Several years ago after I uncovered my gluten intolerance, I spent a solid six months doing research and began to understand the harsh, toxic chemicals that are allowed in our food, personal care products, and household cleaners - often without regulation. I started throwing everything out and switching to natural options. Just like anything in life, it's been a journey of learning what works for us and what doesn't.

Cleansing and detoxing are popular topics when you get into the "health world." I once tried a juice cleanse and thought I was legitimately going to die. HA! I've never felt so sick to my stomach and so, my juice cleanse lasted one day. I will never do that again and I haven't tried another cleanse since. However, over the last few weeks, I could tell that my body really needs some sort of reset. Overall, we adhere to clean eating with a whole food, gluten/dairy/soy/corn free diet, but I've been slacking here lately and indulging in more sugar and processed foods than usual (thanks, stress). Anyways, knowing that I wanted to do something to help my body reset a little, I picked up a copy of Goop Clean Beauty when I was perusing Barnes and Noble the other day. As I read through it, I thought to myself, "YES! This is such a healthy perspective." It's like all of my personal research wrapped up into one beautifully produced book; I highly recommend it!

image via caryn noel

image via caryn noel

Their approach to cleansing is to live a detox lifestyle. Our bodies were created to detox themselves, we just need to give it the right food, drink, and supplements to do so and avoid the things that get in the way of it going through the detoxing process (and what we put ON our bodies is just as important as what's going IN). Even though I feel like I'm doing a good job for the most part, I decided to go with their 10-day cleansing plan to tighten up the parameters and allow my body to do its own thing.

Here are their cleanse rules:

  • No alcohol

  • No caffeine (still going to drink matcha)

  • No dairy

  • No eggs

  • No beef, no pork

  • No shellfish, no raw fish

  • No gluten

  • No soy

  • No nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)

  • No strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, bananas

  • No corn

  • No white rice

  • No added sugar

  • No peanuts (other nuts are fine)

image via caryn noel

image via caryn noel

I'm looking forward to getting started with some of the delicious recipes they offer in the book and getting my gut and the rest of my body back in order! Self-care is so important and during this slower season I'm currently in, I've decided to take full advantage of the stillness and care for myself. We have so many amazing things in the works so I'm doing my best to establish healthier habits while I have the time in hopes they'll stick when life gets crazy again!

If you find yourself in a similar place, I'd love to invite you into this with me. Who wants to invest in their health + wellness for the next 10 days?


I’m not sure where you’re reading from, but it’s a little chilly in New York City today. When it’s on the cooler side, one of my favorite ways to curb my sweet cravings in the afternoon is to make a cup of hot chocolate. Awhile back, I was perusing the aisles of Whole Foods and was overwhelmed by all the hot cocoa mixes and cacao powder options. Then, I saw raw cacao in the supplement section and was really intrigued as to how it could provide all the health benefits it was boasting on the side of the package. Let’s face it.. I don’t get all of those benefits from eating a chocolate bar! 

I wasn’t 100% sure what differentiated the two so I decided to do some research and I’m so glad I did. Turns out, cacao is packed full of health benefits compared to its processed counterpart. 

According to Equal Exchange, "Cacao" is the bean that comes from the cacao tree, which is known by the scientific name of Theobroma cacao. Cacao pods - large football-shaped fruits - grow off the trunk and limbs of the cacao tree, and cacao beans are found inside the pods. The beans are harvested, fermented and dried. They are then cleaned and roasted, after which point the products are often referred to as "cocoa." In other words, "cocoa" is what the bean is called after it has been processed.

Simply put, cocoa is the processed version of cacao. Unfortunately, the process of roasting the beans leaves cocoa with very little health benefits. Cacao (powder or nibs) is the raw bean and is totally unprocessed. It’s chocked full of antioxidants and is also a fantastic source of many nutrients such as fiber, magnesium, essential fatty acids, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, and calcium. 

So how do you use raw cacao? It’s very bitter unlike cocoa powder which usually contains added sugar so I suggest sweetening it with a little honey or maple syrup, especially if you’re using it as a chocolate substitute. I throw it in smoothies, baked goods, acai bowls, and more. 


Here’s the hot chocolate recipe I’m drinking right now: 

1 Cup Organic Almond Milk
2 Tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder*
2 Tbsp Organic Honey

Heat almond milk in a small saucepan on low-medium heat. Stir in cacao and honey, whisking until it’s smooth. Bring to a slight boil then pour into your favorite mug and enjoy! 

For a more in depth look at the health benefits associated with raw cacao, read this article by Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar. 

*Always make sure your cacao is fair trade certified