Have You Heard Of Smudging?

smudgingHave you heard of smudging? It is becoming more popular as of late but Native Americans and indigenous people have burned sage for centuries as a part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space of negative energy, and to promote healing and wisdom. It has been used since Roman times to treat digestive issues, memory problems, and sore throats. The name sage comes from the Latin word “salvia”. It means “to feel healthy”.

The practice of “smudging” has become more popular in other cultures as well. Recently at the makeshift memorial of Nipsey Hustle, a young lady burned sage to rid the area of any negative energy.

It is said that sage “metaphysically un-clings the things that cling to us that are no longer needed–spiritually, mentally, and physically…almost the way a sponge does.” The medical benefits have not officially been well- studied.

Sage comes in different varieties. Most healers and herbalist use white sage. The white sage is used for purifying and protection. There are others like lavender sage, black sage, smudging3common sage, and blue sage, which is used for cleansing and healing. They all have their own unique qualities.

You can harvest sage yourself or buy it in bundles at a health food store, farmer’s market, or on the internet of course. Just make sure whether you grow it or purchase it, it was harvested sustainably and responsibly.

How do you burn sage? 

You light the end of the bundle and let the smoke waft into the air. If you are cleansing a room, you walk around the space with it. You can also just place it in a shell to catch ashes as it burns and just let it sit in the room.

smudging1Sage is a flavonoid–plant compound that has medicinal properties; lavender is in the same family. Some of these compounds appear to improve brain health and guard against diseases like Alzheimer’s. In some studies, sage helped against depression and anxiety, digestive problems and soothing upset stomachs. It is calming to the gut and mind in the same way that lavender is.

Be careful burning the sage because although there are no studies on the risk, it is just like burning incense and that has shown to give some people allergies or lung issues with prolonged burning. Burning for a short period of time should not cause any issues but if you have asthma or lung issues, I would consult a physician and get their opinion.

If you are worried about burning the sage, you can always try essential oils as ansmudging2 alternative.

Have you tried smudging before? Do you do it as a regular practice? I would love to hear about your experience and how you feel about the practice.

Health Minute: Celery

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When my babies were smaller, I used to love making “ants on a log” …that was their celery4favorite snack. “Ants on a log” is easy to make and is a tasty and healthy snack. All you need is celery, peanut butter, and raisins. BOOM! They didn’t even know how healthy that was..hehehehehe

Now that they are older, unless celery is in a recipe, I do not even purchase it very often…not until recently when I was refreshed on its benefits and how it can change your body.

They say that celery is made up of mostly water and holds no nutritional value. This iscelery2 not true! Celery provides us with a few health benefits.

Now, celery is made up of 95% water, that’s true but it is a vegetable that is very high in fiber,  which aids in digestion and promotes regular movement (we all need that!). When you eat it in combination with whole foods that are high in fat and protein (hello peanut butter, hummus), it is said to help you lose and maintain weight because it helps to keep you feeling fuller longer…..hello!

Celery has phytonutrients, which have anti-inflammatory properties. I usually looked to turmeric for this but that is a bonus. Phytonutrients are good for your liver function as well.  It’s also packed with essential vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

celeryIf it is gonna benefit you like this, why not reintroduce it into your diet, I am! I actually wanna try it with hummus…I have never tried that because I can’t get past the look and the fact that I am a mom who nursed all of her children (baby poop)…but I am going to give it a go and see what happens.

Don’t forget that because it is made up of mostly water, it is a good source for hydration. We have to drink lots of water, especially during the summer. Staying hydrated is going to give us energy, keep our skin looking good, rids the body of toxins, and keep us from passing out in this heat because of dehydration.

So give celery another try….Here are some other benefits….

  • Lowers inflammation
  • reduces high cholesterolcelery1
  • treats high blood pressure
  • fights infection
  • cures bloating and improve digestion
  • reduces the risk of UTIs
  • boosts your immune system
  • improves your mood
  • fights cramps
  • reduces blood sugar
  • improves eye health
  • boosts energy and brain health

let’s go!!

Health/Beauty Break….Apple Cider Vinegar

acv2I am sure that most people have heard of all the wonderful things that apple cider vinegar can do for your body and hair. It has been labeled a “miracle” natural remedy for things like reducing blood pressure and blood sugars, weight loss, warding off cancer, a great clay mask for persons with oily skin and adding shine to your hair when used as a rinse and many more….. Not all of these have been proven or supported by science as of yet but many people swear by their results. I have to admit that I have used it and I was impressed by my results.

Now I am not about to tell you that it is a bad idea to use ACV. I am still consuming it to this day, but I am going to say that too much of anything is gonna cause some issues eventually. Consuming too much ACV can lead to some adverse effects…..these to name a few…

  • acv4Stomach issues– If you have ulcers, inflammation, or a sensitive stomach, ACV may aggravate them. Drinking too much of it can also cause erosion to happen to your stomach lining, not to mention cramping and some frequent not-so-pleasant visits to the bathroom
  • Tooth Decay–The vinegar is acidic so too much of it will cause erosion that will weaken your enamel and lead to tooth decay.
  • Temporary weight loss–We have all seen the ads and interviews where celebrities have claimed to have lost weight drinking ACV, but we have to know that it is not a magic pill..or drink. Drinking ACV alone can reduce water weight but we all know that losing water weight is temporary, especially us women. All it takes is a cycle and that burning drink will be all for naught. IF you use ACV as a dressing though, it can be a part of a healthy effort to maintain your weight.
  • Lower your potassium– this drink can cause your potassium levels to drop. This can be bad for people who are on diuretic medications for their blood pressure.acv3 Low potassium can cause problems for you like severe leg cramps or stomach cramps, tingling or numbness to name a few.
  • Appetite issues- There are people out there that try to use ACV as an appetite suppressant but I talked to my nutritionist and she says it can backfire on you and cause excessive hunger because you are not taking in calories.

acv1It is never a good idea for us to starve ourselves. There are so many fad diets and weight loss methods that may work for one person but not for you. Find a healthy way to lose weight that will not cause you to lose teeth or limbs. I am trying to use the old food pyramid and see what that and some daily exercise is gonna so for me. I am happy that I get to talk to people about these things to pass them on. You never know who needs the information that you have learned today!

No I will say this….ACV does do wonders for detoxing your scalp and adding shine to your hair. Use it as a rinse before you shampoo so that you don’t go outside smelling like you have hygiene issues…I’m just saying..

Being Yourself Changes Everything

SelfloveshipsWhether it is a friendship, relationship, or situationship, we should always strive to be ourselves no matter what. There are people that no matter what we do, we feel like “ourselves” goes right out the window when we are in their presence. We go into these “ships” with everything we have…impressing them, drinking and searching for everything we have in common, second-guessing ourselves…and we are shocked if we are rejected.

selfloveships3Meeting new people can be so much fun and exciting, but it can also bring out our fears and vulnerabilities. I mean think about it; we are basically putting ourselves on the buffet table…and they are more than likely going to judge us. When we choose to go on that lunch date, or to that club, or event with said person, we are so excited that we sometimes interrupt our reasonable thinking around this person. We “get to know” a lot of people and sort out who is going to serve good to our lives and finally, we think that THIS person comes close to someone who may add to our life.

We cannot forget that we are trying to ADD this person to our lives. That means we have to know a little something about ourselves. Our likes and dislikes, our boundaries, and how we need and want to be loved are important when we are choosing a person to be in our lives. When we meet people, we should be doing it from a place of self-love so that we are our authentic selves and we don’t have to risk making a bad choice because we were not who we really are in the first place.  Keep these things in mind….

  1. You are hoping that this person can add to you, not just impress you. No one should selfloveships1be trying to impress the other. It is not a job interview, after all. Be yourself and don’t embellish. They are going to remember what you said and eventually you will have to cash that check that you wrote.
  2. Remember your values, then see if they match. You don’t need to do everything together. I believe that you should at least have similar core values, they generally stay the same. Our interests are gonna change as we grow. Have more than a surface conversation and find out what he/she believes in. What will they fight for? What issues are close to their heart? Shared values make for better conversations and bring you together when times get tough.
  3. DO not perform! When we meet people, we sometimes give them a filtered version of who we really are. We are afraid that they may think we are boring, weird, or even stupid. We really do want people in our lives that “get” us, truth be told. That means that we have to actually BE us to weed out those that can’t love the real us. It is good to find out early that this person cannot love the real you. Save yourself a whole lot of heartache and pain later on. Real people fall in love with real people.
  4. selfloveships4Both of you should be having fun. Who is great and making people comfortable? Relaxed? Laugh and have fun? (Hands raised). In doing all of that you cannot forget that you have to have fun too! Everyone has a role to play in our lives. Fall back a little and see if you are being asked questions, listened to, or engaged in conversation on the same or similar level of effort that you are putting in. Is that going well for you? You find out early and quick if this person is someone you can spent any length of time with and actually enjoy it.
  5. It should be easy. Relationships…friendships…situationships do not need to constantly be “worked on”. If you have to, I bet that is not a good one. We all have ups and downs, misunderstandings, but ultimately if you don’t like that person’s company..if you cannot rely on that person….you are wasting time. The best “ships” are fairly easy. If its hard when nothing hard is happening, what is going to happen when it gets hard? If you’re around this person and it is uncomfortable, combative, awkward, and pressure-filled, you feel bad about yourself, or the other person is trying to control you, find the door and exit stage left!

When we are meeting new people to add to our lives, we need to do it from a place of selfloveships2self-love. We have to know that we are worthy of being cared for just the way we are. It is not just about being loved….it is about being you and loving someone else. Coming from this place will cause the person to experience nothing but the real you showing kindness, self-respect, and vulnerability. If they reject you, it just means that is not your “person” and you can walk away knowing that you were being your authentic self and they were not a good fit. You do not want to find that out after you have invested more of yourself than you should have. You deserve to be surrounded by amazing people, be you and you will find them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alone And Not Mad About It

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When you are an introvert, people think something is wrong with you. Everyone loves a person that can work a crowd. Most people think to work in groups or on teams is the only way to find an answer to a problem. Are two heads really better than one? Is collaboration the only way of the future?

The more people that I talk to, the more I realize that there are a lot of people just like me. Sometimes I just don’t feel like going out to a party, or being the center of attention. My friends are always going out somewhere or hanging out over someone else’s house and I wonder why I just want to chill at home. Work in groups? Mostly, I would rather work alone! There is nothing wrong with me or many others. I read an article that says about 50% of the world feels the same way that I do.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I like going out, having friends, or occasionally being the center of attention. It’s just that being with people is not where I get the most value from my life. Being around others, even on social media is fun for me, but I can only take small doses. I always try to have space in my day to be alone so that I can recharge because being around certain people for too long can be draining for me.

Working with people, I usually sit back and let them do all of the talking. I may add something here and there but I will leave it all up to the talkers to run the meeting. Leave me to work alone, you will be surprised at what I come up with. When going out with my friends, I like going to quiet places where we can talk. When I can talk to you and get to know who you are, I can get the most value out of the relationship.

I am an avid reader and a podcast girl and some things that I have learned recently have really helped to add value to my life for sure. I am not saying that an extrovert could not use these same tips, I just know that as an introvert, I have really been able to enjoy my time a whole lot more knowing this information……

  • Learn to be an observer. Just doing something as simple as taking a walk through
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    the park and watching people interact gives you a chance to learn how people operate when they think no one is watching. Learn to look at ordinary situations in new ways.

  • Close your eyes in a dark room and enjoy silence. If you had read a few of my posts, you know that I am into meditation. My world is so busy that if I don’t take a moment to step away from it, I would probably lose my mind. We learn more about ourselves in the moments when we are least busy; when nothing is distracting us from the thoughts and feelings we have about ourselves and our day.
  • Learn how to talk to yourself. It’s perfectly normal!! I promise. You’re only crazy if you have dialogue with yourself. We all have an inner voice that talks to us. If your inner voice is negative, you may need to distance yourself from it the way you would if it was any other negative person. We have to learn to kind to ourselves and stay positive.
  • Avoid mindless consumption. When I am by myself, it gives me time to think clearly about my life and the direction that I would like to go. Our surroundings are filled with so much noise, it is good to take advantage of quiet time to reaffirm the path your life is on. Mindless consumption? Things like too much TV, binging on Netflix, randomly surfing the internet…Facebook! We are all guilty at some point but think about an occasional change…you can never devote enough attention to coming to a clear answer.
  • Volunteer your time. Contribute something positive to the world. Being a loner does not mean that you have decided to sequester yourself from the world, it just means that you can surround yourself with people and not depend on them for your happiness. Volunteer your time to a cause you believe in…contribute.
  • Understand that you are good enough all by yourself. You have to know your worth. You are priceless…valuable! You do not need the approval of anyone else for that to
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    be a fact. When I am alone, it is because I choose to be. It is easy to find someone to spend your time with, but when your standards are high when it comes to who is in your life, you hold off until you know this person is a great fit for you.

  • Value other’s opinions, but value yours more. I do not ask anyone for advice unless I truly need it. The more time I spend with myself, the less input I need from others. Learn to trust yourself.  Not everyone has good intentions for the information that you are sharing and you know yourself better than anyone….trust yourself to solve your problem. When you trust yourself, you become stronger and more confident, which means that you will take on more challenges and accomplish things that you may have thought were impossible before.  You can, then, share your victory with your people and feel even better about your accomplishment.

Loving/Accepting Yourself..for real

curiosity5I don’t think a day goes by where I do not say things like, “I want to lose 20 more pounds…then I will be happy.” “If my waist was a little more snatched, I could wear that dress.” Anyone else?

I have been struggling with this for what feels like forever–always wanting to change something about myself. I keep telling myself that once I hit this goal, or accomplish that change, I will finally be happy. Now, I have hit many of my goals, but honestly, I felt nothing most of the time after I did. I was making it to the goal and not feeling any happier…but why?!

Eventually, I managed to completely confuse myself. I went from starving myself, to eating my feelings, back to starving myself in order to soothe that “unhappy ache”. It worked alright. I saw my weight go crazy and managed to cause some damage to my health. If I wasn’t obsessed with counting calories, I was obsessed with wings!!! Every single day! When I hit my goals and heard the compliments, I still could not shake the feeling that I was not enough. Still saw myself as unattractive and ugly.

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In the past couple of years, I have been listening to podcasts and reading a lot. I wanted to find tools to build myself up and encourage me to keep dreaming and reaching for my goals….I honestly got fed up with myself and decided NO MORE! I needed to heal my emotions because I was acting out of my feelings and that is dangerous. I have been really digging in to find what works for me and how to put boundaries up where they needed to be. That is definitely still a struggle for me.  I am happy to say that I really have been digging in and confronting my issues, meaning the eating, yes, but also some deep-seeded feelings like anger, and hurt, along with the body issues. I now journal heavily and meditate daily and found out where they were coming from and boy has that made a difference in my life. Addressing my emotions was a lot of work and I have made a tremendous amount of progress. One thing that has changed everything for me was learning that happiness is internal, not external. When you believe that you can be happy because of something external, you get into a bad cycle of desiring external validation, and you will feel up and down so you will continuously depend on achieving and receiving validation externally. Even when you do receive it, you will not feel any different, nor will you feel any more fulfilled….you will continue to search for more.

We just have to learn to accept ourselves….TODAY! Just the way we are…just like this. With that head of hair, that belly, those lips, that education. Just like this. If you don’t, it becomes impossible for us to accept ourselves when things change. If you do lose the weight or get the boob job, you will still be the “you” that you were on the inside. If you weren’t happy then, you will not be any happier when the change comes. You making more money? Still you. If you learn to accept the “today” you, you will be able to have better outcomes and create lasting change for yourself.

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When we accept ourselves……..

  • Happiness–this is what we all want. If we are always thinking about what we need to change, it is kind of a challenge to actually ever feel happy. Happiness is an experience, not a destination. Attempt to let go of all of the things you feel you need to change, and just enjoy you. Just as you are today. There are so many beautiful, funny, quirky, wonderful things to love about you today. Guess what? There is no amount of money, no certain weight or body type, particular car or house, that is going to make you happier. Look at the recent celebrity suicides that have occurred. They could buy any of those things and still didn’t find themselves “happy”.
  • Freedom. Accepting yourself helps you to find peace with who you are and where you are in your journey. You are free from the suffocation of self-judgement and public expectations. There will still be things that you want to change, but you have made peace with yourself and you can assess whether those changes are things you really want to improve or not.
  • Empowerment. Knowing who you are and accepting that person is your first step to self-empowerment. We are unique, yes! Knowing that stops the comparisons and you free yourself up to make changes that last and equip yourself with the power to do it.

So what have I been working on to get to true acceptance?

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  1. Let go! You have to let go of anything that does not serve your highest good. Every habit, relationship, friendships….all of it! Get rid of anything that doesn’t help you grow. You may feel lonely at times afterwards, but that feeling will subside. Replace the people and the habits with good/better people and habits.
  2. Mindfulness. Living in the present moment and appreciating it…that is mindfulness. A lot of times, we are so focused on the future and how things will be then, we missed focusing on what we have and do now.
  3. Gratitude. We have to be grateful for what we have. We must also be grateful for our abilities. We do ourselves a favor when we stop focusing on our shortcomings and be grateful for what we can do and what we do have. This will help us move closer to our goals.
  4. Control that inner voice. You hear him\her telling you that you are not good enough, that you won’t succeed, or that you suck. You need to reel that in and replace what is being said with positive words. “As a man thinketh….” Change your thinking! It is not simple, you have to be consistent, but it is possible for sure.
  5. Surround yourself with good….good people, good things….DO things that you enjoy, find joy! My grandma, recently, told me that I should not be around people who just like me. That I should be around people who love me, accept me just as I am. The more I get that, the more I will see….YOU will see that you don’t have to change to be happy with yourself at all.

Food and Nutrition: Are You Zinc Deficient?

zinc2Zinc is great for keeping our immune system running in tip top shape. It is a very important mineral that our cells need to keep our body running smoothly, especially our metabolism, growth, and senses. They say that real zinc deficiency is uncommon in North America because the average diet has plenty of zinc through the foods eaten. Beef and poultry provide the majority of zinc in the American diet, along with beans, nuts, certain types of seafood, and fortified dairy products. The only people that are at risk for true zinc deficiency are those that struggle with eating disorders, alcoholism, and digestive diseases. The symptoms of

true zinc deficiency can be severe and may include diarrhea, hair loss, loss of appetite, and eye and skin lesions.

Now zinc inadequacy is a different story, and is more common. It most often shows up inzinc1 adults over 60 but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about if you are younger or are sticking to a mostly plant-based diet. Plant-based food can contain less zinc and legumes and whole grains have compounds that make it harder for you to fully absorb zinc. Your body does not store zinc like it does other vitamins and minerals so this can be a problem.

So how do you know that you are possibly not getting enough zinc?

  1. Hair Loss. Low levels of zinc can cause your hair to fall out. There have been reports that found that people that suffered from alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss on the scalp and/or other parts of the body, are deficient in zinc. They are still doing more research on this to fully understand the connection, but there is a connection.
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    Acne flares. Researchers talk about zinc and its anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the amount of acne-triggered oil and bacteria in your skin. Of course, there are other things that may trigger your acne like hormones, birth control, your make-up or skincare, and even your diet. It is worth looking in to if you have other symptoms on the list.

  3. You have a chronic disease. Zinc deficency is linked to many health conditions…..diabetes, neurological disorders, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s and many more. What is the connection you say? Zinc keeps our immune system running and promotes healthy cell growth. If you are not getting enough of it, your body cannot fight the affects of free radicals and inflammation spikes, which are two risk factors that are ties to chronic disease.
  4. Wounds do not heal properly. Remember that zinc is essential for your immune health so a deficiency can make you become more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections. You cuts and scrapes may take longer to heal because your body relies on it to repair tissue.
  5. Your vision is getting worse. Our eyes contain high concentrations of zinc, particularly in the retina. Zinc helps to transport vitamin A from your liver to your retina to produce protective pigments in your eyes. With that being said, it is a key player in keeping your vision sharp.
  6. Food does not taste as good as it used to. Zinc plays a role in most of our senses, including taste and smell. People who are deficient in zinc can actually have difficulty tasting their food. Research has shown that just giving oral zinc meds to people with taste issues did improve their symptoms.
  7. Trouble hearing? A lack of zinc can mess with your hearing too! There was a studyzinc done of 100 people with tinnitus and around 12% of them had low zinc levels. And the study showed that the study authors believed that zinc could act as an antitoxidant and tame inflammation in the cochlea, or inner part of your ear, preventing severe symptoms or hearing loss.
  8. You stop growing. This one really is seen in young children with a zinc deficiency. Children need enough zinc in their diets because of its influence on cell development . This means a lack of it can stunt their growth. This would mainly affect those that don’t eat or don’t have access to animal protein. That is not the case with most of the children in the U.S. One hamburger patty has 5 milligrams of zinc, which is more than half of what a child needs in a day.

Even if you notice a few of these symptoms, many can be caused by other issues. There is no clear test for zinc deficiency so it may be difficult to tell whether this is the problem.

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We do not need a ridiculous amount of zinc everyday. We can just load up on foods rich in the mineral, like oysters, beef, baked beans, cheese, oats, lobster or crab, fortified cereals, chicken and yogurt. Women should aim for 9 milligrams while men need 11. There is a limit of 40 milligrams per day for adults because taking in too much can actually block your absorption of other nutrients, like copper or iron. You can also have toxic effects such as vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and headaches. That is why most people don’t need  a zinc supplement, unless you are part of a high-risk group ( if you have a GI disorder or stick to a plant-based diet). A multivitamin that includes around 10 to 15 milligrams of zinc may be sufficient. I would talk to your doctor if you have a questions about your vitamin and mineral intake.