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?

All About the Period Cup by lee tilghman

Period cups! They've been around for 20 years...but only this year have I started using one and I am so obsessed. Today I'm sharing my experience with the thing, since I know they is still not a lot of mainstream information about them. 

What the heck is a period cup?

A period cup is a non toxic, eco-friendly, affordable, hassle-free and sustainable alternative to messy tampons and pads. Periods cups are usually made from silicone. You fold the cup up a certain way and insert the cup inside of your vagina (as you would a tampon), and it collects your uterus lining. You rinse it out every 12 hours and re-insert it, making it extremely sustainable and stress-free. 

I first used a period cup in April, about 3 months into getting my period back due to PCOS (read the story here) I put on some Beyonce, dances around my apartment, lit some candles and got ready for insertion (lol). Not gonna lie, the first time was strange. It kind of felt like putting in a tampon for the first time (frightening). I had to tell myself to relax and let my muscles relax in order for it to work. Every time I tensed up, I reminded myself to loosen up. Once you relax, so do your muscles. Also, using non toxic lubrication helped tons. My favorite brand for non toxic lube is below in the Q+A section of this post.  I also ended up cutting the removal piece a bit to make it more comfortable. Squatting over the toilet also helps with insertion the first few times. 

My first period using a cup took some getting used to. My friend who has been using a cup for 8 years told me it takes 3 periods to get used to it, and she was so right. By July, I was completely used to the cup, had no issues inserting or removing, and felt so comfortable using it I couldn't stop talking about it. In fact, I kind of began loving getting my period so I could use the cup. It sounds weird, but it totally changed my relationship with my body and how I view my period. I think tampons and pads remove us from our periods. They keep us at a distance from really getting to know our bodies. Cups force us to be intimate with our bodies and our cycles, which I think is really cool. When you use a cup, you get to really know your flow, the color of your lining, etc. It's honestly very intimate and special. 

So let's chat about the cups. Why aren't more people using them? Well, I think it's because we've been trained to think tampons are convenient, when really they aren't. You have to continuously buy them and always carry one around with you. They are a temporary solution.

Tampons are extremely toxic for the earth and that's not something we really think about. Environment usually comes second to 'personal hygiene' and convenience. 

Secondly, I think lots of people are worried about using period cups in public bathrooms and at work since you have to empty it out and rinse it off with water before re-insertion.

To avoid this issue, my advice for you is when the cup is full and you remove it, simply pour the contents of the cup in the toilet, flush, pull your pants up and approach the sink to clean it it out with water.

There is absolutely no shame or anything "dirty" in using a period cup. It's all about shifting our perspective. In fact, if anything, there should more skepticism and awareness around tampons, which clog our toilets, fill up landfill, and are made from questionable, toxic ingredients.

So let's get to the good stuff.

folding it like so helps with insertion.

folding it like so helps with insertion.

Why should I use one?

  • It's a healthier choice for your body. Did you know that generic tampon brands use the most sprayed part of the cotton plant to make tampons? And we are inserting those things into one of the most sensitive areas of the body! I don't know about you, but I don't want sprayed toxic cotton anywhere near my you-know-what. This whole unethical and unregulated farming methods of cotton makes me extremely skeptical and weary of tampons in general and using a period cup completely eliminates that being a possibility.
  • Period cups are good for the earth. PERIOD. Ever think of how much waste tampons and pads create? Not to mention, most people improperly dispose of these products, flushing them down our toilets and clogging our waterways. 12 billion pads and 7 million tampons are used once and disposed of annually.  170,000 tampon applicators were collected along the US coastal areas between 1998 and 1999. 
  • You can save hella money! As Brokelyn put it, you can save around $1,000 by using a period cup. That's a trip to France and back! "Assuming the average menstrual cycle uses 12 tampons and four to five pads, that’s roughly $50 per year. By switching to a $25 menstrual cup, you could save $475 over ten years. That’s $1,187.50 over the next 25 years." (read more here)
  • It's convenient. You don't have to worry about running out of tampons or being caught on a getaway without a pad. A period cup is always with you, you never run out of it. You simply clean it out and re-use it. Bring it with you when you travel so you are always prepared. 

Getting over the Period Stigma


We must remove the stigma of periods being “dirty” and “unsanitary”, and it starts with us. 

Of course, common sense and general hygiene is encouraged. Wash your hands before and after using the cup, for your own sake and for the consideration of others.

But there is truly nothing gross about getting your period, or using a menstrual cup. We must not use these words when describing something that happens to every woman naturally, something that has to do with creating life. The fact that period products are called sanitary products are in itself an issue. Every woman gets her period, and it's about time we normalize it! A period is a magical thing and should be treated as so.

Once you start using a cup, you will become so much more in tune with your body and your cycles. 

Since using the cup I have felt a stronger connection to my period. It’s honestly so cool. Call me crazy but I think a period is f#cking magic.

PERIODS ARE NOT GROSS. THEY ARE MAGIC. 

So next time someone says “gross” in response to anything that has to do with a natural female cycle, gently remind them “without a period you would not be born. None of us would.” Mic drop.

Period Cup Q+A

Q:Which brand do you like?

A: Lunette!

Q: Does it hurt?

A: The first time I inserted a cup, it hurt. It turns out I was using the wrong size (oops), once I switched to a smaller size that fit my unique shape better, it was no issue. Now, it does not hurt AT ALL. Insertion is a breeze. 

Q: How often do you change it?

A: This is completely subject to the unique intensity of your flow. It is recommended that you change your cup every 12 hours. Once you begin using the cup regularly, you will figure out how often you need to change yours. 

Q: Can you sleep with it in?

A: Absolutely, I sleep with mine in every night during my period. 

Q: Can you workout with it in?

A: Hell yes! I’ve gone spinning and done yoga in my cup, though it is recommended not to invert or go upside down at ALL during your period, as this would cause the contents of the cup to spill back into your uterus. 

Q: Inserting it hurts! How can I make it more comfortable?

A: Using all natural lubrication like Good helps tons! I also find that simply wetting my hands with water helps removal as well.

Do you use a period cup? If so, what do you like about it?

Austin, Dallas, Memphis & Nashville Road Trip Itinerary by lee tilghman

Last month, I had the pleasure of going on a 5 day road trip excursion with my boo Alison Wu from Austin to Dallas, to Memphis to Nashville. It was an incredible experience to go on a road trip with such a close friend, and Alison and I shared some unforgettable moments and extremely deep belly laughs together. 

The purpose of this trip was to host an event, Elements of Well in collaboration with Subaru. Alison and I collaborated on the menu together, and we settled on a gorgeous cheese plate, layered smoothies, and savory herb-y salads with a soft boiled egg and a lemon tahini dressing. 

Elements of Well was centered around food, conversation, yoga with Portland-based Bibi McGill, and flower pressing with Austin's Kelly Dewitt. 

Our event was a hit and was one for the books. 

The rest of our road trip was also amazing, driving across the country in our Subaru, stopping at some of the most deliciously healthy eateries and cafes along the way, and I wanted to share some of my favorite places with you guys!But first, some highlight photos from the roadtrip. Scroll down to find my restaurant recommendations for each city. 

Austin

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Josephine House

Small, home-like vibes with a delicious menu. I had the albacore tuna with pea hummus, artichokes, potatoes, and fresh herbs and it was divine. Great dinner spot.

Interior of June's All Day

Interior of June's All Day

Elizabeth St. Cafe
Adorable little Vietnamese restaurant in the Bouldin area of Austin. We went for lunch and I got the spring rolls which were absolutely incredible! They also have a really wide selection of coffee, teas, and other drinks. Highly recommend!

June's All Day

This place has all the vibes. Pink interior, black and white tiled floors, mirrored walls, old bar. We went twice, once for brunch, and once for dinner. The food is consistently divine and the service was fantastic! Will definitely be coming back when I’m in Austin next. 

Picnik

An Austin must-eat! This place is a healthy person’s dream. The food is good and the menu is amazing. Imagine adaptogenic drinks with add-ins like MCT oil, grass fed butter, or collagen. They also have grain free options and evolved items like sugar free bacon and paleo blondies. I love their breakfast tacos and their matcha is good- though ask for it unsweetened, or else it’s super sweet. 

Vegetable tacos at Picnik! On grain free Siete tortillas, of course.

Vegetable tacos at Picnik! On grain free Siete tortillas, of course.

Outdoor Voices

One of my absolute favorite athletic apparel brands. They make the comfiest leggings for lounging around the house, running errands, hiking and doing yoga in. Their flagship store is in Austin and is adorable! Their simple, neutral color palettes got me like 😍pretty much all the time. I’m a fan of their 7/8 leggings and Athena crop tops. Use code LEE10 for 10% off your next OV order. 

Dallas

HG Supply

One of my favorite restaurants that we stopped at on our trip! Beautiful rooftop bar where we watched the sunset over the trees. I got a cauliflower grit dish with chicken, and oh man, it was so good. I ate it so fast- literally scarfed it down. I could have eaten 2 plates it was so good. The atmosphere is great here.

Mudhen

Good, “healthified” food of Southern comfort food. I got cauliflower grits, pulled rotisserie chicken and steamed collard greens. Must-visit!

Memphis

City Silo

A casual eatery, perfect for breakfast. The menu is extensive and they make a mean matcha, Just make sure to ask them to make it unsweetened. It was probably one of the best matches I had during the entire trip (besides the ones that Alison and I would make…hehe) 

I got the hippie plate with rice, quinoa, kale, and 2 fried eggs.  A little carb heavy, but still good. 

Nashville

Five Daughters Donuts

PALEO DONUTS FOREVER! Alison and I stumbled upon this place by accident and it was one of the most delicious accidents I've ever encountered. 10/10 would go again. 

Paleo Samosa donut, so good!

Paleo Samosa donut, so good!

Lemon Laine

Imagine all of your favorite products in a beautifully manicured store - this is Lemon Laine. They carry some of my favorite brands, like Vital Proteins, Marie Veronique, Honest Hazel, and more. It's a must visit for clean beauty!

Lemon Laine interiors are on point.

Lemon Laine interiors are on point.

Cafe Roze

Cutest interiors, menu, and matcha. PRO TIP! Ask for a double shot of matcha as they make their matcha really weak. I got the "simple breakfast" and it was divine. 

What are some of your favorite Austin/Dallas/Memphis/Nashville eateries?

September Playlist by lee tilghman

Wow, hello September.

You came fast.

I've just returned from a 7 day road trip across the Southern United States with my friend Alison Wu. We drove from Texas to Tennessee, stopping in Austin, Dallas, Memphis, and Nashville along the way.

It was an incredible experience. It was beautiful, inspiring, with many long days. I learned a lot about myself on this trip, like how to communicate and go with the flow. I also learned a lot about other parts of the country.

We were really close to Tropical Storm Harvey. On Sunday, September 3rd, I will be donating 15% of all sales from my Meal Prep Guide to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But more on that and my trip re-cap later.

For now, I wanted to share this September playlist with you all.

it's got some old favorites from Bonobo, and some new jams from RAC, Cousin Stizz, and a favorite recent discovery of mine: Frankie Cosmos.

I hope you enjoy it!

More soon!
XO,

Lee

Lee From America's Guide To Meal Prep Is Now Available! by lee tilghman

MY E-BOOK IS HERE!

Lee From America's Guide To Meal Prep has arrived! I am so so excited to share with you guys my first ever ebook! 

In it you will find a week's worth of meal prep, with 8 recipes from my skillet roasted chicken to my basic bowl dressing.

I've also included a list of my favorite products, my best advice for those new to meal prepping, recipe inspiration, and even a printable grocery list you can take with you to the store.

Meal Prepping is one of my biggest tricks to living a healthy life. It means I always have food in my fridge, know exactly what's going into my meals, and saves me so much time and money. It's also a huge act of self care. By meal prepping, you're showing yourself how worth it you are. 

Read all about why I meal prep, how I meal prep, and how you can meal prep in my book. This is a flexible, accessible guide that you can purchase here for $10.

For support, please email support@leefromamerica.com

How To Get A Healthy Sleep Routine by lee tilghman

One of the most often overlooked aspects of a healthy lifestyle is sufficient sleep.

Sleeping is not only necessary, but it can be extremely healing for us. It's a time where our muscles recover, our bodies relax, our brains get a break and we can drift off into dreamworld.

Everyone wants to be able to wake up with a jolt of energy before the sun comes up. It's no reason that people want this energy, waking up fatigued and groggy with no desire to get out of bed isn't the most empowering way to start your day.

I believe that every one is different. Some people are early birds, and some are naturally night owls. You can try to fight this any way you want, but some people just aren't meant to be up early, and that's okay!

However, I do have some tips and tricks listed below that may help you get a better night's sleep so that you can start your day with boundless energy and endless possibilities!

about being an early bird

I am naturally an early bird, and always have been. I don't think I've slept past 9:00AM my entire life. I am such an early bird that no matter WHAT time I go to bed (be it 9:00PM or 3:00AM) my body will always automatically wake me up around 6:00AM. This is the exact reason why I am so diligent about getting into bed at a decent hour, because if I don't, I won't get enough rest and recovery that my body needs to keep me functioning at my highest. 

The key to waking up early is giving your body the dreamiest + deepest sleep possible with the least amount of interruptions. It's not about getting MORE hours of sleep, but about making those solid hours very deep and meaningful. 

tips for a healthy sleep routine

Adapt a nightly routine

I can't stress how important this is. There are so many ways to unwind during the day, but many of us just go directly from working on a project or scrolling through Instagram directly to bed. This is OK sometimes, but doing this repeatedly isn't sending a signal to your brain that it's time to go to bed. Instead, this sends stress signals to your brain and you'll be going to bed with too much stimulation and racing thoughts. There are many ways to develop a nightly bedtime routine, but mine is as follows:

  • turning off cell phone 1-2 hours before bed
  • taking a shower/bath
  • dry brushing, self oil massage
  • sip a cup of tea
  • 10 minutes meditation using the Calm app
  • turn on my white noise machine (or iPhone app if I am traveling)
  • jumping straight into bed!

This routine works for me because I can do it from anywhere (home, hotel, etc) and makes me feel peaceful, grounded, and calm before heading into dreamland. 

Get on a consistent sleeping schedule.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time is so important. Your body is a clock and works like one. Setting your circadian rhythm is extremely important, and sticking to that and honoring it. Everybody is different, but I like to head to bed around 10pm, fall asleep by 10:30, and wake up refreshed without an alarm around 5:30 or 6:00AM. 

Get off electronics 1-2 hours before bed, and sleep with them in another room.

This is so important, especially in this day in age. Think about it this way, the information you absorb goes directly into our conscious and subconscious. How many times have you fallen asleep to the blaring sound of television, only to wake up at 3:00AM to turn it off? Even though you are asleep, you brain and senses are still alert, so all the information you absorb (especially the few hours right before sleep!) will directly effect your sleeping behavior. Give your eyes a rest and make a promise to yourself to read in bed instead of mindlessly scrolling the internet! 

Even more importantly, start sleeping with your cell phone in another room. This will remove temptations to check your phone if you wake up in the middle of the night. It's also a great habit in making your bedroom a sacred space which I talk about more below. 

Cut off caffeine after 12 noon.

SO important! Caffeine is a stimulant, so a cup or so in the morning is totally fair game, but a 2nd or 3rd in the afternoon can disrupt your sleeping pattern.  If you struggle with an afternoon slump, rather than grabbing a cup of coffee, try fixing yourself a tall glass of H2O, going for a walk around the block, or eating a nutrient dense snack like a fat ball. If you are a coffee drinker and are so fatigued around 3pm that you can't stay awake and NEED a 4th cup of coffee to make it through to dinnertime, you may have adrenal fatigue

Get the TV out of your room and make your bed a sacred space.

One of my favorite healthiest home tips is not owning a television at all. I know this isn't what everyone wants, but at least removing it from your bedroom makes it a sacred sleeping space only. Make a promise to yourself that you will not lay on your bed during the day or in "real people clothes". Keep electronics out of the bed as much as you can and only step into bed when you are ready to wind down. If you are used to watching TV in bed, try reading a book. They are a great way to fall asleep.  

Skip the late night workout sessions.

Studies have shown that high intensity workouts and sweat sessions too close to bedtime could potentially disrupt your sleep. Getting your heart rate up so close to bedtime gets your adrenaline pumping and sends signals to your brain to keep going.  A PM restorative candlelit yoga class or light pilates session is totally fine, but skip the 8PM spin class.  Of course, every person is different, and this may be the only time you can squeeze in a workout. However, if your schedule allows, start waking up earlier to squeeze in an AM workout, You'll be surprised to find that you have more energy throughout the day.

Get blackout shades for your bedroom

Remove EVERY single source of light from your bedroom. Digital clocks, streetlights, cell phone lights, even night lights. They are sources of light and send signals to your brain to stay awake. If you must, buy an eye mask to remove all sources of light. This has helped me reach deeper levels of sleep than you can imagine. 

Turning off the ceiling fan

I used to wake up with a headache each morning, until one of my followers asked me if I slept with my ceiling fan on. I told him "yes", since I did. He told me that ceiling fans can cause morning migraines. A/C is totally okay, but if you have a ceiling fan, try turning it off at night to wake up headache-free. 

Some things that help me sleep:

Tea in bed. I love sipping on hot herbal tea right before bed as I read. Below is my favorite brand!

Traditional Medicinals Cup Of Calm - 16 Count
$6.65
Traditional Medicinals

A white noise machine has been one of the smarted $50 I have ever spent. I started sleeping with one when I lived in New York City and my apartment was so loud from the streets below. I now am addicted!

What are some of your favorite healthy sleeping techniques?

How to Stay Healthy While Having a Social Life by lee tilghman

I used to think you couldn’t be healthy while having a social life. I couldn't separate being social from drinking, staying out late, missing workouts, and straying from my to-do list. It was an all or nothing mentality: a social butterfly had to sacrifice health.

I spent the younger part of my 20's yo-yoing between 6 months of being a strict health freak, gym rat, and not allowing myself any sort of social pleasure of any kind. Then I'd feel anti-social, off-balance and miss my friends, so I'd spend the next 6 months of going out and partying, not working out and treating my body poorly. 

Fast forward to now when I make it a priority to spend time with people I love, to be spontaneous and say yes to weekend trips, to try new restaurants that might not have my menu of choice. What changed?

Friends and a Social Life are a Necessary Aspect of a Healthy, Balanced Life

I realized that friends, a support system and a social life are a necessary part of a wholesome and balanced life. Humans are social beings, and spending time connecting with other people enriches our lives in ways isolation cannot. 

I decided that my need for a social life was greater than the fear of falling off the healthy bandwagon. Giving myself permission to enjoy life, spontaneous getaways, beach trips, road trips, barbecues, concerts and more, was extremely liberating. You really can have it all. 

Great food nourishes my body, but being social nourishes my soul. They are BOTH important.  

How I've Balanced Both

I enjoy social settings now without guilt. 

I've since removed some of the pressure that often comes with going out. I feel totally comfortable being in a social setting and abstaining from alcohol. I know very well what works for my body and what makes me feel good. I go out in a social setting with long-term health goals. I want to feel good and have energy for years ahead. 

It was hard to stick up for myself in the beginning when I began to decrease and limit my alcohol intake, but I stuck through it and reminded myself of why I was making this decision. 

It doesn't make you "un-fun," a belief I ascribed to for too long. I'm not against drinking or a purist in any way, but right now I'm the girl drinking kombucha at the bar and I'm totally okay with that. 

Keeping My Health A Priority

Although I let myself engage in social outings, I don't overdo it. My health is still one of my toppriorities. This means I don't stay out til 3am, and I'm not bingeing on an entire plate of french fries when I go to restaurants. I know what makes me feel good, and what doesn't. I use the wisdom I have gathered over the years. Being healthy lights me up so I don't lose all that when I walk out the door. Everything in moderation. 

I know myself well enough to know when I need to say no and stay in for a night of self-care. As an introvert I need my alone time to recharge, which is something I have to honor. 

Surround Yourself with Understanding Friends Who Respect Your Choices

When living a healthy lifestyle, everything changes. When I decided to be healthy for good and give up that partying side ofmyself, I completely switched my friend group. I lost a lot of “friends” in that switch. It helped that I moved across the country so I could start fresh, but it was still really difficult. I had to make new friends that loved me and understood my health goals. In fact, many of them too had similar health goals, and this made it easier. I chose new friends who either didn't drink or didn't drink often. I made friends with people who liked to camp, hike, do yoga. It made my own lifestyle choices that much easier when I had friends to share these experiences with. 

I Have Grace With Myself

Being hard on ourselves only worsens guilt and stress, thus perpetuating our worries. Adapting an affirmation about self-forgiveness and grace can be helpful. Nobody is perfect, and we shouldn't expect perfection of ourselves. If I do stay out too long, or have a 2nd slice of cake, I don't get down on myself about it. I take it as a lesson and I move on with my life. Having a black or white mindset is toxic, unsustainable and doesn't make any sense. Do you really think you're never going to have another cookie again in your entire lifetime? 

Some tips for staying healthy while being social:

  • Schedule an early morning workout the next morning so you have an excuse, reason, and initiative not to stay out too late.
  • If you do choose to drink, stick to 1 drink. And be sure to supplement with plenty of H2O!
  • Choose healthy activities: cook dinner at home, BBQ, go bowling, or go to evening yoga. There is the opportunity to be social everywhere we look…not just at bars. 
  • If you choose to abstain from alcohol, make sure you are surrounded by loving and understanding people who respect your choices. If your friends are making fun of you or making you feel bad for putting your health and body first, then they probably aren't the most supportive friends. 
  • Make friends in healthy settings- whether you go to the yoga studio, climbing gym, or the same smoothie place on the daily, start looking and cultivating friendships with people that have similar interests in mind. Most likely, these people also have their health in mind and will understand you. 
  • Know when and how to say no. If you are tired, beat, etc, it’s okay to say no. Your true friends will not be bothered by this. Saying no gives you a higher level of self-care. Never stop putting your greater good first - only YOU know what’s best for you any given day, so always be ready to make that decision day in, and day out!

 

What are some things you do to stay healthy and social?

This post is sponsored by my friends at Blue Shield of California. I am grateful that these brands want to work with me to help spread my message of balanced living.

DIY Moon Dust by lee tilghman

Moon dusts are powders sold in jars that contain a specific blend of adaptogens to help a multitude of things. However, they can have a steep price starting at around $30 per jars. 

That's why today I'm sharing one of the best kept secrets in the health and wellness world, a company called Mountain Rose Herbs. They sell all their organic herbs and spices in bulk. Organic and wildcrafted when possible, so you're not skipping on quality. You save $ because you aren't paying for fancy packaging. They are also a fair trade company with a sustainable mission, so that's rad.

Buying my herbs in bulk is my secret to managing an expensive adaptogen habit. 

Mountain Rose Herbs bulk adaptogens start as low as $2.25 per ounce. That's about 70% less expensive than some other brands out on the market. 

Moon dust!

This DIY Moon Dust is one of my favorite things to add into my matcha lattes. It's energizing and great for the morning, so I do not recommend taking it at night or it could affect sleep. 

You can add this blend to a matcha latte, mix it into tea, or make your own adaptogenic lattes (lots of inspo for these in my caffine free week post!) This is an stimulating combination of herbs, so stick to it in your morning concoction. Remember to only add 1/4 tsp your first time trying out this blend, and ask your doctor if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are breastfeeding or pregnant!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup astragalus root 
  • 1/4 cup rhodiola root
  • 3 medium size ginseng root knobs
  • 1/4 cup of eleuthero root powder *

* I had the powder form in bulk for eleuthero so I didn't blend this one- just added it to the dust!  

Instructions

Makes about 1 cup- this will last a long time.

  1. Blend each herb separately on high till it becomes powder (astragalus takes a little longer than the others) 
  2. Transfer into one air tight container
  3. Add the eleuthero root powder
  4. Mix it all up and enjoy 1/4 - 1/2 tsp at a time in your morning matcha, tea, or smoothie!
  5. Store in an airtight tinted glass jar for up to 6 months. if you don't have a tinted glass jar, wrap it with newspaper. 

 

This post was sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. I am very thankful that such an ethical brand is supporting my mission to spread good health to you guys.