How do you spend your day?

You wake up in the morning, and the moment your feet touch the ground, you’re off.

And you don’t slow down until your feet land back in your bed that night.

What did you do during your day?  Does it truly reflect who you are?  Are the actions in your day what you say you want for your life with your lips?

Would you just like someone to come in and show you the day of your dreams and how to put that into action?

You can. This can really happen.

Here’s the truth –  Your calendar reflects what you do, and what you do ultimately reflects  who you are and who you become.  Does yours?

Let me share a story with you.

One of my clients is part of a program where she has lots of deadlines, with things to do each week.  She was feeling totally overwhelmed with how to accomplish all of this in ADDITION to all of her daily responsibilities as a wife and mother and employee!

Here’s what we did.  We worked on creating a customized process to help her feel that sense of balance and peace of mind.

She had been feeling overloaded with information and all the things that she thought she should do.  So we wrote them all down.We saw that she would need to balance what she perceived as things she needed to do, with what truly reflected what she wanted with her life.

Then we balanced out what she could do each day, then directed some of the things she could do each week.  We also looked at ways she could delegate.

Part of this process is to be clear with yourself on those things that are necessary for who you are.  Sometimes we do things because we think we should.

You can stop shoulding on yourself now.  It’s OK to do what you feel is right for you.

If you would like to start this process, here is an outline for what you can do:

  • Write down everything you want to do.  This is a complete brain dump.  Put the most outrageous things you ever thought of doing.  This can be anything from the outrageous – like climbing Mt. Everest and going back to school – to those things you think about while driving to work, such as drinking more water.
  • Once you’ve done that, separate them into a timeline list  – daily, weekly, monthly, end of the year, and 5 years.
  • From there, you can start to create a day that reflects what you want with your life.
  • And remember, this is your day and your time.  You can change it whenever you want.  As you try out what you think you want, you can decide that this isn’t a good fit right now.

 

If this is something that speaks to you, share with us in the comments below.  Or come visit us on the Facebook group and tell us what you would like to see in your day.

I am here if you would like more help and guidance with this.  Feel free to schedule a short visit with me and we can talk.

How Using More of Your Food Can Be Good for the Earth

nurtureCreating a connection with yourself on an emotional and spiritual level will often be enhanced as you also connect with nature.  You may frequently be deprived of time to hug a tree, and it can be seen and felt within your body.  Your posture is one indication of this.

How much time do you sit in front of your computer?  As you stare at your screen, your fingers moving rapidly and smoothly across the keyboard, notice how you are sitting.  Your shoulders may be a little hunched and your head may jut forward a bit from your neck.

It’s almost like you are curling up within yourself, away from the outside world around you.

Your body and spirit need to be in nature.  And in doing so, you also see how you need to take care of this earth you inhabit.

One of the easiest ways to do that is by recycling, whether it be your glass bottles, or the reams of paper wasted from your printer errors.  You may also reuse your mug as you go in for your refills at your local coffee shop.

But there is another way that may be right in front of you and at your fingertips.

It’s the leftover food from your meals.throwing leftovers

How many times have you prepared your dinner plate, only to not finish it.  What do you do then?  Do you throw the scraps in the garbage?

I want to share some statistics with you about the enormity of a problem that may seem so small from your plate.

According to a recent report by UNEP and the World Resources Institute (WRI), about one-third of all food produced worldwide, worth around US $1 trillion, gets lost or wasted in food production and consumption systems. When this figure is converted to calories, this means that about 1 in 4 calories intended for consumption is never actually eaten.

In the USA alone, organic waste is the second highest component of landfills.  These landfills have become the largest source of methane emissions.

Methane is the primary component of natural gas, a common fuel source. If methane is allowed to leak into the air before being used, it absorbs the sun’s heat, warming the atmosphere. For this reason, it’s considered a greenhouse gas, like carbon dioxide.

While methane doesn’t linger as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, it is initially far more devastating to the climate because of how effectively it absorbs heat. In the first two decades after its release, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  This type of emission must be addressed if you want to effectively reduce the impact of climate change.

Another important statistic is that in the USA, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.

I know you may not have thought about all of this while you dumped that leftover food away.

But there are things you can do to at least reduce your part in this.

Here are some ideas for ways you can reuse your food scraps rather than have them end up in a landfill.

Make your own vegetable stock

vegetable stockMaking vegetable broth is one of those things that you may not do because it sounds time consuming.  While there is some time involved, it’s mostly spent on the simmering of the vegetables.  You could even put it in your crockpot. I use this homemade vegetable broth in some of my recipes, and I think once you try it you’ll continue because it tastes so much better than store-bought.

I collect scraps in a freezer bag or one of my glass containers, then freeze them until ready to use.  When I have a few cups worth, I use them to make broth.  Some of the things I have used in the past are onion skins, sage stems, shallot skins, carrot peelings, green onion ends, celery leaves, and mushroom stems.  Test with the brassicas – I have found them to leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

You can stir-fry up some garlic and onions first, and any other vegetables you want, then toss in the vegetables that you saved.  Cover with cold water – it usually ends up to be about eight cups or so.  Simmer for about 45 minutes or so.   This is where I sometimes just put it in my crockpot for a couple hours.  Then strain and freeze the broth.  I freeze it in 3-5 cup portions, because that is the amount I usually use.  You can do more or less, according to your needs.

You may now be wondering what you do with those strained veggies.  Never fear!  There are many things you can do.  Mash down the veggies, season them, and prepare as a thick stew. Maybe add some beans to give it back a bit of texture and increase protein. Adding things such as soy sauce (tamari or miso paste are even better) or tomato puree would help increase flavor.  I’m sure you can come up with other ideas.  Share with us when you do!

Juices and Smoothies

juices and smoothiesI usually de-stem my kale and other veggies that have woody parts to them.  Instead of tossing them, I usually keep a bag in the refrigerator, and then run them through my juicer.  I will also sometimes use that as the liquid in my smoothies.

You can do this same thing with other harder vegetables.  Many times after I juice them, I will put them into an ice cube tray and then freeze them.  Toss them into a container, and they are ready for when you need them.

As you go through and clean out your refrigerator, this is another great way to use fruit and vegetables that might be on their way out.  So many times we purchase our produce with great intentions, but life might have other plans for our day.

After you make a kitchen sink smoothie, you can make wraps out of them using your dehydrator.  Fill them with more veggies and sprouts, and you have an amazing nutrient-dense meal.

Lemon Peel Powder

lemon peel powderYou have probably already included lemon water in your day, and are now throwing away great quantities of the peels.  But wait!  There is something you can do with those peels that will help not only in your foods, but your household and personal care, too!  I want to send a shout-out to Elaina Love for teaching this great tip.

After you have juiced your lemons, cut the peel into thin strips.  You can then dehydrate them.  I will do them overnight.  After they are dried, run them through your blender or coffee grinder to pulverize them.  They are now ready to be stored in a glass jar.

This lemon peel powder makes a great low-glycemic sweetener.  Instead of more stevia, you sprinkle some of this on your food, and find your sweet tooth satisfied.

You can also use this powder with your tooth care.  It can be a great way to whiten your teeth.  Mix it with xylitol and baking powder for a great tooth paste.  It’s also a natural disinfectant and mix it with baking soda and white vinegar to clean your counters.  This will also help kill things like E. coli.

Infused Oils

infused-oilI have an abundance of different herbs that grow in pots, such as parsley and cilantro, plus in the spring and warmer months, wild edibles like plantain and comfrey produce in great abundance.  What to do to make great use of nature’s bounty?  Infuse some oil!

This is very easy to do, yet it sounds so impressive to say you did.  It also makes great gifts for weddings and other celebrations.  Fill a clean and very dry jar with your herbs.  Slowly fill the jar with the oil.  I use a chopstick to move the plants around so there are no air pockets.  Fill right to the brim of the jar.  Give it a little shake to move things around, then cover and store in a cool, dry place.  It usually takes about 3-6 weeks for the oil to be really infused.  I would also recommend having something either around or under the jar, because it has been know to leak a bit during the process.

When you feel it is ready, strain out the herbs, maybe even giving them a gentle squeeze to get all the goodness out of the herbs.  This will last about a year.  If you squeeze a capsule or two of vitamin E into the oil, it will act as a preservative, helping it last for at least another year.  Make sure to label what kind of herb you infused with it.

Compost

iStock-9013928_Kitchen-Waste-Composting_s3x4.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.1707Yes, the thing most people think of to do with the produce getting wilty or left over from meal preparation.  This can be a win-win for you and the environment.  It will be good for your soil, and in turn feed your garden plants with nutrients they might need.

You can purchase a bucket made specifically for holding kitchen scraps.  What I’ve done is gone to the hardware store and bought a big white 5-gallon bucket that has a lid that snaps securely on.

Every day I dump the appropriate food scraps in.  That means no meat or meat waste, dairy products, or grease.  They don’t break down into the necessary compost materials, plus they are also an attraction for rodents and other pests.  Yuck!

I usually dump the bucket 3-5 times a week into the compost pile, depending upon how much waste we’ve generated.  I have also found putting a damp paper towel on top helps to keep any gnat population down.  It can also help with any odor.

After you dump the bucket into a compost pile or bin, mix it all up and keep growing the good dirt!

I hope these suggestions have given you some ideas about how you can improve your connection to the world around you.  As you do this, you may discover new parts about yourself that you didn’t even know about.

If you are already using your food scraps in creative ways, please share so that we can all better improve ourselves and the world.

 

 

The Need to Nurture

My daughter is expecting her second child in July.  This is a wonderful time and a cause for celebration.  I am excited for this new addition to our family.

I usually spend a week or so after one of my daughters has given birth, helping them so that they have time to rest and build their strength back.  This is a sacred time for her to bond with her child.

I was pondering about this over the last week.  We seem in such a hurry to rush women into not only giving birth, but pushing them back into life – work, chores, activities.  What we should be doing instead, I think, is allowing them time to do what they are uniquely qualified to do at that time – the continuation of the feeding and nurturing of that new life.

We do this in all aspects of our lives.  We rush to finish school, we rush to get a job, we rush to climb the ladder, we rush to find a relationship and start a family.

nurtureWhen will we slow down and enjoy our life?  When will we take the time to nourish and nurture the life we’ve just created?

I’m at a time in my life where I feel like I’m birthing a new part of me.  I’ve been in school studying nutritional endocrinology, along with herbs and other aspects of health.  I recently did an interview series highlighting other women sharing their stories of creating their lives.  They included care and nurturing as part of this journey.

After the interview series aired, I wanted to learn more about you and the others who had watched this series.  Through the stories that were shared, I felt a common bond with those trying to create a life that will mean something to the world.

I was tempted at that point to hurry and create more materials to give out.  However, I decided to take some time and nourish and nurture myself.  Because I created space to do this for myself, I am now energized and am currently in the process of shooting a 3-part video series on “How to Awaken Your True You” – stay tuned!

It is my desire to help nurture and nourish as you produce the beautiful creation that is you.

You are a sacred child that is worthy of taking all the time needed to grow into your skin, to explore the life before you.

Although I am not able to come to your home and spend a week with you, making sure you have the proper foods and time for enough sleep, I would like to share some ideas that I have garnered over my experience raising my own children.

  1. Find five minutes for yourself.  While you might chuckle and say “Only five minutes?”, the reality is that finding where to squeeze that five minutes in might seem like a dream.  Remember, though, that this is your sacred time.

    While in this space, at first you might just sit there and feel almost blank.  But the more you give this gift to yourself, you’ll find that thoughts and feelings start to stir up.  This is a great time to get a journal or notebook to write this down.

  2. Keep yourself hydrated.  Again, you might go, “Really?  That’s all?”  However, at the end of the dayalfalfa tea you might find that bottle of water you started with good intention in the morning is still half full.

    Set an alarm to go off every hour or two reminding you to drink at least one cup of water.  You can measure out at the beginning of the day the amount to drink – half your body weight in ounces.  So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can measure out 75 ounces in water.

    You can also add tea or herbs to the water, as well as something like lemon or lime slices.  This way the water will also include the essence of these foods, contributing to the nourishment of your body.

While there are many other things a person can do, more doesn’t equate to better.  Like a child learns to walk one step at a time, it is also the same for us as we create our own nourished life.

Each day on my Facebook page – Feeding Your Health – I include one simple and easy activity you can do that will contribute to your health and well-being.  This will not only be for your benefit, but will be appreciated by those that count on you as well.

Click here to join us on Facebook!

Together we can all create the space that is needed to nurture and support each other.

 

The Benefits of Argan Oil

argan-oil1When I had my hair cut a few years ago, my hair stylist finished up by putting a small amount of oil on my hair.  Always curious and wanting to know what goes on me, I asked to see the bottle.  It read argon oil.  I had never heard of it, but since then I have seen it frequently appear in many different beauty products.

You may see argan oil called “liquid gold.”   This rare oil is derived from the nuts found within the fruit of the argan tree, which are grown almost exclusively in a certain region of Morocco.  The argan tree lives between 150 to 200 years old, but it doesn’t start producing any fruit until it is at least 30 years old.  The small cooperatives that produce the oil are primarily run by women, who have sworn by the benefits of argan oil for years.   While it is difficult to produce the oil, the recent discovery of the restorative uses of the oil has driven a high demand for it.

Argan oil is high in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.  Experts have said that it can be used for everything from dry skin and wrinkles, to psoriasis, eczema, and acne.  Argan oil can be found in some lotions, but in its pure form, it is easily absorbed into the skin, hair, and nails.   It’s safe enough to use on your baby’s bottom.  Moroccans have also received the health benefits of argan by putting this nutty-tasting oil into their food.

If you find that you could benefit from adding argan oil into your morning routine, here are some suggestions:

Hair – Argan oil is wonderful to calm frizzy ends, and it adds moisture and a little shine to dry hair.  You can apply it all over your hair while it is still wet, or just to your ends after your hair is dry.

Scalp – If your scalp is dry, you can apply argan oil on your scalp using a cotton ball.  If you do this before you go to bed, then the oil has the whole night to moisturize your scalp before you wash your hair in the morning.

Face – You can apply the pure oil directly on the skin of your face as you would a moisturizer.   It has been shown that it can make your skin smooth, clear, and radiant.

Body – When you get out of the shower, and your skin is still wet, apply the argan oil on your skin as you would any other lotion or cream.

Hands – Argan oil would be a great oil to use on your hands, especially around the cuticle and nail area if yours are prone to peeling or cracking.

While I’ve given you some ideas on how to use argan oil, how will you use it?

 

Tips on Whether or Not to Include a Colonic Into Your Cleanse Program

ColonicsThere are many times in our life that we decide, “This is it!  I am going to start a detox program and cleanse myself from the inside out.  No more junk – it’s all fresh fruits and vegetables from here on out.”  As you plan your meals, dust off your juicer, and get ready to make those smoothies, do you include doing a colonic – or even enemas – into your regimen?

What is the colon?

The colon is the last five feet of the digestive tract.  It is a hollow, tube-like organ made up of muscle tissue that moves along the food you ate using a wavelike motion known as peristaltic action.   The colon is an area alive with a host of bacteria that produce vitamins such as K and some of the B vitamins.  It also absorbs water, nutrients, some fibers, and cell salts back into the blood stream.

The colon is sometimes referred as the sewer system of the body.  It is the place we store the waste material that most of us don’t even think about until a health condition either makes us constipated or we have diarrhea.    The best function of the intestine is that it releases this accumulated congestion in the bowel.

The History of Colon Cleansing

A colonic – also called colon hydrotherapy – is the cleansing of the large intestine, what we call the colon, with purified water.   The water is introduced to your colon through the anus.  This procedure is done using a qualified therapist.  This procedure is not new, and record of this procedure has been dated back to an Egyptian medical papyrus dated 1500 B.C.   They had a concept they called “auto-intoxication,” which is an ancient theory based on the belief that toxins originating in the intestine can enter the circulation and poison the body.

Colonic irrigations became popular in the late 1800s into the early 1900s.  Both enemas and colonics were frequently prescribed by physicians as a substitute for laxatives.  The Royal Society of Medicine cited the colon as a major factor in health.  Dr. Joseph Waddington, in his work, “Scientific Intestinal Irrigation and Adjuvant Therapy,” stated the following: “Abnormal functioning of the intestinal canal is the precursor of much ill-health, especially of chronic disease.  Restoration of physiological intestinal elimination is often the important preliminary to eventual restoration of health in general.”

The Difference Between Colonics and Enemas

Colonics and enemas are both therapies that introduce water to the colon through the anus in order to cleanse the colon.  However, you would choose a colonic to cleanse the entire length of the colon; an enema only cleanses the lower part of the colon, the sigmoid and part of the descending colon.   With a colonic, you have water continually going through your colon.  An enema is a single dose, that then soaks for a few minutes before you eliminate it in the toilet.

You can give yourself an enema in the space of your own bathroom.  Colonics are administered by a trained colon hydrotherapist and requires specific equipment to perform it.  During a colonic, fecal matter leaves the body through a tube.  You don’t see or smell this matter during your session.

The Benefits of a Colonic

Enemas and colonics are valuable during constipation resulting from a time of excess, producing heat in your intestines.  You might notice you have a thick yellow tongue coating.   If you are following a fruit- and vegetable-juice regimen, it can be deadly without a colonic or enema.  So much toxin is released into the blood during the healing process that it blocks and poisons the liver, causing pain in any number of areas of the body.

The procedure of colon hydrotherapy has helped with constipation, diarrhea, acute fecal impaction, colitis, mucus colitis, diverticulosis, parasitic infections, atonic colon, bowel stimulation, flatulence, and bloating.

The Risks of Colon Hydrotherapy

Bacterial infection is possible with colon hydrotherapy if the equipment is contaminated.  The Mayo Clinic advises you to make sure that the equipment is disposable, sterile, and has never been used before.   They also say that infection may also occur due to clearing away of healthy bacteria.

Persons who are pale, have a weak pulse, are thin, or have a stripped tongue coating should avoid or use these water treatments only during a crises.  Habitual use will eventually weaken anyone.  For several days after an enema or colonic, it is important to ingest foods which enhance the intestinal flora.

What to Expect During a Colonic

After completing a health history form and consulting with your colon hydrotherapist, you’ll change into a gown and lie face up on a treatment table.   The colon hydrotherapist will insert a disposable speculum into your rectum.  This speculum is attached to a disposable hose connected to the colon hydrotherapy unit.  Warm, filtered water is released into your colon.  The water causes your muscles in your colon to contract, a process called “peristalsis.”  This perstaltic action causes your muscles to “push” your feces out through the hose, to be disposed in a closed waste system.

You may feel some discomfort or nausea during this procedure.  Your therapist will probably apply some light abdominal massage to facilitate the process.

After the procedure, the therapist will leave the room, allowing you to sit on the toilet for about 15 minutes to release any residual water and feces.  The typical session lasts about 45 minutes to one hour.

Finding a Colon Hydrotherapist

If you decide to include a colonic during a detox, the best place to find a qualified therapist is through the International Association for Colon Hydrotherapy.  They advocate that “Colon irrigation devices are prescription devices by law.”  They understand the importance of keeping each device clean and sterile.

Will you include a colonic as part of your detox program?

 

 

Tips on How to Relieve Stomach Bloat

alfalfa teaAfter my family finished their dinner feast on Christmas day, one of my daughter’s leaned back and exclaimed, “Oh, look!  I have a food baby!”  I gave what is probably the typical mother response – “A what?!”  She explained that a food baby is what you get when you are super bloated, especially after a big meal.

While being much relieved that I wasn’t going to be a grandmother again anytime soon, I was curious as to what she might have done to have this bloat, and then what could be done to relieve her of this uncomfortable condition.

There are many reasons for stomach or abdominal bloating.  Besides overeating,  inappropriate food combining, swallowing air while eating, not enough digestive acids, food intolerances, hormonal imbalance, and conditions like candida are the usual suspects.  It is also the most frequently observed symptom of acute parasitic infection.  If left untreated, it may create a more complicated health condition that mimics other syndromes, such as irritable bowel syndrome.    If you feel you would benefit from  a parasite purge, I would be happy to guide you through one.

Too much elaborate food encourages nearly everyone – even people who normally live moderately – to overindulge.  The consequence is digestive fermentation, contaminated blood, and a confused mind.  Common digestive disturbances from poor food combining include decreased nutrient assimilation, intestinal gas, and abdominal pain and swelling.   If you find that you’re suffering from embarrassing and painful swelling and gas, here are a few ways to rid yourself of it.

Alfalfa – Alfalfa benefits the intestines and detoxifies the body.  It cleans and tones the intestines and takes harmful acids out of your body.  It is very useful for gas.  Alfalfa contains eight enzymes which help assimilate protein, fats, and carbohydrates.  It is a safe food even for children.  In addition to alfalfa sprouts found in most supermarkets, alfalfa is available as a dried leaf herb, in tablets, capsules, and powders.  To make tea, steep 1 tablespoon seed or 2 ounces dried leaf in 1 quart boiling water.

Watercress – Watercress stimulates bile formation and other glandular secretions.  It is often used as a remedy for intestinal gas.  One of the most effective ways to use watercress is in vegetable juices.  It is also useful in herb teas or eaten raw, steamed, or lightly cooked in soups.

Lemon and limes – Lemon and limes are perhaps the most valuable fruit therapeutically if you have eaten a high-fat/protein diet.  They destroy putrefactive bacteria in both the intestines and mouth.  They alleviate flatulence and indigestion in general.

Coriander, cumin, and ginger – These combine well with bean dishes to diminish problems of flatulence.  Fresh ginger is used to help break down high-protein foods such as meats and beans and lessens the effect of uric acids in the body from eating these foods.

Congee – Congee is a thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in five to six times the amount of water.  Cook the rice and water in a covered pot four to six hours on warm, or use the lowest flame possible; a crockpot works very well for congees.  It is better to use too much water than too little.   Other foods added to the congee make it more therapeutic.  Apricot kernal, carrots, fennel, and black pepper all help eliminate gas.

The best principal is to eat simply.  Eating simply when in good health is also a way to preserve vitality.   So here’s to a simply healthful year for you.

 

Balancing Your Body After the Holiday Excess

Generic BarkerThe holiday season begins with Thanksgiving, includes all the Christmas parties, as well as the big day itself, and ends with a bang on New Year’s Eve.  You sat yourself down and made a list of goals and things you would like to accomplish in this next year.   But when you wake up on January 1, you feel anything but invigorated.  You probably feel tired, bloated, and maybe a bit stiff.  You are beginning what I call the holiday excess withdrawal.  Others call it the holiday hangover.

In wealthy countries, the vast majority of disease arises from bodily excess caused by overeating rich, greasy, highly seasoned, denatured, and/or intoxicating foods.   This could be an excess of meats (especially red meats), eggs, cheese, and other dairy products; too much fried food, salt, and extremely sweet food; refined and rancid flour and oil products;  and chemical ingredients, drugs, and alcoholic drinks.  When the body can no longer tolerate any further excess it begins to malfunction.

The main remedy for the withdrawal symptoms from too much holiday celebrating is cleansing and purging.  Whatever has caused these symptoms must be eliminated.  As a general rule, bitter foods and herbs are used to reduce these symptoms and signs.  The bitter flavor is cooling and helps move the bowels.  Here are some suggestions of foods and herbs to emphasize in the next few days, or even weeks, to help your body detoxify itself and reach a better balance.  The majority of the foods taken should be raw or lightly cooked.

Bitter Herbs – Goldenseal, echinacea, and chaparral; even the common chamomile is quite bitter.  The roots of dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, and rhubarb (yellow dock and rhubarb also treat constipation).   Honeysuckle flowers are useful, along with the chamomile flowers.  It is always best to check the various other properties of herbs before using them.  The easiest way to take these is as a tea decoction.

Bitter Foods – celery, lettuce, asparagus, rye, and amaranth, are just some examples.

Low-fat Fruits and Vegetables – sprouts (especially alfalfa), fruits, vegetables (especially leafy greens) sea vegetables, micro-algae (especially wild blue-green and dunaliella), cereal grasses such as wheat or barley grass greens, grains, and legumes (especially lima, aduki, and mung beans).

Other Good Excess Reducing Foods – mushrooms, carrots, radishes, and fresh figs.

Sweeteners – If sweeteners are used, small amounts of stevia leaf or raw honey may be tolerated

Oils – One of the few oils I would recommend for excess is fresh flax-seed oil.

Start including an awareness practice that quiets the mind, such as silent contemplation, meditation, self-reflection, or prayer.

Activity is another healing practice.  Certain activities blend with awareness practices.  Examples include tai ji, various yoga systems, and qi gong.  Other activities are likewise important.  These can include manual labor, physical chores (e.g., helping the elderly or ill with housework), sports, walking, weight training, or any of the numerous exercise programs that are currently available.

In reducing the excess from the holiday season, it is essential not to over-reduce.  In the Chinese healing arts, they call this practice of preserving balance “Protecting the ‘righteous qi.'”  Therefore, when using raw-food diets, bitter purgative herbs, and other reducing techniques, it is important to continually monitor your condition to avoid a slide into a different type of imbalance.

The Inner Classic says that “Excess causes one to forget what is proper and good, and to become careless.”  May you have a proper, good, and balanced 2017.

 

Healthy Red, White, and Blue Recipes for Your Summer Meals

redwhiteandblue-1It’s the Fourth of July today.  In the United States, that means parades, picnics, ball games, swimming, and fireworks.  It’s a time to remember and celebrate this country and the principles of freedom it was founded on.  It can also be a time when it is hard to stick to that healthy diet that has given you the energy to attain your own personal freedoms.  But before you decide to lock yourself in your house and not come out to enjoy all the other amazing activities with people you love,  here are some ways to enjoy those celebrations and still have tasty healthy foods.

This year, bring some of these dishes to those picnics, reunions, and other celebrations.  I have had to start doubling recipes to make sure I get some of my own food.  Others have been very intrigued with my contributions and have wanted to “just have a taste”.  It has also sparked some very enriching conversations about health and happy living.

So try these out.   Share how your celebrations went.  If we concentrate on all the goodness we have in common, our worries about our differences will fall away, and we will have such good times.

A fun and patriotic dessert that will set off fireworks in your mouth!

  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar

Blueberry Syrup

Place 1 pint of blueberries in a blender with 1 teaspoon of agave and puree. Pour into a fine mesh strainer, to remove skins and seeds. Syrup will be a bluish/purple.

Raspberry syrup

Place 1 pint of raspberries in a blender with 1 teaspoon of agave and puree. Pour into a fine mesh strainer, to remove seeds. Syrup will be a bright red. For decorating ease, place syrups in squirt bottles.

Coconut sheets

  • 1 ½ cups organic fine shredded coconut
  • 2 Tablespoons agave
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter, softened in hot water bath
Place coconut, butter and agave in food processor fitted with S-blade and process until mixture begins to stick together. Remove blade and macaroon mixture, placing on a sheet of wax paper laying over a small, transferable cutting board. Layer another piece of wax paper on top of mixture and gently press with palm of hands. With rolling pin, begin to roll out a 12×12 inch square coconut sheet about ¼ inch. Place cutting board into refrigerator or freezer until firm (approximately 15 min). Remove, and cut into 9- 3” X 3” squares.
Place one square on “white” serving plate, layer with blueberries, place another square atop of blueberries and layer with raspberries, and then top with one more square. Drizzle and decorate with fresh blueberry and raspberry syrup. Makes 3 servings. *Recipe compliments of Diana Stobo.*
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Sprouted Wild Rice with Corn and Tomato 
Wild rice is actually a grass, not a grain. It’s an aquatic seed that’s found mostly in the upper fresh water lakes of Canada, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in North America.
I like to soak wild rice in at least double the amount of water for 2 or more days. Rinse and change soak water at least 2 to 3 times each day. Soaked wild rice will never get as soft as when it’s cooked, but that’s what I love about it. It has a chewy, hearty mouth feel that’s really satisfying, especially when my body’s craving some complex carbohydrates.
This simple, quick, delicious recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients.
Sprouted Wild Rice with Corn and Tomato
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 1/2 cup soaked wild rice (started with 1 cup + 2 cups soak water)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, deseed, dice, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Toss to mix well.
Will keep for 3 days in fridge.

**Recipe courtesy of Ani Phyo**
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Sunny Hummus

makes 3 cups

4 cloves garlic
1½ cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 4-6 hours in pure water, drained and rinsed well
½ cup raw sesame tahini
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup water
¾ teaspoon Himalayan salt
olive oil, paprika and/or parsley to garnish, if desired
Place garlic cloves in the food processor fit with the s-blade. Process to chop finely. Add all remaining ingredients (except garnishes) and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley.
Original recipe courtesy of Natalia – Author of Pure Pleasures Luscious Live Food by Natalia.
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Raw Sunflower Seed & Hemp Patties
This delicious raw recipe can be used as a super healthy alternative to the more traditional burgers that many will throw on the grill. It is a very simple dish – easy to make, pleasing to the palette and each serving will give you a healthy blast of living energy.
If you wish, you can dehydrate the patties for 3-4 hours in a dehydrator for a slightly more ‘burger-like’ texture.
Recipe For the patties:

1 1/2 Cups of sunflower seeds
1/2 Cup of hemp seeds
1/4 Cup of chopped basil
1 grated carrot
1 grated beet
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
A pinch of pepper
For the sauce:
2 ripe tomatoes
1 small onion
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of water.  Rinse and blend in a food processer with the rest of the ingredients. For the sauce simply blend the ingredients together in a high speed blender.   Form the seed mixture into small patties and serve on a bed of lettuce with some slices of avocado and a little of the tomato sauce for added flavor.
**Recipe courtesy of MegaFood.

 

 

31 Days of Juices and Smoothies

juices and smoothiesI think it’s safe to say that summer is really here.  For a while there I wasn’t sure.  But gardens are in and the produce is starting to become available.  Breathe with a warm sigh of relief.

To unify with summer, we need to express the principles that express it – expansion, growth, lightness, outward activity, brightness, and creativity.  I have some suggestions for lifestyle and diet that will reflect this principle.

Summer is a period of luxurious growth.  To be in harmony with the atmosphere of summer, awaken early in the morning and reach to the sun for nourishment to flourish as the gardens do.  Work, play, travel, be joyful, and grow into selfless service.  The bounty of the outside world enters and enlivens us.

What’s better for a hot summer day than a healthy juice or smoothie.  Use plenty of brightly colored summer fruits and vegetables, and enjoy creating beautiful refreshments.  Make a dazzling display with the colors of the food, even sit down at your table set with a beautiful floral arrangement to truly enjoy your nourishing drink.

I started July with a commitment to at least one juice or smoothie each day.  Summer offers abundant variety, and our diet should reflect it.  Minerals and oils are sweated out of the body, and their loss can cause weakness if they are not replaced by a varied diet.   A smoothie or juice challenge is a fun way to make sure that we are taking in the cooling fresh foods we need to help our body create a cool atmosphere.  It’s also quick and easy when we would rather be outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

After I started, I realized I wanted to share this idea with those around me.   Would you like to be involved in this and join me?  I’ve started with 31 days, but who knows how much longer we can take this.  You can have your juice or smoothie as a meal or a snack.  I’m not outlining any specific requirements for what you put in it.  All you need is a blender or juicer.   If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter and get the free download for my smoothie book for some recipes and resources, then watch for my announcement for my new juice and smoothie book.  Take photos along the way.  Share on social media, and tag me on Twitter @mlbcmazlc and Instagram @feedingyourhealth.  I’ll share your shots and recipes if you’d like.

Ready to get started?  Let me know if you have any questions, and check in with me along the way to say how you’re feeling.

 

 

The Beautiful Skin Diet

I have children that are in different stages of puberty, plus lately I’ve been noticing subtle – very Foods-for-Skin-Healthsubtle – signs of aging.  Many of these signs are showing themselves through the skin – acne, fine lines, dryness.  So we have set out to learn more about what we need to do help with this.  I am sharing some of this information with you in hopes that you may benefit as well.

We all want a clear complexion and beautiful skin.   Look at the magazines while waiting in line at the grocery store, and there is usually at least one article with ways to clear up your skin.  And, of course, all the models have flawless skin.  You can keep reminding yourself that it is probably airbrushed, but deep inside that’s what you want to look like.

There are also many products out there with claims to turn back the clock on aging and clear up any unsightly blemish you might have.  Lots of money to be made and spent on these things.  But is there really one magic potion that will take care of you?

I’ve recently read two books that have helped us.  One is The Ciminelli Solution: A 7 Day Plan for Radiant Skin by Susan Ciminelli, and the other book is The Mind-Beauty Connection by Dr. Amy Wechsler.   Most of the information is plain, old, common sense – avoid artificial processed foods and eat more whole foods, such as grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Also, lifestyle changes like exercise and activities to relieve stress like meditation or massage.

But you know that saying, “Beauty is only skin deep”?  That’s not quite true.   I was surprised to learn that the health of the skin reflects lung health.  The individual with healthy lungs maintains well-nourished and energized skin.  The person with strong lungs has soft, lustrous skin and glossy hair.  Skin that is dry, dull, or rough is a sign of lung imbalance.  In Chinese medicine, the organ that is paired with the lungs is the colon; the toxins that are released from the lungs go through the colon.

While the vitality of the skin is related to the lungs, eruptions surface because of faulty blood cleansing by the kidneys and liver.  These two organs purify the blood, and when they are overburdened toxins in the blood are excreted through the skin.   Most skin diseases also result to a large degree from faulty fat metabolism.

So, what do you do – what can you eat?  Relax, there is plenty.  Here are some ideas —

  • Foods rich in omega-3 and GLA fatty acids help remedy this situation.  Sesame seeds, rich in oleic fatty acids, are also of benefit in the diet; unrefined sesame oil is the oil of choice and can be used moderately as a salad or cooking oil.
  • The beta-carotene/provitamin A foods are beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases, particularly if the condition is of an inflammatory nature.  Yellow and green beta-carotene foods to emphasize include carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, leafy greens such as dandelion greens, beet greens, spinach, kale, chard, and watercress.  The deep blue-green micro-algae such as spirulina and wild blue-green are also beneficial.  All greens are rich in chlorophyll, which purifies the blood of the toxins that cause skin eruptions.  Seaweeds, because of their cooling, detoxifying nature, are recommended for regular use.
  • Other foods to be added freely to the diet are mung beans, aduki beans, and unpeeled cucumber slices.  Alfalfa and soy sprouts are also emphasized in cases of acne.  Eliminate foods which are spicy, fatty, or greasy; also avoid all sweets, citrus fruits, and certain fish – oysters, herring, and shrimp.
  • There are many blood-purifying herbs.  Some that are useful are:
  1. Sarsaparilla root
  2. Sassafras root bark
  3. Burdock seed
  4. Yarrow leaves and flowers
  5. Dandelion root
  6. Golden seal root
  7. Chaparral leaves

There are other lifestyle changes that you can include.  Since skin conditions reside on the outside of the body, sweating is useful to encourage elimination of toxins through the pores.   You can pour boiling hot water in a bowl with some of the herbs listed above steeping in it.  Put your head over the bowl with a towel over your head and the bowl, and work up a good sweat.

Other tips include:

  • Elimination of solid toxins through the colon with an abdominal massage with castor oil.
  • Tongue scraping, brushing your teeth, and a mouthwash rinse with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Dry skin brushing
  • Cleansing and moisturizing your face for your specific skin type.
  • Aerobic activity, like speed walking
  • Yoga and deep breathing

 

The one thing that we really need to remember, though, is how we feel.  In health, the energy is characterized by its ability to consolidate, gather together, maintain strength, and unify against disease at every level, including cellular immunity.  How well we “hold on” and “let go” can be expressed in terms of emotional attachment.  We need to release what is no longer needed.  In Chinese healing traditions, this release is on emotional and psychic levels as well as physical.

Try incorporating some of these changes to your routine and let me know what differences you notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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