Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This time time of year is my absolute favorite – cooler weather, all the wonderful varieties of squash, and lots of soup! I used to always start my day with a smoothie, but these days I’ve traded it in for a bowl of hot soup. Not only is it comforting, but it’s also a great way to load up on healthy veggies!

Since following the AIP diet, I have discovered mushroom broth and fallen in love! I realize mushroom broth isn’t anything new, but I’ve always passed it up while shopping. Now I literally use it in everything -to sauté veggies, soups, and anywhere it calls for regular veggie broth. Most vegetable broths contain tomato or peppers – both of which you’re supposed to avoid on an AIP diet. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms and would still like to try this soup, you can use veggie broth, but it will produce a different flavor.

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

{AIP, vegan, oil-free option}

Serves 6

What you need:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small red onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil*
  • 1 3/4 -2 cups mushroom broth*
  • 1 cup coconut milk*
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • Salt to taste

*NOTES: Can replace coconut oil with broth to keep the soup oil-free. We use Pacific Organic Mushroom Broth (contains water, mushrooms, sea salt, garlic). We use Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Milk (can) as it does not contain gums.

How to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking tray with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. Wash and halve your butternut squash – remove seeds. We like to lightly brush our butternut squash with a small amount of avocado oil and sprinkle it with garlic…but that is optional. With the cut side down, roast the squash for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
  3. While the squash is roasting, slice your celery, carrots, onion, and garlic. Do not be concerned about the size since in the end everything will be blended/puréed .
  4. Heat a large pot with a teaspoon of coconut oil or broth over medium heat and saute your onions until translucent. Then add the celery, carrots, and garlic – Saute until tender.
  5. Next add in 1 1/4 cups of mushroom broth and reduce heat to low-med. Allow to warm while the squash is roasting.
  6. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then remove the skin and cut into cubes – add directly to the pot. Once all of the squash has been added to the pot, add in your seasonings, coconut milk and remaining 1/2 cup of mushroom broth. Increase the heat to medium to allow everything to warm.
  7. Once the soup begins to boil, remove from heat and either carefully transfer and purée the soup in a high-speed blender or use a handheld immersion blender. In this instance, we used our immersion blender to allow for more texture. If you find that your soup is too thick, you can add more broth or water.
  8. Enjoy!!

I LOVE topping this soup with either garlicky kale, fresh basil, roasted broccoli, or roasted cubes of sweet potato. If you’re not following an AIP diet, I recommend adding a dash of jalapeño pepper sauce or diced jalapeños for a kick!

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Leftovers with a swirl of jalapeño pepper hot sauce and chives:

Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Thanks for stopping by!


Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}

Just when I thought gluten-free baking had its tricky moments, I dove head first into the grain-free, nut-free baking world and it is 100 times harder than I thought! So many failed attempts with either gummy textures or mushy. Upon researching, I learned that AIP baked goods, more often than not, produce a different texture and unless grain-free is all you’ve ever known, it might also take some time to get used to. During my MANY trials, I also learned the importance of two things:

  1. DO NOT over mix the batter.
  2. Allow baked goods to cool completely before eating…this was VERY hard for me.

Have I scared you away? Haha! I promise these donuts are delicious and picky eater approved. I have written here that this recipe makes 12-14 donuts and I say this because Miss Willow will eat the batter by the spoonfuls! Each time I’ve made them, she helps herself to the bowl, leaving me to estimate how many it officially makes😉

If you’re not on an autoimmune diet, I do have two other donut recipes on the blog and both use gluten-free (all purpose) flour and nuts. Check them out HERE and HERE.

Since I have made this recipe a gazillion times, I have added notes on variations, but I cannot attest to any other flours (coconut, banana, sweet potato, etc.).

Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}


Makes 12-14 mini donuts

What you need:

  • 1 cup Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour*
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (gum-free)*
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut butter*

For coating:

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (or maple sugar)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon

*NOTES: I buy the cassava flour from Natural Grocers, but you can also find it on Amazon. I use Trader Joe’s canned organic coconut milk as it is free from any gums or strange additives. Instead of pumpkin puree, you can use unsweetened applesauce and they’re just as delicious! As for the coconut butter, I have also used half coconut butter + half coconut oil or all coconut oil…all three variations produce a very similar texture and flavor, so it comes down to preference or what you have on hand.

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease your mini donut pan(s).
  2. Combine the coconut milk + ACV, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut sugar and coconut butter until well combined. I actually like to use my stand-up mixer for this to kind of cream it together until it resembles a sand-like consistency.
  4. Next add in the remaining wet ingredients (applesauce, milk + ACV) and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Then add in all of your dry ingredients and mix until just combined – be careful not to overmix. The batter will be VERY thick and you’ll be tempted to add in extra milk to thin it out, but resist that temptation!
  6. Pipe the batter into your donut pan – fill it almost up to the top (the batter will not rise like usual donuts) and using your fingers or a small spatula, flatten/smooth down the batter. If you don’t have a piping bag, grab a Ziploc bag, spoon the batter into it, seal it and snip off a corner.
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to set in the pan for another five minutes. While they’re setting, combine the mixture of cinnamon and coconut sugar in a Ziploc bag.
  8. Remove the donuts from the pan and shake them in the bag of cinnamon + coconut sugar. Allow them to set on a cooling rack until completely cool. Another option is to remove the donuts from the pan and allow them to cool, brush them with melted coconut oil and dunk them in a bowl of cinnamon + coconut sugar. OR dunk them in melted chocolate for a more decadent version (although, that last option isn’t AIP friendly)!
  9. Enjoy! I recommend pairing them with a hot mug of tea or apple cider.

***These donuts are best eaten the day they’re made – so make them and share!

Here is a very ugly, but real photo of what they look like when they first come out of the oven…they won’t look perfect, but coated in cinnamon + coconut sugar will make everything better!

Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}
Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}
Baked Cinnamon Mini Donuts {AIP, Vegan}
Thanks for stopping by!


Etsy News!

Hello, friends!

I’ve received quite a few emails regarding my Etsy shop – I chose to close it during my healing process, but I’m happy to report that after two months, it’s reopen with some new and improved items. I have reformulated all of my body butters to include raw, organic cacao butter for an even deeper moisturizer – it also gives each blend a rich scent and oddly enough, aids in faster absorption. I’ve brought back my popular seasonal blend from last year, along with two new scents:

  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Blueberries & Cream


I am waiting for more tins to arrive so that I can add more scents to the shop, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear if there is anything specific you’re looking for??? Please leave me a comment below if you have any requests.

There are a few options for spray deodorant and roll-on perfume…more will be added as I restock my supplies.



I am also in the process of repackaging my lip balms so that my shop will officially be plastic free! I’m saying goodbye to the BPA-free tubes and introducing small tins that can also double as a quick healing balm for skin. I hope to have them in the shop within the month, but I need to figure out new labels!

Click HERE to view my shop.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported my little shop!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!

Love & Light


REVIEW: September Favorites 

Happy (almost) October, my beautiful friends! I hope you’re having a lovely fall so far. We had a pretty warm September – filled with lots of playing outside (mostly digging in the dirt) and when we weren’t outside, we spent time coloring and doing puzzles. Willow’s latest obsession is puzzles and not just the big, jumbo-piece sets for kids…I’m talking the 750 piece puzzles! I’m not ashamed to admit that there was a weekend when we didn’t leave the house and the three of us sat and worked on a puzzle in our jammies – I think we all needed that time to just relax and spend quality time together.

Willow and I also took a last minute road trip with my Mom to Southern California to visit with dear friends – they were (are) family to me – they gave me a home when I didn’t have one years ago. It had been 10 years since we’d seen each other and it was an emotional and much needed reunion. Bittersweet, lots of tears, and heartfelt memories.

This post contains a few products we found while in California.

S E P T E M B E R  F A V O R I T E S:

**Please note that not all products shown here are AIP-friendly…I have started to slowly reintroduce some foods back into my diet – I will have a new post up soon with my progress and what I’m eating.


Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour >> I purchased this via Amazon, but have since noticed it sold in Natural Grocers for a few dollars less. It’s on the pricier side…think almond flour, but when your options are very limited, the splurge is ok – besides, I’m not buying any other flours right now (gluten-free, buckwheat, almond, etc.). It’s very fine and looks a lot like regular flour – I’ve also been using it to make donuts – recipe coming soon!

Paleo Wraps >> You can find these wraps in quite a few stores and online, but so far I’ve found that the best deal is at Whole Foods for $8.99 a package. I don’t use them that often since they are pricey, but they’re really versatile – sweet or savory meals – You can fill then with fruit or veggies. I like that they also hold their shape and don’t break apart when you overstuff them! There is a slight sweetness due to the coconut, but I love that they’re raw and contain just a few simple ingredients – no gums, additives, preservatives.

Here I’ve filled it with plenty of raw veggies – red leaf lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, and avocado.

Let’s Do Organic >> Green Banana Flour >> I have found this in both Natural Grocers and Whole Foods for $5.99 a bag. It’s come in handy to make AIP-friendly pancakes and other baked goods. From my experience, it has a nice subtle flavor and great texture.

Eating Evolved Primal Chocolate >> Crunchy Caramel >> You guys. I caved. I went almost a full month without chocolate…and then I saw this in the Long Beach, CA Whole Foods. Only three ingredients (organic cacao, organic coconut sugar, organic cacao butter), I absolutely had to try it! You might remember last year, in a favorites post, that I shared their coconut butter cups and loved them, so I already knew that I would enjoy this bar. It is 85% cacao – which makes it a tad on the bitter side, but that didn’t stop Willow from trying to steal this from me…I shared, no worries! I loved how it wasn’t overly sweet – weird as this may sound, I’ve been shying away from a lot of sweet treats and gravitating more towards savory.

Majestic Garlic >> Delicious Creamy Garlic (spread) >> Out of everything new that I tried during September, I’d have to say that this was my absolute favorite! We found it in the Long Beach, CA Whole Foods and I was so tempted to go back and stock my cooler with a few more tubs to take back home. The first ingredient is fresh raw garlic and it’s got this amazing, light, fluffy, texture that makes it insanely versatile – Willow dipped some gluten-free crackers in it and we also used it as a sauce for a cold lentil pasta salad for the drive back home. I hope to see it in stores here in Bend, OR soon!

TheBu Kombucha >> Honeydew >> Another gem we found at Whole Foods while in CA! You know me and my LOVE for kombucha and whenever I spot a brand I haven’t tried, I need to. This one did not disappoint! Refreshing, not overly sweet, and absolutely hit the spot on a hot day. Willow enjoyed sharing this with me.

Organic Gemini >> TigerNut Smoothie Mix (Vanilla Bean) >> Yet another item I found while in California (Whole Foods)! Now if you’re looking for a high-protein powder, this is not for you, but if you’re looking for a gut-friendly way to boost your smoothie, look no further. I don’t do smoothies as often as I once did since I have to limit my fruit intake, but when I do make them, I’ve been adding two tablespoons of this mix to the Vitamix. I make a simple banana-blueberry-spirulina smoothie with this added in – I find the flavors go so perfectly together. This is a Whole Foods Exclusive product and is sold for $14.99/bag. Also comes in Cacao Bean and Original.

I have to give a shoutout to two fantastic juice/smoothie spots in California:

Jan’s Health Bar in Huntington Beach >> I had the amazing and surreal opportunity to meet up with my Instagram friend, Karina, and her two adorable kiddos while at this place. It was walking distance from the house we were staying at, which was a huge bonus. Karina and I connected a few years ago and meeting her in real life was a major highlight of the trip. Sadly, we didn’t grab a photo together, but I guess that’s because we were so caught up in the present moment! While there, I enjoyed a large green smoothie and of course, the company ❤️

Simply O Organic Juice Bar in Los Alamitos >> I LOVED walking into this place and instantly being engulfed with the scent of fresh juice. It was hard to decide what to try, so I went with a green juice (Green Street) and Willow had an organic strawberry ice pop….I’d say she really liked it. When you walk in, to the right is the juice/smoothie bar and to the left is Pacific Organic Pops where they sell…you guessed it, popsicles! Not all of them are vegan as some are made with milk, but this fruity pop that Willow chose was so perfect for a hot California day!

What’s fun is that on the Pacific Organic Pops side, they have a “photo booth” and the pics can be emailed to you! Here I am with one of my best friends…



Turmeric Zucchini Soup >> Eat Drink Paleo >> This was probably the easiest soup I’ve ever made, but one of the best! I made some minor adjustments to fit my diet (used an organic mushroom broth instead of vegetable broth and used Trader Joe’s organic coconut milk instead of full-fat). It had a cheesy flavor despite not having any nuts or nutritional yeast, which was a pleasant surprise.

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries >> Cultivate Beauty >> I am in love with this recipe. We’ve made it countless times over the last month because Willow actually eats them too! I have used both sweet potatoes and yams to make this recipe. So the post where I found this recipe is actually called The Secret to Crispy Sweet Potato Fries…if you avoid oil at all costs, then this isn’t for you. I have added some coconut oil and avocado oil back into my diet so I was excited to try this! 

Caramel Peanut Protein Truffles >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> When I received the email for this recipe, I knew I absolutely had to make these for Willow. What kid doesn’t like peanuts + chocolate?? I decided to whip these up to take along on our road trip as a treat for Willow to share with my Mom. I let her sample one the day I made them and her eyes lit up with the first bite! She devoured it and asked for another one…I felt bad saying no, but I had to since dinner was almost ready. You guys. She legit cried! That’s when I knew they had to be good! I SO wish I could have tried them to give you all a better review, but I think that sums it up. I did struggle a bit while preparing them – the “dough” was very sticky and difficult to work with – I actually emailed Sophia during the process because I thought for sure I did something wrong. I added maybe two extra tablespoons of oats to help with the stickiness factor, but in doing so, I was unable to achieve a smooth consistency. I ended up with larger pieces of oats and peanuts. Sophia was kind enough to reply to my panicked email 😉 and concluded that the dates I used were probably just really sticky/soft.  BUT I don’t really care about the process…Willow was one happy kiddo!

REVIEW: September Favorites
Homemade Italian Dressing (AIP, Paleo, Vegan) >> Don’t Eat the Spatula >> Following the AIP diet can get a little tricky when it comes to dressings. Most call for coconut milk or avocado…at the time I didn’t have either. So I did a quick search on Pinterest and after scrolling through, I finally found one that called for ingredients I had on hand. I made some minor adjustments – used avocado oil, but cut it by half and used filtered water for the other 1/4 cup. I also added in some nutritional yeast (approximately 1 TBSP). I used this dressing to make a GIANT kale salad to share with family – it was a huge hit! Two thumbs up from everyone! I made another batch of kale salad with this dressing to take for lunch on the road trip – just stored it in a wide-mouth mason jar and kept it in the cooler – we added some chopped apple to it as well and it was amazing.

Tapioca Pudding Porridge with Roasted Apples (AIP, vegan) >> Sweet Treats >> I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I had tapioca pudding so when I found a recipe for it while searching for AIP desserts, I had to try it! The recipe only calls for three ingredients – four if you use vanilla extract. It was love at first bite!! I made a second batch and took it on our road trip. I love how it’s not overly sweet – only uses a small amount of maple syrup, but paired with coconut milk, it creates the perfect dessert…or breakfast! The first time I made this, I paired it with some cinnamon cooked apples and it was so comforting! So if you’re looking for an insanely easy dessert (or breakfast) give this a try!



The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss >> Easily one of the BEST fiction books I’ve read in a loooooong time. Hands down. I was sucked into it after reading just the first few pages and after that, I struggled to put it down every night. It’s a very lengthy book (over 700 pages), but it goes fast – I was sad when it ended because I wanted more…thank goodness for the second book! The day I finished it, Josh hopped onto Amazon and ordered it. He has read the first two books in the series (a long time ago), but it was my friend, Jen, who told me I should read it. Sorry, Josh! I should have listened to you sooner! But seriously, go grab yourself a copy!! I gave it five stars on Goodreads.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss >> This is the second book in the series and while I’m not very far in it, I can already tell you that I’m loving it!

102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy >> My dear friend, Kris, recommended this book to me so I immediately ordered a copy via Amazon and I am SO glad that I did. It is helping me to better gauge the style that fits not only Willow, but me as a teacher. It contains an abundance of resources and through questions, it narrows down the style(s) for you – as well as describing each one – Traditional, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Independent Study, etc.

I highly recommend it to any new homeschooling parent!


Whew, that was a bit of a lengthy post! Now tell me, what were some of your favorites from September?? Did you try any new products? Recipes? Or did you read any books that you’d like to recommend? Please comment below – I’d love to hear from you!


Thanks for stopping by!

What I Eat in a Day {AIP}

Since starting the AIP diet, everyone keeps asking me, “what the heck do you actually eat???” I’ve had to eliminate SO many of my staples – everything from black pepper, baking powder, and curry to bell peppers and tomatoes…and the obvious nuts and grains. My diet over these last two weeks have consisted of A LOT of fresh fruits and veggies. It can definitely get repetitive and old, which forces you to buy produce you don’t always eat and to get creative with meals. It’s also hard because you get conflicting info on the Internet as to what foods you can and can’t eat.

Here’s what I ate in a day:


Sautéed kale (oil-free) topped with half of an avocado, nutritional yeast, and a sprinkle of Himalayan salt.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

12 oz smoothie >> 1.5 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 teaspoon maca, 1 teaspoon carob, 1 teaspoon mesquite powder, water and a splash of coconut milk to blend.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}


1 Persian cucumber and half of an avocado topped with garlic, Himalayan salt, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil.

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Sliced apple, blueberries, and Ceylon cinnamon in a coconut paleo wrap. Also munched on a donut…working on trials for a grain-free recipe that’s also oil-free…holy tricky!! Haha! 

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Sautéed kale + onions (oil-free; used mushroom broth), crispy sweet potato fries, and roasted brussels + broccoli with an AIP friendly cheese sauce…needs another trial, but I’ll share when I get it figured out!

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Before bed:

A cup of herbal tea.


A couple of my other favorite meals from the week:

Banana-yam cakes with blueberries and pears (recipe courtesy of my cousin). Uses banana flour and a lot of cinnamon. You can either fry them in coconut oil for a yummy crispy exterior or bake them oil-free…both ways are delicious. 

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}
Butternut squash soup topped with steamed broccoli + fresh basil. Failed to write down how I made it, but that just means I’ll have to make it again 😉

What I Ate in a Day {AIP}

Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!


RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

Hello, friends! Before I dive into this recipe, I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all of the supportive comments on my previous post – means so much to me. I was shocked at how well it was received and even more shocked to learn how many others are in the same boat. Your emails and text messages have helped me to feel less alone and hopeful. I’m sending so much love and healing energy to all of you ❤️

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve made some changes in my diet to reset my system and I’ve had amazing results – more energy, no bloating, pain-free, positive mood changes, clothes fitting better, and hopeful. When I was first introduced to the Autoimmune Protocol, I focused too much on the foods I’d have to avoid, rather than looking at the lengthy list of foods I could eat – it’s all about perspective, right?

Since going vegan almost ten years ago, I’ve consumed nuts & seeds on a daily basis. Heck, almost at every meal if I think about it: nut milk in my smoothies, nuts in granola, cashews to make a creamy sauce or soup, nut or seed butters on toast, in smoothies, in baked goods. The list could go on. Nuts & seeds are in A LOT of vegan products.

Same goes for grains. They’re in our cereals, granola, pancakes, and baked goods. But we also cook them up to go with our lunch or dinner – rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat…well, you get the idea.

My body hasn’t ever had a break from nuts, seeds, and grains – I’m 37 years old – so that’s many days of consuming these foods. I’ve been without nuts and seeds for over two weeks now and without grains, beans, and nightshades for over a week…I’m honestly shocked at how much better I feel. With the AIP diet, they say to do it for 30 days to reset your system – I’m not sure I will go that long since I don’t think I’m getting enough protein (might add beans back in next week) – it’s a harder diet to follow as a vegan.

Eating this way has forced me to get creative, but also reigniting my love for the simple meals…my current favorite dinner is baked yams with sauteed kale, onions, garlic, zucchini, topped with coconut aminos and sliced avocado…gimme those greens! I’ve also fallen in love with these Coconut Paleo Wraps – on the pricey side, so they’re a treat for me. You can find them at pretty much an natural food store or online, but I have found that Whole Foods sells them for the best price. I love using them for both savory (veggie wraps) and sweet (apple crepes) recipes. Oh! And all I can say is coconut butter never tasted so good – now that all of my other nut/seed butters are out – coconut butter is like gold to me! Haha!

*If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to do a post sharing what I eat in a day following this protocol.

If your weather is anything like ours, you’re probably still enjoying smoothies and nice cream without shivering under a blanket just yet 😉 I think this recipe borders on nice cream due to its thickness, but I’m calling it a smoothie bowl since it has a sneaky little veggie in there!

Ahhh, golden beets! Have you tried them? Are you a beet lover? If you’re not a beet fan, golden beets are a lot less “earthy” and overpowering than the vibrant red beets and they also have a perfect sweetness to them. I also love golden beets for their bright, sunshine-y yellow color! I’ve brightened the color even more with some fresh turmeric and mango. My first instinct is to grab the bottle of homemade almond milk, but since I’m not consuming nuts right now, I’ve been using coconut milk, which also gives it a nice tropical twist!

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl
Sunshine Smoothie Bowl {vegan, AIP-friendly, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free}

Serves 1-2

What you need:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 cup fresh golden beets, peeled + chopped*
  • 1/2-1 inch chunk of fresh turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons raw coconut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional; if following AIP do not use extract)
  • coconut milk to blend*

*I have made this with an additional 1/4 cup of beets and it’s still delicious! Just depends on how much of a beet lover yo are. I use Trader Joe’s organic canned coconut milk as it is gum-free. I suggest starting with 1/4 cup, adding more if you’d like a thinner consistency. If you’re OK with gums, then any coconut milk will do…full fat will make it ultra creamy. 

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

How to:

  1. Blend until smooth, pour into a bowl, and enjoy! You can top it with fresh blueberries, dried mulberries, shredded coconut, cinnamon, or granola…or load it up with everything!

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

RECIPE: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl 

Can’t believe this is the last official week of summer! Are you excited for fall?!


Thanks for stopping by!

There’s More to Health than What You Eat…

I debated long and hard about writing this post, probably lots of overthinking, but when I realized that sharing my journey is not only what this blog is all about, there’s also a chance it could help someone else. I had a big wake-up call this summer and knowing that all of it could have been prevented is what pushed me to share this with all of you.

So grab a cup of tea, a snack, and get comfortable as I’m about to share a rather lengthy personal journey…

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been absent almost all summer. I’ve been known to take a break here and there, but never for more than a few weeks. It all started when I met a friend for tea back in June and we got to talking about social media. She one day decided to completely delete her IG account to be more present in real life. We talked about our frustrations with the lack of authenticity, how everything appears to be perfectly staged, and how time consuming social media is. After we parted ways that day, I decided I really needed some time away from all of it. I noticed how I would get anxious about even opening the  app because that meant having to respond to all of the comments and catch up on everyone else’s pages. It felt overwhelming and I was struggling with balance. I also struggled with the behavior and energy received while on IG. The whole “follow for follow,” “like for like,” “comment for comment,” was unappealing, not to mention being a smaller page and blog, I allowed myself to feel unworthy. Unimportant.

But please know that IG was just a small portion of my stress.

In July, I started to notice that I wasn’t feeling or acting like my usual self. Everything felt off and I hated it, so rather than pushing down all of the feelings, I reached out to our naturopath. When I met with her the first time (mid-August), I rattled off my symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Poor digestion (bloating, pain, inflammation)
  • Irritability
  • High anxiety and stress
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in usual things

She took a small blood sample and we looked at it under the microscope together. It showed heart, adrenal, and colon stress. Wow. She had a pretty good idea as to what was going on, but ordered a full blood work up to get an accurate reading. What I found out shocked me and took several days to process it. Here’s what the results showed:

  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Chronic viral infection
  • Signs of hyperthyroid
  • Low stomach acid
  • Malabsorption of Vitamin D, zinc, and protein

What? How can that be?! I’ll tell you why….


All of the stress had caused adrenal fatigue and since my adrenals were so overworked, my thyroid stepped up in an attempt to balance everything. This just goes to show how amazing our bodies are – they work very hard to protect us. My gut also needs some serious love and with low stomach acid, it’s causing quite a bit of discomfort with a lot of foods.

I’m not going to go into detail about how I allowed the stress of several situations get the better of me and to be quite honest, after discussing all of it with my naturopath, this could go back years. Factor in the key element of me being an empath, I’ve endured many, many years of stress and being affected by others emotions and energies.

So what now? How do I heal?

My naturopath put me on a supplement schedule since my body isn’t absorbing it from whole foods and I have been going back to check in with her – we’ll do another blood work up in a couple of months. Along with supplements, I was told to take time for ME. That has meant asking for help – with Willow and things around the house. My Mom is helping out one day a week with watching Willow so that I can do something for me…and that does NOT mean running errands or cleaning. This means anything that will help my well-being: yoga without Willow climbing all over me or calling for me, writing, reading, or even taking a nap. I have learned that the healing process for adrenal fatigue could take up to a year (depending on the person and lifestyle changes made).

I struggled so much to share this with anyone because I thought I was healthy because I ate healthy. When I received the results, I instantly felt like I had failed, like I was a fraud. Here’s the thing, there is SO much more to health than what we eat. Outside factors can greatly impact our health – lack of sleep, pushing yourself too hard, working too much, lack of quiet/down time, toxic relationships, etc. Yes, diet plays a huge role in health, but if you are stressed, you run the risk of very serious issues.

Did you know that chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death (heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide)? And that 75-90 percent of doctor’s visits are stress related? That just goes to show not only how serious stress is, but also how prevalent it is. I feel incredibly grateful to be in tune with my body and recognize early signs, as opposed to running my body completely down and facing a far more serious diagnosis.

For me, my battle is feeling like I have to do it all. What I’m learning is that I can’t and that our bodies aren’t designed to undergo that kind of thinking. I kept getting myself in that trap by seeing posts on IG of other moms who appear to be doing it all (exercise, work, household chores, parenting, etc.) when in reality I need (and YOU) to remember that you only get a snapshot on social media…you don’t get the full picture and often times things are edited or just not shared. So we need to stop comparing what we think others are doing and just BE. Do what feels right to you and if that means moving at a slower pace, taking a break, or posting “imperfect” photos, do it.


Just like each individual is different,  each one of us will react and handle stress in different ways. One person’s method may not work for the next person. Life would be so much easier if there was a universal way, a way that fit everyone. The key is finding ways to help YOU. It may take some time, lots of patience, and testing out various methods to fine tune your personal way(s) of coping.

There's More to Health than What You EatThere's More to Health than What You Eat
Here are some tips & methods that have been working for me and also for those close to me…


  • Quit the caffeine (coffee, soda, caffeinated tea). I loved drinking coffee, but cut it out of my diet back in March and never looked back. I drink a cup or two of herbal tea a day as it relaxes me and contains beneficial ingredients. Coffee actually promotes stress hormones – It may be difficult to let go of, but your body will thank you.
  • Meditate. I have gotten back into the habit of daily meditation and it has done wonders for my health and well-being. If you find you’re one to be easily distracted and can’t sit still, there are wonderful apps and podcasts that have guided meditations. I use Headspace and Calm – both are free to download via iTunes and offer sessions as short as 10 minutes!
  • Breathe. An obvious one, but sometimes when you’re in the midst of a stressful situation, you tense up and either hold your breath or breathing becomes erratic. Take a few really deep breaths and try to focus on just that. *PLEASE do not ever tell a stressed out person to just breathe or calm down…trust me, it makes matters worse.*
  • Get in the habit of journaling and doing free-writing. Take a moment out of your day to sit and write – don’t think about it too much and just let the pen take off. Write about whatever comes to mind. I like to do this just before bed (usually before meditating) so that I can go to bed with a clear head, I’ve emptied my thoughts and can hit the pillow completely relaxed.
  • Sleep. Sounds silly, but how many hours of sleep are you getting a night? If we’re being honest here, I was only getting 4-5 hours a night because I would be catching up on Instagram after Willow fell asleep and then try and read before finally going to bed around 1-2am. Now, most nights I’m not far behind Willow – I fall asleep between 9:30-10:30 and get a full nights sleep (unless Willow wakes up in the middle of the night). They actually recommend for anyone with adrenal fatigue to go to bed no later than 10:30pm.
  • Get outside! Go for a walk, a hike, a run, or meditate in the grass. The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders. Not to mention getting some vitamin D!
  • Yoga. There are several YouTube channels for yoga or head over to Amazon to purchase some DVDs.  Doing yoga and stretching helps to keep you in the present moment while releasing any tension in the body. Below are the videos I enjoy (I’ve been using the Kundalini yoga dvd for several years and love it)…Willow and I occasionally do yoga together and her DVDs are a huge stress reliever as they’re silly and fun!

There's More to Health than What You Eat

  • Exercise. If you have adrenal fatigue, ignore this tip. I was told to stick with yoga, but for the typical person, exercise (running, cardio, etc.) can be a wonderful way to release stress.
  • Limit your screen time (TV, computer) and gadget/technology time (phone, iPad, Kindle, etc.) – especially before bed. In her recent post, Heather of Yum Universe suggested charging your phone in the kitchen and leaving it there…don’t bring it upstairs with you when you go to bed. I have drastically reduced the time I spend on my phone and I stop using it at least an hour before going to bed. If this is a struggle for you, I recommend putting your phone on airplane mode or turning off notifications at night. This helps to resist the urge to check it.
  • Find activities that create a sense of peace and calming within. For me, that is coloring, doing zentangles, reading, and listening to music. When Willow wants to color, I grab my coloring books and join her – it’s actually become quite the family activity these days.

  • Clean house. Both literally and figuratively. Declutter your home and let go of anything that no longer serves a purpose in your life – let go of the things that no longer bring you joy. This is not easy to do and sometimes this could include toxic relationships – those who either don’t support you, criticize, or hold you back from being happy.
  • Ask for help. If you’re like me, this is easier said than done, BUT absolutely necessary. Recognize those who support you and do not hesitate to lean on them during times of imbalance.
  • Talk about it! Reach out to your good friends and family – be open about your struggles – more often than not, you’re going to find out that you are NOT alone. Everyone is struggling with something and talking about it is therapeutic. In talking about it with those close to me, I found out that two other people happen to be in very similar situations health wise…all due to stress as well.
  • Know your limits and learn how to say no. Remember that you are human, one human, and can’t do it all. Only take on as much as you feel comfortable with. I think it’s great to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, but if you are susceptible to stress or anxiety, know your body’s capacity and DO NOT allow yourself to reach a breaking point.
  • Let go of the idea that everything needs to be checked off your to-do list before bed. Do you make to-do lists? Mentally or physically on paper? I do. I’m kind of obsessed with lists because it helps my mama brain keep track of things – even little things like sweeping the floor. I’ve learned that lists are great, but they don’t need to be done in a day. My house might be a bit messier, but my stress level is down…and I’m learning to be OK with that.
  • Let go of the past and don’t worry about the future…put your focus on being present. I know how difficult this can be and that is why meditation is key. Being mindful of the here and now is what truly matters.
  • Be kind to yourself. Be patient. Have faith.

I can already hear some of you saying, “I don’t have time to…” And here’s the reality: We ALL HAVE TIME. We just choose to spend it differently. You will have to make adjustments in your life or put other things on the back burner and that’s OK! Pick up the phone and actually talk with a friend – not a rushed text. If you haven’t read a book in forever, start reading a chapter or two of a book that’s been on your list – instead of spending time doing things you think need to be done. I think you get the idea🙂


So what does this mean for me? This blog? Social media?

I’m taking things day by day and putting sleep + rest as a priority. I’m making meditation a daily habit and surrounding myself with all the good energy I can. I’ve realized that with Josh’s work schedule, I absolutely NEED to ask my Mom for help more…being a full-time, stay-at-home mom can be challenging, especially since I’ve also taken on the role as homeschooler.


As for the blog…I am very passionate about this blog and while I know it lacks good photography, it is my therapeutic outlet…even if only a handful of people read a post. I enjoy it and the people I connect with here. I am a casual “blogger” in that I get posts up when I feel like and it’s more of a hobby than a career – so I’ve also stopped comparing my little blog with others. I do what I can and I’m at peace with that.

Since I’m also playing around with my diet and making some adjustments, there might be either a lack of recipes here or recipes out of the norm…but always vegan! I will absolutely NOT stray away from being plant-based. I’ve been nut-free for a week now and feel better than I’ve felt in months – I’m also experimenting with AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) – which means no grains, nightshades, beans, nuts + seeds, and certain spices….which is super hard, but if it means healing, I’m all about it. Thank goodness for my cousin (she introduced me to AIP) and all of the crafty people out there creating recipes to fit that diet! My energy is at an all time high and my mood has drastically changed…not to mention my gut loves me!

A sneak peek of what’s coming to the blog soon…


Hmmm. As for social media, I haven’t really decided. I deeply miss many of the people on Instagram, but I’m also enjoying being more present and building stronger connections with those close to me. During this absence, I’ve had several reach out to me via email and/or text with the very same complaints about social media – that it’s a comparison trap and feels like a competition. I truly LOVE the connections that I have made there and if I do return, I will be limiting my time on there during this healing process. To some of you all of this might sound over dramatic or way off base and that might be because you’ve got your stress under control or you stand confidently in your place – for that I genuinely applaud you.

I am a work in progress. I am forever learning and growing. I am healing.

To those reading this, if you’re struggling, please know that you are NOT alone. You are worthy of love and healing. We all are. Please reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Do not put your health on the back burner like I did.

If you’re reading this and you know someone who is struggling, offer help or an ear. Never minimize their struggles or tell them that they’re overreacting because in their mind, it’s a huge deal. Be supportive and patient.
Thank you so much to all who took the time to read my rambles here.

Love and light.