Nature Therapy: Cataract Falls Hike

Every time I set out on a hike, I am always amazed at how instantly refreshing, balancing, and restorative it is. I’ve gone on hundreds of hikes and each time is just as rejuvenating as the last. Getting outside is absolutely crucial for me to calibrate the way I’m feeling. It creates a sincere connection to my body and to the collective body – our planet. It is a feast for all of our senses – feeling the sunshine, seeing beautiful landscapes, hearing the wind, smelling the plants after a fresh rain. The benefits of time spent outdoors, solo or with loved ones, are numerous and accessible. The simplest hike or walk can do wonders. This year, Earth Day is April 22 and falls on a Saturday! There’s no better way to celebrate than by spending time outside and being reminded of how important it is to not only connect with our planet but to also act on behalf of it. Recently, I hiked a big loop to Cataract Falls on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin. With all of the rain we’ve been having the waterfalls were rushing and gorgeous! The trees and ferns were so lush and everything felt fresh. The drive to this hike alone boasts incredible views of the California coast. Below, I am sharing a link with two options for the hike: either a 7-mile moderately strenuous loop or a more simple out-and-back hike directly to the falls.

 

Cataract Falls | April 2017

 

Cataract Falls Trail Loop

*TO TAKE THE SHORTER OUT-AND-BACK HIKE:*

From Rock Springs Parking, start following the Cataract Trail. Eventually you will pass the Laurel Dell picnic tables and continue to stay on the single track of Cataract Trail. The Cataract trail intersects with High Marsh Trail just as it starts to descend to Alpine Dam Lake. Stay on Cataract trail. You will descend down lots of steps and start to walk alongside the falls. Continue as far down as you’d like. To return, you’ll have to make a steep journey back up the hills/steps the way you came to the Rock Springs parking area. (This out-and-back is 3-4 miles)

Posted in Earth and Air Wellness | Leave a comment

Under the Sea: The Many Health Benefits of Blue-Green Algae!

When you think of algae, you usually imagine a slimy, off-putting, plant-like organism. Most people wouldn’t think twice about the cyanobacteria and all of the potential health benefits that it has but the wellness world has caught wind of this salt and fresh water superfood and is consuming it in a variety of ways. The most popular is blue-green algae, which has a number of different types – chlorella, spirulina, and AFA. These algaes have tons of minerals, carotenoids, vitamins, anti-oxidants and nutrients like iron, zinc, and selenium. One of the most important components of blue-green algae is the amount of chlorophyll that they contain. Chlorophyll is the substance in plants that turns them green, which means that these plants are excellent photosynthesizers. Photosynthesis is crucial for plants to be able to convert sugars into energy and chlorphyll in our systems aid as a very powerful anti-oxidant. Research has come to show that these algaes have a long list of benefits: anti-inflammatory, heart health, extracting heavy metals and toxins, gut health, and skin health. There are different forms of the algae you can consume from a fine powder, to tablets, to a tincture. My go-to choice is Spirulina Pacifics by  Nutrex. I buy it in a finely powdered form that is easy to add into smoothies, on top of salads, in desserts, or in teas. Spirulina is usually consumed by the teaspoon but the taste of spirulina is strong so if adding it into the diet is difficult, this brand also sells in tablet form for easy consumption. Supplementing isn’t for everyone but I find that adding spirulina into my food ensures a boost in energy, digestion, and overall well being. Here’s a really fun latte recipe that uses Spirulina:

Spirulina Latte - Golubka Kitchen

Colorful Spirulina Latte!

 

 

 

 

 

*Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-29559/this-oceanic-superfood-is-everywhere-but-is-it-actually-good-for-you.html

Posted in Earth and Air Wellness | Leave a comment

Living in Rhythm with the Liver: Nourishing Our Body’s Soul Center

Chinese Medicine considers Spring to be associated with the liver – the soul center of the body. The liver is our largest internal organ and provides essential support to our body’s life sustaining systems. In fact, the liver has more than 100 known functions! One of these functions, detoxifying our blood, is extremely important and is compromised when the liver is overloaded with toxins, unhealthy food or excessive drinking. We don’t often think about the amount of work that our livers do for us or the load that it handles every single day. The spring season provides a great opportunity to check in and cleanse what isn’t needed before jumping into higher energy and extroverted  yang time. Below, we have tips on a spring diet that will ease the load on your liver and allow you to spring forward feeling lighter and healthier.


It’s all about LIVEr Foods!

  1. Aim for whole & unprocessed foods.–> Think fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains/gluten free grains, seeds, nuts, and beans (ideally, these are all organic). These types of foods have nutrients that are bioavailable – meaning that our bodies can easily break them down and extract the beneficial compounds for energy and nutrition to our cells. Easy rule of thumb: if a food has come from the earth instead of a factory, it’s living and it’s nutrients are live too.
  2. Greens!–> The color associated with spring is green. Plants are blossoming and life is coming back to the natural world. Incorporating green foods into the diet is essential! Greens are plentiful this time of year and they refresh, cleanse, and build the body. Chlorophyll is the active ingredient giving these plants their vibrant green color and it oxygenates our bodies while bringing in B vitamins, protein, and calcium. Examples of great greens would be: alfalfa, wheatgrass, kale, chard, spinach, avocados, etc.
  3. Fermented Foods! –> Kim Chi, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickled vegetables…. fermented foods are incredibly tonifying and have tons of probiotics. Try to include these into your diet whenever you can!
  4. Fluids!–> Drink lots of water. In the morning, warm water with lemon is incredibly rejuvenating and alkalizing. It is important to drink water at room temperature so that our internal organs and their temperature aren’t shocked. A pinch of salt in your water will help with hydration and allow your cells’ membranes to take in water more effectively. Drinking lots of fluids will allow your body to continuously circulate nutrients in and move toxins out. It really is the most simple route to liver/kidney health and overall wellness.
  5. Cleansing & Fasting–> Taking a few days to allow your digestion a break from heavy foods and lots of work is most fitting during spring. You can replace a meal or two,  or maybe even a full day, with fresh vegetable juices. This is something that can be experimented with – some people enjoy a few days of juice cleansing while others get a benefit just from substituting a meal. Be careful not to drink a juice made with veggies that contain lots of sugars…this will spike your blood glucose. If you’re interested in a more structured detox, ask us about our Standard Process Cleanse. which is all about eating whole foods in conjunction with a body cleansing and detoxifying supplement. The refreshing energy felt from this cleanse is very real!

*Source: Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M. Haas, M.D.

Posted in Earth and Air Wellness | Leave a comment

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!

______________________________________________________________

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]
Posted in Earth and Air Wellness | Leave a comment

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.

______________________________________________________________

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!

Posted in Earth and Air Wellness, Health Coaching, Nutrition, Pleasant Hill, Seasons, Wellness | Leave a comment

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!)

Posted in Earth and Air Wellness | Leave a comment

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.



Image result for hawthorn

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

Posted in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Earth and Air Wellness, Health Coaching, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Pleasant Hill, Seasons, Walnut Creek, Wellness | Leave a comment

“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!


Image result for apple beet carrot salad

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)
Posted in Chinese Medicine, Earth and Air Wellness, Nutrition, Pleasant Hill, Seasons, Wellness | Leave a comment

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!


Image result for abhyanga

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!

 

Posted in Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Earth and Air Wellness, Health Coaching, Herbal Medicine, Pleasant Hill, Seasons, Walnut Creek, Wellness | Leave a comment