A GUIDE TO HERBAL INFUSIONS

Image: Alexa Gray

Image: Alexa Gray

All herbs contain an array of healing properties that work to support the body by bringing it back into balance. Infusions are made up of a variety of herbs steeped for a longer period of time than tea to create a nutritive, deeply nourishing, and healing brew. Herbal infusions are a potent source of vitamins, minerals, and plant constituents that help to rebuild our cells, while simultaneously boosting immunity and reducing inflammation.

Incorporating a variety of herbs into our daily meals adds a boost of nutrition, while infusions act as a concentrated therapeutic antidote. Make your own herbal infusion by combining 1part each of the following herbs. Play around with potency & add more of the herbs you feel drawn to. One to two cups of these herbal combinations will support and nourish the whole body while gently alleviating common ailments.


BEAUTY INFUSION Chrysanthemum, Calendula & Goji

IRON INFUSION Nettle, Raspberry Leaf & Rose Hips

MOON CYCLE INFUSION Raspberry leaf, Dandelion & Ginger

SLEEP DEEP INFUSION Passionflower, Lemon balm & Skullcap 

DIGESTIVE INFUSION Fennel, Peppermint Leaf & Ginger


HERES HOW:

::: Mix 6 tablespoons of dried herbs into a large mason jar. (More or less of herbs you need)

::: Cover completely with boiling water, stir with a wooden spoon and add water until full.

::: Cover, and let sit for 4 -8 hours for leaves or hardy flowers, and 8 hours for roots OR steep ½ the amount for a potent & quick 20 minute herbal tea.

::: Strain & Enjoy!

*Infusion are most potent for 48 hours in the refrigerator.

A FEW GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW

 ::: Buy loose-leaf herbs over pre-bagged teas. Sources like Mountain Rose Herbs are fantastic for finding a variety of rare, organic herbs or check out your local co-op!

::: Always buy organic

::: Make your infusions in the evening and then strain it in the morning (OR steep ½ the amount for a quick 20 minute herbal tea)


HERBAL PROPERTIES + BENEFITS

CHRYSANTHEMUM

Promotes clear, beautiful skin, cleanses the liver & supports eye health. It’s also used to treat high blood pressure, upper respiratory problems, and thyroid imbalances.

CALENDULA

Internally, it’s effective for enhancing circulation & supporting skin health. Externally, it’s a powerful healer for cuts, scrapes and burns. Calendula also prevents infection as it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

GOJI

Loaded with Vitamin C, Beta Carotene and antioxidants. Plus, trace minerals, iron, and amino acids. Goji provides amazing benefits for the liver, kidneys and blood. They also add a lovely touch of “sweet” to infusions or water!

NETTLE

Rich in minerals and high in iron, nettle is a powerful antidote for anemia. It’s deeply nourishing pre/post cycle, after childbirth and in the case of a miscarriage. Nettle also supports kidney health, clears urinary tract infections and is incredibly effective at reducing seasonal allergies.

RASPBERRY LEAF

Affinity for the reproductive and urinary systems making it a fantastic herb for women. Nourishes and tones the uterus through menstrual cycles and labor, is high in iron, magnesium, & potassium, and increases fertility. Raspberry leaf is also high in selenium, which supports glowing, healthy skin.

ROSE HIPS

Add to your infusion for a tangy, citrusy flavor. Rose is high in vitamin C and minerals, plus a potent dose of Vit A known for healing and promoting skin health. Rose hips also act as an anti-inflammatory, fantastic for boosting immunity and supporting cellular strength.

DANDELION

Both the leaf and the root are used to cleanse & heal the liver, balance hormones, and support digestion by stimulating stomach acid production. Dandelion also helps to detox the system, regulate blood sugar and strengthen immunity.

GINGER

A common herb used to help prevent/reduce motion sickness & morning sickness and soothe nausea. Ginger’s warming properties improve digestive fire, expel gas, and break fevers. It’s anti-inflammatory actions help to reduce pain and increase immunity. The perfect addition to any herbal infusion!

PASSION FLOWER

Best known for alleviating sleep disturbances and insomnia. Helpful for reducing anxiety & depression, regulating insulin levels, reducing inflammation, and decreasing hot flashes associated with menopause. It can also help with headaches, muscles spasms, and irritability.

LEMON BALM

A calming and relaxing herb helpful for alleviating anxiety and depression. Promotes deep sleep, soothes digestive distress (indigestion and colic) nourishes the thyroid, and balances the nervous system.

SKULLCAP

Soothes the nervous system and supports deep + restorative sleep. Skullcap is helpful for reducing anxiety, cleansing the liver, regulating insulin levels and supporting weight loss/management. It’s highly sedative properties make it best for a bedtime infusion.

FENNEL

A very powerful herb that acts as a carminative to help aid in digestion. Reduces gas, bloating, stomach cramps, and indigestion. Fennel can also help to reduce nausea, regulate bowel movements, and balance estrogen in the body.

PEPPERMINT

An anti-spasmodic that helps to relieve cramping (menstrual & digestive), gas & digestive distress. Also helpful for colic, seasonal allergies and high levels of calcium, vitamin B, and potassium make peppermint a potent immunity booster. Menthol, the mint found within peppermint, is a natural decongestant that will help break down phlegm and restrict bacterial and fungal growth. 

OTHER FAVORITES

 TULSI

The "queen of herbs", also known as Holy Basil. This Indian sourced herb is used in Ayurveda as an adaptogen to balance stress in the central nervous system, regulate blood sugars, and support the immune system. A delicious tea or infusion on it’s own!

 ECHINACEA

This is a great all around immunity herb because it targets bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Echinacea stimulates white blood cells and the lymphatic system.

ORANGE PEEL

Orange peel is high in vitamins A and C, and acts as an anti-inflammatory to increase blood circulation. Orange peel also helps with lung health by acting as a natural antihistamine and expelling congestion from the lungs. 

RED CLOVER

Red clover contains resin, a substance helpful to the respiratory system. Resin is often used to treat congestion and coughs due to its antimicrobial properties.

MILK THISTLE

High in antioxidants, which makes it an amazing cancer fighter. It also reduces the effects of aging on the body and promotes healthy skin. Milk thistle is a powerful detoxifier that acts specifically on cleansing and healing the liver and kidneys.

SCHISANDRA

This herb is a great herb for anyone who is experiencing mild depression as well as adrenal fatigue/burnout. Along with helping to uplift the mood, and balance the adrenals, it can also help with; balancing blood sugar, clearing lung infections, regulating blood pressure, and protecting the liver from everyday stressors.

* NOTE – CONSULT A PRACTITIONER BEFORE CONSUMING HERBS WHILE PREGNANT *

My favorite Source for bulk herbs - Mountain Rose Herbs

Source for Chinese tonic herbs & Superfoods - Dragon Herbs

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLEANSING GREEN SMOOTHIE

Cleanse your liver, supercharge your immunity and alkalize your body with this deeply nourishing green smoothie. This balanced blend is creamy and slightly sweet with lovely top notes of cilantro and ginger. The perfect recipe to calm your sweet tooth while cleansing your system. 

INGREDIENTS ::: 

1/2 Cucumber 

1 cup spinach

3 stalks of celery

1 small bunch of cilantro (or parsley)

1 bunch romaine hearts

OPTIONAL ADD INS :::

(choose 1-2)

½ avocado

1 ripe pear

1 frozen banana

1 Medjool date

Small knob of ginger

1 tsp. of chlorella

DIRECTIONS :::

·      Add all ingredients to a high speed blender

·      Blend until smooth & enjoy!

 

TURMERIC PORRIDGE

Image: Alexa Gray

Image: Alexa Gray

Oatmeal is a morning staple in our home & lately we've been mixing it up with a variety of grains, spices, and superfoods. This recipe has been on constant rotation for months & I'm excited to share it with you. Play around with various grains like quinoa, buckwheat & teff, top with a creamy nut milk and a mix of your favorite nuts, seeds & spices !

INGREDIENTS :::

1/2 cup Oats 

1.5 cup Water

½ tsp ground turmeric

1/4th tsp ground ginger

1 tsp Cinnamon

Pinch of Himalayan salt

TOP WITH :::

Tsp of Coconut Oil or Ghee

1/4th cup Coconut Milk

1/4th cup Fresh Almond Milk

Fresh Chopped Ginger

1 Chopped Medjool Date

Slivered Almonds or Walnut Halves

Tsp of Raw Honey, Coconut Nectar or Maple Syrup

*Optional ::: ½ Tsp Chia Seeds, ½ tsp Ground flaxseed, ½ tsp hemp hearts, goji berries

DIRECTIONS :::

·      Bring water & oats to a boil

·      Add Spices & Sea Salt

·      Cover, Reduce to simmer & cook for roughly 5 minutes

·      Turn off heat & let stand for 2 minutes

·      Add desired toppings

MIXED BABY KALE SALAD WITH CREAMY TURMERIC DRESSING

Kale is an excellent source of beta-carotene & high in Vitamins K, C & A, which help to prevent inflammation, joint pain & kidney stones. It’s also extremely alkaline & rich in chlorophyll (great for the skin!!) High sulfur-containing phytonutrients help to support the body’s natural elimination & detoxification process. This baby Kale & mixed greens salad is high in enzymes & aids in digestion plus, it’s a great source of soluble fiber & iron. The creamy turmeric doubles as an anti-inflammatory plus it's loaded with healthy fat, protein & iron. Enjoy! 

Ingredients :::

·      1-2 cups of Baby Kale 

·      Other mixed greens like arugula, spinach, romaine, or butter lettuce

·      ½ cup Micro greens

·      2 tablespoons of fresh basil & cilantro

·      2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

·      1-2 tablespoons walnuts or pine nuts

·      Various seasonal veggies like radish or cucumber

·      Gomasio *optional

·      Sprouts *optional

Dressing :::

·      ¼- 1/2 cup of tahini

·      3 tbsp. lemon juice

·      2 tbsp. olive oil

·      ½ tsp. ground turmeric

·      ½ tsp. Himalayan sea salt

·      1 tbsp. organic maple syrup or raw honey

Directions :::

1.    Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.    Combine dressing ingredients In a high speed blender

3.    Top salad, serve & enjoy!

TRUE SELF-CARE - MEAGAN HENRY

We all have innate intuition. There is a deep and clear wisdom within each of us that knows what truly serves us and what does not. In every moment we have the opportunity to be mindful or mindless. When we nurture the practice of connecting to our inner compass, it guides us to make decisions for our highest good. Honoring our selves in this way is a simple yet powerful act of self love. 

Today, Meagan Henry of the luxury adornment brand, Steele Henry, simplifies the true essence of self care and reminds us of our natural diversity. She calls us to slow down, tune into our breath and just be: one of the most profound healing practices available.


S | How do we know when we’ve gone too far?

How do we know if we are, or are not, taking life too seriously?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in it all — it’s a natural, collective default to assume that someone somewhere else knows better than we do. It’s natural to initially desire to take what they say without a grain of salt. It’s easy for the mind to take control.

But what your INTUITION say? What feels good inside of YOUR precious, incredibly unique body? What does YOUR skin need?

When it comes to health and wellness — as well as spirituality and all things “soul” — there is absolutely no one size fits all. There is absolutely no one routine or way of being that balances and nourishes us all. The Universe is so creative, and so silly in that way. There is immense diversity in body type and need, so that all of existence may balance itself out. Imagine if everyone lived, worked, loved, and played in the exact same ways as you. There would be nothing left! We would be stripping Mother Earth of all her resources, working relentlessly and getting nowhere fast.

Just look at the herbs and the trees! Each requires far different percentages of certain minerals than the one next to it. And in a permaculture garden, all plants and animals work for each other and with each other to provide the other with unique nutrients that one has too much of, and that the other desperately needs. We are all one big permaculture garden — teaching and nourishing each other with all that we do.

Existence wants diversity! And existence wants for you to feel. Give thanks for your brain, but use it wisely for the tool that it is. Know when to turn it on, and when to turn it off. Allow your intuition to guide your mind.

Take time for yourself every single day (preferably in the precious hours of the morning) to sit in silence with your intuition — turn your mind off. Tap into your body and soul — feel into exactly what it needs, outside of what anyone “more credible” than you has said.

Don’t take your self-care too far. Don’t get too complicated. Because once you do — once it becomes more than your time of day or stomach can handle — you’re far out of alignment with what it is your intuition tells you that you need.

I urge you to navigate self-care and all forms of self-love with intuition — that delicious inner voice and feeling that evermore just knows. Take everything with a grain of salt. See the beauty of perspective and individual truth with everything you read, hear, or see. Celebrate the time and energy that others put into spreading the information of healing — but stay curious. Stay questioning. Stay rebellious.

We need your individual practices here! We need you to to travel a different path. We need for you to do your individual work, so please, go out and do it!

But first, don’t forget: sit, breathe. Be.

 

Meagan is the founder of fine adornment brand, Steele Henry. Inspired by Mama Nature, metaphysics, and pairing back to the most minimal and high vibe of art, Meagan's intention is to connect us all through symbolical, geometric body jewels, as well as through word medicine (as experienced here!). She adores telling stories, hearing stories, and celebrating the elements that make us all up.

 

 

VEGETABLE COCONUT CURRY

This immune boosting, anti-inflammatory recipe offers a nutritious blend of medicinal spices to warm the body & support cellular strength. The absence of garlic & onion make this dish sattvic and gentle on digestion. It's a fun recipe to mix and match your favorite veggies, proteins, and grains, plus optional fresh herbs to take your dish to the next level. Play around to personalize this hearty & health enhancing dish !

INGREDIENTS :::

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

½-1 teaspoon curry powder

½-1 teaspoon cayenne *optional

1 – 1.5 teaspoons himalayan sea salt

1-2 cans unsweetened (organic, no guar gum) coconut milk

1 cup of water – more or less-depending on how creamy you like it!!

1 Tbsp raw, organic honey

A few splashes of coconut aminos

PLUS - Any seasonal veggies you want!!

OPTIONAL :::

*add chick peas, tempeh or plant/animal protein of your choice (cook separately, then combine)

*serve over brown or basmati rice, soba or rice noodles

* Add fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, or lemongrass

METHOD :::

1.    Warm coconut oil in a large pot

2.    Add spices and heat on low until aromatic but not burnt – 30 seconds or so & then remove from heat.

3.    Add dense veggies like root vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, celery first

4.    Then, Sauté for a few minutes with spices on low heat stirring to combine

5.    Add coconut milk, then water & bring to a boil – roughly 7-10 mins

6.    Then, add veggies like broccoli, kale, bok choy – anything you like - Cook for roughly 4 mins

7.    Add a few splashes of coconut aminos + 1 heaping tablespoon of raw honey, mix to combine

8.    In a separate pans – cook protein & grains of choice until just cooked – add to curry mixture, serve & enjoy !

TIME TO CHOOSE

Padric Payton is a poet, author, lyricist and lead singer of the LA band, Via Echo. He is also the love of my life! We share a similar philosophy and both strongly believe that we are the creators of our reality. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are what shape our day-to-day life and it is always in our power to shift whatever doesn’t feel right.

For many of us that means taking a deeper look at ourselves and getting in touch with the intricate layers of our minds while allowing ourselves to sink into our hearts more. It also means meeting our shadow everyday with a warm embrace and doing the work to welcome every aspect of our existence. Today, Padric shares his reflective insights on choosing faith in modern times with a new song from his debut album “Life On Earth”


P | The urgency of now tugs at our hearts. The "if not now, when?" voice of our intuition is a faithful companion always trying to speak to us, to penetrate past all the fearful static in the airwaves. We live in an era of increasing distraction, fear mongering, "stress", and technological overstimulation. Stillness and tranquility are hard to come by. Understandably so, for who could relax when the world's political and economic systems seem broken and the promise of stability and security feels like a fading dream for many. We are told that our beautiful planet is being poisoned and more ecological disasters are on the horizon. In a nutshell, fear predominates the cultural conversation. It is easy to take this conversation as fact, but it is not. It is just a conversation, in which each of us gets to choose our level and tone of participation.

Many of us, myself included, feel our lives racing by but don't often feel fully here. We are in 'Warrior Mode', sleeping with one eye open, anticipating our to do list, and unconsciously carrying the burden of the national and global strife we hear so much about. It is easy to be reactive and entranced by this stress loop, but we do have a choice. In every moment we get to check in with our energetic and emotional state and decide if we like how we feel or if we don't. If we don't, we can choose new thoughts and a new focus, again and again until choosing the lighter side becomes more automatic. As Ursula K LeGuinn says in A Wizard of Earthsea "...the truth is that as a man's (or woman's) real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do..."

- In "Time to Choose" from my newly released album with VIA ECHO, "Life on Earth" - I touch on those moments when we feel the urgent need to change our outlook and release fear. Each human life can be seen as a tidal wave slowly moving towards the shore. We know that the wave is fierce and elemental and inevitably heading towards its end, to break in a beautiful last explosive display on the shore, the wave's individuality dissolved and pulled back to sea to join other waves, again and again. What we get to choose is whether we ride that wave in wild joy like those intrepid big wave surfers or if we panic and get caught in the undertow. There is no time to lose, but there's still time to choose.

TIME TO CHOOSE

A fire possesses my mind sometimes, and I go chasing rumors of the divine

Under the cover of night’s embrace, I take a drive to watch the ocean break

And as the moon hangs low, so does the feeling grow, I’m pulled by an unseen force, don’t need to fight no more

And it's do or die in the rising tide

There is no time to lose

But there’s still time to choose

Will it be fear or faith

Riding on a tidal wave

Riding on a tidal wave

Over and over again I grow, breaking open to the deep unknown

All of the things I thought I knew were just a mirror of my lonely view

Leaving my clothes behind, I’m one with the star specked night, not coming back to shore, until I fear no more.

And it's do or die in the rising tide

There is no time to lose

But there’s still time to choose

Will it be fear or faith

Riding on a tidal wave

Riding on a tidal wave

There is no time to lose

But there’s still time to choose

Will it be fear or faith

- Lyrics by Padric Payton. Check out more from Via Echo on their Website , Spotify, or Itunes

SEASONAL STUFFED SWEET POTATOES

Eating seasonally connects us with Mother Nature aligning us with the natural rhythms of the earth. It also plays an important role in boosting our immunity and vitality because the nutrition in these foods is at its peak. When we flow with the seasons, we adjust to the Earth the same way the animals do, in harmony with all the surrounding elements. The cycle of the seasons is designed to fully support and nourish our health in the most miraculous ways. In the summer time, nature provides us with cooling and hydrating foods. In the fall and winter, there’s an abundance of heavier starches to help us stay warm. In the spring, we are provided with endless greens to help us alkalize in preparation for summer.

Wellness to me is all about creating harmony with not only my food, but with everything in my life. Flowing with the changing seasons and changing tides of experience has brought me a deep sense of connection, gratitude, and fulfillment. 

This recipe is a staple in my home but shifts concurrently with the seasons. I love stuffing squashes of all sorts: potatoes, pumpkins, apples and even pears. There’s something about baking these nutrient dense beauties that brings out their richness and layered essence. Combining elements of flavor, texture and density creates a harmonious and deeply nourishing meal. Enjoy it! 


SEASONAL STUFFED SWEET POTATOES

4 organic sweet potatoes
2 baby bok choy
1 bunch of kale
1 bunch of broccoli
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
Tempeh
Himalayan sea salt
Coconut aminos

For Topping:
Micro greens (I love cilantro, kale & basil)
Pumpkin seeds (toasted if you’d like)
Chopped cilantro

Optional add-ins:

Any other veggies that you’d like
Hemp seeds
Brown rice or quinoa
Kelp or dulse flakes

 

Preheat the oven to 425°F.Wash the sweet potatoes and then poke them in a few places with a fork. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake, until soft, 45 minutes-1 hour. While the sweet potatoes are baking, heat the coconut oil in a medium pan and add the broccoli, then bok choy, Cook until soft but not overdone roughly 3-5 minutes. Then add the kale & at the last moment – add a few dashes of coconut aminos and a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. Cover & Remove from heat. Cut tempeh in to small squares and in a separate pan, toast tempeh until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from heat and combine with greens mixture. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Slice each sweet potato down the middle to create even halves. Scoop out a small amount of the cooked sweet potato, fill with the greens & tempeh mixture, and pop back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Add toppings, plus sauce of choice & enjoy!

Almond Ginger Sauce :::
1-2 cups raw almond butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1-2 small cloves of garlic
1/4 cup ginger juice
1 cup water
2 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
1-2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp raw honey, maple syrup or sunroot sweetener
1/2 bunch organic cilantro
1/2 bunch organic basil
Optional – 1 jalapeno (remove seeds)

Place all ingredients in food processor & blend until smooth.

Sesame Almond Sauce :::
4 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp soy sauce
Small knob of ginger
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch or 2 of sea salt
Juice from ½ a lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil

Place all ingredients in food processor & blend until smooth.

VIBRANT SPRING SALAD WITH MISO DRESSING

Photo: Gray Media LAb

Photo: Gray Media LAb

SPRING SALAD :::

1 Bunch of Fresh Arugula

Handful of baby spinach

1 Avocado

½ cup of Sprouted Walnuts

1/3 cup Pomegranate seeds

Sauteed Asparagus

MISO TAHINI DRESSING :::

1/4th cup raw organic tahini

3 tbsp organic white miso

4 tbsp water

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey

1 small knob of ginger *optional

 

 

9 WAYS TO REDUCE PMS + BOOST ENERGY

Due to excess stress, environmental toxins, and endocrine disruptors, most of us experience hormonal imbalances intermittently throughout our lifetimes. As we age, the high-sugar, low-protein, minimal sleep/high-toxin lifestyle of our youth is no longer tolerated by our overburdened systems. We begin to require regularity in all areas of our life to nourish and balance our constitution in order to thrive vibrantly like we once did.

There are several remedies and tools that work to re-regulate our body systems to reduce pms symptoms, increase energy, boost libido, and enhance fertility. As each of us is unique, we all require slightly different protocols to re-align and heal, even so, the following considerations can offer radical transformation for most.


Here are some things to consider when it comes to your rebalancing your diet and lifestyle:

Support the lymph System ::: The lymphatic system is a complicated network of fluid-filled nodes, vessels, glands and organs that are present throughout the body. Although we may not see or feel it, the lymphatic system is a key detoxification pathway. It cleanses toxins and protects us against harmful invaders. It works by carrying toxins away from the tissues and into the bloodstream, where it can be filtered by two of the body’s main detoxification organs: the liver and kidneys. Support lymphatic detoxification by properly hydrating throughout the day, exercising daily, dry brushing, rebounding, getting regular massages and using breathwork techniques or practicing breath focused forms of yoga. It’s also imperative that we keep our detoxification pathways clean by cleansing seasonally with whole foods, focused self-care routines, spiritual practice, and stress reduction. 

Increase Protein ::: Start every day with healthy fats & proteins. Think -A blueberry based smoothie with protein powder & coconut mct oil + cinnamon or eggs & greens + avocado. Include protein at every meal and never go longer than 3 hours without eating. Eat well-balanced snacks by combining crunchy foods with healthy fats and protein rich foods like hummus, pesto, guacamole, hard-boiled eggs and nuts, paired with crunchy veggies. Reach for foods low on the glycemic index. These foods convert slowly to energy in the bloodstream, helping you feel more balanced. Low GI foods include low sugar fruits (like berries), low starch vegetables, nuts & seeds, + protein-rich foods. Consume more Complete proteins - Quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, spinach, tempeh, coconut yogurt, eggs, hemp seeds, goji berries, chia seeds, and most protein powders. When combined, the following food combinations make complete proteins; beans & rice, nuts and grains (oatmeal + nuts) Nuts & beans, lentils & rice.

Drink more water ::: When you do, extra salt leaves in your urine and will help stop swelling and bloating. Adequate water intake also ensures that you will be hydrated, eliminating regularly, and supporting the regulation of all body systems. Shoot for ½ your body weight in ounces daily!

Reduce caffeine intake ::: as it can cause blood sugar fluctuations and stress the adrenals. Caffeine is also highly stimulating to the nervous system and overconsumption increases cortisol and adrenalin production. Eliminating/reducing your intake will help to alleviate cramps, reduce internal stress, and decrease overall body tension. This will also give your adrenals a chance to rebalance and heal. Try this around your cycle and you will notice a dramatic shift.

Increase fiber ::: High-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and low sugar fruits will help the body to effectively eliminate excessive hormones from the intestines and liver, particularly estrogen.  Cruciferous vegetables are high in indole-3 carbinol, which supports liver detoxification. These food sources are also loaded with protein and b-vitamins to nourish the endocrine system and support the adrenals.

Reduce/eliminate sugary snacks & processed foods ::: Cravings for sweets trend upward when you have pms, but cookies, sweets and processed foods send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. When you have a blood sugar crash later on, you’ll feel tired and irritable. Limiting your sugar supply sets the stage for steadier moods and stable blood sugar. Around your cycle, load up on sweet potatoes, which offer a natural source of sweetness and are high in antioxidants and fiber. Eat more avocados & bananas - Both are rich in potassium, which plays a huge role in keeping mood swings in check. This important mineral also helps to reduce fluid retention and decrease bloating. Lack of adequate potassium can lead to muscle cramping, which is possibly the worst symptom of all. In addition, b6 may improve mood, irritability, and breast tenderness.

Reduce salt ::: the week before your cycle and be sure you are using low-sodium, mineral-rich Himalayan salt. Too much salt increases fluid retention, creating excess bloating and fatigue. Processed foods such as canned soups and packaged snacks are especially high in sodium as well, so avoid them whenever possible. (Especially right around your cycle)

Use Herbal Support ::: Use ashwaganda as an adoptogenic hormone balancer that works to heal adrenals, rebalance hormones, and support restorative sleep. Ashwaganda is best in tincture form. Add in turmeric to help reduce inflammation during menses. Drink chamomile tea as it contains properties that relieve muscle spasms and may therefore help reduce the severity of menstrual cramps. In addition, chamomile also reduces tension that may lead to anxiety and irritability. Red Raspberry leaf tea remineralizes the body, is high in b-vitamins and tones the uterus, relieving menstrual cramping. Drinking Milk thistle and dandelion tea throughout the month also helps to keep the liver clean, enhances digestion, and supports blood sugar regulation..

Increase your mineral intake ::: Consume Magnesium-rich foods; Vital for regulating hundreds of functions in the body, magnesium plays an important role in preventing pms-related mood swings and irritability, breast tenderness, poor sleep, cramping, bloating and fluid retention, and headaches. Add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, such as pumpkin seeds, dark leafy greens, figs, and bananas. Increase Iron-rich foods before and during your menses to replace what you’ve lost each month and to avoid anemia. High sources of iron include: beet root, spinach, dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, olives, and nettle tea. Blackstrap molasses also contains 3.5 mg of iron per tablespoon, and has been used in folk medicine as a "blood builder" for centuries.

 

 

 

 

 

INTUITIVE EATING

We all have innate intuition: the ability to tune into our own inner compass that can guide us to make decisions for our highest good. In every moment we have the opportunity to be mindful or mindless. Our intuition is a powerful tool to use when making choices for just about anything in life. The more we practice using our intuition on a moment-to-moment basis, the easier it is to connect to our body wisdom and align ourselves with what we need to be fully nourished.

Intuitional eating can be challenging because we are constantly flooded with new concepts and ideas about what’s healthy. We are faced with mixed messages every day and, as a result, most of us have lost this connection to our deep internal feelings and body cues. Many of us eat because it’s time to socialize or sometimes because we’re bored or emotionally triggered. It’s incredibly important to ask yourself, “am I hungry or thirsty right now?” what does my body truly need? If something doesn’t feel right, slow down, tune in and make a choice that illuminates you inside and out.

Here are several intuitive eating principles to help you re-connect to you inner guide: When you take these principles into account, you will then learn how to honor your body from a mindful and peaceful place.

SLOW DOWN & PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

Eating mindfully is a natural and pleasurable experience that supports good health. Your whole body will benefit from slowing down and being present while eating. Remember, it is not just what you eat, but how you eat that matters. Apply this mindfulness practice to everything you do. Stay present with yourself and your food.

LET GO

Letting go of things in our daily routine that deplete our energy is an incredibly powerful practice. It gives us the clarity that we need so that we can make the choice to reintroduce only those things that truly serve us. It allows space for conscious habits to fully integrate into our lives.

 HONOR YOUR FEELINGS

 Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, and anger are emotions we all experience throughout our day-to-day lives. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won’t fix any of these feelings. Find ways to nurture, comfort, and resolve your issues without using food. Sure, food may offer a fleeting comfort, maybe distract you from the pain or even numb you into a food coma, but food won’t solve the problem. If anything, eating emotionally will make you feel more disconnected. It’s important to honor your feelings, whatever they may be, and reach out to loved ones when you need support. This will help you get clear and connect you to your heart space once more so you can make conscious decisions.

LISTEN TO YOUR GUT

We all get “gut feelings” about what is right & wrong. Our bodies intuit what it is we need to maintain balance and internal equanimity. Tune into those messages coming from your gut or your body’s reaction to foods. Generally, your body will speak to you with an internal, yet resounding yes or no. It’s your job to listen. Honor your body and acknowledge the signals it sends you. This sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and your decisions.

UTILIZE ANCIENT WISDOM

Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda and Macrobiotic principles teach us that we contain all the elements of the earth and in order to create inner harmony each element must be represented in our meals. Create balanced dishes using bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and pungent foods & watch as your cravings dissipate pre & post-meal.    

HONOR YOUR HEALTH

Nourish your body with the most vibrant and alive food available. Limit overly processed foods and junk foods that continue to trigger your body into wanting more long after you’ve had them. Remember, that you do not have to eat perfect to be healthy, but the cleaner you eat, the more clear you will be to make mindful decisions about what truly serves you. Keep your body well fed with foods that provide adequate energy by eating balanced meals and staying properly hydrated.

RESPECT YOUR FULLNESS

Listen to your body’s signals that tell you that you’ve had enough. Observe the signs that show you are comfortably full and re-discover the Satisfaction Factor. When you nourish yourself with whole foods, in an environment that is inviting and encouraging, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you’ve had “enough”.

MAKE PEACE

 Give yourself unconditional permission to eat from a loving and nurturing place. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often bingeing. The stress created usually results in overeating, followed by overwhelming guilt. Let go of thoughts in your head that declare that food is “good” or “bad” and begin to connect to eating for sacred nourishment, energy, and life force. This is a critical step in returning to intuitive eating practices.

SIMPLE RAW CHOCOLATE

Chocolate is getting an upgrade with this super simple & easy to make recipe. Perhaps the most decadent, health-promoting chocolates you'll ever try! Play around adding your favorite super foods & sweeten to your liking - Raw Cocoa tends to be very bitter - so play around with it. You can also toss in some raw nuts, finish with bee pollen, himalayan rock salt or top with goji berries for added texture. Enjoy! 

INGREDIENTS 

1/2 cup melted cacao butter

10 tbsp raw cacao

1 Tbsp mesquite

1/2 Tsp Maca + 1/4 Tsp 

1 tsp vanilla 

2 tbsp sunroot sweetener or maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut nectar 

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

*optional - pinch of himalayan salt

METHOD 

  • Melt Cacao butter over lowest heat possible.
  • Slowly whisk in all ingredients until smooth
  • Once fully combined, pour into preferred mold
  • Place in freezer until hardened (30 mins - 1 hour)
  • Keep in fridge for 1 week or freezer for up to 1 month
  • *NOTE - you can simplify the recipe by combining the cacao butter, raw cacao & sweetener  

BOOSTING LIBIDO

Love is in the air and for many of us, that means opening to more creativity, spontaneity, and experiencing more passion in all areas of our life. For others, this energetic shift could lead to over extending ourselves and eventually reaching a stage of burnout, depleting our desire to do much of anything at all. There are many factors that can contribute to a decreased libido or life force, including stress, toxicity from the environment, and poor diet. Low libido however, often stems from an even bigger issue though: inflammation that impairs energy production and blood flow throughout the body.

If you are experiencing low libido or a lack of passion & creativity, there are many lifestyle and diet shifts you can implement to re-energize. Integrate the following foods and practices into your routine and watch as your energy & vitality re-ignites.  

Tend to Stress

Ever wonder why vacation sex is the most memorable? It’s because you aren’t stressed! Stress plays a huge role in decreased libido. If we don’t deal with our stressors, negative emotions and energy become stagnant in the body, blocking our ability to feel fully relaxed, connected to our heart, and in a space of pure joy and sexuality. Tune into whatever it is that helps you fully unwind and unplug. This could be massage, meditation, hypnotherapy, or a long soak in the bath.

Sleep!!

A full night’s sleep supports the body in complete physical and cellular regeneration.  Proper rest decreases inflammation, boosts immunity, and balances hormones. Shoot for 8 hours a night and get to sleep before midnight to ensure that you sync up to your circadian rhythm and complete a full sleep cycle. Create a sleep routine (that includes sensual touch) and enough time for you to fully decompress and let go of the energy from the day.

Love your liver and lymph

Your overall health and vitality is greatly affected by your liver’s ability to detoxify itself. The liver works to cleanse & filter excess toxins and estrogen from the body, keeping hormones in check. The lymph system is responsible for creating proper circulation throughout the body and balancing bodily fluids.

Keep the liver cleansed by: drinking PLENTY of water, sipping on milk thistle tea, adding apple cider vinegar to your diet, and noshing on plenty of dark leafy greens. Limit your exposure to toxins and keep your blood & body alkaline!  

Support the lymphatic system by getting regular exercise (using a rebounder or vibration plate is great!) Practice deep breathing techniques, dry brush, and self-massage as often as possible to get stagnant qi flowing through your body. Book acupuncture sessions for concentrated lymph and libido work and set yourself on the fast track to inner harmony.

You will not only notice an increase in your libido, but also in your clarity, confidence, and stamina, all of which will leave you beaming and ready for new energy & love to flow in.  

Consume Aphrodisiac Foods

Some foods have a sexual appeal to them while others can promote sexual feelings. For example, oysters contain antioxidants that increase sexual tension. They are packed with zinc, a mineral central to fertility. Another example is asparagus, which is high in vitamin E. Its powerful antioxidant properties help protect sex cell membranes and oxygen-rich blood flow to the genitals from free-radical damage. Vitamin E also increases the skin’s sensitivity to touch and produces that “sexual flush,” making the whole experience much more pleasurable. In Asia goji berries are known as a strong erotic fruit that people often eat when they want to increase their sexual desire. Spicy foods like Ginger & chili increase blood flow, especially to the sexual organs. They also work to warm the blood and optimize the body’s temperature. Cacao contains a compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), which promotes a happy, elated feeling and alleviates stress and depression. They call it the “love molecule’ because it raises your pulse and gives you that same feeling you get while falling in love. Cacao also contains a neurotransmitter known as anandamide that has the ability to alter dopamine levels in the brain, causing a sense of peace and happiness.

Nourish & Balance with Herbs

Maca is known as “natures Viagra” and is famous for its sex-enhancing properties. Packed with nutrients, it’s used to increase energy, improve memory & concentration, overcome anemia, and fight depression. In addition, it enhances fertility by decreasing erectile dysfunction and increasing sperm count in men and ovarian function in women. Maca is also known as an adaptogen, which means that it helps restore balance throughout the body and minimizes the negative effects of stress. Other adaptogens like ashwaghanda & holy basil support endocrine health, which helps to restore, balance, and boost libido. Rhodiola helps to increase dopamine and serotonin, which promote creativity, stamina, and pleasure. Ginseng is a mild stimulant and increases circulation throughout the body. It is also considered an excellent herb for stress as it strengthens the adrenals and pituitary gland. (I’d recommend taking earlier in the day) More specifically for men, ginseng increases blood flow and helps to maintain an erection. Not only that, it has also shown promise for women to boost passion, desire, energy, and orgasm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PANTRY FAVORITES

Stocking your pantry with healthy ingredients ensures that you're always prepared to transform any meal into a deeply nourishing experience. I’ve put together my a few of my pantry favs to share simple ways you can upgrade your daily fare. Enjoy!

Protein Powder

I love sprouted brown rice protein and there are many companies that carry just that. Great to add to smoothies, baked goods and desserts to get extra amino acids.

This clean & tasty protein powder from Moon Juice is one of my favorites. It contains sprouted brown rice and ocean minerals to bring you an ample supply of protein and trace minerals. Perfect for a pre or post workout energy boost.

Stevia

Is a natural sweetener derived from stevia leaf. It’s calorie free and has no impact on blood sugar levels making it a great alternative for diabetics, those on sugar-reduced diets or those watching their weight. It is much sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way.

The best bitter-free stevia on the market, even if you don’t like stevia, you must give this a try. One of the cleanest sweeteners on the market that will make everything taste heavenly. Note: you don’t need a lot! Just a few drops will do.

Lypo-Spheric Vit C

This liposomal formula helps support the body in the absorption of Vit C. Great for keeping you strong when traveling, run-down or you feel something coming on. Vit C is also a powerful free-radical fighter & helps support collagen production for more youthful looking skin!

Yacon Syrup

A natural, low-calorie sweetener that actually helps to balance blood-sugar. It’s made primarily of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) which acts as a prebiotic that stimulates colon health, helps increase the absorption of vitamins and improves healthy intestinal flora. Yacon syrup is rich in potassium and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. It can be used as a sugar or molasses substitute in recipes however you want to use less than half the amount, as it has as stronger taste.

A sweet and delicious syrup from a root that is so good for desserts. Low on the glycemic index, and adds a nice earthy tone to your food.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great way to get those beauty-boosting essential fats without the extra calories that will lead to the wrong kind of fat. Although it is a saturated fat, the medium chain fatty acids make it easily absorbable by the small intestine. This means it provides increased energy faster than any other fat. Coconut oil has immune-boosting properties and is antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal. Coconut oil is also great for topical use as a moisturizer. It can smooth and clear skin and may help reduce the signs on stretch marks.

Coconut oil can be used in almost anything – adding a sweet, thick, creamy consistency to food, it also contains an array of vitamins and minerals, while also being an anti fungal anti bacterial agent as well. Coconut oil also helps to lower cholesterol and supports heart health.

Kelp

Kelp is a sea veggie that gives you the best of both worlds by satisfying your salt cravings while being low in sodium and packing a huge nutritional punch. It contains over 70 proteins, growth hormones, vitamins, enzymes, & trace minerals, including: iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and ion. Kelp is a rich source of iodine, which is critical for healthy thyroid function. Regular intake can help iodine deficiencies, boost metabolism and, as a result, shed some unwanted pounds. In addition, kelp is extremely alkaline, which supports the body’s pH balance and improves overall health.

I top my soups, salads & macro bowls with this blend to add extra ocean goodness to my plate. Having a rich source of iodine has been known to contribute to having a healthy thyroid.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are a salty seasoning made from fermented coconut sap. It is comparable to soy sauce, tamari, or nama shoyu. It is both wheat and soy free, which makes it a wonderful option for those with food allergies. Coconut aminos is full of vitamins and minerals and is the perfect addition to dishes like stir frys, brown rice bowls, and dressings.

Spring Dragon Tea

The Spring Dragon, which contains Gynostemma tea leaves from a very clean source in China, is a classic in my kitchen. This leaf contains some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in any tea. It works as a great base for tonics.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Love this vinegar as it’s super health promoting and yummy. One of my favorite additions to making salad dressings, it is also just good on its own with some warm water first thing in the morning to help create an alkaline environment in the body. It is also known to balance acid-levels in the stomach to facilitate proper digestion And to balance pH levels in the skin for acne prone skin types.

Himalayan Sea Salt

This pink salt contains 84 trace minerals and other important bio compounds that your body needs to promote a healthy pH. It can also help balance blood sugar and improve your sleeping patterns. This salt isn’t as salty as ocean mineral salt, so for those sensitive to salt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUILDING A HOLISTIC PANTRY

What’s in your pantry and cupboards determines the choices you make daily to support your health. Stocking your pantry and fridge with holistic ingredients means you're always prepared to create nutrient dense, balanced meals that will nurture and nourish your body and feed your radiance from the inside out.

Here are a few of my pantry staples to get you started!

Olives + Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olives are one of the healthiest fruits around. Their high-antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties treat a large number of diseases and ailments, including heart disease, several cancers, candida, fungal infections, the flu virus, and yeast infections. Olive oil is also rich source of vitamins A and E, which both protect the skin from free-radical damage.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has immune-boosting properties and is antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal. Although it is a saturated fat, the medium chain fatty acids make it easily absorbable by the small intestine. This means it provides increased energy faster than any other fat.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos are a salty seasoning made from fermented coconut sap. Comparable to soy sauce, tamari, or nama shoyu, but far less sodium. It’s also both wheat and soy free, which makes it a wonderful option for those with food allergies. Coconut aminos are full of vitamins and minerals and perfect for stir-fries or over steamed greens.

Ghee

Ghee is clarified butter that has been used since ancient times for deep healing & powerful fat nourishment. It's high in fat-soluble vitamins and it's a perfect alternative to those with dairy allergies as the process to create ghee out of butter leaves only trace amounts of casein and lactose. It's known for enhancing digestion & reducing inflammation. Ghee also has a high smoke point, so it's great for curries & stir fry. I like to use mine for kitchari, buttery matchas & as a treat with dates & nut butter. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

One of my favorite additions to making salad dressings, it is also just good on its own with some warm water first thing in the morning to help create an alkaline environment in the body. It is also known to support digestion.

Himalayan Sea Salt

This pink salt contains 84 trace minerals and other important bio compounds that your body needs to promote a healthy ph. It can also help balance blood sugar and improve your sleeping patterns. This salt isn’t as salty as ocean mineral salt and hasn’t been stripped of its nutrients, making it the perfect addition to a balanced meal.

Coconut Nectar

A natural sugar derived directly from the sap of the coconut tree’s flower blossoms. It’s low on the glycemic index and puts less stress on the liver than agave nectar. Coconut Nectar is rich in minerals magnesium, potassium, and zinc, and vitamins B & C. And it tastes delicious, kind of like caramel!

Medjool Dates

Dates are a quick source of energy & the medjool varietal has a sweet, rich & creamy taste. They are the perfect way to sweeten up a smoothie, raw dessert or savory sauce. Dates are high in soluble fiber, they're loaded with iron & they contain several beneficial vitamins and minerals which support heart health, lower blood pressure and help to cure anemia.

Raw Honey

Although honey is higher on the glycemic index, raw honey (not to be confused with the processed honey) is loaded with nutrients. Raw honey is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes. It also has antiseptic, antibiotic, and antimicrobial properties. These properties reduce inflammation while promoting the body’s natural healing processes. Raw, Local honey also contains pollens which act as an antidote for seasonal allergies.

Sea Veggies

Veggies that are grown in the sea! Varieties include arame, nori, kelp, wakame, and dulse. Just like land-grown veggies, sea veggies are very high in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. However, they are also filled with beneficial trace minerals that are difficult to get from any other food source. They are also some of the highest plant-based sources of iron, and have exceptionally high iodine content. Iodine is essential for thyroid function. Your thyroid must absorb sufficient amounts of iodine from your blood in order to manufacture and distribute hormones throughout your body.

Raw, Organic Almonds

Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and of many B-vitamins. Especially vitamin B2, which helps produce anti-stress hormones, including serotonin. Almonds also contain magnesium, which helps to activate enzymes required for energy production in the body.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are rich in B-vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, and essential fatty acids. For men, these seeds help to support prostate health due to their high levels of zinc. In women, these nutrient-rich seeds help build sex hormones and increase sexual fluid secretions. They also help to rid the body of parasites.

Ginger

Ginger helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, and stomach cramping by increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva. Ginger also protects against cold symptoms, making it a fantastic immune boosting remedy.  

Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is known for reducing inflammation and easing symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric also improves the skin’s complexion, bringing circulation and nutrients to the skin.

Cinnamon

This naturally sweet spice is found in the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and is also a great source of calcium, fiber, magnesium, iron, and antioxidants. Cinnamon can also effectively lower blood glucose levels; add a little to your morning drink to keep your blood sugars stable.

Brown Rice

High in b vitamins, fiber & protein this rice is a much better option than nutrient void white rice. Brown rice is also a great source of magnesium and selenium both which support colon health and dna repair, while the high levels of manganese offer antioxidant protection and energy production. Sprouting your rice also increases the gaba content which is known to relax the nervous system, soothe anxiety & enhance sleep. I love creating macro bowls over a bed of brown rice.

Quinoa

A nutritional powerhouse, quinoa is high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is also gluten-free, full of fiber and contains numerous amounts of nutrients including B-vitamins. You can toss it in a salad for an extra protein punch that’s easy to digest.

Oats

Oats are rich in protein, in particular, tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that in the presence of vitamin B6 and magnesium, is responsible for the production of our feel-good transmitter serotonin. Oats are also high in B6, which is essential for the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. Oats are rich in fiber, giving a feeling of fullness without all the extra calories. They also help to lower cholesterol levels and are great for digestive health by keeping you regular.

Dried legumes

Legumes are great items to stock as they are high in protein and fiber, which, when combined with grains, makes a complete protein. Soaking the legumes over night helps make them easier to digest. When cooking, you can also add a piece of kombu to the water to help increase increase digestibility.

Nut butters

Ditch the regular peanut butter and opt for a healthier option like almond butter. Most peanuts contain mold, which increases food allergies and yeast overgrowth. Nut butters like almond or cashew are the perfect addition to a smoothie or snack.

Almond flour & Coconut flour

 These two flours are the most versatile gluten free flours available and are both grain free!

::: TEAS :::

Holy Basil (Tulsi)

Holy basil is a herbal plant often used as a tea. It is an adaptogen, meaning it doesn’t directly affect your mood, but it helps your body respond to stress, anxiety, trauma, and depression by normalizing neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Holy basil also contains other therapeutic compounds, such as rosmarinic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation of the adrenal glands. Holy basil also has strong antioxidant properties, which helps protect your body from the free-radical damage associated with stress.

Chamomile

Chamomile’s calming effects not only help combat insomnia, but in even small doses it can help alleviate anxiety. Chamomile also contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that reduce puffiness, skin inflammations, and irritants such as acne, rashes, psoriasis and eczema.

Peppermint

Peppermint has anti-spasmodic and antiseptic properties and acts as a nervine tonic to relax the central nervous system. Peppermint is also an effective carminative, which lowers inflammation, enhances digestion & reduces bloating.

Green Tea

Green tea has high concentrations of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which comes from a class of phytochemicals. These polyphenols are called catechins, and they give green tree its slightly bitter taste. In fact, EGCG appears to be the most powerful of all catechins, with an antioxidant strength estimated to be from 25 to 100 times more potent than both vitamins C and E, which also contributes to its powerful anti-aging and skin-glowing benefits.

Matcha

Picked from the freshest young leaves of the Green Tea plant,  high potency Matcha is full of antioxidants to help protect your cells. It’s stimulating without causing adrenal exhaustion like many other caffeinated drinks out there. It helps to detoxify the body, increase energy, keep you feeling calm and boost immunity. 

Spring Dragon Tea

The Spring Dragon, which contains Gynostemma tea leaves from a very clean source in China, is a classic in my kitchen. This leaf contains some of the highest amounts of antioxidants in any tea. It works as a great base for tonics.

::: SUPERFOODS :::

Chlorella

Chlorella is a fresh water, single-celled algae. It is considered to be one of the most nutritious and potent foods on the planet. It also helps bind to heavy metals & detox them from the body. 

Maca

This adaptogenic Peruvian superfood is naturally energizing, assists the body in coping with stress, balances hormones, and increases fertility. Maca also provides an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Add a tsp. to smoothies as an energy boost.

Goji berries

Loaded with Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, and iron. They are also high in antioxidants, trace minerals and amino acids. Add to trail mix, chia pudding, or steep a few and drink as a vitamin rich tea.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are one of the world’s highest plant-based sources of fiber, making them an amazing blood sugar stabilizer. Chia seeds are also a source of omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients such as calcium and iron. Having chia seeds in your pantry ensures that you always have an egg substitute for baking. To make a chia egg; add 1 tbsp. of chia to 3 tbsp. water and let sit for 5 minutes before adding it to your baking.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are considered to be the perfect balance of essential fatty acids, which are crucial for proper brain function, heart health and digestive function. They are a rich source of insoluble fiber, helping to cleanse and lubricate the digestive tract. Hemp Seeds are rich in plant-based protein, including all nine essential amino acids and are one of the highest sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty-acid which plays a key role in reducing disease-causing inflammation.

Cacao & Cacao nibs

High in magnesium and iron and full of antioxidants. Add to desserts, smoothies, or enjoy a superfood hot cocoa.

Bee pollen

A complete protein, full of b vitamins, helps boost the immune system, and helps reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.

Ashwagandha

Acts as an Adaptogen, meaning it helps your body adapt to different situations (like stress) and supports your body in coming back into balance. Soothes the adrenals, regulates blood sugar and boosts immunity.

Tocos

A concentrated source of vitamins E & D. Boosts immunity reduces inflammation, & supports skin health. Add to smoothies for a creamy, nutty flavor.

Collagen protein

Is high in protein that is easily assimilated by the body and supports stomach healing. Boosts metabolism, supports joint health, and connective tissues.

Yacon Syrup

A natural, low-calorie sweetener that actually helps to balance blood-sugar. It’s made primarily of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) which acts as a prebiotic that stimulates colon health, helps increase the absorption of vitamins and improves healthy intestinal flora. Yacon syrup is rich in potassium and antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. It can be used as a sugar or molasses substitute in recipes however you want to use less than half the amount, as it has as stronger taste. A sweet and delicious syrup from a root that is so good for desserts. Low on the glycemic index, and adds a nice earthy tone to your food.

 

 

 

MEGHAN TELPNER'S CHOCOLATE PANCAKES

Meghan is the kind of girl who adds color and vibrancy to everything that crosses her path. We met at a healthy potluck she hosted several years ago & bonded over our shared love of great food, conversation and, of course, nutrition. Meghan has since completely healed herself through a holistic approach from what she was told was an incurable disease. She is now thriving as a best selling author and founder of The Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Meghan was the catalyst for my leap into the world of nutrition, and she continues to be a huge inspiration and motivation for me. 

Today, I’m honored to share Meghan’s delicious chocolate pancakes from her new book The Undiet Cookbook. It's the perfect addition to any holistic kitchen with over 130 gluten free, plant based recipes. This pancake mix is not your typical mix. It's made from several nutrient rich and high fiber ingredients, -- you can find these food in my essential shopping guide. Making something sweet and healthy for yourself or someone else is a delicious expression of love. When eating something like this, slow down and savor each and every bite, thinking about all the sweetness that fills your life. 

 

Chocolate, Chocolate, Say It Twice Pancakes

Makes 8–10 pancakes

Dry Ingredients

3/4 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup arrowroot starch

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

2 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

 

Wet Ingredients

1 egg or 1 serving Chia Paste (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups water

1/3 cup organic unsweetened organic applesauce or Simple Applesauce (page 204 in The UnDiet Cookbook)

1/4 cup honey or maple syrup

3 Tbsp coconut oil or organic ghee, softened

1 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips

 

Make It Like So

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients. The sifting is a bit tedious, but it does help with the pancake fluff factor. (You can skip it if you want, though.)
  2. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together. If your coconut oil is solid, you may wish to warm it over the stove to liquefy it. (Sometimes I’ll totally cheat and throw all the wet ingredients into the blender.)
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mix, and then stir in the chocolate chips. If you like your pancakes on the thinner side, add a little more water to the batter. It doesn’t take much to thin the mix, so be careful. You don’t want your pancakes to become a runny mess.
  4. Heat your skillet to medium heat and dollop on some coconut oil or ghee. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter at a time into the hot skillet. Once you see bubbles start to form, it’s time to flip these babies over. The trick with pancakes is to keep the heat high enough to cook them through, but not so high that it burns the outside while the inside is left raw. Once you find the right spot on your stove, take note! Let the pancakes sit for 5 minutes before serving. This helps them firm up in the middle.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings. I love shredded unsweetened, dried, shredded coconut, ground flax, ground goji berries, and a drizzle of Special Syrup (page 205 in The UnDiet Cookbook).

 

Excerpted from The UnDiet Cookbook: 130 Gluten-Free Recipes for a Healthy and Awesome Life by Meghan Telpner. Copyright © 2015 Meghan Telpner. Photography Copyright © 2015 Maya Visnyei and Catherine Farquharson. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Ltd., a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Meghan Telpner is a Toronto-based author, speaker, nutritionist, and founder of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Her humorous, engaging and real approach to living a healthy and awesome life has garnered her a world-wide following and extensive media attention. Meghan’s Academy of Culinary Nutrition, is growing a global tribe of vibrant living advocates and her bestselling and award-winning book UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health and the follow-up The UnDiet Cookbook is creating a revolution in how people think about their health. With an equal passion for both vibrant living and good karma business, Meghan works with health focused independent practitioners and small businesses to find their unique voice in a crowded marketplace, stay ahead of the curve, cultivate community and convert passion into profitable conscious business. Get inspired at MeghanTelpner.com.

MY TOP 5 KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

The kitchen is the place where my creativity unfolds. It’s where I can tune into the rhythm of my life and connect to true nourishment. I get lost in the textures, smells, tastes, and rich qualities of a dish. Before I cook, I turn up some great music, pull out my best knives, grab all my farmers market finds from the fridge, and let the magic unfold. Because I live in a cottage, my kitchen is really small, so having the right tools is the key to fluidity when it comes to creating a new recipe. I honestly use these items everyday, if not several times a day. One of the first steps to getting healthy and really taking care of yourself is to take the time to prepare your meals at home. Having the proper tools makes it that much easier and takes some of the challenge out of creating healthy, delicious meals. Here’s a sneak peak into my go to kitchen supplies that will open up the potential for some fantastic recipe creation!

 

Food Processor

I love having this in addition to my vitamix- This is ideal for chopping, blending & pureeing, also works wonders for dry items like nuts and seeds, for making granola and bars. It’s also perfect if you are making a smaller batch of dressing, sauce, or hummus.    

Large 16cm Wusthof Knife

 I use this knife as much as my vitamix- again, a pricey investment but trust me, its well worth it! Be careful- it’s super sharp!

Wide Mouth Ball Jars & Glass Containers  Galore!

I store everything in glass containers and jars. The food stays fresh longer and you avoid the nasty bp’s in plastic. These also last so much longer and keep your fridge looking clean & organized!

Wood Cutting Board

I literally use this for everything besides meat or animal products. It’s the perfect surface for cutting and makes prepping so much easier!  

Vitamix 750 Pro Series

I can’t live without my vitamix! I know it’s a HUGE investment but I purchased mine 5 years ago & have used it everyday since. It’s fantastic for smoothies, soups, raw dips, and salad dressing.

HOLISTIC GROCERY SHOPPING GUIDE

Fueling your body daily with the freshest ingredients possible is key when it comes to feeling your best. The grocery store can be a bit overwhelming and difficult to navigate at times (especially if you go hungry!), but knowing how to shop & what to stock your pantry with will make your next trip to the market a breeze!

Here are a few tips you can take with you:

SHOP LOCAL I find that the farmers market is the best place to shop for seasonal and local foods. With its magnificent and abundant variety of fresh produce, I leave feeling deeply nourished not only from the sensorial beauty but also from engaging in a community-oriented experience. I love to speak with vendors and local farmers about the journey those foods took to get to where they are today, bringing a reminder of the love, energy, and plant intelligence that went into the creation of our food. The closer to home your food comes from, the less of an ecological footprint it leaves on the earth.

EAT SEASONAL Eating seasonally connects us with Mother Nature, aligning us with the natural rhythms of the earth. It also plays an important role in boosting our immunity and vitality because the nutrition in these foods is at its peak. When we flow with the seasons, we adjust to the Earth the same way the animals do, in harmony with all the surrounding elements. The cycle of the seasons is designed to fully support and nourish our health in the most miraculous ways. In the summer time, nature provides us with cooling and hydrating foods. In the fall and winter, there’s an abundance of heavier starches to help us stay warm. In the spring, we are provided with endless greens to help us alkalize in preparation for summer.

SHOP THE OUTER AREAS The freshest foods in the grocery store are always located around the outer edges of the market. Start there, filling your cart with loads of produce and fresh ingredients and then head for the bulk section to stock up on nuts, seeds, grains & legumes + loose leaf teas. Local coop’s also carry bulk herbs & spices. It’s the best way to source pricey items and save money. 

CHOOSE ORGANIC Eating organic is important for many reasons; it introduces fewer toxins to your body, is better for the environment, and organic produce is chock-full of vitamins and minerals. Always choose organic on highly sprayed items like leafy greens, berries, apples, pears, stone fruits, and celery. And check out EWG’s list for the “clean fifteen” It’s equally as important to consume animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) that are organic, grass-fed, and pasture raised. Animal products that are not organic are generally full of growth hormones and antibiotics that interfere with our endocrine system.

SHOP FAIRTRADE If you love chocolate, coffee, & tea, it’s important to look for a fair-trade logo on the packaging. When something is labeled fair-trade it means that the people who are tending to this product are being treated humanely and being given a proper wage. Some of these agreements go as far as protecting the environment and animals in the area that the crops are being grown in as well.

AVOID FRANKENFOODS If you can’t pronounce it or don’t know what it is, it’s probably not supportive to your health. These foods are generally highly processed, loaded with sugar & salt, and filled with lots of foreign lab-made chemicals. If you don’t recognize it, chances are that your body won’t either and the long-term effects on your cellular system could be severe. Also be wary of anything labeled low fat, sugar free, made with real fruit etc. etc. …These buzzwords are used to disguise foreign ingredients and added chemicals. 

WHEN IN DOUBT, LOAD UP ON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. If you are ever overwhelmed at the market and don’t know what to do, just reference the advice your grandma probably gave you years ago & fill up your cart with fruits and veggies. Eating a variety of colors will ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients that you need for optimal health. Plus, eating more produce helps to create a more alkaline system. The more alkaline your body is, the more oxygen is pumping through your bloodstream offering more energy, immunity, and long-term vitality.








 

HOW TO HAVE A DRY JAN & WHY IT'S WORTH IT

The New Year is always the perfect time to reflect on the current state of our life and make new commitments that support our long-term health.

Long-term, regular alcohol use can cause inflammation, blood sugar issues, hormone disruption (including fertility issues), weight gain, and anxiety & depression (just to name a few). Passing on alcohol for a month not only supports your waistline but also has a profound effect on your overall wellbeing. Your moods stabilize, you have more energy, and your mindset is more optimistic. This can offer more clarity and motivation to work on your longer-term life goals.

We often don’t look at what repercussions regular alcohol use can have on our life or our body until something really goes wrong – perhaps we get diagnosed with some type of illness, like type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that alcohol interferes with all three sources of glucose and the hormones needed to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Drinking alcohol decreases the effectiveness of the insulin in your body, which means your blood sugar levels go haywire, leading to insulin resistance and, eventually, diabetes.

Even worse, we could be involved in an alcohol related incident where someone is hurt or loses their life. This is a huge topic for me because I lost my mom to a drunk driver when I was just a baby. This has had an incredible impact on my day-to-day life and it’s something that many years of therapy will never change. I spent much of my younger years downing booze like everyone else to drown my sorrows. Until one day I realized that I was just using it as a crutch to escape the deep ache in my heart. Facing my demons opened me up to a path of self-discovery and profound healing. It also gave me the clarity to reconnect to my intuition, making life much more fluid and rich with meaning.  

Alcohol, in moderation, is meant to gently ease the spirit & relax the nervous system. If we are drinking to the point of being drunk, we are usually drinking to drown out something that feels uncomfortable to confront or because we feel boxed in by our life circumstances – maybe we are working too much or pushing really hard to feel a sense of achievement and success, and the overwhelm we experience leaves us feeling constricted. In turn, we crave foods with expansive properties, like sugar and alcohol (hello happy hour!), to give us a feeling of openness and expansion.

Our bodies are our temples. The integration of healthy lifestyle habits promotes long-term vitality and well being; think of this as the beginning of your preventative care plan and a pathway to more happiness.

What you can do to support your mind-body-spirit

Giving up alcohol for a month goes beyond just breaking a habit. Our body forms a chemical addiction, creating a physiological response of withdrawal, which takes great strength to overcome. Just like breaking any habit, it takes will power, but we can make it easier by replenishing our system with nourishing foods. Filling up on whole, plant based meals, complete proteins, and drinking plenty of water will keep your body and mind grounded and your blood sugar stable. Alcohol also causes an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Restore your microbiome with a variety of foods: lots of dark leafy greens, a variety of vegetables & fruits, healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado and whole grains like quinoa, brown rice & buckwheat. Fill up on probiotic rich foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, organic miso, tempeh, and coconut yogurt & kefir. These foods help establish a healthy environment for gut-flora.

One of the best things you can do to really commit to taking a break from booze is to fully engage yourself in other activates. Partake in activities that uplift you. Working out is always a great option, as it stimulates the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin. Commit to joining some type of group or program like a group cleanse or create a forum to connect with others that are taking their health to the next-level. Creating a support system is key - engage your friends, family and co-workers: group efforts create a collective energy that makes it easy to stay on track.

Maybe consistent drinking has made it challenging to get clear or motivated about a project you’ve been dreaming up? Get started by creating outlines and new goals for yourself. Begin to visualize what you truly want to draw into your life. This is a perfect time to try something new. Take a cooking class, check out a new fitness trend, experiment with new recipes, begin hosting weekly dinner parties at your place, plan a trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or sign up for a wellness retreat with all the extra money you’ll be saving.

Make self-care top priority !

Self-care is crucial at this time. Deeply connect to your body by creating nurturing daily rituals that support health & healing. Plan your workouts ahead of time and incorporate things like self-massage, meditation, breath work, journal writing, long baths, and rest into your daily routine. Use complimentary health modalities like infrared sauna sessions, acupuncture, cupping, and massage to encourage your lymphatic system to flush.

Feed your mind and body with positive energy and create a healthy dialogue around your wellness journey. There is no “good” and “bad” or “right” and “wrong”. Be gentle with yourself and nourish yourself with loving thoughts. Shaming yourself only depletes your life force & takes away from your healing and spiritual growth. The more you tune into your body, clear your mind, and tap into your intuition, the better you will feel. Make self-care a top priority and everything else will come into balance.

Meditation is a supportive tool to help you move through your days with grace. If you’re mind is on fire – try guided meditations or meditation apps to keep you on track. Meditation not only creates a stronger mind-body connection but also calms your nervous system and helps to relieve the daily anxiety that’s been driving you to drink.

We’ve developed deep attachments to being constantly ON. Stress and anxiety can be more harmful than anything you put in your body. Counter stress by setting aside time every day to unplug and connect to nature. I find that spending time in nature hiking or walking on the beach with no access to technology soothes my soul and reunites me with the simplicities of life. Connecting to nature eases stress and tension in the mind & body & soothes our primal need to feel connected to our environment.

Alcohol decreases your melatonin levels, making it harder to get a good night's sleep. Winter is the perfect time to hibernate a bit and restore. The goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and energized before your alarm clock goes off. Shoot for the same time every night, so your body gets into a routine. Unplug from stimulating electronics 1 hour before bed get thoughts on paper, so you can let your mind shut down; this is perfect time to write a gratitude list. Also, drink Chamomile tea nightly to help relax your nervous system. Adequate sleep will support full body regeneration and help to restore the nervous system.

Let emotions flow through you & reach out for support!

Emotions may come up that you don’t know what to do with and you may even feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. This is incredibly common when detoxing from any addictive substance. Get your thoughts on paper and reach out for support if you need it. A therapist, spiritual advisor, or mentor can be incredibly helpful at this time.

You’ll probably end up in a few social settings where the alcohol is flowing and you’re not partaking. This can be challenging if those around you are not in support of your decision. The best way to avoid this is, well, to avoid it. Surround your self with supportive people and environments that help you feel at ease. Alternatively, stand by the decision with confidence and conviction; tell others you have made this commitment to yourself to improve your health and well being. It’s helpful to engage your friends, family, and co-workers so that a sense of collective commitment and solidarity surrounds you.

You may also end up getting sick or feeling under the weather for a few days. This is the body’s natural detoxification process. Support your immunity with herbal teas, ginger & turmeric and engage in activities that increase sweating to help flush toxins from your system.

Bask in the benefits

After a month without alcohol you should expect to weigh less both mentally and physically and feel a greater sense of peace. You’ll likely have more energy, greater stamina for workouts, and less overall inflammation & body aches. You’ll wake up rested, with more mental clarity, and you will move through your days with more ease. A deeper connection to your intuition will strengthen every area of your life and stable moods will enhance your relationship and interpersonal connections. The high highs and low lows associated with regular drinking will be a distant memory and you’ll find yourself with more energy than ever before. You may also notice that you’ve turned the clock back a few years. When our body works to process alcohol, it stops absorbing key skin loving vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin C, which help to clear dull, dead skin cells, and replace them with fresh, youthful looking ones. Drinking alcohol also depletes key energy, immune nutrients like B vitamins and zinc. People will begin commenting on your newfound glow & will enquire about your new wellness secrets!

A healthy way to re-introduce alcohol into your life 

Take it slow. You’ll find after not drinking for a month that your tolerance has gone way down (which is great for your body & your bank account!) Whatever you choose, stay conscious of your decisions and be gentle with yourself. As you transition back to “real life”, the idea is to blend what you were doing before with everything you have integrated over the last month. My hope is that you create a hybrid of your previous habits with what you now know. Enjoy a celebratory glass of fine wine or spirits instead of drinking to the point of unconsciousness.

To begin thinking in the long term is the wisdom I wish to impart to you. How can you live from a place where you begin to look well into the future, instead of just your immediate wants and needs? This is crucial for continuous vitality. We don’t catch a disease, we build it. Having a stressful day, eating poorly, drinking too much, and not getting enough rest or exercise all weaken our internal state and cellular immunity. If the body is strong, our immune system stays strong and makes us less susceptible to disease.

 

Try this recipe for an alcohol-free mocktail:

1 cup of sparkling mineral water


Juice of 1 lime

3 mint leaves

1 tsp. Coconut sugar

Pinch of sea salt


Muddle all ingredients together, add ice & top with sparkling water

Check out my piece on Well + Good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ULTIMATE ONE DAY WELLNESS REBOOT - TCM

It’s that time of year when we begin to become conscious of our overindulgences and reflect on intentions we set a year ago at this time. Planning a cleanse and kicking your wellness into high gear is easy, but how can we create sustainable wellness that will last all year long?

Taking a day to “reset” our body allows us to tune into the areas of our that life need support. This simple act of tuning-in creates a stronger mind-body connection that often inspires the implementation of more wellness-centered practices into our everyday life.

Check out my one day wellness guide to jumpstart your wellness regime over at The Chalkboard Mag