Review: The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook + Grilled Eggplant Stacked with Indian-Spiced Beef

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Firstly, I should say that I’m really excited to be done with the semester and the second year of my program. It was a crazy ride, for sure, but I think I finished up pretty strong, with my sanity in tack. Now that the school year is done, however, I’m excited to be able to update a little more often, and hopefully get some recipes and workouts up. 

Secondly, I should say that this cookbook review has been a long time coming. Diana Rodgers, creator of Sustainable Dish, was kind enough to send me a copy of The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook to review back in March. Because things have been so crazy, I am only now finding the time to sit down and construct this post. 

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Though I’m only sharing one recipe from this book with you today, I have tried a fair amount of them at this point so I am more than confident in recommending this book to add to your collection.

What’s awesome about this book, however, is that it’s not just a book of delicious recipes. It’s a comprehensive guide to sustainable growing practices. While I acknowledge that most of us, myself included, are not in a possible to start our own farms where we raise our own animals and grow our own produce, we can all benefit from learning more about sustainable growing practices. One of the major principles underlying the paleo lifestyle is building a better connection with our food and there is no better way to do that than by educating ourselves about the how our produce should be grown and how our animals should be raised in order to then support growers and companies that engage in these practices.

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The book is just about 400-pages, organized into four major parts: Raising, Growing, Cooking, and Living. The “Raising” section discusses how to properly raise animals such as chickens, pigs, goats and even bees, providing an abundance of information about their behaviors, diets, and spatial requirements. “Growing” is a guide to successfully growing your own produce with a ton of practical info about soil, planting beds, different plant species and pests. As you might have guessed, “Cooking” is where all the yummy stuff is, like the recipe that I’m sharing with you below. And finally, the “Living” section provides a template for creating balance in your life through an over healthy lifestyle. Some of the topics covered include, “Getting Away From It All”, “Find Personal Fulfillment,” and “Playing Chicken Shit Bingo” (apparently this is a form of entertainment on the farm). Thus, rather than focusing solely on the consumption portion of food, The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook serves as a comprehensive guide to living a holistically sustainable life. The pages provide you with all the information you need to understand food systems and to be not only a health-conscious, but an environmentally-conscious consumer.  

I’ve been reading The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook before bed for the past few weeks (as a way of distracting myself from starting at my screens right before bed) and I feel as though I’ve become so much more knowledgable about food production, and more firm in my anti-factory farming politics. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves their body, loves food, and loves the environment.

Now, on to the yummy stuff. 

Many of you may know, that I love Indian food. Like, OBSESSED with the flavors. So it’s not surprising that I chose this recipe to share with you guys. It’s amazing and delicious and easy to make and rich in nutrition. Enjoy! 

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Grilled Eggplant Stacked with Indian-Spiced Beef
Serves 4
Deliciously spiced ground beef over sliced grilled eggplant
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
For the Beef
  1. 3 TBL ghee*
  2. 2 cups white onion, diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 TBL minced fresh ginger
  5. 2 tsp ground coriander
  6. 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  7. 1 tsp ground cumin
  8. 1 tsp garam masala
  9. 1 pound ground beef
  10. 2 cups diced tomatoes
  11. 1 TBL seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
  12. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  13. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  14. 1/2 C water
  15. 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  16. 1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro laves plus more for garnish
For the Eggplant
  1. 2 large eggplants, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds or lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks
  2. 1/4 C ghee, melted
  3. Sea salt and ground pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Make the spiced beef: In a large skillet, hear the ghee over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. 2. Add the garlic, ginger, coriander, paprika, cumin and garam masala and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. 3. Add the beef, breaking up into clumps with a spatula. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.
  4. 4. Stir in the tomatoes, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and water. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. 5. Add the vinegar and turn off the heat. Set aside.
  6. 6. Stir in the cilantro and adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if needed.
  7. 7. Make the eggplant: Heat the grill to medium heat.**
  8. 8. Rub the ghee over the eggplant slices and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  9. 9. Place the eggplant on the grill. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, then flip and continue coking for another 5 minutes or so, until the eggplant softens.
  10. 10. To assemble the dish, start by placing one eggplant slice at the bottom, cover with a layer of the beef mixture, then add another eggplant slice, one more layer of beef, and top with final slice of eggplant. garnish with cilantro.
Notes
  1. *The original recipes specifies ghee, which is traditionally used in Indian cuisine, but you could sub for another cooking fat of your choice
  2. **If you don't have a grill, or don't want to use it, you can cook the eggplant in the broiler. To use this method, heat the broiler to high. Rub ghee, salt and pepper over both sides of the eggplant slices and place them on on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 3-4 minutes on each side, checking fairly often to be sure they don't burn.
Girl With the Hipster Glasses http://girlwiththehipsterglasses.com/

Yoga Diary 2: Use Your Breath

This yoga diary entry could not possibly be more fitting given that I have officially gotten through two weeks of paper-writing and final exam grading, which means, it is officially summerrrrr. While dark chocolate certainly played it’s role it helping me get to this point, I’d have to give the major credit for my success to my breath for keeping me sane. 

One of the major, if not the most major, aspects of yoga is breathing. In fact, many yogis define yoga as a practice that connects breath and movement. Off of the mat, however, many of us forget how powerful our breath can be for getting us through the challenges of everyday life as well as some of the extraordinary challenges that we’re thrown more sporadically.

Coming off of a crazy couple of weeks, there were so many times where I found myself having to take a minute or so to connect with my breath. It’s so easy to let our minds get the best of us – constantly adding things to the to-do list, stressing out about work or school or issues with loved ones, doubting ourselves. There are so many voices that enter our heads on any given day, particularly when life gets crazy. Often this spiral of thoughts happens so quickly that we don’t even recognize it until we’re mentally, and often physically, wound up. These are the moments where a little breathing can go a long way. Taking a minute or even a half a minute to close your eyes and take a few deep inhales and exhales can help bring things back into focus and acknowledge your own power. By taking control of the breath, we clear our minds of doubt and remind ourselves that we also have control over many of the things that cause us to stress and even if we don’t, things will be fine. While taking deep breaths, I often remind myself of how fortunate I am by thinking of all of the things that I have to be grateful for. This helps me put things into perspective by reminding me that I have been here before and I have made it through. Thus, there is no reason that I should lack confidence in my ability to do so in this moment. 

Namaste

GWHG

All Natural Mango Raspberry Sorbet with Coconut Flakes and Olive Oil

So I thought I would just share this little gem of a snack. Super simple. Super satisfying as a dessert or treat. No yucky added sugar. Just nature’s goodness. 

sorbet

 

All Natural Mango Raspberry Sorbet with Coconut Flakes and Olive Oil
Serves 1
Delicious, healthy frozen treat.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 C frozen mango
  2. 1/4 C frozen or fresh raspberries
  3. 1 TBL olive oil + more for drizzling
  4. 2 TBL coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Add the mango, raspberries, and tablespoon of olive oil to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. You may need to add a bit more olive oil depending on if you use frozen berries.
  3. Use a spatula to put sorbet into a bowl.
  4. Top with coconut and drizzle with more olive oil - really add whatever you'd like!
Notes
  1. If you're not into mixing the savory and the sweet, you can replace the olive oil with coconut oil or cream or a milk of your choice. I recommend choosing something made of healthy fats, however, as it adds a bit of creaminess to the mixture.
Girl With the Hipster Glasses http://girlwiththehipsterglasses.com/

Yoga Diary 1: Acknowledge and Respect Where You Are Right Now

Hi folks! 

It’s been far too long since I’ve updated. Classes end for me on Friday so this is that crazy time in the semester where I’m scrambling to stay on top of things. Despite putting blogging on the back-burner, I’ve still managed to not get much done. I guess putting Hulu and Netflix on the back-burner would be the logical next step… I’m working on it!

For a while now I’ve been compiling notes for an upcoming series of posts that I want to do on GWHG. I often find myself reflecting on how much yoga has become apart of my life, even off the mat, and I thought it would be awesome to share some of my reflections with you guys. These posts will be pretty quick, as I’m trying to be economic about both my time and that of my lovely readers, but I hope they’ll be fun and relevant in some ways. I’m excited to actually take the time to articulate some of my sentiments about my practice and how it continues to shape my everyday life. 

The theme of this first Yoga Diary entry is “Acknowledge and Respect Where You Are Right Now.” 

In many of the yoga classes I’ve taken, there is a moment in the warm-up where the instructor asks the students to check in with their bodies. While breathing through a few cat-cows or some other gentle stretches, I’m asked to tune into my body and see what’s going on with it. Where’s the tightness? What is my mind focusing on? What is my energy level like? Taking this inventory makes me aware of where I am – mentally and physically – at that moment. While I initially understood this part of class as a tool for challenging myself throughout the rest of the class – working through the tension, working through negative thoughts, persevering despite low energy levels – I have recently come to realize that while it is powerful to acknowledge where you are at a particular moment in order to work through it, it is also powerful to acknowledge where you are at a given moment and respect it.

I have days where I feel like an absolute yoga beast. My poses are strong – energy pulsing through my fingertips and toes, core muscles engaged, graceful transitions. My body is able to make sense of difficult inversion poses and has a feather-like quality that allows my muscles to stacks beautifully and I move in ways that make me feel as though I’m defying gravity. 

And then there are the other days…where holding downward dog for more than two breathes is a struggle. Where I extend my arms into Warrior 2 and they feel as though they weigh 100 pounds. Where I almost topple over during a simple side stretch.

It happens.

There are some days when I set my mind set on overcoming these weaknesses. After a wobbly first round of a flow, I reset my body and make sure I don’t make the same mistakes. I continue to work on my crow after 2-3 shaky attempts, dead set on getting at least one good hold. Sometimes, however, rather than getting all worked up, correcting the mistakes, and repeatedly attempting poses, I just simply make the choice to respect where I am in that moment. Today is not a day for crow. Today is not a day for perfectly lengthened limbs. Today is a day for a wobbly Crescent Pose and a block-assisted standing split. And that’s fine. It’s frustrating to not be able to do things that you were capable of just days, or even hours, before but we have to embrace the dynamics of the human condition. 

While acknowledging our weaknesses is important for tracking self progress, setting goals, and implementing change, it is also an opportunity to embrace our imperfections. It is a moment to remind ourselves that whether or not we choose to, or are able to, work through these weaknesses, we are no less beautiful, we are no less worthy, we are no less of a yogi – we are human. 

 

Austin Weekend Getaway

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Hi all!

This morning I got back from, what was, an absolutely fabulous weekend in Austin, Texas with three lovely friends. A few months back, some of my favorite travel buddies approached me with the idea of going to Austin for a few days. I went to Austin for the first time back in December 2013 and loved it. There’s so much to the city though – so much to see and so many things to eat – that it was no-brainer when they asked me if I’d be willing to go back. 

I got into Austin on Friday night and the first destination was none other than, Whole Foods. Whole Foods was born in Austin and is home of the flagship store. It’s ginormous and amazing and I was excited to go back and browse. I also hadn’t eaten and was in the market for something quick and yummy. WF all comes in handy for that. 

On Saturday, I got up and went for a lovely run 2 mile run from our AirBnB in East Austin to Wanderlust Yoga in downtown Austin. As you guys know, I’m a huge fan of both more traditional vinyasa classes and more workout-y classes such as the Sweat of Sculpt classes as One Down Dog. I was really excited to check out the yoga seen in Austin and so I decided to start off the weekend with the “YoStrong” class, which is a yoga class with weights. Oh my goodness! It was SO challenging. But amazing. It reminded me a lot of Sculpt at ODD except the room was “heated” instead of “warmed” so as opposed to the mid-80 degree room that I’m used to doing yoga in, I was in a mid-90 degree room. It was intense. There were a few moments where I just had to stop moving, close my eyes, and collect myself, because my heart was beating so fast and I was dripping sweat. Obviously, I loved it. 

After class, I went back to the house, met up with the girls and we headed out for foodie adventures. 

The first stop was the Gordough’s Donut truck. I had been to Gordough’s the first time and so I already knew of it’s deliciousness. I was excited to have the girls try it though. They got the “Mother Clucker” which is a donut with fried chicken……what can I say? #itstexas And then there was the “Puddin” which was a donut with all the fixins of a traditional banana pudding. I couldn’t bring myself to partake in these too much as I had my sights set on tacos. 

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Genevieve brought her Polaroid cameras and had to recruit unsuspecting souls to take photos for us. 


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The next stop was TORCHY’S!! So if you’re bored and you want to scroll back on my Insta, you will find photos from my first trip to Austin, including one of my tacos from Torchy’s Tacos. This place is absolute taco heaven. ABSOLUTE. I was so excited to go back here. The line was a little crazy but I knew it wouldn’t disappoint. Totally worth it. 

 

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I had then had the honor and privilege of going to the 2nd Birthday/Anniversary party of Picnik Austin! I first learned about Picnik through No Cook Paleo‘s instagram account and I’ve been looking forward to going for a while. In true Austin dining fashion, Picnik is a half truck/picnic table establishment set up in middle of a lawn in Southwest Austin. Living up to its description as a “progressive coffeeshop,” Picnik has amazing coffee beverages, baked goods, and simple meals, including its renowned butter coffee, which I was so excited to try. Because it was the birthday celebration, there were “happy hour” specials on all the drinks (Yay $2 decaf butter coffee) and …. there was cake. 

 Amazing cake. 

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After all the eating, we decided to take a break to go see the Guttenburg Bible – i.e. the first book ever published. NBD.

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Genevieve was particularly enthusiastic about this. 

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Post-bible-browsing, we headed to South Congress for a little shopping before going back to prep for a night out. I got some a really delicious smelling candle as well as an equally delicious smelling bar of soap from Gypsy Wagon, this super cute store on South Congress Avenue. I was in a “treat-yo-self” kind of a mood. 

After a night out on Rainey Street, I woke up around 8 to get a run in before the girls and I headed outside of the city to the Salt Lick. The Salt Lick is an iconic BBQ restaurant in Texas. Like Torchy’s I had been to Salt Lick during my first trip to and I was eagerly anticipating my return. It was epic to say the least. 

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Genevieve also made friends with a cat while we were waiting to be seated. 

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After Salt Lick, it was time to go back to the house and recharge (ourselves and our devices) before going to the South Congress Bridge to see the bats. If you don’t know about Austin bats, here’s a quick read. Basically, there is this bridge where all these bats sleep during the day and then they start flying out in huge droves once the sun sets. A ton of people gather on and around the bridge to watch this beautiful ceremony but the girls and I decided to watch the boats in style. On water bikes. 

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To cap off my lovely weekend. We went to Odd Duck for my last dinner (the girls stayed until Tuesday). This place was absolutely delicious. Beautifully plated, uniquely flavorful dishes. Perfect was to say toodles to Texas. 

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And now I’m back in LA and dealing with the consequences of running away for the weekend. 

Story of my life. 

 

 

Cumin Lime Coleslaw featuring PrimalKitchen Mayo

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Every now and then, I find myself thinking about how different my taste in food is today than it was five years ago. While my increasing health-consciousness as certainly played a large role in my shift in dietary preferences, I have also just become more open to different ingredients and flavors over the past few years. I used to be a terribly picky-eater, simply because I didn’t like the taste and textures of a lot of foods. Tomatoes were gross and oozy. Fish tasted funny. And eggs and I have only very recently become friends. It’s crazy to me to imagine not eating so many things now.

I’ve never been huge on condiments. I generally stick to the basics, Ketchup, BBQ sauce….and that’s about as far as that goes. Pre-made salad dressings, mustard, and other random things of the spreadable variety are no-gos. Topping off this “Hard No” list is mayonnaise. I mean, it’s kinda gross right? Like some mysteriously eggy, creamy substance that you slap on cold-cut sandwiches and use to combine random meat salad dishes. Ew.

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I am here today, however, to officially declare my hatred of mayo as a thing of the past and it’s all thanks to PrimalKitchen and it’s amazing product. I first heard about PrimalKitchen Mayo through Instagram. I was initially only inclined to try it because PrimalKitchen is owned by none other than Mark Sisson, primal lifestyle guru and, more notably, Williams alum. After joining Thrive Market (which you should all do!) and seeing that they carried PrimalKitchen Mayo, I thought I’d buy a jar and give it a go-round. I used it last week to make this coleslaw and I’ve been shamelessly incorporating it into all of my meals since then. 

So what’s so “primal” about PrimalKitchen mayo? The ingredients used to make this mayo are top-notch. While many commercial brands use yucky hydrogenated oils (i.e. soybean and canola) as the base for their mayo, PrimalKitchen uses avocado oil. First of all – yum. Second of all – yay healthy natural fats. In addition to avo oil, PKM uses organize cage-free eggs, organic vinegar, seas salt, and rosemary extract to produce a rich, creamy, flavorful spread that can quickly liven up any meal that you might dream up. No added sugar. No gross possessed stuff. No guilt. Just deliciousness. 

You can purchase PrimalKitchen mayo through Thrive Market or along with your olive oil/olive oil products at Kasandrinos

So now I’ll share the recipe that has basically used up my entire jar of mayo (you can see from some of the photos that it’s almost empty, which makes me really sad). I’ve been coleslaw deprived for quite some time so I made two HUGE batches of this stuff. So easy to throw on the side of whatever I’m having for a good serving of veggies and healthy fats. Enjoy! 

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Cumin-Lime Coleslaw featuring PrimalKitchen Mayo
Delicious cabbage salad with a Latin flavor twist
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
  2. 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
  3. 4 carrots
  4. 1 bunch green onions
  5. 1 C Primal Kitchen Mayo (or other mayo of choice)
  6. 1/4 C fresh lime juice (about 1-1 1/2 limes depending on size)
  7. 2 tsp ground cumin
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1/4 tap cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Shred the cabbage and carrots and thinly chop/slice the green onions. (I hate shredding carrots so I chopped mine up and pulsed them a few times in the food processor)
  2. Add all the shredded veggies to a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the mayo with the spices and lime juice.
  4. Pour the mayo mixture into the bowl with the veggies and use a spatula to combine well.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate until use.
  6. Nom.
Notes
  1. I recommend letting this dish sit in the fridge from a couple of hours before eating. The flavors will meld together during this time to deliver a more flavorful punch at the end.
  2. I had some sun-dried tomatoes laying around and I threw them into the mix for my second batch. I recommend!
Adapted from Budget Bytes
Adapted from Budget Bytes
Girl With the Hipster Glasses http://girlwiththehipsterglasses.com/
 P.S. This post was in no way sponsored by PrimalKitchen. The company didn’t ask me to do it. I simply love their project and wanted to share it here. That being said, you can be sure that all opinions are entirely my own. 

Post-Workout Meal in a Cup

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Ciao belli, 

I generally do strength interval workouts at the gym on campus 2-3 days a week. On these days, I have to stay on campus for 4-5 hours after my workout so it’s really important that I bring food to both refuel and keep me satiated until I get home later. I just finished packing my lunch for tomorrow and I thought I’d share the way I go about packing a post-workout meal to-go using only one container. I use this microwavable mug from Sistema. It’s awesome because it has a vent-tab for easy microwaving at the office. 

The most important macro-nutrients that you need to after a workout are carbohydrate and protein. While fruit is delicious and great, it provides carbs in the form of fructose, which has to be converted to glucose by the liver in order to actually be absorbed by the body. Dense, starchy, carbs such as sweet potatoes, plantains, yuca, and even white rice, provide glucose straight away, making them more ideal for post-workout recovery. For this reason, I usually make a 3-4 serving batch of some form of starchy carb to easily use when composing my post-workout meals for the week. Some of my go-tos are mashed sweet potatoes, plantain chips, and roasted sweet potatoes and carrots. 

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For the protein component of my bowl, I generally grab a portion of whatever meat I’ve prepared for the week. Obviously, meal-prep is key! If you take the time to make 2-3 protein dishes on Sundays, you can easily grab a serving of one to throw in your meal. My favorite protein for to-go post workout meals are  pastured beef or pork that has been slow-cooked and shredded. 

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Lastly, you need some fat. Fat is not as important for refueling as carbs and protein, but if it’s going to be more than 2 hours after your workout that you have your next meal, I’d advise you to include some healthy fats that will help you stay satiated for a longer period of time. My fat usually comes in the form of oil or butter used to add flavor to my veggies, which are also highly recommend for your bowl. I’m a big fan of roasting veggies in the oven or microwave steaming some broccoli or B-sprouts in my Sistema microwavable bowl and then adding butter/ghee, salt and pepper before layering my other meal components on top. I also use some kind of fat – coconut oil, butter, ghee, or animal fat – to cook my starchy carbs. I’m also know to top my bowl with some yummy diced avocado, in true SoCal fashion. Don’t be shy about this. It will help keep you full,  it makes your food taste delicious, and haven’t you heard? Healthy, natural, fat is good for you. 

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So what does my bowl for tomorrow look like? 

Layer one (bottom): Steamed Brussel Sprouts with butter, salt, and better 

Layer two: Mashed sweet potatoes and carrots with butter and seasonings

Layer three (top): Shredded chipotle coffee short ribs 

BOOM. 

 

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Happy muscle-building! 

 

 

 

Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe – Minimizing the Stresses of Time

One of my biggest, and perhaps my most important, self projects is to minimize stress. I think this is a goal for us all, theoretically, but how many of us actually take active steps to work towards making our lives less stressful? While weekends, vacations, and other moments designated to relaxing are awesome, they can be far and few in between. What’s more is that we often let work impede upon even these times, which are supposed to be reserved for our personal care and maintenance. For example, when going back to class last week after spring break, I kept having feelings of guilt for not having done enough school related work during the vacation.  Though we often associate stress with specific tasks that we must complete at given moments, there are so many smaller sources of stress that string inconspicuously throughout our everyday lives. Though grading undergrad papers, doing fieldwork, and adhering to writing deadlines stand out as specific aspects of the grad school that heighten my stress levels, I realize that there is a baseline level of stress under which I’m always operating and it is only when this baseline is heightened that I acknowledge it as stress. It is this baseline that I’ve been actively trying to change. I acknowledge that stress is a part of life in the modern world. It’s our nature as human-being to consciously and subconsciously worry about things. There is no way to completely get around it but I do think that it’s important to consider the smaller causes of stress that we encounter on a daily basis and attempt to ameliorate them to the degree that doing so is possible. 

The major culprit of killing my zen is time, or perhaps a lack thereof. The 10 seconds lefts on the crosswalk countdown that tells me that I have to run for it or else. The Metro bus tracker that passive aggressively reminds me that if I miss the 200, I’ll have to wait a whole 10 minutes before the next one arrives. My iCal reminder that notifies me that my next scheduled event is looming.

We, as a society, but particularly as Americans, have accepted a fate of temporal oppression. While acknowledging this does not change the reality, nor does it mean that we can choose to opt-out of this form of social organization, it does allow us to better understand the tiny elements that contribute to this oppression so that we can better resist it when possible.

It seems to me that relieving some of the pressure that time places on us is two-fold. When I consider how much anxiety I build up around running late for a class or a meeting, I have to ask myself why I continue to put myself in the position of being behind schedule. When I get frustrated about missing yet another bus by a matter of seconds, I have to wonder why I haven’t learned to leave the house a few minutes earlier. While positioning myself to not be behind schedule is one way to go about lessening everyday stress, it is also important to realize that it’s not the end of the world that I am. Learning to accept that sometimes things just don’t work out and having faith in your ability to recover from life’s curveballs is the best thing that you can do to resist the oppressive forces of industrialized time and preserve your mental health.

Some of the way that I’ve been actively trying to develop a healthier relationship with time are: 

When possible, I like to simply walk to the bus or train stop without looking at the tracker. If I miss a bus, so what, I’ll just wait for the next one. 

I plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early to a meeting and come prepared with something to read or do during this time. It’s wonderful to bask in the glory of not worrying about potentially being late. 

When possible, I don’t set an alarm. I know, I know, this is the dream. 

I’ve noticed that when walking from point A to B, I tend to stare at my phone compulsively, which just reminds me that I’m always operating under some time constraint. Lately, I’ve been making an effort to put my phone in my bag and not look at it every few minutes. It allows me to just focus on walking or whatever it is that I’m doing for that time and not get wrapped up in how much time I’m spending doing it. 

When in doubt – I breathe. The power of breathe for calming the mind and ameliorating stress should never be underestimated. 

Bone Broth

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So, as many of you probably know, bone broth has been all the rage lately. New Yorkers have been standing in line, hoping to get their cold hands on a warm cup of this nutrient-rich goodness. While we can debate whether the craze surrounding bone broth is actually justified or just another example of a successful health food marketing trend, there is no denying the health benefits of the beverage hiding inside of the health-conscious coffee tumbler. Here are some of the benefits of bone broth as I understand them.

  • Can be a rich source of protein and minerals
  • Contains collagen, the building blocks of cells to bones, ligaments, cartilage and the brain
  • Rich in gelatin (a kind of collagen), which supports healthy digestion and healthy skin

While restaurants are now offering seasoned bone broth as a sip-able soup, bone broth, like commonly used chicken, veggie, and beef stock, as be used as the base of a heartier soup or used to add flavor to slow cooked meats or vegetables.  

Making Your Own Broth

I’m an advocate of making bone broth at home for a couple of reasons. First, like all delicious things that you make from scratch, making broth at home allows you to control the quality of the ingredients that you put into it. The ingredients on commercial stocks and broths can get a little funky. Most have added sugar and many have other weird ingredients that really have no business being there. Additionally, the nutrients in broth are commensurate with the health of the animal bones that you use to make it. Thus, if you’re buying grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, and pasture-raised chicken, these bones are going to yield more health punch than their factory-farmed counterparts. Also, if you’re shelling out for quality meat and fish, which can be pricey, you might as well get the most out of it. Second, broth is super easy to make and extremely low maintenance. One you gather all the ingredients, you literally just throw them in the a pot (or your slow cooker!) and let them sit there for a long time, unbothered. If only all things could be so simple.

There are a ton of broth recipes out there but here are a couple of links that I refer to.

Paleo Leap: Making Fresh Bone Stock  

Stupid Easy Paleo: Bone Broth 101

For the batch that I made, I used beef and chicken bones along with celery, onions, carrots, bay leaves, salt and pepper.

Happy sipping to you.

 

The Oil-Cleansing Method (OCM)

Hi guys,

I’m really excited to be writing this post. For those of you who haven’t heard of the oil-cleansing method (OCM), stick around and learn a little bit about it. I think you’ll be happy that you did…

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So if I told you that cleaning your face with oil would be great for your skin, you’d probably think I’d misspoken. Considering the amount of oil and grim that many of us find on our faces after a long day, it’s a little unthinkable that you would then willingly “wash” your face with more oil. I know, it sounds stupid. But it’s actually awesome.

I’m not going to pretend to actually know the science behind all of this but I will share the basic understanding that I’ve gathered from doing a little online research (as well as the links to my more informed sources). I, like many others, used to use a commercial face cleanser to de-grim my face after a long day. My go-to was the apricot scrub with the little exfoliating beads that really made me feel like my face was getting a much-needed thorough cleaning at the end of the day. After washing my face with this product, my face felt smooth and dry, completely contrasting the sticky oily feeling that it had before. I thought this was a good thing. What I didn’t realize, however, was that by striping my skin of all of its oils and leaving in this dry state, I was actually prompting my face to produce more oil to compensate. I always noted the oiliness of my face in the morning but thought that it was “natural” for my face to produce this amount of oil throughout the course of a night’s rest. It turns out that this morning oily face was a result of having stripped my facial skin of all of its moisture before going to bed. Not knowing this, however, I would simply rewash my face with the same or another moisture stripping scrub before starting my day.

Having subscribed to the oil-cleansing method for about three weeks at this point, the difference in mind skin is evident. Rather than stripping my skin of moisture, the oils cleanse my skin while allowing it to maintain a healthy level of moisture that prevents it from going into hyper oil production mode while I’m sleeping. When I wake up in the morning, I simply splash some warm water over my face, pat it dry with a towel and continue on with my routine. At the end of my day, my face is much less oily than it was while using commercial scrubs. Sometimes, I even question whether I need to use my oil-cleaner as I don’t feel like its necessary.

The most challenging aspect of using OCM is finding the combination of oils that works for your skin. I got rather lucky in that I started with a mixture consisting of equal parts castor oil and extra virgin olive oil and it’s been going swimmingly. I arrived at this combination after reading this helpful blog post. From my understanding, castor oil should be the base of your mixture and then you should decide what oil(s) you’d like to combine with it based on your skin’s needs. I would recommend doing a bit of research before deciding upon the oils and ratios of your first mixture but be be aware that it might take a little experimenting before you find a mixture that works for your skin. Don’t get discouraged if first one doesn’t work out!

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So how do you actually go about performing the oil-cleansing method?

The process of using the oil-cleansing method is pretty straightforward, though a little more involved than using a commercial scrub.

(1) Basically you just take some of your oil combination and rub it onto your face with your fingers, then you soak a face cloth in hot water (you can use water from your bathroom sink if it gets hot enough. I usually have to warm water in the microwave because our water heater sucks). (2) Ring the towel and then press it to your face so that the steam heats the oil. This should not be painful but the water might be a little warmer than you would generally use to wash your face. (3) After letting your face steam for a bit, use the cloth to wipe the oil from your face, be attentive to the lower jaw bones and hair line areas that are often neglected. Take a deep breath and relax for the evening.

I will end this post with some pros and cons of the oil-cleansing method that I’ve gathered over the past few weeks before leaving you guys with a list of links that were helpful for me when deciding whether to try OCM. Cheers.

Pros

Your skin looks and feels awesome (glowing but not oily)

You’re not exposing your skin and your body to weird ingredients/chemicals that can be found in commercial cleaners

Could be less expensive than commercial scrubs depending on that oils you use

 

Cons

Requires more time than using a commercial scrub

Could be more expensive than commercial scrubs depending on what oils you use

Oily/Messy towels that have to be washed often

 

Linkage:

In Sonnet’s Kitchen

Crunchy Betty

Wellness Mama

 

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