Saturday, December 29, 2012

Finally--Fuller Hair

For all hair types
I actually have a lot of hair. Seven years ago I experienced 3 deaths in the family in 2 1/2 years. Those trials are what eventually led me to living a (n extremely) healthier lifestyle. That experience as a whole took a toll on my body, mind and soul. My hair was a good indicator of my overall health and the changes I was going through. The biggest issue with my hair was it became very full and heavy. My hair is actually wavy and curly but the trials of life pulled my hair flat. No matter what I did it would not hold a curl.

As I've healed my life and implemented More Precise Haircare techniques, I've slowly built a lasting curl back into my coif.  Last May I donated 14 inches of hair to charity.  My hair was really short but it felt great and was a wonderful way to start over. Still, originally it was fairly limp and I couldn't hide that in a braid or clip. What's my secret? I proudly use apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse (yes, I'll live with the smell). I am using this Roots combination right now and I am very pleased with it. I have not used it as a hair rinse in the shower, rather I add a capful daily to my scalp and hair as a leave in. Usually on one day of the weekend I massage a tonic into my scalp and comb through coconut oil in the rest and leave in until I wash my hair later that day. My hair is getting very shiny, curly and beautiful.

From this experience I've become an explorer with ACV. On Christmas I put it to the test. After a poor food choice (sweet potato chips and garlic hummus--yum, but ouch!) my stomach turned sour. I had to leave the house soon so I randomly made an ACV drink. I poured an ounce into a glass jar with a tablespoon of coconut sap nectar and the juice of one lime. I filled the 16 ounce jar up with water. On the first sip my sour stomach started righting itself.

I decided to challenge myself and drink ACV every day from Christmas through the end of January (for starters) and see what happens. I was delighted to go to my local library's website and find the Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar book online for instant access with my library card. I read up on it and I'm quite impressed with its possibilities and interested in the results of my experiment.



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Releasing the Unnecessary

Source
This has been an incredible month for me. Despite moving I did manage to squeeze in my Winter Solstice Liver Flush near the new moon. The Winter Solstice itself was spent in meditation, contemplation and journaling.  I had wrapped up the final details of the move the day before and was most interested in resting in bed. There was only a slight problem with that interest: I had given away all my furniture the day before to Homestretch, Inc. who will provide the donated items to persons recently off the street and into their new homes.

So I slept on the floor for two nights until I could put together my platform bed. After careful consideration I ordered an organic mattress. However it may not ship for another month...or two.  I've become reacquainted with the notion that change is not always comfortable.

In addition to releasing the big stuff, I've been slowly releasing the unnecessary from my household for months. I feel blessed to have a charitable organization come to my door step and pick up my donations.  Despite doing all of this--I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I've deliberately moved into a smaller space so I have to find out what I need here in this life rather than what I owned in the previous life. I used to be addicted to "stuff" and now I'm realizing with startling clarity releasing this excess stuff is allowing me to rapidly change my life course. I now have more room for healing, for kindness, for compassion.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Solar Power (It Just Makes Sense!)

One of the benefits of preparing for a Juice Feast includes an overhaul of my current way of living. In the course of the preparation I have made huge unexpected leaps. I have switched to a (nearly) 100 percent organic wardrobe (I'm still releasing old things but not buying anything new that isn't organic), I have given up even more chemicals from hair care to body care. These were not planned changes, but my drive to live a healthier lifestyle offered these choices to me. And I conscientiously made these new choices which have changed my life for the better.


Solar Prayer Wheel
Om Mani Padme Hum
Another fantasy of mine is solar power. I am delighted to announce my first (well second really--no I'm not counting the school-mandated calculator either) use of solar power. Let me start with the first solar item. I've had this prayer wheel in my life for over a year. When the sun comes up in the morning it starts spinning and spreading compassion into my life and the world. It does not store power so it stops spinning when the sun goes down.

Solar charger
Now, for the grand unveiling of my current solar energy usage...a solar charger! Today my solar charger came in the mail and I immediately placed its solar side to the window and charged my e-reader (that purple plate has nothing to do with the charger). For my next coffee enema I will be reading electronically, compliments of the sun!  This model is tiny, it can be place against a window but it also comes with two attachable suction cups so it can ride in the car with you. My first foray into solar charging is for USB charging only. Of course, one day I aspire to greater reliance on solar energy. But I am celebrating my first steps.

I am grateful for my dedication to my healing journey and quest for continuous self-improvement. The unexpected life-changing solutions bring much beauty to my life. With solar power I am going to have to get much more serious in my devotions and salutations to the sun!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Completed: 60 Days Without Soap

Goodbye lather, goodbye fresh herbal bars, goodbye liquid goop...goodbye forever? After I read Courtney Pool's tips and practices for gorgeous skin I recognized the truth by practicing the majority of the list. I also realized there were a couple I haven't tried. If something triggers my interest I am almost always willing to try it. So I decided to choose one challenge which didn't require a lot from me. That challenge was to go 30 days without soap in the shower. At the 30 day mark I felt there was a lot more in the process and I wanted to keep going.

I read other websites about those who decided to go without soap. Many of them concluded they could tell no difference if they used soap or not. The vast majority of people who stopped using soap stopped using it as a life choice. If most people could tell no difference if they used soap or not--why are we Americans so hung up on soap? I, like many others, still use soap for certain parts and always my hands. I have taken some castile soap to work to share, though I would rather go without washing than use that pink stuff which stains the sink.

At home, for my face I follow the Oil Cleanse Method outlined by the magnificent Nadine Artemis. Nadine's method can be found here. When I am not exhausted I use an Oil Cleanse Method for my body (at other times I scrub down with water and a nylon body scrubber from the International market). My body Oil Cleanse Method is as follows:

1.) Liquid




2.) Wash cloth
 
3.) Coconut Oil



4.) Essential Oil



Essentially I take the washcloth spritz it with a hydrosol, rub in some coconut oil, and drip a few drops of essential oil onto the coconut oil. I rub the oils together and rub into my skin in the same way I use the dry skin brush. I start at the left foot and make my way to the left hip. Then the right leg. Then I start at the left wrist and work my way to the shoulder. Then the right arm. I scrub all parts of my back that I can reach (I'm getting pretty flexible) then I work the front side ending with large clockwise circles over my abdomen. I leave the oil on as long as I can before using the nylon scrubby with filtered shower water to remove excess coconut oil.

The results? My skin is in remarkably better condition. My skin stays moist a lot longer. When I used soap my skin seemed to pucker up and not be as healthy of a color. Because my skin is so dry the oil cleansing method is my first choice and the water-only shower works, but it's not as beneficial to my skin. As a result of this experiment I do not see myself using soap in the shower anymore. Well, unless on travel when I collect the hotel soaps which I give to the homeless.

Despite being uber conscientious of chemicals in my home I have become even more conscientious of the soap in my house. I was stunned when I read the ingredients on my Seventh Generation Free and Clear dish soap and found Sodium Lauryl Sulfate! I appreciate their products, especially as they were the first in mainstream stores however I am not willing to knowingly use unnecessary chemicals anymore. Now I am using castile soap to wash dishes and some laundry. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Walking with the Ancestors

I've been reading more and more about Celtic Wisdom. As I have progressed on my health journey I have come to the conclusion that healing happens not just in the body, but in many other elements such as mental and spiritual. The body is the manifestation of the other elements--those which we think so much about that we solidify them in our bodies. The Juice Feast is a tremendous boost to heal my whole person because it stops putting solids in my body. In practice this leads to me living a more fluid life.

In the beginning of my healing journey I could only see the physical limitations. I sought (at times desperately) for simple physical solutions to my problems. These physical solutions did not provide overnight success so I wavered and kept practicing somethings and let go of others. I began to see my approach to healing had to change.  I started with  Healing Thoughts. As I began to change my negative thinking, which likely manifested my problems, I then found out how to do inner work.  As Louise L Hay tells us in You Can Heal Your Life: "The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, means to me that this particular condition cannot be cured by any outer means and that we must go within to find the cure."

I've gone inward and I've done a lot of work. Now I seem to balance the inner work with nature walks. One fascinating book on Celtic Wisdom has taught me about self-healing in nature. Frank MacEowen's The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers speaks deeply about Celtic Shamanic healing. One way to retrieve my soul's "missing parts" is to perform a Scottish Omen Hunt through hillwalking.

I live in Northern Virginia and hills are hard to find. Nevertheless I am always looking for ways to adapt to what is in front of me. Last month I traveled to the land of enchantment or New Mexico. I went for work so any moments I could break away to soak in the surrounding culture were considered what made the trip worthwhile.

The 2 mile trek through the 40 degrees Fahrenheit morning chill was amazing. I texted my coworker whom I shared a rental car with and we packed up early for a quick hike at the Petroglph National Monument on the way to the airport.  Our hands were freezing but digging my Vibram Five Fingers through the cool sand felt wonderful. Immediately, we were on a petroglph hunt.

 I felt the powerful presence of the ancient ancestors with each step. This was a bit of a training session for Omen hunting. Although I walked with another person, at times I felt his presence and other times I felt hugged by the knowledge in the cool rocks. MacEowen believes we are never at a loss from the information of our ancestors. It is always there. We must, if we want to understand the ancient ways, uncover those messages waiting for us.


Friday, November 23, 2012

I am Vegan--Do I Still Have Parasites?

After completing my first parasite cleanse during the first Juice Feast I quickly realized my body's ecosystem was still harboring "unwanted guests." Although I am comfortable talking about almost anything, parasites make me squeamish. Therefore this post will be written as delicately as I can.  In an earlier post I mentioned I regularly use cinnamon and cloves to ward off parasites. Last month I attended the Take Back Your Health Conference here in Northern Virginia. One of my take-aways came from a spotlight on parasites. The speaker mentioned that parasites mate on a full moon. She recommended to take a parasite cleanse that covered the full moon to stop the next generation in its tracks.
SCRAM 150 caps
Parasite Cleanse 

I also read in Donna Gate's book on The Body Ecology Diet to cleanse after menstruation or to help clean up yeasts, to saturate an organic tampon with organic tea tree oil and use overnight.  I now do this, especially on the full moon. By completing parasite cleanses I have discovered I am not parasite-proof because I am vegan.

As I have cleaned up my ecosystem I have learned the hard way that parasites can rule my cravings, steal my nutrients and really creep me out! For me, I take precautionary measures and try to align my life to make my ecosystem unfriendly to parasites. Tonight, a few days before the full moon I started my third parasite cleanse.  I may only be able to report back that I feel better and more in control of my food choices because I refuse to look in the toilet and see if any parasites have come out. Louise Hay reminds us parasites take hold metaphysically because we are giving our power away to others. With each parasite cleanse that I do I regather my strength and take back ownership of my healthy body.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Sun and Juice Feasting

I have been blessed with warm sunny weather this fall.  It's been so deliciously inviting I've thrown on a bathing suit and tanned 5 unexpected times in the last two months. In fact, I just came in. I intend to start my second Juice Feast come the spring which means I will be able to lay in the sun for added benefits.  When I started out improving my health I can tell you what I know now and what I knew then seem light years apart. I imagine this theme will continue the rest of my journey.

Credit and Story of Chemical Treatment
In my life I have gone back and forth about what is healthy for my skin. Should I suntan? Should I use sunscreen? I was shocked the first time I saw a photo of a sun-loving celebrity in her 20's with her décolleté full of freckles. I need the benefits of the sun yet I don't want to damage my skin and health. In my life I could find few examples where I could see sun exposure improved overall health.

During my first Juice Feast I spent workdays with 20 minutes around noon walking everyday outside, soaking in the sun. I  noticed my skin tan a bit (I am fair-skinned with a history of burning) but there were no marks left behind. In fact being on the Juice Feast and suntanning erased several freckles which had been with me for years.

What I experienced is what the Health Ranger describes in The Truth About Sunlight, Cancer and Vitamin D. The sun is healthy when the body is nutritionally fueled. On the Juice Feast I found the sun detoxed my body through my skin. In essence it's a direct pull of what is in your body. If you have garbage in your body, it will pull out garbage. If you are being very pure in your diet (for me that's organic, plant-based, superfoods, super herbal teas, etc) you may be flushing out the old and creating a more healthy ecosystem for the new cellular life.

I know I don't want to freckle-up.  Right now it's my understanding (which I'll test on the upcoming Juice Feast) that it goes along with the saying--if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll get the same results. I don't tan regularly, but when I can I do. As I embrace the healing power of the sun during the second Juice Feast I hope to satiate my curiosity about how a more targeted use of the sun will improve my health.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Burning Karma

Lately I find myself  knowing the answer to most of my frustrating questions: develop patience. Develop patience? Yes, I know I need to. But how do you develop patience when you are internally a bit high strung? In general I cultivate patience through meditation and mindfulness. These mental choices set the slower pace I need in my life. When I don't meditate I get wound up. When I am in-the-moment-uptight I practice repeating a mantra. Both of these things help me.  Sometimes I have a problem that I have no solution for. In the past I would let these problems flay me alive. A few months ago I found another solution. I began to explore karma a bit more. To me, karma has always meant what comes around goes around. But I began to wonder if there was a way to "undo" or pay karmic debts.

One thing I have found as an amazing practice is burning karma candles.  I learned the technique from Gabrielle Alizay through her course Burn Away Your Karma on Daily Om. I will confess her writing style is almost impossible for me to follow, but the protocol works for me. When I buy the candles I recite my mantra over them. When I am ready to burn one I light a non toxic candle, take a deep breath and focus on my issue or perhaps the person who is troubling me. Once I've focused on what I would like to release, which let's say is a person. I focus on that person and allow the healing color to come to me. After I've envisioned the healing color healing both of us, I recite the karma  message and allow the candle to burn out.
Burning Karma Candles

When I first started burning karma candles I was home for an entire weekend and I burned dozens of candles; over time it has slowed down to burning on an as-needed-basis. However, I had a long list when I first started. I was amazed two days after I burned my first candles three people whom I burned karma candles for came to me and "came clear" on an issue we had. Two of the three people told me I was right in a situation and we moved on (trust me when I say this was not an ego win, but delight in wiping the slate clean). The third person retracted a position based upon erroneous observations. I was happy to have resolved all of these issues and to move forward.

Karma candles are powerful. Therefore burning candles should only be burned with integrity and love. Burning karma candles has also taught me patience and gratitude. I know myself well and I recognize I usually become impatient when I want something I don't have. When I burn the candle I let go of the desire. I have already seen how the candles work, so I recognize I have done my part and it's time to let the Universe take over.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do You Want to be Happier?

Happy PosterI recently watched the documentary Happy. Although it didn't overly surprise me, a survey indicated a rickshaw driver in the slums of India is as happy as the average American.  When we live in a constant state of want rather than gratitude and sharing it can be endlessly unsatisfying.  In another example from the documentary a lady from Denmark is given a second chance after a divorce to "make it" financially by moving into a co-housing community. This community houses 20 families who share chores and household benefits.

But you don't have to live in a co-housing community to share resources and gain more time for leisure activity.  On October 11th, the Center for a New American Dream is giving a free webinar on how to create Time Banks.  Time Banks are a way to exchange time and talent with another.  Tired of walking your dog? Like to make more sauerkraut than you need? Hello new options!

Happiness is a state of mind. Perhaps you would be happier exercising the mental muscle upstairs. Have you thought about updating your education? Try the remarkable and free education site--Coursera?

Now is the time to find happiness.

I am a recent convert to Clint Eastwood movies (Heartbreak Ridge and Gran Torino are at the top of my list). In my joker mind I thought how much fun it would be if I went around (unarmed) and asked people if they felt happy rather than lucky.  Even so I could still end it with a bang by (poorly) mimicking:

 "Do you feel happy? Well, do ya, punk."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Spirulina Blue-Eyed Goddess Juice

Coconut Water
I am in love with coconuts! 

When I first started out on the raw food path I tried coconut water, and made coconut treats from the meat (usually a sweet organic smoothie with cacao, cinnamon and bananas).  During these explorations I found I liked coconut--in small amounts.  In the first Juice Feast I awoke at 3:00 am to make a gallon of freshly pressed organic fruit and vegetable juice. I consumed all 4 quarts at work.  I had been Juice Feasting for awhile and thought to add in coconut water. When I came home I wasn't hungry, but I kept hunger at bay by adding in another quart of fresh juice. I made an extra quart with the water of two young Thai coconuts, stirred in a tablespoon of Vitamineral Green or Greener Grasses.  It was at this point in my Juice Feast my eyes started to get noticeably bluer.
Coconut Meat

One problem I encountered (as I am not a wasteful person) was what to do with all the coconut meat.  I didn't know anybody who could use it, and I didn't want to throw it out. So I laboriously cracked open the coconuts and scraped out the meat--to freeze it and save it for when I was on solids again. Now I know exactly what to do with that coconut meat and I've come up with an even more intense juice I call Spirulina Blue-Eyed Goddess Juice.

I've read about the health benefits of coconut kefir water, but I prefer to ferment "coconut milk" (combining the water and the meat of the young coconut and blending on low in the Vitamix for 3 minutes).  After blending I empty a packet of BED kefir into a gallon glass jar pour in the blended coconut milk and let it sit for 24 hours in a dark place.  Coconut milk takes a little more finesse because it breaks down quickly. After a few days it isn't solid like the coconut milk, but it becomes more like a liquid with small flecks of coconut in it.  When it breaks down to nothing but liquid I call it coconut soup and at other times coconut yogurt.  The Body Ecology Diet recommends coconut kefir water or coconut pudding. But if you find you like it another way, make it another way.  

Liquid SpirulinaWhile making several batches of coconut milk kefir I discovered a new drink.  Since it takes a half an hour or more to crack all those coconuts and I've discovered I like the fermented coconut milk fatty, I buy 6 young coconuts per batch. I pour the water of two young coconuts into a glass jar with a heaping tablespoon of Spirulina, Vitamineral Green or other greens blend, then I add one ounce of fermented spirulina. I give it a good shake and sip it while I am harvesting the other coconuts.

Spirulina Blue-Eyed Goddess Juice (Juice Feast Friendly)

water of 2 young coconuts
1 heaping tbl powdered greens
1 ounce fermented spirulina
IMG_20120929_153323.jpg
Coconut Milk Fermenting
love and gratitude

Fermented Coconut Milk (Pre and Post Juice Feast Treat)

meat of 6 young coconuts
water of 4 young coconuts

add (after blending) 1 packet kefir starter or 1 cup culture from last batch
love and gratitude and water blessings


Note: I also tried to add a Vitamix blended batch of coconut milk with a carton of store bought coconut yogurt. It fermented a little and tasted great, but I could tell how powerful the BED kefir strain is and as I am trying to heal at a therapeutic level I will continue to use this product.

One More Note: This may be the only time animal testing will be done on this blog. I must confess I am not the only one who loves coconuts. In a recent development my cat has decided she would like to lick up to 3 teaspoons of melting coconut oil off my finger 3 or more times a day.  I am the third known person to own this cat so I'm not sure of her age, but I've had her for over 7 years.  She has been eating coconut oil for the last two months and her fur is extraordinarily soft. She has always been playful, but her kittenish love to play is showing itself more frequently. And she is very happy. She purrs the entire time she is licking the oil off my fingers.







Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall's Liver Flush

Google Image
The Autumnal Equinox is Saturday September 22nd and the new moon was yesterday, Saturday the 15th. I started sipping my liver cleanse protocol daily 32 ounce organic apple juice spiked with 2 ounces of Body Ecology's fermented Dong Quai on September 9th. In the past I have freshly juiced the apples (sometimes throwing in a little beet root) and drank it raw, however I have not been strictly raw for awhile nor have I budgeted the time to make it fresh. So I buy pasteurized local organic apple juice, leave it at room temperature and allow the probiotics to work while sipping throughout the day.

 The more I clean my liver, the better I feel. Through liver cleansing I have learned how vital it is to good health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine they say the liver is connected with anger. I found that to be true. I became a much happier person once I started liver cleansing. I also had no idea how angry I was before cleaning up my liver. Before my first Juice Feast I completed a liver flush with every new moon. This year I decided to do a liver flush four times a year, precisely at the change of the season. It's one of the best maintenance preventatives I do.

Last year after my fall liver flush I celebrated living calmly amongst angry people.  This year I am excited to discover the practice of manifesting my future. I was surprised to discover Ted Andrew's "Rite of the Autumn Equinox" in Nature Speak. He describes the beauty and magic in a new and meaningful way for me.
"Autumn is the time in which Nature's energies facilitates the process of purifying one's life and for the planting of new seeds and endeavors. The fall season is a time to determine new values, and to make new decisions and goals. It is a harvesting and assessment time for what has passed in the previous year, and it is a time for setting new goals for the coming year. It is a time in which the energies influencing all of humanity are most appropriate for purifying the mind and for transmuting that which would hinder the full and highest expression of the divine within us."
So, feeling pure from the liver flush I am embarking on a week long journey to plant new seeds and manifest my future.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are You Open to Messages?

When I first found raw foods I noticed after the first few hard core healing reactions that my body felt lighter and lighter. And I don't necessarily mean this lightness was achieved by weight loss. More importantly, I discovered and deepened my intuition--which in turn made me feel more and more elevated.  When I am not on top of my game or when I need to learn a lesson I can back slide into strictly rational, logic based decision making. When I do this I find myself in a familiar old pattern: analysis paralysis. To my knowledge, it has never served me well.

Credit
 It's a balancing act for me to thrive with both logic and intuition. As the years pass I find myself open to a lot more messages. My first deliberate voyage into psychic messages occurred this summer at lunch during an incredibly dry day long conference. At lunch my co-worker and I left the conference for lunch in Chinatown and on the way back we passed a palm reading sign. I insisted we go and while my co-worker agreed to go with me he refused to get his palm read (he came to regret that choice as time went on).

The next unusual reading I had was later in the summer while in NYC. I spent the weekend with family and my cousin wanted to go to a transvestite bar because she had lived in NYC for two years and never made it for the experience (this bar is listed in one of those books along the lines of 1000 things to do in NY).  After my eyes adjusted to the dimness of the bar I was game for transvestite taro. My cards all lined up with the life I have been manifesting (career, home)--with a dash of seasoning I didn't order (love), but knew was coming anyway.  This is a new experience for me. What am I supposed to do knowing I have manifested my desires and they are on the way?

Google Image
To help me stay in touch with incoming messages I have found a group of books which help me read nature. Even though these books have only come in my life in the last month or so, I can't remember how I found them. I am currently learning from the works of Ted Andrews. At some point I would like to read more of his work and at present I love: Animal Speak, Animal Wise and Nature Speak. My first book was the Pocket Guide for Animal Speak--this is a good book to flip through and see if it speaks to you.

Sometimes it's not the right time in our lives for certain messages and at that time, books and messages don't reach us. I find that pattern again and again as I have bought books which have sat unread on my bookshelf for two or more years--until one day it's exactly what I'm looking for. When it is the right time I am able to rapidly devour the information and greatly benefit from it. I've found I sometimes need to be open to messages finding me rather than I finding them and trying to make logical sense of it.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Once the Herbs Hit the Bloodstream

Google Image
On a particularly rotten day from work I came home knowing I needed to shake myself out of a funk. I was too lethargic to meditate and I refused to fall into the numbing sensations of food, television for entertainment or calling in quits and climbing into bed. So I talked myself into exploring other actions.

I reminded myself I've been successfully rebuilding my energy with herbs and the day was a temporary setback. As I explored possibilities I dug out another health tool I purchased in my heyday of discovering my body can heal itself. Upon initial purchase I enjoyed this product even though I didn't know all of its possibilities. And I have not been using it regularly for the past three years. Still, it was one of those tools I couldn't seem to part with.

I set the machine for 15 minutes and felt my lower half guided into perfect figure eights--the same technique which comes at the end of an Asian-style body massage.  At the end of the stimulation I felt a delicious tingling (chi) throughout my body. I held still and allowed the stimulated chi to realign the energy in my body. I relaxed into this position without moving for as long as I could or until my feet started to fall asleep.

After this re-discovery I decided to use the machine more regularly--to keep me from settling into any energetic funks and I've incorporated my healing herbs into the process. When I can, I take the herbs and wait for about 20 minutes until they enter my blood stream and then I use the chi machine as the messenger of healing and let the herbal messages land where they are needed most. This is my intention, it's a little more difficult to say what actually happens. However I always feel better.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Not All Products are Equal (Part 2: Jing City)

I am grateful for this product. It's true I will most likely not consume it while I am Juice Feasting. In my pre-Juice Feast days I am trying to rebuild my reserves. So far I have consumed 2 bottles and I ordered 3 more. The first bottle left me dazed but not confused. It made me feel so delicious. It was an elevation that caused me to have to lay down and enjoy the new energy.

After nearly 2 years of working full time and going to graduate school, I was starting to wear out. Although I have recently been much more mindful of my eating habits, whole vegan and raw vegan foods were not replenishing me quick enough. Nor, I confess, am I being disciplined enough for this sole approach to work at the level I desire it.

So I found the need to experiment. The Longevity Warehouse website describes the re-charge experience as: "Initially Jing City is calming. It stops all stress, allowing the jing to download and replenish; an hour later you can start to feel the inner-power... much as if you have had several hours sleep and are fully charged to take on life!" Through the first two bottles I didn't get beyond the inner-power generator. I craved to get home after work to make this elixir. I felt fantastic after the tea but I could not sustain this feeling.


On his website Ron Teeguarden says: "A tonic herb must help balance our emotional and psychic energy so as to help improve one's state of spiritual and emotional well being and happiness."  This statement made no sense to me until I started drinking Jing City, a masterfully formulated tonic elixir. Now as I work on bottle 3, I feel calmer, more adaptable and my meditation practice is stronger. It is one of the most powerful tools I have come across to re-capture my energy--and sustain it.



Sunday, August 5, 2012

Schizandra Warrior Juice

One of the great things I am discovering post the 30 day challenge of consuming niacin, jumping on the rebounder then sweating out entrenched toxins is that it is so much easier to listen to what my body needs. At first I thought the benefit of the challenge may lay primarily in external appearances and resolution of health issues, but I've found the real benefit is my unclogged body can tell me what it needs. Since I've embarked on 100 days of Schizandra I'm also noticing new insights. After the first week I seem to look different. However this difference is so subtle it's hard to define other than an instinctual knowing.

Recently I've spent more time learning from the wisdom of Ron Teeguarden. His book is fabulous, however his website is also highly informative and easy to follow. I recommend a thorough reading of  Herbalism and Philosophy on his website. From it I was able to comprehend I may have a yin deficiency. This is a topic I hope to further understand with more study.

Another great thing I have discovered is that I have had to take the plants and herbs to understand them. After consuming tonic herbs in a clean body I am being led to greater insights. My choices and thoughts are aligning with a higher source of energy and information. I could not grasp this level of knowledge before I absorbed the herbs into my being. It is a fascinating process.

From this process I have uncovered a new drink for myself. It is a kombucha replacement drink. I am trying to cut down drastically on sugar. I have made slow progress, but some is better than none. My new drink is called Schizandra Warrior Juice because initially I felt I had to be a warrior to drink it. As I have consumed more I find it to be medicinally delicious and I sip on it throughout the day with enjoyment.

Here's the recipe for Schizandra Warrior Juice:

  • 1  25.3 ounce bottle of sparkling mineral water (bottled at source)
  • 1 ounce organic fruit juice concentrate (I've used--cranberry, mangosteen, sea buckthorn, noni, tart cherry)
  • 1 ounce liquid probiotics (I use Grainfields lemon and ginger) 
  • 1 packet Schizandra tea (I use Ron Teeguarden's tea)
This drink is clearly one I could consume on a Juice Feast in addition to my four quarts of daily juice. It is nice to have this other healthy option lined up as some days on a Juice Feast I seek different tastes.




Friday, July 27, 2012

Rebuilding: 100 Days of Schizandra

Schizandra
Image Credit


In this health-is-wealth and powerful book "The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs" Ron Teeguarden shares with us an ancient tool to realign us with the "primary energies of life." Specifically "Schizandra generates vitality and radiant beauty when used regularly for sometime....If used for one hundred days successively, Schizandra is said to purify the blood, sharpen the mind, improve memory, rejuvenate the Kidney energy...and cause the skin to become radiantly beautiful. " Furthermore, his website elaborates: " People who start taking Schizandra regularly all change for the better. Their skin virtually glows and becomes clear and fine after several months."

So, I have accepted the 100 day challenge. Today is day 2. I decided to start with Dragon Herbs because I became an admirer of Ron Teeguarden through his presentations at the Longevity Now  Conferences. He strikes me not only as knowledgeable in Chinese herbalism, but someone who bears the responsibility of that knowledge with integrity and grace. In one presentation he said he had made a vow to love everything. I'm hooked!

From Dragon Herbs
I will freely admit I have had this book for years and I am still uneducated on the ways of Chinese herbalism. Each entry in the book is written in loving and glowing terms and it can be difficult to not fall for these plants yourself! I am fairly certain I will not use encapsulated herbs during the Juice Feast, however I am seeking to start the Juice Feast at a higher level of health and explore where the Feast may take me. For today, I am starting with Schizandra to strengthen and rebuild. Let's see where that takes me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Completed: 30 Days Niacin, Rebounder, FAR Infrared Sauna

I gave myself another challenge and I completed that challenge. For 30 treatments (as consecutive as I could make it) I sweated out a lot of toxins. Often this program dominated my evening so in that sense it felt a little draining. If I ate dinner I had to factor in my digestive  needs before exercising and sometimes I got hung up on the mundane aspects of the repetitive elements of it all. However, in the end it was completely worth it.

It felt similar to fasting. The first three days showed dramatic results in my external appearances. It's my understanding the first few days of a fast are when I release the bulk of the toxins and each day thereafter I go more deeply into older debris, injuries and toxin stock piles.

I will continue to experiment with smaller bursts of this powerful treatment as I move closer to my Juice Feast. I think it would be a powerful prelude (the three days prior) to my Juice Feast. A modified version of it (read: no niacin!) might also be appropriate during the Juice Feast.

Don't be pushed by your problems be led by your dreams.
Image Credit
In the most pressing thought of the today I feel it's the post-treatment that is the most important. This is perhaps the greatest lesson I need to learn. How can I rebuild and not slide back into unhealthy choices? Obviously I now know I can sweat it out. When I follow the sweat with activated charcoal the desire is simply gone. But now I must experiment and discover what it is my body needs to rebuild.

My new philosophy from this is that I have discovered pursuing my ultimate health should not be about resolving an issue which upsets me but living up to who I can truly be. With this approach I simply release and allow the issues to resolve themselves.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

70 Hours: A Far Infrared Sauna Experiment

(Google Images)
When I was in undergrad I lived in an apartment complex that had a dry sauna. I was in the sauna three times a week and I always had the sauna to myself. I even wrote a poem about the swirling caramel strands in the wood. I would bring an enormous bottle of water and that was the extent of my chugging in college.  Even so when I returned to my apartment I had steam trailing above and behind me.


My experience has changed with my Far Infrared.  The time in the FAR Infrared is hot, but it is more gentle than the dry sauna. I keep a large jar of water at my side and finish it while sweating. As I lay there resting I usually practice mental exercises and otherwise try to keep my cool. After a sauna session I immediately shower to avoid reabsorbing toxins.  Through these 70 hours I have learned a few things.

Perhaps my greatest find in all of this is to learn my FAR Infrared experience has allowed me to shed excessive skin. When I started using the sauna I had rough, dry skin. The type of skin that does not really absorb oil or lotion. So it's been wonderful to find a treatment other than sunbathing that releases this excessive skin. When I finish the sauna I immediately drop the towels in the washer and head for the shower. After a sauna session I always wash my hair. Sometimes I scrub my body with zeolites, sometimes with salt and oils and other times with castile or herbal soap.  When I scrub with soap I will sometimes finish with a dousing in organic raw apple cider vinegar from the neck down. I will then carefully dab small amounts on my face.  Vinegar can be aggravating to the eyes so it's important to be gentle when using it on the face.  All of these techniques do wonderful things so I vary them according to how much energy I have.
(Google Images)

I have also found using the sauna requires I stay on top of my liquids. This may mean I can more easily break out sweating outside my sauna time but I have learned to appreciate this for the long term benefits of having open detox pathways. Sweating is healthy!

Finally I completed a sauna session at the end of a fast to test out how I feel and it felt like I had squeezed the sponge out. It felt great in terms of releasing toxins and my energy level was not depleted. I think small increments during a Juice Feast are possible for me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Niacin, Rebounder, Far Infrared Sauna

'Knowledge' highlighted in yellowAnother good thing about this blog is that it keeps me vigilant to new cleansing opportunities. Although I am a person of integrity, there is more on the line when I write down a practice rather than let it float around in my head.  In other words, if it is a good idea and worth trying my mind feasts on it and I sometimes spontaneously try the new idea and other times I will spend great amounts of time preparing myself for the challenge. In the past I fooled myself by thinking I would remember a tip or technique without writing it down. So this blog is a cohesive and focused approach to my second Juice Feast. This approach has yielded many surprising wisdom nuggets because my attention has been on daily training rather than waiting until the last minute and jumping off a cliff into the unknown.



Lightning bugThe niacin, rebounder and FIR sauna was one such spontaneous quest.  I had heard of a version of it before and there it sat. The lightning bugs are out this time of year, so perhaps the rapid glow and bright lights in my back yard turned on a thing or two in my mind. I decided to start it the day I heard again of it. That was Tuesday and I have just completed my 6th treatment. I started on the new moon and I sweated out on the Summer Solstice. These are powerful times to clean and release toxins.
Two monkeys with fur and a red face sitting together
I also decided to take activated charcoal after I finished the sauna. My protocol has been to eat when I get home from work, take a niacin tablet with it, relax for a short period of time, do 20 minutes on the rebounder followed by at least 40 minutes in the sauna. It is fairly common for me to test my limits, so it was no surprise to me when I took too much niacin and flushed red all over my body. My skin itched and I felt heat in my skin, but otherwise it was not unpleasant. It passed quickly. Then I followed up with an immediate shower. Most nights I just want to scrub and go to bed, but one night I managed to scrub with zeolite powder. I thought it would be a good idea to rub zeolite into my scalp, but it wasn't. The type of zeolite I used is actually for my garden and it's in small little balls. These little balls embedded in my scalp! They came out the next day, but I think a better choice is to use liquid zeolites or at least strain the little balls out.

The protocol is recommended for 30 days. That is my goal. It has been an interesting few days. I felt the most clean on the first 3 days, now I don't feel much different after the sessions. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer's Release (Another Liver Cleanse)

(Google Image)
Summer is officially here! When I observe nature this time of the year I see a comfortable, confident flowing relationship. It is a season where nature lets it all hang out. Naturally with the new moon on Tuesday and the Summer Solstice on Wednesday I felt like it would be a good time to do another liver flush. I was conscientious this week to drink extra detox liver tea, take chlorella and spirulina often, drink plenty of pure water and make as many wise eating choices that I could. There were no hardships or guilty feelings, instead I translated them into health-bringing moments of pleasure. To me, this indicates my reduced toxic load as cravings no longer control me. I am always amazed how much I can be influenced by toxins.

Perhaps this feeling of contentedness supported me last night as I stood in the darkness of my bedroom with my glass of organic olive oil and organic grapefruit juice, I already had the shakes knowing I was going to drink it. I have never been able to swallow the Epsom salts straight so I encapsulate them and save myself that unpleasantness. But there is no way to avoid drinking down the olive oil. It was the greatest hindrance to me starting on this liver cleanse protocol. Yes, it's difficult to get it down psychologically but it does go down. This time I chanted the Medicine Buddha mantra while I drank and I hardly noticed it. Then I immediately hopped in bed. I had put on a castor oil treatment before preparing the oil for drinking so I lay scrunched on my right side with a castor oiled cloth and a heating pad draining toxins from the outside. I remained still for a long time and finally I fell asleep.

The liver cleanse is certainly a challenge but the rewards keep me coming back for more. The best thing for me, is these cleanses release anger, irritation and other unhealthy thoughts.  When I was doing them with every new moon I felt euphoric after each one. Now, several years after the first cleanse I maintain my feeling of peace and evenness with greater ease. Each cleanse gently places me back where I need to be. My level of awareness has raised to a new level from the liver cleanse.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Short Fast

My previous modified fast lasted close to, if not 4 full days. It was slightly uncomfortable. It appears I have stretched my stomach for my cravings to eat troubled me the most. However around the 3 day mark those cravings disappeared and I began to enjoy the fast. I was completely exhausted and mostly rested to the point of light reading and watching movies. I watched the entire season of Out of the Wild: Venezuela. I enjoy group dynamics under extreme situations--for it shows me the truth of human nature. Plus, I had seen the previous season featuring Alaska and I knew the people would be fasting more rigorously than I was. In fact they go hungry for days and exert themselves to the breaking point. I merely laid on my couch and let me body heal itself.

Fruit of the grapefruit juice
Credit
I am in round two of another modified fast. This one is for 3 days over a long weekend. It's much easier this time. One thing which I have added and will continue to use on my full-fledged Juice Feast is incorporating probiotics.

I am not a follower of the Body Ecology Diet but I have learned a lot from its principles. The main thing I have incorporated is the strategic use of probiotics.  In my juices I am adding a dose of Cocobiotic and in grapefruit juice I am adding a scoop of Vitality SuperGreen. In the last modified fast I regularly took MRM Digest-All digestive enzymes with my juices. I had success with it, but I have to be careful as my constitution can be revved up from a hot coal to a bonfire and into intense healing and a desire to return to solid food right quickly.

The most important thing in this light, modified fasting is allowing my body down time. It truly is with gratitude that I thank my body with its infinite wisdom to heal itself.  I intend to prepare myself for the Juice Feast with as many short fasts as I can. As I mentioned before I want to master the art of breaking the fast. At present all I can say is I have a lot of learning and experimenting to do.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Breaking My Fasting Abstinence

My first Juice Feast was in full swing this time two years ago. I have not fasted since.  Because of my work schedule and lifestyle choices I usually fast to some degree over holidays. Yet with graduate school added into my schedule I have felt too tired and simply unready to fast.  One of the reasons this blog is so important to me pre-Juice Feasting, is because I have needed to stay as close to healthy choices as I can.  So I continue to challenge and prepare myself for a Juice Feast that will likely occur one year from now.  In the meantime I am learning about and making better choices in small increments.

I recently traveled home. This trip transitioned into a soul searching journey. Through healing conversations with family members, beautiful bare foot walks on the lake shore and internal spiritual discoveries I felt several releases of energy. When I came back I had to reconcile these differences. So for the first time in two years, I engaged in a three day modified fast.


For most people water fasts can be a little too severe. As I am easing my way back into fasting I opted for crystal-charged water, Vitamineral green-spiked grapefruit juice, herbal tea (both dried and fresh from the garden) and even a helping of organic miso broth. I have found that long, deep sleeps are required to succeed on this fast. Although the fast has not been troublesome, I have needed to be mindful  and rest regularly.

Fasting again puts me in touch with the areas that I need to work on. I think my greatest challenge is how I can sensibly come off the fast.  Today is my final day and I plan to break it carefully with green smoothies tomorrow.  I am considering several one day fasts in the future to train for breaking fasts.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My 15 Minute Exercise Plan

I am not an advocate of There's Something About Mary's '7 Minute Abs' or even minimalistic exercise--but it is incredibly difficult for me to exercise enough. More often than not it's difficult for me to exercise at all. On my first Juice Feast I was so unsure of myself that my only exercise was in 20 minute walks at lunch. There was always a concern the blood (not dog-piling in my stomach to digest solid foods) would head-rush me and I might want to pass out if I crossed the unknown line and overexerted myself. The last thing I wanted anyone to think was I was a weakling, Juice-Feasting-vegan. Most of those who are aware when I am Juice Feasting support me, but because this approach can seem so extreme to the mainstream there is a tendency to overreact and blast me with negatives to cease immediately if something seems to go wrong.

I have been working on living up to this commitment for two months. It's my 15 minute exercise plan. I have a rebounder which I LOVE. When I am bouncing on it--I truly enjoy it and typically want to continue on. One problem I have developed from lack of exercise is I no longer know my limits. So I might be having so much fun exercising or hiking that I go beyond what I can expend in energy. The next thing I know I am too tired to do what I must accomplish. I recognize there is a point this feeling must be lived with to overcome my current exercise endurance limitations but as much as I love organizing and planning I have not successfully climbed this hurdle.

My workout typically starts after I get home from work (when I usually don't want to do anything; in fact I am thinking about rearranging this time for meditation and transition with a clear mind into school work). I come home, (sometimes I do a coffee enema), wash my face and change into some workout clothing. I then take my rebounder outside into my postage stamp sized back yard. As it has been a sunny spring I usually face the sun, turn on my MP3 player (pick out 5 songs), watch my happy cat snack on some grass--and bounce. After 15 minutes I gingerly step off the rebounder and make my way over to my garden and ground my bare feet. It is magnificent.




Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Precise Hair Care

Although I have been treating my hair with love and weekly pampering treatments for much of my life I was stunned what this treatment may be doing to me. I am not an expert nor have I researched this claim thoroughly, however I am enough of a health nut that even if sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an urban legend I am now further committed to avoid chemicals as much as I can.

So when vaclib.org describes SLS, one common carcinogen which was in my health store shampoo as a 
"skin irritant. It is rapidly absorbed and retained in the eyes, brain, heart, and liver, which may result in harmful long-term effects. SLS could retard healing, cause cataracts in adults, and keep children's eyes from developing properly. In fact, studies have shown that washing your hair one time with a shampoo containing Sodium Lauryl Sulfate could put as many nitrates into your bloodstream as eating a whole pound of bacon. And that is just ONE application."
I decided to finally take the plunge and find a better hair care treatment. And my hair has only gotten better. I have wavy-to-curly hair which I like to wear naturally. I have tried many different natural products which left my hair flat and limp. I finally found one that meets my high standards. The sea buckthorn shampoo and shine on hair conditioner leaves my hair full and bouncy. I will say although it is moisturizing my hair does dry out a bit quickly, so I supplement by massaging small amounts of oil in the ends and body throughout the week. I am ecstatic with these entirely plant based bottles of joy.

For the last two years I have been growing my hair out to donate it to Locks of Love and I am cutting and sending it next week. I will be washing my hair with my own shampoo and conditioner and asking the stylist to wet it down rather than a salon wash and rinse. Like I am with all releases--I am looking forward to what new elements this may bring into my life.




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Have a Health Crush

I have been studying healthier alternatives for many years. I have learned from some fantastic people who are genuine healers and come forward to assist all with love in their hearts. Sometimes I've wondered if their love might have gotten in the way of the message--especially when I don't get the message. Even so, I accept misfire as a loving expression and often consider that to be more healing that a dose of logical advice to eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep.  Only recently I've found the whole package! And he's making house calls! Allow me to introduce you to Dr. Detox.




I am not one for reality television, until now. What I like most about this show is it's not a list of useful tips and healthy advice, it's literally a knowledgeable doctor in your house and work space combing through your lifestyle choices and teaching you what your choices are doing to your health.

One of the most interesting tips from Dr. Detox is that during the healing process we may peel back the layers of the onion until we find the underlying cause of our health challenge. It's interesting to me because when people first start out on a detox protocol the first disturbance often sends them into a fit of worries. Many people I know quit detoxing altogether because they ran into a healing crisis or discovered a new challenge. They think detoxing is creating new illnesses! Dr. Detox makes it clear these underlying symptoms were covered up by other symptoms. I can't wait for the next episode!

Monday, March 19, 2012

New Moon, Spring Solstice and Deep Cleansing

I have had excellent results when I time my cleanses with the lunar cycle and the seasonal rotations. There is something magical this time of year and my body tells me it wants to shed unhealthy choices. It's like one of those glorious cat stretches where your legs stick straight up in the air and your toes expand into lion feet (licking between toes is optional), and then you contract back to yourself and feel magnificent. Nutritionally I try to align my choices with the lunar cycle. At the new moon I am releasing so I try to assist that flow; at the full moon I am retaining so I try to eat the highest nutritionally available food I can find.

I recently watched Dr. Christy Westen's talk at the Women's Wellness Conference 2012. She is an amazing spirit dedicated to getting the word out about grounding. As I continuously educate myself on healthy, sustainable practices I sometimes realize somewhat painfully I didn't know the right information to begin with! Of the many interesting things that Dr. Westen mentioned was that grounded women have menses and ovulation in alignment with the lunar cycle. I think these cycles can greatly influence food choices--so beware and prepare!

Spring renewal
Interesting enough, this week there is both a new moon and the spring equinox. With this time for new beginnings and time for perfect balance I try hard to use these opportunities for targeted releases and requests to the Universe for improvements in my life.  This week I am physically planning another liver flush, mentally I am constantly working on reflective self-development (thanks grad school) and spiritually by chanting the Medicine Buddha mantra and finally creating a vision board. I am excited for the new sprouts that will appear in my life from this spring transformation.

I have found a way to drink the required apple juice without making my teeth hurt or tiring of the sweet taste. I add in an ounce or two of Cocobiotic to help clean up the excess sugars. Intuitively I have also felt the need to add in apple pectin to my diet. It's been awhile since I last used apple pectin. So I tapped some dry powder into my mouth to see what it tasted like (mild, almost flavorless) and without any liquid it formed something of a concrete sidewalk on the roof of my mouth! It slowly eroded without harm--but I think it's best to add to liquid first.

This week will be intense and focused on releasing the old to discover the new. It's rarely easy--especially in social situations. In fact today I dodged a very serious temptation at lunch with a friend whom almost persuaded me to eat falafels (because of the convenient location). I love those things--but no way can I eat fried food now. I try hard to eradicate it period--but a bit of advice from some scholarly work gave me a back up for when I am human. If I succumb to unhealthy fried fatty food, take astaxanthin with it to soften the blow. In the interim--when I am being good I also make sure to take astaxanthin with healthy fatty food.

It's always a fascinating experience to self-study. With each piece of knowledge, with each exploration I seek to lighten my toxic load and stretch into a healthier, happier being. My goal is to start my second Juice Feast ahead of the game so I can go into much deeper cleansing.