A compilation of my favorite photos, newest friends and most meaningful memories. Happy 2019, I hold 2018 longingly in my heart.
Journal entry 12/25/18
Christmas Day feels less “Christmas-y” every year as I intentionally detach myself more and more from societal customs. It’s great. Though it plagued me in the beginning, probably high school, to have minimal family tradition, no extended family close by, and no real attachment to giving or receiving gifts. For most, Christmas day is like a painting that everyone tries to make look the same. I wanted that. My friends and peers had structure in their holiday routines with family members coming together because they appeared to want to.
I recall how painful it was to come home for Christmas during my college years, spending time with my prick brother and my mom who’d poke at my multitudes of insecurities until I poked back at her. I’d become so embarrassed that my dad had to eat Christmas dinner in front of the TV instead of as a group at the table and was continuously sad and defeated by my sister’s relentless unwillingness to taste new, healthy foods I’d brought and had began to enjoy. I had so much dislike for Christmas day that 2 years in a row, I skipped Christmas with my family and spent it with Barron’s.
Now, everything… EVERYTHING has changed.
All the current and adopted Pagelers came to Colorado for 5 days to spend time together before Christmas (perhaps that was part of the success, no Christmas Day expectations). First thing my brother did when he came into the Air Bnb kitchen was ask me for some of my dandelion coffee to aid his travel poops (or lack there of). My sister cooked each and every meal, both meat and vegetarian options for all to enjoy. My dad opened up, expressing his love for all of us children and my mom walked around with a smile on her face every minute of every day having us all together.
The last two years have been huge for my family and for each of us as individuals. Ayahuasca was my entrance into self love, sharing my findings with my dad after my second ceremony, expressing how critical it was for our family to begin loving one another. I left 6 months later to live in a trailer in the forest. Eric met Hannah, a hard working, fun and beautiful life-partner. He began a job he’s passionate about and she helped remove his stigma against substances like marijuana, aiding in his ability to be more open minded across the board. Rachel left her boyfriend of 5 years and began exploring the world. She left the comfort of everything she knew and chose to live a life of adventure and self fulfillment. Mom left her seated office job at the spa to work a very hands on, full time job at a Kombucha tap house. From her customers and her coworkers, she began to learn the benefits of eating organic, healthy foods and found CBD, which is now reversing her early onset macular degeneration. Dad’s high paying, ego-petting job fell through and he’s had the ability to spend the last 2 years working only for himself on his true life’s purpose and passion. He has had time. The truest beacon of success.
It’s not typical for me to cry when I leave my family. I am always excited to head out and on to the next adventure. This time though, as I looked out the window at the gorgeous expanse of mountains surrounding me, knowing my family was headed the opposite way toward the flat lands, tears streamed down my face (I acted like I was scratching my eye balls so Barron wouldn’t notice me wiping the tears away). I will remember this experience for life, knowing it was one of the biggest breakthroughs of love and acceptance within the group of people who mean the very most to me.
Cacao comes from the Theobroma Cacao tree. Theo meaning God, Broma meaning food. Food of the gods. Originating from Mesoamerica, cacao has historically been used as a currency in rite of passage rituals and in some places was a sacred elixir reserved only for warriors and the elite. What we know of as hot chocoalte today, originated from maya and pre-mayan cultures as a warm, unsweetened, bitter beverage made from cacao beans and spices.
Cacao is a pharmacologically complex super food, not only packed with beneficial minerals for your gut like magnesium, zinc and copper, but is also rich in neuro-chemicals already present in our brains that uplift mood and positively enhance the state of mind, like norepinepherine, serotonin, dopamine and anandamide, the bliss molecule.
So what’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? Simply put, the cocoa and chocolate we find in stores are highly processed with added fillers, sugars and dairy products, containing less than 10% of the real cacao bean and are most often sourced unethically. The MASSIVE chocolate companies, Herhseys and Mars, are under lawsuits for child labor and severely unethical practices. Check out F.E.P.’s Chocolate List if you’d like to learn about the ethical and sustainability practices of your favorite chocolate brands and distributors. Vote with your dollar, my friends.
You can usually find products containing higher amounts of cacao at common health food stores. I recently picked up a theo chocolate bar containing 85% cacao! But my favorite form of chocolate is ceremonial grade cacao, 100% cacao made from the whole cacao bean, which includes up to 50% cacao butter, a very important carrier fat for all the nutrients (in cacao powder, the fat is removed, which also removes a lot of the delicious flavor).
My preferred brand is Firefly Chocolate, originally gifted to me by a friend, and is the only chocolate I’ve worked with since. When I say worked with, I mean worked with as a medicine. When used properly, one can connect with cacao as an ancient plant medicine. Set and setting is very important, similar to all other plant medicines. If you eat psilocybin mushrooms in a basement at night with a group of strangers, you’ll likely have a different experience than you would taking them outside on a sunny day with a best friend. Same with marijuana, taking marijuana during a highly stressful situation will produce different effects than taking it in a comfortable state of mind. I often hear of people not reaping the mental benefits of cacao because they drink it as they’re racing out the door for work, or after a work out and before dinner. You’re still getting all the beneficial antioxidants and nutrients, but the blissful neuro-chemicals aren’t necessarily given the space to perform to their full potential.
When I drink cacao in the mornings I create my space, getting out my journal, reading pages in a current favorite book while I wait for my water to heat, spending little to no time on my phone so as to keep my thoughts at bay. When the water’s hot, I make a recipe that calls to me that morning (I’ll talk about recipes next!), being sure to set an intention for my morning drink. I speak to the cacao, inviting her to heal me, inviting her to open my mind and heart, and then I sit and drink, journaling my thoughts or sitting in a meditative state or my favorite, going outside to dance in front of these gorgeous…… heart STOPPING mountains.
My recipe changes every day and yours will too depending on the flavor and healing profiles you’re looking for. Pure cacao is very, very bitter and takes a bit of time for your palate to adjust to, similar to wine or coffee. Some of my favorite ingredients for flavor are Dandy blend, a non-caffeinated coffee substitute made from roasted dandelion and chicory root, a splash of hemp or nut milk, cayenne pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt, or a little bit of coconut oil. I don’t prefer to sweeten my cacao, but a lot of people do to help them adjust to the new flavor. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, Firefly makes a delicious Maca blend sweetened with coconut sugar that’s so good I can eat it like candy, or try adding a dash of honey or pure maple syrup.
Various nutritional ingredients I love adding to my morning cacao drinks are pine pollen - a hormone regulator and aphrodisiac, Maca root - a kick of energy, Lion’s mane mushroom for immune support, Ashwaganda - an adaptogen used to treat stress and anxiety, and Kava - improves mood, promoting relaxation.
The options are endless. Do a little research, experiment for yourself and find what tastes and feels good.
Check out the video to see these recipes in action! If you give cacao a try, send me a message and let me know what you think! Happy healing!
We have been so fortunate in our lives to know so many incredible humans across the United States. Last week we had the pleasure of sharing a pre-Thanksgiving meal with some of our best Colorado friends.
We’re back testing another dope piece of gear from BioLite, the Midnight Edition of the SolarHome 620!
This thing is COOL. It was made for those in third world countries who live without evening lighting. It consists of a battery/radio, a 6w solar panel, 2 hanging lights with on/off switches and 1 motion sensing hanging light.
I think this system would be SO incredible in a cabin or tiny house. The cordage is far too long and the lights are far too big for us to swap this SolarHome 620 with our existing BioLite Base Lantern and String Light set up. The lights are designed to hang from a long, modern looking cord, but we have next to no overhead room in the Scamp, making this arrangement impossible. The final drawback is that we have limited space to add hanging fixtures to the Scamp, as the walls are covered in carpet.
It was an awesome experience, as it always is, to test this BioLite product and I would highly recommend any of BioLite’s lighting setups for nomad use. I have not come across anything more power efficient, good looking and simple to use.
I hope to do a giveaway with this SolarHome 620! I’m communicating with BioLite on whether or not it’s kosher on their end, given that this is a limited time only product. I’ll update across my social media platforms if the giveaway is a go!
Thanks so much, BioLite!