Prioritizing J O Y

Prioritizing J O Y

It’s  S U M M E R, and in Traditional Chinese Medicine - this is the season that is all about J O Y.

Joy is an interesting emotion. I think of it as one part of a continuum, and that continuum includes sorrow, disappointment, loss, and grief - all complex emotions in their own right. The commonality is a deep gratitude: in order to feel sorrow there likely was something deeply beautiful that inspired gratitude (prior to sorrow). Similarly joy dislike a crescendo of a potentially sorrowful time. Gratitude and depth of emotion feel like key ingredients to truly tasty Joy!

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Simple Daily Practices To Transform Your Health Happiness

OliverScapes

It can be really hard to pick up new habits. Though, I think it tends to be easier if you are already engaging in some “disruptive behavior”. Ooooh! Sounds so naughty! This is one reason that I include some simple, yet highly effective, daily practices into any period of intentionally “disruptive” cleansing. Not only does the motivation to do them come a little easier, they also tend to stick around a lot longer after the fact!

I try to give some extra love to the major elimination organs of the body, during any period of cleansing (and really most any time is a good time to keep these guys clean as can be). So here they are in all their purifying glory:

  • Skin Your skin removes water soluble and fat soluble toxins. To keep it clean take in sunlight and sweat through exercise or sauna.
  • Lungs We exhale out body fluid through our breath and breathing out gases in our body. It is important to keep the lungs clean by taking in clean air and consciously purging the stale air in our lungs.
  • Kidneys Your kidney removes water-soluble toxins through urine. Good clean drinking water, and lot’s of it, can help to flush toxins that may accumulate in the kidney.
  • Colon The colon removes the fat-soluble toxins. Keep the colon healthy by eating fiber rich, unprocessed foods and having healthy bowel movements.
  • Tongue A coating (white, green or yellow) on the tongue is an indication of an imbalance in the digestive system and typically toxic build up. Scraping that junk out of the mouth before ingesting food or water is a great way to keep a suprising amount of toxins out of your body.
  • Brain Ok, not quite an “elimination organ”, but good to pay attention to this one! It is believed that your brain consumes upwards of 5,000 media messages daily. These messages are just about anywhere you look, but are especially pervasive on the television, radio, online, print media, billboards—etc. Best you can, try to limit your exposure to some of these channels, and see how you react. It may be tough at first, but once you get past the withdrawals from constant stimulation, you may find yourself sinking into the beautiful bliss of your own thoughts and wisdom!

As a bonus— here are some of my favorite Ayurvedic practices that keep elimination organs radiant!

LemonWater 

Warm water with lemon first thing in the morning

This one is stupendous! After cleansing your mouth: teeth, tongue and gums, add some warm water to the juice of one fresh squeezed lemon. This simple step is a great way to start the day off right—which encourages us to remain on course for the rest of the day! If you want to be absolutely crazy (in a good way) add a sprinkle of organic cayenne pepper. It will wake you with a zing!

Plus:

  • Lemons are packed with vitamin c and potassium, both of which are good for the immune system, optimal brain function and clearer skin.
  • Lemons are very alkaline, thereby balancing acidity in the body, which if left unbalanced can teeter over into inflammation and disease.
  • Lemons and warm water aid digestion.
  • Lemons and lime are high in minerals that loosen toxins from the digestive tract.
  • Lemons act a s a diuretic, so they speed up the process of releasing toxins from the body.

 

Belly breathing to wring out the lungs

Just taking the opportunity to take some really deep full breaths with a deep full exhalation can do wonders for wringing out the lungs.

Pay attention to your breathing—try it right now! What do you notice? I bet it is pretty shallow and coming more from your chest rather than deep in your belly. That shallow breathing can leave the lower lungs with a lot of stale air. Take a d-e-e-p full breath, one that makes you belly stick way out, and then let all that air out. W-a-y out. Open you mouth wide, squeeze your belly in, stick your tongue out — get that air out of there! Repeat, repeat, repeat!

 

Morning Pages

This comes from Julia Cameron’s most awesome book The Artists Way. Spend some dedicated time in the morning writing stream of consciousness thoughts, without judgement (wonderful while sipping your warm lemon water!). Be sure to put pen to paper, rather than use the computer.

It’s good to limit this activity to a set amount of time or a set number of pages. I think 15 minutes or three pages is optimal. Let your mind go wild, release all the jumbled thoughts that are kicking around to the page.  This will do wonders to keep your mind fresh and clear, ready to start your day! You may choose to write about your dreams and spend a little time trying to interpret what your subconscious might be trying to tell you. Either way this sweet little practice can bring a lot of clarity and calm to the rest of your day by giving yourself the opportunity to tap in and be mindful.

These are just a few suggestions for optimal health and happiness! I have many more included in my Spring Cleanse. Details coming soon!

 

Cleansing, Detoxing, Eliminating--Oh My! Clean Foods and Simple Preparation Tips

As promised — here are a few fresh and clean foods to eat while following my cleansing, detoxing, elimination diet.

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The cleanse offers the opportunity to eat real, whole, ideally seasonal food, that tastes terrific, and leaves you satisfied. As a reminder, the cleanse eliminates: alcohol, caffeine, dairy, gluten, un-fermented soy, meat, sugar, and processed foods.

So what’s left to eat you ask?!?! Lot’s! While cleansing Oliver and I  were doing a lot of delicious smoothies, big hearty salads, warming and easy to digest soups and stews, and refreshing plant based snacks!

Here are a few tips for creating your own clean and wholesome versions of foods to thrive on while cleansing.

 

1)  Smoothies with leafy greens, hemp + chia seeds, and healthy fats

This picture is ridiculous.

Smoothies offer a great way to get a quick and delicious blast of vitamins and nutrients from raw fruits and vegetables, PLUS a bunch of healthy fiber which is imperative to a fruitful detoxing experience — if you know what I mean!

I like to add hemp to my smoothies because they contain a lot of fiber, some protein, and magnesium-which work to keep elimination strong- as well as B vitamins which aid in regulating your metabolism.

The chia seeds are packed with water soluble fiber so they absorb water which promotes good digestion and elimination as well.

Healthy oils, i.e. coconut, flax seed and sesame oil, make for a deliciously smooth and creamy smoothie. Additionally, adding oils to your smoothie is a great way to experience internal oleation, a traditional ayurvedic practice. Oleation is believed to assist in drawing toxins out of the organs, reducing acidity throughout the body, and lubricating the digestive tract. All good stuff!

Here’s my go to smoothie:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 apple or pear (cored and quartered)
  • 2 celery stocks (chopped a bit)
  • 1/4 lemon wedge (peeled)
  • Big handful of leafy greens (spinach, chard, kale, lettuce)
  • Some chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T hemp seeds ( I like Nutiva Brand)
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 16 oz water

Blend those bad boys up and you will have two delicious 16oz smoothies on your hands!

Experimentation with different fruit and veggie combinations highly encouraged! Sometimes I throw some cucumber up in there. Sometimes it's fun to go wild with frozen berries or exotic fruits like pineapple or mango.

 

2)  Satisfying Salads

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I have a little system that ensures a winning salad every time.

It starts with the big variety of leafy greens: Take your pick from spinach, kale, lettuces, bok choy, arugula, microgreens, endive, radicchio, parsley, cilantro, spring onions, basil—get a big old mix going on. I tend to have about 4 - 5 different types of leafy’s in my salads. It tastes great  to have all that variety and it will really extend your produce purchases.

Sprouts: I add a bunch of sprouts to my salads—they are packed with protein and nutrients, plus a fresh crisp crunch that is intoxicating. Plus it’s so easy and inexpensive to sprout your own. All you really need are some sprouting seeds/legumes, a wide mouth jar, some cheese cloth, and a bit of patience. Get all the gear here!

Add a bit of Color: I lean toward purple cabbage, raw beets, carrots, cauliflower, bright green edamame (organic and GMO free). But you could add anything here! Peppers, corn, colorful tomatoes, etc. You can also add cooked vegetables. The Salad picture above consists of a leafy green blend and a few scoops of roasted vegetables from the night before. Cooked vegetables are a bit easier on the digestion for the winter, and make for a really satisfying mix!

Add a bit of Fat: I LOVE to add avocado, chopped kalamata olives, or a fatty seed like sunflower or sesame.

Some protein OR a grain: So maybe some garbanzos or lentils or black beans. Or perhaps a big scoop of quinoa or brown rice.

Dress it up: Then I toss all that good stuff with a simple dressing that consists of herbs and/or seasonings, an acid, and a fat. Popular in my house is some extra virgin olive oil, mustard, and apple cider vinegar all shaken up in a jam jar. Tahini, toasted sesame oil and lemon juice is really good too. As is some flax oil, lime juice, with lots of chopped basil and black pepper.

And Boom—a ridiculously tasty, elimination diet safe, hearty salad— guaranteed.

 

3)  Warming Soups

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Dilly Rutabaga and Broccoli Soup I’m a big soup person most the time, because they are so easy to put together and so delicious. So when it came time for cleansing, having some simple, clean, soups hanging around was a no brainer.

My go to for a detox is a creamy blended soup.The thing I love most about these is that they are so easy to whip up and so flexible! Plus—they are guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes and the stomach! I am always amazed at how pretty these end up being. A Recipe, of Sorts:

This is more of a “generally you could kind of do this”, than a recipe. Hopefully there’s enough guidance here!

I start by sautéing some onions and garlic in a deep pot until fragrant

Then adding a vegetable or two to be the bulk of the soup, plus whatever seasoning would compliment.

A few of my favorite winter blends:

  • 1 Butternut squash + 1 sweet potato+ 2T curry powder
  • 1 Rutabaga + 1 head Broccoli+ fresh dill
  • 1 Head Cauliflower + 3 Red Potatoes + Salt and pepper

But you could do whatever you want!! Carrots are great, parsnips are super creamy, beets are gorgeous and delicious, brussels sprouts make for a great flavor too. Go wild!

After sautéing the vegetables for  10 -15 minutes, add about 6 cups liquids. You could do a veggie broth, water, or coconut milk.

Let the vegetables and liquid simmer for about 20 minutes, until all vegetables are soft.

Remove from heat, and then blend or food process until smooth. Be careful not to fill your blender too full with the hot mix, the steam could blow the top off, which would be terribly shocking and a big old mess! Avoid it!

Garnish and serve.

***A note about garnish. The best part about a “creamy” soup is garnishing the heck out of it. Go crazy here—add some colorful finely chopped peppers, broccoli florets, parley, cilantro, hemp seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, drizzle of olive oil, chopped spring onions, truffle oil, dill, fennel, squeeze of lemon…etc.

Make it yours.

Need something a little heartier? 

Serve over cooked quinoa or brown rice. Makes for a filling meal, and the added texture is very satisfying.

4)  Clean Snackin’

My favorite snacks consists of fruits and/or veggies with a spread of some sort. Could be a bean based spread with carrot, celery, and chopped radishes. Or some peanut butter on a banana. Or mix together some tahini and honey and eat with tart sliced apples. Or an avocado dip with daikon radish sprinkled with salt and pepper.

The sky’s the limit!

A final thought: Cleansing as a lifestyle

My hope is that these loosey-goosey recipes serve as a guide for you to come up with your own favorite clean eats. While taking some time to do a formal cleanse and to be intentional about the food you put into your body is a most excellent decision for you health and well being. It is even better to incorporate some clean, whole foods into your lifestyle on a daily basis. The best way to do that? Experiment! Make it fun!

Surprise yourself.

AND Look out for more fun tips for me as I recount some of the highlights from the Ayurvedic Cleanse and Elimination Diet coming this spring.

And if you made it this far:

Enjoy this!