Fashion, Featured

5 Sustainable Alternatives to Black Friday

November 22, 2017
5 Sustainable Alternatives to Black Friday

Hailed as the biggest shopping event of the year, Black Friday is estimated to draw 164 million Americans to retailers this Friday with predicted sales at $682.0 billion dollars. Originally an American phenomenon, Black Friday has spread its tendrils across the globe carrying with it its many negative connotations.

We’ve all seen the images; frantic shoppers lining up before dawn, massive crowds aggressively pushing their way through storefronts, and customers physically fighting over televisions and tablets. The most perplexing element of this barbaric scene; it takes place just hours after a holiday based on gratitude.

The effects of Black Friday spread far beyond the embarrassment of frivolous human behavior. Rampant consumerism and mindless consumption have devastating consequences for the environment. The most effective way to stop environmental destruction is preventing it from happening in the first place. And the easiest way to prevent human consumption patterns from doing colossal damage is to cease mindless consumption.

Below, I’m sharing a few ways you can get into the holiday spirit sans crazy crowds and environmental destruction.


Founded in 1992 by Canadian artist Ted Dave, Buy Nothing Day encourages society to examine the issue of over-consumption. This symbolic day invites people to stop shopping for a day and reflect on what is truly necessary.


“Let’s make a new Black Friday tradition,” says outdoor co-operative and retail chain, REI. The company is closing it’s doors on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday and encouraging customers to #OptOutside instead. REI’s website even provides a search engine where you can type in your zip code and find outdoor actives near you.


If you feel compelled to participate in Black Friday, take the ethical route and shop secondhand. By purchasing a gently used item, you’re helping to keep things in circulation that would have gone into a landfill.  You can also consider purchasing from brands that give a portion of their Black Friday sales to charitable causes. One of my favorite tea brands, Pukka Herbs, is donating 100% of their sales to The Forest of Avon Trust and The Matthew Tree Project this year.


In a recent blog post I talked about the devastating impact that fast fashion has on both the environment and the garment workers lower on the supply chain. The slow fashion movement encourages consumers to think before they purchase. Slow fashion is (you guessed it) a slower process taken to design, source, produce and sell garments. In the process, companies often use eco-conscious materials, fair trade practices, pricing and sourcing transparency, all while challenging the traditional retail model.


If participating in the holiday madness is not your cup of tea, consider spending the day, or even just part of it, volunteering. Websites like Volunteer Match connect people to service opportunities based on their schedule, interests and skill set.

Featured, Food, Sides, Snacks

Sweet Potato Fries with Lemony Tahini Sauce

November 4, 2017
Sweet Potato Fries with Lemony Tahini Sauce

If you’ve got a hankering for fries that can’t be tamed, you’ve stumbled upon the perfect recipe! These Sweet Potato Fries with Lemony Tahini Sauce are loaded with skin-beautifying vitamin A, beta-carotene and fiber. The next time a snack crisis strikes, these sweet and salty gems are sure to satisfy even the most persistent of cravings.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 2 rounded tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup tahini 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons warm water


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 ̊F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Melt coconut oil and pour onto the potatoes and sprinkle on the garlic powder and salt. Toss to coat.
  5. Spread out the coated potatoes evenly on the lined baking sheets. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy.
  6. While the potatoes are cooking, blend together mayonnaise, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a high speed blender.
  7. Slowly drizzle in warm water and continue blending until mayo becomes smooth and creamy.
  8. Once sweet potatoes are finished roasting, remove and let cool on a plate. Meanwhile, pour tahini sauce into a small bowl and top with fresh herbs and a pinch of black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Featured, Food, Wellness

Seattle Wellness Spots on My Radar

November 2, 2017
Seattle Wellness Spots Radar

For the past few months, I’ve watched as some of my favorite wellness brands have nestled their way into the heart of the Emerald City, giving Seattleites something to sip on other than Starbucks.

Pressed Juicery

First it was SoulCycle, now Seattle is home to one of SoCal’s favorite juice hotspots! Pressed Juicery offers cold-pressed juices, cleanses, hot drinks and Freeze – a healthy, nutrient-dense take on frozen yogurt that’s dairy free, refined sugar free and unbelievably delicious.

Where: Capitol Hill, Downtown, Bellevue and Lower Queen Anne 

Bulletproof Cafe

Something new is brewing in South Lake Union and it’s not Cafe Vita! Bulletproof opened it’s doors on October 27th and is now serving their coveted buttery brew as well as several different ketogenic-friendly grab-and-go options. Collagen latte, anyone?

Where: South Lake Union 

Butter London

The OG of healthy nail polish has landed in the middle of Amazonia. The Butter London Nail Bar offers guests a waterless manicures which they claim extends the wear of the polish. All nail lacquers used are 8-free meaning there’s no nasty chemicals involved.

Where: South Lake Union


If you’re a health conscious frequent flyer, you can understand the struggle when it comes to finding healthy meal options at the airport. Step aside overly salted almonds and unripe bananas, Seattle-based vegetarian restaurant Cafe Flora is opening a sister restaurant, Floret, in Sea-Tac’s main terminal.  You can expect a classic Flora menu (even the vegan cinnamon rolls) as well as plenty of nourishing grab-and-go options.

Where: Sea-Tac International Airport (Coming December 2017)



Featured, Wellness

Wellness Chats: Let’s Talk About Periods

October 28, 2017
Wellness Chats: Let's Talk About Periods

So many of us are taught that our periods are a problem. But the truth is, understanding your monthly cycle is empowering and the key to optimizing your entire life. Learning how your hormones shift throughout the month is like obtaining a cheatsheet for all the subtle (yet significant) changes that happen throughout each cyclical phase.

Knowing what to expect is half the battle. Once you uncover and implement the tools necessary for supporting your endocrine system, you can strategically map out you schedule – from nutrition to fitness and even career decisions – all while complimenting your body’s natural rhythms, eliminating symptoms and functioning optimally.

There’s no denying that your menstrual cycle can have a profound impact on your mental state. But if you acknowledge and honor your natural hormonal fluctuations within each phase, you can take full advantage of your body’s ingrained wisdom and capitalize on the shifts to create an overall sense of balance and wellbeing.

If you’re like many women, there’s a good chance that your hormones are out of balance. It’s easy to fall out of touch with your body’s natural fluctuations (three lattes a day, work stress and hitting that crazy bootcamp class too often? That will do the trick). The good news is that in addition to visiting your primary care provider, you can also start restoring your body from any of the negative dietary and environmental influences that have been wreaking havoc on your hormones.

The easiest way to begin is by tracking any aches, pains, mood swings and so on. While some might prefer an old fashioned notebook and pen, I love using the MyFLO app. According to their website, “MyFLO is a period tracking and hormone-balancing tool that teaches you how to take care of and tap into your body’s cyclical, biochemical hormonal patterns.” In other words, this app doesn’t just warn you when your next cycle is arriving, it teaches you how to eat, move and live in tune with your hormones.

Here’s a glimpse of the cognitive changes you can expect throughout each phase so you can start tuning into these powerful shifts right away: 

Phase 1: Follicular Phase

(Duration: 7-10 days)

The follicles in your ovaries start to swell and as estrogen and testosterone rise, so do your energy levels and mood! You may find that you’re especially good at making social plans, trying new things, and building and implementing all kinds of projects and ideas.

Lifestyle tips – You’ll likely have energy for more challenging workouts in this phase so schedule in the spin class you love. You’ll also benefit from eating plenty of fresh, light foods.

Phase 2: Ovulatory Phase

(Duration: 3-4 days)

As an egg releases then makes its way through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus, you will have a surge of energy. Whatever your actual desires may be when it comes to conception, during ovulation your body is at peak fertility.

Lifestyle tips – Energy levels are at their max in the ovulatory phase so there’s never been a better time to hit the gym. You’ll have plenty of natural energy and a stable mood from the surge of estrogen so stick to lighter carbohydrates and fill up on fresh produce.

Phase 3: Luteal Phase

(Duration: 10-14 days)

Physical energy declines due to an increase in progesterone. You may start to experience any premenstrual symptoms in the luteal phase – bloating, irritability, headache, mood swings and cravings are all common.

Lifestyle tips – You may enter this phase with high energy, but it will slowly taper off closer to your cycle. This is a great time to take a vinyasa yoga class or go for a brisk walk. To prepare for your period load up on B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fiber-rich foods.

Phase 4: Menstrual Phase

(Duration: 3-7 days)

When it comes to your period, the day you start bleeding is officially day one of week one. Progesterone levels plummet, telling your body it’s time to release your uterine lining. This is the time of your cycle when your energy will be at its lowest point. You may feel tired, drained, and inclined to withdraw.

Lifestyle tips – Restoration and relaxation are necessary during your cycle. Listen to your body’s cues and move only if you feel inclined. For most, yin yoga, gentle stretching and walking are the best options. Also be sure to enjoy plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables, sea vegetables and sea food which will help replenish iron and zinc levels.

Apps for tracking your cycle:

MyFlo: ($1.99)

Clue: (Free)

Natural Cycles: ($9.99 per month)

Web resources:

Flo Living

Natural Cycles

The Broadcast by LOLA

Other products I love:

LOLA – a woman-run company providing consumers with tampons and pads made with organic cotton.

Woman Code by Alisa Vitti – a fantastic book and women’s health resource.

The Healthful Model and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Healthful Model is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.