I Lost My Passport The Night Before My Vacation to Canada…This Is Why I (Now) Believe It Was Meant To Be!

Why does your passport have holes in it? This is the question that made my stomach drop like it does in a skyscraper elevator. It’s the question my husband asked innocently as he went to check us in the night before our AM flight to Victoria, Canada for the trip we’d been looking forward to for months. “No, that’s my expired passport.” I said. “Where’s the new one?” My stomach dropped again and this time I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. We always keep our passports in the same neatly organized passport wallet and didn’t even think about checking it to make sure everything was there. From 10pm-2am we proceeded to rip apart our apartment looking for that damn passport. We searched every wallet, purse, jacket, junk drawer, storage unit, and car nook and cranny humanly possible. We looked in places we had already checked 5X over thinking we would find it (the definition of insanity btw), but NO LUCK. This was the night after the amazing Staycation Series Spring event I co-hosted so I was still coming off the high and my husband had just finished up a major consulting project and a VERY long week (he even created the mocktails for our event). I had also wrapped up another fulfilling month in my virtual group coaching course and finalized details for two upcoming events. Needless to say, this vacation was supposed to be a well-deserved celebration for both of us and we were craving it! I didn’t want to give up so at 5am, we brought my ID, expired passport, birth certificate and SS card to the airport because we’d heard getting into Canada was easier than other countries and my sisters friend had once gotten there on an ID (it was Sunday so all passport offices and expediting services were closed). In less than 5 minutes I was turned away with a hard “NO.”

Soooo, I had to let my husband go to Canada without me because this was an all expense paid getaway from a gin brand that he collaborated with (think fancy hotel, couples massages, high tea, whale watching, bike riding, distillery tours and 5 star meals). I returned home defeated, sleep deprived and depressed only to find out Josh had accidentally taken both sets of house keys with him. After crying out like a crazy person for my neighbor in the street, he finally came over and helped me break into my own home. I finally got into bed and cried for an hour straight. In February I got food poisoning the morning of my best friends wedding in San Francisco and missed being a bridesmaid… and now this? What did I do to deserve this? These were the thoughts running through my head.

Shortly after, I received a text from my husband saying there was no way he was letting me stay home and be miserable (and probably work), and that he was booking me a hotel for 3 nights in Palm Springs so I could lay by the pool, go to the spa and shop. I felt like I didn’t deserve such a treat but the room was non-refundable so I packed up on 3 hours of sleep and drove to Palm Springs. Long story (a little) shorter, Hotels Tonight did a great job making the hotel look nice and it was the opposite. The minute I got there, music blasted out from the pool part going on and foot long Vegas style cocktails surrounded me. The non-smoking room I was in smelled like a cigarette butt and the room shook every time a car drove by. The view was of the street and a bunch of drunk people standing outside smoking. I felt even more depressed and alone. This amazingly sweet gesture from my husband was not at all the way either of us had envisioned it. I had booked myself into a spa day the next afternoon at Two Bunch Palms so I decided to see if they had any rooms available and they did…for the next two nights! I stayed one night in the first hotel and decided that the next day I would start fresh! I was running on fumes anyway and besides the drunk people outside my window, I slept like a baby and promptly woke up and drove straight to Two Bunch, just in time for the 10am yoga class! As soon as I got to the property, I took a huge inhale & exhale….I was home. The grounds were filled with palm trees, cactus, natural hot springs and mini lakes with ducks waddling all around. As I walked down the path to find the yoga dome, I snapped a photo of this girl meditating as ducks made their way into the pond…it looked like peace and serenity, and I finally smiled.

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On my way to yoga I met an older lady named Leslie and her friend Toby. We got to chatting and I told her my story. She decided it had to be documented and proceeded to grab my camera phone every chance she got and take a series of candid blurry photos so I could remember the time I was “brave enough” to take a solo trip to Palm Springs. A few of her photos below—I love Leslie!

I have to admit that first yoga class felt more like a bootcamp taught by an ex-drill sergeant. The lady was fierce and fiery and her class was anything but relaxing and I thought “oh man, and the saga continues…” But I think this was the universe playing one last cheeky joke before opening the gates to PURE BLISS. In that moment I thought of the phrase “this isn’t happening to me, it’s happening for me.” There’s a reason I didn’t get on that flight with Josh and this must be it. And to top it off my parents and sister came together to treat me to the room and spa treatment so that I could fully relax. I wanted to say that I didn’t deserve it, but ultimately I knew it was what I needed (maybe even more so than Canada) and for that, I am endlessly grateful. To tell you about the next 2.5 days would take up the length of a book so I’ll show and tell through photos and captions. To truly unplug I decided to delete the Instagram & Facebook apps off my phone and commit to only checking my emails twice a day. And let me just say, YOU NEED TO TRY THIS. It’s amazing.

Two Bunch Palms is an oasis that I will be dreaming about and using as my quarterly solo retreat from the city. I love that they take a holistic approach to conservation and sustainability and that every aspect of their property honors this. They use produce grown locally in their restaurant, irrigate with recycled water, use biodegradable cleaning and treatment products, and generate electricity from 100% renewable sources!

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Spa Treatment with Erin. When I got to Two Bunch I was suffering from the worst stress/emotional headache and Erin happened to specialize in working on pressure points and head, neck, and jaw treatments. Who knew? She showed me how much tension I was holding in these areas and used firm pressure and adjustments to release the knots which to be honest, was not comfortable but wow, did it make a difference! Within the course of the hour my headache went from an 8 to a 2! I walked away feeling so much better and armed with some really empowering information. She believes people need to engage in “jaw self-care” because when our jaw is tense, we tense up our shoulders and actually shorten our diaphragm and therefore, make it much harder to breath which is the very thing that releases tension in the first place! More on this in another post but there are jaw massages, cupping techniques and exercises you can do on a daily basis to help you find relief….

This was my uniform basically the whole time with a bathing suit underneath. Everyone on the property walks around in robes and even wear them to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Heaven not having to think about what to wear and to just focus solely on comfort and relaxation!

This was my uniform basically the whole time with a bathing suit underneath. Everyone on the property walks around in robes and even wear them to breakfast, lunch and dinner. Heaven not having to think about what to wear and to just focus solely on comfort and relaxation!

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Art Classes. Included in the price of the room are a series of daily exercise, art and spiritual classes. Creativity is an area in my life that I feel needs a lot more attention so I signed up for both the stone art and stencil painting classes. In the stone art class, our teacher started with a beautiful visualization meditation and explained that we would be painting with the hand we don’t write with . She explained that if we paint with the wrong hand, there’s no way to “mess up” because we’re doing it the wrong way anyway. In this way we remove the judgement and self-criticism that comes with art. Genius! She also played the most beautiful Spanish guitar music and reminded us that art to music is even more powerful. One of the girls in our class shared with us that studies have shown that 10 minutes of art is equal to about 20 minutes of meditation which was of interest to me since I’ve struggled with finding a meditation practice I love. I’ve also never considered myself to be artistic but realized that something as simple as painting a stone or using a stencil to create our own vision is art too! When I got home I ordered some paints, brushes and stencils and can’t wait to try this as my form of meditation once a week!

Thanks to Leslie for snapping this photo! ;)

Thanks to Leslie for snapping this photo! ;)

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My lotus stencil. The art teacher noticed I used a lot of turquoise and white in both classes which signifies transformation, balance, harmony and tranquility!

My lotus stencil. The art teacher noticed I used a lot of turquoise and white in both classes which signifies transformation, balance, harmony and tranquility!

Hot Springs. Two Bunch Palms is famous for their natural hot springs which have been flowing under the surface for 600 years! The unique composition of this mineral water is world famous for its therapeutic and mood-enhancing properties: low in sulfur and rich in lithium. As soon as I stepped into the waters, I felt instantly calm and even more rejuvenated afterwards. They have three large teak tubs where you can adjust the natural mineral water temperature and a bunch of other beautiful concrete mineral water soaking pools. I hopped between all of them and just laid in the water, focusing on my breathing and taking in the gorgeous natural desert surroundings!

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I never left the property of the hotel so their restaurant was the only place I ate the whole time. And when they had the best fish tacos EVER, I obviously had to order them every single day! Intuitive eating is all about checking in before a meal and asking yourself “What do I REALLY want? How do I want to feel?” It’s funny how the little demon voices pop into your head and say “should you really be eating tacos 3 days in a row? Is all that corn a good idea? What about the carbs?” And what’s even more fun is when you tell them to “STFU because that’s exactly what you want!” I ate those tacos slowly and savored every bite as I read my new book and sipped on my favorite Ginger Kicker made with fresh ginger, lemon, soda, and agave. Although I asked them to hold the agave, popped in a few drops of my own liquid stevia & added some fresh mint. ;)

Fish Tacos Day #1

Fish Tacos Day #1

Fish Tacos Day #2

Fish Tacos Day #2

Fish Tacos Day #3! YUMMMMM

Fish Tacos Day #3! YUMMMMM

YOGA with Lisa Marie. Remember how I told you about the drill sergeant the first day? Lisa was the opposite, thank goodness. I took her yoga class two days in a row and loved that she started each session with a breathing meditation, asking us to answer three questions: “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” “How can I be of better service?” We chose an affirmation we wanted to set the tone for the class and I chose “I am letting shit go” and “I am calm.” Lisa also used the Wim Hof Method which is a breathing technique created by the world famous, Ice Man. The exercises are focused on deep and rhythmic inhalations and exhalations, described by Wim as ‘controlled hyperventilation or power breathing’ and are followed by a retention time, where you hold your breath for a x amount of time. By practicing the breathing exercises, you are releasing more energy, influencing your nervous system and changing various physiological responses. You are inducing voluntarily a short stress response which ultimately will lead to more resilience towards everyday stress, mentally and physiology and feeling more in control. I definitely felt a difference in my anxiety levels afterwards!

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Reading, journaling, relaxing. It was so nice to have no plans, no reservations and no-one waiting on me. I woke up each morning and spent time journaling and reading from bed. One morning I walked down to the pond and laid down and listened to a guided morning meditation on my phone. There’s something about being in nature with the birds chirping, and the sun beating down on my chest that really did it for me. I think this is something I could get used to! I laid by the pool, took an aquatic yoga class and swam laps one afternoon which I am excited to return to this summer! I took myself to dinner at the restaurant each night and chatted with neighboring guests, read, journaled my thoughts and drank the Dry Farm Wines I packed along with me! I haven’t felt so connected to myself and my thoughts in a really long time and by the end of my stay, I was fully recharged and my mindset had done a 180. I went from feeling depressed, anxious and alone to being excited by life, happy, relaxed and reconnected to myself and my purpose, my passion and my “why!”

The best heirloom tomato and pesto appetizer before healthy shrimp & grits!

The best heirloom tomato and pesto appetizer before healthy shrimp & grits!

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Moral of the story: We have the power to change our reaction to the world. Life can throw us curveballs and even though they may be challenging, they are usually there to teach us a lesson. And if we choose to listen, we. can make magic happen. I am grateful for this lesson and even though I missed a vacation with my PIC, he still had a great time and this mishap served as a motivator for us to save up for a real international vacation….one that is longer than just a few days! It also empowered us to get super organized because I STILL haven’t found my passport so the mystery is yet to be solved. I have always believed that everything happens for a reason but sometimes when you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to comprehend the reason. I’m so thankful to my husband, my sister, and my parents for pushing me to have this experience (and helping me make it happen), and to myself for being open to a new path. Much of what I experienced and learned at Two Bunch Palms, will be things that I use to better serve myself and others, and in many ways, it’s the trip I needed more than 3 days of eating, drinking and go-go-going in Canada…I also think my husband probably had a better time without worrying about his wife passing out at 10pm ;) Have you ever had an experience like this before? What lessons did you learn? I’d love to her your stories so please share with me via this post on Instagram!

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Soulmate Client Spotlight: Stephanie's Mind, Body & Soul Story!

I was introduced to Jess after I had completed hormone testing with her mom, hormone expert Candace Burch. I had come to Candace looking for answers that I was not finding anywhere else. For a year, I had been struggling with extreme anxiety, bloat, digestion issues, you name it.   My first call with Jess was complementary as part of my hormone test kit. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I had never worked with a health coach before or knew anything about what a health coach was. I anticipated it was going to be mostly a discussion that regarded food and meal planning? I had no idea and I was wrong. Our time working together was this, but SO much more. 

Jess and I connected right off the bat. I spilled out my whole heart and soul into that first one hour phone call. That first telephone call we talked mostly about my symptoms, all the things (supplements, meal plans, exercises, meditation) I had been trying, stopping, adding something different in, re-trying and then stopping again. I felt so confused and overwhelmed with all my own research I was doing that I didn’t even realize how much additional stress I was putting on mind and my body . No wonder I wasn’t feeling any better! I was so wrapped up in the latest research and how it was working for other people that I felt like I had to try everything and anything. I have to admit, I had a very hard time committing to her program initially since I had been trying so many different things that I honestly didn’t feel like I could spend another dollar on a new program. I had worked with nutritionists in the past to heal my digestion programs but the programs had felt so restrictive that I could not adapt them into my everyday life and feel good. It was something about that connection in our first call and how many things we had in common when it came to our personal stories. I felt like Jess listened and understood everything I was going through and genuinely  wanted to help. It was the best decision I ever made and the most rewarding thing I could have done for myself. I remember Jess telling me it really takes 6 months to establish new, healthy habits and a year later I can definitely say this is true.

In the beginning, we really focused on changing my mindset to only focus on myself. Self-care was the number one priority. We set goals every week to make small sustainable changes, taking it day by day. Knowing we had this 6 months together reassured me and allowed my crazy brain to slow down and allow these small changes to turn into lifelong, healthy habits. After every session, Jess would send out a follow up e-mail, re-capping the major things we had discussed. This would also include 3 goals to work on through the next few weeks. This was great because it kept me accountable. Also, if something didn’t work, we moved on to a different goal. This was also huge for me as typically I’d want to try everything at once and would have no idea if it was something I was benefitting from or just causing additional stress. I was that “all or nothing” type of girl. I used to be the type of person who wanted that quick fix. I realized that quick fixes get you nowhere, and that they also do not exist. At the time, I was commuting 2 hours each way to work. I was not a happy camper, but this was not permanent. My boyfriend and I had plans once the year was over to move back closer to city since both of our jobs were there. Going to the gym every day of the week was not an option, nor did I want to. Prior to my move, my gym schedule was very regimented and consistent of a lot of high intensity workouts. For some reason, I had this mindset that I had to go the gym x amount of times per week in order to look and feel good in my skin and my clothes. I was coming home after long day, doing workouts in my living room, eating dinner at 9pm and going straight to bed. This turned into me dreading coming home to work out. I was starving by the time I started making dinner and was never prepared. I was also leaving no time in my life to actually enjoy my home and the time I had in my first apartment with my boyfriend. I was always dreading my commute, dreading coming home, working out and making dinner. This had to change. I was not happy. Slowly but surely, we had created a plan and a list of things to do on my morning commute that I would look forward to. For example we’d find different podcasts that were inspiring and would get me motivated and ready for my workday. We also started creating a list of movement. I would put different workouts in lists that consisted of movement that I love, that I wanted to try and that I do not like. I had to be ok with not working out every day of the week and focus on a few times a week with only movement I loved. I had to let go of the relationship I had with the gym. I needed to slow down and listen to my body in order to allow change to happen.

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Jess also put together Pinterest boards of recipes and products to try! I found myself coming home and cooking meals that I was excited by and was to experiment with ways to use different ingredients so that I could re-use them for lunch the next day. My fridge became so organized and like a “little salad bar” as Jess would say. This allowed me to mix and match and create new meals that were already prepared and super easy to make. Over time, I was discovering new foods that were fueling my body and giving me more energy. I was motivated to be more organized which would decrease my stress levels. The craziest realization to me was that I was changing my eating patterns, working out less and my body felt a million times better. I was feeling great in my clothes and the number on the scale never changed. My digestion eventually got back on track, my skin started to clear up. I think this was the turning point and shift within me to just let go of all the expectations and pressures that I was putting on myself. I was allowing myself to live in the moment and truly listen to what my body needed. I also never once felt restricted with the meals I was eating and Jess helped me let go of those “guilty” feelings I would feel when I would have a “cheat” meal. We turned those negatives thoughts around food and exercise into positives by simply just changing those thoughts and the wording I would use. I taught myself to accept that one “bad” meal or “bad” day does not set you back and does not mean I need to punish myself at the gym the next day. I found the tools to always be prepared for what those next steps would be to make me feel by best when I wanted to treat myself. Over the course of my program, we narrowed down and solidified what I need and don’t need in my life to feel my best.  Post move, Jess and I still had a few more months of working together and we created more self-care rituals, ways to be more organized in my new home and creating plans to be a tourist in my own city. This really pushed me to explore and find more opportunities that were at my fingertips and kept things fun and new during the week. I started to expand my lists of movement that I enjoyed and try new things through apps like ClassPass.

Not only has my relationship changed with myself, I have noticed tremendous change in my relationships with others and the people I care most about. Jess and I focused on this a lot as well. There still continues to be hurdles and room for improvement, but I now have the tools and resources to be able to navigate and be accepting of positive change. I look back to a year ago and I am so proud of myself of who I have become. I am confident that all the things we worked on have changed me to continue to be the best version of myself. I will definitely be joining Jess’ next group session as I love working with her so much and want to continue to learn and spread her knowledge. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

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Work it, I Need a Glass of Water...

Hydrate. We hear it all the time. “Consume half your body weight in water daily.” “Drink a glass of water between every glass of wine.” “Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go,” yada, yada.

Most of us know that our body is made up of mostly water so it makes sense we’d need A LOT of it to survive and thrive but do we really understand just how integral it is? Seems too simple to be a panacea, but it truly is!

After getting hit with the (second) worst food poisoning of my life on the morning of my best friends wedding, I quickly learned the ripple effect that can happen when you become severely dehydrated….and yes, I was a bridesmaid!

LACK OF ENERGY: Dehydration leads to fatigue, which slowly wears down the bodily functions you need to power through the day! The more water you drink, the more awake and alert you’ll feel. For the first two days of my food poisoning I had so little energy I could barely open my eyes or get out of bed, and for almost two weeks afterwards I felt completely drained to the point where I was pressing the snooze alarm constantly (which is not like me) and couldn’t even go for a walk without feeling light-headed and fatigued.

LIGHT HEADED AND DIZZY: Four days after the food poisoning I thought I’d be able to get back to my long walks and client meetings, but the second I did, I was hit with a huge wave of dizziness and felt like I was going to faint. At the point, I was eating real meals again (although not my typical amount of protein which could have also played a role in how I was feeling). When you're severely dehydrated, your blood pressure can drop, your brain may not get enough oxygen, and you wind up feeling like you just got off an amusement park ride!

DRY, SENSITIVE SKIN: Did you know that most people who think they have dry skin just have really dehydrated skin? Our skin requires proper moisture and hydration to prevent rapid aging, to smooth and soften, and to give us the spa glow we all crave. Have you seen Pharrell Williams baby face at 45? Pretty sure he’s staying hydrated…or he’s a mythical creature which I’m already kinda convinced he is. ;) The week after food poisoning, my skin started to break out which I haven’t experienced in a long time. I have a bi-monthly membership at Heyday Skincare so I treated myself to a facial and the skin therapist said that I was super dried out and the inflammation (aka breakout) was likely a result of the dehydration. So, I made sure to get right back on my skin routine which includes hydrating moisturizer, eye and lip serum, and day and night oil by Airelle Skincare. I love this line because it’s non-toxic and formulated by a Dermatologist PA who had many clients asking for a skin line that was dermatologist approved, without the harmful ingredients. They use ingredients like Vitamin C for collagen boosting and Hyaluronic Acid which is a magnet for moisture and helps your skin to hydrate from the outside in. Our skin cells produce HA naturally, but with age (like so many things), the production declines and actually gets redistributed to other parts of the body! Feel free to use my code BodyBlissbyJess20 for 20% off the Arielle line! Pro tip: When using products with Hyaluronic Acid, apply in a steamy bathroom after the shower because it relies on moisture to do its work and can actually dry out your skin if there isn’t any to pull from. Sometimes, I spray my face with a rose mist from Beauty Counter before applying which really helps and feels amazing!

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HEADACHES! Now if you know my story, you’ve heard me talk about how I cured my debilitating migraines (link to blog post here). So nowadays, when I get a headache (especially one verging on a migraine), I take a step back and look at all the factors in my life that could be playing a role and see how I can reduce potential triggers and add in supportive therapies. A week after my food poisoning, I actually started feeling much better but was suddenly slammed down by a major headache…that lasted 5 WHOLE DAYS! Now, I’m not blaming dehydration 100% but I believe it was the catalyst and created a chain reaction throughout my entire body. That coupled with trying to operate my business at full speed (hours on my computer screen), lack of protein (I was afraid to eat fish after getting sick from it and don’t currently eat meat), and the stress of not being as productive as normal. And confession: I took an aspirin/caffeine pill combo a few times in the week which has been known to cause rebound migraine and is something I eliminated when I went through the “Heal Your Headache” protocol. I finally decided to slow down, stop taking the meds and to give my body time to heal naturally…which is the only thing that has ever worked for me longterm in the past!

Here are some of the steps I took to get back on track:

SCALED BACK: I looked at my work and social calendar and moved, rescheduled or straight canceled the things I knew I wouldn’t be able to show up for as my best self! This was a tough one for me, but it made a HUGE difference. I was really looking forward to attending my first Expo West wellness conference with my girlfriends, but ultimately decided, a day of bright lights, random food samples, and over-stimulation, probably wasn’t a good move for my healing body. There’s always next year! I also traded one of my evening meetings for a Thai/Swedish massage combo at a local spot that charges $45 for a whole hour! I bought all the fixings for an epsom salt and essential oil bubble bath and soaked in warm water with candles lit and French Cafe radio playing on Spotify in the background. A small investment for such incredible reward!

EVALUATED MY DIET: I realized that I wasn’t eating anywhere near my normal amount of protein because I was nervous to get sick again and I think this had a major effect on me. I had been eating simple foods like toast, nut butter and soup but gradually added in a scoop of Plantworks Nutrition protein powder (use code plantbliss15 if you’d like to try) and some eggs until I got over my nervous jitters and could work my way back to eating salmon and other forms of protein again! I stopped taking the aspirin/caffeine pill (it was just a bandaid) and added in Life Seasons Migra-T support with feverfew, butterbur, COQ10, magnesium and added turmeric and ginger (anti-inflammatory) to just about everything! I bought sugar-free Ultima electrolyte powder to replenish the electrolytes I had lost and drank 1-2 scoops per day. I got the grape flavor and added it to a glass of ice water, topped with apple cider vinegar and some fresh mint leaves…felt like a fancy mocktail!

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HYDRATION IV DRIP: I finally put to good use a gift card I won for an IV at the Hydration Room. Instead of having to check into a hospital, you can now visit one of these centers where they can customize a vitamin drip for you and with injection therapy, they provide balanced electrolytes and vitamins to calm busy minds, boost energy levels, and improve physical functions. The whole experience was actually much more relaxing than I thought it would be and only took about 45 minutes from start to finish but you can lie down, read and watch tv while you wait. I actually felt much better afterwards and even though I wasn’t cured, it definitely helped me get through my day a little easier!

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PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL: One of my life savers has always been Saje Wellness peppermint halo which I rub into my temples each night before bed to ease tension….it works wonders!

DAILY ROUTINES: I made sure to keep up with my daily skin routine, drank 75-100oz of water (I basically glued a water bottle to my lips), and gave myself a break from exercise. I took a few light walks, did a little yoga from home but stayed away from my normal pilates and platefit routines because my body wasn’t strong enough and my head was too sensitive for loud music and bight lights.

BOTTOM LINE: Dehydraton is a big deal. Each year, millions of people die as a result and the list of side effects that are associated are real…serious that is. If there’s two major takeaway’s I’ve learned from this experience it’s to treat water like the fountain of youth…because it truly is and to slow down and give your body time to heal. Even if your brain wants to keep moving a mile a minute, it’s ok to need a break. It’s ok to not feel 100% and not beat yourself up for it. And it’s ok to say no, because when you do that, you say yes to yourself and ultimately everyone in your life will reap the benefits!

Your homework is to go fill up the largest glass of water you can find and start chugging with a smile on your face, giving thanks for every last drop of goodness!

In the words of Missy Elliot “Work it, I need a glass of water. Boy, oh boy, it's good to know ya!”

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Soulmate Client Spotlight: Anne's Journey to 2.0!

Bloat. That’s what got me here.  Well, that and a morning commute listening to a popular podcast with which I never had anything in common. Except that morning the guest happened to be hormone expert Candace Burch. Her words resonated with me – it was like she could predict all of my bodily complaints before I even thought of them. So as soon as I hit my office I ordered the testing kit. BONUS – the package also included a one hour consultation with health coach Jessica Suchan. Except, at this point I just wanted to take some supplements, deflate my gut and go on my merry way. But if it’s for free, it’s for me so I booked the call with Jess…

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…that was over a year ago but I’m skipping ahead. I went into that first call with no expectations because “I didn’t need a health coach.” I ate “healthy” (my calories were meticulously counted, I only ate low fat, sprouted, whole grains), I exercised regularly and never deviated from my Type A programming. Except what I wasn’t admitting to myself was that the 3 pm daily slump that led to a snack and the repeated snooze button-ing every morning weren’t actually normal…or at least, they shouldn’t be. Truthfully, I don’t recall how I came to that realization but I do know that it happened in that first call with Jess because everything we talked about just made sense. Jess took the mystery out of fueling my body (fat, fiber, protein, greens – REPEAT). And I swear before we even got off the phone she had a Pinterest board created for me with an immediate library of recipes to jump start my journey. But in the subsequent year-plus, she gave me so much more…

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…I can’t say that Jess changed my personality, of course, but her infectious spirit, supportive counseling and downright cool-girl-vibe awakened something in me. Yes, my digestion is much more regular and my energy sustains me through the day but more than that I just fee balanced, like I’ve been recalibrated both mentally and physically. Exercise sometimes seemed like work because it was the same thing over and over…now trying new classes and activities is like an adventure and going back to the old faithfuls is like visiting a friend. And while my relationship with my husband has always been wonderful there is something about the designated dates and exploring new places (playing “tourist” in our own state) that is exciting and different and gives us that same giddy feeling we get on vacation. So now it’s on to the next chapter with Jess’s 4 Weeks to Balance & Bliss: New Year, 2.0 You because I want to keep the momentum going with clear and meaningful intentions of how I want to “be” in the coming year. And surrounding myself with like-minded women to support that? Well that’s just a bonus. Just like I thought health coach Jess Suchan was a year ago. But now I know she is so much more…

We FINALLY MET IN PERSON IN AUGUST WHEN JESS AND JOSH CAME OUT TO Rhode Island!

We FINALLY MET IN PERSON IN AUGUST WHEN JESS AND JOSH CAME OUT TO Rhode Island!

Soulmate Client Spotlight: Meghan's Journey to Finding Bliss!

Article written by my amazing client, Meghan Knowles!

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Change - it’s one, single word that’s had a world of meaning to me in the past year.

But let’s take it back 365 days…

About a year ago, I was getting ready to embark on the greatest change in my life - moving to LA for what I saw as a new beginning. For so long, I had wanted a new start by going into the group fitness and health/wellness space, which stemmed from my passion of wanting to help others better themselves, but was held back by the security of my full time career in public relations. Sure, it gave me a steady income, but it also gave me an overwhelming case of stress and anxiety from the demands of always having to be “on.” This didn’t leave much for work/life balance.

As much as I was excited to make it to LA in January for my “fresh start,” I was also scared to death. When I arrived I was unemployed, living in an area of the city that I did not feel a strong connection to and was unsure of how I would meet new people outside of the small group of friends I had here from college. To say I was scared out of my mind is an understatement. I had just left behind everything I knew in NY. My family, friends, my fitness community (shout out to my SurfYogaBeer family!) How was I going to find that in my new city? Let’s also throw in the fact I was about to turn 30…

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A few weeks after settling in LA, I landed a new job in PR. Was it what I was really hoping for? No, but it served as a landing place to help me get started here. One thing it helped me do was meet a great group of co-workers that were a creative, driven group of women that, for once, I felt connected to and supported by. At first it seemed completely different from my anxiety, stress-filled world of PR in NY, but then I noticed that I still wasn’t devoting enough time to myself out of the office or to researching how to break into the fitness and wellness world. Thankfully, that all changed when I attended an Almost 30 podcast panel that Jess spoke at. When she told her story of her career change, it was like she was in my own shoes and speaking directly to me! I knew I had to message her and set up a time to meet so that I get myself to a better place mentally and physically.

Fast forward a few months in working with Jess I began to see what felt like immediate changes - my acne-prone skin was clearing up (taking Hum Nutrition pre- and probiotics was working like a charm) and I was taking steps to prioritizing self care, like setting up little “day dates” and rituals for myself (for me, nothing beats a Sunday evening Survivor at SoulCycle with Dacoda, followed by a trip to Whole Foods). But even so, something was missing. It wasn’t until Jess and I worked through the fact that I was taking work home with me that I realized I was working an 8-5…and then some. I was slowly burning myself out and work was taking over my life.

I soon realized that my self-care had to be the #1 priority. I made sure to leave my work for the next day and take the rest of my evenings to myself. But at the same time, things at the office became increasingly demanding and overwhelming, which along with it, came the all-too-familiar stress and anxiety. As much as I had done to make positive changes for myself, I felt like I was being sucked back into the lifestyle that I so desperately wanted to leave behind. The one part of my day that I truly felt like I was using for me and as a release from it all was my workouts, whether it was a run or a favorite boutique fitness class. From this, it got me thinking again about how I could carry this small portion of my day into a job or career that I could love.

It wasn’t until recently, when my stress and anxiety levels felt like they were at an all-time high, that I finally understood what people meant when they said they had to physically drag themselves out of bed. I don’t think anyone really jumps up and is excited for work - we all want that extra 5 minutes - but this was so much more. The thought of going to the office, feeling drained and overwhelmed for 9+ hours a day, filled my body with anxiousness. Some mornings, I was paralyzed by the thought of getting out of my car and into the office. Feeling frustrated by a number of issues and emotionally & mentally depleted every week, I knew I couldn’t live like this anymore, not when I had worked so hard on my self-care and creating a better, more balanced lifestyle for myself.

After attending Jess and Rachel McClusky’s “Recharge to Balance & Bliss” retreat, which gave me the opportunity to spend a weekend in beautiful Lake Arrowhead with even more beautiful, supportive and inspiring women, I made the decision that it was time to take that leap of faith and make the change that I had been wanting for so long. I put in my two weeks with my company and felt a wave of relief come over me. To know that I was setting myself up to finally go down the path to pursue my passion for fitness felt so right.

Over the past month, I’ve started working at a couple of boutique fitness studios here in LA and where some people might see it as taking a step back (let’s face it, I left behind a SALARY), I know I’m propelling myself forward. I’m in environments where I’m observing multiple classes a day, seeing the work the instructors put in (even after we leave class) and everything that goes on behind-the-scenes. Plus, by being able to dictate my schedule, I have more time to dedicate to me, something I haven’t really had since jumping into the corporate world almost immediately after college. I have lunch meetings, get in a mid-afternoon workout, read, or simply catch up on my favorite trashy reality TV shows (more Housewives and Bachelors, no Kardashians). I’m able to dedicate more time to my Adidas Runners LA community and become a better leader for the group as a Crew Runner. Basically, for once, I’m doing things that serve me.

It’s crazy that the end of the year is almost here, but I’m SO excited for what 2019 has in store. I’ll be celebrating my 1-year LA anniversary 💃🏼, running my first LA Marathon (#5 overall!) and plan on taking a Pilates certification course…all within the first part of the year! To set these - and other - intentions in stone, I’m joining Jess’ 4 Weeks to Balance & Bliss: New Year, 2.0 YOU virtual group coaching course in January because I know I can thrive from the guidance of some of the best health & wellness experts in the biz and support of like-minded women.

I can’t say exactly what the next year will have in store for me, but what I do know is that the 2.0 version of me is out there and I can’t wait to meet her!

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#BRAINWEEK: HOW I CURED MY MIGRAINES WITHOUT MEDICATION!

As a collaborator for Dr. Bryant’s #BrainWeek, I thought I would finally share my experience with debilitating migraines and how I ended up curing them holistically...without prescription drugs and expensive treatments! 

I used to get bad headaches as a kid and experienced a few migraines in H.S. and college but the worst ones came about 3 years ago when I was working in a high-pressure job in social media management and marketing. I was glued to my computer screen for 8-12 hours a day and only took a break if it was to go fill up my coffee cup…little did I know that was doing more harm than good. I was always on edge and was scared that if I didn't do my job “perfectly” and bend over backwards for all my clients, I'd be let go. That meant I was usually the first to arrive to the office and one of the last ones to go home. I lived on Quest protein bars, tons of coffee, rice cakes & cream cheese and random packed lunches (always focusing on low-calorie, not nutrient-density). I remember that I was always complimented for being "so reliable" but now I realize it's because I didn't set boundaries...I responded to emails long after working hours and would wake up at 4am just to check my emails out of one eye and then go back to sleep until 7am. Needless to say, I developed migraines so debilitating I had to leave work immediately and could barely make it home before I'd be vomiting and laying in bed in the dark for days at a time. The tiniest bit of light or noise would hurt my eyes and send shooting pains through my skull... 

I craved immediate relief so I saw multiple doctors who suggested everything from Vicodin to heavy duty migraine prescriptions like Relpax and Imitrex but never suggested that there might be a root cause. I tried all of the meds because I needed to get back to work and didn't want to disappoint my team...even though they were so understanding and even gifted me a massage to help me slow down. All I wanted was to feel better but the medication wasn't working as more than a quick fix...in fact it was making everything worse....and there was one point I took up to 4 Vicodin in 1 day just to survive the holidays!  I quickly developed rebound migraine which is when the medicine wears off, and the withdrawal from the drug triggers another migraine...it became a vicious cycle and I finally decided I was DONE suffering! 

I did a TON of research on holistic migraine treatments and natural remedies and I came across the book Heal Your Headache., The 1,2,3 Program by David Buchholz, a neurologist who had cured thousands of patients of their migraines. I read every word and began his protocol for 4 months...it not only eliminated migraine specific trigger foods (due to specific chemical compounds) like avocado (that was the hardest), citrus, red wine, aged cheese and most alcohol, but I had to flush my meds down the toilet and get off coffee cold turkey…I used to drink 2-4 cups a day. I was sick of planning my life around my "headache days" because even when I didn’t have a migraine, I usually had a headache…so needless to say, I was willing to try anything... and can you believe it? This actually worked! It's been 2.5 years and I haven't had a debilitating migraine since (or frequent headaches) and when I've felt one coming on, I now have the tools I need to get over them MUCH faster than I used to!

HERE’S WHAT WORKED FOR ME:

Therapy (not diet): “Heal Your Headache, The 123 Step Program” eliminating possible trigger foods/drinks/meds for 4 months. In reading this book you’ll learn how the “migraine threshold” works and how a migraine cannot be pinpointed to just one or two triggers but a combination of different things (food, lifestyle, sleep etc). It’s also important to understand that our gut is our second brain (where 80% of our immune system lives) and that the immune system plays a role in the development of migraines, as does the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the digestive tract. The immune system is involved in both migraine attacks and in intestinal disorders that are influenced by gut bacteria. Both migraines and disorders like celiac disease and IBS cause inflammation and kick-start the immune system so it’s imperative to focus on reducing inflammation which you’ll see below.

Got Off: All prescription drugs & caffeine (now I can have green tea). The caffeine in coffee can lead to blood sugar imbalances and create rebound migraine.

Reduced Stress: started getting regular massage and chiropractic adjustments, took breaks from my computer and actually took a lunch break…and eventually quit my job to become a health coach…another story for another day!

Focused On: Hydration (100 oz water daily) and sleep (7-8 hours without checking my phone) and balancing my blood sugar levels (and my hormones) which meant eating regular meals (I used to go way too long between meals). adding protein, fat and fiber to each one and getting off all processed sugar which is one of the main reasons I created my 20-day Sexy Sugar Cleanse!

Supplements: Magnesium (a deficiency can contribute to migraines), Butterbur (supports healthy blood flow to the brain), Melatonin (can help reduce migraine frequency & duration), Vitamin D (boosts immune system) and COQ10.(reduces environmental damage to cells).

Herbs: Tons of ginger and turmeric as they are highly anti-inflammatory…the compound circumin in turmeric is touted as natures ibuprofen in thousands of studies!

Added back in: After 4 months, I was able to add back in almost all foods I eliminated but found out my major triggers were: red wine, champagne, coffee, sugar and stress! 

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WHAT I DO FOR MAINTENANCE:

  • Drink Four Sigmatic matcha instead of coffee…hence my obsession! You can use my code SHROOMBLISS for a discount. I love to mix 1.5 tsps with coconut milk, and stevia, blend and then heat on the stove for a frothy latte & top with cinnamon!

  • I only take 2 Aleve when I have a headache….if I really need it!

  • I take Magnesium citrate, HUM Vitamin D, HUM B-12 (use code 12350F for $10 off) and my favorite Hyperbiotics Probiotic every night before bed which is very important because migraines often stem from an imbalance of good to bad bacteria in the gut (made worse with prescription drugs, diet and stress) and a high-quality probiotic can re-populate the gut with the good guys! Use this link and code WELCOME10 for $10 off your first purchase of Hyperbiotics which I love because they are shelf-stable and formulated to withstand the journey through harsh stomach acid!

  • I use ginger and turmeric in everything I possible can… I even love to add fresh ginger to my matcha latte’s and turmeric into my chocolate protein shakes!

  • I eat lots of essential fatty acids which are vital for brain health i.e. wild-caught salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, olives etc

  • I add a scoop of collagen protein to my morning smoothie or chai latte for hair, skin and nail health but also because it helps heal and seal the gut lining! My favorite is Further Food (use code BODYBLISSBYJESS for 10% off). I love to add their turmeric tonic to my chai latte’s and smoothies too.

  • I carry Saje Wellness peppermint halo on me ALWAYS and rub into my temples any time I feel tension coming on. and every night before bed!

  • I give myself breaks from screen time (I've taken about 3 breaks since starting this article)

  • I do yoga at home, deep breath and try to reduce stress when I feel it coming on. I take my favorite pilates Megaformer class at The Studio MDR 2-3 times a week…if you’re in LA, reach out to me to try a class as I’m lucky enough to be their new health coach!

  • I get one massage per month which I used to think was indulgent but now I understand is absolutely necessary! I love the Zeel app because massage therapists come to your home so you can skip the stress of traffic, choose your own relaxing music and find a therapist that you love who you can prioritize! They have Swedish, deep tissue, couples, prenatal and sports massage and the membership is so awesome because not only do you get a discount but after 3 months, you get a free massage table! If you’d like to try it, you can use my code 13gcc for $20 off your first massage! You’ll love it…

  • I ENJOY wine! For the last 2.5 years I stayed away from my favorite red wine and champagne during celebrations but I just discovered Dry Farm Wines which is the only health-focused, all natural wine club in the world! All of the wines are sugar- free, low-sulfites and lab tested for purity…. and not only do I not get a headache after I drink it, but I feel GOOD the next day! If you’re interested in joining the wine club, you can click THIS LINK to select get 6 bottles to be delivered every (or every other) month and you’ll even get an extra bottle for a penny! Just for the holidays, they’re also offering 3, 6, and 12 bottle gift options here which are amazing since most people love the gift of wine that doesn’t leave you with a pounding headache the next day and that tastes amazing too! My trick is that I take a bottle out to dinner with me and just pay the corkage fee at the restaurant ;)

Me enjoying a glass of Champagne after 2.5 years (DRY Farm WINES)!

Me enjoying a glass of Champagne after 2.5 years (DRY Farm WINES)!

NOTE: I only ever recommend brands I trust and use myself on a regular-bases and have reached out to many of them to provide you with discount codes so you can try them too!

When I look back on my journey it is hard to believe that I went from having more headache days than non-headache days and that migraines were just a part of my month. I'm here to tell you that if you suffer from migraines or any other type of gut issue (remember migraines are often gut related), there is a way out the other side and while it will take a commitment to making changes and getting deep (journaling and keeping a food log helps a lot), it will result in a sense of freedom you never thought possible. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't think about how lucky I feel to be able to make plans with my friends or put events on my calendar without the fear that a headache might get in the way!

It was when I FINALLY cured my migraines holistically that my life changed and I realized the power of food as medicine and the gut as our second brain. I signed up for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and took a leap of faith by quitting my job and embarking on a journey to help men and women find relief the way I did and start actually listening to their bodies! This was the best decision I ever made and while it was scary, it was liberating and magical and I’m forever grateful to have a platform to share my story and to hopefully help others find a way out of the cycle like me…

Please reach out if you have any questions or are interested in working together because having support and accountability along the way is everything! Are you ready to make a change?!

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THE PERFECT PUMPKIN PIE PUDDIN'

With Thanksgiving a week away, we can all agree that “nom nom” is on the brain…in other words, food, food and more food! Thanksgiving without decadent dishes, drinks and desserts would be like Christmas morning without presents or Hanukkah without a Menorah. I remember in my yo-yo diet days I would restrict my calories and workout like the energizer bunny just so that I could eat to my hearts content on Thanksgiving. I thought if I could just save up all the extra calories I wasn’t eating for the days leading up to the holiday, I wouldn’t have to worry about my jeans getting a little tighter just because I allowed myself a single “cheat day”…. a term I now refer to as a four letter word! But what I didn’t realize is that all of the starvation led me to feel HANGRY on Thanksgiving day and completely rid me of all self-control and to be honest, any desire to be in control. I wanted to relax and eat whatever I felt like but the reality was that, as I sat in my sweatpants with plates of empty food in front of me, I felt more guilty than ever before. And guess what happened the next day? Restriction and negative body talk, rinse and repeat until I got back on whatever fad diet I was doing at the time. Flash forward to Thanksgiving today and I have a much healthier relationship with food and my body and it’s one of the reasons I am so passionate about sharing this balanced and blissful place with the women I get to work with every day.

One of my most valuable tips for going into Thanksgiving with confidence is to find healthy swaps for the hearty dishes you crave and then save room for the dishes you feel the most emotionally drawn to…. Grandma’s famous sweet potato pie or your mom’s secret stuffing perhaps? Start your morning with a hearty breakfast filled with protein, fat & fiber so that you’re satisfied and not walking into your family get-together or Friendsgiving with “binge brain” ready to swipe up whatever snack you see first! Get in some form of movement whether it’s a 15 minute yoga flow on YouTube, a walk around the neighborhood or a pilates class like my favorite one at Studio MDR…bring a friend or family member for accountability too! Before you go into the day, set your intention and strive to find a place of balance where you treat (not cheat) yourself to the foods you love, contribute healthier alternatives, take breaks between bites to breathe and focus on being fully present!

Today I’m so excited to share with you my protein packed PUMPKIN PIE PUDDIN’! This would be the perfect way to start your morning because not only is it festive and delicious, but it’s filled with protein, fat and fiber to turn off hunger hormones, keep you focused on the present moment AND is wonderful as a pre or post workout meal or snack! If you plan on eating for breakfast, I recommend enjoying to yourself. If bringing as a delish dessert contribution, you could divide the recipe in half like you see in these photos to feed two people. Double, triple or quadruple the recipe depending on how many hungry and happy mouths you plan to treat!

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PUMPKIN PIE PUDDIN’ (Sexy Sugar Cleanse Phase 2 approved, serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree

Further Food Collagen Peptides (optional but suggested for protein & glowing skin!) Use my code BODYBLISSBYJESS for 10% off your order

1 cup MALK Unsweetened Cashew Milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)

1/4 cup Chia Seeds

10-15 drops organic Stevia or Monkfruit for zero sugar sweetness (adjust to taste)

1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Toppings: pistachios & cacao nibs

Directions: Add all of the ingredients (except for toppings) to a glass jar with a lid. Stir until all ingredients are combined thoroughly. Pop in the fridge for 4-6 hours or overnight for best results. Once your pudding is thick and creamy, pour into container of choice (preferably something festive), add toppings of choice and viola!

Bonus: Enjoy each bite with gratitude, think about the flavors and what you enjoy about each one. Put your spoon down between bites and take time to fully enjoy and savor the experience. You’ll thank me later!

ALL OF YOUR INGREDIENTS: Cashew milk, collagen protein, chia seeds, stevia, pumpkin pie spice and Toppings!

ALL OF YOUR INGREDIENTS: Cashew milk, collagen protein, chia seeds, stevia, pumpkin pie spice and Toppings!

Adding your chia seeds to your MILK …. This whole recipe takes less then 5 mins to Prepare!

Adding your chia seeds to your MILK …. This whole recipe takes less then 5 mins to Prepare!

The FINISHED PUMPKIN PUDDIN’S PERFECT FOR DESSERT FOR TWO!

The FINISHED PUMPKIN PUDDIN’S PERFECT FOR DESSERT FOR TWO!

Get After Your Greens Smoothie Bowl

My smoothie bowls are like dessert for breakfast except that they're hormone balancing, energy boosting and satiating for up to 5 hours! 💪

This morning I experimented with a new vegan vanilla protein powder by Smart Pressed Juice and was pleasantly surprised. 😍 A lot of protein powders out there are flavorless, chalky or just boooooring and loaded with whey, sugar and inflammatory fillers. This one includes simple organic ingredients like pea, cranberry and hemp protein, superfoods like chia and maca and my fav 0 glycemic sweetners, monkfruit and stevia! 🙌

There's 16 grams of protein and lots of fiber to turn off hunger hormones and keep you full without the crash...plus it tastes bomb! 💃💃 I mixed this with their organic pressed greens powder which is filled with farm fresh veggies, herbs and a cold-pressed green grass blend!

Get After Your Greens Smoothie Bowl

1.5 cups unsweetened coconut milk + 1/2 cup water .
1 cup mix of frozen spinach & cauliflower

3-4 frozen coconut chunks from TJ's 

Smart Pressed Juice vanilla vegan proteingreens mix 🌱🌿

Blend & top with whatever you like! I did pecan butter, frozen blueb's, chia seeds, cacao nibs & NUCO - Coconuts For Life grain-free cereal! 😋

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What Makes a Salad Sexy?

When Christina Heiser of A Sweat Life asked for my tips on building a healthy salad for her #NationalSaladMonth article, little did she know I could teach a whole course on this stuff! As I explained, I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say how unsatisfied they feel after their salads and how little they look forward to them. My honest response: then why are you still eating them? 😉

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If you’re gagging down your salad while dreaming of your cheat day, we need to switch things up! Let me tell you, we’ve all got 99 problems but a boring salad does NOT have to be one of them! 

Building a sexy salad is not so much about what you remove but really about the swaps you make and things you add on! 

Click HERE to read Christina's article HOW TO BUILD A BETTER SALAD FOR NATIONAL SALAD MONTH featuring myself and several other nutrition experts and our opinions on what it takes to get the most out of your greens!

Also, if you're curious to dive a little deeper, I wanted to share my full Q&A with Christina! Hopefully this will give you some helpful tips for the next time you make a salad -- remember it's all about swapping it like it's HOT! 

What's your favorite base for a salad and why do you like it?
My all time favorite salad base is organic mixed greens and romaine. I love this combination not only for its nutrient density (rich in vitamins and minerals) but because the flavor is more complex than just having one type of lettuce. I add romaine because I absolutely love the refreshing and crispy crunch! 

If someone's concerned about their salad truly being filling, what are some good toppings to consider? 
I can't tell you how many times I hear people saying how unsatisfied they feel after a salad and how little they look forward to it! 99% of the time this is because they aren't adding enough to it and/or including adequate amounts of protein, fat and fiber to turn off hunger hormones and keep blood sugar levels balanced! Some of my favorite toppings include proteins like canned wild salmon mixed with primal kitchen mayo and everything but the bagel seasoning and more simple options like hard boiled eggs. I always include 3-4 healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds, and kalamata olives. I make sure to have fiber in the form of non-starchy veggies like roasted brussels sprouts, asparagus, and artichoke hearts and sometimes sprinkle in hemp hearts which taste great on salads!

Store-bought dressings and ones at salad bars can be really creamy - for someone who wants to keep it a little lighter, what's an easy salad dressing option to have on hand?  Store bought salad dressings can turn a healthy salad into  an unhealthy one real quick. In addition to dairy, most of them are loaded with inflammatory oils like canola and safflower and lots of added sugar! I love to top my salads with an easy mix of extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper. My favorite store-bought dressings are Primal Kitchen's ranch and caesar made with pasture raised eggs and all natural ingredients! I also just discovered Foods Alive super food dressings which are loaded with healthy fats and fiber and come in a variety of flavors! 

What are some of the toppings/dressings that you should try and avoid? 
My recommendation is to become a compassionate food detective and learn to read labels. If a salad dressing is loaded with added sugars, cheap oils or conventional dairy, chances are it doesn't belong in your bowl. When you start to read labels you'll realize there are very few healthy dressings on the shelves, even in health food stores which is why I like to have my 2-3 go-to brands that I love and then experiment  with my own dressings! Toppings wise, try to replace things like croutons with flax crackers, sugar coated nuts with alternatives like sunflower seeds and macadamia nuts and dried fruit with a small amount of fresh fruit like sliced apples or berries! If you want to add cheese to your salad, I would treat yourself to a high-quality organic variation or add some more healthy fats instead! It's not about taking away, it's about finding swap outs that satisfy you even more. With a healthy and hearty salad you should be feeling full, energized and super satisfied for at least 3-4 hours! 

Bowl So Hard Smoothie Bowl!

Disclaimer: these next few sentences prove why I'm now officially an Angeleno.  I woke up to weird dripping noises and tapping sounds on my roof. What the heck is that noise I thought?!  And then low and behold I looked outside and saw water drops falling from the sky. Official weather report: it's raining in LA..  you can all use your cute umbrellas and pull out your Patagonia jackets 😉

In all seriousness though, I'm headed out the door to catch my flight to SF but not before I get in a smoothie bowl and some journaling! I've been committed to leaving my phone in the bedroom for 20-30 mins each morning while I enjoy a mug of warm lemon water &  journal sesh which is basically just a brain dump that  always ends in gratitude. This morning ritual has been a game changer for me! I get the things off my chest that normally weigh on me in the day and remind myself of how much I have to be grateful for. Have anxiety?! Try this for the next 3 days and report back with any changes you notice. I have a feeling you're going to notice some positive shifts!

Ok so just in case you're wondering when I'm going to share the damn smoothie bowl recipe, here it is!

BOWL SO HARD SMOOTHIE BOWL: 

1-2 cups frozen spinach & frozen cauliflower mixed 

1 1/2 cups unsweetened Califia Farms coconut milk + 1/2 cup water 

1 scoop Plant Fusion vanilla chai protein powder (sugar-free and organic)

1 scoop Amazing Grass chocolate flavored superfood powder 

3-4 drops organic stevia 

Blend on high until smooth (if you want it creamier, add some more frozen cauliflower and if you want it less thick, add a little water) 

Pour into a bowl of choice and top with: 

1 tablespoon drizzled mixed nut butter (I love the one from Trader Joe's) 

1/4 cup frozen blueberries 

Lil' scoop cacao nibs 

Lil' scoop Dang's unsweetened coconut flakes 

Cinnamon 

Serve with a fancy spoon and ENJOY staying full, satisfied and happy for the next 4-6 hours! 

 

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The Probiotic Predicament + The Activo Solution!

If your gut feeling is that you should prooobabaly be taking probiotic, I’d listen up! 😉 Admittedly, the whole process of shopping for a probiotic can be so overwhelming you may just say screw it and move. I mean short of having a nutritionist shop with you or having hours to compare and contrast brands on google, the probiotics predicament is REAL. 


Ok, so listen up! Here’s the down and dirty on why your gut deserves these goods and how to pick a legit probiotic like Activo! I’m also going to touch on the benefits of throwing a bag of digestive enzymes in your purse (or pockets) when you’re out on the town enjoying a little more yang than yin if you know what I mean 🍷🍕😉

Read on to learn about the benefits of investing a little mula into your probiotic and what sets Activo apart from the hundreds of overwhelming brands on the shelves! Hint: It’s shelf stable (18 months guaranteed live bacteria) and can survive the journey through harsh stomach acid for 10-12 hours!

SO WHAT’S THE BIG FUSS? 

Probiotics are the bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. Did you know there are 10 times more probiotics in your gut than cells in your body?! Dayum! And just to blow your mind even further, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut…so no wonder you’re much more susceptible to catching the flu after a weekend of late nights and champagne glass clinking! 

From the moment we’re put on the planet probiotics populate our system, but over time, and through certain diet & lifestyle factors, we tend to screw with the balance of good to bad bacteria creating a dysbiosis of the gut. Some of the most common contributors to this imbalance include:

  • Overconsumption of sugar (It’s in 80% of all food products in the store and the average American consumes about 150 lbs of it per year— see my Sexy Sugar Cleanse if you’re interested in giving your system a reboot!) 
  • Overuse of antibiotics both taken orally and injected into our foods (the reason it’s SO important to opt for hormone-free dairy and grass-fed beef etc.)
  • Emotional stress caused by breakups, job changes, and our faced-paced society!
  • Chemicals that sneak their way into our food, beauty products, household cleaners and the air we breath! 
  • GMO foods that have been genetically modified to increase yield and lower production costs!

Over time, this gut dysbiosis can lead to side effects like severe digestive disorders, candida, autoimmune disease, skin problems, and way more colds and flus than necessary. 

By adding a reliable probiotic into your daily routine, you can reap the benefits of: 

  • A stronger immune system which means fewer sick days!
  • Improved digestion so you stop feeling so bloated and actually absorb the nutrients from your food
  • Increased energy from vitamin B12 production— we can all use a little of that! 
  • Healthier, more glowing skin-- heck yes!
  • Healing of Leaky Gut and IBS so you can stop feeling so shitty...amma right?
  • Weight loss support by keeping things moving…if you know what I mean!

SO WHY DO I RECCOMEND ACTIVO? 

  • Patented BIO-Tract technology which enables each beadlet to be released slowly throughout your digestive tract, giving you 10-12 hours of good, live bacteria populating your large and small intestines and surpassing harsh stomach acid!
  • Shelf-stable which I LOVE! There’s a lot of press that says probiotics need to be refrigerated but what about the fact that you have no idea how long those probiotics have been left out in transport to Whole Foods or your Amazon delivery?! I always look for a shelf-stable probiotic meaning you can be sure that the beneficial organisms are alive when you take them (18 months guaranteed) and that they’ll survive the journey through your stomach - giving you the full benefits that  are the very reason you’re taking them to begin with!
  • More Probiotic Strains! A higher CFU count (i.e. 50 + billion) doesn’t always mean a better quality product. Activo’s Pure Life Sustained Release Probiotics contain 16 different  probiotic  strains (most don’t come close). Including multiple strains of bacteria gives you a larger spectrum of support for overall health which is pretty important wouldn’t cha say? 

AND WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH DIGESTIVE ENZYMES? 

I’ll save the digestive enzyme chit-chat for another post but bottom line: you aren’t just what you eat, you are what you digest! 

Digestive enzymes are proteins we all produce that help our bodies chemically break down the food we eat into smaller, absorbable parts. But if we don’t have enough digestive enzymes (some of us have more than others), the harder our bodies have to work to break everything down— which can often mean bloating and stomach aches, eek! Certain foods like dairy and gluten are notoriously harder to break down so in situations when we know we may be popping a few extra bottles or enjoying a little more cheese on the charcuterie board than the average day, a good bottle of Digestive Enzymes can help support you and your ability to enjoy the party and hop back on track the following day or even better, before you go to sleep!

Disclaimer: This is not an excuse for an all out binge because trust me, you’ll still feel pretty icky (and not just physically), but it is a great tool to have in your toolkit because let’s be honest, life happens and so do decadent dinners!

Interested in trying Activo Probiotics and/or Digestive Enzymes? Simply pop on over to their website to purchase HERE. You can also enter their AMAZING giveaway which includes so many goodies you'll just have to see for yourself HERE. 

Hope you found this post helpful and would love for you to reach out to me with any questions, comments or just to say hi! Here's to a happy gut 

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Matcha- The Triple Threat!

So I’ve got to admit Matcha is “on trend” right now and with trends come a lot of variations on that trend. You can find Matcha latte’s in every other coffee shop in LA including Starbucks but let’s get something right, not all Matcha is created equal. Not even close!

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I originally found out about Matcha when I developed terrible migraines and realized one of my triggers had been the 2-3 giant cups of coffee I had been consuming every morning before work. As part of my therapy to getting well (this will be it’s own post), I decided to find an alternative to my morning love that would still give me a boost while satisfying that craving for something warm and sweet. 

I’ll be honest, my first “intro” was a taste of Starbucks green tea latte which tasted SO delicious but when I researched the ingredients, I found out it contained 32 grams of sugar in a grande (more than the amount recommended for a woman in an ENTIRE day)! Plus, their “Matcha blend” doesn’t even contain real matcha and the first ingredient is sugar…anything to make a buck right StarBUCKs… 😉

SO after google searching “Best Matcha in LA” more times than I like to admit, I stumbled upon this gem Matcha Bar on a date day with the hubs last year in Silver Lake and was hooked…they even have a Pumpkin Spice variation that they’re keeping on the menu because it’s so popular! 

Oh and btw, they use Ceremonial Grade ALL day-  This is the kind of Matcha  meant to be consumed in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and contains all of the caffeine and L-theanine that makes it so powerful! 

Pro Tip: When you order a Matcha at a coffee shop, ask for it unsweetened as many places will add syrup or use a milk loaded with cane sugar! 

MATCHA- THE TRIPLE THREAT

Antioxidants to keep you twerking! Matcha is naturally one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants on the planet! You want these “good guy” as your bodies line of defense against rapid aging, and inflammation as well as to help with blood sugar balance, cholesterol levels and even metabolism! 

L-theanine is such a boss babe! This amazing amino acid is celebrated for its super chill effects on the mind…seriously! Have you ever noticed how coffee can make you feel anxious? On the contrary, Matcha can ease the brain and make you feel less hectic which is pretty necessary in the age of always being on the go, never taking it slow.  Right?

Caffeine that won’t crack you out before you crash! The caffeine in Matcha bonds to larger plant molecules, bumping up the time it takes for the caffeine to break down in the bloodstream. So what does this mean? Prolonged, steady stream energy instead of the quick burst and crash that you get from coffee and energy drinks…thus the mile long line at Starbucks at 3pm! 

This is how the caffeine content stacks up against to other alternatives: 

MATCHA 80mg/ cup

GREEN TEA: 25-40mg/cup

ESPRESSO: 90-100mg/shot

RED BULL: 80mg per can

COFFEE: 120-150+/cup

Pretty impressive huh?!

So what am I trying to say? The Matcha Triple Threat (caffeine, antioxidants, and L-theanine) is what your bod needs for better, more badass energy! And, if you want to buy an amazing brand online to make your own lattes, my absolute fav is Matchaful which you can get for 15% with my code BodyBliss15.  Enjoy!

THANK YOU VERY MATCHA! 🍵

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How to Sexify Your Sugar Cleanse w/ Milk & Eggs!

As we roll out the red carpet for the new year many of us start thinking about how to shake things up so that we can feel stronger, healthier and all around more blissful!

It just so happens that my 20 day Sexy Sugar Cleanse may be  the jump start you’ve been looking for! Not only is it the perfect way to kick off the year but it’ll give you the system reboot your body craves after holidays that often come with an extra side of stress and sugar! Now don’t get me wrong, a little s & s has its place but when they add up over a short period of time (i.e. holiday travel, last-minute Christmas shopping, traffic, family dynamics, wine, alcohol, cheese trays, cookie platters) it can start to have a not-so-pretty affect on our bodies both mentally and physically!

So rather than sit in shame figuring out what quick fix diet you can go on to reverse all the effects of the holidays, embrace the chance to make a change and try to look back on all the fun you had without regrets! My goal is to give you the tools you need to feel energized, satisfied, sexified and most importantly free from restrictions, binges and guilt! 

If you want to read more about my cleanse you can check it out HERE or feel free to message me with questions! But in the meantime, I want to give you a little sneak peek into my Milk & Eggs delivery box so you can get an idea for the types of yummy meals you can enjoy while on the cleanse + some of the products I use on the daily that will actually make it feel easy and fun!  

If you’ve never heard of Milk & Eggs, it’s an LA/Orange County delivery service which brings local farm fresh produce, milk, eggs, meat, fish and even non-perishable goods like nuts, and crackers to your doorstep in as little as 24 hours at rates up to 50% their normal shelf price! So if you’re anything like me and want to earn back a some time in the day to put towards more important things like self-care, this service is the shi*t. AND if you don’t live in LA, do a little online search for similar services in your area!

Ok so here’s the DL on what’s in my most recent order and how I use each item in my kitchen either when on the cleanse or just leading my every day life!

Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk— I LOVE this brand because not only is it California based but it’s made with non-gmo, simple and easy to understand ingredients. It’s also carageenan free which is SO important to me— carrageenan is a polysaccharide which is made from a red seaweed intended to emulsify foods to keep the consistency like protein shakes and cottage cheese. It’s a total filler and creates major gastric distress so I recommend staying clear as much as you can! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life:  mixed into Matcha Latte’s, as the liquid base for a protein smoothie or for chia seed puddings! 

Parmela Creamery Vegan Cheese- This is the first time I’ve tried this non-GMO dairy-free cheese and it won’t be the last! Made with zero artificial ingredients, this cashew nut cheese is aged for 30 days and tastes almost like the real thing! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life: Melted onto a lettuce wrapped burger, as a topping for portobello stuffed mushrooms, mixed into a breakfast scramble, or on top of flax crackers for a midday snack!

Kite Hill Chive “Cream Cheese”- If it’s cream cheese you crave, this is the one! I can’t believe how similar to the real stuff this tastes and it’s made with almonds and is totally dairy-free! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life:  Mixed in with fried eggs, smoked salmon & everything but the bagel seasoning as your faux lox, smeared on top of celery sticks or a green apple for a snack, sautéed with cauliflower rice, mushrooms, nutritional yeast and a little nut milk to make fancy “risotto.” 

Forager Cashewgurt- I have a lot of clients ask me for yogurt alternatives without all of the additives, preservatives and sugar and guess what? It is not an easy task! But after months of searching this cashew yogurt has my official stamp of approval— not just for ingredients but for taste! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life: As a breakfast parfait— layer into a mason jar with mixed berries and nuts or as a dessert mixed with organic monk fruit sweetener, cinnamon, cacao nibs, coconut flakes and nut butter. 

Curt’s Classic Flax Crackers-  A lot of store bought flax crackers have tons of random ingredients like wheat, flour, raisins and even sugar so when I came across this brand with only flax seeds, onions, Italian seasoning and salt I was sold! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life: As a snack with nut butter and chia seeds,  smashed avocado and salt and pepper or crumbled on top of salads for a yummy and healthy crunch! 

Artisana Coconut Butter— Coconut butter is loaded with healthy saturated fats which can help you turn off hunger hormones, switch on fat burning and keep you feeling fuller and more satisfied for longer! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life: As a dairy-free creamer in decaf coffee, Matcha or tea, melted on top of coconut wraps like THESE or drizzled on top of roasted veggies!

Vital Proteins Pasture-Raised Eggs— This is hands down my favorite brand of organic eggs. First off, the packaging is super cute but most importantly these are eggs made by hens who have grazed outside in the open pasture so they are happier, healthier and more nutritious! In fact, in comparison to a conventional egg, pasture-raised eggs contain 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory), 3 times more Vitamin E and 4-6 times more Vitamin D! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life: Whisked into a veggie omelet, hard boiled for a snack on-the-go, mixed into a veggie burger patty or as an egg pancake! 

Barely Bread— This bread would be best in moderation on Phase 2 or during the lifestyle transition but I like the fact that it only has 3 grams of net carbs, 1 gram of sugar and is gluten and preservative free. It’s also filled with ingredients we can actually pronounce like eggs, coconut flour, coconut oil, cinnamon and flax seeds! Ideas for use during your cleanse/in life: As a French toast soaked in eggs, stevia, cinnamon and nut milk, toasted and spread with nut or coconut butter or topped with Kite Hill’s original flavor cream cheese and a fried egg for protein!

Lastly, I picked up a few veggies like Brussels sprouts for crisping on the grill and serving with salmon, avocado for literally everyyyyything and watermelon radish to slice up on top of salads or avocado flax cracker “toast!” 

Bottom Line: Going on my Sexy Sugar Cleanse doesn’t have to bland, boring or restrictive and if you plan ahead, get creative in the kitchen and supplement with brands that have got your back like these, I have a feeling you’ll be absolutely LOVING it in no time!  

Feel free to use my promo code Jessica for $15 off your purchase of $35 or more on MilkandEggs.com

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Cashew Basil-- When I Dip you Dip I Dip ;)  Sexy Sugar Cleanse Approved, Vegan, Paleo

Want a tasty and super easy dip to contribute to your Christmas dinner or holiday party? I've got the goods!! And guess what? The ingredients are cheap, the prep is easy and the recipe is sugar-free, vegan, paleo and full of flavor. I've got to be honest... I'm getting kind of sick of going to parties where the veggie tray is the same old hard cauliflower, stale broccoli and celery with ranch or hummus. I'd rather eat at home! Part of the fun of a party is trying foods that you wouldn't normally make yourself and that feel like a break from the norm! I know I just posted a cashew queso dip but this one has a much different flavor and is great as a sauce on zoodles or drizzled over the top of roasted veggies or baked chicken or fish! If you're trying to reduce your dairy intake cashews are a great alternative because when soaked and turned into a dip or sauce they take on a cheesy flavor AND give you the added boost of healthy fats that keep you fuller and more satisfied for longer. Hope you enjoy! 

Cashew Basil-- When I Dip you Dip I Dip ;) 

1 cup cashews 

1 cup fresh basil 

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

1/2 lemon juiced

1/4 cup water 

Himalayan pink salt

Directions: Soak cashews in a bowl of water for at least 2-4 hours in the fridge. Once finished soaking, drain and add cashews, basil, olive oil, lemon juice, water and Himalayan salt to blender.  Blend on high until the consistency is smooth and creamy. I let it blend for a couple of minutes which is the perfect amount of time to slice all my veggies! I recommend choosing fresh and crunchy veggies in a rainbow of different colors so the dish pops and people are actually drawn to it. Some of my favs: cucumbers, mini bell peppers, watermelon radish, and carrots. 

I would love to know how you liked this dish so feel free to message me or tag me in your dip pics on Insta and/or Facebook. Happy Holidays!! 

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Kick-Ass Queso (Vegan, GF, Sexy Sugar Cleanse Approved)

Ti’s the season for holiday parties filled with trays of mystery cheese dips, bacon wrapped bread sticks (I don’t know where that came from!), cheesecake balls and endless finger foods. So how do you enjoy the party without feeling like you need to hibernate afterwards? My suggestion: set your day up with delicious satisfying meals so you don’t go into the party famished + bring your own healthy (and tasty) contribution that fools people into thinking they’re eating something just as decadent as all the other dishes! 🙌🏽

It’s also important that you ditch the restrictive self-talk which says things like “great, I can’t have any of the food here” and swap it out for abundance “I can enjoy as much of this as I want as long as I listen to my body.” If you go in thinking this is your “cheat day” you’ll want to binge on everything in site and start over tomorrow but if you feel satisfied from your previous meals with the mindset that you can enjoy anything you like, you'll realize that 2 pieces of pie won’t throw you off but two days of guilt and shame afterwards will. Life is all about enjoyment and figuring out how to create a yin and yang balance that works for you! I create balance in my life by finding swap outs that satisfy my cravings and then allow myself the real deal when I really want to-- I can eat this vegan queso all day but there's not really a substitute for a delicious glass of sauvignon blanc... so guess what? 🍷 I'll be drinking the real thing while dipping my carrots into my delish queso! 😋

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup soaked cashews 

1/2 cup mild or medium chunky salsa

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 

1/2 small red bell pepper

Optional: 1 scoop @FurtherFood collagen peptides (I love to sneak collagen into foods because it keeps me fuller and aids in digestion-- plus it's great for hair, skin and nails too!)

Salt, pepper to taste + a pinch or two of turmeric for yellow color!

DIRECTIONS

Soak cashews for 4-6 hours in water to allow for easier blending and digestion. Drain cashews and add to high speed blender along with all other ingredients (salsa, nutritional yeast, red bell pepper, collagen, salt, pepper, and turmeric). Blend on high until the consistency is smooth and creamy— this might take a few minutes so get in some exercise while you wait! Do a little dance, challenge yourself to 100 jumping jacks or run in place! 

Once mixture is creamy, taste with a spoon and adjust to your liking by adding in a little bit more salt or even a little more nutritional yeast for extra cheesiness! If you like it spicy, throw in some cayenne or red chili flakes! Scoop mixture into a fun serving vessel and serve with crudite or my favorite Siete Foods nacho cheese tortilla chips which are grain & corn free AND so yummy!

Oh and did I mention, this recipe is Sexy Sugar Cleanse Friendly? Enjoy! 💕

 

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"I Can't Believe It's Sugar-Free" Chia Pudding- Two Ways! (GF, Dairy-free, Sexy Sugar Cleanse approved)

So the holidays are almost here and you're thinking to yourself "I want treats but I also want to rock my New Years dress!" Well guess what? You can have both! AND I almost guarantee that if you make my "Chocolate Chippendale" + "Pumpkin Pie Party" chia puddings at your next holiday get-together you'll be bombarded for the recipe for weeks afterwards! I just made one of each  for my husband and I last night during our Stranger Things binge watching sesh (so sad it's over!) and we devoured them in less than 5 minutes-- not the most mindful eating but they were that good! I think next time I'll slow down a bit so I can savor each spoonful ;) 

If you've been following me on social, you may have noticed that I launched my brand new Sexy Sugar Cleanse on the Almost 30 Podcast this week! It's a super doable and even FUN way to swap sugar out for delicious real food alternatives and to see noticeable results in less than a month (weight release, increased energy levels, reduced cravings, etc)! You may know that I come from a background of severe yo-yo dieting and restriction so I wanted to created a cleanse that would be the nutritional jumpstart without the hunger pains, guilt and dread that so often come from diets or quick-fixes! I am SO excited to be sharing it with the world and to be showing people that life free from sugar crashes can be so rewarding, tasty and blissful!

I hope you'll give these chia puddings a try because not only are they super easy and take less than 5 minutes to prep but there are so many variations you can make on them and they are a GREAT breakfast, snack or dessert option depending on how you top them! TIP: If you're making these for a meal, I suggest adding a tablespoon of nut butter on top and/or playing around by adding 1 scoop of your favorite sugar-fee protein powder! 

CHOCOLATE CHIPPENDALE Sexy Sugar Cleanse Approved (Phase 1, 2, 3) Serves 2

INGREDIENTS FOR PUDDING:

1  1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)

1/4 cup chia seeds

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder 

Dash of pink Himalayan sea salt

10-15 drops of liquid organic stevia (you may want more depending on how sweet you want it)

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract 

Cacao nibs for topping


INGREDIENTS FOR COCONUT CREAM:

2-3 tablespoons organic heavy coconut cream

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon Organic Maca powder (for energy and stamina)

3-4 drops liquid organic stevia   (you may want more depending on how sweet you want it)

DIRECTIONS: Add all of the pudding ingredients (non-dairy milk, chia seeds, cacao powder, stevia, peppermint extract & salt) to a large glass jar with a lid, give it a quick stir, then put the lid on. “Shake it like a polaroid picture” to get it all mixed up and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. To make your whipped cream, open your can of coconut cream and scoop 2-3 tablespoons off the top and add to blender with 2-3 tablespoons of water, a few drops of stevia and optional Maca powder. Blend until as smooth as possible and refrigerate in a separate container until your pudding is ready. Once your pudding is thick and delicious, spoon a layer of your whipped coconut cream on top and finish with cacao nibs and a dash of optional sea salt. If you want to be super fancy add a couple of mint sprigs! 

PUMPKIN PIE PARTY Sexy Sugar Cleanse Approved (Phase 2, 3) Serves 2

INGREDIENTS FOR PUDDING:

1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup organic pumpkin purée

10-15 drops of liquid organic stevia (you may want more depending on how sweet you want it) 

1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp vanilla

Walnut pieces for topping

DIRECTIONS: Add all of the ingredients (non-dairy milk, chia seeds, pumpkin puree, stevia,  vanilla & spices) to a large glass jar with a lid, give it a quick stir, then put the lid on. “Shake it like a salt shaker” to get it all mixed up and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours or overnight. Once your pudding is thick and creamy, add your topping and dive in! 

I would absolutely love to hear how you enjoyed these puddings and if you made any variations on them! Share your recipes by tagging me on Instagram @BodyBlissbyJess! 

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Pumpkin Bliss Latte

So you're craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte but you don't want all of the sugar and crazy blood sugar crashes that come with it huh? I FEEL you which is why I just created this delish PSL alternative with only 2 grams of natural sugars compared to Starbucks which packs 26 grams in a tall. If you're on my Sexy Sugar Cleanse, you can enjoy it every day in Phase 2 and on! Plus, it uses Further Food collagen peptides which is my fav because it blends easily and keeps you fuller for longer, helps with gut issues AND if you use consistently, your hair, nails and skin will be looking fly too! 😍


PUMPKIN BLISS LATTE 
Ingredients: 

8oz coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut cream
1 scoop Further Food collagen peptides
3 tablespoons organic canned pumpkin puree 🍊
1 packet Four Sigmatic cordyceps mushroom elixir (energy from mother earth!) 🍄
Pumpkin pie spice and organic stevia to taste
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon maple or vanilla extract

Directions: Add coconut milk, coconut cream, collagen, 🍄 elixir packet, and pumpkin puree to small pot on the stove. Heat on medium-low and whisk until warm. Stir in pumpkin pie spice to taste, 3-4 drops stevia for sweetness and optional vanilla or maple extract. Blend in a high-speed blender until frothy. Pour into mug of choice and enjoy! ☕

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How I Drank Margaritas & Ate Tacos in Mexico With No Regrets!

One of the messages I share with my clients is that life is meant to be lived all of the time, not just some of it! And with the heartbreaking tragedies of late, this reminder couldn’t be more timely. We’ve been given the amazing gift of life and with it, a responsibility to make it the best it can possibly be! But how can you achieve this if you feel like you’re constantly living in the highs and lows of a diet? 

I’m not saying that it’s impossible to feel great on a diet (I myself recommend occasional cleanses), but it often comes to a point where longterm restriction leads to resentment and resentment leads to rebellion… the kind that ends in a sea of chocolate wrappers and empty takeout boxes. And why is this? Because eating 1,200 calories a day for months on end, tracking every lick and bite of food in an app and being afraid to have even a taste of dessert is not sustainable…even for a monk! Have you ever noticed that when someone says you can’t do something, it makes you want to do it even more? The moment a food or drink becomes “bad,” the more you think about it and crave it. So what’s the solution? Finding a happy place where you can enjoy foods that nourish you from the inside out and that make you feel amazing without starvation, FOMO or the word “cheated.” Remember, food is not moral, it is simply a choice and you have the right to choose what will make you feel your best!

Yes, this may seem easier said than done and will take practice, patience and trial and error but it IS possible. For most of my teens and younger adult life I was an obsessive yo-yo dieter who severely restricted my calories and became obsessed with eating “perfectly” … until I would go on vacation and treat it like a free-for-all to eat and drink everything I had missed out on for months before. This mentality of strict dieting followed by binging is miserable because it not only sets you up for constant “cheat days” and the need to “start over” but it’s not a lifestyle that can be maintained. 

Just over a week ago I returned from an amazing family trip to Playa del Carmen with my husband, his parents and his 24-year old brother and I wanted to share how I drank margaritas and ate tacos without a single ounce of guilt, weight gain, regret or post vacation dieting!

Our catamaran snorkel trip- 4 hours of sunbathing, snorkeling, dancing (that's the party skirt I was given by the captain lol), eating, drinking and enjoying the gift of LIFE :)

Our catamaran snorkel trip- 4 hours of sunbathing, snorkeling, dancing (that's the party skirt I was given by the captain lol), eating, drinking and enjoying the gift of LIFE :)

Pre-Trip Prep

Have you ever noticed that whenever you have long travel days with meals in airports and exposure to recycled air you get off the plane feeling super bloated, exhausted, and just kind of gross all around? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had one too many trips where I end up feeling like sh*t for the first couple days of the trip so I finally decided to do something about it! 

What did I pack in my "bag of tricks"?

Protein powder: I brought a few days worth of my fav Further Food collagen protein powder so that if I couldn’t find any healthy snacks at the airport, I could break out my matcha powder and order some almond milk to make a protein latte. Next time I travel I'm going to buy the Further Food new travel size packets! Collagen is amazing because it keeps you fuller for longer and helps aid in the digestive process which is so important when on-the-go and out of your normal routine. Also, feel free to use my discount code BODYBLISSBYJESS10 for 10% of your order. 

Matcha Powder: I packed a week’s worth of organic Matcha powder and bought some almond milk to keep in the hotel room so I could make my own latte’s in the morning and at the airport!

Amazing Grass Green Superfood & Pure Planet Spirulina: I bought individual packs of greens mix and a mini bottle of chocolate mint spirulina (sugar-free) and added it to water before and after each flight and before bed. The combo of supercharged ingredients helped keep my immune system strong and was pretty tasty too. 

Probiotics: I brought my new favorite brand, Hyperbioitics which I love because they are completely shelf-stable so you don’t have to worry about keeping refrigerated while you travel. I amped it up and took 3-4 each day to make sure I was breaking down and digesting all of the new foods I was eating and simultaneously keeping everything moving! ;)

Activated Charcoal: This is a natural treatment that traps toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them! I bring the capsules with me and take 2 at night after enjoying alcoholic drinks in the day. It also helps with gas & bloating which are all-too-common when traveling! 

Stevia: I always pack my Trader Joe’s dropper bottle of 100% organic stevia! I use it to sweeten my Matcha latte’s and on this trip I knew I was going to add it to tequila and lime juice to make my own low-glycemic margaritas! 

Snacks: Not only does packing my own food save $$ but it helps me avoid feeling stuffed and bloated from the over-salted, sugary airport foods! Some of my go-to’s: mixed nuts, avocado with Jillz Crackers (I even bring my own Himalayan salt) and Primal Kitchen Collagen protein bars! I always try to pack snacks with protein + fat so I keep my blood sugar levels stable and stay fuller for longer. I also packed extra snacks in the hotel room just in case we went longer than 5-6 hours between meals or if I felt low on energy! 

Fixings for the perfect bag of tricks! I fit all of the little bottles and ziplock bags into a makeup bag! Felt SO great to be prepared. 

Fixings for the perfect bag of tricks! I fit all of the little bottles and ziplock bags into a makeup bag! Felt SO great to be prepared. 

How did I practice balance in Mexico?

Breakfast: Luckily there was a Walmart close to our hotel, so we did a grocery run and I offered to make everyone a healthy breakfast each morning! I made a few different veggie scramble variations and even threw in some grilled cactus and chili lime seasoning for a little cultural flare (so good). We paired each breakfast with avocado for healthy fats and a little local fruit— mangos, dragonfruit, and kiwis! Starting each morning with a hearty and healthy breakfast kept us away from the myriad of breakfast buffets and gave us the energy we needed to seize the day!

Breakfast scramble with cactus, red peppers, mushrooms, avocado, chili lime salt, Himalayan salt, topped with avocado and salsa and served with mango and dragonfruit! Not the best pic sorry!

Breakfast scramble with cactus, red peppers, mushrooms, avocado, chili lime salt, Himalayan salt, topped with avocado and salsa and served with mango and dragonfruit! Not the best pic sorry!

Isn't this dragon fruit beautiful??! And there are NO artificial colors. 

Isn't this dragon fruit beautiful??! And there are NO artificial colors. 

Swimming: One of my rules during vacation is that I refuse to go to a gym with florescent lights so I always try to find an active alternative. As soon as I discovered that the infinity pool near our room was completely empty in the mornings, I made that my daily workout! I got up before everyone else was awake and snuck out of the room for a walk through the resort-surrounded jungle bustling with iguanas and colorful birds and butterflies. The walk was so peaceful and meditative and the swim was absolute perfection. Not only was I proud of myself for swimming laps for the first time since I was on my high school swim team but I reminded myself how much I loved it and have even kept it going since coming back to LA! 

Activities: Rather than spend hours hanging on the beach bar swings or at one of the several buffets, I laid out, played pool games, signed up for water aerobics classes with my mother-in-law, played Texas Holdem’ with the fam and went for walks around the grounds. We took a day trip to the Coba Mayan Ruins where we all climbed the 120 steps to the top of the tallest ruin and sweated out any tequila we planned on drinking later! We also went on a catamaran snorkel tour which came with an open bar balanced by a lobster and mixed greens lunch (and a few bites of macaroni salad)! When you immerse yourself in enjoying your surroundings and doing things that take your mind off obsessing about food, you notice how much more you enjoy your vacation!

Coba Mayan Ruin- We ALL CLIMBED THE 120 STAIRS TO THE TOP AND THE VIEW WAS WORTH THE SWEAT! 

Coba Mayan Ruin- We ALL CLIMBED THE 120 STAIRS TO THE TOP AND THE VIEW WAS WORTH THE SWEAT! 

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Lobster lunch on the catamaran! I had seconds because it was SO good and rewarding after tons of swimming and snorkeling :)

Lobster lunch on the catamaran! I had seconds because it was SO good and rewarding after tons of swimming and snorkeling :)

Tacos & Margaritas: So I’ll just say it… I absolutely love tequila and tacos. But do I have them all the time? No. Did I have them when I was in Mexico? Of course! Did I have them for every meal? Nope! Whenever we were at a restaurant I would look through the menu and if there was a taco plate that really stood out to me I would order it but if not I would get my favorite fresh fish ceviche, a seafood salad or the catch of the day with grilled veggies which was normally so good I craved it for days afterwards! There was a restaurant at our resort that served the most insane lobster tacos on soft purple corn tortillas and I chowed down on them at least three different meals along with guacamole and jicama slices! When it came to margaritas, I learned to order in terrible broken Spanish by saying “margarita con poco azúcar por favor” (a margarita with little sugar please--or at least that's what I thought I was saying) which actually seemed to do the trick quite nicely! I would usually order one of these per day and then stick to tequila sodas with fresh lime juice and a couple drops of stevia from the bottle I packed with me! The key to keeping my blood sugar levels from spiking all over the map was consuming most of my alcohol with a meal paired with a healthy protein and fat. And if that didn’t happen, I just made sure to drink tons of water in-between so I could keep my energy levels up and avoid getting dehydrated. To be honest, I didn’t really have a set of rules for when I would order drinks or when I would eat chips and salsa versus when I'd skip them, I just listened to my body and acted on thoughtful impulse. Because of this, I found that I was SO satisfied for the entire trip and didn’t feel like I either overdid it or missed out on the fun. No one was restricting my choices or placing certain foods into forbidden boxes, so I just ate the foods that I intuitively felt would be the most satisfying and supplemented with lots of healthy, fun activities and an appreciation for the much needed R&R! 

The most amazing vegan tacos paired with Chaya juice which our server said is considered the Mayan "miracle plant" aND is known for drastically improving digestion! We got these on the side of the road at this beautifully colorful café on our way to Coba.

The most amazing vegan tacos paired with Chaya juice which our server said is considered the Mayan "miracle plant" aND is known for drastically improving digestion! We got these on the side of the road at this beautifully colorful café on our way to Coba.

Cheers!! 

Cheers!! 

Ceviche mixto-- I probably ordered this at 5 different restaurants because each one was presented so differently and had new flavor combinations, seafood mixes and seasonings!

Ceviche mixto-- I probably ordered this at 5 different restaurants because each one was presented so differently and had new flavor combinations, seafood mixes and seasonings!

At the end of the week, I left Mexico feeling rejuvenated, sun-kissed and calm. Josh and I even allowed ourselves a full day after we got home to just Netflix and Chill and only left the house once for a food run (which included vegan ice-cream)! Neither of us felt guilty for coming back and not working out or going immediately on a diet because we didn’t have a vacation hangover, in fact we felt better than we had in awhile! Goes to show what a little tune-out from social media, emails and a set routine can do for the soul :) I also believe that when you enjoy your meals from a place of happiness and bliss, you remove the stress that can so often cause you to hold on.  

So next time you go on vacation with the diet mentality, take a minute to think about how you can use the tools you already have inside of you to make a switch! Trust me, it feels SO much better! 

Until next time Playa!

Until next time Playa!

Vegan Walnut Pesto

Have you ever noticed that when you eat the same foods over and over again your cravings intensify? I am a firm believer that you gotta switch things up in order to enjoy and actually look forward to your meals! One simple way to do this is by making homemade sauces or dips that can work with all different types of dishes. One of my favorites is pesto but it's almost impossible to find one that's dairy-free at the grocery store! So what's the alternative? Try this simple recipe that takes less than 5 minutes and will last you a week in the fridge. I've used it on zoodles (I'm addicted), roasted veggies, as a dip with carrots and spread into collard greens wraps. Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Vegan Basil Walnut Pesto 

1 1/2 cups stemmed fresh basil
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 or 2 gloves garlic (I buy pre-minced at TJ's)
1/4- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste 

Combine basil, walnuts and garlic in food processor and pulse until it turns into a meal consistency. Slowly drizzle olive oil and continue to pulse until you get to the consistency you like! Season with Himalayan salt to taste. ENJOY!

 

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Fancy Matcha Mocktail Recipe

This Matcha Mocktail was inspired by a magical anniversary weekend with the hubs, basking by the pool, wandering around beautiful hotel grounds, eating delicious fresh seafood, and cheersing to life with a few cocktails, a few glasses of vino and looots of spa water!  On our last morning in the desert we woke up early and made a delicious avocado toast brunch and Matcha mocktails...because when you pour Matcha into a martini glass it's no longer just a latte 😉

Matcha Mocktail Recipe:
1 tablespoon Matcha powder
1 1/2 cups Califia Farms toasted almond & coconut milk (depending on glass size)
1 scoop Further Food collagen peptides
3-4 drops 100% organic stevia
Blend on high until smooth
Pour into martini glasses and top with garnish of choice (we chose Rosemary sprigs)

Try these next time you've had a few too many the night before or just want a fancy drink that will give you the energy you crave without the crash! 

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