Daily Immune Supporting Elixir


It's already October so you know what that means? Welcome to immunity season! Unfortunately pretty much all of 2020 has felt like immunity season, but with cold and flu season now knocking on our covid infested year it wouldn't hurt to kick up your immune system a bit more. While maintaining a balanced diet and minimizing stress will help nurture your immune system, it doesn't hurt to add a few extra power packed recipes to the list. I'm all about working with what you have and maintaining wellness even on the smallest budget. There is no need to buy expensive supplements and programs. Honestly, I can almost guarantee you have all of the ingredients for this elixir in your kitchen right now, and if you don't they will all cost you less than fifteen dollars at your grocery store. They're also multi-functional so if you do have to go out and buy them you didn't just spend fifteen dollars on an elixir. 

What You'll Need.

Ground Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, Raw Honey, One Lemon, Warm Water *Try to use organic ingredients if your budget will allow you to do so.

Now, let's break down these ingredients to discover what makes this whole shebang a friend to your immunity system.  

CINNAMON.

Cinnamon is loaded down with antioxidants. It's an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-fungal machine. We might be eating a lot of cinnamon during the fall and winter months but let's be honest, most of the time it's accompanied with treats and desserts that are filled with sugar fueling inflammation. Cinnamon is great to ward off and combat respiratory illnesses. So, you definitely need more of this baby in your life in 2020. To learn more about the medicinal benefits of cinnamon (which include reducing your risk of heart disease) check out this article from Healthline

GINGER.

One of my favorite wellness warriors. For most of my life I honestly thought ginger was merely a close relative of my gurl Little Debbie's preservative filled gingerbread men. Now, I throw this stuff on everything like it's my branded secret ingredient (now you know). A dash gets thrown into my iced coffee most days, and just last night it made up the seasoning to my homemade chili. It's anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants to help you fight infections and ward off a cold. If you aren't used to eating ginger you may have to acquire a taste for it initially. Ginger it more hot and bitter vs. cinnamon's warm and fuzzy.

RAW HONEY. 

You should definitely have a jar or twelve of raw honey in your pantry. A spoonful of local honey each day helps with seasonal allergies and boosts energy in the body. It's powerful antioxidants help to remove free radicals from the body, which can lead to a buildup of stress on the body leading to illness. Raw honey is also and anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Fun fact: it also naturally contains hydrogen peroxide, making it an antiseptic (hello! cuts, burns, insect bites, and skincare).

LEMON.

Lemon is a great source of vitamin c as well as holding anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Lemon outside of the body is very acidic. However, once metabolized it actually transitions to a PH well above seven. This helps to alkaline the body which offers enormous health benefits. I won't get into all of that today, but basically disease thrives in a highly acidic environment. An alkaline environment helps decrease your risk of disease. 

How to Make.

Combine one teaspoon of ground ginger, one teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and one tablespoon of raw honey. Heat water to a warm temperature. Be careful not to get the water too hot, as overly hot water can alter the healing benefits of honey. Add water and one slice of lemon to spice and honey mixture. Enjoy!

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What is Sound Bathing? How Can it Help Enhance Your Life?

Sound has been used medicinally for thousands of years from ancient Greece to ancient Tibet. The practice of sound as therapy has gained popularity in Western society in the last few years, but the new age healing technique that you've probably seen on social media isn't new at all. 

Think about it-- after having a bad day how often do you get in your car, play your favorite song and instantly feel a little bit better about life? Sound baths (or sound healing) has the same effects with a little more woo woo metaphysical science thrown into the mix. One hour of sound healing in a meditative state is the restorative equivalent to eight hours of sleep. 

The Science Behind Sound. 

Our bodies are made up of energy. This energy is altered throughout our days due to life's stresses, events, and environmental factors that are our of our control. Our energy can be too low, too high, or be blocked and stagnant. For a healthy mind-body-soul it's important that we balance and center our energy.

To put it into less metaphysical terms think of when you're exposed to prolonged stress or anxiety. It lowers your energy physically, mentally and emotionally leading to a weakened immune system and in turn creates physical illness in the body. Sound healing creates a space to tune the energy of our bodies to a balanced state just as tuning an instrument keeps the harmonies balanced. A balanced body works in harmony. 

The human body is made up of over 60% water, and water is a great conductor of vibrations. Each instrument (sound bowls, tuning forks, gongs and chimes) hold specific tones and frequencies that aid certain areas of the body. The frequencies in music create vibrations within the water in our bodies. This vibration breaks up blocks or stagnant energy while balancing out any energy that may be too high or too low. The frequencies also work to construct brainwaves that induce deeper meditative states, enhanced relaxation and the ability to calm and let go of stresses.

Who Benefits From Sound Healing?

Everyone! The benefits of sound baths or sound healing is so broad that everyone can enjoy it's properties. I first fell into sound healing about 8 years ago through the use of binaural beats during meditation. I was desperate to find a natural approach to healing a lifelong battle with manic depression, severe anxiety and insomnia. I turned to meditation but had a difficult time silencing my mind and focusing on my breath. Forcing meditation only made my anxiety worse, but sound healing helped to induce me into a state of meditation and silence my mind without force. Since then it's played a major roll in holistically healing mental illness in my life. In a way it actually gave me my life back. 

Research has shown that sound therapy helps lower blood pressure, improves sleep, relieves anxiety and stress, reduces fatigue, releases energy blocks in the chakras, cleanses space, deepens meditative states and assists in spiritual growth. There has also been very promising research that sound bathing helps calm those with post traumatic stress disorder, autism, and depression.  

Types of Sound Healing.

 Most sound baths use a combination of percussion instruments that include gongs, crystal sound bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, tuning forks, drums and chimes. Binaural beats and solfeggio frequencies are sounds of different pitches generally mixed with dreamy meditation music or sound healing instruments. Some meditation practitioners will also add these digital frequencies to their guided meditations to enhance healing results. 

Our sound baths use a combination of Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, solfeggio frequencies and light meditation music. Our free meditations consist of binaural solfeggio frequencies added to music without the use of physical instruments. 

What to Expect?

Most people express feeling a deep sense of calm/ peace during and after a sound bath. Your breath generally deepens and slows once in a meditative state. You may feel as if you're dreaming yet awake at the same time. In some cases you might actually fall into a deep sleep. Some refer to a sound bath as feeling trippy like they were on psychedelics-- with visions and higher states of consciousness. (One of my favorite reasons to sound bathe) 

 

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Easing Anxiety in the Year 2020

The wrath of 2020 has spared no one and anxiety is becoming somewhat of a runoff pandemic. Even those who generally slide past the burden of anxiety have found themselves in her grasp. Anxiety is more than a deliberating mental experience. It can cause physical aches and pains, mental illness, loss of productivity and can weaken your immune system. Stress and anxiety release the hormone cortisol. Too much cortisol in your system prohibits virus killing T cells from doing their job.
Whether you've dealt with anxiety your whole life or it's a new experience for you, incorporating these practices into your daily routine can help you find the clarity you deserve.

Set Boundaries.

Applying boundaries to all areas of your life can work magic for your mental health. It's one of the main factors that has given me my life back after struggling with mental illness for most of my life. When we think of boundaries we often think of setting them with certain people in our lives, but this practice can be applied to almost every aspect of our life from our loved ones to our playlists. In times of high anxiety take inventory of who and what you're investing your energy in that day/ week. Maybe you need to distance yourself from texting your best friend for a week or two. Perhaps a family member has been draining your energy lately and it's time to step back and spend some time alone to refuel. I'm not telling you to cut ties with the people you love. Explain to them that this has been a heavy year and you need to spend some time working on building your mental clarity back up so you may not be as available as you usually are for a while. Your loved ones will understand. Remember, they want you to be happy and healthy. Also, take inventory of that you're absorbing on a digital level in your daily life. Has your playlist been sad or unfulfilling lately? Maybe it's time to explore a more upbeat or inspiring genre of music. Are you jumping on social media in the morning and heading straight to the controversial comment section first thing in the morning? How much time are you spending on social media each day? What shows or movies have you been watching recently? Perhaps it's not the best time to watch The Purge or Grey's Anatomy

 In one of my favorite books, You Are Here, Thich Nhat Hanh writes:

Perhaps you are in contact with too many negative elements. You have looked at, listened to, and touched many things that are negative in nature, such as fear and despair. These negative forces are everywhere. When you turn on your TV, for instance, you run the risk of ingesting harmful things such as violence, despair and fear. At that moment you say to yourself 'I don't need these things. I refuse to watch these programs. I am going to seek out things that are refreshing in nature, healing and helpful things'. 

Give Gratitude.

It's a challenge finding gratitude during an apocalyptic year such as this, but I promise you can find at least three things for which you can give gratitude. Instead of getting on social media in the morning or at lunch try writing down at least three things you can show gratitude towards. It can be something as simple as I'm thankful for this quiet moment or I have so much gratitude for the sun giving me warmth and vitamin D. I know it might sound a little elementary but when we start showing gratitude for the thing in our daily lives it helps us realize how much we really have. It helps us remember that despite all of the pain, chaos and uncertainty in life, there is still beauty in the world. 

Stay Hydrated.

When the physical state of your body is stressed from lack of hydration or proper nutrition it causes our mental state to become stressed also. Staying properly hydrated is hands down the easiest thing to do on this list of easing anxiety. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day (more if you are particularly active). It's not going to be an in your face change of mental states, but under the surface it's kick starting your body into being able to manage it's systems without the extra stress of dehydration. 

Bonus points if you're also minimizing processed foods (junk food/ pre-made box foods), sugar, and alcohol while maximizing veggies, fruits, and healthy whole food meals. Don't underestimate the power nutrition has on your mental health. 

Just Breathe.

Yes, this is much easier said than done when you're in the midst of an anxiety attack and it's already hard to breathe. Intentional breathing is extremely effective in calming you down when in panic mode, but let's focus more on how we can be proactive with our breath. Just 10 minutes of intentional breathing every day helps lower your blood pressure and decrease anxiety. It's a form of meditation that helps properly oxygenate your body resulting in less stressful states internally. 

When we are fully in the moment with our breathe we aren't worried about yesterday, tomorrow, or the pain of the world. There are many methods but I recommend starting with a 4, 7, 8 breath. Inhale extending the belly while counting to 4, hold breath for 7 counts, and exhale fully for 8 counts. Breath work is a great way to begin a mindful meditation practice. Adopting mindfulness throughout your daily life has a magical way of causing anxiety to melt away. I'll admit, this one does take a while to build up as it can be hard to quiet your mind especially when so much is going on in the world. If you're having trouble silencing your mind enough for breath work or meditation try incorporating sound therapy. It induces brainwaves to reach meditative states with ease. Fun Fact: Just one hour of sound therapy is equivalent to eight hours of sleep. Check ours out here!

Sleep Hygiene.

I know it's tough to get that good sleep right now. You're probably waking up at all hours of the night worried about something. The state of the country. The state of your job. The state of a loved ones health. The list goes on for all of us right now. That's why it's so important for us to do everything we can to at least try and get a restorative night's sleep. Sleep is the renewal process for your body. Without proper sleep your mental health declines and your immune system can't properly function. We might not be able to help how many times we wake up through the night but we can set the stage for better sleep. Make sleep a ritual. In the modern world rituals are becoming somewhat taboo, but rituals help things become habitual. The key is repetition and tricking your mind into remembering that it's time to rest at this time and for this amount of time EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

  • Thirty minutes to an hour before bed turn your thermostat lower, change into actual sleeping clothes, and turn off the tv and phone. Listen to calming music, read or meditate and drink tea in a room other than your bedroom. 
  • Take your tv out of your bedroom. It's too tempting to just turn on when you can't sleep. Also, there is talk that electromagnetic frequencies from the tv can disrupt your sleep even when turned off. Do not keep your phone by or in your bed. Keep it away from your bed. I promise you can live eight hours without it by your side. 
  • Use a sound machine if the silence is too loud and make your room as dark as possible. 
  • Don't drink alcohol or eat too close to your bed time. You might think a glass of wine helps you sleep but it actually causes disruption through the night.
  • Set a bedtime that allows between 8-9 hours of sleep. Even if you know you're going to lie in bed anyway for an hour before you fall asleep just do it! It takes a while but your body and mind will get used to that being the time you get in bed. 

 

Look, I know it's tempting to follow every second of our ever unfolding drama, but you have to prioritize your sanity for the sake of staying healthy. This is not about ignorant bliss. I'm not telling you to stop watching the news forever, never watch a TV drama or stop listening to sad songs for eternity. This is about listening to your body and knowing when it's time to step away and rejuvenate your energy. You know your energy has been drained this year, and while you can't control what's happening in 2020, you can control how you respond and care for yourself.

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Detoxing From Diet Culture

Be honest with yourself — how many diets have you tried in your lifetime? The answer is probably too many. Diet culture has created a never ending cycle of self loathing scale obsession . It doesn’t matter what size you are chances are you’re dieting at least a few times a year. The truth is, diet culture is more about big business than actual health and wellness. How big? According to MarketResearch.com in 2018 alone the weight loss industry in the United States was worth $72 billion dollars. It’s time we shine a light on the dark side of dieting and refocus our attention on actual wellness.

Defining Diet Culture

 

The Beast of Body Image

None of us are free from the beast of body image that diet culture has laid upon us. We’ve been sold a lie that thinner is healthier, and it’s infected our standards of wellness. As a teenager I struggled with an eating disorder and though I was thin, I was far from healthy. Gas station diet pills, two energy drinks and a pack of sour gummy worms made up my diet most days. Like many young women, diet culture sold me the image that thin is beautiful. Social media was only beginning but that didn’t stop tumblr from being the mecca for eating disorder inspiration. At any time of day you could look up thin-spiration to keep you on the path of turning down meals and dieting. Social media has grown even bigger now and reeking with diet culture in the age of the influencer. What seems like a harmless partnership with a health food company is subliminally toxic. We’re being sold the perfect outfit with a professional grade face of make-up and pristine photo shopped images that are not a real representation of health. We’re now being sold the image of perfection and calling it health — and we are absolutely buying it because these influencers seem like everyday people instead of celebs. 

At 31 I’m at my heaviest, but also my healthiest. When I was thinner I was in optimal health according to diet culture, but I was sick constantly and on multiple prescription medications. Detoxing from diet culture may have made the number on the scale go up, but I’m rarely sick, have an incredible about of energy, and take absolutely no medication other than Tylenol (that’s even rare). It’s time for us to normalize wellness, not a certain weight.

The Alternative

Stop the dieting! We drive ourselves mad counting calories, keeping journals and trying to remember all the things we can’t eat on whatever new diet we’ve selected for this year. Keep it simple and listen to your body. 

One of the best things you can do is to stop dieting and live a healthy lifestyle is to say goodbye to preservatives. Many of these meal plans and diets are pumped with preservatives and chemicals. You’ll likely lose weight while you’re on them but at what expense to your long-term health? Not to mention these meals are created to keep you consuming them indefinitely. These companies know the minute you stop the weight will come back making you vulnerable to consumption again. This doesn’t only apply to pre-made meals, but boxed food in general. Prepared foods, sauces and beverages contain chemicals, excess sugar and high amounts of salt. When you prepare your own fresh food it gives you complete control over your health, not to mention it’s ridiculously satisfying. Another plus I’ve noticed is that my grocery bill went down when I started buying only staples for meals — that’s even including buying mostly organic and free range. There’s a wonderful free course taught by Stanford University about simple health and food prep that I highly recommend. I’m in no way an affiliated with them. I just discovered the course during quarantine and found it valuable.

Try mindful eating and listening to your body instead of counting calories. Your body really knows what it needs — when it’s actually hungry, when it’s satisfied and properly fueled (not stuffed). Try eating without mindless distractions like TV or your phone. It’s harder to hear what your body is telling you when in distraction mode. You might find that you enjoy your food more and have better conversations over meals. 

If you hate going to the gym don’t subjectify yourself to that kind of atmosphere. Going to the gym is not the end all be all to exercise. It’s also important to note that if you hate it, chances are you’re going to quit. Find a form of movement that is enjoyable to you.  Taking a walk, going for a bike ride and any other leisure outdoor activities are actually a double whammy because you’re getting a healthy does of vitamin D while exercising. Your work outs may not look like everyone else’s but it doesn't disqualify them from being exercise. The key is to incorporate some type of regular movement in your life.

I could go on and on about detoxing from diet culture because it’s my favorite soap box to climb atop. But I’ll leave you with this — listen to yourself, mind/body/soul and just keep it simple.

Diet Culture

 

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Ultra Nourishing Mushroom Toast

Put anything on toast and I'm a fan of it instantly. Years ago I worked at this restaurant that had the most incredible toast. It was very VERY far from anything nourishing packed with heavy cream, mound of melted cheese and no veggies other then caramelized onions, but delicious none the less. 

I decided to create my own version of mushroom toast packed with generous amounts of nourishment and the ability to be vegan modified. It's works great as an extremely filling lunch or weekend snack. 

Ingredients:

Coconut Aminos

Cracked Black Pepper

Coconut Creamer

Red Peppers

Spinach

Mushrooms of Choice

Freshly Grated Parmesan (leave out for vegan option)

Multigrain Sourdough (or bread of choice)

Preperation:

Place a few dashes of coconut aminos and chopped red pepper into non-stick pan. Cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.

Add chopped mushrooms to pan and cook for 5 minutes. 

Combine cracked black pepper, one tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan, and a splash of coconut creamer to your mushroom and red peppers. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir often.

Throw a handful of spinach onto your toast of choice and add you cooked mushrooms and peppers. 

Top with Everything But the Bagel seasoning seasoning. Enjoy!

 

 

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