Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Thoughts on Whole Living New Year Edition


1 NOURISH YOUR MIND AS CAREFULLY 
AS YOU NOURISH YOUR BODY.

2 BRISK, CRISP, INVIGORATING-REMEMBER
ALL THE POSITIVE SIDES OF WINTER.

3 FINDING BALANCE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES ALL YOUR SENSES. 

4 If you feel the need to be critical,
BE SURE THE URGE IS COMING FROM A PLACE OF KINDNESS.

5 WHEN YOU BREAK A SMALL BAD HABIT,
YOU TEACH YOURSELF
THAT YOU CAN CHANGE ANYTHING.

6 PROSPERITY BEGINS WITH THE ASSUMPTION
THAT THERE;S MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE.

7 Willpower is sometimes a biological issue,
not a moral one. Don't judge yourself harshly.

8 THE BEST WORK ENVIRONMENTS FOSTER PERSONAL
CONNECTION AS WELL AS PRODUCTIVITY.

9 SPEAK YOUR MIND. Unmet needs create resentment when they go unexpressed.

10 THE NEW YEAR ISN'T A DO-OVER; 
it's an opportunity to take your next big step.



This post, written by Terri Trespicio, was taken from Whole Living Magazine, January/February 2012.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How to Conquer Clutter Around the House

3 tips to reduce household messes

Our lives can be busy and chaotic and, often times, our house or apartment is the casualty of this fast-paced lifestyle. Things pile up, and messes are created. Your desk is a disaster, and your bedroom looks like a fashion war zone, not to mention that the garage is so full that you need to park your car on the street. You want to have the perfect Martha Stewart home, but keeping out the clutter is difficult. In order to help you help yourself manage your cluttered home, here are some tips from Good Housekeeping writer M.P. Dunleavey on how to conquer the clutter around the house.

Step 1: Don’t try to conquer the clutter alone

Many people get overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done, and this can be especially true when it comes to removing clutter. You don't have to do it alone. Recruit a friend or your family to help you. Everyone who lives in the home should be a part of the organizational process. If you do it alone, all the systems will be made with your brain and your logic, which means that others may have trouble following them. If you recruit friends and family to assist you, they can then help maintain the new systems and lighten your workload.

Step 2: Keep, store and toss

Go through everything. Even if you think it’s all stuff you need to keep, you might find that you don’t need to keep it in such an accessible place. Sometimes the attic or the basement would be a more suitable storage place. As you are sorting, make three piles: a keep pile, a store pile, and a toss pile. Remember, though, toss doesn’t have to mean throw away. You can always have a garage sale and sell things you don’t need anymore or donate them to a local charity. By purging yourself of things you don’t use, you'll have a leg up on clutter, create more space and feel better. If you don’t need an item on a daily basis, put it in storage. Holiday decorations are only used once a year, so they should go deep into storage: on the top shelf of a closet, in the back corner of the attic or far under the bed.

Step 3: Create a place for everything

Give everything a home. Don’t just stick things in places to get them out of the way. Designate a spot for each item so that a week or a month down the road you will know both where to find it and where to put it back. To organize the clothes in your closet, make a system of grouping, either by color or style, and then stick to it. Having a system will help you later know where clothes are, where to put them back and help keep the scene of that fashion war zone out of your bedroom. When dealing with children's toys, be sure their most favorite toys are easily accessible so they have no trouble getting them out or putting them away.


Getting organized may seem an intimidating task, but the benefits of conquering clutter far outweigh the work it may take to get it done. Coming home to a well-organized and clutter-free house will bring you a sense of relaxation you'd never get when returning to a cluttered home.

This post was written by E.C. LaMeaux for blog.gaiam.com.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Myrrh

-Rejuvenates the skin

-Stimulates digestion

-Assists in wound healing

-Has antifungal and antiseptic properties

-Soothes respiratory problems





Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Add a Dose of Creativity to Your Day


1. Take a ten minute blog break during the workday. Gathering inspiration is the first part of the creative process, and one easy way to do this today is to visit creative blogs and creative websites. You can do this just about anywhere or at any time. If you eat lunch at your desk, take a few minutes to browse blogs then. Use your smart phone to check in on a few favorites while you’re waiting for a meeting. 

2. Schedule small blocks of creative time into your calendar. You may not be able to put aside large blocks of time for creating, but you can probably block out small chunks of time to work on projects. I often sew a garment over the course of a week or two by putting aside enough time each evening to sew just one or two seams after my daughter is in bed for the night. It’s not the fastest process, but it allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment when I can see something gradually coming together.

3. Connect with other creative people. It’s important to be part of a creative community. This gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas off other people and to inspire each other. Find a creative group in your community or on the internet and become an active participant. This doesn’t necessarily require a big time commitment, and the rewards can pay off in new friendships and a renewed sense of creativity.

4. Don’t be afraid to try it. We all tend to self-edit way more than we should. Don’t talk yourself out of starting a new project because you’re afraid you won’t be able to pull it off. And don’t feel down on yourself if your finished creation doesn’t live up to your expectations. It’s about enjoying the process and improving your skills over the long run. This piece by Ira Glass summarizes it perfectly.

5. With a little planning and discipline, you’ll be able to find time to be creative each and every day, even if you have a full schedule.


This post was written by Liesl Gibson for HealingLifestyles.com.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Perfect Peace

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." 
-Isaiah 26:3 ESV


As you spend time with friends and family this holiday season, keep your mind stayed on Him who is the true reason for the season.  This will give you peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle and in every situation that you face.  I hope that you have a wonderful day.  Remember to be present and enjoy every moment that you're granted.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Huntington Hotel & Nob Hill Spa

The San Francisco Nob Hill Spa offers tranquility, pampering, and relaxation.  With a Eucalyptus steam room,  fireplace lounge, and  infinity relaxation pool, you're able to indulge and unwind in this therapeutic environment.  Find comfort in Nob Hill Spa's rejuvenating treatments, spa cuisine, and hotel luxury for an unforgettable experience.








For more information or to book your visit now, click here: Nob Hill Spa.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Green Smoothie



1 cup kale or collard greens firmly packed, stems removed, coarsely chopped (4 ounces)
1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely chopped 
1 ripe banana 
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 

Combine kale, apple, banana, parsley, and 2 1/4 cups water in a blender; blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water. 

Serves 2. Per serving: 105 calories; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g unsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 26 g carbs; 32 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 4 g fiber.





This recipe was taken from WholeLiving.com.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Antioxidant Smoothie



Don't have a juicer? No problem! You can still make this healthy fruit smoothie with this simple blender-friendly recipe.

2 cups mixed frozen berries (9 ounces) 
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice 

Combine berries, juice, and 1 cup water in a blender; blend until smooth. 

Serves 2. Per serving: 130 calories; 0 g saturated fat; 1 g unsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbs; 19 mg sodium; 1.5 g protein; 4 g fiber.





This recipe was taken from WholeLiving.com.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Essential Oil Infused Bath


Both aromatic and therapeutic, Epsom or sea bath salts infused with essential oils are a great way to transform your normal bathing experience into a healing one by combating stress, anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches, joint pain, and skin conditions. Epsom salt, a mineral containing magnesium sulfate, is a wonderful healing salt that relaxes, relieves aches and pains, and removes toxins from the body. Sea salt is chock full of minerals and nutrients that are beneficial for both skin and body and has been known for centuries for its ability to fight such conditions as arthritis, poor circulation, and muscle soreness. Sea salt also has powerful detoxifying properties.

Adding fragrant essential oils to the salts such as lavender, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, or vanilla, promotes well-being and also helps calm, balance, sooth, cleanse, and refresh the senses, depending on which oil you choose.

There are several infused bath salts available commercially. Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solutions, for example, is available infused with lavender (promotes sleep), eucalyptus (promotes relaxation), chamomile (promotes calmness), and amber vanilla (promotes sensuality). You can prepare your own truly organic infused bath salt mixture, however, based on your particular needs and tastes.


This post was taken from HealingLifestyles.com

Friday, December 16, 2011

How to Become a Mindful Parent


An interview with Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, authors of “Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting”

As a working mother of a 15-month-old, I’m constantly seeking the balance between work, family and my “inner” life. Some days I feel like I can have it all. Other days that ideal flies out the window by 6 a.m.

Looking for answers, I caught up with Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn, co-authors ofEveryday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Most importantly, I discovered, it might just be that there is no perfect answer. Life is here to teach us as we go along, and parenting is just one very special course—with no textbook. We just have to show up for class each and every moment.

What does being a mindful parent really mean?

Jon: Mindful parenting is a lifelong practice. It means you become less attached to outcomes and more mindful of what’s unfolding in your life and your children’s lives. Mindful parenting is about moment-to-moment, openhearted and nonjudgmental attention. It’s about seeing our children as they are, not as we want them to be. We let everything that unfolds in life be the curriculum for our parenting—because it is—whether we like it or not.

Myla: We are so caught up in our thoughts that we’re being continually pulled away from the now—and we tend miss it. Practicing mindful parenting doesn’t mean we are never going to be judgmental, or we will never have fear and expectations—those are part of being human. The process is to really begin to see when that happens, and to ask ourselves “how does that feel?”

How does this “deeper” style of parenting impact children?

Jon: It affects both the emotional and relational development of the child. Studies of the brain have demonstrated that empathy is built into being human. When we attune to the experience of another, our nervous system is actually resonating with the same pattern of neural activity as the other person. If we don’t attend to our children in ways that are emotionally present, we are disrespecting the fundamental threads of connectivity between us. If parents are more emotionally present in a balanced, more mindful way, the evidence is that children grow up to be grounded and functional in dealing with their own emotionally charged situations.

Myla: We’re talking about being in a relationship. When you meet a child with more acceptance, it doesn’t mean you have to love everything they do. It’s about having a kind of deep faith that their core being is whole and that the behaviors you are reacting to are a response to some sort of imbalance in yourself. There’s no bad child. Children who are ignored or unseen simply have behaviors that reflect that.

How are children, as you put it, live-in Zen masters?

Jon: Well, for example, a Zen master is likely to continually push your buttons so you have plenty of occasions to practice maintaining clarity and emotional balance. Children, by their very nature, are going to call into question and perhaps disrupt everything you know, and that is a great opportunity for bringing mindful awareness to the situation. Say you’ve put a lot of energy into making dinner after a difficult day, and your baby starts screaming and is inconsolable just when you are about to sit down and enjoy it. That’s a perfect opportunity to bring mindfulness right into that moment and see how attached you may be to having a peaceful dinner. What are your options? You can flip out and be immature and not be in resonance with whatever your child is experiencing, or you can realize this is what it means sometimes to have baby or a toddler. Life itself is the curriculum. When you give up your attachment, you won’t relate to your child with resentment. Our live-in Zen masters teach us to accept things as they are, and then respond appropriately rather than react mindlessly—because things are already as they are.

What are some simple ways parents can begin practicing mindful parenting?

Jon: The first step is to bring more awareness to your mind and body in key moments. Ask yourself, “Am I reacting here or am I responding?” Then, “What would be an imaginative, out-of-the-box response?” When you are not reacting, you can respond more mindfully, creating a more spacious, nuanced, truer, unique outcome. You have to use what’s arising in the present moment. Also, begin to question the truth of your constant self-statements. Self-awareness brings out another dimension of our experience. Mindful parenting is not about being a yogi or practicing Buddhism; it’s about being human and realizing that we have more options than we may think in any moment, no matter what is happening. Just bringing awareness to your breathing and sustaining it over time can be very powerful. Remember, whether you are reacting mindlessly or responding mindfully, your child is drinking it all in.

Myla: You might tune into a sense of an inner landscape as you’re going through the day. Start to pay attention to your thinking. Observe that your self-talk is constant. Start to bring awareness to your thoughts and the tension in your body. Remember, feelings come along with thoughts. Ask yourself, “Am I actually really worried about this, or am I just starting to obsess out of habit?” When you create more freedom and space around the source of those feelings, especially when they are very strong, you have more effective choices. You can also use the breath. For me, taking a slow, deep, intentional breath can bring me back. Sometimes it helps to put a hand on yourself, and say “here I am” to bring calmness to the situation.

Given our busy, increasingly complicated lives, is it really possible to practice mindfulness each day?

Jon: The more complicated our lives are, the more important it is to live in the present moment—otherwise we’ll miss much of our lives. As a parent, you can’t withdraw to a cave to meditate. It’s all about now. When you tune into the breath and sensations in the body, you are stepping outside of time. Moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness cultivated by paying attention—we are all capable of this. Mindfulness actually saves us a tremendous amount of time because we don’t go down so many dead ends with our thoughts. It doesn’t take any more time to be more mindful. It’s not a philosophy, it’s a practice. You don’t have to get less busy or fix anything. Simply reclaim your moments by showing up for them. The more “speedy” your life is, the more oxygen this practice gives you.

Why do you think the work of parenting (versus “real” jobs) is undervalued in our society?

Myla: I’m not sure it’s as undervalued as it used to be. However, our society is focused on making money. If you look at education, for example, it’s geared toward the economy and the workplace. Parenting is not as clear-cut as learning a skill. There are no benchmarks. We have benchmarks in our society for success, but being a parent doesn’t take that form. Lately, is does seem like people are deciding to live more simply—to have less, work less and have more family time. People are starting to want more balance. There is something stirring.



This post was written by Julie Kailus for blog.gaiam.com.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lemon



-Eases anxiety
-Uplifts the spirit
-Stimulates the immune & nervous systems
-Aids in wound healing
-Refreshes the mind, producing clarity of thought

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cinnamon Poached Apples with Toasted Walnuts

  • Ingredients

  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts

Directions

  1. Bring apple juice, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil.
  2. Add apples, cover with parchment; simmer until tender, 8 minutes.
  3. Remove and sprinkle with walnuts

    Yield: Serves 2

    This post was taken from WholeLiving.com.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mocha Pot de Creme

Cold winter nights call for warm chocolate desserts like rich Mocha Pot de Creme. Despite its incredibly decadent taste and appearance, it's low in fat.











Ingredients


  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon skim milk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a shallow baking pan with a cloth towel and set aside.
  2. Place the cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the skim milk and the evaporated milk. Slowly whisk about 3 tablespoons of the milk mixture into the cocoa powder until it forms a thick paste. Whisk in the remaining milk mixture until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the egg, egg white, granulated sugar, and salt and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the cocoa-milk mixture until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture among four 4-ounce ovenproof demitasse cups and place in the prepared baking pan; fill the baking pan halfway with water. Transfer to the oven and bake until the puddings are set when lightly jiggled, about 50 minutes.
  4. Remove the puddings from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool 20 to 30 minutes. Dust the puddings with confectioners' sugar and serve warm.

    Yield: Serves 4

    This recipe was taken from WholeLiving.com

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Green Tea with Lemon and Pomegranate

Pomegranate seeds, rich in plant compounds, enhance the already potent antioxidant activity in a hot cup of green tea with lemon and honey.

Ingredients


  • 2 teaspoons green tea (or 2 tea bags)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 thin slices smashed ginger
  • 1 to 2 lemon wedges
  • 1/4 cup lightly crushed pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey or to taste

Directions

  1. Cover green tea with boiling water, ginger, lemon wedges, pomegranate seeds, and honey. Let tea steep for 3 to 5 minutes and remove.

    Yield: Serves 2

    This recipe was taken from WholeLiving.com.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fall-Vegetable and Quinoa Hash with Poached Eggs

  • Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges, greens reserved and rinsed well
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut 1/4 inch thick, and rinsed well
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (from 1/4 cup dry)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sweet potato with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; spread in an even layer on half of a rimmed baking sheet. Toss beets with 1/2 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt; spread on other half of sheet (so that beets don't discolor potatoes). Roast, stirring halfway through, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil; add vinegar. Break each egg into a teacup. Reduce heat so that water is just simmering. Slightly immerse 1 teacup, and gently slide egg into water. Use a spoon to fold edges of white over egg. Repeat with remaining eggs. Simmer until whites are just set but yolks are runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer eggs to a towel using a slotted spoon, and drain.
  3. Thinly slice beet greens. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add greens, leek, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook until tender and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in quinoa, thyme, and vegetables; press down using a rubber spatula. Cook until quinoa is warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide among 4 plates; top each with 1 egg, and season with a pinch of pepper.

    Prep Time: 15 Minutes
    Total Time: 55 min
    Yield: Serves 4

    This recipe was taken from WholeLiving.com.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Triangle Pose


Benefits: Stretches the entire lower body, including the shoulders, chest, and spine, while activating the abdominal muscles. Triangle pose also improves digestion, soothes backaches, and relieves stress.

Practice:  Begin by standing tall with your arms by your sides.  Inhale, then exhale.  As you exhale, step your feet apart in a wide stance.  Raise your arms parallel to the floor with your palms facing downward.  Turn your left foot to the left 90 degrees.  Inhale, then exhale.  As you exhale, bend your torso to the left and rest your left hand on your shin, ankle, or on the floor.  You may also use a block for additional support.  Stretch your right arm toward the ceiling, keeping your shoulders in line.  You may keep your head in a neutral position or turn your head to the right.  

Remain in this pose for about one minute, then inhale, and come up; bringing both feet together and placing your arms back at your sides.  Reverse the pose, repeating for the same length of time on the right.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cabbage


Cabbage contains powerful anticancer properties lowering the risk of cancers in the breast, prostate, lung and colon.  Cabbage promotes healing of both internal and external wounds, and helps to relieve mastitis, or breast inflammation, sometimes experienced by breast-feeding mothers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Give Thanks

Gratitude. Unlike eating leafy greens or practicing yoga, it’s not something we usually consider “good for us.” Yet a recent study by psychologists at the University of California-Davis and the University of Miami shows that giving thanks is indeed beneficial for our psychological well-being.

Conducting “gratitude interventions” with such varied groups as college students and adults with neuromuscular disease, researchers Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough found that individuals practicing gratitude on a regular (daily or weekly) basis displayed a more positive general outlook, greater optimism, and less stress and depression. Other benefits found were higher levels of alertness, energy, enthusiasm, and determination as well as a greater likelihood of being generous, empathetic, and aware of one’s interconnectedness with others.

Though we may say “thanks” countless times each day, really practicing gratitude requires reflection and open-hearted sincerity. Mark Nasralla, former ayurvedic clinician and current therapist manager at The Crossings in Austin, Texas, notes, “Being grateful intellectually isn’t enough. Gratitude is an emotional, psychosomatic experience. You feel grateful, so you have to put your attention inward and seek out the source of that feeling.”

Similarly, the subjects in the study were not merely thanking others in passing, they were actively engaged in contemplating what and whom they were thankful for by making lists, participating in self-guided exercises, and keeping journals. Not surprisingly, Emmons and McCullough found that the religious and spiritual were more apt at cultivating gratitude, often through the practices of prayer and meditation. But becoming more grateful doesn’t require joining a church, it can be as basic as counting your blessings before bed—a practice anyone can do.

“The simplest way to become more grateful,” Nasralla explains, “is to make lists, every day. This allows you to revisit all the things you are thankful for. As you continue, gratitude becomes a habit.” Not a list-maker? Prayer or a moment of silence before a meal is one way of honoring the food and the person who prepared it. In his book Bless This Food (New World Library, 2007), author Adrian Butash has compiled 160 mealtime blessings from cultures and religions throughout the world, making it easy and educational to say grace. Finally, if you meditate, incorporate gratitude into each session by visualizing one person, place, or thing you truly appreciate.

The more you practice gratitude, the easier it becomes. “It follows the law of attraction—like attracts like,” says Nasralla. “What you [focus] your attention on grows stronger.” To bring more thankfulness into your daily experience, Nasralla offers three steps. One, have a clear intention. Two, take action by meditating, journaling, or speaking. And finally, consciously look for opportunities to feel gratitude during small, everyday events.

Though there is no magic spell to keep stress, troubles, and the bumps of life from happening, there is evidence that bolstering feelings of gratitude can change the way you experience those events. By helping you navigate life’s storms with greater ease, more general happiness, and a brighter sense of optimism, giving thanks can become something to be thankful for.


This post was written by Tanya M. Williams for HealingLifestyles.com.
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