COLLARD WRAPS ARE LIFE

Collard wraps have literally changed my life

I'm not going to lie, sometimes I am really, really bad at getting all my veggies in for the day and I also get in the habit of only sautéing or baking instead of eating them fresh. My life changed one day as I decided to prep my veggies. I bought collard greens with those big beautiful leaves to put in my smoothies and when I chopped off the bottom half, realized that the top half kind of looked like a big green tortilla. I know what you're thinking. "Stevie you didn't invent collard green wraps", and I'm going to disagree, just kidding! However we all get inspired at different times and its a matter of situation.  Here are a couple recipes that I really fell in love with but to be honest I find that you can throw so many things in, even laying around your fridge, to make it so tasty! This prevents food waste, getting a healthy amount of protein & nutrients in, and fills your tummy! For eco friendliness, source your ingredients local, organic & from the farmers market! Bring a cloth produce bag when grocery shopping to prevent using the plastic bags they offer. I buy mine from Simple Ecology!

MY FAVORITE OF ALL TIME - The Shitaake Peanut Wrap

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INGREDIENTS:
Peanut sauce:

-2 tablespoons peanut butter
-1 teaspoon tamarin or gluten free soy sauce
-1 tablespoon coconut amigos (add more to taste if you need)
-juice from 1/4 to 1/2 lime (add to taste) (compost or reuse lime rinds!)

Veggies:
-2 Collard leaves or whatever you think you can eat (chop the ends off and reuse for smoothies or salads!)
-5 shiitake mushrooms sliced
-3 kale leaves chopped or big handful spinach
-1/2 carrot chopped into long slices
-1/2 cup sprouts ( I use sunflower seed sprouts but any kind works)
- 1-2 green onion chopped
- handful cilantro chopped
Note : Feel free to add anything you want in this! Hemp seeds would be good for more protein, any other veggies etc...

DIRECTIONS:
For the sauce: 
Add all the ingredients to a very small bowl and whisk or mix altogether with a fork until its smooth and creamy! 
For the filling: Saute mushrooms with olive oil or coconut oil on medium low with light salt. Shiitake can be tricky sometimes because it can get rubbery if you don't cook it right -  so the longer you cook it on a medium to lower setting, the better it gets. Be friendly with the oil you put in, it makes it so buttery and yummy!! After about 5-7 minutes, add spinach just for 2 minutes. 
1. Spread the peanut sauce in the middle of your collard wrap.
2. Add the mushrooms and kale/spinach then add the rest!
3. Take the edge of your collard leaf over the middle part over the filling and start rolling! 
4. YUM and YAY!
5. Make sure if there are any scraps to compost or reuse for smoothies/soups/etc. Zero waste win
 

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Running Tips!

How running saved my life
and
10 easy tips to get started and stay motivated!

 

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Yay we are talking about one of my favorite topics. Running! If you want to get started but don't know how or if you have energy or stress you don't know how to expel, I would suggest running as an avenue of aid. Here are some easy tips to get you started. Below that, is my story on how it changed my entire life, so feel free to read it if you have the time! 




                                                                                   TIPS
1. Go into it with no expectation except to be in tune to how your body is all working! Go at a conversational pace and take it slow. To start, don't focus on pace, just distance. (2 - 4 miles to start!)

2. Do you have the right shoes? It's so important to invest in a good shoe. I used to have really thick soled shoes because they were recommended to me and it caused me a lot of troubles. My Iliotibial band started hurting, my ankles kept rolling, my hips were misaligning and it took me a while to figure out it was because of my shoe. I swear by Newton Running . Have used their shoes for the past 7 years.

3. If you're a morning runner, what your last meal was will heavily weigh on your performance. For dinner, make sure you eat a fairly carb heavy meal, as it will help with energy. I don't eat breakfast before morning runs, but if you do, make it light! 

4. The first 15 minutes is to recalibrate. Your body is trying to bring back a homeostasis and that takes time. The oxygen in your blood is heading to your muscles and your muscles make more enzymes to turn fuel into energy. So your body which is your factory is working hard, make mental room for that!

5. When breathing, make sure you inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth at a smooth and constant speed. Your lungs will operate better when it gets consistency.

6. If you're trying to make it weekly a habit, start a training schedule and start with 3 days a week. Pick 2 days of the week where you run (walk when necessary) for 20-30 minutes then pick a day on the weekend where you can run (walk when necessary) for 40 minutes! 

7. Don't think you have to run the whole time! Walk breaks are still incredibly needed for me and it gives your body a little break. Walk breaks during my run help me to not get burnt out in the future.

8. Treat yo-self after! Make sure you eat something after your run that is going to be exciting and filling. I also love drinking daterade. I'll post the recipe in my blog this week! Also, I usually make a smoothie or sweet potato toast. (A frequent smoothie for me is banana, mixed greens, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and a nut butter or my ultra micronutrient smoothie!) 

9. Stretch afterward. I forget this step a lot but I think its really important for recovery and prevention of future strains and pulls.

10. Remember that your rest days are equally important than your running days. When you rest, you let your body adapt to the stress you are putting on it, which in turn makes you perform better, faster, and stronger. HAPPY TRAILS!!!!




MY STORY!

 It's been a long and loving road and running has benefit me in more ways than I can count so I wanted to tell you how it began for me so maybe it can spark some excitement for you to start too! 

I believe that life has a beautiful ebb and flow where everything falls apart so it can come back together to make more room for positivity and growth. I was an extremely different person 10 years ago and am so thankful life brought me those times of turmoil. During senior year and right after high school, these "falling apart" moments started. My stomach would constantly be bloated and in so much crippling pain no matter what, I started to get severe verge-of-panic-attack social anxiety and it was often hard to even talk to my mom (the only thing that would help was alcohol), I was breaking out really bad on my cheeks and they were so painful, my parents abruptly got divorced, I could NOT get over a boy I was head over heels with (sounds trivial now but the struggle was so real haha), I was teaching at a private daycare at the time but didn't know my life direction, I would get brain fog so bad that I couldn't even finish a full thought or sentence, and I was gaining weight. 

The first awakening for me was traveling to Africa (that has a whole story of its own) and then immediately after I moved to Boulder, Colorado. I moved up there with no job and I remember I was completely out of money.  I didn't have any furniture, mattress, phone, tv or laptop, all my friends were away for a month and I would just lay on my floor in the middle of the day and wish I was sleeping. This was before I even knew what meditation, yoga, or unwinding was, which honestly sounds so crazy now. Anyhow, all I had was a small suitcase with an old pair of running shoes and some clothes. After a week or so of driving myself crazy, I stopped pitying myself and decided I was gonna be a runner. So I took some borrowed gear and my old shoes and drove to a mountain in Boulder. I started at the bottom of the trail and just started sprinting like a mad man up the hill. It wasn't until about 30-45 seconds where I was freaking out. How do people do this for even 5 minutes? 30 minutes? WHAT! I was perplexed so I went home and thats when my obsession began.

My feet connected all the way to my heart and then into my brain and I HAD to solve this puzzle. I found a short and even trail I used to walk on and made that my practice grounds. I'd go everyday and test myself. 1/4 of a mile without stopping. Then a 1/2 a mile without stopping. After 2 months, a full mile without stopping. I took it extremely slow because I didn't want to push it til exhaustion because I was honestly enjoying the high I would get with every tiny success. After a year I finally made it to 3 miles without stopping and then I worked on speed. It was one of those things where you realize no one can take this from you. Just you and the pavement and theres no such things as right or wrong. Too slow for who? Too fast for who? Every moment I started, I celebrated and it didn't matter how far or fast I was. I was a runner and no matter what else I did that day, I felt accomplished. 

Now this is where everything else fell into line. In order for me to perform well for myself on the trail, it was important to figure out why I was in so much pain with my stomach. Long story short, I realized I was Celiac and my entire life changed when I cut it out of my diet. My break outs stopped, I no longer felt like I was going to die after a meal, my social anxiety was gone, but the biggest thing for me was my brain fog. I could finally think clearly again and no longer was a prisoner in my own head. 

So what did running do for me? It connected the dots and realigned my body with my mind and all back into my heart. It rebalanced my reality and gave me a new perspective on my worth and how to feel my best. Once I found my outlet, I found my answers. No matter what is stressing me out at the time, I have a more clear path on how to work through it! 

Hair care!

MY HAIR CARE ROUTINE ( 7 days of no washing or products)
&
How to train your hair to not depend on shampoo and conditioner!
 

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 I remember in high school and even years after saying "why can't my hair just be shiny, flat and pretty?" I would like to describe my hair as thick strands like a horse, very wavy and huge, and I've always thought it was so unmanageable. No matter how many or what type of products I would use, it would always take me (not kidding) 2-3 hours to get it to a manageable point and even then I couldn't stop trying to fix it every second. Not to mention if it got wet or humid even a little, my hair would frizz up like a fluffy poodle. It wasn't until I decided to embrace my big waves and stop relying on what I thought was the "perfect" products that I started actually loving my hair. It took some time to figure it all out but it was all worth it. 
 

How do you even start training your hair not to rely on all these products that your hair has depended on for all these years? Well I believe it all really all has to do with picking up these habits.

-Comb out frequently! For those with crazy curls or big waves like mine, you know its hard to do that and present ourselves to society. So take 2-5 minutes every other night before bed to really comb from roots to end to distribute the oils. Our hair pretty much produces a natural conditioner and keeping the flow is important. We don't want any clogged pores. 
- Do not over-condition y'all! In saying that our own natural oils are its own conditioner, using conditioner just doubles up that grease. So if you do want to do a longer time without washing your hair, I would skip the conditioner or do about 1/2 of what you normally do. In training your hair, eventually we want to not rely on conditioner since our bodies do the same thing except better!
-Manage that mid way awkward stage- So about 3 or 4 days in, my hair gets weird. A bit greasy, and the curls (or if I wear it straight) seems stale and hard to manage. At this point there a few roads to take:
1. The Stevie road. Before my shower, I comb it REALLY well and hop in the shower! This makes it easy for the oil to distribute and then wash away. Afterward, my hair does this shiny curl thing that I absolutely love! You can also make a simple fragrance mist with essential oils diluted in water to make it smell nice.
2. The apple cider vinegar rinse.  I used to use this as conditioner but found a new wash, but I hear a lot of people use this as a nice mid way gentle clean! 
-Embrace an updo or hair accessories sometimes! I can wear my hair down about 3 or 4 days out of the entire 7. With that being said, I really like undo's and I don't mind wearing hats ( I have a greek fisherman hat that makes me feel like a bad ass lol) . Down in a low bun with twists, or braids, high pony tail, messy high bun. All of that can disguise those days where you can't quite manage your hair. Sometimes it feels too greasy, sometimes it gets stiff and I always find that these choices really refresh everything.

I documented 7 days just to show you what I did with my hair!
 

 DAY 1

DAY 1

 Day 2. To be honest I just woke up and did nothing to it that day, haha. It was a bit too poofy for my liking but when I lightly curl the ends and put some almond oil afterwards, its a lot better. 

Day 2. To be honest I just woke up and did nothing to it that day, haha. It was a bit too poofy for my liking but when I lightly curl the ends and put some almond oil afterwards, its a lot better. 

 Day 3. Updo's, wraps or hats on this day usually!

Day 3. Updo's, wraps or hats on this day usually!

 Day 4: Didn't have time to wash it and was in a rush so I threw it up in a pony tail even though it was definitely ready for a wash!!

Day 4: Didn't have time to wash it and was in a rush so I threw it up in a pony tail even though it was definitely ready for a wash!!

 Day 5: I really love this day. My hair is still wet from the shower but it dries so nice and curly and I curl a bit of the top to accentuate my underneath curls and I love it! 

Day 5: I really love this day. My hair is still wet from the shower but it dries so nice and curly and I curl a bit of the top to accentuate my underneath curls and I love it! 

 Day 6: Loved this day too! A nice low bun with twists. It felt nice and shiny and laid really well. 

Day 6: Loved this day too! A nice low bun with twists. It felt nice and shiny and laid really well. 

What are my products?!
Almond Oil: I use this when my hair is frizzy and it smooths out the frizz so well, all day. Do NOT use this before you take any sort of heat mechanism to it (curling iron, blow dryer, flat iron). You are essentially cooking your hair if you do that, which will compromise the quality of it (obviously, haha). I do it after, if I do use any of those.
Shampoo: Vermont soap has an all purpose, palm oil free lavender cleaner that I purchased in bulk at my favorite food co-op in Manhattan! 
Hair brush: I use Bass bamboo hair brush with wood bristles and a 100% bamboo handle! I love it so much! You can probably find it online but I bought mine at a whole foods with all recyclable, and no plastic packaging.

Now heres my documentation of the 7 days with notes that may be helpful. Dang, this may be my lengthiest blog post yet! I feel like there is just a lot to cover and this information could be helpful to some! 

1st day is WASH day: Only a quarter size amount into palm of my all purpose cleaner from Vermont Soap. Rub together til all foamy in hands then get the roots. My hair is typically really frizzy and wavy but ever since I’ve done the  5+ day thing, its tamed itself.  I won’t comb the first day, since the oils aren’t building up quite yet.

2nd day: Easy to manage and it acquires a certain shine. I just woke up, curled the ends a bit and that was it! In the evening I take about 2-5 minutes, play some music and just comb my hair from roots to end. This distributes the oil evenly and conditions the entirety of my hair. I also find that combing my hair gets rid of dandruff at the roots and any unclogs sebum glands.

3rd day: A great updo day for me! I usually throw it up in a bun with a hair wrap, maybe in a hat in a low bun or something like that. I comb 2-5 minutes before bed too!

4th day: Didn’t have time to wet it or style so I dragged the straight hair another day and threw it in a pony tail! At this point there is signs of grease and my dark hair hides it pretty well! These days usually consist of another updo, hair wrap, or hat day.

5th day: Time to change it up! When in the shower I’ll get it all wet! I may take my body/face soap bar and wash just my hair line just to avoid any breakouts along my face or my forehead. My hair is naturally big and wavy and it looks at its best in the later days of my wash timeline (4th or 5 day). I will curl the strands that are being a little flimsy. If there is some frizz on the top I will put a bit of almond oil in my hands and rub my palms together then smooth it out (a really small amount! about the 1/4 size of my pinky nail.)

6th day: Really easy to manage, it looks nice and has shine to it, I couldn't wear it down but it looked really nice in a low bun with yesterdays slight curl.

7th day: Wash! Or not, if it still looks good!

Zero Waste Toothpaste!

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ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE! 

Once you make this toothpaste for the first time and you buy your handy bamboo toothbrush, you will realize how easy it is to make a huge difference everyday in lessening plastic consumption, landfill pile up, and not supporting resource sucking industries! Knowing what ingredients go into your everyday teeth, face and body care also means voting no on deforestation and saving species from habitat destruction. So lets do it!

A good bamboo toothbrush brand is
-Brush with Bamboo

For floss I use
- Dental lace  (no plastic, a re-usable container, and commercial composts accept it!)

NOTES:
-It's important to never use metal or stainless steel of any kind when using bentonite clay. Bentonite clay has some amazing properties and draws out bacteria as well as remineralizes your teeth. If it touches metal, it loses all its charge and will then be a pointless ingredient in your toothpaste.
- Sometimes if it gets cold, your coconut oil may harden in your pipes, clogging the drain. An easy fix is to just pour hot water down it and it will melt it all down!
- You are not supposed to ingest these essential oils unless diluted properly so I would advise not to add any to toothpaste intended for children unless you are certain they will not swallow it. Using non-diluted essential oils is completely okay for toothpaste since it will mostly be spit out. 
-Spearmint/peppermint keeps your breath fresh, cinnamon essential oils is antimicrobial, tea tree is anti fungal, and clove has germicidal properties and obstructs pathogenic bacteria! 
A good essential oil brand that focuses on sourcing sustainably is Mountain Rose Herbs


TOOTHPASTE (makes 4 oz)
What you'll need: 
1. 4 oz jar or any small glass container (no metal)
2. A wooden spoon or stir stick ( I reused a wooden chopstick). No metal or steel - the bentonite clay will lose its beneficial charge.

Ingredients:
4 tbsp Coconut oil
1.5 - 2 tbsp Baking soda (baking soda can be harsh on gums, and if you experience this, lessen the amount)
1 tbsp Bentonite clay
Drops of essential oil (peppermint, cinnamon, or spearmint ) 

Directions:
1.  Add room temp coconut oil to your jar
2. Stir in baking soda and the bentonite clay with your wooden spoon
3. Add your essential oils to your liking. I do about 10-20 drops.
4. VOILA!!!
5. I store at room temperature for easy use! 

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Vegan/GF Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread

VEGAN/GF CINNAMON APPLE PIE BREAD

This recipe makes one delicious & guilt-free apple pie bread. You will feel full gratitude for life, for food, and for the planet. Don't you just love when food can do that? Awaken your senses and your present being? Am I being too emotional about this loaf of bread?

I say guilt free in every way because its palm oil free, no refined sugars, no animal products being used to save resources and it feels way good for your soul. The apples are local and organic and all the ingredients I bought in bulk or had all recyclable and no plastic packaging!

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INGREDIENTS:
 2 tsp ground cinnamon
 1 cup maple syrup (or coconut sugar or another sugar you prefer)
 ¼ cup coconut oil (softened, not liquid)
 ¼ cup applesauce
 2 chia eggs  (for one chia egg mix 1 tbsp chia with 3 tbsp water)
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract      
 1½ cups Gluten free flour (see note at bottom of ingredient list for kind I use) 
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 ⅓ cup almond milk (or milk you prefer)
 1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped

*Note: I use Pamela's Gluten Free Baking and Pancake mix (choose the non-dairy one for vegan) for most of my baking! I ordered the 25 lb. bag one because its the only one that comes in all paper and zero plastic. It has lasted me about 6 months and I'm only half way there so it's the best purchase ever!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine small bowl with 1/3 cup sugar with cinnamon and set aside
  3. Mix together (I used my magic bullet) 2/3 cup sugar and coconut oil until blended and semi-fluffy. Then mix in apple sauce, chia eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Stir together flour and baking powder and then add flour and almond milk to mixture.
  5. Stir to combine and do not overmix.
  6. Pour half into greased and floured loaf pan. Sprinkle in 1/2 of the apples and 1/2 of the cinnamon mixture.
  7. Stir rest of the apples into the remaining batter and pour rest into pan. Top with the rest of the cinnamon mixture.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top comes out golden brown and until knife comes out clean.
  9. YAY!!

Home made All purpose spray

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Easiest eco-friendly all purpose cleaner!

NO plastic packaging, nasty ingredients, or spending way too much money with this incredibly easy cleaner that I use for my entire house! Just save your citrus rinds, buy some white vinegar, and gather a few favorite essential oils. 
I feel like I should write a lot but theres really nothing more to say here. I'm so in love with this recipe for a clean home and I'm sure I'll be using this recipe the rest of my life! Are you ready?

ALL PURPOSE CLEANER:

Ingredients:
(I have a 64 oz jar but it just depends on how much you want)


-Leftover citrus rinds (I have orange and lemon)
-White vinegar (I use the 32 oz glass bottles of Heinz White vinegar)
-Water
-Essential oils (I rotate between spearmint & lavender together or tea tree.

Directions:

1. Fill up any size jar with your leftover citrus rinds and store in the fridge
2. Submerge them fully in white vinegar and keep in fridge for 2 weeks. You can add rinds as you go!
3. After 2 weeks strain out the citrus rinds and compost them.
4. Cut citrus vinegar in half with water. Ratio should be 1:1 (exact same amount of both)
5. Add essential oils to how you like
6. SPRAY YOUR ENTIRE EVERYTHING CLEAN BECAUSE YOU DID IT! WOOO!!!

Note: To make it even more eco-friendly, wipe with reusable everyday cloth napkins or "unpaper" towels. You can find some on Etsy or make your own using cloth or towels you don't use anymore and cut them into squares.
 

 Fill up your citrus rind jar with white vinegar!

Fill up your citrus rind jar with white vinegar!

 Final product! 

Final product!