do you take to help fight PCOS?

Oil Training 101 by lee tilghman

If you're anything like the average American, you grew up buying regular shampoo and washing your hair every day or every other day.

The big time shampoo companies strip your hair of its natural oils, drying out your hair, thereby making your hair produce more grease, so you wash it again. It's a vicious cycle, and hard to break.

Oil Training (also known as "grease training" is when you decide you are DONE with that vicious cycle and want to train your hair to last longer between washes. During this process, you let it get greasy and ride out that wave for as long as possible, slowly going from washing every day to only washing once a week (or once every other week- whatever works). You still shower as normally, but you don't wash or wet your hair. A shower cap is definitely recommended for this. One would think wetting your hair but not washing would be good, but it actually spreads the grease around and makes it look even greasier, so definitely abstain from that.

For some, this process takes 3 weeks, for others, it takes 3 months. I started oil training Mid March 2017 and now it's Mid May and I am still oil training. It really depends on your ethnicity and the texture of your hair. It can also have to do with the water/pH levels too.

Working out while oil training

This is a big question I get a lot. "Doesn't your hair get nasty from all the sweat in spin classes?" Well, yes and no. I don't sweat A TON from my scalp, so my hair doesn't get too gross. I put my hair up in a high pony during my workouts, then when I am done, I put on a shower cap and wash the rest of my body. After my shower I take my cap off, comb my hair, and fluff it up with my hands. Voila!

It's important to note that I never use a blowdryer, I always towel dry my hair. 

Below are some of my favorite tips and pointers that I've been using during my oil training process.

Tips & Pointers

  • Apple Cider Vinegar works well as a neutral clarifier when you're in between shampoos. I do wet my hair when I do this process. I simply wet my hair, pour some ACV into my hands and do my best to rub it into my scalp. It's kind of awkward at first. I let it sit for 3 minutes then rinse.
  • Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo is a life saver. But keep in mind dry shampoo should not be used everyday - it causes buildup and kind of looks like dandruff if you use too much. 
  • Smell test -  rub clean hands in your scalp a few times, then smell your fingers. If they smell, that means you smell. Wash your hair. 
  • Your hair isn't as greasy as you think it is. When we are stuck in that washing every day cycle, it can be easy to assume your hair looks greasy on the 2nd day. Stick through it, and ask an honest friend if need be. Chances are they think your hair looks bomb. 
  • If it's really greasy, smells bad, itches or just looks crappy, WASH IT! My first few weeks of grease training, I was super anal and wouldn't let myself wash it even when it looked horrible and was greasy AF. I'm much more lax now- I wash it every 5 days or so. That works for me. 

To see what other non toxic hair products I use, click here to my Non Toxic Beauty post

Cycle Syncing by lee tilghman

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that lately I've been pretty obsessed with the idea of cycle syncing.

Now, before you roll your eyes and think, "zayum, this girl has LOST IT", hear me out. 

Cycle syncing has been around for centuries. Cycle syncing is when a woman syncs her life around her menstrual cycle. 

As someone who has been through a slew of hormonal imbalances, PCOS, eating disorders, and adrenal fatigue, my period was something that came and went on its own schedule. 

Last year I decided I was determined to work with my hormones to get my period back, and by following the Womancode protocol, reducing stress in my life, cleaning up my diet and making some major lifestyle changes, I managed to reverse my PCOS symptoms and eventually, I got my period back.

When I got my period back, I was so grateful, but still so scared that I would "mess up" and lose it again. I had some fear and anxiety that I would revert to old habits and my period would say "goodbye" once again. 

What is Cycle Syncing?

Within the book Womancode, Alisa talks about learning to sync with your cycle. The whole ideology behind this is genius- it talks about how with life, there are ups and downs, it flows. It is never constant. Sometimes we as females get stuck in thinking that life should always be the same- we should ALWAYS feel good, high energy, easily slip into our jeans, ALWAYS kill our workouts, ALWAYS eat salads. There's no balance. This is the masculine way of thinking.

Instead, Alisa urges us to embrace the feminine energy, which is that of a flowing, ever-changing cycle. Just like most things in nature (four phases of the moon, four phases of seasons), there are 4 different phases of the female cycle: Luteal, Menstrual, Follicular, and Ovulation.

Throughout these 4 different phases, your hormones are at alternating levels.  Your energy, diet, willingness to socialize and emotions differ from phase to phase. As females we are really only educated on the menstrual cycle, which is why I was so intrigued and surprised by how little I knew about the other 3 phases. 

When I was just starting out on my health journey I was an extremist, so I'd continue to push myself through hard workouts even though I didn't feel up to it. I'd still go for a long run on my period. I'd ignore what my body was telling me and I'd fight like hell against it and then end up feeling super depleted and disappointed in my body. Now, I listen to my body and I trust my intuition to tell me what it needs and wants.

Below, I've outlined some of the ways cycle syncing has benefited me in different areas of my life.

Diet

Eating a wide variety of foods is one of the most beneficial ways of balancing our hormones and making sure we are getting all the necessary nutrients our body needs to THRIVE. Below is a chart that exhibits the different foods that should be used in each cycle. Although I do my best to incorporate these foods during each phase, I am not 100% strict with myself about it. For instance, if I am in my follicular phase and someone offers up a cauliflower appetizer at a cocktail party, I won't say "how dare you try to feed me something for my luteal phase? I am in my follicular phase right now! CAN'T YOU TELL? I'M LEAVING THIS PARTY".  I follow this chart with grace and the 80/20 rule. It's been helpful to use this as a way to plan my meal preps and figure out what to eat for the week, but I don't get obsessive about it. 

Credit: Flo Living/Womancode

Credit: Flo Living/Womancode

Within Alisa's My Flo app, she also lets people know which foods help your phase and why. For instance, roasting veggies during your luteal phase helps stave off sugar cravings while a plethora of leafy greens keeps water retention at bay, both common PMS symptoms. Also, during your menstruation cycle, seaweed helps replenish the body of iron which you lose during your period. 

Exercise

When you workout according to your cycle, you are expending the most energy when you have it (follicular and ovulatory phases) and resting when your body needs to (2nd half of luteal and during menstrual phase) I know as a health and fitness lover/obsessor, this part of cycle syncing can be hard. But it takes a commitment to trusting and investing in your body for the long term as opposed to chasing the short term "high" we get from high intensity exercising. When we rest

Now that's not to say you can't go on walks or take a yoga class or lift some weights during menstruation. Every body is different but generally speaking, taking it easy during your menstrual cycle will give your body a time to rest and reset so during your next phase, you have THAT much more energy and stamina to KILL IT in your next boxing class or long distance run. 

In general, my workout schedule is as follows: SoulCycle 2x/week, HIIT 2x/week, run OR yoga 1x/week, 1 rest day. During menstruation, I take 2 or 3 days off in a row, then ease back into working out by taking a long walk, a gentle yoga class, or a pilates/light weights class. I feel so rejuvenated doing this and like I'm really on my body's team. 

Social Life/Mental State

You know how sometimes you're feeling magnetic, energized, and dying to meet new people, and  other times in the month you feel withdrawn, anti-social, like you need to do some meditating/reflecting? Then you're actually already cycle syncing. Below is a chart that examines the female social and energetic focus during each phase. I find this chart really helpful for me. 

Source: My Moontime. 

Source: My Moontime. 

In general, during my period I spend lots of time alone, reflecting, journaling, and taking long baths. I say "no" to most social situations and use this time as a way to reflect on the past month to see what worked and what didn't. Think of it as a time when your body is shedding a lining, and for you to shed specific habits, people, or hobbies that are no longer serving you. A little "spring cleaning", if you will. 

In the follicular phase, I set goals for myself and plan out my month. I also set intentions for myself and my career. It's a great time to start projects as your brain is most active with structural thinking.

During my ovulation phase, I'm normally most social. I crave time with my girlfriends and say yes to all social invites. I also plan my own calendar according to my cycle. When I'm ovulating, I am most communicative so I plan important business meetings and first dates around this time. I'm also most apt to collaborate during this time. It's a great time to call an old friend or your mother.

In the first half of my luteal phase I feel still social so I still go out and hang with friends. I'm usually most assertive during this phase, no BS. Halfway through, I begin to feel agitated if I am around people too much and begin to feel myself turning inwards. Obviously, in modern day America I don't have the pleasure of saying "no" to all social obligations and meetings, so I practice grace here and do my best to honor my body while staying realistic. 

For other resources on Cycle Syncing, I definitely recommend picking up the book Womancode, get the Floliving myFLO app, and following the FloLiving blog. Thank you Alisa Vitti for this amazing resource and book. Couldn't do it without you!

Caffeine Free Week Tips and Pointers by lee tilghman

HI!

It's day 4 of #caffeinefreeweek.

How's everyone doing?

For me, the first two days were definitely the hardest. Day 1 might as well have been a waste of a day. I was productive for maybe about 2 hours then I felt extremely lethargic, sad, anxious, and sluggish. I couldn't get off the couch. My tension headaches were so bad, I kept applying peppermint oil like it was going out of style! I also was in a bad mood and kept asking myself, "why am I doing this?" what helped the most was scrolling through Instagram reading the #caffeinefreeweek tags. It is so inspiring to me to see so many awesome ladies participating around the world. WE GOT THIS!

I got cupped on Tuesday at The Spa on Rodeo in Beverly Hills and my headaches have been gone ever since. I think it worked in relieving tons of tension on my body!

Day 2 was a little better energy wise, but I still felt slow to remember things. I would forget people's names, misspell emails, space out and just felt pretty uninspired and unmotivated. Not my usual "LET'S DO THIS" frame of mind, which was frustrating. But, I was expecting that. 

my cup marks!

my cup marks!

Even though I successfully gave up coffee a year ago, and was caffeine free for a few months last summer, this past fall, I got really into matcha and before I knew it, was downing 1-2 matchas a day, and getting anxious if I didn't have one. It became my new morning ritual. I'd also get withdrawal headaches and didn't feel like my normal spunky self if I didn't have it by 3pm. 

I started #caffeinefreeweek to give my body a reset. Not sure if I will omit the stuff for life or not, but I am glad I am giving my body and adrenals a break (even if just from matcha). 

I wanted to put together a little blog post full of recipes, support, and pointers for those of who are participating in #caffeinefreeweek April 17-23, 2017! And if you aren't participating in this week's, maybe you can start your own and use this page to give you support!

benefits of giving up caffeine

  • better sleep
  • regulate hormones
  • decreased anxiety
  • lower blood pressure
  • healthier teeth
  • lower cortisol levels
  • more in touch with your natural rhythms and energy levels
  • easier to meditate
  • better for the environment!

What I've noticed about myself so far

  • I often turn to caffeine for a boost to get me through a "lull" or moment of inspiration
  • I've been noticeably less anxious and prone to "flight or fight" responses
  • I've been sleeping way more soundly! Normally I wake up a few times a night. Not this week!
  • My mind doesn't race when I hop into bed to go to sleep. Normally I sit in bed for an hour and think... about life. My to-do lists. What I did that day. What I didn't do.
  • I've been more in touch with my hunger cues. 
  • I'm eating slower. 
  • I've been a better driver. Less road rage. 
  • hot lemon water is a LIFE SAVER. 

Plan

You know this is not going to be easy. So, make a plan! Get prepared. Use a journal. Tell your friends. Keep yourself accountable. The more you set yourself up for success, the better you'll be!! I stuck post it notes all around my apartment with encouraging messages on them to keep going. They said things like,

YOU CAN DO THIS LEE!
7 days no caffeine? There are way harder things to do in life!

You've got this!

Believe in yourself!

I also googled reasons why giving your body a break from caffeine was a good idea and bookmarked them on my browser so when the craving strikes, I was prepared to shower myself with KNOWLEDGE!

Detox Period

What will you do to make yourself feel better? When detoxing from caffeine, it is normal to feel anxious, depressed, sluggish, lethargic, out of it, tired, irritable, constipated. These are all normal. Here are some things to do when these symptoms creep up:

  • take a hot bath
  • go for a 10 minute walk around the block. If you are in an office, get up and walk to the bathroom. 
  • take a yoga class
  • do 5-10 minutes of breath work or meditation.
  • drink a tall glass of H2O.
  • go to a sauna or get a massage. or, try cupping! I loved it
  • journal. document your experiences. writing is so therapeutic
  • google reasons why giving your body a break from caffeine is so good. it gives your adrenals a break and helps you get back on track 
  • put peppermint oil on your temples
  • take a nap!
  • call a friend
  • pick flowers
  • scroll through the #caffeinefreeweek hashtag! it's so inspiring. 

I know these symptoms can be soooo hard to manage and work through, especially when they can be avoided with just a little cup of Joe or green tea- but trust me, the benefits of giving your body a break from caffeine are endless.

Ritual

Many people are not even addicted to actual caffeine itself but the ritual of it all. It's a way to start the day! So, what will you replace with your caffeinated beverage with? Below are some substitutes!

  • Chaga Latte
  • Dandelion Root Latte
  • Ginger Tea
  • Hot water + lemon
  • Nut Butter Latte
  • Teeccino
  • Moringa Latte
  • Turmeric Latte
  • Teeccino 
  • Green Juice
  • Roobios tea blends

Check some of my recipes below for inspiration!

Favorite Non Toxic Products by lee tilghman

Ah, non toxic skincare. It seems to be all the rage right now. And for good reason.

We are finally waking up to the fact that living a healthy life goes way beyond just the food that we eat. Our skin is our largest organ, and many of the products (yes, even the ones that claim to be "natural") contain endocrine-disruptors, which are any chemicals that can harm your hormones, your brain, and your reproductive system. These products seep into our skin and can cause loads of issues immediately (dry, itchy skin) or further down the line (infertility). It's a big overtaking to get rid of all your toxic stuff. I did it all in one fell swoop. I threw away all my toxic stuff and immediately replaced it with non toxic stuff. For you, it may work to do it step by step. Everyone is different!

It can be overwhelming to be 100% non toxic. For me, I like to think of it as the 80/20 rule. I try to stay non toxic 80% of the time but I realize that living in Los Angeles in the modern world I need some wiggle room. This also will help keep me sane and from getting too obsessive (since we know how that goes!)

Disclaimer: none of the brands in this post paid me to say anything. I truly and genuinely adore these products, and want you guys to benefit from them too. I use them every day. 

Hair:

Phylia Clean Hair Shampoo Goes on light, and smells amazing! I only wash my hair 1x a week, and this stuff is the bomb. I keep it in my hair for 3 minutes before washing out. 

Phylia Conditioner This stuff was recommended to me by my friend Melissa. Her hair is amazing and I was like... I WANT on that! I've been using it for a few weeks and love it. I keep it in my hair for 5 minutes before washing out. 

Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo If you follow me on Instagram stories you know I am grease training my hair right now, so dry shampoo has been coming in clutch. I don't put it on every day, just 1-2x a week. 

Face:

Shamanuti Activated Charcoal Cleanser I don't wash my face every day, but when I do, it's with this stuff. It smells like patchouli, lavender, and all that's good in the world. Plus it's charcoal so it's cool. 

Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream This stuff is sooo creamy and good. I put it on every night before bed. 

S.W. Basics Makeup Remover Love this stuff! It works so well and gets all my makeup off. Be careful as sometimes if you get it in your eyes it will sting (at least on me). The ingredients are so safe and I feel great using this product. 

Body:

Plant Apothecary Body Wash in Calm Down This stuff smells like a dream and works wonders! It gets super sudsy and feels great on my skin. 

Primal Pit Paste Deodorant in Lavender I love this deodorant. Been using it for 3 years non stop. At first it's kind of hard getting used to applying deodorant with your hand, but its super earth friendly and you get used to it quick! I always wash my hands after applying to get the residue off my hands. I apply once in the AM and it lasts me all day, unless I am super active then I'll apply again at 2 or 3 or before going for dinner. I loveeee it. 

Le Labo Perfume Okay, this doesn't need much explaining. Le Labo smells amazing and they use no harsh chemicals in their perfumes. I love mixing Noir + Santal 33. 

Coconut Oil for moisturizer. No need to get fancy folks. Coconut oil is one of the best moisturizers around. I apply it on my skin 2-3x a week at night before bed. 

Makeup:

Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer I love how sheer this is. When I apply it you can still see my freckles. If you don't like sheer stuff then I don't recommend this stuff. But I personally love it, plus it has SPF in it!

Ilia Illuminator in Sway SWAY! This stuff is good for special occasions when I want an extra 'KA-BANG!' on my face. I apply it to cheekbones, eyebrow bones and the flat of my nose. 

Lily Lolo Mascara This stuff is good. I love it, it goes on clean, comes off clean, doesn't smudge. Works as great as all the other toxic brands out there IMO!

Lily Lolo Eyeliner YES! Non toxic eyeliner. think about close your putting that ish to your eyes. So important to be natural for this one. I love the pencil. Very precise and goes on super clean. 

Lily Lolo Pressed Bronzer in Miami Beach Just a little bit goes a long way with this stuff! I adore it, though. 

Teeth:

Desert Essence Dental Floss Can't forget non toxic floss! This stuff is the best. I floss every single day, and you should too!

David's Toothepaste I was first introduced to this product at Expo West 2015. I fell in the love with the packaging but upon taking it home and trying it myself, I fell in love with pretty much everything about it. The ingredients are clean, it's not in plastic, and it leaves my teeth feeling fine and refreshed with no weird aftertaste. It's a lightly sweet flavor. 

I know it can seem so overwhelming to switch over to non toxic beauty products, but, I found it easiest to just to it all in one fell swoop. I threw out all the endocrine blocking products in my home and ordered new ones to be delivered ASAP.

What are your favorite natural beauty products?

Black Bean Dip by lee tilghman

The dips of all dips. Spread this stuff on your sandwiches, top your tacos with it, your eggs, macro bowls, or dip your roasted veggies into. 

This is so addictive and SO easy to make. I literally make a batch each week and it never lasts more than a few days!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can organic canned black beans
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander (optional)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • ~1/4 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

Drain and rinse black beans well. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz for 2 minutes. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to three days in the fridge!

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How I Quit Coffee by lee tilghman

Coffee. It's what fuels our society.

It's how 54% of Americans begin their day. 

It's more than just a drink, it's culture, it's family, it's social. It's kind of like alcohol. 

It's also extremely addictive.

If you read my adrenal fatigue blog post last week, you will know that giving up coffee was so important in my quest to re-balance my hormones, heal my PCOS, and reverse my adrenal fatigue. 

My Coffee History

I started drinking coffee as a 16 year old. As soon as we got our driver's licenses, my friends and I would make daily stops at the Dunkin' Donuts before school started each day. It was such a fun ritual. I'd get a medium hazelnut or French vanilla coffee with skim milk. LOL, those were the days!
Before I knew it, coffee was a part of my every day life. I never experienced any issues with it, unless of course I didn't have it one day, then I'd get a withdrawal headache as my body began detoxing from the caffeine addiction. I even drank it some nights before going out and had no issues even sleeping.

But suddenly, when I turned 24, coffee started to make me feel jittery. I'd feel a "high" for about 30 minutes upon drinking, then I'd sweat immediately after drinking it. I'd become noticeably more agitated on days that I drank it. I'd also be an anxious mess the entire day, and stress eat and feel really anxious and sometimes depressed. This was the beginning of my adrenal fatigue.

And because coffee stimulates those adrenals, it puts your body under so much stress. It's no wonder I was so irritable! 

Why Eliminate it?

Well, first off....Coffee is a stimulant, and any sort of stimulant is a major no-no for those of us with PCOS. Coffee has an immediate effect on insulin sensitivity and can make your body insulin resistant upon consumption. 

Secondly, coffee gets your adrenaline pumping and causes your body to do crazy things. It drains your adrenals and puts your body under a state of stress. It increases your heart rate, dilates your pupils, increases sensitivity to external sensors including sound, light, and touch. Have you ever jumped out of your seat when someone approached you soon after coffee?

Now you know why. 

Thirdly, it's a strong drug and addictive AF! I didn't like the idea of relying so heavily on a beverage everyday to feel good and energized. 

I want to share some of the tricks that I used in order to quit my coffee addiction. 

To be 100% transparent, I still drink caffeine in the form of matcha, green tea, and cacao.

How I Quit

I'd love to sit down and tell you that I quit coffee the day that I started to experience these negative symptoms associated with caffeine. However, I'd be lying to you. 

With any addiction, I was in denial for a bit. Deep down, I KNEW that coffee was totally messing up my body and making me super anxious, but I couldn't imagine living without it. I also wasn't really trying. It was so tough because though coffee made me feel super anxious, irritated and stressed out, I still preferred that over the insane headache and overall crappy feeling I'd get if I didn't even have a cup.

Quitting coffee was like choosing between the lesser of two evils.

After I moved to Los Angeles I did some research and realized how important quitting coffee was in my quest to heal my body and find balance. I picked up my yoga practice around this time, which helped me to feel grounded, safe, and secure as I transitioned to a life in a new city. I think the feeling of groundedness that yoga provided me with gave me a reference for how good I COULD feel, and how coffee just completely lifted me away from the sense of calm and security and authentic LEE. 

Tips for Quitting

So, about a year later, I decided to quit coffee. Below are my tips for quitting. 

  1. Set a date, and stick to it.
    • When I was ready to cut out coffee, I set a date 30 days in advance that would be first day without coffee, and I stuck to that. I marked it in my calendar, told all my friends, and really held myself accountable. I still remember the day. It was January 4, 2016. I quit coffee cold turkey, no weaning off. This worked best for me, though everybody is different.
  2. Replace it with chai tea
    • I knew going cold turkey without caffeine would be too much, so I did bought tons of Tazo Chai Tea from Starbucks to make myself at home. And boy, did I drink tons of it. Upon waking, I'd immediately boil water and steep some chai tea for myself. I'd keep refilling the water using the same tea bag for a few hours until it was so water-y and I'd strain all the tea from the leaves. I was a chai junkie! Chai gave me a steady burst of energy without the jitters of coffee. Also, the aroma and ritual of chai was very reminiscent of coffee. It has warming spices like cinnamon and cardamom that reminded me of coffee. 
  3. Incorporating herbs
    • A week into my new life sans-coffee, I purchased Ashwagandha from Sunpotion, and added 1 tsp of this to my chai tea. Ashwagandha is a powdered herb that helps relieve stress and anxiety. It helped me ease anxiety and diminish the coffee withdrawals.  
  4. Yoga
    • My first day quitting coffee also happened to be the first day of my yoga teacher training. Coincidence? I think NOT! I purposefully chose that day because practicing yoga filled a void inside me that I was filling with the ritual of coffee. Yoga made me feel more connected to myself and my purpose. I also felt physically better after practicing. So, I chose this time to quit coffee since I knew I'd be doing tons of yoga. You don't have to take on yoga teacher training in order to quit coffee, but I do suggest doing yoga as it helps with the detox period, and it helps you stay calm and collected during this stressful time. 
  5. Drink tons of water
    • WATER. It's what we are (mostly) made of! Quitting coffee was a great excuse to step up my hydration game. I started drinking 3-4 liters a day, and that helped me feel more alert, decrease the headaches, feel awake in the AM, and just better all around. I mean, what does water NOT cure?
  6. Switch to herbal tea in the afternoon
    • When I say I drank tons of tea, I mean I drank tons. I would go through about 2-3 boxes of tea each week. I was obsessed with Tazo’s Chai, but would always have a few cups of Celestial Seasonings Spiced Cinnamon Apple after 12 noon to avoid too much caffeine and disrupting my sleep patterns. In retrospect, I would probably go with organic teas and ones without “natural flavorings” but this was before I was exposed to all of this (Thank you, Womancode, for making me change the way i see life).
  7. Avoid coffee shops and other triggers your first few months
    • This was especially important because coffee shops were triggering for me. I mean, think about it. It's like an alcoholic walking into a liquor store. The familiar smells of espresso were almost too tempting to bear. I knew this because right outside my apartment is an adorable coffee shop that I had frequented a few times a week, and when I quit coffee, walking by that shop was really hard because of the smell. Instead of meeting friends for coffee, I suggested we go for a meal, a hike, or a yoga class.
  8. Find a support group
    • Tell friends. Get support. Coffee (and all caffeine) is a drug, and getting of it is not easy. Prepare yourself! If you're thinking of quitting, join my #caffeienefreeweek April 17-24. You don't have to sign up, just share your experiences every day for 7 days using the hashtag #caffeienefreeweek. 
  9. Adopt new rituals
    • As we all know, part of the allure of coffee is the ritual of coffee itself. It's important to note this so you are prepared. If you used to wake up everyday and immediately start brewing yourself a cup of coffee, you need to replace that with something else or it will be really hard. I suggest fixing yourself a cup of hot water with lemon, going on a quick walk, meditating, listening to a podcast or heading right to the gym to workout (sweating will naturally increase your energy!). Believe it or not, it's easier for us to adopt new rituals when we are outside of our normal routine. For instance, if you're heading on vacation soon, that's a good time to cut out coffee since you're already going to be doing something outside of your normal routine.

The above tips helped me in successfully quitting coffee.

Like I said, I still drink caffeine in the form of matcha and green tea, kombucha, as well as the occasional black tea (I do love earl grey!)

For me, matcha is my #1. I love the way it gives me a steady energetic creative flow, keeps me focused without the jitters, and I don't experience a come down. Sometimes if I drink too much of it, I can feel the effects of over-caffeination coming on, which is why I definitely monitor it and don't drink it after 1pm in the afternoon. 

Matcha also has a slew of other health benefits:

  • high in antioxidants
  • improves mental focus + clarity
  • detoxifying properties
  • good for hair skin + nails!
  • contains an amino acid known as L-Theanine which promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain
  • induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers"

Speaking of giving up coffee, I am going to host a virtual #caffeinefreeweek on instagram next month. It begins April 17 and will go through April 24th. We are going to completely detox from all forms of caffeine: coffee, matcha, black tea, white tea, even kombucha! If you're interested, join! I'm really looking forward to documenting sharing our experiences together. I'll be giving daily updates on my instagram stories. All you need to do it tag your post #caffeinefreeweek and you're good!

I hope this helps you in your quest to give up "the juice"! 

My Classic Cauliflower Blueberry Smoothie by lee tilghman

This classic, lightly sweetened mostly-cauliflower smoothie is a great introductory smoothie for those wishing to try a vegetable-based smoothie. It's smooth, thick, and creamy. Trust me, you won't even miss the banana! This is one of my all time favorite smoothies, and a regular occurrence in my breakfast rotation. 

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen organic cauliflower (I buy organic, pre washed raw cauliflower florets from @wholefoods)
  • 2 scoop vanilla @cleanprogram protein powder
  • 3/4 cup frozen organic blueberries
  • 1/2 cup my homemade hemp milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 frozen avocado
  • 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Blend for 3 minutes on high in your @vitamix.

  2. Pour into a glass and top with 1 tbsp coconut flakes, 1 tsp pistachios, and 1 tsp cashew butter.