It’s All Greek to Me

Hello, and happy summer! 🙂

I recently ventured to Europe for a three-week vacation full of food, exploration, and adventure!

The first stop for me was Greece! I visited the city of Athens as well as the stunning islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

Here are my tips for fun food spots in Greece as well as fun adventures to check out!

Athens, Greece

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The dates in Greece are so fresh and yummy, and they are unlike anything I can buy in the United States–even the fresh dates at farmers markets. The pistachios were incredible too! Adjusting to the time change was challenging initially, but I accomplished it through taking fifteen minute naps when I felt exhausted and eating at normal Greek meal times. Also, don’t forget about natural sources of caffeine! I especially recommend green or white tea because they are full of antioxidants!

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Walking around the Placa market in Athens was a perfect way to exercise. I even found a healthy smoothie store!

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Dinner was at Strofi, a Mediterranean restaurant with a perfect view of the Athenian crown jewel, the Acropolis!

I dined on locally caught fish and seasonal vegetables for most meals in Greece! Fish is a source of lean protein, and vegetables are so important to eat while traveling because they are full of vitamins to help you feel your best even while running around exploring all day and adjusting to a new time zone!

Hiking to the Acropolis makes for a perfect workout as well as sight-seeing opportunity!

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Next Stop: Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos stole my heart! After arriving, dinner was at Nice n Easy, a gluten-free friendly restaurant that overlooks the water!

I sipped a fresh smoothie while watching the sunset at this incredible dinner spot! I once again ordered a white fish stuffed in grape leaves with a side of vegetables. They even offered gluten-free bread as well as a vegan, olive oil-based hazelnut ice cream for dessert!

Mykonos was full of scrumptious, healthy, fresh food! I celebrated my 18th birthday on the trip, and for my birthday breakfast, I visited Bowl, my new favorite Mykonian cafe!

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I loved Bowl so much that I visited two days in a row! I tried the housemade chai and matcha lattes with almond milk; an array of colorful, fresh juices; poached eggs with quinoa and avocado and leafy greens; homemade granola; and a chocolate hazelnut smoothie! Every single thing on the menu was natural, healthy, and scrumptious!

I was thrilled to meet Bowl’s owner, Victoria, who moved from Australia to Mykonos to launch her cafe and bring healthy food options to the island! She even introduced avocados to the locals!

Here are more beautiful photos from Bowl! While traveling, eating healthy is crucial to helping energize and fuel your body for your experiences and adventures!

In addition to breakfast at Bowl on my birthday, I lunched at Scorpios, a beach restaurant and club with a stunning view of the ocean! It was once again fresh fish and fresh juice for me!

For dinner, I selected Spilia, another oceanside restaurant with delicious, local veggies and scallops!

From Mykonos, I ventured to Santorini, Greece! 

First, I visited the city of Oia, Santorini! 

With dinner at the Andronis hotel’s restaurant overlooking the iconic Santorini hillside, my eyes and tastebuds were both in heaven! I ordered vegetables and salad and sea bass. Waking up the next morning, I sipped a cup of espresso to fuel a day of exploration.

Following Oia was Thira (Santorini’s capital) and Megalohori.

Renting ATVs allowed quick zips between cities and easy rides to dinner or the beach!

The highlight of my entire Greece trip was a catamaran ride to a red sand beach and natural hot springs followed by a vegan dinner made by the catamaran’s captain while watching the sunset!

Filled with food and fun and family, Greece stole my heart, and I cannot wait to return again! ❤

My tips for feeling your best while traveling:

Just remember when traveling to pack your own healthy snacks to avoid raiding the minibar at midnight for unhealthy treats and to immerse yourself in local culture by trying the native foods from the region which you are visiting. Drink lemon water to cleanse and detoxify your system as well as to keep you alert! And don’t forget to relax, enjoy yourself, and take time to soak in a relaxing bath or read a book that makes you happy!

I’mPossible Project

Hello, everyone! I am thrilled to share something quite exciting with you. 🙂 Can you guess what it is? No? That’s okay–I’ll tell you!

The I’mpossible Project book has released for pre-order, and I am a contributing author! Interested in hearing my story as well as the stories of 49 other people working to break stigmas around physical and mental health issues? Pre-order today here! The book will release August 24, 2017.

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It was such an honor to write for this book. Writing always challenges me to examine myself then articulate this understanding of myself in the most pleasing and perfect prose; this is one of the reasons I love blogging!

In The I’mPossible Project, I write about my struggles with Lyme disease 😦 and how I discovered joy, purpose, and hope 🙂 despite immense physical and mental pain. The point of this book is to show “I am possible,” meaning there is hope in the (seemingly) hopeless, relief in the painful, and purpose in the pointless. Challenges strengthen our character and our minds and our hearts.

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of this inspiring book filled with stories of triumph and success and resilience despite overwhelmingly challenging circumstances each of the authors faced. Happy reading!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Heaven

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? With their gooey, warm centers surrounded by a golden crust and melty chocolate chips, I’m drooling just thinking about them now.

Last week, I hosted a baking day with a friend, and together we discovered our new favorite gluten-free and vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe!

It is incredibly quick to whip up, and when the oven timer dings and you taste this recipe, you’ll understand why we love it so much!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 2 and 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup vegan honey (it’s made of apples!)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy life or Ghiradelli make good vegan options!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then start by combining the dry and wet ingredients separately, then incorporate them all together in a larger bowl. Roll the dough into 1/2-inch balls, and place the dough on a baking sheet covered lightly with oil or parchment paper. Bake for 7-10 minutes, cool, then share with your friends (or eat them all by yourself!).

Happy cookie making (and eating!) 🙂

Cabo Cuisine

Hola, mi amigos!

Soooo……

Recently I visited Cabo for some fun in the sun and, of course, yummy food!

I visited Flora Farms, an organic farm-to-table restaurant where the farm is the restaurant! It was my kind of heaven! You eat in the garden where the food is grown! It cannot get any better than this.

 

For my drink, I enjoyed an iced tea infused with lemon, lime, orange, and mint. I recently tried recreating this at home, and it was fantastic! Simply brew traditional iced tea, and throw in lemon and orange and lime slices as well as mint into the jar in which you store the tea. The longer the tea sits, the stronger the fruity taste!

For dinner, I dined on a rice and veggie dish which incorporated all the fresh vegetables picked from the garden that day. I also enjoyed a garden salad complete with an abundance of fresh and healthy vegetables.

 

The beautiful thing about this restaurant is that you can see the source of all the food you eat and can witness the transformation of the produce picked from the garden into beautiful, fresh meals.

Please enjoy the rest of these pictures, and if you vacation in Mexico, the deliciously healthy food and stunning view are worth any trek to this gem of a destination!

 

In The LymeLight

I’ve had health issues for years upon years, but my Lyme disease diagnosis is much newer information to me. Although I have had Lyme disease for over 10 years as my doctor has estimated, I was only diagnosed three years ago. More people and more doctors need to understand the reality of battling such a vicious, invisible disease, so I am partnering with LymeLight to share my story as a Lyme fighter during this Lyme Disease Awareness Month!

Check out my story here! 🙂

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Life Update: College-Bound

Hi, everyone! Guess what?!

I’m going to college!

I committed to the University of California, Davis in the University Honors Program. Here I will double major in nutrition science and entomology. I could not be more thrilled to have found such a perfect home for the next four years of my life! I will relocate from Los Angeles to Davis this fall.

Now, you may be wondering…

What is entomology?

Entomology is the study of insects. Although insects are tiny, they are mighty–they cause much disease in our world, including the disease which I fight: Lyme! I hope to perform research on infectious diseases caused  by insects to ultimately provide health and healing to people hurt by insects. Also, I want to double major to combine nutrition education with disease treatment and prevention.

Davis is the perfect town for a foodie and health nut like myself. Overflowing with yoga, gluten-free and vegan bakeries, bikes, and farmers markets, Davis is my wonderful new home. I am so in love!

While in college, I will still be blogging, of course, but the relocation gives me a chance to broaden my foodie finds to San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Nor Cal in general as well as my hometown of Los Angeles.

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Coffee Sugar Scrub

Drinking coffee is always the highlight of each morning for me, but why not add more coffee into the daily routine? With this coffee sugar scrub, here is another way to enjoy coffee besides simply drinking it!

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Coffee Sugar Scrub Ingredients

Mix together all the ingredients, pour into a cute Mason jar, then use this scrub to exfoliate in the shower!

This recipe fills one regular-sized Mason jar or a few smaller ones. Enjoy!

Books on Books on Books

As a book nerd and an avid reader, what do I have? Shelf esteem–haha.

I am sharing my favorite books featuring nutrition research and healthy recipes!

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Green Kitchen Smoothies by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl

This beautifully photographed recipe book showcases healthy recipes for all your smoothie, juice, nut butter, and nut milk needs–yum!

The Blender Girl by Tess Masters

Featuring gluten-free and vegan recipes for breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, and dessert, this book combines whole and healthy ingredients to create simple and flavorful dishes packed with nutrients!

Sweet Paleo by Lea Hendry Valle

Sweet Paleo is filled with healthy dessert recipes and mouthwateringly gorgeous photos by an incredible woman. We met as fellow speakers at an event a few years ago, and since then I have been using and loving her cookbook!

Think & Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf

This book is one of the most fascinating nutrition books I have read yet, and I have read many! Dr. Leaf combines nutrition science and neuroscience research to teach readers how to maximize thinking abilities through the foods they do and do not eat.

The Better Brain Book by Dr. David Perlmutter

Although this book does not specifically focus on nutrition, Dr. Perlmutter includes healthy eating as a way to improve brain health.

Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter

This book focuses on the gut microbiome and how our nutrition helps or harms its health. Encouraging a vegetable-based diet, Dr. Perlmutter includes recipes for nurturing a healthy gut and thus a healthy body!

Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter

Dr. Perlmutter discusses how gluten and carbohydrates in general impact the brain. This book distinguishes between the quality of certain carbohydrates, and it offers recipes to further nurture brain health, the body’s cognitive hub!

Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart

Hart combines my favorite things–the color pink with seasonal foods and recipes to help everyone obtain beauty from the inside out!

It Starts with Food by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

This read features the Whole30 diet, an interesting try to help kickstart your path to healthy eating.

Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss

Moss exposes the fast food industry, discussing salt, sugar, and fat-laden foods produced by corporations while examining the relationship between the contemporary producer and consumer.

Happy reading!

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Shake

Happy *almost* Valentine’s Day!

I love all the chocolate-covered goodies this time of year, but this February I pledged to eat refined sugar-free, so I am developing creative ways to make typical Valentine treats healthier!

Today I am sharing my chocolate-covered strawberry shake recipe! ❤

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Here’s what you’ll need for 1 serving:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 frozen, organic strawberries
  • 1/4 frozen, organic raspberries
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 serving Protein Powder (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon maca powder
  • Raw cacao nibs and fresh raspberries for topping

Combine all the ingredients in a blender, whirl them around, and pour your shake into a tall glass. Add a cute paper straw and top with cacao nibs and fresh raspberries.

I especially recommend organic strawberries since inorganic strawberries are essentially “pesticide sponges” and are listed in the “Dirty Dozen,” or the worst foods to eat if they are not organic.

This recipe makes one serving, so double the ingredients and share with a loved one! Spread the love during this season of love–one strawberry shake at a time. ❤