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. 

Coconut Milk by lee tilghman

Almond milk is sooooo 2016. 

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

Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

All About Adaptogens by lee tilghman

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

What are adaptogens?

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

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

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

Which are my favorite adaptogens and what do they do?

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

Where do I get my adaptogens?

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

Ashwagandha

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

Cordyceps

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

Chaga

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

Eluthero Root

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

He Shoe Wu

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

Moringa

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

Pine Pollen

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

Reishi

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

Rhodiola

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

Triphala

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

My favorite ways to add adpatogens in?

What are some of your favorite adaptogens?

How to Beat Bloat+Constipation by lee tilghman

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

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

What is bloat?

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

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

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

My Bloat Story: 

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

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

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

How to Combat Bloat:

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

What is Constipation?

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

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

How to Beat COnstipation: 

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

What are some of your favorite bloat + constipation tips?

Pantry+Fridge Must-Haves and organization by lee tilghman

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

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

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

FRIDGE

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

Pantry

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

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

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

Organization

Fridge Organization Tips:

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

Pantry Organization Tips:

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

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

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

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

Before my pantry renovation

Before my pantry renovation

After my pantry renovation!

After my pantry renovation!

Ketosis Bites by lee tilghman

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

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

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

A note about the ingredients

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

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

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

Ketosis Bites

Ingredients

Cinnamon Maca 

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

Blue Majik Mint

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

Instructions

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

Traveling Healthy by lee tilghman

Traveling is one of life's greatest joys. 

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

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

Ahead of Time

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

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

What to Eat

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

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

Fasting

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

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

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

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

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

Be Prepared

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

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

On the Trip

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

What are some of your favorite travel tips?

Fruit Free Nice Cream by lee tilghman

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

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

how to quit processed sugar by lee tilghman

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

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

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

reality check

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

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

sugar + hormones

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

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

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

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

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

changing perspective

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

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

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

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

how to quit the processed stuff

Clean out your pantry

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

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

curb your cravings

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

substitute with lower sugar snacks:

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

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

Bulletproof bars - their vanilla flavors are my favorite!

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

Eating Evolved - their products are legit. 

Educate yourself

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

have grace

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

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

The Best Herbs for PCOS by lee tilghman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashwagandha

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

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

Chasteberry (Vitex) 

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

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

cinnamon

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

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

Cordyceps

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

Maca

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

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

Saw Palmetto Pills

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

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

 

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

Oil Training 101 by lee tilghman

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

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

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

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

Working out while oil training

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

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

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

Tips & Pointers

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

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