Gypset

Canggu, Bali, August 2016

Buddhist Monastery, Banjar, Bali, August 2016

Yogi at Hindu Monastery, Kauai, Hawaii, March 2014

I tried the Chocolate & Zucchini cake this Easter weekend and would definitely bake and indulge again. It is dark and moist with Whittakers 72% cocoa Dark Ghana Chocolate, chopped up for my chocolate chips. Chocolate ganache was poured over the top & then a sprinkling of dried rose petals.

 

By Jennifer Pilgrim

 

Yields: 6 mini bundt cakes or 12 cupcakes

  • 1 ¼ cup flour (preferably gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably coconut)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (preferably dark)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray or use liners.
  3. Use a paper towel to blot and squeeze zucchini dry.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In an electric mixing bowl, add egg, egg white, oil, honey, and vanilla. Mix on low until smooth.
  6. Add in zucchini, apple sauce, and almond milk and mix.
  7. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  8. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  9. Bake 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Total time: 40 minutes



 

 

By Joanna Loveys

IF WE TOOK A MOMENT TO STOP AND LOOK AROUND WE MIGHT FIND THAT LIFE IS GENEROUS – AND THERE IS ALWAYS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND. YOU’RE READING THAT AND THINKING SERIOUSLY? THE ABUNDANCE TRAIN MISSED MY STOP!

It is a simple fact that there is an unlimited Source of everything we need or could ever want. This great abundance is already ours, available to all of us all the time. 

The Manifestation of ABUNDANCE espoused by spiritual teachers like Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay and Deepak Chopra is not a new concept . Often when we hear about The Law of Abundance or Attraction, it refers to money. While it certainly does include financial prosperity, it is much more than that. Abundance relates to the state of being consciously connected to our Source Energy.

When we entertain a lack mentality, such as a lack of time, money or other resources, we literally create an energetic wall around ourselves that keeps those very things from entering our lives.

What really is abundance? Is it a tangible thing – abundant wealth or intangible abundant health? What one considers abundance another thinks is going without – it’s a perception.  The dictionary describes abundance as a great or potential amount or being in rich supply. We do live in an abundant universe, and we attract what we put out there. Each day is a new day that is full of possibilities. What is it that you would like to do or be or have more than anything else in the world? 

I read somewhere that if you hold a thought for 17 seconds the Law of Attraction kicks in but hold it for 68 seconds and things begin to move, manifestation has begun. Whether that is so or not, if you can think about what you do want in your mind, and focus on that, you can bring that into your life. In reverse, focusing on what we DON'T want tends to bring us more of the same! Using positive affirmations, meditation, taking action and expressing gratitude for our many blessings is the key. Keynote speaker Brian Tracy says that thinking continually about what you want and not the things you fear pays dividends.

Peace, prosperity, healing and wellbeing is within the grasp of everyone. Release those things that don’t work for you any more, just let them go, and make room for something better to fill up that space.

Never underestimate the power of the imagination to create miracles. If you listen to your inner voice and truly believe that you are a magnet for the good stuff then you draw that energy towards you – and I know which sort of energy I would rather attract! Energy flows where intention goes! Pay close attention to the abundance you already have and give yourself permission to be prosperous. 

Why not try ending your day with a positive thought , no matter how hard the day was there must be one thing to be positive about and thankful for. You have nothing to lose, and perhaps everything to gain!

 

 

Keep your eye out for a rare full moon on the night of April 11. This unique pink moon in Libra will cause a cosmic shift in energy if you open yourself up to it. If you’re standing outside on Tuesday gazing at the sky, you won’t actually see a pink-colored moon. The moon’s name comes from vibrant pink wildflowers called ground Phlox. The pink moon alludes to the changes in nature that happen around this time of year. If you allow yourself to feel the moon’s energy, you may see similar changes in your own life.

Here’s what to expect from Tuesday’s rare pink moon in Libra:

1. Heightened Energy

The pink moon will cause a heightened energy around you. It’s up to you to choose how to channel the energy. You can allow it to become a negative source, or you can use it to better your life and yourself. By welcoming the energy shift with a positive attitude, positive things will follow.

2. Stronger Intuition

If you have a gut feeling in the days ahead, don’t ignore it. The pink moon will strengthen your sense of intuition. You’ll feel more connected to your inner self, including your wants, needs, desires and intentions. Listen to your instincts and follow through with your gut feelings.

3. An Awakening

The pink moon will bring about a wave of conscious awareness. If you open yourself up to it, it will lead to meaningful self-discovery. Use this time to re-center yourself. Find balance in your life. This new awakening will help you see the future more clearly and allow you to see what path to take.

4. Closer Relationships

Areas of communication will be highlighted in the days after the full moon. Use the energy to catch up with friends, family members and loved ones. Take the time to reach out to people you haven’t seen in a while and re-connect. Your social skills will be spot on after the pink moon, and you’ll crave closer relationships with loved ones.

5. A New Adventure

Full moons are associated with rebirth and new beginnings. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to try but never had the chance to, now is the right time. It might be taking up a new hobby, learning a new language or starting a new exercise program. Whatever it is, commit to it. Stop making excuses. Don’t let anyone get in your way from re-charging and trying something new.

 

 

If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Lao Tzu

Two modern day monks from New Zealand meet a diverse range of people making a choice for a better life through meditation.

Ballet dancers and writers, stressed business people, a cancer patient, foster children and maximum-security prisoners; their stories show peace is possible for individuals and communities - and suggests it may be possible for all of humanity.

Stunning cinematography combined with the power of people sharing from a place of profound peace delivers a palpable and moving experience.

by Aerial Cetnar March 12 2017 

5 Positive Ways Yoga Affects Your Mind Hero Image
Photo: @aeriallynn on Instagram
Although many individuals relish in their yoga practice for physical health benefits, there is just as much of a reason to love yoga for its mental health benefits. In the past few years, yoga and other mind-body practices have been a topic of interest for researchers in the psychology field, exploring its benefits for individuals working to improve their psychological well being. There is an increasing number of communities, such as hospitals, rehab centres and transitional homes incorporating yoga into their programming for improving mental health in many individuals.

Through research, yoga has been proven to help decrease stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and many other mental health issues. Yoga works by decreasing activity in the sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the "fight or flight" response, which is typically responsible for constricting blood vessels and raising heart rate and blood pressure. The breathing practices in yoga calm the nervous system overall and give us the time to reset.

Here are a few psychological qualities that yoga can cultivate:

1. Mindfulness. 

A lot of yoga practice focuses on using the breath as the main guide through movement. This gives us the experience of tuning into the present moment and increasing overall awareness. Many yoga teachers also encourage their students to let go of judgment toward themselves and accept where they are in their practice. By being in tune with our body movement and breath at the same time, we are practicing ways to be mindful both on the mat and in our daily life.

 

Photo credit: @aeriallyn 

 

2. Self-compassion. 

Because yoga requires commitment, it teaches us the importance of self-care and self-love. Along with letting go of judgment, it encourages us to love where we are and who we are. Yoga teaches us to appreciate that we are each perfectly imperfect and to embrace the diversity that we each bring to our yoga classes. We learn to encourage ourselves to maintain a holistic self-care practice that includes making time to care for our mind, body, emotions and spirituality in a non-judgmental and accepting way.

3. Resilience.

Yoga teaches us to take a step back, let go of our ego, and stick to our goals. The best way to improve in your yoga practice is through patience, especially for those who are just beginning their practice. It’s a challenge to let go of comparison, but it takes time to build a solid yoga practice and we learn that along the way. It teaches us to breathe through difficult postures just as we would through life challenges. We learn to find stillness during times of discomfort and find our breath during times when we need it the most.

4. Insight. 

One of the most impactful qualities to gain from yoga is the appreciation that you’re always learning and growing. Yoga gives you the opportunity to pause, reflect and set intentions for your practice that are parallel to your life intentions. You’re persistently checking in with yourself and asking yourself what it is that you need in that very moment in time. Yoga encourages us to always work toward being the best possible version of ourselves, but remaining open-minded and open-hearted during the process.

5. Purpose.

Yoga classes help build community and make people feel that they are part of something bigger. This is also applicable to the spiritual practice that comes from yoga that reminds us of elements of gratitude and aliveness. Yoga is a community where we can find support and a sense of belonging if you take the time to get to know those you’re practicing with. So, don’t be afraid to say hello next time you place your mat next to someone in class. 

 

 

Endometriosis: Why The Conversation Needs To Change

Heba Shaheed - thepelvicexpert.com 

Physiotherapist and Women's Health Coach, Heba Shaheed, talks about the importance of advocating and raising our voice, and how her own experience with Endometriosis has shaped her practice and allowed her to help hundreds of others who suffer in silence. 

 

What sparked your interest in working with women who were experiencing pelvic pain?

I have a personal history of endometriosis and pelvic pain including pudendal neuralgia and bladder pain. I was trying to find information to help myself, but at the same time I was a physio and I had seen patients with similar symptoms as myself and wanted be able to give them the best possible treatment plan – because we know with endometriosis, the answer is not just surgery.

A lot of the time it’s the diet worsening their pain – inflammation can be from the food you are eating, a lot of the time the muscles around their pelvis can be quite tight and the connective tissue and the organs can all be impacted. I wanted to offer a holistic approach that was more than just the surgery.

And open that side of the conversation – that you can have a good life just knowing what you need and how to deal with it, in a way that’s best for you.

In my case, I have had period pain since I was thirteen. It was pretty severe my whole life, but everyone told me it was normal and no-one suggested that it could be anything more than that. In 2010 it got really bad to the point where I was experiencing chronic pain in my pelvic area. From 2010-2013 I pretty much had pain every single day.

In 2010 I became a physio. So I thought – it could just be musculoskeletal pain. So I went and studied everything I possibly could from that point of view and that helped me and my patients.

In 2011 I went into women’s health because I thought there is more to the pelvis than just the outside, there is internal stuff too. I went and studied courses in women’s health physiotherapy, which is pelvic floor based. By 2013 I had completed a large number of courses in pelvic health and this was when I learnt about endometriosis and thought to myself, I wonder if that’s what I have?

So I went and saw a pelvic floor based physio and they agreed that it looked like I had endo. I went to a gynaecologist and she confirmed I had endo and I had the excision surgery, but I still had a lot of pelvic and abdominal pain. That’s when I started putting everything together- treating the musculoskeletal side of things both externally in the pelvis, back and hips, and also internally through the pelvic floor. I did two nutrition trainings and one was specifically in women’s health and endo, and radically changed my diet. The nutrition trainings looked at how gluten can be really inflammatory, and people with endo very often have a gluten intolerance.

Basically, it was my life story and my professional history, as well as my patients and trying to help them, that lead me down my chosen path.

Everyone is different. I teach a yoga-based method, which releases tension around the nervous system. It’s more important than stretches. It’s about getting the nervous system to flow, while lengthening and strengthening muscles. That’s where I am today and now I work collaboratively with some of the best endo-surgeons in Australia.

What is the most important thing to do when women are experiencing pain?

I believe certain things happen and I was given this experience to help change the world and make an impact in this area. I think the most important thing as a health or medical professional is to listen. A lot of people just don’t listen to the woman, because it doesn’t show up on scans. It’s important to come up with a plan based on symptoms not scan results. When you have a chronic illness you have to look at it through a holistic lens. You don’t want the endo to rule your life. You want to find whatever means possible to live your life normally.

What do you do when a woman comes to you presenting these symptoms?

When a woman comes with endo it’s a different kind of assessment to a normal physio assessment or women’s health assessment. When it comes to endo you need to put on every lens possible, you can’t look at it with narrow eyes. I listen and clinically reason. I try and pick up what’s going on and what I need to target. I might not do any treatment in the first session, I just listen. I ask a lot of questions to do with everything including their bladder history, bowel history, sexual history, their musculoskeletal pain history, fertility, diet, stress, other doctors they’ve seen and what pain they have experienced. I ask them everything! I also ask a lot about their hormones because there are certain symptoms that point to endo.

Their therapy would then involve a lot of things. One thing I do is nutrition and hormone coaching. With endo and pelvic pain, there can be an imbalance in their endocrine system (hormone) and an imbalance in their nervous system (brain and nerves). These two systems dance together so if one is out the other will likely be out. You need to restore balance. I get them to do a food-mood-poop diary. After looking at that, I can go ahead and make nutrition recommendations based on whatever their nutritional and hormonal imbalances are and then give them a specific dietary plan.

From the physio perspective, think about how the women who are always in pain hold themselves – they often move into the foetal or ball position. This makes the ab muscles tighten. The muscles of the pelvic floor and surrounds can also tighten so we look at this muscle imbalance. Every time you have a period everything down there contracts and your muscles go along for the ride as well. Very often, women with endo will have an overactive pelvic floor. So we do a lot of pelvic floor release work.

A lot of the time doing this can reduce period pain by 50%. Abdominal and cranial release work too. For all my endo girls I do a six-week pain education and exercise program, which I call stretch and relax for pelvic pain. Here I go through posture and how important it is, alignment though a yoga lens, getting the body to flow and open out the hips and pelvis but in a safe and controlled way, strengthening some of their muscles, and educating about the nervous system of the pain. Understanding pain reduces pain. There is no cure but you can manage it. Make the symptoms the best they have ever been.

Do you have a lot of women who come to you with a preconceived idea of what endo is? What’s the most frustrating thing you have seen in the media of how endometriosis has been portrayed?

There are so many things! The common ones are that the cure is pregnancy or hysterectomy. That period pain is normal - that probably frustrates me the most. I am of the belief that period pain is not normal. It might not be endo, but it could be another hormonal imbalance. Advice like have rye bread and don’t have white bread, this made things ten thousand times worse and is so frustrating to hear. Then there is the other end of the spectrum - you’ve got it, you’ve got to live with it and this is your life. Or you have pain, you have surgery and your pain should be gone. If you still have pain then it’s in your head and you should go and see a psychologist. So many patients come to see me, telling me they have been told that by medical professionals.

Then after 6 sessions of physio and classes their pain is significantly reduced. Often girls will have the endo surgery and their pain is exactly the same and then they are not even given advice on where to go and what to do about. They are just left stranded.

I think for so long endometriosis has been a surgical procedure (and yes it is 100%), but we can’t have the attitude that it is only surgery. It needs to be a multidisciplinary approach and a holistic integrated approach of everything. Your whole lifestyle needs to change. We need to advocate for ourselves because the doctors aren’t going to do it. We need to do this for our sisters, daughters, friends and future generations. We don’t even know if this affects 1 in 10 it could be more!

I run regular period pain workshops, I will go to uni groups and school groups and just give a talk about period pain. The first question I ask is who here has period pain? Alarmingly, about 80% of the hands in the room will go up. Period pain itself, you are not supposed to live with that! Being 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and you’re experiencing period pain that you’re vomiting from or you can’t get out of bed, obviously something is wrong.

It is a combination of the food we are eating, the toxins going into our body, the amount of stress we are under at such a young age – all of these things. Hopefully we can make a cultural change on this topic! There is still so far to go. We’ve got to get in early.

So what can we do to change the conversation?

Because it’s a women’s issue and affects strictly women, that means that unfortunately it’s an issue that gets swept under the rug. Now we are thankfully seeing women’s rights improve in the workforce but now we need to see it in health. It’s also up to the women! When men have issues they go and want to find out but women will suffer in silence. Especially if they are told it is normal. We need to empower ourselves and put our foot down. It starts with education, that this isn’t normal, then we as women need to assert ourselves and acknowledge that we don’t need to live like this. We should be able to go to work and be able to care for ourselves. We need to advocate. No one is lobbying or advocating but because our generation is more educated, I think in the next 10-20 years we will have what Deborah Bush has achieved in New Zealand.

We are doing this for the betterment of society, this isn’t about my personal treatment, but about how I can use my experience to help others! How can I change the world from what I have been through? I think if we can get (celebrities obviously) people in government, who don’t necessarily have endo, but might know someone with it and we can get them to open up about it, then they can lobby and start to make changes on a national scale.

When was the last time you saw endo being discussed on tv? The intensity and depth of endo is not appreciated. When someone says to me “period pain”, my first thought is endo and that’s how it should be. You have to work backwards from worse case scenario so that you can rule it out. We need to change the language.

 

Heba Shaheed is a Physiotherapist & Women’s Health Coach. The Founder of  The Pelvic Expert, she works in physiotherapy for women’s health and treats: Chronic pelvic pain, sexual pain and dysfunction, vaginismus, incontinence, bladder dysfunctions, bowel dysfunctions, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse and abdominal separation.

Heba is also an exercise specialist and is trained in Pilates and Yoga. She draws on this experience to create individualized exercise programs for women tailored to their needs, with particular specialized programs for pregnancy, post-partum, and pelvic pain. Heba works closely with some of Sydney’s leading urogynecologists, endogynecologists, colorectal surgeons, obstetricians and fertility specialists.

Go to ThePelvicExpert.com 

 

 

As summer fades and we prepare for shorter days and lower temperatures, a few simple steps will boost your immunity and help you stay well this season. 

Slow Cook for Health

Now is the time to swap cooling salads and iced food to warming, nourishing dishes such as soupscurries and casseroles to give your immune and digestive system a boost. Make the most of foods that have been fermented or pickled and promote gut health. “Raw, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are also great,” says functional nutritionist Jo Grabyn.

Try our favourite nourishing Autumn recipes here. 

Check Your Levels

The skin manufactures vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but shorter days mean fewer rays. “Vitamin D can start to become an issue from March because of the way the sun is angled,” says Grabyn. “Vitamin D is crucial for your immune system. If you are prone to colds and flu, suffer from allergies, or have an autoimmune disease, it’s worth getting your vitamin D checked.”

Combat Dry Air

Now the humidity has dropped, the air can be very drying for the nose, eyes, skin and throat. Grabyn says, “When the mucous membranes dry out, this natural barrier is impaired, and it increases your risk of catching a cold or flu. Staying hydrated with water, vegetables and fruit is important. It’s also vital you have adequate healthy fats to ensure the cell walls stay strong.”

www.mindfood.com

 

 

Rest & Rejuvenate in the beautiful retreat Mana offers in the Coromandel.

Mother's Day Relax 12-14 May 2017 $190

Winter Relax Weekend 9-11 June 2017 $190

These weekend prices include accommodation and nourishing vegetarian meals.

https://manaretreat.com

 

Source: Yoga International

FEBRUARY 20, 2017    BY KAREN COSTA
 

The psoas muscle has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. Wellness expert and holistic doctor Christiane Northrup calls it “the most important muscle in your body.” I became intimate with my own psoas muscle a couple of years ago, after developing chronic lower back pain.

Learning how to find the perfect balance between stretching and strengthening my psoas became my mission in life, and it led me to attend a five-day workshop at Kripalu with Michaelle Edwards, founder of YogAlign. I learned so many things from Michaelle, but the psoas lunge is my absolute favorite. It has become a regular part of both my home practice and my teaching. Every time I teach it, at least one student will approach me after class with bright, wide eyes and say “That new lunge you taught us—It. Was. So. Awesome.”

Here’s how to incorporate the psoas lunge into your own practice.

Step 1: Think: “The Opposite of Sitting”

I find it very helpful to keep in mind the phrase “the opposite of sitting” when I’m practicing or teaching the psoas lunge. Picture yourself seated in a typical chair. Notice that your hips are in flexion, with your knees bent toward your belly. Chances are that your back is resting against the back of the chair (which means the chair is doing the work of your core muscles). Your shoulders may be hunched forward slightly.

Sitting has been called the new smoking, and the negative outcomes of too many hours spent in this position are countless. Since the psoas muscle connects the hips to the spine (it’s actually the only muscle that connects the spine to the legs), it becomes short, weak, and tight from too much sitting.

 

 

 

Recognizing the negative impact of sitting inspires the question: What does the opposite of sitting look like? One answer: the psoas lunge.

Step 2: Balance Strength and Stretch

 

 

 

As a result of an initial visit to an orthopedist, subsequent physical therapy, my own anatomy detective work, and various yoga trainings, I learned that I am hypermobile—with loosely set hips, as confirmed by an X-ray. Overstretching had pushed my body past its natural edge. The experts I spoke to believed that to be the source of my back pain, and they suggested I develop a greater focus on strength rather than flexibility in my practice. That’s what makes the psoas lunge so powerful: It’s a dynamic stretch in which the muscle is engaged and active (versus passive).

With two blocks handy at the top of your mat (on the lowest level to start), come to your hands and knees in tabletop position. Step your right foot between your hands. Shift your left knee back so that your weight is slightly above the kneecap rather than directly on the center of it. You’ll immediately notice a nice opening in the front of the left hip here in low lunge (anjaneyasana). The toes of your left foot should be pointed, the top of the foot resting on the ground.

Place a block beneath each hand. Depending on the length of your arms, you may want to use the medium or taller height of the block, with the goal of making sure your hands feel steady and supported. Bringing hands onto blocks also keeps the heart open and prevents the back from rounding. Bring your gaze toward the floor and slightly forward so that the back of your neck is in its natural alignment. Avoid either pressing the chin to the chest or lifting it toward the sky. Notice your shoulders: If they’ve crept up toward your ears, allow them to soften. Take a breath here.

To come into the psoas lunge, press evenly into the top of your left foot, making sure not to let it collapse either left or right. This will lift your left knee off the ground. Your hands remain on the blocks. Stay here for three to five breaths. Silently saying “the opposite of sitting” can help you visualize the anatomical work being done in this pose. You might wish to draw your breath and attention to your deep core, envisioning your psoas muscle being both stretched and strengthened in this posture. On an exhale, allow the left knee to return to the floor.

Return to your starting point on hands and knees. Then repeat on the opposite side by stepping your left foot forward between your hands, drawing the right knee back, and pressing into the top of the right foot, with toes pointed.

Step 3: Harness Your Breath

As with any yoga posture, the use of your breath can greatly complement the psoas lunge. Since the psoas is connected to the diaphragm through ligaments and fascia, making sure that you are using the full capacity of your breath, with deep belly breathing (also called diaphragmatic breathing), will allow you to harness the maximum benefit of this posture. The breath works the lunge from the inside out, creating powerful shifts in your deep core.

Step 4: Sit Differently

Writer Annie Dillard once famously said, “How we spend our days is, in fact, how we spend our lives.” Be mindful that spending most hours of your day in a hunched, seated position cannot be balanced by an hour on the mat, although it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Start by noticing how you sit, and how often. When sitting, don’t lean against the back of the chair—instead allowing your core muscles to do the work for which they were designed.

Take regular walking breaks, try a standing desk, or sit up on a yoga block while seated in a chair (another one of Michaelle’s great recommendations for decreasing hip flexion). Sitting on an exercise ball can also be a good option, if the ball allows your hips to come higher than your knees—as that’s the indicator of the quality of your seated position. Be mindful of keeping both legs forward, and consider how tucking or crossing one leg could lead to long-term imbalances.

Added to your practice of the powerful psoas lunge, these various modifications to your daily habits may gradually have their effect on your strength, your comfort, and your confidence. And finally, you may find that spending your days differently will change how you spend your life.  

Click on this link for more information on the psoas by Holistic Doctor Christiane Northrup http://www.drnorthrup.com/psoas-muscle-vital-muscle-body/

 

 

by Dr. Ilene Ruhoy 8 February 2017

 

Many health discussions focus on heart disease. And while this is an important discussion because it can help many prevent heart attacks, just as importantly, the blood vessels that feed the brain (known as cerebral vasculature) are equally as vulnerable and in need of protection. And it is the health of these cerebral vessels that's important in preventing a stroke. 

 

Ever wondered how blood gets to your brain?

 

Briefly and simply, the brain receives its blood supply from the two internal carotid arteries that course up the sides of the neck and the two vertebral arteries that travel up the back of the neck. All of these arteries combine and form what is called the circle of Willis, a ring of vessels from which all major cerebral vessels arise. Before combining, the vertebral and basilar arteries also send off branches to feed the other parts of the brain like the brainstem and the cerebellum.

 

A stroke is a blockage of a cerebral vessel and can be devastating, resulting in impaired quality of life or even in end of life. The area of the brain affected by the stroke is based on the specific vessel that has been unable to deliver proper blood supply to its corresponding brain tissue. And each region of brain tissue has an associated function, whether its motor, sensory, visual, perception, speech, or cognition. There can be some stroke warning signs—but oftentimes there are none.

 

To prevent a stroke you have to tackle inflammation.

 

Known risk factors for cerebral vessel disease include elevated blood pressure, elevated lipids, diabetes, smoking, alcohol, obesity, genetics, underlying disease such as autoimmunity or blood disorders, medications and drugs, stress, poor nutrition, poor sleep as well as sleep apnea, age, or a previous stroke or heart attack. The common pathway for many of these risk factors? Inflammation. Many of these risk factors result in inflammation of the vessels, known as vasculitis.

 

So what can we do? Some of the very same things we do to hopefully prevent a heart attack can also help to prevent a stroke. And remember: Your lifestyle choices always matter.

 

1. Adopt a plant-based diet.

 

The vast array of vitamins, nutrients, and essential compounds that are found in plant-based foods help to lower blood pressure, improve glucose control, reduce inflammation, and help in weight loss. Try to minimize or eliminate pro-inflammatory animal products.

 

2. Normalize your sleep.

 

If you have sleep apnea, get it treated because sleep apnea results in less oxygen delivered to the brain during sleep—a critical time for many of the brain's functions. For example, sleep helps to form and retain lessons and memories from the day before. Sleep hygiene is important, so try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each night.

 

3. Don't skimp on fresh air and exercise.

 

Regular daily exercise—preferably outside for the added beneficial effects of the great outdoors—is important to reduce blood sugar, lower weight, and reduce stress.

 

4. Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

 

If you need help quitting, please reach out for help or speak to your physician.

 

5. Supplement to fight inflammation.

 

Herbal formulations are great for preventive purposes. Boswellia lowers brain inflammation and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a powerful antioxidant that will work to scoop up those inflammation-causing free radicals. Meadowsweet and white willow bark are natural sources of salicylate acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. Important: If your risk factors are great enough that you need aspirin, these herbs are not a substitute.

 

6. Give acupuncture a try.

 

Studies have demonstrated the positive effects on cerebral blood flow with particular head acupoints.

 

7. Start the day with a juice.

 

Start each morning with a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant combination that includes turmeric and ginger, along with fruits and vegetables. It is the perfect time to infuse your hungry cells with crucial vitamins and nutrients to set them up for physiologic success!

 

 

You have the power to heal your body, improve your health, and prevent disease. So harness that power and take one day at a time.

 

 

SWEET PEA & PEARL ONION PESTO SMOTHERED ZUCCHINI NOODLES

We can’t wait to try this alkalising take on pesto pasta, perfect for a romantic night in - or a dinner party for 10.

You'll need

2 large zucchinis, julienned or spiral cut, preferably organic

24 fresh pearl onions, peeled (substitute frozen if need be)

2 cups organic frozen peas

3 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp maple syrup or 3 drops liquid stevia

pinch himalayan salt or good sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

To make

Using a spiral noodle slicer or a julienne peeler make your noodles from the zucchinis. Place in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Place the pearl onions in a covered steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 8-10 mins till layers just begin to separate and they appear translucent. (If using frozen pearl onions your steam time will be a little less). Add frozen peas and steam for 2 minutes longer, stirring at the one-minute mark to ensure even cooking.

Remove from heat and pour half the mixture into a small bowl and the other half into your food processor–be sure to divide the onions evenly.

To the food processor, add the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, salt, pepper and maple syrup. Process until creamy but not completely smooth, leaving a little texture.

Now let’s put it altogether. Pour the creamy pea and onion pesto over the noodles, Top with remaining steamed peas and pearl onions. Garnish your bowl(s) with fresh mint and freshly ground pepper.

Source: My New Roots & Welleco

 


Pablo's Cabana, Great Barrier Island, New Zealand, January 2017

Because sometimes lying under the trees and walking barefoot on the earth is the most spiritual thing you could ever do in your life.

 

 

by Dr Leo Galland - 7 January 2017

When allergies or inflammation strikes, you may be quick to blame some common culprits like pollen and ragweed, pets, pollution, or food. But what you may not know is that one of the biggest causes of allergy and inflammation is actually your mind. 

How you feel and the amount of stress you experience—from work, to family, to your health—can have a direct impact on how your body feels. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that stress is a major factor in causing chronic inflammatory conditions but that stress reduction interventions can actually help reduce symptoms. 

The combination of stress and allergies creates a snowball effect. 

Ohio State University scientists found that the persistence of mental stress can increase the frequency of flare-ups in allergy sufferers. And more episodes of sneezing, running nose, and watery eyes can lead to more stress and worsening symptoms. Conversely, less stress is associated with fewer flare-ups. They also found that stress and mood could affect allergic sensitivity. Nasal allergy sufferers who were asked to perform mental arithmetic in front of an audience experience bigger hives in response to a skin test. Participants who weren't given the math questions didn't have the same allergic response. 

But the good news is that your mind can outshine your allergies. These seven simple tips can help you reduce stress, calm your body, and kick pesky allergies.

1. Give meditation a try. 

While meditation has been touted as the answer to everything from pain relief to improving your athletic performance, it really can help reduce your body's response to allergy and inflammation. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that mindfulness-based stress reduction—which combines mindfulness, yoga, and body awareness—not only helped participants cope with stress, but it also decreased inflammation in the body compared to other healthy practices like exercise and music therapy. 

 

In another study on people with migraine headaches and abdominal pain, scientists from Case Western Reserve University found that meditation and visualization reduced pain and signs of allergic inflammation. Meditation with visualization has also been shown to improve lung function and respiratory symptoms in groups of people with asthma. Try this simple meditation: 

  1. Sit in a comfortable place. 

  2. Imagine a hand resting on your forehead, giving your mind comfort and soothing your thoughts.

  3. Let any stressful thoughts float out of your mind and into the imaginary hand. 

  4. Notice the sense of spaciousness and calm without those extra thoughts.

2. Make sleep a top priority. 

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, those who experience chronic stress report shorter sleep duration and lower quality of sleep. A group of Italian researchers found that the lack of adequate shut-eye can also lead to increased oxidative stress and altered inflammatory response—among other health concerns. 

Sleep is one of the best ways to heal and rejuvenate your body. To get the best sleep, be sure to avoid caffeine late in the day and create a calming bedtime ritual. And don't forget to turn off your screens! Exposure to blue light can suppress the release of melatonin, your body's sleep-facilitating hormone, and shift your circadian clock.

3. Take an Epsom salt bath

A warm bath is super relaxing, but it can also help your body recharge. Stress can reduce levels of magnesium in the body, and Epsom salts—which are composed of magnesium sulfate—can help replenish these stores. Researchers from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom found that soaking in an Epsom salt bath for 12 minutes a day for a week raised magnesium levels measurably.

4. Get outside and clear your head.

Sometimes just getting out in nature is all we need to banish stress. In fact, researchers from Stanford observed that those who took a stroll in a parklike setting had meaningful improvements in mental health including less brooding compared to those who walked in an urban setting. Scientists from Finland found that even a brief visit to a green space can reduce stress levels.

5. Journal to reduce the impact of stressors. 

Who hasn't scribbled in a journal after a stressful, emotional, or traumatic event? And there's good reason. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin observed that writing about stressful events can reduce the impact of those stressors; it helped lessen the intensity of the feelings and lowered symptoms of depression. Even more interesting, researcher from the United Kingdom shows that expressive writing improves lung function in asthma sufferers.

6. Hang out with friends. 

Instead of staring at your phone or computer screen, hang out with your friends. Social connection can be a strong buffer against the effects of stress. A study from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California found that participating in a meditation group not only decreased feelings of loneliness, but it decreased systematic inflammation in the body by decreasing the activity of a gene that promotes inflammation in the body.

7. Dance your allergies away.

Yes, dance! Researchers have discovered that dance therapy can benefit those with high blood pressure, depression, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. Music influences mood in a positive way, and, more importantly, relaxing music may reduce levels of cortisol—the main stress hormone in the body. 

The bottom line is that allergies and inflammation involve a lot more than just our environment and what we put in and on our bodies. They are also directly connected with what's going on in our mind. For more information about ways to reduce stress and combat allergies, check out my book The Allergy Solution: Unlock the Surprising, Hidden Truth About Why You Are Sick and How to Get Well.

 

Wanderlust

Wairakei, Great Lake Taupo

Thursday 2 - Sunday 5 February 2017

A 4 day Celebration of Mindful Living

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