"The difference between a weed and a flower is a judgment." -Unknown
This was the quote on my cup of dandelion tea recently, and it sparked a whole host of thoughts about weeds and seeds both physically and metaphorically. I like to use metaphors in my work as a health coach, and gardening is near and dear to my heart. In the garden, weeds are invasive. They take over. They suck all of the water and nutrients out of the soil, depleting it so that other plants can't grow. The seeds of the weeds often blow into our garden and take root before we even realize it.
For some the dandelion is a weed, and they do everything they can to eliminate them. For others, the dandelion is a powerful medicinal herb. In my vegetable garden, I allow a few dandelions to grow, because I like to add their leaves to my salads. I also try to save some of the roots and leaves for drying and making a tea. Dandelion tea is a powerful detoxing tea. It is known for it's abilities to decrease liver and gallbladder inflammation, increase bile production, stimulate digestion and support the urinary system. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C, D, & B-complex as well as the minerals iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc, manganese & potassium. So what do you think? Is a dandelion a weed or a powerful herb? They have nutritional benefits, and are pretty to look at, but they most certainly can take over and deplete the soil, if not carefully maintained.
Negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are like weeds in our lives. They are invasive. They often blow in from somewhere else. As they grow, they deplete us, and suck the life out of us, making it hard for us to flourish. Ideally, we want to pull weeds out when they are young, and their roots are small, but some of our weeds have been around for a long time, and their roots go deep. These weeds may be harder to get rid of, and you may need to pull them several times before they are gone for good. Have patience when they grow back, and commit to weeding them out again. What are some of the "weeds" that you want to pull out of your garden?
As you think about what weeds you'd like to pull from your garden, ask yourself what weeds you'd like to eliminate for good, and which ones you'd like to keep around in scarce amounts, because you can see they have some benefits or they make you happy in some way, but you don't want them to become invasive and take over your life. An example might be overly critical thoughts. Having critical thoughts all of the time can deplete one's energy, but one critical self thought at the right moment, can be a catalyst to creating a healthy change. Another example might be indulging in a decadent activity. It may be energizing and make you happy, but too much of a good thing over time may throw you into an unhealthy spiral. As you reflect on this, you might ask yourself, "What thoughts or activities are no longer serving me at this time?"
Setting Intentions crowds out weeds:
Setting intentions are one way that we can control what's growing in our thought garden. Intentions are like little seedings. As we plant intentions, we crowd out the weeds, and plant the medicinal herbs that nourish us and help us heal and grow.
Seeding- Our thoughts, feeling and behaviors are like seeds, the more we focus on them, the more we plant and grow. As we go along creating the gardens of our dreams, we want to be aware of what we are planting. When we live a life of intention, we are aware of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors we bring into our lives, and we do so with purpose. Keep reading and I'll give you ideas for setting intentions throughout your day, so that other people's seeds don't blow into your garden, and your old deep rooted weeds don't take over.
Planting your garden- Below you'll find some ideas for areas where you can bring intention into your life, so that you can feel like you are being true to yourself, creating your reality and taking charge of your life again. During the next week, try to bring intention into as many areas of your life as you can.
Morning Intention- Setting an intention before you get out of bed in the morning is a way to plant seeds for how you'd like the day to go. Some of my favorites are:
"I flow through the day with ease."
"Troubles roll off of my shoulders for today."
"I choose to be true to myself today."
Eating with intention- As you decide what to eat, set an intention that you choose something that has the nutrients that your body needs today. While you eat, set an intention that the food you eat nourish your body, mind and Spirit, and that anything in the food that isn't good for you, be filtered out by your body's elimination system.
Setting an Intention before starting a task- Think about what it you want to accomplish with this task, and set an intention to help guide you. An example might be, "I am setting an intention to stay on task without getting distracted."
Setting an intention before having a conversation- Before engaging in conversation, especially ones that you anticipate might be challenging in some way, set an intention to help guide you though. Some examples might be, "I will listen with an open heart and mind." and "I will share my thoughts in a caring way."
Setting an intention before going to sleep- Here you can set an intention to sleep peacefully, wake up feeling refreshed, have a happy dream, etc.
You can write your intentions on index cards, sticky notes or put them in your phone as reminders. You can put them in your planner or keep them in a place where you will see them throughout the day. Let me know how setting intentions works for you. I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share them.
Take some time to listen to my interview with Cheryl Meyer, The Health Muse. Cheryl is a fellow Health Coach and Author who is determined to get the message out about toxins in our food and environment, so that people can heal their bodies and feel good again. Her motto and title of one of her books is, "It feels good to feel good." Cheryl alternates podcasts between providing healthy living information and interviewing people about their healing stories. She is a great resource. Click the here to listen to our interview. We talk about my healing journey, health coaching, Reiki and taking charge of your health.
This year has been a milestone year for me. I entered the year with some trepidation thinking about the number of years that I've been on this earth. Can you relate?
I knew it was coming, but I'm not sure how I got here so quickly. A half a century seems like such a long time, and feels so old, but honestly, most days, I still feel like I'm in my 20's, and on my birthday, I enjoyed turning my rose gold, 50 balloons upside down, and making them into 20. After all, isn't time a man made concept, and don't we create our own reality?
I came into the year kicking and screaming and resisting. I know, it makes no sense. I was going to turn 50 no matter how much I resisted. At times conversations with friends and family were helpful, and others only made me feel worse. As the year progressed, I watched many of my childhood friends turn 50 with grace and ease, and thought, I want to get to that place too. At some point, I remembered something that my Mom used to say to her friends, "You are only as old as you feel." This became my new mantra, and I said it every time I felt anything but positive about my age.
Reflecting back over the past 50 years, I realized that I didn't always feel this good and this young. In fact, in my mid 30's, I felt sick everyday. My bones and joints ached. I had digestive problems, and I was exhausted all of the time. I felt like I was in the last years of my life, and honestly, if I didn't make lifestyle changes, I would have continued on that trajectory.
These reflections got me thinking about how lucky I am to still be here on this earth. I have some childhood friends who didn't make it this far. So being here truly is a gift. Slowly, my attitude has shifted from sulking to feeling grateful and celebrating life!
I've started to focus on how I want to feel moving forward for the next 50 years. I want to feel energetic, positive, flexible and strong. I want to enjoy time in nature, enjoy time with friends and family, and enjoy my career. I know that in order to continue to feel young and healthy, I've got to eat nutrient dense foods that are free from harsh chemicals. I need to move my body daily, and I need to make time for reflection and play. I need to nurture my body, mind and Spirit, and appreciate my life here on earth.
As the year progresses, I find myself tuning in, and listening more and more to my Inner Guide, and I've been feeling the pull to do cartwheels and elbow stands. I wonder, is this my ego's resistance to turning 50? Is it my body calling for greater upper body strength? Is it my spirit wanting to recapture being a kid in acrobatics class? Whatever it is, it feels good to be doing them. I can feel myself getting stronger each day. I also feel my posture getting straighter. You can catch videos of my cartwheels on the beach, and my elbow stand on my Instagram page.
I plan on doing them as long as I can, and hopefully, I'll still be doing them in my 80's. If I listened to my fear mind, I wouldn't have even attempted to try doing them again. You know, that little voice that says,
"You can't do that,"
"You're not in shape,
"You're too old,"
"You haven't done that in 30 years, you'll hurt yourself."
What I love about listening to my Inner Guide about doing these exercises is that it doesn't feel like a chore. I don't feel like I have to discipline myself to do it or force myself to do it in anyway.
What is your Inner Guide calling you to do? What have you been holding yourself back from doing? What have you been telling yourself you are too old to do? How do you want to feel moving forward?
By: Angela Landeros
My first job was working with children and adults with disabilities. Yes, and even women with multiple sclerosis. In my youth I wanted to massage horses, and I eventually got certified. I never wanted to massage people, because I thought it couldn’t be the same as working on an animal, for one, they don’t talk to you with words, and I was ok with that -- horses were what taught me how to truly listen.
When I was really sick right before I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was no longer teaching, but instead I worked at a local saddlery -- closest thing to horses was helping horse people. I had also eventually, for some reason, become a massage therapist who -- worked on people, who could talk!
I couldn’t concentrate on what you were telling me, but I tried. I kept working multiple jobs, but my brain wanted to explode! Many things were changing, and it seemed physically not for the better, and I didn’t know why! Wasn’t I doing what I should? I had a good mostly gluten-free pescatarian diet, and took lots of supplements.
I was following my path which seemed to be meant for me. I mean, how’d I get to be massaging people?! Something I had never wanted to do. How’d I get out of the arena teaching riding lessons to very special people -- something I had never thought I’d stop doing?
My husband and best friend were there every time I needed them, through every appointment with doctors, neurologists, MRIs and a spinal tap. My skin was on fire, my brain was on fire...my body was on fire. But why? No one could answer that question. I kept going, working and trying to listen. I prayed! And then I met a girl from church, the only one to join my meet up group, for people with MS who didn’t want to sit and complain -- but rather lift each other up! She’s the one who told me about my first online summit: The Autoimmune Summit.
I listened, and listened and listened some more, because finally people are telling me why I was sick and why inflammatory foods were -- well inflammatory, and causing all my symptoms. I truly believe I could have been diagnosed with any autoimmune condition, MS just happened to be what I got on the “Spin The Wheel of Disease” board game. I believe it’s a game of chance, and we are the victims. We won’t get into who’s at fault for ruining the food supply, but I will tell you, that you have more control than you think. Self control and disciple are hard, but disease is harder. Changing my diet to a non-inflammatory diet reversed my skin issues, anxiety, depression, restless leg syndrome, numbness and tingling, and the list goes on.
People I talked to about my health journey were so amazed that the right food could have changed my health and could have empowered me to stop MS treatment! When I say I talked to people -- it’s true I could finally hold two sided conversations, because finally my brain was cool and calm, although now what wanted to explode in me were my revelations! My new knowledge was spilling over! You can’t stop me from talking about my healing and discoveries once you give me the chance to speak. Writing about it and creating a tool for others just seemed like the natural next step.
Someone like me who never wanted to work on people was meant to heal other people through my health journey. A tough girl who never wanted out of the arena -- had to get out of the arena because life was going to change. My health was going to change. Massaging people?! Yes, because MS would cause enough damage so that I couldn’t walk and ride, and be out all day in the sun, I couldn’t walk the sales floor all day at the saddlery either.
By a miracle, I was meant to heal and be strong enough to do it. The left side of my body doesn’t work so well. I can’t walk far without a limp, and I have an action tremor in my left arm. All that and I’m the toughest massage therapist around! I work on athletes 6’4 and 250 pounds, makes the ladies feel like feathers in these tough hands. I told the doctors from the beginning, that my job helps my body. I may not be able to do many hours in a day (to the disappointment of many) but by grace I can do it, and with a fierce passion.
Now I am also meant to heal through telling my story, inspiring others to follow a food protocol that heals and that can, I believe with my whole heart, prevent disease in the body. Publishing my book, The FLog JournaI was a huge leap of faith! My wish is to help people take control of their health by learning to make good food choices with food journaling.
I don’t get discouraged that damage is slow to heal, as long as I believe and know I am healing by small improvements. I WILL keep going. The tremor in my left arm has improved over the years, and I feel better than ever. That’s proof for me!
This is a list of 16 of my favorite gluten free foods from my trip to the the San Diego Nourished Festival, plus an awesome gluten free app that helps you find gluten places to eat when you are on the go. I've included links to their websites, so that if you have additional food sensitivities, you can check out their ingredients.
Find Me Gluten Free App- www.findmeglutenfree.com
Enjoy Life- Most people with food sensitivities are familiar with Enjoy Life Foods. They set up this fun "play ground" where you follow a path to gluten free treats. My favorite, of course, is their chocolate chips. www.enjoylifefoods.com
Lilac Patisserie- This bakery had the best gluten free bread I've ever tasted. The texture was moist. They are local to California, but they ship their bread anywhere in the US. Www.lilacpatisserie.com.
Rickaroons- Coconut energy bar that takes like dessert! These are amazing! Organic, certified gluten free, certified non-GMO, vegan and paleo. www.rickaroons.com
Little Northern Bakery- More delicious gluten free bread. littlenorthernbakehouse.com
Cook's Sourdough bread- It is a yummy gluten, soy and nut free, non-GMO and vegan. Check it out at Www.cooksglutenfreesourdough.com
RW Garcia- For yummy, wholesome, non- GMO, gluten free chips and crackers, try these. rwgarcia.com
Jovial Foods- Love cooking Italian? Jovial foods has everything you need, GF flour, pasta, tomato paste. The list goes on. Check them out at www.jovialfoods.com
Gem City Fine Foods- I sampled their amazing pomegranate cheese cake. They are certified gluten and nut free. Available at www.gemcityfoods.com and Amazon.com.
Kabayashi Gluten Free Ramen Rice Noodle- No MSG, vegetarian, egg free, peanut free, some flavors contain dairy. Www.kobayashiseimen.jp/english.
Farmwise Foods-I had my first onion ring in about 15 years and it was delicious! The coating was made with cauliflower. Farmwise Foods has Veggie fries, veggie tots and veggie rings. www.farmwisefoods.com
Gomacro- Organic, vegan, gluten free, nut free, kosher, non-GMO, certified RAW, certified CLEAN. Their tag line says, if there was a certified delicious, they'd gave that too, and I agree.
Amy's Chocolates- They are a perfect balance between taste and nutrition. They are non-GMO, organic, gluten, dairy, soy and nut free with no wax or fillers. They purely decadent and delicious. amyschocolate.net
Hearthy Foods- This company has every type of gluten free flour you can imagine, plus lots of other yummy treats. Check them out at hearthyfoods.com
Ocho- These are yummy organic, gluten free, dairy free, non-GMO chocolates. www.ochocandy.com
Hopkins AG Almond butter- This wasn't at the expo, but I stumbled upon it at a farmer's market. It was the best Mexican Chocolate Almond butter. You can check it out at www.hopkinsag.com
Miyoko's Cultured Vegan Butter- This is another product that wasn't at the festival, but I stumbled upon it along the way. It is an amazing butter substitute for those who have to eat dairy free. It is made with cashews, but melts like butter and tastes like butter. It is also USDA organic. www.miyokos.com
That's it for now. If you try any of the above, let me know what you think. I'll be sharing more in my newsletter, and I'm hoping to have a guest blogger tell her amazing story in a future blog.
A new year is coming upon us. Some are sad to see this one go, and others are ready to leap into a new year, and have a fresh start. With a new year always comes conversations about resolutions. How successful have you been with making new year's resolutions in the past? Are you planning on making one again this year? I recently read that about 8% of the New Year's resolutions that are made are actually achieved. Maybe this is why so many have given up on making them. I think there are a lot of factors that influence or success or lack there of, including what we choose, how we go about making resolutions and working on them, and how we might inadvertently sabotage our own efforts. So, here are some things to consider when choosing a new year's resolution.
1) What makes you happy, and what do you feel really passionate about doing? Choose this for your resolution. When you feel passionate about something, you are more likely to invest your time and effort into it. Often people choose things that they feel they "should" be doing rather than what they actually want for themselves.
2) Join others who have chosen the same goal. Having social support to carry something through can increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.
3) Break your resolution down into small attainable goals. Write the goals down, check them off and celebrate their completion. When we create too much change too fast, our brain becomes stressed and resistant, so take it slow and steady, and remember to celebrate your efforts.
4) View your resolution as a journey, allow yourself the flexibility to change your pace and route as needed. If you wander off your original path, decide if you want to get back on it or if you prefer to change direction.
For more thoughts on resolutions, read my past article Savoring Life Once Again.
Also, check out my New Year, New You Program
It has been a while since I posted here, as we are in the midst of the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to share a yummy treat from my cookbook, Gluten Free Alchemy: The Heart & Soul of Creating Gluten Free Goodies. As we get closer to the holidays, I love to put on music, and get lost in the flow of baking. It is a great way to destress, lose track of the mundane, and create something different. The treats below are a good source of protein and healthy fats, and low in sugar and guilt. They not only taste great, but they feel great in your body, and they are extremely quick and easy to make. I hope you'll try them, and let me know what you think.
Coconut Lime Tea Treats
1 cup almond flour
1 cup ground cashews
1 tablespoon flax meal
14-16 dried dates
12-14 drops food grade lime essential oil* (or 1 teaspoon lime zest & 1 teaspoon lime juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dark chocolate shavings or chips (optional)
1 cup shredded coconut (1/4 cup to incorporate, the rest to roll the balls in)
First combine the vanilla and essential oils. Next, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor with a chopping blade or grinder. Use only ¼ cup of the coconut in the recipe, and put the remainder in a bowl. Pulse grind until dough becomes sticky. Form dough into balls, roll in the shredded coconut, and chill for at least 1 hour.
Yields: about 18-20 cookies. Serving size 1-2 treats.
*I use Young Living brand essential oils for cooking and baking, because of their Seed to Seal quality process. You can find other brands in health food stores and specialty cooking stores. Their purity and quality may be slightly different, so if you use a different product, do a taste test as other brands may be more diluted.
Looking for more holiday cookie and treat recipes that are lower Glycemic and taste great. Check out my cookbook, available in Kindle and paperback. You'll find gluten free recipes for:
You might also like to check out my
New Year, New You- 28 Day Post Holiday Reset Program.
When is the last time, you did something for the first time? These song lyrics from Darius Rucker have been flowing through my head on and off for a good week now, especially since I spent the day with my three year old nephew this past weekend. When you are three, there are so many things that you do for the first time. Each day brings new experiences, a sense of exhilaration, and something new to get excited about. As we get older, we have fewer and fewer moments of doing things for the first time. Things become routine, mundane, habitual.
So I started thinking, when was the last time, I did something for the first time? I have to admit, it really has been taking quite a bit of thought. On my birthday, I went to a new restaurant and had a really delicious Louisiana style shrimp and grits, but I'm not sure that really counts. It was fun, but lacking that first time excitement. The next example that I came up with was doing a ropes course. That was three years ago. I must have done something for the first time since then? So I started to scroll through pictures on my phone for clues.
Last week, was my first attempt at making fermented carrots. Believe it or not, this is exciting to me. In March of this year, I took a tile painting art class for the first time called Meditate & Create. That was fun, and required learning a new process, some new skills and there was the enjoyment of being in the flow of new creativity. Then there appears to be a big gap, and in 2015 I did glass blowing for the first time, went to Texas for the first time, and started raising chickens for the first time. Then there is another gap and in 2013, I took my first craniosacral class. That was exciting, and in many ways, each craniosacral therapy session is a new experience.
So now I know why those song lyrics have been sticking with me. It is time for me to start having some more first time excitement, and I'm looking for ideas. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Do you have any ideas for new first time exciting experiences for me? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Written By Ruth Ann Smalley
I had to laugh the first times my kids used the expression “facepalm” to indicate their reaction to an embarrassing or difficult situation. Because, as an Energy Medicine practitioner, I knew that this natural gesture was starting to get the recognition it deserves. But most people still don’t know the whole story, so I’d like to tell it. Or, my version of it.
The hand to the face, or more specifically, the forehead, is actually a powerful healing technique. As Donna Eden, renowned healer and founder of Eden Energy Medicine explains, we instinctively move our hands to our forehead to help us cope with stress, shock, surprise, frustration, chagrin, and other strong emotions that tend to send us into fight, flight, or freeze. The subtle electromagnetism of our hands helps bring energy, blood, and oxygen back to our forebrain after stress has sent everything flying out to our extremities. I’d venture to guess that a facepalm like the one shown is also helping to shield our Third Eye chakra from unwanted intrusions, while we collect our emotions. However, we normally don’t really keep our hands in place quite long enough for the full magic to occur. At least 3 minutes of gentle holding is really what we need. And what would be better yet--if some nice person in our lives could do the holding for us!
Learning Energy Medicine has made me so much more aware of the power we all have in our hands. Humans as a species have known this forever, as you can tell from the historic use of the Hamsa symbol for protection and blessing in many cultures.
Going even further back, the ancient, evocative handprints in Argentina’s Cave of Hand make us feel touched through time, just seeing those individual impressions from people who walked the earth tens of thousands of years ago
Consider all the personal impressions you may have stored away about hands. Imagine the feel of a loving hand on your brow. The sensation of slipping your tiny hand into that of a beloved grown up when you were a child. The first time you held hands with someone you had a crush on.
If we think about how much our hands are our extensions of our brains, allowing us to reach out into the world to make connections--to give, to act, to shape, and create from our ideas--it makes perfect sense that hands and heads have a very special relationship. Hands are also connected to the field of the heart chakra, so they carry that heart connection, as well. (photo: marianocecowski).
Headache, light-headed, dull-headed, brain-fog: before I studied energy, these were pretty much the only descriptive terms I would have come up with for sensations the head might be prone to. What a surprise, then, once I began putting my hands on them, that the energy of people’s heads could conjure up words such as ping-ponging, pinballing, and surging, and images such as tides coming in; illuminated circuitry connecting; noisy gourd rattles gently transforming into calm human heads; or flashing, erratic lights, gradually coordinating into a softly glowing movie marquee. And best of all, deep, pure springs of water that have been buried and are now liberated, flowing to the surface, bringing your inner wisdom and insight into consciousness.
Hard to fathom if you haven’t experienced it, but yes, but this is how people’s heads can feel when I am holding them. As the energy gets organized, the shifts are amazingly palpable. Besides breathing, it is the simplest technique I know for creating a beneficial state change, for yourself, or for another. So, next time you find yourself instinctively facepalming, take note! Take a deep breath. Move your other hand to the back of your head, and stay put for at least 3 minutes. As you draw on the ancient intelligence of your ancestors, your attention and intention will make this a helpful, healing moment!
Ruth Ann Smalley, PhD, Certified Eden Energy Medicine and Biofield Tuning Practitioner. Vibrant-energies.com
Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash
Written by Guest Blogger
Head of Prevention Outreach
Health and wellness usually focus on the physical markers, such as Body Mass Index, blood pressure, blood sugar, muscle mass and more. But wellness also includes the ability to get through your day feeling good about yourself and your life. With mental illness and addiction issues, wellness can be more difficult to achieve. When you’re struggling with life, you might have thoughts of suicide, and you’re not alone.
Suicide is a major cause of premature and preventable death. In 2009 alone, there were about 100,000 years of potential life lost to Canadians younger than 75 as a result of suicides, with men at a higher risk than women. There were 3,890 suicides in Canada, a rate of 11.5 per 100,000 people. Research has shown that mental illness is the most important risk factor for suicide; and that more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a mental or addictive disorder. Depression is the most common illness among those who die from suicide, with about 60 percent suffering from this condition.
Another major risk factor is addiction. The rate of major depression is four times higher than those without, and people with substance abuse issues are six times more likely to commit suicide than those without. Sometimes it’s the drugs or alcohol that make people have suicidal thoughts, and sometimes it’s the idea that they have no hope.
Here are some warning signs that you or someone you love is at risk for suicide:
If you are feeling suicidal, like there’s no hope and your life isn’t worth continuing, seek help immediately. While you may not be able to see it now, there is always a way out of your situation and a future for you.
Connect with others: If you are worried that you may lose control of your actions and hurt yourself or others, tell someone. Tell a trusted friend who can lend an ear. Reach out to a suicide hotline. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Clear your home of weapons: Get rid of ways to hurt yourself, such as pills, guns or razor blades. If you can, leave the home and go somewhere you feel safe.
Develop a plan: Write down a method to keep you from hurting yourself. Keep it in clear sight, so that it’s easy to find. Write down ways to help you calm down, clear reasons to stay alive, phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, write down a place where you feel safe or remind yourself to go to the hospital. When you’re suicidal, you may not be thinking clearly, so having a written plan can help.
See a professional: Get help. If you’re suffering this much, you should be under a doctor’s care. Talk to your primary care physician, who can recommend mental health professionals to you. She can also get you started on medication that can help you feel better. You may not want to talk about your problems, but talking does help.
Remember that no matter how bad life gets, it will always get better. It may not get better soon, and you may have to work extra hard to get there, but it will. Everything passes. Remember that there are people who love you and want you in their lives. Take care of your mental health so you can start to build a happier tomorrow.
I'm a nature loving, garden growing, foodie who loves to eat sweet treats, walk barefoot, snuggle with my dog, discover waterfalls, gaze at the stars,explore my dreams and co-create my own reality.