WHAT IS IT?
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows in salt and fresh water. A standard ‘dose’ is 1-3 grams. That translates to ½ to ¾ teaspoon roughly.
Spirulina is one of the most protein dense foods on the planet (more than meat, poultry, or fish)! Just 1 Tablespoon of spirulina contains 4 grams of protein. That’s a 60% protein content in this magical blue-green powder.
I’ve been putting this in my shakes for months now and I have to say, I’ve noticed a difference in my skin and immunity. That’s because besides being loaded with protein, spirulina contains large amounts of minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, and iron (among others). I use roughly 1 teaspoon in my shakes or yogurt in the morning. You just want to be sure it’s a good quality source. Lower quality sources can have contaminants that may lead to nasty side effects.
Now let’s get to the juicy benefits of consuming spirulina on a regular basis. Of course there are a ton of benefits but let’s just highlight 3 major ones:
Because of its high protein content, spirulina promotes satiety, helps burn fat and encourages lean muscle tissue growth.
Spirulina boosts metabolism giving you lasting energy, naturally.
IMPROVES BLOOD PRESSURE
Spirulina contains a pigment called phycocyanin which has antihypertensive effects on the body. This translates to lower blood pressure and lower blood pressure leads to improved heart health!
Finding a brand that’s non-gmo, organic, and doesn’t have a strong taste is the goal. For me, that's KOS. It blends easy, doesn’t have a strong taste, is organic and non-gmo. You can check it out HERE! Try putting it in oatmeal, yogurt, muffins, as well as your shakes!
Have a favorite spirulina brand? Share it with us in the comments below!
SLEEP & IMMUNITY
The final part of our 3-part immunity series is here! How to boost your immune system BEFORE the cold and flu season hits.
First week, we talked about nutrition and immunity and I gave you a few foods/spices to focus on starting now. Second week, we discussed the link between physical activity (or lack of) and immunity.
This week, the ever elusive goodnights sleep. So many of us have trouble sleeping. Whether it's falling asleep, staying asleep, or not getting enough of it. Most likely, you or someone you know struggles with this.
You can find a ton of scientific data that backs the link between sleep and health. And if you have good health, you have good immunity. Studies have shown that with lack of sleep, our body actually makes less of what's called Cytokins (fighter cells in the body). That means, we're more susceptible to immunity and inflammation. Lack of sleep also increases risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Bad deal! So what is a "goodnight's sleep" and how to combat common sleep issues? Glad you asked! Keep reading to find out!
During a healthy night's sleep, we go through 3 stages. These stages of sleep take us through REM (dreaming) and NON-REM (non-dreaming) states-each of which are crucial and equally important. Within those stages we enter different brain wave patters (Alpha-Delta) and each stage has its unique healing propensity and quality. That last one-Delta-is the state where the physical body heals and regenerates. This is our deep dreamless state.
SIDE NOTE: when practiced regularly and correctly, Nidra brings you to this Delta state and when held (without falling asleep), 15-20 minutes of Nidra here is equivalent to 60 minutes of sleep! Just one of the reasons I'm so passionate about leading this form of meditation and continuing my studies of the powerful practice.
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled topic ;)
Here's the thing, we say we don't have enough hours in the day to get 7-8 hours of sleep but....isn't it a priority issue? Do you prioritize your health and well-being? If you don't have your health, you have nothing! You can't enjoy life, work, take care of your family, etc. So you must put your health first. No one else will! So...if this is your issue, I encourage you to take a long hard look at your daily schedule and attempt to re-arrange it. Where can you let go of something to get to bed earlier or sleep a little later? Where can you delegate? We have to be efficient with our time. Time management is key to setting up any goal.
If you have trouble falling asleep try this:
If you have trouble staying asleep, maybe:
*if nothing works after several weeks, could be a hormonal issue and in that case have your levels checked.
I have several Yoga Nidra audio meditations in my online studio of varying lengths.
Click HEREOnline Healing Space to find out more.
MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE
I say this to clients all the time..."movement is medicine!". This is a powerful belief of mine. When we're stagnant, energy and emotions can get 'stuck', for lack of a better word, in the fascia. If you've never read the book, Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, it's a MUST READ! I read it about 11 years ago, and although I was already a believer in the mind-body connection, this book blew my mind! As a believer, I'm still always looking for 'proof' and for me, this book delivered! If you read one book the rest of the year, let this be it.
Okay, off my soap box and back to movement and immunity. We all know exercise (regardless of the form) is one of the pillars of a healthy life-style. Regular exercise improves blood pressure, cardiovascular function, joint health, mental health, and protects us against certain diseases. All of this directly affects our immunity. When we have a regular exercise practice, we tend to make healthier choices in life-style and nutrition. We sleep better, eat better, and handle stress better. To me, that's a huge element of HOW exercise strengthens immunity.
When we're physically active, we release 'feel good' hormones, we experience mental clarity, and we're better equipped to handle stress when faced with it. The beautiful thing is, we get less stressed out too. And when stress levels are down, immunity goes up! This all is a win-win-win (body, mind, and spirit)!
So what do I mean by "have a regular exercise practice"?
1) Well first, MOVE most days of the week. How you 'move', I don't care. Just move! Do what you enjoy cuz if you don't enjoy it, you're not gonna do it!
2) Next, SWEAT! One of the ways our body releases toxins is through our sweat. So you gotta sweat! Ideally 3-5 days a week. Again, what you do is your choice. Run, speed walk with your pup, play a sport, or do one of my Soulfit HIIT videos in my online studio ;) But sweat!
3) Finally, YOGA. Start a Yoga practice. There are countless studies showing how the postures (Asana), breath work (Pranayama), and meditation heal the mind and body leading to less stress (when done as a regular practice). And remember... +stress = -immunity.
Now, your 'regular Yoga practice' doesn't even have to be a 60-75 minute class (even 15 minutes has an impact) but start a Yoga practice. And it doesn't have to be my class (in person or online) just start! There's an amazing article in Psychology Today touting the powerful effects of Yoga and increased immunity. You can read it HERE!
So last week, I gave you nutrition tips for boosting your immune system BEFORE the flu and cold season hit. Now, we've added movement. Put those two together consistently and now you're talkin' health! Next week, we'll dive into how sleep, or more importantly lack of, affects immunity.
Have a question about any of this? Comment below. Let's chat!
In Love & Gratitude,
NUTRITION & IMMUNITY
WITH A PANTRY LIKE THIS, COLD & FLU SEASON GOT NOTHIN' ON YOU!
Now's the time to really start paying attention to what you're putting in your body. We need to make sure we're strengthening our immune system before the cold and flu season hits! Not once we're feeling the aches and pains of it.
The best ways to boost immunity is through diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. In the following newsletters, we'll focus on exercise and sleep for immunity. But this week, let's dive into nutrition for immunity. What foods every kitchen should have in it NOW to boost immunity and breeze through the flu season unscathed. Let's do this!
1. CHIA SEEDS
Why? Chia seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and have powerful antioxidant anti-anti-inflammatory power. Plus, the vitamins and minerals contained in chia seeds support immunity and encourage sleep (thanks to their magnesium content).
Why? Research shows, walnuts have been beneficial for brain health and psychological stress (which can weaken immunity). They're also one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods we know of! Plus, they contain several nutrients that support immunity (copper, vitamin E, B6, and folate).
3. CHAMOMILE TEA
Why? It's most powerful tool is its ability to relax the CNS (central nervous system) and aide in sleep. This protects and supports the immune system. Chamomile also has antibacterial activity in the body which helps stave of infections.
4. KIDNEY BEANS
Why? They're packed with fiber which feeds the good bacteria in the gut leading to stronger immunity. They're also a powerful antioxidant and contain several minerals that boost immunity.
5. COCOA POWDER
Why? Real raw cocoa powder has anti-inflammatory effects in the body. It's also been shown to be beneficial for brain and heart health. Plus, the antibacterial properties boost immunity! But, buy only organic, raw, and non-Dutched versions.
6. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Why? It contains both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Both of which boost immune cell activity and reduce systemic inflammation. Not to mention, research shows it's also beneficial in protecting agains inflammatory conditions like IBS, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Of course, this list could get quite extensive but this is a great place to start! Stock your kitchen with these powerful foods and there's no doubt you'll be ahead of the game when protecting yourself this flu & cold season. Just be sure to include these items several times a week for maximum benefit.
In Love & Gratitude,
In today’s world, it’s so easy to get caught up in our hectic lives always running from here to there, planning for the next hour or day, and giving little thought to the moment. I can’t tell you how many times I see yoginis rushing frantically into class only to rush out just as quickly. I always chuckle to myself thinking, ‘we rush to yoga and rush to leave it’. Isn’t that an oxymoron? We don’t mean to! That’s just how our lives are set up. We have a ton going on and very little time to do it. But your power hour of centering yoga doesn’t have to end in the studio. Here are five simple ways to bring yoga into your daily life, living yoga off the mat.
The moment your eyes flutter open in the morning, bring your hands in Pranamasana (prayer hands in front of your heart) and give a prayer of gratitude for anything! Whatever comes to mind (your breath, your family, the fact that you woke up). Just sincerely and soulfully give recognition and gratitude for your blessings and try to touch in with that heart space throughout your day.
Of everything. Become the observer, the witness. As you go throughout your day, when you find yourself being reactive and emotional, take a step back, inhale, and witness. Ask yourself what am I reacting to? How can I respond to this as opposed to reacting to it? This is an incredibly powerful shift!
Yes, I said breathe. Most of us breathe short shallow breaths, which over time, leads to anxiety, stress, even pulmonary weakness. As often as you can throughout the day (set a timer on your phone if you need to) pause for 60 seconds, yes you can spare 60 seconds, and witness your breath. Close your eyes, place one hand on the center of your belly and take equal inhalation and exhalations breathing slow soulful yogi breaths in your belly. Do this regularly and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you de-stress and zen-out!
Be mindful of your intention
Be aware of your intention behind every thought, every word, and every action. What are you hoping to cultivate from each action? That is your intention. Be mindful that you’re making decisions with the purest of intentions. Everything we think, say, and do comes from one of two places: fear or love. Make sure your intentions come from a place of love. This ensures love and good vibes not only for yourself but for those around you. Win-win!
Be of service
This can be to yourself one day and a stranger the next. Allow your intuition to guide you. But each day be of service to someone. Weave kindness and compassion into your daily life, whether it’s being kind to yourself by resting when you need it, bringing a neighbor’s trash can in, or donating your time. The choices are endless but make it a goal, in some way, to be of service to someone daily.
There you have it! Five beautiful and simple ways to live yoga and continue feeling those good vibes from your practice on the mat off the mat!
How do you LIVE Yoga? Share with me in the comments below!
I recently had the honor of seeing Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton lecture live. If you haven’t heard of these two, they are New York Times best-selling authors, they are scientists, biologists, activists, and the list goes on. A couple books of theirs that are must reads are Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief and Gregg Braden’s Isaiah Effect. Powerful, thought provoking, and life-changing! They are both pioneers in the field of energy, spirituality, and consciousness. And together on stage, they are incredibly entertaining! For 3 hours, they had a packed house captivated on the edge of their seats even while talking about epigenetics, gene expression, and neuropeptides. One of the best lectures I’ve ever been to!
The reason I start with this is because I have long been obsessed with the belief that our emotions affect our health and these men give you the science to back this. This is no longer a concept or a thought. Science has and continues to prove this causation. There’s good and bad news to this. The bad news is our emotions directly affectour health. And the good news is our emotions directly affect our health! Confused? Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.
Did you know that our subconscious mind is 1000x more powerful than the conscious mind?And our subconscious mind is really what runs the show! Think about this…we speak at roughly 125 words per minute. But we think at 1300-1500 words a minute. That’s a lot of subconscious thoughts going on in a minute! And what are those words and thoughts? Are they thoughts of frustration, victim mentality, negativity?Or are they empowering, uplifting, and love? It is these thought and words that create our emotions.
Where attention goes, energy flows.How about this fact….that 80% of all health issues are stress-related. And these health issues range from moderate to life-threatening. This is something we have control over but half the battle is realizing and accepting this fact. Your emotions predict and effect your state of health or lack of.
Emotions become moods and moods become personality traits.Through imaging, science has actually uncovered how and where we store emotions in the physical body. Unresolved or buried emotions in the body shows up as a ball of energy that ranges in size from a golf ball to a cantaloupe. This ball of negative energy distorts and disrupts our body’s energy field which then changes and distorts the tissues in our body (leading to health issues and disease).
Here’s the thing, when you hold onto or bury an emotion long enough it becomes a mood. Then pretty soon you’re always in this mood (whether it be angry, depressed, anxious). That 'mood' becomes a habit-both mentally and physically. The body ‘memorizes‘ this emotion/feeling/state and it becomes a habit and habits become personality traits. After months or even years, you forget what even caused this mood and now this is just part of your personality and so begins the decline in health mentally, energetically, and physically. We have to face our emotions, deal with them, and then let them go.
And this is why in the beginning I said that our emotions directly affecting our health is good and bad news It can be extremely painful to admit, uncover, and address wounds. It takes courage and strength but you are so worth it! Behind the frustration, pain, sadness, and anxiety is your spirit crying out for freedom. Your spirit calling to you, begging you to heal. Because as we heal our mind and body, we become clearer, cleaner, lighter. And then, we are able to reflect and illuminate our divine light allowing our spirit to soar. And with this alignment, we are then able to fulfill our Dharma in this world and are powerful conduits of love-helping to heal not only ourselves but those around us. Now isn’t that worth the grime and grit of working through our sh*t?! What an honor and gift.
I won’t discuss the paths to healing our emotions, because that is a very personal and sacred path. One soul’s path to healing may be a path to nowhere for another. Find what works for you and work it. Heal so you can live a life filled with health, happiness, peace, and of service.
What helps you let go of suppressed emotions? What tool helps you release heavy feelings? How have you healed? Share with me here!
WHY DROPPING AN F* BOMB IS GOOD FOR YOU!
So here’s the deal, I have to be transparent and start this by saying, when my kids were young I didn’t swear. Not in front of them or without them. I felt that swearing wasn’t “ladylike” and it meant I lacked intelligence because clearly, if I was intelligent, I could find a more appropriate and educated way to get my point across (so wrong!).
But let me tell you, being a stay-at-home mom of two kids 17 months apart, no car, and financially strapped…I had a lot of pent up frustration and stress. I know now that dropping beautifully articulated random F bombs sure would’ve helped relieve some of that stress! My when kids turned 18 and 19, suddenly I found myself dropping a few of these every now and then! I don’t know what happened. Something clicked in me, my language filter has come off and I not only swear, but I drop occasional much needed F bombs.
And you know what?It just feels right! I literally feel a weight lift and almost giggly after. It’s like that feeling you get when you’re struggling to achieve something and you finally do and you get a flood of release and feel good feels after. That’s it! That’s how I feel after I let myself say a few choice words, which had me thinking…why…why does it feel so good to say a swear word? So, as I do with most things, I started looking into it. I started digging and looking for hard science that backed up my new stress-relieving habit. And I found out it’s good for us!
On a biological, physiological, mental, and emotional level, it’s good for us!Let me address one misconception first. Swearing has nothing to do with intelligence or socioeconomic status. Actually, swearing is a defining characteristic of Type A personalities and Type A folks are the go-getters and achievers in the world. Richard Stephens, the author of Black Sheep: The Hidden Benefits Of Being Bad, found in his research that, in general, the lower middle class actually swears significantly less than the upper middle class. And interestingly enough, he found the higher the economic status, the freer they are with their profanity.
Other studies on the subject reveal that swearing is not a reflection of educational status. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should start dropping F*bombs or swearing every other sentence. As you’ll find later in this article, quite the opposite is true. But I am saying, let go of any inherited judgements of swearing, don’t feel like you’re not a ‘lady’ if you swear, stop believing real yogis don’t swear, or you’ll ruin your children if they occasionally here you drop an F* bomb. We’re not perfect and that’s ok! I think that’s a fabulous belief to model. Now let’s get into the ‘why’ it’s good for you.
“Research in 2014 revealed people who frequently swear are more likely to have a bigger vocabulary than their clean-tongued peers.”
Let That Sh*t Go!Swearing, whatever your favorite word of choice is, affects your body on a physiological level. Through imaging, like PET scans, we found that swearing originates from a different part of the brain. Language is located in the left hemisphere of the brain but research has found that swearing originates in the right hemisphere.
What does this mean? It means the brain, and body, perceive swearing differently than normal language. When we swear (or hear swearing) the amygdala, an integral part of flight or flight, is activated. When this center of the brain is triggered our body, among many functions, releases analgesic hormones allowing you to tolerate pain. This isn’t only useful when you stub your toe or crack your funny bone. It’s also a physical and emotional/mental pain release. There are times when I’m so frustrated and in the midst of a rant I drop an F bomb. I intrinsically feel a physical and emotional release. It’s like a huge exhale!
“Swearing triggers a well-known stress-induced analgesia,” says Professor Richard Stephens, senior lecturer in psychology at Keele University
Use Its Power WiselyHere’s the caveat: choose wisely. Scientists found, like with many things, the effectiveness of the release you feel when blurting out an F* bomb diminishes the more you use it. Although you may be genuinely stressed out enough to warrant its use on the regular, try to use your carefully placed F* bomb for special occasions. Save it for when you’re really pissed off or in a ton of pain. That way it stays a powerful tool in your arsenal to use for reducing stress.
Other Things To Consider There are a couple points I’d like to make about the power of swearing.
How about y’all? Do you love to drop a “bad” word every now and then? Have a funny story?
Share with me below!
3 Herbs Common Herbs & Their Medicinal Uses
This article is not intended to say that there isn’t a time and place for western pharmaceuticals, but I want to also present that Mother Nature has taken care of us by providing so much healing in plant form on this magical planet. The ancients knew this. The indigenous tribes of the Amazon still practice homeopathic healing to this day!
Everything is sacred! From the leaves and bark of a tree, to the liquid magic of sap, dirt, weeds, and the list goes on. There is medicine everywhere in nature. The Shamans spend a lifetime studying and learning the healing methods and offerings in the forest. There are way too many to discuss here so let’s focus on three that I have been drawn to this year that I grow in my yard. What they are, how they help us to heal, and how to use them.
SPEARMINT (member of the mint family)
SAGE (member of the mint family)
The smell is divine and the feeling is heavenly. I encourage you to listen to your intuition and if a specific flower or herb is calling you, try it! Listen to those whispers of your intuition because behind them is your soul giving you a recipe that’s just for you, to create peace and health in your life.
Do you have a favorite flower or herb? How do you use it? Share with me in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Herbs, flowers, and plants have powerful medicinal properties. If you’re taking any medications, consult your doctor first before adding any to your diet or routine.
Before I begin, I have a confession to make. I’m sorta an ‘all or nothing’ personality. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. Now, let me tell you why that matters.
Recently, I decided to quit coffee. And when I say quit, I mean cold turkey. Decided it one morning and just stopped, and didn’t even have a sip for over six weeks! I wouldn’t recommend this approach though, especially if you’re used to drinking it daily, because you could suffer some very uncomfortable withdraws. Luckily for me, other than the intense craving in the morning for my strong cup of joe, I had no physical withdraw symptoms. Phew!
Why Quit Coffee?
I do not think coffee is bad for you, and I even believe the contrary. Scientists are finding some amazing health benefits to moderate coffee consumption (may protect against Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s, liver disease, improve cardiovascular health, and is packed with antioxidants). However, there is a caveat in my opinion, and that’s making sure the coffee you’re drinking is free of pesticides and chemicals. So, drinking organic is best, when possible.
I decided to quit coffee for a few personal reasons, but one of the main reasons was the way caffeine affects me. One cup of coffee gives me heart palpitations and I feel jittery. I don’t like that feeling and wanted to give my body a break and see how I felt. When you stop or give up one habit, you have to replace it with something else otherwise you’re just white-knuckling it.
That something else for me was an almond milk matcha green tea latte. There are many reasons why this was my beverage of choice, and the first is that I love the taste. All are not created equal though, so it’s a trial and error approach to find the matcha that your taste buds enjoy. But when you do, it’s divine. The caffeine in this powerful elixir doesn’t affect the CNS (central nervous system) the way coffee does.
Matcha green tea does have caffeine so you feel mentally alert, but without the palpitations and jitters. It was a perfect replacement for me! There was a learning curve on how to make it without the powder clumping into a surprise bitter bomb at the end of my latte. But now, I’ve got it down perfect and love it! The best part is the amazing health benefits I’m getting too!
Matcha has been consumed in the East for over a millennium. I once read that warriors of medieval and early-modern Japan drank matcha before a battle not only because of its energizing property but because the energy it produces lasts up to six hours! This gave them the stamina they needed for their heroic battles. There are a ton of health benefits in matcha green tea but here are a few I find the most powerful:
In the end, after my total vacay from coffee, I now enjoy an organic cup of joe randomly whenever I crave the taste. But for now, I’m loving my daily morning cup of matcha green tea not only because of the taste but because I know with each sip I’m taking in an elixir of health.
Do you have an amazing matcha drink or recipe? What brand of matcha is your favorite? Share it with us in the comments below!
Dewey, glowing skin. Who doesn't want it? But how many of us actually have it?! And don't get me started on how hard it is to attain once you hit 40...well...fine...mid-40s! And here's one of the biggest problems we face when trying to get that I just stepped out of a mild steam room, not too dewey, perfect youthful glowing skin look (yes...that's how I say it to myself)...we try to achieve from the outside in!
Yes, what we put on our skin is important. Don't get me wrong! But it's waaaay more important what we put IN our bodies than ON them. Nothing drove this home more than when I was studying Nutrition. There are so many minerals and vitamins that play a role in collagen growth, health, and vitality of our skin and we get that through what we eat. And water, water, water! I could bore you with the exact minerals and what they do to the skin but Imma keep it simple for this post. But hey, if that's something you're into (so am I!) comment below and I'll write on the topic again geeking out on each macro and micronutrient that affects skin health!
Okay, but for now, let's keep it simple. Here are 4 main things you want to keep in mind when eating for healthy skin.
1) WATER, WATER, WATER
People always think they're drinking enough water but I guarantee you, you're not. Of course the water content in your food counts but so many don't eat enough fruits and veggies so they're lacking there too (another post coming on that). So to be safe, aim for 1/2-1oz of water per pound you weigh. So, if you weigh 135lbs, you should be drinking at least 67.5oz of water a day. I drink out of a 32oz canning jar so I know I need to fill it 2-3 times to make sure I'm getting enough. Simple!
Think deep red/purple fruits, green tea, red wine and dark chocolate (at least 70%)-the last two are my favorite!! Antioxidants sorta 'disarm' free radicals. And if you haven't heard, free radicals are bad news. They're everywhere in our environment, what we eat, put on our body, and a by-product of metabolism. So they're normal and unavoidable BUT we want to limit our exposure and help the body get rid of them. That's where the yummy things I mentioned above come in. Stave off wrinkles and encourage glowing skin with those bad boys!
3) EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids)
Think nuts, seeds, fish, vegetable oils (flaxseed, olive, nut/seed oils). These help nourish and plump the skin so it feels and appeared less crepey (so does water!). That's an easy one for me. I literally walk around with a bag of nuts on me at all time!
4) VITAMIN A
Think dark leafy greens, deep yellow/orange vegetables and fruits, eggs, and pistachios.
Vitamin A naturally contains retinol and retinoic acid that are important for cell production and growth. Who needs a tube of Retin A when you can eat it? And for a fraction of the price! And because vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant it's powerhouse when it comes to bustin' up those free radicals.
That's it you guys! Those simple things can have a huge impact on your skin. Plus, it's not only more effective than $100 skin creams it's way cheaper! Now, you wanna know how I pack all this into a meal? Check out one of my favorite go-to salads I make all the time!
Joy's Go-To Salad
And of course, I have water with lunch and dark chocolate after. Always. Period. :)
How do you get your glow on?! Let me know what and comment below! Have a fave salad recipe? Share it in the comments below!