Just launched from Rodale Books: A brilliant collaboration I did with renowned healer and subtle medicine guru Dr. Linda Lancaster. Foreword by Terry Tempest Williams, testamonials by Robert Redford and others. Not a bad mix of legends in one book! Dr. L explains how to safely live in a polluted world, tending to your physical, mental, and emotional fields. Working on this book turned my brain inside out … please read it and change your mind about health and wellness too! For a quick glimpse, see the Look Inside feature here.
For The Purist’s first issue of Summer ’18, I wrote about how Influencers both macro and micro are shifting the way we discover new products in beauty and wellness—and how the savviest ones are launching brands of their own. “To create a cult beauty product, follow this recipe: Identify an unaddressed but universal need. Formulate a single, multitasking product of clean, cruelty-free ingredients. Package it in a sexy, selfie-worthy tube, stir in an evocative, hashtag-earning logo (don’t name your brand after yourself—that’s so analog-era), then mix in your secret ingredient: a squadron of online influencers who, eager for compelling content about prestige products, will tell the internet about your beauty-boosting invention, for free.” To read the whole piece, click here.
It’s here! My new book collaboration with doctor, healer, and Good Medicine guru Dr. Frank Lipman, published by Houghton Mifflin, is out now. A field guide to staying well in an increasingly unwell world, How to Be Well is an unconventional health book that offers a choose-your-own adventure style journey through our six-ring “Good Medicine Mandala.”
Frank and I felt it was time to shake up the way that health books are done—21-day programs and endless recipes can be great for some, but overwhelming for others. Instead we created a comprehensive manual / survival guide to the many diverse habits that we know help us to be well, and let the reader pick how they want to try them—a clean sweep, or one at a time. We also went wild with groovy illustrations, because who said health advice has to be black and white or boring? This is a book to keep out on your coffee table and get dog-eared from use! See more about the book here.
My new piece for W magazine has been a long time in the making. It’s a personal essay about getting bigger, stronger, and finally learning to like the body I live in. I started writing it three years ago, at the peak of my Functional Fitness-following, deadlift-hefting days. But then I got busy, and then I got pregnant. The strong body I’d built proved itself winningly, carrying me and my child comfortably through forty-two weeks of in utero life. But the article, like many other things, got sidelined.
W magazine asked me to revisit it recently for their “Strong Woman” March 2017 issue. Internally I laughed, because three years after bearing my baby, my fitness is a long way from where it was. Yet I also cheered. It was perfect timing: I was eager — desperate? — to rediscover that ease of inhabiting my vehicle, and the fire that had ignited my private sense of pride.
I can’t pretend the fire is roaring, yet. Having a pre-schooler plus work and marriage demands mean I have to take my triumphant return to physical domination at extreme baby steps. But to quote my trainer, “Slow your roll, sister.” When it comes to waking up a de-conditioned body, baby steps actually might be the wise way to go.
I got a ketogenic education when I helped ancestral nutrition expert, Nora Gedgaudas, edit and refine her new book Primal Fat Burner (Atria Books). Nora is one of the preeminent voices in the field of Paleo health, highly acclaimed for her first book Primal Body, Primal Mind, which laid out a comprehensive look at the ways modern life has distorted our original genetic blueprint. In Primal Fat Burner, she zeroes in on a super-sharp focal point: restoring our original fat-burning metabolism, which 3 million years of human evolution designed us to use (but several hundred years of carb-centric eating destroyed, to our detriment). Working with Nora is like getting a graduate degree in nutrition—and an initiation into her passionate crusade for taking back our health and ending unnecessary suffering. Having worked with her, eaten with her, and gotten a peek into her kitchen and home, I can say that this woman walks her talk (and makes a mean slow-cooked, pastured pork to boot). I haven’t lowered my own carb intake enough to switch on my fat-burning metabolism—yes, it’s an actual physiological switch you trigger through your diet—but I am indeed keto-curious. And I was as inspired by Nora’s cuisine as I was by her call to collectively move towards truly sustainable and regenerative livestock management, as practiced by her friend and mentor, Allan Savory. As soon as my three-year old has stopped having porridge for breakfast, making carb-grazing far too much of my morning routine, I’ll become Nora’s next convert.
I live in a little red cabin, far from sight, on a creek near a wall of mountains, in the top-left corner of Wyoming, down the road from Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. In summer, lightning walks across the peaks that loom over my rented property. On winter nights, if the plowman hasn’t come, I walk the quarter-mile driveway to my house with a military-grade flashlight, scanning ahead for massive bull moose.
The cabin has a creepy room filled with vintage ice picks and axes; its bare pine walls look like those of a sauna. Inside, I wear thick-soled work boots over my pj’s while I craft product copy for companies like Tom Ford Beauty and monitor the Amazon rankings of my book collaborations, such as the detox guide Clean. Though I’ve always resided mainly in cities, I have half stepped around frontier living for years. I’ve set up temporary camps in Montana (a ranch job), Arizona (meditation training), and New Mexico (a writing retreat). But inevitably I return to the sensible centers of New York or Los Angeles. I’ve always been too timid to really live at the edges.
Now, at 37, I’ve finally cut the cord. My home is Jackson Hole, a long, oval valley, prized for its remoteness. To read my memoir piece for W magazine, visit here
When I became pregnant with my daughter, I had just relocated from a small Western mountain town to the population-dense shores of Southern California. My former home is an unrushed place where the postmaster knows you personally and neighbors take you to the airport: the circle of community is drawn pretty tight. The prospect of being a new mother in a land streaked by the wash of speeding cars was daunting. Southern California felt more like a million individuals living side-by-side than any kind of circle. To read my piece and an excerpt from The First Forty Days, visit TheTot.com
Some projects work better when you tackle them as a team. As half of the writing duo Greeven & Belger, I have experienced how powerful two can be when it comes to accomplishing books from scratch and creating complete website copy. Berkeley-based writer Marisa Belger and bring two sets of knowledge and experience to every project as well as two problem-solving minds, and we can often deliver material in significantly less time than a single writer. Especially drawn to writing about women and wellness, we paired up to co-write The First Forty Days with author Heng Ou. We have also revamped websites for major organizations and created content for leading wellness brands. We maintain separate projects and clients, but when the right project calls us, we leap on board with capes flying in the wind, tackling it as a twosome.
What spurred two wordsmiths to step out of their solitary writers’ caves, leave their egos behind, and split prestigious projects in half? Our kids. Though Marisa and I had long danced around the idea of collaborating, trying it on for size on small brainstorming and editing sessions over the years as self-employed writers, having children made pairing up a necessity. The stress of writing-to-deadline when small, teary beings needed us more; the fatigue that comes with parenting, and the unpredictability of day-to-day life meant we needed something that writers almost inevitably, and painfully, lack—support.
So far, we’ve worked together in various capacities on three books, including a new release for Rodale in collaboration with a leading voice in the wellness field. With my deep expertise in nutrition, wellness, and years of writing “the voices” of celebrities and thought-leaders, and Marisa’s unerring editorial ear for real readers’ needs and experiences, not to mention a studied connection to yoga, spiritual practice, and mothering of her own, when we put on our G&B hats, we find that idea-generating moves faster, editing sails along quicker, challenging days juggling family and work feel a little softer, and the entire process of creating a book or copy project is about 100% more fun than if we were going at it alone. And for writers, “fun” is something that too often barely gets a look in.
Good things happen when moms circle up.
Photo: Jenny Nelson // wyldephotography.org
It’s not hard to have a false sense of security when it comes to the purity of your beauty products. You buy a botanical skin serum, book an aromatherapy facial, and imagine yourself a green, clean goddess. But meanwhile, you’ve got a vise grip on your high-gloss nail lacquer, you cherish your long-wearing eye shadow, and the thought of renouncing your colorist gives you the chills.
This head-in-the-sand state is understandable: Start reading about the dangers of formaldehyde in Brazilian blowouts or the lead levels in red lipstick and denial quickly sets in. Still, it’s time to acknowledge that we live in a complex terrain of chemical toxins. So why knowingly slather more of them onto your body? To read more of my piece about green beauty, visit here.
… And with one final push, she arrived! I’m so excited to announce the release of my latest book collaboration from ABRAMS publishers. This precious book came to life in such an organic way, it must surely have been star-crossed. It was conceived by my friend Heng Ou, founder of the postpartum nourishment service MotherBees. Inspired by her own diverse postpartum experiences, which included receiving the traditional Chinese protocol of zuo yuezi from her renowned Chinese herbalist relatives after one birth and swinging close to postpartum depression after another, Heng wanted to create a book that fused recipes and advice for other women to help then navigate postpartum.
Anyone who knows Heng knows that she is a fascinating blend of earthy calm and liquid magic—she played a mysterious and benevolent part in my own pregnancy, sending me prayers for conception, then guiding me towards midwives for my pregnancy care. When she told me, “I want to do a book!” I confess, I tried to talk her out of it because the challenges of selling books in a celebrity and social-media obsessed marketplace are considerable. But her vision refused to fade and when a casual mention to my literary agent, Marc Gerald, elicited this extremely unlikely response: “Zuo Yuezi? I love zuo yuezi! I’ve been looking for the people who could translate it for the masses!”, I knew this book was destined to exist.
You can read more about the incredible circle of women friends who came together to create it on our dedicated blog. The special-ness of this project radiates from the pages; I hope that every person who holds it in their hands feels the love with which it was made. You can also find us on Instagram at #thefirstfortydays