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  • How L-Glutamine Supports Gut Health, Athletic Recovery, and More

    In the realm of health and wellness, few amino acids command as much attention as L-glutamine. Offering a myriad of benefits, this compound serves as a cornerstone in the intricate web of bodily functions, extending its influence far beyond muscle repair. From bolstering immune function to nurturing gut integrity, L-glutamine is important to consider in any well-rounded health supplementation approach. What Is Glutamine? While sometimes used interchangeably, “L-glutamine,” and “glutamine” are technically different. Getting into the nitty gritty science of it–glutamine is the amino structure built and used by our bodies, while L-glutamine is something called an “isomer,” which is a molecularly similar but rearranged version of glutamine that can be found in foods we eat. When we consume L-glutamine, in either food or supplement form, our body can rearrange the molecules to create glutamine in our body. L-Glutamine-Rich Foods When incorporating L-Glutamine into your diet, you will find many protein-rich foods and vegetables to be your best bet. (1) Proteins rich in L-glutamine: Beef Milk (Skim milk is especially rich in L-glutamine) Eggs Yogurt (Greek yogurt is especially rich in L-glutamine) Tofu Cottage cheese Ricotta cheese Vegetables rich in L-glutamine: Raw spinach Raw parsley Broccoli Kale Cabbage Health Benefits of L-Glutamine The benefits of L-glutamine are varied and far reaching, making it an excellent multi-effect supplement. Anything that supports overall gut health is a no-brainer for overall wellness, but its effects on athletic recovery and in specific medical applications can be incredibly useful as well. 1. It supports your gut L-glutamine has been well-proven to support our gut barrier and lining, as well as promoting gut microbiome diversity (more types of good bugs in our gut). (2) For individuals struggling with leaky gut syndrome and its symptoms, L-glutamine has the potential to be an incredible healing agent. Virtually everyone can benefit from making choices supporting of their gut microbiome, prioritizing both prebiotics and probiotics in their daily routines, be it dietary or in supplement form. Supplementing with L-glutamine can help those pre and probiotics do their job better and provide more lasting benefits. 2. It can help you recover from your workouts quicker While it’s somewhat intuitive that an amino acid, a building block for muscle, would help in athletic applications, the theory also holds up to science where recovery is concerned. Quite a few studies have confirmed that L-glutamine supplementation can offer a variety of benefits in this area. (3) Glutamine supplementation reduces markers of muscle damage in high-performance athletes It seems to help increase muscle mass when taken over time. Its use has been observed to be associated with better athletic performance overall, but current studies can’t adequately attribute L-glutamine alone in this benefit. 3. Weight and fat loss Individuals hoping to lose weight or improve metabolic function may find L-glutamine a helpful supplement in their journey. L-glutamine can increase the circulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), the very same effect that new popular weight loss drugs like semaglutide have on the body. (8) Additional GLP-1 in the body helps regulate insulin production and blood sugar to make people feel more satiated after meals. Studies have confirmed this effect in a clinical study observing the effect of L-glutamine on non-dieting obese females. (7) Additionally, it’s important to note that L-glutamine’s effect on muscle mass and athletic recovery could benefit anyone losing weight in helping them prevent unwanted muscle loss while dieting. Because muscle mass is part of what dictates overall metabolism, this could help maintain a higher metabolism during the weight loss process, which can help bolster results and overall health. 4. Other medical applications Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - L-glutamine has been seen to improve markers in intestinal permeability and reducing inflammation in patients with IBD. (4) Sickle cell anemia - While still in the early stages of research, L-glutamine is an approved therapy for Sickle cell anemia and worth consideration in a treatment plan. (5) 5. Immune support The inextricable link between gut health and the immune system makes it no surprise that L-glutamine has also been shown to be very supportive in immune health. Not only has glutamine been observed as a highly used component of immune cells, it’s also been observed as a beneficial to immune function in clinical settings and studies. (6) L-Glutamine Supplement Dosages Depending on what you’re supplementing with L-glutamine for, and other benefits unique to your unique situation (consider: height, weight, other medications and supplements), you will be able to find the best dose with the help of your doctor. Typically, clinical settings dose with anywhere from 5 to 60 grams of L-glutamine daily (often broken into several doses per day at those higher daily doses). Potential Side Effects and Medication Interactions L-glutamine is considered a very safe supplement to take. While side effects are rare and usually mild, look out for some of these common symptoms: Nausea Stomach pain Constipation Gas Heartburn Dizziness Cough/hoarseness Joint pain Mild rash Swelling Medication interactions: If you are undergoing therapies for cancer or taking anti-seizure medication, L-glutamine may not be a safe supplement. As always, consulting with a doctor is the only way to make sure a supplement is a safe addition to your current routine. Should You Take L-Glutamine? Because it is generally considered quite safe and offers such an array of important benefits to the gut, L-glutamine is something you should consider in your supplement routine. However, you’re most likely to achieve optimal health with the guidance of an expert. If you are considering L-glutamine supplementation or struggling with some of the health concerns above, you’d likely benefit from hands-on diet and lifestyle coaching. FAQ: What are the symptoms of a glutamine deficiency? If you’re glutamine deficient, the first signs are going to be in your gut and immune health. If you’re having frequent gut issues and/or getting sick quite often, it may be pointing to something to do with your body’s inability to access glutamine sufficiently. At what time of day should you take L-glutamine? It’s best to take L-glutamine on an empty stomach, even if that means 10 or 15 minutes before a meal. Because it can be easiest to remember taking something first thing in the morning, that would be my first choice for someone, right before breakfast. How long does it take L-glutamine to heal the gut? L-glutamine is a relatively fast-acting supplement. While the timeline to fully heal a gut, especially from leaky gut syndrome or depleted microbiome, could be a multi-year process, you may start feeling the benefits of L-glutamine in as little as a few weeks. Is it okay to take L-glutamine daily? L-glutamine is a supplement that’s best when taken daily, so yes! As your cells need daily inputs to keep your muscles healthy and gut microbiome flourishing, a daily dose of L-glutamine can support those mechanisms in the body. Dr Will Cole Sources Cruzat V, Macedo Rogero M, Noel Keane K, Curi R, Newsholme P. Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 23;10(11):1564. doi: 10.3390/nu10111564. PMID: 30360490; PMCID: PMC6266414. Perna, Simone, Tariq A. Alalwan, Zahraa Alaali, Tahera Alnashaba, Clara Gasparri, Vittoria Infantino, Layla Hammad, Antonella Riva, Giovanna Petrangolini, Pietro Allegrini, and et al. 2019. "The Role of Glutamine in the Complex Interaction between Gut Microbiota and Health: A Narrative Review" International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20, no. 20: 5232. Coqueiro, Audrey Yule, Marcelo Macedo Rogero, and Julio Tirapegui. 2019. "Glutamine as an Anti-Fatigue Amino Acid in Sports Nutrition" Nutrients 11, no. 4: 863. Carlos Murilo Schanuel, Eleusa Nogueira Dias, Ana Paula Ferreira, et al. Glutamine as A Therapeutic Strategy in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Systematic Review. Gastroint Hepatol Dig Dis. 2019; 2(2): 1-6. Ashley-Koch A., Treadwell M. J., Vichinsky E. (2018). L-Glutamine for Sickle Cell Anemia: More Questions than Answers. Blood, 132(7), 689-690. Philip Newsholme, Why Is L-Glutamine Metabolism Important to Cells of the Immune System in Health, Postinjury, Surgery or Infection?, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 131, Issue 9, 2001, Pages 2515S-2522S. Laviano, A., Molfino, A., Lacaria, M. et al. Glutamine supplementation favors weight loss in nondieting obese female patients. A pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 1264–1266 (2014). Sachin L. Badole, Pranita P. Bagul, Sagar P. Mahamuni, Rekha D. Khose, Anuja C. Joshi, Ganesh B. Jangam, Arvindkumar E. Ghule, Chandrashekhar G. Raut, Vijay M. Khedkar, Evans C. Coutinho, Oral l-glutamine increases active GLP-1 (7-36) amide secretion and improves glycemic control in stretpozotocin–nicotinamide induced diabetic rats, Chemico-Biological Interactions, Volume 203, Issue 2,

  • Root Cause Interstitial Cystitis Treatments

    Living with interstitial cystitis (IC) can be challenging, disruptive, and frustrating. Individuals with IC often experience chronic pelvic pain, discomfort, a frequent need to urinate, and sleep disruption. The condition can make simple tasks like sitting for long periods or engaging in physical activities extremely uncomfortable. What’s sometimes worse than the symptoms themselves is the unpredictable nature of IC. This can lead to ongoing anxiety and stress, unsure when flare-ups will occur. Not to mention the frustration that comes with an ailment that is not well understood medically speaking. This in itself can have significant health effects. Managing interstitial cystitis might include dietary modifications, exercise, stress management, and physical therapy. More often than not, it is a uniquely tailored combination of these approaches that result in the best outcomes for an individual. How Interstitial Cystitis Works Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation and irritation of the bladder wall. While the exact cause of IC is not fully understood, it is believed to involve a combination of factors, including abnormalities in the bladder lining, dysfunction of the bladder wall, and alterations in the immune system. In individuals with IC, the protective lining of the bladder, called the urothelium, becomes damaged or compromised, allowing irritants in the urine to penetrate the bladder wall. This leads to inflammation, which can trigger symptoms such as pelvic pain, urinary urgency, frequency, and discomfort. IC symptoms can range vastly from person to person and even day to day for the same person. Most suffering with IC can attribute certain triggers for their symptoms. Triggers can be certain foods and beverages, stress, and hormonal changes. While there is no known cure for IC, many of its symptoms can be managed, especially by identifying and avoiding these triggers, relying on natural remedies and optimizing overall health from a functional medicine perspective, but more on that below. Symptoms and Causes The symptoms of IC can be numerous and varied. IC symptoms Bladder pain or pressure Frequent or urgent urination Pain during sex Perineum pain Pain in the abdomen when the bladder fills Waking up several times in the night to pee Small urine volume Possible causes of IC-While the exact cause of IC is unknown, it is thought that the following factors can influence its development. Autoimmune disease Allergies Bladder lining issues Bladder tissue defect Vascular disease Mast cell abnormalities Excessive protein levels Unidentified infections If you think you may have IC or want to learn more, this overview dives deep on symptoms and causes. Treating Interstitial Cystitis Using a functional medicine approach, treating IC starts with tackling potential root causes, starting with the most common offenders: poor diet, sleep, exercise, and sleep management. Once these are tackled, complementary therapies like nerve stimulation and bladder retraining may help IC sufferers return even closer to symptom-free living. When patients ask me what the most effective treatment is for interstitial cystitis, my answer is an otherwise healthy and thriving body and making sure to avoid known triggers, or the inflammatory foods, cycles, and behaviors that tend to make things worse. Start with these natural remedies for interstitial cystitis A guided elimination diet and avoiding certain foods A consistent, daily exercise routine Try walking, swimming, biking, dance classes, yoga, pilates, at-home fitness videos or in-person classes -- anything to get moving! Managing your stress Here I outline 28 ways to manage your stress. Meditation, journaling, yoga, breathwork, and making time for good friends are all free ways to destress daily that you can incorporate immediately Next, look at various physical therapies: (best utilized with expert medical guidance) Bladder training - Some doctors encourage patients to avoid the first urge to urinate to see if it passes without becoming painful, waiting to urinate until really necessary. Sometimes this seems to help the bladder “retrain” to only have urges when the bladder is truly full (2) Bowel training  - Some doctors also believe that “training” the bowels to empty once every morning may help alleviate IC symptoms (2) Biofeedback - physical therapists can use electrodes placed on your body (on the perineum and/or the area around the anus) to measure how tense or relaxed the surrounding muscles are and help you get a sense of when and how much to relax. (1) Electrical Stimulation - this method uses electrodes inserted through your vagina or rectum to help desensitize nerves and/or force muscle contraction/relaxation (1) Interferential Therapy - this is a kind of electrical stimulation that also uses electrodes to lessen the sensations of spasm (1) Ultrasound Ultrasound therapies can help with overall pain management (1) Cold laser This is another technology that has had some success in managing pain in IC sufferers using a low-intensity laser light (1) Other tips and tricks: Create a food log. Use your phone or a physical journal to track daily foods in relation to symptoms. You can look for clues as to what foods trigger the onset of your worst symptoms Stay consistent. If something works, don’t stop! I often see patients let their diet or exercise routine slip after they start seeing improvements, only to have their symptoms return. For best results, make any positive changes into daily habits Stay hydrated. I know this is sometimes easier said than done. Keep track of your daily water intake, even invest in a large water bottle to help keep you accountable Avoid tight clothing and irritable fabrics. Anything physically irritating is only going to make things worse. While you’re working on relieving symptoms from the inside out, make sure you’re not exacerbating symptoms from the outside either. Avoid sex if it is painful. Make sure to be gentle in the area, especially during times of symptom onset. Last resort options: These treatments for interstitial cystitis should be considered only when diet, exercise, stress and other foundational health considerations have been addressed. Discuss surgical options with a medical professional Consider medication options like NSAIDs, antihistamines, and antidepressants Sodium hyaluronate solution installations Begin Healing From Interstitial Cystitis The question of how to treat interstitial cystitis can be a complex one. Tackling treatment of IC can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially when managing such a long list of possible triggers and variables. If you’re interested in an interstitial cystitis natural treatment framework, working with a functional medicine expert can be a great way to fast-track understanding and healing. If you are ready to get to the root cause of your symptoms of interstitial cystitis, we are here for you. Dr Will Cole

  • "June's Bloom: Top Recommendations for a Vibrant and Joyful Month"

    In this blog post, we will explore the best ways to make the most out of June, ensuring that your month is filled with excitement, relaxation, and memorable moments. In the current atmosphere, there's a sense of acceleration and a strong urge to eagerly embrace opportunities that may have been elusive earlier this year. We are eager to fast-track to the positive aspects, as the number 6 in June symbolizes love, home, and beauty. Key themes include new romance, enhancing the home environment, and fostering connections within the community. Imagine a world where communities and tribes are like a cozy campfire for kindred spirits. Now is the moment to dive into social adventures, sharing stories and forging connections with your tribe! NUMBER 6 : JUNE The Dharma of number 6 includes clarity, sharp awareness, fighting for a true cause, sense of natural injustice, flourishing and intuitively choosing the moment for letting out the battle cry. The Karma of number 6 includes fear, insecurity, picking a fight for nothing, personally identifying with injustices, dark and heavy silence, too many secrets, or screaming and speaking too much. The month of June, not to mistake hesitation for moments of meditation, and do not mistake moments of meditation for hesitation. 6 is the number of the open flower in full bloom. There are flowers which open in winter and others that open in summer. June gives us the longest or shortest day of the year (depending on the hemisphere). Therefore it is a peak and a turning point. We can go no further in the direction we were and now we must make an arc to turn the wheel of life back upon itself. In the extremeness of sunlight and heat, or cold and darkness, we are wise to take cover. Taking cover due to fear is karmic and reactive. Taking cover through intuitive common sense is Dharma in action. Intuition, given by the Arc-line, is there to cover you, and keep you ahead of the time. When we lack a sense of our own presence then we fill the space with excess of false decorations. When our arc-line is in flourishing and vibrant it becomes our decoration and our effectiveness – a presence that speaks. Expand the lungs, sing out loud, and dance from the core to your extremities. The other (inner) hemisphere of that is to breathe so silently that it gives you a loud and impacting presence. As the arc-line has two hemispheres then each needs the balance of the other. So in June we present our presence in the present and fully enter the world, yet keeping secret moments in which to return within, become silent and let the clarity reveal itself. Spiritual suggestions for the month: – Take many moments to just be with your breath. – Breathe your fear. Turn it into a wind behind your sails. – Make music and song of your pain – Meditate on natural justice before getting into any fight (fight ‘for’ – not ‘against’). – Keep the phrase ‘there’s no injustice, all just is’. – Meditate to develop your intuition. Element of the month: FIRE Similar to how the sun fuels energy for the earth, fire serves as the energy source for the body. Fire embodies perception, illumination, and sight, with the eyes being viewed as the organ associated with fire. It symbolizes light, warmth, vitality, metabolism, and the ability to transform. We can use this energy to burn through the negativity and create great things, or burn up ourselves in anger. THE KEY WORD FOR THE MONTH IS INTUITION To get to the heart of the matter, we must let go of all that we’ve ever known. Our Intuition will take us finally to a precipice in consciousness.” – Richard Rudd, 64 Ways Intuition is different from of thinking, logic, and analysis — it’s that feeling of knowing something for certain without knowing how. Have you ever had a gut feeling lead you to the answer to an important question? Have you ever just suddenly known how to solve a problem that you had been agonizing over for weeks? That’s intuition. In her article on Intuition, the fabulous actress Carrie Anne Moss spills the beans: Yogis believe women are naturally 16x more intuitive than men. And, we open up to it even more during pregnancy and into Motherhood. Yet, even with the natural opening up to your intuition there is room to enhance and strengthen our intuitive sense to better guide you in life. Ways to strengthen your Intuition. Taking a pause and going Inside for answers Practicing listening to how your body feels about a choice or situation Practice asking your body a question and then feel into the “yes” answer vs. the “no” answer. How do they differ? Does one feel easier or lighter? Practice trusting your intuition Regular meditation to: Operate / function from a calmer state out of your parasympathetic nervous system. Reduce stress. When you’re caught up in all the stress and emotions you make decisions and choices based off of your emotions and not from your inner sense, your intuitive sense of what is better Decrease reactionary responses from the more reptilian area of your brain. That part where anger, frustration, fear, and other emotions drive actions and decisions. Allow space to quiet the mind and slow down enough to listen to your inner knowing. Busyness doesn’t allow the space for this to happen. How meditation works with your intuition. Daily meditation strengthens your intuition by cleansing the mind and bringing your thoughts and feelings into alignment with the wisdom of the soul. A strong intuitive mind gives you the ability to know the unknown consequences of our actions before we act, so that we can make wise choices to guide our lives. A meditative mind is a process to the intuitive mind. When you take the time to slow the thoughts down, to calm your body, to connect with your self you are guided in truth, your truth. Think about this … you’re happier when you do things that resonate with your soul, that light you up. That puts a smile on your face. It’s quite the opposite when we’re in auto-pilot and are doing the things, reacting to people, feeling our emotions. Note here: feeling your emotions is healthy and should be experienced, but getting caught in your emotions is another thing and that’s what I’m talking about here. So, when you trust, believe and practice using your intuition you’ve allowed for more space, you’ve softened your “to do” always going, productive resolve and sat with yourself. That’s the magic and that’s where you connect to your knowing and allow for your creativity to present itself. You’re connecting with your intuitive sense. Expanding & Strengthening Your Intuition Brings Joy And when you settle into this space you’re happier because you’re connecting with your soul desires. You can better relate to and understand what it is that lights you up. You’ll do something just because “it feels” like something you should do or that you’d like to do not knowing why…. And, if you do this it inevitably leads to something else. As you follow this path you end up somewhere you may have never imagined, but somewhere that your soul has led you to and that brings you joy. Your intuition, true sense of course keeps you protected. You’ll more often choose and follow the path of your soul, the path taking you in the right direction even when you don’t yet understand why. It protects you from making decisions rooted in emotion and thought … which may not always be the best course of action. With intuition you’ll move into the guidance of tomorrow with the strength of today, and with the experience of yesterday. Thinking brings your past into today … in a sense you’re living in your past. Yet many times we want to break away from past habits and patterns. There are things that serve us from our past and there are times when we need to trust our intuition and develop it so we make better choices in the present and future. We get thousands of thoughts and we start thinking. With intuition you feel it, sense it, experience where the decision takes you … does it feel right? Intuition is the source of happiness. Intuition is the personal reality to which your personality has to adjust. The natural beauty that you’ll like to flow in your life in a normal way will come out of your intuition. Finding My Way Back to Intuition Through Kundalini Yoga “When we are disconnected from our intuition, we tend to make choices that are in conflict with our truest nature. sometimes it is fear that sings the loudest. fear that we will lose love. fear that we will lose ourselves. fear that we really don’t know the best way.” — CARRIE-ANNE MOSS Carrie Anne tell her story about Kundalini Yoga: There are many ways in which we can find our way back to our inner knowing. For some it is through writing or painting. For some it is through prayer or running. For me, Kundalini Yoga has been such a powerful practice in my life. I began studying it when I first moved to L.A. but it was about six years ago when I decided to deepen my devotion to it by becoming a teacher. I remember lying in bed at night worrying about my children and the future. I was filled with so much anxiety and stress that I just knew that I needed to give myself more tools in order to thrive. What makes Kundalini Yoga different from some other styles of yoga is that the exercises are linked with breath and mantras that open the heart and mind to give you a sense of peace. One of the benefits of doing Kundalini Yoga is  being  in touch with your intuition. “what makes kundalini different from some other styles of yoga is that the exercises are linked with breath and mantras that open the heart and mind to give you a sense of peace.” Once I began to deepen my practice, the fear started to melt away. Over all, it has given me the ability to live my life free from chaos. The meditations clear my mind and open my heart. The Kryas give me strength. I am no longer searching for anyone to heal me or tell me what to do because I understand and believe that I have the ability to heal myself and the knowledge to make aligned choices. Because this practice connects me to my intuition at such a deep level, I find that the answers to my questions come easily to me. When they don’t, I know that it is only a matter of waiting. My intuition is ignited and I no longer misinterpret my fear as my true voice (most of the time). The freedom I feel to live my life in a graceful way is something for which I am deeply grateful. THE ARCLINE, BE RADIANT! Did you know that we all have a halo? It is a line of energy that stretches from ear to ear, across the brow, which we call the arcline in Kundalini Yoga. It is the central nucleus of our aura, the point at which the energies of the chakras come together to rest. Our arcline is our essence, and it needs to be nourished. In this guide we will explore exactly what the arcline is, how to activate it, and how to ensure it is the strongest it can be. What is the Arcline? Let’s look at the essentials first. In Kundalini Yoga it is believed that we are made up of ten bodies. The arcline is the sixth of these bodies. It is the ring of energy that circles our head, projecting us to the world. It governs our intuition and judgment, and supports decision making and our professional processes. When the arcline is strong we feel able to concentrate, our focus is intense and unwavering, and we can meditate with ease. On the other hand, when the arcline is weak or underdeveloped we may find ourselves to be easily influenced, struggle to make decisions, unfocused, and unhappy. How to Activate the Arcline When we work on ourselves, we activate our arcline. The more time we put into self-care and self-love, the more power our arcline projects. A strong sense of awareness allows us to fix issues before they bloom out of all control. In doing so, we reinforce the essence of our energy that is encapsulated by the arcline. Spending meditative time in reflection helps us to activate the Sixth Body by boosting self awareness and helping to manifest our dreams. It allows us to recognize our power within ourselves, which is then reflected in the arcline. How to Strengthen the Arcline Many Kundalini yoga meditations will have a positive impact on the arcline because they encourage reflection and introspection. Any routine which draws focus to the Third Eye chakra will help to build strength. It is also essential to practice Satya in order to strengthen the Sixth Body. This is the art of speaking the truth, being true to oneself, embracing the beauty of simplicity, and always, always practicing what you preach. Taking time each day to set intentions and journaling your reflections whilst burning a cleansing incense is a great way to build this habit. Basing your life around these central tenets boosts the self awareness and self belief that are essential to a strong arcline. When you have mastered this practice, the arcline is able to protect you and project your essence to the world. Continue your Journey Strengthening the arcline is a process and won’t happen overnight. It’s about creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime. But once these practices become regular habits you will begin to see a whole host of benefits, such as increased focus, intuition, and good concentration, so the sooner you start, the better. Qualities: Justice, integrity, protection, projection, perception, and intuition. Key Phrase “Person at Prayer” – Balance between physical and cosmic realms and between word and deed. Mastery: Ability to focus, concentrate, to meditate; the intuition of the Sixth Body will protect you; the congruence of your inner reality with your external actions will carry great power. If weak: overprotective; easily influenced; inconsistent in mood and behavior due to glandular imbalance; unable to focus or manifest prayers. Key to Balancing the Arc-line: awaken the pituitary gland (Sixth Chakra) through activities like pranayama, meditation, and healthfully refined lifestyle choices. A question to ask the Arc-Line body? Am I being truthful? Am I being honest? Am I acting with HERBS FOR JUNE : LOVE AND BEAUTY A Magical Guide to Romance and Connection: In the world of natural remedies and ancient traditions, herbs have long been revered for their potent abilities to heal, soothe, and enchant. When it comes to matters of the heart, certain herbs are believed to possess the power to enhance love, passion, and emotional connection. Whether you are looking to deepen an existing relationship or attract new love into your life, these herbs can be a delightful and aromatic addition to your romantic endeavors. 1. Rose Petals: Symbolic of love and beauty, rose petals are often used in love spells and rituals. You can scatter them in your bath, use them to make a love-infused tea, or create a romantic potpourri to set the mood. 2. Lavender: Known for its calming and soothing properties, lavender can help create a serene and loving atmosphere. Add lavender essential oil to a diffuser, or place dried lavender under your pillow to invite sweet dreams of your beloved. 3. Jasmine: Often associated with sensuality and romance, jasmine’s intoxicating fragrance can enhance feelings of love and attraction. Use jasmine oil in massages, or burn jasmine incense to fill the air with its alluring scent. 4. Basil: In many cultures, basil is considered a symbol of love and fertility. Incorporate fresh basil into your cooking, or place basil leaves in a sachet under your mattress to promote passion and intimacy. 5. Yarrow: This herb is believed to bring courage and clarity in matters of the heart. Brew yarrow tea to help you make wise decisions in your love life, or carry a small sachet of yarrow with you for its protective energies. MEDITATION FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE In the midst of all the crazy vibes, why not sprinkle a little calm into your everyday chaos? Dive into the soothing world of Sitali Pranayam for a quick mental makeover that'll whisk you away to Zen town. Remember, sometimes the simplest things bring the biggest sparkle! RECIPE OF THE MONTH: MUCUNA MOCHA LATTE ~ a joyful latte ~ INGREDIENTS 2-3 Tbsp cacao powder 1/2 tsp mucuna 1/2 tsp maca 1/2 tsp mesquite 1tsp happiness tonic 1Tbsp coconut cream powder 1 tsp coconut crystals (sweeten as desired) 4​oz homemade almond milk 4-5oz hot water D I R E C T I O N S : Add all ingredients into a blender for 5-10 seconds and serve By following these recommendations, you'll be able to fully appreciate the beauty and opportunities that June has to offer. Enjoy the start of summer and make this month one to remember! With Gratitude Gabriela Ana Holistic Health Coach References: Intuition Herbs @animamuniherbals Numerology Arc line

  • Conquering menopause fatigue - 7 ways to regain your energy

    You can beat menopause fatigue with a healthy diet, daily exercise, sleep, and supplements. Learn how to reclaim your energy during this life stage. What to know Menopause fatigue is a real and common symptom in mid-life that can affect daily energy levels and quality of life. Declining estrogen levels and sleep disturbances are common contributors to menopause fatigue. Reduced mitochondrial function also coincides with menopause, which can further contribute to fatigue. You can combat menopause fatigue with lifestyle factors such as a nutritious diet, exercise, hydration, supplements, and more. Supplements like Mitopure® that target mitochondrial health can be a valuable addition to your regimen, to improve cellular energy to combat menopause fatigue. Menopause is a natural transition women undergo in mid-life that comes along with various physical and mental changes. One common symptom women report is menopause fatigue, a feeling of intense tiredness and lack of energy affecting everyday life. There are several potential causes of menopause fatigue, but the good news is this constant state of exhaustion doesn’t have to be your norm. You can combat its effects through diet, exercise, quality sleep, and key supplements that target mitochondrial health (the cell’s energy center) to support energy. Let’s discuss the signs of menopause to watch out for, the causes of menopause fatigue, and how you can regain energy to do what you love. Note: The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your medical doctor for personalized medical advice. What is menopause? In simplest terms, menopause is the “absence of menses.” You have reached this stage if it has been at least a year since your last menstrual period. Menopause can begin anywhere in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.[1] The two classic telltale signs of menopause are when the ovaries stop releasing an egg every month and estrogen levels decline. This can bring about a slew of symptoms, such as menopause fatigue, hot flashes, weight gain, muscle loss, and more. In addition to estrogen, mitochondrial function also declines throughout menopause, which is associated with accelerated aging and a reduction in energy[2]. Is menopause fatigue real? Menopause fatigue is a real thing, and it happens to many women. This fatigue can make you feel constantly drained physically and mentally, make it hard to focus, and zap your energy and motivation to exercise. It’s more than the typical lack of energy, so it’s important to recognize these changes as they present themselves. Signs of menopause fatigue include: Extreme tiredness Difficulty concentrating Brain fog Exhaustion, even after resting or sleeping Irritability Emotional stress Lack of enthusiasm or motivation for things you typically enjoy Many of these symptoms can be caused by other diseases and conditions, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. Causes of menopause fatigue are related directly to menopause itself as well as some of its symptoms. At its core, declining estrogen and progesterone levels are the main drivers of menopause fatigue. Hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disorders stemming from menopause can also keep you up at night and reduce sleep quality. How to combat menopause fatigue Combating menopause fatigue requires a holistic approach involving diet, supplements, exercise, and proper sleep to improve cellular energy. A popular concept of taking a proactive approach to wellness and improved quality of life is known as biohacking - when you try to “hack” your innate biology to increase energy and improve health. Here are 7 hacks you can use to get your energy back: Diet One of the best first steps is following a nutritious menopause diet that promotes energy, weight management, and improved longevity. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy, and healthy fats like omega-3s in fish will ensure you get all the nutrients and vitamins to fight menopause fatigue. These can support hormone balance, reduce the risk of weight gain, and support optimal blood sugar and energy levels.[3] In addition, incorporating phytoestrogens in the diet, compounds that mimic estrogen in your body, may also support menopausal health. Foods high in phytoestrogens include soy foods like edamame, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, grapes, berries, and black tea.[4] While more research is still needed into the positive effects of phytoestrogens, these foods also contain other beneficial ingredients like protein, fiber, and antioxidants such as polyphenols. Hydration Hormonal changes during menopause can also impact your body’s ability to replenish fluids, increasing the chances of dehydration. In addition, you may be more at risk for dehydration if you are experiencing frequent hot flashes and night sweats, where your body is losing fluid.[5] This means drinking plenty of water is essential to preventing or reducing physical and mental fatigue, as dehydration can drain your energy. Keep a fun water bottle nearby at all times, and flavor it with lime, lemon, or your favorite herbs, like mint or basil, to keep you reaching for more. Exercise Even if you’re tired, exercise can actually increase your energy levels. Getting in some sort of movement every day in the form of cardio, such as walking, or doing strength training can help keep the blood pumping and also boost your confidence during menopause. Exercising regularly, especially outdoors, can also help facilitate better quality sleep at night and make it easier to drift off. For example, several studies have shown daily exercise can help reduce sleep disorders such as insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and sleep apnea.[6] If you’re not currently exercising, start small with just 10 minutes a day and work your way up to the gold standard of 30 minutes a day. Sleep Prioritize your sleep by creating a comfortable environment and relaxing bedtime routine. First, reduce your risk of bedtime awakenings by lowering the temperature to 65 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce night sweats, wear light clothing, and keep a fan on you if needed. Next, create a relaxing nighttime routine that reduces stress and primes your mind to rest, such as journaling, meditating, or taking a warm bath. This will help signal that it’s time for bed and help you fall asleep faster, increasing your overall sleep duration. Stress management Stress can take a toll on your energy. While you can’t rid yourself of all stress, you can control how you handle it. One of the best ways to do this is by talking with close friends or family going through menopause to remind you that you’re not alone. Deep breathing practices and mindful meditation can also help to calm the mind. If your stress levels are difficult to manage or are interfering with work, family, or social commitments, consider consulting with a doctor or therapist who can help. Limit alcohol Alcohol can negatively impact your sleep, increase your risk of dehydration, and up the risk of hot flashes. While drinking a large glass of wine may initially help you fall asleep faster, it typically leads to more night awakenings, hot flashes, and chronic sleep disturbances that trigger menopause fatigue the next day.[7] Supplements It’s not always easy to live a healthy lifestyle. In addition to these lifestyle changes, a mitoceutical like Mitopure® may be of help. Mitopure (Urolithin A) has been clinically proven to improve cellular energy by improving the health of the mitochondria[8], which is linked to better overall energy and stamina. Mitopure Softgels Bestseller 4.4 · 2156 reviews The simplest form of Mitopure BUY NOW Final words Menopause brings about many changes for women, including the ever-common menopause fatigue. However, you can take steps to combat this exhaustion by understanding the root causes and supporting mitochondrial health. Through a combination of healthy lifestyle hacks, a menopause diet, and supplements like Mitopure, you can reclaim your energy and feel more like yourself again. Explore more about Mitopure. Always speak to your doctor about your symptoms before starting a new diet or supplement regimen to determine the best course of action. Collaboration with Time Line Gabriela Ana Holistic Health Coach

  • A Guide To Starving Bad Gut Bacteria And Feeding The Good

    The quality of bacteria that compose your gut microbiome determines almost every aspect of your physical wellness and mental health. Controlling such a diverse community of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes, can seem intimidating. But it's absolutely worth the time spent informing yourself and taking action to optimize your digestive health. The delicate balance of these microbial communities is crucial, and any disruptions in this balance, known as dysbiosis, have been linked to a wide range of gastrointestinal health issues. Here are the steps I walk my functional medicine patients through to learn how to crowd out the bad and balance their microbiome with the good. How Do You Know If Your Gut Microbiome Is Out Of Whack? Common symptoms of an imbalanced gut include (but are not limited to): Acid reflux Anxiety Autoimmune conditions (ulcerative colitis & Crohn's disease) Bloating Brain fog Depression Constipation Fatigue Food sensitivities Gas Headaches Hormone imbalances Joint pain Nutrient deficiencies Skin problems (acne, rashes, eczema) Weight loss resistance & obesity Other chronic diseases Step 1: Gut Bacteria Testing Testing your gut flora can provide valuable insights into the state of your microbiome. It helps identify imbalances between healthy bacteria and harmful gut bacteria, allowing for a more targeted approach to improve your healthcare experience. Types of tests include: Stool Tests: These tests analyze the composition of bacteria in your fecal matter, providing a detailed report on the diversity and abundance of different bacterial species. Breath Tests: These tests measure the levels of gases, such as hydrogen and methane, produced by bacteria in your gut. They commonly diagnose conditions like Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). Note: Taking probiotics may actually worsen SIBO. Step 2: A Gut-Healing Diet Food is medicine and your gut’s first defense. By incorporating diverse whole foods while eliminating inflammatory foods, you can heal your gut's lining and create a more inhospitable environment for harmful bacteria like E. coli. These are the most effective ways to transform your diet and heal your gut: Eat More Fiber-Rich Foods Think of good gut bacteria as living organisms inside you that need a high-fiber diet to grow. Studies on dietary fiber (found in plant foods like artichokes, chia seeds, and Brussels sprouts) show that these food sources act as prebiotics to fuel the beneficial bacteria in your gut so they can multiply and thrive. (1) Beneficial bacteria in your large intestine ferment the dietary fiber, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) as a byproduct. These SCFAs further maintain a healthy digestive system by supporting immune function and healthy inflammation levels. For a high-fiber, whole-food gut healing diet, many of my patients have found success with low-FODMAP (which I discuss in detail below) and Mediterranean diets. Limit Your Sugar Intake Bad bacteria like to eat, too. Their primary food source is sugar, an overused ingredient in most Western diets. Eating too much sugar can cause the bad bacteria in the digestive tract to multiply and overtake your microbiome. Instead of total sugar deprivation (which is unsustainable for most), I recommend switching from processed sugar to healthier alternatives like pure maple syrup or raw honey. Be cautious about zero-sugar options, as some of these can cause further digestive distress and are actually associated with weight gain and obesity. Eliminate FODMAP Foods FODMAP foods are a group of short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, leading to fermentation and gas production by gut bacteria. Studies show a low-FODMAP diet reduces bad bacteria in the gut by minimizing the intake of fermentable carbohydrates that can feed bad bacteria. (2) FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Common high-FODMAP foods include: Oligosaccharides: Whole grains like wheat & barley, onions, garlic, and legumes like lentils. Disaccharides: Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and soft cheeses (due to lactose). Monosaccharides: Certain fruits like apples, pears, and high-fructose corn syrup. Polyols: Sugar alcohols in fruits like cherries and plums and artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and mannitol. Try Fermented Foods Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that can be found in certain fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, kombucha, and kimchi to give your gut a targeted boost of good bacteria. Eating these foods gets more good bacteria into your gut. Eat More Antibacterial Foods Several foods possess natural antibacterial properties that fight off harmful bacteria while preserving the beneficial ones. One such food is garlic, which contains a compound called allicin, known for its antimicrobial properties. (3) Other foods with natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties include: Onions: Rich in sulfur compounds that have antibacterial effects. Ginger: Known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric: Contains curcumin, which has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Coconut oil: Contains medium-chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid, that have antibacterial properties. Honey (particularly Manuka honey): Has natural antibacterial properties due to its hydrogen peroxide content and other compounds. Eat Foods High In Polyphenols Polyphenols are antioxidants that act as prebiotics to feed your good gut bacteria. Some of my favorite sources of these antioxidants include blueberries, chocolate (cocoa), grapes, and green tea. One study found that cocoa intake increased the amount of Bifidobacteria in your gut — a beneficial strain of bacteria linked to a reduced risk of inflammatory bowel disease and improved symptoms of constipation and diarrhea. (4) Remove Alcohol And Drink More Water Removing alcohol from your diet can help reduce inflammation and support the growth of good bacteria. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water works synergistically with dietary fiber to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria, while water helps fiber do its job effectively. Step 3: Lifestyle Changes The following lifestyle changes may seem obvious, but they are suggested so often for a reason — they really work! Get Enough Sleep Our bodies operate on a natural internal clock called the circadian rhythm, which regulates various physiological processes, including digestion, metabolism, and sleep-wake cycles. Disrupted sleep patterns can lead to imbalances in the gut microbiota, impairing its diversity and function. A regular sleep routine allows our body to enter deep, restorative sleep phases where essential processes like gut repair and microbial balance occur optimally. Regular Exercise Studies have shown that physical activity increases the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) needed to maintain the integrity of the gut lining and reduce inflammation. (5) Regular exercise also promotes better digestion and regular bowel movements, helping to prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Stop Stressing It doesn’t matter how well you eat or sleep if you are constantly under the attack of stress. Chronic stress is deeply connected to poor gut health, causing intestinal permeability and chronic inflammation. Focus on managing your stress levels by incorporating a daily mindfulness practice like meditation or breathwork and practice a JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) lifestyle that promotes self-care and healthy boundaries! Don’t Over Sanitize Getting your hands in the dirt exposes you to diverse beneficial microbes, which can help strengthen your immune system and promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria. While good hygiene practices are important for preventing the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses, excessive use of antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, and disinfectants can disrupt the delicate balance of your gut microbiota. Sanitizing products may kill harmful pathogens but also wipe out beneficial bacteria. So get your hands in the dirt, and skip the sanitizers when you do! Quit Smoking Smoking has numerous negative effects on your health, including your gut health. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your gut microbiome and overall health. Step 4: Supplements In cases of severe gut dysfunction, like nutrient deficiencies or bacterial dysbiosis, supplements can be a great tool in helping you overcome these problems quicker than food alone. Quality probiotics, in particular, can help introduce beneficial bacteria to your gut. One study showed that probiotics (Lactobacillus being the optimal strain) can speed the eradication of the harmful bacteria Helicobacter pylori (a type of bacteria that infects the stomach lining and can cause ulcers and stomach inflammation). (6) Probiotics help eradicate bad bacteria by competing with them for adhesion sites, producing antimicrobial substances, and enhancing the immune response. (7) Heal Your Gut, For Good Taking care of your gut doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you understand what fuels a healthy gut and promotes good microbiome balance, you can make the daily choices to yield life-long, sustainable results. FAQs What are the long-term dangers of bad gut bacteria? Long-term dangers of bad gut bacteria include the development of autoimmune conditions, deteriorating mental health, constipation, fatigue, food sensitivities, headaches, hormone imbalances, joint pain, nutrient deficiencies, skin problems, and weight loss resistance. What’s the difference between good and bad bacteria in the gut? Good bacteria, also known as commensal bacteria, help maintain a healthy balance in your gut by aiding digestion, producing vitamins, and regulating your immune system. Bad bacteria, or pathogenic strains, produce toxins, cause infections, and disrupt the balance of your microbiome. Every gut has both of these bacteria present (unless you’ve recently taken an antibiotic), but a healthy gut has a balance of bacteria that allows the commensal strains to crowd out pathogenic ones that begin to overgrow. How do I know if I have SIBO? Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) requires a different approach to gut health. Symptoms of SIBO can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. If you suspect you have SIBO, it's crucial to get tested, as probiotics might make the problem worse, not better. Should you take probiotics with antibiotics? Yes, taking probiotics with antibiotics can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, reducing the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and other digestive disturbances by replenishing beneficial bacteria that antibiotics may destroy. (8) How do you flush bad bacteria from your gut? Flushing bad bacteria from your gut can be achieved by consuming a diet rich in fiber, fermented foods, and natural antibacterials like garlic and ginger while staying hydrated to help move and eliminate toxins and waste. Article Dr Will Colle Sources Hamaker, B. R., & Tuncil, Y. E. (2014). A perspective on the complexity of dietary fiber structures and their potential effect on the gut microbiota. Journal of molecular biology, 426(23), 3838-3850. Selvaraj, S. M., Wong, S. H., Ser, H. L., & Lee, L. H. (2020). Role of low FODMAP diet and probiotics on gut microbiome in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Progress In Microbes & Molecular Biology, 3(1). Bayan, L., Koulivand, P. H., & Gorji, A. (2014). Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 4(1), 1. Sorrenti, V., Ali, S., Mancin, L., Davinelli, S., Paoli, A., & Scapagnini, G. (2020). Cocoa polyphenols and gut microbiota interplay: bioavailability, prebiotic effect, and impact on human health. Nutrients, 12(7), 1908. Ortiz-Alvarez, L., Xu, H., & Martinez-Tellez, B. (2020). Influence of exercise on the human gut microbiota of healthy adults: a systematic review. Clinical and translational gastroenterology, 11(2), e00126. Shi, X., Zhang, J., Mo, L., Shi, J., Qin, M., & Huang, X. (2019). Efficacy and safety of probiotics in eradicating Helicobacter pylori: A network meta-analysis. Medicine, 98(15), e15180. Wang, F., Feng, J., Chen, P., Liu, X., Ma, M., Zhou, R., ... & Zhao, Q. (2017). Probiotics in Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy: Systematic review and network meta-analysis. Clinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology, 41(4), 466-475. Ramirez, J., Guarner, F., Bustos Fernandez, L., Maruy, A., Sdepanian, V. L., & Cohen, H. (2020). Antibiotics as major disruptors of gut microbiota. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology, 10, 572912.

  • 5 Steps To Wake Up Healthy Food Cravings

    This simple exercise restores your body's natural, healthy instincts around food. Many people are anxious about which healthy foods to eat. Conflicting advice from experts makes food choices appear difficult. Orthorexia nervosa is actually an eating disorder characterized by anxiety around healthy food choices. If you are baffled by the very concept of "inner body wisdom", here are some tips to wake up your natural food cravings. If you are disconnected from healthy bodily instincts around food, it's wise to remember that nurturing is not an intellectual activity. Other organs are better suited to nurturing. The heart, the gut, and even the womb are the seats of nurture & affection. You can follow these steps to wake up your intuitive sense around eating: Start with a fun, easy, mini-cleanse. It's very difficult to figure out your true cravings when you are constipated, gassy, congested, or have a bad taste on your tongue. Cleansing sharpens your sense organs, which is essential for accurate perception. Here are three of the most popular recipes for cleansing in Ayurveda. Select one of these kitcharis, and eat it for three days, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Throughout your cleanse drink Cumin, Coriander & Fennel Tea. Vata Kitchari Pitta Kitchari Kapha Kitchari See your options - Take a fun trip to the grocery store. Bring a piece of paper and a pen. Spend an hour in the produce aisle looking at, smelling, and getting acquainted with different foods options. This can be entertaining just like you going to the movies. It is even easier at a farmer's market. Then, write down your answers to these questions. Which foods look desirable? Which colors are attracting you? What kinds of smells and flavors would satisfy you right now? What is the texture you are craving? Which of the 6 tastes seem desirable (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter astringent)? What qualities are your craving (heavy, light, dull, sharp, cold, hot, oily, dry)? Pick up a vegetable and examine it. Does it look healthy and desirable? Does it smell fresh? Sometimes, grocery store food looks like it's been sitting in a truck for too long. Make sure it is a healthy, tasty, and vibrant specimen. Sometimes, quality ingredients can make all the difference. Spend time in nature - If you are still having trouble getting in touch with your cravings, go for a walk in nature. Spending time in nature helps your body acclimate to the season. You'll need at least three hours outside. Once you're acclimated, your body will give you stronger signals about what to eat. See how you feel - After making your selections, and preparing your food, see how you feel after eating. Your instincts are pretty good, but they aren't perfect. Over time, you'll notice some seasonal patterns. But don't get hung up on your discoveries. As the season changes, so do the needs of your body. Just when you've found the answer, the season or your body changes. Beans may cause trouble for you in September, but a necessary supplement in February. For most ingredients, the question to ask isn't "If" but "When" and "How much?". As you heal, you'll discover there are new health hurdles, requiring new regimens and exploration. The old foods and herbs that seemed like a panacea may suddenly stop working. This can overwhelm you, or be a simple reminder that life is a never ending journey of discovery and adventure. With gratitude Gabriela Ana Holistic Health Coach

  • Your Skin's Natural Summer Beauty

    As the summer warms your body, blood flushes your sun-kissed cheeks with a red rosy hue. Your rosy cheeks are a sign that capillary beds are dilated near the surface of your skin, to help disperse excess heat in your blood. In summer, your skin relishes with a youthful glow as it is nourished and moisturized by the plentiful circulation. Skin beauty generally peaks in June. A pink flush accompanied by gentle sweating also flushes toxicity, leaving you feeling light and clean. After invigorating exercise, you may also notice a red flushed face as your body uses the same method to release heat. Overheating Summer months do bring the threat of overheating. As you start to overheat, you may feel irritated and impatient, asign your liver is overheating. A balanced liver is essential to skin health. If the healthy glow in your cheeks turns a deep red, your skin may be overheated as well. Pay attention to these signs before your skin becomes inflamed causing puffiness, a rash or acne. Ayurveda recommends you restore balance before a crisis. Tips for Healthy Summer Skin Have a sip of cool water with mint limeade or Hibiscus Sun Tea These refridgerants cool down your liver & skin FAST in summer During midday, relax in shade. Exercise in the morning / evening only. Avoid excess sun exposure between 10am-2pm or wear a sun hat Wear loose, cool clothing Drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Use cooling, astringent skin toners such as Cleansing Sandalwood Face Mask How Does This Ayurvedic Herb Supplement Improve Wellness? Reduces oiliness and stickiness of the skin by reducing sebum secretions. Rosewater improves the pH of the skin and diminishes blemishes. Sandalwood powder lightens dark spots, makes skin glow, while chickpea flour exfoliates. Anti-inflammatory. Recipe Mix together the following: 1 tbsp sandalwood powder 1 tbsp oatmeal, 3 tbsp chickpea flour 1/2 tbsp neem powder 1/2 tbsp turmeric Add enough rose water to make a paste. For very dry skin, swap rosewater with milk/yogurt. Application Apply evenly to the face. Gently scrub it off with water once the paste is fully dry. In collaboration with Joyfull Belly

  • Create Your Altar

    Spring has come, and with its return, the dance between day and night begins to balance out. As daytime grows longer, the earth receives the light it needs to initiate its next cycle of emergence. In many traditions, springtime heralds the New Year with the Spirit of Aries, the Ram, whose strong will and vitality lend us the energy necessary to transform our winter seeds into Spring shoots and initiate new beginnings. Aries is cardinal fire. In astrology, the cardinal signs are trailblazers, explorers, and initiating forces. Moving Forward With a new year ahead of us and more light to reflect on how to consciously move into this cycle, many of us are asking ourselves what to bring out of the dark months of winter into the light of spring. It isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This time of year can feel heavy if it’s happening to you instead of with you. This weight and gravity build as Spring progresses. This is natural, though, since the next three months relate to the earth and its forces. In general, the beginning of any season is a great opportunity to meditate on how to work with the energy at hand so that it can support your visions. Because we are ourselves forces of nature, simplifying in the Spring is a widespread practice. We begin the spring cleaning of our homes, or cleanse our bodies by eating lighter foods that help us come out of sleep into wakefulness. This is an ancient practice, still recorded deep within our cells. Springtime Altar Creation This altar is another ancient practice used by many cultures. It is a spiritual technology that creates sacred space for us to declare, invoke, dedicate, meditate, and heal. The altar is a symbol of the return of light, the rebirth. It is a recognition and celebration of the Earth element, who rules over the springtime cycle. The Altar Parts You may have noticed that there are four main parts to the Spring Altar, and they all surround the center or heart. Each section relates not only to a direction: East, South, West, and North, but also to an element: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. These elements possess unique types of wisdom and relate directly to our lives: air to mind, fire to will, water to heart, and earth to body. This is the medicine wheel. You can partner with these elements to help you develop awareness on how you’re approaching these parts of your life. Some questions to consider are: in what directions is my mind moving and what am I spending most of time thinking about? How is my ability to focus and get things done, and is my focus so strong that I am excluding others? How and what am I feeling, and is it good for me? Is my body healthy and balanced? What am I consuming to influence this? As your awareness opens through this inquiry, you may begin to understand how to build an altar of your own. It’s called a medicine wheel because it can be used to help alleviate, dispel, and strengthen certain parts of your life. So knowing what you need to accomplish in the Spring cycle opens the understanding of how to partner with the elements. In the East, you can use incense, feathers, songs, and silence. The medicine of the east is anything that moves through the air. In the South, you use candles and fire, anything that brings light. In the West you use the medicines of the water, a chalice, a shell. And in the North, we can use minerals, crystals, and stones. Depending on what you need, this can be a very beautiful and specific ritual for your life. Consciously work with these energies to anchor yourself and your home or office for the upcoming season. Gods and Festivals of Spring The Spring also heralds the rebirth of the solar Gods. Among them, the Buddha, whose birthday is celebrated with the Wesak Festival, and who is represented on this altar through the drum the central flower rose arrangement is sitting atop. The Harmony Glow candles in the shape of the Buddha head face each of the four directions. The Vase itself is a representation of the Triple Goddess, or trinity, that we see prevalent in nature: creation, sustenance, destruction, and also an homage to the feminine aspect of divinity through Ostara, the Goddess of Spring. Because our Spring Altar is a celebration of the Earth element, in addition to more traditional and symbolic representations of the directions, there are extra crystals in the North. Also, to honor all of our blooming we have flowers and leaves, the highest artwork of spirit and nature. Also present on the altar are the Spring astrological symbols: Aries, Taurus, and Gemini, and their respective rulers: Mars, Venus, and Mercury. They are metaphor of what is blossoming for all of us in the coming months, the arc of how it will unfold, and how to partner with the energy behind it harmoniously. No matter what is happening in your life, honoring the energy of the season, allowing yourself to be fully present with it, and creating a sacred space to hold your vision, is a wise investment of your energy and beautiful way to connect to life. Let’s plant our collective seeds, root for each other, and watch other bloom into the beautiful beings that we are. Original article The kitchen alchemist By Nicole Adriana Casanova Nicole Adriana Casanova is a student of Maestro Manuel Rufino, a Taino Elder who founded the Golden Drum educational center in Brooklyn. Nicole is a writer, poet, and storyteller, a 200 RYT Yoga Alliance certified Yoga and Meditation Teacher, a certified Reiki Master in the Usui and Karuna Reiki Riojo, a Shamanic Practitioner, a Human Movement teacher, and Magical Awakening Practitioner. Nicole blends decades of expertise in the wellness and holistic field to create one of a kind empowerment experiences in groups as well as one-on-one settings. As a Soul Architect, Nicole bridges practices and teachings from various wisdom traditions around the world, with intuitive knowledge and practical know how to create one of a kind blueprints of empowerment, healing, and remembrance.

  • Intuitive Astrology: Taurus New Moon May 2024

    After the transformative waves of Eclipse Season, the Taurus New Moon on May 7th, anchors us into a place of nourishing stability. We may feel the rising importance to slow down, ground our energy, and make time for stillness. Much may have changed and much may be in flux, but the welcoming energies of the New Moon guide us to rest, recharge, and find our center. The Taurus New Moon and the Cycle of Nourishment Taurus is the sign of the Bull. The Bull is nourished by the grass that it grazes on and in return, the Bull nourishes and feeds the soil with its manure. When things are in balance, this cycle of nourishment occurs, and everyone is able to get what they need. When there is imbalance however, this is when the Bull feels insecure, angry, and even aggressive. Many people attribute Taurus to being a sign that is adverse to change, but really, it is more about this upset to the flow of nourishment. When the cycle is not flowing in harmony, that is when we see the more stubborn and rigid sides of its personality. We can take this messaging into our own lives under the Taurus New Moon. How can we create a cycle of nourishment in our own lives? How can we bring balance to the flow of giving and receiving? In this modern world, it is very easy to feel that our needs are not being met and that we are not being heard or fulfilled. It is very easy to feel the imbalances in this cycle of nourishment that nature seems to have figured out. It is not easy, and for some of us, balance may feel impossible right now, but the Taurus New Moon is supporting us to take some steps. And for most of us, our first step will be returning to the self. When we get still and listen to our own inner wisdom, when we start giving ourselves what we need, that is when synergy starts to flow. Creating this harmony really begins with us and our inner state of being. The Taurus New Moon and the Planet of the Unexpected Uranus, the planet of surprises, awakening, and sudden change, is very active under the Taurus New Moon. Its energy can create some upheaval that may be hard to navigate, or that may create a feeling of instability. The thing with Uranus, is that it wants us to go with the flow. It wants us to get out of rigid structure and routine and to embrace something new. While this is not always comfortable, there is always something to learn when the wildcard energy of Uranus graces our lives. If something unexpected arises under the Taurus New Moon, see if you can embrace the flow and allow yourself to be led, rather than trying to control. See if you can come back to yourself and focus on what you need to feel nourished. When we do this from a place of authentic truth, the cycle of nourishment begins to flow. The Taurus New Moon and the Planet of Abundance Jupiter, the planet of expansion and abundance will also be floating close to this New Moon too, activating the energies of the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction that we had a few weeks back. The Jupiter-Uranus conjunction represented the beginning of a new, 14-year cycle. You can read more about this cycle here, but essentially, this is a time when we are all being encouraged to step into a new way of being. Jupiter and Uranus coming together is our signal that it’s time to ditch the old ways and embrace something new. It’s time to look to the future, and start shifting some of the ideals and values we have held. Whatever surprising or unexpected events manifested for you at the end of April may rise up once more under the Taurus New Moon. More information or more to the story may come to the surface. You may even feel just more directed and guided with where you are heading. The Taurus New Moon and the Bull as your Spirit Guide While there is some wobbly energy attached to this New Moon, overall it is a beautiful reminder in our month to slow down and bring our focus back to nourishment. How can we nourish ourselves from the inside out? How can we then allow this nourishment to flow to others in a synergistic way? If you need some guidance, return to the symbol of the Bull. It will be our guide not just under the May New Moon, but all the way through Taurus Season. The Bull is a majestic creature that is believed to appear as a sign from the Universe that you are not alone in carrying your burdens. The strong, powerful Bull is a sign that the Universe is holding you, supporting you, and giving you strength as you journey on. Hold this message close under the Taurus New Moon. Use your own Bull-like strength to navigate the path ahead and trust that the Bull is also supporting you. Original post Forever Consciouness

  • Holistic Approach to Pregnancy

    “A conscious birth, builds a conscious world” Eyla Cuenca This approach offers a different view of the body, health, and illness and opens up many new options for healing and preventative care. Most people who try the holistic approach during pregnancy find it so beneficial that it changes the way they view health and illness for the rest of their lives. This ultimately becomes a springboard toward future exploration of complementary and alternative medicine. This article takes a closer look at the holistic approach in relation to pregnancy and explores the idea of soul incarnation, some of whose concepts are often mirrored in holistic views of health and illness. Understanding the Holistic Approach Holism is an approach to life that integrates the whole person (body, mind, and spirit) with all of life. It is a way of looking at and dealing with life issues in their entirety and does not reduce things to components and parts. Holism is not a method of treatment separate from what it seeks to describe; it is an integral way of understanding and dealing with life – what we might call a worldview or philosophy. Holism does not simply add a spiritual dimension to the mechanistic view of the world and the human's place in it. Rather, it seeks to overcome the chronic dualism that has bedeviled Western human thought for many centuries. This dualism has manifested in many ways and forms, but a consistent expression of it has been a separation of mind and body, and a resultant separation of the material and spiritual dimensions of life. The fundamental dualism is a separation of the human and the divine, of the world and the transcendent. Dualistic worldviews have resulted in a devaluation of the natural world, the human body, and human history. In healthcare, the dualistic separation of mind and body has resulted in a psychiatry that too often seeks to treat the mind in abstraction from the life of the person, and a medicine that does not understand the body in terms of the life which inhabits it. Often, the chronic problems which beset humanity are rooted in the hubris that seeks to push aside the divine and limit reality to human terms and understanding – in this sense, there are no holistic or allopathic treatments, but only human treatments which are expressions of a state of being. Exploring Soul Incarnation In order to understand the holistic approach to pregnancy, it is necessary to have a subtle insight into soul incarnation. This information has been given to us by great sages, rishis and yoghis. This subject is very deep, and we will give a simplified version of what the great sages have given us. When a soul is due to take birth, it first comes into contact with its prospective mother, and then an impression is created in the soul of the child. This impression is known as the sanskar, and it can relate to any experience of the past life. This sanskar then becomes the causal body of the soul. A thought is the first form of energy of the soul. This thought, if intense, then becomes an action. During a lifetime, we change our minds so many times, but it is the intense thoughts that determine our course of action and ultimately our personality. So, at the point in time when the mother and father become one in the form of the child, the soul, due to its past sanskar, will have a desire to fulfill, and more often than not, the actions of the parents will comply with the child's desire. This is the scientific reason why children are how they are, and one can understand this with hindsight. The Physical Journey of Pregnancy The physical journey of pregnancy, which often determines the path of the emotional and mental journey, begins at conception. The prenatal decisions and care a mother makes often reflect whether or not she is carrying out her conscious and unconscious desires of parenthood. These decisions and care continue throughout the pregnancy and shape the way in which she parents. Because the effect these decisions have on the outcome of pregnancy and motherhood, it is crucial to the mother, child, and family's spirit that the prenatal choices are one of consciousness. A conscious pregnancy involves the awareness of the impact of one's thoughts, actions, and environment during the pregnancy and how these things affect the development of the child and the development of oneself into motherhood. A woman's ability to make informed decisions of what is best in the interest of the child is an essential part of parenting from the beginning. Women choose to become mothers for a multitude of reasons. An array of factors determines a woman's readiness and willingness to take on the responsibility of pregnancy and parenthood. The desire to conceive and nurture a child is often accompanied by a vision of the wanted child and the yearning to parent. “It seems that in our twenty-first century modern world, many women have become estranged from their primal brain and the knowledge that lies within it. Women too often hand their power over to the medical world long before they enter labour and have the idea someone else will do it for them.” ― Maha Al Musa, Dance of the Womb - The Essential Guide to Belly Dance for Pregnancy and Birth The body's ability to function as nature intended is largely dependent on its state of health and the presence of an optimum environment both internally and externally. The physical condition and health of an expectant mother will have a direct impact on her energy levels, comfort through the various stages of pregnancy, and importantly, the health of the growing baby. By creating an optimum environment for the growing child, we not only invest in the immediate and future health of the baby, but also prevent depletion or imbalance within our own body. The significance of this is clear when we observe mothers who have "given their all" and aged rapidly through the child-rearing years. Firstly, it is an established fact that the body has an innate intelligence and capability to grow, give birth, and nourish a child. Pregnancy can be viewed as the one time in a woman's life where her body is actually doing exactly what it was designed to do! This is a comforting thought if we remember that, in the absence of complicating factors, all should progress normally and healthily given the right conditions and inputs. During pregnancy, the body goes through significant changes in a relatively short period of time. It took me a while to get my head around the fact that I was actually "in charge" of another life and that the better I looked after my body, the easier and more comfortable my journey, and the healthier the baby would be. There are a few important principles to keep in mind. "There is a power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it." ~Sheryl Feldman~ In our society childbirth is often viewed as something to be feared and even to be avoided, through elective caesarian or extreme pain suppression. In the uplifting book Kristina Turner applies esoteric knowledge to show practical ways of transforming a difficult experience into a positive and deeply spiritual one. Kristina looks closely at the physical processes that take place in the body during pregnancy and childbirth, as well at explaining the facts behind hospital procedures and options for home birth -- providing readers with the necessary knowledge to make their own choices. She feels that birthing should be viewed as a unified process, from the nine months of pregnancy through labour to the many months of breastfeeding; all three stages contribute to developing the bond between mother and child and the child's emotional function. Kristina writes beautifully about the sacred mystery inherent in conception and pregnancy, and guides the new mother towards being a conscious participant in the spiritual process of bringing life into this world. Embracing Changes and Challenges Pregnancy brings about many physical changes and challenges for the mother-to-be. The growing fetus and associated body changes are easily measured and monitored; however, the underlying transition of the mother's identity rarely receives acknowledgment. Basing her ideas on research conducted by Stern and Karraker in 1989, Raphael-Leff (2005:122) proposes that "the developing fetus plays a key role in the mother's developing new identity." This may not be overtly apparent, and taking on a new identity may not necessarily be positive or a conscious choice. For many women, letting go of the woman they were, to allow space for the emerging maternal self, can be painful. Raphael-Leff suggests that the reason for this mourning process is the impact of the fetus, in the here and now, taking up space in the woman's body. Pregnancy is also a time where women experience enormous hormonal fluctuations. It is commonly thought that this is a very individual experience with hormone secretion being either too much or too little of one type of hormone and that this is what causes mood swings and emotional upheaval. However, Homer et al (1990) argue that more than the hormonal changes themselves, it is the altered perception of hormonal balance that impacts mood and emotion. Hormonal secretions affecting the pregnant woman are, in fact, greater than at any other time over the life cycle, and in the first trimester of pregnancy, the changes in hormonal levels are rapid and extreme. This increases the likelihood of mood and anxiety disorders during this period and exacerbates pre-existing mental health issues. High anxiety and depression rates among pregnant women reflect the challenge in coping with this change in hormone-induced states of emotion. The Spiritual Aspect of Pregnancy Heather Esplen's reflection on "Connect with the Soul of the Unborn" provided a resonating point for me, what she describes as "3D bonding". Soul bonding can occur while, at the same time, a parent needs to remember that this is an energetic exchange between the parent and child. Though Esplen describes the urgency and need to communicate and understand through intuition, that is not something that comes so quickly and easily for most people. What is most important is creating an environment from conception or the "blueprint" stage that will foster positive and healthy energetic growth for said child. I can only say that when I was pregnant, I was so focused on my physical body and the changes that were occurring to accommodate this baby that I did not think about what was happening on an energetic and spiritual level. This topic causes one to pause and really think, what does that really mean? The answer to that question is likely that it is different for everyone based on their beliefs and personal experiences. Whether an individual believes in a soul or a higher being of any sort does not negate the fact that a pregnancy is a time of massive change, and for many, this is a time of seeking a higher level of understanding and/or comfort. Connecting with the Soul of the Unborn The best way to communicate with the soul of the unborn is through meditation, although connecting dreams are also quite common. During meditation, the mother should seek guidance from her spirit guides, as well as the child's. She should invite these higher beings to commune with her and her baby so that they can give insight as to how she can better serve her child and assist them in their own spiritual growth. Quite often, incarnating souls choose to enter the physical realm at conception, yet they do not fully unite with the growing fetus until the second trimester of pregnancy. During the first trimester, the soul will come and go, hovering both inside and outside the mother's energy field. It is when the second trimester approaches that the soul makes a conscious decision to unite with the fetus and connect with the physical body that is forming. This occurs on a spiritual level and is all predetermined by the soul itself, according to the experiences it wishes to encounter once in physical form. A mother can actually communicate with the soul of her unborn during pregnancy to learn more about what this child will need to live a fulfilled life and all the lessons the mother can expect to learn from her child. Cultivating Inner Harmony and Peace The most important thing for a pregnant woman to do is to create a peaceful environment, both inside and outside herself. This is challenging because not only is her body going through constant change, both physically and hormonally, but also emotionally and mentally she may feel vulnerable as she prepares to become a mother. The pressures and strains of modern life often do not allow enough time or consideration to be given to the adjustment a woman must go through as she prepares for motherhood. Consequently, while pregnancy does have the potential to be a profound personal and spiritual growth experience, for many women, this is not the case. Miscarriage, depression, anxiety, and fear are common themes of pregnancy for a woman, and the potential personal growth is lost. The child too is affected by the mother's emotional state. By cultivating inner peace and harmony, pregnancy can be a joyful preparation for both motherhood and spiritual growth for the entire family. To create inner peace and harmony, it is essential that a pregnant woman take time to nurture herself. This may involve making changes to her lifestyle, work, and relationships to allow more time for herself. At this time of change, she may find herself re-evaluating what it is that she needs to be truly happy and fulfilled, and she may begin to move towards a more authentic, fulfilling lifestyle. Sufficient rest and relaxation are important, but so is doing something that is nurturing and fulfilling, that allows the mother to be in touch with herself and who she is becoming on this journey into motherhood. A daily spiritual practice such as meditation, yoga, or spending quiet time in nature can be very nourishing and can help to keep the rampant changes of pregnancy in perspective. Integrating Holistic Practices into Pregnancy The integration of holistic practices into pregnancy allows us to create an ideal environment for the incoming soul and promotes the physical and emotional health of the mother and the wider family. Such practices assist the family to revisit and release patterns of the past that could impede the process of incarnation and also to look at any fears or resistance to this new incoming soul. In identifying these, the family can resolve them in a way that brings understanding and healing, rather than perpetuating negative patterns. By creating a conscious and supportive entry for the incoming soul, this in itself can bring healing and positive change to all family members. A mother's attunement to her unborn baby is a key factor in conscious incarnation. Being conscious is about being fully present and aware of what is going on within and around oneself. The prenatal period is an important time for parents to begin to understand the needs and nature of their child. One of the best tools a mother can use to create mindfulness is meditation. Through learning to still the mind and release extraneous thoughts, a mother can become more aware of her intuitive feelings and more open to inner guidance. This will help her to bring greater focus and perception to the specific issues surrounding her pregnancy and her child. Mindfulness and Meditation The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn, is a well-known program which teaches mindfulness and meditation as a way for people to take better care of themselves and live healthier lives. Although it was not originally developed for pregnant women, the MBSR program has since been tailored to be pregnancy specific. Kabat-Zinn's research on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the reduction of stress in pregnancy has shown it to be an effective tool for decreasing pre-term labor, as well as reducing the instance of low birth weight in infants. MBSR has also shown to increase positive mood states, decrease anxiety and depression, and lead to a greater satisfaction with life for the mothers-to-be. Mindfulness and meditation have further helped mothers-to-be to connect and communicate with their unborn babies, and even to gain insight and intuition about their pregnancies and birthing. Internationally, within the last decade, holistic practices have gained momentum in the field of obstetrics. These non-invasive practices improve healthy outcomes and decrease healthcare costs. They include yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and guided imagery, to name a few. Holistic practices encompass a wide continuum of mind/body exercises and therapies that enhance the connection of the mother to her own body, her baby, and the experience of pregnancy. Mind/body therapies encourage expectant mothers to relax, slow down, and quiet the mind. This in itself is an important concept for women to learn during pregnancy, as it often is the first step in letting go of the fast-paced life so many are accustomed to. Learning to relax and quiet the mind, even for a few minutes a day, can be extremely restorative and can give women the energy they need for self-care. Creating a personal and nurturing time for themselves is a large part of the early learning that takes place in many of these holistic practices. Nutrition and Exercise for Optimal Well-being The word holistic signifies the consideration of the whole picture. The ideal of holistic nutrition is to propose an approach that consists of pure and nourishing foods for the body. The goal is to create a balance within these three distinct aspects of human beings: mind, body, and spirit. It is believed that food is not only a source of energy but also a tool for healing and maintaining harmony in the body. With this in mind, it is apparent that pregnant women should pay particular attention to the food that they are consuming. It is often recommended that they consume organic foods free of additives and processing. This is because at this stage in development, the baby is highly sensitive and susceptible to chemical imbalances due to additives in foods. It is often that cravings may lead to poor food choices; therefore, it is important to plan and prepare meals in advance that are healthy and nutritious. A diet for pregnant mothers using holistic principles promotes the use of grains, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables, and a moderate intake of good quality protein. It is felt by holistic health practitioners that vegetarianism is the healthiest diet for expectant mothers because it avoids high intake of saturated fats and promotes a consumption of foods high in antioxidants and fiber. These foods are said to promote an alkaline ash residue after digestion, which is said to be optimal for the body. Throughout pregnancy, it is also important to drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated and aid in the transfer of nutrients to the baby. Creating a Supportive Environment It is often said by midwives and obstetricians alike that the home environment plays a crucial role in determining the birthing outcome. This statement not only refers to the physical environment, but to the mental and emotional environments present, for these can easily influence the physical. How a woman feels about her pregnancy, birth and motherhood will affect her life and her child's. There are many ways in which a woman can create an environment that is supportive of her pregnancy. She may choose to have a baby shower, celebrating the rite of passage of motherhood with friends and family. This is a way for the mother to seek the support and advice from other women who have experienced childbirth or motherhood. Keeping a journal can be a helpful and healthy way to express emotions, and record pregnancy experiences. Sometimes negative emotions are difficult to express to friends or family, for fear it may cause them to worry. Writing is a private and effective way to address such emotions. Creating an altar or sacred space within the home can be an expression of a woman's deepest birth wishes. Items can be placed on this altar that symbolize her strength and courage or represent the kind of birth she envisions. When times get tough, visualizing this altar can be a helpful reminder of her birthing goals. In order to prepare for the mental and emotional stamina needed to birth a baby, a woman must also consciously try to eliminate or reduce unnecessary stress in her life. Having set boundaries and limitations for time spent at work or with certain people can bring more time and energy to focus on pregnancy and birth, which ultimately are preparations for bringing new life into this world. With Gratitude, Gabriela Ana Holistic Health Coach

  • Seaweed And Baby Kale Tabouli

    The crisp crunch of 'Seaweed and Baby Kale Tabouli' will refresh and revitalize the body on a warm afternoon. Prepare for lunch and enjoy outside under an early summer blue sky, or bring to work and brighten up a long day. You'll feel light and energetic for the rest of the afternoon. Consider bringing this dish to your next dinner party and see how guests decipher the rich variety of tastes and textures. Build Strength Quinoa and hemp seeds are sweet, heavy and anabolic in nature, supporting the growth and development of tissues. They are both protein packed options to include in a vegetarian diet. Quinoa is also a rich source of iron, restoring strength in the blood. After a period of poor nutrition or weight loss, this meal will help you regain strength. Thyroid Afterthought Kelp is a rich source of iodine, one of the most important nutrients to keep the thyroid functioning at optimal levels. Kale, on the other hand, is known to slow down thyroid function in some cases. If you have a thyroid disorder, gently wilting or steaming the kale will reduce the goitrogenic compounds that can inhibit the absorption of iodine. INGREDIENTS PREPARATION OF THIS HEALTHY RECIPE 1. Simmer quinoa in 1 and a half cups boiling water for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. 2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 3. Cut red bell peppers in half, remove seeds and roast for about 25 minutes until skin is wrinkled and browning. When cooled, cut into smaller chunks. 4. Prepare kale by removing from stem and chopping finely. Add to a large salad bowl with cooked quinoa, chopped herbs, 3 tbsp hemp seeds and the roasted red pepper. 5. Soak kelp sheets in water for 15 minutes and rinse. Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Strain, chop and add to salad bowl, tossing thoroughly. 6. Combine the juice of lemon, olive oil and soy sauce by whisking and drizzle as dressing before serving. With Gratitude, Gabriela Ana Holistic Health Coach


    Life comes to full bloom in May just in time for Mother's Day. A tree in flower fills the air with a sweet perfume. Bright yellow and pink flowers seem to capture the very essence of new life. The entire atmosphere of May is buzzing and alive with the sounds of birds and insects. Life seems to explode from the moist earth as tender young sprouts reach up towards the sky. Do you live in the Southern Hemisphere? You may need the Ayurvedic Diet for November instead. New leaves unfurl across the landscape, which suddenly seems green and lush. And with them, fresh greens from the garden abound. The season of salads has arrived! Farmer's markets come to life along with fresh strawberries in your garden. May beckons us back outdoors to enjoy the longer days. It's a time to play and soak up the long awaited sunshine! A special, beautiful time of year on the border of spring and summer, May is also a unique month in your Ayurvedic diet. Enjoy these enlivening diet ideas to keep your body balanced through May. Our May cleansing tips will also help you purge the last bits of winter. When the hot humid days return, keeping hydrated and well fueled with the right food will be essential for maximizing springtime fun. Climate Life just feels easier as the weather is consistently warm. Spring's fickleness finally comes to an end in May as the last cold snap gives way to the first summer thunderstorm. If you're lucky, you'll even catch a spring rainbow in its wake. Seasonal affected disorder, which characterized the solemn dark days of winter, has ended. Instead, days are longer, brighter, and joyful. There's time to soak up some rays of the sun after work, or show the kids how to plant garden vegetables. But with the long days come shorter nights, and less time sleeping. With the heat, you may find yourself tossing and turning, kicking off blankets. Although May is generally a pleasant month, your body is still struggling to manage the increased heat and humidity. Psychology Love is in the air. May brims with affection and seems to affirm all the promise and hope of new life. Beauty seems to flourish everywhere in the form of flowers, birdsong and spring romance. May's enthusiasm is catching. The days of school are numbered. Children's laughter fills the air as the kids run outside to play. Vacation is on the horizon. Hearts are light and friends are excited to reconnect after the long winter. Summer's almost here! You may notice your social calendar is filling up as summer activities increase. On hot days, or for individuals who are out of balance, you may overheat between April and June and experience frustration and aggression. Spring fever may push Pitta individuals into hyperdrive and Vata into excessive enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Kapha individuals may feel psychologically overwhelmed on days when the heat leads to congestive imbalances. Altogether, patience runs thin on hot days. May in Your Body By now, the heat of the season has burned off most of your winter fat. Your blood is thinner and almost ready for summer. On hot days, you may notice your face is flushed and the heat feels uncomfortable. These hots days will continue to be congestive through the Solstice, bogging down your circulatory system. Hands and feet may be puffy after a stroll in the park. Both physical activity and the hot sun together can overheat you as move, dig, plant, play and sweat. Moderate your activities if necessary, or find a cool spot in the shade. This is Pitta Kapha season and the last month for purgation and pancha karma cleansing. Soon your body will be too hot and light for cleansing. With the heat, your heart rate increases. All of your pores open to release heat as moisture and color returns to your skin. Your skin seems radiant and beautiful with the rise in temperature, giving a youthful and rosy-cheeked appearance. Blood flow increases naturally throughout your body this time of year, which may exhaust and overheat your liver. If your eyes are blurry on a hot day, or if you feel irritable, angry or excessively determined, you may need liver support. There are several factors that contribute to this increase in blood flow, including physical activity, the hot sun, and your naturally thinner blood this time of year. In May, the heat of the season increases sweating and electrolyte loss. While Kapha individuals experience puffiness on hot humid days, Vata individuals may suffer from dehydration. If your muscles feel weak, if you feel mentally foggy, or your mouth is drier than normal, it's time to buck up your water intake to replenish your body's stores. After a cold and sedentary winter, most people are used to drinking less water. Take some time to replace those winter hydration habits with summer ones. You should be drinking 5-10 glasses of liquids per day. Water on its own lacks electrolytes. Don't forget to add a pinch of salt to your water if you have a Vata body type (which tends towards deficiency). Vata individuals can also add a little more salt to their food. Finally, add lemon or lime in your water. Their sourness will stimulate secretions and get your juices flowing. Sour taste also keeps you cool on a hot day by dilating blood vessels. Routine Remember to call mom for Mother's Day. Or better yet, invite her for a stroll with you in the park. Then, take a moment to admire the scenery and cherish the gift of life she has given you. Be sure to stop and smell the flowers whenever possible, as the newness of spring won't last for long. Instead, catch the beauty of the season while you can. Appreciating nature's beauty is also good for your health! Get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer. Hiking, biking and strolls around the neighborhood all make great choices to feel vibrant this May. It's warm enough to take the family on a camping trip. On outdoor excursions, soak up the extra sunlight to replenish vitamin D levels that may be deficient after the long winter. Breaking a light sweat daily gently cleanses your lymphatic system, leaving your skin looking bright and fresh. If you tend to overheat, nighttime walks are a cool and refreshing alternative. Walks by moonlight are an equally romantic way to enjoy the season. It's time to pack up the winter blankets, flannel sheets, and heavy winter clothing. Instead break out fresh and light spring linens, summer shorts, and light and breezy shirts. Take steps to prevent flies and insects from invading your home by investing in a screen door. Clean the grill in time for Memorial Day. Be sure you are getting adequate sleep. It may seem harder and harder to get to bed early as the days lengthen. Instead, the jovial atmosphere makes you want to stay up late and talk with friends. If the heat makes it hard to sleep, crack open a window. Use a neti pot daily in order to keep your sinuses clear and allergies at bay. Daily dry brushing invigorates you and keeps your lymph moving. Gentle twists in the morning wring out the digestive organs and excess moisture. Simply sit in a chair and gently rotate in each direction. Exhale as you twist toward the back of the chair. After moving dynamically four times in each direction, grab hold of the back of the chair if you can reach it. Diet for May The season of fresh green salads is in full swing! On hot and humid days, Pitta Kapha individuals should enjoy spring greens and tender shoots of asparagus to lighten up and purge the last bits of spring dampness from their constitution. Bitter and astringent tastes are helpful in the wet season of late spring and early summer as both alleviate the sogginess of Pitta and Kapha. Light and refreshing young greens also support late spring cleansing and increase prana (liveliness). Serendipitously, this is the time of year when greens can be the most bitter - just what your body needs most to stay balanced. Arugula, endive, chicory and red leaf lettuce all make perfect additions to your salad. Get a healthy dose of wild greens by nibbling the chickweed, violets, lamb's quarters, and dandelion cropping up in your yard. Enliven your salads by throwing a small handful in. Wild foods are often more potent, nutritious and prana building due to their hardy and resilient properties. And to continue with the theme of building prana, sprinkle sprouts on everything. Their light and vivacious nature will elate you. Sweet peas, beets and carrots make a vibrant garnish to top salads and sautes, yet still have the lightness needed for May. Seek a sense of freshness and vitality in your vegetables. Choose what looks most alive from the myriad of options listed here. Savor bitter broccoli, broccoli raab, diuretic cauliflower and tridoshically balancing green beans. Lightly cooked chard, kale and beet greens make nice saute options. Fennel stalk and bitter melon cool and soothe while jicamas crunchiness perks you up. May is still a good month for aromatic herbs, but favor those on the cooling side like fennel seeds, lime zest and cardamom. To beat the heat, freshen up your plate with cooling foods like cucumber, avocado, lime and cilantro. Among these, Cilantro deserves special mention in May. It is unique among digestives because it is cooling, while most digestives (like cayenne) tend to overheat. Cilantro also cleanses the liver, calms down the immune system, softens stool, and clears inflammation the urinary tract. Altogether it is a great herb to reduce an excess of Pitta dosha. There is some dispute whether cilantro is useful for chelation, the removal of heavy metals from the blood stream. Despite its drying effect, cilantro in small quantities does not aggravate Vata or cause constipation. This time of year, start to increase sweet taste which will help boost your energy and replenish electrolytes lost by sweating. Lighter fruits like blueberries, green mango, green papaya and kiwi keep you cool and bright like the sunshine. Strawberries can help chill aggravated Pitta in the liver, and ripen just in time for May. Berries in general are a great remedy for liver heat because their rich stores of antioxidants help reduce liver stress and the inclination toward hyperdrive. The sugars in fruits sweeten the liver, cooling and soothing it. Strawberries and blueberries are particularly attractive as they couple sweetness with sourness on top of antioxidants. Notice how, after eating these fruits, your eyes feel calm and refreshed, and your temperment restored. Grains like amaranth, barley and quinoa are ideal picks because all are light and drying. Opt for plantains as a lighter carbohydrate option to heavy potatoes. Root vegetables are generally less nourishing this time of year anyway, as the plants are putting the most energy and vitality into their aerial parts, including the flowers, fruits, and leaves. Eat lighter proteins as well, like tofu and mung beans. May is the best month to follow a vegetarian diet. As the weather warms up, heavy fats are not needed as much this time of year. Instead, use the fresh ingredients above to encourage lightness. Herbs Generally bitter herbs are helpful to pacify both Pitta and Kapha in May. Bitter herbs help you keep your cool this time of year. Gall Bladder Tonic flushes any remaining spring sluggishness from your gall bladder. It contains Bhumyamalaki and Neem. Bhumyamalaki is Ayurveda's #1 herb to reduce Pitta dosha, which flares up late spring. For those with a strong Kapha imbalance, Neem is extremely bitter and cleansing. Liver & Lymph Cleanse contains Guduchi, a favorite this time of year for those who need to strengthen their liver, including those with a past history of alcohol or drug use, or who have hepatitis. Liver & Lymph Cleanse also contains manjistha, an excellent alternative to turmeric this time of year, which may be too hot for your system. Manjistha, like turmeric, purifies the blood but it is cooling, alleviating skin issues and bestowing a healthy glow. Digestive bitters ensure you feel as light and lively as the season. It contains Brahmi, an herb that will refresh and enliven your mind, creating clarity. Bitter ghee (tikta ghrta) is an especially recommended liver tonic and cleanser in late spring. It reduces spring congestive disorders, frustration, and heat. Aloe vera is especially soothing to the GI tract as the heat cranks up. Try mixing it in a smoothie with honeydew melon. Take a quick look in your yard and you might start to notice dandelion leaves and flowers poke out from the soil. While a weed to some, dandelion is medicine to many others. This plant is the perfect spring remedy and should be gratefully harvested from your yard rather than targeted for removal. Although they are perhaps annoying to the gardener, dandelions truly are a perfect spring tonic and natural remedy to spring allergies. Dandelion's bitterness clears the liver and calms pesky spring allergies. Promote balanced fluid levels in your tissues and optimize your weight with punarnava, Ayurveda's choice for diuresis. Spring - Foods & Herbs List click here IN COLLABORATION WITH JOYFULL BELLY With gratitude, Gabriela Ana Holistic Health Coach

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