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Natural Health

Breaking Down to Break Through...

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Breaking Down to Break Through...

So I've been contemplating what I wanted to focus on this month in terms of themes. I think themes really help to keep things cohesive and they help us to learn and integrate information so much better. When our mind has something to tether it to, it seems to stick. 

So in my search for what theme to go with this month, I thought about the new moon that just came through our sky yesterday and all of its astrological implications and I thought about my own astrological guidance this month and that's all brought me to the theme of Breaking down to Break Through. 

April is that kind of month in general right? Things are in blossom mode all around us. They are "breaking through". And if you focus on nature for instance, The whole season of Winter was a breakdown and in order to jump start activity and motion in April, there has to be an intentional break through. Breaking through the ground. Breaking through the surface. Breaking through the barriers to the light on the other side. 

So let's talk about that. Let's think about it in terms of our goal setting first. Most of us went about setting goals at the beginning of the year. If you've been following along with me since the beginning of the blog, you know that I walked us through this process with the #7daysforme Challenge and set some intentions for myself as well. 

Well now my dear friends, it's time to break through with those! We're here at April.

The time is now! If you've been holding back, take the reins and drive it forward!!! 

Check in with yourself. What haven't you done yet? What plans are you sitting on that are just waiting for some action? Let's talk about the DOING and no more of the PLANNING. Take whatever step you are at now and GO. GO. GO. You'll always have time to refine, to make it better, to regroup. But you'll never get to *that* point if you don't get past *this* point. Trust me, I have ample personal life examples to prove that to you and I'm sure you've got a good handful in your own life as well ;-). 

And I'm not just preaching - I'm taking my own advice too. For instance, I've been sitting on this program I'm creating for way too long. I've been fussing over the information page and worrying about the order of the content and so on and so forth. All just stalemates keeping me from DOING. And that's just one of the projects I've been sitting on. 

Trust me, in these next few weeks, I'm taking action. And you are going to see it in my results :D. Be on the lookout for the skincare program I've been working on FINALLY being ready for you. My next plan is the skincare for dancers ebook FINALLY being available. And my very own line of herbal teas. Yes my friends it's time. What is it time for in YOUR life?

HERBAL ALLY for This Time of HIGH FOCUS

One of my favorite herbs for focus is Peppermint. This herb is absolutely wonderful for so many things and so you are going to hear me talk about it a lot :-). Here's why you need to make a bunch of cups this month ;-).

Peppermint Tea

  • helps clear the mind and ease tension
  • soothes indigestion and stomach complaints so those won't hold you back
  • increases focus and concentration
  • relaxes yet stimulates - perfect combo ;-).

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Excited about Natural Medicine!

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Excited about Natural Medicine!

Hey there lovelies! 

I am so hoping that you've been enjoying this last week or so. My life has been filled with lots of activity - all of it leading to positive things for sure. I want to tell you all about it so today's post is going to be a hodge podge :). 

I'm sitting here on a Sunday after having enjoyed an absolutely lovely me-focused Easter day. Yes, I could have gotten caught up in feeling some kind of way about not having a family gathering to go to BUT I also could redirect that energy to feeling super grateful for having a day all to myself with no agenda. And yep, that's what I did :). The weather was so lovely and my backyard was the perfect place to veg out, web surf and read. I spent a little time at the grocery store with all of the other people not at Easter dinner, lol, and then spent the rest of the day hanging out on my couch with my Real Simple, Vegetarian Times, and Clean Eating Magazines :-D. I’ve been on a magazine kick lately and these 3 are probably my favorites – so inspiring. I’ve definitely realized the value of surrounding yourself with who you want to be and what you want to be about ;-).

One other thing I did today was listen to parts of an awesome podcast from the Natural Medicine Summit that just ended this past week. This was a virtual event put on by Dr. Michael Murray, a leading authority in the world of natural medicine. I was able to catch a couple of the interviews and oh my, it was so invigorating! It’s been a while since I’ve been to a public educational event on natural medicine – even virtually, it felt awesome to be listening to conversations about how nature provides every single thing we need for optimal health. It really is the truth.

There is one concept introduced by Mike Adams, the editor of NaturalNews.com that I’m going to explore more and report on for you. It’s the idea of defensive eating. What this means is that when you eat something not necessarily healthy for you, that you also eat a food that can counter the negative effects of the negative food. It’s a concept that feels intuitively already known but intellectually not really spelled out in this way. I think it’s brilliant and makes so much sense for the world that we live in today. So definitely look out for what more I find out about this – looking forward to sharing it with you!

I’m not sure how long the encore videos will be available, but I suggest popping over to this link and checking them out while you still can. These are the top 3 interviews from the summit and I can definitely see why.

Another thing that Mike Adams spoke about was growing your own food. I’m so committed to this and each year I do a better and better job. We’re headed back into that season of planning and planting so be on the lookout for me sharing my steps and encouraging you to take your own ;-).

Alrighty friends, this post is getting long so instead of jamming all of my reflection into today, I will instead give you a reading break and come back with more very soon :-).

Until then lovelies!

Best and brightest!

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Broccoli Chips?? YES!

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Broccoli Chips?? YES!

Isn't my recipe card the CUTEST! I love writing on these cards :D. 

Isn't my recipe card the CUTEST! I love writing on these cards :D. 

Yum Yum Yum!!! Have you ever had broccoli chips before? No? Omg, you absolutely have to give this, my favorite recipe for them to date, a try! I'm not going to blab too much at all because I know what a pet peeve it is to have to scroll all through the blab to get to the recipe lol :). So here you go!

Roasted Broccoli Chips! (AKA THE BOMB!)

What you need:

  • 1 head of broccoli or the equivalent amount broken into florets. 
  • 1 tsp olive oil (the good kind so Extra virgin if you can splurge)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

And here are the easy as pie directions:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Place the broccoli into a bowl
  • Drizzle the olive oil and shake the salt and pepper over the broccoli and toss to coat all the broccoli
  • Spread out on a baking sheet in one layer.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, checking on it after about 15 minutes or so every 5 minutes give or take. The reason is that the broccoli browns pretty quickly and though you want it really crispy, you don't want them burnt ;-). That being said, I left them in for the entire 25 minutes, even though I heard it sizzling and the tips got *really* brown. They turned out soooooo freakin' good though! Absolutely worth it! 

Go on and make it right now! (ok, go buy some broccoli and make it tomorrow ;-)). 


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Sick Last Week! Slippery Elm to the Rescue!

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Sick Last Week! Slippery Elm to the Rescue!

Hello lovlies! Omg, I missed a week of connecting with you! Trust me, I agonized about it until I finally let myself off the hook with the realization that life happens :-D. Most of my reason had to do with feeling way under the weather most of last week so that when I did have time to write, all I felt like doing was resting. Ugh! Ever get that feeling? In any case, I did get a chance to do a quick video for you all about Slippery Elm Bark Powder - this has been a favorite herb of mine for ages - though it is by no means the best tasting or easiest to take, lol. Any of you have experience with Slippery Elm? The powder turns into a gel when mixed with water - imagine trying to drink that lol - not fun. However it's very worth it and I tell you some key points about why in the video. Check it out :). 

Btw, you may be wondering how I pulled of a cute outfit and fly makeup in that video while feeling so under the weather ;-). Well I recorded on Sunday, the same day that I was a featured guest on the Jerrell Hardnett Show, a local tv talk show that is going to launch on CW Arkansas in March! Exciting right?! So I figured, ought not waste a pretty outfit and makeup day lol. As soon as I know the air date, I will definitely pass it on :). Ok, on to the video! 


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All about Lemongrass Essential Oil! 3 Uses

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All about Lemongrass Essential Oil! 3 Uses

Hey everyone! Hope it's been a lovely week for you! It's been an especially awesome one for me since my birthday was Wednesday - yay :)! Sort of because of that, I decided to do a video for you all instead of a written post. I tell you why in the video :-). Soon however, I'll make sure to write everything out like I promised to in the video ;-). Enjoy!  

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Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help you Lose Weight?

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Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help you Lose Weight?

Hello Dears! How is life feeling 14 days into this new year? I’m hoping that you are still feeling energized and excited about all the awesomeness coming for you this year ;-) (You’ve got to believe it to see it right?!).

I know that one of the things most of have on that New Year to do list is to finally get around to toning up and losing weight. While I have some thoughts about that in general that I’ll share in my next post, today I’m going to share with you one thing that made a difference for me a few years ago and that I’m committing to doing again in this new year. It’s something really simple. It’s drinking a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar a day. Yep, that’s it. When I tell you that it made a huge difference, believe me! I hadn’t made any real changes to my diet or my routine and after a few months of drinking it faithfully, people began to ask what I was doing to lose weight. I couldn’t think of one thing except for the daily habit of taking that ACV! I believe it really helped my body to slim down and ultimately lose a few pounds as well. What it definitely did was rearrange the weight that I did have into a healthier, more fit frame. To say I was grateful is an understatement lol.

Last year, I wrote a detailed article about it in the Toombs Country Tribune, a local to Georgia newspaper where I served as the Wellness Columnist. I’ve shared it with you below so you can have the how and the why about ACV for weight loss.

Check it out!


Apple Cider Vinegar, have you heard of it? You might know it as an appetizing addition to your favorite salad or a part of tantalizing marinades. Did you know, however, that it can be a wonderful addition to your everyday health routine as well?

Apple cider vinegar is one of the world’s oldest anecdotal remedies for almost everything. It’s been used for all types of ailments throughout the years, often times with such repeated success, that testimonials abound.

In recent years, it’s also been studied in academic settings and some of the claims from these years of use worldwide have begun to be substantiated by scientific data as well.

Today’s topic of Leah’s Natural Minute is going to focus on how Apple Cider Vinegar can help you lose weight. Yes, you read that correctly! Apple Cider Vinegar can be a component in your journey to shed those pounds and slim that waistline.

There is plenty of anecdotal data that suggests that Apple Cider Vinegar helps with weight loss. I even have my own experience to support this belief, which I’ll share a little later. Scientists have begun to look into this to try to figure out what could be responsible for this effect. There are two theories.

The first has to do with Apple Cider Vinegar’s ability to block the digestion of some starches. Blocking this starch breakdown is thought to decrease the amount of calories being produced through digestion. Starches typically are very dense and so add up to lots more calories that need to be processed and converted to either energy or fat. If you aren’t using that energy, then those calories are going to be converted to fat. Less of them in the blood stream means less of them needing to be used or “glued to your waistline”.

The second theory, concluded from a study conducted in Japan, hypothesizes that Apple Cider Vinegar may have an effect on certain genes involved in breaking down fat. This studied showed that obese patients taking Apple Cider Vinegar over the course of a few months experienced better vital signs and a measurable decrease in weight compared to the control group. Source: link to ((2009). “Vinegar Intake Reduces Body Weight, Body Fat Mass, and Serum Triglyceride Levels in Obese Japanese Subjects”. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 73(8): 1837–1843. doi:10.1271/bbb.90231PMID 19661687)

So this information, coupled with my own experience, is why I think it’s a great addition to your routine. I myself take Apple Cider Vinegar most mornings. For a while, it was the only change I made; I didn’t change my eating or lifestyle habits. Within months, people began asking what I was doing to lose weight and slim down. That right there was proof enough for me to continue.

When looking to add Apple Cider Vinegar, the easiest way that I’ve found is to take a tablespoon in room temperature water once a day, usually in the morning. There is anecdotal data and some scientific research that supports the belief that drinking this before a meal can help to curb your appetite and make you feel full faster.

I’d always suggest taking it with water or some liquid to dilute it because of its acidic nature. It can burn going down the throat and for sensitive people it can actually damage your esophageal and throat linings. It’s also not advised to take more than 1 to 2 tablespoons a day.

I would always advise as well to run everything you are planning to do by your primary care physician if you are currently being treated for any type of ailment. It’s always best to get an expert opinion and be safe. Just make sure it’s a physician that is open to the natural way.

I hope this helps you on your journey! Remember, there are no quick fixes but with the right combination, you can achieve what you dream! Be blessed!

 

 

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Detoxing for the New Year

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Detoxing for the New Year

Hey dears!

How is all the prep for the holiday season going? How are you feeling? Are you making sure you get some #refreshme time in everyday? If so, awesome :-). If not, no worries – I’ve got another great suggestion for you on where to start.

This week I want to talk about herbal teas – specifically two that are perfect for this season of bustle, delicious food, and healthy doses of ‘run around’ stress.

These are also two of my favorite herbs, some of the first ones I learned about during my herbal medicine apprenticeship many years ago now :-). They are Burdock root and Dandelion root.

The  often hated Dandelion :-(.

The  often hated Dandelion :-(.

Have you heard these names before? Dandelion surely. This tenacious little plant isn’t generally looked favorably upon since it’s considered an annoying weed.  Burdock too is a common weed, mostly considered annoying. Ever walked through a field and found sticky ‘burrs’ on your pants and such? Those are the seed pods of burdock. Annoying right?!

Well in today’s post, I’m going to challenge that view of these plants and hopefully get you to appreciate them as much as I do.

The Burrs of Burdock. Recognize these?

The Burrs of Burdock. Recognize these?

Two things prompted my choosing this topic – one, I’ve decided that I want to be more active with toning my body and getting back to a more optimal weight. Even us dancers and naturalistas can struggle dearies ;-).  And two, since it is the end of the year, thinking about old things to shed to make space for new things to come through is a perfectly fitting theme. These herbs work in this sort of way.

When you see Dandelion root and Burdock root, especially together, there will usually be some focus on detoxing. That’s because both of these herbs work with the liver. Your liver is one of the most important organs for your overall health. When I taught my herbal medicine classes, we spent an entire session on this organ and the herbs that help it function healthfully. In Chinese Medicine, your liver is considered the General, orquestrating the movements of all the ‘troops’. It is responsible for the balanced flow of qi through the body. The liver performs hundreds of tasks to keep your body healthy and basically processes everything that you eat – either sending it off to be used by your body or eliminated by your body. So it’s very important to keep it operating smoothly and this is one of the ways that Dandelion root and Burdock root work their magic. They provide a gentle cleansing and optimizing action on the liver.  

Dandelion root for instance, contains bitter constituents and fiber that stimulate the digestive system, filter toxins from the blood stream and out for elimination, balances intestinal flora, and soothes the digestive tract.

Burdock root is considered a blood purifier – this is how it helps liver functioning. It aids the liver in metabolizing fats and proteins and encourages the removal of waste products. Also, its high concentration of antioxidants is thought to heal and protect the liver as well when it’s been damaged by heavy consumption.

And this isn’t even the whole of what they do. In short, these are two of my favorite wonder herbs.  I promise I will tell you more about them soon!

So how do you get them into your life?

Well luckily the world has caught on to the fact that these herbs are pretty awesome and now you can find them pretty much in any local grocery store. You still want to buy a reputable brand however – I would suggest Traditional Medicinals or Alvita. Also, you might want to experiment with steeping two tea bags instead of one because the amount in teabags in general aren’t enough for real therapeutic benefit. The last important thing is that you must steep your tea with something capping your tea cup or else you will lose all of the beneficial components of the herb in the steam ;-). Oh and the last last thing, steep it for 10 minutes – at least! Especially because these are roots, it takes some time for the heat to fuse through the herbs and release the ‘good medicine’ into the water.

These herbs are tonics (we’ll talk about what a tonic is more later) and so they work over time. Because their action is so gentle, you can take both of these together as a tea 3xs a day for at least a month, preferably 3. That may seem like a lot, but trust me, after drinking this herbal mix consistently for a month, you won’t want to stop ;-). You’ll be feeling so much better – more energy, clearer skin, less bloating, even a little slimmer ;-). 3 months is good amount of time to give a tonic to make a difference and then you can start drinking it whenever you feel the need for a detoxifying boost.

So what’s on your grocery list for this week? That’s right – Dandelion root and Burdock root baby!

Get some!

And as always, any questions, ask away in the comments or via email – I’d love to answer them!


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My 3 Favorite Herbs for Colds and the Flu

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My 3 Favorite Herbs for Colds and the Flu

This cold season is really trying to get to me! Remember when I was sick last week? Well, I finally began feeling better this weekend and then today, can you believe I woke up with a cough, congestion, and a weird headache? Talk about annoyed, lol.

Truth talking here though, I actually love what’s happening. I love that my body is giving me all of this information about what’s going on with me. Let me explain :-). Theoretically, if my immune system was in good working order, it would be able to fight off the cold virus effectively enough for it not to come back, and definitely not so soon. Even if I was exposed to another viral strain, my body should be able to keep that one from taking hold as well.

However, that’s not what’s happening. Instead, I’m feeling a little weak, a little feverish, congested and sniffly again. No Bueno. So what this tells me is that 1. My immune system is obviously not in tip top shape and 2. I’m going to need to help it along again and address the bigger issue of an immune system in need.

So last week, I told you that I’d be talking about my favorite remedies for fighting off a cold or flu virus and apparently the timing is still perfect – I still need the advice myself :-).

 

My 3 favorite Herbs for Cold/Flu Viruses

Echinacea.

You may have heard of this herb before, as it’s become very popular in the last ten years; it truly deserves the esteem that it has. If used within the first day of the onset of a cold or flu, in most cases, that cold won’t stick around. The general consensus is that the best way to take it is as a tincture. Tinctures are alcohol based liquid extractions of the herb’s active ingredients. (Glycerin based tinctures are available as well for those that don’t consume alcohol.) Most health food stores will have tinctures available for purchase and it is possible to make your own – I will be showing you how one day soon ;-).

Echinacea helps fight the cold and flu viruses by stimulating the immune system. In particular, it encourages the production of more white blood cells. White blood cells are the immune system ‘warrior’ cells that swarm to a virus and break it down equaling shorter colds and flus.  
 

Elderberry.

Elderberry is another herb used for many years as a remedy for colds and flus. It works best if used when you first feel yourself getting sick and can cut the duration of a cold to less than 3 days!

 Elderberry is actually a tree and the part used most often medicinally for colds and flus are the flowers. They have antiviral, anti-catarrhic (decreases inflammation of mucous membranes), and general anti-inflammatory properties. Elderberry also promotes sweating, which helps to kill viruses as well as eliminates immune system waste from the body after the virus has been killed. Elderberry flowers can be taken as a tea (2-4grams per 8oz of water) 3 times a day. It’s also possible to find syrups made from Elderberry at health food stores and yes, you can make your own of this also ;-).


Pau d’arco.

Last but not least, Pau d’arco, also known as lepacho or taheebo, is a tree found in South and Central America that has great healing properties. The inner bark of the tree is used to fight all types of viruses because of its strong immune-stimulating capabilities. This is my personal favorite and when I have it, I can almost always stop a cold before it settles in. I make a tea with 2 grams of the plant to 8 oz of water, let it steep covered for 20 minutes, and drink this 3 times a day. 

So now you have my favorites. All of these are simple and safe to use. All of them will help stop a cold or flu before it develops so it’s a good idea to have at least one of them readily available in your medicine cabinet or kitchen just in case. You’ll be so happy that you do ;-).

In a later article/exercise, we’ll be talking about making an herbal first aid kit and medicine cabinet. Looking forward to sharing that with you all!  

***Important! As always, be sure you run any herbs you are planning to take by your healthcare provider if you are under one’s care. Just make sure they are open to the natural way!



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