Bird Friendly Coffee

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There are so many moments through out our day that we barely remember - or at most points are just purely habit. Waking up, taking a shower, grabbing coffee, getting groceries. etc… and surprisingly it is in these moments that what we do matters the most. Advertisements and corporations have done a lovely job in making it seem like everything is lovely as long as you buy their product. Ads where beautiful couples run around their apartments and jump together while making a cup of coffee and then ka-noodle as they drink it merrily. After seeing that, we rarely have any mental space for wondering “I wonder what plot of land is being taken up in order to produce these beans?” or better yet “What intricate eco system is dwindling because of this company?”. They would rather us wonder “how can I be that happy? how can I be that pretty? Maybe this coffee will solve this.”

So what kind of destruction does coffee cause?! Up until the 1970s, all of the worlds coffee was grown underneath rainforest canopies. Today, 3/4 of the worlds coffee is being grown in the full sun or poor shade - driving deforestation, habitat and wildlife population loss. So our morning cup of coffee is driving precious birds and other species to die off out of existence. Since coffee is grown in 13 of the 25 most biodiverse hotspots - it is SO important we support eco friendly practices. There is a bird friendly gold standard that uses a combination of tree cover, height, diversity, and organic certification to ensure that we maintain the ecosystem to save species and habitat!

Whats the problem with so many coffee companies? Nowadays most coffee is sun grown - which means it requires fertilizers and pesticides which contaminate water supply! Studies show that when a production clear cuts forests for sun grown coffee, animal and plant species decrease by half.
Why is tree cover so important? Trees play a vital role in soaking up carbon, so the more trees on a coffee farm, the easier it is to fight climate change and from more carbon entering the atmosphere. Farmers can also use shade trees to shield coffee bushes increased weather conditions due to climate change.
So why choose bird friendly coffee? These productions are second to undisturbed forests for birds and wildlife! They are certified organic too so they don’t use any artificial pesticides or fertilizers. Trees are amazing and they provide shade cover which improves water quality, enhances soil fertility, attracts pollinators and animals that consume pests and decreases erosion! By supporting bird friendly coffee - life in these ecosystems are back in balance!



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Finding a Bird Friendly coffees is easy, simply look for the Bird Friendly seal! Businesses that put earth first, love to talk about that and will be very transparent on their labels. I bought this coffee brand Birds and Beans and I truly love them. They have an array of choices and they have amazing packaging. They are Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center (SMBC) certified and represents a gold standard in ethical and sustainable coffee business! Instead of cutting down forests and precious habitats, their coffee is grown under a canopy of trees that provide shelter, food and a habitat for birds to thrive.

Saving the world doesn’t mean giving up what you love - it means being present everyday and making choices that support our earth and our existence while we can still enjoy our lives!

Inviting Herbs into Your Daily Routine

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INVITING HERBS INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE

By Leslie Bish

The following is an excerpt from her herbal program FLOURISH; a 30 day detox, nutrition plan and herbal education program to learn how to incorporate herbs into your daily life. Check out the bottom of the post for more info and how to sign up!

Step 1

Unlike vampires, herbs will not seduce you into coming over only to drink your blood. Like vampires, you must invite them in. What does that mean? When beginning an herbal practice, what we’re actually doing is forging a relationship with a plant. In our society we don’t “get to know” our prescription drugs, generally speaking we don’t meditate with a bottle of Xanax hoping it will  better help us cope with our anxiety. Those pills go down the hatch, numbing the anxiety while causing an array of side effects along the way. Herbs are plants, plants are ALIVE. If you come to them with an intention, they’ll listen.

“Herbalism is based on a relationship—relationship between plant and human, plant and planet, human and planet. Using herbs in the healing process means taking part in an ecological cycle. This offers us the opportunity consciously to be present in the living, vital world of which we are part; to invite wholeness and our world into our lives through awareness of the remedies being used. The herbs can link us to a broader context of planetary wholeness, so that whilst they are doing their psychological/medical job, we can do ours and build an awareness of the links and mutual relationships.” - David Hoffman

This may feel “woo-woo”, esoteric or just plain confusing. That’s okay! All thoughts welcome. In the modern age, we as a human species are extremely removed from nature, we seem to  exist as separate entities rather than one symbiotic unit. The exciting news is that herbs in your daily practice will lead you to energetically, emotionally and spiritually plug into the natural world. Woah. Do I sound insane yet? Good. Forgoing what modern society deems as “normal” is step one in creating a relationship with herbs.

So, step 1 is go insane. Are you following? Moving on to step 2: Where to begin.

Where to start? Which herbs should one begin with? Just as not all plants are food, not all herbs are going to be your specific medicine. Would you go outside and fill your salad bowl with leaves and grass clippings? (Though step 1 is “go insane” so at this point you’re ready for anything.) Have discernment when beginning your herbal venture. When a certain herbs become trendy (ashwaghanda anyone?) they take market dominance over more common-known herbs with the same properties, which can lead to overharvesting.

Another factor to consider, we are a consumer culture. We are conditioned to think more is better, we like to go to town. And most herbs are safe to take endless amounts of. But part of the beauty of herbs in that a) you don’t need to take endless amounts of them to feel results in your body & mind) you can take herbs incrementally until you feel like you’ve reached a good stasis for yourself. This is all part of getting to know the relationship between yourself and a given plant. Beginning your herbal journey, start with one or two herbs at a time, once or twice a day. This slow introduction will enable you to notice how specific herbs actually feel in your body! A noticeable effect from an herb may take some time to build, pay attention to this. Try lavender, lemon balm or holy basil tea in moments of tension. No, they won’t feel as powerful as muscle relaxers, remember subtlety? But they will indeed nourish your nervous system and come to your rescue in a subtle, purposeful way.

A general dosage for adults under 70 years old is a tbsp of dried herb 1-3 times a day or 1 dropper (30 drops) of a tincture 1-3 times a day.

Step 3: Identify your needs.

When I first began pursuing my interest in herbalism, it was because I was frustrated with symptoms I had been suffering from for years without any real relief from doctors or prescription medication. Think about what lead you to read this blog, what are your needs? I had been suffering from insomnia for years. I learned about the herb skullcap—a “nervine”, an herb that nourishes and rebuilds the nervous system and is specifically indicated for circular thoughts (the exact form of anxiety I could not shake at night while trying to go to sleep!). I had dabbled with prescription sleep medication for years: Lunesta, Ambien, etc. When I began taking skullcap, I noticed clarity rather the brain fog I had become so accustomed as a side effect of my sleeping pills. I also stopped seeing shadow people with top hats in my room before I fell asleep, a REAL side effect I experienced from Ambien. It’s not that skullcap was a magic bullet for sleep, instantly lulling me into slumber. Instead I noticed something subtle but revolutionary—I was not laying in my bed awake at night, a prisoner to circular thought. As my body relaxed in my bed, I realized my thoughts and anxieties were not as dire as they had felt fifteen minutes prior. Herbs are often subtle. Unlike prescription medication, acting quick, fast and full of side effects, a mask for symptoms while the real problem lies underneath. Herbs actually heal the body, provide true restoration. As skullcap calms circular thoughts, it also nourishes and rebuilds the nervous system, meaning the more frequently you take skullcap before bed, the stronger your nervous system grows to combat generalized anxiety as a whole. The key to figuring out where to begin your herbal journey is to get quiet with yourself and listen to the needs of your body. Go from there. If you discover you do not have a specific ailment to attend to, wonderful! Herbs can act as amazing preventative allies when there is a tendency towards disease with no disease overtly present or there is a desire to strengthen and tone specific organs or systems of the body. While herbs are subtle, they can also be POWERFUL. Yes, dangerous herbs do exist. No, not all herbs are meant to be taken in willy-nilly doses over long periods of time. So what herbs are safe to start with?

Step 4, give tonic herbs a try.

What is a “tonic herb”? Tonic herbs are generally very safe, nourishing and tonifying to the body, they can generally be taken over a long period of time without negative consequences. Some examples of these herbs are holy basil (amazing and restorative for the nervous system, reishi and chaga (both fungi, extremely beneficial to the immune system) and nettles. One of my greatest herbal allies is nettles.

As a jumping off point, nettles are the herb to invite to the party. You can take nettles for a few weeks, months or… forever. Chalk full of minerals, this herb is nutritive and nourishing—you’ll notice stronger hair and nails and brighter skin within a few weeks. Nettles support full system functioning, great for supporting the adrenals, nervous system and reproductive system. Nettles are blood and bone building, while energizing to the body. DAMN. The beauty of nettles is that she teaches both the amazing benefits of herb, but also demonstrates the slow subtly of her power. It takes a few days or even weeks weeks to truly begin to notice the benefits of this herb. When I began drinking nettles everyday, I cherished the savory, light flavor in my mouth as a new relationship was slowly developing under the surface, a connection to the natural word. As I began to feel better and more supported, my interest in herbalism grew and my care for the natural world flourished. It has truly been the greatest walk I have been lucky enough to find. Nettles should be drank as a cold infusion, left to brew in room temperature water overnight. To make nettles for a few days time, take a gallon sized mason jar, toss in a fistfull of nettles (this is the dose size you need!) and fill the jar with water. Leave for 8 hours, strain and refrigerate. Drink a cup or two a day!

Step 5: Explore!

Through the desire to address specific needs in your body and a desire to connect with plants, you will discover your own herbal allies. Here is a starter list of herbs and their specified systems deemed safe to take over a long period of time:

Circulatory System: Hawthorne Berries

Respiratory System: Mullein

Digestive System: Meadowsweet

Nervous System: Skullcap

Skin: Nettles

Muscular and skeletal system: Celery Seed

Reproductive System: Raspberry Leaves

Urinary System: Buchu

(source David Hoffman)


Some herbal guides to check out:

The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

The Book of Herbal Wisdom by Matthew Wood

The Gift of Healing Herbs by Robin Rose Bennett

The Herbalist’s Way by Nancy and Michael Phillips

An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono


You can’t do herbalism wrong. With that said, there is such thing as trial and error. Notice what herbs work for you and which do not. If you detest the flavor of a certain herb, it may not be the herb for you. Notice the connection these plants offer you, you are making the beautiful return to the natural world, reestablishing an innate connection.

Learn the art of subtlety. Pay attention and slow down.

If nothing else, invite herbs into your life for these lessons alone—they are some of the most vital lessons we can learn.

If you’re interested in a more in-depth guide to learn how to incorporate herbs into your life, I have created the 30 day herbal detox program FLOURISH aimed at detoxing and supporting the liver, kidneys, adrenals and digestion, with herbal education modules and weekly rituals to learn in depth about and connect with each herb used to support our body. The program includes an organic and eco-responsible, trash-free herbal kit delivered straight to your door full of all the herbs necessary for 30 days. Sign up through my instagram account: Leslie_Bish





VEGAN CAESAR SALAD

I’ve been low key obsessed with vegan caesar salads lately - I don’t know why, but its fulfilling all my refreshing yet savory dreams and I don’t hate it. OH SHE GLOWS uses roasted garbanzo beans as croutons so I decided to do that to and love the way it came out!

Photo by  Choosing Chia!!

INGREDIENTS:
(serves 4)

1 romaine lettuce head
1/2 bunch Kale 
1 can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained - patted down dry
1 TBSP olive oil 
salt / paprika/ black pepper to taste
Dressing:
1 TBSP capers and 1/2 TBSP caper brine
3/4 cup vegan mayo (I have Sir Kensingtons)
1 tsp gf Worcestershire sauce (tamarin would work too)
1 garlic cloves
2 TBSP lemon juice  
nutritional yeast to taste (start with 1 TBSP)
1/2 TBSP Dijon
1 tsp maple syrup
salt/ pepper to taste
Vegan parm (can be made here)

 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take your rinsed, drained, and dried garbanzo beans and put them in bowl with 2 TBSP olive oil, salt, paprika, and pepper - mix well!
2. When oven is preheated, put garbanzo beans in for 20 minutes.
3. Wash romaine lettuce and kale. Pat dry with cloth.
4. Chop romaine lettuce and kale in small pieces and place in a big bowl.
5. Blend all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor or any type of blender.
6. Pour dressing into big bowl with romaine and kale and then when garbanzo beans are done (should be lightly crispy and soft at the same time) - put on top along with the Vegan parm.

ROUND THREE of the 5 day meal challenge

 
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ROUND 3 OF THE 5 DAY DINNER MEAL CHALLENGE WITH MAMA EATS PLANTS

This has grown to be one of my favorite traditions and I am always so honored to collaborate with the amazing and talented foodie Amanda or as the Instagram and blog community knows her as Mama Eats Plants! If you have no idea what I am talking about here is the First challenge and the Second challenge.

A quick run down is that Amanda and I mapped out 5 meals and one sweet treat to make on a Monday through Friday. The best part is that we all make them together each night! We will be cooking our meals each night and sharing them in our stories and we would love it if you joined in! The next best thing to having an actual community dinner with all of us is to create the community in our own personal kitchens and sharing how we’ve made them together! In order for all of us to see it, you can hashtag #yayforearthchallenge !

If you don’t have time this week, don’t worry! This is a very loose schedule- what we really aim for is to offer these recipes and have you make them comfortably at any time. We provide a grocery list and you can either follow along with us each day or you can make any of these on your own time. We have also created this list to be plant based and gluten free however we know everyone has different diets and lifestyles so feel free to bend the recipes to your liking!

Here is the meal schedule and the link to the recipes and below that is the grocery list below for all the ingredients you need for this challenge!

MEAL SCHEDULE

MONDAY 1/14: Caesar salad with parm
TUESDAY 1/15: Mushroom-walnut bolognese
WEDNESDAY 1/16: Quinoa, kale, and roasted cauliflower bowl
THURSDAY 1/17: Winter minestrone with parsley pesto
FRIDAY 1/18: Roasted broccoli pasta with white beans and lemon

Anytime: Yummy Muesli (optional) (LINK TO RECIPE COMING SOON!)

GROCERY LIST

produce:

crimini mushrooms x 8-10
onions x 2 yellow
leek x 1 small
zucchini x 1
carrot x 2 large
celery x 1 bunch
red bell pepper x 1
garlic x 1 head
shallot x 1 small
lacinato/tuscan kale x 2 bunches
greens of choice for soup (chard, kale, spinach, etc) x 1 bunch
romaine lettuce x 1 head
broccoli x 2 heads OR 2 bunches broccolini
cauliflower x 1 head
parsley x 2 bunches
lemons x 4
yukon gold or red potatoes x 2 medium

pantry:

1 jar of Raos marinara ( or any type of your fav marinara)
canned tomatoes x 1
1 box of spaghetti pasta ( I used Jovial Gf pasta)
1 box shaped pasta (fusilli, farfalle, conchiglie, whatever shape you like)
quinoa, any type, x 1 cup (can sub another grain if you prefer)
4 TBSP gluten free flour (any type of flour is okay)
spices : salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chile flakes
olive oil /  coconut oil
almonds x 1 cup
walnuts x 2 cups
cashews x 1/2 cups
hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, OR pine nuts x 1/4 cup
vegan mayo (I have Sir Kensington) x 1 jar
capers x 1 jar
chickpeas x 1 can
Worcestershire sauce gf/vegan
cannellini/white beans x 2 cans (or about 1.5 cups dried beans if cooking your own)
dijon mustard
nutritional yeast
vegetable broth x 4 cups/1 liter

Overnight Muesli ingredients: 
2 cup gluten free oats (or regular if you want!)
pumpkin seeds
dates
slivered almonds
dried fruit (blueberries, mango, etc…)
cinnamon
vanilla extract
nut milk
maple syrup or honey

Toppings and mix in ideas for muesli (all optional):
peanut butter
fresh fruit (banana, apple, pear etc…)
pumpkin puree or apple butter

VEGAN MUSHROOM WALNUT BOLOGNESE

Ive never been good at food photography but trust me this is bomb AF

Ive never been good at food photography but trust me this is bomb AF

VEGAN MUSHROOM WALNUT BOLOGNESE

I was surprised with how easy this meal is and how delicious it is too! Its super nutrient dense and tons of veggies in it paired with that pasta for a perfect dinner balance.

INGREDIENTS:
8-10 halved crimini mushrooms 
1.5  cups walnuts 
1 jar of Raos marinara ( or any type of your fav marinara)
1 box of spaghetti pasta ( I used Jovial Gf pasta) 
4 TBSP gluten free flour (any type of flour is okay) 
1 diced red onion 
1 diced zucchini 
1 diced carrot 
2 stalks chopped celery
1 diced red pepper 
salt and spices
Olive oil 
Toppings: Vegan parm (Click here for how to make it)

this is how mine looked after blending -as long as its not totally blended you are good to go!

this is how mine looked after blending -as long as its not totally blended you are good to go!

DIRECTIONS:

1. Caramelize onions with 3 TBSP olive oil, salt to taste, 1 tsp paprika and 1 TBSP maple syrup, brown sugar, or local honey. Stir often.

2. After onions are translucent and slightly brown (about 8 minutes), add in all the diced veggies - zucchini, carrot, red pepper, celery and let cook. 

3. While waiting for the veggies to cook, put mushrooms, walnuts, salt, flour, and 1 TBSP olive oil in food processor. Note: Only blend until resembling ground meat — do not blend all the way for the love of god! (note: One time I tried to use the vitamix and it was a fail and a success at the same time!  It blended the bottom quarter till watery smooth so I had to take the rest out and chop it and then mix them all up together. It works but make sure you don’t blend it all that way. 

4. In a pot, heat up water for noodles. Add noodles when water is boiling

5. Put the mushroom walnut mix from the processor in a big sauté pan with 3 TBSP olive oil and let cook while stirring occasionally - about 10 minutes. 

6. By now veggies should be soft and sautéed - add them to the mushroom walnut mix and then stir in the marinara and let all simmer together.

7. When noodles are ready, drain and plate! Its ready! Add your mushroom bolognese on top of noodles and then top with the nut part! ENJOY!

Vegan Nachos

Alas the moment we’ve all been waiting for - an easy recipe that is both delicious, filling, and environmentally friendly. I will keep the explanation short and very simple but as a Mexican who loves her cheesy nachos and smothered burritos and everything that’s creamy, I find that I usually have to make dishes that still have that cream factor without the actual dairy in it.

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