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13 Things to Look Forward to in the New Year

18 Jan

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The new year is upon us and great opportunities are here.  Some people make New Year’s resolutions while others pretend it’s just another day.  One thing’s for sure, a new calendar means a chance at a fresh start.  With that in mind, here are a few treats to look forward to this new year.

1.  Travel.  That’s right, more stamps in your passport, more exploration, learning a new way of living.  Of course, if your dream is to stay home all year & get lots of naps, I hope you get that too.  I’m not really a middle-of-the-roadie but some years are definitely more outbound than inbound, & vice versa.

2.  Bubble Baths.  Lot’s of “Calgon, take me away” moments.  I find that some of my most brilliant ideas appear out of nowhere when I’m tucked into the bubbles.  Now, if mowing the lawn or doing the dishes inspires you, much tall grass & dirty dishes to you!  *cheers*

3.  Getting rubbed the wrong way!  Fact is, when others push our buttons or discomfort us, it has a clarifying effect on what our values really are.  Getting rubbed the wrong way has a polishing effect, so to speak.  And it also means we can get rubbed the right way; harmony, loyalty, appreciation.

4.  Great food.  Of course, I mean food that’s good for you!  But I also mean that whatever you indulge in, let it be worth it.  Fast food is so easy & cheap, why not hunt up some real cacao hot chocolate & enjoy every delicious ounce instead of a quick fake chocolate drive-thru dessert.  Try out different foods this year, things you don’t usually bother looking at on the menu.  Get creative & use those chopsticks.  Food should be delicious, nutritious & fun!

5.  Let go.  Finally!  2012 was not the end of the world.  We did not fly off a Fiscal Cliff.  Most of us made it through the Holidays pretty unscathed.  And now, it is definitely time to unload.  Let go of the wait & the weight.  How are you ever going to “in with the new” if you don’t first “out with the old?”  Empty those junk drawers, give those fabulous old clothes away, organize what stays & what goes.  You’ll feel amazing every time you throw something out.

6.  Start over.  New beginnings are never more evident than when you have a new calendar in front of you.  A blank canvas to create the life you really want.  This is an invigorating moment in history & you can use it to begin anew altogether or kick-start your current plans that may have gotten a little humdrum.  Get fired up!

7.  Accept yourself.  Older, Wiser, changed by life experiences.  It is what it is.  Stop struggling with what you can no longer do & accept that time changes everything .  Surely you have some strengths now even where there are new weaknesses.  Kindly appreciate yourself.

8.  Open the door.  Opportunities sometimes show up when you least expect them.  Open that door & have the guts to step on through.  NOW… *peaks in*

9.  Time again.  The Mayan calendar may have ended in 2012 but we’re still here.   Another day means another chance to do good.

It’s been said “time heals all wounds.”  This is such a blessing as we embrace the future.  It’s often difficult to step into the new when we are grieving the past.  But time is a hopeful gift beyond compare & I pray it brings you the peace of mind that excels all thought.

10.  Romance, darling.  It’s a new day and a bright new chance to re-discover what you love.  Is it gifties, quality time, words of of encouragement?  Maybe you love to go out dancing.  Telling your partner is the best place to start.  Want a whirlwind romance, even if you’re already married?  Change the dance steps & see if they can keep up.

11.  Be true.  If our friend Lance Armstrong taught us anything, it’s that the truth will set you free.  Surely he has added years to his life by relieving himself of the burden of carrying these secrets around.  And now, as the drama unfolds on the world stage before us, the lesson is to speak boldly about who we really are & allow ourselves to be vulnerable even when the truth hurts.  Speak up.  Now’s your chance.

12.  Experiment.  Try something new.  Face it.  You’ve always wanted to do something you keep close to the cuff.  Is it photography?  Swing dancing?  Growing your very own pecan orchard?  Whatever you’ve been itching to do, now’s the time to do some research, seek out folks who do it too, & join in the fun.  You never know, it could become your new favorite hobby or even the best paying job you ever landed.

13.  Rely on each other.  We all intend to be dependable but years can go by as we lose sight of keeping our appointments on time, following through on our plans, or generally walking our talk.  Make the effort to trust others to do what they say & manage yourself in a way that shows others that your character is someone who can always be relied upon.

Make it fabulous!!  Happy New Year!!

WELL BEING: Cross That Bridge When We Come To It

5 Aug

Rusk Footbridge by Lynn Van Noy

As the dog days of Summer heat up, it’s time to get out, get some exercise, and explore!

Here in deep East Texas, we don’t have a lot of YMCA’s, public pools, or city funded outdoor programs.  But what we lack in municipal activities, we make up for in natural habitat adventures.  There are plenty of opportunities to get physically active while enjoying our lakes, nature trails, birding, and historical parks.

One historical landmark I visited this week was the footbridge in Rusk, Texas.  The Rusk Footbridge was constructed in 1861, to allow folks living on either side of the valley a safe means to cross during floods.  Garden Park surrounds the nation’s longest footbridge, measuring 546 feet.   The historical marker claims, “The bridge had been restored in the late 1960s.”

The first time I ever laid eyes on this bridge was during the 2010 Who Let the Dogs Out 5k run.  Yes, I was running full steam ahead, rounded a corner, and down ahead of me was this incredibly long footbridge.  It literally took my breath away.  Such an awesome sight to see and an exhilarating run down and back up again.

Rusk Footbridge is among the town’s most popular tourist destinations.  What’s not to love?  Its rustic wooden slats stride deep into a lovely shaded park and over a gorgeous flowing creek.  It’s a good workout to walk from end to end but if you’re looking for a challenge, this is your bridge.  Sprint running is ideal and this is definitely the bridge for an incline workout.  Make a day of it with “brick” training.  Bicycle around historic Rusk and then take up running the stairs and bridge in Garden Park.

Located only two blocks east of Rusk’s town square, this footbridge, as well as the town, have much to offer in adventure.  Not only is Rusk a charming little town tucked into the Piney Woods but it’s filled with surprises.  Visit Jim Hogg State Historical Park, bicycle trails, hiking, bed & breakfasts, a drive-thru safari, quaint local shops, and nearby ghost towns.

While you’re visiting Rusk, be sure to ride on the Texas State Railroad‘s steam engine train.  Make reservations for the upcoming special evening dinner rides and themed excursions.

And if the longest pedestrian footbridge in the nation is not adventure enough, be sure to check out the heart-racing, thrill-chasing zip line!  Yes, just outside of Rusk, Texas is Adrenaline Zip Line Tours.  Sat atop the highest elevation point in East Texas, Adrenaline offers rides on the longest zip line in Texas.  Breathtaking views, flying at speeds up to 40 mph, racing over tree tops, ponds, and beautiful scenery.  They even do night-time rides.

Physical fitness is a state of mind and in a state as big as Texas there are plenty of activities to explore and places to play right here in our own backyard.  So pack up your cooler, drink plenty of water, and set out on your very own East Texas adventure.

WELL BEING: Beat the Heat with Healthy Summer Drinks

22 Jul

Summer Cordials by Lynn Van Noy

It’s hot outside and the perfect time for some good old-fashioned sippers to keep your family happy and hydrated.

So many drinks to choose from; chillers, coolers, sparklers and cordials, oh my!

If you’re ready to beat the heat and get your spicy hydration on, here’s a few recipes to boost your immune system while cooling you off.

Herbal Iced Teas:

#1.  Quite possibly the most simple Summer treat of all.  Just brew a pot of your favorite herbal tea.  Let cool.  Mix together with a can of frozen orange juice into a 1 quart container.  Add water to taste.  p.s.  No need to add additional sweetener.  By blending with OJ, it’s already sweet enough.

Benefits include a smaller dose of caffeine than coffee, without the jittery negative side effects.  Not to mention, the orange juice will account for your daily allowance of Vitamin C.

#2.  Another twist on herbal iced tea is to simply make up a pitcher of Tazo Zen mint green tea, and then add thin slices of cucumber, lime, and mint leaves to garnish.  Tea-licious!

Raw Watermelon Refresher

This refreshing drink is ideal for all those juicy Grapeland watermelons.  Now you just need a little watermelon print umbrella to put in your East Texas drink.

Using either the blender or food processor, blend till liquefied.

  • 2 cups watermelon
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 very small jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1tbsp local honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a dash of sea salt to taste
  • garnish with cilantro leaves

Drink up!

Cucumber Lemonade

A rejuvenating burst of flavor.  Use your handy-dandy juicer for this little diddy.

  • 4 peeled organic lemons
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 Medjool dates (remove pits)

In a pitcher, blend concentrate with water and ice to your desired taste.

Raspberry Lavender Cordial

  • 3 cups of spring water
  • juice of 4 organic lemons
  • 1 4 ounce container of fresh raspberries
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lavender buds
  • 3 tbsp of local honey

Blend together and bring to a boil.  As soon as mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes.

  • pour through strainer into drinking pitcher
  • add juice of 1 more organic lemon
  • pour in 10 ounces of ginger-ale
  • add 2 cups of chipped ice
  • slice off long zests of lemon to flavor pitcher
  • stir and drink up

Ginger Sparklers

Ginger based drinks are especially welcome on hot Summer days when you have eaten too much at the BBQ.  The digestive aid of apple cider vinegar and ginger root should get that digestion and elimination back in order in no time.  Also good for kids who have a tummy ache from too many sweets at the Birthday Party.

  • 2 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 cup water

Blend together and bring to a boil.  As soon as mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and let steep till completely cool.  Strain to make a ginger syrup.

Add 1 tbsp of ginger syrup to a glass containing 1/3 glass apple cider vinegar, 1/3 glass seltzer water, and your preferred amount of ice.

Summer is ripe with healthy fresh herbs, fruits, and flowers.  Refresh yourself and your guests the whole Summer through.  Cheers!

WELL BEING: The Art of “Single-Tasking”

7 Jul

In the Moment ~ Lynn Van Noy

Everyone’s heard about multi-tasking, right?  You know, getting as many things done, as quickly as possible, with the least amount of effort or time devoted to any one task.

Today, I want to talk about single-tasking.

Single-tasking is my version of focusing on one particular action entirely.  Think, laser-point attention upon one single task, one single moment.  Be here now.

Multi-tasking is a valuable tool when there is a necessary time-table like getting the kids to school on time, offering assistance in a crisis, or an important assignment is due at school or work.  It is beneficial to build goals into our daily life to create a system of accountability in terms of health, fitness, academics, finances, and so on.

Unfortunately, there are times we get so multi-task focused, we can turn everyday living into a goal-oriented process, creating unnecessary pressures and stress.  That’s when balance is needed.

For the most part, our daily experiences are not emergency based or urgent goals so we can slow down, enjoy the moment, allow our mind to be creative, and open the door for inspiration to waltz in when it pleases.

We can miss so much creative flow and personal feeling when we are racing to the finish line of a task, planning every detail, and blocking impromptu happenstance.  By the way, “happy” derives from the word “happenstance.”  Ups and downs are natural.  Life happens, why not welcome it playfully and allow it, without trying to force or control it.  That’s it, let life happen.

Let’s say, you’re making coffee.  Remember, just make the coffee.  No rushing off into the next room to do something else in the middle of the process.  By the time you get to the next room you will probably have forgotten what you ran in there for anyway.  Just one step at a time.  One simple action made consciously and completely.  Stay with it, and in time you will develop the ability to single-task brilliantly.    Enjoy the peace of mind that is a natural side-effect of single-tasking.

With practice, you can develop awareness even during busy times, consciously breathing through each step, reminding yourself of your deepest motivations as you go.

Having the opportunity to slow down and take one-thing-at-a-time comes easily for us here in East Texas.  Not many big cities, wide open spaces, nature abounds and the great sky is so big.  There seems to be little economy of time here.  No one talks particularly fast, like in some big cities where the “time is money” attitude is king.  In fact, we like to take our time talking, stretching out our words, adding syllables, weaving our expressions like a well-crafted, handmade blanket.

So take your time.  Single-task.  Enjoy the moment.

Take a walk.

Make a pot of tea.

Sit under a big old tree.

Ease into an herbal soak.

It doesn’t have to be anything important.  Only, be in the moment.

Sure it would be easier to single-task if you were all alone in a quiet space with no pressures or expectations, but that’s not how life usually works.  By choosing to single-task one small thing each day, you will grow more comfortable with the experience.

You have the capacity for massive joy and amazing experiences.  When you take the time to single-task, your ordinary moments can become extraordinary moments.

WELL BEING: Local Wine

29 Jun

What happens when you get a group of girlfriends together for a good old-fashioned hen party?

Girls’ Day Out!

We had no intention of traveling far from home but certainly wanted a new experience, so I suggested a local winery.

Sweet Dreams Winery is a little, out-of-the-way, boutique just north of Palestine, Texas.

Who needs generations of family recipes or Napa Valley when you’ve got award-winning wines, thoughtfully homemade from local fruit, right here in deep East Texas.

Mike and Sandra Pell are the owners of this small niche winery and they run it with the incredible cooperation of family and friends.  Neither claim to have any family history of wine-making.

In fact, between Mike being a career Battalion Fire Chief in the Palestine fire department and Sandra teaching Social Studies, neither ever dreamed of becoming wine-making connoisseurs.

Sandra says that Mike has restless sleep due to knee pain, but when he drinks a glass of his blackberry grape wine in a tumbler of ice at night, he sleeps easier, and that means she gets to have “sweet dreams.”  Thus the name, Sweet Dreams Winery.

All it took was a friend’s homemade wine recipe’ and an old sprite bottle.  Add a little trial and error and these days they can barely keep up with the demand.

Right from the start, friends would stop by with their empty coke bottles, asking for a fill up of the sweet natural homegrown blackberry wine.  Word spread like wildfire and it wasn’t long before the Pells’ were adding rows of wild grapes to their growing farm and winning gold-medals in wine contests around the country.

Sweet Dreams Winery offers a wide range of sweet wines from the simple to the exotic.  With names like Midnight in Texas, Plum Rose’, Old fashioned Muscadine, Texas Country Roads (with wild berries and fruit harvested from East Texas roadsides), Honey Raspberry, Texas Moonlight, Summer Daze and even a hot jalapeno wine.  Be sure to ask them about their seasonal favorites like Honey Peach and Watermelon porch wine.  And don’t forget to try Bumblebee Kiss!

The Pell family manufactures and bottles all their wines by hand.  They depend entirely on East Texas fruit.  The ingredients added are all-natural and wholesome; local fruit and berries, yeast, honey, potassium and pectin, with no added flavorings.

With all these healthy fruits and organic ingredients, its little wonder Sweet Dreams wines are full of antioxidants and naturally occurring resveratrol.

Resveratrol is largely found in grape skins and studies have shown its anti-aging (Harvard Medical School, 2004) and disease protecting benefits, particularly against heart disease (University of California, Davis, 1995)  and cancer (University of Virginia Health System, 2004).  It is believed, the skin of red grapes (defined as resveratrol) limits the spread of cancer cells and triggers the process of cancer cell death (apoptosis).

Numerous other studies show the health benefits of wine, including lowered bad cholesterol, increased bone strength in women, a strengthening of the veins and the vascular system, even findings of a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

NOTE:  These health benefits come from moderate wine consumption, defined by the American Heart Association as one to two four-ounce glasses a day.

If you would like to visit Sweet Dreams Winery, it is located approximately 10 miles north of Palestine.  Take FM 315 north past FM 321 and turn right on CR 444.  When CR 444 ends at CR 441, turn right on CR 441 and the winery is a few hundred yards down on the left.

Wine tastings take place every Saturday from 11 AM to 8 PM.  For more information, call 903-549-2027.

REMEMBER:  Just because wine has proven health benefits, over-indulgence is equally unhealthy.  Wine is not a cure-all and not everyone should drink wine.  

There are circumstances when one should abstain entirely from alcohol.  Combined with certain over-the-counter or prescription drugs, for example, alcohol in any form can be extremely dangerous.   Also, there are a number of health conditions that are exacerbated by any alcohol use.  Check with your physician before taking any alcohol.

WELL BEING: Secrets for Longevity

18 Mar

Bernardo LaPalloMeet Bernando LaPallo.

He is 110 years young!

LaPallo was born in Brazil on August 17, 1901 and is currently living in Mesa, AZ.

His father was the biggest influence on his life, encouraging him with wisdom on subjects of diet, exercise and spirituality.  In fact, his father was a well loved Doctor.  He taught his son to obey lovingly, based on the Bible’s only command with a promise.  “Children, be obedient to your parents” so that your days (life) will be long.  – Ephesians 6:1-3

These days, LaPallo believes in living in the moment.  He has many friends including Tina Turner and an active social life.

LaPallo genuinely believes in education and even sent all his children to school in Europe as he believes the education there is better all-around.  He is a voracious reader and loves to spend time solving crossword puzzles.

Besides the intellectual stimulation of words, LaPallo endeavors to see after his spirituality.  He is a firm believer in Christianity and shares his faith in every conversation.

For physical well being, he runs a mile every morning or goes for a walk.  He also preaches the necessity of getting your rest and eating well.

Paying extra close attention to his diet, he is mostly Vegan.  He swears by fruits and vegetables, preferring them organic and mostly raw.  LaPallo does not care for red meat but enjoys lamb on rare occasions.  In fact, he has a 46-year-old Granddaughter who looks more like a 20-year-old due to her Vegan diet.

Bernardo LaPallo attributes his health and longevity to natural foods and a variety of alternative health habits, including Reflexology.  He massages his own hands and feet with Olive oil.

Its good to message your feet in Olive oil, eventually you will have no corns or bunions and messaging your body in Olive oil will make your skin feel smooth.”

LaPallo touts the many benefits of water, saying “Water is the most powerful thing on earth..” and that water can be used in a positive way to heal our bodies.

Of all the healthy habits LaPallo practices, he lives faithfully according to 5 secrets his father taught him for healthy living.  Below are the 5 Secrets for Longevity, as shared by Bernando LaPallo.  Use these secrets in your daily menu for a long and healthy life.  Blessings!

5 Secrets for Longevity

GARLIC:  natural antibiotic, balances HDL and LDL cholesterol, cleanses the blood, antiseptic, enhances endurance, high Thiamine (B vitamin) content, antibacterial, and stimulates the immune system.

HONEY:  soothes digestion, is power-packed with vitamin C, high in minerals calcium and iron, soothes skin conditions, stimulates wound healing, and is reported to speed recovery from cancer.

CINNAMON:  balances blood sugar, aids in weight loss, soothes chronic cough, eases an upset stomach, encourages fertility, boosts the immune system, and slows the aging process.

CHOCOLATE:  lowers bad cholesterol, thins the blood, reduces high blood pressure, full of antioxidants vitamins A, C, and E, and dark chocolate has the most health benefits of all.

OLIVE OIL:  decreases risk of heart disease, helps lower and maintain proper body weight, inhibits the growth of some cancers, healthy fat alternative, and lowers inflammation.

A Lesson in Letting Go

11 Mar
Plaid 50's by CastawayVintage

Once upon a time, I only had one dress.

I was 29 years old and living like a gypsy during the most difficult time of my life.  One of my friends offered me a place to stay; a tiny little bedroom, twin bed, and a small closet where I hung my one dress.  I placed a pair of dress shoes just beneath the dress on the floor and a stack of work clothes up on the shelf.  Having come from a situation of abundance to this spartan existence, that simple dress hanging alone seemed appropriate.

I was grateful for the kindness offered me and I lived there for 2 months before I found a place of my own again, a new closet to populate.

Growing up, I always had lots of wonderful dresses; special occasion dresses, play dresses, new dresses, old dresses.  Even now, I have more dresses than I have closet space for.  But I remember that one dress so well.  Not because it was anything special but because of what it represented.

Being stripped down, layer by layer to a single dress, a single bed, being “single”, this single moment, such awareness of every single breath.

During this time, I spent a weekend in Dallas, Texas helping a friend deliver her baby.  When I came back to my bedroom, the little closet was empty.  The dress and shoes were gone.  I noticed right away.  The urge to panic arose.  Had I now literally lost everything?

It wasn’t so much about losing one little dress but losing my one and only dress.  A microcosm for how I felt about my entire life.  I had lost my new car, my whole big house, the kitchen I loved cooking in, my office tucked into a real high-tech grown-up treehouse.  Most of all, I had lost my husband.  And now… my last dress.

I did not know whether to laugh hysterically or cry.  So I let go.  Most likely I laughed and cried.

My day went on in a sober way and I did not utter a word about the dress.  Later that night, my friend casually mentioned that she let her stepdaughter use my dress and shoes.  She said “I didn’t think you would mind.”

The lack of boundaries in my life were never more obvious.  It had been an illusion to think that my little haven was actually mine, boundaries intact.  A text or call asking, would have been lovely.  A note that it was taken, common courtesy.  I reasoned to myself, are not all us girls in the house the exact same dress size?  Surely there were other dresses available.

Still, no matter.  Sometimes others take your choice away simply because they assume you will be fine with their decision, or they don’t see the importance of respecting boundaries.

I knew that no harm was intended but it had still been a shock.  And to my surprise, I heard myself calmly say “I’m glad the shoes and dress fit her.  She can keep them if she likes.”

With that, I practiced the lesson I had been learning with every breath… I let go.

She did, in fact, keep the dress and shoes and that made me happy.  Trying to contest or explain boundaries often requires much more than a single conversation, it’s a life-long lesson.

Sometimes things get taken from us.  Some things we give away, throw away or just let go of.  We all experience loss in our own way and some losses are more profound than others.  Ultimately, everything changes and embracing change is grace and a gift beyond compare.

Accept that life includes loss and it matters very much, to our quality of life, how we choose to handle loss.  We can do this the easy way by allowing, trusting, accepting and breathing into the pain or we can do it the hard way by resisting, struggling and holding on long past the point of healthy.  I know, easier said than done, but it is a personal choice every time.

My favorite affirmation is “I release, I relax, and I let go.”  Say it, sing it, write it, pray it.

Take a deep breath and remember, one thing’s for sure, “this too shall pass.”

WELL BEING: Bath Salts

4 Mar

In praise of the “soak“, let’s talk bathtub remedies.

Specialty bath stores thrive because of one thing, a good old-fashioned soak never goes out of style.

Too cold from a day outside?  Take a warm soothing bath to balance your temperature and soothe your aching bones.

Too hot from a long strenuous work-out?  Take a surprisingly uplifting ice bath to rehab those muscles and speed recovery.

Want to treat someone to a luxurious at-home spa day?  Just give them a lovely bath salts set and they will thank you for your great thoughtfulness.

Why, even men like a nice herbal bath once in a blue moon!  But we won’t tell.

Bath Salts are a wonderful addition to any bath.  They generally fall into 2 categories:  sea salts and Epsom salt.

The benefits of bath salts are far-reaching.  Beyond simply being relaxing for mind-body wellness, research reveals well founded health rewards including pain relief and psychological consonance.

OVERALL BENEFITS OF SALT BATHS

  • increased peace of mind
  • physical and mental flexibility
  • stability and self-control
  • self-confidence
  • introspective thinking
  • mind-body rejuvenation
  • increased energy level
  • improved response to stress

BENEFITS SPECIFIC TO SEA SALT BATHS

  • skin hydration
  • skin tone and texture
  • skin cell growth
  • relieves Rheumatic disorders and arthritis
  • balances the central nervous system and peripheral nerve diseases
  • helpful for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • gently healing to post-operative patients

There are a number of natural raw salts to choose from including Grey Salt, basic Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Dead Sea Salt.  Dead Sea Salts are specifically mineral rich, containing high amounts of calcium.

BENEFITS SPECIFIC TO EPSOM SALT BATHS

  • prevents artery hardening
  • improves the absorption of nutrients
  • flushes toxins from the body
  • eases migraine headaches
  • soothes muscle aches and spasms
  • restores Magnesium levels
  • lowers elevated blood pressure

Epsom Salt is pure Magnesium, so a soak in this salt will certainly help relieve any deficiency.  Magnesium plays a tremendous role in our over-all health and well being, regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, improving nerve and muscle function, easing our digestive process and reducing inflammation.

When shopping for bath salts, be sure to check the ingredients.  The last thing you want is a bunch of unpronounceable chemicals swirling around your healing bath.  Look for the type of salt, essential oils, and natural herbs.

Better yet, make your own!

Creating your very own bath salts allows you to mix and match scents and textures for your ideal bath experience.

Here are a couple of recipe’s.  Feel free to play with ingredients to make your ultimate soak, or whip some up in a lovely colored glass jar as a sweet gift for a friend.

HIS CLEANSE & RESTORE

  • 2 cups Epsom Salts
  • 1 cup Dead Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup whole coriander seeds
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Grapeseed oil
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) Avocado oil

HER CLEANSE & RESTORE

  • 2 cups Epsom Salts
  • 1 cup Himalayan Rose Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup dried tea rose petals
  • 1 T. Vitamin E
  • 3/4 cup Almond oil

Blend each mix together until smooth, breaking up any clumps and incorporating all the ingredients.  1/2 cup per bath is recommended.

A bath drain strainer will help catch the herbs at the end of your bath.  Also, make sure to have a bath mat down so as not to slip on the oils when exiting the bathtub.  Do not eat.  Be sure to put in a safe place away from the kids.

And of course, finish off the presentation by placing the fresh bath salts in the perfect His & Hers containers.

Happy soaking!

WELL BEING: Deepak Chopra

27 Feb

Deepak Chopra  photo by Lynn Van Noy

Together we can help create a peaceful, just, sustainable and healthy world.”  Deepak Chopra

Last week, I had the great privilege of attending a public discourse given by Deepak Chopra.  He spoke at the Long Center in Austin, Texas.  There were several hundred of us in attendance, anxious to hear what the wise doctor had to share.

Perhaps you have heard Oprah or Dr. Oz speak of him or maybe you have read one of his twenty-five books.  One thing’s for certain, Deepak Chopra has been developing the art of healing and wellness his entire career.

A master of integration, Dr. Chopra is a practitioner of Ayurveda (traditional Eastern Indian medicine) and an Endocrinologist.  He currently serves as CEO and founder of The Chopra Center for Well Being in La Jolla, California.  In fact, in 1999 Time magazine selected Dr. Chopra as one of the Top 100 Icons and Heroes of the Century, calling him “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine.”

“Poet-prophet” is fairly precise, as he started his speech by describing all the mineral elements that go into the making of a human body, saying “you are made of star dust.”  A romantic notion, indeed, especially from a scientist.

Deepak Chopra spoke for 2 hours; without intermission, without so much as a sip of water, and he did not refer to a single note.  He calmly set about the business of well being by describing his research and findings, experiments, and polling statistics.  Did I mention, he also works with the polling association, Gallup.

Speaking on the science of spirituality, Dr. Chopra informed us that many scientists are now claiming that we do not live in our bodies.  While science can easily prove the 5 senses; taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing, science cannot pinpoint the place personal choice resides.  A neurologist may be able to manipulate the brain to create involuntary movement but it cannot find the location of our desires, hopes, dreams, passions, creativity.  So, if a specific origin of inspiration cannot be found or proven, it is assumed by many in the scientific field to not exist.  By the same token, if such a spirit does exist, it must not be “in” the body.

Dr. Chopra reminded us that while there is a great deal that is unexplained about the human experience, science simply has not caught up to the intangible elegance of our soul.  Our beliefs and perceptions are as much, if not even more, responsible for our well being as the foods we choose to eat, our level of physical fitness and our inherited genetic code.  As he spoke about how transcendent we are, even in this human form, I thought it sounded very much like the old saying, “We are spiritual beings having a physical experience.”

Soon, he led all of us into a deep meditation.  At first, I did not think he could accomplish this.  Such a large audience to get aligned in silent unison.  Yet, very quickly and effectively, Dr. Chopra had us quietly looking within.  It could have easily been 20 minutes or more and as he brought us back from our meditation, he explained how balancing our breath helped re-set our blood pressure, focusing on feeling our heartbeat in our fingertips gets rid of head-aches and quieting the mind relieves anxiety and pressure in our entire body.  It felt amazing!

Finally, Deepak Chopra introduced elements that create wellness or disease in us every day.  This was especially fascinating, considering they are also the building blocks of civilization.

The Five Essential Elements of Well Being.”

1. CAREER:  Your job plays a major role in how happy you are each day.  Findings show that even if you don’t particularly enjoy your occupation, you will enjoy it over-all if someone genuinely appreciates your efforts.

2.  SOCIAL:  Good friends and healthy relationships can bring you good will and joy.  It is said that a happy neighbor can be more healthy for your over-all well being than an unhappy mate.  Connect with your friends, offer encouragement,  spend more quality time with your spouse or seek counseling to improve an intimate relationship.

3.  PHYSICAL:  One study showed that a test group that worked out lifting weights and another that merely imagined and meditated on lifting weights experienced nearly the same results in physical fitness and improvement in muscle tone.  So it only makes sense that imagining your ideal body and exercising will add quality to your life’s quantity.

4.  FINANCIAL:  Money makes a difference, mind and body.  We must have money to survive in this world, but it is not so much about how much we have or do not have that causes health benefits.  It is about accepting responsibility for our financial health.   Worrying about money can cause untold stress and pain, mentally and physically.

5.  COMMUNITY:  Being surrounded by a strong community of folks who maintain similar value systems, support each other, and uphold complimentary beliefs has the ability to create a network of strong bonds between you and others while strengthening your immune system, balancing hormones, and boosting your emotional outlook.

President Bill Clinton once said, “My country has been enriched by the contributions of more than a million Indian Americans, which includes Dr. Deepak Chopra, the pioneer of alternative medicine.”

I couldn’t agree more.  How absolutely grateful and inspired I am to have met such a thoughtful man, who continually teaches the unified oneness of all life and that the heart is more than an organ resting in our chest, it is the seat of inspired intention.

WELL BEING: pH Balance

19 Feb

“Diseases cannot survive in an alkaline body.”  Dr Otto Warburg

Dr. Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1931 for his scientific findings of pH balance related to our health.

In chemistry, pH is a measure of acidity and alkalinity.  On a scale of 5.0 to 9.0, pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0.

Solutions with a pH less than 7 are more acidic while solutions with a pH higher than 7 are alkaline.  Ideal alkaline conditions for our body should fall somewhere between 7.35 and 7.45 on the pH scale.

Dr. Warburg came to the conclusion that too much acidity in the body is the main cause of cancer.  Not to say all acid is bad but that his research demonstrated that cancer thrives in acidic conditions.

Too much acidity in the body can also lead to a myriad of pains and illnesses; such as weight gain, bloating, a burning sensation inside and out, diarrhea, constipation, acne, fibromyalgia symptoms, heart problems, blood sugar imbalance, metabolic resistance, dried out skin, hair, and nails, tooth sensitivity, irritated eyes, anxiety and the list goes on.

There are two main causes for acidity in the body.  The first is our dietary habits.  What we eat and drink on a daily basis can sooth our system with alkalizing benefits or literally inflame us with too much acid.  The worst offenders are caffeine, alcohol, soda, sugar, fried, fatty and processed foods.  The second cause for pH imbalance is emotional.  Stress, anxiety, and fear can create an acidic environment inside our body even if we are eating perfectly.  That is why we should put as much attention upon our emotional well being as we do on the nutrition we put into our bodies.

What can we do to balance pH?

Let’s eat consciously.

Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens and watercress are all powerfully alkalizing.  As are cauliflower, broccoli, brown rice, citrus fruits, melons and berries.  And since pure water is pH neutral, it only makes sense to drink plenty of water each day so as to hydrate and flush our systems of excess acid frequently.

Minerals help to alkalize the body, so an easy to digest, liquid multi-mineral is an excellent building block for our health.  Aloe Vera is also very soothing and pH balancing.  It can be taken in a gel-tab form, calming stomach acid and making digestion easier.

Let’s feel consciously.

One of the main reasons for over-eating is a self-soothing technique that blocks our emotions.  They call it “comfort food” because, in the moment, it feels soothing and nostalgic to eat certain things that may not be ideal for us.  All this “comfort eating” and denying our true feelings can be problematic, affecting our lives negatively in a number of ways, including creating too much acid in our bodies.  Allowing ourselves to truly “feel” what we are feeling, instead of repressing our emotions and blocking our deepest sensations, will no doubt bring about peace of mind and hopefully more of a balance within, affecting our pH in a positive way.

Track your body’s alkaline and acid balance with a pH testing kit.  Your local health food store has a variety to of pH tests to choose from, or simply ask them to do a free, quick saliva test on pH test strip litmus paper.  The two color matched pH scale chart allows you to easily, accurately, and immediately determine your body’s pH level.

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