Just two months ago, I felt like I was really struggling to put into the place the basics of what makes me feel my happiest and healthiest. This was, of course, midwinter, and my inner hibernating nature really took hold and my mental wherewithal was as sluggish as could be. My movement and exercise fell by the wayside for months. Food cravings started to creep in every day. My supplement and morning routine was often completely ignored. Every time the cheerful voice of wellness piped up, my louder voice of overwhelm and laziness piped up louder and I often made every excuse to listen to that louder voice. It was a ridiculous struggle, and I started to succumb to the daily guilt of not doing my best. This all was especially troubling because I literally create care plans for other people every single day, stressing the importance of routines, rituals, nutrition, herbal therapies, self care, and making their health a priority. Why was this so hard all of a sudden? (Hint - creating a care plan for yourself is inherently a difficult task, and I think I figured out why.) 

I realized that one of the biggest struggles for my clients is their sense of overwhelm. Not their day to day grind, but the overwhelm of how many health changes they wanted to make all at once. They get in their own way, and feel like if they can't do it all at once, why bother doing one thing? This was exactly how I felt, too. In my head, I wanted to exercise more, eat more plants, take my supplements every day, cook more and give Greg a break, read more, have less screen time, perfect my evening routine, learn more things, take Gromit for our 3 mile walk every day...the list goes on and on. It was so jumbled. So disorganized. So much

Fast forward two months, and I finally sussed it out. I took a lot of intentional time creating a care plan for myself, and it brought so much into perspective.

1. Take intentional time to check in. Sit quietly. Breathe deeply. Calm down. I took one whole evening to turn everything off, and just sit quietly with this enormous task. 

2. Journal it out. Make a list of what you want to change and the practices you want to put in place. This might be three things. It might be thirty. Once it's on paper, everything becomes more clear. Get it out of your head and into the physical realm.

3. Prioritize. Put the simple things at the top of your list and more challenging or time consuming ones at the bottom. I put simple things at the top of my list like, "Morning routine: a) apple cider vinegar + 6 ounces water first thing, b) probiotics, c) fulvic trace minerals, d) protein rich breakfast" (with exact recipes listed). At the bottom of my list, I have things like, "Lifestyle: a) read 1 educational book every month, b) start morning with 30 minutes of yoga/exercise, c) shut off all screens after 6:00pm.". In between, I have my daily goals, like walking 3 miles a day with the pup, practicing mindful eating and cooking, 20 minutes of combine stretches, weights, muscle toning exercises throughout the day. I also wrote down, hour by hour, how I want to manage my time in the evenings and elaborated on my evening tea ritual (evening tea is SO AMAZING, FYI). 

4. Be honest. Seriously ask yourself, "What's getting in my way? Why am I not doing this?". The answer is really important, because it's the mental blocks that are the hardest to acknowledge and remove. You'll catch yourself saying the same excuse immediately after your realize it for the first time, and it's easier to move past after this. 

5. Start with two practices every week, and start at the top of your list. Implement the simple daily habits first, then work your way down. You have to do something at least 15 times to form a habit, so repeat, repeat, repeat before layering on more new habits. Your care plan should, above all else, be sustainable. Moving slowly through your goals helps make this a lasting reality. 

6. Have someone hold you accountable if you can. Show someone else your list, or verbalize your goals and have another person check in with you every day, or every week.

It's so much easier to see someone else's life from the outside and pin point the areas that they could use improvement and see and hear why they're not implementing these. It's so much more difficult to do this for yourself. That's why actually going to see someone, whether it's your doctor, nutritionist, acupuncturist, friend etc is really helpful to get that outside perspective and get out of your own head. We all know what to do for ourselves. I can't stress that enough. We just get caught up in our own stories and our own sense of wellness overwhelm. But I can say for a fact that every little thing really makes a difference - every single one. 

For you - Set aside some time this week to begin to make a care plan for yourself. Identify your areas of struggle and the areas where you excel. Journal it out, and share. We can all use some support with this!

In my home office, I have a great big standing desk that Greg made for me 2 years ago. Constructed from an old piece of butcher block and some steel piping, it spans the length of an entire wall, and I sprawl out all of my papers and notebooks and pens and computer and camera and tea and....usually snacks. I'm hardly ever a snacker except for the wonderful Monday mornings and afternoons when I get to work at home and am persuasively close to my kitchen. My go-to snack for years has been these herby spiced chickpeas that are roasted to a crisp perfection and have a delicate spiciness that's kind of ideal for occasional afternoon brain fog. Anything spiced with turmeric and garam masala is a win for me - I LOVE those flavors together on almost anything - especially little roasted chickpeas. 

When it coms to a legit snack, I always aim for protein first, then color then quantity. Snacks can be a mighty quick way throw off your blood sugar, mess with your daily energy (cortisol) levels and confuse your digestive system which almost always appreciates the consistency and routine of 3 small meals per day. Snacks are the number one thing people often consume mindlessly, and therefore overeat. When I want a good snack, protein is usually what's going to sustain me the longest with the smallest quantity, and also won't increase blood sugar levels quickly to immediately come crashing down again (a common trait of popular carbohydrate rich and sugary snacks). That's why I love these little roasted gems. Just 1/2 cup of chickpeas has about 10+ grams of protein and good fiber along with a lengthy list of vitamins and nutrients including calcium, iron & zinc. Turmeric offers a burst of color jam packed with anti-inflammatory and liver protecting qualities, while the garam masala and coriander are gentle to digest with a robust, savory flavor profile that keep you feeling satiated and not desperately craving more once you've finished. These herby spiced chickpeas are the perfect afternoon snack.

This recipe makes about 2-3 servings. I eat about 1/2 cup for a substantial snack and store the remainder in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. They toast up nicely in the oven on leftover days. I always source my Ayurvedic spices from Banyan Botanicals, including the Turmeric and Coriander that I used in this recipe. I also like to use ghee in place of the coconut oil on occasion to give just a hint more sweetness. Thrive Market is another place to purchase ingredients that are organically sourced, affordable and sustainably packaged. 

Herby Spiced Chickpeas

15 ounces soaked and rinsed chickpeas
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 tsp pink salt
1 tbsp spelt flour

Preheat oven to 425F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well so the chickpeas are well coated in the oil and herbs. Spread the chickpeas on a lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until crispy and just starting to brown. Remove from heat and eat immediately while still warm. 


February...the shortest yet seemingly longest month of the year So cold. So dark. So sleepy. February is like the month of the home stretch, when the last bitter cold days of winter finally end, and spring is oh, so close. In my February Steep, I crave lightness, and flavor and bright cups of color. I fight off stagnation (both mentally and physically) and need an extra burst of motivation almost every day to get me one day closer to spring. I want to sip the flavors of spring and smell the earthy sweetness of things just about to sprout. I want quiet tea moments with simple, cheerful herbs. Dandelion root, rose petals, peppermint & orange peel every day, from now until the month when we herald in the first days of spring...

This month is simple for tea, and I'm doing a little something I often like to do with herbal preparation: Decoctions + Infusions. It may seem like just one more step, but once you've done it once or twice it's cake. Hardier parts of herbs (like roots, rhizomes, barks or stems) require a little more than just a simple little steep to get all the good medicinals out of them. They need a decoction preparation, which means you simmer those hardier parts in water for about 10-15 minutes. On the other hand, more delicate parts of herbs, such as flowers, petals, seeds or leaves do just fine with a gentle, normal steep. When I blend the two methods together it's not only usually delicious, but extra medicinal because taking the time to make tea this way is totally worth it

February Steep

1.5 cups filtered water
1 tsp dried or fresh orange peel
1 tsp dandelion root
1/2 tsp dried rose petals
1/2 tsp peppermint leaves

Combine water, orange peel and dandelion root in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the rose petals and peppermint leaves. Give it a stir and let sit, covered, for 7 minutes. Remove lid and strain into your favorite mug and sip consciously. 


Where to find it: I often purchase dried herbs (when not locally available) from Mountain Rose Herbs, Avena Botanicals, Zack Woods Herb Farm or Starwest Botanicals

Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.


Subscribe for exclusive discounts & newsletters

The Book Bindery Building
2201 West Broad Street. Suite 107
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 977-2634