FOOD & MOOD

Ever wonder why you feel so fantastic on a cleanse? Once you get over the caffeine, sugar, and alcohol withdrawals, you feel as if you have hit the reset button on your entire system: light, bright, and renewed. So how can we maintain that open, uplifted, energized, and balanced feeling we achieve through cleansing?

It’s no secret that what we eat affects the way that we feel day to day. A vibrant variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts & seeds, and adequate proteins and fats offers us ample energy and vitality. These foods leave us feeling inspired and happy. Whereas an overconsumption of over processed, sugary, and salty foods + alcohol & caffeine leaves us feeling like we are on an emotional rollercoaster. They can also create feelings of lethargy, depression, anxiety, and physical heaviness.

We often crave food or overindulge because of certain physical, emotional, or hormonal imbalances. Feeling at peace with what we eat and how we eat is ultimately the most important thing we can do. However, implementing small diet and lifestyle changes supports not only optimal endocrine function, but also emotional equanimity and mind-body balance.

Here are a few key tips to keep your moods stable:

 

BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR – 1. Make sure you get enough protein everyday! This is the key in blood sugar maintenance and will stabilize your moodiness 2. Eat enough fiber & fat – add chia seeds, ground flax & coconut oil or ghee to any dish  3. If you are already struggling with blood sugar imbalance be sure to also add crunchy snacks to your daily routine- chopped veggies and hummus or pesto are both fantastic options. 4. Limit caffeine consumption. 5. It’s also imperative that you eat something 30 mins after waking, unless you head straight out to exercise, in which case you can have something small & then a full meal after your workout! 6. Eat at regular times everyday + balanced meals - Do not go longer than 3 hours without eating. This helps to stabilize the body, regulate hormones & blood sugar + boosts metabolism- promoting metabolism regulation, blood sugar balance & hormones.

 

SWAP OUT YOUR SUGARS – If you haven’t done this already – I strongly urge you to switch to natural forms of sweetness and eliminate all other sugars. Coconut sugar, raw honey, stevia, Lucuma, & dates are all great options. Use stevia if you’re trying to get your sugar habit under control.

 

BE CAREFUL WITH CAFFEINE – Even Matcha can make you a bit moody – watch how much caffeine you are having daily & detox from caffeine from time to time to reconnect to your body’s natural energy source. This will also help stabilize blood sugars, reduce cravings, soothe your adrenals, and reset your hormones.

 

PROPER ELIMINATION – if you’re not going – nothing is going to make you feel good. Be sure to get enough fiber and if nothing is moving along, make sure you are 1. Properly hydrated 2. Not eating past 8 pm 3. Adding plenty of greens & roughage to your diet4. Sipping dandelion root tea daily. 5. Getting enough sleep 6. Taking breaks from caffeine.

 

EAT ALKALIZING FOODS –The more Alkaline foods you eat, the more oxygen your body will have and the better you will feel. They also have a natural detoxing effect on the body. Try incorporating foods like dark leafy greens, chlorella, lemons + plenty of fruits and veggies!

 

FEED YOUR MICROBIOME – Your body stores 10x more bacteria than cells, and the bacteria located in your gut may be the most important. The gut is also considered the second brain, because 95% of your body’s “feel good” hormone, serotonin comes from the gut. Creating a harmonious environment not only aids in digestion, but also helps fuel serotonin production. Feed your microbiome daily by consuming fermented foods rich in probiotics & supplement in powder form whenever you’re feeling off kilter (this is especially helpful after travel).

 

AVOID KNOWN ALLERGIES - Intuition is one of the most powerful tools you can access when trying to discern whether a food is right for you or not. It’s that gut feeling that steers you to choosing what will work best for you body over that urge to eat chocolate & cookies for lunch. You can also run an IGG Allergy test with your doctor, if you’re curious about any major sensitivities.  Also, if you are suspicious about whether a food is bad for you, pay close attention to how you feel in the hours after you eat it.

 

EAT SLOWLY & MINDFULLY- That way, your body has space to do its job properly and you’re not eating under stress. Remember that food is your number one energy source. Honor your body by being present with your food. If you are rushing through every meal & end up with a stomach ache, that is your body’s way of telling you that you need to slow down.

 

COMBAT DEPRESSION & ANXIETY – All of the above will help to reduce anxiety and depression but there are also plenty of foods that lift the mood as well. Here are a few of my favorites : spinach, avocado, bananas, spirulina, chlorella, walnuts, cashews, eggs, ginger, olive oil, coconut, hemp seeds, kale, dark chocolate (70% or higher) or raw cocoa, oats, seaweed, chamomile tea, rooibos tea, turmeric & adaptogenic herbs like holy basil, ashwaghanda and maca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CUCUMBER COOLER

A holistic twist on the summer classic. Refreshing, rehydrating and full of silica, which promotes joint & tissue health. One of my all time favorites!! 

INGREDIENTS:::

4 cucumbers- juiced or blended

½ cup water

8-10 ice cubes

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

2-3 limes, sliced & squeezed

1-2 tablespoons (desired sweetness) Organic raw honey, Omica Organics Plain Stevia or sweetener of choice

METHOD:::

1.    In a blender or juicer; puree or juice cucumbers and water.

2.    Drain through a sieve set over a large bowl to remove clumps (not necessary if juicing)

3.    In a large pitcher or glass container, mash fresh mint leaves with back of a wooden spoon slightly softened.

4.    Add cucumber juice, lime, and honey & stir

5.    Fill four glasses with ice and pour in cucumber cooler

6.    Garnish with thinly sliced cucumber or fresh lime.

THE BEST ACAI BOWL EVER

Image: Alexa Gray

Image: Alexa Gray

My Beautiful friend Summer, of Local Juicery, has a healthy cookbook on the way that I am over the moon about! It’s filled with radiant, plant-based recipes & lifestyle tips to support your journey to optimum health. Summer’s approach inspires simple shifts that promote long-term health. Enjoy this sweet & cooling recipe loaded with nutrient-dense superfoods !

S | This is a recipe from my upcoming book Raw and Radiant! I can't wait to share the whole book with you, but for now here is a little peek at whats to come! Shot by the amazing Alexa Gray. 

Açaí bowls are a fabulous breakfast, lunch or dinner. At my home we eat them at all times of the day. They are filling, energizing and actually very low in sugar. This recipe features banana and avocado, but if you are looking for a lower glycemic version you can simply omit the banana and add a bit of stevia to taste. You can typically find raw frozen Açaí in the frozen section at your local natural food store. 

Serves 1-2

What You’ll Need :::

3/4 (3.5-ounce) packets frozen Açaí

1 medium frozen banana

1/4 medium ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon vanilla Sun Warrior Protein Powder or favorite raw protein powder (optional)

2 tablespoon almond butter

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup organic shredded coconut

1/3 cup goji berries

1/2 cup fresh berries of choice

1 teaspoon bee pollen

drizzle of raw honey or maple syrup

METHOD :::

In a high-speed blender combine the Açaí, frozen bananas, avocado, almond milk, protein, almond butter and salt. Blend until the mixture is a smooth, pudding-like consistency. If the mixture is too thick to blend easily, add a little more almond milk. Once the mixture is blended, transfer to a bowl and top with shredded coconut, goji berries, fresh berries, bee pollen and drizzle with honey.

 

THE SPIRIT IN ALL THINGS

Image: Alexa Gray 

Image: Alexa Gray 

My youth was filled with many ups and downs. I lost my mom when I was a baby and my life was forever changed. This great disruption imprinted a deep loss in my heart and soul that, still to this day, I do not fully understand how to soothe. My family life growing up was highly dysfunctional, toxic, and abusive. For many years, I struggled to find my place in the world, had a hard time accepting who I was, and struggled with severe anxiety and depression.

I am an empathic, sensitive soul and often feel and take on what others are feeling. Early on, I learned that I needed regular practices in place to keep me grounded and in touch with my own energy. Finding yoga and nutrition at 20 radically shifted my connection to myself. Genuinely nourishing my body and mind with clean foods, transformative thoughts, and environments supported my growth.

Long ago, I came to realize the importance of my relationship to spirit: to myself, the earth, and all of life. This began to take precedence over fleeting happiness drawn in from material things and consumerism. I like a well-made product as much as the next gal, but the deep fulfillment that comes from matters of the heart is so much more important to me. The raw beauty of human connection and the love we share with our friends and family is spirit in its purest form. When I focus my attention on the connection to spirit, my whole life illuminates.

The longest journey that you’ll ever have to make is from your head to your heart.”

The heart is the essence of spirituality. It’s where the soul meets body and where we become aware of our inherent life force. The heart is where we feel deeply, open ourselves to love, and find tenderness when life becomes challenging. One of the most profound transformations for me was connecting my mind & body through my heart. Instead of demanding that my body be or respond a certain way, I began to feel into my body on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis.  This integration of head and heart allowed me to listen to my intuition, tune into my body’s changing needs, and lead a happier, healthier life. It gave me access to my spirit and allowed me to feel more and think less.

All of life is interconnected – beginning with the synthesis of mind-body-spirit. There is profound beauty & spirituality in everything that surrounds us. When our lives are struck with tragedy, the resilience of the human spirit always shines through. It is one of the most powerful, healing qualities we possess.

There is spirit in all things

Spirituality to me isn’t necessarily a specific practice. There is something spiritual about every person, place, and thing we experience. Just being alive is a spiritual practice. We can find beauty in just about anything if we allow ourselves to slow down and sink into the moments more.

Spirituality is our intimate relationship to nature, the rhythms of the seasons, and our food. Aligning with the natural flow of mother nature and our own nature is the deepest spiritual practice: one that restores balance and harmony to any life.

Sometimes, when we have been hurt or traumatized, pieces of our spirit go into hiding. Spirituality includes doing the work to unearth our shadow parts and heal the past, so we can move into a more wholesome existence. This includes clearing limiting beliefs, patterns, and negative ideas that we’ve created about what it means to be alive.


There are powerful ways to connect to our innate spiritual essence. Here are a few of my favorites:

MEDITATE::: Meditation is a powerful tool for connecting to spirit. I go in and out of stages of “sitting” daily for meditation. For weeks or months at a time, I will take a moment each morning and welcome the day with stillness. Other times, my daily life becomes a meditative practice. I believe that with enough presence and mindfulness any task can become meditative. Regular mindfulness meditations are helpful for clearing excess mind-chatter and connecting deeply to our soul’s intentions.

GET CLEAR::: Clean eating, seasonal cleansing and regular movement all provide a clear channel to our spirit. I got clear by having the strength to overcome addictions that clouded my mind: addictions to spending, eating, drinking, and drugging. Overcoming addictions cleared the fog that had been obscuring my intuition and self-awareness, providing a clear channel to my spirit.

UNPLUG::: Regularly unplugging from technology & taking space for quiet reflection offers so much clarity. It’s imperative that we allow this space for ourselves. Constantly filling up our time with the distraction and ego projection of social media is a way to avoid the feelings deep inside of us that need attention. Everything in moderation is the key to a balanced holistic life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALMILA'S HORMONE BALANCING HELVA BARS

One of the most beautiful things about being a part of the holistic community is connecting with other like-minded individuals. Today, Almila Kakinc-Dodd of the holistic lifestyle site Thirlby, shares her sweet, super-food enrinched helva recipe. A hormone-balancing helva adaptation inspired by her Mediterranean roots, a nod to her late grandmother & reclaiming women's health. Enjoy!


A | Helva is a powerhouse desert to simultaneously chip away at that sweet tooth that aches during our cycles and meet our body's' increased nutritional needs. As we lose blood during menstruation, we also The increase in insulin release during menstruation results in cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, particularly chocolate. This is a recipe to allow you to never deny your body's natural instincts but to respond to them in a nourishing and intelligent manner.

The hormonal fluctuations that lead to intense cravings are balanced through the ingredients in this recipe. The sesame seeds provide healthy fats, protein, and balances libido. The vitamin E that sesame seeds contains has been researched to support pre-menstrual symptoms such as fatigue and bodily aches, more specifically breast tenderness.

Bee pollen is a complete protein and is high in vitamin Bs, which promote sustained energy when menstruation causes drainage. Maca powder flushes excess estrogen out of the body, supports the entire endocrine system, and balances mood. Astragalus revives the body by pulling its energy flow upwards, preventing its loss through menstruation. Hemp hearts are a source of additional fat and complete protein that is easily assimilated when our digestive system might be off during menstruation.

I N G R E D I E N T S:::

Paleo / Vegan / Gluten-free / Dairy-free / Refined-sugar free

1/4 cup hemp hearts

1/4 cup sprouted nuts, I prefer brazil nuts

3/4 cup raw tahini, I prefer this sprouted one or this raw, organic one

1 tablespoon bee pollen*

1 tablespoon lucuma powder*

1 tablespoon mesquite powder

1 tablespoon maca powder, I recommend gelatinised for easier digestibility

2 tablespoons astragalus

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder*

1/4 cup sunroot syrup / raw honey / coconut syrup

5 tablespoons coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon stevia powder, I prefer bitter-free Omica Organics

D I R E C T I O N S:::

  1. Place the nuts and hemp hearts into a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, to blend into a fine meal. Set aside into a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining dry ingredients into the meal and incorporate well.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
  4. Place the helva in a parchment-lined rectangular mold to freeze for four hours or longer if you'd like a firmer texture—check at the four hour point.
  5. Once ready, slice, and serve! I love to serve it with homemade coconut milk ice cream in either raspberry rose or matcha flavours.
  6. To make the ice cream, simply blend 1 can of full-fat BPA-free coconut milk with 1 1/2 cups of frozen raspberries, 1 tablespoon dried rose petals, and 1/4 cup of raw honey or maple syrup in a high speed blender. Then pour it into your ice cream machine and follow according to manufacturer's directions. For the matcha version, I like this recipe.

Almila Kakinc-Dodd is a trained Medical Anthropologist, a Holistic Health Practitioner, and the author behind the wellness destination The Thirlby. She created it as a result of her autoimmune diagnosis and to offer an aesthetically pleasing platform where wellness is through and accessible—not crunchy granola. Her upcoming book will be published in Spring 2018 by Prestel/Random House and will be available wherever books are sold. 

ALMOND CARDAMOM & PISTACHIO MYLKS

Quick Cardamom Almond Mylk

Ingredients:::

4 cups of water

3 Tbsp raw, organic almond butter

Pinch of himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp cardamom

Dash of cinnamon

1 -2 tbsp raw, local honey

Method:::

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.

Serve & Enjoy!

*For extra foam – add a splash of boiling water before blending!

Pistachio Mylk

Ingredients:::

4 cups water

1 cup shelled organic, raw pistachios

Splash of vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder

3-4 pitted dates or 6-8 drops omica butterscotch stevia

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Method:::

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender.

Strain through nut milk bag & serve!

 

 

EVERYDAY HERBS

Herbs are one of nature’s greatest medicines, and incorporating them into your meals is one of the fastest ways to upgrade your health routine! All herbs contain an array of healing properties and work to support cleansing and detoxification while simultaneously boosting immunity. Basic ones – like basil, parsley and cilantro – all work to reduce inflammation, support liver function and aid in the clearance of heavy metals from the body.

Not only are these plants deeply restorative, but they also add texture, flavor and an element of beauty to every meal. For an instant boost of nutrition, incorporate a variety of herbs into your juices, smoothies, soups, salads and grain dishes daily. My favorite way to incorporate them is to add them to salads or grain dishes, but they are also a lovely addition to a fresh juice, adding depth, complexity and flavor.

Adding a variety of herbs to our daily meals makes for deeply nourishing, healing and satisfying cuisine. Here are a few ways to eat more, and how your body is benefiting from each…


PARSLEY

This herb is full of powerful nutrients! It contains vitamins A and C, and just one tablespoon offers more than half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, a nutrient that’s essential for healthy blood clotting & bone health. Parsley is also high in folate & iron and works to support liver cleansing.

How to use:

Add parsley to your salad, green juice, grain dish, or tomato sauce. It’s also a lovely addition to vegetable sautés or grilled fish.

 

CILANTRO

Cilantro is loaded with fiber and iron and supports the clearance of heavy metals from the body. Also known as Coriander, this powerful healing herb is added to dishes around the world to lower cholesterol, balance blood sugars, and reduce inflammation. Cilantro also contains volatile oils with antimicrobial properties that may work to fight off bacteria contracted from contaminated foods.

How to use:

I love adding Cilantro to salads, soups, & green juices. It’s also a delicious way to upgrade your pesto!

 

BASIL

Basil is known to calm nerves. It’s also a good source of fiber and has a detoxifying effect on the liver. Loaded with antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties, basil can also help support cardiovascular health, and is known to help fight respiratory infections, regulate diabetes, and decrease body pain & inflammation.

How to use:

Add basil to your salad, sauces, or make a pesto. It’s also lovely in water or served as an iced tea.

 

OREGANO

Oregano is most known for it’s antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It’s volatile oils are thought to be a highly effective fighter against food-borne illnesses, common colds, flus & respiratory infections. Oregano also contains numerous phytonutrients that function as potent antioxidants, working to prevent cellular damage throughout the body.  

How to use:

Oregano is incredibly versatile and can be used in soup, stews, pizza, and pasta. Oil of Oregano can be used to fight off infection.

 

DILL

Dill is a fantastic source of antioxidants, such as beta-carotene. It’s also full of calcium, iron, and magnesium, which all help to support bone density. Dill’s volatile oils help to neutralize environmental toxins and 

may protect the body from cancer causing free radicals.

How to use:

I love adding dill to sauerkraut, fresh salads, and pestos. It’s also nice with egg dishes and baked fish.

 

ROSEMARY

Rosemary contains compounds, such as carnosic acid, that have been shown to fight cancer cells. It also contains antioxidants and compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, Rosemary provides iron for respiratory health, calcium for strength, and fiber to support digestion. Rosemary’s potent aroma is also said to improve memory and enhance mental performance.

How to use:

Add a couple sprigs to your meat dish. Infuse your olive oil or add mix it with roasted root vegetables and bake.  

 

LAVENDER

These little purple flower buds are excellent for promoting sleep and alleviating anxiety. Lavender also contains antioxidants known as polyphenols that fight belly bloating. Its fragrance is calming, relaxing and balancing, both physically and emotionally. Therapeutic grade lavender is great for the skin and can be used to cleanse cuts, bruises, and skin irritations.

How to use:

Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your diffuser and let it run while you sleep. Drink lavender tea or steep & mix with lemons for lavender lemonade!

 

SAGE

Sage is commonly used for gastrointestinal health, but has also been used to treat depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. Women can use sage tea to treat menstrual pain or to reduce hot flashes during menopause. It also has antiseptic and antioxidant properties, which can help fight premature aging. For decades, Sage has also been used as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation.

How to use:

Add sage to your salad, savory dishes, or roasted root vegetables. It’s also lovely as a healing tea.

 

THYME

This herb has long been used as an herbal remedy for respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, whooping cough, and sore throats. It is also commonly used for its antiseptic properties due to thymol, which is a naturally occurring compound that can destroy harmful organisms.

How to use:

Thyme is great to boost flavor to soups, salads, and chicken dishes.

 

MINT

Mint is a great source of vitamin A, providing more than half of your recommended daily intake in just two tablespoons. In addition, mint is helpful for treating irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal disorders. Mint is also useful for treating colds, throat inflammation, sinus infections, and respiratory infections.

How to use:

Add to juices, smoothies, salads, or add to your water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOVING YOUR LIVER

The liver is responsible for over 500 vital functions that help to keep us healthy. It is one of the most overworked and under nourished organs in the human body.  In a functional sense, our liver processes nutrients from the large intestines for proper absorption, keeps our blood clean, and filters everything we are exposed to internally & externally on a daily basis.  It also produces bile needed to digest fat, balances hormones, and stores vitamins & minerals.

We are exposed to an overwhelming amount of toxins and chemicals, which create a heavy “toxic load” on the liver. Over time, this wears the liver down, making the body less able to tolerate toxic substances and environments. Alcohol, medications, and otc’s stress the liver the most, but environmental pollutants, pesticides, chemical cleaners, toxic beauty supplies also create a heavy burden.

Our long-term health and well-being are dependent on how well our liver is functioning and how efficiently toxins are cleared from our system. The more we reduce our “toxic load” the less exposure we have to toxins. We maintain liver health by integrating healthy lifestyle practices, eating more whole foods, seasonal cleansing, staying hydrated and engaging in plenty of sweat-inducing exercise. The more we support our liver through the phases of detoxification, the more vital we become.


INTEGRATE THE FOLLOWING TO SUPPORT LIVER FUNCTION, CLEANSING & HEALING :::

 

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

Adequate water intake supports all organs in clearing out excess toxins. Drink half your body weight in ounces everyday to keep your body systems regulated. For instance, if you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 ounces of water daily. Carry a water bottle with you & fill it with filtered water all day vs. constantly drinking from plastic, which wreaks havoc on your liver & hormones. For extra liver support – add lemon! The citrus from the lemon helps to stimulate both phases of detoxification by the liver and stimulates bile production.

 

REMOVE TOXIC FOODS

Eliminating toxic, non-organic & processed/chemical-laden foods from your diet is an easy way to create less of a liver burden. If it comes in a package with an array of foreign ingredients, avoid it. Swap out highly-processed foods for whole foods that are nutrient dense & highly nourishing to the body. Consuming fresh vegetable juices and green smoothies daily is a powerful way to cleanse & detox the liver.

 

CONSUME LIVER SUPPORTING FOODS

Foods such as dark leafy greens, beets, spirulina, chlorella, kelp, citrus, broccoli, cabbage, sprouted lentils/mung bean, dandelion greens, apple cider vinegar, celery, and oats all help to support & nourish the liver. Potassium rich foods like sweet potatoes, bananas, beet greens, spinach and molasses all help to cleanse + clear the liver. Add salad or steamed greens to every meal!

 

EAT LESS

If your liver or body is feeling overburdened, cleanse for a day or two on juices or an easy to digest dish like kitchari. If your system just needs a bit of a break or you are looking to cleanse your liver on a deeper level, eat mostly steamed veggies, light cleansing foods like juices and green smoothies or blended soups (which are easy to digest) plus lots of ginger and dandelion tea until your system feels restored. This can be helpful for a few days to a week at a time. It’s also important to eliminate alcohol, heavy fats, fried foods, too much salt & sugar + animal products & meat. Reducing the amount of nuts and heavy fats you are consuming plus decreasing mucous forming foods is also a powerful way to cleanse the liver.

 

SWEAT IT OUT

The more we sweat, the more toxins we release. The fewer toxins in our systems, the less burdened our organs are. Infrared sauna sessions, steam baths, and hot yoga classes are fantastic ways to take your sweating to the next level. I love to soak in an Epsom salt bath a few times a week. I cup of Epsom salts + 10 drops of lavender oil.

 

MOVE YOUR BODY

Exercise regularly to actively move toxins out of the body. This keeps Qi flowing, supports liver function and creates more oxygenated blood. A rebounder is a wonderful tool to get your heart rate up and induce sweating. Dancing, running, hot yoga and swimming are also very effective. Constantly mix up your routine to keep your system vital. 

 

INTEGRATE HEALING HERBS

Herbs are a powerful antidote for supporting liver strength & functionality. Most of the herbs that support the liver are very bitter, as this activates the liver to create bile and clear out old waste. Herbs such as turmeric, ginger, milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root, and are all great options for clearing and healing the liver + restoring liver function.

 

SUPPORT ELIMINATION

Making sure that you are having a proper bowel movement at least once a day is imperative when it comes to liver health/function. One of the most powerful ways our bodies clear toxins is through our feces. Healthy people defecate 1-3x per day. Anything else is considered constipation. If you’re not going, chances are your life’s not flowing. To ensure that you are properly eliminating each day, incorporate plenty of fiber and healthy fats, also make sure you keep hydrated and try to have bitter greens with most meals. If you’re still backed up – try one of the following or a combination within the course of a week to support elimination: raw vegetable juice, lemon water, magnesium, triphila, a coffee enema and digestive bitters at the start of each meal.

 

EXPRESS EMOTIONS

In Chinese Medicine, there is a synergistic relationship between our emotions and each organ. Stored emotions create energetic blocks in the body that eventually produce symptoms and related ailments. When the liver energy (Qi) is congested, feelings of depression, irritability, and defensiveness arise from blocked Qi (energy). These issues have their roots in unexpressed anger and frustration. Energetically, stored anger creates stagnation in the liver & gallbladder meridians. When we live with flow, patience, and the healthy expression of our frustrations,  our liver health is greatly enhanced.

 

 

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.