What the Holidays Mean to Me

I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah. My dad was Jewish, as was my grandfather who lived with us when I was little, while my mom was “Christmas”, as I used to say. 

There’s a story my dad tells about how we went to the Smithsonian and had to go up to this book and sign in. I wrote, “my name is Sophie Aaronson”, and in the column that said “religion”, I wrote “Christmas”. That’s pretty dead on. As a child, all I knew was the excitement of the tree, the craziness surrounding Santa and the excess/presents, and the joy of stockings and Christmas morning. I loved Christmas morning because my mom would make a huge breakfast and we would play with all our toys amongst the twinkle of white Christmas lights and the smell of pine. 

As a “grown up” I felt very conflicted over the past decade about who I was and what my religion was. I began practicing yoga 12 years ago and started to develop my spirituality. When I moved to LA to live with my dad and step mom, who are both Jewish, we celebrated Hanukkah. It just was what it was. I didn’t get a choice. My stepmom grew up in a Jewish home, so Jewish holidays were the only thing celebrated. It made her feel uncomfortable to have a tree, so I didn’t push it, since it was her home. 

Later, after dating Adi (my husband) for some time, religion and how we would raise our future children came up in conversation. I began the process to convert to Judaism since I truly had no connection in my heart or upbringing with Christianity. It was important to Adi and his family to have Jewish children, and in Judaism, in order for the kids to be Jewish, the mamma must be Jewish. So, I converted. 

For several years I felt strange about not celebrating Christmas ever again. EVER? Really? Then I began trying to search and connect to what it was that I TRULY cared about. Was it the presents? No. For me, the holiday spirit has never really been about buying and receiving gifts. I didn’t feel a particular connection to going to church or celebrating Jesus’s birthday either. So what was it? What was I craving so deeply? It’s the tradition. It’s the EXCITEMENT I felt and shared with my siblings, the joy my mom felt in setting up all of the little surprises for us, and, as I aged, buying those I loved the most thoughtful gifts I could come up with. 

So how do Adi and I strike the balance? How do we avoid creating the same confusion for our kids that I felt as a child and into my adulthood?

The answer is that we do what feels true for us. We are Jewish. That’s what we resonate with spiritually and intellectually, so we celebrate Hanukkah. But, we will also have an elf on the shelf. I will read Christmas stories to the kids and we can go visit Santa if he’s in the hood. I will get a tree, because I love the way it smells, but we won’t over do it on expensive decorations. Just romantic twinkly white lights that I have always loved and a wreath on the front door.

I hope that as the kids continue to grow, we can keep the gifts to a minimum. Maybe a few gifts for each and a fun stocking of cute creative gifts. Not gifts JUST TO GIVE GIFTS, but gifts if we find something fun we want to share for them. I don’t want there to be a huge focus on the idea that the holidays are a time when we are supposed to be particularly happy. In the same way that I want to talk about why we are grateful every single day and not just on Thanksgiving, I want our family to focus on being happy and connected all year, as many days as possible, and as many times as feel right.

So that is that. When people ask why we have a tree even though we are Jewish, or when Kai’s friends ask who Santa is and wonder why we believe in him--we also believe in fairies and magic and dress up on many more days of the year than just Halloween. It’s all about balance, not taking yourself too seriously, and above all else, being true to yourself regardless of what or how other people think you “should” be. At the end of the day, being true to yourself will allow you to radiate the most authentic joy and that is one of the very greatest gifts you can share with world.

Connect with Sophie Jaffe of The Philosophie on Facebook for more meaningful articles on health, well-being, and living a beautifully bliss-filled life!

 

Comments (3):

Meg on

Sophie! THIS was exactly what I needed to hear today! A perfect sentiment and philosophy on how to live life- Beautiful! Thank you for the inspiration!!!

Frank on

very well said, thank you for sharing!!

Shirlee on

this is beautiful and inspiring. thank you, Sophie!

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Coconut Oil: Friend or Foe?

The wellness world was turned upside down this past month when the American Heart Association announced that coconut oil is a no-no for heart health. As we at Philosophie HQ have a love affair with coconut oil, I felt it was important to chime in on this debate. Like most issues today, every expert has a different opinion, and I wanted to share with you ours.

Bottom line: There are healthy fats and there are unhealthy fats. Coconut oil is abundant in medium chain triglycerides (called MCTs) that deliver immediate energy because the body quickly turns them into fuel, which means that this oil is NOT stored as fat. Coco oil is a fat that is MUCH easier for your body to digest, as well as anti-fungal and anti-microbial. There are so many benefits to consuming coconut oil, and they’re all backed by studies.

We all know the buzz word “anti-inflammatory,” but did you know that the start of almost all chronic disease stems from inflammation in the body? It’s so important to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet to protect your insides and your overall health, and consuming coconut oil on the reg helps you do just that!

The AHA also claimed that there were “no known offsetting favorable effects.” On the contrary, research shows that fats in coconut oil can actually decrease risk factors for heart attack and strokes! Coco oil PREVENTS the hardening and thickening that happens to your arteries when you are about to suffer from a heart attack or stroke. Obesity is another major issue in our country, and coconut oil actually helps speed up your metabolism, as well as reduces your appetite.

I think it's important to note that the AHA was basing their inaccurate conclusions about coconut oil on studies that were conducted 50 years ago! The wellness industry is constantly changing, but one thing that remains the same is the incredible benefits of coco oil when it’s used properly.

We love to cook and bake with coco oil, we use it as a hair mask, as an eye makeup remover, in smoothies, and in bulletproof coffee–most importantly, of course! I personally rely on it to help strengthen my weakened gut lining in my stomach, due to food sensitivities! It also acts as a moisturizer for your body, and helps heal wounds. What can this superfood NOT do?

Knowledge is power, Philosophie Tribe! Arming yourself with accurate and current information is key in staying on top of your wellness game!


We’re love to hear your thoughts on coconut oil–let us know if you’re still riding the coconut train with us on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie!

Watermelon Pizza Recipe

On a midsummer night that calls for a light, magical dessert, forego the traditional fruit salad for this bewitchingly beautiful treat. All it takes is a crisp watermelon cut into a lovely moon, topped with superfood-infused yogurt, a handful of berries, and walnuts for some added crunch! On top of being simply swoon-worthy, this luscious pie is also abundant in antioxidants, probiotics, and omega-3s...which means that summer dreams should definitely be made of watermelon pizza.

 

Gather This:

 

Do This:

Mix the yogurt with the Berry Bliss. Spread the supercharged yogurt onto the watermelon slice. Top with berries + nuts, and enjoy!

I would love to see your beautiful watermelon pizzas this summer! Share them with us on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie + #PhilosophieSuperfoods!

Heart of the Week: Klean LA

As a busy mama on the go, having clean prepared meals that come straight to my doorstep and are catered to exactly what my body needs, is nothing short of a miracle!

I have heard so many wonderful things about Klean LA that I couldn’t wait to try it. I’m especially stoked that they’re gluten-free, soy-free, preservative-free, as well as local AND sustainable (they have FANTASTIC eco-friendly packaging). I also feel that it’s important that I teach Kai + Leo to support local, small businesses!


I’m not someone who labels the way I eat, or how my family eats, so the fact that Klean La offers us plenty of paleo AND vegan options is super helpful. I practice intuitive eating, which means that I eat based off of how feel that day. Sometimes, I’m craving an animal protein, while other days I want a heaping plate of quinoa +  fresh veggies!

The convenience factor of Klean LA, along with their delish food, makes keeping my family healthy really easy. I can’t get enough of their roasted veggies and brown rice–and their housemade sauces are to die for! Kai couldn't stop sneaking their yummy quinoa, and Leo was OBSESSED with the roasted chicken.

On busier work days, I definitely don’t always have time to go out and purchase fresh food and then prepare a yummy, nourishing meal for my family that evening. Klean LA though helps me do just that (well, minus the shopping + cooking parts)! But that’s what life's about – finding a system that works for YOU, and this absolutely did the trick for The Jaffe Family!

What are healthy eating hacks do you use for you or your family? Share them with us on Facebook with #MyPhilosophie! 

5 Day Pre-Festival Cleanse

Festival season sparks those magical moments that you’ll be reminiscing about in decades from now – blissing out to artists on your favorite playlist performing only 10 feet in front of you, drinking dreamy cocktails, and spending dawn to well after dusk with your tribe dancing, laughing, and living wild and free.

To ensure that you begin your festival with open, radiant energy (not drained and desperate for a vacation), prepare your mind, body, and soul for your packed weekend of magic with a 5-day pre-festival cleanse.

This holistic, revitalizing cleanse will not only support you in detoxing from the taxing energies in your life, but will also make you feel rejuvenated, refreshed, lighter, and truly ready to celebrate all that’s to come.

To get started, integrate the three following practices into your week for 5 days before your big weekend:

1) Cultivate a morning ritual to promote a peaceful mind.

Create your ideal morning and fresh start by making your own altar space, a special place for you to find stillness, meditate, and dig deep. It helps to place your journal, crystals, essential oils, intention cards, and candles on a beautiful tray that you can bring to your favorite rug or sofa – or even take outside so that you can open your morning amongst soft sunlight and calming birdsongs.

In 5-10 minutes, light your candles, apply your oils, picks up your crystals, and then connect to your breath and meditate, allowing thoughts to come in without judgement and leave freely. Even if your neighbor’s dog barking starts barking, the mailman stops by, or a firetruck with a blaring siren passes your street, don’t get frustrated. While we don’t live on top of the Andes Mountains, we do live in a place that’s active, dynamic, and also beautiful – this is your home. Simply acknowledge the sounds and then get right back into it.

Once you’ve completed your meditation, pick one of your intention cards (like this Own Your Awesome Deck) – a card that feels good to you and feels right in that moment. Soak in the wisdom of the card and then take note of the love, joy, and inner tranquility you’ve just cultivated.

While this practice is a must in the 5 days leading up to your festival, it’s also a beautiful ritual to integrate into your everyday routine!

2) Do a 15-30 minute HIIT workout at home, the gym, or your local park.

Hard and fast HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are a fitness staple – especially if you have a regularly packed schedule. The beauty in HIIT workouts is that they’re so short and sweet you can do them daily!

Whether you’re new to rapid cardio circuits or are a HIIT champ, the key to these workouts is giving it your all and really taking yourself to your edge.

Dive right in with this HIIT sweat sesh made up of 3 super intense circuits of high knees, air squats, burpees, and elevated leg crunches. In each of these exercises, you’ll only have one minute so make the most of that minute.

Your heart rate will be pumping by the end so make sure to drink a bunch of water and then cool down with some restorative yoga stretches.


3) Do the Philosophie 5-day food-based cleanse.

While festivals like Outside Lands and FYF now have an array of wholesome options, it’s likely that there might be some curly fries and craft beer in your weekend as well. You can give your body an energy boost going into the festival by doing a simple food-based cleanse in the days before. This type of cleanse is unique in that it doesn’t promote deprivation, but rather focuses on giving your digestive system a well-deserved break.

Since we all get busy and don’t always have time to shop for and prepare healthy, wholesome foods, we’ll often turn to picking up fast food or ordering the deep-fried item at dinner with friends. The issue with this is that we’ll be filling ourselves with foods that are much more likely higher in trans fats and high-glycemic sugar, possibly sprayed with pesticides, and lower in nutrients.

A food-based cleanse like this 5 Day DIY Philosophie Cleanse provides just the opposite and consists of protein-rich smoothies, nutrient-dense salads, whole food snacks, superfood energy bars, fresh juices and fiber-filled soups—all of which are gluten-free, vegan, low in sugar and high in plant-based proteins. Check out a typical menu of the yummy, nourishing foods you’d be eating during the cleanse or even get a jump start:

Breakfast:

Berry Mint Bling Smoothie

Gather This:

  • 1 cup dairy-free milk
  • 1 cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon Philosophie Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon goji berries
  • 7-8 fresh sprigs of mint
  • ¾ cup fresh organic baby spinach
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ice to taste

 

Do This:

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

 

AM Snack:

Coconut Water


Lunch:

Mermaid Salad

Gather This:

  • quinoa
  • wakeme
  • arame
  • hijiki
  • sesame oil
  • turmeric
  • cayenne
  • salt + pepper
  • avocado, sliced
  • lemon juice
  • sesame seeds

 

Do This:

Prepare quinoa as directed and set aside. Soak wakame, arame, and hijiki in 2 cups water for 20 minutes, drain well and add to cooled quinoa along with sesame oil, turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Slice avocado and bathe in lemon juice for several minutes. Add all the avocado and lemon juice to quinoa mixture and toss. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.


PM Snack:

Snap Peas + Hummus


Dinner:

Green Power Soup


Gather This:

  • 1/2 cup tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons flaxseed or olive oil
  • ½ avocado, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Philosophie Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend
  • 1/2 cup carrot juice


Do This:
Blend all ingredients in blender. Garnish with parsley leaves and avocado chunks.

Any questions about doing a pre-fest cleanse? Please ask away on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie! 

The Bee’s Knees: 5 Reasons Honey Makes the Perfect Sweetener

Raw honey is hands down one of my favorite ways to infuse sweetness into my smoothies, toast, yogurt, salad dressings, and savory cooking. This golden liquid comes straight from superfood heaven – after 2 MILLION flower blossoms are visited, 1 pound of honey is created! A bee also makes about 1/12 teaspoon in its LIFETIME, so this is a true delicacy. And when our superfood + protein blends are swirled into jars of raw honey, you have a low-glycemic, high-vibrational, nutritionally-dense nectar that is pure bliss. Read on for 5 more reasons why honey is the bee's knees! 

1) It's bursting with vitamins + minerals. 

Raw honey contains an assortment of vitamins including Vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid, along with minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium AND zinc! This definitely makes it one of the most nourishing ways to sweeten your eats + drinks.  

2) It's full of antioxidants. 

Micronutrients called polyphenols in honey contain antioxidants, which are SO essential for radiance + wellness. Antioxidants help combat free radicals, those bad atoms that contribute to cellular damage and can lead to disease.

3) It provides an all-natural energy boost! With 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, it's a great way to support muscle recovery after you've had an intense workout. I like to add our Berry Bee Honey to this oh-so-yummy DIY Coconut Pineapple Sports Drink

4) It can enhance your shampoo + conditioner. With its humectant properties, honey makes a great addition to shampoo by helping your hair maintain moisture. The nutrients and enzymes in honey also give your hair a gorgeous shine without weighing it down. I like to mix a small spoonful of raw honey into my shampoo or conditioner! 

5) It makes a lovely face mask, especially after a day out in the sun. The healing benefits of raw honey have been recognized for centuries. Ancient Egyptians and Ayurvedic traditions used honey to treat skin infections, burns, and wounds since this sweet gift from nature possesses antibiotic properties. I love mixing it into this hydrating DIY mask with aloe and cucumber (video below) since it reduces both redness and swelling!  

What are your favorite ways to use our supercharged honeys? Tell us on Facebook with #PhilosophieSuperfoods on Facebook! 

Horned Melon Toast Recipe

Our latest Toast Tuesday recipe features horned melon, a fun spiky fruit that tastes like a fusion of cucumber, kiwi, banana, cantaloupe, and even zucchini! Created with vegan cream cheese, Berry Bee Honey, and horned melon (also known as kiwano), this toast is packed with antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and C!

Horned melon, the star ingredient behind the recipe, is a fruit that's in the midst of a bit of an identity crisis. It is actually a member of both the melon family AND the cucumber family. If you splice it open, you'll see why–the insides look like cucumber with edible seeds surrounded by a green jelly, while the outside definitely looks like a melon.

As it's not too sharp or too sweet, it tastes super yummy when drizzled with superfood-infused honey and layered on top of cream cheese-covered toast! 

Gather This:

  • 1 slice of toast
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
  • 1 horned melon, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Berry Bee Honey

Do This:

Once your toast is toasted, spread on the cream cheese, top with sliced melon, and add a drizzle of honey! 

Have you tried horned melon before? Do you love cooking with it? Tell me how you like to integrate this super fruit into meals or treats on Facebook with #MyPhilosophie!