The struggle is real.
I know I am in control of my feelings and my mood. It's mind over matter and how I choose to look at the world and the situations I find myself. It's totally my choice.... but I'm struggling. Anyone else?
For some, it's the weather, or seasonal affective disorder, or maybe it's the energy vampires... For me, it's definitely the vampires. They suck. Literally.
Being around people who are all doom and gloom and angry and act like the world is coming to an end. It's hard to be around and try to find a bit of my own personal sunshine. I want to fix it... fix their mood... but quickly realize there is absolutely nothing I can do because, just like me, it was their choice.
So, as Christmas approaches, and I'm trying my best to keep this shit merry and bright, but it's hard.
What's getting you down this holiday season? How do you fight off the energy vampires?
My kitchen qualifies as a crisis for many reasons (most notably the lack of cabinets and flooring - it's what I call the 'slow remodel process.' I'll have it all fixed up in a year or two), but right now, it's all about the dish soap.
I spent my entire day talking to people about the power of natural foods and natural bath and beauty products and teas and herbs... and I come home to the freakin' Palmolive. I preach to people about "what you put on and in your body matters," yet I have a vat of green goo next to my kitchen sink. It makes me feel a bit icky.
To be fair to myself, I didn't buy the stuff, but it's here and I come face to face with it more than I like (we're a big family and we don't eat processed foods, so I cook.... a lot). As I'm soaking the kombucha bottles tonight, I find myself looking at the jug - and I mean really looking at it.
Why on earth do I need Ultra Strength dish detergent? One that's tough on grease? We don't eat meat or dairy, so unless we have some serious avocado grease going on or someone got out of hand with the coconut oil... I just don't see why we would need this product.
And I find myself wondering... who needs Ultra Strength detergent? What the hell are they cooking? I'm trying to imagine that dinner table and it's making me uncomfortable. I know, I'll distract myself by looking up the ingredients... it's "soft on hands," right? It doesn't make me feel better. I shouldn't be immersing my hands in this crap 5 times a day or slathering it on our dishes, or inhaling the fragrance that continually makes me sneeze...
So it looks like the "slow remodel process" will include a cleaning product makeover as well. The green goo has got to go.... oh, and if you think you really need Ultra Strength detergent that's tough on grease, please re-evaluate what you're serving up from your kitchen.
My Cold and Flu tea is so soothing and perfect for those times you're feeling under the weather, but isn't it better to prevent the cold or flu in the first place? We try to keep a healthy lifestyle to prevent illnesses and part of that lifestyle is fermenting foods and beverages.
Yes, we are one of those families. We ferment things. Why? It's good for our bodies and it tastes good too. We rarely get sick or come down with the sniffles, but when we do, it's nice to have a jar of this nearby.
Fermented Fire Tonic
At the first sign of cold or illness... take a shot. Then take another and in a bit, take another, and the next morning, take one more just to be sure.
The sheer heat of it kills... and the beneficial bacteria and by-products boost your body and help keep the bad bacteria, parasites, and viruses at bay.
What is it exactly? It's fire cider, but minus the apple cider vinegar. We ferment the goodies and it makes it's own type of cider. It's traditional fire cider, but just so much better.
In a half gallon glass jar, cut up and cram it full of the following:
Hot Peppers - we used Scotch Bonnet and Habaneros from the garden.
Fill the jar with filtered water, put on the lid, set it on the counter (in a shallow pan), and let it sit for the next 6 weeks. The jar will bubble - a whole lot the first few weeks - so the pan is necessary to catch anything that bubbles over. Loosen the lid as needed - at least once a day the first few weeks and let out the pressure.
The Fermented Fire lives on the counter until it's gone and then we'll make another batch and another. And, yes, it's HOT, but really, it's not as hot as you would think.
The air is more dry, the wind has picked up, it rained just enough to stir things up... My sinuses are aching and the brain fog descends.
I mixed up a jar of Allergy Tea. Rooibos, Nettle, Peppermint, and Lemon Balm.
Rooibos, also called Red Bush Tea, comes from South Africa. It is naturally caffeine-free and contains two bioflavonoids called rutin and quercetin. Both of these compounds block the release of histamine (the chemical our bodies produce in response to allergens.) Rooibos may also have benefits for skin irritations.
Peppermint acts as a decongestant, possible anti-inflammatory and has mild antibacterial properties.
Nettles seem to be the very best and most often recommended remedy for seasonal allergies. Drinking tea or eating the nettles are both beneficial. You might have less than fond memories of stinging nettles from your childhood. These are the same nettles, but they turn from irritant to healer when boiled into tea. Boiling fresh nettles will remove the stinging properties, while taking them in capsule, fresh, or dried form can help relieve itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family, but has a lemony scent, hence it’s name. It’s calming and it can help with headaches, the common cold, and other respiratory issues.
The fog is lifting and I'm feeling better. I'll hopefully have this blend available in the shop later this week!
Not only do I have a slight Depeche Mode obession (thank you late 80's/early 90's of my youth), but I really and truly do have an obsession with all things silent and serene.
I want this. I need this.
A float pod with light therapy, the feeling of being weightless... set this in a warm, sound proof room and I am sold. A home model will set me back nearly $17,000... I'm afraid to ask about the cost of a commercial model for my someday-dream-herb-shop-and-wellness-clinic, but someday...
In the meantime, I'm calculating how much salt I need to add to my bathtub to achieve optimal floating and I'll turn off the lights, light a candle, shove in some ear plugs, and pretend I can't hear the kids fighting outside the bathroom door.
It's not a magic pill, or an incantation, but it is just like magic.
I finally got my hands on some organic arnica a few weeks ago and I steeped the flowers in extra virgin olive oil for a week. I rubbed a little oil on my hands... the same hands that have nerve damage and give me such grief when I cut and sand and paint... instant and perfect relief.
Don't worry, I'm not keeping it all to myself. I'll be bottling more and get the roller bottles of arnica oil in the SHOP later this week! Topically, arnica is amazing for wound healing and it's a pain reliever/analgesic as well.
I started day 1 a bit of green juice (love my Omega juicer - it cold presses (well, grinds) just about anything). I sipped my apple, cucumber, lemon, kale, celery all morning. I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. How hard could it be? I would just fill up on liquids and all would be well, right? Wrong.
At lunch time, I made some Beau-Tea (a cleansing and beauty boosting tea blend). It held me for about 2 hours, but I still found myself wandering in to the kitchen every 20 minutes with the urge to shove something in my face. Deep breathing exercises are the only way forward.
Now that dinner is here, and my husband decided to make the kids homemade oven fries... the smell of roasting potatoes is filling the whole house. My brain is scattered and I am distracted and I want to shove all the food in my face. Time for more deep breathing and some lemon-ginger water. I think a walk will help too.
To keep me distracted, I invited the family for a brisk walk around the neighborhood after dinner, but slowly, I'm being overtaken by a headache on this fine Tuesday evening.
It started well... I felt lighter and more calm. I seriously feel more relaxed than I have in a long, long, time.
I started the day with a huge glass of green tea with hibiscus. The kids and I popped downtown for a long stroll along the Riverwalk and around the Marina too. We did some stairs at the amphitheater and, all in all, covered about 1.5 miles. I felt really good. Almost euphoric.
The feelings of lightness and serenity lasted just about all day, even the hours I spent in the workshop cutting and sanding. The only issue was dinner (again). At the request of my oldest, I made Lentil Madras. Yum... unless you're cooking it and can't have any. I made it through with lemon ginger water and made her taste test to see if the lentils were done.
The nightly headache is creeping back, but that's here whether or not I'm fasting.
It's been a challenge today. I still have the peace, but I'm hungry. Yup, today, I am finally really hungry, and tired.... and emotional.
I took the kids to the symphony this morning and I cried. I couldn't help it. The music was just so beautiful.
As afternoon turned to evening, we made our way to the soccer fields and I was COLD. It was 70-something, but I required a cowl scarf and quilt (along with the thick pants, sweater, and wool socks). This might be why they say you need to stay active when fasting... and that saunas are a good idea. Sitting outside as the sun goes down is not a great idea.
I'm looking forward to eating tomorrow.
Day 4 - Conculsion
Today, I'll be easing my self out of the fast, and I feel great this morning too. Breakfast will be a little green juice and maybe I'll make some carrot-ginger juice for lunch... or dinner will be carrot ginger soup.
In 3 days, I'm down nearly 10 lbs, and hopefully I've reset my body and given my digestive system a much needed break. More than all this, I know I DO have self control. I've seriously doubted this in the past - my ability to control my own food intake. I cook amazing super healthy food, but I've only lost 40 lbs so far this year. My issue? I graze... I snack. Now, I know I can NOT put the food in my mouth.
I think I like fasting. I like the euphoric feeling, the giddiness (I found myself laughing all the time at random things), and it felt like my sense of smell of more acute, and my vision was sharper. I felt present but removed. For future fasts, I think I would like more "me-time." I might want to build a sweat lodge or find a sauna (as of yesterday afternoon, I was cold... and saunas are great for purging toxins). I want time for meditation. I want time to take long silent walks.
Then again, these are things I want, fasting or not.
We're finally home from our working adventure in Washington and I need to reset... a whole lot of things need to be reset. I need to get back to my focus on health, I need to refocus on my peace of mind, I need to de-clutter and clean my home, I need to finish the kitchen project and the fall garden, and get the kids school back on track too (and my school).
Starting with the basics is best. Starting from the inside out. I'm starting with my focus on health.
I've read quite a bit recently about the benefits of intermittent fasting - for either short or longer periods of time. I understand the science behind fasting, but I would never recommend a course of action to a future client that I haven't tried myself. The benefits include the following:
1. Improves Body Composition and Fitness
2. Promotes Greater Satiety
3. Boosts Your Metabolism
4. Supports Fat Loss and Ketosis
5. Encourages Better Insulin Sensitivity
6. Improves Cardiovascular Health
7. Lowers Blood Pressure
8. Decreases Blood Sugar
9. Improves Blood Triglycerides
10. Promotes Heart Health
11. May Slow Aging and Enhance Longevity
12. Decreases Inflammation
13. Increases Resistance to Oxidative Stress
14. Improves Cell Recycling
15. Increases Growth Regulation
16. Protects Your Brain
17. Reduces Harmful Protein Production
18. Promotes a Healthy Stress Response
19. Enhances Recovery From Injury
20. Supports Healthier Collagen in Skin
One of the many sources of information: https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-fasting/
Time to fast and focus on my health. This morning, I eased in to a 3 day fast with some fresh green juice. The next 72 hours will be water and tea. I'll be keeping a diary and I'll report back in a few days. Wish me luck!
'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane...
Tomorrow morning, we're off to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Our bags are packed, the shop is as caught-up as it will ever be, and we have a job to do.
Job #1 - Help my parents get their house ready to sell. Go room by room and clear out 35 years of stuff and host the mother of all yard sales. This is not a task for the faint of heart, but we can do this. My parents need to move to be closer to their grand kids (and me) and they need a new adventure too.
Job #2 - Help my dad recover from his lengthy hospital stay. He had a lung infection (complication from Parkinsons - thank you US Army & the Agent Orange from Vietnam) and was in the hospital for 3 weeks. He was filled with massive amounts of antibiotics so his insides are wiped clean. We need to repopulate his gut with good bacteria before the bad stuff takes hold.
Don't tell him, but I'm planning on making some fermented veggies, and sauerkraut, when I get there and sneak them in to his soup. Ha!
Basically, I have a few important jobs to tend to... thus, you will have longer ship times in the shop for the next few weeks and I won't be able to meet up in person at the Augusta Market either.
Wish us luck and I'll see you soon!!
Aluminum compounds, parabens, and zillion other chemicals that I'm not too hot about... why would I want to smear them on my skin? On a sensitive part of my body and allow them to be absorbed into my bloodstream?
In the grand effort to get chemicals out of my life, I ditched deodorant a few months ago. It's been alright really. When I stink, I change my shirt and/or take a shower. Issue solved. But I sweat a TON. It's the south and I spend a lot of time outside - garden, walking, a run, biking. My head sweats, my back sweats, my knees sweat... so then, why is it just out pits that stink?
I am amazed to report that it's all about bacteria!! How exciting! I'm fascinated with bacteria these days. I've spent the past month studying our gut and all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) bacteria coating our intestines and mucus membranes. I'm not surprised it's bacteria hanging out in our pits that causes the stink.
According to NPR, "When the bacteria break down the sweat they form products called thioalcohols, which have scents comparable to sulfur, onions or meat. "
It's really super fascinating, except commercial deodorants either block up our sweat glands or they kill off ALL the bacteria (and killing them all off is never a good idea).
I'm on the hunt for a natural solution, but I think I'm ok with just taking a shower as needed for the time being. Wish me luck and let's hope my personal bacteria is balanced... or is on the way to balance soon!
But, is it necessarily a bad thing to stink a bit from time to time? Why do we shun this part of our person ecosystem? What do you use? Do you make your own? I'd love to hear from you!
Source - NPR: Meet The Bacteria That Make A Stink In Your Pits
A work in progress