Habits for Vibrant Health 3

Habits for Vibrant Health 3

Rise and Shine

There are many reasons to wake up and get going in the morning so this is a focus on the connection to the unseen (but deeply felt) layers of ourselves and the reasons for awakening with intention. Right away if you have not read the previous two blogs on this adventure into the lifestyle habits from Ayurveda then start here with Habits for Vibrant Health and then Habits for Vibrant Health 2 as these practices are all interconnected and introduced in an intentional order.

So from the previous two posts we now know the important connection of eating a lighter and earlier dinner to reach deeper states of sleep so we can wake in the morning feeling rested and ready to shine. The morning is a very influential time with a quality containing many potentials for the direction of the day, this idea leads to the power of waking up with an intention or miracle mindset!

Have you noticed the difference of how you feel later in the day from when waking up and directly jumping into a reaction mode rather than taking the time to enjoy the intricate details and subtle qualities the morning contains? Just as we begin to wake up our mind is coming back from dream land and in an expanded state, this state when we use it for our benefit is fertile ground for planting new intentions and inviting new perspectives. Starting the day with this template sets the trajectory and opens the perspective to the larger happenings of the world around us. But this is just one of the many pieces to this puzzle.

So we have a variety of channels flowing in the body ranging from the subtle at the top of the body to the gross at the lower end of the body. The morning is a time when the energy is already at the top, especially upon waking and is needed to move in a downward and grounding way. Doing this creates a stronger foundation and brings us deeper into our body so we can face the days challenges and respond to those challenges with more integrity.

Movement in the morning should be a non-negotiable for everybody since it opens up the body stimulating the channels from the subtle to the gross. Movement combined with deeper breathing opens up specific channels, clears the mind making room to create a brand new experience and brings in the potential for how we want to experience the day. When these channels are clear it becomes easier to hit the rest button, easier to let go of yesterdays challenges and easier to invite the day with a clear mind and clear body.

The food we ate yesterday affects us on many levels beyond just the physical and cellular structure of our body. From how it was prepared to our mental and emotional state while eating, these subtle details affect how we feel which is just one part of why we need to fully eliminate yesterdays food clearing the larger channels making room for the subtler channels and the new days’ experiences.

As I dove deeper into these habits I began to identify what was preventing me from growing into my next phase, preventing me from living my values and appreciating how good it feels to thrive. For myself, starting the day in a constructive way comes down to a few easy steps I have adopted and integrated to create a strategic routine. I start with the usual oral hygiene, drinking water and without hesitation I start moving. Whether its jumping jacks, sun salutations or foam rolling I open up the body with movement and intentional breathing.  I find it much easier to sit, listen and focus on an intention for the day and to invite the miracle mindset after moving and getting the channels flowing.

Seasonal eating fundamentals

Seasonal eating fundamentals

part 2, Regional Awakening

Without a doubt its almost impossible to limit your foods to only those from your neighborhood especially when we are living in an urban environment, but that doesn’t mean we have to disregard this practice of eating local completely.

It starts with awareness.

Through the agricultural and industrial revolution we have become increasingly more distant from our environment and while some of us use air conditioning all year and never spend extended periods outdoors in the elements, our ways of consuming food are far from being in harmony with the ecosystem we are inherently involved with. I believe there is an underlying benefit from cultivating this regional awareness as it brings us closer to the planet and deepens our relationship to it.

When walking through a grocery store or health food store we are bombarded with adds and fancy labels trying to sell us something. Not that all of these foods are bad but there seems to be many trends and fads with the latest superfoods from near or far and what they may do for us. My way of navigating this subject is to become focused on the foods growing closest to me which can be much more nutritionally interesting and also tend to be the freshest available. So here are a few tips to gain experience and an understanding for your local environment and the edible treats it has to offer.

  1. Search online or find a book on local ecology and edible plants then spend more time in nature and deepen your sense of the environment.
  2. Join guided nature walks where time can be taken to identify the different plant species while gaining knowledge from the guide.
  3. Visiting local farmers markets is a great way to begin identifying what is being grown close to home. It feels different than walking through a grocery store as the you notice the vegetables and fruits are not perfectly shaped and colored but rather unique and much more interesting.

Foraging and shopping at local markets help to lessen the carbon footprint we are leaving behind with every purchase so it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario. Even if we can make only a few choices to eat food grown close to home we lessen the impact of emissions and environmental damage creating momentum in a progressive direction.

 

 

Kombucha Recipe

Kombucha Recipe

Bubbly, tangy, delicious kombucha. If you are not familiar with this beverage, start your exploration here at Kombucha Kamp. If you are familiar with the beverage then welcome back.

This is a short tutorial on the process of brewing and flavoring this beverage based on my experience and explorations of recipes. Its very easy to do and once you get started its easy to keep the momentum.

If you are like me, then you will be skeptical about the sugar content. I consider myself to be quite sensitive to sugar and smaller servings of kombucha ( 6- 8 fl oz’s) does not affect me the way other sugar containing foods do, which to my understanding has to do with the sugar being food for the bacteria and yeast creating a crisp and clean end product. I have tried to use different types of sugar for this operation and nothing compares to the classic organic unbleached cane sugar. Im not sure why, but after failing multiple times experimenting with other options I have quit trying to change a good thing.

Next is the vessel to brew your elixir. I use a gallon Anchor jar, it has a wide mouth, it is  sturdy, very affordable and you can buy it on amazon. Cheese cloth will be needed to cover the jar allowing air to flow through so the bacteria can breathe while keeping dust, small insects and bugs from contaminating the brew.

The SCOBY, which is a Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast, is what makes kombucha what it is.  You can buy a scoby from Kombucha Kamp or as I recently have done, you can grow your own from a bottle of store bought unflavored raw kombucha. If you want to try to grow you own let me know and I will create another tutorial on that process.

Tea is used as the base of the brew and a green or black tea is the most common. I personally enjoy the flavor of earl grey which is a black tea infused with essential oil from orange. I have used others for the base such as oolong so its just a personal preference.

Go Time!

Tools/ equipment needed

Ingredients

Directions

  • Brew your chosen tea (steeping for five minutes)

  • Strain tea into your anchor jar

  • add sugar and allow it to completely dissolve

  • fill the vessel with water leaving room for kombucha starter and scoby ( about 3 inches from the top)

  • Allow to cool to room temperature (  Very Important)

  • add starter kombucha and scoby

  • cover with cheese cloth and secure with a rubber band

It will take 7-12 days for the kombucha to mature for the first brew. I recommend tasting it at 7 days and based on your flavor preference harvesting or continuing to brew longer. Shorter brew will yield a sweeter beverage, longer brew a more tart beverage. My preference is 10 days. During this time you will notice a new scoby forming on top of the brew. This is perfect and referred to as the baby, and sure enough the original scoby used is the Mother.

Harvesting procedure

You will need jars or bottles to store your finished brew so find your favorite shape and size and go from there making sure they are very clean before transferring the kombucha. Remove the baby scoby and mother from the vessel and set aside in a clean bowl along with 16 oz of the brew for the next batches’ starter. Bottling is the next step as is the option to flavor your brew. See the options below for flavoring. You also have the option to continue fermenting which I usually do for another two days after bottling and flavoring the kombucha which will greaten the effervescence or the option to go straight into refrigeration. At this stage it is ready to drink but I find as it matures for another few days the flavor is much better.

Flavoring options per 24 oz bottle

  1. 2 oz lemon juice, 1 oz ginger juice

  2. 2 oz lemon juice, 4 oz grapefruit juice

  3. Get creative and try your own

The Morning Connection

The Morning Connection

So we know this technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and why should it, there are unquestionable powers behind this instant accessibility to the internet and all that it contains. With only a few touches of our finger tips on a screen we can access what seems like endless amounts of information and stimulus. The question is….. Is this instant gratification helping us enter a more proactive state or keeping us more reactive?

The early morning (ninety minutes or so before sunrise) is referred to as the Brahma Muhurta or “the creators hour” , the time of the day when our minds are at ease, our bodies are rested and our conscious awareness is most expanded. This time is considered to be most potent for inviting a proactive vision for what we want to create, which ultimately sets the flow for the day. Recent studies are showing the affect of jumping into the virtual world and social media first thing in the morning to be just the opposite of that flow, by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and promoting a reactive state.

Now just imagine how much deeper our connections could be if we turned to face our partner first thing in the morning rather than plugging right in to the web of disconnection. Or if we chose to reflect on our dreams and / or journal, we could get a sense of our fortunes and receive insights on the things we need to change or begin to invite into our lives. If we can utilize the power of “the creators hour” and choose to engage in things which enrich our lives, we can create balance between our internal and technological realities.

So what is it that makes us need to be constantly connected to this virtual community and what are the long term affects on our physical connectivity to our family, friends and other people in our lives? If we are truly living boring lives then why not make a choice to create interesting situations or engage with creative and interesting people?

At the end of the day, how does it influence us? Are we using it to our benefit as the great tech tools that they are? Or are we allowing these devices to control us by tearing down our personal boundaries and creating a hyper-connected virtual reality without the true one on one conversation all while challenging our ability to find our peace and stillness.

Habits for Living part 2

Habits for Living part 2

How often do we change our routines? How often are we aware of our routines? The mundane tasks, thoughts and even complex movements we do without conscious awareness are scattered throughout the day. We may know on some level that everyday is a new day to create something new, but with old outdated habits and routines we become robotic and our personality becomes stagnant.

Think of brushing your teeth for example. Typically we mindlessly go through the routine we are so comfortable doing which can be very similar to our situational reactions and ways of describing our daily experiences. Someone politely asks, How are you doing? We may respond, I’m good, I’m tired or I’m stressed. But do these answers truly represent our current state of being? Maybe so, but many of these routine answers we use as a subconscious way of keeping us in a state of familiarity which can continue to shape our personal reality.

Now just imagine brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or with your dominant hand but moving slowly in the opposite way you routinely move the brush around your mouth. By reviewing the simplest things we automatically say, think or do  without question, we get a sense of the subconscious operating system we have built over our lives. This operating system is represented in the brain and can be seen with the neurons creating distinct pathways. From this place we can identify whats holding us back and where we can put more of our energy.

Just as learning new languages, musical instruments or new styles of movement and dance are all great for rewiring the brain, choosing new ways of speaking and thinking  begin to reshape our personal reality and how we see and experience things. They have very beneficial outcomes and consequently the more we do something new, the more familiar it becomes and the stronger the connections become in the brain.

So I invite you to challenge your routines by consciously choosing the awkward way of doing things. We are so conditioned to take action in a specific way that we may even have withdrawal symptoms when we begin new ways of action, so take a deep breath and lean into the new. Trust yourself even if the new way does not seem right and remind yourself that the more you do it the more familiar it becomes redefining the new and potentially upgraded states of normal.

Habits for living part 1

Creamy berry jello recipe

Creamy berry jello recipe

Spring is in full swing and so are the tasty berries in Southern California.

With these fresh and local berries being high in flavor and lower in sugar than other popular fruits they have been a go to for my recent kitchen exploration.

Possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve been playing around with which is a treat and a health food at the same time. I recommend using either Great Lakes brand gelatin or Bulletproof Collagelatin for this and any other recipe requiring a gelling component.

This is a variation of the Blueberry Un-Cheesecake recipe from the newly released book Head Strong by Dave Asprey which explores the newest science on the effects the environment on our mitochondria. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

Procedure

  • Place everything Except gelatin, water and sweetener( if using) into a blender
  • Heat the water over low heat until warm,  stir in the gelatin and sweetener if using until its dissolved
  • When the gelatin is dissolved add the water to the blender
  • Blend until smooth and pour into your favorite molds, or any container.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until set
  • For faster settling put in the freezer for 1.5 hours and defrost for 20 minutes before serving
  • Serve with fresh berries and chopped nuts or whatever you like
  • Freeze any excess for tasty snacks later on.

The sweet truth

erol-ahmed-80094Unless you have been living in a cave or deliberately avoiding the topic of health in modern society, I am sure you have heard about the destructive qualities sugar, foods containing added sugar and how they affect our physiology. But this journey down the hole of sweet deceit is possibly one of the most challenging to navigate. There are so many claims today about which alternative is the best and even some companies are claiming health benefits from their revolutionary sweet products and this where misinformation and insufficient testing are hidden behind the power of marketing.

Natural, Low glycemic, Zero Calorie and Sugar Free are just a few of the endless label markers found on many of these products, so to stay somewhat focused through this smoke filled topic I am highlighting just one of the many “healthy” sweeteners, Agave Taquilana. This is the succulent traditionally used to make tequila and mezcal which yields a very sweet sap and juice.

The less than ideal fructose content of these agave products, some of which can be highly processed in very degrading ways, is what makes it something to avoid. Agave syrup can range from %55- %95 fructose where as the demonized High Fructose Corn Syrup averages at %55. Agave may not spike blood sugar like other sweeteners do but thats due to the way the liver processes the fructose, which is very similar to the metabolic process of alcohol and where its destructive qualities come to light such as creating and storing excess fat around the liver and the belly along with raising unhealthy cholesterol.

Yes fruit does contain fructose and is recommended as part of a healthy diet, however certain fruits contain far less than others and unlike the high fructose containing syrups, these fruits are found with other healthy micronutrients and antioxidants. Of course this does come down to the quantity of sugar and sugar containing food we eat but basically the less we consume, the better.