Wheatgrass: A Refresher

Before it was trendy to drink tree sap and turmeric, boozy mushroom extracts or fermented tea, we were doing wheatgrass shots. By "we" I mean this great wellness industry and the community of health-conscious natural-world/wonder explorers. It's an original, and remains one of the best cure-alls out there.

When near a juice bar, farmers market stand, or any spot that serves wheatgrass, I partake. Often, there's this grass bible nearby. Figured I'd share with you.


Raw Foods for Fall, & Undoing an Indulgence Binge

After a bout of beautiful seafood binges in Europe, it's happily back to plant-based eating at home.

While winter temperatures can be challenging for a raw-food diet, incorporating a few roasted or steamed root vegetables add warmth. Lightly heated broths and soups are also great options, and spicy seed crackers can become staples.

Bon appetit.

For lunch:

Raw sprout mix: More alive, higher fiber and quite a bit more exciting than lettuce as a salad base. Broccoli, bean, lentil, pea - any/all shoots and sprouts welcome.

Persimmon: Somehow, I had never had one of these. Papaya meets heirloom tomato meets ... nectarine? Yes.

Also pictured:

Raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds: A recent discovery and one of the best buys from a favorite brand right now.

Raw sauerkraut: Always.

RX dressing: Now always in-stock at home thanks to my creative plant-loving boyfriend who puts me to shame in the kitchen.

And some avocado for good measure.


For dinner:

Green soup: As simple as blending herbs (I used parsley - a strong detoxifyer and blood purifier), greens (I chose collard greens, which are as nutrient-dense as kale and less bitter), and the usual lemon-garlic-oil trio. Heat lightly on the stove (don't boil) to ensure it remains raw (alive), and if you have any flax crackers left, toss them in as company or for photo styling purposes.


And with everything:

Baked Flax Crackers: Vegan, gluten/grain-free/paleo, low-calorie, high-fiber, low-GI, etc.

This recipe is EASY and a great base that can be customized as you like. I used a bunch of spices (cumin, garlic, black pepper and sea salt, cayenne, chili powder, onion and caraway). Next time I'll add pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and may also try a sweet version with dried berries, citrus peel, vanilla and all-spice type additions.

x R

The Best Health Bars in NYC (Recipe Included)

IMG_0333 At some point in the fairly recent past, these were an impulse buy.


Not expecting anything exceptional, I appreciated the straightforward ingredients, and the price. (Three big bars, which are easily two servings each, per box. For the price of one raw or macro bar (not naming names).)


As it turns out, these are excellent. Really, quite seriously. Absolutely un-improvable. They are, in my experience, The Best bars of their kind, that I have had yet.

Perfect consistency: the buckwheat groats are individually crunchy while the bar overall is dense and chewy.

Flavor is heaven: it's currently setting my bar (ha) for "best dark chocolate" balance, even though it's not even/at all a bar of chocolate.

And the nutritional profile is pretty nearly perfect: raw, gluten-free, vegan, low GI, high-mineral, alkaline ... My only consideration would be how to replace the agave with something unprocessed - perhaps date syrup?


If you live in New York. Get these. If you don't live in New York, you can still get them because upon learning about my fandom, LifeThyme shared their preparation with us.


The Best Buckwheat Cacao Bars in NYC

Ingredients: (quantities mine)

  • 1 C Buckwheat groats
  • Agave (just enough to lightly coat all of the buckwheat)
  • Raw cacao powder (enough to coat the agave-coated buckwheat)
  • 1 Tbsp each:
    • dried cherries
    • cacao nibs
    • pecans
    • sliced almonds
    • cinnamon

Preparation: compliments of LifeThyme Market

"They are not complex by any means. We simply toss the raw groats with enough agave to provide a cover for the raw cacao powder to stick and then add the dried cherries, a few other ingredients lay the batch in a pan to dehydrate.

For me the trick is agave. It had become the sweetener of choice for so many raw foodists and I never enjoyed it as a sweetener (though i've had some very select sap from Mexico that was outstanding). But, the bitterness of cacao evens out the acute sweetness of agave, while the tartness of the cherries and nutty quality of buckwheat help mellow the flavors."


And, this is not a sponsored post. I don't work for LifeThyme. Yet. :)

Weird Drink Wednesday (When Every Day is a Wednesday): KOMBUCHA

Kombucha. What started out as an occasional indulgence before developing into enough of a habit to learn how to avoid explosions and exposing unsuspecting others to the occasional scoby (the gelatinous clumps that make appearances from time to time and in various sizes, or "a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast"), has since become a dietary staple. I drink kombucha just about every day. Sometimes more than once. I've tried every brand I've met, and the only thing stopping me from drinking even more of it, is the cost. At somewhere between $2.99 on sale, to up to about $8 on the marked-up gourmet NYC deli side, it's not quite competitive with a green juice habit, but it's close.

Which is why I am now the proud owner of my very own living, breathing gelatinous little UFO-shaped bacteria bundle that will start the brewing for the first of what may be a never-ending batch of homemade kombucha.

Once brewing, it's possible to simply keep "feeding" the bugs, and enjoy kombucha on tap. Making it as it should be, my friends, not an indulgence or a habit, but a lifestyle.

Adopted in part because it's damn delicious (and an awesome cocktail replacement if you're abstaining, as I am again) but also absolutely because of its benefits:

Benefits of Kombucha (source: Wellness Mama)

  • liver detoxification
  • improved pancreas function
  • increased energy
  • better digestion
  • improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • kills Candida (yeast)
  • helps nutrient assimilation
  • weight loss

All of the above benefits, and more, are caused by the fact that Kombucha is a live, living, alive, (yes those are all the same thing) food, full of good bacteria, which feed our microbiome. Plentiful personal bacteria is responsible for everything from emotional health to preventing auto-immune diseases - directly or indirectly affecting nearly everything about our being. And it's tough (maybe impossible) to have too much of the right bugs, so eat them, drink them and don't be afraid of dirt (them).

Podcast: Yogurt Prozac: "Can 'Good' Bacteria Chill Us Out?"

Are you sold on probiotics yet? Do you take better care of your microbiome than your car/plants/pet/pedicure at this point? Are you proselytizing?? "Prozac In The Yogurt Aisle: Can 'Good' Bacteria Chill Us Out?" - NPR

Scientists have documented that beneficial microorganisms play a critical role in how our bodies function. And it's becoming clear that the influence goes beyond the gut — researchers are turning their attention to our emotional health.


Be happy.

Intermittent Fasting 102: The 5:2 Diet - a podcast from NPR


Recommending this: the podcast and the approach.

"What if the payoff for a 16-hour fast — which might involve skipping dinner, save a bowl of broth — is a boost in energy and a decreased appetite?"

The "5:2 diet" is a new marketing of intermittent fasting, with a slightly different structure. I've been practicing fasting for some time albeit not this specific timeline. Fasting becomes quite comfortable after enough experience with it and I make sure to return to it every couple of days, at minimum. The physical benefits are significant, as are the psychological. Understanding, at least, your personal relationship with food is pretty damn fundamental to wellbeing and conscious living.

"The diet calls for two days per week of minifasting where the aim is to go a long stretch, say 14 to 18 hours, without eating. During these two fasting days, you also eat only about 600 calories, give or take."

"The fascination is what researchers say may be the broader benefits. Scientists are looking into how fasting may help control blood sugar, improve memory and energy and perhaps boost immunity."

Listen to the podcast here.

Read more about intermittent fasting.

Osha Root & Oxytocin (the love hormone)


Osha Root

Last week I attended an herbal-product tasting of a "flight" of teas, tinctures, extracts and otherwise from one of my favorite resources for this lifestyle, period: Evolver and their new venture, The Alchemist's Kitchen. (Note my left-nav badge of affection, and I'll definitely reaffirm following their trajectory; it's good things.)

The tasting included more herbs than I've ingested in a single sitting (or week, likely) to date, and made me feel fantastic. Euphoric. So, it was fun too - to say the least. More about their projects and that bigger picture, soon.

Meanwhile, one of the herbs that I wasn't familiar with but curious about was Osha. Otherwise known as loveage, loveroot or bear medicine. Because, bears chew on it for the health benefits (source: Bears) but then get side-affected by the "lovage" properties and take to nuzzling each other.

Make-out twigs! Of course I was promptly in pursuit. Picked some up at The Herb Shoppe (which also stocks Rx Apothecary (plug)) this weekend, made a many-hour decoction and have been drinking definitely more than a mug a night since.

In the pot, pre-decoct:

Post-decoct, tea-dark:

In addition to all of that fun, Osha tastes wonderful - like a peppery celery or lightly like anise, and brewing a decoction all day does good things for a home-air's aroma.

More info and an Osha-Kava "Latte" recipe below - for when you really want to get down.

Osha root: Ligusticum porteri, known as Osha or oshá, is a perennial herb found in parts of the Rocky Mountains and northern Mexico. - Wikipedia

Osha Root About, Uses & Benefits:

  • A perennial herb of the parsley family
  • Seeds and leaves were food to indigenous Americans
  • Also functioned as symbols for different beliefs. Some burned Osha as a sacrifice for protection against dangerous spirits and omens. Others washed it in waterways near vegetation as rituals for producing rain.
  • Roots chewed to increase endurance. This probably because of Osha's positive contributions to a healthy respiratory system. Native American Indian parents even used to wrap Osha roots with leaves and strings and placed them near newly born babies to cleanse the air they breathed.
  • Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory.
  • Also popular as a warming herb, it supports healing of respiratory conditions (coughs, colds, tonsillitis, flu, and other types of viral infections).

Modern Uses

  • The outstanding antiviral properties of the Osha root are still recognized today. It's still used as early medication for the common cold and flu. Take at the first signals of coughing and sneezing. Osha is very effective as treatment for respiratory conditions such as sinus congestion, sore throat and inflammations in the bronchus. Can also be taken by those traveling to higher altitudes or for long-distance hiking as it promotes easy breathing.

Osha contains Oxytocin:

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding. This hormone is greatly stimulated during sex, birth, breast feeding—the list goes on.

- Psychology Today


Osha Kava Latte

  • 1 C Osha root decoction (a small handful of root, brought to a boil and then reduced to a simmer for at least an hour, for up to five or until water is tea-dark)
  • 2 tbsp Kava (powdered is strongest and my preference)
  • 1/4 C coconut milk (homemade or full-fat store-bought additive free)

Blend all, warm but don't boil. Drink. Get down.

Probiotics over Prozac: Ketogenic Eating for the Best Brain. (Featuring, Your Microbiome, Butter Coffee, Anxiety, Fasting, Grain-free, Dopamine and More)

tumblr_mlou8gdI3I1qhtrpfo2_r1_1280 There are a lot of subjects here. They are important. And they connect a lot of what we’ve been talking about here, in separate strings, for a long time.

Many of the newest learnings in health are related to the significance of the microbiome.

From personal experience, I regularly feel what I can only describe as the health of my brain. Chemicals, transmitter-stuff, certain states. Which drives me into these subjects searching for if and if so, what, is going on. Because there is always a reason for why we feel the way we do. (These topics are also of significant personal importance to me in how they relate to anxiety, which is something I’ve had to handle my entire life. More on that in point 5, below.)

Otherwise, this is all just more of the same: learn, live better, prosper. Shall we?

1. We are our microbiomes. I’ve said it; you know it, but a few refreshers JIC:

2. Our microbiomes are best supported by probiotics, live food and excellent digestion via which to absorb the goodness.

3. Our microbiomes are responsible for not only our physical wellbeing, but also our psychological health. Here we go.

You have neurons both in your brain and your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain.

“Mounting research indicates that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression.

“The gut-brain connection is well-recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, so this isn't all that surprising, even though it's often overlooked.

“There's also a wealth of evidence showing intestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases."

And, note this point “The fact that this study showed any improvement at all is remarkable, considering they used commercial yogurt preparations that are notoriously unhealthy.”

Now, consider what you can do with legit probiotics. (Legit = 1 billion CFU/serving for example. It’s pretty difficult to measure the amount of probiotics in packaged foods but a really rough estimate would put a high-quality Greek yogurt at about 1M per gram, from what I understand.)


4. Therefore, our brains (physically and psychologically) depend on the health of our bellies.

“The trillions of bacteria living in a person’s gut can communicate directly with the brain via the Vagus Nerve that connects them. Bacteria can also communicate with the brain via the enteric nervous system, the nervous system of the digestive track. Believe it or not, there are actually more neurons wrapped around the gut than there are in the spinal cord.

“We are starting to find out that gut bugs can communicate with the brain, scientists say, by modulating the immune system or by actually producing neurotransmitters.

Mark Lyte, a researcher at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center who studies the effect that microbes can have on the endocrine systems (the body system of the endocrine glands and the hormones they produce)says, “I’m actually seeing new neurochemicals that have not been described before being produced by certain bacteria. These bacteria are, in effect, mind-altering microorganisms.”


"Through this communication from the gut to the brain, the gut bugs can affect behavior and mood. Maybe those folks who coined the expression “gut feeling” were actually on to something! Recent research supports the theory that disturbances in the gut microbiome, or the combination of microbes living in a particular person’s gut, can play a role in some psychopathology such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and even autism.

  • Source: How Can Gut Bugs Communicate with the Brain? (And there are a lot of additional resources listed at the end of this article, as well as more information about anxiety types, and probiotic v medical treatments.)


5. Personal experience has proven this to be the case.

I have a particular interest in this because I’ve dealt with anxiety my entire life. At age four, when my parents divorced, I started getting stomachaches. Or, that’s how I felt. Meaning I was anxious, uneasy, felt afraid (had separation anxiety, simply) that “felt” like a stomach ache – and which would often make me actually sick (throw up, frankly) but at times like: being dropped off at school or left with a babysitter; sleepovers at friends’ houses; camps – god I hated camps.

Thankfully, medication wasn’t an option because I simply “had a stomach ache” – like, maybe I took some Pepto-Bismol here and there. I learned two ways to cure the situation: 1. Find a corner and go to sleep, which I did in every acceptable instance, or 2. Forget about it, which was outside of my control. That being part of the point. Meaning, if I was distracted by something pleasant – a story that made me laugh or a friend engrossing me in idk a game of cat’s cradle – the “stomach ache” would go away. Meaning, it wasn’t (only) physical. It was psychological. With such severity that it could become physical and make me physically ill, but obviously the two are one.

This is a much longer story, that involves 20 more years of learnings about anxiety, +/- a visit to the emergency room, eventual medication, no-medication, therapy, lots of books and ultimately, understanding.


6. Specific eating styles, and some lack-of-eating styles, are best for your brain.

We know why we don’t eat meat (and if not, watch Forks Over Knives).

And, why we don’t eat processed foods.

We understand raw and alive. No-sugar should be a given.

Which leaves us with that odd grain-free angle.

In researching my current eating style, and brain health, I stumbled onto the research subjects that connect ALL of this: “The Neuropharmacology of the Ketogenic Diet”

  • What it is: “A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It's referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), etc." – Google (love that new algorithm)

“A diet that is high in fat (60-70% of calories), is almost by definition low in carbs, and this means that when eating a high fat diet, it’s likely that one is at least partially and some of the time in a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when the body switches over from burning glucose (the kind of sugar our body uses as fuel) to burning an alternate fuel called ketones, which are made from the breakdown of fatty acids in the liver when glycogen (how the body stores glucose) levels are depleted.


“Basically, the body starts burning fat for energy when we don’t consume very much sugar or foods that readily break down into sugar — carbohydrates. While glucose is metabolically preferred by the body (meaning that if glucose is present, the liver produces only small, baseline amounts of ketones), it is interesting to note that ketones are a principal source of energy during early postnatal development, when our brains are growing and developing at the most rapid pace of our lives.

“Ketosis is an entirely normal and healthy state for the body to be in – in fact, most people will be in some amount of ketosis every single morning after ‘fasting’ while they sleep (you can often smell the acetone – a ketone – in your pee when you wake up), which is a sign of metabolic health."


7. I am not on a ketogenic diet, but my diet is ketogenic.

Eating this way makes me feel amazing. Absolutely excellent. Strong, clear-headed, calm, (very) high-energy. “Humming” is how I often describe it. (It’s also supportive of my aggressive exercise routines, and compatible with intermittent fasting / bulletproof coffee (which in turn support each other) and all of the aforementioned “eat” or “don’t-eat”s.

So, it’s good. And, it turns out it’s good for your brain too.


8. The ketogenic diet is exceptionally neurologically beneficial.

One area in which the ketogenic diet is completely uncontroversial is as a relatively effective non-pharmaceutical treatment for a set of common neurological disorders.

Another way the ketogenic diet improves brain function is through several kinds of antioxidant benefits. Oxidative stress can cause harm all throughout the body, and the brain is no different – oxidative damage has been implicated in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases as well as simple brain aging.

The last mechanism through which a ketogenic diet may confer cognitive benefit is through the increase ofγ-aminobutyric acid(GABA) levels in the brain. GABA is the brain’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter.

It has been known since the time of Hippocrates that fasting is an effective treatment for seizures, and the ketogenic diet was designed to mimic the fasting state.

The diet is associated with a wide range of neurochemical changes, some of which may contribute to its therapeutic actions and others that are epiphenomenal.

During consumption of the ketogenic diet, marked alterations in brain energy metabolism occur, with ketone bodies partly replacing glucose as fuel.

“There is evidence that it causes effects on intermediary metabolism that influence the dynamics of the major inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter systems in brain.

Running brain on ketones considerably impacts amino acid metabolism, or more specifically neurotransmitters. Ketogenic diets [are] neuroprotective and improve cognitive functionimprove behavior in epileptic children, and [are] even efficacious in bipolar disorder.  Many of these effects could be attributable to alterations in glutamate and gaba signaling. Excitotoxicity. Brain fog.”

That’s probably enough for today, huh?

More reading:

All photos by Jana Styblova, whose work I quite like.


Next up, we’ll get into GABA, which I’m trial-running now. And, how about prebiotics.

The End

Broccoli Sprouts - Be About Them

 "Broccoli sprouts are farmore potent than whole broccoli.

"Three-day old broccoli sprouts consistently contain anywhere from 10-100 times the amount of glucoraphanin—a chemoprotective compound—found in mature broccoli.

"Some of the latest research suggests that broccoli sprouts may help detox toxic pollutants.

Broccoli sprouts specifically are a source of glucoraphanin, which creates sulforaphane when chewed or swallowed. That compound accelerates the body's ability to detoxify from various pollutants.

"The three-month long study included about 300 Chinese men and women living in one of the most polluted areas of China, a rural community in the Jiangsu Province. 
"After urine and blood tests were collected and analyzed, the researchers found that the test group, who received the broccoli sprout powder, excreted far greater levels of two carcinogens. Excretion of benzene increased 61 percent, and the rate of excretion of acrolein increased by 23 percent." - Mercola


Other than the oft sandwhich accessory, sprouts make a great side, a salad base, or slaw. Toss in olive oil and sea salt for a simple experience, or replace coleslaw cabbage with them in some variation of a summer salad (red onions, apples, veganaise?).

Bonus points if you can find them in a spongey base that keeps them alive longer (first time I had).  

Review: Dark Days Chocolate Moon Patties

It's my pleasure to review of a really lovely new product that made it over to ErthlyDlights from the West Coast so we could sample and spread the word. Let's this be that! And that it be known I love the line and recommend it absolutely for any fellow chocolate appreciators.

Dark Days Chocolate Moon Patties: "Dark chocolate treats created with gentle herbs and nourishing ingredients designed to honor our bodies and Earth"

Check out these flavors - Date and Bourbon, Lemon (which I was hesitant about, but it definitely works) and Peppermint. 

Beautiful dark chocolate, very little sugar, which then is unrefined, and my favorite part: herb infused coconut. That there is creative and, just awesome.  Real ingredients, check:I store them in the freezer and had to try really hard not to eat the lot in the first few days so I had something to photograph, and like share.

Great packaging, and they come with a monthly moon calendar. 🌚💙

Find, buy, and if you know any local shops or restaurants that should stock DD, send Wren an email!


Raw Ketchup Recipe

If you know me, you know I have a thing for ketchup. And by "thing" I mean longterm love affair. It's not a good thing for you, generally, but it sure is good. Lowbrow, best with diner breakfasts, or comfort food dinners. And on more things than I will admit having tried.
I've wanted to make my own for some time. I wouldn't call this first attempt a great success, but it did turn out pretty well, and yeah pretty.
Tastes a bit more like a gazpacho as the tomatoes are raw, so I'm using it as a sauce or salad dressing. Delicious that way. Here's to it:
Raw Ketchup Recipe from TheRawtarian
  • 1 1/2 C tomatoes
  • 3 TBSP dates
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt (I also added black pepper)
  • 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Blend all until smooth. Commit accordingly.

Recipe: Spring Sauce - Herb, Lemon, Honey


I haven't given us a recipe in too long. Here's a lovable one. And matches our standard criteria of: beautiful, healthy, and easy.

A sauce or dressing that's Spring-fresh and right on for salads or vegetables, fish, quinoa or otherwise.
Raw, vegan, gluten free with healthy-fats and a touch of live sweetener.
Check it. Love it. Love,
Honey Lemon Dressing, from the Bar Tartine Cookbook
  • 3/4 C lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 C walnut or grapeseed oil
  • 2 TBSP fermented honey* (or, at least, raw)
  • 3/4 bunch fresh dill
Combine all in a blender and go.
*Fermented honey is easy to make but requires time to work (a few weeks fermenting at least). To make: Add 2 TBSP water to 1 cup of raw honey. Cover with a cheesecloth and let sit in low light at room temperature for 2 weeks, stirring once daily. When ready, it'll last up to a year, with a more complex flavor and, more health benefits! Mmm

Guayusa: What & Why


I was on a mission for Guayusa the day I read about it in The Way of The Shaman. Just one of those must-have's ...

The indigenous Kichwa say guayusa is so captivating that visitors are warned once they drink it, they will always return to the Ecuadorian Jungle.

Turns out it's not especially easy to find. I toured all of my local herb haunts without luck and I even met a company that has the Guayusa market locked down. "Coincidentally" they sponsor the meditation in my office every Monday, were sponsoring the event where I met them, which was the day after I decided this herb was a need, and are the top Guayusa source on Amazon which I also stalked. (Runa. The source for all info below, supplemented by Wiki.)

Within a week, a referral lead me to a new spot - apothecary, herb library and juice/coffee bar that also serves elixirs and mushroom "coffee" (yes) - Botica & Co., Greenpoint.

I bought them out of Guayu and had them make me a tea on the spot because it was like urgent.

This is what Guayusa is and why you want it in your life:


Ilex guayusa (/ˈlɛks ˈɡwjuːsə/ or /ˈlɛks ˈwjuːsə/) is an Amazonian tree of the holly genus, native to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. One of three known caffeinated holly trees, the leaves of the guayusa tree are dried and brewed like a tea for their stimulative effects.

The plant is grown primarily in Ecuador in the eastern provinces of Napo and Pastaza, but is found in parts of Peru and Colombia. After harvest, the guayusa leaves are dried which allows flavor to develop.

Traditionally, some Ecuadorian Kichwa people boil guayusa leaves in water and consume the resulting beverage for its stimulative effects.

In addition to drinking cups of guayusa like many Americans drink coffee, indigenous hunters drink guayusa to sharpen their instincts and call it the “Night Watchman" because it helps them stay alert and awake all night. 

Fresh leaves are used as well as dried leaves, which are dried in rolls and strung together as a wreath resembling a Hawaiian lei.

In addition to caffeine, guayusa also contains theobromine, commonly found in chocolate, and L-theanine, a glutamic acid analog found in green tea that has been shown to reduce physical and mental stress.

Guayusa contains twice the antioxidants of green tea. These compounds neutralize free radicals and may help prevent premature aging. It also contains chlorogenic acids, which have been reported to contribute to cardiovascular health, help reduce high blood pressure, and regulate body weight. In addition, guayusa contains 15 essential amino acids and has ferulic acid, which can help improve blood circulation.

Traditionally, indigenous Kichwa families wake up before dawn and gather around a communal fire to drink gourds of guayusa. During this early-morning ritual, community members share dreams, myths, and legends. Several myths recount how the guayusa plant taught human beings how to dream, and throughout the morning shamans interpret dreams from the previous night.

Get some! <3

Eating Pegan


And, here it is - a term for the way I eat, almost, which is never easily summarized and still isn't but, this is close. It misses the raw point, but it's trending right. I don't believe it'll stick culturally, for a lot of reasons, but it's cute and fairly accurate nevertheless.

Of all debated below, I ascribe to eating 99% plant-based. I do not prioritize protein, ever. After almost two years of doing so while continuing to run, yoga and pretty heavy weight-lifting, I've lost no muscle mass or energy, and felt only better every day. With blood work and physicals to support it. No grains (including legumes), no dairy and healthy, unprocessed fats - which means minimal oils, even. If you're a reader, you know. If you don't know, ask. I can talk about this for, well, indefinitely it seems. <3

The gist, via MindBodyGreen:

Food is medicine, and my job as a doctor involves advising people about the most nutrient dense foods to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease. I'm aware that what to eat can become complicated, confusing and contentious.

Studies show vegan diets help with weight loss, reverse diabetes, and lower cholesterol. So do Paleo diets. The conversation can get heated. Each camp dogmatically adheres to their diet and cherry-pick studies validating their point of view. After reading dozens of studies on vegan and Paleo diets, even I can become confused.

What's an eater to do?

I vote for becoming a Pegan, or Paleo-Vegan, which combines both diets' strengths and focuses on real, whole, fresh, sustainably raised food.

Finding Common Ground

Paleo and vegan camps might seem to agree on little, but both diets share some common foundations. Here are some of their similar tenets:

  1. Very low in terms of glycemic load, meaning low in sugar, flour, and refined carbohydrates of all kinds.
  2. High in vegetables and fruits. The deeper the colors, the more variety, the better, which provides a high phytonutrient content protective against most diseases.
  3. Low in pesticides, antibiotics and hormones, and low or no GMO foods.
  4. No chemicals, additives, preservatives, dyes, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other "Franken Chemicals" that you would never keep in your pantry.
  5. Higher in good-quality fats. Most camps advise good-quality fats from olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
  6. Adequate protein for appetite control and muscle synthesis.
  7. Organic, local, fresh foods should be the majority of your diet.
  8. Avoid dairy. According to Dr. Amy Shah, the number one reason to ditch dairy is that it is inflammatory. While some can tolerate it, for most it contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and may increase (not decrease) the risk of osteoporosis.

What About Those Differences?

Paleo and vegans disagree among other things. Let's look at some of them:

1. Grains.

For millions of Americans, gluten creates inflammation, autoimmunity, digestive disorders and even obesity. We started consuming grains recently in our evolutionary history and they can be part of a healthy diet, but not in unlimited amounts.

2. Beans.

Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, and minerals, but they create digestive problems for some. If you're diabetic, excessive amounts of beans can trigger spikes in blood sugar. Up to one cup a day should be fine for most people. Some in the Paleo camp are concerned that beans contain lectins, which create inflammation, and phytates, which impair mineral absorption.

3. Meat.

All meat is not created equally. Eating sustainably raised, clean meat, poultry and lamb can be a part of a healthy diet. But eating meat also puts pressure on the planet, including more water use, more climate change and more energy inputs. Eat meat as a side dish or condiment, and only consume grass-fed and sustainably raised.

4. Eggs.

Eggs have been exonerated and don't have any impact on cholesterol and are not associated with increased risk of heart disease. They provide a great low-cost source of vital nutrients and protein.

5. Fish.

Choose small, omega-3 fat-rich fish such as sardines or wild salmon to minimize mercury. If you are a vegan, you need omega-3 fats, and not just alpha linolenic acid (ALA) found in plants. You need preformed DHA, which is what most of your brain is made from. Look for an algae-derived DHA supplement. Everyone needs vitamin D3. For vegans, vitamin B12 is also critical.

Becoming A Pegan

Becoming a Pegan means you don't worry about focusing on how much you eat. When you focus on what you eat, your body's natural appetite control systems kick into gear and you eat less.

As a result of their eating style, Pegans:

1. Eat a low-glycemic load.

Focus on more protein and fats, including nuts (not peanuts), seeds (flax, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin), coconut, avocados, sardines and olive oil.

2. Eat the right fats.

Steer clear of vegetable oils, including soybean oil, which now comprises about 10% of our calories. Focus instead on omega-3 fats, nuts, coconut, avocados, and yes, even saturated fat from grass-fed or sustainably raised animals.

3. Eat mostly plants.

Plant should form 75% of your diet and your plate.

4. Focus on nuts and seeds.

They are full of protein, minerals, and good fats, plus they lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

5. Avoid dairy.

Dairy is great for growing calves into cows, but not for humans. Try organic goat or sheep products, but only as a treat.

6. Avoid gluten.

Most is from Franken Wheat, so look for heirloom wheat (Einkorn). If you are not sensitive to gluten, then consider it an occasional treat.

7. Eat gluten-free whole grains sparingly.

They still raise blood sugar and can trigger autoimmunity.

8. Eat beans sparingly.

Lentils are best. Stay away from big starchy beans.

9. Eat meat or animal products as a condiment.

There's no need to make animal products the main course.

10. Think of sugar as an occasional treat.

Use it sparingly.

After researching nutrition for 30 years and analyzing thousands of scientific papers and treating tens of thousands of patients with food, I vote for being a Pegan!

Recipe: Detox Vegetable Soup

I had too much fun last night. And so, I'm having this for dinner tonight:


It's not raw, but it's vegan and full of fresh vegetables and spices. I used fresh ginger and fresh turmeric, and tripled the quantities. I also poured it over a bed of seaweed - lots of seaweed. And no, there is nothing redeeming about ketchup. It's crack and I've always loved it. Especially this kind (Balsamic). Soon enough, I'll make my own.


Detox Vegetable Soup Recipe

  • 1+ tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1+ tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (I used water)
  • 2 large nori seaweed sheets, chopped. (I used this amount for one serving - which I poured the soup over.)
  • 2 cups kale, collard greens, or spinach
  • Parsley or cilantro (handful)

In a pan, sauté oil, onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more.

Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the broth or water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.

Just before serving, stir in the nori (if using) and greens and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.

Adapted from Oh She Glows.

LA's Getting a Bulletproof Coffee Cafe

You heard it here first - that bizarre butter-in-coffee thing. And a thing it definitely is now.

Last weekend, here in NYC, I actually searched maps for a cafe that served Bulletproof coffee. Assuming that the eccentricity serving epicenter we are would be all over it by now. No dice. But, we can't be far behind LA, which is getting theirs.

Aside from the coffee, the concept is pretty perfect (progressive):

"Besides the coffee, food and supplements, Asprey’s building some innovative “bio-hacking technology” into the shop that will be great for your overall health. He’s installing lighting compatible with your circadian rhythms, a Whole Body Vibration platform for muscle and bone stimulation, and there’s a small seating area where the furniture and flooring will be “connected to the earth.”

It’s an approach called “Earthing” that Asprey’s into because “studies show that when people don’t have the opportunity to connect to the earth they drop a static charge and it increases inflammation,” he says. “I want people to think, ‘I felt different when I was there,’” says Asprey, who resides in Vancouver Island, in Canada. “There is no limit to what we will do to make people perform better. This is a place to upgrade yourself.”

{Well&Good for the full piece}

Otherwise, a year and a half later, I am still making BP coffee on a daily basis. My personal preference is a much lighter version (cleverly named, Bulletproof Coffee Light). The next mission is a version I can store at the office to add to my second cup of the day. Oh, I'm not currently caffeine-free. But we'll go through that withdrawal again eventually. Makes for good TV.


Raw Vegan "White Chocolate" Recipe 🍫 I made this tonight. It was stupid easy and really good. I used honey, but thought dates would be great as well. Awesome base that needs nothing more but could work with all kinds of accessories (cacao nibs, orange extract and peel, a lemon or other fruit variety. probably carrots and walnuts too.)

Hawaii Eats: Island Food Finds

First I'll say that I didn't eat much.  Chalk it up to a ton of sleep (?), the warm weather (?) or deep relaxation (?) (I'm actually still investigating if any of these really affect metabolism or hunger) but I ate a single, light meal a day, only - every day for 10 there. No idea why, but that's what the body wanted. I worked out a ton - ran, rode, swam, practiced long yoga sessions - didn't matter; wasn't hungry and felt perfect. Most of what we did eat was from the property: starfruit and oranges, bananas, papaya, guava, avocado and coconut. The couple of times I saw town, I was reminded of my penchant for vinegar. Just about everything I bought was some version of (intentionally) fermented.

(Pardon the unsightly labels - it was an 8-mile round trip to town. I'd run there and then backpack home.)

Puna Pahoa Island Naturals Shopping Trip Local Kava, Kombucha and herbs.




La Hiki Jun Peppermint, chamomile, gotu kola, mugwort, damiana, rosemary, rose petals, aloha


Red Cabbage and Beet kraut


Purple Sweetpotato

Sun made nettle tea

pahoa puna hawaii rainbow juice

Mangosteen natural Hawaii fruit superfruit


DIY Juice Cleanse | How-to, Recipes & Highlights From My Six Days  

For some reason, I have never done a juice cleanse. Or “juice fast”, diet, whatever you want to call it. Just juice, for at least a few unbroken days, at least. I do tend to fast for a lot of the weekends – juicing only or eating really clean and raw, but again, never the regime that’s for sale from every other corner shop these days.

So, inspired by my coworker’s delivery of the day’s juice arrived last week, I decided to do my own. Easy enough, right? I have a juicer, know my way around the produce department, and most of the juice spots post their cleanse menus online.

Here it is, then: Their recipes, my recipes, and the play-by-play, which decreased in frequency as the days passed and it got easier. At the time of writing, I’m on Day 6.

DIY Juice Cleanse – How-to:

  1. Pick your menu.
    1. I opted to follow Juice Press’s 6-Juices per Day “Alternate Cleanse”.
    2. Buy your produce. About as easy as it sounds. And cheap. Say $20-30 bucks versus the $200+ that a couple-day cleanse costs.
      • The first night, I didn’t even shop. I just used what I had in the fridge.
    3. Juice. (*And, blend.)
      • I recommend doing this each night for the day ahead. You could do it all at once for a couple-day cleanse, but it’s ideal to drink the juices as soon after juicing as possible. And I didn’t find it a huge undertaking. Just put vegetables in piles respective to which juices they’d make.
      • For the nut/coconut milks, you’ll need a good blender. Worst case, you could buy (GOOD QUALITY) milks, to supplement your juice. “GOOD QUALITY” means read the ingredients. There’s so much weird shit in almond/soy/rice/coconut milk these days; the ingredients should be nuts, and water. That’s it.
    4. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
      • First day or two is the toughest, and then it clicks and your body celebrates being cleeeeeaned out. You give you belly a break from digesting, your liver a rest from gross/weird/otherwise foods (or alcohol) and mentally, you re-establish who’s in charge. (You are.) {Read more about
    5. Notes:
      • If you're planning to DIY, I suggest being familiar with blood sugar, fasting, food combining and some dietary basics as well as your body's boundaries. OR, just follow the pro's recipes. (That'll still save you hundreds of $.)
      • It’s not about starving yourself, though you will need to appreciate some hunger.
      • The basic structure of all of these cleanses is: lots of greens; a serving of fruits; maybe a serving of protein; and one serving of healthy fats (at night, and not mixed with fruits or protein). There are reasons for this structure (e.g. fat digest slowest and so make sense for evenings when you don’t need immediate energy, and will be going without food for a long time). Follow the structure.
      • With Intermittent Fasting, this diet is very, very effective for losing weight.
      • Exercise is optional. I exercised, per usual, hard. A personal test of sorts – liking to see what I’m made of. And loving the results.
      • Have fun. Do it because you love yourself and you want to show yourself a good time.
      • x

The Play-by-Play or, a semi-neurotic "My First Juice Fast" diary



  • 7-8am: Coffee + 1 tbsp MCT oil. Feel fine. This is normal.
  • 11am: Juice 1 (14oz) tasted awesome. Drank it pretty damn fast though.
  • 11:20am: Also think I’m getting a headache. Probably gonna do more coffee.
  • 11:48am: Okay maybe I’m okay.
  • 12:20: Just cracked open #2. Feeling aight.
  • 1:30: Hungry but feel good. Fiery creative meeting was a good distraction.
  • 3:50: Pretty hungry but happy to dive into the more substantial juice. Pop open #4 and realize I skipped #3. Oops … I guess I’ll switch them and hope I don’t regret not having waited it out.
  • 4:40: Stomach hurts. Probably because there’s something in it.
    • (Didn’t have the second one earlier. Headache never happened earlier either so that’s good.)
  • 4:45: Thinking, this is way easier than I thought it would be. Maybe it's because the sun is going down already and that makes it feel like the day’s over.
  • 6pm: Juice #4, still have two to go so trying to get through this one semi-quickly actually. Not hungry. Feel good. Going to the gym tonight and then to restock the produce drawer.
  • 820pm: Leaving the gym - got dizzy but pushed through. Really cold walk home but this last juice is hearty. Feel great.
    • Produce re-upped. Looking forward to Day 2.
    • Though, briefly considered buying the blue cheese salad dressing to add to one of my green smoothies. Creative (disgusting).
    • Also, note: December is not the ideal time to juice cleanse.



  • Not as hungry as I thought I’d wake up.
  • 10:15: Juice #1. Getting started so I can get through all of them today. The apple in this one makes the greens delicious. I didn’t have much fruit yesterday (nearly none) but today’s juices have quite a bit.
  • 11:00: Ate some almonds.
  • 1145: Stomach is killing me. Either it was that juice or paybacks for cheating. Ow.
  • 1215: More almonds. And a digestive enzyme and some warm water. Stomach still hurts. Can’t get to my next juice because of a meeting.
  • 1245: Going for yesterday’s skipped juice. Tastes … like a lot of algae. A lot.
  • 1:09: Last few almonds. Not gonna cheat any more today. Still working on this Lawn Grass.
  • 3:15: Thought I was going lose the Lawn juice. Went way heavy on the algae and, phew. Feel better now that it’s mostly digested. Looking forward to #3 which is light. Orange, lemon, carrot.
  • Evening: Only made it through three and a half juices today. That green one was too serious. Felt fairly nauseous for the rest of the night. Misplaced (as in lost) my #6, which I was looking forward to for dinner. Baked some cauliflower instead and called it a day.


  • Stuck to it. Only three juices today, plus a carrot-ginger soup from Whole Foods for dinner. Feels great. Not much else to note.


  • So, I drank one big green juice today and that was it. Then I had my squash, pear soup for dinner. Talk about level blood sugar (I was barely hungry). And the day was not sedentary. I ran errands, had an intense workout, etc. It is worth noting that I eat a lot less on the weekends - I’m not sure what it is - more sleep, less stress (it’s surely not less activity as I’m more active than on weekdays) but I require less food, for whatever reason.
  • Re-stocked the produce and planning to continue though next week. 


  • Didn’t even journal because it was nbd. Did have to push myself through the recently-doubled gym-time, but it was more mental than physical.


  • Woke up and saw the payoff immediately. Made a couple of extra juices today to ensure we’re well-“fed”.
  • Don’t intend to stop until I feel fully rebalanced. You know when that is for you. Or, you will learn.



NYC Juice Cleanse Menus:

Juice Press’s 6-Day Alternate Cleanse

  1. Red apple, pineapple, kale, lemon, ginger
  2. Green apple, kale, spinach, lemon
  3. Grapefruit, orange, lemon
  4. Coconut water, banana, straw, rawp, blue berries, agave, hemp protein, coconut oil
  5. Cucumber celery, aloe, lemon, kale, algae
  6. Coconut meat, coconut water

Rachelle's Recipes: (Day 1 - it changes daily but follows the same basic structure noted above)

  1. Beets, collard greens, lime, ginger
  2. Collard greens, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, cayenne, sea salt
  3. Kombucha, lemon, ginger, turmeric, aloe
  4. 1 banana, 2T coconut, 1T raw cacao, 1 date, 1T MCT oil, orange peel, 1T currants
  5. Broccoli, turmeric, cucubmer, 1T algae (which was, way too much), 1tsp moringa powder
  6. 1/4C coconut, 1/4C pecans, water, cinnamon, vanilla

BluePrint’s “Excavation” Cleanse (greens and nut milks only)

  1. Green: Romaine, apple, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, parsley, ginger, lemon
  2. Spicy Lemonade: lemon, agave, cayenne, peppers (habanero, jalapeno, peppers)
  3. Cashew Milk: cashew, agave, cinnamon, vanilla (extract & specks)

Love Grace Foods: (all 16 oz except Ginger Bomb)

  1. Purify (16 oz): Coconut water, celery, chard, spinach, cucumber.
  2. Ginger Bomb: Orange, ginger, lemon, oregano extract, sea salt.
  3. Super Cider: Apple, carrot, ginger lemon.
    1. OR: Longevity Tonic: Lemon, shilajit, cayenne, agave, sea salt.
  4. Green Sunshine: chard, kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon.
  5. Green Protein: banana, flax seed, kale, dates, spirulina, hempseed, chia seed, coconut oil, lemon, sea salt, wheatgrass powder.
    1. OR: Chocolate Superfood: Banana, goji berry, cacao, maca, vanilla bean, dates, coconut oil, flax seed, sea salt.
    2. OR: Probiotic: Banana, flax seed, almond, lemon, dates, probiotics, sea salt, coconut oil
  6. Restore: carrot, beet, celery, cucumber, parsley, spinach, lemon, orange

Organic Avenue’s “Love Deep”:

  1. Dragon’s Breath Shot:
    1. Orange Juice
    2. OR Sweet Greens
  2. Sweet Greens
    1. OR Green Love
  3. Ginger Lemonade
    1. OR Green Love
  4. Green Love
    1. OR Medicinal Green
  5. Sweet Greens
    1. OR Green Love
  6. Coconut Mylk
    1. OR Sweet Greens