Relieve Your Headache Naturally
Simple—and natural!—ways to relieve your headache fast.
Simple—and natural!—ways to relieve your headache fast.
Cheers to celebrating local businesses, artists, curators and creators this Holiday season.Read Article
Cheers to celebrating local businesses, artists, curators and creators this Holiday season.
I’ve compiled a short list of some of my most coveted items, products, and services offered by local Sonoma businesses, artists, curators and creators. Shop small. Shop local. Shop mindfully.
1 // Little Vineyards Family Winery: Petite Sirah $60
2 // Sonoma Cryo: 3-Session Cryotherapy Pack $135
3 // Rims & Goggles of San Francisco: ‘Gambly’ by Thierry Lasry $420
4 // Born to Roam Vintage: Rosemary Dyed Hoodie $75
5 // Beauty Counter with Jenna Maze: Beyond Gloss in Black Plum $32
6 // The Loop Sonoma: Perfect White Tee ‘Lennon’ Sweatshirt in Black $115
7 // Handsome Carver’s Nut Butters: Cinnamon & Honey Cashew Butter $9
8 // Skyler Rae Lauer: 60-Minute Massage + Cupping $125
9 // Melissa Steenport: 16″ Square Leather Throw Pillow $225
10 // Intuitive Infusion & Holistic Wellness: Myer’s Cocktail $275
11 // Elka Herbals: Sensual Aromatherapy Body Mist $24
12 // Koala Eco: Gift Collection Set of 3 $49
13 // Fletcher Rhodes: ‘Kaya’ Tray $450
14 // The Toy Shop: LEGOS and Stocking Stuffers
A conscious shift in perspective for long-lasting benefits.Read Article
A conscious shift in perspective for long-lasting benefits.
Gratitude is medicine.
If the conscious, intentional practice of gratitude has already weaved it’s way into your daily routine, you can easily attest to its healing, medicinal effects; you likely feel happier, more appreciative, more connected, and more optimistic. You probably sleep better, too, and overall, take better care of yourself than someone who doesn’t regularly practice gratitude.
But in case you’re looking for proof outside of yourself, there are myriad studies that show that practicing gratitude does, in fact, carry long-lasting, positive effects in the body and brain (you can sift through some studies here). Practicing gratitude evokes an immediate release of serotonin and dopamine, those “feel-good, happy hormones”, in the brain that have you feeling uplifted and motivated instantaneously. But here’s the real kick: the more you practice gratitude, the more you’ll prefer it. You’ll organically begin to seek out the positive rather than the negative.
When you’re operating from a positive mindset, you’re likely much more calm, relaxed and at ease, and may therefore notice the physiological benefits a gratitude practice confers like lower blood pressure and increased vagal tone, which indicates how well the vagus nerve is functioning by measuring heart rate variability (HRV), and in essence, the health of the parasympathetic, or “rest and digest”, nervous system as whole. You likely sleep better, too! All of this is vital in a high-pressure society like ours. The ability to remain grounded amidst the constant barrage of bad news, work pressures, and the balancing of family dynamics is rooted in gratitude.
This is the thing: gratitude allows us to connect more meaningfully to each other and to the intricacies of this life; to the highs, the lows, and everything in between. Without gratitude, or a sincere reverence and appreciation for all of that which makes you, YOU, life loses depth and dynamics. When we train ourselves to seek out the positive rather than the negative in any given situation, we learn to become grateful for it all. We realize that this life is not to be taken for granted; that all of it is a gift.
A gratitude practice can look different for everyone. Some like to journal daily, others pause throughout the day to think or say out-loud what they’re grateful for in that moment, and others like to take turns reciting what they’re grateful for at the dinner table. Every November, I hang up a beautiful felt gratitude banner that I purchased from Pottery Barn when the kids were babies that has 30 little pockets for holding a little note of gratitude from each of us. I’m also sharing one thing I am grateful for every day on my Instagram page and I encourage you to follow along. Whatever your preference, integrating a gratitude practice into your daily routine will have myriad positive impacts and better equip you to handle life’s hurdles with a little more ease and grace—and this world could use a little more of both!
A zesty, potent herbal folk remedy that will nurture and support you and the family all Winter long.
Are you still throwing away your coffee grounds? Here are three useful, practical and convenient ways to reuse those leftovers.Read Article
Are you still throwing away your coffee grounds? Here are three useful, practical and convenient ways to reuse those leftovers.
Stop right there. Are you about to toss those perfectly damp coffee grounds into the trash? Before you do, consider the several very useful, practical, and convenient ways to put them to good use:
01. Use them as a fertilizer in your garden. Coffee lowers the pH in the soil, and it adds nitrogen and potassium to the soil as well. It’s a fun morning task for the kiddos, and your plants will thank you.
02. Use them as a deodorizer. Use your leftover coffee grounds as a kitchen sink or cutting board scrub to eliminate odors fast. You can also place leftover coffee grounds in a small, uncovered glass jar in the refrigerator to soak up any lingering smells.
03. Use them as a body scrub. Yes, that’s right. This is perhaps my favorite use of leftover coffee grounds—as a constant supply of clean beauty product! The caffeine and chlorogenic acids (CGA) contained in coffee beans can help reduce skin inflammation and contain antimicrobial properties, too. Coffee grounds are a gentle skin exfoliator and are perfect to use on the lips, face, and body, leaving behind soft, supple skin. You can create your own delightfully-scented scrubs, adding some vanilla or unrefined coconut oil, and keep them handy in glass mason jars for clean, long-lasting, home-made skin-care.
A short Mother's Day poem for all the fierce, fiery Mothers I am blessed to know.Read Article
A short Mother's Day poem for all the fierce, fiery Mothers I am blessed to know.
I’ll shout it from the rooftops—”I am Mother, hear me roar!”
Have you heard my fiery cry—my warning call?
Stand back—leave me be!
You can not—you will not—rip this sacred task from me.
Chanting your false-truths to intimidate;
Hoping I’ll writhe and take the bait.
How foolish of you—do you not see?
You will never take these reins from me.
Try as you might to devour me whole,
I listen to only the whispers of my soul—
To the voices of my ancestors; the Mother’s before.
We are physiologically designed to thrive in the sunlight so why do we hide from it?
A mindful approach to living in our tech-saturated world.Read Article
A mindful approach to living in our tech-saturated world.
Airplane mode? Sure, that’s better than nothing, but try as you might, you can’t escape technology’s reach completely, even after you’ve turned everything off for the night. With access to WiFi in some of the most remote, obscure places on Earth these days, it’s pretty safe to say that we are surrounded by a constant barrage of man-made, non-ionizing electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) emitted by wireless routers, cell phone towers, SmartMeters, mobile devices and the like, day in and day out. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified non-ionizing EMF’s as category 2B, meaning there is enough evidence to suggest a link between their use and cancer.
I’ve always believed it important to set limits and create boundaries when it comes to technology, EMF’s being only one of those reasons why. While we’re unable to escape technology’s grasp altogether, we can certainly take steps to mitigate our exposure to EMF’s and artificial light emitted by these devices, especially when at home. Below you’ll find some practical tips for taming your tech, creating a balanced and more peaceful home environment.
Unplug your WiFi router when not in use and especially at night. WiFi is certainly convenient but it doesn’t make much sense to keep it on while you sleep. While it may be an extra step in your bedtime routine, unplugging your WiFi router when not in use and especially at night reduces your exposure to EMF’s—it’s worth it.
Opt-out of your SmartMeter. You may not even know it, but most homes were outfitted with a newer technology years ago that sends power usage information to the power supplier wirelessly, eliminating the need for someone to come and read your meter. It sounds good, but these SmartMeters emit very high EMF’s, and are often placed on the back side of homes near the bedrooms. And you may not even know it, but you have the option to opt-out of the SmartMeter program altogether; you may keep or have an old-fashioned analogue meter reinstalled for a small fee. Again—totally worth it, in my opinion.
Invest in an EMF-shielding cell phone case and/or laptop blanket. We can do almost anything from our mobile phones these days, which means that most of us are on them a lot. I purchased a Radi Armor cell phone case that I love. They have many more EMF-shielding products to choose from like headphones, laptop blankets, and bed canopies, that block up to 90% of EMF radiation.
Invest in high-end blue light blocking lenses. Since we can’t avoid technologically-advanced electronic devices completely, you may want to consider investing in blue light blocking lenses. But not just any blue light blocking lenses you find on the internet; you need the real deal. Talk to your local optician about your options, but I highly recommend DuraVision® BlueProtect from ZEISS which protects the eyes from the excess blue light we’re exposed to from modern light sources and display screens. Too much artificial blue light can negatively effect our melatonin production and natural circadian rhythm.
Set boundaries. I don’t turn on my phone until 8:00AM, and I set it to Airplane mode throughout the day, to provide myself with ample undisturbed time; most calls, texts, and emails can wait. I turn my phone off again about an hour before I go to bed. I don’t want to be attached to my digital devices, and I certainly don’t want my kids to think it’s appropriate, either.
Place shungite around the home. Shungite is well-known to absorb impurities and free radicals from drinking water thanks to it’s specialized structure comprised of fullerenes, or hollow molecular carbon-cages, but it is now widely believed that shungite can help to neutralize EMF’s, too. I keep a raw shungite stone in our living room near the TV and WiFi router that I purchased from Sentience Sonoma.
So while technology can be considered a blessing in many ways, we mustn’t forget the opposing elements; that is, the potentially harmful physiological effects, and the time-thief capabilities of too much tech if one isn’t careful. Now, set down your phone and go take a walk.
While yoga is a layered practice with myriad benefits, perhaps the greatest and most obvious benefit of all, is the roominess it creates in the body.Read Article
While yoga is a layered practice with myriad benefits, perhaps the greatest and most obvious benefit of all, is the roominess it creates in the body.
Yoga is a layered practice with myriad benefits, but perhaps the greatest and most obvious benefit of incorporating yoga into your daily movement routine is the literal room it creates in the body. Tight muscles a.) impact our joints and our range of motion, b.) have a harder time eliminating lactic acid, and c.) keep prana, or life-force energy, from flowing freely throughout the body.
Here are my top five picks for yoga poses that everyone should incorporate into their daily movement routine (modify if necessary) and what muscles they strengthen and stretch.
Child’s Pose: The ultimate grounding posture, Child’s Pose gently opens the hips and stretches the thighs and tops of the feet while simultaneously lengthening the spinal column and inviting the heart to meet the Earth. It’s time to leave the outer world behind and take some time to turn your focus and attention inward.
How To: From Table-Top Position (all fours), bring your big toes to touch and draw the sits bones toward the heels as you outstretch your arms toward the top of your mat, lengthening your spine. Walk the knees as far apart as is comfortable and allow the torso to ‘snuggle down’ between the legs, with the heart falling toward the Earth. If possible, rest the forehead, or third-eye, on the mat. Now begin to inhale slowly and exhale slowly, noticing the spine elongating with every inhalation and the body softening with every exhalation. Take this time to check-in with yourself today, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too.
Crescent Moon Pose: You can work this juicy, standing side-stretch into your day anytime, anywhere. Crescent Moon Pose stretches the entire side-body, from the outside hip, to the obliques, to the intercostal muscles between the ribs.
How To: Standing with your feet either hips-width distance apart or completely together, inhale as your draw the arms upward in an Upward Facing Salute to lengthen the spine. Bring the palms to touch as you interlace all the fingers except for the index fingers, which come together in Kali Mudra. Once again, reach upwards as you inhale, creating as much space as possible before exhaling and leaning over to the right side. Stay here breathing mindfully for as long as needed before repeating on the left side.
Reclined Twist Pose: One of the most satisfying stretches, Reclined Twist Pose stretches the low back, the glutes, and the outer hip. I could stay here all day!
How To: Lay on your back and take a full-body stretch before you begin. Now, draw the knees into the chest and wrap your arms around your legs in a ‘hug’. Gently allow the knees to fall to the right side on an exhalation, doing your best to keep the hips as stacked as possible, and both shoulder blades firmly on the mat. Outstretch your arms and shift your gaze over your left shoulder and close the eyes. Notice your body softening into the posture with every exhalation.
Downward Facing Dog Pose: This well-known posture does it all. It lengthens the spine while stretching the lats, the abdomen, the calves, and the hamstrings, and strengthens the arms and shoulders, too. If you ever only have time for one thing, let it be Downward Facing Dog.
How To: From Table-Top Position (all fours), walk your hands forward and step your feet back as you draw your hips toward the ceiling on an exhalation. Keep the knees bent to start, and take some time to ‘feel into‘ the pose, or to ‘walk it out’, as you adjust your hands and feet into a comfortable and correctly aligned Downward Facing Dog. The fingers should be spread wide, with your weight evenly distributed into all ten fingers. The shoulders should be externally rotated, so that the insides of your elbow creases face each other and your back is open and wide. The feet should be positioned about hips-width distance apart, and slightly pigeon-toed (toes in, heels out) and the knees may remain bent, or may slowly straighten as you warm up, and the heels driving toward the mat (even though they may not touch it). Activate your core muscles by drawing the navel in toward the spine. The neck should remain neutral with a soft, steady gaze back between your upper thighs. Stay here and breath slowly and deeply, matching your inhalations with your exhalations. When finished, return to Table-Top Position, and then Child’s Pose.
Seated Forward Fold Pose: A cooling, calming posture, Seated Forward Fold is an ideal finish to your movement sequence. This posture lengthens the spine and the hamstrings, while allowing you to reflect inward once again.
How To: From a seated position, extend your legs in front of you, keeping the knees slightly bent to start. Now, inch your sits bones back, allowing the legs to straighten a bit more (if you like, you can even place a rolled up blanket or pillow beneath your knees for added support). Inhale the arms upward, and exhale as your hinge forward at the hips, drawing the navel toward the spine, your heart toward your thighs, and your hands toward your feet. Rest the hands wherever they landed (feet or shins), and stay here for as long as possible, allowing each exhale to linger a bit longer than the inhale. This is a challenging posture but the longer you can stay here, the softer you become.
If you think a smoothie is just a bunch of blended fruit, you're doing it wrong.
A grain-free twist on an old-time favorite.Read Article
A grain-free twist on an old-time favorite.
These walnut chocolate-chip cookies made with yogurt and almond flour are a delicious, grain-free twist on an old time favorite. They were delightfully soft and gooey with these perfectly browned, crispy edges—so good! Try them out and let me know what you think!
1/2 cup of plain, full-fat Greek yogurt (I use www.wallabyyogurt.com)
3/4 cup of sugar (I use www.lakanto.com)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup almond flour (I use www.bobsredmill.com)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts chopped walnuts
Ward off adrenal fatigue by implementing adrenal-supporting habits into your daily routine.Read Article
Ward off adrenal fatigue by implementing adrenal-supporting habits into your daily routine.
The rigors of daily life coupled with poor lifestyle choices can lead to, or exasperate, a number of chronic conditions and ailments, and adrenal fatigue may be one of the first noticeable symptoms of prolonged stress and bad habits. The adrenal glands, a part of the endocrine system, produce and regulate hormones in the body and chronic stress, a lackluster diet, or poor sleep habits can send this delicate system into a frenzy, resulting in either too much or too little cortisol in the bloodstream. The result? Adrenal fatigue: tiredness and low-energy, brain fog, irritability and moodiness, decreased sex-drive, insulin resistance, hair, skin and nail changes, sleep issues, and hormone imbalances.
So how do we keep our cortisol levels in check and avoid adrenal fatigue? Reducing stress and developing healthy, adrenal-supportive habits are essential. Here are some helpful tips on how to reduce stress and support your adrenal glands:
Avoid foods that can over-work the adrenal glands. This includes caffeine, refined sugars, processed foods, and an excessive intake of carbohydrates.
Include foods that support the adrenal glands. This includes nuts and seeds, pasture-raised lean meats, wild-caught salmon, fruits and vegetables (especially cruciferous), fermented foods, and avocados.
Prioritize rest. Rest when you feel the need to rest. Prioritize sleep by putting away the blue-light emitting smart phones and laptops well before bed-time and enjoy a book and a cup of chamomile tea instead. Aim to be in bed by 10PM and get 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Check out our article, Seven Steps to Better Sleep, here.
Move your body daily. Be sure to exercise or move your body daily even if it’s only for 20 minutes. Tackle some yard work or go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or office building. Yoga in particular is a wonderful, stress-reducing practice.
Supplement with adaptogenic botanicals. Adaptogens like ashwaganda, astragalus, ginseng, rhodiola, maca and cordyceps have been used for centuries to help the body cope with stress and to support the adrenals.
Practice self-care. Do things that make you happy. Laugh daily. Slow down. Relax. Tell yourself “I love you. You are enough.” and believe it—often. Self-love and self-care is at the root of healing. Check out our article, Human in the Mirror, here.
Looking for a soothing, calming evening treat? Try this simple recipe from Ayurvedic practitioner, Ashley Rarick.
We can over-complicate it, but let's not.Read Article
We can over-complicate it, but let's not.
More and more Americans are lacking three fundamental components required in building and sustaining a robust immune system: sleep, sunshine, and movement. There are likely many reasons for this, from sedentary lifestyles (as compared to our ancestors), high-demand, high-stress jobs, and an exaggerated fear of the sun (disclaimer: burning is never good).
Consistent sleep is paramount when it comes to boosting both our immediate (innate) and learned (adaptive) immune function. Even if you aren’t obviously hurt or sick, studies have shown that our immune system revs up the production of cytokines (proteins that act as immune system messengers), helping to strengthen our body’s “immune memory”. As the body begins to wake (thanks to our circadian rhythm), this inflammatory response winds down. When you don’t get adequate sleep, you risk compromising this delicate self-regulating system, allowing inflammation to persist, and risk many unfavorable short-term side effects and in some cases, the development of chronic conditions. You may function on insufficient sleep, but your body will never grow accustomed to it; human beings need a minimum of 6-7 hours of restful sleep at night. For tips on establishing better bed-time habits, be sure to read Seven Steps to Better Sleep.
Human beings need sunlight. Vitamin D isn’t found naturally in many foods but your body produces it when exposed to direct sunlight. Vitamin D is integral for bone health, but it also plays a crucial role in both the body’s innate and adaptive immune response (hello, monocytes, DC’s, T and B-cells!). Vitamin D deficiency is associated with autoimmunity and an increased risk of infection. It’s best to get outside in the sun, but if sunshine is lacking, you may wish to supplement daily with 600IU of Vitamin D. Remember, there’s a difference between safely spending time in the sun and burning, which is never good.
Movement is also an important component of healthy immune function as movement and exercise mobilizes immune cells. Depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise, the number of circulating immune cells increases by 50-400% for up to three hours! Research shows that even 20-40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day is enough to boost the immune system. So while we may think of exercise and movement as mere methods of slimming down, we can see that an active lifestyle is important in many ways.
These three simple, yet vital, components of healthy immune response are worth emphasizing in a world that’s constantly barraging us with the latest high-price health trends and modalities. It can seem overwhelming to sift through. I encourage you to keep it simple by sticking to the time-tested basics.
Your body is detoxing all the time—how are you helping?Read Article
Your body is detoxing all the time—how are you helping?
Detox has become such a buzzword, hasn’t it? One might imagine that detoxing requires expensive and extreme diets or protocols but that isn’t always the case. Your body is designed to detox; it’s constantly purging and detoxing from harmful substances and toxins all the time. While there may be a time and a place for more immersive or extreme detoxes, I do believe that we can help our body in its everyday detoxing efforts. It’s important to note that multiple organs play a critical role in the detoxification process; from the skin, to the lungs, to the liver.
Let’s take a look at some of your body’s key detox players and explore ways to support these systems as they work to keep you thriving and healthy:
THE SKIN. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and one that’s constantly in contact with the external environment, so it’s no surprise that the skin plays a massive role in keeping toxins, pathogens, and other contaminants out of the body. Your skin also expels toxins via sweat. We can support this system in a number of ways. First of all, keep your skin clean. Your skin is in constant contact with environmental pollutants, toxins, and pathogens, especially the face and hands, so it’s important to shower or bathe regularly using natural, mild soaps (Dr. Bronner is a favorite in our home).
Allowing the skin to “breathe” and sweat efficiently is important, too, and often times heavy lotions, anti-perspirants, make-up, and even sunscreen block the pores and keep the skin from functioning adequately. Keep your skin (and the vital role it plays in the detoxification process) in mind when selecting washing detergents, cleaning solutions, make-up, soaps, shampoos, and even clothing. For added support, consider regular sauna or infrared sauna use which help the body expel stored chemicals, including heavy metals, through sweating.
THE LUNGS. The lungs pull waste, or carbon dioxide, from the blood, which is what you expel when you exhale. When you inhale, the lungs supply fresh oxygen to the blood, which then travels throughout the body—and to all the other essential detoxification organs. We don’t think about breathing much thanks to our autonomic nervous system but when you actually do pause to think about it, you’d recognize that taking longer, fuller inhales would supply the blood with more oxygen per breath, and that longer, deeper exhales would expel more waste than a shallow exhale. This is why breathwork or the practice of diaphragmatic breathing is gaining traction in the West. This type of mindful, rhythmic breathing not only supports the body’s gas exchange, but it also stimulates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system (that’s you, rest and digest). As the diaphragm expands and contracts, it massages the body’s lymphatic system—another essential component in the detoxification process. TRY THIS: Take 5-minutes a day to practice mindful, rhythmic breathing. Inhale through the nose until you feel your belly fill up with air. Hold here for 3-seconds. Exhale through the mouth, slowly and completely.
We can also support our lungs by being mindful of the air we breath. Clean air is a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, we can’t eliminate all the pollutants and toxins from our air. It’s important to treat your home like the sanctuary that it should be. Swap out the harsh, traditional, and toxic cleaners for the something more natural (our go-to, easy-to-find natural cleaning products are Seventh Generation). Invest in an air purifier to help eliminate airborne allergens like pollen, pet dander, mold spores, microbes, dust, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cooking and smoke. We love our Winix Air Purifier with an advanced 3-stage filtration and PlasmaWave® Technology. Diffusing essential oils naturally and effectively purifies the air in your home or office, too. We use tea tree and peppermint often.
THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM. The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in detoxification and immune response. The lymphatic system is most simply described as a comprehensive drainage and fluid-balancing network consisting of the lymphatic fluid (which transports infection-fighting white blood cells), the lymph nodes (there are about 600!), lymphatic vessels, the thoracic duct, the thymus, the spleen, bone marrow, the tonsils and adenoids (the first lines of defense against foreign invaders), and the appendix (good for something, eh?). A sluggish lymphatic system is no good and can cause extreme fatigue, swelling or weight gain, frequent colds or sinus infections, brain fog, and depression to name a few. So what causes a sluggish lymphatic system? Over-exposure to toxic chemicals, a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet and dehydration are often to blame.
Nurture your lymphatic system by moving your body daily, drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, and eating a clean, minimally processed diet. Other things to try: trampolining, dry brushing, lymphatic massage, and herbs like red clover, echinacea, and astragalus. For an individually tailored Ayurvedic approach to lymphatic health, you may want to consider a session with Ayurvedic practitioner, Ashley Rarick, of Ayurvedic Vitality.
THE LIVER. Talk about a powerhouse! The liver is responsible for over 500 vital functions in the body, from the production of bile, which helps break down fats in the small intestine, to the conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage, to purifying the blood from harmful drugs and other substances, including bacteria. Once these harmful substances are broken down by the liver, the by-products are excreted in the bile (which enters the intestine and are excreted as feces) or blood (which gets filtered by the kidneys and is excreted as urine). Clearly, the liver is a crucially involved in the detoxification process. Support your liver with a clean, minimally processed diet. Remove hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, and conventional lunch meats from your diet, as these create inflammation in the body. Amp up the potassium-rich foods (like beans, bananas, spinach, and tomatoes) and be mindful of your alcohol and over-the-counter drug consumption.
THE KIDNEYS. These two fist-sized, bean-shaped organs are well-known as the blood’s filtration system, but they also help balance the body’s fluid levels as well as regulate electrolytes as well as release hormones that help regulate blood pressure. They filter and recirculate 200 quarts of fluid in one day! In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are known as the root of our life-force and the foundation of health, vitality, and longevity.
Help support the optimal function of your kidneys by understanding your risk. Has anyone in your family suffered from kidney failure? Are you on medications that may damage the kidneys when taken long-term (prescription or non-prescription)? Are you diabetic, overweight, or at-risk for cardiovascular disease?
Show your kidneys a little love by staying hydrated, frequently stimulating blood flow to the area through gentle kidney massage or yoga postures like spinal twists, back bends, and forward folds that you hold for longer periods of time (Yin Yoga), and foods like bone broth, miso, seaweed, beans (black and kidney), and fish.
OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR BODY IN DETOXIFICATION:
Scrape your tongue first thing in the morning. Have you heard of a tongue scraper? This nifty, easy-to-sanitize device is designed specifically to clean your tongue, unlike a toothbrush. A tongue scraper is essential in maintaining optimum oral health and hygiene. A tongue scraper effortlessly scrapes away the toxic build-up on your tongue that your body has worked to purge and push out overnight. It’s essential to brush your teeth and scrape your tongue before consuming any food or drink which can carry those toxins right back in. If you need to brush, rinse or floss again after eating breakfast, then by all means, do. Our family uses Dr. Tung’s Stainless Steel Tongue Cleaner.
Get your sleep. Not only is sleep essential for clearing toxins from the visceral body, but sleep also helps clear toxins from the brain! The space between your brain cells increases as you sleep, allowing fluid to flush through and clear out anything that doesn’t belong. Our body needs sleep, and far too many struggle with it. For more tips on getting better sleep, read Seven Steps to Better Sleep.
Give your body less to detox. For all that we can’t control, there is so much that we can. For example, we can’t usually control what pollutants we come into contact with as we walk down a busy city street, but we can consciously choose to eat a healthier diet by eliminating packaged and overly-processed foods (and eating organic when possible), just as we can make the choice to switch to more natural-based cleaning and personal care products in support of our health.
Boy, are you in for a treat with these decadent and wildly satisfying vegan brownies! Not only are they vegan, but they're grain-free and refined-sugar-free, making them a much more favorable alternative to the traditional sweet treat.
Spark joy this February with Tricia Rose Stone's 28 Acts of Kindness.Read Article
Spark joy this February with Tricia Rose Stone's 28 Acts of Kindness.
I came across Tricia Rose Stone’s 28 Acts of Kindness on her uplifting and inspiring lifestyle blog, Rose Colored Glasses. Small acts of kindness are a sure-fire method of sparking joy and cheerfulness within your community and it leaves those giving just as happy as those receiving (hello, oxytocin). February is a time to celebrate the bold expressions of the heart chakra and small, random acts of kindness is a prime example of that. And who knows, perhaps your month-long commitment to an act of kindness a day will transform into something more permanent—the world could use that now more than ever.
1. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
2. Compliment the first three people you talk to today. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could
make someone’s entire day.
3. Send a positive text message to five different people throughout the day.
4. Donate old towels or blankets to your local animal shelter.
5. Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats.
6. Send a friend a helpful or inspiring article that made you think of them.
7. Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for a coworker or connection.
8. Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant
other, or a family member.
9. Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford, along with an encouraging note.
10. Pick up any litter you see around you as you go through your day.
11. Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
12. Run an errand for a family member or friend who could use some extra help.
13. Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
14. Slow down so someone can merge in front of you in traffic.
15. Email or write to someone who has made a difference in your life.
16. Write a positive comment on your favorite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account.
17. If you’re an Amazon.com customer, you can donate Amazon.com’s money to your favorite U.S. Nonprofit through Amazon Smile. Once set up, Amazon will contribute to your favorite nonprofit each time you purchase.
18. Write a great online review for a restaurant or local business you love.
19. Reconnect with an old friend you have lost touch with over the years.
20. Let someone cut in front of you in line at the grocery store.
21. Say something encouraging to a parent who struggles with rambunctious kids in a
restaurant or grocery store.
22. Offer to return a stranger’s grocery cart to the front of the store.
23. Write a sweet, encouraging note and put it under your child’s pillow.
24. Call your mom, dad, or siblings to say I love you.
25. Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
26. Send a care package to a service member.
27. Donate your old cell phone or other electronics to charity.
28. Collect and donate sample-size toiletries to a local homeless shelter.
Visit Tricia’s blog at Rose Colored Glasses and Instagram at @rosecoloredglasses_official.
We must remember that our single greatest power as free and sovereign beings, is the ability to create our own reality; a reality that deeply resonates with us and truly feeds our soul and purpose here on Earth. We get to choose freedom over enslavement, peace over war, individuality over conformity.Read Article
We must remember that our single greatest power as free and sovereign beings, is the ability to create our own reality; a reality that deeply resonates with us and truly feeds our soul and purpose here on Earth. We get to choose freedom over enslavement, peace over war, individuality over conformity.
Saturday, January 16, 2021: sunny and nearly 75-degrees in the dead of a California winter. My husband and I decided it was a good day to take to the trails at the sprawling Jack London State Park with our boys for a little nature therapy. The historic park, former ranch and residence of the acclaimed author nestled against the serene Sonoma Mountains, is quite the sight to behold with it’s peaceful knolls shrouded in oaks, meticulously terraced vineyards, mossy stone ruins, and majestic redwoods. I can never anticipate what a day in nature may conjure-up for me but I trust that it’s exactly what I need in that moment; a profound realization, perhaps, or a happy memory, or just a quiet space to reflect, to cry, to observe.
We left the house right after breakfast and arrived before most. As the morning drew on, the park grew busier but even then, we rarely crossed paths with anyone else, or did so from ample distance. You see, the sheer grandeur of the terrain with it’s many routes and trails naturally separates one group from the next. As I encouraged my boys to take deep, purposeful breaths of fresh, bio-rich air as the sun kissed our skin and our hands caressed the trunks of the giant redwood trees, everyone else hid behind a face-covering. This was perplexing to me; after all, an integral part of venturing out into nature, is breathing it in. I had hoped that any sensibly-thinking adult would deem a face-covering in this instance not only unnecessary but flat-out counter-intuitive.
While we found it rather peculiar behavior, we shrugged it off; to each his own, we thought, and continued on our way walking, laughing, talking, observing, listening. Then out of the silence a panicked father some distance behind us screamed, “They’re not wearing masks so we’re not going to go anywhere near them!” It appeared that his young daughter, in all her innocent enthusiasm and curiosity, dared to jet ahead of her group. At that very moment, an indescribable feeling of confusion and sadness came over me.
Confusion because the young girl came nowhere near us; confusion because even if she did, there would be nothing to worry about—we weren’t ill nor in a enclosed space together where illness may be more transmissible; confusion because surely her father was over-reacting—wasn’t he? Sadness because I felt sorry for that little girl; sadness because of how genuinely frightened her father was; sadness over the disillusionment and mental anguish so many are clearly suffering. I thought for a moment, am I living in an alternate reality? Surely I must be for how is it possible to feel so comfortable and safe and at peace here under the redwood trees while clearly so many do not?
This feeling of confusion and sadness lingered for only short time before I came to my senses and remembered, of course I’m living in an alternate reality—my own reality, just as the panicked father is living in his own reality, too (a reality alternate from mine). These realities are in constant evolution, and are shaped by many, many things. Neither is right nor wrong, good nor bad, although, if you’re not assertive or discerning enough, you do run the risk of what I like to call a ‘hijacked-reality’ in which your perceived reality actually isn’t yours at all but rather a reality created for you by others. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it’s a forfeit of your power nonetheless, and that’s never a good thing. We must remember that our single greatest power as free and sovereign beings, is the ability to create our own reality; a reality that deeply resonates with us and truly feeds our soul and purpose here on Earth. We get to choose freedom over enslavement, peace over war, individuality over conformity.
Unfortunately, as I’ve come to realize over the past year, far too many are willing—almost eager, it seems—to relinquish that power at the mere flip of a switch, casting themselves full-throttle into the chaos without so much as a second thought. Is this poor, frantic father a victim of a ‘hijacked-reality’? I don’t know. Am I? I suppose it’s possible. But if I had to choose between living in his reality or living in mine, I’d choose mine over and over and over again.
To each his own.
Mindset is key in manifesting an epic year ahead, no matter what comes your way in 2021.
I don’t want to believe that it took a pandemic of global proportions to prove to us that this sub-life is unsustainable. But I guess it did. The subliminal signs weren’t enough to slow down our lives on our own accord. It’s remarkable, in a dark, strange way, just how much stress the body can take before complete and utter exhaustion, and how the mind continues to justify it.Read Article
I don’t want to believe that it took a pandemic of global proportions to prove to us that this sub-life is unsustainable. But I guess it did. The subliminal signs weren’t enough to slow down our lives on our own accord. It’s remarkable, in a dark, strange way, just how much stress the body can take before complete and utter exhaustion, and how the mind continues to justify it.
In a habitually flurried modern world, burning the midnight oil has become the new normal rather than the exception to the normal. The high-demand jobs, the late nights and inadequate sleep, the poor and overly-processed diets, the unresolved traumas, the lack of connection—connection to ourselves, to others, and to nature—have led us to a sub-life of heightened stress, fear, and anxiety.
I don’t want to believe that it took a pandemic of global proportions to prove to us that this sub-life is unsustainable. But I guess it did. The subliminal signs weren’t enough to slow down our lives on our own accord. It’s remarkable, in a dark, strange way, just how much stress the body can take before complete and utter exhaustion, and how the mind continues to justify it.
We are designed for stressful situations just not chronic ones. Many of us are so disillusioned or numbed-up with caffeine, alcohol, or drugs that we’re unable to recognize that we’re living in a state of perpetual heightened stress. Only when symptoms like irritability, headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, and depression or withdrawal begin to rear their ugly heads do we finally pause in search of respite.
From purely holistic perspective, the root cause of our habitual chronic stress must be addressed—and this is no small feat. For one, it would require a massive socio-cultural awakening and a collective mindset shift. This won’t happen overnight (although, I think we’re on the way). So, for now, we may have to settle for second best: managing it with mindful awareness and a nurtured brain-body connection.
At the helm of the brain-body connection lies the almighty vagus nerve, a discerning bundle of nerve fibers that govern the parasympathetic—or rest, digest, repair—branch of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Because these expansive pair of nerves connect with all the organs of the visceral body, the vagus nerve is able to continuously relay information to the brain about the body and how well everything is—or isn’t—functioning, via neurotransmitters. The vagus nerve is also comprised of descending fibers that relay information from the brain to the body. These bi-directional interactions between the brain and the body via the vagus nerve are everything.
Chronic stress impairs, or lowers, vagal tone, or the functionality of the vagus nerve, creating an unpleasant ripple effect throughout the body. Low vagal tone has been linked with chronic inflammation, digestive disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, heart conditions, and many other familiar ailments. Similarly, low vagal tone caused by issues in the gastrointestinal tract (the vagus nerve rules the gut-brain axis), alcohol use, excessive dental work, muscular trauma, or even genetics, hinders the ability to handle chronic stress. It’s a two-way street.
To avoid the undesirable side-effects of chronic stress, we must uncover the uncomfortable truth about what’s causing it. This is challenging. Often times, it’s more than just one thing but many things compiled together over time. This kind of deeper housekeeping requires a mental, physical, and spiritual commitment, one that many, ironically, don’t have the time (or desire) for. I do believe that the tides are slowly shifting and that perhaps more people will be ready and willing to do the work. In the meantime, we can learn to better support our body’s ability to rest, digest and repair and learn to manage and cope with our stress effectively.
Managing chronic stress effectively isn’t all that complicated; it just tends to be overlooked. For example, regular movement and a diverse, whole-foods diet is paramount in managing stress yet how often are both placed on the back burner? We must also set boundaries—at home, at work, and in our social lives—and get comfortable saying no. We must keep good company—that is, surround ourselves with people who are positive, supportive, and a good influence. We must get off our screens and out of the fluorescent-lit classrooms and offices and ground in nature daily (also known as earthing). We should spend more time doing the things that bring us true joy and happiness; getting lost in the rhythm of good music, writing or journaling, coffee with a good friend, or volunteering with a favorite nonprofit. And let’s not forget that the vagus nerve is a key player in stress management. We can mindfully integrate the practice of vagus nerve stimulation, which increases vagal tone—and increases our resilience to stress—into our daily lives.
This can be achieved in many ways but consistency is key. We can practice slow, rhythmic belly-breathing (diaphragmatic breathing), commit to daily movement and mild exercise like walking or yoga, try cold therapy (ice baths or cryotherapy), take a few minutes a day to gargle, sing or hum, utilize sound therapy (listening to calming ocean waves, for example), increase our sun exposure, commit to deep, restorative sleep by turning screens off early, meditate often, book a massage (lymphatic massage, if possible, or gently massage your own neck, abdomen and belly daily), and generally cultivating a deep sense of gratitude, connection, and purpose in life through writing, therapy, soul-work, and meaningful social relationships.
I’ll conclude by saying this: we must stop wearing our chronic stress as if it were a badge of honor. Instead, let’s be cognizant of the many ways that chronic stress manifests in the body, slowly crippling our quality of life. We must purposely and mindfully make the choice to lean in to a slower, more sustainable way of life that supports our health and well-being. We just can’t run ourselves ragged anymore; there’s too much on the line for that now.
It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner! As a Holistic Nutritionist and clean-eating advocate, I have a few tips to share with you about enjoying the upcoming Holiday—guilt free.Read Article
It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner! As a Holistic Nutritionist and clean-eating advocate, I have a few tips to share with you about enjoying the upcoming Holiday—guilt free.
With Thanksgiving ringing in our Holiday season next week, I thought I would offer up a bit of advice on enjoying the Holiday season without the guilt that often accompanies large Holidays.
First of all, let’s be clear: there is a difference between eating mindfully and eating obsessively. One allows you to deviate from your usual healthy, well-rounded diet here and there without harboring any guilt or shame, while the other is so restrictive that you’re almost setting yourself up for disappointment.
It’s imperative to approach your general diet mindfully so as to diminish the possibility of developing an obsessive and unhealthy relationship to food and eating. Eating mindfully means that while you may eat a healthy, well-balanced diet most of the time, you’ve granted yourself the permission to indulge and enjoy food and drink outside of your usually well-balanced diet when the mood strikes and knowing that you won’t feel guilty about it—knowing that you’ll get back to your usual diet soon—knowing it’s not a big deal and that you didn’t “fall off the wagon”.
As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, it’s helpful to focus on what we can add to our plates as opposed to what we should leave off or restrict ourselves from (remember, mindful over obsessive). Don’t skimp on the nutritious and filling good stuff like greens and veggies. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially between alcoholic beverages and all-day grazing, to keep yourself hydrated and less-likely to overeat (thirst can be mistaken for hunger, you know). Offer to make a favorite side-dish to share to keep your options vast. And lastly, don’t be afraid to indulge and stray from the usual. This is what it means to be a mindful eater, so let’s eat drink, and be merry! Happy Thanksgiving.
Peel back the layers and discover your Divine Feminine.
Outsourcing our deep inner work doesn't shift anything—it leaves us running in circles. We must be accountable.Read Article
Outsourcing our deep inner work doesn't shift anything—it leaves us running in circles. We must be accountable.
As we’ve lost touch with our true selves we’ve also lost touch with a little something called accountability. The two go hand-in-hand—if you’re not at the helm of your own ship, then accountability would seem to be a rather foreign concept, or an altogether useless one, would it not?
For the truly out-of-touch, there may be an appeal to outsourcing the inner work, pointing fingers, and passing the blame as they wait for someone else to swoop in and save the day, but this lackadaisical approach isn’t sustainable any longer. We’re simply moving in circles. We need more individuals who are willing to roll up their sleeves, dig deep, and do the inner work that is required for everlasting change—in other words, we need people to take personal accountability instead of merely passing off the work.
The correlation between those who are quick to relinquish control (and/or their freedom) and those who lack accountability is worth examining, too. Perhaps they have forgotten (or refuse to accept) the fact that despite what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they’re in full control—sovereign and with limitless potential. Let this be a reminder.
Only once these connections have been made (or re-made), will we begin to see a true shift in the collective toward true peace, joy and freedom.
More emphasis must be placed on educating the masses on other ways to “slow the spread”—more like “slow the spread of the many chronic diseases plaguing Americans and leaving them susceptible to complications from COVID-19 or any other cold or flu."Read Article
More emphasis must be placed on educating the masses on other ways to “slow the spread”—more like “slow the spread of the many chronic diseases plaguing Americans and leaving them susceptible to complications from COVID-19 or any other cold or flu."
I don’t know about you, but I believe that more emphasis must be placed on educating the masses on other ways to “slow the spread”—more like “slow the spread of the many chronic diseases plaguing Americans and leaving them susceptible to complications from COVID-19 or any other cold or flu”. No one is immune from catching COVID-19 but let’s be honest—Americans have never been sicker, more obese, more depressed, or more unhappy, and to me, this is the biggest concern of all. Is COVID-19 the straw that will brake the camel’s back? I hate to say it but masks and a pantry stocked to the brim with shelf-stable foods isn’t going to save us from the twisted, dysfunctional food system that’s been wrecking havoc on American health long before COVID-19.
There is so much that we can’t control—like the viruses and bacteria living among (and within) us at any given moment in time—so why not shift the focus to what we actually have a decent shot at?
To my discerning and ever-curious young men: I hope you continue to ask the difficult questions even when—actually, especially when—it's unpopular to do so.
Our high-tech world is affecting our eyes in a massive way, and the current shelter-in-place isn't helping.Read Article
Our high-tech world is affecting our eyes in a massive way, and the current shelter-in-place isn't helping.
Our high-tech world is affecting our eyes in a massive way, and the current shelter-in-place isn’t helping.
More than half of children and over seventy-percent of adults experience symptoms of digital eye strain. These numbers are likely climbing due to the global pandemic where distance learning and working-from-home have us depending on our digital devices more than ever before. So what’s the big deal? Well, after prolonged exposure to screens and other digital devices, all which sit close to the eye, the eye’s auto-focus system (known as “accommodation”) becomes stiff and locked in place. Distant objects will now appear blurry, and the eyes will feel strained when refocusing on distant objects. This excessive strain on the eyes will manifest itself in various forms, such as:
To make matters worse, these digital devices emit artificial blue light, which our eyes have not yet evolved to filter. Artificial blue light is a more powerful suppressor of melatonin than any drug known to man. When we are exposed to blue light in the evening hours and especially before bedtime, it is extremely disruptive to our sleep patterns. Exposure to blue light at night wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythms, because there are special light-sensing cells in the back of our eye that control our sleep-wake cycle and these cells are especially sensitive to blue light in the 459 – 485nm range.
The good news? Your local optician can offer state of the art protection against digital eye strain and blue light exposure with products such as ZEISS Blue Protect. ZEISS Blue Protect has been thoroughly researched to block the harmful effects of blue light in children and adults. It’s ideal for:
If you can, be sure to turn off blue light sources at least three hours before going to bed, or wear a blue-filtering lens. Our understanding of blue light’s impact is growing every year. We’re sure to learn even more, but there’s no better time than right now to protect something as valuable as your vision.
Navigating our ever-changing world can seem like the first day of a summer circus gig on repeat; the second you get the hang of one trick, they go and change things up on you.Read Article
Navigating our ever-changing world can seem like the first day of a summer circus gig on repeat; the second you get the hang of one trick, they go and change things up on you.
Navigating our ever-changing world can seem like the first day of a summer circus gig on repeat; the second you get the hang of one trick, they go and change things up on you. So when it feels like you’re barely holding your head high enough above the water, remember that things don’t have to be so complicated, and that you’re in control of a lot more than you might think.
When the going gets tough, remember to:
focus on the positive
love your neighbor
eat the rainbow
reduce your carbon footprint
connect with others
be the change
Have you looked at your reflection in the mirror and told yourself “I Love You” yet today? The thought itself might make you uncomfortable—it’s silly, or pompous, or even a little crazy, you might say. But why?
Struggling with sound sleep? Here's an Ayurvedic practitioner's tips for deeper and more restorative sleep.Read Article
Struggling with sound sleep? Here's an Ayurvedic practitioner's tips for deeper and more restorative sleep.
We all know that adequate sleep is crucial to optimal health and immune function so make a promise to yourself here and now: get enough sleep—no matter what. We spoke with Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Ayurvedic practitioner Ashley Rarick of Ayurvedic Vitality about getting a better nights’ sleep, and here are her tips for inducing a deep and restful slumber, naturally:
1.—Take 10 deep belly breaths: when lying in bed place your hand over the belly button and breathe in deeply and slowly to the point where you can feel the belly rise for ten breaths. This will stimulate the Vagus nerve, bringing natural relaxation to the body. This can also be done if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.
2.—Have a cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg and/or a natural sweetener of your choice about an hour before bed. Nutmeg is traditionally used in Ayurveda to naturally relax the body to help induce sound sleep.
3.—Have your last meal at least 3 hours before bed.
4.—Do not take day naps if you are having trouble sleeping at night.
5.—Take a warm bath with rose essential oil before bedtime. This will help you unwind and soothe the mind, preparing for sound sleep. Rose helps heal not only skin, but also brings about a state of deep mental calm and healing.
6.—Spend the hour before bed without the use of electronics.
7.—Have a cup of warm chamomile tea before bedtime. Chamomile brings deep calm to the nervous system.
Wishing you a better night’s sleep…
A boutique yoga and fitness studio in Sonoma, CA
Verdure Studio is a boutique yoga and fitness studio in Sonoma, California that brings the magic of movement to the comfort of your home or vacation rental. Verdure Studio believes in the simplicity of movement; that is, that we can accomplish a lot using only our body and our breath. We can increase flexibility, balance, and range of motion, build strength and tone muscles, improve circulation and support our lymphatic system, boost immune function, and perhaps most importantly, create space in the body to allow prana, or life-force energy, to flow freely throughout.
Fall in Love with Movement
Hi, I’m Divina, founder of Verdure Studio, a boutique yoga and fitness studio in Sonoma, California that brings the magic of movement to the comfort of your home. I believe in the simplicity of movement; that is, I believe that we can accomplish a lot using only our body and our breath. We can increase flexibility and range of motion, build strength and tone muscles, improve circulation and support our lymphatic system, boost immune function, and perhaps most importantly, create space in the body to allow prana, or life-force energy, to flow freely throughout.
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