A Killer Juice That Bites Back!

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Being a lover of all things raw, green and juicy, I tend to get a little sad when the warmer months come to an end, and I have to start replacing my daily green juices and smoothies with more warming foods.  Unfortunately, these amazing nutrient powerhouses are just too cooling for most bodies during the cold weather months (you may notice that you just feel colder in your hands and feet, or feel more spacey or anxious when you eat a lot of raw foods or drink green juices in the winter).  But the fall is still a lovely middle ground.  It’s starting to cool, and there is still tons of great seasonal produce to rock in some delicious green concoctions, as long as you add some warming ingredients that add a little bite!

This yummy juice makes use of delicious late-summer/early-fall produce and packs an awesome, anti-inflammatory punch to warm your body from the inside out.

Instead of the usual kale or spinach, I love using Swiss chard in this juice. This often overlooked green is loaded with 13 antioxidants, including heart protecting, blood sugar regulating flavonoids. Along with the beets, Swiss chard is full of the phytonutrient betalain, which is super detoxifying and vital for disease prevention.

I like to top my juice with a little sprinkle of cayenne pepper for even more of a detoxifying and slimming boost!

Spicy Ginger Pear Green JuiceServes 21 organic pear3 inch of ginger root, peeled1 bunch organic swiss chard (any color is fine!)2 red beets with greens1 organic lemon, peeledA sprinkle of cayenne pepper (optional)

 

Juice, sip, enjoy!

Is your juicer no match for the dense, fibrous goodness of these fruits and veggies? It’s probably time for an upgrade. I’m in love with my Breville Compact Juice Fountain that I got at Williams-Sonoma (though I’ll be honest, I’ve had my eye on the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer and it’s cold-pressing magic for a while). Not sure which juicer is best for you? Check out the W-S Juicer Guide to help you find your new favorite kitchen tool!

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How To Use Lucid Dreaming To Tap Into The Deepest Depths Of Your Consciousness & Upgrade Any Dimension Of Your Life

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How To Use Lucid Dreaming To Tap Into The Deepest Depths Of Your Consciousness & Upgrade Any Dimension Of Your Life

A New Masterclass on How to Use Your Sleep To Accelerate Spiritual Growth, Solve Complex Problems, and Have Mind-Blowing Adventures You Choose

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In this Masterclass, you will discover…

  • The Secrets of Lucid Dreaming and how you can upgrade key areas of your life through the hours you spend sleeping. (Considering the fact that Americans currently average 6.8 hours of sleep at night according to a Gallup study… which is 2,482 hours a year… or roughly 21 years for a person living up to the age of 75… you can imagine the opportunity for growth and expansion that awaits anyone who’s willing to utilize at least a fraction of those missed hours.)
  • Andrew Holecek’s #1 most popular Lucid Dreaming technique (which is a combination of two techniques) that studies prove can increase your chances of experiencing a lucid dream by 2000% or more.
  • Why Lucid Dreaming is the best tool for accelerating your spiritual growth and how it can help you get to the forefront of the current revolution of spiritual awakening.
  • Fascinating ways in which you can use Lucid Dreaming to enhance your life — and 4 ways in which professional athletes use it to upgrade their physical skills in waking life.
  • How Lucid Dreaming can be 1000 times more impactful than Creative Visualization in helping you overcome obstacles, attract synchronicities and awaken your creative genius.
  • Meditation and Lucid Dreaming, the hidden link that makes meditators better Lucid Dreamers and why a small shift in your awareness during your waking state can open up a whole new world that you can explore at night.
  • And so much more…
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About Andrew Holecek

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Andrew Holecek, a devout buddhist practitioner, is an undeniable expert in laying out complicated contemporary practices of eastern spirituality in simple words. Through his teachings on meditation, lucid dreaming and dream yoga, Andrew has delivered a body of wisdom that liberates people from all sorts of mental and physical limitations.

Andrew has studied directly with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other esteemed Rinpoches, Khenpos, Acharayas, and Lamas. His work has appeared in the Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma, Light of Consciousness, Utne Reader, and other highly acclaimed periodicals. He is also affiliated with theShambhala Centers Worldwide and was an adjunct faculty atNaropa University and Ngedon School of Buddhist Studies.

Andrew also has a strong scientific background. He is a dentist and co-founder of Global Dental Relief – a non-profit organization that provides free dental assistance to impoverished children around the world.

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5 Tips to Grow out Your Healthy Hair

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I don’t know about you, but I think long luscious locks are totally timeless… the perfect accessory.  But growing out your tresses can be tough if you’re dealing with dry, damaged hair that breaks and splits.  I’ve dealt with this myself since I was a teenager and first starting coloring my hair.  But I’m happy to report that I’ve nailed down the perfect recipe for stronger, healthier, shinier hair that grows out beautifully.  As with everything, it takes a holistic approach, inside and out!

1. Go sulfate-free.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient in most shampoos, but what you may not know is that it has a drying and damaging effect on your hair, especially curly or color treated locks.  To maximize your hair’s hydration, and therefore promote softer, stronger hair that’s easy to grow out, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo.  My faves are Wen Conditioning Cleanser, Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, and Acure Organics Moroccan Oil Shampoo.

2. Shampoo less.

Even the most moisturizing, natural shampoos out can be drying for hair.  The simple solution is to just shampoo less often!  If you wash your hair daily, start cutting back to every other day, then 2-3 times a week, then eventually just 1-2 times a week, which is ideal.  In the beginning, you may feel that your hair is a little oilier than normal, but the cool part is that your hair naturally adjusts!  I have super oily hair, but can now go almost a full week between washes!  Rock a dry shampoo throughout the week if you need to zap some oil and increase volume!  I like Acure Organics Dry Shampoo and Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo.

3.  Embrace oils.

Oils are your hair’s best friends, for strengthening, conditioning, and imparting amazing shine.  My favorite is argan oil, which is perfect for post-shampoo deep conditioning and heat protection.  Try Argana Vita Organic Argan Oil.  For deeper conditioning, smoothing fly-aways, and treating dry ends, use coconut oil.  The one from your kitchen will do fine, but if you’d like a dedicated batch for beauty, try Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil for Body and Hair.

4.  Supplement smartly.

Getting beautiful hair starts on the inside, and supplementing with some key nutrients is a must.  I love Hair Essentials, which is loaded with everything your body needs to repair damaged follicles and grow healthy hair.  Biotin, iodine, saw palmetto, horsetail and more.. It’s truly a potent formulation that also helps to prevent hair loss! If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, using a good food-based prenatal like VitaminCode Raw Prenatal will give you a lot of the same benefits, while being safe for baby.  Other great supplements for luscious locks are essential fatty acids like fish oil and evening primrose oil.

5.  Eat for gorgeous hair.

You are what you eat, and nutrient-rich foods will give you nutrient-rich hair. Foods like nuts, leafy greens, bananas, cauliflower, legumes, whole grains and cage-free organic eggs are loaded with biotin which strengthens hair and helps it grow.  While foods rich in essential fatty acids like sardines, wild-caught salmon, flax, and walnuts will help hair look shinier and healthier from the inside out!

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Super Yummy Lactation Balls!

Yummy Lactation Balls

Continuing on our lactation kick here at The Organic Beauty, we have a new delicious recipe from a beautiful mama, my friend Tara at Tara Josette Snacks.  Tara is part of the amazing community of new mamas that I’m so lucky to be a part of here in LA, and she’s always bringing these super duper yummy lactation balls to our mommy playdates.  No joke, you guys, these things are FOR REAL.  After eating a couple delicious little balls, my milk got flowing like crazy, which was especially crucial after my supply took a hit when I starting my period again : ( (For more ways to naturally boost milk supply, click here).

The delicious lactation balls have a bunch of ingredients that are amazing for milk supply (like brewer’s yeast and oats) and quality (like coconut oil and nuts).  They are naturally sweet and are perfect for satisfying a sugar craving healthfully.  They’re loaded with healthy fats, protein, and whole grains, so they’re also awesome for keeping you full and stabilizing blood sugar. The long and the short of it.. They’re awesome.  Here are a few words about them from the lovely Tara:

Tara and her own little sweet!


Raw bites are so popular and with good reason, I’m a huge fan of these high nutrition little orbs of energy and have many different versions in my arsenal. Free of gluten and dairy and naturally sweetened with dates, they are so easy to whizz up and keep on hand for little emergency pick me ups. Or dessert. They have a ton of good fats and can be packed with superfood ingredients to charge up their nutritional profile.

I wanted a version that would do even more for me, returning to work soon milk supply is on my mind, so lactation balls were born. They have a cacao and peanut butter base because well, that’s just a delicious situation right there, and it creates a robust enough flavor-backdrop to absorb the magic lactogenic ingredient –  brewer’s yeast –  which some people find a bit funky (although I happily eat it on toast with avocado). They are also packed with oats, nuts and sesame which are all known to increase milk supply. Finally they have a ton of coconut oil which improves the quality of breastmilk, packing it full of lauric acid which is great stuff for your baby. The recipe is simple but It’s key to use the most high quality ingredients you can and organic if possible, great quality cacao, peanut butter, dates and virgin oil will make these taste insanely good. Food as medicine.Yummy Lactation Balls1/2 cup gently melted virgin coconut oil1/2 cup salted peanut butter1/2 cup walnuts1/2 cup raw cacao1/4 cup Brewers yeast10 medjool dates1 tbsp tahini2 cups whole oats2 tbsp chiaFor Rolling in:1/4 cup chia1/4 cup sesame seedsGently melt the coconut oil (if necessary) but do not overheat. Combine all ingredients in food processor, pulsing until fairly smoot. Roll into teaspoonful sized balls and coat with a crunchy mix of chia and sesame seeds. Refrigerate or freeze for an even better, fudgier texture.

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5 Ways to Deal with Winter Darkness

The other day, I went to bed at 9:30.  Now if you know me, you know how totally crazy that is.  I used to be the world’s biggest night owl.  Even as that started to change, I’ve never voluntarily gone to bed before 11pm.  Bonkers.  Now, do I feel super lame and old? No! Was it because I had nothing better to do? Of course not!  Rather, this insanely early bedtime was a result of my listening to my body and taking steps to combat winter blues, lack of energy, and general malaise.  And guess what?  It worked!  I woke up before my alarm, to bright sunlight streaming through my window.  I had tons of time for myself in the morning to get outside with the pup and relax into my day.  I was super energized for an early yoga class (which I rocked, dare I say). And I was super productive and motivated all day long.  So what’s my secret?

This time of year, as the days get shorter and darker, it can get a lot harder to motivate yourself to stay healthy.  The lack of sunlight puts us in a foul mood, zaps our energy, and can wreak havoc on our immunity.  And all this, in turn, can make it nearly impossible to hit the gym, stay away from fatty, sugary comfort foods, and stay motivated to take care of our bodies.

This impulse to hibernate is natural.  Our bodies and metabolisms naturally start slowing down.  We need more sleep to stay energized.  And the decrease in sunlight certainly can lead to depression (seasonal affective disorder), food cravings, and general crankiness.

Unfortunately, we are not bears.  So we can’t just peace out until March rolls around.  But there are some crucial adjustments that we can make to our lifestyle, eating, and supplementation that substantially decrease the negative impact of dreary winter darkness on your body and mind.  And believe me, they work!  Here are my 5 ways to deal with winter darkness

1. Adjust your schedule.

The number one most important thing you can do to increase energy and boost your mood in the winter is to get the plenty of sleep at the right time of night to maximize your daylight hours.  If you’re sleeping until the last minute, forcing yourself out of bed, and rushing through your morning, you are robbing yourself of those crucial morning daylight hours, which can spell the difference between being a moody mess for the next 4 months, or being your usual, happy self.

To maximize your morning, you NEED to get to bed earlier.  It’s dark, it’s cold, what do you really have to do at night anyway?  Keep those Netflix binges down to just one or two shows and get thee to bed before 11pm, OR just listen to your body!  If you’re starting to feel sleepy way earlier than that, don’t fight it! That’s a prime example of your body telling you exactly what it needs, so do yourself a favor and heed it’s call.

With your new early bedtime, you can wake up earlier, giving yourself more time in the morning to maximize daylight, before you hunker down at your desk for the next 8 hours.

Have trouble getting to sleep early? Check out How to Sleep Better Naturally for all my best tips!

2. Maximize your sunlight.

First thing when you wake, you need to get some light on you to set your circadian rhythms up for an energized day.  Open those blinds and stand in front of your sunniest window for a few minutes!  Go take your dog for a longer walk outside.  Go for a run in the fresh air.  Exposing yourself to natural light in the morning combats winter depression, fatigue, and boosts your immunity!

You also need to get some light during the day.  Leave the office for lunch, run out for tea instead of making it in the office, take breaks to walk around the block and breath in some fresh air.  If you can get a total of 20 minutes time spent outdoors in the daylight hours, you will definitely feel a difference in your body and mood.

If you suffer from bonafide seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or if you have trouble getting out into the daylight every day, you may need to supplement with a sunlamp.  These puppies simulate the sun and do wonders for your mood.  Use your lamp for 30 minutes in the morning, and you can even give yourself a few energizing bursts of light during the day as well! (Just not after 4pm).  Check out the NatureBright SunTouch Light and Ion Therapy Lamp.

3. Supplement smartly.

One of the biggest causes of cold weather colds, moodiness, and lack of energy is vitamin D deficiency.  In the northern hemisphere, it is completely impossible to get enough vitamin D from it’s natural source (sunlight) during the winter months, and deficiency in this crucial vitamin is at the root of host of unpleasant health problems.  Make sure to get 4000 IU of vitamin D daily, preferably in a liquid, sub-lingual formulation that is absorbed most efficiently by the body.  My favorite is Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte.  Just 2 drops under your tongue every morning, and you’re good to go!

4. Move that thang!

Moving your body is crucial during these cold, dark months.  It boosts your mood, immunity, and heats you up from the inside out.  The morning is the best time for exercise in the winter, so make good use of your extra time in the morning to go for a run, hit a yoga class, or do some spinning.  If getting out of the house is just too hard, than pick a sunny spot by the window and workout at home!  Check out my Youtube playlists for Quick Morning Workouts.

If morning workouts just aren’t feasible during the week, than pick one or two nights a week to exercise after work, put them in your calendar, and bring your gear with you so you don’t have to go home first.  Aim for being done by 8pm at the latest, so you’re not too wound up for an early bedtime.  Then add one or two workouts during the day on the weekend to make up for the rest!

If you’re really bothered by the cold, shoot for heating workouts like hot yoga or anything intensive where you’ll work up a sweat.  Shoot for at least 180 minutes of movement a week, broken up in whatever configuration that works best for you.

5. Up those healthy comfort foods.

Eating seasonally does wonders for boosting mood, energy, and immunity in the winter, and thankfully, there are tons of great seasonal comfort foods that totally do the trick!  Put those cold salads and smoothies on hold for a few months (they are way to hard on your body in the cold weather), and opt instead for comforting soups, stews, and hot dishes.

Increase your healthy whole grains like brown rice and buckwheat — this is the time of year when your body loves them best!  Up your healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados, which are awesome for energy.  And load up on all that awesome seasonal produce like sweet potatoes, gourds, and root veggies that are hearty, sweet, and utterly comforting.

There are also some healthy, seasonal desserts that can feel particularly good this time of year.  Things like gluten-free apple crisp and cranberry walnut banana bread are my faves.  Check out my healthy seasonal fall recipes!

BONUS STEP: Increase the coziness factor!

Making your home feel warm and cozy is crucial for improving your mood in the colder months.  Opt for warm lighting, candles, fluffy blankets and pillows, and make sure the temperature is just right.  Sip hot teas at night, and take time to curl up with a great book.  Trust me, it makes all the difference.

{Photo: Pinterest}

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4 Surefire Election Day Stress-Busters

Still in line to vote after an hour and a half wait, I can personally attest to the need for some serious stress relief today! Check out this post I contributed to from The Daily Zeel for some ideas!

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After months of mudslinging politicians urging us to vote this way or that, Election Day is finally here. Off to the polls? Don’t forget to bring along these four surefire tips for relieving voter-related stress.

Yoga: Salute the Sun

If you need to relax after casting your ballot, try working off some of that nervous energy or tension with a simple yoga flow. Zeel Expert and SMARTer Bodies co-founder Melissa Gutierrez suggests something slightly rigorous, like a couple of sun salutations or, if you’re looking for a single pose, warrior 3. After holding the pose (which can create some muscle tension), Melissa recommends topping off the sequence with a few cat-cow poses to find fluidity in your movement and energy in the spine. “This little routine helps to get me to a more relaxed place,” says Melissa. “It forces me to focus and slow my breathing.”

Acupuncture: Point by Point

Endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization, acupuncture may be just what you need to battle voting booth-induced anxiety. “There are specific points that help facilitate both an endorphin and serotonin (natural anti-depressants) release in the body,” explains licensed acupuncturist and Zeel Expert Bruce Mandelbaum. “The patient also is evaluated, and points are added to promote balance in the body as well. The treatments are pain-free and very relaxing. Change can often be felt within a half hour.”

Massage: What You Knead

Similar to acupuncture (only without the needles, of course!), massage therapy has the ability to balance hormone levels when your stress goes through the roof. “Massage has been known to reduce cortisol in the body and increase serotonin and dopamine levels,” confirms Zeel Expert Cory Moran, a nationally certified massage therapist. “Massage not only helps the body let go of physical issues but emotional and mental issues as well!”

Nutrition: In the Kitchen

“There are lots of foods that have a wonderful stress and anxiety-busting effect on the body and mind,” says Zeel Expert Natasha Uspensky. “In general, opting for grounding foods like whole grains, beans and root vegetables is great for staying calm, focused and firmly rooted. Foods rich in healthy fats like avocados, almonds or pistachios and omega-3′s like salmon and walnuts are also amazing for reversing the effects of stress. The combination of fat and vitamins B and E in these foods can have an almost immediate effect on a stressed out mind. They are also super stabilizing for blood sugar levels, which can be a major contributor to freak-outs when it gets low.”

In addition, Natasha touts the benefits of foods that are high in magnesium, like spinach and other leafy greens. Magnesium’s relaxing effect on the body and mind can “do wonders,” she explains.

Natasha adds: “A perfect stress-busting meal plan for a crazy day could be a bowl of grounding, fiber-rich oatmeal with some sliced bananas and a handful of nuts for breakfast; quinoa with roasted root veggies and salmon for lunch; and a creamy, calming tomato-avocado soup with rye toast for dinner.” On another note, she also cautions against raw veggies (“which although super energizing and creativity-boosting, can be too light and spacey for a stressful day”), coffee (“which can increase anxiety and trigger higher stress levels”) and sugar (“which can also increase anxiety, and lead to a blood-sugar crash later in the day”).

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Beat Cravings and Binge Eating by Dealing With Your Emotions!

Binge-eating-disorder

By: Stephanie Heino

I don’t know about you, but when I felt stressed, had a bad day, or felt sad and depressed I used to go dig in the fridge and binge until there was no more room in that poor tummy. Does this sound familiar? I later learned that this didn’t mean I was starving, instead it was my way of dealing with emotions I didn’t know to handle in any other way. Do you recognize this behavior? I know that this is something more or less all people go through at one point or another in life, but as long as you are able to recognize why you are engaging in a certain behavior, that is also when you can change and let go of the addiction and shed those extra pounds.

My body is amazing at letting me know I’m disconnected from my deeper self. Take last week for example, each day I found myself wanting sugar. And this was not just a moment spent thinking about how nice a piece of chocolate would taste but instead a persistent obsessive thought of all my biochemical signals telling me I needed something to fill me up. Something to fill up the emptiness I felt inside due to stress and family issues. I didn’t give in to the temptation, because I knew that the temporary satisfaction would leave me feeling even worse than how I felt before, so I decided to go to the root of the issue instead of numbing my feelings by engaging in addictive behaviors such as smoking a cigarette, binging, etc.

I am sure you are all familiar with the feeling I am describing, it is not about the issue of starving yourself, nor is it about the hunger that comes from restricting too many calories, this is the type of hunger that starts right back up again once you’ve eaten that piece of chocolate and only transforms when you’ve finished the whole bar. And of course, it doesn’t transform into peace and satiation like you expect. It morphs into an agonizing mix of guilt and shame. Do you know why? Because the actual reason for binging wasn’t that your body needed the chocolate bar, it was just a way for you to deal with the emotions you were feeling at that certain time.

Here are some of the things to look into and explore when you can’t stop the hunger or are craving things that don’t support your highest good. By analyzing your actual feelings and mood instead of reaching for the nearest candy bar, you will eventually thank your self, and so will your waistline. But don’t expect this to take place overnight. You have to be determined to retrain your mind and step away from learned behaviors, either by yourself, or with the help of a professional. If you need support, schedule a free consultation with Holistic Health Counselor Natasha Uspensky to get back on track physically and emotionally. Take a look below and use the affirmations provided the next time you get that intense craving:

drinking-water-promotes-weight-lossThirst. Thirst and hunger originate from the same hypothalamic area in our brain, which makes it easy to get the two mixed up. This means signals can get confused and we can think we’re hungry when really we’re really just thirsty. When we have too little fluid in our bodies it lowers our blood pressure and our body thinks it needs food. Try drinking water and see if it alleviates your hunger before going nuts in the grocery store.

Affirmation: I am in tune with what my body really needs. I fill my body with thirst-quenching water.

nutrition_foodNutrition. When your diet doesn’t have as much nutritious and healthy food as it needs, your body will go into nutritional starvation mode. Don’t confuse this with calorie starving mode. Totally different. Nutritional starvation mode is when your cells are deficient of minerals and vitamins and they cry out for more. However, in a culture where we have grown up being seduced by addictive and processed food it’s hard to understand what our bodies really needs. It is only when you begin infusing your body with life-giving food that you realize what you were hungering for all along.

Affirmation: I feed my body the fuel that energizes and nourishes me in every single cell of my being. My cells receive nutrients rather than toxins to make them feel full and complete.

Check out this chart on what vitamin you might be lacking when craving a certain food!

Stress. Stress is about forgetting everything else but staying alive. Your desires, intentions and good health routines get thrown out the window. You become preoccupied with the state of feeling unsafe and threatened and after your late night at work you opt for take-out, spiking your blood sugars; or you reach for that ice cream to calm your nerves. Stress keeps your sympathetic nervous system active (fight or flight, hello cortisol!) and won’t allow your parasympathetic system to do what it does best: rest and digest. When your digestion is impaired you won’t be assimilating or absorbing nutrients and your body will activate its hunger programs.

Affirmation: I am calm and balanced throughout life’s chaos. The more I rest, the more I digest my experiences for my greater good.

emotional_eatingPleasure and reward. Eating sugar as been shown to release opioids and dopamine in the brain, which rewards us with pleasurable feelings, one of the basic underpinnings of our human drive. When you’re craving sugar, you may really be craving pleasure and reward in your life but you confuse it with actual hunger. It all has to do with the balance within, does your pleasure come from within, or do you feel the need to seek it from external sources like food and other addictions? The same reward pathway is often triggered for all addiction issues. Often we try to mask our pain with external pleasures like I mentioned above. If you go within your sweet cravings you will find parts of yourself feeling bland and joyless which is feelings your are trying to numb. Try go for a walk, take a long hot shower or call a friend, and I promise the craving will fade!

Affirmation: Sweetness is an infinite spring bubbling within me. Who I am is sweet and joyful and abundant I choose to feel and acknowledge the pain within me, rather than mask it, in order to uncover my essential sweetness.

Qi. Qi is the energy of our life force. When it’s not flowing like it is supposed to, we feel tired, deflated and uninspired in life. Our food cravings may be the result of our own sabotage patterns that stop us doing the things that build and rejuvenate our energy within. Instead of consuming the refined sugar that gives us a short and empty kick of energy, what we really need is to refill the well of our inner qi so that it becomes overflowing. Taking a walk in the forest, laughing with friends, doing Tai Chi or charging your chakras (check back next week for a post on balancing your chakras through meditation!) will do more for your qi circulation, bioelectricity (the electric potential across cell membranes) or photonic energy (light) than any cookie ever will.

Affirmation: I rejuvenate my chi until it overflows from my internal well. I seek out the things that light me up and energize me and it feels good and natural to do so.

meditation-2Your soul’s hunger. Your soul always desires to step out of pain and into bliss. Hunger on this level is really about the true hunger of not living a life from the totality of who you are. Your hunger will increase when the distance between how you currently live your life and how you really desire to live it seems too immense. Nothing will fill you up apart from acknowledging and activating your unique brilliance.

Affirmation: I live from the wholeness and the completeness of my being. I am full and inspired across all dimensions of who I am.

Next time you feel the craving of a hunger that can’t be satiated, explore the origins of that hunger before reaching for the peanut butter and chocolate. Your hunger is a complicated beast; present across many aspects of your self. Let your self make peace with the sensations as it guides you lovingly into the wonderful person you are. For me, I soon worked out that my hunger was about too much stress and bad relationships in life. What is your hunger about? Go within to find out!

Here are some reason as to why you might be craving a certain food:

wake upSweets. When you get that intense craving for chocolate, you should stop and evaluate how your sleep has been lately. When tired, many people crave carbohydrates for a quick energy boost since carbs are our main source of fuel. Since simple carbs, such as sugar and white bread, are digested quicker than complex ones such as whole grains and beans, the energy kicks in sooner which makes it “ideal” for an energy booster. Unfortunately that sugar “high” doesn’t last long, and it eventually leads to an inevitable crash making you even more tired. As an alternative, go take a walk. In a University of Georgia study, people who worked out at a low-intensity for 20 minutes reported a 65 percent drop in feelings of fatigue.

Crunchy. A handful of nuts a day can be a healthy snack, but it can also hint to an inner frustration and irritation. The act of chewing and cracking the food in your mouth can momentarily release that angst, but the problem is the second that the crunching stops, the frustration returns — and many people go back to eating more and can end up polishing off an entire bag of chips. Watch out for this! A better way to release that tension is to punch a punching bag or do any kind of exercise, which will release endorphins to boost your mood. Several studies have also shown that relaxing music really does relieve stress.

FrustrationCreamy. Creamy dishes such as ice cream, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese are called “comfort foods” because they point to worrisome thoughts, when what you really need is to be soothed. These are also high-carb, high-fat foods. Carbs boost the ‘feel-good’ hormone serotonin, and when you eat something high in both carbs and fat, it can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. No wonder it is so addicting! While a bowl of ice cream may make you feel better in the moment, usually the worries return when the person realizes how many calories they consumed, and then guilt sets in. So instead of reaching for these fattening foods, trying a warm bath, a foot massage, or just wrap yourself in soft, cozy clothing can provide instant calming.

Caffeine. Anytime the coffee shop or a soda machine calls your name, you’re likely more than just thirsty. You may be tired, or feel discouraged or dissatisfied with your job and reach for these ‘quick fixes’ to perk you up and get you through the day. Does this sound familiar to you? It could also mean you’re dehydrated. Not drinking enough water leads to a lack of energy, so instead of a latte, you may just need some H2O. Try it before reaching for anything else!

Carbs. While cravings for pasta, bread and other carbohydrates can come from a number of physiological reasons, including a high insulin level or low blood sugar, it can also be a result of self-deprivation. When someone is on a strict eating plan or has declared certain foods 0ff-limits, they will want them that much more because they know they are not “allowed”.  Make whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats a regular part of your diet to majorly curb the carb cravings!

It is not impossible to change your addictive behavior, you just need to retrain your mind and learn how to deal with your emotions in a way that does not involve food!

[Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

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Eat the Rainbow: Powerful Health Benefits of Colorful Foods!

11509476-fruit-and-vegetable-color-wheel-12-colorsBy: Stephanie Heino

Did you know that the color of fruits and vegetables can actually give you specific information about the benefits of a specific fruit or vegetables. Take a look at how each color is associated with certain health benefits:

The Yellow Power. Yellow fostack-of-yellow-fruits-and-vegetablesods such as pineapple, citrus, corn, yellow tomatoes, yellow grapefruit, papaya and yellow peppers all contain important nutrients to keep the body functioning properly. For example, pineapple contains bromelain which is an enzyme that contributes proper functioning of the digestive system. Did you know that citruses can inhibit the formation of cancerous cells, and therefore protecting against breast cancer, skin cancer, etc. In addition, it’s no secret that vitamin C and folic acid found in citrus fruits have an amazing effect on the immune system by strengthening it, while also reducing the negative effect of free radicals. You may not think of corn as a miracle vegetable but it actually is a significant source of lutein and zeaxanthin which are two remarkable substances that reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration caused by aging. On top of this yellow foods are also rich in flavonoids and fitonutrients which plays a detoxifying role.

ss_101700660_L_wThe Red Power. In fruits and vegetables like peppers, radishes, cherries, watermelon, red grapefruit, strawberries, red grapes, pomegranate, and red apples we find an important substance called lycopene which can significantly reduce the risk of prostate cancer up to 35%. This substance also has a significant role in preventing heart diseases, ovarian cancer and also for the recycling of glutathione, also called the protein of life. This is one of the most powerful antioxidants produced in our bodies and it plays an amazing role in eliminating toxins from our body. Red fruit and vegetables have so many benefits to your health, and what I found most amazing is that by eating only a half of cup of tomatoes you can reduce ovarian cancer up to 60%! Wow, I am having a salad full of tomatoes tonight, so many nutrients, super low in calories and  prevention of ovarian cancer. Score!

Saints-Slimmesr-OrangeThe Orange Power. This truly spectacular color is found in foods such as carrots, mangoes, peaches, nectarines, pumpkin, sweet potato, oranges, squash and melon, and gets its color from  beta-carotene, a terpenoid that is converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A plays an important role in our body from helping to smooth the function of white blood cells to acting as an important beneficial antioxidant. This vitamin, along with two other types of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, is essential to strengthen the immune system and to give us good vision. Beta-carotene also has a huge effect on preventing the development of cancer cells in the stomach, as well as in preventing heart diseases by decreasing cholesterol levels.

green-fruit-and-vegetablesThe Green Power. Green is known to be the color of life, and I think many people associate the vibrant color with health and vibrancy. We have been told to eat our greens for as long as we can remember, and once and for all, we will tell you why your parents didn’t let you leave dinner before you had eaten your leafy greens. The green pigment is found in green apples, grapes, kiwi, avocado, pistachio nuts, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, lettuce, asparagus, celery, peas, cucumber and  so many more. In green plants we find chlorophyl,l which helps in lowering the risk of liver cancer. In addition to this substance we find nutrients like potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, carotenoids and omega 3 fatty acids. As if this wasn’t enough of a reason to go make a green juice right now, we also find tryptophan in the green plants, which is a substance that helps strengthen bones and teeth, and gives us a good vision while defending our body against cancer! So go eat your greens!

[Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]Related articlesFoods that strengthen eyesight (times.co.zm)The Most Powerful Nutrient Ever Discovered for Eye Health (foodconsumer.org)

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9 Herbs For Weight Loss

 

By: Stephanie Heino

Today we are drowning in supplements available to promote weight loss; most of them being dangerous and unhealthy. What people don’t know is that herbs can do wonder for weight weight loss, and they are all natural. Many are safe and effective in helping you lose weight without causing any side effects such as depression or other things that might occur with the processed pills available in the drugstore. But don’t think that solely consuming herbs will help you lose weight; they should be taken in conjunction with a nutritious diet and a sensible and regular exercise plan in order to succeed. Natural weight loss herbs contain tonics that boost your nervous system which makes you more capable of coping with stress and prevents you from emotional eating (one of the biggest culprits of obesity). Herbs make you feel positive and also give you the strength to exercise. They keep you feeling sated because of their high fiber content and since you don’t feel hungry, you aren’t tempted to indulge in snacks and junk food all day. Herbs therefore help you lose weight safely and effectively. Sounds amazing, right?

Check out this list of 9 natural herbs promoting weight loss to start your journey towards that beach body:

Guarana. Guarana is a diuretic that’s useful in helping you lose weight. It also stimulates the nervous system and helps you fight depression and cope with stress. Guarana thus helps you to avoid emotional eating, one of the chief causes of weight gain, but make sure to also include some meditation in your everyday life to deal with the actual cause of your stress and depression.

Guar gum. Guar gum is obtained from the Indian cluster bean. Since it contains lots of fiber, eating guar gum gives you a feeling of fullness that prevents you from overeating. It also decreases bad cholesterol (LDL) and helps control diabetes (amazing!). Make sure to pick up some Guar gum powder next time you go to your natural food store.

Ginseng. Ginseng increases stamina and helps you to treat fatigue. It increases your capacity to do physical activity, so you can no longer use the excuse that you’re too tired to exercise when using Ginseng. It’s also responsible for reducing blood sugar levels and helps you lose weight by increasing the leptin levels (the hormone that helps regulate body weight) which will lead to loss of body weight and decrease in blood glucose levels. Take a look at this guide on how to buy the best supplements.

Flaxseed. The seed of the flax plant has a coating that swells when exposed to water. If you soak whole flaxseeds in water and eat them, they act as bulking agents in your stomach and give you a feeling of fullness. They are neither digested nor absorbed by the body when soaked whole. By giving you a feeling of fullness, they prevent you from overeating and help you lose weight.

Ginger. Ginger (yes, it is an herb!) cleanses the body by reducing the stomach’s acidity and helps getting rid of the food stuck in the digestive system. This lodged food can cause weight gain, and the purging helps you lose it. I like to start my day with a lemon, ginger and cayenne shot to really get my body going!

Cinnamon. Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels and cholesterol. The ability to regulate blood sugar levels makes cinnamon an important tool in the fight against fat. It also helps speeding up your metabolism!

Glucomannan. Glucomannan delays the absorption of glucose from the intestines and helps you lose weight. Glucomannan is a sugar (a healthy one!) made from the root of the konjac plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Japanese cooking as a thickener agent. Glucomannan creates a sense of fullness by absorbing water and expanding to form a bulky fiber in your stomach. The “bulky fiber” is then expelled from your body via the natural route. This cleansing effect has been said to help with a host of medical issues like reducing cholesterol, helping control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, and constipation. I would recommend using Glucomannan powder which is practically tasteless, thus great for mixing into smoothies and other foods.

Laminaria. Laminaria regulates the thyroid gland and helps you lose weight that you may have gained due to malfunction of the thyroid gland. Laminaria is a type of seaweed that is native to Japan. Laminaria contains iodine, an element that the body needs to make thyroid hormones. It is also a rich source of iron and potassium. Laminaria is used for weight loss, high blood pressure and as a bulk laxative for constipation. It is also used for preventing cancer. Laminaria forms a thick, sticky gel when it comes into contact with water, and can also be placed inside the cervix to expand the cervix and speed up the onset of labor.

To figure out which herbs are best for your body, talk to your holistic healthcare practitioner, or schedule a session with Natasha!

 

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The Power of Ritual

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Ritual

In my holistic nutrition practice, I am always talking up the power of creating rituals for eating, wellness, and self-care.  Rituals not only help you to create and stick to new healthy habits, but they can also play a huge role in how full or satisfied you feel after a meal, how effective your meditation practice is, or how relaxing your mani-pedi is.

In some exciting news, a new research study co-authored by researchers at Harvard University and the University of Minnesota will be published in the Journal of Psychological Sciences, proving what I’ve been claiming for ages… rituals matter, and they could mean finally feeling fulfilled, consistently happy, and yes, even dropping those last 10 pounds!  The study showed that when a ritual was performed before eating, thse food tasted better and was more satisfying than when there was no pre-eating ritual. Whether it was a chocolate bar or a carrot, participants who performed a specific pre-eating ritual ate slower, enjoyed the food more, and ultimately felt more full and satisfied after eating (which means they didn’t need to keep snacking!).  Though this study was specific to food, the results can be translated across all healthy behaviors.

Rituals promote mindfulness, a slowing down that brings the action at hand to the forefront of your consciousness.  When simple, everyday activities are given more meaning in this way, they are elevated from mere automatic behaviors to moments of connection, fulfillment, and joy.  The more you feel these uplifting emotions, the less likely you will be to overeat, abuse your body, or skip the activities that fill you with energy and vitality (like exercising and meditation).  Pick rituals to perform around the areas where you struggle — food, sleep, relaxation, exercise, self-care.

Try some of these rituals for yourself, and see what a difference they make!

Morning rituals:Sip hot water with lemon right when you wake up.  It’s super alkalizing, hydrating, and just feels great!MeditateSpend some time mindfully making your morning tea or coffeeMove your body — some sun salutations feel especially great in the morningListen to musicRituals before a meal:Say a prayer or a few words of thanks, or sing a little song!Take time to beautifully set your table, even if you’re eating alone!Arrange your food creatively on the plate, garnish it with fresh herbs or other edible adornments, and take a moment to admire your work before digging in.Put on some lipstick, brush your hair, and throw on a fresh, cute outfit before sitting down to dinner.Rituals before meditating:Light candles or incense.Water your plants.Do some stretches.Create your own ritual of bowing to an icon, statue, or symbol that has meaning to you, and saying a few words of intention.TIP:  I am a big fan of having a dedicated meditation space (I use my window sill) where you can arrange these ritual items.  I water my plants, light some candles, gain calming inspiration from my Buddha statue, and only then do I start my practice.Bedtime rituals:Unplug from electronics 30-60 minutes before bedSip some relaxing tea, like chamomile, kava, or sleepy timeTake time for a bathroom pampering ritualTake a hot bath with relaxing essential oils like lavenderSlip into something that makes you feel sexyRead a great bookOther self-care rituals:Have a weekly, at-home spa ritual.  Put on a face mask, listen to music, take a bath.End your week on a high note by walking home (or getting off the train a few blocks early), taking a ferry, or a different, scenic route while driving home.  Listen to music if it helps you relax and wash off the week.What are your favorite healthy rituals?  Share them in the comments below!

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