Breast Cancer Awareness Month; My Mother’s Experience

Cue the music: “I’m a survivor”


My incredible, inspiring, beautiful mother had a huge battle with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. This was almost 5 years ago, and one of the most terrifying experiences of our lives. I’ve wanted to share her moving story but I needed time to pass to heal us all from the wounds this wretched disease created.

How “the cancer” developed

She felt a lump under her left breast for about a year. She and my dad both agreed they needed to get it checked out but both were in denial and waited as long as possible to do so. My grandmother just had a stroke so to say the least, it wasn’t exactly a calm time. My mother decided it was her role to take care of my grandparents (my grandfather was trying to figure out how to care for my grandmother, they were both in their 90′s).

She finally went to see a radiologist 2 weeks after her mother passed away. Indeed, it was a tumor and it metastasized and spread to her liver and lymph nodes. We were all floored. We didn’t know what to do. My best friend from childhood died that year as well, so I felt as though my world was falling apart.

Her biggest advice? “Don’t wait until it’s too late to get a screening. There are simple tests you can get at a young age to see if your estrogen levels could lead to tumors in the future. Get screenings and don’t wait to get questionable lumps checked out. Whether you chose to do so or not and take it seriously is up to you, I certainly didn’t.”


An Inspiration

Phyllis A. Koenig-Aaronson is an inspiration to SO many. In her profession, she has worked her way up to the top, being one of the few women in her industry to produce commercials and currently, to own a commercial production company. She has been in the world of creating commercials and film for over 20 years and does a kick-ass job.

Personally, she is a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, step-mother, cousin and friend. She is a joy to be around, creating happiness and joy everywhere she goes. She’s kind hearted, loving and one of the most giving and generous people I’ve ever met. She’s been like this her entire life. I learned to give and not expect anything in return 100% from her and my father. The way they engage with people, every person as if they count, no matter who they are, has always inspired me. From a homeless person on the street to a waitress in a diner, they have always been giving and human to all.

My mom is so strong and beyond brave. She has been through her share of life’s curve balls and took them with ease and grace. She intentionally makes it look easy, and she does a damn good job of it.

Her Perspective in Life: How has it changed? How has it stayed the same?

My mother reported she definitely still “works hard and plays hard”but her relationship with others and how she lets (or doesn’t let) their opinions and issues affect her is with far less gravity. She prioritizes her SELF first, her needs, wants and her families and close friends as well. She has more fun than she did before “the cancer”. She “doesn’t give a damn about anyone who’s burdened with negativity or fear.” She also explained that she has a “reset button that’s set to positive that gets pushed every day.” She works incredibly hard so by the end of the day she’s exhausted. She spends time with my dad for sustenance and by the morning her “happy” reset button has been pushed again.  She has many trips planned for the future, and if the universe decides its time for her to go, she’ll “buy two plane tickets for me and my husband and I’ll fly around the world until they yell at me to get into bed to die. But I’m hoping that won’t happen for a good long time from now, if ever.” She added that she harbors “zero guilt for others who can’t get their lives together. Don’t get me wrong, I feel badly for them-but I no longer feel responsible. It’s as real as the day is bright. Zero tolerance for those that don’t take responsibility for their own lives. That’s it. It’s simple.”

How her eating habits and relationship with food has changed

Personally, I’ve noticed quite the shift in my mother’s eating habits. Although she always had awareness surrounding healthy food (she was a vegetarian when she was 14 years old, which doesn’t always mean healthy). When she met her first husband (and then again with my dad) they were both meat and potato type of eaters so she cooked like that most of the time leading up to “the cancer”.

When I began learning about raw foods,superfoods, health and nutrition, she was so happy! She felt like she had a partner in (good) crime! During her cancer treatment, she began seeing a famous Chinese Doctor in Santa Monica. He taught her all about relaxation, meditation, but mostly, how to incorporate healthy foods, Chinese Herbs and Superfoods into her diet. Every evening she would drink a special herbal tea meant to heal her body from the inside out. I was so inspired by this that I created the Cacao MagicMushroom superfood blend which includes 3 medicinal mushrooms: ReishiChaga and Cordyceps. These 3 mushrooms have been used for centuries to heal people and are known as “the ultimate herbal substances”. I began to do more research than ever during the time she had cancer to get to know the magical herbs of the world and using them myself.

She said she’s “so happy that you (me- Sophie!) created several healing powder blends you can feed your family a few times a day to get all those super nutrient dense foods in your body to stave off the creepy cancers that lurk in everyone’s bodies. They lurk. They’re there when you’re born. They say it’s only a matter of time before “they” light up. I’d love to see a world where nobody lights up in that way- ever.”

I truly believe that although she did get chemo and radiation, that the healing food (she now gets more vegan food and superfoods into her daily diet than ever before)meditation and mindfulness is what cured her and will KEEP her cured. This shift inmindfulness–knowing the connection of what you put into your body affecting what happens to your body–is everything. We truly are what we eat, what we feel and what we do. And til the day I die, I’d like to be a Yogi Kale Leaf or Goji Berry, please! Right alongside my mother, and soon enough hopefully alongside the rest of our family as they continue to learn more about putting healthy, healing foods into their bodies.
You can read more about my lovely momma in a recent interview with Shoot Magazine

Do you have a loved one that you are remembering this month (alive or no longer) that suffered from “the cancer”? Please share a little something if you’re comfortable. Remembering and sharing is so important!

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Superfood Donut Recipe

Today we were inspired to make healthy donuts that can double as a nutritious snack! Last night, Leo saw a donut shop and got very emotional because "You never let us get donuts.” So my amazing assistant Taylor and I created these grain-free, paleo, superfood-dense, homemade beauties! 

To make them super light + fluffy, we used egg whites, which along with the Green Dream, Berry Bliss, and almond flour, create a breakfast or snack that's PACKED with protein. 

If you don't have almond flour on hand, you could definitely sub it out for a gluten-free, all-purpose flour. We also doubled this recipe so that we would have plenty for breakfast this weekend. (Pro-tip: Pair them with this Vegan Bulletproof Coffee for an uh-mazing brekie in bed).

And instead of regular ol’ frosting, glaze these yummy donuts with Philosophie Coconut Butter to help balance blood sugar levels and keep everyone full and happy LONG AFTER after their superfood pastries are all gone!


 

Gather This:

 

Do This:
Add dry ingredients into one bowl and mix together. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl, and then add the wet combo to the dry combo. Mix the egg whites in, pour into donut molds (greased with coconut oil!), and then bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Feel free to use any toppings you want (we used bee pollen, goji berries, and coconut shreds).



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you recreate these beautiful babies, please follow + tag us on Instagram so we can see! #PhilosophieLove gang, we adore you.

Toast Tuesday: Hummus + Avocado Chia Toast Recipe

Take your avocado toast to the next level with a layer of homemade Green Dream Hummus!

I ❤️  making my own fresh hummus – it’s so easy and so much better for you (+ better tasting!) than store-bought spreads. This wholesome recipe features garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), which are not only a fabulous plant-based source of protein, but also help control blood sugar and insulin secretion. The best part is that it only takes 1/3 of a cup of beans per day to reap all of the benefits!

Tahini (a sesame paste + one of my pantry staples) is next on the list. A star player in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, tahini is a must in hummus. To make your spread super detoxifying + alkalizing, squeeze in fresh lemon juice, and then add a few cloves of garlic to give it BIG flavor and anti-inflammatory powers. As a finishing touch, add a spoonful of our Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend. The gorgeous emerald hue in Green Dream comes from spirulina, an antioxidant-rich, blue-green algae that is packed with nutrients including iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, vitamin B-12, and protein.

Once you’ve whipped up and spread on your supercharged hummus, add the avocado slices to give your skin a beautiful glow – and make your toast ultra delicious. To top it all off, add a sprinkling of chia seeds. In addition to providing a nutritious crunch, they prevent premature aging of the skin, support digestive health, AND boost your energy and metabolism! How’s that for a superfood breakfast?

 

Gather This:

For the Green Dream Hummus:

 

For the Toast:

 

Do This:

Pop the bread in the toaster. Combine all ingredients for the hummus in the food processor and pulse until creamy. Salt+pepper the hummus to desired taste. Spread the hummus on the toast, and then top with avocado and chia seeds!

Want to be looped in for when we post our next Toast Tuesday recipe? Be sure to follow us on Facebook! In the meantime, try making this Strawberry + Berry Bee Honey Toast OR this Sauteed Banana + Almond Butter Toast

When Women Support Each Other, Incredible Things Happen

For me, Monday vibes are all about radiating #MondayInspiration! Start the week off strong with these EMPOWERING words of wisdom about female relationships from my friend Marissa Cohen, a member of our beautiful Philosophie Tribe! 

Female relationships have always been important to me. I am one of three sisters, eight of my first cousins are girls, and I have incredible female role models in my life (I’m looking at you, Soph!). International Women’s Day seemed like a second Christmas this year. I could feel the hands of my sisters reaching out across nations to join together as one. But what if I told you that despite my passion for women’s empowerment and regardless of all the incredible relationships that I have with women, women scare me.

Through our lifetimes, we all experience some level of “cattiness” with other women. Perhaps the prettiest girls in elementary school left you out on the playground, or maybe within your circle of friends in high school you felt a sense of competition. While I am not a mother myself, I know that many working mothers and stay home mothers victimize the other group for their choices in raising their children. Today, we don’t only look to the women in our immediate life, but we are vulnerable to the depths of the internet. Social media can be a source of inspiration, but it is also a pit for comparison. She looks like that? Those are her friends? Her boyfriend took her where and bought her what? She works that job and manages to be the life of the party? “She” has it all. Her life is perfect. Sometimes I find myself in a trap of feeling bad about myself and not being able to feel happy for “her.” And that – choosing to compare instead of connect, and criticizing instead of celebrating – is what I think may be the one factor holding us women back from reaching our full potential.

There is nothing more draining than a group of women putting one another down. Despite the ratings that The Real Housewives episodes receive, in real life no one wants to be a part of a circle of gossip. But, miraculously, there is nothing more igniting than a team of women all loving one another, challenging each other to be the best versions of themselves while honoring their present state, and releasing the façade of their insecurities to allow their authentic self to shine. Now, more than ever, we need a space for women to unite and experience the wonders of sisterhood. We need each other.

I am so excited be be joining Sophie and Rachelle Tratt for their IGNTD Women Nourish Your Soul 2-week online program.  Starting April 1, these two soul-charging babes will be leading six Facebook live streams to cultivate an online community for support and accountability. There will be daily intentions, challenges, yoga, HIIT, and meditation classes, and so much more. Later that month, they will also be hosting their Nourish Your Soul Weekend Retreat from April 29-30 in Venice, CA. So whether you’re an LA local or there is a coast or an ocean between Sophie, Rachelle, and yourself, there is a space for you to cultivate your tribe. You are worthy of giving yourself this experience. The world needs you, my sister, to be your best self. Let’s carry each other to the top instead of pushing each other down. 

Inspired to join our Nourish Your Soul online program or retreat? Tweet at me with any questions with #MyPhilosophie! 

Heart of the Week: Waldorf Schools

I love Kai’s Waldorf School so much! We actually moved to our new beautiful home in Culver City last fall from the Valley just so that he could attend. Since Kai was in utero, I've been slightly stalking Waldorf schools. I would go online, research, and dream. The cost for Waldorf schools is typically between $20-30k per year, which is not a real option for our family. I filled out financial aid forms and never turned them in, dreaming on my own, slowly planting the seeds.

When Kai was 5, I went to the local kindergarten near our school in the Valley for a tour and went through all the motions of meeting the teachers, touring the classrooms, etc. I was crying the entire time. The school didn't feel right. Everything inside of me felt like screaming. I knew Kai would be amazing anywhere and survive, but I know he's meant to thrive. I then found out via a close friend about a Waldorf school on the Westside, that is *FREE*. It's a LAUSD public charter school, specializing in WALDORF! I couldn't believe my ears. Adi and I immediately went for a tour and applied, putting our names down for a lottery. That was last February. In June, they called to let us know they were opening a new kinder class and asked if we wanted Kai to be included. I snatched up the spot immediately and cried tears of gratitude.

The school was over an hour and 15 minutes each direction so we moved in the fall. My heart is so complete. With their vibrant gardens and outdoor play area, baskets of wooden toys, and rows of books, they’re incredible at promoting creativity and encouraging active, hands-on learning.

At Waldorf, the kids sing songs, tell stories, do dramatic performances, and memorize fun rhymes and verses! I like that the teachers also pair language arts and music with specific movements, games, and patterns to boost coordination, concentration, and support different types of learners.

They weave math organically throughout the day with fun activities so that the kids learn to love it at an early age and really see its value! Kai and his class play with shells, stones, and beans to learn patterns of organization and also get to design necklaces, finger knit, sew, and count with circle games.

And of course, art is huge at Waldorf. Kai absolutely loves drawing and watercolor painting time! They also offer modeling with BEESWAX. (What other school does that?!)

As I mentioned earlier, gardening and the outdoors is integral to the Waldorf curriculum and serves as a beautiful intro into the science world. As a zero waste school (where EVERYTHING is reusable!), they cultivate an early appreciation for nature and teach the kids that the world is innately good and needs us all to work together to protect and support it. This has helped ME be less wasteful and more mindful of every single thing we use and don't use in our home.

Leo will go there as well in the fall as a T-K student, and the school goes until 8th grade. I feel so content and at peace. When I pick Kai up in the afternoon, he’s always bursting with excitement to tell me what he did that day – I couldn’t ask for more in a school.

If you have any interest in learning more, I encourage you to look into Waldorf-inspired preschools/schools in your area. You'd be surprised how many schools there are (or even after school activities with a similar theme). Please feel free to ask any and all questions – I hope this helps!

I'd love to hear what you do as mamas + papas to give your kiddies the best education possible! Please share with me on Facebook with #MyPhilosophie! 

Green Dream Cauliflower Smoothie Bowl Recipe

I loved how dreamy + nutritious last month's Cacao Magic Cauliflower Smoothie Bowl was, so this week I decided to whip up a Green Dream rendition. I also decided that I wanted this one to be super coconutty, so I added a cup of coconut milk, shredded coconut, AND Coconut Dream–one of our luscious coco butters supercharged with the detoxifying powers of Green Dream

And it did not disappoint! I recommend creating this oh-so-yummy bowl when you're looking for an ultra nutritious breakfast or when you know that you'll be eating out later in the day and want to ensure your bod is super happy + nourished. 

 Gather This:

Do This:

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Top with cacao nibs, hemp seeds, bee pollen, shredded coconut, and sliced berries and bananas! 

What veggies do you like to sneak into your smoothies or smoothie bowls? Let me know on Twitter with #MyPhilosophie!

3 Dreamy Philosophie x Cafe Gratitude Brunch Recipes

Last month, we teamed up with Cafe Gratitude and had the most magical brunch that I’m still in awe over. I’m pretty positive the Acai Berry Bliss Parfaits were made of unicorn poo (aka: Berry Bliss, wild berries, frozen acai, gluten-free granola, and pure love!).

I’ve been going to Cafe Gratitude for 9 years, when the only location was in San Francisco. I would visit my older sister when she lived there and take a public transportation adventure through the city to get there.

When they came to LA, I burst with excitement. I’ve probably been to the Larchmont location 500 times. It’s been a huge part of my world for a decade, and now I’m collaborating with them in the most dreamy of ways!

And now I’d love for you, my ever expanding Philosophie family + community, to try this trio of beautiful brunch superfood recipes created by Cafe Gratitude’s Chef Dreux Eliis.

Acai Berry Bliss Parfait

For the Berry Bliss Coconut Yogurt:

Gather This:

Do This:

Mix together in a bowl.

For the Parfait:

Gather This:

  • 1 teaspoon Berry Bliss Superfood + Protein Blend and 3 goji berries (topping)
  • 2 tablespoons granola
  • 1 RS mixed berries
  • 1 GS acai
  • 1 RS mixed berries
  • 1 GS Berry Bliss Coconut Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons granola
  • 2 tablespoons Berry Bliss Coconut Yogurt

Do This:

Layer it up, starting from the bottom of the ingredient list and working your way up. Garnish with the Berry Bliss and 3 goji berries.

Green Dream Chopped Salad

Gather This:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup blanched broccolini
  • 2 pieces blackened tempeh, rough chopped
  • 1 RS sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade
  • 1 cup chopped romaine
  • 1 cup chopped massaged kale mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 2 ounces ramekin escabeche, chopped
  • 1 ounce ramekin toasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 ounce Lucky Vinaigrette, mixed with 1 teaspoon Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend
  • 1 PS cashew mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon gremolata
  • 1/2 teaspoon Green Dream Superfood + Protein Blend

Do This:

Saute the olive oil, garlic, salt, and broccolini. After heating well, add the tempeh and tapenade. Transfer to a bowl and toss together with the romaine, kale mix, smoked salt, escabeche, pistachios, and vinaigrette. Garnish with the mozzarella and gremolata and dust the plate with the Green Dream.

Cacao Magic Buckwheat Pancakes

Gather This:

  • 4 ounces Cacao Magic Buckwheat Pancake Batter
  • 1 ounce maple syrup, swirled
  • 1/2 ounce maple syrup, on pancake
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen
  • 1 half banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon shredded coconut
  • 1 ounce chocolate sauce

Do This:

Grill the batter on a flat top. Transfer the pancake t’o a plate, add ½ ounce of maple syrup, and then swirl 1 ounce of maple syrup on top. Garnish with the bee pollen, banana, almond butter, coconut, and chocolate sauce in stripes.

I can’t wait to see your gorgeous brunch pics! Please share them with me on Instagram with #MyPhilosophie + #PhilosophieSuperfoods!