A shopping & gathering list for 2 week Self Care Cycle

Our suggestions

In preparation for our 2 weeks of daily of self care practices, it may be helpful to shop for or gather the following items. These are our suggestions only with no obligation to buy all (or any) of these things. With the instructions for each day's activity, we will always offer alternatives or modifications with items that are found in most households.

accessories & support

- 2-4 glass jars with lids (mason or empty jam jars)

- note book or journal

- a small pillow or pad for sitting on during meditation

- a quiet corner or room that is not too hot or cold

- your fav lotion, cream , or body oil

- tea tree oil

- a skin-safe/friendly calming essential oil (we recommend lavendar, rosemary, sage, frankincense, or orange)

- tennis ball or similar sized hard-ish ball

- one or 2 candles

- dry rice or bean-filled eye pillow (can use a tube sock and fill with rice or beans then tie-off end)

- epsom salts (can get at most pharmacies & drugstores)

- electric heating pad or hot water bottle

- headphones with music player/smart phone or small portable speaker 

- witch hazel (can get at most pharmacies & drugstores)

- jojoba, sweet almond, or organ face oil

- flavored protein powder (whey or vegan rice/pea protein)

- greens powder (can be superfood mix, look for one that contains spirulina, kelp, and digestive enzymes)

- vitamin D3 supplements (1,000-5,000 IU/day)

- probiotics (capsule or powder), look for one with more than 4 bacterial strains

- zinc supplements (there are many different forms, follow dosing instructions)

Foods & Beverages

- your fav herbal tea

- organic raw apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, unpasteurized with "mother" in it. It should appear cloudy and you will see sediment)

- organic whole rolled oats or unflavored (no sugar-added) oatmeal

- organic coconut oil (unrefined) and/or flax oil

- organic ghee (aka clarified butter; you can also make this at home)

- a non-dairy, non-soy milk (your choice whether it is sweetened or not): hemp, almond, coconut, rice, flax, or your favorite

- organic bone broth (not the same as broth)

- fresh, frozen, or dried brightly colored berries: blueberries, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, goji berries, acai, blackberries, etc (if dried, make sure there is no added sugar or preservatives)

- organic raw unsalted nuts: almond, cashew, pecan, macadamia, brazil, or your favs.

- organic raw unsalted seeds: pumpkin, hemp (aka hemp hearts), sesame, flax

- organic raw unpasteurized local honey or maple syrup

- 4-5 medjool dates

- dry chia seeds

- flax meal

- turmeric root powder and/or raw turmeric root

- ginger root powder and/or raw ginger root

- raw garlic cluster

- brown rice flour

- organic raw coconut flakes with no added sugar

- stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit extract (non-sugar sweeteners) (not agave)

- organic whole lemon(s)

- black pepper powder

- cayenne pepper powder

- cinnamon powder

- nutmeg powder

- baking soda

- organic black beans and white navy beans

- raw organic cacao (not same as cocoa)

- brown rice, sprouted if available

- raw organic grass-fed, pastuered eggs

- kombucha (fermented tea) or kefir (yogurt-like drink)

- lacto-fermented vegetable (kimchi, kraut, sauerkraut; preferrably locally made, not preserved in a can)

- organic beets (beetroot), boiled or shredded or in a paste

- organic raw pumpkin mash

- organic avocado

- non-peanut nut butter (almond, cashew, sunflower)

- dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, etc)

- 1 bunch of green leafy herbs (cilantro, basil, parsely)

 


 
 

Day 1: Unwavering Flame Meditation

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As I considered what we should do for the first module of our 14 day radical self care cycle, I kept circling back to the simple yet soothing and sometimes transformative meditation with a candle flame. 

As human beings we are naturally drawn to fire & flames. Every culture, religion, and society since pre-historic and even pre-human times have recognized and honored the power of fire. It symbolizes many things including the light & life-force within our own hearts & bodies. Where there is fire, there is life, safety, warmth, comfort, and nourishment. Yet our beings also seem to instinctively understand the raw destructive nature of fire that when out of control is a devastating and all-consuming force.

This duality of the fire energy is partly why flames are so attractive to us, echoing aspects of our multi-dimensional nature of shifting sensations, fluctuating emotions, and active minds.

Discover this meditation on your own as you follow the process outlined below or join me on YouTube (scroll down for link).

So now I invite you to find a place where you can sit quietly or silently, preferably in the dark or low-light and preferably in a space where there is little or no air movement. Find a candle that has a prominent wick so that when you light it, the flame can grow and not be hampered by the wax. Also perhaps find a small pillow to sit on or a blanket to wrap yourself in. Maybe also have a notepad or journal nearby to record any thoughts or experiences that might come up as you sit with the flame.

Now light the candle and set it about a foot or 2 in front of you. Wait a few moments for the flame to become steady. Take this time to adjust yourself and find an easy seated position. Straighten your back gently, finding a straight spine without pushing or pulling anything too much. Let your chin turn down slightly so that you have an easy gaze at the candle flame. If it is uncomfortable to sit with a straight back on a pillow then let your back rest against a wall. Plan to sit with the candle for 5 minutes. Perhaps you would like to set a timer. You can always go longer then 5 minutes and if something does not feel right in your body, then try changing positions or perhaps take a break from the meditation and come back later to try again or finish.

Once the you see that the flame is steady and unwavering, sit with it and look directly into the fire, letting the light infuse your mind and heart, not shying away from the brightness. Follow and hear your own breathe moving through your body as you silently watch the flame. Feel the sensation of the breathe filling your ribs and belly and then calmly let it leave your body with the exhale. Continue connecting with the breathe by using a gentle rhythm of inhales & exhales, being aware of the breathe moving in your body but not necessarily controlling it.

Perhaps imagine the fire gently and slowly moving through your body burning away and dissolving things which no longer serve you, making space for new opportunities and different energies.

Perhaps imagine that the flame of the candle is lighting the flames within you that cook food for your body's nourishment and the hearth fires of home. This body is the home of your being, "you" are not your body. "You" are a being within your body and your body is the home. So let the fires bring warmth, comfort, and safety to the home of your being.

Perhaps invite in thoughts about gratitude and appreciation but keep it easy, not striving or asking for anything. Just feeling the warmth of gratitude for your breathe and this day that you lived. Invite in peace with yourself and let your body know that it is worthy of to be the home for your being. it is a good and strong body and your being is also worthy of being able to live in this good body. Even if these words and thoughts feel foreign or new, let them come into your mind. Just give it a try without judging or comparing or turning away. Let the peace and the gratitude come in.

Enjoy this meditation for at least 5 minutes and when you are finished move slowly and deliberately, blowing out the candle and re-arranging your space. Perhaps make a note of any thoughts that came up. Hopefully you feel calmed and at peace and you can go enjoy the rest of your day or evening however you please.

Namaste my friends.

 

 

Day 2: Functional & Relaxing Hand Massage

For Day 2 of our deep yin radical self care cycle, let's enjoy a functional and relaxing hand massage (image & instructions below).

Our hands are some of the most used and therefore most important parts of our bodies. We use them for all kinds of communication from non-verbal to technological. We use them for almost every task and activity that we do. If you've ever had a hand or wrist injury or disability, you know the frustration of not having your hands be fully functional.

So let's take a few minutes to honor, appreciate, and focus on our amazing hands. I recommend trying this on yourself first and then if you like, having a friend or a partner massage your hand. 

Many of us have heard about foot reflexology, a foot massage philosophy and practice based on the idea that different regions and portions of our feet and toes are connected via physical (reflexes; conscious and subconscious) and energetic channels or linkages (meridians) to every part of our bodies. Similarly, different areas and regions of our hands, wrists and fingertips are linked to specific regions throughout the body.

These concepts come from ancient healing and medical systems from around the world. Having been used by diverse cultures for millenia, our modern western scientific and medical system is only now coming to acknowledge and evaluate the potential value of foot & hand reflexology.

But let's not wait on science to re-discover something we can simply find and benefit from ourselves. We can use hand reflexology and functional massage to connect with organs and regions throughout our body. By massaging the associated region of the hand, we can increase the blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and the flow of energy/life force to that region, thus improving function and resilience to that organ or region. 

The practice of functional hand massage begins with gathering your favorite oil or lotion and finding a quiet, comfortable place to sit and relax. Seek an oil or lotion that has a gentle and natural scent such as unscented lotion or oil that is spiked with just a bit of mild essential oil. Too much or too intense fragrance can distract or sometimes detract from fully engaging with the sensations and emotions that arise during hand massage. I love unscented shea butter lotion or coconut oil spiked with a little lavendar, lemongrass, rosemary, frankincense, or orange oil.

OK, so now that you have your oil or lotion and your quiet place to sit, let's get down to business! Below is an image of the hands with colored dots in various regions and a key to indicate which colored dot or hand region is linked with which organ or body part. Take some oil or lotion in your hands and massage it all around evenly and then follow the colored dots, massaging each region slowly and purposely.

Use your mind's eye to visit each organ or part of your body. Focus your attention and internal gaze into that region. Picture that organ or region in your mind and heart and send it warm, soothing, golden light and energy, send it gratitude and appreciation. Seek within yourself to see if you can feel that organ or body part communicating back to you in some way. Breathe softly throughout the massage, purposely noticing your breaths coming and going. Be steady and mindful during the hand massage. After you finish the massage, perhaps make a note of any feelings or thoughts that arose during the massage.

Optionally, you can share this functional hand massage with a friend or partner or child, giving and receiving this relaxing and healing experience together. I hope you find great enjoyment with this simple, yet effective relaxation and healing technique. Big Hugs to you. Namaste.

green & turquoise: eyes, forehead, scalp

purple: ears, mouth, jaw

black: shoulders, upper back

maroon: brain, pituitary & pineal glands (deep brain structures)

red: throat, neck, thyroid

brown: adrenal glands (involved in stress hormone regulation), pancreas (blood sugar regulation), kidney (fluid, detox, and blood pressure)

orange: stomach, digestion, intestines/gut, appendix, hips, sciatic nerve/hamstrings

purple: heart, lungs, liver, gallbladder, parts of intestines

fingertips: sinuses, lymphatics (detox), fluid circulation within body

side/edge of hand between thumb & wrist: entire spine with area closest to thumb corresponding to upper back and closest to wrist, lower back

 

 

Day 3: Make-ahead/overnight superfood oatmeal+chia

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For the 3rd self care activity, we'll be preparing make-ahead oats that are stored in the fridge and can last up to a week. So this is a perfect thing to make on a sunday or monday as a quick but very healthy breakfast or lunch option.

Preparatory shopping-gathering list:

- 2-4 glass jars with lids (mason jars or empty jam jars are great but can also use plastic containers)

- whole rolled oats or plain oatmeal pack

- dry chia seeds

- dry flax meal

- raw, organic, unsalted nuts: almond, cashews, or pecans

- raw, organic, unsalted seeds: hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds

- organic, no sugar-added nut butter: peanut, almond, or cashew

- raw, organic, no sugar-added coconut flakes

- fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or cherries

- dried goji berries and/or apples (no sugar-added, no preservatives)

- optional: fresh greens or micro-greens/sprouts, acai berry paste, banana, avocado, raw organic cacao powder (not same as cocoa), organic ghee (clarified butter), organic coconut oil, organic flax oil, spirulina powder.

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS

Fill glass jar with your choice of oats, grains & chia then soak in water or milk for at least 5hr or overnight in fridge.

The day you are ready to eat, take jar out of fridge and add extra ingredients such as fresh fruits, fresh greens, nut butters, oils, seeds, superfoods & protein powders, eggs, spices, etc. Add more liquid and/or sweetener to taste. Then enjoy cold or heat up to eat.

1 serving =

1/3-1/2 cup oats

1/3-1/2 cup liquid (water, milk, non-dairy milk)

1 TBsp flax powder

1 heaping TBsp nut butter

1/2-1 TBsp dry chia seeds

1 TBsp coconut oil and/or flax oil and/or ghee

optional: 1 scoop protein powder

- add avocado, fruit, nuts, seeds, coconut flakes, cacao nibs, berries, superfoods powders, spices, probiotics, and more according to your tastes & preferences.

- optional: add 1/3 cup of plain, organic greek yogurt

- limit use of sweeteners, if desired maple syrup, monk fruit extract, raw organic honey, and stevia are good options

For your viewing pleasure, more hints & info, here are a few more links to outside websites with more info on making overnight oats.

FOOD NETWORK

BON APPETIT

MINIMALIST BAKER

video

 

 

Day 4: Drinking raw apple cider vinegar

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Our 4th self care activity is to try drinking some raw apple cider vinegar before bed, in the morning, and/or about 10-15 minutes before eating your next meal. I usually use about 1-2 tablespoons in 1-2 cups of filtered water but you could also add it to tea or to watered-down juice. Or you could make the drink recipe indicated above. And you can repeat before any or every meal and do this any day, even forever.

I'm talking about the raw organic apple cider vinegar that is not filtered and not pasteurized and is a nice warm brown-ish orange color with cloudy stuff at the bottom (that is the harmless and beneficial "mother" or the residues left behind by the good-for-us-humans fermenting bacteria that helped make the vinegar). 

Maybe you are wondering why oh why drink sour, tart, weird, smelly, nasty apple cider vinegar? 

There are many good reasons for adding apple cider vinegar (ACV) to your diet and lifestyle. One reason that is relevant for everyone, no matter your age or health situation is that raw ACV has probiotic qualities which means that it contains microorganisms that are helpful to humans, soothing, healing, & keeping our intestines healthy. This is important for obvious nutritional reasons but also some less obvious ones....specifically for the proper function of our body's defense system or the immune system which is intimately regulated by the health of our guts and the microorganisms that live in our GI tracts. Also surprising to many people, there is bidirectional information exchange between our brains & our guts via a complex network of nerves. This affects our thoughts, emotions, and physical brain function both consciously and subconsciously. So by consuming probiotic foods and drinks such as ACV, we can keep the microbiota living in our guts happy and therefore we will be more well overall with more table moods, healthy immune systems and intestines that can readily and appropriately absorb nutrients from our foods.

 A few of my other favorite reasons I love ACV include:

1) The acetic acid in the ACV inhibits after-meal (aka post-prandial) blood sugar spikes which are metabolically undesirable for a number of reasons. Amazingly, it does this more safely and effectively than most diabetes medications at least in part by altering the biochemical pathways in the liver and pancreas and also possibly acting as a digestive enzyme. Many many scientific and clinical studies have shown that ACV consumption before eating is highly effective for controlling blood sugar levels and moderating the effects of diabetes. ACV has even been found to reverse pre-diabetes and moderate gestational (pregnancy-related) diabetes among other wonderful things.

2) The acidity of ACV is highly effective for treating and alleviating acid reflux and even GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease). Drinking a tablespoon or 2 of ACV is a common remedy and topic of conversation for pregnant women suffering from baby-induced acid-reflux but ACV is just as effective for any acid reflux sufferer including children and men. It may seem counter-intuitive to use an acidic drink in this way but acid reflux is actually associated with low stomach-acid and therefore the low pH of the acetic acid kicks the acid levels up a notch and helps with digestion. ACV used this way is safe for long-term use and can stimulate the body to better regulate itself, often relieving the acid reflux or even GERD without taking over-the-counter or pharmaceutical drugs. Just a note...if you are already taking a daily prescription reflux drug such as Nexium, it is not a good idea to just stop taking the drug "cold turkey" and switch to ACV....you need to taper off the Nexium while using ACV along the way. if you are unsure then talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

3) ACV can help you sleep better a night, usually by reducing after-midnight waking. This is due to the ability of ACV to alter digestion and biochemical pathways in the liver. The liver organ in our body is highly active at night detoxifying our body and metabolizing the nutrients we consumed during the day helping turn them into components that our body uses to make new cells, biochemicals, and body parts. The timing and contents of what we eat or drink before we go to bed sends signals to the liver and other hormone-regulating systems in our body, mismanaging and mis-timing activation of cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates waking & attention.

4) ACV is made via a process of natural fermentation by microorganisms that are not only safe for humans but very good for supporting a healthy gut or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The microbiota in the ACV help populate and regulate the ratio of bacterial types and levels of yeast in our intestines. This is a complex system that is still being hotly studied at this time but what we know is that raw ACV is very healing and supportive to our guts and this matters because the systems in our bodies that keep us healthy, protect us from foreign-invaders, and internal dysfunction and disease have roots in our intestines. So the wellness of our GI system is intimately linked to wellness throughout our bodies and minds.

5) Drinking ACV daily can help you obtain and maintain a healthy body weight. I am not afraid to make such a bold statement because all 4 of the ACV benefits that I outlined above are things related to digestion, sleep, our gut health, blood sugar regulation, and moderation of our metabolic, endocrine, and immune systems....and all of this is key to our body's abilities to optimally process and store nutrients. Obesity and being over-weight are not entirely about eating too much and exercising too little. Anyone who has ever lost weight or tried to do so will confirm that it is so so so much more complex than that. I'm not saying that ACV is THE solution for obesity but I am saying that it can be a simple part of managing and maintaining a healthy body weight.

So now for the fun part.....Below I posted several charts and infographics all about ACV. Research & explore the marvels of ACV for yourself, try some of the recipes and remedies below. But look out, it is hard to stop once you start going deeper into the winding world of miraculous ACV! 

Enjoy my friends.

 

acv dressing recipes.jpg
acv weight loss.jpg
 

 

Day 5: Breathe meditation for relieving stress and inviting in happiness

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As we head deeper into the final stages of the Yin phase of the Earth year, the progressively shortening days can take a subconscious toll on our energetic reservoir. When I say "energetic", I am referring both to that spark of life force and light within each of us and to our daily energy (activity, motivation, resilience).

A peaceful, simple, no-cost way of renewing and bolstering our daily energy is a breathe-work meditation called Nadi Shodhana aka alternate nostril breathing. At first exposure, this may seem strange or make you feel self conscious or uncomfortable but if you can move through those feelings and just give it a try, many people feel something enlightening and freeing within. Also you will have the bonus experience of having experienced something new and possibly strange, yet you did it and benefited (hopefully) from it and therefore you have increased your personal resilience.

For this breathing meditation, you have choices: 1) follow the video for enhanced version of alternate nostril breathing, 2) follow the link below the infographic to go to yoganonymous to do a modified version of alternate nostril breathing, 3) follow the infographic below the link for the basic alternate nostril breathing, or 4) follow the 2nd infographic for a simple version of mindful breathing that does NOT involve alternate nostril breathing. 

I hope you find one of these breathing techniques that you enjoy and maybe even explore all of them.

I decided that rather than demonstrating it for you myself, I would provide a link to my absolute favorite version of a Nadi Shodhana meditation by teacher Anne Novak and some helpful infographics with notes on alternate nostril breathing. I hope that you will consider trying this, even for only a few minutes. The essence of Nadi Shodhana alternate nostril breathing is described in the infographic below the video whereas in the video, Anne adds a few additional breathe-work practices (Kriya) to the meditation. You are welcome to choose to try the video meditation or simply use the text of the infographic as your guide. The video is just under 15 minutes and if you make it to minute 11, you will get a little surprise arm movement with the teacher.

Alternate nostril breathing is a non-denominational practice that can be done anytime of the day, even a few times a day. The video posted here includes some chanting in Sanskrit....please know that this is not religious and is optional. Many people find the tone and sounds of the chants to be calming even though the words are foreign. If this is quite outside your normal process or experience, do your best to have an open mind, no one in your life needs to know about this but you....perhaps just try part of the meditation and come back to it another time.

 

 

Day 6: DIY Super effective home-made toothpaste

So toothpaste can seem like a pretty simple thing that many of us hardly give a 2nd thought to, at least after we are done staring at the 35 options at the market....but now I am going to ask you to give it another thought and confuse the matter even more.

It turns out that you can make your own toothpaste at home with ingredients you probably have around the house or maybe already purchased for one of the recipes we plan to make in the next few days as part of this self care cycle.

Don't worry you can keep using your favorite toothpaste but I hope that you'll consider giving one of these DIY toothpaste recipes a try. And maybe you will consider using the DIY toothpaste once a day or a couple times a week. I think you'll be surprised how effective your new home-made toothpaste can be for cleaning your mouth, healing your gums, and even whitening your teeth.

Below are a few different recipes. Feel free to mix and match ingredients from the different categories below and modify according to what sounds good to you and which ingredients you have at home.

You can either make a batch of one of the recipes described below for use throughout the week or do the simplest or lazy (yes...me) version that I often do and just sprinkle one or 2 of the ingredients onto the bristles of your tooth brush and go for it.

The basic ingredients are:

- coconut oil

- baking soda

The whitening ingredients are:

- turmeric powder

- activated charcoal powder

- hydrogen peroxide

The re-mineralizing ingredients are:

- sea salt or Himalayan mineral salt

- bentonite clay or red clay powder

The fancy additives are:

- peppermint essential oil

- crushed dried sage

- cinnamon essential oil

- clove powder

- cinnamon powder

 

The absolute simplest thing is to do is:

- take your normal toothpaste onto your toothbrush

- dip the brush into a little cup of hydrogen peroxide (the safe for use 3% kind you get at the pharmacy....no need to further dilute)

AND/OR

- sprinkle baking soda, turmeric powder, or activate charcoal powder ontop of your normal toothpaste, then go for it. Rinse accordingly (um don't be scared by your bright yellow or black teeth...just rinse a few extra times and don't make big splashes).

The next simplest thing to do it:

- mix coconut oil and baking soda and use this instead of your normal toothpaste

- sprinkle on additives such as turmeric or charcoal powder

The less simple but fun for exploring thing to do:

- make your own DIY toothpastes according to any of the recipes below or get creative and make your own.

- Have fun!

 

 

Day 7: Soothing epsom salts foot bath: Caring for your feet

How often do you think about your feet? If all is going well then probably not much but if your feet or toes are tired, sore, swollen, injured, or in any way not at their best then it's almost impossible to ignore them. This makes sense because the health and well-being of our feet are central to the wellness of our entire body and lifestyle. Feet that are injured, disabled, or simply ignored make it difficult to walk, do exercise or household chores, and can even ruin a long-awaited or expensive vacation. 

As a yoga teacher, dog walker, and person who has to take some pretty powerful prescription medications, it's safe to say that i am a little obsessed with foot care. So I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tips and home practices for keeping your feet and toes well. If your feet are already suffering, then some of my suggestions will help get your feet on the path to feeling and functioning better.

As you read through this post, I want to highlight a few things beside the foot baths themselves. Note the post-bath foot massage (helps stimulate wellness-supporting lymphatic drainage) and the anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects of apple cider vinegar and/or tea tree oil.

Salt Baths for Feet

Foot baths are soothing and beneficial for everyone, any time, whether or not you are challenged by any kind of foot trouble but if you are struggling with a foot or toe problem then a weekly or twice-weekly foot bath would be a great thing to add to your routine.

The foundation of a healing foot bath is salt (preferably Epsom salts but mineral sea salts or Himalayan pink salt are OK too) and aluminum-free baking soda. Lots of other things such as herbs, essential oils, vinegar, and teas can be added but these 2 ingredients are core for having a pH-balanced, soothing foot bath.

Epsom salts are made of magnesium sulfate and get their name from a lovely hilly area just southwest of London, England where the salts are mined. Epsom salts have been revered as a healing tool and medicine for ages and are considered so important for health & wellness that the World Heath Organization (WHO) includes it on their list of essential human medicines. 

Despite that Epsom salts baths have been a tried & true remedy for muscle and joint aches, pains, and swelling for hundreds of years, only recently is there scientific and clinical evidence to support this. The roots of the mechanisms of action are based on the finding that inflammation (causes pain & swelling) is associated with magnesium deficiency either locally (at the site of injury, usually happens quickly or acutely) or systemically (throughout the body, usually a long-term, slowly-building chronic condition). It has also recently been proven that magnesium sulfate can pass through the skin and the digestive tract and cause local and systemic increases in blood magnesium levels. Furthermore, several studies from multiple medical centers have found that weekly and regular salt bath therapies (including Epsom salts & baking soda) significantly reduced symptoms and use of narcotic pain relievers in patients with arthritis and post-surgical pain after joint surgery.

So maybe you are wondering why I am going all "sciencey" on you here.....well, because I want you to feel knowledgable and empowered when you decide to add a self care practice to your routine and too often wellness and holistic health proponents are accused of having no scientific or medical basis for recommending remedies to alleviate health ailments. This may indeed be the case sometimes, but not with Epsom salts baths. So we can all go forward with confidence that Epsom salts baths not only FEEL great but they are really working to reduce the inflammation which is causing the soreness or swelling.

OK let's get down to the real business at hand, the foot bath recipes!

- find a large bowl, small bucket, or dish tub 

- fill with hot-ish/warm water

- mix up a 2:1 ratio of Epsom salts to baking soda in a separate bowl or jar then use about 3 tablespoons per gallon of water (it does not have to be exact). The baking soda works really well with the salts and helps balance out some of the acidity of the salts themselves and improves the exfoliating and skin-soothing aspects of the foot bath.

- you can add a few drops of skin-safe essential oils of your choice, lavender, rosemary, lemon, frankincense or all lovely choices.

- if you like, you can also add some Himalayan pink salt or dead sea mineral salt to the foot bath.

- if you are feeling extra motivated you can use a large batch of dandelion, chamomile, or cranberry TEA (good for skin integrity and reducing swelling) instead of or in addition to the water. 

- if you are feeling super extra motivated or if you have really swollen feet then add some chopped up fresh (NOT dry) PARSLEY leaves to the foot bath (parsley is a marvelous diuretic...reduces water retention).

- find a comfortable place to sit and let your feet soak for at least 15 minutes.

- OPTIONAL: you can also add a 1/2 cup of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar or listerine (some people claim this method is better than a professional pedicure) to the salt+baking soda bath. This increases the exfoliating nature of the bath and helps further soften the skin of the feet. Also the apple cider vinegar is naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial so it helps fight foot infection and odor.

- OPTIONAL: after soaking the feet, apply coconut oil or unscented lotion and with tea tree essential oil added. TEA TREE (aka MELALEUCA) OIL is a proven anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent that is gentle enough for daily, direct application to the skin. This will keep away foot and nail fungus and even decrease or eliminate an existing fungal infection.

- OPTIONAL: while applying oil or lotion do a gentle massage of the bottom of the foot (check out the foot reflexology diagram posted below).

- OPTIONAL: while massaging the foot, also massage the ankle and lower leg area according to the directions diagramed on the images posted below to enhance LYMPHATIC drainage from the feet and lower limbs. This is especially helpful for anyone with foot or leg swelling. Regular lymphatic massage is proven to significantly decrease foot swelling (edema) over time.

I very much hope you give yourself the gift of a salt foot bath and maybe post-bath foot massage, especially after a long day of walking or being on your feet, even better if you do it every week.

ENJOY!!

 drinking or soaking feet in fresh parsley tea for reducing swollen feet

drinking or soaking feet in fresh parsley tea for reducing swollen feet

next 2 Images show massage directions for max stimulation of lymphatic drainage 

 

 

Day 8: Legs up the wall, re-set, renew, restore in only 5 minutes.

The self care practice this evening for Day 8 is simple and short. Only 5 minutes. Find a wall that is free of artwork and is not a door or window. Scoot your bottom and hips close to the trim so that your body is touching the place where he wall meets the floor. If you scoot as close as you can get and your bottom does not touch the wall then place a blanket or pillow between your bottom and the wall so that it feels like your body is pressing against the cushioning.

An alternative way to get many of the benefits of legs up the wall but without the wall, is use of a chair as shown below. This can be an even gentler version for anyone who has sever hypertension (high blood pressure), or obesity, or simply prefer to take one step at a time towards the full legs up the wall pose.

Once you find a comfortable place and position, and feel sufficiently padded and supported, stay there with your legs up the wall for 5 minutes (you can go as long as 10 if you like with some leg movement throughout). The knees can be bent or straight, the feet can be together or hips-width apart. Find a calming and relaxing breath pattern, perhaps place 1 hand on the belly and the other on the chest or heart. Feel your heart beat and feel the breath filling your lungs and your belly. Perhaps invite in some thoughts on gratitude and appreciation for another day. Perhaps read a book or look at your smartphone or listen to music. Do whatever you need to do to stay there for about 5 minutes. Maybe invite your partner or a friend or your children to sit with their legs up the wall too.

This can be enjoyed daily, at any time, at any stage or age in life and by anyone in almost any condition. The only exceptions being, people challenged by significant menstrual bleeding (heavy days), glaucoma, hypertension, obesity, or late stage pregnancy. In these cases, you can use furniture or pillows to angle the upper body and legs so the feet are still above your heart but your are not lying completely flat or consider the chair variation shown below as a place to get started. You may find that over a few weeks, this simply practice may contribute to lessening your high blood pressure and maybe even some weight loss - I'm not trying to make grandiose claims but this is a real possibility for some people). 

Legs up the wall is gentle and incredibly restorative, relaxing and healing for your body. There are so many health & wellness benefits and if you are interested, just google it and you'll be surprised. The process of getting down on the floor and feeling the Earth beneath your back is grounding and stabilizing and the act of going down to the ground is something that we tend to avoid in our culture that is always supported by couches and chairs. Finding ways to break cycles and try new things, develop new patterns, and re-claim the full movement and sensation of your body are all part of radical self care. I do hope you will try legs up the wall today and maybe find ways to add it to your normal daily routine. Just 5 minutes! 

 

 

Day 9: Sunshine milk: anti-inflammatory turmeric latte

I am so excited for the Day 9 activity because I am really needing this radical self care recipe because the weather today in Michigan was the essence of the deep Yin with snowflakes and moist air, gray skies, and low dusky light that seemed to never really turn into the full light of a normal day. So instead we must find sunshine in the form of the mother of all anti-inflammatory foods, turmeric!

If you've talked to me in the last couple years, turmeric probably came up in conversation at some point. The many health & wellness benefits that are attributed to turmeric (aka curcumin) are just short of miraculous, if even 10% of it is true then all of us should be seriously increasing our intake of this anti-inflammatory superfood. Everyday I make sure to get a heaping portion of turmeric into my body and to keep things interesting, I do this in many different ways, sometimes the simplest way is to take curcumin supplements and other days I make a bright yellow rice or quinoa but probably my favorite way to have turmeric is as an evening drink, specifically as sunshine milk (aka golden milk).

Sunshine milk is a delicious after dinner or pre-bed time drink and also great at other times of the day, especially between meals. It soothes and heals the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, reducing inflammation and improving digestion and the honey and coconut oil in it provide further support for the liver. So I invite you to try any of the recipes from the infographics below or experiment and come up with your own. I love this stuff and try to have it a couple evenings per week!

To get the most health & wellness benefits from the turmeric, a little bit of nutrient science and biochemistry is required. There are 4 key ingredients in any beverage with turmeric. It must have 1) turmeric powder or fresh, grated turmeric root, 2) some fat (preferably coconut oil, ghee, butter, or almond oil), 3) grated or ground black pepper seed, and 4) milk (non-dairy preferred). There are additional things that can be added for further enhancement such as ginger root powder and cinnamon but those main 4 foods work together to allow the turmeric to be the most bioavailable and be digested and metabolized optimally by the liver and intestines.

Other drinks can be made with turmeric and you can still get all of its benefits as long as a fat and a little black pepper are included. For example, below you will also find some infographics with recipes for turmeric smoothies & teas. 

Basic sunshine milk recipe (1 serving):

- 1 teaspoon organic turmeric powder

- 1 tablespoon coconut oil

- 1/8-1/4 tsp ground black pepper seed

- 6-8 ounces non-dairy milk (warm or drinkably hot; can do half water or tea if desired)

- raw honey or monk fruit extract or maple syrup to taste

- whisk or stir vigorously (I love to use a mini milk frother tool)

- OPTIONAL: 1/8 - 1/2 tsp ginger root powder, 1-2 pinches cinnamon, 1 pinch nutmeg powder, 1 pinch of cardamom, 1/2-1 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter)

TAKA-TURMERIC-BENEFITS.jpg
 

 

Day 10: Equanimity meditation

As I've gotten older, I find that I no longer count the days or years as passing but that my focus is more on the passing of experiences. Regardless of the nature or specifics of the type of personal or spiritual study, most if not all teachings share a similar thread that deals with the process of how one can stay calm, centered, and even hopeful in the face of upsetting news, difficult situations, heart-break or loss, and challenging people. Often these threads about suffering are countered by discussion of how one can also stay at ease when experiences are joyous, beautiful, delicious, and comfortable.

Yet for most of us pleasure-seeking human beings, we skip, skim, or don't fully absorb the lessons of the teachings on equanimity with joy because we rarely seek to understand more about why or how good things happen to us. For example, we usually don't feel like we need guidance dealing with feelings of happiness and joy in the same way we intuitively know that we need support when we experience grief and pain. However from the matter of fact, neutral point of view of the teachings, the path to inner peace or something akin to it is founded on learning and developing the ability to be even-tempered or equanimous in the face of any experience, person, emotion, or situation that exposes us to a swing in either direction of good/happy or bad/suffering.

As I write this my heart and mind are heavy with the presence of many recent and ongoing experiences that challenge my ability to embody equanimity and behave calmly, to not judge or blame, to not indulge in worry, fear, or anxiety, and to not exhort to jealousy or resentment. A key thing that I have learned in my study and training is that equanimity, inner peace, or non-attachment, call it what you will, all of it is really hard, kind of horrible, and very difficult to achieve. I fail at it everyday, seriously I do, maybe I even fail at it repeatedly throughout the day. Yet from brief bright glimpses to the swoon-generating waves of it that I have sensed, I am sure that learning and living and embodying equanimity is the only path forward.

Certainty does not come easy or without seriousness and some fear from me. I have fought hard against uncertainty and it is still winning. So it's a little scarey for me to admit that there is something I can say that I am certain about. My certainty comes from my own experience that in the face of excitement, drama or trauma, the more I practice calm and even-temperedness and the more I seek peace and moderation, I become increasingly aware of and confident in my own strength and resilience. And as I gain more confidence, the next time I need to call on equanimity I can be that much more sure that it will be there for me, assuming that in the heat of the moment I can actually remember to do so. Someday this will become a reflex or automatic response but for now I need to keep practicing and continue training.

Therefore I want to share with you some practices and meditations on equanimity or even-temperedness and on developing the unshakeable and balanced mind that can enable one to live more peacefully. Meditating on equanimity is similar to praying for peace or to wishing yourself strength but a key quality is that the even-temperedness be rooted in insight and experience and that it be cultivated at all times, both in the good and the bad. Equanimity has no religion or dogma associated with it. It is only a practice or a way of living or approaching life. I hope you will test it out and maybe research or read a bit more about the interesting, possibly soul-consuming but totally enlightening topic of equanimity.

I suggest you practice some of the breathing meditations below while bringing into your mind thoughts about people or things that upset you or that bring you great joy. Let these thoughts come and go for a bit, maybe letting yourself feel some of the associated emotions. Begin noticing your breath pattern, inhale & exhale calmly and fluidly while asking yourself to feel a sense of evenness or neutrality, a neutrality that is more soft and gentle than cool or aloof) and direct it at both the challenging thing or person and the pleasurable ones. Perhaps while doing this, you can control the waves of feelings by envisioning waves on a beach or more literally sine waves on a graph. you can see the waves have large peaks and valleys and are coming in quick succession then with your breath you can slow down the wave frequency and you can dampen the peaks and valleys. 

A few links of interest:

ON EQUANIMITY BY THE INSIGHT MEDITATION CENTER

EQUANIMITY: THE 4TH SUBLIME STATE

TEACHINGS OF PATANJALI: CHAPTER 1.33

FROM THE WRITINGS OF PEMA CHODRON

FROM PUBLIC RADIO'S ON BEING: EQUANIMITY IN REAL LIFE

A few breath-work meditations that are perfect for meditating on equanimity.

 

 

Day 11: Healthy yummy beet & black bean brownies

I don't know about you but I have a huge weakness for brownies....in fact they are in my top 3 fav desserts. Since I have discovered a new generation of baking recipes that use nutrient-power house functional foods & superfoods, I've been trying to revive and improve my highly mediocre baking skills (just for the record, I am actually a pretty good cook but it turns out that baking is a whole other game).

Have you heard about using beets (beet root) or black beans and cacao with coconut oil to make brownies? This is a great way to get veggies, protein, fiber, and anti-oxidants even when you are having the occasional snack. There are a variety of recipes out there including some that are gluten-free and some that don't use sugar.

Here are 2 different recipes, the first is grain-free and uses beets & raw cacao (instead of cocoa) and the 2nd uses beets + black beans and adds flax and oatmeal to increase fiber & vitamins.

BEET CACAO BROWNIES - GLUTEN-FREE, SUGAR-FREE (uses honey & chocolate as sweetener)

ingredients

  • 2 Beets, large
  • 1/3 cup RAW Cacao powder (not same as cocoa powder)
  • 4 oz Dark chocolate (at least 60% or higher dark chocolate)
  • 2 Eggs, large
  • 1/4 cup Honey, raw
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 3 tbsp Coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp Pink salt
  • 1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips, dairy-free
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small sauce pan, melt the 4oz of chocolate with coconut oil over low heat, stirring continuously until chocolate and coconut oil has melted together. Add in honey and stir until well combined. Remove from heat, allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8x8, or 9x9, pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Add chopped beets to bowl of small food processor and process until pureed. If having a hard time processing, add 1 TBS water. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine cacao powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk everything together until no clumps remain. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Add your cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Next add your beet puree and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cacao mixture to large bowl of wet ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in dry ingredients until combined.
  7. Add in chocolate chips and gently combine.
  8. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean. A few crumbs are okay.
  9. Allow brownies to cool in pan for 20 minutes before cutting into 16 squares.

BEET OAT FLAX BLACK BEAN BROWNIES - GLUTEN-FREE, SUGAR-FREE (uses raw honey & chocolate as sweetener)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup whole oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • ¼ cup flaxseed
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup cooked beets
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 Hershey chocolate bar, chopped (or ⅓ cup chocolate chips)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add the oats, flax meal, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder to the bowl of a food processor, and blend until they form a flour-like consistency.
  3. Next, add almond milk, vanilla extract, coconut oil, egg, and honey, blend 10-20 seconds or until well combined.
  4. Add in the cooked or canned beets and black beans, blend 10-20 seconds or until the mixture has formed a thick batter. Stir in chopped dark chocolate.
  5. Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper, spray the parchment paper with coconut oil cooking spray, then pour the batter into lined pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and sprinkle with chopped chocolate Hershey chocolate bar or ⅓ cup chocolate chips/chopped dark chocolate.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-22 minutes for the gooey fudgey effect. If you prefer yours to be more done, bake addition 2-3 minutes. 
  7. Store in refrigerator for up to a week .Once they have been refrigerated, warm in the microwave for 10-12 seconds each time before eating. Enjoy :)
 

 

Day 12: Dry brushing the skin to stimulate lymph and exfoliate

Have you heard about dry brushing and its benefits for the body? Dry brushing increases capillary circulation, infusing your muscles with blood and bringing blood closer to the surface of your skin where it oxygenates the tissue and stimulates tissue rejuvenation and removal of toxins via the lymphatic system. Practices that support and activate lymphatic drainage also boost the immune system which is the body's defense and healing system. Even more, the brushing process and the increased blood flow also help improve and regulate digestion as well as reduce local swelling and pain such as that associated with joint inflammation. Dry brushing also has an exfoliating effect on the skin which improves absorption of oils and lotions into the skin and decreases skin bumps, acne, and other disruptions of the integrity of the skin surface. There is even evidence that regular dry brushing can decrease cellulite accumulation via the muscle massaging and lymph-activating aspect of the brushing. 

It's surprising all of the possible benefits while it is such a simple thing to do and requires nothing more than a few minutes and a hair or skin brush. The basic idea is that you brush your skin when it is dry with no moisture, lotion, or oils. Ideally the brushing is done carefully, according to specific patterns (as shown below in the infographics) and with gentle-moderate pressure, hard enough that your skin gets a little red but not so hard that you are scratched or raw in any way which would be very counter-productive (the skin is the body's largest organ and an important part of the immune system, so anything that disrupts the skin barrier is undesirable).

I usually do some dry brushing once or twice a week for about 2-4 minutes before showering. From what I've read that should be sufficient to get most of the lymph and immune system-supporting benefits. I brush the skin of my arms and legs in the direction of my heart and I do clockwise circles on my belly and back. These directions help get the lymph flowing in the direction that is needed to facilitate cleansing. Dry brushing makes me feel activated and and extra "alive" as if I can feel life force flowing to the surface of my skin.  

However you can always do it daily. For example, if there is a specific goal you have in mind such as cellulite or joint pain reduction then you may want to consider doing it everyday for a set period of time (e.g. 3-4 weeks). Prior to starting with the daily brushing regimen, I suggest you take a couple days to record some notes on your condition prior to starting the daily brushing such as noting joint pain levels or taking a photo of the area with cellulite. Then do your best to dry brush everyday according to the patterns suggested in the infographics below and after about a month, compare what you see or feel to the notes or photos that you recorded prior to starting. Hopefully there is a noticeable difference.

You can use any brush that you have around the house but if you decide to make dry brushing a regular part of your self care routine, it may be worth investing in a couple different types of skin brushes such as a bristly skin brush and a smooth knobby-type skin massager.

CHECK OUT BRUSHES IN OUR AMAZON STORE (SEE BODY CARE TOOLS)

 

 

Day 13: Qi Gong movement meditation

Qi Gong (pronounced chee kung) is an ancient system of gentle slow body movement and breath flow that is more than 4,000 years old. It is a discipline and a kind of movement meditation and is not part of a religion or political system. Sometimes it is referred to as "energy medicine" because a core concept in Qi Gong is that the movements and associated breathing help move Qi (aka energy, life-force, prana) within the body and mind. A key goal of Qi Gong is that over time and with regular practice, the practitioner will develop or deepen their recognition of the connection and one-ness of the body and mind. The slow, flowing movements and breath help reduce stress and anxiety and increase feelings of contentment and fulfillment.

MORE DETAILS ON QI GONG ORIGINS & PHILOSOPHY

There are many health & wellness benefits that have been attributed to Qi Gong over the thousands of years that it has been practiced and evolved. There are now many styles of Qi Gong, some sitting and some standing, some simple and others complex. One of the more multi-faceted styles being the popular Tai Chi. Qi Gong always involves movement but sometimes it also uses sound and self-massage similar to acu-pressure.

Here I want to share with you a couple Qi Gong exercises. Do your best to watch and copy the movements, matching the speed as best you can. Try not to get distracted by or caught up remembering or worrying about the specific names of the practices or movements. All of that will come in time. Also do your best to have an open mind and a beginner's attitude. Even just a little Qi Gong can go a long way. Also if you regularly do other forms of exercise, meditation, martial arts, or yoga, I hope you will still consider trying some Qi Gong or adding it to your regimen because it has unique benefits that are similar to the meditations and movements but not the same.

The first is simply an infographic that shows some movements that you can try. When you do it, maintain a calm breath pattern of equal-length inhales & exhales and move the body parts slowly according to the diagram.

The next Qi Gong exercise I hope you will try is a sitting form of Qi Gong. This video is about 10 minutes and mainly involves arm movements. You can do it sitting on the ground or in a chair.

The 3rd Qi Gong practice is a standing practice that is suggested for the morning. 

I personally enjoy doing some kind of Qi Gong everyday but even doing it weekly is beneficial to the body, mind, spirit, and life-force or Qi. The length and specifics varies depending on whether or not I have already done yoga or exercised that day. Sometimes it is simply some swaying arm movements with closed eyes so I can dive-in internally and connect with life force more easily.

You can use Qi Gong YoutTube videos as a guide for home practice or google Qi Gong or Tai Chi classes in your local area and begin practicing with a group. Also every person, every age or condition can find some kind of Qi Gong that works for them. My children greatly enjoy doing Qi Gong-type movements.

qi gong sounds.jpg
 

 

Day 14: Hack you coffee & tea with healthy fat

Many of us enjoy coffee or tea in the mornings or afternoons and maybe even some non-caffeinated herbal tea in the evening. The health & wellness benefits of both teas and coffees are well known and diverse. However as with all things in nutrition and food, the quality and the quantity of the tea and coffee consumed are key to whether or not our hot beverage habit is a good thing or not. But this post is not really about coffee and tea per se, I'll save that one for another day. Here I am focusing on how to HACK your hot drink to make it much more multi-dimensionally nutritious, boosting your energy and mental sharpness without added caffeine while also diverting and decreasing fat storage.

It sounds too good to be true, right? Well in this case, both metabolic & biochemical science and hundreds (or more) years of human self-testing have pointed the way to something popularly referred to as "bullet proof" coffee and tea. This is basically a hot drink that has been spiked with ghee (clarified, grass-fed butter) and/or coconut oil (or more specifically MCT/medium chain triglyceride oil). The native people of Nepal and the central and south americas (and probably other cultures as well) have been doing something similar with their coffees and teas for hundreds or maybe thousands of years.

Dave Asprey, the American who coined the term "bullet proof" coffee, claims he was inspired by an exhilarating and rejuvenating Yak butter-infused tea that he drank in the high Himalayans after a long and exhausting day of trekking (see lovely Sherpa woman below). He then came back to the states and proceeded to build a business and marketing empire on the bullet proof concept. Google it and you'll see.

I could write for pages about the health and digestion benefits of adding these healthy fats/oils to your daily diet but for now I am going to limit it to telling you that both coconut oil and grass-fed butter ghee contain short or medium size triglycerides (aka fat molecules) that are considered to be a kind of "good fat" in part because they are digested in the liver instead of the small intestine and therefore are metabolized or broken down more quickly and efficiently. Hence these fats are rarely stored in the body the way other fats are and in this case they act more like a sugar or carbohydrate, providing immediate energy and brain fuel but with no associated change or spike in blood glucose.

Anecdotal accounts from people (I'm one of them) who regularly drink bullet proof coffees and teas say that the drinks are satisfyingly delicious because they are fatty and buttery (our primitive brains and tongues love this), they feel an immediate boost in energy and awakeness without the jitteryness of typical caffeine, they sense more mental sharpness (the sugar-like metabolism of the special fats is responsible for this), and they say that over time, they lose weight (likely associated with the modification of the way the special fats are stored and metabolized as well as a feeling of fullness and satiation that comes from feeding your body a fatty food).

In this 3 minute video I'm talking about how cool I think this coffee is, especially on a cold winter afternoon.

Let's get down to the business of making this awesome drink! Oh wait, I wanted to also mention that a few delicious and nutritious additives can be included with the oils into the coffee or tea to further boost their body-loving awesomeness. This includes raw organic cacao (full of essential nutrients such as vitamin A and several B's, manganese, magnesium, iron, and more), cinnamon (also comprised of good stuff), and my personal favorite, immune system-supporting and boosting mushrooms such as chaga, reishi, and turkey tail.

Here are a few recipes for bullet proof coffee and tea (Match green tea goes particularly well with the fats but black teas such as chai's and Earle Grey work really well too). Below I will also post some infographics with info on coconut oil, ghee, and mushroom coffees.

With the popularity of these bullet proof drinks, a variety of additional "hacks" have been developed by fans. This includes make-ahead fat+cacao "bombs" or pods that you prepare in an ice cube tray or similar and then you can quickly throw into a mug and then add your preferred coffee or tea.

Also a very helpful tool for making bullet proof coffees and teas be the best they can be is a small milk frother tool. You don't need one but it helps to use the frothing action to stir (and emulsify) the fat into the coffee or tea and aids even more if you are also adding cacao or mushroom powder. You can get these milk frothers at Ikea or World Market for around $5 or higher quality ones at Sur La Table or on Amazon (maybe check out our Amazon store to see some options that we like). 

Also at the bottom of the post, you'll find a recipe for some bullet proof coffee fat bombs. These are make ahead treats or drinks "pods" that contain all the benefits of bullet proof coffee with all the prep work already done.

Happy fat drinking! YUMS! 

RECIPE FOR MAKE-AHEAD BULLET PROOF FAT BOMBS

Condiments

  • 10 drops Liquid stevia extract

Baking & Spices

  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder, raw unsweetened

Oils & Vinegars

  • 2 tbsp Mct oil or brain octane oil or more coconut oil

Drinks

  • 1/2 cup Coffee or caffeine-free chicory coffee, strong

Dairy

  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 cup Creamed coconut milk or mascarpone cheese or full-fat cream cheese

Other

  • ¼ cup Erythritol or Swerve, powdered, or other healthy low-carb sweetener from this list (40 g / 1.4 oz)
 

 

Closing: Winter solstice blessing and intention setting

It's winter solstice and I have stars in my eyes and heart for all of you. The cosmic flow now swings back toward the sun. The last few days of the Deep Yin have been a bit tough on me. I've had to use every bit of my focus and energy to stay centered and calm. I've done some digging and seeking into the shadow self who demands attention during this time of year. I've had to be creative and wise in my dealings with this energy.

The words my being hears when I'm quiet in the deep cave with the shadows is all about fear and doubt. But now it is the eve of the Earth's new year and I am ready to let go of these shadows. I'm ready to begin a new year by lightening the load on my heart and starting again with fire-starting coals that burn red hot. 

I invite you to keep kindling your inner fire to stay warm, creative, and focused until the spring equinox when we can come out of the caves. Thank you for being part of my life so far and I look forward to more possibilities as we pass this shifting into a new Earth year. Many blessings to all. Stay focused, stay true, find your center, be calm.

Join me in this video for a short winter solstice ritual cleansing of letting go of something that holds you back or that no longer serves you. Write a few things or a short phrase, set an intention to paper and then let it go by burning it or burying it or washing it away. Then seal the deal with the new year with a few breaths and some simple movement, staying low to the Earth, moving slow and flowing with the watery energy of the Deep Yin.