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My Adaptogen Potion

Ladies and gentlemen, I did it. It started with a simple google search “what is Ashwagandha?” The next thing I know, I’d fallen down the rabbit hole and had 6 adaptogens in my cart, I was sucked in eager to try everything. What started this new obsession?

It’s no secret, I am not a coffee person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell, I love the idea of coffee – the ritual of making it – but I do not have the palate for it. I only really started drinking coffee a few years ago, and I realized, I was only drinking it because I enjoy drinking the copious amounts of cream that I was putting in my cup. I LOVE dairy, it just doesn’t love me back. So I went back to my old roots: tea.

I love tea for the same reason I enjoy the idea of coffee. I love the ritual of it: boiling the water, waiting for it to steep . . . I am not a major caffeine junky, but like everyone else, I need a little kick in the morning and my dandelion tea, while great for detoxing the kidneys and liver, isn’t going to add any pep to my step.

As a result, I have been searching for an alternative. Something that will provide health benefits, while increasing my energy and doesn’t tempt me to add heaps of sugar and 1/2 a cup of cream. After falling down a deep internet rabbit hole (hours and hours of research) I stumbled upon an article on adaptogenic herbs. The hook, line, and sinker was that they labeled it as a “potion”. I am such a sucker for magical marketing and once I read that, I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

What are adaptogenic herbs? Ginseng, aloe vera, and rosemary are well-known adaptogens. Adaptogens are natural substances that work with your body and help it adapt to stress. They help you deal with stress and fatigue by working to regulate important hormones. Depending on the adaptogen they can:

  • Offer a boost for the immune system
  • Support for managing a healthy weight
  • Increased physical endurance and mental focus
  • Reduction in discomfort caused by poor health
  • Encouraging a balanced mood

How do they work?  The chemicals that adaptogens contain help to normalize adrenal fatigue. If you’ve taken a yoga class, then you’ve probably heard a lot about adrenal function. Adaptogens calm and nourish and support the adrenal glands and support the processes that are controlled by adrenals: from blood sugar and immune system regulation to hormones and blood pressure. It is important to keep in mind that, while you are going to get an immediate “boost”, the real benefits come from long-term, consistent use.

Think of it this way, stress is a hormonal reaction, if you are stressed out most of the day, it’s going to throw your hormones out of balance and that can affect everything from your digestive system, your mental well-being, and your energy levels. If you know you’re going to encounter stress throughout the day, arm yourself with some adaptogens to counter the stressors.

Now that we have that out of the way, I have found that drinking my morning “potion” does help provide a boost of energy and I handle things like traffic, and annoying emails in a much calmer, composed way.

These are the herbs I take on a daily basis:

  • Ashwagandha: Benefits brain health. Protects the brain from degeneration and improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.
  • Reishi: Helps the immune system, treats anxiety, high blood pressure, hepatitis, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma
  • Cordyceps: Improves respiratory health, increases oxygen uptake, boosts heart health, detoxifies the body, slows the aging process, increases energy, and improves the immune system.
  • Mucuna Puriens: Supports a healthy central & peripheral nervous system, helps the body’s ability to handle stress. Is a natural source of levodopa (L-dopa)*. Improves energy and endurance.

Keep in mind, these herbs do NOT taste good. They are earthy and can be strong, so it took some trial and error to find a recipe that I actually enjoyed drinking. Lucky for you, I will save you from the bitter taste tests and provide you my recipe:

My Adaptogen Potion (Or my chai recipe with Adaptogens)

  •  ½ teaspoon ashwagandha
  • ½ teaspoon cordyceps
  •  ½ teaspoon mucuna puriens
  • ½ teaspoon reishi
  • ½ teaspoon collagen
  • 2 servings of chai: I use Blue Lotus 
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla (vanilla powder works too)
  • 1 date, pitted
  • splash of almond milk

Boil some water, enough for a cup, add all of the above to a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Drink slowly.

I am not a doctor, nor am I an herbalist or a nutritionist. Please speak with a doctor before incorporating any adaptogens into your diet. Most of my adaptogens are from Sun Potion, I got the reishi and collagen from Thrive Market.

There it is, do some research, find what you think will work for you. There are so many ways to consume adaptogens, you can take them in pill form, or add them to soups, you can make a matcha latte with them. The possibilities are endless. If you try my recipe above, let me know what you think!

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A Lazy Girl’s Guide To Healthy Living

Let me start by saying that I am not a nutritionist nor am I a health care professional. I am just a woman who loves to eat, nearing her 30’s and battling an ever-slowing metabolism.

That said, these are the tools/actions that keep me slim, healthy and happy.

Eating healthy and staying healthy is a STRUGGLE. We’ve all had our own variation of joining a gym, hitting it hard, eating clean, and for that first month we are on our best behavior but, over time, you start to slack off. You think “well I am seeing changes, one slice of pizza won’t hurt”. Then the next day you say “well. . . those nachos won’t hurt “. Then you do the one thing that puts the nail in the coffin – you skip the gym! The next thing you know, it’s been a month since your last workout and you’re back to the point where your clothes don’t fit, you don’t remember the last time you had a salad, and the only time your gym clothes are getting used is for those lazy Sunday’s binging on Netflix.

Sound familiar? This was my pattern. Now, I am not perfect, I have days where I overindulge. I have weeks where I only work out 3 times a week. And you know what? That is OK.

Step #1: Practice Self-Love

Please, stop beating yourself up. So, you ate some pizza, and ice cream and had a few beers. Did you hurt anyone? Did you hurt yourself? If the answer is “no”, you’re good. The minute you stop beating yourself up is THE very minute you step into the right direction of LIVING healthy. We need to have a positive relationship with ourselves. We need to have a positive relationship with food! We shouldn’t shame ourselves for treating ourselves to the food that we enjoy. Now, mind you – everything within reason. My motto is “everything in moderation”, but if you love pie, then go eat some pie! But consider this:

Step #2 Get to Cookin’

Bake that pie yourself. You’re less likely to funnel a piece or two of pie down your throat if you’re the one who baked it. You will savor it. You will share it. You will not overindulge, because you know the time and effort that went into that beautiful piece of pie – or cake- or cookies – or pizza.

If you want to be healthy and not drain your bank account, you have to LEARN TO COOK. If you’re lazy like I am, you’re not going to take the time out of your day to make pizza from scratch. Nah, I’d rather cook up some quinoa, roast some veggies and call it a day. Once you start cooking from scratch you’ll notice a difference in how food tastes. Soon all of those boxes of mac and cheese, and frozen meals will start to taste . . . like plastic (because they practically are). You have more control over what goes into your food and before you know it, you might enjoy cooking!

Not sure how to cook healthy food? Don’t worry, I get it. It’s intimidating AF. The first step is knowing how to shop:

Step #3 Shop the Perimeter

Avoid anything that comes in a box/package. Except for beans, butter, etc. Pass on that tasty, high sodium, preservative laced, chana masala package that you can throw in the microwave and in 5 minutes, BAM you’re in India. Don’t do it. I know it’s easy, but there are so many preservatives and added ingredients that go into pre-made meals. They might tell you it’s healthy – but guess what – that’s just MARKETING. Think about it. You should be questioning every label that tells you something is “healthy” or “natural”. If they have to tell you that it is good for you, it probably isn’t. When it comes to brands, just like people, you can always tell when they’re trying too hard.

I rarely shop the middle of a grocery store, unless I am buying my cooking building blocks like olive oil, or spices. How does this help? If I don’t keep it in the house, then I won’t eat it. Why? Because I am lazy. If it’s not within reach, it’s not going in my belly.

OK, now that we’ve addressed that, where do you go to find inspiration for nutritious meals? Find a company that sells healthy meals (for ex. Fit Kitchen). Look at their menu and copy it. They normally list all of the ingredients, so follow their lead. Pinterest is another great place to find motivation. Let’s be honest, this can be overwhelming. It can even be annoying and you might want to quit. That’s OK. Remember, be kind to yourself. Take a step back, treat yourself to some chocolate and try again tomorrow. Another great resource is the gym. If you’ve joined one, ask a trainer about healthy eating. See what they recommend. I guarantee they have a resource that you can use. Which takes us to our final step:

Step #4 Workout

You have to move your body. Our bodies are incredible. They do amazing things. Intimidating? Yeah. Worth it? HELL YEAH.

We’ve all been there. Even that yogi that can fly from crow to chaturanga was a beginner who couldn’t touch her toes and thought that binds were for those that didn’t have bones in their bodies. I remember walking into my first yoga class, my first barre class, my first HIIT class. It sucked. I didn’t know what to wear. I didn’t understand proper form, but I kept going back. I kept trying new things. Until I found a routine that worked for me.

There is no “one way” to work out – some people love boot camp style workouts, cool. Some people like Zumba, cool. Explore. Figure out what you enjoy and get into it! Don’t try to push yourself into a style that doesn’t work for you. Why? Because you’ll never go.

Have a bad day? Couldn’t quite get into the groove? Forgive yourself. Take a deep breath, thank yourself for GOING to the gym, treat yourself to some chocolate, and try again tomorrow.

But, please don’t give up. Don’t stop. You owe it yourself to keep going!

You’ve probably gone through this list thinking, “there isn’t anything lazy about these steps!” I hear you, but once you start to introduce these 4 things into your daily life, you’ll see it’s not that hard! You’ll find that you will be healthier and happier. You WILL start to see change. It won’t be overnight, so be patient and be kind to yourself. Just remember, everyone’s definition of “healthy” is going to be different, listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right, stop doing it.

What are your “lazy girl” recommendations for healthy living? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear them!

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My Favorite: Golden Milk Recipe

What is golden milk? Think of it as turmeric tea or if you’re feeling boujie it’s a turmeric latte.

Why am I drinking this? Tumeric is chock full of curcumin which is a powerful anti -inflammatory and digestion booster. This is also a great way to boost your immune system, has been said to help clear the skin and is great for your liver. Paired with cinnamon, coconut oil, ginger and black pepper (which increases the bioavailability of the curcumin) you’re in for an overall health tonic.

This stuff has been my lazy morning/soothing evening drink of choice. I’ve tried a few golden milk recipes but found them to be a bit too bitter for me. Below you will find my tried and true recipe 😋.

***  I used cashew milk today, but feel free to use whole milk, almond or the milk substitute of your choice. Keep in mind, the higher the fat content of your “milk” the better you’re going to be able to absorb the turmeric. With that said, I added coconut oil to amp up the fat. ***

GOLDEN MILK RECIPE

  1. 1-1 1/2 cup of milk
  2. 1 teaspoon turmeric
  3. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 teaspoon honey
  7. 1 teaspoon grade b maple syrup
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or a nub of fresh ginger
  9. Pinch of black pepper
  10. Pinch of nutmeg

Combine ingredients into a small pot or sauce pan. Whisk and bring to a boil, then let it simmer for a few minutes. (This process should take no more than 5 minutes). Strain into a cup and enjoy! If you’re still on that boujie tip, use a milk frother to make it nice and silky.

My Favorite Granola Recipe 

Regardless of the season, this is one of my favorite, easy, go-to breakfasts. Not only is it comforting, but it’s so versatile – you can use any nuts you want, spice it to make it more season appropriate and add any fruit that you wish. I promise you, make this once and it will soon be a staple in your breakfast repertoire 😋.

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Combine the oats, pepitas, and chopped nuts

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Mix in the vanilla, maple syrup and melted coconut oil

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Top with salt and mix until combined. You have no idea how good this smells! Once it’s finished you can wait for it to cool or dig in when it’s warm and fresh from the oven.


I like to top mine with almond milk and pomegranates 😍

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Whole Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts ( I used Pecans)
2 Tbsp Melted Coconut Oil
2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Large Pinch Fine Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you start to smell it.

Carne, Verduras, and Everything In Between

I realize I have talked some big talk about loving food on here, but there is little content dedicated to food. How that’s possible, I have no idea. It’s not fair – to me, to you – to the food!

I think everyone’s first reaction to the food here (aside from how amazing the beef is – because everyone knows that) is – “it’s so hard to eat healthy here.” Yup, those very words came out of not only mine, but every other extranjero’s mouth. At a glance this attitude is easy to understand, you have heladerias every 10 feet, and restaurant menus seem to mainly consist of – carne, queso, empanadas, pizza, and or pasta.

Eating here can also be an adjustment as the food isn’t that diverse, it’s delicious, yeah, but diverse? No. Argentine cuisine is infamous for not using spices and don’t even think about getting anything picante (spicy), I am serious. For a Mexican girl like me, this has been difficult. And due to the ridiculous restrictions on imported goods, it can be hard to find your favorite chili sauces, herbs, spices etc. And when you do find them, they are insanely overpriced.

Now, the majority of my money goes to food, in my opinion, it’s money well spent, and while I tend to eat out often (shh) I have to say that since moving here I have seriously stepped up my cooking game! I have always loved to bake, but cooking is a different breed. I am a slight control freak, and with cooking you to have to learn to let go. But, the teacher of desire has pushed me to take a step back, relax, and let go en la cocina. I I have noticed that in cooking here, I have really cut back on carbs, processed foods and sugar. OK, not sugar. I’m sorry the helado is too good.

The key to cooking, and eating, here is knowing where to go. Once you know what is going on when it comes to where to shop and what to ask for etc. you will find that there is a lot of room to be creative, and yes, healthy here. Thanks to the verdulerias on every block you can count on fresh seasonal produce -WINN! Some neighborhoods offer a better selection than others and if you can find one owned by Bolivians, you are in luck, as they always have cilantro and jalapenos.

I always avoid “the chino”, Asain owned supermercados (fyi all Asians are referred to as “Chino” here – just the way it is, ask my Vietnamese friend). Why? Their selections are limited and often overpriced. On that note, if you want to splurge on imported goods, Barrio Chino, albeit far, is your one stop shop for imported goods. But, it’s not your only option. There is a great little health food store off of Anchorena and Santa Fe that carries Sriracha, Nutella, and yes peanut butter! They also carry quinoa and other health items. There is another place near Carranza and Caballido (think Palermo Hollywood) that sells quinoa, coconut milk, popcorn kernels and other random delights. Also, there is a huge Coto (think Alberston’s) in Abasto that pretty much has everything you might need – and they deliver – just saying.

All this said, I still avoid buying and cooking fish. Back home, I cooked fish all the time, but here – I just can’t trust it. I know there are good places to buy fish here but . .. I can’t do it. But, ughhh how I miss it. Also, keep in mind – if you are only here for a short time – 6 months and under – AVOID sushi. You will just be disappointed. Everything is stuffed with cream cheese and the tuna, the tuna,  is canned tuna. There are places that sell “red tuna” but the price isn’t worth it. Yes, you might cry. But, who needs sushi when you can order asado de tira, or bife de chorizo?! “Healthy eating”, vegetarianism etc are starting to catch on here and as a result there are some great restaurants to feed your healthy appetite. They may be a little more expensive, but then again, everything is expensive here – so if you can, go for it!

Long story short, it’s possible to eat well and healthy here, it just takes time to figure it out, and that is half the fun right?! So, get out there and get cooking! Buen provecho!

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**I am unable to load images for a minute, until I purchase a new cord or laptop. Somehow I imagine the cord will come first ;). Until then, allow the random ones I will be uploading :D.