Content Diet

Content Diet

The things you read, people you follow, and the content you watch have a big impact on what you think and how you feel. It is the fuel you are putting into your brain, and just like the famous Buddha saying goes, “what you think, you become.”

An important part of self-care and recovery that isn’t discussed enough is the impact the information you are consuming is having on your wellbeing. Because we are living in an era of relentless connectivity and social media saturation, we need to protect ourselves, and an important way we can do that is by being very conscientious about what we are following and reading.

Content Diet

When I realized this I took a deep look into how the content I was consuming on a daily basis was making me feel, and then cleaned out all the junk I didn’t want making it’s way into my head.

I wanted to expose myself to things that lit me up and inspired me, not things that made me criticize myself or brought me down.

In my opinion, the only types of “diets” we should be talking about are: CONTENT DIETS. Just like if you eat nourishing foods you are going to feel energized, if you consume thought-provoking interesting content you are going to feel expanded.

For our mental health and well-being, it is very important that we be aware of how certain content makes us feel and to remove things that don’t align with our goals or help us feel our best.

Here are some of the tactics I have applied to my life to remove negative content that was making me feel good:

Social Media:

  • I don’t follow people that make me feel bad about myself

    • This can be someone I knew from college, a toxic friendship, or a wellness influencer – anything that makes me feel less than or that my situation just isn’t as good as theirs — is an unfollow.

  • Bloggers who are “super healthy” restrictive eaters

    • Nothing against them but that content isn’t healthy for me and it makes me start questioning what I am eating and I don’t need that — I want Recovery :)

  • Skinny models or photos posted with beauty/body ideals that aren’t aligned with what I want to believe in

    • I am working towards believing in beauty standards that are more realistic and accepting of all body shapes and sizes

    • Therefore models, especially VS models or bathing suit company models, are not the types of beauty ideals I want pushed upon me

  • Any accounts that I have found to be triggering, crude, or inappropriate

    • Sometimes these don’t even make sense but if the content feels triggering, gross or cruel in some way, it isn’t something I wan to be exposed to

Media/News:

  • I don’t follow any news outlets on social media and am not subscribed to any of their email marketing lists

    • I don’t want information pushed upon, rather I want to go to the websites and choose what I want to read

    • I pick the articles that I want to be reading

  • I don’t read the news every day

    • I know some people might find this irresponsible but my first priority is to take care of myself and A LOT of what is in the news is triggering and upsetting for me, so I choose to protect myself and not read this content every day

    • I will read the headlines every other day to be aware of developments, and then I will choose which stories look interesting to me

    • I listen to the NPR Up First podcast frequently because I find that way of consuming the news better for me.

  • Read more books & magazines

    • I have been going back to reading hard copy books and magazines because I am tired of how much of my time and attention can get hijacked by advertisements or various things popping up online

    • When I read a magazine article, I can sit and read the magazine article in peace and then move on and do something else without finding myself down an internet rabbit hole two hours later

    • I have a New Yorker subscription which I love — that is my favorite form of reading interesting, well-written articles

What Made Maddy Run – Thoughts on Depression & Suicide

What Made Maddy Run - Perfectionism, Suicide & Depression

I recently read the book – What Made Maddy Run by Kate Fagan. It was incredibly powerful and moved me deeply. I saw so much of myself in Maddy, and because of a few different choices, I am still here, whereas she is sadly not.

What Made Maddy Run is the story of Madison Holleran, an ambitious college athlete at UPenn who committed suicide her freshman year. The book discusses the story of Maddy’s life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people face to be perfect and constantly achieve, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.

This is an incredible book for anyone to read, especially those who want to gain a better understanding of mental illness, perfectionism, and how to help people who are struggling.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways I had on depression and suicide from the book (I also had thoughts on perfectionism I wanted to share, but this post go too long, so I will share that in a separate post):

Depression

Throughout the book, it is repeatedly mentioned that people couldn’t understand what had gone wrong, or how Maddy was so unhappy when everything was great in her life — loving parents, happy family, talented, smart, athletic, beautiful, popular. Depression and mental health issues — they don’t have a face! It can happen to and affect anyone, and some of the most depressed people have a seemingly “perfect” life. It is genetic, so trying to make sense of it is futile.

When someone tells you they aren’t doing well or if someone is having a rough day, be kind to them — you really don’t know what anyone is going through.

No one would ever have suspected I was severely depressed. I became an expert at going from crying to slapping on my happy, cheerful face and being vivacious Lili. I would tell my mom how I hated seeing people because I was so tired of faking it and would get annoyed when people would describe me as — Oh Lili is always so sweet and happy — I felt like such a fraud and so alone.

Suicide

This is something I haven’t opened up about before, but if this can help anyone, even just a single person, it is worth it to me.

I had a really tough time when I was about 25 years old. I would wake up with nothing that made me want to get out of bed. I hated my work and what my life had turned into. The climax of all of this was when I would show up at the office and couldn’t stop crying. Just crying and crying and no matter how much I tried to stop I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I would run outside and pretend like I was going to get a coffee and just stand in an alleyway and cry.

That was when the thought struck me – if this is what my life is going to be, I don’t want it.

I didn’t want this life. I was miserable and tired of being so deeply unhappy. I didn’t see a way out and thought I could no longer continue. It was a scary thought, but in an effort to be honest, I just wanted the suffering to end.

I called my mom and she connected me with a suicide hotline and I spoke to them. It was terrifying but it was the first step I took in getting help. They instructed me to go talk to HR and figure out a solution whether that be medical leave or intensive therapy. That is when I started seeing a therapist twice a week. I considered inpatient treatment – which I wish I would have done – but at the moment I was terrified of people finding out about it and thought it sounded too extreme.

I want to emphasize the point here that I didn’t look at it as killing myself, I saw it as ending the suffering because I didn’t see another way out. At this point I had been struggling with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder for over ten years and didn’t know how or if I ever would get better. I also hated my job but didn’t know what I wanted to do instead, I felt completely trapped.

I think  this is a helpful thing to note because people just look at suicide as killing yourself and that wasn’t at all how I saw it when I was in the midst of my darkest thoughts. I felt like I was already trapped in the hell of my daily life, and it seemed like it would provide a release.

In reading Maddy’s story I can see how she was miserable and unhappy and couldn’t see a way out. I relate to how she felt so utterly trapped and was suffering deeply that she just wanted it to end. When you are in such a dark place it is very difficult to think clearly or see other options, you feel extremely stuck and exhausted. You also don’t see time clearly, a week can feel like eternity, and you need help IMMEDIATELY. When my mom would tell me to just finish out the week at work, it felt like a mountain I couldn’t climb and it would infuriate me because I felt like she didn’t understand the gravity of my pain, you need help and for things to change right away because you are already at your wits end.

If you’re struggling with any of this get help now. Call the suicide hotline or talk to HR right away. Things truly can change today and there is a way out that doesn’t involve suicide or hurting yourself. That is what I wish I could tell Maddy if she was here today — that things can get better and she can get better. To take a break from school and get the help she needs right away so she can find her way out of that hell and start creating a life that makes her happy.

The Gifts of Recovery

Rumi Quote

We tend to look at disorder and mental health issues as a negative thing. As something we would never wish upon anyone because of the suffering that it causes. And yes, that is true. In the midst of these issues it involves pain, isolation, and confusion. But I think there is something important to be said as to what you gain when you come out on the other side.

There are incredible gifts that come with recovery.

As I work through this process I continue to be struck with how grateful I am for what I am learning. You develop immense strength and fortitude, and gain a depth and understanding of yourself that most people don’t have to look at.

Recovery also requires a lot of courage. I don’t think most people understand the courage it takes to move through an eating disorder or any addictive behavior. We use these things as coping mechanisms for a reason and it is terrifying to begin to let them go and have faith that there is another way. 

I have come to realize that this path is such a huge part of who I am and how I have developed as a person. My life path and what I am interested in completely shifted because of it, and it has affected everything I have done since it came in and took over my life.

I have had to develop many skills to pull myself out of this and rewire negative habits that weren’t serving me. Although it has been very hard at times, I am beyond grateful that I have learned these tools.

It has given me such a fortitude and belief that I can handle anything that comes my way and will be ok no matter what happens.

Without difficulties and hardships how can we grow? I had one therapist who would continue to tell me to choose life when things got rough because on the other side she said my life would be much fuller.

Here are some of the gifts of recovery I have experienced along this path:

-       Self-awareness

-       Introspection

-       Emotional management

-       Mindfulness

-       Meditation

-       Depth and understanding of oneself

-       Insight into who you are and what is important to you

-       Spiritual practice

-       Self-respect

-       Strength of character

-       Individuality and thinking for oneself

-       Larger appreciation for life

-       Peace of mind

If you are in the midst of hard times or a difficult struggle, I hope this gives you hope to stay the course. Believe that things will get better – there truly are gifts in the healing.

The Art That's Made Me

The art that’s made me

I listened to a fun podcast the other day on Let It Out with Katie Dalebout that was all about the the books, music, movies, tv shows, and media you grew up with which has helped shape you into who you are today. I thought it was an interesting idea, and of course it got me thinking about the pop culture, art, and media that have been meaningful in my life. 

Since I thought it was a fun topic, I wanted to share “The Art That’s Made Me,” here with all of you, and I hope it gets you thinking about this in your own life. What were the meaningful movies, TV shows, books, songs, etc, that you consumed in your life that have made an impact on the person you are today? It’s a cool thing to think about :) Here are mine:

Books

I didn’t enjoy reading when I was little — shocking, I know. It wasn’t until I was older, around 10-12 years old, that I started finding books I wanted to read.

I found World War II novels fascinating and I enjoyed reading stories about kids with special powers or in magical worlds. What can I say — I’ve always loved magic.

These are the first books I remember loving:

Number the Stars // The Giver // A Wrinkle in Time // The Chronicles of Narnia // The Harry Potter Series

Once I was in high school I started devouring books, and luckily most of them were required reading for my classes. The books that I remember had a big impact on me were:

The Stranger by Albert Camus // The Awakening by Kate Chopin // Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger // Siddhartha by Herman Hesse // Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë // The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Movies

Like most children, the first movies I saw were Disney. I remember enjoying The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (like every other girl who grew up in the 90’s), but my favorites were other Disney movies and characters that weren’t as popular:

Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan // Alice in Wonderland // Pocahontas // Bambi

I really enjoyed movies about animals, nature, and magical lands, although Bambi tore me to pieces, I loved those movies.

When I got older I enjoyed musicals and classic films, like: The Sound of Music // Newsies

Then I became obsessed with Audrey Hepburn and loved Roman Holiday // Sabrina // Breakfast at Tiffany’s

TV Shows

I grew up with an older brother so I had to watch a lot of the things he wanted to watch, which resulted in me enjoying more boy-ish tv shows — which is fine! Here are some of the shows I remember liking:

Captain Planet // Power Rangers // Ninja Turtles // Sailor Moon

As we got older, I remember watching these shows after school:

Saved by the Bell // Fresh Prince of Belair // Sabrina the Teenage Witch

AND:

The Simpsons — that’s how I become obsessed with Lisa Simpson, I loved how she was so much smarter than her older brother, Bart, and did her own thing within her crazy family. I had never seen a strong, smart, independent young female character like her, and she inspired me.

Once I got to high school I barely ever watched TV because I didn’t have any time.

Music

As a kid, I liked music with a lot of beat. I remember loving:

Ace of Base // ABBA // Selena // The Jackson 5 // Musicals: Disney music and the songs from The Sound of Music.

THEN I remember that my mom was given a CD by a band called Pink Martini, that I loved. My favorite song on the disc was a French song called Sympathique — which was all about smoking, lol! I had no idea what the words meant but I had all of them memorized and would just play it and sing it on repeat.

As I got older I started liking my own types of music and it was very girly, poppy, female driven or angsty music. I remember listening to:

Shakira in Spanish — her Pies Descalzos CD // Alanis Morissette // Spice Girls // Britney Spears // Avril Lavigne // Janet Jackson

Stewed Fruit Recipe

Stewed Fruit Recipe

During the colder, rainier months I crave a warm, grounding breakfast. I just can’t bring myself to want anything that’s cold or raw because my body already feels cold inside.

That’s why I am obsessed with my warm matcha tonics in the morning as well as these stewed fruits! It’s a great way to enjoy fruit that still feels warming and comforting.

When it comes to making stewed fruits, I like to keep it very simple with minimal ingredients. My friend sent me this great recipe, which looks delicious, but I have perfected my own recipe that I will share here.

There is so much you can do with these stewed fruits — put it on top of oatmeal, toast, pancakes OR you can add all sorts of toppings to it — like yogurt, your favorite nut butter, coconut flakes, granola or hemp seeds.

My personal favorite combination is a slice of gluten free buckwheat toast from honey hi topped with some sunflower butter, stewed fruits, lots of cinnamon and then some coconut flakes :)

Here is my recipe:

Ingredients

- honeycrisp apple, or fruit of your choosing, cut into 1” pieces — pears, persimmons, peaches and raspberries work well! I used a honeycrisp apple and raspberries in the photo above

- 2 tsp of ghee — I like to use the 4th & Heart Madagascar Vanilla ghee — you can use coconut oil for a vegan alternative

- cinnamon — to your taste (I like a lot)

- cardamom — to your taste (I usually use a small sprinkle, about 1/4 tsp)

- pinch of pink himalayan salt

Instructions

- Heat a small pot on the stovetop. Once the bowl is warm add the 2 tsp of ghee, when the ghee is melted add the apple or fruit pieces. Stir them around and let them cook for a few minutes, then lower the heat and cover the pot and let it cook for about five minutes

- Keep stirring them around and keeping an eye on them. If they start to get too dry you can add a little bit of water (about 1 tbsp) but not more than that because you don’t want them to get watery.

- Once the apples are soft (but not falling apart) remove them from heat and let them cool down a little bit.

- Prepare your toast or get your other ingredients ready and either add the stewed fruits on top, or assemble your bowl of stewed fruits with all your favorite fixings!

Roasted Squash Soup Recipe

Roasted Squash Soup Recipe

It is soup season! Well sorta here in LA — but it is quite chilly in the evening. I love soups and stews and this recipe is one of my favorites because it is SO easy to make and SO delicious.

You can make it with really any vegetable you would like, but I tend to make it with butternut squash or cauliflower most of the time. Those veggies come out particularly amazing with this recipe. Enjoy!

*Note you need a high speed blender for this recipe because that’s how you mix the soup!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash, halved vertically and seeded (or chopped cauliflower)

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

  • ½ cup chopped shallot or red onion

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee, to taste (this is optional, and if you’re vegan sub for more avocado oil)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough avocado oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside. Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, warm 1 tablespoon avocado oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.

  4. Transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the roasted butternut squash, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later). Securely fasten the lid and select the soup preset, being careful to avoid hot steam escaping from the lid. The blender will stop running once the soup is super creamy and hot.

  5. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, stir in the remaining cup of broth (I usually use the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might not need all 4 cups). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons ghee, to taste, and blend well. Taste and stir in more salt and pepper, if necessary.

  6. Serve immediately!

LG Faves: January 2019

The Original LG January Favorites

It’s time for some January favorites! The first of the year :) I have discovered some amazing things that I am loving, so I am excited to share!

WORKOUT: Kait Hurley Move + Meditate

I am obsessed with Kait Hurley’s workouts because they leave you feeling SO GOOD. They provide a great mix of: mindfulness, toning, getting your heart rate up and being challenging, great stretches throughout that relieve tension and feel amazing, and then ending with a lovely meditation that helps you tune inward and cultivate presence. By the end you feel like you had an amazing workout and are also calmer and more present. I can’t say enough on how much I love this program. She has many different workout classes: fun toning high intensity workouts, mindful running workouts, yummy yoga flows, and guided meditations. I cancelled all of my workout class passes here in LA because I enjoy doing these workouts more.

WELLNESS: Ayurvedic Oil Pulling

I have become addicted to this habit because it leaves my teeth and mouth feeling amazing. It feels like conditioner for your gums and mouth. Basically oil pulling consists of swishing about 1 tbsp of Ayurvedic oil around in your mouth for a few minutes (making sure not to swallow any of it), then spitting it out into a trash can, and then rinsing your mouth with some warm water. Some directions say to swish the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes — but that’s too long for me! I usually do it for about 7-10 minutes first thing in the morning. It leaves your mouth and breath feeling clean and refreshed, and also has tons of other benefits that you can find here. I know it sounds weird, but I highly recommend it!

BOOK: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

This book has been extremely helpful in managing my anxiety and overthinking. It feels like it is a handbook on taming mental activity and relieving you of pointless suffering. The way that Eckhart Tolle explains and breaks down all of the concepts is very powerful. It is also a spiritual book and has introduced me to new ideas I had never thought of or even fathomed that are very freeing. I highly recommend reading this book if you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, depression, overthinking, unhappiness, or pretty much anyone who wants to be more at peace, because it helps you live a more present, mindful, content life.

MAKE: Homemade Nut Milk

I started making homemade nut milks and have loved how creamy and delicious they are.  They upgrade everything you put them in — lattes, matcha tonics, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. I don’t always have the time to make it but when I do it makes me so happy. It is honestly very simple to make, it just takes some planning. My recipe is on my Instagram here if you’re interested!

MUSIC: My Winter - Fresh Playlist!

I made a Winter playlist a few weeks ago that I have been playing on repeat. I pulled this playlist together with the theme of fresh, fun, dance-y, melodic beats and a mix of some new stuff that I am enjoying at the moment. You can listen to it here!  

TV Show: Schitt’s Creek

My best friend told me about this show a few weeks ago and I have been watching it most nights ever since. It is hilarious and I love all of the characters. It is about an extremely wealthy family that loses all of their fortune so they are forced to live in a rural town and adapt to a whole new way of living. Throughout all of these changes, they go through so many hilarious situations that they have to deal with. The show is easy to watch and light-hearted which is exactly what I have been needing lately.

BEAUTY: Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation

I don’t like wearing much makeup, but as an actress I need to have a solid makeup routine. The only time I wear actual makeup is when I have an audition or am filming something, on other days I simply wear some moisturizer with SPF, curl my eyelashes, and a little blush. Anyways, in the past I had been wearing a very light, tinted moisturizer and it just wasn’t enough for on camera work, so I went into Blue Mercury to try out a few different foundations and discovered this incredible one from Ilia! Right away I loved it, it is natural and feels like I am not wearing anything, but provides great coverage. It’s moisturizing but it didn’t leave my skin looking very glowy and shiny the way a few of the other foundations did. Ilia is an incredible clean beauty brand, only using organic and natural ingredients. I am so happy I found this foundation that checks all the boxes for me!

Recovery Diaries: No One Can Give You the Answers

No One Can Give You the Answers

For so much of my life I just wanted to be told the answer or what to do. In recovery I wanted an expert to tell me this is the optimal way you should live to heal and thrive, so then I could do that and go on my merry way.  

When I realized my eating disorder wasn’t going away without the help of a mental health team, I thought – “Ok I’ll go into therapy, they will tell me exactly what I need to do to recover, I will do the work, and then be done with this.”

I am not joking – I went in to my first appointment with a notebook and my questions for the therapist, which were along the lines of – What are the steps to recover? What do I need to do to recover as quickly as possible? Exactly how do I do it? How long is this going to take? And what is my homework?

I thought I simply needed to focus, do my assignments, and then I could kick this thing.

I was SO wrong.

The therapists I have seen over the years have avoided giving me any sort of regimen, or clear answers on how I should live my life. They are always helpful but they never tell me what to do. When I got frustrated with the process a few months ago, I asked my therapist what else I needed to do to recover and what recovery would look like when I was there. I wanted to know where I stood in the process because I was so tired of dealing with this. And then I finally got my answer – she told me that recovery looks different for everyone.

My version of recovery is going to be different than the recovery of someone else who is suffering from a similar eating disorder. It’s not a clear cut one size fits all method. So, she couldn’t tell me what it would look like for me, it was something I was going to have to develop by continuing to do the work.

Although this is an annoying pill to swallow (wouldn’t it be SO MUCH EASIER if they could just give us the answers??!) it did ring very true to me.

In my experience, whenever I have followed some sort of plan or read about how some incredible person lives their life and tried to apply it to my life, it never really works. I always find myself doing those things for a little while but then slowly falling off the wagon and finding myself back to doing things how I feel comfortable doing them. Maybe I will learn some things that I enjoy, but I will incorporate them into my way of doing things.

I can never stick to some written out guideline that someone else created of how things should be done because they aren’t my way of doing things.

When we are so frustrated and tired of not knowing what to do, we wish someone could tell us the answer, or look at how someone you admire is doing something and do it the same way, but life doesn’t work that way and you will only be hurting yourself if you do that. That’s because you need to find your own answers, you need to figure out how you like to live your life, and you need to develop what works for you.

We are all so unique and individual. Our lives and preferences are different, what works for me is not going to work for you, and that is wonderful. Why would we want to be like someone else? Being able to go on a journey of discovering ourselves is a great gift of life. Why do we want to deprive ourselves of that?

The path to healing is learning about yourself and how to take care of yourself, through all the good and the bad. You can’t rely on other people to tell you what to do or to solve your problems, because they aren’t you. You need to tune in and find your answers inside of you.

Winter Playlist - Fresh

The Original LG Winter Playlist

I have gotten a few requests for music playlists from the songs I have been playing with my Morning Matcha videos — so your wish is my command!

I pulled this playlist together with the theme of fresh, fun, dance-y, melodic beats and a mix of some new stuff that I am enjoying at the moment. These songs uplift my spirit while keeping me calm and grounded. It’s a lovely mix of catchy tunes that are easy to listen and dance to.

Hope you enjoy!

Morning Matcha with Cashew Milk

Matcha Tonic with Cashew Milk

I’ve started making my morning matcha with homemade cashew milk and it has been a game changer. It makes the tonic extra creamy, delicious and magical 💚⚡️🍵

You can find my homemade cashew milk recipe here.

Here’s my matcha recipe with homemade cashew milk:

- 10 oz hot (not boiling) water

- 4 oz homemade cashew milk 

- 1 serving vital proteins collagen

- 1 tbsp coconut butter

- 1 tsp Ippodo matcha

- 1/2 tsp Sun Potion ashwagandha

- 1/4 tsp Sun Potion rhodiola

- 1/4 tsp cinnamon

- A few drops of stevia

Blend all ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes. Enjoy!