Why Millennials are Obsessed with Self Love and Forgiveness

Yesterday I was having a chat with a dear friend of mine about getting life back together, doing things that help us grow, and committing to practices that will keep us healthy long term.

I made a comment that it is important to exercise, eat healthy, etc… but it is also important to offer some forgiveness and take some baby steps instead of being hard on yourself.

She took a different approach, claiming she would rather keep hating the parts of herself that are not up to speed with where she would rather be, and it is in this self-hatred she is able to motivate herself into making the necessary changes happen.

I respect her view and her beliefs, but this conversation got me to think about the misconception that may have evolved around the self love movement.

With full transparency, many people use self love and forgiving themselves as an excuse not to change, and continue making the same bad choices.

I agree in her words that this is “complete and utter bullshit.”

We are all going to change whether we want to or not. It’s part of life. It is up to us to choose the direction we want to change in, whether that be growth or the same self deprecating behaviors.

Allow me to clear up some misconception around self love and offer you what it was intended to be, rather than what it has been turned into.

Self Love is about acceptance. It is about honoring where we have been, where we are currently, and all we are capable of creating from within.

When we forgive ourselves for every misstep and harmful choice we have made, we are freeing ourselves from who we were and making space to step into who we are now.

It is from this vantage point, this blank slate, that we are then able to make true, lasting impacts on our own lives.

When we love and accept ourselves where we are now, we can make choices that are founded on this love, rather than a desire to change or manipulate our behavior.

We are all going to change whether we want to or not.

If we keep making choices to change ourselves from a place of self hatred, we will keep striving for more, more, and more. It will never be enough to satisfy us. This can lead us further into the hole we have already dug for ourselves, making us fall into lower lows if we slip up. It will be far more difficult to get back up when we do fall (which will inevitably happen – it’s human nature) if we’re standing deep in a pit of self hatred than it would be were we standing on the solid ground of love and forgiveness.

If we forgive and accept ourselves where we are in the moment, then we are filling that hole up, making for solid ground that we can comfortably stand on. Think of it as rewiring brain.

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

Practices such as expressing gratitude regularly have been shown to activate and strengthen the neural pathways that focus on positivity and bliss, releasing more serotonin and dopamine into the body. Consciously continuing to activate these pathways makes them more automatic, effectively rewiring the brain to see the positive in life rather than the negative.

Expressing appreciation for life and ourselves is also a proven antidepressant and method of anxiety relief. A similar thing happens when we begin to love and forgive ourselves. Releasing the attachment to the negativity, which strengthens a different not-so-helpful set of neural pathways.

When we continue to stay in a negative, hateful state of mind toward ourselves and the world around us, we are actually strengthening the parts of the brain that activate a stress response. By strengthening these pathways, we put ourselves into a state of chronic stress. This is a less-than-desirable outcome.

Both are great motivators. Wanting what is best for yourself and keeping your body in fight-or-flight mode just to survive can get the job done. However, the later could lead to immense burnout and the running down of valuable hormonal systems, potentially leading to immune failure and a fried nervous system.

The fight-or-flight mode is necessary for our health as well. A little stress here and there is healthy for the body, keeping us safe and getting our midterm projects done at the last minute. It becomes less helpful when we stay in that place, making it less powerful and more of the neutral state we live life at.

If you prefer to stress about your own life and express self hatred as your main motivator, I respect your choices.

The rest of you who have a clear choice on the table, which would you prefer?

To move from a place of fight-or-flight and fear response?

Or from a place of gratitude and love for yourself? Increasing productivity by acting from a clear mind, and state of inner peace and love?

Note: I am aware that taking the time to rewire the brain and focus on practices of gratitude and self love may be more difficult for those individuals who are genetically, chemically, or mentally debilitated in any way. This information is no replacement for medication of professional help. A gratitude practice could be a valuable supplement to treatment. Speak with your therapist or another professional in the field of neuropathy to see if it would be a good fit for you.

7 Tips to Stay Warm in the Winter

Winter is a beautiful time of gathering, sweet cups of cocoa, memories shared building snowmen, and watching the snow gently blanket the earth. Many of us reading this love the winter – from indoors. Yes, it is pretty and fun, but it’s so cold. Why does it have to be so cold?!

Though the temperature outdoors may be less than desirable, there are many things we can do to slowly adapt to these changing seasons, so they don’t come as a major shock to our systems. No matter how deep into winter you may be when reading this, know it is never too late to start building your immunity to the bite of Jack Frost. There is still hope for those frost-bitten toes!

Think Hearty

    Winter is a time of slowing down, and this includes our digestion. As the sun begins to takes its rest, so does our digestive fire.

During the Winter, favor cooked meals. Hearty stews, buddha bowls, nuts and seeds, grains, and lots of spices will help to keep the digestive fire going. Good spices to include would be curry powders, cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and turmeric.

Cooking meals and eating them warm will also lessen the amount of energy the body must exert during digestion, allowing the body to conserve its energy for cleansing and staying warm.

Layer Up – But Only Outdoors

    I know what it’s like to be in a room or the car and feel like it is impossible to feel warmth again. There is the urge to bundle up in our hats, scarves, gloves, and coats in these situations despite not being outside. There is also the case of being in the car on our daily commute, heat blasting while we still have our winter coats on, only to be freezing as soon as we step outside again. By not limiting the use of our outerwear to outdoors only, we are reducing their ability to keep us warm when our bodies need them most.

Layer Wisely

    I’m one of those freaks of nature who love hiking in the winter, but to be able to do so I had to learn to dress for the occasion. This is one of those tips I wish they taught us on those long walks to school in the morning.

Top Layers

  • Long Sleeve shirt
  • Sweater
  • Jacket*
  • Coat

Bottom Layers

  • Leggings or long johns
  • Joggers
  • Insulated snow pants*

Feet

  • Merino Wool socks (2 pairs)
  • Insulated Waterproof boots

Other

  • Scarf
  • Earmuffs
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Mittens

* These layers are more helpful in weather below 20 degrees F.

You want all of your base layers to be made of polyester, rayon, spandex, or merino wool. These materials will keep heat in while wicking moisture away from the body. Materials like cotton tend to hold onto moisture (like the sweat that inevitably arises from getting our heart rate up as we trudge through feet of snow). This will take heat away from our bodies, which is the opposite of what we need to happen.

Exercise 3x/ week

During the Winter we tend to slow down and become a bit more stagnant. The problem with that is when we become stagnant, so does every system in our body. Utilizing 20-60 minutes a day, three times a week will be enough to start building your immunity and strengthening the cardiovascular system, helping to keep you warm and healthy through the winter.

The types of workouts you choose are not as important as you finding something that you enjoy. I recommend trying a combination of cardio and weight training to create a well-rounded fitness routine.

Now, according to ISSA certified trainer Heyward Boyce, fitness alone isn’t enough to keep the circulation pumping and assure you warmth the whole day. Fitness alone cannot keep blood circulating for long periods of time. Rather, he recommends hot/cold therapy for something closer to such results (more on that later).

The increased activity will help strengthen the heart and blood vessels, thus improving blood flow; But to keep your circulation up, the important thing is to just keep moving. If you are stagnant, so is your blood. Make sure you’re active and moving around every hour to keep the blood flowing.

Fire Cider

Nothing warms up the body as quickly and efficiently as a shot of Fire Cider. This is an old folk remedy that helps to get the circulatory system running efficiently, clear toxins from the body, and boost immunity. 1-3 shots each day of this magical and potent elixir is sure to have you sweating in 30 degree weather in no time (okay, it isn’t that intense… but it is hot).

Ingredients

  • 1 medium organic onion, chopped
  • 10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root (or organic ginger root powder)
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root (or organic horseradish powder)
  • 1 Tbsp. organic turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp. organic cayenne powder
  • 2 Tbsp. of dried rosemary leaves
  • organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of raw local honey, or to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare your roots, fruits, and herbs and place them in a quart-sized glass jar. If you’ve never grated fresh horseradish, be prepared for a powerful sinus-opening experience!
  2. Pour the apple cider vinegar in the jar until all of the ingredients are covered and the vinegar reaches the jar’s top.
  3. Use a piece of natural parchment paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal, or a plastic lid if you have one. Shake well.
  4. Store in a dark, cool place for a month and remember to shake daily.
  5. After one month use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquidy goodness as you can from the pulp while straining.
  6. Next comes the honey. Add and stir until incorporated.
  7. Taste your cider and add more honey until you reach the desired sweetness.

[Source: https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/fire-cider ]

Warming Herbs

Photo by Lisa Hobbs on Unsplash

There are still ways to utilize the power of warming herbs without taking shots of infused vinegar. Here are some of my favorites for boosting circulation and immunity through the winter months:

  • Chai Spices (Turmeric, Cardamom, Ginger, Cinnamon) – Enjoy in tea and drinks such as my Anti-Inflammatory Golden Milk
  • Cayenne – Sprinkle on food, put in beverages, or take it as a pill
  • Gingko Biloba – Most commonly known for its brain-boosting benefits, Gingko is  also proven to help improve blood flow throughout the entire body (not just the brain). Gingko can help prevent blood from stagnating and pooling, especially at the bottoms of the feet. This improved circulation helps to keep the body warm, alert, and running efficiently through the winter season.
  • Butcher’s Broom – If you have heard of this herb you may associate it with middle aged women trying to rid their legs of spider veins and blood clots. Butcher’s broom, like Gingko, helps to improve circulation throughout the entire bodily system and prevent stagnating blood.
  • Olive Leaf – A gentle herb most commonly known for its potent influence upon the immune system. Turns out, this humble leaf is great for a host of reasons, from arthritic pain to cognitive function, to our topic today: keeping the body warm. Olive leaf effectively can help reduce blood pressure while improving upon the cardiovascular system as a whole.
  • Green Tea – Sometimes staying warm can be as simple as a cup of tea. Green tea is an ancient remedy for a variety of ailments within the body. It is known to boost immunity, longevity, brain function, and circulation. Maybe instead of reaching for a coffee in the morning, you should go for the matcha.
  • Nettle – One of my personal favorites, stinging nettles are full of vitamins and minerals that help to build and purify the blood. The herb is stimulating to the circulatory and immune systems, helping, too, to fight allergies. I recommend taking this herb as a strong infusion of ¼ cup nettle leaf to 1 quart boiling water. Combine both in a mason jar, cap it tight, and let infuse overnight.

Cold Showers

I know many of you will read this and immediately think “Hell no.” Hear me out. 

Cold showers have been proven to provide a large spectrum of benefits, from improved sleep and higher energy levels to relief from autoimmune disease. Cold therapy cools your skin’s surface and underlying tissues, which results in the narrowing of your blood vessels—a process called vasoconstriction. This process brings blood closer to your vital organs, which need to stay warm so that you can remain alive and well.

Cold therapy works to keep us warm by encouraging the body to start burning fat for fuel and warmth, so if staying warm in the winter isn’t reason enough – it is also an excellent weight loss tool.

Still not convinced? Check out this video by Practical Inspiration on the benefits and precautions that come with cold therapy (non-affiliated).

As prevously mentioned, trainer Heyward Boyce recommends combining cold therapy with heat therapy can also increase the benefits, as heat therapy brings the blood flow to the skin and cold therapy will “squeeze” the blood flow back into the vital organs. Cycling between the two will will help the body adapt quicker to changing temperatures and protect the cells from experiencing any shock or inflammation when exposed to sudden cold.

Anti-Inflammatory Golden Milk Recipe (V & GF)

♡ M O R N I N G T O N I C ♡

Each morning I have been starting my day with this vibrant, nourishing tonic.

It almost instantly has me feeling soothed and balanced, ready to face the rest of my day.

Adapted from the traditional Ayurvedic recipe, this is my low-fat and vegan version of an ancient healing beverage.

I N G R E D I E N T S

SPICES

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom

SUPPLEMENTS

  • Maca Power (Hormone Balancing)
  • Reishi (Boosts Immunity & Nervous System Function)

LIQUIDS

  • 3 parts Hot Water
  • 1 part Oat Milk
  • Squeeze of Lemon Juice
  • Optional: Replace water with Coffee OR Chaga Tea

D I R E C T I O N S

Throw it all into a blender and mix until nice and frothy ♡
Pour into your favorite mug and top with Bee Pollen (optional).
Greet the golden rays of morning with every sip ☀️

B E N E F I T S

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Brain Boosting –> Fights Fog, Enhances Memory, Increases Focus
  • Stimulates Digestive Fire/Agni
  • Hormone Balancing (Helps with Acne!)
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Nourishes Nervous System (Helps alleviate anxiety and depression)
  • Promotes assimilation of nutrients and stronger digestion
  • Cleansing to the whole body and encourages regular elimination

What is your favorite morning beverage?

Let me know in the comments.

Sustainable September: House Cleaning

Our homes are meant to be an oasis away from the stressors of day-to-day life. Sure, our home life can be stressful at times, too. There are still ways that we can care for our homes that make that stress a little less.

The environment we live in directly has an impact upon our health. For example, think about how you feel in a bustling crowded room or mall. Maybe with a lot of noise pollution and bright florescent lights.

Now, consider how you feel on a cool crisp day among the trees. A nice breeze rustling your hair and the scents of wildflowers and pine circling around.

Our homes can have similar effects. They can either make the stress greater or less in two different ways:

First, the amount of clutter can make or break how we are feeling in our homes. If there is a bunch of stuff scattered around the floors and on countertops, it can easily become frustrating as we must learn to safely navigate through our own homes.

Second, the products we use in our homes can affect our bodies in a positive or negative way. There is a host of pollutants that make their way into our homes and circulate throughout the air. These pollutants are made of organic and inorganic compounds, that enter our bodies as we breath and interact with our environments. From there, they can negatively affect our endocrine systems, throwing hormones out of whack, encourage growth of cancer, and cause neurological disorders. More on the different types of toxins found in the home here.

This article will be broken into two parts. First, how to mindfully declutter and simplify our homes to make sustainability easy. Then, I will go over cleaning products that are friendly to our homes and bodies.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Step One: Declutter

Before we can get into the nitty-gritty of deep cleaning our homes, we have to clear the space of senseless clutter.

It helps to create a schedule that you can loosely incorporate into your life that allows the cleaning and care of your home to be effortless. For example:

  • Daily
    • Make the bed upon waking.
    • Remove shoes at the door.
    • Always put objects back in their place once done with them.
    • Set a timer for 20 minutes and tidy up. Can choose a different room each day, or break up the time for each room (i.e. 5 minutes/room).
  • Weekly
    • Make grocery lists to avoid excess purchases. Consider meal planning as well.
    • Take recycling.
    • Care for your clothes. Do laundry, iron, and repair broken clothes. Paying extra attention and care to your wardrobe will avoid the need to pay for more clothes.
  • Monthly
    • Reassess possessions. Have too many mugs? Too many t-shirts? Now is a good time to let go of excess.
    • Sort through papers such as bills, receipts, and mail that may have piled up in the past month. Recycle what isn’t needed and sort the rest. Either in physical folders or by scanning them into computer files.
    • Declutter problem areas. We all have that one room that never seems to stay clean. Offer that space extra attention and develop ways to keep it tidier moving forward.
    • Clean the fridge. This is an area that can easily go neglected, with jars from 5 years ago being hidden and pushed to the far reaches of the universe, undetected. Take the time to remove everything from the fridge, wipe it all down and clean the shelves, then reorganize and reassess the items kept in there.
  • Yearly
    • Visualize your dream home. How would you ideally love for your space to look? Set tangible goals to slowly transform your space into that oasis.
    • Challenge yourself. Try developing rules such as “one in, one out.” When you bring something new into your home, you must get rid of something equal to that item. Another fun challenge is doing “no spend month.” Practice gratitude for all you already have and don’t spend money on anything that isn’t necessary (bills, food, transportation).
    • Reorganize storage spaces. As the seasons change, our storage spaces grow and morph until you have to fight through boxes and mystery cords just to find a broom. Let go of things you hold onto “just in case,” then find a new organizing system that keeps everything tidy.

Want more decluttering tips? Check out this video with the cleaning queen, Marie Kondo:


Step Two: The Deep Clean

Now that the excess clutter is cleared, we can start wiping everything down and making it shine.

It is vital to be mindful of the cleaning products we are bringing into our homes, as many standard ones on the market are filled to the brim with nasty chemicals that negatively impact our health (as mentioned at the beginning of this article). This is also where a lot of our sustainability practice can come in (with a dash of minimalism)!

When we make the switch to natural and homemade cleaning products, we reduce the need to have a million different products that all do different things, such as having products just for the bathrooms and kitchen, along with an all-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, metal cleaner, etc.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

For this step, all you will need is 6 products:

  1. Distilled Water
  2. Vinegar
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide
  4. Baking Soda
  5. Salt
  6. Citrus Peels or Essential Oils (optional)

To keep it sustainable, look for these items in bulk. If you can’t find some of them, try and purchase ones that are either in glass or cardboard containers. Recyclable plastic is a last resort.

These six items are going to be the basis for any cleaning product you will ever need.

For a disinfectant, simply mix 2 parts distilled water with a half part vinegar. I recommend adding citrus peels to this solution and allowing it to sit at least overnight, as fruits such as lemon act as a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial.

This simple product can be used to clean any surface, from countertops to dishes to the stove.

When it needs a bit extra cleaning power, simply sprinkle some baking soda onto the surface you are trying to clean and let it sit a moment before scrubbing away grease and stains. Still not enough? Sprinkle some salt along with the baking soda to give it some extra grit.

For dishes, though you can use the vinegar and water solution, I have fallen in love with this dishwashing bar by notoxlife. It can replace 3 standard dish detergent bottles, and it comes in sustainable, plastic-free packaging. Did I mention it’s vegan?

For glass, though you can use the disinfectant, we all know glass can be a little testy when it comes to streaks. Simply use the same products, but swap the ratio to be 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.

For the toilet, this is where the hydrogen peroxide comes in. That porcelain bowl is a breeding ground for bacteria, so it doesn’t hurt to call on a bit of aid to ensure a clean throne.

Mix together 2 parts distilled water, 1 part each of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, and a 1/2 part baking soda. Add essential oils if desired.

Tips:

  • Warm the distilled water before adding it to solutions with baking soda to ensure it dissolves properly.
  • Need an extra room freshener? Add some essential oils to a refillable spray bottle with water and use as a natural air freshener. Diffusers work wonderfully as well.
  • Try and clean surfaces and dishes directly after using them. This will make it easier to clean off anything that could potentially harden and become difficult to scrape off later in time.
  • Buy reusable glass spray bottle and containers that you can easily add your sustainable cleaning products to.

Leave a comment below about what you thought of this article, along with any particular areas you would like to learn more about.

Be sure to share this with your friends and on social media. Thank you for joining me for #sustainableseptember!

Sustainable September: Clothing

Clothing is a fun way to express our inner personalities on the outside. We can play with fun patterns, colors, and accessories, creating a style completely unique to our own selves.

But what if the clothes on our back were built on the backs of women in third world countries forced to work in filthy and unsafe environments for a minimal pay? Unable to care for their own children or being forced to give them up completely?

What if our clothing choices lead to the pumping of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year, which is more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping, into the air? [X]

Fashion can be tempting. There are always new styles and choices coming out, great sales and opportunities to be part of the latest trend. Yet, that is just the problem. With the quickly changing styles and seasons of clothing, it leads to 15 million tons of wasted textiles each year. [X] This ends up in landfills, polluting water ways, and if it is made from plastics (as most material is now), then it breaks down into tiny particles, ending up in the stomachs of animals, floating in the air we breath, and inevitably inside our own bodies.

So what can we do? Though fast fashion may be tempting, there are many ways to shop sustainably in a way that allows you to have an even more unique-to-you style that also is highly cost effective.

Thrift Shopping

This is probably the most obvious of all the suggestions, and the most popular – for a good reason. With the average of 12 lbs of clothing per person, per year being donated, there is bound to be enough clothing for you to find your perfect wardrobe, and gives some clothes a new home!

Support Sustainable Brands

Not into thrift shopping? That’s okay. There are plenty of reliable brands nowadays that are eco-conscious, using recycled and sustainable fibers to create clothing that will last. Some of my favorite brands include:

  • Tentree – They plant 10 trees for every purchase and only use sustainable fabrics. Find out more about their process here.
  • Pact – “Organic Cotton, Fair Trade Factory Certified, zero harmful chemicals, and processes that use significantly less water than conventional cotton.” Plus, they offer ways to recycle or upcycle your used clothing.
  • United by Blue – They organize cleanups, encourage the quitting of plastics, and for every product sold, they will remove a pound of trash from the ocean. They also use sustainable and recycled materials for their beautiful clothing suited for men, women, and children. From daily life to outdoors, United by Blue has you covered (pun intended).
  • Patagonia – A well known and trusted brand, for good reason. Patagonia breeds generations of activists by spreading the message to fight for our environment. They inspire grassroots organizations to take the risk to change the world for the better, and their clothing brand reflects this mission. They also use sustainable materials, offer ways to recycle their clothing, and resell upcycled clothing to close the loop.
  • None of these fit your fancy? That’s okay. Click this link to find more sustainable and fair-trade clothing brands.

Hold a Clothing Swap

Before you throw out or donate all those clothes, why not host a clothing swap? Invite friends and people from your local community to join together and trade out clothing. You can make a whole night of it, offering some cocktails and h’orderves.

Use an App

There are plenty of apps out there to connect with people in your local community to buy and sell clothes. Apps such as

  • LetGo
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • ThredUp
  • Poshmark

Try out different ones and see what works for you.

Make Your Own

Into sewing? Make your own clothes! Why buy when you can create your perfect wardrobe by hand? My main suggestion: Buy thrifted cloth. You would be amazed the amount of perfectly good fabrics and sewing materials you can find at a thrift store! You can even upcycle clothing you find there and make it your own.

Watch for Green Washing

Before I buy any clothing, I make it a point to see what the companies mission is, where the clothing is made, how their employees are treated, and what the clothing is actually made from.

Try to avoid buying products made from plastic materials such as polyester and rayon. They put greater demand on fossil fuels and can leach microplastics into our water sources. If you do have plastic clothing, try and only buy ones that are 100% recycled, and add the clothes to a GuppyFriend to catch the microfibers.

Other things to look out for are labels such as Fair-Trade, Global Recycle Standard, USDA Organic Certified (yes, your clothing could be leaching pesticides into your body), Made-By,and SCS Certification.

More importantly, use your judgement and do your research before buying clothing. Though the prints, colors, and styles may be tempting, they are nowhere near as important as preserving our beautiful planet, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of people forced into the textile industry around the world.

Shop Responsibly. Shop Sustainably.

Break Free of “Magic Pills” and Fad Diets

When I was working as a nutritionist and selling supplements there was one trend that continuously broke my herbalist heart.

Every day people would come in for that “magic pill.” The one-size-fits-all cure to every one of their problems.

Only, alternative medicine doesn’t work like that. People would return things after a week or even a day claiming some herbal pill or supplement didn’t work for them.

When it comes to herbal and nutritional healing, there is no one-size-fits-all. We are all made as unique individuals, and so are our natural medicines!

I believe there are herbs and a diet fit for each person, but to find out what that is – we have to see each individual as a whole.

People are quick to buy up whatever the hot new supplement is they saw on Dr. Oz. Little do people consider the energetics of herbal medicines and how the constitution of an herb may reflect and balance their own.

Quick are people to hop on new fad diets and weight loss trends, but how often do they consider their blood type, bodily constitution, and ancestral lineage?

There is no magic pill. No quick fix. Healing is not linear and neither are we! As always changing, multi-faceted beings. Our lifestyle and healing regimine should reflect that, and it too deserves the patience and sensitivity that will allow it to heal us deeply.

We can’t take Garcinia Cambogia for a week and suddenly be thin.
We can’t take CBD oil for one day and never experience anxiety again.

We CAN practice patience and experiment with the medicines that are fit to our unique bodies and personalities.

This is a core foundation in my health coaching and herbalist practice that I feel all of us know on a deep level, yet need some reminding of at times. I know what it’s like to get caught up in fads and the next hot trends, but it’s tiring.

Listening to my own body and my own intuition, I freed myself in a way no pill and restricted diet regimen ever could.

I by no means did it alone, though. If you would like support on your own similar journey, please reach out. Click THIS LINK for more information on how I can help you.

Interested in trying herbal therapy? I offer custom tea blends fit to your constitution and needs. Set up a quick call with me HERE to make yours.

Sustainable September: Body and Hair Care

Our bodies follow us all through life. Even when we are fed up with their aching and complaining, we are still stuck with them. Therefore, we may as well take care of them.

Below are tips to keep your bathroom routine simplistic and sustainable.

Please note: This is all what I have found works for me. Feel free to experiment and adjust things to fit your unique body type. We all have different skin types, hair, and other needs. I try to keep these tips as basic and universal as possible, offering options for everyone. Good luck and have fun!

Hair

For hair washing, I have found the best option to be a bar soap. There are many different kinds with all natural oils to nourish and clean the hair. I had to do some experimenting to find ones that work for me, and I encourage you to do the same! Lush and Whole Foods, farmers markets or another all-natural grocer are great places to look for handmade and cut shampoo bars.

For extra oily hair and dandruff: If your hair needs an extra somethin-somethin to give it that shine and remove excess oils, look no further than an Apple Cider Vinegar wash. Simple take 1 cup of water to 2 tbsp ACV and dump it onto your head. Massage it into your scalp, let it sit about 10 minutes, then rinse out.

Tips: You may need to adjust the ACV to your hair type. More for extra oily hair, less for frail hair and a sensitive scalp. In cases of dandruff, I recommend adding 3-5 drops Tea Tree oil.
For hair growth, instead of plain water, try adding a 1/2 tsp each of rosemary and sage and boil into a tea. Allow the tea to cool before adding the ACV and using it as a rinse.

Dry Hair: Your hair is washed, now what? Even with my thick and oily mane, I can find shampoo bars to be a bit drying. If you have dry hair or needs to give the tips a bit of an extra shine, skip the expensive products and use a simple oil.
Thick hair: Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Amla Oil
In-Between: Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond, Olive Oil
Thin Hair: Jojoba Oil, Apricot Oil, Grapeseed Oil

For Body Hair, I recommend investing in a reusable razor such as this, and making your own shaving cream.
My favorite recipe is this one by Zero Waste Nerd.


Body

For cleaning, bar soap is the way to go. Just as mentioned with the hair, locally handmade bar soaps with all-natural ingredients and oils can be found at health food stores, farmers markets, and chains such as Whole Foods, Lush, and Fresh Thyme.

It is often easier to find a bar soap that will match your skin type, as they are usually labelled for dry, oily, and combination skin. Feel free to try out different ones, and if you’re like me with a soap obsession, hoard all the pretty smelling ones under your sink so you never need to buy bar soap again!

For moisturizing, try natural oils and plant-based butters. If you have dry skin, you may want something thicker such as coconut oil , cocoa butter, or shea butter. For combination skin, I recommend olive oil, sunflower oil, or shea butter. For oily skin, grapeseed oil and apricot seed oil are nice light choices that can help smooth away excess oil and keep the skin healthy.

These can be enhanced and fine-tuned toward your skins type using herbs.

  • For oily skin, try rosemary or sage.
  • For inflamed skin, try lavender or chamomile.
  • For dry skin, use herbs like mullein, marshmallow root, and elderflower.
  • For problem skin, white willow and witch hazel are effective remedies. You could also add 3-5 drops of tea tree for every ounce of oil.

Simply choose a combination of herbs, fill a jar halfway with your herbs of choice, and then fill the jar all the way (leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top) and seal off tight. Leave the herbs in a sunny window for a week or two, shaking periodically, before straining the oil.

Experiment with different herbal combinations and remember that you are not limited to the ones I have listed. Ensure first with a dermatologist or doctor that you are not allergic to any herbs you choose to work with.

For exfoliating, there are a few options I recommend that are super simple and effective:

  • Dry Brushing: This helps to move the lymph system throughout the body, eliminating waste and preventing skin eruptions. It also helps to remove dead skin.
  • Honey + Sugar Scrub: Hydrating and brightening to the skin, this helps remove excess oils and dead skin, as well as moisturize the skin at the same time!
  • Coffee Scrub: Ever wonder what to do with those excess coffee grounds? Rub them on your body, of course. This one helps to awaken the skin and remove cellulite. All you have to do is mix 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1 cup coffee grounds, and 1/2 cup sugar. You could even use the dry brush to really rub it in and increase circulation.
    Note: Do not rinse this one down the drain. It will clog. I recommend getting a wash cloth and bowl of water to gently wipe off the coffee and sugar, then dumping the water outside. In the summer, you could even use a hose!

Face

For cleaning, one could use a bar soap like the one chosen for the body. I personally rarely wash my face and choose to use water and a wash cloth to remove excess oils. I also have smooth and clear skin that rarely breaks out (only does if I eat something I shouldn’t – like too much sugar or gluten). If this doesn’t work for you, I recommend trying local honey or aloe to gently cleanse the skin and remove excess oils.
Another option is to use oils to remove oils. Oils are naturally hydrophobic. This goes for the oils on our skin, too. I find Olive Oil to be the best for this. Just rub the oil into your skin, and remove it with a washcloth dampened with warm water. Rub the wash cloth in slow circles to ensure you’re getting out any dirt and toxins lingering on the skins surface.

For scrubs, see body scrubs.
For masks, I have 3 options for you.

  1. Honey or Agave. Both of these have a toning effect on the skin whilst also hydrating deep into the cells.
  2. Aloe. This one is a friend of people who need a little lift. Smooth some aloe gel onto the skin, preferably straight from the plant, and allow to sit for 20 minutes. This will naturally firm up the skin and offer a cooling, evening effect to the skin tone.
  3. Bentonite or Green Clay. If you are prone to oily skin, this one is for you. Clay can be mixed with water (less oily) or ACV (more oily) and applied to the skin for 20 minutes, or until dried. It will leave the face reddened afterwards, but it will fade within the hour. I recommend doing this one at night or a day you plan to stay in.

For moisturizing, see the moisturizing section under body.


Dental

Even those pearly whites deserve to be sustainably pampered and cared for! Below are some recipes and links to replace the basic plastic tubes and brushes we had come to know, with ethical and eco-friendly options.

For a toothbrush, I have fallen in love with my bamboo one. It lasts longer, decomposes, and is the right amount of firmness in the bristles to remove debris and plaque without harming enamel. I like this pack, as it also is highly economical and comes in recyclable, biodegradable packaging!

For floss, I have seen two different methods on this. One, you could buy a completely zero waste floss such as this one. It offers 66 yards and comes in a cute refillable container made of metal.
The other options is to simply find a piece of silk from the thrift store, give it a really good washing, and pull it apart thread by thread to use as floss. Once done with it, it can be thrown in with compost to decompose.

For mouthwash, I have a super simple recipe from Blue Ollis for you. She also has a toothpaste recipe in the original video, linked below.

Mouthwash recipe:

  • 1 cup Water
  • 2 tbsp Baking Soda
  • 3-5 drops Food-Grade Essential Oil

and that’s it! Super simple.



For toothpaste, you could make one like the one above in the video. Otherwise, I recommend checking out this incredibly in-depth article on everything you need to know about toothpaste.

Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to the humble tongue scrapper. This handy little tool helps to remove harmful bacteria from the mouth, it stimulates the digestive system and removal of toxins from the body, and it can even help prevent candida overgrowth. This is not necessary to have in your dental regimen, but it is a helpful tool to make a part of your daily routine to prevent harmful bacteria entering the body and eroding teeth.


Nutritional Support

What kind of Herbalist and Health Coach would I be if I didn’t offer ways to support your bodily health through diet? Here are just a few simple tips to keep your skin, hair, and nails strong and healthy:

  • Hydrate. The cells need water to properly function and keep their elasticity. Water also helps to flush toxins out of the body that could otherwise push their way out through the skin in the form of acne, rashes, and other eruptions.
  • Fruits and Veggies. Fruits help to hydrate the body on a cellular level, while also aiding fiber to remove wastes from the body, as do veggies. Both fruits and vegetables offer valuable vitamins and minerals that help to strengthen the hair, skin, and nails as well as aid the skin a nice, even glow. Once I went vegan, I swear my hair and nails became stronger and longer while my skin cleared up, became even-toned, and lost any inflammation. My eyes also started to shine brighter and whiter. Eat your veggies!
  • Herbs. Lastly, I highly recommend adding some herbs to your diet to help the body receive any vitamins and minerals that may not be fully received through food. Our produce these days isn’t as nutrient dense as it was for our forefathers, so herbs are a great way to fill in some of the gaps without breaking bank on a bunch of supplements. I recommend Nettle, Red Raspberry, Horsetail, and Comfrey taken as teas. Alfalfa and Wheatgrass may be added to smoothies or taken juiced. Sea Vegetables such as Kelp, Wakame, and Dulse are also mineral rich and high in Iodine, an essential nutrient for bone density and thyroid function. These may be simply added to salads, soups, stews, and other food dishes. Note: Be sure to check with a doctor before taking any herbal medicines to ensure they are a good fit for your body and have no drug interactions if you are taking prescriptions.

Anything I missed? Comment below and share your favorite zero waste hair and body care tips, along with any questions.

Pump Up The (Local, Homemade, Zero-Waste) Jam!

Summer has brought us many delightful gifts, one of my favorites being fresh berries!

The time I look forward to every year is the time when orchards open for U-Pick. I go with my friends and family, sip on fresh hot cider, and pick fruit so fresh they fall right off the bush or tree! We chat and laugh, sweating under the late summer sun. Bringing home the bounty to turn into delicious jams, pies, and anything else we can come up with.

We are rolling into Autumn now, so the season of berries is coming to an end. Before that day comes, I recommend getting outside with friends and family and picking some fresh, local berries to turn into these delectable jams! I promise it’ll taste all the better, because it isn’t just a jar of local fruit, but also a jar of fond memories shared with loved ones.

Below are recipes for two different jams: A plain berry jam, and a red wine version for a more refined, adult flair. Whichever one you choose, they will both be phenomenal!


Berry Jam

You Will Need: (Makes 1 Cup)

  • 12 oz Berries (I used Raspberries. You can use Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Elderberries, etc)
  • 1/4 cup Organic Sugar (Raw or Coconut)
  • 1 tablespoon Arrowroot
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • Mason Jar, washed in hot, soapy water and rinsed well.

In a saucepan, combine the berries and sweetener. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 10-20 minutes, until the fruit has broken down enough to look more like a sauce.

In a separate bowl, combine the arrowroot and water, and stir until combined. Whisk the mixture into the jam. It will thicken a bit, but it won’t be until the mixture cools that it will really thicken up.

Grab your mason jar and pour the jam in while it is still hot, leaving 1/2 inch at the top. Put the lid on securely and set it aside to cool down before putting it in the fridge. This jam should last 6 to 8 weeks.


Raspberry + Red Wine Jam

You Will Need (Makes About 1 Cup):

  • 12 oz Raspberries (Can use other fruit)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup Raw or Coconut Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dry Red Wine
  • 2 tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • Mason Jar, washed with hot & soapy water, rinsed well

Combine the fruit, sugar, and wine in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until most of the wine is boiled down and the fruit has broken apart, giving the mixture a saucy appearance.

In a separate bowl, combine the arrowroot and water. Pour the mixture into the jam and stir well. The mixture will thicken slightly, but will moreso after it cools.

While the jam is still hot, pour it directly into a clean mason jar and seal off tightly. Allow it to cool before putting it in the fridge.

This jam should keep in a cupboard unopened for up to a year. Once opened, it will keep in a fridge for a couple months.


Zero Waste Tips:
Buy the sugar and arrowroot powder in bulk bins using your own jars to prevent waste. The fruit you choose to use can be bought from a local farmers market and taken home in your own bag if you don’t have the ability to pick fresh fruit.


This recipe was adapted from and inspired by, “The Homemade Vegan Pantry” by Miyoko Schinner

Sustainable September: Food Sustainability

There are few things that we have control over in our lives. With the looming threat of climate change growing each day, this little fact feels even greater. One of the things we do have control over that makes a huge and pivotal impact within the climate change movement is: food. We all have a choice in the food we eat, where we buy from, and what we do with the scraps.

Food waste and the agricultural industry are major polluters and causes of greenhouse gases, contributing up to 51% GHG emissions per year. [X] Most of this number comes from raising of animals for food, transportation and shipping of produce from all over the world, the creation of processed foods, and food waste.

Another huge contributor to the climate crisis is transportation. Chiefly, air travel. We have increased access to foods from all over the world. When we walk into a supermarket, we find labels of foods sourced mainly from Mexico, Brazil, Asia, and California. There are international sections and foreign fruits. 

Though it is nice to have these luxuries, the convenience of these foods is destroying the planet. Buying produce from places such as California and Mexico supports deforestation and soil degradation. Many of the farms that most food comes from hire in people of color and supply them with lowly wages that do not allow for a proper living. To support mass agriculture is to support the destruction of native lands, lush forests and homes of wildlife, as well as cheap labor that is the equivalent of modern day slavery. [X]

A recent example would be the burning down of the Amazon Rainforest for cattle farming, mono-cropping, and oil drilling. [X] All of which depletes soil of nutrients, forcing native tribes out of their homes, decreases biodiversity and puts species at risk of becoming endangered, as well as increases the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the air.

How do we, then, combat such a force of reckless capitalism?

Through this post, I intend to offer ways of cleaning up the way in which we consume food in order to reduce our impact on climate change. Ways such as:

Support Local and Seasonal Foods.

By supporting local farmers, we are encouraging the growth of our local economy as well as reducing our strain on the earth’s resources. We are choosing to purchase food that is grown close to home, limiting the amount of travel emissions. We are also putting money directly into the hands of the farmers, rather than supporting the exploitation of people forced into modern slavery.

By choosing foods that are in season, we are also opting to eat close to home and lower the demands on foods that would otherwise be shipped from other parts of the world where the environment can tolerate the growth of out-of-season produce. By choosing to eat seasonally, we are also supporting our bodies and helping them adapt to the changes of weather across the yer. This can build our immune systems and help prevent allergies.

By supporting the natural rhythm of nature and the plants that grow along with it, we are also supporting the ecosystem and soil health. Produce grown in season has more time to grow strong and healthy, increasing its capacity to ward of diseases and store carbon in the ground.

There are also a few guidelines we can follow to support soil health and the absorption of greenhouse gases back into the soil.

Choose Organic as much as Possible

Conventional farming methods lead to the pollution of waterways and a decrease in soil health. Waterway contaminants lead to toxic algae blooms in our fresh water sources. Here in the Midwest, an example would be the blooms in Lake Michigan caused by chemical runoff from waste as well as agricultural runoff. The agricultural runoff is also largely impacting the health and livelihood of the mississippi river, all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. This leads to increased health risks for those who rely on these fresh water sources, and a decrease in biodiversity of plants and animals living in these waters. A small impact in one place can lead to a devastating impact across the globe.

When it comes to soil health, pesticides kill the natural bacteria living within the soil that help to feed the plants and give it the nutrients. As the soil health decreases, sale of fertilizers increases. As farmers rely on fertilizers to encourage the health of their plants, we see food that is larger than life and nutrient-poor. To give plants fertilizer and pesticides for food is like telling someone to live off of bleach and a multivitamin.

As the life of the soil decreases, it becomes dry and brittle. Especially in the cases of monocropping. If you live in Michigan or other parts of the midwest, you may know what it is like to drive for miles and see nothing but rows of corn. In nature, it is not natural to see only pine or oak trees in the forest. We see pine and oak, beech trees and blueberry bushes. Jewelweed, wild carrot, american ginseng, and nettle. These are the places that are thriving with life. A decrease in the diversity of plants, coupled with the killing off of natural bacteria, causes our soils to become dry and lifeless. It loses its capacity to hold water and we begin to see droughts like those of California. Places where it can rain for hours, yet none of it enters through the ground. Instead, it makes way for mudslides and streams painted brown with dirt.

Organic produce supports the health of the soil itself and allows plants to gain nutrients from the place nature intended. As soil health increases, so does the grounds ability to absorb water and prevent agricultural runoff.

To take it a step further, we can begin seeking out regenerative and biodynamic farms. Those which mimic the way nature grows and flourishes by implementing crop pairing, reforestation, and the reuse of food waste into compost to feed plants instead of chemical fertilizers. More on that here [X]

And here: 

“Ethical” Animal Products

Another huge part of the GHG emissions aforementioned is cattle ranching. Raising cattle requires a lot of land leading to massive deforestation, and cattle themselves release large amounts of GHG. I personally am vegan, but I respect not everyone in the world wants to eat only plants. With this in mind, I offer these tips to reduce impact from this sector.

80/20 Diet

Don’t want to eat all plants? Eat predominantly plants. 80% of your diet would be plants (fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, grains, potatoes and other roots, leafy greens, nuts and seeds) while 20% of your diet would be animal products. Another option would be to focus on having at least 2 meals a day being vegan. Bonus points for several days a week being vegan.

Buy Local

By buying animal products from your local farmers, you are preventing massive deforestation across the globe that makes way for conventional animal agriculture.

Hunt

I personally feel if people are going to eat meat, they should have to hunt for the animals themselves. This makes way for the opportunity to honor the animal and thank it for its sacrifice as our ancestors once did. It also supports the preservation of the wild and reforestation efforts to bring back biodiversity and homes for our wild animal friends. That being said, there is nothing wrong with supporting our local farmers who raise animals.

Purchase from Regenerative Farms

In conventional farming, cattle and other herd animals are given a patch of land where they continuously feed from until they get shipped off for slaughter. This leads to plants and grasses being overgrazed, causing soil to be exposed. Soil exposure leads to agricultural runoff and the drying of the ground. Areas with a lot of soil exposure are higher in temperature, as there is no plant cover keeping the ground cool. With the soil exposed and the heat turned up, carbon begins to make its way out of the ground and into the atmosphere, whereas with proper plant coverage it would have been reabsorbed by the plants and kept stored in the ground.

In regenerative agriculture, herd animals are rotated to different parts of the field, allowing crops to grow back, carbon to be stomped back into the soil, and dung becomes fertilizer to keep the ground healthy and plants nutrient-rich.

Pass on Red Meat

As mentioned before, a large part of deforestation is cattle ranching. If you feel you must eat meat, forego the red meats and opt for leaner white meat and fish. I must also mention, however, that if you are choosing fish then please be mindful of the type of fish you are choosing. Overfishing is a major problem leading to many fish becoming endangered and a large strain on the delicate ecosystem of our natural bodies of water. The fishing industry also leads to chemicals and heavy metals leaching into the waterways which are then absorbed by the fish and thus enter your own body (yes, even your wild caught Alaskan salmon, Patricia).

Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic

When buying from anywhere, including farmers, you will want to make sure you are purchasing meat, eggs, and dairy from animals that were grazed on grass free of pesticides and allowed free range to roam. Otherwise, what you are getting is product full of chemicals, hormones, and likely diseases. In conventional farming, animals are kept locked closely together, forced to stand in their own feces, pumped with antibiotics to counteract the sickness that naturally comes from such an environment. Put yourself in the place of that animal for a moment. How would you feel? I’d rather be the one out on the pasture soaking up the sunshine, personally.

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into being a mindful carnivore. I assure you that if being vegan is not for you, then learning how to be an “ethical meat eater” is well worth your time, our own health, and the health of this planet.

As a recap, since I know that was a lot to take in:

  • Eat predominantly plants. Preferably organic.
  • Support regenerative and biodynamic agriculture as much as possible
  • Always opt to buy from local farmers
  • Hunt for your own food
  • Eat less red meat (1 to 2 times a week MAX. Once a month is better)
  • Buy Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic, Hormone-Free animal products.

Plastic-Free Shopping

Last thing I would like to go over is the need to cut out plastic from our shopping carts. All plastic that has ever been created is still on this planet. I cringe every time I see people leave a store with 10 plastic bags in their cart, all double bagged, with each vegetable in its own plastic bag.

These are the bags we see inside of the stomachs of marine animals as we scroll our facebook feed, or on the fish hooks of people in third world countries who rely on the waters to feed their families.

There is no excuse anymore for the senseless use of plastic. We must begin bringing our own bags to stores and farmers markets, and refuse the plastic. If you are the type of person who saves all of your plastic bags and you still have, bring them with you to the store to put your produce in if you absolutely feel you need plastic. Keep reusing them! If you need bags to replace the plastic at stores, there are many options online and even in stores for reusable produce bags, freezer bags, and shopping bags.

I hope this article has inspired you to be more mindful next time you go shopping, and choose the options that will benefit both your body and this planet. Thank you for reading and please share this post to help inspire others to live consciously and kindly for our planet.

Brain-Boosting Elixir (V + GF)

As someone who self studies and is on her way to being a master herbalist, has two day jobs, and runs her own Reiki and Health Advising business … there is one thing that I have found to be absolutely critical to my ability to stay sane and focused: Cognitive performance.

For a long time I have struggled to stay focused on goals and not burn our halfway through my studies. I got fatigued and honestly fed up real quickly with my own inability to do the things that I wanted to do.

I eat healthy, I stay active, and I breath deep. At times, it seems this just isn’t enough.

Enter: This amazing elixir.

I have been starting every morning with the beautiful potion you see pictured. In it there is:

+ LIONS MANE – Improves cognitive performs and heals neural pathways, as well as creates new ones helping to retain information, improve memory, and even create new ways of thinking.

+ MACA – This root helps to balance the hormones and tonify the reproductive system. It helps to keep stress and bay, acting as an adaptogen!

+ HEMP SEEDS – Great source of protein, and healthy fats. Super high in Omega 3s which further boosts brain health AND reduces inflammation throughout the whole body. They also can replace fish oils for my fellow plant based kin out there 🌱

+ MATCHA – High in antioxidants, anti inflammatory, and energizing. This ceremonial powder has been used for centuries to uplift the spirit, center thoughts, and offer a sense of calm awareness to those who drink it.

+ BARLEY GRASS – An incredible detoxifier that helps remove heavy metals from the system, nourishing and aiding the function of the nervous system.

+ BEE POLLEN – Rich in amino acids and energetically stimulating on a subtle level. It helps increase stamina and vitality.

+ GINGER – Mild stimulant that helps boost circulation throughout the body and to the brain. It also aids the digestive process, increasing the assimilation of nutrients.

RECIPE

  • 1 tsp Lions Mane
  • 1 tsp Maca
  • 1/2 tsp Matcha
  • 2 tbsp Hemp Seeds
  • 1/2 inch piece of Ginger
  • 1 tsp Barley Grass Juice Powder
  • 8-12oz Hot Water
  • Topping: Bee Pollen

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend from low to high until smooth. Pour into your favorite mug and top with the bee pollen.

For a sweeter product, add a few drops stevia or another sweetener. Enjoy!