Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Natural Remedy for Sleep

Here is a natural remedy for sleep that has no negative side effects, is not addictive (at least not in a negative way), and requires no fancy equipment or training.

Constructive Rest Pose is said to be the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep when held for 10 minutes. Give this a try when you’ve had a rough night’s sleep, when you are having trouble falling asleep, or as a part of your every day routine to feel more rested, focused, and alert. If you notice midafternoon fatigue use 5-10 minutes of your lunch break to practice constructive rest pose.

How to do it:

 

Lay on a flat surface with your knees bent. Bring your feet out about shoulder width apart. Turn your toes in (slightly pigeon toed) If there is any discomfort in your lower back walk your feet either further away from your body or closer to your body depending on what feels better to you. Slide your shoulders down away from your ears and rest with your arms at your sides just far enough away from your body so that your palms can comfortably rest racing up. Slide your chin slightly towards your chest to lengthen the back of the neck. Close your eyes and practice deep breathing for 5-10 minutes.

To come out of the pose:

Take a stretch if you feel its needed. Protect your back and roll onto your side. Rest for a moment on your side if you aren’t fully alert and when ready press yourself back to a seated posture.

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Yoga Nidra Meditation for Sleep

Yoga means to unite and nidra means sleep. So a yoga nidra is meant to assist you in relaxing into a sleep state so you can consciously relax. Typically this meditation is meant to be longer but I am not as tec savvy as I’d like to be so this is as long as I could make it while still being able to upload it from my phone. :) If you have any pointers in that area let me know!

These longer meditations are a great way to train your body to relax and are especially helpful for people who have trouble relaxing.

Here is the link. Play this for deep relaxation or as a nice transition before bed.

 

Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential For Sleep

I thought about what would be most appropriate for a natural medicine cabinet in regards to the current season and this is what I came up with… While there are many great products designed to give you a better night’s sleep usually a lack of sleep is your body’s way of letting you know something is amiss. How many times have you tossed and turned because of a problem at work, a fight with a friend, over indulging in food or drink? Lack of sleep can also be a sign of hormonal imbalances as well and are often seen in correlation with hot flashes.

The natural medicine cabinet essential this week is not another thing you need. The ultimate essential for sleep is paying attention to what your body needs. We live in a society that greatly ignores our natural cycles whether it be our seasons, menstrual cycles or sleep patterns.

According to Chinese Medicine the fall and winter are a time of moving inward. The energy that was so light and abundant during the summer months is now deeper and condensed. This is an appropriate time to pay attention to what your body needs. If you are feeling tired go to bed earlier. It is a natural part of the seasons now to hibernate. Take advantage of it!

The time change especially now when it seems like life is covered in darkness (i.e. leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark) is a great time to ditch the clock. If you are like me and revolve around a bed time let go of your normal routines. Get off the computer, turn off the TV and enjoy some quiet time or conversation. Its easier to listen to your body when you are not sucked into a lot of mental stimulation. This might not be a realistic daily routine and that’s ok too! Aim for one day a week to enjoy some quiet time and indulge in rest.

Check back tomorrow for a yoga nidra (sleep) meditation and Thursday for a Natural Remedy that is the equivalent to 2 hours of sleep!

 

Coconut Lime Butternut Squash Soup

If you haven’t noticed already I really enjoy soups. I used to be a terrible soup maker and then one day they started to all taste really good. Putting together a nice hardy soup is the perfect meal to have on hand for days you don’t feel like cooking or get home late or don’t feel like cooking. :) This is another week of transitions with the time change, it won’t make you sleepy but it will fill your belly. This batch made several tasty meals.

I started with this recipe here. Below are my adaptations.

  • 1 medium butternut squash (spleen/stomach)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (lung/large intestine)
  • 1 onion (lung/large intestine)
  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into cubes (spleen/stomach)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile pepper, or 1 tablespoons fresh minced chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups chicken stock (lung/large intestine)
  • 15 oz coconut milk (lung/large intestine)
  • Juice of 1 lime (liver/large intestine)
  • 2 cups spinach leaves (liver/large intestine)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • rice (spleen/stomach)

1. Cut squash length wise and deseed. Cook at 375 until tender about 45 minutes.

2. In coconut oil cook onion until fragrant and translucent. Add sweet potatoes and cook until tender 5-10 minutes or so. Sprinkle 1/2 of cumin and cinnamon and cook. When squash is cooked, scoop out in chunks and add to sweet potatoes. Add the rest of the spices and chicken stock, bring to boil and then lower to simmer. Mix in coconut milk and let simmer for 15 minutes.

3. 5 minutes before serving add spinach and cooked rice.

Enjoy!

p.s. You can turn this into a creamy soup if you put in the blender but I recently broke my blender and we really enjoyed it this way. It felt more filling. If you are feeling adventurous add some raisins! :)

This Week’s Theme is Sleep

I don’t know about you but the time change especially in the fall always throws me off. The time changes Sunday November 3rd at 2:00am.

 

This week we will focus on sleep and taking advantage of the only good thing about “fallling back” an extra hour of zzz’s.

Natural Remedy for Staying Grounded

I’ve had lots on my mind lately. Apparently I’m not alone or the theme of the week wouldn’t be on staying grounded! :)

Sunday I met a friend and her son for a walk at Cuba Marsh and it was there that I knew we needed to talk about nature and movement this week. When you are feeling out of sorts the best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity is to turn the computer/cell phone/every electronic you own OFF and get outside ASAP. If you are feeling a little “crunchy-granola” touch a tree, hug it, sniff it even. Ha! But seriously get some fresh air and let your feet make contact with the Earth. There is no better grounding then that, at least in my humble opinion.

In regards to Chinese Medicine it is encouraged to spend some time outside no matter the season. This is important because it helps your body adapt to the climate. My mother and her friends tell me all the time how they would bundle their babies up put them in a buggy (a stroller if you’ve never heard of the term buggy) full of blankets and let them take their nap outside. I don’t know about a nap but a few minutes a day with the proper clothing is definitely not a bad idea.

 

If you are struggling to stay grounded because of worry or over thinking.  Get out into some fresh air and walk. When you move the opposite arm with the opposite leg (how you probably normally walk anyway) it works both sides of your brain and stops the cycle of obsessive thought. Some fresh air and new scenery will give you a new perspective as well.

What do you do to stay grounded? I’d love to hear about it. :)

Meditation for Staying Grounded

This week’s meditation is all about staying grounded. You can practice this anywhere: seated at work, waiting in line at the grocery store. In yoga we call this pose Mountain Pose. Think of how solid and grounded a mountain is. The key is to pay attention to your feet and how they are making contact with the ground. Start with that awareness first. Without changing anything take notice of how you are sitting/standing reading this. Then notice how you feel.

Now readjust yourself so that your feet are hip distance apart (hip distance is the width of your knuckles) and the whole surface area of the soles of your feet are on the ground. Adjust your posture so that your spine is tall and shoulders are relaxed. Lift your toes off the floor and notice how this action also lifts your arches and roots the balls and heels to the floor. (if you’re standing you will also notice your thigh muscles engage). Once you feel the engagement in your feet you can float your toes back to the floor as well. Imagine your feet are like roots of a tree burrowing into the ground and allow each exhale to deepen until you feel like your breath is as anchored to the earth as your feet are. Take 3 breaths to center and continue on your day!

Natural Medicine Cabinet Essential: Staying Grounded

My go to natural medicine cabinet essential when I’m feeling out of balance mentally and physically is Valor.

Valor is an essential oil blend that is known for its balancing properties. Physically it is sometimes referred to as a “chiropractor in a bottle” because this blend of oils can assist in keeping proper spinal alignment. Emotionally it has energetic balancing properties as well. The name Valor is fitting especially for times of change when you might need a little boost in courage.

The Essential Oil Desk Reference says Valor was formulated to balance energies and instill courage, confidence and self esteem. It helps the body self-correct its balance and alignment. 

Valor contains:

Rosewood (anti-infectious, antibacterial, antifungal and antispasmodic, is very grounding and strengthening)

Blue Tansy ( helps cleanse the liver and lymphatic system, helping one to overcome anger and negative emotions, promoting a feeling of self control)

Frankincense (is considered a holy anointing oil in the Middle East and has been used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years. It stimulates the limbic part of the brain, elevating the mind and helping to overcome stress and despair. It is used in European medicine to combat depression)

Spruce (opens and releases emotional blocks, fostering a sense of balance and grounding. Traditionally, it was believed to possess the frequency of prosperity)

Almond Oil (is used in this blend as a carrier oil. It is sweet to the taste and offers a rich source of vitamin E. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered a nutrient for the brain and nervous system)

How to Use: 

When I’m looking to feel balanced and grounded I like to put Valor on the soles of my feet first thing in the morning and before bed. Put 3-6 drops of Valor in your non-dominant hand and circle with your finger clockwise. Massage your palms together and then rub on the soles of your feet and lower back. When the oil has been absorbed I cup my hands over my nose and take a few deep breaths with my feet planted firmly on the ground. Give it a try every day for a week and see what you notice. And don’t forget to let me know!

Don’t have any Valor? You can order here. Or send me a message and I will help you get all set up. :)

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Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

The spleen/stomach diet consists of root vegetables and full sweet flavored foods (think sweet potatoes, squashes etc). The spleen/stomach is always active around times of transition and there is constant transition happening in our body every time we digest the food we eat. We’ve been talking about the fall diet (lung/large intestine) alot lately but you can consider the spleen/stomach diet the staple or foundation items.

If you are going through alot of changes, feeling “off”, under too much stress, or have a tendancy to “over think” add some more yellow to your diet especially now when everything is in season. If you are looking to feel grounded, ground yourself with whole foods that grow in the ground! Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, beets are a great place to start. Squashes typically grow on the ground and sprawl out so if you are in a place where you are looking to grow spiritually, mentally look to squash as a metaphor to stay close to the ground as you spread out. :)

Here is a tasty dinner that is great for keeping  you grounded and is a little different if you are sick of the same old things. I have been cooking squash on Sunday nights to ground my family for the week ahead. I’ll have a few more tasty squash dishes coming up. :)

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

I originally found this recipe here. Below our my adaptions.

What you need:

small onion (lung/large intestine system)

2 garlic cloves (lung/large intestine system)

1 lb of ground beef or ground turkey

2 bell peppers (I like to use baby bell peppers for added colors) (spleen/stomach system)

15 oz black beans (kidney/urinary bladder system)

2 cups cherry tomatoes (or yellow pear tomatoes if they have over taken your garden!) (spleen/stomach system)

3 Acorn Squash (spleen/stomach system)

Cumin

Chili powder

salt

Oregano

Shredded Cheese (I used a blend)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F. Half squash and deseed. Place squash face down on baking sheet. I add a small amount of water to pan so the squash won’t stick. Cook 45 minutes or until tender.

While squash is cooking brown chopped onion and garlic in skillet. Add ground beef and cook for a few minutes. Add peppers and tomatoes while continuing to brown the meat. Sprinkle cumin, chili powder (we use Chili Coban from Guatemala it has a smokey flavor and isn’t as spicey), salt and oregano. Add beans at the end to warm and simmer for about 10-12 minutes.

When the squash is ready place meat and veggie mixture into the squash sprinkled with shredded cheese and cook at 325 or under cheese is melted.

Garnish with avocado, cilantro and plain Greek yogurt. This is a hardy meal alone or you can fill warmed tortillas with stuffed squash to make it go further. We usually eat the extra meat in tortillas as left overs but I would recommend eating the squash on the first day it doesn’t usually taste quite so tasty the next day. :)

Enjoy!

How to Stay Grounded During Transition

This week’s theme will be around staying grounded. The fall is a time of transition between the brightness, lightness of summer to darkness and a returning inward of fall.

 

Especially in the Midwest many people have trouble with the darker times of year. Check back this week for a recipe, medicine cabinet essential, meditation, and natural remedy geared towards keeping you grounded as we move into the colder, darker months of the year.

If you have questions or want more information send me a message and I will post more in our facebook page. Don’t forget to “like” the page too! :)