Find me at Take Care Beauty & Magic!

I've moved shop over to Take Care Beauty in North Oakland owned by Reiki Master, tarot & palm reader, and lash extensionist Tanya Lee Jones. I'm thrilled to come onboard and host my services, talks and events at her new space.

I offer guidance for those who seek a greater path towards eating, living, and thinking optimally for physical and mental well being. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed with your nutrition, have digestive issues, feeling hormonally imbalanced, and need some new energy flowing through you, come see to find the perfect plan for you. My services aren't cookie cutter therefore all guidance is customized to your unique self. 

For the months of August and September I will be offering promos exclusively at Take Care. Check out my services and set up a Free 15 Discovery Call to discuss how I can support you on your health journey. 

Your health is your wealth, it’s not to take lightly!

xo

August's Energies

August is going to have a lot going on with two eclipses, the lunar on the 7th and the solar onthe 21st and a Mercury in retrograde from August 12th to September 5th. That means powerful energies will be above us that can make us feel cray if we don’t keep in mind that slow and steady crushes overwhelm. You may or may not care about astrological shifts, but take this for reals... SELF-CARE, rest, and working behind-the-scenes (creating and still expanding) will be a nice idea to keep in mind.

So instead of saying F*#k Mercury go to hell, we can say Alright Mercury, let’s move slower & stay conscious with whatever is presenting me.

Let’s work with these high energies and not against them.

 

xo

Cold Showers

showers

Summer is the perfect time to introduce the benefits of cold showers. This may be a daunting or weird idea for you at first but after trying it you may get hooked.

I first read about cold showers, actually it was ice breast-dunking in Persepolis, a graphic novel written by Marjane Satrapi’s childhood growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Marjane would marvel at her grandmother’s ability to keep her breasts in a bucket of ice for 20 minutes or so to keep them firm and perky. Obviously, I was sold on the idea, perky boobs, yeees, plus I never shy away from eccentric healthy and beauty experiences. Well, I read this and I believed in it but I never actually tried the ice-boob dunk because I never had enough ice in the freezer.

Intuitively, I understood how cold ice or water would keep skin firm but what I didn’t know was that cold water also has profound benefits for detoxification of the inner organs, immunity, the endocrine system (glandular health) , and the nervous system, in other words, total rejuvenation!

Scientifically, here are the benefits of cold showers:

  1. Get that glow! Let’s be real, we want to feel healthy and amazing, but we also really want to exude that externally. While hot water opens up your pores, the skin wants cold water to close them back up to prevent bacteria, oil, and dirt from entering, thus causing acne. Cold water protects your natural oils from being stripped off the skin, which helps to keep your skin naturally supple. Cold water also tightens your blood vessels, which helps to reduce puffiness and promote tight, firm skin. Cold showers also keep your hair shiny and strong, in fact these showers are the best for those with thinning hair because the coldness increases the follicles grip to the scalp.
  2. Immunity Strengthener: when you’re taking a cold shower your body is trying to seek warmth quickly. By doing so, your metabolism speeds up causing your immune system to activate. Your immune system becomes stronger when your white blood cells (the ones that fight off disease) increase.* You can also alternate between hot and cold showers to release lymphatic blockages, this is especially helpful to those with colds, infections, and joint pain.
  3. Naturally reduces depression: cold showers stimulate norepinephrine, a brain chemical that can ward off depression. How? Cold showers “shock” the body, which sends a lot of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve to the brain, which can offer an anti-depressant effect.
  4. Cold showers wake you up! It’s shocking, it’s cold, you become alert! Your heart rate increases, more oxygen gets pumped throughout your body and brain, and your circulation sends blood to your organs to keep them warm.
  5. Chills you out: cold showers train your nervous system to be more resilient to emotional stress as they help you to adapt to uneasy situations.
  6. Helps shed weight: Cold showers increase the energy used to burn calories that are trying to keep you warm thus helping to burn the fat that builds around the waistline.

Scary at first, right? You can ease into it by starting off with a warm shower, than to lukewarm, and then to cold for a few minutes. This helps your body adapt especially if you do this daily until you just go for it. Awesomely, you save water too.

In Invincible Living, Guru Jagat recommends dry brushing before the shower to begin heating the body and massaging almond or coconut oil over the body to create a “barrier” so that the cold water doesn’t feel too cold.

Try this out by starting at 30 seconds and then increasing to the time you feel most comfortable with. I think it’s sorta fun to challenge what I “can take” so I shoot for a little more each time. I enjoy this practice so much that I actually crave the thrill of it and knowing all the good stuff that is happening internally and externally is phenomenal.

 

 

Note* If you have a weakened immune system, you can also alternate between hot and cold showers to release lymphatic blockages. This is especially helpful to those with frequent colds, infections, and joint pain. You can do this until your immune system has strengthened.

Meditation

As I've gotten older my virgo-esque qualities have started to kick in... Planning, hustling, and running around to make ends meet. Sometimes it's fun but can most definitely leave me drained and uncreative.

Meditation has helped me bring my imagination to life. Meditation has helped me chill the eff out, sit and observe. I sit to imagine subtle energy moving through my body, i imagine ocean waves, and other elements like air and earth in their natural state of ease and flow. Sometimes when i sit or lay on the ground i steer off into a "potentially negative scenario that hasn't even happened yet or my list of things to do. Luckily, I'm able to bring myself back and tell myself to chill the eff out, that now is important. 

Before I rested in the reality of this picture, I'd imagine this scene while I meditated. Then I stumbled upon it. Pretty good sign I'm on the right path. 

I recommend that you find a source of meditation. Meditation can be any activity that requires you to be at ease, breathe, and be mindful. Lots of people think that meditation requires a specific pose, setting, thought or "not thinking about anything." However, drawing, painting, staring at the ocean or sky, or paying attention to your breath are also forms of meditation. 

Find your practice to inner peace. 

Restorative traveling tips

I’ve returned from my summer vacation in Sayulita, Nayarit in Mexico. A beautiful beach town with delicious seafood food, vibrant colors, sunshine and warm folks. I came to visit one of my best friends on a new endeavor he is pursuing, to soak up some vitamin D aka the “sunshine vitamin”**, and to revitalize my creative juices, and the ocean simply helps me do that!

Every time I go on vacation, I get real eager to continue some of my daily zen and health rituals. They are a part of me and I need them to feel sane, grounded, and from feeling like I need a vacation from my vacation when I return home. I'm going to share with you five simple body and mind loving tips to make your vacations feel restorative. 

1)   Get up and drink lemon water. Purchase lemons from a local supermarket and some pure clean water. This practice will give you natural electrolytes (much needed when traveling), stimulate digestion and detoxify your liver.

P.S. Always a good idea to ask for lemon water when dining out. Don't feel like boozin'? Make it a sparkly water. 

2)   Three sun-salutations helps move energy throughout the body and stimulates circulation. If meditation and breath work is part of your normal routine, then definitely add these.

3)   Explore the land and go for a hike. Wherever you’re traveling there will most likely be a park or hillside. Not only will you be physically active by walking around most places, seeking a hike or a park will help you to absorb the peace and stillness of the landscape.  

4)   Slather and re-slather SPF and apply aloe. Sun rays are powerful even when it's overcast and we don’t fully feel the sunshine and warmth on our skin. When traveling, you’re most likely out and about more than at home so protect your skin. Choose a high-quality natural spf to prevent sun damage and apply aloe to heal and soothe skin from exposure.

5)   Beautify with a face mask before bedtime. Vacation is a time to pamper yourself so why not bring ingredients for a DIY face mask? I usually bring spirulina powder to drink while on vacation so I end up having this handy for a face mask as well, (just add water). Sometimes I’ll bring a red clay powder or buy local honey to apply on my face for 15-20 minutes, and I'll definitely bring a natural face scrub. My favorite scrub these days is Lemongrass Facial Polish from Evan Healy. 

P.P.S. Get healthy snacks like almonds or other nuts to munch on between meals and during your hikes. 

**note Vitamin D is a vitamin that gets converted into a hormone that our skin produces in response to sunlight. Vitamin D reduces symptoms of depression, supports heart and bone health, and even increases muscle strength. The body can receive it through food, mainly animal products but can also be achieved through sunshine, this is especially helpful for vegetarians. Did you know that the human body is able to produce as much as 10,000 IU to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 in just 30 minutes? Yep. Imagine, if you spent time in the sun with exposed arms and legs at least 2-3x a week, you would have plentiful stores of this happy vitamin. 

What are some healthy practices that you bring with you on vacation?

Getting grounded this summer

Cherries

Nope, you didn’t do anything bad, but you might get into some trouble if you don’t stay grounded with your ambitions and intentions this summer.

Today is the summer solstice – the longest day of the year and a thematic time for light, power, and love and with it comes the masculine energy – best time to seek action and to show off some personal integrity that you have developed so far this year… in other words, a time to start walking your talk.

All sounds great and we say “yes, yes, yes, I’m on board”.  However, summer brings heat, sun, travels, lots of socializing, wine spritzers, and extra handfuls of tortilla chips. Trust me, I get it, friends come into town, the days are longer and we just don’t want to tackle our responsibilities.

But real-talk, staying grounded with your daily practical affairs and self-care will be essential if you want to achieve your work, relationship and personal growth desires.

How are you going to do this?

Set clear intentions. What absolutely needs to get done? If you have a project in mind or a deadline for something, then create a personal deadline to finish it. Then, break it down into smaller chunks and spread it out throughout the week (s) so that you stay on an even-paced track.

Save time for yourself to regroup. Write, meditate, deep breathing, clean your house, take a bath, etc. These moments of calm will help reset your clarity and nervous system so that you can stay on track with your intentions.

Move. This is the perfect time to catch some sun rays as you sweat. Go for run, walk, hike, swim, roller skate, skateboard, yoga, whatever. Movement pumps up your heart and triggers feel-good-brain-chemicals. Plus, if you are sidetracking from your normal healthy eats, chances are your liver wants you to sweat it out. Plus, your booty shorts will thank you.

Eat to nourish and replenish. Simple foods like salads, warm & cold veggie soups, fresh juices and smoothies that stimulate the liver and digestive system will be your best supporters.

Along with the lighter foods, add veggies like sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, radishes, and tomatoes, which are highly grounding. Lean proteins like salmon, chicken, beans and legumes will keep you feeling full too.

I also recommend taking a yoga class or practicing a sequence at home at least twice a week to help center you, move energy throughout your chakras, and to increase mental and physical awareness.

Another grounding idea is to carry a blended essential oil spray like Ground Meditation Spray from Species by the Thousands, to help restore energy and balance you. Spray anytime, anywhere, and if you ask nicely anyone else who seems ungrounded. 

Spring out on these vegetables

Spring vegetables

If you haven't noticed, we're in spring! Spring in the Bay Area is so predictably unpredictable. One day it's hot and sunny and the next its drab and windy. It can be hard to gauge what to wear and how to feel sometimes since our moods are so connected to the weather.

One thing is for sure, your body's wisdom knows that these present moments are about renewal. Renewing the body with new thoughts and ideas and fresh, lighter foods. 

Spring vegetables and fruits will get your body to gently purge and cleanse of fat build-up and toxins from heavy foods like sugars, starches, animal products and comfort foods. If you’ve been naturally experiencing wanting to be physically active and eat fresher, lighter foods than you’re experiencing your body follow its natural circadian rhythms to be in and eat within the spring season. 
 
While we head into spring it’s best to avoid refined grains, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods and to add antioxidant-rich plant foods that are supportive to the liver and digestive system.

Add these to your spring repertoire:

1.     Dandelion greens and root are rich in minerals and antioxidants, which support cleansing of the digestive tract and the liver. The bitter quality of dandelion greens increases the production of bile, which breaks down fats, aids in digestion and eliminates toxins from the liver. Add dandelion greens to your arugula salad or sip on dandelion root tea throughout the day.

2.     Artichokes also stimulate bile to protect the liver and also purify the blood. Artichokes are mildly diuretic, meaning that any toxins that the liver breaks down will most certainly get flushed out properly.

3.     Asparagus contains a powerful antioxidant called glutathione, well known for its detoxifying properties. Like artichokes, it also is a diuretic, assisting in fully removing toxins from your body. Asparagus contains inulin – a prebiotic that helps support the ‘good’ bacteria in your gut.

4.     Radishes aid in bile production, cleanse the liver, prevent constipation, offer sinus congestion relief (peace out seasonal allergies!) and even reduce fat deposits in the body.

5.     Grapefruit juice and its pith flush out toxins by helping to remove waste from the colon. Grapefruits strengthen immunity and speed up the cleansing process to repair any damage done from poor foods, drinks and pollution. They also contain compounds that can help prevent fatty liver disease, a condition caused by heavy drinking, excess weight, and diabetes.

It is the perfect time to give your organs a break and honor it with high vibrational nutrient rich plants and lean protein to ease your nervous system and adrenals.

It’s also best to reduce exposure to pollution and heaters and dust your homes, bring in new air-loving plants, and open the windows for natural air and sunshine.  Look here for more toxin-busting vegetables.

Coffee Scrubbing!

coffee scrub

Earlier this month I shared with you the pros and cons to drinking coffee. And now I’m going to share with you the benefits of using coffee grounds to your skin. It’s a wonderful way for you to be resourceful, save your monies, and beautify your skin naturally.

Coffee contains antioxidants, acids and enzymes that greatly reduce inflammation and wound skin damage creating quick skin regeneration.

Caffeine, the main component of coffee is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants combat free radicals and reverse their damage on the skin that we often see as age spots and wrinkles. Applying coffee grounds to the skin opens the pores and allows for this antioxidant absorption and thereby preventing premature aging.   

Sea salt and coffee grounds are pretty coarse to the skin, which is a good thing because this allows for deep exfoliation. Exfoliation sloughs off dead skins cells, removes surface dirt, and helps to regenerate new skin cells for healthy and glowing skin. It is especially beneficial to exfoliate before shaving and sun bathing as this helps to absorb moisture and helps to even out skin discoloration.

The mix of skin exfoliation and caffeine absorption increases circulation and blood flow in the body. Not only does this move energy and clear toxins from the lymphatic system but it also reduces the appearance of cellulite because it constricts the blood vessels in the skin. This constriction makes the skin tighter and firmer, creating a smoother texture. Scrubbing and massaging the skin at least twice a week helps to remove toxins and fats held in the skin.

You can definitely purchase coffee scrubs but you can also save some monies and make it from your used coffee grounds, sea salt and/or, olive oil, and optional essential oils.

Here’s what to do:

Add coffee grounds, sea salt and/or sugar to a bowl. Add olive oil to the mix. Use a hand blender or whisk to whip the mixture until the sugar or salt has saturated. Spread it over your body in circular motions, starting from the bottom of your body and upwards towards your heart. Rinse with cold water and feel good. 

Note: I don't use measurements for the recipe, I just eyeball it but definitely add more coffee grounds than sea salt. 

The pros & cons of coffee

coffee

Coffee has never really been my thing to get me started in the morning – to wake up, the aroma, or my catalyst to have a BM… until this past holiday season. I would steal a couple of sips from my partner at breakfast before I headed out of the house, before I could drink any more. But even those two sips would awaken my mind and my heart. Honestly, it was insane to see such a quick reaction.  Obviously, it was a "guilty pleasure" I fell in love with.

The first 3 days after Opie left for the holidays, I didn’t have any coffee. I had forgotten about it and everything was fine. Then for fun one Friday morning I had a cup and then another to follow, then the morning after, and after. I craved that first sip of exhilaration. Then I found my bedtime being pushed back a couple of hours and I could not for the life of me have the strength to get up in the morning. I had feelings of urgency and anxiety about getting work and life done. I knew then that the black liquid gold was the culprit.

There are goods and bads to coffee. Maintaining a healthy balance of consumption is vital for keeping the cons at bay. So, it is my honor to give you the pros and cons of daily consumption and how to get to your sweet spot.

Coffee is great on paper. It contains more antioxidants than green tea and cocoa. This protects the body from cell damage. It’s main component is caffeine, a powerful stimulant that is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels into the brain where other neurotransmitters are increased leading to the firing of neurons. Caffeine can last up to 7 hours in the body...we can do so much in a span of 7 hours, right? 

PROS

  • Coffee contains caffeine, the stimulating component that makes you feel less tired and energized
  • Coffee improves cognitive function --mood, boosts short-term memory, reaction time, and concentration
  • Increases adrenaline levels, so you’re prepped for intense physical exertion if you need to be
  • Coffee reduces risk of developing depression
  • Caffeine sends signals to fat cells to break down body fat
  • Coffee drinkers have lower risks of developing diabetes II, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Coffee is a liver-lover. Coffee protects against common liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, fatty liver disease and protect against liver and colon cancer
  • Coffee improves exercise performance. Caffeine enhances endurance, strengthens muscle contraction and reduces your perception of pain

CONS

  • Drinking high consumptions can cause irritability, nervousness, and anxiety
  • Caffeine interferes with the body’s natural regulatory rhythms and can impact quality of sleep and can cause insomnia, leading to perpetual imbalances
  • Caffeine can cause headaches
  • Caffeine can cause indigestion
  • Caffeine can reduce fertility in women
  • Caffeine can make menopause symptoms worse

Caffeine can strongly impact the digestive and adrenal system. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I bring things back to the digestive and adrenal system (my fave topics).  Caffeine stimulates the stomach to produce stomach acid which can aid in digestion but over time can actually reduce stomach acid production. Low stomach acid production can lead to indigestion, heartburn and low absorption of nutrients.

Drinking coffee raises your adrenaline and cortisol levels, triggering your fight-or-flight mode. If you’re constantly in this mode, your adrenals and nervous system can eventually burn out. In other words, you always feel exhausted. 

If you’re hooked on coffee, you’ll know it. Caffeine alters mood and behavior and can lead to physical dependence. If you are a habitual coffee drinker and you stop drinking it even if its anywhere from 12-24 hours, you will mostly likely notice withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately, if you’ve been a huge coffee drinker for some time, the harsher the duration of withdrawal symptoms you may have. Symptoms typically last a few days to a week for light to moderate drinkers but can be as long as two months or more for heavy drinkers.

COMMON WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

  • Caffeine headaches. They start just behind the eyes then move up the front of the head
  • You’re so sleepy you can’t keep yourself straight
  • Lack of energy and motivation to get things done
  • Lack of concentration, focus or coordination
  • Brain fog
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

GIVE YOURSELF SOME TLC

Caffeine affects everyone differently, so if you’re starting to experience some negative side effects like heart palpitations, anxiety or indigestion, consider cutting down to find your balance.

Since caffeine can stay in the body for up to 7 hours, you may want to consider only drinking it in the morning or switching to decaf or half caffeinated-half decaf.

Cutting cold turkey may cause intense withdrawal symptoms, especially if you are a heavy drinker. Consider tapering gradually. For example, if you typically drink 16 oz a day, cut down to 12 oz for a couple of days, then 10 oz, and so on. This will allow your body to acclimate to its natural rhythms.

Stay hydrated. Your brain and cells need water for optimal functioning. You will feel better. Trust me.

Allow yourself to rest. The first couple of days may be the hardest, so if you choose to cleanse from coffee, it’s best to do so during the weekend or when you know you will have time to rest and get extra sleep.

Sweat it out. You may be tired to exercise but breaking a sweat will release dopamine, your brains pleasure chemical.

Eat the rainbow. Colorful fruits and veggies will give your body the nutrition it needs, giving you energy and a positive mind space.

Eat adequate levels of lean protein and healthy fats to stabilize blood sugar levels. Lean animal meat like poultry and fish and healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds will provide sustainable energy and satiation for hours.

WHAT’S UP WITH DECAF?

Decaf coffee isn’t totally caffeine-free.  The USDA only requires products to be 97% caffeine-free in order for manufacturers to make the claim on the label, so there’s still a mild stimulating effect.

HOW TO KEEP COFFEE HEALTHY

  • Keep consumption at 8-12oz, which is about 80-200mg of caffeine per cup
  • Order it black, or add a little whole milk or a nut milk
  • Leave out the sugar
  • Replenish with water. For every ounce of coffee, you want to double that in water. Example: 8 oz coffee = 16oz water.

Most people enjoy the ritual of drinking coffee but you can begin new rituals with these ALTERNATIVES if you give it up:

  • Green tea
  • Licorice tea for adrenals and energy
  • Siberian ginseng for concentration
  • Rich black tea with milk, like chai
  • Dandy Blend, a herbal blend of dandelion and chicory root. This one is great because it looks like coffee and even tastes like it.

Now that I love coffee, I don't mind taking a little swig of it here and there and drinking alternatives. Now, go find your sweet spot.

What have been some of your experiences with coffee intake? Leave a comment below.

Our Dancing Chakras

chakras

Please join me and one of my close friends, Mindi Marcus of Mindi B. Ayurveda in this 6 week workshop, where you will learn the basics of the chakra system, discover the intricacies of your own chakra system and how it impacts your life. Each week we will explore the fundamentals of each chakra, and work towards alignment by exploring specific foods to help clear and charge them. We will also move through yoga sequencing, breath, and visualization customized to balance each chakra.  

You will be given the space for self-discovery, with plenty of new tools including practices and rituals to add to your wellness cache so you can apply them to your real life. 

We are very excited to be sharing such powerful knowledge with you. We'll also feed you delicious morsels to feed your chakras. ;)

When: Mondays March 6th-April 10th
Where: 308 15th St. Oakland, Ca
What Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
Cost: $45 per workshop or $240 whole series. Purchase HERE.

Contact me for questions or more information. 

Aphrodisiac Foods

Aphrodisiac foods are interesting because they invigorate your libido for different reasons. Some of them increase blood flow and stimulation to erogenous zones of the body, others give you energy and stamina to go at it all night, others support sex hormone production, and knowing that all of them increase your libido just plain makes you feel sexy and others look sexy too. 

There are lots of foods that are aphrodisiacs, like chocolate for example, which everyone knows about. Here, I'm going to focus on some foods that nutrient dense and libido boosting. 

walnuts

Roman folklore tells us that WALNUTS were thrown at the bride and groom, (instead of rice) as a sign of fertility and that women often carried walnuts to promote fertility. 
 

Walnuts contain nitric oxide, which helps to plump and relax blood vessels and increase blood flow to our private parts. Penis erections and vaginal tissues become highly more sensitive and responsive to sexual stimulation, thus offering bigger and better orgasms. 

avocados

Avocados are full of beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamin E. Vitamin E is called the “sex vitamin” because it improves circulation and blood flow to our private parts, decreases pms, helps menopausal symptoms, decrease prostate enlargement and helps with natural lubrication! 

HOW? By reducing hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and producing more estrogen. For men…vitamin E helps with erectile dysfunction (poor blood flow).

For half cup of this fruit, there’s 2.4 grams of protein…giving you energy and strength for late night sasss.

chilies

Chilies contain capsaicin, a compound that brings on the heat to your body’s temperature and circulation. These feelings arouse desire internally. Externally, this heat flushes your skin and lips, making them red and plump, maybe causing you to sweat a little. 

Even the thought of this can be powerful. Now, go and sprinkle some of this sex dust onto your avocado now.

oysters

Is it for real that oysters make you super sensual? Yes. But you have to eat about a dozen of them to feel that specific throbbing. 

WHY? 

Oysters are full of ZINC. Zinc is essential for making testosterone and for stimulating all sorts of genitalia. Oysters are also protein-rich, which keeps the bod vigorous til we’re of old age. 

garlic_aphro.JPG

This one might be a hard one for people to get because most associate garlic with its unique smell. Interestingly, garlic has a special component to its aroma that magnetizes pheromones. 

WHAT? That same special component is ALSO PRESENT in female secretions.

For those not into female secretions, that’s ok because garlic produces some serious blood flow to those erogenous zones, increases sexual stamina and beasty energy.

SO, how can you add these into your life?

  1. Eat walnuts as snack or in your granola.
  2. Make guacamole.
  3. Make a salsa with fresh chilies and garlic. 
  4. Feast on oysters over red wine.

xo

Essential winter vegetables

citrus

After the holidays our minds begin to settle down from all the chaos yet at the same time we are so motivated to hit the ground running, especially when it comes to dieting and “starting fresh”. Yes, I believe that eliminating sweet and acidic foods we indulged is a great idea. Yes, I believe that adding more greens to your current nutrition is a wise choice. But a heavy-duty juice or raw vegetable cleanse may not be what your body needs in the middle of winter.

Winter is still a time for your body to rest and renew itself for springtime. With the change in weather, your body becomes vulnerable to colds and flus so it’s important to have a pantry equipped with natural foods that will fortify your well-being.

One thing that I love about winter is that I can load up on hearty vegetables that will keep for a days. So when there’s a storm a-brewin’ and you don’t want to leave your home, you can feel confident that you will be nourished.

List of winter vegetable staples:

The cabbage or cruciferous family -- cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, radishes, and turnips are vast with healing properties. Their anti-inflammatory behavior strengthens the immune system while also helping to balance blood sugar and estrogen levels.

The chicory family – radicchio, escarole, and endives have small amounts of nearly every essential vitamin. Their bitter leaves stimulate digestion and detoxification. They make delicious and well-balanced salads when adding roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Root vegetables like parsnips, sweet potato, beets, carrots and winter squashes like spaghetti squash, acorn, butternut, & delicate squash is the dearest part of my winter. These vegetables can be made sweet or savory, pleasing everyone’s style. These vegetables can often fulfill your not-so-dearest carb-cravings like grains and breads. They are rich in vitamin A and C, both important from keeping your skin dry from the harsh winter winds and from staving off colds. 

Alliums --onions & garlic have potent healing effects on immunity due to their immense doses of antioxidants and antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial healing properties. To maximize the health benefits of garlic, you should crush the cloves and allow them to sit for about 15 minutes. This triggers an enzyme reaction that increases the potency of its compounds. To preserve the antimicrobial activity of garlic mix into cooked foods at the last minute.

Kale and collards are part of the cabbage family and the heartiest of the dark greens. Their meaty leaves provide fiber and vast amounts of antioxidants and vitamins like A, B and C.  Its deep green hue tells me that it is full of chlorophyll -- a green pigment that promotes cleansing, protect from free radical damage, encourages healing and controls hunger and cravings.

Fennel is another immune strengthening plant that aids in digestion and in the relief of upset stomach, such as gas and bloat.

Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges raises the pH of body tissue to become more alkaline. Eating alkaline foods helps your body to function at its best, increase energy, reduces the risk of cancer, and slows down the aging process.

Dried beans, legumes & grains are excellent sources of plant protein. They are low in fat and high in fiber, thus helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, making you feel fuller for longer. There are abundant varieties in these groups, choose to your liking. If you are gluten-free you have the choice of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and amaranth. Always rinse and soak for at least 8 hours before cooking to ease  digestibility.

For the sweet tooth: medjool and deglet noor dates are naturally sweet fruits that lift your energy levels energy. Their high-fiber content decreases bad cholesterol and supports healthy digestion.

The wonderful aspect of these winter staples is their versatility. –stews, soups, dips, spreads, homemade vegetable chips, juices, and smoothies. 

 

Welcoming the new year...

2017

Are you ready for 2017? I sure am. I'm feeling positive, excited and motivated with a tinge of nervousness and concern for the upcoming year. Aren’t we all, though? We sure have endured a lot this year. Between some of our favorite legends passing to some of our close beloveds, the election, and trying to balance work, relationships, and our mental states, it’s been quite a whirlwind. Luckily, the beginning of a new year reminds you to thank what no longer serves you and allows you throw it in the fire.
 
2016 reminded me of how hardships and tragedies create a powerful impact on the soul-level and in the community. They bring people closer together and inspire change. What I want to do and encourage others to starting doing in the New Year is to keep the momentum of inspiring change and taking action to continue. Wouldn’t it be powerful if we supported this idea all the time? Powerful change takes shifts in attitude and behavior, it may come over time but it is possible.
 
Nourishing yourself with radiant thoughts, people, and food will be a key place to begin. Healthy food can heal our bodies and our spirit. Right now is wonderful time to reflect on any creative health changes that are calling for your attention. Do you want to start listening to your gut? What’s the buzz about fermented foods? Is there such a thing as healthy fats? Which vegetables really need to be organic? How do I get long-lasting energy? How can food help my stress levels? Can I use the food for my skin and body? Go on, ask yourself some questions you want answers to.

The 3 C's: Chocolate, Cookies, and Champagne

chocolate

We shouldn't have to completely avoid some of the foods that make us feel happy. The beauty of food is there are always healthier and higher quality versions of the food we love but are damaging to our bodies. Whether you’re celebrating an occasion or laying low at home, make sure your 3 C's contain powerful antioxidants and do something nourishing to your body. 

Chocolate: The darker the better. Aim for 75% cacao or higher. Dark chocolate contains flavonols (a type of antioxidant) that improve cognitive function and even provide UV protection for your skin. Choosing quality chocolate feels more like a treat, which allows you to appreciate it more and prevent eating it. Say no to “dutch” chocolate as it contains less flavonols and look for cocoa butter as the first ingredient, not sugar.

Cookies: Opt for homemade cookies from a beloved source or make them yourself. This way you know exactly what ingredients are in them so you avoid triggering any food sensitivity symptoms. When making cookies, choose the highest quality ingredients to nurture your body, you deserve it.  Check out this tummy loving cookie recipe

Champagne: The real stuff? From Champagne, France. The benefits? Drinking moderate (no over-indulging here) amounts improves short term memory and like chocolate, also contains flavonols that are helpful for cognitive function. Champagne contains the antioxidant, resveratrol which strengthens heart health by reducing bad cholesterol and reducing damage to blood vessels. In terms of calories and sugar…champagne has less than wine and beer and its bubbles seem to help you drink slower and feel more full. Best alternatives to champagne is Crémant, which is a sparkling wine that often has the same consistent quality as champagne but more affordable. Champagne alternatives also have the above beneficial antioxidants. 

Don't drink champagne? Dazzle a mocktail with sparkling mineral water, shrubs, herbs, and fruit. 

**Special note** The antioxidants in champagne are actually good for your face! Cheers to making a champagne detox mask. 

 

Champagne Detox Face Mask from hello glow

You'll need:

  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • 4 ounces powdered clay such as bentonite or red clay
  • 1.5 - 2 tablespoons of plain, full-fat yogurt

Start with the powdered clay in a mixing bowl and slowly pour in the yogurt. Start with 1.5 tbsp. of yogurt and gently mix the cream and clay as you pour. Then add in the champagne, mixing the mask the entire time. Apply to face and neck before it starts to dry. The mask should take about 20 minutes to dry. Then rinse with warm water and a washcloth.

xo

Two Healthy Holiday Secret Weapons

activated charcoal

Activated Charcoal + Digestive Bitters

These are two simple and effective tools to keep handy during this time of the year that is filled with food you don't eat on the daily. 

Bitters stimulate your digestive system to break down your food, balance appetite, curb sugar cravings, soothe gas & bloat. They help your body’s ability to absorb and assimilate vitamins, all while supporting your liver to detox optimally.

Look for bitters that contain digestive and detoxifying effects like gentian root, burdock root, yellow dock, fennel seed, or ginger. Add a few drops on your tongue or in a small glass of water before or after a meal. 

Activated charcoal dates back to 1550 B.C. when it was used as an antidote for poison. Nowadays, it is been medicinally used as a detoxifier and to relieve stomach troubles. Activated charcoal moves through the gastrointestinal tract absorbing toxins, trapped gas, and hydrogen sulphide, that rotten egg smell. 

It can also help prevent hangovers, by absorbing chemicals and toxins that alcohol contains. It can stop a case of food poisoning from progressing if taken immediately after feeling ill.

For the common case of gas, take a 500 mg capsule an hour and half after each meal away from food or an hour before a meal, meds or supplements as it will stop their absorption and with lots of water. It’s great to use occasionally but not recommended to become reliant on it.

xo

On Catching Your Zzz'z

chapo

Sleep is an incredibly important component to your vitality and all facets to your overall health. Sleep allows your body to repair, regenerate, and recover. Let’s not forget that sleep is needed to process all the detoxing your liver performs twenty-four hours a day. Sleep is not only important for cognitive performance but if you’re also struggling to shed pounds, have difficulty coping with stress, or are a carb and sugar fiend, the more sleep you will need. Quality counts too!
 
Sleep helps with:
Increased energy
Sharper concentration
Better decision-making
Improved memory
Ability to manage stress
Improved physical health
Better immune system
 
Every now and again we have a bad night’s sleep due to late night fun or crying babies, or our fussy furry friends.  Although this is no fun, our bodies can typically recover by sleeping double time the following day. But what about when sleepless nights become days, weeks, even months? That's when you know it’s time to address the root causes to your sleeping issues.

Some causes to poor sleep:
 Late night eating and/or sipping on alcohol disrupts Rapid Eye Movement, which accounts for 25% of our sleep state when we are dreaming and fluctuates hormones. Another hindrance is late night eating, especially closer to 11pm, which disrupts the liver’s peak functioning time.

All sorts of factors can throw your sleep out of whack like light, temperature, noise, and electromagnetic fields (EMF’s). Sleeping in complete darkness allows your pineal gland to produce melatonin, which is key to your immune system and the quality of your sleep. Even a tiny bit of light can stop the production of melatonin for the night.

High stress & hormone imbalance. High cortisol at night will most likely make you feel tired yet wired. Cortisol should be highest in the morning and slowly decline as the day goes on. A combination of low estrogen and high adrenaline can contribute to night sweats.

Medications like beta-blockers, antidepressants, ACE inhibitors, statins, and other medications can disturb your ability to sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to:

Impaired brain activity & cognitive dysfunction
Memory problems
Moodiness
Depression
Accident prone
Hallucinations
Weakened immunity
Weight gain
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Heart disease

Sleep Inducing Foods
 Snacks that helps calm your mind is a good idea to have an hour before your bed routine.  

  • Organic plain whole yogurt contains tryptophan, an amino acid that helps calm your brain and makes you sleepy. Also rich in calcium, which helps to reduce stress and calms the brains nerves.
  • Bananas contain, magnesium, potassium, and tryptophan. Magnesium and potassium are extremely nerve calming and helps muscles relax.
  • Herbal teas like lemon balm, passion flower, and valerian root help ease you into sleep and they make it a good nights rest too.

 Develop some good habits by making the bedroom a sanctuary for sleep and sex only. This means no watching tv in bed, catching up on emails, online shopping or social-gramming on your phone (I know it’s a challenge!) Instead develop some good moves to practice before bedtime.

  1. Start unwinding at a consistent time every night. Dim the lights, this will signal your brain to start producing melatonin. Shoot for an hour before bed.
  2. A hot bath with Epsom salts and lavender essential oils or a hot steamy shower with lavender essential oils. And get yourself some lavender essential mist to spray over your bed as well.
  3. Good ole gentle stretching like cat/cow poses, for 5-10 minutes before you begin your breathing practice can help loosen muscles and relieve stress.
  4. Guided meditation and breathing techniques can help you to think less about things and help you to focus on rest.

If you have the time doing all them would feel great. But if not, don't fret and just choose one. Go with what is doable and feels good to you. 

In general...

  • A general rule of thumb is to avoid coffee after 12pm and all caffeine (including teas) after 2-3pm.
  • Exercise is important for body and mind. It helps to relieve stress but can also raise cortisol. Cortisol should be higher in the morning and decrease over the course of the day, but you may disrupt this cycle if you train hard in the evening. Go for strenuous activity in the morning instead.
  • You can certainly move or exercise at a lower intensity at night – like a nice long walk, yoga, or pilates – to keep the cortisol levels low but get the movement that you want.
  • It’s a good idea to blackout your bedroom as much as possible – use room darkening shades or anything else. Darkness triggers your body to produce melatonin – a hormone that helps to manage your circadian rhythm by inducing calm and sleep.
  • Turn off your electronics and wi-fi at night. Simply pull the plug on some of your electronic devices. How about leaving them in another room?
  • Cut screen time from tv, laptops, and cell phones. Make this a part of your night wind down ritual.
  • Eat your last snack of the day at least an hour before bedtime. Make it small. 
  • Do some light reading with dim lights, but not so dark that you’re squinting your eyes.
  • Listen to soothing music.

Can Sleeping Issues Be Linked To Food Sensitivities?

Do you have problems falling asleep, insomnia, waking up throughout the night, vivid dreams, nightmares, night terrors, talking or walking  in your sleep?
 
Processed foods that contain chemicals such as artificial colors, annatto, preservatives and flavor enhancers are often intolerable to people. Food chemical intolerances can manifest themselves through sleep disturbances. Removing packaged foods that contain these ingredients can greatly reduce sleeping issues.
 
Unfortunately, naturally occurring chemicals called salicylates, amines, and glutamates in healthy foods can also cause sleep disturbances.

Amines are formed by the breakdown of protein foods and can affect mental functioning and other body processes. Amines like tyramine in cheese, histamine in wine, and phenylethylamine in chocolate, may be some of the most common ones in our diet. 
 
Salicylates are in apples (golden and red delicious), green grapes, fresh lemon, mangoes, passion fruit, persimmon, pineapple juice, pomegranate and rhubarb.
 
Glutamates are found in cheeses, fish sauce, soy sauce, mushrooms, ripe tomatoes, broccoli, peas, walnuts, wheat gluten.
 
Sleep is just one symptom of having food intolerances. To find out if your symptoms are linked to food sensitivities, join meat Beat Your Bloat & Other Tummy Troubles and schedule a complimentary Discovery Session to get tested for food sensitivities.

Beat Your Bloat & Other Tummy Troubles

vitalityseries

It's time to real-talk yourself about symptoms you may be dealing with on the day-to-day. Symptoms that might have been in your life for so long, that you have either accepted by now or you think are just plain normal processes. 

Do you often have gas and bloat? Fatigue? Painful joints? Stubborn weight and sugar cravings? Maybe skin issues you just can’t figure out?

Food sensitivities are more common and have a wider and more varied impact on health. There are different types of food sensitivities that may arise for a wide variety of reasons making it complex and oftentimes a confusing way to approach diet. Recognizing them helps you to regain and maintain health, and the first step to restoring your digestion and improving energy.

Symptoms are signs to your body that something is imbalanced and needs attention. It's time to listen to your gut and give it the nourishment it really wants for longevity and vibrancy. 

What you’ll learn:

The most common food sensitivities that may be in your diet right now
Sneaky label names and how to avoid them
Delicious and healthy alternatives
How to heal an inflamed gut
How to find out if you have any

What you’ll get:

A list of sneaky names to avoid
A mock-dairy recipe
The Elimination Diet protocol
Get muscle tested for one of the major food allergens, plus you get to bring ONE suspect item of your own to get tested

Take control of what doesn't belong in your system before the holiday season begins. End the year with clarity and start the new one with a bang.

When: November 19th, 2016 12-1:30pm
Where: RGS Studios at 4456 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, California 94611
Cost: $55 sign up HERE or RSVP through ME or RGS Studios

Hello Journal, it's me...

Journaling.JPG

The month of October really flew by but it was one of great existence. I worked like a maniac for the two months leading up to October. So, early on in the month I told myself to focus on the little things that bring me joy.

I brought dairy back into my life, went on epic walks weekly, day dreamt, binged on the series Transparent, and spent quality time with my loved ones.  Basically, I recharged, it was good, and now I'm feeling the fire to propel forward. 

Anyways, it's November. Here's a little bit of what November will bring from Cafe Astrology:

"The New Moon that energized Scorpio on October 30th sets the tone for much of the month of November. We are encouraged to move away from our comfort zone and to welcome new ways to live, heal, and transform. It’s a time for taking a good look at what we may have chosen to sweep under the carpet. Taking the time to understand others’ motives can enrich our feelings of intimacy, forgiveness, and sense of meaning. We might want to use this cycle to focus on and develop one special project or relationship to add purposefulness and depth to our lives. Powerful new insights into ourselves and relationships can occur now." 

This brings me excitement. I'm definitely feeling the vibrations of new heights and revelations that are not only coming to me but also to others that I've been speaking to. Therefore, I'm going to continue to feed this hungry growth for as long as possible. As should you. 

If you're feeling imbalanced in some way or another, even if it's nervous excitement about what the future holds, I want you to journal. Journaling your emotions, ideas, and thoughts have tremendous amounts of potential for finding answers to whatever it is that is inside of you that needs release. Next step to this, is to share a tidbit of these acknowledgements with someone you trust. This too has profound effects to your personal growth, as well.

It only takes 5 minutes a day, but I bet you'll actually find yourself writing for even longer. ;) 

Would You Oil Pull?

oilpulling

Research show that ancient Eqyptians had strong and healthy teeth. They didn’t suffer much from cavities, or any other mouth ailment. Obviously a reason may be because they didn’t consume sugars and processed grains. They did however use chew sticks and they oil pulled.

Oil pulling is a traditional practice in Ayurvedic medicine but is becoming a really popular modern practice specifically for its detoxification properties, removing bacteria, promoting healthy teeth and gums, and even strengthening immunity.

Oil pulling cleanses the oral cavity by literally pulling toxins out of the mouth. Teeth plaque gets out of hand can lead to bad breath, yellow teeth, gum inflammation, gingivitis and cavities. As you oil pull, the bacteria get’s stuck in the oil that will swish out of the mouth.

Other benefits of oil pulling:

  • Helps get rid of tooth decay
  • Kills bad breath
  • Stops bleeding gums
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Prevents heart disease
  • Prevents cavities
  • Whitens teeth
  • Strengthens immunity
  • Improves acne
  • Strengthens acne and jaw

Most people use either sesame or coconut oil to pull with. I prefer using coconut oil because it has antibacterial properties and it’s easier to work with, plus it tastes better.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Put about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. You can start with less and then increase as you get more used to it.
  2. Swish it around for 10-20 minutes gently or as vigorously as you’d like.
  3. Once you’re done, spit it out in the trash can. Don’t spit it in the sink as it will harden again and can cause the sink to clog. (And remember, it’s toxic bacteria that you don’t want floating back up).
  4. Try really hard not to swallow it since it is crazy gross and toxic.

TIPS

  • Using a tongue scraper after helps to remove any film of bacteria from your tongue. Wash and keep the tongue scraper in a glass of hydrogen peroxide after each use. 
  • Best to oil pull is before breakfast on an empty stomach or an hour after drinking beverages. I typically do it once in the morning but if I were to do it at night, I would oil pull at least two hours after eating, just to be on the good side.
  • Some folks like to add essential oils to flavor their coconut oil, like orange or grapefruit essential oils.

It’s recommended to oil pull at least three times a week. Obviously, the more often you do it the better, but you know how it goes.