January Playlist by lee tilghman

Happy New Year Everybody!

It's 2018- and I'm real excited to be sharing my first playlist of the year with ya'll. 

It's a good one... I've been building it over my past weeks traveling so it brings about all sorts of feels. I'm still in Stockholm right now working remotely and doing some exploring in this beautiful city. Lots of growing and learning and self discovery happening. Especially when traveling. More on that later though. 

 Back to the playlist...It's got new stuff from Billie Eilish, new discoveries of mine like Mia Todd, SOHN, Lido and Jack Grace. It's a good mixture of upbeat stuff as well as some more mellow tunes to relax to. I made fat balls to it last night.  I hope you like it!

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xo,

Lee

Travel Friendly Matcha Latte by lee tilghman

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My matcha mornings are incredibly important to me. 

They set the tone for the entire day. 

Making matcha each morning at home has become such a staple part of my routine, and a morning doesn’t even really feel complete without it anymore.

When I travel, a lot of my schedule is already up in the air, so it's really important for me to be able to carry that little part of my routine with me wherever I go. Bringing along my makings for a matcha latte when I travel brings a little piece of home with me. And it doesn't require bringing tons of equipment. Other benefits of making your own matcha on the road? It is more cost effective as I don't have to go out and buy matcha. It saves me time so I'm not spending hours on my phone hunting down matcha lattes at nearby restaurants. And, it's healthier, since a lot of cafes use pre sweetened matcha or even sugar-y almond milk. 

BUT FIRST...WHY MATCHA?

Matcha gives me steady energy and focus without the crash, anxiety and jitters that coffee can give me. I gave up coffee (read the full story here) because of my health issues and matcha became my caffeinated beverage of choice. 

Matcha is a powder made from the whole green tea leaf. It is known to give drinkers a ‘calm euphoria’, thanks to the high levels of L-theanine. L-theanine alters the effects of caffeine, promoting alertness and helping avoid the crash in energy levels that can follow caffeine consumption (Source). Matcha is also beneficial for the skin due to its high levels of antioxidants and liver-protecting qualities. 

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR MATCHA LATTE MATERIALS

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2-1-1 COLLAGEN AND MATCHA Vital Protein's new Matcha Collagen product combines 2 key ingredients of my matcha lattes in one, matcha and collagen. Before this product came out, I would bring little jars of matcha, single use packets of collagen, and whisks with me. Now, I just bring a few servings of their matcha collagen in a stasher bag or the whole container if I am going away for an extended period of time. This product contains 10g of collagen per serving which helps support healthy hair, skin, nails, and leaky gut. Read more about collagen on my Collagen Blog Post

COCONUT BUTTER Bring some with you or purchase a local health food store, up to you. Just make sure if you are flying with it, you are checking your coconut butter when traveling or the TSA may deem it a liquid and confiscate it. Sad.

CINNAMON I usually purchase a little cinnamon at a local grocery store when I arrive to my destination. If unavailable, bring some with you in its original jar.  Make sure it is sealed tightly so it does not explode!

BLENDER If there is a blender at my Airbnb or hotel I'll make the matcha latte in that. Always ask your Airbnb host if there is a blender available to your use. If not, I'll use an aerolatte whisk (which you can purchase on Amazon) and make it in my hotel room. These are small, compact, and super easy to travel with. 

NO NUT MILK I don’t need to use almond or nut milk because the coconut butter adds a nice thick and creamy taste without having to go out and buy almond or another nut milk. I'm all about the convenience factor. 

HOT WATER Most hotels will bring up a thermos of hot water free of charge to your room. Just call and ask. If staying in an Airbnb or home, use their stovetop and kettle or a saucepan to heat water.

ADAPTOGENS bring with! I like to bring a few different jars of adaptogens with me when I go away. Ashwagandha or yin power are favorites. 

HOW I DRINK MY MATCHA


The addition of collagen and coconut butter adds protein and fat, which help to prepare the stomach lining. Green tea and plain matcha on an empty stomach can cause digestive irritation, nausea or other stomach issues which you may have noticed. Adding collagen and coconut help make this problem go away. 

I drink my matcha collagen latte in conjunction to food. This does not replace food for me. I usually wait until after my workout to drink my matcha unless my workout is later on in the morning.

I follow the 12-hour window in which I wait 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. This helps give my digestive system a break.

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp adaptogens of choice (ashwagandha and chaga are a favorite of mine for travel)
  • 14 oz. hot water

Instructions

  1. Blend matcha, coconut butter, cinnamon, yin and water together in a high speed blender.
  2. Blend for 2 minutes so as to get the most froth possible.
  3. Drink immediately or store in an airtight container to drink cold over ice within 24 hours.

This post is sponsored by my favorite collagen brand, Vital Proteins. THANK YOU Vital Proteins for supporting me and making Lee From America possible. 

Chewy Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF) (Egg Free) by lee tilghman

Tis the season.

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The holiday season. And with that (for me at least) comes a huge desire to bake. I want my house to smell like a French bakery, with notes of sugar and butter and spices. Yeah, the candles are nice, but sometimes I just want the real deal.

And same goes for diet. Usually I like to adhere to a pretty low sugar lifestyle, but I like to treat myself and if there's one time of year to do that- it's absolutely the holiday season.

So behold...my chewy gooey chocolate chip cookies. The answer to your "I want a gluten free cookie but I don't want to eat cardboard" prayers.

They contain a secret ingredient..almond milk cream cheese. This makes them soft and gooey without the crunchy stale taste many gluten free cookies have. 

I used this this recipe as a foundation and adapted to make it a little more #LFA friendly. My recipe uses no refined sugars and I halved the butter and added some almond butter in there for a nice nutty texture. My recipe is also egg free so it's perfect for those with egg allergies or sensitivities. 

It is a little step intensive so make sure you follow each step carefully for the best possible results- and watch the cookies to make sure they don't burn! Happy baking, ya'll!

Loosely adapted from My Gluten-Free Kitchen

Chewy Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (I use Trader Joe's or Cup4Cup)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if gluten-free flour blend has xanthan or guar gum already)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan)
  • 2 ounces almond milk cream cheese, room temp (sub with vegan or dairy cream cheese if you'd like!)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (sub vegan if dairy-free)
  • 4 tbsp almond butter, room temp
  • 1  1/2 cup packed maple sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder (or extract)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax seed, 4 tbsp water. mix in bowl, let sit five minutes)
  • 3.3 oz of chopped up no added sugar Eating Evolved chocolate bars, or chocolate chips!

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk gluten free flour, xanthum gum (only if your GF flour doesn't have it already in the mix), salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter
  3. Place cream cheese into the stand mixer bowl. Add butter and almond butter over cream cheese. Add maple sugar and mix on medium to for 2 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla bean powder and flax eggs. Mix low until well combined.
  5. Add flour to mixture and beat on low until well mixed.
  6. Add the chocolate chips and continue to mix. 
  7. Cover the bowl with a cloth and place in fridge for 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 375F.
  9. Remove from fridge and let sit for 20 minutes.
  10. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper (do not use cooking spray!)
  11. Using your hands or a cookie scooper, scoop mounds of cookie dough to the parchment paper. 10 cookies per sheet works great.
  12. Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes. Remove. They will still be super soft and undercooked but they harden within minutes. 
  13. Eat and enjoy within 2 days (but definitely best enjoyed immediately with a tall glass of hemp milk)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Lee From America Guide to Los Angeles by lee tilghman

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Los Angeles.

It's got the ocean, the mountains, the sunshine, the city. It's filled with diverse communities, amazing culture, delicious restaurants, museums, and yes, countless juice bars.

Los Angeles is awesome. But it's big and sometimes hard to navigate. So to help, I've compiled my favorites spots into a blog post for you guys to help take over the city. So whether you are visiting for a long weekend or just moved to town, this healthy guide to Los Angeles is a perfect place to start, no matter which side of town you're in!

Note: The dollar signs next to each establishment reflect the cost associated with each outting. 

The inside of Botanica Restaurant

The inside of Botanica Restaurant

Botanica $$ - One of my favorite spots for brunch or dinner, this seasonal, gorgeously decorated cafe offers a delicious selection of vegetable centric dishes with a Mediterranean-Cali flair. Think Turkish eggs, smoked salmon with salsa verde, or romanesco and grilled seasonal vegetables. The most difficult decision will be picking out which item to eat. The banana bread with ghee dip is a MUST though. 

Guisado’s Tacos $ - this local taco chain makes the freshest, most flavorful tacos in LA. They really care about their ingredients and you can taste it. Make sure to check out their daily veggie taco special.

Sunset Nursery $$ - the place to go to for all of your plant needs! They carry such a wide variety of plants that are all extremely healthy and thriving. Their staff is really knowledgeable and can help you answer any questions you may have regarding plants. Plus, when you purchase a plant from here you can always bring it back for TLC if it's having problems. Many stores don't have this kind of mom and pop policy. 

Honey Hi $$ - the perfect destination spot for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, Honey Hi offers a variety of bowls filled with grass fed meats, organic seasonal vegetables, delicious dips and to-die-for pestos. Their iced coconut milk matcha is divine! Nestled in the center of Echo Park, its a cafe you won't want to miss. 

Color Camp $$$- Where I get all my manicures done! This female-owned highly-customized manicure bar does the sickest manicures in the game. You can get non toxic "safe gel" manicures that last for a month and are cruelty-free, free of Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, DBP and Camphor (all harmless to the nails). Select a seasonal design from their design board for inspiration or just a basic color. The choice is yours!

Kinship Yoga $ - Lovely, supportive yoga studio in Highland Park, offering a unique space, affordable classes, a wonderful atmosphere. It's a gem! 

So much love for LA hiking!

So much love for LA hiking!

Griffith Park (free) - best view of LA, period. This gorgeous hike offers stunning, 360 views of Los Angeles and there are many different ways of getting up and down the mountain, you'll never get bored. 

Erewhon $$$ - An LA institution. Check this place out for delicious smoothies, amazing sushi takeaway, raw vegan desserts, adaptogenic bulletproof coffees, grain-free granolas, paleo bread, and real talk, some overpriced produce. Warning, you may see Usher or Jake Gyllenhaal inside- it's a celebrity sighting spot. Keep your cool.

THE best matcha in town, at Eightfold coffee

THE best matcha in town, at Eightfold coffee

The Getty grounds

The Getty grounds

Eightfold Coffee $$ - best matcha latte in town! Located on Sunset Blvd halfway between Echo Park and downtown LA, their almond milk matchas are out of this world. It's because they use Ippodo Tea!

The Getty (free) - get your dose of culture at the beautiful Getty museum, the most beautiful museum grounds in LA! And the only thing that makes art more beautiful is when it's free. From Van Gogh to Monet to the succulent garden and Japanese garden, there's so much to discover here- you can even bring your own picnic to eat on the lawn. 

Belcampo Meat Co $$ -  my go-to spot for bone broth, burgers, grassfed meats and free-range eggs. Belcampo is doing the whole sustainable meat thing right. They have a meat market and a butcher shop. 

Moon Juice $$$- Their adaptogenic matcha latte with pearl powder is pretty much out of this world. It's on the pricier side, so I save it for special occasions. They have a few locations sprinkled throughout LA.  

Hope you enjoy the guide to Los Angeles. This city holds a special place in my heart and I hope you all enjoy your time here. Happy traveling!

Intro to House Plants by lee tilghman

It's no secret that I am a plant addict.

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Not only do these big green beautiful things look good, but they also have incredible health benefits.

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Studies show, putting just one plant in your environment can:

  • lower cortisol/stress levels
  • reduce airborne toxins and dust particles
  • regulate temperature
  • reduce carbon dioxide levels
  • calm the mind by making you feel you are in nature (a known relaxant)

On top of that, plants in your home are a wonderful interior design hack. They can turn any dark and dreary corner into a beautiful oasis. They are the perfect complement to a shelf, piece of furniture, empty space or bathroom nook. 

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Lastly, plants are fun- they are something to take care of, watch grow, and change with the seasons.

When I first moved to California from NYC in 2015, I used my more spacious living space as an opportunity to fill it up with plants. I didn't really know what I was doing but I just went for it. 

Now, almost three years later, I consider myself a plant lady. I have plants next to my bed, in my kitchen, crawling up my bathroom wall, and hanging over my studio office. 

They're like pets, but without the commitment.

Waking up every morning and seeing their green leaves definitely starts my day on the right foot.

Caring for plants can seem overwhelming, but it's actually quite easy! Below are some of my favorite types, tricks, and routines for my plant babies. 

Favorite Plants for around the home

Maranta. These guys like high humidity. 

Maranta. These guys like high humidity. 

  • Monstera
  • Rubber Trees
  • Snake Plants
  • ZZ Plants
  • Devil's Ivy
  • Lipstick Plants
  • Philodendren
  • Maranta
  • Cacti varieties

Plant Care

Shower time, kids!

Shower time, kids!

  • One day a week, I walk around to all of my plants to see if the soil is dry by sticking my finger in the dirt one inch. If it's dry, I give them a soak. You can also look to see if the plant needs water by their leaves. Perky leaves means the plant's happy, flimsy soft leaves means it's thirsty. 
  • Once a month I bathe all my plants (except the cacti). This gives them a nice "rainstorm". Room temp water is best. I pick them up, place them in the tub, and turn on the shower until each plant has about an inch of water on the soil. Then I let them drain there for as long as they need. The bigger plants obviously take longer, so a rotation is always a good idea. 
  • When it comes to cacti and succulents, my trick is "mindful neglection". You have to play hard to get with these guys, but don't forget about them. Once a month is usually a fair estimate for how often. A good way of remembering is to always water them every time you have your period.  :-)
  • Every few months, I walk around with a wet cotton cloth and gently dust off the leaves of the bigger plants (monstera and rubber) it's crazy how dust accumulates on plants, too! Give your plants a nice cleaning by doing this every few months. 
  • Light: every plant needs light. Make sure you are giving your plant adequate light. If you notice your plant is looking sad, try shifting it to a different area of the home. Plants like to move around. You'll know when the plant is happy. 
  • Yellow leaves: this is normal sometimes. Leaves grow and leaves go, it's like a lesson of life. I like to go around and remove the leaves once it's all the way yellow. Don't remove them until they are fully yellow, though as sometimes they are just changing colors!
  • Housekeeping: go into the soil a few times a year and remove dead and shredded leaves and other weeds. Makes the plant look brand spankin' new!
  • Watering globes are fantastic for those who travel. They slowly drip water into your soil while you are away. 
    *Please keep in mind each individual plant has different needs, so google is a great resource for finding out the individual water/humidity/sunlight levels for each type of plant you purchase.

Where I get my plants

I buy my plants from local nurseries here in LA, but my favorite go-to for find a new one is actually Craiglist! People are so often having to move or relocate really quickly and just want to find good homes for their plants, so they sell them for cheap! It's a gold mine, seriously. I don't recommend purchasing plants from Ikea, they are normally in rough shape and don't last long. 

Saturdays with my kids

Saturdays with my kids

Other tips

  • If you are interested in training your ivy to climb the walls, I give them a fair amount of sun and let them grow long. As the branches get longer, I stick a nail or tack into a wall, and place it on top. This helps move the direction the ivy grows. 
  • Propagating (or, breaking off a piece of a plant to let it grow its own roots) is also a wonderful way to double your plants. You can propagate most plants and succulents with a little bit of time and patience. Great way to split a plant with a friend! 

I hope these tips help you all get inspired to bring some plants into your home! I love mine, and I'm never looking back. If you already care for some, what are your favorites?

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Plastic Free Week: The What, The Why, The How by lee tilghman

Starting tomorrow, I'm going going to consciously reduce my plastic use for a week. Today's blog post is all about the What, the Why, and The How of #LFAplasticFreeWeek.

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Plastic. It's everywhere.  I'm not kidding. Just peep into your local grocery store, US Post Office, bodega or toy store and you will plastic everywhere. We bottle our water in it, wrap our sandwiches in it, store our crackers in it.

I like to think I am pretty aware of my own plastic consumption. This began at age 18 when I worked on organic farms for 2 years. I learned all about the magic of bulk items, reducing, up cycling and recycling. In California, we have a ban on plastic bags. I bring my cloth totes with me to the farmer's market. I use a period cup. I bring a S’well water bottle with me wherever I go. I use cloth bags to store vegetables in. But there is always room for improvement. And I am definitely not perfect. 

This will be an experiment of sort, and a difficult one, I know.

Yes, doing things like buying groceries in bulk is great and all, but they offer plastic bags to put those items into. The thing is, using plastic is convenient. And cheap. But let's be real - it’s killing our earth, which I'll get into later. 

Consciously trying to live a plastic free life is difficult is an privilege.

Running around worrying how I’ll get my cacao nibs home in my glass mason jar is indeed a first world problem. But as someone who has a job in the wellness space, I feel like it’s my duty to draw more attention to this issue and make more of an effort in this area.

This is not just an environmental problem. It is a class, race, and social justice issue. Many people don’t have the luxury of worrying about their plastic use. But I recognize my privilege, and the next step for me is to reduce my own consumption of plastic. So I'm doing an #LFAPlasticFreeWeek. 

Especially during the holiday season, it’s a very difficult thing thing to avoid. Our wrapping paper is even covered in plastic wrap. This is the month of consumption, after all: material items, wrapping gifts, it’s a lot. Because of this, I wanted to try to live 7 days without using plastic. 

The What

Here are my guidelines:

No single-use plastic. 

  • No plastic straws
  • No plastic tea bags (you know, the “luxury ones”) 
  • No plastic water bottles
  • No plastic tupperware
  • No makeup wipes
  • No takeout (unless I bring my own glass tupperware to the restaurant)
  • No single use tea bags (favoring loose leaf in a tea steeper)
  • No plastic period materials (no tampons or pads)- silicone cups only!
  • No plastic utensils
  • No plastic USPS bags/Fedex bags - cardboard only
  • No bubble wrap
  • No plastic cups
  • No plastic floss (some floss is made from endocrine disrupting plastic)
  • No zip lock bags
  • No plastic bags at the grocery store (that includes not buying any items that are wrapped in plastic or transporting them in plastic)
  • No plastic stirrers for coffee
  • No single-use plastic items (coffee cups and lids, juice bottles, etc.)
  • Making an effort not to purchase items in plastic (new makeup, deodorant, plastic floss, food in plastic bags) 
  • No vegetables in plastic wrap (no baby carrots- only the loose carrots instead and washing them myself)
  • No leafy greens wrapped in plastic or in plastic containers-  only the loose leaf lettuce and wash them yourself at home. 
  • No saran wrap

What’s okay:

  • Utilizing items in my home that I already own that contain plastic
    • Cell phone
    • Fridge
    • Containers for food: protein powder/coconut butter/collagen, yogurt, etc. 
    • Library or credit cards and things of the like
    • Kombucha (with a plastic top)
    • Reading glasses
    • Toothpaste, deodorant, etc. (but if you want to make your own - go ahead!)

I will be collecting all of my plastic usage in a mason jar so I can see how much plastic I used at the end of the week. 

Items I will be using in place of plastic

The Why

  1. 91% of plastic isn’t recycled - https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/ 

  2. Plastic takes 400+ years to biodegrade - https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

  3. Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century. - https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html 

  4. The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year. -https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html

  5. In fact, more than half of all bottled water comes from the tap. -https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/about/live-healthy/tap-water-vs-bottled-water

  6. Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest marine trash vortex, but there are many more in existence, and it's far from being the only one. -https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/ 

  7. Plastic is an endocrine (or hormone) disruptor. Plastics are xenoestrogens, meaning they mimic estrogens in the body. And an excess of estrogen can cause hormonal imbalance. This can effect weight, mood, energy levels, sleep, fertility, sex drive and appetite. Read more about plastic and hormonal imbalances and plastic here. 

  8. You eat much fewer processed foods.
    • Going plastic free is a great way to ensure that you will be eating much fewer processed foods- which is better for our bodies, AND the planet. 
    • Many of your favorite snacks in plastic are things you can easily make yourself (hummus, crackers). The benefits of making this stuff yourself is that you’ll learn how to make it, it will be healthier since you will be making it yourself and you’ll get a huge boost of confidence knowing that you can indeed make your favorite ready-made snacks at home. 

The How

  • Be prepared. The night before leaving for work in the morning, pack your bag with your necessities: glass jar for coffee/tea, utensils, a cloth napkin, tote bags in case you go shopping. 
  • Meal prep - prep your food in the beginning of the week to prepare for plastic free week. 
  • Give yourself extra time.
    • Plastic free week requires extra time! Make sure you give this to yourself. Take into account that grocery shopping with take a few extra minutes since you’ll be taring out the items beforehand and wont have the convenience of grabbing plastic items. This mean you can bring your container first to the customer service clerk to weigh it, and then when you go to check out - they'll reduce that weight.
    • You’ll be doing a lot of cooking this week as take out items often contain plastic so give yourself plenty of time to cook breakfast and dinner. 

Good plastic free week recipe ideas:

  • Fat balls
  • Overnight oats
  • Chia pudding
  • Homemade granola
  • Homemade nut milks (sunflower, hemp)

It sometimes feels like as a country we are more concerned with being efficient, price-friendly, and immediately gratified than worrying about the future of our planet for us and our children. Fact is, most people don’t care about their plastic use. It's much easier using a to-go cup from your local coffee shop then bringing a mason jar with you in the morning and everywhere you go. 

Should we raise taxes on plastic items? Or ban plastic all together? What if Starbucks required people to start bringing in their own cups? What if we made it a requirement for students to bring their own reusable utensils, plates and cups to school? If just like homework, it was a requirement? What would happen then?

I think we have the capacity do this. And it starts small. With everyday actions.

We are smart enough to make an iPhone. We’ve been to space. We’ve created the internet.

I believe we can reduce our plastic waste. 

Join me in all your plastic-free glory by tagging #LFAPlasticFreeWeek. I can't wait to see what you're doing to reduce your plastic. Let's start a movement!

December Playlist by lee tilghman

Happy December everyone!

It's the most wonderful time of the year. and by that I mean, it is a time of reflection, introversion, being with close family and friends, and getting cozy. This time of year can also bring about feelings of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety. So whatever you are feeling, just feel it, and know it will pass. And remember that from darkness, there will come light.

And with the new month, comes a new playlist.

This month's playlist is relaxing, upbeat, sweet, melancholy and flowy. Perfect for yoga, light hikes, driving around town or wrapping presents to. I especially love listening to these songs as I cook food with loved ones. Some of the songs make me cry, especially the first song, 'Mystery of Love' by Sufjan Stevens. This song is so good, I weep. Other artists featured on this playlist are Sango, M. Ward, LO, Bedouine, Tom Misch, newbie Emmett Kai, and the Psychedelic Furs. Many songs are pulled from the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack. (great movie btw)

No matter what holiday you celebrate, if any at all, I wish you have a wonderful month, filled with all the things you want + need. 

xo
Lee

All About Collagen by lee tilghman

You guys have probably heard all the buzz about collagen peptides, and seen it in my recipes, but since it's a fairly "new" health trend, I'm sharing all there is to know about collagen in today's post. Consider this your beginner's guide to collagen

I've been taking collagen for nearly a year (11 months to the date tomorrow!) and am extremely passionate about not only it's health benefits, but the culinary aspect of collagen as well. It offers 20g of protein per serving and adds a wonderfully delectable creamy froth to my morning matcha lattes. Win-win. 

I don't take many vitamins or supplements, but collagen is one supplement I take daily.

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What is collagen?

Collagen is the cement that holds your body together. Collagen makes up approximately 30% of the proteins in our bodies.

According to the Vital Proteins website, "Collagen peptides are short chain amino acids naturally derived from pasture-raised, grass-fed collagen protein. Unlike gelatin, these peptides are soluble in cold liquids as well as hot. Collagen peptides contain the same amino acids as gelatin which are identical to the protein found in skin, nails, hair, bones, cartilage, and joints. Gluten Free, rBGH Free, (and) Non GMO."

There are 2 different types of collagen: Marine and Peptides. Marine collagen is derived from fish, while peptides are derived from grass-fed beef. 

Vital Proteins offers both marine collagen and collagen peptides. Both are unflavored. 

Vital Proteins offers both marine collagen and collagen peptides. Both are unflavored. 

What kind of collagen do you recommend?

I recommend using Vital Proteins collagen peptides. It's of the highest quality so you can ensure you are getting the best of the best. Their collagen is awesome - 20g of protein, flavorless, and goes great in hot and cold drinks as well as food.  I switch it up between the marine collagen and the collagen peptides.  

What are the health benefits of collagen?

Collagen is known to help leaky gut symptoms, control cortisol levels (stress hormone!), support your liver, and strengthen hair, skin, nails, and joints, and balance hormones because it is a great source of amino acids (arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline). According to FLO Living, we need these amino acids to produce healthy levels of hormones. Read more about collagen benefitting hormones here

this is what collagen looks like

this is what collagen looks like

Have you noticed a difference since taking collagen?

Personally, I first decided to try collagen after hearing some friends rave about its gut healing properties. At the time, I was struggling heavily with IBS and was so frustrated. My bloat, constipation and gas was effecting my self esteem and social life.

Collagen has been known to help repair the lining of our guts and improve digestion thereafter. So I decided to give it a go due to desperate measures. And, after taking it for 11 months, I can safely say it has helped me with food intolerances and healing my leaky gut like nothing else. It did not happen overnight, but with time, taking collagen daily has helped me become more tolerant of foods that used to trigger painful gas and bloat such as garlic and onions. 

Froth levels on FLEEK. 

Froth levels on FLEEK. 

It's also helped my hair grow longer, shinier, and faster. I've also noticed how rapidly my nails grow and how much stronger they are, even after getting gel manicures for years.  Lastly, my skin has immensely improved since taking collagen as well. I feel like it's cleared up and makes it glowy.

Collagen was also one of the first animal products I re-incorporated when I transitioned from veganism back to eating meat. Read the blog post here. 

I'd also say that collagen has helped me balance my hormones and re-gain a steady period. As a PCOS-er, this was a huge plus for me. 

What first drew me to collagen were the health benefits.  But I also love the way it makes my morning matchas so frothy and creamy. As you can tell with the photo to the right, by blending collagen directly into my hot morning matcha drinks, it adds a nice frothy thickness as well as 20g of protein. I love having these matcha drinks after a workout - they make me feel so energized. 

Is collagen vegan?

The collagen that I take is not vegan. Both marine (fish) and peptides (beef) collagen are derived from animals.

How do I take collagen? 

By far, the easiest and most fool-proof way to take collagen everyday (without forgetting) is by putting it in your morning beverages. I take collagen every single day (usually in the morning) in my morning matcha drinks. Some ideas for adding collagen to food are fat balls, smoothies, and pancakes. You can also add a few scoops of collagen peptides to my fat balls

Below are 3 easy recipes for collagen-filled herbal potions! All you do is blend the ingredients together in a high speed blender for a few minutes (or until frothy) and then drink up. 

From top left: spirulina, turmeric, and chaga lattes. all herbal and de-caffeinated! 

From top left: spirulina, turmeric, and chaga lattes. all herbal and de-caffeinated! 

Spirulina Latte:

  • 2 scoops Vital Proteins collagen peptides
  • 1/2 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  • 2 tbsp tocos or 1 tsp honey (for sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup hemp milk
  • 12 oz hot water 
  • blend for a few minutes or until frothy and boom!

Turmeric Latte:

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 scoops Vital Proteins collagen peptides
  • 14 oz hot water
  • sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper
  • blend for a few minutes or until frothy and boom!

Chaga Latte:

  • 2 scoops Vital Proteins marine collagen
  • 2 tsp chaga mushroom powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 tbsp MCT oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 14 oz. hot water
  • blend for a few minutes or until frothy and boom!

This post is sponsored by Vital Proteins, which also just happens to be my favorite brand of collagen. Thank you, VP for supporting my mission to share all things good in health!

How do you like your collagen?

Lee From America Holiday Gift Guide by lee tilghman

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The holidays can be stressful on so many different levels. Traveling, disrupted routines, seeing family members, and shopping for a seemingly endless list of people. But it's also a time to spread love to the people in your life, so I thought I'd share some gift ideas to take the anxiety out of this season. These are some of my favorite items that I own and that I love to give as gifts myself. 

The objects below are a range of prices, so stick within a budget that works for you!

for the friend who loves plants but can't commit -  succulents, $4

Plants make any house feel like a home, and succulents are so low maintenance, anyone can care for them. Show your local nursery some love and give your friends a few of these little plants, and maybe a little description of their needs. 

for the friend with digestive woes - licorice tea $6

The Pukka peppermint and licorice tea is great for digestion. I drink it every night after dinner. Give it to someone who struggles with bloat, constipation, or restlessness after meals.

for the meal prepper in your life - lee from america's guide to meal prep, $10

This 39- page guide comes with a 7 recipes for healthy eating all week long- including a banana free smoothie bowl, how to roast a chicken, freeze zucchinis for easy low sugar smoothies, and make the perfect sweet potato fries. I am a huge believer in meal prepping and wrote this guide just a few months ago. It's an electronic e-book so you can purchase it and include their email so it gets delivered straight to their inbox!

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for the gourmet foodie in your life - bon appetit, $15

I am always so inspired by the recipes I find in my Bon Appétit issues, so giving a yearly subscription is a gift that keeps on giving. Your loved one will think of you when they see the magazine in their mailbox or when they try a new recipe from its pages. 

this book is amazing!

this book is amazing!

for the friend who needs a little extra support - 'you are a badass', $16

The book You Are a Badass changed my perspective on what it means to truly live and how to stop doubting myself. Give this to any loved one who is a book worm or perhaps someone that could use a bit of inspiration.

for the friend who loves cozy things - ceramic mugs, $22

Ceramic mugs are amazing, and I drink my morning matcha out of one almost every single day. My favorites are from Hanselmann Pottery or A Question of Eagles. Give one as a gift, and your friend will be hooked.

for the eco-friendly friend - s'well bottles, $25

Reducing plastic use is so important to help keep our planet clean and safe. S'well reusable bottles are a great alternative to a single use plastic bottle, and can be used over and over again. And to be honest, their products are really cute!

my BFF once a month, the period cup. 

my BFF once a month, the period cup. 

for the adventurous lady who loves a good period talk - period cup, $40

In continuing the movement to reduce plastic waste, I've switched to using a period cup, and I'm never looking back. The cup can be used each month for years, and completely eliminates the need for tampons. Friends and loved ones might be hesitant to buy their own, simply because they unsure about them, so they make a great and encouraging gift. 

for the creative cook - inspiralizer, $30

Inspiralizers have changed the cooking game. I use mine so often and for every different meal. Sweet potato egg nests in the morning, zucchini noodles for lunch, and cucumber ribbons in sushi rolls for dinner. The possibilities are endless.

for the busy, overworked friend who needs help IN THE KITCHEN - glassware box set, $35

Glasslock storage containers have been a key component to organizing my kitchen. Give a box set to a friend who could use an extra bit of help in that department. 

for the plantlady friend - plant lady necklace, $56 

My Rebekah Gough "PLANT LADY" necklace never comes off. I wear it everyday, and I'm guessing anyone who receives this as a present will feel the same way. Hang it around a succulent as an extra cute gift! Use code lee for a discount. 

for the person in your life who loves skincare - dry brush and oils, $48 + $40

My body oil and dry brush are now part of my shower routine, and have completely changed my skin. I have worked my way up to a 6 minute dry brush after I shower, and my skin has never felt better. Your loved one will appreciate you encouraging them to make themselves a priority in their own life.

for the zen pal - essential oils + diffuser, $25 + $90

Having essential oils (sage and lavender) and a diffuser on hand will make anyone feel instantly more at ease. Sage oil is great for bloating and constipation when a few drops are applied directly to the belly. Lavender has a calming effect, and is great in the diffuser or applied directly to a pillowcase when it's time for bed. I also usually put a few drops in my baths to really relax. I always travel with these 2. They are great choices for someone who is interested in essential oils but doesn't know where to start.

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For the bookworm  - kindle paperwhite, $119.00

I purchased the kindle paperwhite  e-reader for myself this year and holy cow...I am obsessed. It actually makes me want to read. As much as I LOVE reading books in the flesh, there is something so convenient about hosting all your books in one place. It's also better than the iPad as there is no other digital distractions. It's a perfect way to disconnect. it's so small it fits in my tiniest purse. And my favorite part about this kindle is that it's easy to read in the sun (no glare) and you can rent books from your local library using the kindle. How cool is that?

for the non toxic lover in your life - big berkey, $258

This is the gift of a lifetime. It's definitely on the pricier side, but it's a wonderful gift to give since it lasts forever. Berkey offers some of the most revolutionary charcoal water filters and it takes no energy to filter the water since it works from gravity! Not to mention, it's also a beautiful addition to any kitchen or living space. I have the big one and I LOVE it. the water tastes amazing and it's wonderful. My stand is from Urban Oasis, a water filter store in Los Angeles. 

My Berkey = my baby. 

My Berkey = my baby. 

for the big ticket item - vitamix, $620

The ultimate gift! Vitamix's are life changing machines and last a lifetime. They are the perfect addition to any kitchen and a really necessary part of living a healthy lifestyle, IMO. I use mine 3x a day, no joke. Everyone has someone in their life they want to spoil, whether it's their best friend, a parent, a partner, or themselves. Treating them to a Vitamix will completely shake up their cooking routine and give them inspiration for making new recipes every single day. Not to mention that they last for so long!

Top Tips for PCOS by lee tilghman

PCOS stands for Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome. It is when the female reproductive hormones are out of balance. PCOS is the #1 cause of infertility and affects 1 in 10 women of child bearing age. PCOS-ers have high levels of androgens (the male hormones) and high levels of insulin.

I have PCOS, and I've shared my PCOS journey with you guys and talk about it often on stories and on my Instagram

Navigating PCOS and all the information is overwhelming, I know. There are so many varying opinions, recovery plans, and confusing facts. It can be disheartening. Many western doctors also tell their PCOS patients to go on birth control to handle the symptoms. But that's not what I wanted, so I took my health into my own hands and healed it naturally.

Thankfully, awareness is spreading and PCOS-ers are educating themselves, so I figured I would put together a general guide to PCOS and what has worked for me. Remember...I healed my PCOS the natural way, so I don't use prescription medication or birth control, meaning you won't find those kinds of suggestions on here.

I found out I had PCOS by a certified endocrinologist (a fancy term for a hormone specialist) and suggest that you do as well if you think you have PCOS. 

I currently do not see a nutritionist or holistic practitioner, but if you are new to PCOS, I suggest discussing these lifestyle changes with your primary care doctor just to be safe. Some of the herbs and other things should not be taken with certain diseases or when pregnant, for example.

Top Tips for PCOS

Diet

Diet is arguably one of the most important aspects of managing PCOS. Learning how to stabilize your blood sugar levels is a huge part of eliminating PCOS symptoms. Some of the biggest things that helped my PCOS symptoms was removing certain foods and incorporating others. It was just learning which foods worked for me. Below is the list of what worked for me. 

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  • cutting out:
    • coffee (yes, that's right...goodbye coffee. it burns out your adrenals and puts stress on your system. kiss that black juice goodbye and switch to matcha or remove caffeine all together)
    • gluten/white/processed bread
    • dairy
    • soy
    • corn
    • processed sugar (I mean..by now we all know that white sugar is horrible for us, but especially if you have PCOS...consuming this stuff will worsen symptoms in every way possible)
    • added sugars (even natural ones like honey, maple, etc.)*
    • alcohol
    • high carbohydrate fruits like banana, pineapple, mango, papaya, etc.**
    • meat not sourced from quality farms
    • eggs (many PCOS-ers report feeling icky after eggs. Though they are fine for some, not everyone can tolerate them so consider letting them go for a month to see how you feel)
  • incorporating:
    • healthy carbohydrates (sweet potato, squash, roasted carrots)
    • healthy fats (coconut, avocado, almond butter, olive oil, avocado oil)
    • lean proteins (salmon, seasonal fish, turkey, chicken, lamb, sometimes beef)
    • leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, arugula, dandelion greens, seasonal lettuce)
    • herbal teas (cinnamon, rose, licorice, turmeric and ginger teas are some of my favorites)
    • adaptogens
      • ashwagandha
      • chaga
      • reishi
      • he shou wu
  • balancing meals: leafy greens, quality protein, proper carbohydrates, and healthy fat
  • if I repeatedly feel bloated/tired/groggy/migraine-y after I eat something, I pay attention and eliminate it for a few weeks until I can safely eat it again
  • properly spreading out my carbohydrate intake throughout the day (not too many in any one sitting)
  • I rotate my foods weekly, daily even. Never eat the same thing for breakfast every day for weeks. In my opinion, this is how food intolerances can be built.
  • cycle syncing (read my blog post here)
  • on special occasion, I eat gluten and sugar-y products 'cause life is short. but in general I stay away. 
  • My meal prep guide is a good place to start for navigating the world of eating correctly for hormone health. It's a 40 page recipe + tip book filled with tons of tricks and ideas for eating healthy all week long. It's also #PCOS friendly. 

*I eat sugar on occasion but I am very careful about how often and when I consume it.

**cutting out fruits completely is not necessary for everyone, but certainly paying attention to how much sugar you are eating (even in fruits) is very important when you have PCOS. 

In the end, your diet is your own to experiment and play around with. There is truly no one diet for everyone, so be open to change, especially if you want to heal your PCOS. 

I am also a huge advocate for living a sustainable, happy life, free from food fears. When I was first diagnosed with PCOS I was so strict with this diet I took it a bit too far and didn't even let myself have maple syrup...ever. I am realizing with time that I want this to be sustainable and long-lasting so I let myself eat "treats" and even gluten and real sugar sometimes, especially when I am on vacation. I believe this keeps me from feeling deprived.

It is common to be overwhelmed and discouraged by all the foods you "can't" eat with PCOS. But chances are, if you are eating a certain way and eliminating your trigger foods that cause your symptoms to spike, you will feel so good that you will learn to love the way you eat. 

Be honest with yourself. Listen to your intuition. What is your inner child asking for?

Stress Management

Doin' yoga in my Airbnb on a work trip. Many times I just do a few asanas to get the blood flowing and my body feeling. You don't always have to go to a crazy yoga class. A little bit of yoga every day. 

Doin' yoga in my Airbnb on a work trip. Many times I just do a few asanas to get the blood flowing and my body feeling. You don't always have to go to a crazy yoga class. A little bit of yoga every day. 

Secondary to diet, stress management is huge. For a long time I overlooked this aspect of my life because I thought diet and exercise were the most important thing when it came to health and wellness. But during the height of my PCOS my body was failing me, despite my best efforts. I knew I had to try something new. So, I did my best to work on reducing my external and internal stress. 

  • I ceased all high intensity interval training and traded my hardcore workouts in for light walking, yoga, and hikes. 
  • I began cultivating healthier coping mechanisms
    • yoga (single handedly the biggest stress reducer of all for me)
    • nightly baths, cups of herbal tea in the afternoon
    • journaling 3x a week
    • going for long walks outside when stressed (nature heals)
    • aromatherapy (essential oils)
    • surrounding myself with strong, supportive friends and family who respect my lifestyle and choices and keeping in good touch with them all
    • sound baths
    • breath work
    • alone time
    • massages every 2 months
    • making sure I am achieving a healthy work/life balance
    • meditation (I use the calm app)
    • acupuncture

If you are not putting your stress management at the forefront of your PCOS recovery plan, I suggest you start doing so immediately. Stress can be the thing that is stopping you from losing the excess weight, causing anxiety/insomnia, depression, fatigue, and other symptoms of PCOS. 

It is impossible to remove all stress from our lives. Some stuff is just out of our control. If you live in the modern world, stress is unavoidable. I am convinced even if we all moved to the woods and lived in nature without technology we'd still stress about something. It's not about removing all stress, but learning how to handle it in a healthy way. Learn to set yourself up for success so you can handle the inevitable stress.

Movement

Like I mentioned above, my whole life I had thought that exercise was SO important for staying at a healthy weight. And don't get me wrong, it IS. But stressing your body out with 5 Soulcycle classes or going on runs 6 days a week is actually doing your body a disfavor when you have PCOS. 

  • cutting out HIIT/cardio/loud music workouts
  • yoga 3-4x a week (this is great for gaining strength and flexibility)
  • hikes
  • 20 minute post breakfast or post dinner walks
  • once my adrenals healed, maintaining an active lifestyle through rotating LISS, cardio, HIIT, and strength training, with regular rest days spread throughout.
  • consistency is key. view it as a journey, not a destination. consistently working out is important with PCOS. I definitely feel crappy if I don't workout for 3 or more days in a row and feel off.
  • I rest during my period.
  • listen to your body. motivate but do not push yourself. listen to your inner wisdom. trust it. better to rest than to injure. 

Self Care

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Self care isn't selfish. It is not a trend. It is not narcissism. Self care is knowing yourself enough so that you can you be the best possible version of yourself for your friends, family, loved ones and the world. Taking 5 minutes a day and doing one of the simple acts below shows yourself that you are WORTHY OF LOVE and teaches others how to love you as well. Once you believe that you deserve care, love and respect you'll find that other people will catch onto it too. 

  • coconut oil hair masks (also called..le cocobun! learn how I do it here)
  • dry brushing (learn how I do it here)
  • meal prepping (you can buy my guide to meal prep here)
  • flossing (yep-flossing)
  • adapting cleaner home habits
  • getting enough sleep
  • face masks (here's a favorite)
  • buying a plant (they improve air quality and your brain releases endorphins every time you see one)

Birth Control+Periods

There is a lot of apprehension about going off birth control pills for naturally tackling PCOS. I believe each woman has the right to decide what's right for her and her body. When my doctor told me to go back on BC when I was diagnosed with PCOS I was like, "Hell no," and I'm so glad I stood by my intuition. Fake hormones be gone. 

  • I have been off "The Pill" for 2 years and believe it was important for me to make this decision for my body
  • I use condoms during sex to abstain from getting pregnant. I love the brand Sustain
  • I never had issues going off the pill- but trust me, your body will adjust. if you are on BC to keep acne at bay or get a regular period, it's not your real body doing the work and your hormones will stay imbalanced. do your research.
  • My cycle returned after 8 months of eating right, working on stress, exercising at more healthy levels and learning to properly manage my new Post-PCOS lifestyle. It's been regular ever since. 

PCOS Symptoms

  • HAIR GROWTH I have received 10+ electrolysis treatments over the years for hirsutism or excess hair growth from my PCOS. I tried waxing, shaving, plucking, but none of it was working. I definitely suggest looking into an electrolysis center near you and going in for an initial consultation.
    • be warned: it hurts. it can cause scarring, dryness and redness. but it is a permanent solution. 
  • HAIR LOSS luckily I have never dealt with this symptom, but many people who have say aloe vera hair masks help with hair re-growth. Also taking collagen is wonderful for growing stronger hair.
  • WEIGHT GAIN I definitely struggled with this. Eliminating stress, coffee, alcohol, gluten, dairy, soy, processed foods and most sugars helped immensely.  I also stick to the 12 hour window each night, meaning I eat dinner at 7pm and don't have my matcha till 7am, then breakfast around 10am. Intermittent fasting has been very helpful for me. 
  • HORMONAL ACNE that cleared up as soon as I cleaned up my diet. Like I mentioned above, I cut out all the foods above and my acne almost went away completely. every now and then I indulge in coffee and I swear I get a pimple the next day. 😆

RESOURCES

  • I learned pretty much everything I know from the book Womancode by Alisa Vitti. I highly, highly recommend it.
  • My meal prep guide is a good place to start for ideas on how to eat healthy.
  • I love tracking my cycle with the MyFlo app on iTunes
  • Listen to my latest guest podcast episode on Glowing Up where I talk a lot about PCOS
  • My favorite period cup is here 

What are some of your favorite PCOS top tips? Share them below!

NYC Workshop Announcement! by lee tilghman

Hey NYC! Join me for a morning filled with matcha, fat ball snacks, and a Lee From America healthy lifestyle discussion. The event will be held in a bright and airy loft in the middle of Soho, NYC.

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We will start out the day by sipping my recipe for a creamy coconut butter adaptogenic matcha latte. We will be using some of my favorite brands in the lattes, like Sun Potion, Vital Proteins, Cap Beauty Daily and Ippodo Tea. I will be doing a step-by-step tutorial of the matcha latte so you can learn how to make it deliciously thick, creamy, and frothy at home! Each student will be given a Wolf Ceramics tumbler to sip their lattes from and take with them as a gift!

Next, I will be demonstrating how I make my fat balls. These are one of my FAVORITE low-sugar snacks on the go. I make them each week as part of my weekly meal prep ritual, and will be demonstrating how to perfect the recipe.

After we're fed and while we're sipping our lattes, I will be discussing topics I cover across my social channels, such as cycle syncing, gaining a healthy relationship with exercise, how to be healthy while having a social life, how I cultivate self love, and cope with anxiety and stress. We will speak in depth about these topics, and it will be an interactive, engaging discussion where students will have the unique ability to ask me questions. So, bring your questions and your notepad!

Tumblers from Wolf Ceramics!

Tumblers from Wolf Ceramics!

Coconut Oil Hair Mask by lee tilghman

*Note: please read my oil training post to see alll about how I trained my hair to last 7 days without shampoo. 

Move over expensive store bought hair masks...what even are you anyway?

Mask in!

Mask in!

Earlier this year I began oil training my hair. As part of the oil training routine I began using coconut oil once a week to grow it stronger, longer, and thicker. After just one coconut oil hair mask use, my hair felt gorgeously light, wavy, and full of volume. I think it's a combination of shampoo-ing less and the moisture from the coconut oil. Shampoo weighs your hair down and when you do it less your natural hair will show.

Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties, lauric acid, and medium-chain fatty acids that strengthen hair, condition the scalp, and may even help to regrow hair. 

Not to mention, one jar of coconut oil runs about $6 and has unlimited uses, so it's cost effective and environmentally friendly. #WIN

 

The Process

So, the process is as follows.

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  1. Say I want to wash my hair on Monday morning. On Sunday morning, I will pour about 1/3 cup of organic unrefined coconut oil into my hands and run it through my hair- starting at the scalp and working it through the ends. I spend a few minutes running the oil through my hair to make sure each strand is covered with some coconut oil love. 
  2. After it's evenly spread, I twist my hair into a high knot on the top of my head (people with short hair can do a low ponytail) to make sure its kept out of my face. I use bobby pins to keep it from my neck as well.
  3. I go about my day: I work out, shower (using a shhhowercap), run errands, and I sleep with it in. I be sure not to touch it too much with my hands.
  4. *Important Step* Monday morning, 24 hours later, I hop in the shower and shampoo it all out. I scrub the crap out of my scalp to make sure I get all the oil out. If you rush this stage and aren't thorough, you will find remaining coconut oil in your hair once it's dried. Make sure you take your time and really give your scalp a good scrub.
  5. After washing, I then repeat the weeklong process all over again; I don't wet or shampoo my hair in between coconut oil bun days. 

Q+A

Q: What type of coconut oil do you use for the mask?

 A: I use organic unrefined coconut oil for my hair masks.

Q: How long do you keep it in?

  A: 24 hours.

Q: Do you work out with it in?

 A: Absolutely! I sleep, workout, shower, and go about my normal life with it in.

Q: Every time I use coconut oil, it makes my hair so greasy! How can I prevent this?

A: When shampooing your mask out, make sure you are REALLY scrubbing your scalp to wash out the coconut oil.  Massage the shampoo into your head for a good 2-3 minutes. Your arms should get tired, that’s how you know you are doing a good shampoo job!

Q: What shampoo and conditioner do you use?

  A: I rotate my shampoo brand every few months, but am currently loving Rahua Shampoo and Rahua Conditioner

Q: Does the coconut oil stain sheets?

 A: It can- I suggest sleeping with a shower cap on or an old towel over your sheet to prevent any staining or discoloration. 

Q: Don't you get embarrassed going out with greasy hair?

 A: Hell no, I wear my coco bun with pride. I love it! Most people won't notice your bun- trust me. We are always way more self conscious than we need to be. If you're nervous, you can also schedule your coco bun days for Sundays (or any day that you will be spending most of the time at home).

Do you use coconut oil in your hair? If so, how do you like it?

November Playlist by lee tilghman

Aloha from Hawaii!
It's the first of the month..and you know what that means...my November playlist is here!

I'm enjoying my last few days in paradise on the island of Kauai. This island is so inspiring in so many ways...I've been slowing down, really relishing in the quiet moments of relaxation. I've also been reminding myself that it's okay to just be. To be sad. To be quiet. To be tired. I don't always have to be "on" all the time. It's very refreshing.  I'll go more into this soon on Instagram.

Anyway, I am excited to share this month's music with you. This month's playlist has got some slow jams from Taj Mahal, electro stuff from Maya Jane Coles, oldschool MGMT, stuff from Ariel Pink, hip hop from Ethereal. I hope you enjoy it. 

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Pumpkin Fat Balls by lee tilghman

It's here!
An updated, fall rendition of my Coconut Fat Ball recipe.

joyful autumnal fat balls!

joyful autumnal fat balls!

These balls are filled with healthy fats, tons of nuts, and warming spices such as ginger and nutmeg.

I love fat balls so much, I make them each week. I usually switch up the ingredients, and roll them into varying sizes so I can grab a bigger one when I'm more hungry and a smaller one when I need a lighter snack.  I always get asked how many are okay to eat in a single sitting and the answer is: listen to your body. I usually eat 1-2 in a sitting. Sometimes I top them with coconut yogurt or melted chocolate  when I'm feelin' extra. 

They're absolutely perfect alongside a warm cup of chai tea or topped with almond butter for a pre-bedtime snack.

I also love adding fat balls to my yogurt breakfast bowls. As seen below. 

I enjoy them best when I wait 4 or 5 minutes to thaw before biting into them, but let's face it, I'm not always patient enough to wait that long. 😆

The recipe below calls for 3 medjool dates, but feel free to add only 2 if you want to further reduce the sugar. I switch it up. 

I hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Fat Ball

Makes 12-14 balls

Ingredients

Pictured here with coconut yogurt + almond butter

Pictured here with coconut yogurt + almond butter

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1/3 cup pureed organic pumpkin puree (make sure it's unsweetened)*
  • 3 pitted medjool dates, or 2 for lower sugar**
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1" fresh organic ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons hemp milk (or any non dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup raw coconut butter***

Instructions

  1. Start by combining all of the dry ingredients (this means all ingredients except the hemp milk and coconut butter) into a food processor. 
  2. Process dry ingredients for 1 minute until a crumbly dough has formed.
  3. Next, add your coconut butter and hemp milk. 
  4. Process for an additional 1 1/2 minutes until well processed. I like my fat balls kind of chunky. If you want them smoother process for a longer amount of time. 
  5. Roll into balls and freeze, lay flat on parchment paper and freeze for a few hours or until hard.
  6. Store in an air tight container for up to 3 months. Best enjoyed slightly thawed. 

Notes:

*I get my pumpkin puree canned from my local grocery store. Any brand works, just make sure its unsweetened.

**Standard recipe calls for 3 medjool dates, but try 2 or even 1 for an even lower sugar recipe.

***If your coconut butter is separated, stir until smooth before measuring out. This way you're getting the coconut meat and the coconut oil.

  • Balls may be oily as you're rolling them. That's okay, they'll dry up as they freeze. The oil is what holds them together.
  • Feel free to change it up! Add in cacao nibs for a chocolate-y twist, collagen powder for more protein, cardamom and vanilla for even more warming spices. 
  • I suggest using a food processor for this recipe, not a blender. Some people have great success using a blender for this recipe but I cannot guarantee the same results.
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Europe Travel Guide by lee tilghman

Last month, I went on an epic adventure with my boyfriend through Europe, starting in Stockholm and traveling to Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. It was such a magical 2 weeks, filled with the most delicious foods, people watching, sightseeing, and just oogling at the beautiful surroundings. 

I’d been to Europe before, and even studied abroad in London while I was in college, but returning to that country as an adult (and a different person, lol) was an incredible experience.

We spent 5 days in Stockholm exploring the streets and eating all the foods and taking all the fikas. Then we flew into Munich where we rented a car for the rest of our travels. I must say...driving through Europe was such a nice experience because you get to stop where you wish and you really appreciate the landscape. It's also incredibly easy to get around from country to country once you are actually in the European Union.  I highly recommend it. 

It’s really hard to pick which country was my favorite, as I loved each one individually....and writing this itinerary has me feeling all the feels and missing it terribly! I can't WAIT to go back. Until then, I hope you enjoy this guide filled with my favorite restaurants, shops, hotels, cafes, and sight-seeing spots in each country! I discovered some of these through friends, followers, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and my boyfriend's guidance. 

Stockholm

I spent 4 days in Stockholm, which is super beautiful: clean, right on the water, lots of nature, and tons of delicious restaurants and cafes around. I also love how the Swedes take a FIKA every morning around 10 (coffee and pastry break). This soon became a part of my daily routine throughout Europe. Stockholm also had the widest selection of healthy foods around- I was delightfully surprised by all the matcha spots, vegetarian options, and locally sourced food Stockholm had to offer, 

Amida Kolgrill Restaurant- in the center of Sodermalm, this amazing little Mediterranean restaurant has the best Kebob in town. Literally.. I'm still dreaming about this spot. When I go back to Stockholm i'll be stopping here again without a doubt. We got the meat plate. It was devoured very very very quickly. The seasoning on the meat is absolutely to die for and I felt amazing leaving this spot. 

Johan & Nyström - good spot for matcha...lots of plants inside and good working vibes as well. 

Ett Hem's breakfast spread. #takemebackplease

Ett Hem's breakfast spread. #takemebackplease

Ett Hem - an absolutely gorgeous hotel with the most epic breakfast spread you could ever imagine! We stayed here one night - and it was so cool. There are only 12 rooms so it is a very personalized experience. The chef asked us ahead of time what our dietary restrictions were and what we wanted to eat. I mean, what kind of hotel does that? Ett Hem does!

Fillipa K jumper!

Fillipa K jumper!

Pom and Flora - a wonderfully delicious little cafe/light eats spot. I got the peanut butter with banana bread- they serve it warm alongside a little cup of peanut butter. Highly recommend. This is where I met Siri from @olivehummer. So fun to meet up with an insta friend!

Falafelbaren - this spot lives up to the hype for suuuureeee. Such good falafel! I had the falafel plate with creamy hummus, pickled veg, and the works. I'm bummed I only ate here once. 

Grandfather - really cool clothing shop with many brands. 

Fillipa K - my newest obsession! Fillipa K is a sustainable, conscious, and absolutely gorgeous fashion line based in Stockholm. I got a jumper from them and I loooveeee it. 

Petrus - one of the best cinnamon buns I had in Stockholm (and I had a LOT lol) Petrus is known for their high quality pastries. Definitely a must-see (or, eat 😋)!

On our way to Germany!

On our way to Germany!

Munich, Germany

A beautiful city full of rich history, tons of delicious food, and always so much to explore! It is an incredibly walkable city. We stayed in the center of the city right by the Marienplatz, and though Munich was only a quick stop for us en route to Switzerland, it was such a bright, bustling, and beautiful city that I surprisingly fell super hard for. 

I can't say we eat all that healthy in Germany...we went the more traditional route. And I'm glad we did. This trip was a huge lesson in balance and living for me. I went outside my comfort zone and enjoyed every single minute. It's one of my favorite things about traveling, trying new things and breaking up the routine a bit. 

Groovy interiors of Man Versus Machine in Munich.

Groovy interiors of Man Versus Machine in Munich.

Man Versus Machine - best coffee in Munich. Definitely American hipster coffee vibes, so I kind of felt right at home. But really, their coffee was incredible.  Highly recommend. 

My 1st and only German breakfast. Bratwurst with sauerkraut and pretzels!

My 1st and only German breakfast. Bratwurst with sauerkraut and pretzels!

Schneider Bräuhaus München - we went here for classic German Bratwurst, sauerkraut and pretzels and it did not disappear! We also found out they serve every dish with beer, even at 10AM!

A view from our hike. The Swiss alps are incredible.

A view from our hike. The Swiss alps are incredible.

Vals, Switzerland

Vals was one of those places where you think “I’ll definitely be coming back here again”. Cows roam the streets, goats sprinkle the hillside, and the town is just absolutely adorable. Not to mention, the quality of the ingredients were ABSURDLY HIGH. I ate the best butter in my life here!

In Vals, we stayed at Peter Zumthor's vacation home. It's a private chalet in the hills of Vals and I highly recommend it. It is NOT on Airbnb, you have to book it privately through the Zumthor Vacation Home Rentals website.

Vals Therme - an absolute MUST. This was single handedly one of the most beautiful architecture structures I’ve ever laid eyes on, built by Swiss designer Peter Zumthor. It’s a thermal bath house, with different bodies of water (both indoor and outdoor) at varying temperatures. It’s absolutely worth every penny to spend the day here, float in the baths, hang in the spa and drink tea while taking in the stunning views of Vals. 

Restaurant Ganni- tucked into hillsides, this mom and pop shop restaurant is absolutely adorably and absolutely delicious. I recommend the meat plate, and their fresh salads with whatever grilled seasonal fish they have. You also must try their bread.. They use local ingredients and you can taste the differencs.

Gondola Vals- a must-do for the most stunning views and epic hikes in all of Vals! There are plenty of trails to choose from once you take the Gondola up. (If you are going in the winter, I doubt the hiking will be open as all the trails will be covered in snow so keep this in mind)

Belagio/Lake Como, Italy

My love. 

My love. 

We were only here for a few hours on our drive from Switzlerand to Milan, but boy, was it a dreamy few hours. Between the cobblestone streets, stunning architecture, and the Lake Como views, Belagio was a such an experience. 

Trattoria San Giacomo - the most romantic restaurant I think I’ve ever been to…ever. We got the branzino, truffle tagliatelle in butter, and a salad. We finished each and every drop, then got gelato. Oh..the memories! 

 

 

 

Eatin' gelato in Belagio like it ain't no thanggggg!

Eatin' gelato in Belagio like it ain't no thanggggg!

Milan, Italy

At the Teatro alla Scala in Milano

At the Teatro alla Scala in Milano

I'm speechless when it comes to Milan. It was such a wonderful freaking city. It had a metropolitan vibe similar to NYC but with Italian flair. People were enjoying themselves everywhere we went: in cafes, bars, restaurants. The way Italians enjoy life and slow down is contagious. Deniz and I would walk around all day, plopping ourselves around different Piazza’s and people watching until dark.

Nerino Dieci Trattoria - it came highly recommended from friends and followers alike, and i definitely had the most delicious pasta of my trip here. It was some sort of pesto pasta with grilled king prawn and oh my gosh.  I also saw people at other tables getting pasta served out of big cheese wheels.  We were in heaven!

Teatro alla Scala - one of the most famous well known opera houses in the world. Deniz and I went to a show and could only stay for 2.5 out of the 3 acts (it was getting late and we were getting hungry!) but it was such a cool experience and I’m really glad we went. 

the streets of Milan.

the streets of Milan.

Grenaio Caffe e Cucina - the most delicious Nutella croissants. Like... I almost cried eating one. It was that good. It called for a moment of reflection. You may call this a life changing experience.

the croissants at Granaio. 

the croissants at Granaio. 

Ristorante Pizzeria La Coccinella - good pizza, but the menu is extremely overwhelming so be warned. Deniz and I took about 30 minutes to make a decision on which pizzas to get even while we were famished. We settled on the breakfast pizza and another one with like 5 sausages.

PIZZA4LIFE.

PIZZA4LIFE.

California Bakery - its admittedly very hard to find healthy breakfast in Italy; or any breakfast at all really. Each cafe opens in the morning and sells coffee, cakes and pastries. We were always on the hunt for something a little healthier with more protein and good fats, so we were delighted to discover this place. It’s not AMAZING, but its good enough. They have eggs, salmon, avocado. Definitely worth the trip if you are looking to hit up a healthy-ish breakfast spot. And obviously they sell croissants too if you want those.


So there you have it, my friends! My guide to Stockholm, Munich, Belagio, Vals, and Milan! I hope you enjoyed, and if you have another recommendation from one of your places in the above cities, let me know! 

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Aloe Vera 101 by lee tilghman

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Aloe vera has SO many benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties which help combat redness, acne scars, burns, cuts, scrapes, eczema. It also has the same anti-inflammatory effect on your digestive system, meaning it can help relieve constipation, soothe IBS symptoms, and repair your stomach lining! 

I first started using aloe vera when I read that it's one of the only things that can take away redness and scars on the skin.

I got electrolysis a few months ago on my face, and have been experiencing some annoying redness and light scarring from the needle. No other oils or moisturizers were helping the redness. But this aloe...it really works. 

So, I put together a little video below on my 2 favorite ways to use aloe: in a smoothie and on the face. Watch the video to learn and check out my Q+A at the bottom of this post for more aloe vera information!

Aloe has enzymes, four fatty acids, hormones, and is full of vitamin A, C, B12, and E. The antioxidants in aloe also help to neutralize free radicals. 

Aloe Vera Berry Smoothie:

Begin by cutting open the aloe leaf as shown in the video!

Then, combine:

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup sunflower seed milk (or any other unsweetened nut milk)
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel 
  1. blend for 1 minute and enjoy immediately!!

aloe vera face mask

  1. A few times a week, I head to the fridge where I store my aloe leaf and scoop out a little bit of the gel with my fingers.
  2. I spread across my face, waiting for it to dry, usually about 20 minutes.
  3.  remove it with a warm water and towel off.

Over time I've noticed my red spots go away. It''s crazy!

Q+A

Q: Where do you get your aloe leaf?

A: Whole Foods

Q: Can I use my aloe vera house plant?

A: aloe vera house plants are not meant for human consumption, though it is fine to put it on your face. I recommend buying your aloe leafs for consumption at a grocery store. 

Q: How do you store it?

A: You can store the aloe leaf in the fridge, with the skin on for up to a few weeks.

Q: How long does it stay for?

A: Once opened, the gel can go bad so be sure to use it quick!

Q: I have SIBO/or pregnant. Can I eat aloe?

A: if you are pregnant or have SIBO, be sure to ask your doctor before consuming aloe!

 

Do you use aloe? If so, what are your favorite ways to use it?