wild friends foods

Top 20 of 2017

In doing some reminiscing about my journey, I realized that I've been a part of the health and wellness universe in a professional fashion since 2005. 12 years of working as a personal trainer, physical therapist, running coach, and yoga instructor. In those 12 years I've been privileged to have been introduced to countless numbers of wellness brands, companies, individuals, and products. Some have been passing trends. Others don't quite live up to the hype. But a few are everything you want them to be, and much more. 

I want to use my platform to be able to share what I've found that I absolutely love. The brands, companies, products, and people that are doing something special, something different, and something extraordinary.

The Top 20 of 2017 was born from this desire. 

Between December 1st and December 20th I'll be profiling each brand, product, and the people behind it on Instagram. Sharing my story of how I came to find the brand and why I love them so much. Not all brands and companies are directly health related, but hey, happiness is part of health as well. Many of these companies have been incredibly generous to participate in giveaways with products and experiences so you can enjoy them too. And no, none of these companies has paid me to be on this list. I reached out to all of them to express my gratitude for what they do.

This blog serves as a round up. A place to find all of the information you could want in one spot. And a sneak peak into which brands you can be snagging sweet rewards from!

Enjoy!

FOOD AND NUTRITION

Wild Friends FoodsDo you love nut butters? Do you love stories of young people following their dreams and building successful businesses from their dorm rooms? If so, than you'll love Wild Friends Foods.

Nuun HydrationIf you're like me, you grew up drinking sugary sports drinks that shall not be named here. Why? Because that's all we knew/had. Well, there's something better. Plant based, all natural, much lower in sugar, and cleaner overall. That's nuun. And that's just a part of why I love it.

RXBARProtein bars that aren't filled with lab grown ingredients are incredibly hard to come by. So when RXBAR first showed up in my life, with it's ingredients clearly labeled on the wrapper, I was stoked - and skeptical. We know protein bars that taste good are even harder to find. Well, they nailed it on both fronts. 

Four Sigmatic - Everyone hears the ads on podcasts and most of the time we tune them out. When I heard about mysterious "mushroom coffee" on Tim Ferriss' podcast, I couldn't get it out of my head. I love coffee and I'm super into other mushroom based supplements...what happens if you put them together? Magic, it turns out. 

101 Cider House - If you're a local San Diegan you know we have a plethora of breweries, but finding good cider is a whole different story. Most cider is sugar laden and ultra sweet. Not 101 Cider House. With buzzword ingredients like activated charcoal and spirulina, this is a totally different experience. 

BoochcraftA local brand that figured out how to take kombucha and make it boozy? That is enough to get me interested. Add in amazing flavors and great people and I'm sold. 

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters - Coffee sure has come a long way. From the days of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to a micro roaster on every corner. DHCR is consistently the best - the secret? Great coffee AND even better employees (the vegan donuts don't hurt either). 

Chosen Foods - When a friend goes to work for a new company, ends up loving her job, AND the company makes the best avocado oil on the planet, you take note. 

Beaming Cafe - I'm a firm believer in routine. And part of my routine calls for Friday morning breakfast porridge bowls from Beaming and morning meditation at the beach. A routine that makes me feel so damn good. 

Muir Energy Gel - We've all taken a Gu on a race course. We've all experienced the gut rot that comes along with it. What if you could take a gel, made of real foods, that would give you the energy without the digestive issues? You can. And it's made right here in La Jolla. 

BODY CARE

Schmidt's Naturals - It's no secret, I sweat. A lot. It's one of my favorite parts of working out. And I've heard over and over how dangerous traditional deodorant and antiperspirant can be for you, but can something natural actually work? Yes, turns out it can. 

Saje Wellness - Essential oils can get a bad rap. Many of them are sold through multilevel marketing businesses and use cheap source products, which makes them both shady and unappealing. Not Saje. This Canadian brand has been doing their natural wellness thing for more years than most, and it shows. 

Defense Soap - Wait? So a soap product made to keep wrestlers and martial arts guys from getting nasty things off of sweaty mats can actually be really great for your skin (and for clearing acne) too? This one is perhaps my favorite find. 

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

lululemon athletica - I won't bore you. I LOVE lululemon. The people, the philosophy, the collective, and yes, the clothes. My life would not be the same without them. And I don't mean that superficially. It's true. 

Knockaround - One can never have too many pairs of rad shades. And when those shades are made by equally rad dudes, locally, and for an affordable price, that's even better. 

Milestone Running - We might as well call this my second home. This local running store is so much more. It's home to a community of smart, connected, hilarious, friendly, and special people (and one special dog). Cheers to many more years creating with these crazy folks. 

Ciele Athletics - Introduced to me by some ultra running friends, this small hat startup has nailed the game. Incredible performance, even better looks, and (because they're made in Canada) the friendliest faces ever. 

Stance - When your socks are the coolest part of your outfit, you know the brand is doing something right. From partnering with huge names to collaborating with small groups, Stance has made their debut into the run world a stylish and successful one.

STUDIOS

Spirit Yoga Studio - Fun fact: Spirit was the very first yoga studio that I regularly attended upon moving to San Diego. When they first opened their doors it was all donation based and it was evident that the community surrounding the space made it special. While lots has changed in the years since then, the community feeling has not. And that keeps bringing me back, as both a student and a teacher. 

F45 San Diego Downtown - What? Paid fitness has made the list? Yup. When the paid fitness studio elicits the results like this one has, it deserves a spot. I have F45 to thank for my muscles - and for giving me a space to exercise them once again.  

What I'm Into Wednesday - The "Fall" Edition

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EDIT: This post was written prior to the events that happened in Las Vegas on Sunday evening, October 1st. It feels weird to post just another normal Wednesday blog but being able to live our normal lives without fear is one of the things that makes being an American special. So before we get to that normal Wednesday post, let me just say this: do something. Stop reading this blog, open another tab in your computer or on your phone. Schedule an appointment to donate blood, search for a non-profit that you'd like to donate to, send a quick email or phone call to your local representative and lobby for mental health or gun control or DACA or women's rights, go to the store and buy supplies for a hard hit area like Puerto Rico. Just take a moment, quit with all the thoughts and prayers baloney, and go do something. This blog (and everything that you do on the computer or your phone) will be right there waiting for you when you return. Because you're lucky. I'm lucky. We're all so very privileged. We can read and write these silly little blogs and go about our normal days. Not everyone can right now. So let's do something, collectively. 

End plea.

Onward

"Fall"

DO

One of my all time favorite meals is soup and grilled cheese. It's warm, comforting, and delicious. But nobody wants to eat soup in the summer heat. So we finally have had a chilly (I use that term lightly) evening or two and I took full advantage. My choice? Baron's Market. Not only do they have absurd brownies (with samples out, always) but they have a whole soup bar! I went with vegetarian chili - corn, beans, slightly spicy. Just perfect! These days I'm off the dairy so I replaced the grilled cheese with avocado toast. I don't care how "basic" that is. It will always be yummy. Do you have a favorite soup and sandwich combo?

HEAR

Time to spread the podcast love around. I just finished up How I Built This with Starbucks founder, Howard Schultz. We're all familiar with the current iteration of Starbucks but it was fascinating to learn the beginnings. I had no idea that it originated as just a store to buy coffee beans or how innovative they were with things like employee healthcare. While many of us (myself included) tend to poo poo Starbucks these days in favor of local, small roaster coffee joints - it was a fantastic reminder that none of the coffee scene as we know it today would exist without Starbucks. 

SMELL

While we may have a few hours during a few days that feel reminiscent of fall, it certainly doesn't smell like fall in San Diego. Saje to the rescue! Their diffuser blend called Mountain High fixes all of that! Mountain High has pine, balsam, and spearmint to make your home feel woodsy, fresh, and invigorating. 

SEE

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Another weekend, another long run. In the prep for the North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50k in November we've been putting in some serious weekend miles. This weekend we took to Mission Trails for another shot at the 5 peaks and we were met with an unexpected friend: clouds and fog! It was perfect running weather for about half of the run and made for some incredibly stunning views. Yay for cooler temps!

TASTE

Trader Joes has done it again. They absolutely nail the fall and winter themed specialty food products. I'm not a pumpkin spice fan, so I usually fare well and come out unscathed during October. They tend to get me with the gingerbread and peppermint flavored items in November and December. But I did discover a new favorite item out now: Apple Cider Jam. Chunks of apples in a cinnamon-y jam. Reminds me of apple pie filling (not quite as sweet) and is absolutely delish with peanut butter on some toast! Get yourself some. 

What I'm Into Wednesday - One For The Books.

I'm writing this week's blog coming off of my final Vinyasa and Vino retreat of 2017. What started as a harebrained idea to combine my teaching yoga with my parent's winery manifested itself into two full blown weekend retreats. And they were awesome.

This second one consisted of yummy brunch and shopping in Portland, lots of yoga, more wine, a trip to Mt. St. Helens, some outdoor games, plenty of food, the best ice cream on the planet, and much much more. 

The six women who came together for this weekend blew my mind. 2 20-somethings who own a nut butter empire, 2 marine biologists, a lawyer, and an engineer. Some of the most intelligent, caring, hilarious, and powerful women in my world. And they bonded immediately. 

It's special to see women support each other, show up for each other, and live without abandon.

I can only hope to fill next year's retreats with more of the same! Want to go? Let me know and I'll put you on the waiting list!

For now, here's some amazingness from last weekend.

xoxo 

LP

 

HEAR

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There's something just so unique about the crunch of gravel underfoot and of heavy breathing in the air. The Saturday morning of our retreat began with a November Project style workout (thanks to the insistence of one of our favorite retreat attendees). So what does one do when in the woods and planning a workout? Use what you have! You picked up a piece of firewood, ran just over a quarter mile, stacked the wood up to build a tall Lincoln Log like structure, bunny hopped up some stairs to the firepit or lunged into the woods. Rinse and repeat. It was funny, hard, and thoroughly enjoyed by all!

SMELL

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The smell and feel of a warm summer afternoon is unmistakable. Being able to sit outside on a patio with a flight of wine and the worlds yummiest charcuterie board is some serious icing on the cake. The last evening of our retreat was dedicated to tasting the white wine (and rose) that my parents make and pairing the tastings with cheese, bread, crackers, spreads, meats, olives, etc. The hours of laughs, refills of glasses, and plates of shared food made for a memorable experience. 

SEE

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The weekend at the winery was bookended with half days in Portland. We started on Thursday on SE Hawthorne with brunch at Harlow (YUM) and wandering through cute and classic Portland shops and ended on Sunday with a trip to Salt & Straw (which is coming to SD this fall, YAY!) and Powell's Books. This quote was found on the wall at one of the shops on Hawthorne. But the food and the vibe of the city's different neighborhoods truly is one you have to see for yourself. 

TASTE

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I mentioned above that two of the attendees to this retreat were the founders of a nut butter empire. Enter Keeley and Erika, co-founders of Wild Friends Foods. What started as a weekend food experiment in their apartment during college has blossomed into a full fledged (and successful) business. Wild Friends has a while variety of nut butters and blends and is found in stores all across America - from Sprouts to Costco and more. Besides the delicious nut butters (which is a reason in and of itself to support the company) the 24 and 26 year old co-founders are powerhouses of business women and inspire the hell out of me. 

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST...

DO

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I did a thing. I wrote a book. Like a real, bound, published book. Critical Anatomy is an anatomy book for yoga practitioners and teachers. The first half of the book is an introduction to the most crucial anatomy and physiology information that you need to practice (or teach) yoga safely. The second half of the book is a workbook that yoga teachers can use in their teacher trainings to instruct future teachers on anatomy. The book has been about a year long labor of love and my mind is blown that it's come to fruition. The test book (as seen in the photo) came while I was gone this weekend and after reviewing it, the book has been made available for purchase. It should be able to be found on Amazon within the next 2-4 days by searching for my name or for "Critical Anatomy"! EEK. Apparently I'm a published author now.