Imbolc is over but the fire still burns.

20180201_121546.jpgIt’s been over a week since we celebrated Imbolc, the first of the three Pagan fertility festivals of the year. It’s a time when we honour the Goddess, having returned to her Maiden state and brings a ripening to the earth. It’s the season of new life with lambs being born and even though the snow falls, the days are getting longer as the Sun King grows stronger.

This is the time of the year to think about creative endeavours and what kinds of things you want to manifest in the summer. For those that are pagan-leaning, placing a little doll into a bed with a white wand or other phallic symbol can provide a focal point to these creative endeavours. This doll represents the Celtic goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft, Brigid [pronounced Breed].

This is the time of the year when we are indoors more because of the weather and a perfect time to read, colour, knit, draw, study or anything else that regenerates your creative juices.

See what kinds of awesome things you can bring to life during this creatively fertile time of year!

 

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What have you done for your gut lately?

kimchiWe all know how great a day it is when we feel a lightness and comfort in your gut. We also know how fleeting this feeling can be with one moment of weakness that throws us off-balance. There are a ton of things that can throw a wrench into that good feeling  – from the harmless gas from eating something that doesn’t agree with you to inflammation that inflicts suffering for days on end. It wasn’t until I became friends with my gut that I realized I was living with so much pain.

 The food that we eat can be a-holes. Nobody wants to admit it, but we regularly enjoy inflammatory foods we love that just don’t love us back. Fried foods and processed foods will cause the most damage. Wheat and dairy can also pose a challenge for many people. [Side note: I say many because not everyone is gluten or wheat intolerant, despite what it says on the internet]. Sugar is another big one and it’s dose dependent. A moderate amount of sugar is fine but the amount of sugar most people are now accustomed to eating is outrageous. These foods can cause inflammation and it’s also believed they can cause leaky gut which is believed to be when the intestine is damaged and allows undigested food and toxic wastes through the walls of the intestine. Continue reading “What have you done for your gut lately?”

Come to the dark side, we have chocolate.

Chocolate is the number one most craved food in the world.  The majority of the people who regularly indulge in chocolate are women. It sends us into a state of bliss after one bite – and this isn’t just anecdotal evidence, it’s been scientifically proven. I love dark chocolate and I eat a square every day of 85% chocolate which has only 1.5 grams of sugar [which is ¼ of a teaspoon]. Continue reading “Come to the dark side, we have chocolate.”

Level up your spiritual practice and it’ll amplify your happiness no matter what happens.

You meditate and get yourself to a good place and then you go out into the world or you  “less spiritually inclined”spouse comes home and it unravels the carefully created feeling of calm and peace you just cultivated. The truth is, nobody in the world – even the worst person can shake a person’s calm and peace if it’s genuine. Part of developing a meditation practice is developing an authentic and intrinsic sense of well-being that no external events can shake. That’s why most spiritual people are also have the most infectious laughter bubbling up from within.

Embracing uncertainty is a sign that your spiritual practice is helping you. Even if you have several decks of tarot cards, runes and oracle cards, you still can’t account for everything in your life. Uncertainty is guaranteed in life – it’s the only thing that’s guaranteed. Instead of worrying about an uncertain future, bolster yourself in the present moment. Savour the good times. Be thankful for all you have in life. When you look at some of the most successful entrepreneurs, they have a lot of uncertainty in their lives. And a lot of failure. But they also have a lot of amazing things – wealth, fulfilling career, character and personal strength. If you think about the number one worrier in your life how happy, successful and fulfilled are they? Probably not a lot or they’d have other things to do than to cling to the status quo. Continue reading “Level up your spiritual practice and it’ll amplify your happiness no matter what happens.”

Pack your bags, we’re going on a gray hair adventure.

grayselfie The white hairs on my head have been popping up consistently since Thanksgiving in 2010. My first reaction to those first white hairs was to pull them out and pretend as though they never existed. I was committed to my bottled hair colour at that time and I didn’t give it a second thought. As a person living with an auto-immune dis-ease, I’ve taken a greater interest in the products I use and how they affect my health now and in the future, I decided to stop colouring my hair. If you are committed to to your colour routine, keep on truckin! My full disclosure is that I did colour my hair for 25 years. Clearly I’m not against hair dye. It may or may not be hazardous to your health, I can’t say for sure. But it’s just not for me anymore and I’m committed to doing what I can to be and to manage my condition without medication. And another thing to note; from the picture, you can’t even see my natural hightlights. They are there – at least 15% of my head is white amoung the light brown strands. That out of the way, if you are gray-curious, then read on!

When I first chopped off all the dyed hair, it  wasn’t such a big deal when it was GI Jane short. But as I started to grow it, they started coming in rebelliously wild and without regard for the order my hair has maintained for 42 years. Even though there aren’t really noticeable at this point, I started worrying about the impact on my career. In an industry like mine, looking “youthful” is important as I’m my own business card. I started researching the topic. Not surprisingly, the world seems to be against women ditching dye. From companies making billions of dollars on artificial hair colour to our own conditioning about looking a certain way, it was pretty abysmal.

And then I discovered Susan Paget’s Gray Hair Adventure. This is where she chronicles her process of growing out her natural hair with humour. compassion and optimism. From there I discovered a few groups on Facebook that were gray positive, though I never posted because as you can see, I haven’t attained silver fox status yet!

During these first steps of my own gray hair adventure, here is what I’ve learned so far:

Change is good, especially when it comes to style. I’m not wearing the same clothes as I did when I was 20, so why sport the same hairstyle? Having silver streaks means a haircut that suits the look. That doesn’t mean I currently have to get my grandmother’s haircut.

Gray hairs need love. The days of using the cheap conditioner are over. Gray hair needs quality products, a weekly mask and Moroccan Oil slathered on every day. Those hairs are wild and wiry because they are moisture starved. Those of us who coloured in the past had a layer of silicon coating each strand which also helped keep them slippery and compliant thanks to the little packet of conditioner in each box of hair dye.

I’m the only person who notices [or cares about] my hair. Everyone I’ve lamented to about this change my hair is going through normally looks at my head and then gives me a confused look as to what I’m so worried about.

My hair is just one aspect of my overall look. I forget this sometimes. Getting in those workouts and maintain a fit body, having a good haircut, having eyebrows groomed, these are all things that are way more important than a hair colour. In fact, many women colour their hair with the ideas that it’s “good enough” for self- care. If you’re out of shape and are wearing tattered clothes, who cares if you’ve got perfectly coloured hair.

I’m going to avoid maintaining gray roots. I had that moment when you see that first centimeter of regrowth. I was always extremely meticulous about roots, mostly because in my younger days I favoured jet black hair and my light brown roots were very noticeable. From what I’ve read, the gray hair seems to come in faster and more furious and getting to the salon or having my head in a sink every 2-3 weeks is something I refuse to do. Even worse, is the two-tone hair that people sport when growing out the gray. No thank you. I’ll just let it all come in naturally.

I won’t regret it. Everyone who writes about their decision to stop dying has the single and shared regret of “I wish I’d done this sooner”. I won’t have that regret because sooner is now.

If I colour my hair again,  I’d hope it’s to enhance what I’ve currently got going on. One product I like is Surya which is a natural henna product that has a “Silver Fox” colour. I’m not sure what it’ll look like in 10 years – maybe I won’t have pearly white or stunning silver. I take things day by day and for now, I’m having fun seeing my natural hair for  the first time in over two decades before it’s gone for good!

 

 

 

 



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Resistance is not futile – here are eleven ways to fight colds and flu.

Autumn and winter is when I fanatically pursue ways to keep from getting sick.

Here are some of the things I’ve tried, many of which are part of my regular routine. You can resist the cold and flu bugs being passed around this winter.

Get enough rest – this is the number one way to stay healthy. You’re body needs to repair and recover from the day and to fight anything you may have been exposed to. Getting run down by burning the candle at both ends is one way that weakens you and prevents your immune system from working. If you don’t have the option of getting sufficient sleep every night, focus on getting more sleep at the first sniffle. And at this time of the year, being in cozy in your bed isn’t a hardship!

Wash your hands with soap – apparently your biggest risk is hands being infected from surfaces and then touching your eyes and your nose. Wash your hands thoroughly in the washroom and get into the habit of not touching your nose and eyes. I know for myself, every time I get on a crowded subway car I immediately want to touch my nose. But I resist so that I avoid giving viruses and easy in [and avoid looking gross!]

Drink a lot of water – this will not only help keep you hydrated and healthy, allowing waste to be carried out of your cells, but if you do happen to be getting sick and there is mucous developing, you won’t feel as awful and stuffed up. For women, the average intake is about 2L and for men, it’s about 3L.

Eat a healthy diet – getting the right nutrients though brightly coloured veggies, good quality starches and grains as well as ample protein is going to give your immune system the building blocks to fight infections and illness. Exposing yourself to the highs and lows of sugar or caffeine crashes can put your body under stress and open you up to attack.

Get your C – there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that vitamin C works to prevent or reduce colds but millions of people take it and find it works. There are a number of ways you can take it. The fizzy liquid form: Emergen-C or EnerC are two brands with 1000 mg of vitamin C. The EsterC is more readily absorbed and usually easier on the stomach. Of course it  comes with a bigger price tag but with supplements, you get what you pay for.

Garlic – this one people shy away from but a crushed clove of garlic will blast anything away. My favorite and least challenging way to take it is to crush the garlic, spoon it in and chase it with Pyramid Ferments Gut Shots which is a sauerkraut brine. It seems to neutralize the garlic aftertaste. You’ll want to do this before bed so that you don’t stink up your workplace.

Oil of Oregano – another super effective cold blaster. It very strong tasting and takes some time to get used to.

Echinacea and/or ginseng – I put these together because it’s the combo sold in Cold F/X. It’s not a cheap product but it’s effective. If you’re looking to save a couple of dollars, you can buy a bottle of Siberian Ginseng from the health store as well.

Zinc lozenges – great to dealing with a cough. Another supplement that is not scientifically proven but it couldn’t hurt.

Nasal irrigation – you can use saline spray in your nose or sniff in some warm salt water out of your hand. It clears your nasal passages of dried mucous and keeps your sinuses moist – which is key in keeping viruses from invading. You can also use medicated nasal spray which is a steroid that constricts you’re the blood vessels in your nasal passages. There was a research study that suggested that using medicated nasal spray is effective in preventing colds from flourishing. But it’s one study. And my in my personal experiment, I got a nosebleed after the third spray and tossed it.

Drink chicken broth – why wait to get sick to enjoy the benefits of chicken broth when you are sick? Chicken broth sipped with your lunch or as the main course in a soup can give you the immune boost that you need when fighting the cold.

Even if you end up succumbing to your cold or flu, by taking some of these can help minimize your symptoms so that you’re back on the squat rack quicker.

Continue reading “Resistance is not futile – here are eleven ways to fight colds and flu.”

Embrace your inner earth mama with natural deos.

If there is one thing most people aren’t willing to take a chance on, it’s being funky under the arms. Nothing kills your appeal faster than smelling badly. I have long wanted to get rid of the heavy aluminum antiperspirant that I’ve been slathering on since my teens. But after a few failed attempts at finding a natural deodorant that works, I had given up.

I’m really not a fan of conventional deoderants and antiperspirants. I don’t want to soak up aluminum into my under arms every day. I don’t believe that we should prevent sweating. It’s a natural way of ridding our body of toxins. Blocking those sweat glands can’t be good for us.

Because of this, I decided to give it another go. I started out with a Naturally Fresh salt crystal. It’s like magic. You just get it a bit wet and rub it under your arms. There’s no heavy stickiness or yuk. It’s not an antiperspirant, it’s a salt the neutralizes the odor produced when you sweat. And to be honest, I find that I’m pretty dry when I use it. It also lasts forever. I’ve been using it for about 6 months and it’s still as new when I got it. Not bad for a $5 investment.

But that said, the salt crystal does not survive my punishing workouts. I don’t need to smell fresh as a flower at the gym, but gym etiquette does dictate that measures are taken so that the person on the neighbouring treadmill can breathe comfortably. But again, when facing the natural deodorant section at the health store, it’s really hard to know what will work and what won’t. I almost wonder why these people even bother making deodorant.

I discovered Garden City Essentials which had the ingredients I was looking for. Coconut oil, arrowroot powder, baking soda, tea tree oil, essential oils. All the good stuff you’d want in a natural deo. And it works exceptionally well. It comes in a jar and you just smooth about a pea sized amount on. It smells absolutely great. I use it in addition to the salt crystal during my workout and it’s awesome. I found it at Whole Foods in Yorkville [Toronto, Ontario] and it’s a Canadian product, made by a holistic nutritionist in St. Catherines. They have an online shop as  well.

One thing I want to note is that I eat a healthy and balanced diet and I don’t drink a lot of alcohol. I have already taken care of the internal factors affecting odor as well.

But if you are willing to part ways with the drug store brand you are using, these two together or on their own are great options!

Continue reading “Embrace your inner earth mama with natural deos.”