This letter is a response to a letter from Julie F. posted on the blog on Jauary 6th.
Yesterday, I visited Fit Hip Healthy for the first time in a few days (a rare occurrence for me since I usually check-in regularly), and read your letter to us, your fellow Lithers, and I was completely stunned. A wave – an actual physical feeling of a wave – passed over my body. Not only did your story (literally) move me, but what this experience has made you realize, and what you were in turn urging us to realize, shifted something in my brain. It gave me that feeling you get when you're on the verge of realizing something you know, but have forgotten, and remembering feels like an epiphany.
Typically when I hear stories like yours, I tell my friends; I tell my husband. Oh my goodness, you'll never believe what happened to one of my Lithe instructors. The suspense building as I talk about the changes in vision, and the inability to decipher colors before I hit them with the plot twist. It was a brain tumor. Then the double plot twist. And she was 14 weeks pregnant. But your letter, how human it made ... everything ... sealed my lips, and I fell asleep last night thinking of you and all you've been through these last weeks.
I thought about how it must have felt to go to the eye doctor only to ultimately hear the news you heard. I thought about what it must have been like to call your husband. Your parents. Your siblings. To tell them the ... news? Is that even the word for it? To explain it to your daughter. To come to grips with the diagnosis yourself, to experience everyone else's feelings and fear about it. Then to somehow gather yourself up, and get lucid enough to make a thousand decisions about what to do next. For you and for your family. You told your story in this way that I still can't quite describe in words. Which is tough for me, because finding words, for myself ... for others ... is where I'm at my best. But my best can only come up with: genuine.
I could genuinely feel a tiny (so tiny) sliver of what you felt throughout the sequence of events. And then, I could feel how genuinely you wanted us all to really, actually realize that... life can change in an instant, that it can be short, that our health is the most important thing...and all the cliches that we all hear all the time...and know...and forget...and do believe, but pack away on the shelf labeled I'm pretty sure that won't happen to me or mine are true. Not that we ignore them consciously or even arrogantly. We do it because actually admitting that things like this can happen to anyone is too paralyzing to think about in any real way.
You know I've been writing on this blog for years now, Julie. Week after week talking about how I feel about my body, my looks, my strength, my willpower, my drive, or lack of drive, my commitment and lack of commitment. All of it. And sometimes, I do think about my body the way you were telling me to in your letter. As a vessel that carries me around this life. A vessel I need to appreciate and make strong and healthy, so that I can stow my own luggage in overhead compartments, and so that I can carry life in my belly and bounce forward, when the time comes, and all the rest. A lot of the time though, Julie, if I'm honest, I'm just totally vain. I want to be committed and have drive and get stronger so I look better. I want to be skinnier. And less lumpy and bumpy. And I want to get into a smaller dress, and I want to feel confident in a swimsuit. Really, I want to just be more secure in my skin, and somewhere along the way I've come to believe I will be ... when I'm 10 lbs. lighter. If my outsides didn't change at all when I worked out, and only my insides benefited, I don't know that I would do it.
Yet, despite that, there's another layer if I dig even deeper, Julie, under all that vanity (and there's so much of it). I think I just want to feel that I have some control. Because I'm terrified. Because life is f*cking terrifying. And waking up one day to find a tumor pressing on your optic nerve is a f*cking nightmare, and maybe if I eat well, and I put green powders in my smoothies and I meditate for 20 minutes a day and work out regularly, something really scary won't happen to me.
That mindset is such a frantic race against the clock ... a dive to catch the other shoe, dangling in mid-air just before it thuds to the ground. And your letter, your brave letter, just spoke to the exhausted girl inside of me that's trying with all her might to be beautiful on the outside and to simultaneously will the universe to be gentle to her insides. That thing I knew, but forgot and now know again is that I really can't control a thing. That all I can do is just make the best decisions I can ... for the reasons and the people that actually matter. And to do that with perspective and courage and grace. Like you.
Thank you for that (re)awakening. Genuinely.
See you in class (very, very soon, I hope.)
Sending so much light and love your way,
A. RBG Cosmetics blush polish is the best, most perfect nude. B. I'm in love with (and have been living in) Madewell's sweet cropped Je t'aime sweatshirt C. Free People Movement Chasse Bra and Buddhi Short are feminine, supportive, fresh, and perfect together in-studio. D. Maple Water is a nice alternative to coconut water and contains only half the sugar! E. Mizon Returning Starfish eye cream is by far the best I've ever used.
Images via brand websites & Lauren Boggi in FP Movement via Dom
As a working mom, I try to spend as much of my free time as possible with Mars. That means I don’t have as much time for personal maintenance as I used to, even though I need it more than ever now! I am lucky that Mars still occasionally naps during the day on the weekends, so I try to make the most of that time for me time. Give this facial a try this weekend, post-holiday.
Ingredients: This is super-easy! Just mix approx 1 tablespoon pure (preferably raw) honey and 1 tablespoon cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil.
Do: Draw a warm bath, and apply the mixture to your face. Honey is antiseptic and fights the breakouts you sometimes get when you're tired. Coconut oil is so hydrating (I also use it on Mars's skin). Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse it off. It leaves my face smooth and glowing.
Image of Lauren via Jordan
I've been traveling a lot, so my challenge has become how to create a super-healthy breakfast that can be easily packed into a carry-on and eaten on the road (in the car, on a plane, in the airport, or even in a hotel room) that is both delicious and nutrient-packed, so that I feel energized for the long day ahead.
You guys already know how to make the original, so give this decadent superfoods recipe a shot. It contains a ton of nutrients and fits perfectly in a Ziploc bag or your travel cooler bag. And, now that you're comfortable making almond milk, you can easily learn how to make goji berry milk!
Goji Berry Milk Ingredients
Goji berries (lycium barbarum) are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth. They are a member of the nightshade family (solonaceae), which contains many other common vegetables such as potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper. Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, the goji berry is now grown in many other countries as well. Although they have only been introduced in Western countries in recent years, gojis have been used for thousands of years both as a culinary ingredient and medicinally.
Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the goji is a nutritional powerhouse.
This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal compounds. Its powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides boost the immune system. It’s no wonder then, that in traditional Chinese medicine they are renowned for increasing strength and longevity.
Image via Lauren
Lithe inside? Here's a perfect weekend breakfast recipe! This is a warm, filling, wholesome breakfast featuring maple syrup, banana, and cinnamon. It’s easy to make ahead of time and reheat on busy mornings. I know some of you are thinking ... rolled oats!? Sure, you can always soak and make the healthier steel cut variety, but for those of you who are looking for an "instant" healthy (and minimally processed) breakfast, it doesn't get any easier than this and it only takes 5 minutes.
Image via Lauren
Join Free People and me for its #FPLETSMOVE worldwide event at Lithe Rittenhouse on January 20th! Check out Free People’s newest FP Movement collection, Lithe with Lauren and Meghan (music by DJ SYLO), and help yourself to healthy bites from Pure Fare. We're so excited to represent Philadelphia, so please join us.
Image of Lauren & Meghan in Free People Movement via Dom
TGIF! At Lithe, we're all about making healthy choices without sacrificing any of the fun. Next up in our Lithe Foods Skinny Heathen collaboration with Art In The Age spirits is one of my favorites: Bend 'n' Snap!, which is made with Lithe's The Vert and AITA's Snap liquor.
ATIA took a traditional German “lebkuchen” and distilled the ingredients into an organic spirit. What is a lebkuchen? A ginger snap! But not the mass-market, high-fructose type from the supermarket. We’re talking a real Pennsylvania Dutch (which actually means Pennsylvania German) ginger snap made with hearty (unrefined sugar!) blackstrap molasses, and fresh ginger.
Lithe's The Vert is a deep, yet light, power-packed raw juice blend that will get you going – and we mean it! Made of cold-pressed cucumber, celery, apple, lemon, and ginger - Bend 'n' Snap! starts out strong (and snappy) with an initial hit of green but mellows out to a lighter, earthy gingery cocktail.
Yield: 1 serving
Image via Chaucee
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