Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 6)

Day 6: Juicing, Stretching, Meditation

We’re now coming closer to the finish line of the 5 day juice fast portion of the detox. This Saturday, we’ll be back on raw food! Although I’m very comfortable where I’m at right now on juice, I’m getting excited just thinking about a salad with a nice creamy Avocado dressing…yum. Ok, well not yet! We’ve still got work to do. Today was all about stretching out the body and reaffirming my intentions to detoxify. Working out the kinks, getting the muscles stimulated just enough to help prepare¬†for the¬†intense massage work tomorrow.

Stretching

I don’t get too fancy with my stretching routine; I like to keep it simple. When I do my athletic stretching…thats another story entirely. For the purposes of our detox though, I only employ a small handful of my favorite basic yoga stretches. I focus on Downward Facing Dog, ¬†Cobra Pose, Bow Pose,¬†Hare Pose, Laying¬†Rotation Pose¬†and Vajrasana w/ Mountain Pose. If you’re unsure of the postures, check out Yoga.com.¬†In your preferred¬†sequence, perform each of these stretches by gently extending through your entire core. Deeply relax¬†into each of these exercises; allow your weight to “fall through” the floor. Retain each pose for as long as you feel comfortable while focusing on your breath and clearing your mind of all distractions. Let go.

Meditation

If you are unfamiliar with meditation, there are many great books and websites on the subject. As defined; “Meditation¬†is a practice where an individual trains the¬†mind¬†or induces a¬†mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content,¬†or as an end in itself”. The typical idea that comes to most people’s minds¬†is the image of a religious monk sitting cross-legged, humming a mantra while holding prayer beads. This is all perfectly legitimate and while I do give many “nods” to Buddhism; to meditate one does not require religious belief, special postures, beads, special pillows, incense or chanting of any kind. There is no need to associate the idea of clearing one’s mind through meditation with spirits, religion, magic or mysticism. It’s actually just a body hack. The brain is so clever and tied to it’s ego, we don’t realize that we live our lives¬†in this non-existent place in our head where we ponder the past, visualize the future, discipline ourselves, try to control things that are out of our control, make judgements, make assumptions etc; all while ignoring our¬†present reality.

The truth is, once you realize this fact, you can begin to practice meditation anywhere at anytime. Most of my own meditation is performed during stretching exercises, while on a run or bicycle ride…sometimes¬†even while in the waiting room at an appointment. I shut off my mind as much as possible when it’s not needed for solving, calculating or creating. The idea is to silence the chatter within by focusing¬†on the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. This brings your mind immediately back to “now”. All that you are truly experiencing right now is you breathing…nothing else.

I’d say that this entire detox program is a constant form of meditation. Because it forces one¬†to be present; to¬†be with whatever is currently being felt; withdrawal symptoms, hunger, discomfort etc. To bring your brain elsewhere would be a mistake and would soon end your detox early because all you’d be thinking about is how you’d feel better if you just ate some food, had some coffee, smoked a cigarette, etc. Discomfort is not always a bad thing; especially when something wonderful comes out of it.

You can meditate¬†with or without visualization (just don’t visualize while you’re riding a bike or running!). The easiest way I’ve found to truly exist within “nothing” is to visualize my¬†body in any busy setting; where there are buildings, people, cars, etc. Then I just begin mentally removing things from that landscape until only myself is¬†left floating in nothingness. As I continue¬†to focus on my¬†breathing, I¬†visualize¬†my own body¬†decaying into nothingness. Gross, right? But without a brain, you can’t think anymore. Congratulations…you are nothing.

Another great¬†way to bring meditation into your life is to simply become your own witness as much as possible throughout your day. Each time you catch your mind over-thinking, rambling on or daydreaming…you are ceasing it. This exercise is the first step toward mental freedom. The better you become at witnessing your thought patterns, the sooner you can destroy them and the smoother meditation will come. Keep it up!

Here are today’s highlights:

Tongue Scrape (Brush Teeth)

Fasted Stretching and Meditation (30 minutes)

IMG_3320

Psyllium Husks (w/ 8 oz Water)

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Green Juice (Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Curly Kale, Basil, Parsley, Kiwi, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon and Ginger)

IMG_332216 oz Water

1 Tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar

IMG_33258 oz Kombucha (Synergy Multi-Green)

16 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Curly Kale, Basil, Parsley, Kiwi, Apple, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon and Ginger)

16 oz Coconut Water

12 oz Water

20 oz Red Juice (Beet, Beet Greens, Romaine, Valencia Orange, Pineapple, Celery, Carrot, Ginger and Turmeric)

IMG_332712 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea (Blueberry Hibiscus)

12 oz Water

12 oz Red Juice (Beet, Beet Greens, Romaine, Valencia Orange, Pineapple, Celery, Carrot, Ginger and Turmeric)

IMG_3328

12 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

 

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 5)

Day 5: Juice, Colonic, Kombucha

I’m offering a golden nugget here; to anyone in a health rut, tired of their own excuses and ready to make a change. No gimmicks, no cost, nothing to subscribe to…just simply follow each of my 9 daily posts in the Articles section of my blog, read the information and you’re on the way to body & mind freedom. Sharing is caring! ūüėČ

Over 2 years ago, as a fairly stagnant and¬†obese holistic health skeptic, I finally broke free¬†from¬†my conditioned mind, did some research and used the very same principles within this 9 day detox program to shed 70 pounds, overhaul my habits¬†and stay healthy. Granted, I didn’t do it in 9 days…I did it in 45 days (20/10/10/5 over a 6 month period); which would be like doing this program 5 times. That leaves you with the other 320 days of the year to just eat, look and feel amazing!

Colonics

So, today begins the 3rd day of the juice fasting portion of the program and at this point, we should be really working¬†a lot of the nastiness¬†from our body (I know I am). Good work…KEEP IT UP!¬†Moving forward, we’re going to do a bit more heavy lifting, so to speak; and I promise, once you get over this halfway hump you should be feeling fantastic (if you aren’t already). That said,¬†I strategically placed a Colon Hydro-Therapy session (Colonic) just about at the mid-point through¬†the program. A colonic¬†will truly get things “moving” while the timing¬†allows you¬†to continue the juicing work afterward in case you need to¬†do¬†another colonic¬†at the end of the detox. I know when I got¬†my first colonic¬†back in 2014, I needed 2 full sessions; so be aware you may be in the same boat (possibly even requiring 3 or more depending on your lifestyle).

When I first began fasting on juice, I went through many withdrawal symptoms; headaches, stomach upset, sniffles, chills, etc…but it wasn’t until day 4 that I actually started feeling good. I was like, WOW, this juicing stuff really does work! Then on the 5th day, I went for my first colonic…and afterward, I felt 10x BETTER¬†than that! Like, way better than I had¬†felt in many, many years. Although, I didn’t quite look it yet…I felt young¬†again; as I drove out of the parking lot I felt like I had¬†left 20 years back there. This is when I realized¬†that colon hydro-therapy was not mumbo-jumbo.

Not only is Colon Hydro-Therapy¬†a legitimate procedure but, in my experience, a mandatory one. Between the 2 sessions I had during that first juice fast, I lost 10 pounds in weight! And not to get too graphic here…but I watched¬†it all come out of me. The experience not only¬†clears your body; but your mind as well. Once I saw how these therapies were¬†all connected and working in harmony with each other, I kept on juicing¬†and soon converted to a 100% plant based diet. All of my existing health issues were completely reversed. I owe much of this to my colon hydro-therapist, Patti Hartman, who has been a wealth of knowledge to me¬†for the¬†last 2 years. I’ve never¬†received similar¬†care,¬†attention, treatment or information from my¬†conventional doctor (or any other specialist I’ve seen for that matter). That said, to learn more about Colonics, go to Patti’s¬†page.

Kombucha

One of the great treats you’re allowed to have during a juice fast is Kombucha. It is a plant-based, raw, fermented drink that is pro-biotic. I recommend drinking Kombucha (8 oz servings) after you receive your colonic(s) and each day onward. The reason being is that some of our gut’s good bacteria gets lost during a colonic (bowel movements as well). Kombucha is a great way to get the colony up and thriving again before you start eating again. There are many good brands out there, but the best ones I’ve had are by G.T.’s Synergy, Kevita and Aqua Vitea.

Heres how my day went:

Tongue Scrape (Brush Teeth)

Psyllium Husks (w/ 8 oz Water)

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Carrot, Bell Peppers, Mandarin Orange, Celery, Zucchini, TurmericIMG_3187

8 oz Water

Dry Brush Body & Rinse w/ Cool water

Soak in hot Coconut Oil bath for 30 minutes

Colon Hydro-Therapy Session (1 hour w/ Patti Hartman, I-ACT Certified Colon Hydrotherapist, NBCHT Certified)

IMG_6932

12 oz Water

1 oz Wheatgrass Shot

16 oz Green Juice (Kale, Apple, Lemon, Celery and Ginger)

12 oz Water

8 oz Kombucha (Synergy Multi-Green)

IMG_3312

8 oz Herbal Tea (Spring Dragon Gynostemma w/ Coconut Oil)

IMG_3314

12 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Carrot, Bell Peppers, Mandarin Orange, Celery, Zucchini, Turmeric

IMG_3187

12 oz Water

8 0z Herbal Tea (Blueberry Hibiscus)

16 oz Purple Juice Lacinto Kale, Pear, Fennel, Blackberry, Beet, Lemon and Ginger

IMG_3316

12 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

 

 

 

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 4)

Day 4: Juice, Dry Brush, Oil Soak

If you’ve been following my posts¬†day by day, you already know what the purpose of juice fasting is. If not, check out my previous post here. But as we get further into the juice fasted aspect of this detox program, we will now add in other key factors that will assist in cleansing and purging the body of toxins. A few of the things I’d like to focus on in this post include sleep, dry brushing, oil soaking and tongue scraping. As the digestive system begins to slow down and get a much needed break; your body begins to rid itself of damaged cells and generate new ones. How amazing is that? That said, you want your body to be in a supportive state which allows these toxins to leave the body as easily as possible.

Sleep

Getting a good amount of sleep is crucial during a detoxification program. And it’s more about the quality than it is the quantity. Being free from stress,¬†as much as possible,¬†throughout the day¬†will help us quiet our mind while enabling us to become deeply relaxed in the evening. The body performs many vital functions during the 3rd, 4th and REM levels of sleep¬†such as tissue repair/regrowth, restoration of energy and hormone release for muscle growth/development.¬†Sleep during a juice fast brings even greater benefits due to the energy which was previously unavailable to us. Since the digestive system normally uses a massive amount of energy to break down¬†large meals, a fasting state will reserve and use that energy for other functions in the body; such as regenerating cells. So, as long as you’re getting a deep, restful sleep each night; you should feel pretty amazing when you wake up the next morning.

Tongue Scraping

One thing that can become overlooked during a detox (and everyday in general) is the collection of bacteria on our tongue. If one has good dental hygiene, they at least are brushing their tongue at some point. The cleanliness of the tongue has much to do with bad breath but what you probably don’t realize is that while we continue to swallow saliva and food throughout the day, this tongue bacteria is ingested again. Yuck. That said, on a detox, our goal is to get toxins out of our body…not put them in. Scraping the tongue before bed and when we wake up in the morning will keep these nasties out of our mouth and body. You can get a special tongue scraper, brush or just use the edge of a spoon. Scrape gently from the back to the front, rinsing the tool each time. Once finished, rinse out your mouth making sure not to swallow, then brush your teeth as normal. Once you start doing this on a normal basis, you’ll notice that your taste sensitivities will return.

Dry Brushing

One of things I like to do during a juice fast is dry brush my skin. Since our skin is a giant organ, it also rids itself of old cells while regenerating new ones; this process leaves a dead layer of skin which keeps our skin from “breathing”. The skin contains billions of pores and that is where many toxins can enter and exit. This is why dry brushing is important. It’s a good practice, especially while on a juice fast to dry brush your skin before showering. This helps get rid of dead skin and open up the pores. You can buy a natural brush which is made for this. Just stand naked in your shower (before turning the water on) and brush gently from head to toe, being extra careful on sensitive areas. Now rinse off with a warm shower. If you’re daring, you can even alternate your¬†rinsing with cold water as well…this helps open the pores even more.

Oil Soak

One of my favorite things to do on a detox is soak in the bath. It calms, relaxes and allows one to be present without distraction. And if done right, a good bath soak can help draw out toxins and hydrate the skin all at once. My perfect detox bath mix is Baking Soda (which helps clean the water), Epsom Salts (which helps draw out toxins), Coconut Oil (for skin hydration), Vitamin E Oil (to repair/replenish skin) and Tea Tree Oil (anti-bacterial). You can also use a variety of other essential oils which are beneficial to the skin such as Lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli, etc. Just make sure you use 100% natural oils! My ratio is: Tub filled high with hot water, 1 Cup Baking Soda, 2 Cups Epsom Salts, 2 Tbsp Unrefined Coconut Oil, 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil and 1/4 tsp Vitamin E Oil. Stir into hot bath. Soak for 20-30 minutes. Massage the oily goodness all over yourself. Enjoy!

My 4th Day (Tuesday April 5th)

This morning I awoke feeling rejuvenated. I experienced a deep, restful sleep and I felt, light, alert and empty. Empty? Well, not in like a “hangry” type way but like there was nothing weighing me down inside. It was an emptiness that feels good. If this had been the same juice fasting day 2 years ago, it was more like “hangry”. But that was then and this is now. Since my entire lifestyle has been turned upside down over the last 2 years, I’ve become quite comfortable on a lack of solid food. As long as I’m hydrated and my body is getting nourished, there is no need for me to have that FULL feeling in my stomach. Thats all just mind game B.S.! That said, this morning…I didn’t leap out of bed in a frenzy and run to the kitchen to¬†gorge on some waffles. Nor did I feel the need to go immediately make my juice. Instead, I took the time to take care of myself by all the ways mentioned above. When your mind and body are in sync, it’s a totally different world.

Here are the highlights of the day:

Tongue Scrape (Rinse, Brush teeth)

Psyllium Husks (w/ 8 oz Water)

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

Dry Brush Body & Rinse w/ Cool water

Soak in hot Coconut Oil bath for 30 minutes

IMG_3093

12 oz Red Juice (Spinach, Basil, Beet, Mango, Celery, Carrot, Strawberry and Grapefruit)

IMG_3174

8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea: Spring Dragon Gynostemma w/ 1 tsp Unrefined Coconut Oil

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Romaine, Curly Kale, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Broccoli, Pear, Cucumber, Zucchini, Lemon, Ginger)

IMG_3170

8 oz Water

16 oz Coconut Water

Haircut!

IMG_3182.jpg

16 oz Water

24 oz Red Juice (Spinach, Basil, Beet, Mango, Celery, Carrot, Strawberry and Grapefruit)

8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea: Peppermint

12 oz Green Juice (Romaine, Curly Kale, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Broccoli, Pear, Cucumber, Zucchini, Lemon, Ginger)

IMG_3173

8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 3)

Day 3: Juicing

The Purpose

Fasting has been used throughout history for medical, health, religious and political applications. Our purpose of it will be for both physical and mental health.¬†As understood by many,¬†a fast is when someone restricts food, water or both. But with a juice fast, we will¬†truly not be restricting either; we will¬†actually be¬†hydrating¬†the body with an amazing amount of nutrition through the extraction of water-rich whole vegetables and fruit. This, in comparison¬†to the lack of nourishment most people¬†receive on their bloated daily diets, is a cleaner, more efficient dietary decision than what juicing naysayers would ever care to admit.¬†Where we used to¬†understand nourishment by measuring how full we felt; we will, instead, now¬†measure by¬†how great we look/feel.¬†This newfound state of “emptiness” is not¬†a reminder of what we think we need but an affirmation of all¬†which¬†we do not. Less is more. By refusing what poisons us and¬†favoring that which¬†allows us to¬†thrive, we are on the cusp of mental and physical freedom.

When faced with any kind of “withdrawal”, we can become extremely emotional; it¬†can be both good and bad. On one hand, we become angry or depressed from the absence of what we¬†desire; but on the other, our higher self realizes it was harmful to begin with, hence, transforming¬†that desire into whatever it’s being replaced with. The more tenacious we¬†are, the sooner we¬†will be able to replace a Beer with a Kombucha, a Donut with a Salad; or a cup of Coffee with a Health Tonic, etc.¬†And as we emerge from the withdrawal symptoms and begin to experience vibrance and energy; we’ve already done the difficult work to remove the previous conditioning and replace it with a whole new set of ideals. This is called “change”. Since every physical action is a response to¬†what our brain¬†is communicating, a juice fast can help break the unconscious cycle and impart us¬†with better habits moving forward.

The Method

There are many ways to do a juice fast. There are plans, recipes, tips etc. I like to keep my juice fasts fairly simple. I usually mix it up with a green, red and gold recipe and drink them throughout the fast. Five 12 oz juices per day is a good start; beginning the morning with Psyllium Husks Powder (in 8 oz Water) and an 8oz Warm Lemon Water. Space your juices out between 2 1/2 to 3 hours with plenty of water and herbal teas in-between. Check out some more of my tips here and here.

Other important considerations will be to reduce as much stress from your life as possible during this time period. The more stressed you are, the more likely you will lose focus, cheat or give up altogether. Take advantage of the time to not only detox your body but to detox your mind as well. Relax with Organic Herbal Teas, get massaged, do stretching or light Yoga, meditate; remove yourself from outside noise such as gossip, media, socializing, etc. Use this time to truly be with yourself and you WILL find answers. Being present, especially during potentially uncomfortable situations, will keep you focused on transformation; not falling into the same old habits.

My 3rd Day (Monday, April 4th)

Today began my juice only portion of the detox which will last for 5 full days. I woke up this morning and began my usual routine and created 2 really great juices for the day (about 60 oz). Here are the highlights:

Psyllium Husks w/ 8 oz Water

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

IMG_3071

8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea (Turmeric Ginger)

8 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Golden Beet, Carrot, Mandarin Orange, Basil, Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric)

IMG_3073

16 oz Coconut Water

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Herbal Tea: Detox Lemon

8 oz Water

12 oz Green Juice (Chard, Romaine, Lacinto Kale, Parsley, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Water

12 oz Golden Juice (Golden Beet, Carrot, Mandarin Orange, Basil, Pineapple, Ginger, Turmeric)

IMG_3077

8 oz Herbal Tea: (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

 

Beeting the Odds: 9 Day Body & Mind rEvolution (Day 2)

Day 2: Raw

The Purpose

After transitioning from¬†our usual lifestyle habits, it’s time to now begin nourishing our body with whole food plants.¬†Taking the bad out, putting the good in. Also, this day of eating entirely raw will help further prepare and adapt our body to accept the days to come of consuming only extracted juices, water and herbal teas. Truly, it is another “transition day”; it simply¬†focuses on our further evolution from eating animal products, cooked foods, grains, refined sugars,etc and replacing them¬†with only fresh fruits, vegetables and raw nuts & seeds. If you are already a whole foods vegan and eat a high raw diet to begin with, none of this should be really shocking to your body at all. For those subscribing to the Standard American Diet (aka – S.A.D.), these transition days may be jarring for you while the body adjusts to the flood of plant nutrients and the lack of processed food. This is precisely why this process is called a “detox”.

The Method

Eating raw is as easy as you want it to be. Since you do not have to cook (or season) anything, you’re free to simply eat bowls of fresh fruit, giant veggie salads, blended smoothies and juices all day. The only stipulation is that the foods remain in their whole state with no added sugars, processed or non-raw plant ingredients. Organic herbal seasonings are completely acceptable; as is Himalayan Pink Salt (as it is a raw, untouched salt which is packed with trace minerals/nutrients). If you are detoxing from a high sodium diet, then I would omit salt altogether. Raw Vinegars and certain oils are acceptable as well, such as Raw Cold-Pressed Hemp Oil or Raw Coconut Oil. If you are unsure if something is plant-based and raw, do the research! In any case, you can make some pretty unique raw meals if you’re creative and willing to put in some extra time.

For me, half of my raw eating day could be filled with smoothies and juices. This is also great because it’s less taxing on the¬†digestive system and getting the¬†body used to consuming less solids. It will be less of a shock to your body when you begin only drinking liquid each day. Keeping a constant regimen of water and herbal tea intake between meals will further hydrate, nourish and¬†help satiate appetite; this is a key factor on EVERY day of the detox. Hydration is the king factor in a proper detox regimen. It helps clean your g.i. tract and prepares digestion to absorb nutrients much more efficiently. You may¬†need to urinate often but your body will thank you by easing your detox symptoms. Dehydration will only accentuate head/body aches and hunger.

My 2nd Day (Sunday, April 3rd)

I went full steam ahead with green juice and smoothies in the morning; then I got creative in the afternoon for a very satisfying raw meal; then went back to smoothies and ended the day with a giant salad. Here was how it all went:

Psyllium Husks w/ 8 oz Water

8 oz Warm Lemon Water

12 oz Green Juice (Kale, Collard, Cucumber, Celery, Lemon, Ginger)

8 oz Water

Raw Sunshine Smoothie (Coconut Water, Banana, Mango, Pumpkin Puree, Dates, Hemp Seed and Chia Seed)

IMG_3064

8 oz Water

Raw Tacos/Burritos (Chard wrap w/ Raw Mushroom Walnut “Meat”, Cashew Sour Cream, Pico De Gallo, Peppers and Cauliflower “Rice”IMG_3066

8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea: Ginger Root

20 oz Reishi Cacao Almond Butter Smoothie

IMG_3067

8 oz Water

12 oz Bolthouse Farms 1915 Cold-Pressed Blended Juice (Coconut Water, Pineapple, Mango, Avocado, Lemon)

 

1915-by-bolthouse-farms-fb-660w

8 oz Water

Chopped Romaine Salad w/ Creamy Raw Balsamic Hemp Avocado Dressing

IMG_3068

8 oz Water

8 oz Herbal Tea (Sleep tea: Passion Flower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip, Hop Strobile, Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel, Lemon Grass).

Chaga Chai Tonic (Hot)

One of my favorite healthy treats to prepare daily are Medicinal Tonics. Always plant-based, served hot or cold; all varieties of medicinal tonics are born from the ancient healing practices of many different cultures around the world. Some of the more popular therapies come from Ayurvedic Medicine (India), Chinese Herbalism and Native Americans. These cultures depended heavily on preventing and curing the ailments of their people by extracting the nutrients from various plant species and utilizing their unique health benefits into the form of a tea. In many cases, a mixture of carefully chosen plants and herbs can be used alchemically to solve multiple issues.

In the modern day, these practices still hold strong but in much smaller, scattered communities; usually limited to those interested in health and longevity. Mainstream medicine has done away with herbal treatments and focus only on prescription chemicals and surgical therapies, all while the nutritional value of our food is destroyed by the high profit companies who crowd our supermarkets with processed food-like products, filled with refined sugars, additives and preservatives. It’s no wonder why Cancer, Heart Disease, Respiratory Disease and Diabetes top the charts for leading causes of death. Our attention is primarily focused on the Healthcare industry,¬†when it should be on the Food & Agriculture industry. Prevention is the key word here and that has EVERYTHING to do with food. And from where I’m sitting; fresh pressed juices, blended smoothies and superfood tonics are ALL very strong ways we can prevent illness and disease.

Take for example this hot, creamy tonic I made today. It’s something you can drink everyday as a general “wellness” beverage. It is the very essence of prevention because of the carefully chosen ingredients. But it tastes so good, you’d probably have no problem replacing your usual Coffee or Tea with this. Sometimes I go very simple and straightforward; other times I like to experiment and add some complexity to address more than one health issue. For this tonic, I’ve borrowed therapeutic and culinary ideas from multiple¬†cultures to create something that not only tastes wonderful but is packed with vitamins, minerals, iron, protein, magnesium and healthy fats. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants, polysaccharides and phytonutrients. It’s got heart healthy, immunity-boosting, anti-viral, digestion, liver, skin and cognitive function benefits; and with none of the over-stimulating effects found in coffee, tea or other caffeine products.

So, do yourself a solid and check this out…your body will thank you for it.

———

16 oz Freshly Brewed Chaga Tea
4 Dates (pitted)
1/4 Raw Cashews
1/4 Raw Pepitas (shelled)
1/2″ Fresh Ginger (peeled)
1 tsp Reishi Mushroom Powder
1 Tbsp Lucuma
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
1/4 tsp Ground Clove
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup

Brew Chaga Tea according to package. When steeped long enough (usually 30-40 minutes), pour into a small pot on Med/Low to bring heat back up. Add Dates, Cashews, Pipitas and Ginger to pot. Bring to a low boil and then back down to a gentle simmer (the idea is to soften/soak our nuts, seeds and ginger so they will blend easy). While the Tea mixture is simmering, prepare all of your dry ingredients and add them into your blender. After the Tea mixture has simmered for about 10 minutes or so, carefully pour it into the blender with the dry ingredients. Add the Maple Syrup. Mixture is very hot; so take care in making sure the lid is properly held down. Carefully start the blender on low speed, slowly working up to the highest speed. Blend until very smooth (up to 1 minute or more depending on the blender). Pour into a mug and enjoy!

The 10 Excuses to Skip my Morning Run and How I Overcame Them

Over two years ago I would have gawked at the idea of going for even a short walk outside, let alone an exhausting run. Obese, tired and suffering from poor health; I was at the wheel but I wasn‚Äôt driving the car. My mind was my nemesis during some of the toughest points in my life and it really had it’s hold over me. But after many years of practicing grounding therapies such as meditation, aikido and yoga, I finally gained enough mental clarity to take control of my body. It only took about 6 months to overhaul my eating habits, shed 70+ pounds and realize that my addictions, depression and fatigue were a product of self-manufactured

The ego provides us with excuses as to why we should not change; even if our higher self knows it would be good thing. We have to become ninjas at fending excuses off as they approach. For instance, “I can’t find time” is one of the most common excuses. But instead of agreeing, we can ponder the excuse for just a short moment…and realize that by getting more rest at night and rising earlier, we can easily find this time. See how easy that was? Diffused. But that’s only one excuse! When you awake for your morning run, be prepared for a “song and dance” with your brain.

#1. “I’m too tired”!
No, you’re not! You’ve had plenty of rest because you planned ahead! According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 18+ need 7-9 hours in order to function at their peak capability.

#2. It’s too cold/hot outside!
Dress appropriately. Always check the temperature before setting off on your journey and dress for the occasion. If you’re unsure, try out this nifty What to Wear Calculator.

#3. I’m too sore!
Hmmm…is it just because you slept in crazy positions all night? The body wants to stretch, move and expand; it keeps everything in tip top shape. Always make sure your post-workout recovery and rest is strong enough before getting back out there. If your excuse is always that you are too sore, you’ll eventually be worse off by living a stagnant life; I know, I’ve been there ūüėČ

#4. The road/ground is wet!
It’s not rocket science. Wear an extra pair of socks and watch where you’re running. Avoid slippery situations; wet leaves, puddles, mud, etc.

#5. It’s too windy out!
It’s only wind, wear an extra layer if needed. Avoid exposure, especially if it is cold and windy. Use the direction of the wind to your advantage whenever possible. Breathe deeply and oxygenate your lungs. Invigorating!

#6. I don’t have time!
Here we go again; didn’t we figure this one out earlier? Plan for the time you’ll need the night before. Get enough sleep so you are able to rise earlier than usual.

#7. Oh boy…those steep hills! I don’t think I’ll make it.
Hills make us stronger and build our endurance. And nobody said you couldn’t ever take walk breaks on your run. In fact, according to ex-Olympian and running coach, Jeff Galloway, you can not only improve your time using the run-walk-run method but it will keep you more in control of your running and create less possibility for injury as well.

#8. What about food, won’t I run out of energy?
Nutrition is an integral component to any exercise plan. You should provide yourself with clean fuel to prepare, sustain and recover. This will ensure you are well hydrated, have the energy to burn and the nutrients to repair strained muscles. Loading up on complex carbohydrates will help you keep a nice reserve of glycogen to burn. In addition,¬†Vega Sport¬†has some great plant-based products specifically geared for the on-the-go athlete. Personally, I have used the¬†Pre-Workout Energizer¬†beforehand;¬†the¬†Electrolyte Hydrator,¬†Endurance Gels¬†and¬†Energy Bars¬†during; and the¬†Performance Protein¬†after. I gotta say, the workouts¬†that I didn’t include these items were the hardest; both during and after.

#9: I just don’t care, I’m going back to sleep!
If you truly “don’t care”, have a wonderful time trying to navigate life by this terrible philosophy. Instead, try doing the opposite. Extend your caring to everything around you; doors will open up for you and paths will become cleared for you.

#10. Don’t go! Just go back to sleep, you can make it up tomorrow.
You are not your brain. The ego does not want you to change; it wants you to stay in that zone of comfort. The most clever of obstacles in life is the mind itself. Each day it lays more bricks upon a wall built from our stresses, anxieties and fears. It is this very wall which causes us to recoil from opportunity and closes us off from the openness of the world around us. If you can tap into your “witnessing you” and learn how to quiet your mind; you will begin to see the blank space as a window of opportunity.

Now throw off those blankets, get out there and run!