Your simple detox elixir

cucumber water

You want to know what keeps you energized, clear-headed, feeling full, and keeps your skin plump and hydrated? You guessed right, water! As you prepare for total health, the most simplest and inexpensive way to start is by drinking more water. 

If you haven't already begun this detoxifying ritual you will begin today. First thing every morning, drink a tall glass of warm water and squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Natural lemon juice contains electrolytes, detoxifies your organs, and stimulates digestion. So you're already prepping your body to break down your breakfast. This practice is genius. 

Don't know how much water to drink per day? Here's what to do...
Divide your weight in pounds by two and convert that into ounces. Example: 150 pounds / 2 = 75 ounces.
(You may need to increase the amount of water intake if you are intensively training, pregnant, under hot weather, or have a urinary tract infection).

Is it a challenge to drink all that water because you're running around too much or annoyed of the size of your bladder? That's ok you can eat your water! Here are some high-water content foods:

  • cucumbers
  • grapefruit
  • celery
  • spinach
  • bell peppers
  • cabbage
  • radishes
  • watermelon (ooh can't wait for summer)

Six Weeks to Glow

I'm so excited to announce a *NEW* dream offering of mine in partnership with Dr. Jessica Parker of root & stem Acupuncture.

Together we are offering --- Spring Reset,  a 6 week women's wellness program combining Eastern Medicine, Acupuncture and Nutrition/Wellness. At the end of the program you will walk away with the tools and knowledge to take charge of your health. You'll learn what feeds you (literally!) and be more empowered around your overall wellness.

sixweekstowellness

The tools you walk away with will serve you for your entire life, and you can even share what you've learned with your friends and family! We believe in an empowered model for health, and the more tools and knowledge we have to make decisions the better. 

This is the spring detox and reset you’ve always wanted, minus crazy dieting and deprivation. You’ll sleep better, balance your cycles and hormones or eliminate peri-menopause or menopausal symptoms, get radiant skin, reduce stress and feel your best.

{the details} of HOW it will work

6 weeks to glow, a new kind of women's wellness program

You will get 6 weekly sessions with Dr. Parker and Lyssandra Guerra (3 total sessions with each practitioner) customized to your needs and schedule.

The Issues addressed  in these sessions include: digestion, hormones, balancing your cycles or minimizing and eliminating perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms (e.g. night sweats, mood swings, etc.), get better sleep, improve the health and glow of your skin, stress management and more! 

Note: You will receive an intake from both Dr.Jessica Parker and Lyssandra Guerra at the start of the program to asses areas of need and focus.

Payment plans and schedule of visits to be arranged at the first meeting.  We are happy to answer any further questions you might have.

Your Investment --- 6 Weeks to Glow Program: 
$675 by 4/31, $750 after
(payment plans available upon request)
 

Get Started - 6 Weeks to Glow

(email sixweekstowellness@gmail.com to schedule)

What is The New Moon Walk + Talk?

new moon

A new moon occurs when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun, so that the illuminated side of the moon faces away from viewers on Earth. As a result, the moon appears as a thin crescent in the sky, or it vanishes entirely. 

The new moon is energetically encouraging for planting the seeds and taking action in aspects of your life where there is potential for growth.

I intend for the New Moon Walk & Talk to be a gathering for women to set specific and heart-felt intentions towards our goals. I blend walking and talking because I believe that movement helps the mind relax. When the mind is relaxed the chi is flowing through the body, creativity and inspiration rise. During the walks, I also encourage women to vent and release their stressors and un-deserving emotions. We need to let that stuff out, right!?


Together we share resources, tools, stories, and smiles while plugging in our action steps to help us get closer to what we want to embody. Small steps towards our goals are more likely to get accomplished and they propel us to the next one. It's a wonderful energetic trickle effect. Plus, creating accountability with our peers is proven to keep us going toward the gold.

I intend for women to leave feeling less overwhelmed about their current situation.

I intend for women to feel lifted by the love and support from other women.

I intend for women to feel permission, love, and compassion for themselves.

I intend for women to feel empowered by their thoughts and their choices.

Healthy pantry swaps

nut milk

Most of us grew up having basic food options but these days theres a plethora of alkalinizing whole foods that are perfect alternatives to the conventional ones we grew up eating. This is extremely fortunate for those wanting avoiding food sensitivities, wanting variety, and switching over to real food. 

Stay posted as the list below is ever-growing as we explore more foods to swap away the conventional ones...

 

trade this: conventional Milk

for this: rice milk, coconut milk, and nut & seed milks like cashew, almond, pumpkin and sunflower seed

 

trade this: white bread and wheat

for this: sprouted seed breads, rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth

 

trade this: boxed cereal

for this: steel-cut oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or amaranth

 

trade this: conventional mayonnaise and ketchup

for this: hummus or avocado, olive tapenade, or homemade mayo and aioli 

 

trade this: bleached pasta

for this: rice noodles, buckwheat soba noodles, raw spiralized zucchini

 

trade this: chips and dip

for this: seed crackers and hummus, guacamole, fresh salsa

 

trade this: table salt

for this: Himalayan sea salt, Celtic salt, dried seaweed flakes

 

trade this: white sugar

for this: stevia, coconut sugar, date sugar, raw honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses

 

trade this: ice cream, cake, and cookies

for this: non-dairy coconut ice cream, cashew ice cream, quick banana ice cream, rice pudding

 

trade this: coffee and black tea

for this: green tea, matcha, roasted dandelion, chicory root, chamomile, nettle or mint tea

 

trade this: soda and energy drinks

for this: fresh juices, sparkling mineral water, kombucha

 

trade this: sweet cocktails

for this: sparkling water mint mojito, rosemary-infused cucumber lemonade, ginger mint mocktail, vodka or gin with club soda and a lime (yes!)

Raise your vitality

citrus

My approach for a healthy and balanced life is to eat clean, real food, stay hydrated, sleep, think positively, and allow for pleasure. We are a ‘whole’ being, meaning that what we eat, how we think, and how we live directly affects our mind, body, and our spirit.

Food is the first step in achieving vitality and reconnecting to your true unique beauty. Food is our nourishment, when we eat high vibrational foods, their energy radiates through our body to heal the body, prevent disease, and change your mood.

Medical experts and research studies have long recognized the effects of diet and lifestyle on the risk of chronic diseases (1). Therefore using food as your medicine helps you to clear out any toxicity and thereby creating ample space for energy, clarity and making life-affirming decisions.

You see, just like we are made up of energy, so is food. That’s why certain food may deplete your energy or cause harm to your body and why other foods increase your energy and uplift you. Eating foods that are natural and in their pure form will have higher vibrations than most conventional food because they contain living enzymes that are essentials for optimal digestion, assimilation, absorption, overall health and beauty benefits.  

Unfortunately, processed, packaged and conventional food, (tortilla chips, you guys, is my frenemy) which can typically hang out in your pantry for months cause inflammation and make your body more vulnerable to illness and disease. Because your body is so intelligent, it doesn’t recognize these chemical-laden foods as real food, and therefore is unable to metabolize and cleanse from the body effectively. Yep, that’s why you, your BFF, and your sister struggle with bouts of weight gain, brain fog, harsh PMS, acne, stress, and autoimmune disorders, amongst other issues!

Bottom-line? Eating real, whole, nutrient-rich foods is essential for increasing your vitality. Eating a colorful array of vegetables, fruits, plant-based protein, pasture-raised meat & eggs, whole grains (if you’re tolerant to them), and pure clean beverages is going to take you to the moon and back.

Here’s a pro-tip: To eat the rainbow on the daily, choose a vegetable that represents a color from the rainbow and do the same for fruits. With these vegetables you can make a sauté or salad and with the fruit you can whip up a fruit salad or blend them into a smoothie. Activate your well-being! 

 

 

References: Prevention of Chronic Disease by Means of Diet and Lifestyle Changes from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11795/

How to keep it real this year

journal

It’s about time we start setting realistic health goals. Ones in which are sustainable, forgiving, and fun.  At the start of the New Year, people tend to hit the ground running so hard on their ambitions that they quickly lose steam and give up on them. Every January I witness packed fitness studios and intense diet cleanses but by February, I a huge slow down. While hitting the gym and eating clean is a big thumbs up, (seriously, I’m not hating) I notice they don’t become sustainable activities because people really don’t want to do them. My goal is to help people reframe the way they make their health goals. 

So let’s refashion how you see health. Taking an inventory of your diet and lifestyle can give you clarity.

Here are some helpful questions.

Food:

  • What do you eat and how do you eat daily?
  • Do you have 3 meals and 2 snacks?
  • Do you graze all day and have a heavy dinner?
  • Are you chewing thoroughly or do you eat quickly?
  • Are your meals typically take-out?
  • How do you get your vegetables in?

Exercise:

  • Do you exercise daily?
  • What kind of exercise do you do?
  • Do you enjoy it? How does it make you feel?
  • What is your main goal when you exercise?

 

Community, Connection & Self-Care:

  • Do you have a support crew (friends, family, partner)?
  • How connected are you to a community? Do you want to be?
  • What do you do for fun? Hobbies? Interests?
  • What kinds of activities make you feel good/calm/confident/inspired/motivated?

Once you get clear on what you see is feeding you life and energy, you will be able to see what desires you can bring forth that align with you.

This helps you to choose fulfilling and joyful actions. For example, choosing your favorite vegetable and making different meals that contain it. For example, carrots… you can make carrot juice, carrot soup, carrot and zucchini breakfast muffins, or add them to a sauté.

1. 80% Rule:

Let’s look at the big picture for a moment…if 80% of the time you’re eating whole plant-based foods including pasture-raised meats and eggs, then allowing yourself to “let loose” 20% of the time becomes a healthy balance. Eating healthy foods doesn’t have to feel boring. Fruits and vegetables can be eaten hundreds of ways. At times they too can feel like an indulgence – not only are they delicious, and potently nutritious but best of all, you can eat them all the time. I mean, spirulina truffles, cashew cheesecake?…c’mon.

2. Things you enjoy

Follow what feels good. Being on an exercise and nutrition regimen that works for you is likely to stay. Mixing it up between strengthening, conditioning, yoga, swimming, dancing, sports, etc., will be more enjoyable then doing one type of exercise 5-7x a week, plus it’ll be more effective. If your New Years resolution is to run a full marathon but you dislike running, why do it? Similarly with food, eat health foods in a way that feels good for you. A vegetable and fruit smoothie sometimes sounds more enticing than a salad, right?

3. How to stay on top of it?

Plan and organize your new health goals by creating lists and penciling them into your calendar. Invite your friends and family to partake in meal plans and workout activities to establish accountability. Studies show that it takes 21 days for a new action to become a habit. So, the more you make these actions a part of your daily routine, the most likely they will become second nature.

4. What to do when you fall off?

Forgive yourself and let it go. We’re all human beings with urges and tendencies. Self-love and acceptance is the most sustainable way to live. Balance is about making decisions based on what makes you feel good. If you feel like you’re “falling off the wagon” from diet or exercise, consider whether you feel mentally, physically, and/or emotionally imbalanced by what you’re eating/lack of exercise or if you’re honoring your body’s needs (example: eating heavier foods and resting for recovery/recharging).  

Being present and conscious of your health gets you closer to truly enjoying your life NOW and in the FUTURE. 

EASY post-holiday cleanse tips

parsleycabbage.JPG

Welcome 2018!

Here are some simple and effective ways to ease into health this year. As always, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of pure water and herbal teas. 

  1. Eat your greens, especially the cruciferous kinds like broccoli, arugula, kale, cauliflower, and radishes– these guys stimulate the detoxification.  
  2. Lose the gas and bloat, ease constipation, and other general gut problems by eating more raw or steamed plant foods, add more fiber and fermented foods.
  3. Reduce stress by taking Epsom salt baths, clean and organize your home, get a facial or massage, and get plenty of rest will help center and refocus yourself.
  4. Get sweaty – eliminate toxins from poor-quality foods, alcohol, and salt. Increasing cardiovascular exercise through exercise, saunas, or steam rooms helps remove these toxic chemicals and pollutants from your body making you feel lighter and improves skin glow. Plus, this makes your brains feel-good chemicals kick-in.

Gift Certificates are out!

giftcertificates

Feeling healthy and vibrant is true wealth and it’s a contagious energy! So let’s spread this feeling around by giving a gift in good health. 

True health is important for balance and happiness. Eating nourishing foods improves sleep, increases energy, motivates you to exercise and move your body, creates self-esteem and positive mental attitude, helps you reach your goals and desires, and ultimately helps you to enjoy your life. It's a trickle effect and it begins with what you put at the end of your fork. 

To purchase you can Paypal me at lyssandra@nativepalmsnutrition.com, send a check, Venmo, or cash. Contact me for more information. 

December 2017 Reflections

We are in the last days of 2017...deep breaths here. What a year it has been in our personal lives, our nation, and the world at large. 2017 happened in the blink of an eye and I still feel like I'm catching up with the emotions from all the achievements, successes, failures, and challenges that I’ve experienced in my personal life and in my business practice. Needless to say, I’m feeling freer, excited, and more optimistic (nervous, yes that too!) than I have in years. 
 
This year I have finally given myself the love and acceptance needed to let go of what doesn't serve me and have been learning to embrace the wonders and possibilities that can show up when I open up to them. Trust me, it hasn't been the easiest road but it's been an empowering one. I hope that you all have had a year where you have learned from your challenges and are ready to take on new actions towards starting something that you believe in. Now that the holidays are coming to a end, may your mind feel clearer to set new intentions for 2018. 

I hope you have a loving and safe New Years holiday. xo

Eat Your Autumn Colors

Eat the rainbow, eat the rainbow... 

You may hear that hundreds of times, but it’s critical to really eat foods that represent the colors of the rainbow. I’m talking about functional foods that have potent aspects beyond basic nutrition. I’m talking about food in its natural state.
 
At this time of the season, the leaves of trees aren’t quite dead. I’m noticing a lot of oranges, yellows, and reds on the leaves. There’s something warm and supportive about these colors, perhaps because they emanate boldness and density.
 
Fruits and veggies in blazing oranges, yellows, and red contain important plant compounds called carotenoids that convert to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin in which most people are familiar with for helping with eyesight and night vision. However, vitamin A also strengthens the immune system, promotes bone growth, reduces inflammation, naturally slows down the aging process, and makes skin glow.
 
Fruits and vegetables like carrots, butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, orange and yellow bell peppers, passion fruit, and grapefruit all contain carotenoids (dark leafy greens have them too!).  Three of the most common carotenoids – alpha-carotene, beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin – can be converted from foods into vitamin A in the body. This nutrient is needed for good vision in dim light, normal growth and development, a strong immune system and to keep the skin and cells that line the airways, digestive tract and urinary tract healthy. But thanks to their antioxidant activity, there’s also evidence to suggest that carotenoids – and especially beta carotene, found in orange and yellow food – might help to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, especially lung cancer. 
 
For red foods like pomegranates, cranberries, and beets, which contain the potent antioxidant lycopene, prostate health is maintained.
 
The zest of yellow and orange citrus fruits is also a good source of limonene, a phytochemical that helps keep lungs healthy and may prevent cancer.
 
A little fat helps the body to absorb ingredients like beta-carotene, lycopene, and limonene from foods so don’t be afraid to add a little fat, whether that’s roasting sweet potatoes with a little olive oil or serving pepper and carrot slices with hummus. Puréeing and cooking also makes it easier for our bodies to absorb and use phytochemicals such as beta-carotene.
 
How to eat more autumn colors:

  • Bake sweet potatoes and melt coconut oil, ghee, or butter
  • Make carrot ginger soup
  • Swap your regular roasted potatoes for roasted sweet potato and butternut squash
  • Add carrots to winter stews and casseroles
  • Make your own homemade butternut squash soup
  • Add grated carrot and yellow and orange peppers to salads
  • Top porridge with dried apricots
  • Make a fruit salad using cantaloupe, pineapple, mango and oranges
  • Make your favorite pasta dish out of spaghetti squash instead of regular pasta
  • Top squash curry’s with lemon zest
  • Make beet burgers from the pulp of beet juice
  • Add pomegranate seeds to your salads or roasted vegetables

 
Although vitamin A deficiency is less common, if you find that your immunity is very low and/or you are experiencing trouble seeing in dim light, connect with me to set up a nutrient and supplement analysis.

Healthy Gut, Healthy Glow

nourishingbonebroth.JPG

Are you constantly being challenged when it comes to your digestion? Do you deal with gas, bloat, lethargy, constipation or diarrhea after you’ve eaten? These are often signs that there’s some dysfunction in the gut.

A slow-moving digestive system means that your body isn’t absorbing any nutrients, which can result in illnesses and degenerative diseases. So, why not take some preventive measures and take on natural and simple rituals daily.

I have definitely noticed an improvement in my digestive health since I started to become more conscious of what I was putting in my body and in what state of mind I was in when I was putting that food in my body. Everything in our individual whole-ness is interconnected, it only makes sense that how we live, eat, and think affects our ability to be healthy.

First thing in the AM, drink a tall glass of warm lemon water. Not only does the fresh squeezed lemon awaken your senses but it also stimulates your stomach to secrete stomach acid, which helps break down your food. It’s important to get the proper digestive flow started in the morning so that you are supported throughout the day.

Get going:

Chew your food. This one is part of my philosophy and a practice that takes mindfulness and patience. Chewing is extremely important because it’s the first step in the digestive process. It begins in the mouth when the teeth chomp on that food that the enzymes start to help you digest that food.

Eat in a parasympathetic state. In other words, relaxing and enjoying your food helps you to digest and assimilate you’re meal. When you’re in a sympathetic state, your body goes in stress mode and stops digesting.

Eat real. None of the garbage that has an inflammatory effect wrecking havoc to your gut flora and digestion. These include preserved and refined foods, sugars, gluten (if you’re sensitive to it), pasteurized dairy and conventional raised meats.

Eat fermented foods. Sauerkraut, kimchi and beverages like kefir, and rejuvelac all contain enzymes and probiotics to help enhance your digestion and absorb your vitamins and minerals. Eating plenty of these or even taking a high quality supplement helps to balance your gut flora.

Take digestive enzymes or bitters. There are three main digestive enzymes that help in the chemical breakdown of food. Amylase enzymes break down carbohydrates, protease break down protein and lipase breaks down fat.  Other enzymes that are helpful are papain and bromelain, derived from papaya and pineapple. Also, consider taking HCL (hydrochloric acid, AKA stomach acid) with enzymes. Stomach acid blends our food into smaller components. Most people think that heart burn comes from too much acid in the system but in reality it’s the opposite. The stomach tends to secrete less stomach acid and with age it becomes harder to even produce it. Bitters is an herbal extract that increases the secretion of digestive enzymes and helps to breakdown proteins into smaller and absorbable molecules. Taken daily helps to eliminate symptoms of poor digestion like gas, bloating, indigestion, and allergies.   

Bone broth. This nutrient dense and healing liquid gold is essential to healing the digestive tract from damage and inflammation. Bone broth is rich in gelatin and amino acids that improve nutrient absorption.

Exercise. Moving the body helps food go down the digestive tract. Low impact movement like walking is very beneficial. Twisting poses in yoga while deeply inhaling and exhaling help massage the internal organs, easing digestion.

Ayurvedic stomach massage. Breathe deeply while you lay on your back using a natural oil to gently massage your abdomen clockwise in big circles starting from below the navel and around into smaller circles until you reach your navel. This healing stomach massage breaks up matter so that it can move around the digestive tract smoothly while also helping to release stress and tension. 

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.