MY TOP 5 ESSENTIAL OILS FOR GETTING GROUNDED

The practice of grounding; bringing our whole-self into harmony. As an air sign I am easily elevated, I am drawn to the art of increasing my vibration; therefore it is imperative that I implement self-care rituals that bring me down to earth. 

There are many ways to practice rooting down, such as reflexology to activate chi in the body, picture your feet having long roots reaching far into the earth during meditation or yoga in the park. Another favourite and effective practice is self massage on the soles of the feet. 

I created a blend specifically for this practice that is grounding, evokes a state of calm for body and mind and guarantees a restful sleep. 

SOLE MASSAGE:

I combine patchouli, vetiver, ylang ylang, chamomile and sandalwood in a bottle with carrier oil of your choice; i chose sweet almond oil along with non-gmo Vit E to extend the shelf life and add even more nourishment. 

Relax in bed and roll or drop oil onto sole of your left foot, massage with intent giving gratitude for these feet that carry you through life. Once oil is fully absorbed I repeat with the right foot. Tuck yourself into bed with a glass of water and feel your body relax and mind unwind for a tranquil sleep. 

MINDFUL EATING WITH JESSICA BLACK

Jessica Black, an Australian-Chilean acupuncturist hailing out of NYC is here this week sharing her beliefs and wisdom on eating mindfully. Insight and tips on creating a more conscious relationship your food and how we nourish our bodies. 

Traditional Healing has always been something that I have been drawn to, there was always books on healing therapies in my home growing up and I loved learning about different cultures around the world and their healing practices. I found with the various natural therapies that there was a universal appreciation and respect of nature, growing up near a rainforest this philosophy was something that resonated with me and sparked my curiosity in healing. What first drew me to studying Acupuncture was its roots in Taoism and Yin Yang theory, Acupuncture was originally used for the prevention of disease; the patient is treated holistically taking into consideration the physical symptoms of the body and their connection to the mind and spirit. 

I first began my studies in Australia where I completed my Bachelor in Health Science (Acupuncture) degree, I then went on to do two hospital internships at the Guangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, from there I relocated to Santiago, Chile where I practiced Acupuncture, I found my home in New York and am currently undertaking my NCCAOM Licensing Board Exams to practice in NY.  

My hope as a practitioner is to guide people to healing themselves, to hold a safe space for you to look within and to share the knowledge I have learnt so that you can be empowered and take charge of your own healing journey.

MINDFUL EATING

Diet is one of our vital sources of energy, it nourishes our body and gives us life, it can be used in the prevention of disease and it can also be the source of disease. In Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) the digestive system is linked to the mind, therefore thoughts and emotions will affect digestion and diet will in-turn affect brain function and emotions. Whilst the actual food ingested is a key component in determining digestive health, the mind and emotions also play a vital role in the digestive system’s ability to transform food into energy. The effect of emotions on the digestive system is often overlooked in the overwhelming amount of nutritional information that is now accessible, however mindfulness in creating a meal and enjoying the food that is providing essential nutrients has a remarkable effect on the body and overall wellbeing.

In TEAM the body is viewed as a whole where the environment, lifestyle, emotions, constitution and diet will all have an impact on the individual’s health, consequently when a practitioner administers nutritional advice the unique foods that will be of benefit to one will differ to others. TEAM is a holistic system of healthcare therefore whilst a client is guided to a specific diet for their individual needs there are a few key dietary principles that are considered universal:

Eat with the seasons: In TEAM it is thought that to maintain health we must live in harmony with nature and the seasons. The local, seasonal fruit and vegetables naturally contain the properties that help ward off seasonal diseases for instance Autumn is dry which means that we need food that will moisten the body, which is why Autumn seasonal fruits such as pears and apples have a lubricating effect on the body. Seasonal eating also applies to cooking, in winter we need enriching, slow cooked warming soups and broths to nourish and warm the body whilst in summer we instinctively gravitate to cooling, raw foods that help battle the heat. Aside from the medicinal benefits of seasonal eating, it also cultivates gratitude for the fruits and vegetables when they come back in season, it reconnects oneself to nature, adapting with the flow of the seasons. 

Eat in Moderation: Eat not too little, not too much! When you over-indulge and eat too much food it blocks the flow of energy and creates food stagnation, this overworks the digestive system’s ability to properly transform the food which may lead to indigestion, acid reflux, gas or bloating. On the flip side eating too little causes deficiency in the body as it depletes its resources to counteract the energy normally obtained from food. Eat quality food until you feel satisfied!

Chew: When food is properly chewed, it breaks the down food from larger particles to smaller ensuring that once it is swallowed it will be more easily digested allowing the body to more readily absorb the nutrients. Chewing also stimulates the production of adequate saliva which contains enzymes that help lubricate and break down food. Remember that it takes time for the brain to signal that the stomach is full. When you eat quickly you tend to eat more and when you eat slowly you tend to eat less and feel fuller quicker.

Listen to your body: As discussed previously there is no ‘One Fits All’ diet, so it is important to tune in to your body and take note of how you react to food. Does a certain food make you feel tired, sluggish, bloated, heavy or do you feel energized, nourished and satisfied? Actively looking at how you react to food, you begin to see what foods are of benefit to you and which are not. Start to use your intuition, reconnect and listen to what your body is saying, you know it better than anyone else. 

Allow yourself the time to sit down and be present in a relaxed environment when eating, whether it’s at a nice restaurant, in the company of friends and family or some peaceful time alone, this is the recipe for good digestion. Eating whilst stressed, worried or anxious it counterintuitively works against the body. When you are stressed the mind and body perceive the threat of danger, your heart rate increases, muscles contract and you become more alert. Systems that are not essential in fight or flight mode like the digestive system and reproductive system begin to slow down their function. Therefore, eating whilst stressed, angry, anxious or worried your working against the body, so whatever food you do eat will be poorly digested. 

Aside from the digestive benefits of eating in a calm environment there is also the emotional-mental benefit, nowadays many of us have a complex relationship with food, often there is an obsession with eating clean, healthy, organic and whatever the buzz superfood of the month is, how often though do we take the time to be mindful, put the phone/laptop/television away and enjoy the food that is giving us life, to savior the taste, smells of the meal and truly the experience regardless of whether its ‘healthy’ or not. 

Before I begin a meal I like to take a moment of silence to show my gratitude and appreciation for the farmers, workers and plants that have created this meal for me. Taking a moment of silence is a really beautiful ritual to do when you have a dinner party, to bless the food and give thanks to those that helped create this meal. 

I would like to note that if you are eating a meal that contains meat or an animal products you can also give thanks and gratitude to the animal that gave its life. 

Connect with Jessica through her Instagram for soulful words, chinese medicine, spirit, and all things mental health. 

(words by Jessica Black / Photo by Marika Jewell)

NATURAL REMEDIES TO ALLEVIATE ASTHMA SYMPTOMS

I've suffered from asthma for most of my life. Through research and experiment I have come to worship our relationship with food as medicine - connecting us to our ancestral roots. We are inextricably linked to this earth and everything that grows here. It is our birthright to get to know these plants, animals and energies. We are one of them. We are all connected. There is no separation. 

I gave up relying on conventional asthma medication three years ago after fifteen years of dependency. The thought continuing the use of steroid medication was no longer an option moving forward.

Now I'm not saying I haven't been grateful for this medicine, it has saved me many times. It became about taking back MY power - having it be a choice to take this medication the treat this disease on my own terms. I decided after one particularly bad episode where I ended up in the hostpital that I would not live like this anymore. Something had to change.

I changed the way I ate food - nourishing my inner and outer body instead of simply consuming to eat. I've come to know my body; I've come to learn what makes it thrive and what foods make it suffer. Why hadn't I realized this connection before? It became so intuitive, so obvious. With the elimination of dairy and gluten (when possible) I heal my asthma. This revelation has given me the freedom to not worry or struggle from being short of breath. 

BREATH, is something so many of us take for granted. We aren't here to merely exist, we are here to thrive. We are here to expand the collective consciousness - by first healing our own wounds expanding our evolution of self.

Here are some natural remedies that have helped me, along with one big thing I eliminated for richer health:

COFFEE contains a small amount of theophylline which helps to relax bronchial muscles, your heart rate increases along with blood flow. This may help relax the spasm. Try drinking one small strong cup.

TURMERIC in warm almond milk. Turmeric is incredibly effective for reducing inflammation - this will help alleviate your inflamed upper respiratory. 

OMEGA 3-6-9 is full of healthy fats and includes compounds that help to stop further swelling and inflammation. Take three-six 1000mg capsules a day.

ENERGY POINTS located on the palms of our feet and hands - there are 1000's of them. When I have a hard time breathing or have anxiety I touch these points and it almost immediately helps. Take note of these charts and the points for the LUNG. Try this on yourself - breathe deep, long and slowly; feel your lungs expanding.

Always stay calm, becoming emotionally stressed only adds more tension and physical stress. Breathe slowly with the intention to create deeper and deeper breaths. Lay in a way that is comfortable, close your eyes and imagine your lungs expanding - filling with light. Be gentle with yourself. 

*(please note: I am NOT a physician. This is based off of naturopathic medicine, Ayurveda, reflexology and personal experience. Always keep an inhaler near by if this is what works best for your asthma symptoms and always consult a doctor if symptoms worsen.)

SALT SPRING ISLAND, BC.

A little round-up in photos of my weekend on Salt Spring Island, BC., last week. My sister and I very spontaneously hopped on the ferry and headed to the island to explore, be present and spend some time together. I feel so fortunate to have a sister - especially one whom I share so many interests with. Most definitely my favourite travel companion!

We drank coffee, matcha tea, ate beautiful food, wandered through the forests and heard stories whispered through the trees and moss covered hills. Hung out in quirky book stores and was spoiled with breath-taking views. 

I can't wait to go back this spring! Salt Spring, you are magical.

BENEFITS OF BREAST MASSAGE

I came across the ritual of breast massage one day (some time ago now), it is definitely not the 'norm' here in western cultures but a sacred and healthy practise for women. It got me curious and as I was thinking about this, up popped La Abeja Herbs through my instagram feed. I have purchased other products from her before and loved them! Its important to me to support and try other herbalists divine creations. Connection; that is why were here, after all.

She offers a healing breast oil in her online apothecary shop and I knew I had to have this. It is filled with essences of pink opal, desert rose, dandelion blossoms, yarrow and so many more potent plant energies.

An act your entire being benefits from, done properly this helps alleviate breast pain, ease hormonal ups and downs, encourages blood flow to allow for a healthy lymphatic system. Releasing toxic build up one self-care ritual at a time, I have come to realize how important this practice truly is. 

Talk to someone who does bodywork or research how to properly perform the massage yourself and do so around three times a week - its important we get to know and understand our bodies. Practice this on your own or with a partner. 

Namaste ~

WARMING BALM

We all know winter is here, leaving us with dry hands and cold feet and all that comes with it. Suraya Clemens of Wild Witch BC , nutritionist and lover of herbal medicine gifted me this warming balm! My hands and feet are always on the cold side during winter wether I'm outside or in and Ive been mindfully practicing a new breathing technique I learned while at my reflexology appointment the other week - allowing more oxygen to run through my body and warm me up.

Ive been using this warming balm, infused with ginger, cayenne and beyond! I love rubbing it on my feet and toes before slipping on my socks, warming me up by creating healthy circulation and generating heat not only from this balm but from my self-inflicted foot massage. A win-win!


"Inspired by a love of working with herbs, compounded with a desire to show the world their magic, and fortified by experience navigating the waters of mental health crises, Suraya developed a truly unique line of personal care products. Remedies so intrinsically natural that you cannot help but feel connected to the love of Mother Nature. It is a collection intended to care for more than just your superficial skin; wherein a facial toner not only tightens your pores, but invigorates your mind. Wherein a hand salve not only heals your skin but improves your circulation. A line of pure, holistic, self care."

For more info on Vancouver based Nutritionist and plant lover, Suraya, check her out at Wild Witch BC!

TURMERIC COFFEE (of your dreams)

(Photo + words by Denby Royal)

(Photo + words by Denby Royal)

Some well earned insight and coffee wisdom from holistic nutritionist, Denby Royal. I love this human. She came to me during my time living in a new city - a new journey beaming with light not knowing our friendship would continue to unfold and blossom and she's here to share a warming recipe on a cold winters day. You're welcome!

"I gave up coffee once.

It was for about a year and a time of deep mental and physical healing. And I am talking deep here. Every inch of my anima, atma, essence, and entity was scrubbed clear through a process of meditation, introspective work, and most importantly, eating and drinking nothing even remotely entertaining. I rationed myself down to the foodstuffs that would leave me squeaky clean and poppin' green. I rewired my adrenals, revived my liver, and fortified my intestinal system. I consumed all fresh greens and veggies, zero refined or high concentrated sources sugar, no grains, no processed foods, and diddly-squat when it came to dairy. 

Sounds amazing, right? It was amazing for my being, but it was also amazingly isolating and limiting. Although cutting out all the things were necessary for me to do the work and find my personal flow, it cut me off from a multitude of treats and good times. In doing this physical experiment, I knew full well that I would be reintroducing everything that I cut out. But with a catch, I needed to see what worked for my body on it's own, and what could be tweaked to meet my personal constitution. 

Maybe things never really fit back in entirely. Grains are a once-every-few-months food, almonds are an absolute adversary, and alcohol has never really been my jam anyways, so I more than happy to stick to the odd glass of wine here and there. 

But coffee. 

By mixing it with creamy fats, I found a way to keep coffee in my life without sacrificing myself to the jitterbug jive. Besides being delicious, added fats slow down the release of caffeine into your system, giving you a steady supply of energy as opposed to a rapid high and a possibly nasty burnout. All I am left with is a  beverage capable of increasing mental clarity, stimulating my metabolism, and arousing my taste buds."

The other goodies I like to include:

- Cordyceps for their added brain boosting potency and adaptogenic prowess

-Cinnamon for flavour, anti-inflammation, and it's ability to improve insulin sensitivity (needed since excess caffeine can throw off cortisol levels, in turn, effecting how your body responds to insulin)

-Turmeric as a needed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse. Also, the smoky FLAVOUR of turmeric in coffee is mind-blowingly complex and delicious. It is also reputed to amp up the Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor needed to increase the growth of new neurons. I prefer turmeric paste as it takes away some of the bitterness in the turmeric and helps release the ample flavours and lush aromas of the spice. 

-Collagen gelatin not only adds a thick and creamy texture, but is in essence, the glue that holds the body together. It is needed for healthy skin, bones, hair, nails, teeth, muscles, and digestive organs.


Fatty Turmeric Coffee Concoction:

2 cups organic, fair-trade coffee brewed to your taste. I brew mine in a Moka press, with hot water added like an americano.  Alternatively, you could add some full-fat cream or coconut milk.

2 tbsp MCT oil or coconut oil (I prefer how coconut oil blends into the beverage) 

1 tsp grass-fed butter (optional)

1/4 tsp ground turmeric or turmeric paste (recipe below)

1/2 tsp ground cordyceps

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 scoops grass-fed collagen gelatin (you’ll need they gelatin to get it frothy!)

tools: a large pitcher that can support hot liquid, a spoon, and a hand-held frother.*

Pour the brewed coffee (and hot water if using) into a large pitcher. Avoid filling the pitcher up more than half way as once you start whipping the mixture with the frother, you wont want swells of coffee streaming over the edge of the pitcher.  Add the oil and butter, and turmeric paste, if using. Give it a quick stir to break up the clumps. Add the cordyceps and cinnamon and stir again. Grab your frother a give it a few whirls. To achieve a thicker foam, move the frother in circular and up and down motions to along air to circulate through the mixture. One scoop at a time, start slowly pouring in the collagen gelatin. Don’t pour it all in or you’ll be left with clumps of jelly throughout your coffee.

Once you’ve arrived at the think foam of your dreams, pour the mixture into your favourite mug and add more water, if desired. 

*Why an I not using a high speed blender? Two reasons: Firstly, I don’t have one. Secondly, you won’t get a thick barista-worthy frothy foam with a blender alone. 

Turmeric Paste:

1 cup water

3 tbsp turmeric powder

Add the water and turmeric powder to a sauce pan and cook on a low heat until you have a creamy paste, about 10-15 minutes. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container for 2-3 weeks.

*For more words, delicious recipes and inspiration for all WOMEN I insist you check her out @Denbyroyal

REFLECTION

This winter has been one of the best in a long long time. Living back home on the west coast has been so wonderful, close to my family, the ocean and the forest. There's not much more one could ask for. The perfect balance of sun, rain, snow and clouds - my heart is happy! 

A lot of big things happened over this past year. I went through two big moves, worked on a flower farm and learned a TON, never have I had a job that was so physical and so rewarding all at once - it was my saviour. Time mended a broken heart and I fell into a new relationship that has been so heart opening, testing and fun. Im feeling full in a city that once drained me, felt so lonely when in reality it was me that was lost, empty and seeking an out. Moving afar to find, well, something. I found a new family, a home and myself while living away from home for four years. 

Ultimately it does not matter where we go it is us we need to love, wholly and completely. You are all you've got and all you need. Sharing life, adventures, highs and lows with another sure is incredible - allowing yourself to be seen, heard and felt is humbling and expansive. 

2016 for me was heavy at times but also so light - a time of growth, bravery and true independence. Loss, the kind of loss I don't hear people talk about. My word for 2016 was trust and that I did. Now that the dust has settled enough to see, I look forward to whats to come in 2017. 

Shanti~

HOME-MADE NUT MILK

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Abundance is when your fridge is full of produce, and cupboards full of almonds, cashews and other nuts. I didn't make my own milk for years thinking it was to complicated - since eliminating dairy its become one of my favourite things to make in the kitchen. Turns out I didn't have to miss out at all, and found out these beautiful nutrient rich options are so much more delicious and so easy to make! 

I think my favourite is almond milk! Soaked overnight and blended in the morning, typically making a litre at a time - enough to last me the week. Enough to make my coffee each morning. I don't know if its these short winter days but coffee has been a constant around our home these past few months. I still love tea and have that in-between and will share some of my go-to teas here soon!

How I do it: 1 cup almonds, 6 cups water. Blend on high for two minutes. I use a cheesecloth to strain mine but you can also use a nut milk bag. I strain into a big bowl and pour it into a clean mason jar. Store it in the fridge, consume over the next few days! 

You can sweeten / flavour your milk as well with honey, vanilla extract, maple syrup. Or get fancy and blend frozen blueberries in there (so good!) Use your milk frother and add fresh pressed espresso and coconut oil for healthy fat and steady absorption. Or simply add matcha and blend for that perfect froth.