Perhaps this is the balancing concoction you’ll need when you wake up AFTER Halloween tomorrow morning; a little unsteady after a big, spooky night? I’m not trying to sound like your mother – really. But that’s where my mind is at, returning home after the last of our Rapha Rides events, and jumping immediately into some readjusting routines (spooky treats, extra naps and all.)
The behind-the-scenes theme of my summer has been “take care of your sh*t, L.” Traveling, bouncing, cooking, riding, hustling. Somewhere along the way I started to really struggle with it all and so I’ve been trying to shift my focus to identifying the ways that I care for myself, amplifying them and making time for them so I could stay balanced in an absolutely crazy and exciting time. For me (and maybe for you too): the little things are actually big things.
Forgot a headlamp when you’re waking up in the dark to cook breakfast for 90 riders in the middle of a redwood grove? That’s a little thing that’s actually big.
Having perfectly frosty root beer to pour into floats after a long hot bike ride? That’s a little thing that makes people smile really big.
Taking time to have a night time routine after cooking and schlepping all day, even when you’re in the middle of the woods. Tiny thing, massively refreshing.
A dip in the ocean when a long day is done – just for a few moments. Any slightly disgruntled person becomes ready to take on the big world.
I could go on and on. These little things turned big things really rocked my world this summer — in the best kind of way.
These past months I noticed just how much I struggled – emotionally, physically, creatively – if I don’t get enough sleep. If I don’t unwind at the end of a long day. If I don’t take time to stretch, make the effort not just to eat “healthy food,” but to really double down on fresh, vibrant superfoods that revitalize and balance me out — especially when I’m working long days, maxing my brain and body. As it turns out, I can still crush through a day and cook up a storm for those same 90 riders in the dark without a headlamp or a facial routine, but when I make the time for it, I’m much more proud of myself, clear about my intentions and my work, and happier too.
Ever since I was a collegiate athlete, I’ve been pretty vigilant when it comes to eating tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, mindful proteins, and whole grains. I make nearly everything from scratch, and I love that process. But there are a few things that I was overlooking and sometime in the middle of the summer, I started to worry that this little thing – not being specific about caring for my digestive health, not considering how I was alkalizing, revitalizing, nourishing and mineralizing my body – had turned into a big thing.
But, I did a little thing (cracked open a couple of books to study up) and have noticed a big difference in how I feel, think and perform in the world with just a couple of adjustments to my routines. And, I’m feeling very adult-like and proud that I’ve learned to take care of myself, even amidst the exciting whirlwind of life lately (when it would have been much easier to completely lose balance.)
Returning home last night, taking a deep breath and scanning the house to be sure that everything was in its place as I remembered it, I saw Amanda Chantal Bacon’s The Moon Juice Cookbook. The presence of the book in the kitchen was comforting in that it reminded me just how hard I’d worked, and how hard I’d been striving for balance. And, this little book brought a big smile to my face knowing that I now have some time to reset for real, and the little tools to make it all happen. (And, a little time to share some strategies and recipes here too!)
At the risk of getting all woo-woo here, I’ve purchased a couple of new pieces of equipment and am slowly integrating some new strategies and techniques into my regular cooking routine; a slow juicer being the most important of all. Slow juicers operate in such a way that the fruits and vegetables are squeezed and juice is extracted without air ever touching the fruit itself. This prevents oxidization from the get-go and allows the juice to be kept for several days (instead of several hours from a machine that macerates and chops up the fruits and veg.) This also ensures that the most nutrients are being squeezed out of your juice!
Twice a week, I spend about 20 minutes pulling ingredients from my refrigerator and running through the juicer, then I put the juice in jars and label them, storing for later. Then I pour myself a colorful little glass to enjoy with breakfast or lunch, or even as a vibrant snack when I’m working in the kitchen and don’t want to take the time for a meal. The machine itself was a bit on the pricey side, but the way I feel having these little injections of nutrients into my day is priceless.
You’ll need a juicer of some type to prepare this recipe, because you’re going to squeeze the juice from a yam! (A blender will make a yam smoothie and that will be a bit challenging for your digestive system. Ahem.) I make lots of green juices, sometimes red ones, but always this beautiful orange one. It’s this unexpected yam + carrot + apple concoction below was inspired by Amanda’s book and is absolutely worth sharing.
The tonic combines all the flavors fresh in the market right now – plus ginger, warming spices, and turmeric. And if you don’t have a juicer, maybe the flavor combination will inspire you to work with these ingredients to roast vegetables or make a warming soup. I have a little glass of this juice with breakfast, but its also an excellent snack when I’m working long days, feeling sluggish or just a little topsy-turvy. Sometimes I combine it with warm, fresh almond milk for a comforting and power-packed latte when I’m really needing to take a moment.
I’m not yet ready to unload deep dive of the details from Amanda’s wisdom or experience – primarily because I really feel like I’m just scratching the surface of all the ways that this new routine could (and will!) benefit my well-being, my work, my creativity. But I will say this; it’s fascinating just how just a little thing — like a new inspiring cookbook, a little splash of flavorful + colorful juice, a little bit of time spent to consider our best selves, can really light us up. Enjoy and more soon!
- 4 sweet red apples, such as Fuji or Red Delicious
- 5 cups roughly chopped orange-skinned sweet potatoes or yams
- 1 pound carrots (roughly 8 thin, medium carrots)
- 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 1-inch piece fresh turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- Feed the carrots, apples, yams, ginger and turmeric into a juicer, alternating ingredients as you go. Stir in the cinnamon and black pepper and serve immediately, or store in airtight containers for up to 72 hours in the refrigerator.