Monday, December 17, 2012

3 Ways to Keep Warm This Winter

1) Boil Ginger Root to make tea:  some foods are naturally warming, this is one of them.  As long as you don't have blood issues or health challenges that would make this unsafe for you, this is a powerful food to warm the body naturally.  I prefer the actual root to pre made teas as it's a bit stronger.

2) The good ole hot water bottle, YES I have one!  Put that hot water bottle in your bed at night at your feet and feel it warm you toes on up!  Hot water bottles are healthier and safer than heating pads and for those sensitive types, it's best not to do electromagnetics in the bed if you want to sleep well.

3) Breathe deep!  We tend to hold our breath when we are cold which can actually deplete our internal heat.  Breathing deeply and consistently can help keep warm.  And for those open to doing something a little different, in yoga we learn that the right nostril is our warming nostril, breathing in and out of it will increase heat (but best to do this in the morning and/ or during the daytime and not to do this before bed as it can also increase our thinking abilities).

Hope these little tips help you stay warm and cosy this winter!



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chocolate's Power-Punch

First of all, chocolate isn't always chocolate.  What I mean is, raw chocolate isn't the same as dark chocolate and isn't the same as milk chocolate so before we can talk about 'chocolate' let's define the types.

Chocolate comes from the Theobroma Cacao Tree (also known as the cacao tree).  The word Theobroma actually translates to 'food of the gods'.

The seeds of the cacao tree on their own are intensely bitter (ever had raw cacao seeds misunderstanding they weren't what you thought chocolate was?) and so we ferment them to sweeten them up a bit.

So we ferment them, then we dry and roast them and remove the shell - from this we have the cacao nibs we love so much - deeply intense chocolate - yummmm:)  (I love dark chocolate.)

We then can take the nibs and grind them and make cacao powder which is also termed cocoa mass.  When we add liquid to this - it is called chocolate liquor (no, chocolate liquor doesn't mean we add Vodka as my friend Tim used to insist).

From the chocolate liquor comes cocoa butter and cocoa solids.   Cocoa butter is often misunderstood as cocoa solids + actual butter, that isn't the case.

Now in recent years, we have become increasingly interested in the alkaloids, acids and compounds in chocolate as we have found that when we eat chocolate we often feel happy :)  As my friend's 6 year old Jana says "I want my 'happy choco' now".

The alkaloids in cocoa solids are theobromine and phenethylamine.

Phenethylamine is a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter and has been proven to elevate mood in certain concentrations however since orally it needs to be metabolized, the effects of eating chocolate are usually low.

Theobromine is in the same class of chemical compounds as caffeine and is proven to be useful as a diuretic (it increases urine output - coffee does too!), a vasodilator (it widens the blood vessels) and is a heart stimulant.

This is the compound that is difficult to digest for some animals and dangerous for dogs and cats (more dogs as they tend to eat it more - cats don't have a sweets receptor).  Dogs can get theobromine poisoning from as little as 2 ounces of chocolate.

While the amount in normal chocolate usage is usually safe (except for with some animals and those with sensitivity to the theobromine), today we are so focused on raw that I've had clients come to me with what I would see as cacao poisoning.  I had one client last year eat two packages of nibs while hiking and started vomiting uncontrollably and came to me after the ER visit (where they treated her for food poisoning from the cacao) to help her balance.

The reason I'm telling you this is we need to be conscious about our intake of pure cacao and recognize everyone's system is different.  Natural doesn't always mean safe and since every body is different, be conscious and careful when eating the cocoa nibs or raw seeds.

That said, there are proven health benefits, most of which are linked to the theobromine and phenethylamine levels, such as increased heart and brain activity(1) and the ability to lower cholesterol(2) when eaten in moderation.

I hope you enjoyed this information on chocolate and wish you good health and a happy heart.




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2 -

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Staying Cool in Summer Heat

A few ideas for staying cool:

- In India, they have found intentionally breathing in and out of the right nostril can create heat in the body and the left cooling.  I've found it works for me.  Just don't do after drinking as it can cause dizziness and if you get dizzy, stop.  (Check with a doctor if you have a heart condition.)

- There is an acupressure point at the base of the thumb on the wrist (the inner side of the wrist).  Placing ice here can have a cooling effect on the entire body.

- In asian medicine yin foods create a cooling effect, examples are watermelon, pineapple, zucchini, egg whites of chicken, water chestnuts, lettuce, cucumber, yogurt (no fake sugars please, they are heating), pears, peppermint, lemon and the list goes on. 

- Also, the way we cook food can change a food from cooling to heating.  Frying food usually creates more heat in the body, so trying to limit the frying of food will benefit if you are trying to stay cool.

And I little trick I like is to put a towel or cushion in the freezer and sit on it outside.  There are acupressure points on the buttocks and sacrum (base of the spine) and I've found it helpful - especially when I lived in Arizona and while they say it's dry heat, 125 degrees was hot regardless ;)

Hope this helps you stay cool! 



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Focus on Positivity

I have decided to start listing some positive messages on my site as I feel in our world we so often focus on negatives and it's just not healthy - especially with all of the amazing things in life!

Positive news stories of today:

New jobs in the economy

Child gives big gift

Paying it Forward

And because as some of my favorite people (and you know who you are!) call me Miss WI

And I came across a positive news website in Pakistan that I thought I'd share.  I love it's tagline -

For a CHANGE, let's talk about The Good News (TGN)!

SEND ME YOUR STORIES!  If you find something positive, email me positive stories - only truly uplifting please and with links so I can post for others to enjoy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Gift of Resting

We all get a little tired sometimes.

I wonder, have you ever thought about creating a list of options for what to do to take care of yourself when you need a rest?

So often we are focused on lists of doing.  Grocery stores, taxes, etc.  Rest is a very important part of our lives and I believe, we need to give it more respect.

Start by thinking of what rest means to you.  Is it a cup of coffee on the deck?  A nap at noon?  A massage?

List five things that come to you when you think of resting.

Then think of what decadent resting means for you.

Maybe it's a massage on a Tuesday afternoon (playing a bit of hooky).  Or a piece of chocolate with that coffee?  Or maybe it's spending a day outdoors doing nothing but looking at everything around you.  

List five decadent resting options.

Now lets go deeper, list five decadent options you would NEVER ;-) do.   Those things you fantasize about and then stop yourself.  Maybe it's getting a new expresso machine, or a new convertible, or coloring your hair... something extravagant. 
Sometimes, we just need to open a window and let the universe do the magic.

Let's see what these lists motivate you toward!  Let me know how it goes!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sulfites and Allergies

So many people have sulfite sensitivities and never realized it.  When we think sulfites, we think about wine and certain cheeses but did you know that sulfites are also often in your local salad bar and other beverages?

There was a great article written at the University of Florida that may help you determine if sulfites may be an issue for you:

Wishing you continued health and healing!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Is The Motivation?

I spoke with a client today about following her dream. Her dream of creating a new business that is motivated by a true passion not only to offer an amazing, unique and valuable product to the world, but also to create an unusual life. A life inspired by her true heart, her soul's longing. As she tells me her dreams, her eyes tear, her heart opens, her life unfolds.

Then she stops. She tells me she fears stepping into this new space, this unknown, and she would rather cling to her corporate job with her 401k, her imagined securities, and the knowing of where to go everyday. This is her quandry - to live a passionate life, or to choose a complacent one.

I ask her to tell me more about her corporate job where she works as a part of a global tech team supporting computer systems for a Fortune 100 company. She tells me how she can take 1/2 days on Fridays and her face lights up. She tells me how she sneaks out for starbucks with her colleagues on Wednesdays after lunch and again, an ignited spark. Then she talks about her long hours, time away from her son, her knowing that this isn't her life...and I mirror to her that the only time she sparked in our conversation was when she spoke of her ESCAPES.

Why is it so many are motivated by comfortable when passion is what inspires the soul? In 20 years in practice, I can say it is one of the most common dilemma's I find. I can also say without wavering that when an individual chooses passion over money as their inspiration, money flows and passion creates a whole new level of existence.

May you find passion in every day.