Q&A with Erica from Bring Your Own Kombucha

Hey everyone! Today I am super excited to share a fun interview I did with my friend Erica from Bring Your Own Kombucha. Erica loves kombucha, wellness, and sharing her journey with her readers through her posts. She has a fun series all about #BOSSBABES and has some seriously inspiring women featured. I know you guys will love Erica’s blog as much as I do, so be sure to check it out & also follow her Instagram and Facebook. Without further ado, here’s the interview!

1. Tell us about yourself. Where are you from  & what do you do?
I’m 29 years old. I’m a jersey girl, born and raised. I went to college in NJ and studied journalism. I then went to law school in PA. After law school, I moved home and worked in NYC for a bit. Most I purchased a home with my husband just outside of Princeton, NJ. I’m an attorney full time and my blog is my side hustle. I love yoga, listening to podcasts, researching anything and everything health and wellness related, and drinking kombucha every dam day 🙂

2. BYOK is all about your journey to wellness. Was there a specific moment that your wellness journey started? If so, when was that and what did it look like?  
I have never really been comfortable in my own skin. I think everyone has that kind of internal conflict. And at the beginning of 2017, I had had enough and I wanted a change. I knew I was turning 30 this year and I want to have kids in the near future. So I really wanted to be the healthiest I could possibly be. I started with taking prenatal vitamins (honest company, non gmo & plant based!) because i wanted those nutrients to be in my body already when I get pregnant. I started taking care of my skin – using Aragon oil, using an ice roller, etc. The fear of aging and wrinkles is REAL! Most recently, I’m really starting to shift my focus on my fitness routine. I use to just fit in a workout when I have “free time.” But its becoming more of a necessity. I like to run (which is why I love your podcast so much!), get a good flow in at hot yoga, and recently I’ve been using The Skinny Confidential guide to target my legs, butt, and arms.  It’s a journey. I certainly haven’t mastered anything yet – but I do think I’ve made some positive changes so far. Health is wealth. I have been blessed thus far in my life to have had good health and I just want to make sure my future is blessed with good health as well.

3. On the topic of kombucha, do you have a favourite brand and flavour?

I can sit and talk about KOMBUCHA ALL DAY. So Kombucha was kind of my first “health and wellness” obsession. I stumbled upon it randomly on someones blog. I read about the health benefits, started drinking it and then forced all my close friends and family to drink it. I would post pictures on snap chat and people would ask, uh what is that stuff you drink? SO I would explain all the amazing benefits of Kombucha. That’s what gave me the idea to start the blog – I loved talking about the health tricks and tips I was learning about on my wellness journey. My favorite is Health Ade Pink Lady Apple or Kevita Lavender Melon. I find those brands are the most effective. However, I don’t discriminate, I’ll try any Kombucha once 🙂 When you are at the store deciding between Kombucha brands, it is important to take note of the sugar content. Sometimes company’s add a ridiculous amount of sugar to it so its always good to check.

4. You feature a lot of interviews with #BossBabes on your blog. What are a few things you have learned about wellness from these gals?

Literally each and EVERY boss babe I interview has said: JUST GO FOR IT. The only thing that is holding yourself back is…yourself.

Organization is key. Find your passion. Consistency. Stay in your own lane. Two of my favorite interviews so far have been Jordan Younger of the Balanced Blonde and Lauryn Evarts of TSC.

Each and every one of these boss babes have made an impact on my blogging. Each one has taught me something new.

5. What’s your favourite part of being a blogger? What are a few things that you have learned throughout your blogging journey?

My favorite part of blogging is the growth. I think the key to success in any facet of life is to always grow and to have that hunger for knowledge. I’m always trying to improve. I’m not an expert, but I do my research and I only put out there what I know works (for me of course).Collaboration is key. Never fence yourself in.Collaboration has been so key in this blogging journey. I kinda went back and forth with the #BOSSBABE features. I was worried it wasn’t “on brand” enough. But at the end of the day, I learn SO MUCH from interviewing these ladies. This growth is a part of MY JOURNEY. So if it fits into my journey, why wouldn’t I include it?

I’ve also learned that I need to proofread like five more times before I submit. I wish y’all saw my first blog post. I went back like 8 million times to correct it. After that, i created a process. I write it a week in advance so I have time to review, revise and perfect it.

I’ve also grown SLIGHTLY more comfortable in my own skin. That first blog post was PAINFUL. Putting yourself out there is….tough. I use to get sick to my stomache every time I posted something. But now it’s a bit easier. It feels good to be comfortable and happy in your own skin.

6. What are your THREE best wellness tips that you can share with us today? Any die-hard tricks of the trade you have?

Here is where I am going to nerd out on you.

  1. KOMBUCHA EVERY DAY – sooooo good for digestion and gut health. Personally, it helps de-bloat me so I love it. But on the more scientific side, it helps reduce inflammation, high in B12 which supports mental health, acts as an antibacterial agent, and supports a healthy liver and gut. #BOOCHEVERYDAY
  2. Save your skin and use Vitamin E – slather that ISH everywhere. I use it on my face and body after I shower. It has an immense amount of antioxidants and can reduce/prevent wrinkles.
  3. Use Nontoxic products. It is important to eat organic, nongmo, blah blah blah. BUT if you’re eating organic and then cleaning your house with conventional cleaning products – you’re still ingesting toxins. These chemicals are linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive disorders, hormone disruption and neurotoxicity. I find my nontoxic cleaning products at Thrive Market and Honest Company – I order products every 2-3 months and get all my cleaning products delivered to my doorstep.

7. Finally, where do you see Bring Your Own Kombucha in the next five or ten years?

I hope by then BYOK is a podcast. I am all about podcasting lately. I think I need to get my feet wet and go on some podcasts first but I think that would be a really fun adventure. Once my husband and I start having babies, I want to use that time at home to write a book. I am all about not keeping myself fenced it. I’m open to new opportunities and seeing where BYOK will take me 🙂

A Love Affair with Carbs

 

Monday, Monday, Monday.

We are back on the Monday grind, but that’s okay, because we’ve got a fresh start to the week!

Fortunately we have clear skies now, so things have been a bit more FRESH on the running front. As in, I’m not stuck inside the shed in the musty air, if you didn’t catch that.

I took a bit of a break from blogging last week, not for any particular reason other than I didn’t want to post something just for the sake of posting. Since wedding week is over (and sadly that means my holidays are too), it’s a good chance to get back into the routine of LIFE and everything that comes along with it. We had such a fantastic time with our family, and I’m happy to have shared the experience with my mom and sister, too. It was their first time ever attending an East Indian wedding, and my sister came along to the reception on Saturday night, too!

The evening was filled with dancing, food, and drinking. Ooh, the drinking. I have to say that Ryan was HURTING on Sunday, and out of the three of us, I felt the most human. And that is saying something because I felt like garbage, if I am being honest! Open bars will do that to a person ; ) That being said, I was back on the hydration train first thing on Sunday, drank a green juice, and had an egg sandwich with turkey bacon from Starbucks en route to the ferry. The ferry was PACKED, as we had anticipated, but we neglected to make a reservation for the way home. Oops. Fortunately we made an afternoon ferry, and we were home sweet home before dinner time.

Speaking of dinner, I have been in a carb coma lately. I don’t know if it was all the naan bread, pakoras (heaven on earth), samosas, or what, but I found myself actually wanting things like PASTA and SANDWICHES, which if you know me at all, you know I really have to be in the mood for that. I find that my eczema flares up when I have too much wheat, which is partially why I avoid it most days, but I thought to myself, “Why the heck not!” So, after my run on Wednesday last week, Ryan whipped up this pasta dish for us to enjoy.

 

He used a simple marina sauce, added tons of fresh garlic, kale, onions, and a spicy sausage meat. It hit the spot after my run, and fueled me for Thursday’s speed workout!

My speed workout didn’t exactly go as planned. The thing is, when you want to do a track workout, you probably should have a watch to track your distance and time and whatnot, right? I mean, I have one, but someone (pointing at myself here) forgot to charge her watch. So, I woke up and immediately thought of a new plan. I took it to the treadmill and completed the speed workout from Hungry Runner Girl, where you warm up for one mile, then go through a series of easy running, marathon pace running, threshold pace (fast), interval pace (faster), and repetition pace (fastest), with recoveries in between. It was a great way to add some SPEED into my Thursday without throwing off the whole track workout altogether. Yes, I thought about switching the track workout to another day, but I knew I could make it work!

 

I printed the workout and it lives in my Believe journal for easy access : ) Gotta make things convenient otherwise they won’t happen! I enjoyed my coffee (and have recently been using hazelnut flavoured almond milk creamer — try it!) and post-run smoothie as usual, then got ready for the day. Places to go, people to see!


I hope you guys have all been doing well! Back to regular programming now : ) Have a great day!

Coconut Yogurt Bowl with Homemade Granola

Who else loves breakfast as much as I do? I am a serious fan, even so to the point where I have a go-to breakfast. As most of you know that is oatmeal, which I eat almost every day. However, I have been branching out – GASP! – and have been eating things like eggs with lots of greens and veggies, and lately I have been throwing together yogurt bowls. These yogurt bowls have lots of texture to them, meaning there’s some crunch from homemade granola, softness from the blueberries and bananas, and a bit of extra crunch from shredded unsweetened coconut flakes.

If you have been reading my blog for a while (or for a hot minute anyway) you may have heard that I am not a big dairy fan. Dairy gives me stomach cramps, makes me bloat, and I generally do not feel good when I have dairy. So, I use coconut milk yogurt. I found mine at my local Thrifty Foods, though I’m sure you can find any yogurt or yogurt alternative wherever you like to shop : ) The brand I gravitate towards is called Yosso. It is unsweetened, no crazy ingredients, and has a nice slightly thick texture – none of that runny BS. Plus, it mixes well in smoothies and you can get a few different flavours if you want to mix things up.

I have been loving coconut yogurt bowls with homemade granola as a snack on the weekends. Actually, I brought my leftover yogurt and a jar of the granola to work last week as a quick lunch, since I had a massage therapy appointment during my actual break. I don’t typically eat lunch in my office (snacks, sure, but not a full blown meal), but this was a nice way to get fuel into my system on the DL without a huge mess to clean up. Additionally, it makes for a good mid-day sweet tooth crusher when I am ravenous after my weekend long runs.

You can use whatever fruit you want, but for the purpose of today’s recipe I used half a ripe banana and frozen blueberries. I also sprinkled on some raisins for extra sweetness. One thing I forgot to add: cinnamon! It is great at helping your body stabilize your blood sugar, plus I just love the taste. Now, I’m not going to be telling you how to “assemble” this bowl because really, it’s pretty straight forward. Yogurt + bowl + toppings = yogurt bowl. Hey, we’re all rocket scientists now.

However, I will get into how you make the granola! I adapted this from the recipe found in the Run Fast Eat Slow cook book, as I was missing some ingredients but had others on hand.

Without further wait, here it is:

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (melted in saucepan)

1/4 cup honey

The original recipe calls for ginger and blackstrap molasses, both of which I didn’t have. So, I put in some cinnamon instead of ginger and left it at honey for further sweetening.

Put all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined. Once your coconut oil is melted, pour that on top as well as your honey. Mix well until it is all combined, then spread onto a parchment paper lined baking tray. I had my oven at 350F and baked the granola for about 35 minutes, or until it is golden. Once it hit 15 minutes I stirred it around, then stirred again at 25 minutes. It depends how crunch you like your granola, but once you let it cool down the honey & coconut oil will help “set” and make little granola clusters : )

Let me know if you try this recipe out! It is rather addicting, so be warned ; ) Until next time!

Netflix Review: To the Bone

 

Hi everyone,

I wanted to write about something a bit different on the blog today. Last week I watched a controversial movie called To the Bone that recently launched on Netflix, and I have some thoughts that I want to share with you all today.

To the Bone is a drama about writer and director Marti Noxon’s battle with anorexia nervosa. Marti’s character’s name is Ellen, who is played by actress Lily Collins, the daughter of musical artist Phil Collins. The movie documents Ellen’s life as she enters a new treatment facility lead by a quirky (and snarky) doctor, played by Keanu Reeves.

I want to start off by saying that I am in no, way, shape or form a medical doctor, personal trainer, nutritionist – nothing like that ­– and this review is simply my thoughts on the movie and my own experiences centred around disordered eating.

Of course, if you are actively struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder, I would caution you against watching the film as it does include sensitive matter.

I think it is worth speaking out about eating disorders as it is something that is prevalent in today’s world, no matter your age, gender, race, etc. Now, I’m not going to rattle off a list of everything they did right or wrong, because I strongly feel that it is not black and white, and I do not have the background to be speaking upon that. For me, there were a lot of grey areas and it took me a few days to wrap my head around everything before I could sit down and write this review.

With all of that said, I will get into my thoughts.

To the Bone primarily depicts the story of Ellen, the main character, though she is surrounded by others in the treatment facility that are struggling with an eating disorder of their own. The movie had a male character (yay for representing males in a normally female-dominated area of television), a few girls struggling with bulimia, and a girl that had a binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorders have their own physical and mental impacts, and I think it would have been insightful to have more of this character’s story. However, I will say that the movie was a bit stereotypical in the sense that Ellen’s character was your average Caucasian young girl struggling with an eating disorder. Nod your head if you have seen this before. That being said, it does not negate that her story should be told, because it absolutely was powerful and emotional, as one’s journey would be in this case. On the other hand, the binge eating disorder character was an African American girl, but she did not have a lot of dialogue other than a few lines here and there. In this space I think we need more diversity, as it is important to show that eating disorders do not care if you are black, white, purple, blue, or green.

Now, one thing that I do think the film did well was show the family dynamic that one may be in while struggling with an eating disorder. Family dynamics are so different for everyone, and I think they did a nice job of showing the concerns, hesitations, and emotions that a family may be going through. For Ellen, her parents had separated and she was currently living with her father and step mom – though her dad never made an appearance in the movie. This lead me to believe that her father did not play a big role in her life, as he was always stuck at work or had to be at an early meeting when Ellen, her step-mom and sister were at an appointment, or simply sitting at the table for dinner. Her biological mom lived in another state and was married to another lady, where they owned horses together and did not see Ellen very often. Note: The movie did a wonderful job of CLARIFYING that one’s parents do not cause the problem – I found this to be especially powerful as, putting myself in a parents’ shoes, they may want to blame themselves for why their daughter or son has an eating disorder. The doctor had mentioned this during one of their family appointments, and I think that is critical. One thing that struck a positive note with me was the role Ellen’s sister, Liana, played. Liana was compassionate and supportive, but TRUTHFUL and was not afraid to tell Ellen her thoughts. She kept the door for conversation open, which made me feel as a viewer that she could be easily approached should Ellen need the support. Her step mom was concerned, though perhaps a bit stand-offish near the beginning as I gather her and Ellen do not have a warm and fuzzy relationship. It was nice to see how the step mom’s character evolved through the movie.

Lily Collins did an excellent job in this role, though I do think it is important to note that she personally struggled with an eating disorder. This made me feel very, very uneasy. As someone who has had bouts of orthorexia (if I absolutely had to label it, which is the obsession with healthy food) from high school up until about 4 years ago, this made me wonder how Lily dealt with playing such a strong part given her history. I read a few articles online about this, and what I took away is that Lily wanted to play a role that “paid tribute to the 16 year old girl that I was and make a movie that would’ve helped open my eyes.” I can definitely understand that, though one thing that does not sit well with me is that she had to lose weight for this role. Now, I can understand because of the character she is playing, but I think for someone with a history of an eating disorder, this could take a turn for the worse and potentially bring up those prior habits. Again – I’m not a doctor and I have no medical explanation for the science or psychology behind all of this, but those are simply my thoughts. Lilly also states in an interview that she “knows [her] limits and was not about to let Ellen’s story take over my [her] own.” In that regard, I do think that it is a good thought to have to separate yourself from the character, though I imagine there could be difficulties trying to do that having lived that struggle before.

Phewf – so, there’s the heaviest bit out of the way.

Ellen slowly develops friendships with those in her treatment centre, though the fact that they threw a love story into the mix with Luke, the male in the house, was a bit unnecessary. I think Ellen’s journey was emotional enough, let alone having her fall for the only male in the treatment centre. Yes, everyone wants to be a hero and help someone that is going through such a hard time, but I felt as though the whole romance thing was not needed. There was an immense amount of turmoil that Ellen was going through, and I feel like the romance almost took away from the story instead of adding to it.

Overall, I feel like To the Bone is definitely an intense film that will get conversation going. That is what we need. We need to get conversation going around eating disorders and food awareness, because there are millions of people that struggle with a situation like this of their very own. I know every situation is unique, though eating disorders are more common than you think. When you think of someone who has an eating disorder, what do you think of? Skinny and thin, right? While that can be true for some people, eating disorders do not discriminate and they take on many different forms. If you have the slightest feeling that you relate to having an eating disorder of your own, please, please, please reach out for help. Or, if you feel that someone around you is struggling, again – reach out to them. Again, I am by no means a medical professional and this is purely my own personal insight.


Thank you guys for taking the time to read this review! If you have seen To the Bone, what are your thoughts? I would love to know in a comment below.