As Valentines Day makes another lap around the sun, we’re reminded of how important self love and self care is… regardless of if you’re in a relationship or not. To us we see self love as the pillar of how we interact with ourselves and the world around us. It is the foundation of who we are and should be celebrated and nurtured in more ways than one. So this Valentines day we caught up with the beautiful Iselin Stoylen, a health counsellor, yoga teacher, childbirth educator and cookbook author to ask her how she see’s self love and self care… she’s also shared a delicious recipe with us at the end!
My name is Iselin, and it’s an honour to connect with you on this Valentines Day. Though this day may be somewhat commercial, I do love the idea of celebrating love and relationships (be it friendships, romantic partners or the relationship you have with yourself). I hope you have a beautiful Valentine’s Day, whether you spend it alone or with someone you love.
I am delighted to be sharing a delicious recipe for you at the end of this article: A probiotic coconut caramel tart infused with vanilla bean and mesquite powder. The recipe is complete plant based, “raw”, gluten/dairy/refined sugar free and can be made nut-free. It is also full of taste and bursting with nutrition.
Over to today’s topic: Self Care and Self Love. And yes, these are big topics to cover in one article.
Therefore, I’ve decided to share a few words on what Self Care looks like for me, and what Self Love means to me.
First of all, I believe self love to have many layers. Often we associate it with treating ourselves with “luxuries”; hot baths, getting a massage or enjoying a delicious meal. And indeed are these examples in way which we show ourselves some extra attention and nurturing.
However, self love runs so, so much deeper. In its essence, I believe self love is at the core of how we live our lives.
I believe self love is how we speak to ourselves. And how do we speak to others.
It’s in the way we act. In the way we honour our word and commitment.
Self love is the balance between doing and Being. Of pursuing, and staying still.
It is learning when to say no, and when you want to say yes.
Self love is knowing our values, and staying true to them.
It is compassion, care and respect.
It is authenticity and integrity.
And it is allowing ourselves to be human.
To love ourselves when we make a mistake. Perhaps especially then?
It is accepting that we have insecurities, and it is owning the fact that there are things we haven’t quite figured out.
Self love is acceptance of all parts of ourselves.
How we practice self love will be different at different times of our lives. Personally, in this moment, it is allowing myself more rest and time to simply Be. Becoming more by doing less.
The bottom line is that self love has many layers and aspects to it. How we practice it will and must change. It runs much deeper than skin-deep, and it is not always easy or enjoyable. However, in the long run it is a beautiful practice of love and a deep honouring of ourselves.
«In my past I searched for perfection
Now I’m looking for beauty for art moments that remind me of my existence and the gift it is to be alive.
Vulnerability and authenticity is what turns me on
I crave people who are real who do not pretend
My heart longs for meaningful conversations my soul demands presence
So may I not live this one precious life Yearning for the past
Or longing for the future
Because at the end of this journey I want to know,
That I was here
While I was here.
Breathing, living drinking in this wild precious existence.
One of the aspects of self love is of course self care. Below are just some of my daily rituals that keeps me healthy, grounded and feeling good.
The Magic of Mornings
Morning rituals. I have a simple, quick morning routine that for me works wonders. I start my day measuring my temperature and put it into Natural Cycles app. This is an all natural, safe hormone- and chemical free contraceptive method. Then I usually brush my teeth and scrape my tongue (an Ayurvedic ritual that removes toxins that have accumulated on your tongue overnight). Most mornings I’ll make a big mug of herbal tea or hot lemon water, an do a quick self-massage with sesame oil before I have a warm shower. We keep WiFi off during the night, and I am aware of not looking at my phone first thing in the morning. I also do something that connects me to nature within the first few hours upon waking- sitting in meditation, going for a walk and/or move through my yoga practice.
I drink a lot of liquids. Not so much in the form of pure water (though I try!), but in the form of herbal teas and tonics. Consuming warm water is much easier on your digestion that drinking cold water. Teas are also an excellent way of getting really good things into your body. My favourite teas are anything chai, cinnamon and licorice flavoured. Red raspberry and ginger tea are excellent for when you are menstruating. Fennel, cardamom and peppermint are really good teas to have after meals to aid with digestion. If you struggle with a low appetite, ginger is again a good tea to sip on an hour/half an hour before meals. Dong quai and black cohosh are often suggested for women struggling with uncomfortable symptoms during menopause.
Once or twice a day I make a warm and nourishing drink. I switch between cacao, dandelion latte and the occasional coffee. I always add a lot of beautiful herbs and medicinal mushrooms to these tonics, depending on the day/season/current imbalances/ daily needs. At the moment I am loving reishi mushroom, cordyceps, mesquite powder and eucommia bark. I like to take a deep breath and give gratitude for my food and nourishment before any meal. Giving gratitude to Mother Earth for providing as she does, and gratitude for all the hands involved in bringing the food to my table.
Recipes to Nourish
Dark Chocolate for grown-ups:
2/3 cup plant based milk
1 cup water
2 tbsp organic cacao
1 tsp ghee
1 tsp of your favourite herbs (can be omitted)
A small piece fresh ginger Pinch of sea salt
Sweetener of your choice; maple syrup, coconut nectar and stevia are my personal favourites.
Blend together in a blender until smooth and frothy. Heat up on the stove and drink slowly ♥
Salted Caramel Tart with coconut yoghurt, mesquite and vanilla
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup almond flour (or sub for more coconut if making a nut free version)
1/4 cup cashews or sunflower seeds
3 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup OR 6 pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp almond butter or coconut butter
1/4 tsp salt Dash of hot water if needed Salted Caramel
1 cup hulled tahini
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder
1/2 tsp mesquite
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt (I like Coyo)
Fresh figs to decorate
1. Place all ingredients for the crust in a food processor and process until everything starts sticking together.
2. Press the crust out into a lined tin. Make sure you also press it out into the walls of the tin. Set aside.
3. Have tahini, maple syrup and coconut oil in a large bowl. Add mesquite, salt and vanilla. Stir well with a whisk until well combined, and the mixture begins to thicken. Spread this out over the crust. Let the cake sit for 2-3 hours in the fridge to set.
4.Top with coconut yoghurt and sliced figs before serving. Enjoy ♥
About the Author
My name is Iselin Amanda. I am a health counsellor, yoga teacher, childbirth educator and cookbook author from Norway. At the moment I live in Goonengerry just outside Byron Bay with my husband. I am passionate about women’s health and women’s bodies, the wisdom of the menstrual cycle and overall health and well-being. I work with a holistic approach to health; connecting the relationship between mind-bodyspirit, and taking all aspects of people’s lives into account when looking to optimise their health. If you want to connect or see more of what I do, you can find me at www.iselinstoylen.com and on Instagram at @iselin_stoylen.