Wednesday, April 26, 2017


B E A U T Y   B I T E S  |  G R A I N - F R E E   C R A C K E R S   &  C H I P S
A guide on grain-free, auto-immune friendly chips, sustainability, & resistant starches, from companies that are all woman-owned or -led . . .
PLUS a preview of an upcoming dairy-free Nacho cheese platter recipe

M I S S I O N   H E I R L O O M
Yucan Crunch dressed with a spread from my upcoming book 
There are many brands on the market that offer alternative chips, but very few are processed without pesky ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oils, iodized salt, and even the devil's breastmilk that is sugar. Out of the clean options, many don't satisfy the crunch that gluten-filled options delight in. 

Enter: yucan crunch.  These crunchy morsels are handmade by artisinal groups around the Caribbean Sea by local casaberos and only contain one ingredient: yuca or cassava/tapioca root. Like plantains, they're a form of resistant starch that feed the healthy micriobiome of our digestive system. As it "resists" digestion, it doesn't spike blood sugar or insulin levels like other sources of carbohydrates do, i.e. corn or potatoes in chips. You can read more about the critical role they play in a healthy digestive system here

I delight in these crackers as a savoury toast replacement with avocado, a smearing of ghee, and smoked Maldon salt; serve it as amuse-bouche with a variety of toppings including grass-fed liver pâté; and enjoy them as dessert with royal jelly honey, cardamom, and ghee on top. 

A M A Z I | These plantain chips are the only ones I have found that are sustainably-sourced and not cooked in refined palm oil that's destroying our ecosystem and rainforests. The plantains are responsibly-raised in Uganda that not only nourish you but an emerging economy. Every purchase supports their commitment to building communities through their Community Development Premium initiative, which donates a portion of the profits directly to farming communities on their chosen projects. This allows the community to speak for themselves rather than the help many foundations assume they need.

A platter of Amazi plantain chips & Jica Chips
Compared to store-bought plantain chips fried in @#$% full of refined vegetable oils, these come baked in either coconut or olive oil. According to the unbiased feedback of my sister, these might have to be the best chips she has eaten. She has the exaggeration level that's opposite of Trump's. I could not deny the statement as I snagged my bag away from her. I may not be the greatest sharer that you'll meet ever

Another reason why these chips are a favourite of mine is their versatility. They can act as a crunchy cereal topped with coconut milk, be added to trail mix for a non-nut based crunch, or simply used as a chip. Plantains are also a great source of resistant starch and prebiotic fiber, which prepare the digestive system to receive any following probiotics and prime it with "food" for the microbiome. 

J I C A   C H I P S | These are the ultimate snacking chips as they come in convenient little one-serving bags. Made out of the Jicama root native to South America, they're made of only three ingredients: jicama, olive oil and sea salt. They contain five times more fibre and 80% less fat than do conventional chips. 

They're the only jicama-based chips on the market that I'm aware of and are gently baked to preserve the nutrition of the root. Jicama contains inulin, which is a prebiotic that feeds healthy gut bacteria, heightens immunity, and increases calcium absorption, pivotal for those who experience nutrient malabsorption due to Celiac's. I carry these with me during road trips to incorporate as a treat to an easy and otherwise sad car meal.

S I E T E | These chips called for two cheers and a clap at our household for the light crunch and flavour so reminiscent of tortilla chips. They were even preferred over the corn chips served alongside them. A local TX and family-owned company, Siete Foods is dedicated to crafting other grain-free options such as tortillas. Caution for those with Celiac's Disease though—the tortillas (but not the chips) are produced in a facility that also processes wheat. Siete Foods, if you're reading this, please make your tortillas safe for us all!

J I L Z  C R A C K E R Z | Although not autoimmune-friendly due to nuts & seeds, these crackers are clean to boot. With only a few ingredients, it's Jilz Crackerz à gogo for me during a quick lunch or a post-lunch why-am-I-still-hungry snack. I love them far too much that I tried to replicate them to save the hole my love has been digging in my pretty pennied pocket, but to no avail. If you especially like sesame flavours, these are your crackers. They also have a Mediterranean variety with lavender . . .

S I M P L E   M I L L S | I, along with many others, can attest to the addictive quality of these crackers. I bought them on a whim then frankly made it a mission since to stray from the box. They're de trop. (Un)lucky for me, my autoimmune symptoms flare with even small amount of vegetable oils, which these crackers contain in the form of sunflower oil. If you tolerate that fine, enjoy the last crumbs of the box you might eat at one sitting for me.

T H E   R E A L  C O C O N U T | These grain-free and AIP-friendly chips* are the last but not least as they're part of the dairy-free nacho cheese plate recipe I will soon be sharing on the site. I presented these with the punchy chipotle BBQ version to my husband as he doesn't have dietary restrictions—this version contains nightshades, cane sugar, and maltodextrin that are inflammatory for those with autoimmune like myself—but I nosh on the plain or Himalayan Pink Salt version myself. You can purchase them here.

These chips are so incredibly crunchy and satisfying to the point that I unashamedly once ate a whole new plate's worth of them after a meal. What makes these chips even more satisfying though is the mission of the founder, Daniella Hunter. In aiming for sustainability, she drew away from sourcing coconuts from Asia and started the Belize Sustainable Development Corporation. There, they grow plantains, yucca, and coconut to benefit the regional environment and support local farmers.

*If you have just began the protocol, be mindful of the fact that these chips do contain guar gum which can cause sensitivity. 

Monday, April 24, 2017


C U R R E N T L Y   C R E A S I N G
A collection of weekly reads to guide you through your days . . .

1 | The coconut-based sustainable floss that I've been using for the past few months I'm so obsessed with that I want to floss. The microfibre filaments remove more plaque and are laced with coconut oil, which remove more bacteria than regular waxed flosses. More in an upcoming post . . .
2 | The podcast that everyone seems to be listening to
3 |On embracing our natural hair
4 | When we follow a certain diet or fad to feed our ego
6 | This tube can transform your next sad desk lunch
7 | I'm nursing my marathon-training body out of a knee injury & this balm is my saviour rubbed on along with this essential oil
9 | All hail the one-piece, like this vintage-inspired knotted number & a whimsical one that's a deal
10 | A bioactive plant-based omega-3 from a plant you have likely never heard of but is the richest commercially-available botanical source

11 | The sustainable running ware made in Massachusetts with high technology antibacterial merino fibers, inspired by the nostalgia of Ivy League track & field

12 | The Autoimmune Paleo, all-vegetable crackers that I will be noshing on for the rest of my life, more on which is coming this week on the blog!

13 | The skin-perfecting chocolate with which I'm rekindling my relationship to treating myself

14 | The playlist I have on repeat to escape from Monday blues

 T H O U G H T  O F  T H E  W E E K

"Prayer is translation. A [wo]man translates him [her] self into a child for there is in language
[s]he has barely mastered"


Wednesday, April 19, 2017


S P I R I T U A L   S M A C K  |  U N R E S T R I C T E D   A V A I L A B I L I T Y

Yesterday morning, I received a call from someone very close to me that opened in tears. I was working, but in the mercurial manner in which I spin myself from task to task, I decided to stay on the phone. The said person was in a situation I could not immediately or frankly ever resolve. I made a moue at the display of my futility cutting at my ego, fit for the dust. 

Yes—this was about me. In making myself available to the other, I was demarcating a destination—a point where I could travel to in her train of thought where the railway was frayed. A metal to pound upon, to fix.  Yet, my efforts were only striking to ignite the light on my own reflection in the window. Rather than travelling alongside her, I was mapping my own trip towards a fixed destination of resolution. A point of stop unbeknownst to her for my uncovering. I had shed a mere coup d'œil on her state, only to view her through the looking glass of my own vision—contained within my perspective, a narrative of eventual repair. 

In sharing the ache of another, some of us claim it as our métier to dull it or trace its source. We prod ourselves for an answer, preoccupying ourselves with ourselves, rather than listening to receive it from its source. How do we welcome others? How do we inhabit ourselves so we may become a host for another? We can be with another but not be available to them. How do we restrict our presence with the other in drawing our attention away to finding a resolution? 

On this point, author Sue Monk Kidd points to the Zen adage of undivided consciousness, in which we simply eat when we eat and sit when we sit. In that vein and in being with another in their suffering, how can we simply be with them? How can we unfurl their narrative, aside from the scribbles of our ego's own agenda? How can we fill their half-empty cup? Our contrived solution is only but honey, sweet to us in its victorious find but too viscous for another to flow through. How can we become water to water? To re-fill the cup of another in the permeability of our mere presence, undiluted by our ego? Leading a solution to nowhere but to simply being now and here.

Monday, April 17, 2017


C U R R E N T L Y   C R E A S I N G
A collection of weekly reads to guide you through your days . . .

1 | My current favourite skincare regimen consists of MŪN, which offers a travel-friendly pouch of their range. Their oils are based in Prickly Pear Seed oil, which is extremely high in linoleic acid to brighten & even out skin tone.
4 | The cookbook I'm waiting on tippy toes for to create good, clean food
5 | An Autoimmune Protocol-compliant white tea rose latté to rise up to & nutrient-dense offal salad to tie it up at night
6 | The Plant Paradox book that everyone from those in the wellness circle to newspapers seem to be talking about 
7 | When I first did the Autoimmune Protocol for healing a slew of symptoms caused by my autoimmune disorder, breakfast was the meal I struggled with the most. I wouldn't had such a hard time had I had this instant, warming bowl of AIP-friendly breakfast to fill the void of eggs. I'll be incorporating it during my upcoming reset . . .
8 |A Michael Pollan-esque article on being gluten-free, for those who are not ridden with autoimmunity
9 | A playlist of Springtime love songs

11 | The attachment of female parts & experiences on being a woman: an article on womanhood after breast cancer 

12 | On sustainability & menstruation

 T H O U G H T  O F  T H E  W E E K

"To be contented . . .
that's for the cows"


Friday, April 14, 2017


B E A U T Y   B I T E S  |  C O U R T E S A N   A U   C H O C O L A T
A grain-free, refined sugar-free Easter morsel infused with the delectation of Wes Anderson . . . I'm leaving you with two forkfuls of this recipe to not throw a bunny wrench into the long weekend I'll be taking off. I'll be hopping back on over to the regular swing of blogging next week pronto pronto! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


F A R M A C Y   |  A  G U I D E   T O   C O L L A G E N
A guide on easy & sneaky ways to increase collagen production with vegan options  . . .

s every cup of joe, turmeric latté, & herbal decoctions have been blended with collagen, you may be wondering to yourself what the hype? as you scoop some for yours. Will your skin become as elastic as the body of a pre-pubescent gymnast? Will it primp your joints to defy any arthritis for this lifetime and beyond? Is it going to demonise the speckles of cellulite on your thighs, leaving dimples to only be a resident of your face? Will you be getting the sweetest slumber or dream of the supposed gleaming results?

                                                                  W H A T   I S   C O L L A G E N ? 
Collagen is the most abundant protein that is naturally produced by the body to sustain the elasticity, integrity, and strength of our skin and other connective tissues, which include fat. This is why as we lose weight and thus fat, we also lose collagen or the youthfulness of the skin. Likewise, lack of healthy fat consumption also reduces the nutrient absorption of food-based collagen. These fibers that have the tensile strength like that of steel cables have been researched to increase skin elasticity and moisture in women aged 35-55 with no side effects.

If you are concerned with aging, are not consuming a nutrient-dense diet, are stressed (and thus have increased cortisol levels), are smoking, or smoking because you're stressed or vice versa, you might want a scoop . . .

                                                                  T Y P E S   O F   C O L L A G E N
Unlike what the tubs of seemingly identical collagen make it appear like, there are at least sixteen different types of collagen in the human body. While types 1, 2, and 3 are dominant, type 1 accounts for almost 90 percent of its supply. Different food sources of collagen provide different types of collagen, which respectively serve different purposes within the body. You can pick the food source according to your needs with the guide below.

T Y P E  №1 & T Y P E  №3
Type 1 is the type of collagen that is the strongest and assists in the critical assimilation of bones, gastrointestinal tract & microbiome, and skin elasticity. Type 3, on the other hand, composes the lining of our organs and composes the extracellular matrix of the skin as well as blood vessels. A deficiency in this type of collagen has been associated with decreased heart health and potential rupture of blood vessels. Both types of collagen are provided by bovine collagen, derived from cows. Its additional high content of glycine and proline make it a good fit for people who are looking to build muscle. 

T Y P E  №2
This type of collagen targets the assembly of cartilage, a target point for those concerned with age-related issues such as joint and connective tissue degeneration or pain. Type 2 collagen is bio-available in collagen derived from chicken. The abundant supply of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate in chicken collagen provide additional joint support. You can get this type of collagen in most collagen supplements, which are derived from chicken, or by making bone broth that incorporate collagen-rich cartilaginous chicken feet from pasture-raised farms.

T Y P E  №4 & T Y P E  №10
Type 4 is one of the most critical forms of collagen, composing the basal lamina. This is a layer of extracellular matrix found in epithelial or skin cells that line organs, fat cells, and muscles. It is necessary for the proper pumping of blood vessels and firing of nerves. Type 10 assists bone regeneration, articular or joint-related cartilage formation, and bone tissue integrity. Both types of collagen is found in the shells and whites of eggs, which also contain type 1 collagen. Type 4 collagen also provides hyaluronic acid, providing a cheap edible version of the anti-aging compound found in many expensive facial serums. 

                                             H O W   T O   I N C R E A S E   Y O U R   C O L L A G E N 

The easiest and potent way to increase collagen is through supplementing with gelatin, which a study found to be able to promote a 17% increase in production. I recommend only grass-fed sources of bovine gelatin, such as this or this option. Consume it with another protein-rich food and vitamin C for increased bioavailability. You can also take pure collagen hydrolysate, such as this or this collagen peptides option, which are both derived from grass-fed beef. Powdered collagen can be mixed into butter coffee (anthropological P.S.— this is not a new Bulletproof invention of hype but an ancient traditional practise of the Himalayas, Tibet, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Nepal, & Singapore). I also love mixing a scoop into my coconut milk yoghurt in the morning for breakfast, topped with some seasonal fruit, cinnamon & nutmeg, royal jelly (skin & reproductive system support), celtic salt, and grain-free granola.

The vitamin C source can include lypospheric vitamin C or camu camu, both of which are easily-assimilated sources with high levels of vitamin C. Philosophie's Berry Bliss protein powder has the latter as a smoothie option for those who tolerate sprouted brown rice protein. Vitamin C supplementation in itself—internally or externally in the form of a facial serum—also stimulates collagen production in itself as it's collagen's precursor. Dr.  Sarah Ballantyne, the creator of the Autoimmune Protocol, has also created an exclusive vegetable collagen blend that incorporates antioxidant- and vitamin C-rich vegetables & fruits for higher assimilation. 

Supplementation is also a sneaky way to add collagen into your diet as it can be a tasteless egg substitute in Autoimmune Paleo-friendly baked goods such as these brownies &  this strawberry mousse or plantain bread by the ever-talented Lauren of Empowered Sustenance. It's critical in the restoration of the damaged gut lining present in those battling autoimmune conditions and was integral to my recovery process during the autoimmune protocol or AIP.

M A S S A G E  
This is an external way to stimulate the body's own collagen production. It includes self-massage for 15-30 minutes, such as with the Ayurvedic practise of abhyanga; dry brushing; or gua shua, an ancient Chinese practise of skin scraping often done with jade stone. 

R E D   L I G H T   T H E R A P Y  
Red light therapy is a double whammy of increased collagen production and reduced inflammation, breakouts, and signs of aging. It minimises the appearance of acne scars and wrinkles while assisting in the natural production of collagen. It is a UV-free source of LED light that stimulates fibroblasts within the skin to produce collagen while simultaneously combatting the enzymes that break it down. You can invest in one such as this device for an at-home therapy option, which will save you money in the long run compared to office visits. 

Far infrared light therapy also stimulates collagen production for both type one and three collagen. Many spas offer infrared saunas.

Monday, April 10, 2017


C U R R E N T L Y   C R E A S I N G
A collection of weekly reads to guide you through your days . . .

I updated my SHOP section for your perusal. It has sections for the dressing room, powder room, and kitchen, including specific recommendations for supplements & superfoods.

1 | The fool-proof guide to poaching the perfect egg according to The Splendid Kitchen on NPR 
2 | Finance tips for your 20s and beyond
3 | Like it or not, not every woman needs to be a mother
4 | Bring this book to your next girls' gathering
5 | The grain-free, refined sugar-free, crap-free chocolate cake mix that I made and blew away a birthday party with last weekend
6 | Two packages of the bath salts that completely restored my knee irritated by marathon training 
7 | A book on the wisdom of Vedic astrology thanks to my dear friend Joanna Andrea, a wellness teacher I recommend to anyone who is in Washington, D.C.
8 | I'm running to this playlist as the sun rises every morning & playing this new album on repeat during the day
9 | A new ancestral- and forager-oriented blog I discovered via NPR with an emphasis on nutrient-dense game meats and forgotten plants
10 | This bra top & matching shorts will put a pep in your step to hop on over to the track or gym—plus 30% off with code LOTSTOSHOP!

11 | A 30-day Law of Attraction challenge to unplug negative draws from your life
12 | Carrot pickles without vinegar or sugar as an appetiser to tend to your tastebuds and week

 T H O U G H T  O F  T H E  W E E K

"The problem is you're too busy . . .
holding onto your unworthiness"