Tag Archives: health

The Skinny on Collagen

It seems these days there is so much information out there. This or that is good for you, and then just as much information out there that says this or that is bad for you. How can we make decisions when we are constantly fighting over truth and not knowing who or what to trust, and who or what can help us?

Whether we suffer from anxiety, acne, or stomach aches, there just seems to be so many answers, while no answers at all. Nothing seems to work, while we are told to believe that all these magical pills or herbs for that matter will be the solution.

There’s a part of me that doesn’t believe in solutions, or one quick fix, but rather, as many functional medicine doctors would agree, we need to look at the body as a full system and see how everything interacts with each other. In addition, I feel like we relinquish our inner sense of knowing and put our faith entirely into the hand of the experts.

I encourage you to learn to tap into your feelings and intuition and allow that part of yourself to help you make decisions. YOU ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK.

 

With that being said let’s learn the skinny on another superfood/trendy supplement hitting the streets: COLLAGEN. What’s it all about and how crucial is it that we add it to our green tea avocado matcha smoothies in the morning. Here’s the scoop.

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body and the entire animal kingdom. Vital for functioning. 1/3 of all the protein in our bodies; accounts for 75 percent of dry weight of our hair, skin, and nails. It is the glue that holds the body together; the connective tissue: skin/muscle tissue/ bones/tendons.

Collagen production declines naturally as you get older. Some say as early as in our 20’s

Ensuring we have adequate collagen in our bodies is very beneficial. We can either take collagen supplements to achieve this, or eat a diet rich in foods (primarily Vitamin C and antioxidants) that help support our own natural production of collagen. I feel like both are great and beneficial ways to go about. So how about both?!

Here is the science that backs supplemental collagen in helping several health ailments.

So as the science is beginning to show, increasing collagen production has a great impact on supporting supple skin. Others agree, that collagen can be used post-workout to help with muscle repair and support.

Also, there are natural ways to support collagen production:

  • Limit Prolonged Sun Exposure
  • Diet low in sugar, STRESS (big one…), cigarettes etc.
  • Drink lots of water… is this all starting to sound familiar by now?
  • Food
    • citrus fruits
      • oranges, grapefruits, limes, lemons, kiwis
    • dark leafy greens: spinach and kale
    • red fruits and veggies: like beets!
    • orange fruits and veggies: like carrots, sweet potatoes
    • broccoli
    • cauliflower
    • onion, shallots, leeks
    • white tea
    • legumes: peas and lentils
    • nuts
    • garlic
    • avocados
    • chia seeds
    • pumpkin seeds

So I guess essentially, just eating healthy? Either way, here is a nice framework for better understanding our bodies and the ways it produces and intakes collagen.

Thoughts on collagen. Natural VS. Supplementing. What are your tips and tricks for healthy supple skin?

HEALTHY GUT = STRONG IMMUNE SYSTEM

Did you know: 50 -80 percent of your immune system is centered around your gut?

It’s imperative we nourish our gut in order to ensure our immunity.

I taught yoga and mindfulness in public schools for several years, and I tell you what, there ain’t nothin’ like the illnesses you can pick up from kids in schools. I would contract the most vicious colds and viruses when working there.

With that being said, there are ways to protect ourselves and boost our immune systems. Nobody likes getting sick, and for one reason or another, building a strong immune system is important to ward of any virus or disease that might try and infect you or your loved ones healthy little bodies.

So with that being said here are some tips to help you boost your immunity and develop a superhuman immunity shield!

Here are a list of immune boosting foods:

  • Garlic [antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal compounds]
  • Turmeric
  • Coconut Oil  [lauric acid, improve heart and thyroid health]
    • Put coconut oil in your smoothies, or a spoonful of it in your morning green tea almond milk latte (YUM) Add some organic lavender syrup (yikes, sugar, but hey) and some lavender buds!!
    • Oil Pulling  daily- info about oil pulling here: Why you should start oil pulling today 

 This one needs it’s own heading and picture: Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms influence the activity of the immune system
  • (vitamin D, B vitamins, vitamin C, Calcium, Protein, Fiber)
  • Some especially good mushrooms: Chaga, lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi, shitake, maitake
  • Herb Tonic: I love putting this in my smoothies, it has reishi mushroom and other yummy herbs that promote a blissful state: Sun Potion: Anandamide Its ingredients include: Raw Cacao*, Tocos*, Mucuna Pruriens*, Ashwagandha*, Reishi Mushroom*, Astragalus**, Maca**, Moringa*, Rose Petals*, Cardamom*, Turmeric*, Cayenne*, Cinnamon*, Black Pepper*, Himalayan, Salt Crystals, Love!, 

Back to the list of Immune system building foods:

  • Fermented Foods: help promote a healthy balance of favorable bacteria in the gut.  Some examples of fermented foods are: sauerkraut, coconut kefir, kimchee, natto, and kombucha
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: a shot of this with lemon, honey, ginger and garlic. Makes a great tonic for zapping a cold right out of you. and speaking of…
  • Ginger: anti-inflammatory (brew small pieces up in water and make some ginger tea if you’re feeling a little tickle)
  • Greens! Green Juice
  • Dandelion                             
  • Elderberry Syrup (haven’t tried this one…) 
  • Cruciferous vegetables: like broccoli and brussel sprouts
  • Soluble Fiber: flax and chia seeds, beans, and legumes
  • Zinc: pumpkin seeds/ oysters/ lean meats/ crab/ chick peas

I love the health food store: Mothers Market maybe they have a location near you! Where are your favorite health food stores?

More tips:

  • Find a good probiotic: Probiotics with these two strains: (Lactobacillus) (Bifidobacterium) 30-50 billion colonies/ 8 strains of bacteria. Double dose if you’re coming down with a cold or have to take antibiotics. Raw is better.
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Gargle with warm salt water
  • Epsom Salt bath
  • Rest
  • Fresh Air
  • Sunshine
  • Reduce Stress
  • Stay away from over the counter drugs/prescription medications

I still ate Chik-fil-A today. But I feel like a greasy pile of shit.

Better and better, amirite?!

Cheers to a healthy immune system lovelies!

What are your tips to building up your immune system?

 

5 Fun Breezy Summer Tips and Trends :)

Things are heating up, and having recently transplanted to Southern California, I am beginning to sense the shift into Summer.  The first day of summer is officially June 21, so get ready to pamper yourself and melt into a nice fun pace.

  1. Epsom salt baths are a truly wonderful way to  relieve stress. Epsom salt is not technically salt but rather the minerals magensium and sulfate. Running a nice warm bath with these magnesium flakes is a great way to refresh and re-charge after a long day. Whether your body is sore from working out,  or you’re feeling the need to decompress after a long day of something that brought up lots of emotions, Epsom salts can help cleanse and clear the body of sticky tension sitting in the body ready to be released. Light a candle, and indulge in some self-loving. I like Life-Flo pure magnesium flakes, they melt in the bath and have a great texture that readily dissolves. Add some essential oils, and allow for some YOU time.

2. Speaking of essential oils , my life has been truly enhanced and improved by the installment of various aromatherapy practices. I feel an immediate sense of peace and calm when I drop some essential oils into my diffuser, turn on some mood lighting and allow my mind to settle after a long day. Take a look at my article, regarding the tested scientific backing behind the science of aromatherapy.

I am a huge fan of vetiver because of it’s musky and earthy scent. I enjoy the Young Living Essential Oils because they are such high quality that you can drink them. Believe me, for those of you that know essential oils, it is rare to find such a high quality oil that you can drink, so this is a reason I greatly support this product. I enjoy using their diffusers as well.  Two oils that I have been deeply enjoying are Rare Essence OM blend that promotes calming and inner peace through the scent of frankincense, patchouli, cedarwood, and tangerine,  and of course the classic,  Vetiver oil. These products, are not drinkable, but they are a little easier on the budget and great for diffusing. 🙂

3.  House plants are another great and soothing healthy resource to incorporate into life. They cheer up a home and bring life and comfort to a space. There are many plants that can survive indoors off limited light and will thrive inside your home. I can’t stress enough the value of bringing some greenery into the house. Some plants do better in different rooms of the house, so check out this article to see what plants thrive where: The  Best Plants For Every Room of the House. 

I recently bought some English Ivy which I’m keeping on a ledge in my shower with the hopes that it will live there happily and allow for it’s vines to sexily unfold into our showerspace. Also, in our bathroom I’ve put some classic Aloe, which for the nature of this article is GREAT, as many of us know for, SunBurns! It’s great to keep aloe on hand and to break off a little piece of the plant after a long day of lounging in the sun on a summer day. It also provides great relief from Poison Ivy.  Ahhhh….

4.  Free Activities! I feel like over the summer every one is out sunning their buns. With that being said there are often tons of great free activities to participate in. You just need to know where to look. Whether it may be a romantic free movie in the park, or yoga session, free is sexy and fun! If you currently reside in the Denver area, take a look at this great article loaded with tips that showcase 10 Free To-Do Summer activities .  In addition, for those of you in San Francisco, SF Fun Cheap is a database that has tons of free and cheap activities in the Bay Area. Lastly, for those of you living in the LBC (Long Beach County) take a peek at Yoga on the Bluff Yoga through Yogalution, they host free yoga outside EVERY DAY. What are your favorite free summer activites?

 

5. This bathing suitbecause can it get any cuter?

Enjoy your summer lovelies.

Week of January 28, 2018 (Reflection + Playlist + Yoga Sequence)

These past few weeks have presented slight but unforeseen challenges. Though, in more ways than one, I am having the best time of my life, I can’t help but sometimes fall prey to  the stress and anxiety regarding my future and purpose in this world as a 25-year-old millennial. I believe, the cause of this stress,  is a feeling of not being in control and among this uncertainty I need to trust in the ever-present universal assistance . Applications to my potential PHD programs went out December 1, and it has been roughly two months since this endeavor was completed. I am now waiting to hear back from my universities (six schools along the west coast from Vancouver down to LA), and within the next month will start receiving acceptances, denials, and hopefully interview opportunities. There is something to say about this ‘waiting game’. I spent the six months prior, pre-applying, preparing my life to fit comfortably in this elevator-sized  little package, and it’s a form I’ve grown familiar with. My application identity, a pair of shoes that I started liking to wear, is now awaiting ACCEPTANCE. Oh the ultimate aspect of survival.  Now, this creative and adorned manifestation of me is marching up to the iron gates of these exciting institutions in her best dress hoping to be accepted and seen for her worth and this makes me NERVOUS.

But here’s another thing I’ve been realizing and meditating on, and that is the power of resilience.  No matter the outcome, (whether it be utter denial from world of academia, or more simply, recovering from a conversation that touched a nerve) I will be ok. My pretty little PHD self, will live on regardless of acceptance and this is something I’ve had to cope with. This, limbo—wondering, will I live here or there, will my life change AT ALL has been a stress.  The familiar, like dairy, found in a grilled cheese sandwich is readily coming to my side. Hello old friend. And other undesirable old strategies for coping are sitting in line hoping to be chosen to provide either instant or long-term relief. In a way, it’s quite beautiful. My consciousness is acting on this body to try and help soothe me. The very nature of reaching towards a stimulus for comfort is an act overflowing with compassion. Like a dear friend we are reaching towards what makes us feel better. Even if sometimes what we reach for, in turn, doesn’t provide us with relief. On some level—we hope it will. And the sheer act of seeking and providing comfort within ourselves is a delicate and unshaken relationship.

There’s a part of me that’s been feeling super energized. I’ve been making lists like crazy and knocking ‘to-dos’ off left and right. I’m packed and ready 4 days in advance for my trip down to LA (Can you tell I’m excited?), and have the meal plan down to the last granule for our two day camping adventure. I’m feeling very inspired, writing yoga sequences and soothing myself through the resources found in being organized and racking my brain making lists so as to not have any lingering considerations slip through the cracks. On one hand I am really feeling together and with it. Like I can take on the world, and more importantly have fun doing it! I’m reaching lots of goals, preparing that bomb ass lentil meatloaf that I’ve been excited about for weeks. But there is also this gnawing feeling from the not-knowing about what’s next. It’s hard to commit full-force to any project when my future could be so blissfully and spontaneously uprooted in the next month. So there is this gnawing of uncertainty and with that, I’ve been seeking to regain control and a semblance of certainty.  I’m coping with a lot of pleasure and reward stimulus. “Ahhhh I want something and can have it”, this relieves the pain of “ahhh I have no idea whats happening and I am completely at the hands of anothers approval”.

It all makes great sense, so as 2018 is ramping up and I’m having the time of my life, I am becoming increasingly aware of my stress, triggers, and coping mechanisms. Awareness of this, and mastery of the “dance” sounds to me like the ultimate control. It’s interesting, as I’m facing the potential reality of a lifetime in academia—seen to some as a stodgy and dry profession, I feel incredibly creative. Most of my creative energy, I’m finding is landing on lots of goal-orienting and future-planning, and while it is giving me bliss to FANTASIZE, reeling my energy back to the grounding now, is something I am learning and working on. Here’s a yoga sequence to do just that. Energizing and opening up the heart, strengthening the shoulders, allows for increased learned coping with sensation uncertainty and vulnerability , some grounding breaths and hip-opening poses to help with presence, and some self-soothing, because hey I think we could all use a little more of that. Enjoy.

Playlist:

Sequence: (Maybe, I will start making videos/audio…typing out sequences is quite exhaustive…and might not be that effective)

(Runs: About an hour/ Seating: Mandala formation )

Child’s pose

Hero’s pose…lean backwards

Shoulders to ears (inhale up, exhale down)

Sitting on our heels, extend arms directly out from body, arms straight, palms up pinkies facing eachother, put block towards forearms between elbows. Make a 90 degree angle with arms, fingertips facing the ceiling. Lift finger tips up (resembling a pull-up position), strengthen shoulders.

Plank (3 minutes): last minute, experiment

Side Plank (3 minutes each side): last minute, experiment ( ‘tree legs’)

Cat/Cow (X10)

Puppy Pose

From tummy, body is in a T-shape, Roll to one side-open shoulder, and the other.

Downward Dog

Sway in Ragdoll (walk your hands towards your feet, forward fold)

Roll up Vertebrae

Mountain pose

grounding breaths  (for these, standing in mountain pose, imagine that you are drawing energy up from the ground, on the inhale, let it circulate throughout your entire body, and on the exhale bring that energy back down to the ground through your feet)

Opening A: (variation)

-Inhale look between hands

-Exhale forward fold

-I flat back

-E plank pose (hold it for 10 seconds)

-I prep for Chattaranga

-E Chattaranga (ELBOWS IN)

-I Upward Dog

-E Downward Dog

-I Extend R leg up and back

-E Warrior 1

-I Deeper in stretch (extend arms up up up , while still remaining in sockets)

-E Sink into the knee

-I Extend arms

-E Triangle

-I Warrior 1

-E Triangle

-I Warrior 1

-E Plank pose / Chattarange

-I Upward Dog

-E Downward Dog

 

DO OTHER SIDE

-E hop forward fold

-I Flat back

-E forward fold

-I reverse swan dive

-E Mountain Pose

Opening B: (variation)

-I/E Chair (hold for 10 seconds)

-I Flat Back in chair

-Chair twist (both sides)

-E Forward fold

-I Hands to shins

-E Chattaranga/ Plank

-I Upward Dog

 

-E Downward Dog

-I Right leg extends

-Warrior 1 (R)

-Warrior 2

-Reverse Warrior -> Side Angle (X3)

-Extended Side Angle/ Bird of Paradise

-High Lunge->Bring Back leg forward and bent held up in front of you (X3)

-Warrior 3

-Half moon

-Standing splits

DO OTHER SIDE

Star ->Goddess (X10)

Skandasana (side lunge) both sides (X3)

Malasana Squat (10 seconds)

Extend feet: Hands behind back, shoulders come up over head (goal: touch head to the ground)

Dolphin

Headstand

Handstand Prep

Camel pose (lean back reach for your heels)/ back and forth X 10

Boat -> Canoe  X10

Bridge/Wheel (X3)

Shoulder stand

Twist (Both sides)

Happy baby

Reverse Suptavarakanasana (sp?)

Face yoga, face/head/neck shoulder taps, Belly Rubs

Savasana (10 minutes silence)

 

Aromatherapy: In Hospitals, and Suggested Uses.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. “With it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. “You shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you; it shall be most holy to you” [Exodus 30:34-38]

IMG_6047
“Aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological or physical well-being. [Wikipedia]

It is even making it’s way into hospitals… 

aromatherapy 1

“Studies already have found that inhaled Mentha piperita reduces the need for Zofran in chemo-induced nausea, she said. Also, the M technique, with or without essential oils such as frankincense or lavender, can be effective in reducing terminal agitation at the end of life, Buckle says.”

Fort Worth Hospital Incorporates Aromatherapy, 2008

The following mentioned study had statistically significant results, and evidenced the use of lavender oil to improve the quality of sleep of patients.

Effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in ischemic heart disease patients hospitalized in intensive care units of heart hospitals of the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 2010

Now, this use of aromatherapy is called “complementary medicine”: “Complementary medicine (CM) or integrative medicine (IM) is when alternative medicine is used together with functional medical treatment, in a belief that it improves the effect of treatments.” [Wikipedia]

aromatherapy 3

If done mindfully, and safely, we can experiment with aromatherapy at home. Explored in a controlled and conscious way we can do self-study on its effects. Here are some common ailments, and the suggested essential oils said to provide relief:

Agitation: Chamomile, Lavendar, Mandarin, Sandalwood

Anxiety/ Fear: Bergamot, Chamomile, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Jasmine, Lavendar, Neroli, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood

Aphrodisiac: Clary Sage, Jasmine, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang

Fatigue: Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Ginger, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lemon, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood

Isolation: Chamomile, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Rose

Memory Boosters: Basil, Cypress, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary

Sadness/Grief: Bergamot, Chamomile, Clary Sage, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Rose, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

Self Esteem: Bergamot, Cypress, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Orange, Rosemary

Stress Relief: Bergamot, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli, Vanilla, Ylang Ylang

aromatherapy 4

 

Copaiba

One of my new favorite things.

“Considered to be one of the most anti-inflammatory substances on earth”

So Young Living is a brand that carries very high-grade essential oil. I have been enjoying using some of their essential oils to flavor my water. I recently learned about Copaiba, and it’s taste is unparalleled.

copaiba

It is said to:

  • reduce pain
  • eliminate inflammation
  • protect against infection (Disinfectant)
  • heal the skin (astringent) (add a few drops to a cotton ball or add to moisturizer)
  • prevent fungal growth
  • boost respiratory health
  • improve health of skin and hair
  • improve bladder control
  •  speed healing (Cicatrizant)
  • tighten skin (Astringent)
  • lower blood pressure
  • treat varicose veins
  • moisturizer (Emollient)
  • aids in expelling phlegm (Expectorant)

Wikipedia