High Vibes Smoothie

untitledI have been playing around with a variety of different nutrient dense combinations and usually I whip up a different one everyday. I have been taught by my amazing teacher, Andrea Nakayama of www.Replenishpdx.com the importance of combining fat, fiber and protein with each meal and snack that we eat. This a crucial nutritious component for balancing blood sugar & energy levels. It also effects our mood when we are balanced in the aforementioned. Think about the brain gut connection. The gut is the 2nd brain.

Let’s commit to treating the body and brain soundly and keep it balanced with: nourishing food, contemplative practices (meditation, prayer, journaling) appropriate exercise, adequate sleep, plenty of laughter, quality time with friends and family to feel the connectedness we yearn for and seek your true purpose through service.

Ingredients (organic is strongly suggested):

1/4 cup handful of almonds
2 T of ground chia seeds and/or hemp seeds
2 kale leaves – deveined (some people may like spinach)
1/2 granny smith apple cored and roughly chopped
1 T hemp powder protein
1/4 tsp. blue-green algae or spirulina
¾-1 c of hemp milk (or milk of your choice)
handful frozen blueberries or a tsp of maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Soak the almonds overnight in a small bowl. In the morning, rinse and drain the almonds. Another option is to peel/remove the almond skins (this helps with digestibility of the almonds). First add the almonds and/or chia or hemp seeds next add the powders and milk. Finally add kale, apple, blueberries. Blend with zest, because you are going to feel great after you drink this nutrient rich combination. Serves 1

For added healthy fat, you can add 1/2 avocado or a Tablespoon of coconut butter.

Note: I just got the Magic Bullet as a Mother’s Day gift from my thoughtful mama and I Iove it. It is easy to pack up and take on the road so you can stay nourished even while traveling. It is super powerful and easy to clean.

SLOOOOW Down and Chew

c088c320e7847a47_chewThoroughly chewing your food can support your digestion in getting the most out of mealtimes. Seems simple but for some reason it seems to be a lost practice.

When was the last time you took an intentional moment before gulping down your food?

We humans dash through our lives fighting time. Among other compromises, this often converts into limited time for meals, and thereby little or no time for that most overlooked ritual: Mastication. Our fascination or fixation with what to eat has drowned out this equally important facet of nutrition.

Before the chewing process sets in motion it is equally influential to take a moment and pause before the fork even goes into the mouth. This pause is called the Cephalic Phase of digestion and it has to do with the brain and food relationship. This reflex starts the release of important enzymes for breakdown, assimilation and absorption. It ignites the digestive fires and prepares the stomach acids to start releasing & churning.

The pause can include an affirmation of gratitude. You can affirm that you would like this food to uplift and serve you in the most healthful way possible. Example: “I am grateful to have wonderful food & may every bite of this meal help me to feel good in my body!” Be creative and start a trend amongst your friends and family.

So many people around the globe suffer from digestive disturbances and are constantly buying more supplements to support their digestive tract (me included.) Chewing is free and completely natural. Researchers show that chewing 32 times is optimal but you should experiment for yourself and see what feels good. Most likely you will be shocked to notice how little you have been chewing. Some people aim for 50 to 100 times. That seems like too many for me but that is another philosophy that is often followed on a Macrobiotic Diet.

With 70% of our immune system being in the gut, it is time to take the digestive system more seriously. Through this mechanical and chemical process of chewing your food thoroughly, you will require less food and feel more satiated because the nutrients are more accessible to the body and the digestive system has to do less work. This is the part where you might be most excited – when the body frees up energy around digestion, there is more energy to be used elsewhere. Often fatigue/lack of energy has to do with the foods being consumed or the more nutrient rich foods not being consumed. Start to notice what you are putting into your body and how you feel after. Slowing down before you start eating may be your first step to awareness.

One other tip for slowing down – try using chopsticks!

Let me know how this goes for you – remind the people you are eating with and ask them to remind you. It’s a group effort.

Alternative Valentine’s Day Sweeties

heart postSince my daughter, Jaiden, has many food allergies and food sensitivities I am always inventing new versions of treats and recipes.

I avoid artificial food colorings and flavorings, refined sugar and most of the crazy additives that are in processed foods. I am continuously on a mission to strengthen her immune system and since she’s even allergic to sunflower seeds, I know candy and regular sweets are not in her best interest.

However, she is a kid and she does like sweet treats. She asked me to “step it up” this Valentine’s and she wanted to give a treat to her classmates along with her signed cards. She stuffed each classmate’s card with a cowrie shell then taped a wrapped pink “rice crispy heart” to the Valentine’s card. I think they are great and yes, they have forms of sugar in them (not white refined) but they are vegan, non-gmo and gluten free. They are made from processed foods but at least they are made from more conscious & mostly organic sources. We juiced a beet and used the juice as a natural food coloring – the color was beautiful and Jaiden was pleased!

Pink Rice Crispy Hearts

3 T Earth Balance (or butter)
10 oz vegan marshmallows (we cut them up in smaller pieces)
4 cups crispy brown rice cereal (we used organic and gluten free)
1-2 T beet juice
1-2 tsp. coconut oil for coating pan


1. In large saucepan melt Earth Balance over low heat. Add marshmallows and beet juice. Stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.
2. Add Crispy Brown Rice cereal and stir until well coated.
3. Using spatula or parchment paper evenly press mixture into 11x 7&1/2 x 2-inch pan coated with coconut oil. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares or use a heart shaped cookie cutter. Best if served the same day.

Aromatherapy Classes

February 20, 2013, Wednesday 6-8
February 23, 2013, Saturday 1-3

Cost: $15

Stay healthy with an Aromatherapy Lifestyle
Still Point Wellness is proud to have Beth Bluth and Tacy Apostolik, two of Appalachia’s finest magic makers and holistic health practitioners, sharing their deep wisdom of the healing powers of essential oils. You will gain a profound understanding of how to stay free from sickness and increase vitality by this wonderful experiential and fun workshop!

More information:
http://stillpointwell.blogspot.com/2013/02/staying-healthy-with-aromatherapy.html

Nosara Tahini Dressing

mixed-greens-lettuce-background-thumb23422042This dressing can make any dish taste delicious! I tend to cook very simply and use condiments at the end of cooking instead of during the cooking process. I usually lightly steam veggies, eat some veggies raw, or incorporate a cooking style called Nabe (similar to parboiling). I can add some healthy oils at the end to prevent the oils from going rancid and it keeps the flavor without it being “cooked” out.

Mostly I am trying to keep the nutrients intact and accessible (especially by soaking my grains, legumes and various nuts & seeds.)
Some people may argue that foods need to be fried, sauteed or grilled and loaded with salt, pepper & butter to have any flavor. In my humble opinion, I simply disagree.

Once you prepare this dressing and start adding it to your simply prepared meals, you will probably agree that it doesn’t take much to make simple transform into delicious.

Lately, this is my favorite lunchtime combo:
cooked quinoa
salad greens
avocado
cucumber
shredded carrots and/or red cabbage
chickpeas
small scoop of cultured veggies

Mix and match – add whatever you like, maybe nuts and seeds or other forms of protein. The options are endless.
I prefer it to eat my food out of a bowl, so I just layer the above ingredients and then top with the following dressing:

Nosara Tahini Dressing
1/2 cup cold pressed organic olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. tamari or raw coconut aminos (for a soy free version)
1 tsp. turmeric* and/or cayenne
water to thin out to desired consistency (use very little)
Mix it all in a jar that you can store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

* turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available. If you can get it fresh, you are blessed.
It’s inexpensive, mild and benefits every system in the body. Adding some to your diet is one if the best things you can do for your health.

The jar of dressing can last a couple of days in the refrigerator. You will be pleased with your concoction and happy that your dressing is preservative free. Beware – it can be addictive!

Blue Zones and Cultivating Purpose

photo2Have you been searching for the magic bullet as a vehicle to ultimate health? What would your life look like if you experienced high-level wellness most of the time? Living in a world of information at our finger tips, millions of supplements claiming to make it all better and immediate satisfaction as the general standard/expectation creates a dissonance from our true self and basic needs.

Taking time to slow down, shrinking the to-do list and perhaps declining some invitations to social events that can stretch you too far might be the start to allowing more time to be with yourself. This is when you can take the time to realize that health is a vehicle and not a destination. What lights you up? What triggers your stress levels? Every person is different and to be familiar with your own triggers requires knowing yourself. When life is simplified we create space to breathe and reflect and become more expansive. There are some communities in this world that actually do this. In particular, these geographical hot spots are known as Blue Zones.

So, that brings me to life in The Blue Zone. I just spent the past month living in one of the world’s Blue Zones and I am intrigued by the people and their lifestyle. I was in Nosara a small city in the region of the Nicoyan Peninsula along the pacific coast of Costa Rica.

If this topic intrigues you, check out the book by National Geographic Explorer, Dan Buettner. Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer From the People who’ve Lived the Longest.

Buettner has studied specific regions of the world where more people live to 100 years old (centenarians) than other areas of the world. His research team came up with the common denominators amongst the inhabitants of these special hot spots. He wanted to know what were these people doing differently that contributed enriched years to their life.

The following is a general list of what he concluded:

  • they tend to put their families/loved ones first, (this may require some flexibility)
  •  being in the sunshine and getting adequate Vitamin D
  • being outside and in the elements for natural forms of exercise and movement, not being sedentary
  • having a strong faith based community to connect (helps to relieve stress and anxiety related to well-being)
  • feeling genuinely happy with life and oneself
  • they know their sense of purpose
  • adequate sleep (adapting to the natural rhythms of the sun)
I realize this entire list may be unreachable due to one’s personal circumstances, however trying to incorporate 1 of the above seems reasonable so give it a go if you are up for the challenge.
 
Here’s an inspirational bumper sticker expression to get you motivated, “This is your life, not a dress rehearsal.”
 
So live in the present moment and start breathing more deeply. Note: the long exhale is just as important as the inhale. Conscious breathing will give you time to cultivate awareness and react to life with more ease.
 
Pura Vida!

Herbalism & Children’s Wellness

If you are one of those people that has a deep desire to become empowered, informed and educated, then learning will be part of your life’s journey.

Daily, I am inspired to learn about how to bring more balance into my family’s life. Balance starts with health. Health in all areas is crucial to feel complete & vital. Taming stress and managing anxiety are “buzz phrases” and learning how to apply them to life takes practice and dedication. Most of all it takes awareness. So, that brings me to the question of “how do we develop awareness?” and what does that have to do with herbalism and children’s wellness?”

The answer to that question can become a thesis, so I will try to keep it short and sweet.

Get in tune with your child. Notice when they are acting out and seem cranky or their sleep seems off. Most importantly pay attention to their digestive system and regularity. I have noticed that headaches or an irregular elimination may be the indicator that imbalance is occurring in the body and that sickness may be lurking in the near future. This is a time to pull out all of your herbal allies. I tend to use an elderberry concentrate tea, probiotics, echinacea tinture or pure & authentic essential oils.

Join the webinar tonight and learn how to winterize your child’s well being. Learn the preventative herbal measures needed to keep your child healthy through the colder months.
http://herbwebinar.com

If you missed the webinar with Dr. Aviva Romm you can sign up for her newsletter which is packed with tips for raising healthy children. I have her eBook, Herbs for Kids. I am willing to email it to you if you send me a request. Or you can purchase one of her books that are listed on her website. Just visit www.avivaromm.com.

Through Dr. Romm, you will learn how and when to use botanicals vs. medication. Her website provides various recipes for cough syrups and herbal teas that support the upper respiratory tract and help the body manage various coughs.

Her list of safe and effective supplements for babies, toddlers and young children is thorough and very user friendly. These supplement suggestions include but are not limited to:
zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, garlic honey lemonade and suggestions for getting essential fatty acids through different foods.

Her website will give you recipes for supporting the upper respiratory tract and coughs using herbs such as; lemon balm, chamomile, elder flowers, licorice, anise and various other amazing botanicals.

The body constantly gives off cues as to what is going on – if we are too distracted or too busy to notice, then the issues may escalate into more serious problems.

Herbalism is a gift from the Earth and we can all participate in using these precious herbs in someway. Most likely you are already using herbs in your daily cooking. These herbs offer so much more than flavor or scent – many of them are packed with nutrient dense components and are immune system supportive. Keeping a fresh stock of your dried herbs will keep the potency and efficacy intact. Do to so, buy your herbs in the bulk section of the health food store and store them in little glass containers. Or better yet, plant your own herb garden. Have your child help with this and they will appreciate watching their efforts sprout through the dirt. All children benefit from having a close relationship with nature and from it’s ancient roots in herbalism. I see the transformation with my own child when we are in the woods and she is nestled next to a moss covered fallen tree. All layers of her being transform into pureness and her protective outer layer melts away into the Earth.

Herbs can be used for for childhood ailments such as colds, teething, colic and various other illnesses that children often contract. Just like anything, there is a time and place for herbalism, and a time to seek medical help. Typically, when I first notice an ailment in myself or my daughter I resort immediately to herbal remedies in the form of tincture, essential oils, or herbal teas. Often these remedies do nip the illness in the bud. It is wise to have a good relationship with a pediatrician who is familiar with your child when he or she is well. Then, should something serious come up you can bring your child to receive the medical attention that is needed.

I have a couple of amazing resources to offer you.

  • Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm A Commonsense Guide to to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition and Health
  • Family Herbal by Rosemary Gladstar A Guide to Living with Energy, Health and Vitalit
  • http://www.learningherbs.com an online resource to making your own and herbal mentor support

Children’s Wellness

Recently, I was asked to write about keeping children healthy. Since I have an 8 year old and I am very interested in staying well I have been pondering this topic and wondering where to start. I have decided that it has to be a multi-part posting. I weave so many different strategies into staying well and the single most important aspect to wellness in my opinion is taking preventative measures and being aware of your child’s general baseline. Tuning in and paying attention to your child’s mood and energy level can be helpful and a useful indicator as to how they are feeling before signs of illness show up. Of course, like anything this is not an absolute statement because sometimes there can be a fever or cold that comes on suddenly.

This is my own personal experience with sickness. Your experience will be different and these are just some thoughts abut how you can help your child feel better from more mild illnesses.

Aside from eating a whole foods diet (which I believe is a key factor in a child’s wellness) therapeutic-grade essential oils are one of my first lines of defense – especially for being proactive.

I use Oil Testimonials as an on-line reference and a useful guide book is the Essential Oils Pocket Reference available through Essential Science.

Through those resources you will learn how to use some of the most well known oils and their functions. It is crucial that you use the purest quality oils available. Inferior quality oils will not produce therapeutic results and can actually be toxic.

Essential oils have been used throughout time dating back to 4500 BC. Research shows that pure essential oils can provide similiar benefits to humans and animals that they give to plants.

The oils that I usually choose for keeping my child well are: eucalyptus radiata to support the respiratory system, patchouli to support the digestive system, lavender for cuts, scrapes, burns and headaches and tea tree for skin irritations. I use them all with a carrier oil and I never use essential oils on her face. Most essential oils can create a inhospitable environment for microbes and bacteria. To learn more you can set up a session with me.

There are specific ways & guidelines to use essential oils safely and effectively. I believe that having a support person while learning how to use the oils responsibly is important and will help you in using the oils instead of allowing them to collect dust on your bathroom shelf. Generally, there are 250 drops in a 15ml bottle and approximately 85 drops in a 5ml bottle. They do last for a while and they have a long shelf life when not mixed with carrier oils.

Some sources for your therapeutic-grade essential oils are:
Young Living essential oils (my member # 650126)
Original Swiss Aromatics
Floracopeia
New Directions Aromatics (Canada)

Happy Oiling!

Chia Seeds

What more can you ask for when you have… Chia Seeds?

Chia is, appropriately, the Mayan word for strength – so you can see where we are going…

Did you know these ancient seeds are more noteworthy than the sprouts that grow on the porous clay figurines called Chia Pets. Their “claim to fame” has adopted a new status.

They deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories.

They have several of the same benefits as the more well-known “super seed” flax, but unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap their nutritional benefits. The health benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, strengthens peristaltic action, contains about 20% protein and much much more!

I have been enjoying this recipe for breakfast and when I’m done I feel energized and nourished.

Here is a simple Chia Seed Pudding recipe to kick start your day:

1 cup milk, any kind you like (I like unsweetened or original hemp milk)
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (more or less to taste)*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Wisk together all ingredients in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until it reaches your desired thickness, stirring occasionally. (I usually chill mine overnight but about 2 hours will do.)

*Instead of maple syrup, you can use any sweetener you like in this recipe, stevia, honey, brown rice syrup, etc. Here is a guideline on how sweet 1 packet of stevia is: the amount of stevia in 1 packet measures 1/2 teaspoon, which is about as sweet as 2 to 3 teaspoons of regular sugar.

I think this is a nutritious topping to any hot cereal. You can get creative and add fruit, nuts or anything you think may be delicious. Notice how you feel after and share the love with others.

Eat More Plants

I recently watched the American documentary, Forks Over Knives. It was an incredibly well done film and even if you don’t agree with everything it claims you will still receive some very important messages about your health. You will also be amazed at the direction that our society is going as far as health and wellness.

Did you know that eating a more plant-based diet is one of the most powerful things you can do for the environment? Many health care professionals recommend a plant-based diet to help prevent & reverse the common western diseases including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Watching this film may support you in resisting the foods that sabotage your effort to lose weight and improve your overall health. This is for anyone that has read Paulo Coelho’s book, The Pilgrimage, “fight the good fight!”

Be aware – you will want to make changes and substitute more healthy vices/choices into your lifestyle. Think: yoga, meditation, exercise, more hugs, healthy sweet treats, more veggies etc.

Cheers!