Fatigue-Buster Green Smoothie + Health Benefits of Medicinal MUSHROOMS

Hey babes! Let’s talk about something I’ve been obsessed with lately.

Actually, let’s back up for a sec. You know me, and you know what qualifies as an “obsession” around this blog. It’s gotta be healthy, it’s gotta be yummy, and it usually has to have some sort of superfood qualities, since nutritional value is huge, huge in my book when it comes to any kind of food-related obsession.

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And I use the word obsession LOOSELY, peeps, because I’m actually really extreme and we all know this. I’m not about to get super obsessed with anything unless its directly beneficial to my health.

So, now that we have that out of the way, I’ll tell you what I am currently obsessed with:

Medicinal. Mushrooms. And specifically, Mushroom Matrix medicinal mushrooms. It’s sooo freaking awesome because they come in these cute little packets in powder form and you can add them into pretty much anything you’d like. Smoothies? Yes. Oatmeal? Yes. Pre-workout / post-workout juices? Yes.

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My favorite way to have them is (surprise, surprise) mixed into a green smoothie. And depending on what kind of mood you’re in and what you feel you want supplemented, you can choose between the several great rejuvenating options. ( My favorites are Beauty, Immune & Reishi. )

Who knows about Reishi, BTW? It’s a superfood to the utmost extreme– used to boost the immune system, fight against viral infections, lung conditions, chronic fatigue and ( my personal fav ) to help with INSOMNIA. Is this my perfect ‘shroom or what? It is also used to reduce stress and protect against diseases. Boo yeah.

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I have been making myself a yummy little sleepy-time drink with the Reishi powder. Almond milk + water + Reishi + ¼ banana + 1 tablespoon cacao. Umm, excuse me but bedtime chocolate milk just got a whole lot better ( and loads more effective. )

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Another thing I love about Mushroom Matrix is that they are grown and produced solely in Southern California, so these babies are local to moi and 100% organic. Mushrooms have been revered and used as natural remedies in Eastern Culture for thousands of years, so it’s about time we hop on the bandwagon.

I probably wouldn’t have come across these lovely specimens had I not been offered the opportunity to try them, so naturally I want to offer you all the same opportunity. I am giving away one pouch of Fit, one pouch of Beauty, and a 10 pack of NRG Sticks. ( The NRG Sticks are for energy, muscle recovery & immune support. )

Here’s my Fatigue-Buster Green Smoothie Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 teapsoon Cordyceps Mushroom ( for stamina + endurance )

½ frozen banana

½ cup blueberries

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 cup kale

½ cup almond milk

½ cup water

½ cup ice

Directions:

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

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P.S. If you want to learn more about this awesome company, check out their website here or find them on Instagram @mushroommatrix, Facebook at NRG Matrix, or Twitter @mushroom_matrix.

Have you ever tried medicinal mushrooms? What are your thoughts? If you haven’t you really should. Fabulous immune booster. 

It’s Almost October?! + TBV Apparel Photo Shoot

Can someone please tell me how/why/when each and every day in September passed by? Wednesday officially marks the beginning of October, and that blows my balanced blonde freaking mind.

I’m not complaining, though. October is my favorite month of the year. It is the beginning of the loveliest season of them all, and is followed by the two months with all of the best, coziest, most wonderful holidays. Plus, I’m a Libra, soooo… my birthday is right around the corner and I am going to be one year shy of a quarter of a century. Holy guacamole; that is crazy town! Autumn

Things have been busy in TBB Land, but this weekend in particular was a total whirlwind. I drove home from LA to Sactown on Wednesday for my grandfather’s funeral. Wednesday night I got to spend some quality time with my parents and work on my speech about my grandpa, and then Thursday the rest of my siblings and nieces came into town and we had a house full of rugrats for the rest of the weekend.

The service was nice, small and intimate. Exactly what my Papa would have wanted. Afterward we had a nice dinner with everyone and, well, lots of alcohol. In his honor, of course. He was the king of emptying any glass of whiskey, vodka, gin or wine in sight.

Papa The rest of the weekend was filled with family festivities and lots of yoga and walks on my beloved American River. And of course working on the book… my first deadline (two chapters + six recipes) is due on Wednesday (WTF) so I am freaking out. I may or may not have to down a handful of Adderall tomorrow and get to work. (I wish I could say I was joking.)

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Anyway, I am staying in good old Sac of Tomatoes (Sacramento, for all of you non-916 peeps!) until Wednesday so I can officially get my shit together and get down and dirty with the book.

Oh, and the app is JUST ABOUT DONEEEE so get ready for an official release date very soon! Way too exciting.

I will be writing my booty off for the next couple of days, so I wanted to leave y’all with a few good links, finds, and some of my favorite shots from TBV Apparel Photo Shoot last week with the master himself.

PS, feel free to text/call/email/message/visit me and distract me over the next few days. When I get stressed out about a big project I’m kind of like an anxious, unfocused, hyper child on crack. Even though it seems like most of my conversations these days are going a bit like this one…

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Lovely Links:

Inspirational Quotes that will make you love your bod via Hello Giggles

24 Reasons Why You Need a Mini Pig (a.k.a the anthem of my life) via Distractify

Apple Picking Party (because it’s so very Fall-tastic & her photos always totally rock) via My Name is Yeh

Clothes I Kinda Need:

TBV Apparel Favs:

(Click on each photo & it will take you directly to store site. PS more photos from the shoot to come! So many great ones.)

Balance Definition Tee:

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Balance2High On Good Vibes:

High On Good Vibes

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Loving Lately:

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How were everyone else’s weekends?! Which is your fav new TBV Apparel tee? Anndd how do you CONCENTRATE when you have a huge project on your plate? (Any advice would be appreciated times a million!) 

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Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.25.14

Hi everybody! I can’t tell you how nice it is to sit down and write this blog post, knowing that I am going to post it right after I finish writing it and checking for typos. The immediacy of blogging is one of the things I love the very most about it (I’m an impatient mofo!) and also the ability it gives me to connect with all of you who are reading in the process!

It has been a super duper busy week. My first book deadline is next week so I am in crunch time with that; we did an incredible TBV Apparel photo shoot in Santa Monica on Tuesday (photos below… duh!), we are wrapping up the last minute details of the app and getting ready to send it to Apple, I am planning my NYC event and getting geared up for my trip there next week, and today is my grandfather’s funeral so I drove home from LA yesterday (6 hours!!) to be here with my fam bam.

See… busy! But that is how I like to keep things and it’s also how I end up getting the most work done. When I only have one or two things going on and they aren’t pressing or exciting to me, I won’t even do them. I’m not even a procrastinator, I’m a get-out-of-just-about-anything-I-don’t-wanna-do kind of person which can be good and bad.

LovingLately Anyway, back to what we are here for today. Loving Lately!

Loving Lately // 9.25.14

1. Frozen Yogurt ▶▷▸▹►

This one might sound a little silly or a little generic to you, or perhaps a little like, “Seriously? Fro yo is soooo 2011… where the heck has this poor chick been?” Well, let me tell you! I didn’t eat frozen yogurt, or anything with refined sugar for that matter, for two years straight. Before that I didn’t eat dairy, so frozen yogurt was something I really hadn’t had since about my freshman year of college, give or take.

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Lately I have been challenging myself in the food department and trying to reincorporate things I know that I love in order to feel satisfied and balanced again. Umm, can we talk about the fact that frozen yogurt tastes like a little glob of heaven? Maybe it’s the serotonin surge from the sugar speaking, but holy crap do I love the taste of frozen yogurt (especially chocolate) with some yummy toppings on a warm day. And the sugar gives me a nice little energy boost – something I hadn’t experienced from food in a long, long time.

More than just the deliciousness of frozen yogurt, what I’m really saying here is that I am loving feeling SATISFIED and treating myself to something that I love! I am trying to live my life and ditch my food fears, and it feels pretty damn amazing when I am able to do that with no regrets and no urge to run to the gym for three hours to pretend like the indulgence never happened. (I am not recommending you do that – it leads to a very unbalanced and unhappy life.)

2. RewardStyle & LIKEtoKNOWit ▶▷▸▹►

I wrote all about this in Tuesday’s post so I won’t go into too much detail, but I am seriously loooving being a part of RewardStyle and getting to explore their website and all of the awesome stuff they have to offer for bloggers. In order to reap the benefits of LIKEtoKNOWit, sign up on their website so you can receive an email every time I (and/or your other fav bloggers) post a photo of an outfit, home décor item, kitchenware, etc. It ROCKS!

3. This super freaking awesome yoga mat ▶▷▸▹►

It’s no secret to all of you that I love the bohemian style/vibe more than anything, and being able to incorporate it with my YOGA MAT is just about the raddest thing I have heard of doing all month. Nowww to find yoga pants to match!

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4. Flat Tummy Teas ▶▷▸▹►

I am so into this tea right now. Don’t let the name “flat tummy” freak you out into thinking it’s some kind of diet tea because you know my stance on that kind of stuff. This is a totally natural 2-step detox (their Everyday tea for daytime and their Afresh tea for nighttime) that speeds up your metabolism in an all-natural way and detoxifies impurities to make your digestive system run smoother. Their 4 Week Fab is a great way to get started and is my personal current fav. It has a laxative effect, so for those of you who are addicted to coffee for that reason you might consider switching things up to a more natural regulating system!

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I love it because I love sipping on tea with lemon when I first wake up in the morning, and this tea charges up my energy levels because it is super antioxidant. The nighttime tea decreases unwanted water retention. Soak the tea leaves longer for a more “cleansing” effect (a.k.a laxative). Love, love this stuff. You can find it here, or find them on Instagram at @flattummytea.

5. TBV Apparel Photo Shoot ▶▷▸▹►

Heeeere’s a little sneak peek into what Tynan and I were up to on Tuesday…

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Balance Definition Tee

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High On Good Vibes

More to come, but I wanted to share my favs for now!

6. TimeHop App ▶▷▸▹►

Okay I am actually dying over this app. It tells you exactly what you were doing one, two, three, four, five (and on) years ago on the day! Three years ago today I was in Venice, Italy with some of the greatest people around.

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Four years ago today I was being a total sorority girl at our Greek Week football game. Oh, the memories! I am a freakishly nostalgic person, so my friends have been receiving lots of texts and emails with photos from this app – and it’s not stopping anytime soon!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.07.12 AM 7. This Shirt ▶▷▸▹►

I have been a fiiiiend for plaid lately (you knew it was coming with Fall…) and this Sam Edelman Zip Shoulder Plaid Shirt is no exception. Want/need/buying.

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 8. Alcohol ▶▷▸▹►

Remember my views on alcohol? Well, I’ve been letting loose a little more often lately and it has been really fun. Last night I enjoyed some cocktails with my parents at Ella in Sacramento, and tonight we are all taking shots to celebrate the life of my grandpa because he loved alcohol more than most people I know. (Okay, maybe more than anyone.) I have been feeling a lot more like my old self… carefree & spontaneous versus rigid and controlled. It feels waayyy better in every way possible.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.14.59 AM 9. Lulu Lemon ▶▷▸▹►

This is what my clean laundry pile looks like. I need to start wearing more than just yoga clothes. But they’re so comfy and then I don’t have to change for yoga at the end of the day!

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10. TBV Apparel Custom Orders ▶▷▸▹►

But really… is whiskey vegan? Email me if you’d like a custom tee made, and we will hook you up.

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Especially #18, #23, and pretty much #1-#6.

What are YOU loving lately? Anything exciting going down this weekend?

Gingersnap’s Organic Event + RewardStyle

Oh, helllo there my lovies! Today I have a couple of real exciting things to chit chat with you about:

1. My Gingersnap’s Organic + TBV Apparel Event in NYC on October 6th!

2. RewardStyle + Like to Know It on the bloggy & insta

So, we’ll start with the event! Some of you may recall that last June my lovely friend Max Goldberg & I hosted an event at Gingersnap’s Organic in the east village in NYC. It was called “Eat Organic With Us,” and it was a super fun combo of amazing raw vegan food & inspiring, healthy, awesome people coming together to get to know each other.

DSC_0545-3-1024x678 I am headed back to NYC for a visit the first couple weeks of October and I seriously couldn’t be more excited. I miss the city a ton, but what I really, reallllyyy miss is the people. My best friend in the universe Katie, my healthy bloggin’ BFF Tara, my lifelong roomie and world travel partner Clare, and a whole lot of other amazing, inspirational people I was lucky enough to live near all of last year.

Another person I miss is the awesome & inspiring Jamie of Gingersnap’s Organic. Jamie and I hit it off and have a ton in common. I’m beyond lucky that she agreed to let me host another event at her incredible restaurant. Jamie and her team will be providing the food, and I will be hosting a TBV Apparel Trunk Show / meet & greet.DSC_0534-1024x678

Everyone who attends will get 10% off of TBV Apparel (bringing the shirts down to $30.00 a piece, and if you buy 3+ you’ll get 15% off!) and also 10% off of a Gingersnap’s Organic cleanse if you sign up the night of.

You will also get an array of some of the best raw vegan food in existence (okay, the best raw vegan food in existence). On the menu is a pour of their [GO] Kick green juice, Zaatar crackers & zucchini almond hummus, guac & chipotle crackers, ramen noodles (my personal fav…out of this world!), pour of [GO] Vanilla Superfood Milk & a donut hole.

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The event goes from 6:30-8:30pm on Monday, October 6th. I seriously cannot wait to be there, share the shirts with you (including the new designs!!), hang out and mingle over delicious healthy food, and chat with all of you!

The link to purchase tickets is here. All food & drink is included in this price! All you have to do is show up. : )

IMG_3791 Now… numero dos on my list of things I wanna share with you today is RewardStyle! RewardStyle is an invitation-only affiliate marketing program for style + lifestyle publishers across the web. There are so many awesome things I can do with it I can’t even wait to get started.

The reason I’m telling you all about it is because you should head over to LIKEtoKNOW.it and sign up, so that when you “like” a photo on Instagram that I post (or any of your favorite bloggers post), you will receive an email with direct links to what we are wearing, the kitchen tools/products/utensils we are using, the home décor in the background, etc.

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It’s awesome because it makes things easy for you, and we make a small commission if you choose to purchase any of the items. It’s no extra cost for you and it rocks for people like me who make a full-time living blogging.

For example… here are just a couple end of Summer / beginning of Fall favorites:

 

PS… My episode of CBS’ The Doctors aired yesterday! Catch it here!

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So… Gingersnap’s Event + RewardStyle… hooowww freaking cool are both?! Have you heard of LiketKit before? Ever tried Gingersnap’s?

“Oh Kale Yes!” Sushi Roll Recipe

Hello, lovelies! How is everyone doin’ today? Are you l-o-v-i-n-g this cooled down weather like I am? If you’re not currently residing in So Cal you miiightt find it hard to envision that we had a heat wave of 95-102 degrees for about a week and a half straight. AND it’s supposed to be Fall, isn’t it?!

I’m talking heat to the point where I idiotically went on a run at 11 a.m., sweat like a monster, basked in a freezing cold shower and then starting sweating again for the next SEVERAL hours. Nottt cute. Not cool.

And we don’t have AC in our apartment. But that’s a story for another day.

#RollOutTheResearch Competition

TODAY I wanna tell you all about my partnership with Katsuya + Keep A Breast Foundation for the #RollOutTheResearch campaign. I know I have mentioned it once or twice but this cause really rocks and this competition is really fun (and the fact that you can vote every day is addicting – you know I have issues with that…), so it deserves its own full on post. 

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How many of us know someone who has been affected by breast cancer? Unfortunately, I can’t really think of a soul who would say, “not me!” But if you did, then yay. That’s amazing and I wish we could all say the same.

I have seen loved ones, friends’ loved ones and incredibly kind, talented, undeserving people suffer from breast cancer and it’s painstaking to watch. It makes the fact that I was complaining about the heat wave a few seconds ago sound completely ridiculous and ignorant.

That’s why when Katsuya asked me to participate in their #RollOutTheResearch campaign I just about flipped. Not only do I get to help raise awareness for an amazing cause, but I also got to create my own roll and get a hands-on sushi-making lesson from one of Katsuya’s incredible sushi chefs. Is that awesome or is that awesome? Katsuya4

I decided I wanted to pack my roll full of cancer-fighting ingredients, because I don’t mess around when it comes to the green stuff (and the delicious stuff). The ingredients I chose were…

◆Spicy Tuna

◆ Kale

◆ Cabbage (so crunchy and delicious in there!)

◆ Avocado

◆ Chia Seeds

◆ Rice, because what’s a sushi roll without rice…

Katsuya12Boom. As you can see, he was very hesitant to let me go rogue with the knife, and I don’t blame him because I think my persona radiates klutziness. But after some careful instruction and a few rounds of practice, I felt like a pro.

I mean… as pro as you can get on your first try.

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The winning roll will get featured on Katsuya’s menu for the month of October, and 50% of its proceeds will go toward funding breast cancer research. I will love you forever if you vote for me (I’m competitive, hehe) but either way get your booty over and vote because it’s an amazing cause. Here is the link! (Mine’s fourth one down on the righthand side in case you don’t recognize it!)

Oh, and it’s named the “Oh Kale Yes!” roll. After a certain t-shirt I happen to know and love.

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What up in your Monday?! Anything wild & crazy go down over the weekend? Would you try my sushi roll if it wins?!

Recovery Series #5 // Madelyn Moon

Happy Friday, my loves! Time for another super inspiring Recovery Series post today. This week’s interview was a bit spontaneous — the lovely Miss Madelyn Moon was interviewing me for her Mind Body Musings podcast and we got to talking about her own recovery journey. While we were chatting not only did I learn that Madelyn is another 23-year-old blonde recovering chica (there are so many of us), but I was blown away by her insight, knowledge, and articulate way of expressing herself.

Right then & there I knew she had to be our fifth Recovery Series participant. Madelyn’s story is fascinating to me because her eating spiraled downward while she was a fitness competitor. When you think of the body building industry and women, what do you think of?

I think of super toned, 0% body fat and very clean eating — something that once would have whisked me away at the very thought. Now I think twice. I’m not saying that this lifestyle isn’t maintainable for anyone, but for those of us with extra extreme personalities (like Madelyn and myself!), spending so much time focusing on a body-image related goal and a very rigid meal plan is a recipe for disaster.

Time to let Madelyn take the stage. I am so thrilled she could share her story with us today.

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Recovery Series #5 // ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

Q: Name, age, current location.

A: Madelyn Moon, 23, Boulder, Colorado

Q: Madelyn! Your story is similar to mine in the sense that we both got very attached to dietary labels that eventually let to our disordered eating “downfall.” Can you tell us a bit about your experiences with vegetarianism and paleo? 

A: Yes, of course! When I was in high school, my closest friend was a vegan and she introduced me to a few documentaries that really opened up my eyes to the cruelty of the slaughterhouse industry. I immediately dedicated myself to vegetarianism for these ethical reasons, but soon, after a year or so, avoiding meat became a weight control mechanism. Not being able to eat meat gave me these boundaries to live safely inside of. When my life became stressful, I clung to my dietary beliefs because I knew at least those would never change. Those rules would always be there, and therefore my weight and size would always be manageable.

Along with this diet came really obsessive “fitness” behaviors. I ran around 7 miles per day on a treadmill so that I could see how many calories I burned and then I would proceed with my day making sure that I consumed less calories than I burned during that run. It was nuts.

After a few years of doing this, I found myself a “little” consumed with the bodybuilding industry. Those bodies were so beautiful and I just HAD to find out how they did it! Well, according to all the blogs and magazines, I needed a lot more protein that I was currently consuming. I also needed more structure (6 meals a day, every 3 hours, protein at every meal, etc).

I quickly became obsessed with these bodies and decided to give this new diet a go. I’d just call it a bodybuilding diet. Fast-forward a year or two after stuffing my face day after day with the same foods, and I found that my body became very sensitive to eating so much of the same bland stuff (think oatmeal and chicken) that I had a hard time digesting them. Literally, I was always gassy. Sexy, right?

Basically, I was eating “so clean” that I couldn’t digest anything else that wasn’t on my daily meal plan. After a year or so of dealing with this, I discovered paleo. Honestly, this was more than just a diet, it was a community. Finding paleo was amazing, and I really love the idea of just eating a whole foods-based diet without worrying about the details such as macros, lea timing and calories…but yet, with my perverse nature, I used it against myself. Instead of using paleo as a template to make me feel better, I used it as a control mechanism. I could no longer eat most of my favourite foods even though I could digest them perfectly fine but the truth is, I wanted so badly to “be a part” of this group, that I decided to go strict paleo and ignore all of my body’s desires and cues for it’s favourite foods, like my beloved peanut butter.

I quickly became obsessed, just like I was with being a vegetarian and with being a fitness competitor. I was trying to stuff sweet potatoes down my throat so that I could still make gains in the gym, and for some reason I thought that was OK, just as long as it wasn’t a grain or a molecule of gluten. Heaven forbid.

So at the root of it, these diets were definitely coping mechanisms for me. Instead of facing the stressful things going on in my life, I focused my attention on food and creating the “perfect” body. I wanted so badly to find which diet would give me lean abs, a tight butt and rounded shoulders. It’s funny because even though I did find myself with that body at one point, I had absolutely no one to share it with because I was so negative, obsessed and over-consumed. RecoverySeriesMadelyn2

Q: You also have a unique viewpoint because you were a fitness physique competitor– where what your body LOOKS like is the main goal that is worked toward. How did that affect your relationship with food, mind and body?

Oh man, it affected me negatively in so many ways. I no longer saw a meal. Instead I saw 433 calories. I no longer saw a tasty sandwich. Instead I saw 43 grams of carbohydrates and 25 grams of protein. Food was no longer food; it was just fuel. It was science. I was so accustomed to eating protein at every meal that I almost couldn’t eat something unless there was protein alongside it. I was so used to counting calories that I could basically count up everything in my head on the spot. I couldn’t go longer than 3 hours without eating because if I did, I thought my body would probably stop metabolizing the food and then I’d automatically gain weight.

That’s all of the mental side towards food. My thoughts towards my body were a completely different monster. To be completely honest, I couldn’t stand my body. Even when I was 7% body fat, I spend so much time worried about gaining the weight back, I couldn’t enjoy the physique I had worked so hard for. I was so consumed with my stomach and abs that the stress often made me bloat. I was bloated all the freaking time from my massive protein consumption on top of stress I was experiencing, so naturally I was always uncomfortable. I was so self-conscious and self-consumed that I pretty much blocked everyone out of my life. It was terrible, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

The hardest part was probably coming off of competition prep, and watching my body put back on a little bit of weight. I was still underweight, but in my head I was fat. Truly, truly fat. I could no longer see my body as human flesh. Once I had been as lean as I was, I had a new standard for my figure (regardless of how unhealthy it was) and once the weight started to creep back on, I felt like a failure.

It’s taken a long time to start seeing my body in a different light, but I really do now and I love myself so much more than I did when I was a fitness model. Plus, I feel a ton sexier.

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Q: What did it take to realize that your restriction was headed down a bad path? Did you have a tipping point or a moment where you felt like, “this is it, I need to change something”?

A: Goodness, yes, I had many moments. I have specific memories of crying on the floor wishing my fat would go away. I have moments bawling in the car. I remember crying on the phone with my mom at Whole Foods because I felt like I “ate too much” and everybody else was eating less than me. Though, I think the biggest moment was the night of my second fitness competition. I was lying in my hotel bed reflecting on the day and how I had given up the previous 4 months for that competition and it wasn’t worth it whatsoever. That was really eye-opening. For 4 months I followed a strict diet, worried endlessly about my body, missed out on all my friend’s social events, and found myself literally starving on several occasions. Instead of lying there upset and sad, I should have been happy! I should have been so proud of my accomplishment, but yet I was disappointed with my ranking and frustrated about how I was feeling. I knew something wasn’t right.

At one point in my life, I wanted to be fit for the sake of health, but somewhere along the way, that passion became intensely contorted and lost. I told myself that night that I needed to remember this feeling. I felt so awful about the competition and so angry about feeling awful that I knew something wasn’t right in my mind. I knew I didn’t deserve to disrespect myself like that. I was seeking a subjective desire that would never be found, and because of this, I was loathing the only body I have to live in.

Something needed to change, and I needed to find the courage to see it through.

Q: Do you think there are any personality traits that you be tied to restrictive eating and exercise? For example, I am very extreme and have an all or nothing type of personality, and I think that definitely contributed to my disordered eating habits. Do you struggle with extremes?

A: Absolutely! I had some obsessive tendencies as a child, and I think that transferred over as a young adult. That stuff doesn’t just go away unless you are really proactive about it. I am also pretty competitive and self-disciplined. Being able to discipline myself has always been a big strength of mine, but unsurprisingly, it’s also a weakness. I tend to think in black and white, and I often have the desire to be “different” or stand out because of my Leo nature. All of these qualities combined lead to a very stubborn obsessed extremist!

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6. You mention on your blog that you were on the EXACT same meal plan for 4 months, to a tee (I totally get that…), what did that meal plan look like? Did you have cravings?! Did it lead to any post-diet binging?

It makes me cringe to think about it. My meals where as followed (and PLEASE nobody get any ideas!):

Meal 1- 4 egg whites, oats, 1 T peanut butter

Meal 2- Chicken and brown rice

Meal 3- Chicken and brown rice

Meal 4- Oatmeal and protein powder

Meal 5- Chicken and green beans

Meal 6- Casein powder (basically protein powder)

Okay so when I say that I followed the exact same meal plan for four months, I mean that literally. Not a blueberry more. Not a bell pepper less. No oil on my chicken, No salt. No sugar. I think I had a banana on a couple “high carb” days, but that’s the only time I had something different. And I ate every 3 hours, NO exceptions. Cause ya know…I’d probably lose all my muscle if I were a minute late. Keep in mind that I was in college at the time too, so I was taking my chicken and rice to class with me often and eating it cold. I can’t tell you how many times I ate in the car. Oh and I ate in a bathroom on a date too.

Q: You started your blog with the intention of speaking about body confidence and the correlation between mind and body. Do you think that being so open on the blog has helped your recovery process, and if so, how?

A: Oh most definitely! I actually started my website in 2012 before I had even done a fitness competition. So my website has been with me through the entire process, including my two fitness competitions. It’s helped me get through so much. My podcast Mind Body Musings has helped me the most because of two reasons. First, I can talk to inspiring people that have similar experiences and can share how they found body peace. Secondly, I confess to what I’m struggling with and I receive emails from people going through the same. It’s so beautiful to be able to share experiences with thousands of people I don’t know, knowing that it’s actually helping them in some way. I firmly believe that if we just talk about this more, so many more people would feel less alone.

Q: What is your take on restrictive diets like veganism, paleo, raw vegan, gluten-free, etc. and the growing correlation between those and disordered eating habits?

A: You know, these days I really have a firm grasp on the fact that everything works for at least one person. I am no longer trying to find a perfect diet for myself, so it’s easy for me to sit back and listen to people talk about their favourite diet.

With that said, I do believe that there is a growing correlation between the two. I consider myself fortunate to no longer have that mentality considering our culture is trying to create food-fearing individuals. We are taught to label foods as “good” or “bad” and we have created these “off-limit” foods for ourselves. We use words like “indulge” and phrases like “cheat meals.” There’s something really twisted about these phrases alone. On top of that, all of these diets with conflicting information almost force us to pick a side. And if we don’t pick a side, we’re bombarded with people trying to sell us on what works for them.

I think it really depends on the individual. If you have an allergy to dairy, gluten and legumes, paleo might be perfect for you. If you have no allergies but you just want to feel optimal, then by all means, experiment and find out what makes you feel best. I think the problem is when we cling to food when something happens in our lives we are uncomfortable with. There’s a problem when we see a smidge of cellulite and cut out all carbs. It’s an issue when we’re in a fight with our boyfriend and we binge. There’s something wrong when you are trying a new diet every single day and hating the whole process.

Simply put, it’s best to just eat what aligns with what both your mind and body want. That’s real satiation.

Q: Favorite quote:

A: Peace within makes beauty without.

Q: Give us a glimpse into a day in the life of Madelyn’s workouts and recovery foods. Because food is fuel, right?!

A: Heck yeah! I go through phases where I want to eat a lot of the same stuff over and over again. This could be a part of my obsessive nature, but honestly I think it’s because everything I’m eating is making me feel so dang good! I usually start my day with a Greek yogurt bowl with berries, sunflower seed butter and something crunchy like granola or organic cereal. Lunch is usually white or brown rice with beef or ground turkey and something green, like Brussels! Dinner is always different. I love making spaghetti squash, sweet potato fries, and healthy meatloaf. I’ve always been pretty obsessed with meatloaf. No joke.

In regards to workouts, I try to have a very sane approach to it. I realize if I get rigid with scheduling workouts, my mindset gets rigid too, and I become too critical. I try to mix it up now by combining rock climbing with hiking, biking, occasional sprints, gymnastics and strength training sessions! Oh and I’ve recently joined CrossFit, which is definitely humbling to me. I’m not very good at it and I love having a new challenge.

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Q: How do you maintain your passion for exercise without letting it go overboard and affect your life the way it once did?

A: This is a tricky one to answer. I’ve noticed it’s extremely easy for me to fall back into old habits. About 3 months ago, I took a full month off from going to the gym and that helped tremendously. After I started going again, I experienced negative body image talk in my head. It happened so quickly, as if I never even took that break. I very quickly decided I needed something new to do. I needed a challenge that was focused on performance, not aesthetics. That’s why I’m really focusing on things like rock climbing, gymnastics and CrossFit because none of those things require mirrors and isolation movements. Instead, they focus on strength. Real strength. And after every class, I feel proud of my accomplishments and myself. It had been so long since I left a workout feeling accomplished that now, I only want to engage in activities I know will leave me feeling happier afterwards.

Physical activity is supposed to be fun. Period.

Q: Tell us about the “reverse diet” you put yourself on to gain weight after you realize you needed help.

A: Well the reverse diet was really supposed to be a sane way to come out of a competition diet safely, without ruining your “hard earned work” and putting on an uncomfortable amount of weight too fast. I did this after my two competitions, and they definitely helped me to increase my calorie “tolerance” but what I did after I realized I needed help was pretty different. I actually stopped following all diets altogether. I mean, subconsciously, I was still counting calories in my head and following certain macro “rules” but after awhile, I waned off and tried intuitive eating. I ate foods I hadn’t eaten in forever and thoroughly enjoyed them. I ate meals without protein. I ate at a restaurant more than once a week. I forced myself to delete my calorie counting app and eat meals that I didn’t know the macro breakdown for.

It was so challenging, but once I learned how to let go, so much changed. I was so used to being in control of every morsel that went into my body, I had to quite literally force myself to stop. It also forced me to keep myself preoccupied with other things so that I didn’t have time to focus on food. Instead, I went out with friends and went on more dates! Once I learned to let go over my desire to control, I gained so much in return.

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Q: What advice would you give to girls suffering with body image issues? We all want to fall in love with ourselves, and I think you are a fabulous example of someone who was suffering from control issues and you were able to let go and find your way to health. 

A: First of all, thank you for saying that. It means a lot. Second of all, I think I have to give a couple pieces of advice here.

1. Get off of social media. Or at least unfollow accounts that make you wish you were any different than you currently are.

2. Stop your food rules if they are no longer serving the same purpose they did when you started them. If you’re allergic, that’s one thing. If you’re scared, that’s another.

3. Pick up a new non-food and non-fitness related hobby. Learn an instrument, a language, pick up a fiction book, volunteer, or do what I did and get a dog.

4. Listen to more podcasts. There are so many podcasts out there that can help you along with your body acceptance journey. Don’t fill your queue with diet theory podcasts, as tempting as that may be. Try to stick with shows that promote mind and body satiation, as well as bio-individuality.

 

Q: Three things you’re most passionate about… go!

A: 1. My dog, Ninabelle. She’s most literally the most amazing thing in my life and I owe so much to her. She’s helped me through a lot and there’s really nothing that can compare to the feeling of her snuggling up to me every night.

2. My faith. Knowing something bigger than me is out there watching over me has helped me tremendously. It’s made my worries and struggles seem so small and petty compared to my life’s purpose. I know I was created for a reason and it wasn’t to have an eating disorder. My experiences might have launched me into my purpose though, so for that, I wouldn’t change anything.

3. My podcast. Though it may seem small in the grand scheme of things, my show has helped me and helped others, but even more than that, it’s a blast. I know one day it might not be as purposeful as it is now, and I’m okay with that. But until the day comes (if ever), I’m going to continue to treat my show like my baby. It’s introduced me to so many inspirational people, like yourself, and for that I consider myself very fortunate.

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Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

A: There was something I once heard that’s stuck with me for months now and I doubt I’ll ever forget it. It goes like this. There will ALWAYS be somebody that is better than you at something. There will always be somebody that’s deemed prettier than you by society’s standards. There will always be someone more athletic. There will always be somebody better at science. There will always be somebody funnier than you. These are just facts. But there will never, ever, EVER be somebody better at being…you. With all of that said, why in the world would you ever want to pretend to be somebody else, when you’re already one of a kind?

Thanks so much for having me, Jordan!

HUGE thanks to Madelyn for sharing her story with us today. Be sure to check out her website & the amazing podcast series she created! How inspiring is she?! What is everyone up to this weekend?!

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Interview with Kayla Itsines, THE Fitness Guru

Soo I have mentioned a few times that I have been very interested in starting the lovely Miss Kayla Itsines‘ Bikini Body Guide workout program. But let me stop you before you get any notions in your head… “Bikini Body Guide” sounds like something a littttle body image driven for a girl in recovery from an eating disorder, right?

Not exactly. After chatting with Kayla and doing some research on her credentials, not only has she impressed me with her philosophy but she has blown me out of the water with her knowledge and her outlook on fitness, food, balance and living an overall health-minded lifestyle.

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The reason I love Kayla’s plan is because I am a die-hard yogi (as you all know) and a three-ish times per week runner… so any time I get the opportunity to switch up my workout with a legitimate conditioning sesh, I am all in. The only reasons I haven’t gotten further into Kayla’s 12 week program are A) because the first week of it totally and utterly kicked my butt, and B) because I have been so busy with the book, app, apparel, blog and LIFE (oh yeah, that…) that I have had to be choosy with my workouts, and umm, yoga always wins.

Plus, even before I interviewed her I already knew I loved Kayla because I follow her on Instagram (where she is a massive sensation, BTW… 1.2 million followers!) where she posts daily inspiration, tips & nearly unbelievable (I’m serious) transformational photos of girls who have done her BBG workout plan. What I love about her goes beyond all of that– she is HONEST and totally has her head on straight when it comes to balance and living a healthy life, not a body-driven life.

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Her big thing is that results do not happen overnight, and there is no “magic pill” (as much as we would all love that…) that will give you your dream body. You have to work hard for your goals and be consistent. And even though I am coming from the mentality that life is about FEELING good as opposed to LOOKING good, I feel my best when I am physically fit.

That doesn’t mean perfect shape. It means fit enough to do everything you love to do, to eat the foods you love and to feel great in your own skin. For that reason I can’t wait to get more into Kayla’s guide once I have a little more time in my life. (Cue December book deadline!)

Now, without further ado… Kayla, take it away!

Q&A With Fitness Guru Kayla Itsines

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Q: Kayla! So amazing to have you here on TBB today. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your fitness philosophy?

Hi! I’m Kayla Itsines. I am a 23-year-old personal trainer from Adelaide, South Australia. I have specialize in training women as I have a passion for helping them achieve their goals whether they are appearance, health or confidence based. I love to spend time with my partner Tobi, especially at the beach, as I absolutely love summer. I have a Siberian Husky puppy called Ace who keeps me very busy! I hope I continue to grow as a person and expand my knowledge to be able to bring more information to women all around the world.

Where did your passion for fitness originate?

Once I graduated high school, I actually started studying beauty therapy. However, my love of sport and basketball lead to me to Personal Training, and that’s when I discovered how much I loved helping people to become healthier and happier! I have never looked back since, for me it was a great life changing decision. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

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Although your body is out of this world, even fitness idols have their own fitness idols, right?! Who would you say yours is?

This is so true, I idolise Iza Goulart like there is no tomorrow. I also love Candice Swanepoel AND she followed me on Instagram a while back. Possibly one of the best days of my life!

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What’s a day of eats like in Kayla’s world? 

I generally change things up a bit because I believe variety is really important in your diet. But for example an average day of mine would look like this:

Breakfast: Toast with poached eggs, “lemony” avocado, tomato and spinach, plus a cup of herbal tea.

After morning snack: One piece of fruit.

Lunch: Chicken yiros (a wrap) with homemade tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Afternoon snack: Tuna, corn and & a piece of fruit.

Dinner: Avgolemono (fluffy lemon & rice soup, my absolute favourite) with chicken

Evening: I always have a peppermint or chamomile tea in the evening.

Best tip for finding consistency with workouts?

Listen to your body! Find a regime that you can maintain and that works for you. Always remember to rest when you need to! A lot of the time girls burn themselves out by going too hard, too fast which only leads to prevention of weight loss. So be consistent, work hard but listen to your body. 

You know I am a huge green smoothie addict… What is your favorite smoothie recipe? 

My new favourite would be my Goodness-Me green smoothie! A combination of ripe fruit and leafy greens! The full recipe and method can be found here on my blog!

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What does “balance” mean to you?

Balance to me is so important as I believe that it’s unhealthy to have too much or too little of something in your life. One of my main tips to keep a healthy balance is to create a daily to-do list and plan your day in advance. That way you can aim to make sure that you are fitting in all of those things that are most important to you, such as exercise, work, family and friends. Mine would of course involve spending time with my baby puppy Ace :)

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Because we are alll about balance over here, what is your favorite indulgence?

Dried mango! I LOVE it, but is so high in sugar I try only have it once every so often!!

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Alright babes, there you have it! Fitness advice from the ultimate fitness guru. I adore Kayla because she knows that fitness is not just about the body, it’s about health and feeling great overall.

PS… before I go, I would love your support in Katsuya + Keep A Breast’s #RollOutTheResearch campaign. Vote for my sushi roll & it will be featured on their menu for the month of October if I win! 50% of the roll’s proceeds will go toward funding breast cancer research. My roll is the fourth one in the righthand column. (The “Oh Kale Yes!” roll!). Oh, and you can vote once a day until the 29th!

Thoughts on Kayla’s fitness philosophy? Is her bod banging, or what? Who’s gonna go make that heavenly smoothie recipe?!

Dealing with Loss

Hello, hello my loves.

This weekend was eventful, rejuvenating and reflective in many ways. I spent the weekend with family in the valley, and my mom came up to celebrate our cousin’s 80th birthday (so amazing!) and we all had a blast. Sunday night I ended up going on an impromptu bar crawl with a friend and stayed up until 3 a.m. (I’m a crazy person, I know). We even decided it would be a great idea to watch The Little Mermaid. Cue “Under the Sea” & lots of cute little fishies.

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It was reflective and difficult in the sense that we had to say goodbye to my grandpa this weekend. He would have been 93 this week, and he lived a long, full, beautiful life. He was one of the most content men I’ve ever known and the glass was always half full in his eyes. He grew up in Arkansas and nothing made him happier than playing cards with his fellow veterans in his boots and cowboy hat.

The last year of his life was tough for him and he was in a lot of pain. His memory was slipping, he was falling all the time and had zero appetite. For those reasons I thought I would feel more at peace with seeing him go, but there is still something so heart wrenching about losing someone who was such a huge part of your life. He was my last living grandparent and we are going to miss his smiling face and sweet demeanor very much.

Papa Losing him got me thinking about how I deal with loss in all areas of my life… and it’s certainly not pretty. I’ve never been one to say goodbye very easily and will actually avoid doing so at all costs. My high school boyfriend and I have been off and on since we were 15, and regardless of whether we are together or not he will always be one of my closest friends. I have only let go of one or two friends in my life and those were for very necessary circumstances… and it was still very difficult. I’m the girl who forgives people for just about anything (don’t get any ideas!) because I can’t bear to be on bad terms with someone I care about.

I also hate saying goodbye to people even if I am going to see them the next day! It’s never just an “okay, bye,” it’s a “so, I’ll call you in the morning…” kinda thing with me. And even moving beyond people, there are my obvious food anxieties, my total yoga addiction, my all-or-nothing writing/working/drinking/everything mentality, and my neurotic ability to keep in touch with just about anyone and everyone I’ve ever cared about. (That last one is really a good thing, except when it gets in the way of me getting things done throughout the day because I have so many conversations going on!)

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Loss is hard, and I’m not sure I totally allow myself to deal with it. Do any of us, really? I get close to the point of dealing with it and then I leap backward and panic about going through the painful emotions of truly letting go. And I believe that’s also how I am dealing with my eating disorder recovery.

I accepted the eating disorder, I began working through it and I made strides, and then I kind of wanted to be done with it. I’ve tried extremely hard to convince myself that I am well enough to stay out of therapy, to build my own meal plans instead of relying in a nutritionist, and to jump back into my very busy day to day life without a ton of reflection.

Accepting how sad I am about losing my grandpa has prompted me to realize there are a lot of things in life I need to more than just accept. I need to allow them to happen… I need to allow the emotion to run through me so I can deal with the pain and let go of it. Instead, I let little things build and build on top of each other and then I bury them somewhere, somehow.

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So, here’s to challenging ourselves to actually DEAL with our shit. I know I’m not the only one who puts it off. And in true Byron Younger fashion (my gpa), I will celebrate his life and be happy that I got to spend nearly 24 years around him. And I will also celebrate my own life, every day, because that’s the way it should be and I think sometimes we forget to do that.

Things I need to / want to deal with head on? Recovering from my eating disorder, the craaayzay anxiety I get on a daily basis about pretty much everything, procrastinating the inevitable amount of work I still have to do on the book (even though I love writing it), and some other more personal things I probably shouldn’t flood the blog with.

So, somehow, this post is meant to be a happy one. We all deserve to celebrate our lives, and we all deserve to be ridiculously happy as much as humanly possible.

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In other news, go check out the Katsuya #RollOutTheResearch contest and vote for your girl TBB so my roll can get featured on their menu for the month of October! It’s a wonderful competition raising awareness and money for breast cancer research. 50% of the proceeds from the roll will go toward funding research all month long. Mine is the fourth one down on the right! Yahoo!Katsuya10

And secondly… I am doing a super fun TBV Apprel Trunk Show at Gingersnap’s Organic when I go to NYC next month! The trunk show is on October 6th, and it includes delicious raw vegan food and drink (and the best raw donut holes you’ve ever had), great company & fun mingling! Buy your ticket now if you’re interested because space is limited! I am so excited!

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What do you need to deal with in your life in order to move past it and be able to be your happiest self? How do you deal with loss? Thoughts on the competition & upcoming event?!

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Recovery Series #4 // Emily von Euw

Hi loves! Last week’s Recovery Series post was more introspective than usual, and I really enjoyed writing it. It felt like such a release to put my words and thoughts on recovery/life/being alive out there into the universe. Thank you for your positive responses. I appreciate every single one of them!

RecoverySeries4Today the lovely miss Emily von Euw from This Rawsome Vegan Life is stopping by to tell us her recovery story. She suffered from disordered eating at the beginning of her raw vegan journey when she was around the age of 17. Now it’s been a few years, and she has figured out how to eat a healthy plant-based diet AND be good to her body. She inspires me so very much, and I have had a blast following her blog for the past several years. You rock, Emily!

PS, before we get to it, prepare yourselves to do some voting (cough cough…for me! Hehe, JK, kinda) from September 15th – 29th on Katsuya’s Facebook page. It’s part of their #RollOutTheResearch campaign for breast cancer awareness, and the winner of the contest gets their roll featured on Katsuya’s menu for the month of October. (For all of you non-Californian readers, which is many of you, Katsuya is a super trendy and delicious sushi place in LA!). Would so appreciate your support! Had a blast getting a sushi lesson from the chef yesterday. ;)

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Doing a whole post on the contest next week– but today is about EMILY!

Recovery Series #3 // Emily von Euw ▶ ▷ ▸ ▹ ►

Q: Name, age, current location.

A: Emily von Euw, 20, Vancouver

Q: You’re very open on your blog about developing disordered eating habits around the age of 17 when you transitioned from vegan to raw vegan. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
A: I became vegan because it made sense to me; if you care about others, yourself and the environment, you should eat a plant-based diet. Soon after becoming vegan I learned about the raw food diet and lifestyle, and the logic behind it also resonated with me. That is, the idea that raw foods are the healthiest foods on the planet because they are the least processed, their enzymes are still intact, and all other animal species eat only raw food… so it must be the most natural, and therefore healthy, diet! That was my thinking at the time anyways. In turning to the raw food diet, I made several mistakes. Firstly, after researching the lifestyle online and in books, I convinced myself that I should strive to eat 100% raw if I want to be truly healthy. Of course, I have learned this is not true. Humans have been eating cooked food since approximately 250,000 years ago and our bodies have evolved to handle it. The strongest civilizations throughout history have based their diets on cooked grains and vegetables. Secondly, I learned to see all cooked food as poisonous and bad for me and I felt guilty whenever I wanted to eat – and did eat – cooked food, even if it was just steamed broccoli or brown rice. This was not healthy because guilt and self-loathing are never healthy, but it was also unhealthy because I have since discovered I do best with cooked food in my diet, and if I eat all raw for too long I begin to feel weak. And finally, I did not eat enough. I think some folks can probably live on an all raw diet long term, but the amounts of food you need to eat are enormous (2,000-4,000 calories a day). I only ate a few pieces of fruit a day, and I was always craving other food I felt guilty about eating. It was a nasty cycle.

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Q: When did you realize you had gone too far with your raw vegan diet? Losing your period for 8 months was certainly one wake up call, but were there others?

A: After trying to eat all raw for several months I began to feel weak, light-headed, and tired all the time. I was exercising a lot, but after an hour of cardio I’d only have a plate of fruit and thought that should be enough. I dropped to about 100 pounds, and technically I was underweight. My parents were concerned and told me I should gain weight, but in my head I was proud of my unusually low BMI and wanted to lose even more pounds.

Q: You mention that your family was stressed and worried when you were getting thin and obsessing over being 100% raw. Did you simply feel misunderstood (“You guys don’t even understand the benefits of raw veganism!!!” kinda thing) or did you know deep down that their concerns were valid?

A: I definitely felt like they – and everyone else – didn’t get it. My parents and school teachers warned me I should be eating more and that I should have cooked food in my diet. My parents sometimes told me I should eat animal products again. I was always fairy dismissive about their concerns and comments. I thought: “This IS the best diet in the world! They don’t understand. I must be doing something wrong!” Looking back, I think I was deeply in denial, because I really believed what I thought, although I certainly had moments where I noticed someone very healthy who ate cooked food – duh – and I thought “How can they be healthy and fit if they eat salmon and eggs and bread?” I tried to convince myself they must feel sick all the time or that they’d develop some illness because they ate cooked food. Wow… typing that out seriously makes me realize how totally nuts my reasoning was. Yikes! collage 2 - Copy

Q: Your post from 2012 titled “bad girl” about eating a sandwich about trying to reason with yourself that it wasn’t “that bad”… How does it make you feel re-reading that now?

A: Haha, it’s awful. I cringe and laugh at the same time. I remember writing that post – and making that sandwich – like it was last week. The whole reason I posted that was because I thought I’d feel less guilty if I didn’t hide it. It kind of helped because it was out there in the open and I got a lot of comments saying they understood and I shouldn’t feel bad, but that was just a dark time so it didn’t definitively solve anything. Reflecting on it now, it’s utterly ridiculous. I let my convictions – that weren’t based on anything but opinion and ideology – get in the way of logic, scientific evidence and my health.

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Q: From what I gather from your blog & Instagram, you pretty much follow the 80/10/10 diet (correct me if I’m wrong!!). Has that lifestyle been triggering at all for you, and if so, how do you work through those triggers to avoid getting too obsessive?

A: Honestly I have never really followed one diet very precisely, I don’t think that’s a good idea for most people (more on this below). Once I let myself stop feeling bad about eating cooked foods – this took a long time and was not easy – I naturally came to a diet that was similar to 80/10/10. I ate as much fruit and veggies as I wanted, I drank huge smoothies all day and then had a dinner of rice and veggies, most days. But because I make so many raw vegan dessert recipes for my blog, I was also eating a lot of fat in the form of nuts and coconut oil. For the first two years of being vegan, I always felt great eating that much fat, but gradually I noticed if I had too many nuts in a day I’d feel bloated and groggy. I started cutting down a bit, and then I discovered 80/10/10! Well, actually I had read the book “80/10/10″ when I first got into raw food, but I mostly just took away from it the fact that you should eat all fruit, and that played a role in my disordered eating for awhile. But now when I think of the term 80/10/10 I think of Raw Til 4. So I discovered Raw Til 4 and thought “Hey! This is pretty much what I am doing, but these people basically eat no fat and they eat more fruit and veg than I currently am. Let’s try this out!” It worked for a few months and I felt really good, but it was exhausting eating so MUCH all the time. I still eat a diet that is close to 80/10/10 or Raw Til 4, but on my own terms: fruit smoothies all day, then rice and veg for dinner. But I am not afraid to use coconut oil in stir-frys, or nuts in my raw vegan recipes! I love avocado, coconut, and all nuts and seeds! I feel great when I have small amounts of them in my diet. I think the only issues I might have with 80/10/10 or Raw Til 4 is that they could possibly create a fear of fat for some people, and in a broader way: it is a diet that tells you that there is something you shouldn’t eat. The problem with that is it can make you feel guilty for craving or eating that food, it doesn’t matter what it is. My motto is: do what works for you. Eat what makes you feel your best, and be conscious of the effects that your food has on everyone involved. I felt this way before I tried doing Raw Til 4, but I guess I kinda forgot it, and now I am back on track. Just do what works for you! Every body is different, just like every personality.

 Q: I LOVE your philosophy that food is fuel and our bodies are beautiful and that we should treat them with kindness. Say I was asking you for a quote to put above my bed that embodied this sentiment… know of any great ones?!

A: Any of these:

“Your body is as beautiful and unique as yourself. Love your body. Love yourself.”

“Every body is different, just like every personality. Celebrate you.”

“It doesn’t matter what you look like; it’s about how you FEEL and what you can DO with your body.”

“Ability is beauty.”

“You are special. No one has a body quite like yours, so cherish it.”

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Q: Top 3 tips for people in recovery from eating disorders?

A: 1) Delete or ignore all the ads, websites, blogs, tumblrs, instagrams, and any other sources that promote only one body type. Some people are skinny, some people are are not. Some people have red hair, some people have blonde hair. Some people like brussel sprouts, some people don’t. We need to stop idolizing one body type and start celebrating the amazing diversity our biology provides. Think of your body as a functional tool, it doesn’t matter what you look like. It’s about how you FEEL and what you can DO with your body.

2) The society we live in is controlled by companies that benefit from you being unhappy. Give them the finger and give yourself a hug, because you’re gorgeous the way you are. Check out paintings, magazines, art, movies and photographs that celebrate curvy women and men that aren’t ridiculously ripped. These can be found from pretty much any time period until after the 60′s. If you are a girl and think you aren’t thin enough, consider the fact that Marilyn Monroe – the epitome of sexiness and beauty in the 50′s – would be a plus size model now. If you are a guy and think you aren’t muscular enough, check out mens bodies in films from decades past, and notice their natural lack of bulging biceps.

3) Go to nude beaches and look at all the glorious cellulite, curves, muscles, bulges, shapes, skin colours and facial features around you. Then look at yourself. You are beautiful. You are special. No one has a body quite like yours, so cherish it.

4) I know you just said 3 but this one is the most important: GET EDUCATED about body image and idolization in history, culture and society. If you are in high school, ask your teacher to cover the subject. If you are in university, take courses on sexuality, gender, and history. You will learn that the reasons for idolizing one body type have always been associated with the culture of the time. In the past when food was usually scarce, we admired curvy, pasty, light-skinned bodies because it meant those people were rich and had access too fine foods like sugar and white bread, and they didn’t have to work outside. Now we have been brainwashed into thinking ultra skinny girls and ultra muscular men are the only really beautiful bodies. This is because in “developed countries”, we have too MUCH access to rich foods (fast food and all processed food) so the majority of the population is overweight. Obesity is correlated with low-income. So again, we idolize thin and fit people because it implies they are wealthy. My point is: there is nothing intrinsically beautiful about any one body type. We only idolize certain body types throughout history and in culture because whatever body you have implies your social level. It’s not about JUST the body type, it’s really about affluence.

Q: I don’t know how familiar you are with my story, but I had to transition away from veganism because the restriction and idealism of the lifestyle (the way I was living it, at least) triggered my eating disorder. I have found mental clarity through introducing more foods into my diet… but of course I still have my original values in tact & eat as many plants as possible! Have you ever felt tied to veganism because of your blog? (I ask because I very much did.)

A: Yes, I have been hearing and seeing a lot about your decision and how you are doing now. I am very happy you have found a happy balance for yourself. I do feel tied to staying vegan because my blog depends on it, in a way. Having said that, although the pressure is there, it makes no practical difference since I have never thought about re-introducing animal products in my diet. I don’t want to die in order for someone to eat me for lunch, so it would be unfair for me to expect that of someone else.

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Q: Tell us what a day in the life (and the eats!!) of Emily looks like versus what it did in the midst of your eating disorder.

A: In the worst period of my disordered eating, I would wake up, drink water, then go to school and not eat until lunch. I would have a sliced mango and some berries, or something similar. I’d come home, exercise for an hour, then have a plate of fruit. I don’t really remember what I did for dinner, but I often was so hungry that I’d eat whatever cooked vegan meal my mom made – she has always been very accommodating and now my parents eat mostly vegan all week – but then end up feeling guilty about it. I recall trying to throw up sometimes, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Now I wake up, dance, workout, make a huge smoothie (often 5+ bananas with berries, nut milk and other yummy stuff), work on my blog (I spend many hours every day responding to emails, comments, questions, etc. – as a fellow blogger, you know what I mean!), then 4 days a week I go to school, although right now I am enjoying the last days of summer. 2-3 days per week days I will create, photograph and publish a recipe for my blog. I continue with my giant fruit smoothies all day, until dinner. Dinner is regularly a large bowl of grains and veggies. Often I eat raw or dark chocolate afterwards, or a raw dessert I have made. In general: I eat whatever I want. I don’t restrict anything, although I do moderate my fat intake because I honestly do feel best with just a little, most days. I listen to my body. On my last period, coconut butter tasted SO good one day, so I ate quite a lot. The next day, it wasn’t very appealing. I also sometimes get cravings for meat or eggs and in those cases I just eat extra iron, protein or B vitamins. No problem. Sometimes I want bread, so sometimes I eat bread, and so on and so on. I got my blood checked a few months ago and all was good. When I am not working on my blog, at university, exercising or making food; you can find me listening to records, dancing all night with my ladies, hugging my cat, hiking in the woods and mountains, writing in my journal, reading the classics, watching documentaries, enjoying bubble baths, trying to remember to live in the moment, and generally feeling wonderfully overwhelmed at the elegance of life. (But sometimes that wonderfulness backfires I need to be alone for awhile.) Oh, and I spend a lot of time with this amazing human being called Jack. We love each other a lot.

Q: Does blogging about food / exercise ever become triggering for you? If so, how do you maintain your balance and keep at it?

A: Not really, if anything, it keeps me even more honest and healthy. I strive to be transparent on my blog because it is a therapeutic and reflective tool for myself and I know it can help a lot of people out there who may be going through the same experiences as a vegan, female, or human in this crazy 21st century world. If I have issues, I talk about them. I love myself for what and who I am, and that person as well as that reasoning are reflected in my blog. People seem to really appreciate that so it becomes this positive cycle of me sharing myself, my readers supporting that, and then everyone just gets more enthused, excited and productive!

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Q: Anything you’d like to add?

A: Thanks for this interview; it is helping me grow and learn about myself when I write this all out.

Thanks so much for stopping by TBB, Emily. I am honored to add your story to the Recovery series. Thoughts on Emily’s story? She rocks, right?! What is everyone up to this weekend?

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Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.11.14

Time for a new Loving Lately roundup! Speaking of things I am loving… I am really enjoying this new posting schedule I’ve adopted. Mondays-Wednesdays are kind of free for alls with weekend recaps, recipes, giveaways, musings, photos, announcements, TBV Apparel launches (hell yes!!!), reviews, and whatever the heck else fits my mood. Thursdays are “Loving Lately” posts, and Fridays are “Recovery Series” posts.

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Weekends are for catching up on other bloggies, getting outside in the sun, working on the book, having fun with friends and fam, etc. Look at me, with an actual SCHEDULE! Ok, ok, I know it’s not a really strict schedule or anything but hey I try and it’s giving TBB (ahem, moi) some newfound structure, which is always fabulous.

Now that I’ve told you one thing I am loving lately, we may as well continue down that road…

 Things I’m Loving Lately // 9.11.14

1. Striped Button-downs ▶▷▸▹►

I actually fell in love with this look because my roomie is a fashionista and she has the cutest striped blouse that she throws on with just about everything from white denim shorts to jeans to leggings. I have always loved the stripe look (I get it from my mama) and am also super-duper in love with thin vertical stripe button-down dresses… I want them all! It’s problematic.

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2. PLAID ▶▷▸▹►

While on the subject of button-downs, I also want this shirt. In every color.

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3. Suja Macachino ▶▷▸▹►

I’ve mentioned before that I recently started drinking coffee for the first time in my life. I avoided it in the past because of my super sensitive stomach and also because I didn’t enjoy the taste. Once I realized I liked it, I drank it religiously for a few weeks (because I’m extreme like that) and then my pesky acidic stomach problems started to creep back up on me. I ditched coffee as a whole again for a few weeks, and then I discovered this fab Suja alternative. It’s all natural, and because it’s mixed with coconut water, cacao, vanilla bean, almonds and black sesame, the coffee taste is a lot more mild. And it doesn’t hurt my stomach! (This isn’t an endorsement BTW… I thought I should share for my fellow sensitive-stomach peeps.)

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.45.06 PM 4. Beverly Hills ▶▷▸▹►

Beverly Hills has always been a happy place of mine… it’s like an adult Disneyland! It’s CLEAN, the sun is always shining (okay not always but when it is, it’s beautiful), and people who work there and hang out in the area are professional, well put together and interesting to observe. As a foodie, professional people-watcher, and lover of the finer things in life, I’ve always found a lot of comfort in hanging out in the BH. (No one calls it the BH. I just made that up.)

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I spent the day there on Tuesday and felt extra motivated by the unique Beverly Hills buzz of energy. Plus, an old friend who I hadn’t seen in five years (woah!) met me for a catch up sesh at Starbucks and that also added to my happiness level.

5. New TBV Apparel designs ▶▷▸▹►

We released three new t-shirt designs yesterday, which I am endlessly thrilled about. They promote my blog’s message of balance. I think we learned a lot from the first go-round about what works and what doesn’t work, and I think they represent the brand in the exact way I want them to. Check the shirts out, tell me your thoughts, & send me pictures of you rocking them!

TBV- New Designs-36. Nice People ▶▷▸▹►

I’ve been working at cafes a lot lately, 1) because I love exploring my new neighborhood and 2) because working from home every day can get pretty damn repetitive. Working at cafes means a lot of, “Will you watch my laptop while I run to the bathroom / to refill my water / to take this phone call?” which also means gauging whether or not a person is actually trustworthy-looking enough to do so.

I am really trusting by nature (it’s gotten me into trouble before… like getting all of my college graduation money stolen by an old “friend” who I left alone in my house), and generally I don’t have to worry too much in Brentwood to begin with. I almost asked a homeless man who was hanging out in Starbucks yesterday to watch my laptop for a minute, and I really, really wanted to do it and let him prove that he was trustworthy, but naturally my saner side decided against it.

trustAnyway, I love when people are super nice and not only agree to watch my stuff for a minute but agree with a smile on their face, and then ask me to do the same whenever they need to get up for a few. The world should be a more trusting place… but since that can’t always be the case, it should at least always be a friendly place.

7. This Hairstyle ▶▷▸▹►

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I don’t want to cut my hair (let’s be real, it took me three years to grow it to this length), but if I did, this is the style I would go for. And the ombre is perfection. I tried ombre last winter, and it didn’t totally work for me. With my fair skin tone I need to be a lighter blonde. But in case anyone forgot, this was me as an ombre chick (comparing myself to an Olsen because I’m obsessed):

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.59.04 PM8. Speaking of MK&A… ▶▷▸▹►

They are always fabulous. I saw this picture while browsing Pinterest the other day, and I couldn’t not put it on the list. They are goddesses. It actually really bothers me when people criticize them and talk down on them for not having any talent, because they are brilliant businesswomen and have built an entire empire for themselves – never mind the fact that they didn’t even need to, after their childhood of hit TV shows, movies and products. But they keep working because they love to create, and they are making an impact in the world of fashion. They always impress and inspire me. (And I kinda wanna be them.)

bb621eec65af71162723220376d3486e9. NutriBulletRx Event ▶▷▸▹►

On Tuesday I attended a NutriBullet event at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills (now you see where #4 spurred from!) to celebrate the release of their new NutriBullet Rx. It was a super fun afternoon at a gorgeous venue. When we arrived we filled out a questionnaire about our lifestyle and they had their nutrition experts make custom smoothies for us. I got anti-aging (haha) and it was a delicious blend of kale, microgreens, pineapple, coconut water and one of their superfood powders.

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And I ran into some old friends at the event, which was fun! I was sent home with some great goodies like the new NutriBullet Rx and all of their superfood powders. I can’t even wait to give it a whirl once this crazy week dies down!

10. “I’m not usually an internet bully, but…” ▶▷▸▹►

Okay, this would go in a “Things I’m Not Loving Lately” section if I had one, but since I don’t, it’s going here. You all know I get a lot of internet bullies, and I don’t think they even deserve to be discussed on the blog but I do find it kind of comical that people think it excuses their rudeness if they start their comment by saying, “I’m not usually an internet bully, but…” and then they proceed to be an internet bully. You’re probably not usually an Internet bully, but now you are.

If you don’t want to be a bully, don’t be a bully! Keep your thoughts to yourself. Simple as that. Or better yet, focus on spreading positivity. :)

11. New TBV Apparel Logo ▶▷▸▹►

As many of you know, I kept the name “TBV Apparel” for the clothing line because I wanted it to symbolize and stand for “Truth, Balance Virtue” in place of “The Blonde Vegan.” With all of the other re-branding going on, re-branding the clothing logo got cast to the side. I finally created a new one… and it’s the first logo in all of TBV/TBB history that I have made myself, so I am pretty excited about it! (The sub brand mark at the bottom was made by the lovely Jessica - I’m not THAT good with Photoshop yet!)

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12. This article & this pumpkin cake pop recipe & the fact that it’s almost PERSIMMON SEASON! Yahoo! pumpkin-push-pops-7

What are YOU loving lately?! Have you had a chance to check out the new tees?!