Spring Cleaning: The Benefits of an Elimination Diet

As Spring moves into full bloom, it’s a perfect opportunity for us to check in with ourselves and how we’re feeling. The transition from Winter to Spring is a beautiful one but often takes a lot of self-care to harness the energy needed to get ready to shift into more Yang-like energy. It’s natural for us to mimic what nature is doing and living seasonally is a cornerstone to holistic health. It feels as though mother nature is getting a fresh start and a Spring cleansing is a great way to offer that to ourselves too. The elimination diet is one way to reset our system and find what makes us feel energized or what is contributing to our fatigue, stress, digestive issues, etc. Especially if you’re already feeling undesirable symptons, this diet highlights the food(s) that trigger inflammatory responses in the body. First, you take 7-10 days to eliminate various foods from your diet. You then move into a few days of only fruits and vegetables in the diet, then two days of juice cleansing, two days of water, and one more day of juices. At this point, you take the next seven days to slowly reintroduce foods one at a time and give each food item a few hours in the system to see how it affects you. It’s a good idea to take notes during this process so you can remember and decipher which foods had what effects. During the elimination diet, light exercise, saunas, or anything else that helps you to sweat toxins out is another good reset for the system. Below, you’ll find an easy-to-follow chart for this diet from “Staying Healthy with the Seasons” by Elson M. Haas, MD. This whole diet takes 15-30 days. & remember, when you incorporate foods again, do so one at a time with a good portion and give yourself a few hours before the next food to note and detail how you feel. Have fun!

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ELIMINATION DIET HOW-TO:

Day: Instructions:
1 Eat your normal diet
2 Eliminate all chemicals from the diet [food additives, drugs, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine]
3 Eliminate all processed foods [refined sugars, white flour, and their products]
4 Eliminate meat products [any live or once living animal]
5 Eliminate dairy foods [all cow, goat, chicken products]
6 Eliminate nuts and beans
7 Eliminate seeds
8 + 9 + 10 Eliminate grains. Eat only fruits and vegetables in raw, steamed, or juiced forms
11 + 12 Fruit and vegetable juices only. All fresh [no cans]
13 + 14 Water only [spring or purified, not tap]
15 Fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice again
16 Fruit – one kind at a time. [3 or 4 hours between different types of fruit]
17 Add vegetables
18 Add grains
19 Add seeds
20 Add nuts and beans
21 Add dairy foods
22+23+24 Add meat products [only if desired]
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A Sweet Start to Spring: Quinoa & Sweet Potato Spinach Salad! [+ Cilantro Pesto]

We’re finally enjoying Spring days! Other than the great weather, I love the Spring season because we really get to freshen and brighten up our plates again. The farmers markets will start blooming with all kinds of colorful and tasty produce. The recipe I’m sharing today has lots of greens! Between cilantro, spinach, and peas, this salad is packed with nutrients and will help to detoxify as we move out of our rainy Winter hibernation. The sweet potato and quinoa  really round out the roughage making this dish satiating and nourishing. It’s a vitamin dense recipe that will get you on the right path for a Spring cleaning & recharge! Below I’ll discuss some of the important nutrients available in this salad and you’ll find the link to the recipe as well.

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Vegan Cilantro Pesto | ThisSavoryVegan.com

  • Cilantro : You’ll get your full day’s worth of vitamin A and K from this herb. Also rich in vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. One of the most important benefits of cilantro is that it helps to detox heavy metals in the system. It is a powerful antioxidant and has shown in studies to minimize lead-induced oxidative stress. Not to mention, cilantro makes everything taste so fresh!
  • Spinach : You might have grown up not liking spinach but it is a green that is worth learning to love. It is a power house of iron, vit K, vit A, and manganese. It can help reduce inflammation and is a very good source of dietary fiber. Spinach is also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and provides protein.
  • Peas : Peas are definitely underestimated. These little green spheres have many phytonutrients that help in fighting inflammation and bring antioxidant effects. Peas also provide fiber and protein, which helps in regulating blood sugar. Lastly, research has been done on a polyphenol contained in peas that shows protection against stomach cancer.
  • Sweet Potato : A food as colorful as this one has to have a ton of nutritional benefit. An awesome source of vit A, C, potassium, and fiber, this tuber also has sporamins – a protein storage that helps reduce oxidative stress to cells. Of course, the amount of beta-carotene is significant and can be taken in by the body best when consumed with a healthy fat.
  • Quinoa : The most amazing little grain. Quinoa is a complete protein (it contains all 9 essential amino acids) that leaves you feeling satiated. It is a very versatile grain and you can enjoy it hot, or cold, in soups, or in salads. Adding quinoa to any salad makes it an instant protein powerhouse. It also contains fiber, iron, and lysine, which is important for tissue growth!

Link to recipe:

Spinach, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Salad!

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Activating the Anahata Chakra: 5 Yoga Poses to Open the Heart!

In yogic philosophy, Anahata, or the heart chakra, is the fourth primary energy center of the body. In Sanskrit, Anahata means “unhurt or unstuck” and it is associated with the air element – love, like air, is within and all around. When the heart chakra is out of balance, it may create feelings of loneliness, shyness, inability to trust, or unworthiness. Physically, it can create tightness in the chest, poor circulation or high blood pressure. February is National Heart Month and there’s no better time to tap into your space of love and connection. These five asanas will help you to open your chest and breathe into your heart center. Re-balancing the Anahata chakra will leave you feeling more compassionate, more joyful, and more loving towards yourself and others. Give these five poses a try and see if they open you up on an emotional, mental or physical level!


|Heart Opening Asanas |

 cobra1_Low Cobra // Laying on your belly, bring hands down by your ribs. With the top of your toes pressing into the ground, lift your chest and try not to put weight into your hands. Take 7-10 breaths here.

camel3_Supported Camel // Coming on to your knees, place your hands on the small of your back. Very slowly start to drop your head back as you roll the shoulders down and bend backwards. This can be a very intense pose so take it extremely slow and keep your core engaged when you come out of it. Take 7-10 breaths.

chair1_Chair Pose // Bringing your big toes to touch, sink your hips and shift your weight into your heels. Inhale your arms up, rotating the pinky fingers inward to broaden the chest. Make sure your knees are in the same line and stay here for 5 breaths.

chair2_Tip-Toe Chair // If it feels like your chest is caving in or your back is rounded in chair, come onto your tip toes. This will allow you to straighten the back and open the chest with more ease. You can also choose to transition between the two poses. 5 breaths here.

Crescent1_Crescent Lunge // Come into a lunge stance with your knee bent directly over your ankle. Inhale the arms up and rotate the pinky fingers inward – this will broaden and open the chest. Keep the back leg strong and engaged. Keep in mind that the wider your stance, the easier it will be to balance. Breathe into this strong, open pose for 7 – 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Childs_pose_Child’s Pose // – Come onto your knees and sit your hips back between the thighs for child’s pose. This will help reset all of the back bending. You can take this pose in-between the heart openers if it feels good for you. Stay here for as long as you’d like.

Shavasana_Savasana // Lay flat on your back with arms and legs out to the side and completely relaxed. As you breathe in, imagine you’re soaking in love, joy, compassion and as you breathe out, imagine that you’re sending out love, joy, and compassion from your heart center. You can stay in this pose for as long as you’d like to (you don’t need to resist the urge to nap!)

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The Love Herb: Benefits of Hawthorn on the Heart [+ Tea Recipe!]

Hawthorn has been touted for thousands of years as a powerful heart medicine. The bright red berry and its leaves grow on a deciduous shrub and comes to harvest in the Fall. It’s a great cardiac medicine and is able to increase blood flow, regulate blood pressure, and work against the build-up of plaque from disorders like arteriosclerosis. It’s ability to move blood can help to decrease angina (chest pain) and hawthorn overall strengthens the heart muscle. It is also a good choice for those who have high LDL (bad cholestrol) levels and can aid in removing LDL from the bloodstream. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hawthorn is also used as a nervous system relaxer and digestive stimulant. In Ayurveda, hawthorn is known to be the herb of longevity. Energetically, hawthorn berry is able to soften blockages of the heart and allows you to relax into vulnerability and love. All in all, hawthorn is an excellent choice for anyone needing to strengthen the most important muscle in the body. The leaves and berries of hawthorn can be made as a tincture or a tea. Take a look at our hawthorn-rose-cinnamon tea recipe below for a heart-opening. warming, and love filled winter tonic.



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Hawthorn – Rose – Cinnamon Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 generous tablespoon dried hawthorn berries, soaked over night
  • 1 – 2 generous teaspoons dried organic rose petals
  • 1/4 cinnamon stick or powder (to taste)

Directions

  • Measure 1.5 – 2 cups water into a pot
  • Place hawthorn berries into pot and cover
  • Bring water to a boil, then lower to a simmer
  • Simmer for 15  – 20 minutes, covered
  • Prepare roses and cinnamon and place into teapot, cup, or jar
  • Pour hot water and berries over roses and cinnamon, cover
  • Steep for 10 minutes, then strain

*Recipe from theherbalacademy.com

*Info from www.herbwisdom.com and The California School of Herbal Studies

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“Beeting” Winter: A Sweet + Refreshing Apple, Beet, & Carrot Slaw!

Root vegetables are the stars of the winter season. Without these earthy and satiating veggies, it’d be so difficult to build up the immunity and warmth we need to get through the cold months smoothly. Although roasting tubers and roots is one of the easiest preparations, there are times when we’re in the mood for something sweet, fresh, and crunchy. This raw ABC slaw is perfect for  a quick side dish and is so satisfying! It’s also packed full of phytonutrients and the colors alone will make you want to dive in. Check out the recipe below for the 5 ingredients and super simple directions!


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Apple, Beet & Carrot Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup grated beets
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated apple
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 limes
  • Honey (optional)

Directions:

  • Grate the beets, carrots, and apples either with a grater or food processor.
  • Juice 3 limes
  • Chop a bunch of cilantro
  • Throw all ingredients into a bowl and toss well
  • Add honey to taste (optional)
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Abhyanga: The Ancient Method of Self-Massage

For this blog, we had an Ayurvedic Health Coach, Micayla Kuehn, write and share the many health benefits of using the ancient technique of self-massage and oiling!


In today’s society, we are often so busy that we rarely make time for self-care a priority. Ayurveda, India’s ancient healing science, relies on daily routines to help prevent disease and promote health in the body and mind. One of the best daily practices one can do to promote well-being and longevity is abhyanga, or self-massage. In Sanskrit, the term “abhyanga” is comprised of the word “Aba,” meaning “glow” and “Anga,” which means “limbs.” Abhyanga literally brings a glow to our skin, as well as many other added benefits for the mind and body.

Among these benefits are:

  • increased circulation, especially to nerve endings
  • imparts muscle tone and vigor to the tissues of the body
  • moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
  • stimulates the internal organs of the body
  • calms the nerves and the mind
  • lubrication of the joints
  • increased mental alertness
  • improved elimination of toxins and impurities from the body
  • softer, smoother skin; reduces wrinkles
  • increased levels of stamina through out the day
  • better, deeper sleep at night
  • decreases the effects of aging
  • improves quality of scalp & hair
  • increases “ojas”; self-love in the mind & immunity in the body

The healing power of touch, in combination with the saturation of the oils is believed to promote self-love, warmth, stability and protection. Consider it your oil “shield” or barrier from daily exposure to toxins, irritants, pollutants, negativity, and, currently, the cold winter weather (though this practice is beneficial year round).

To perform abhyanga, it is important first to make sure you allow yourself about 15-20 minutes for this to enjoy the full effects. Creating a soothing environment by lighting candles in your bathroom during a time when you won’t be distracted is best. It is important to note here that abhyanga is a two step process: oiling the body followed by a hot shower. The shower comes after the oiling so that the heat will open the pores of the skin and allow the oil to seep deeper into the layers of the skin and tissues. Also, this leaves the body feeling soft, but not oily or greasy. We have a step-by-step instruction on Abhyanga below to leave your body, mind, and spirit nourished!


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How To Do Abhyanga:

  1. Purchase organic sesame and/or coconut oil from a health food store. Sesame oil is best in winter and spring and coconut oil in the summer and early fall seasons.
  2. Pour the oil into a small bowl, which can be placed inside a pot of boiling water to warm it. (Another option is to place a small bowl of oil into a mini, lunch—sized crock pot to warm up.)
  3. Once the oil is warm, sit on a towel or stand comfortably and start by rubbing oil onto the bottoms of your feet.
  4. Work your way up, from your feet to your calves, knees, thighs, hips, lower back, abdomen, chest, hands, arms, neck, face, scalp, etc.
  5. When you are oiling longer bones, move in upward and downward strokes. When oiling your joints, rub in a circular motion.
  6. Spend some time oiling each part of your body, giving extra attention to any area that is particularly prone to pain and cracking. This is a great opportunity to honor your body and give thanks to each part as you massage it; the body does so much for us!
  7. Take a shower with warm to hot water, which will allow your body to more fully absorb the oil ( no need to use soap as it can be drying to the skin).

*If you have any questions about abhyanga or any other Ayurvedic practices, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at: micaylakuehn@yahoo.com or ask Ellina at the front desk. [For those of you who do not know yet, I am now offering Ayurvedic Health Consultations at Earth & Air Wellness!]

Blessings & good health to you all!

Micayla Kuehn, AHC Intern

True Nature Ayurvedic Healing

 

 

 

Posted in Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Earth and Air Wellness, Health Coaching, Massage, Pleasant Hill, Seasons, Walnut Creek, Wellness | 2 Comments

Winter Essentials: Simple Ways to Use Aromatherapy for the Cold Season

Aromatherapy, the use of aromatic plant extracts and essential oils, is a simple and effective method to boost immunity, mood, and energy. Essential oils are popular for holistic treatments of issues ranging from bacterial infections to the winter blues. The oils are collected from fragrant plants and have a wide spectrum of health benefits from the plants within them. These oils travel into the lungs when inhaled and get transferred into the bloodstream or can seep into the system if applied topically. One essential oil can have a number of positive effects for different parts of the body and ailments so we’re sharing EO’s that are great specifically for winter time conditions. This article from MindBodyGreen breaks down lavender, oregano, lemon, peppermint, frankincense, eucalyptus, rosemary, wild orange, and cinnamon and gives an example of how to incorporate them easily into your lifestyle for winter wellness! Click the link below to access the article and let us know which EOs are your favorite!


The 9 Best Essential Oils For Winter Well-Being Hero Image

Winter Essential Oils!

 

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Winter Warmth: Ginger + Peanut Tofu Curry Recipe!

It’s cold! & raining! Both are reasons that keep many of us inside and feeling more stagnant this season. If you can’t get moving externally, here is a recipe that will certainly get things moving on the inside. This curry highlights ginger and turmeric, which are both amazing roots with so many health benefits. Ginger is a carminative that helps to soothe intestinal gas, calms nausea and also boosts immunity. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that is helpful in heating and moving stagnation. There is also cayenne pepper in the broth, which is a wonderful circulatory herb. Add in the complete protein of Tofu and you have a meal that will be just as nutritious as it is delicious! The next cold night you’re looking to stay in and enjoy a home cooked meal, give this curry a try. It will warm you up and leave you feeling perfectly satiated.


Ginger Peanut Tofu Curry | A weeknight-friendly and immune boosting dinner for the change of seasons. Creamy, spicy, protein-packed! Vegan and gluten free.

Ginger-Peanut-Tofu Curry!

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Visualization: An Abundance Meditation

Whether or not we are able to tune into it everyday, this planet is so abundant in its beauty, peoples, resources, and elements. In our modern day society, the abundance around us can be easy to forget as we are constantly bombarded with unfortunate news, comparison to others, and the feeling that we need to be racing at all times to achieve the most we can. However, as the New Year approaches, it is an opportune time to find stillness and tap into the idea of abundance – even if for a moment. What are you seeking for the new year? for yourself? your loved ones? the planet? I recently read a great article by Shakti Gawain that touched on this topic specifically and the power of visualizing well-being and abundance. Abundance doesn’t have to mean material objects as much as it means the ability to be able to manifest what it is that you feel called to. The ability to create a meaningful life and live well. It is available to us if we take the time to cultivate it. The article offers a meditation that I thought was simple yet potent in leading us to a create space of “yes” rather than “no.” Guide yourself through the meditation below & have a very happy and enjoyable start to your new year!


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ABUNDANCE MEDITATION

  1. Relax Completely in a comfortable position
  2. Picture yourself in any lovely natural environment – perhaps by a green, open meadow with a lovely brook, or on white sand by the ocean. Take some time to imagine all the beautiful details, and see yourself fully enjoying and appreciating your surroundings.
  3. Now begin to walk, and soon find yourself in some totally different surrounding environment, perhaps exploring a waving field of golden grain or swimming in a lake. continue to wander and explore finding more and more exquisitely beautiful environments of great variety – mountains, forests, deserts, whatever suits your fantasy. Take a little time to appreciate each one.
  4. Now imagine returning home to a simple but comfortable and lovely environment – whatever would most suit you. Imagine having your loving family, friends, community around you. Visualize yourself doing work that you love and expressing yourself creatively in ways that feel just right for you. Imagine yourself feeling fulfilled and thoroughly enjoying your life. Step back and see if you can imagine a world full of people living simply yet abundantly, in harmony with one another and with the earth.
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Holiday Hydration: The Importance of Water [+ Recipe!]

Water is truly the basis of life and it is the element associated with the Winter season. Just as flowers, plants, and trees instantly become vibrant and alive after a good rain, we too need to make sure that we are giving ourselves enough hydration to have our body systems function optimally. The water within us is responsible for an amazing number of processes – the circulation of the blood, the lymphatic flow, the flow of urine, saliva, perspiration, tears, and more. On an energetic level, water is the element that controls emotion and keeping a constant flow of water intake and release helps to control stagnation. Hydration not only physically supports us but also mentally and spiritually. Whether you need to warm up, cool down, energize, or cleanse – water is such a simple and direct way to feel better. The holiday season is heavy on lots of tasty beverages but make sure to bring water into the mix as much as possible. Making sure the water is pure and clean is important to ensure the benefits. Below we have a recipe for a ginger-turmeric water that is warming, cleansing, circulating and most importantly, super simple to make! Cheers!


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Turmeric-Ginger-Lemon-Honey Water

*In a cup of hot water :

  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder or 1 inch of diced raw turmeric root
  • 1 inch of diced raw ginger root
  • A slice of lemon
  • Honey to taste
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