with Melinda Rodriguez

Posts tagged ‘Health’

Glorious Sleep & Hormonal Harmony

How well do you sleep?  I hear so many people complain that they aren’t sleeping well, particularly women, especially women between 30 and 60.  What I come across commonly is that they can fall asleep, but have trouble staying asleep.  There are also those that have trouble getting the mind to shut down so they can nod off.  Does any of this sound familiar?

Unfortunately, I am no stranger to difficulties in sleeping.  However it has improved significantly in the last few years with only a few days out of a month that I might have trouble.  I have contemplated regularly what the right recipe is for good sleep.  Sometimes I think I have it, only to encounter one of those rare nights where I either can’t fall asleep or can’t stay asleep.  Then I heard an interview recently with my favorite herbal mentor, spilling the beans on what she believes to be the secret sauce for good sleep…Stinging Nettle!

Doh!  Are you slamming your palm against your forehead right now thinking “here we go again with the Stinging Nettle?”  Yes, I have written on this topic before.  And if you know me personally, you know I praise this weed like it is gold and have probably encouraged you to make some.  It is gold!  But I have new information that may not only lead you to better sleep, but what if I told you that Nettle, along with other nourishing herbs, are the simple, affordable pathway to hormonal harmony.  Friends, when I hear something that I know can empower and assist people, and they probably don’t even know about it, I want to sing it from the mountaintops!

I’m not going to repeat myself on the surplus of nourishing components to Stinging Nettle infusion.  You can read about that here https://pathwaysofwisdom.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/stinging-nettle-how-i-love-theeand-so-should-you/.  Instead, I want to share how this weed can lead you to the sleep you lust for along with its ability to support your body in proper hormone production, and throw in a few other golden nuggets of wisdom.

infusions2First let me say that I LOVE my nourishing infusions!  What is an infusion you ask?  It is NOT a tea!  I repeat, NOT A TEA!  Nettle tea, or any other herbal tea might be delightful to drink, but there is no nutritional, nourishing, or healing value (besides the enjoyment factor).  There is simply just not enough herb in a tea and it is not steeped long enough to extract all of the goodies that any particular herb contains.  An infusion is a large amount of nourishing herb “steeped” for an extended period of time, 4 to 10 hours, allowing the hot water to extract the gems our body requires.

It is also important to note that a not all herbs can be made into an infusion.  The term “nourishing” indicates the type of herb that is used.  There are four main categories for herbs – nourishing, tonifying, stimulating/sedating and potentially poisonous.  For further information, you can check out my blog post https://pathwaysofwisdom.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/the-wisdom-of-healing-allies/.  One must be mindful and respectful when working with the Earth’s healing jewels.  All but nourishing herbs should not necessarily be taken excessively or indefinitely.  Nourishing herbs however are essentially food and there is no known risk of overdose, nor unwanted side effects.  The above referenced blog post also explores herbs in food form such as infusions or tinctures vs. capsules or pills as well as the importance of working with them one at a time.

So how does Stinging Nettle help us sleep?  Well, it is an extraordinarily powerful adrenal ally.  When we wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep, it is often due to adrenal burn out, or what is commonly called adrenal fatigue.  Your adrenals are supremely important to the overall health of your entire body.  Yes, all organs are important and they are all connected, but the adrenals are not holding up well with modern, western societal demands.  Simply put, the adrenals manufacture certain vital hormones, such as cortisol, the stress hormone.  Too much stress over long periods of time leads to too much cortisol, which leads to sleep impediment (along with a slew of other symptoms).  Taxing the adrenals in that way with an over production of cortisol and other stress hormones exhausts the adrenal glands rendering them dysfunctional and therefore altering the appropriate balance of hormones in the body, including those that keep sex hormones stabilized.  The adrenals were just not designed for an overly stressed life style.

Now Nettle won’t dissolve your stress.  Only you can do that.  But you can certainly support your adrenals along your journey of lowering stress in your life and continue to nourish them for the unavoidable stressors that will always be present from time-to-time.  I love my Nettle infusion and have been drinking it for several years now, along with other nourishing infusions.  But I too encounter busyness or forgetfulness and miss it some days.  I have finally connected the dots and now notice that when I do miss it for more than a few days, my sleep is not as sound, even downright sucky if I’m gong through periods of high stress.  Putting this puzzle together has motivated me even more to keep on top of my nourishing infusions, which includes Nettle.  In fact, I rotate through the various nourishing herbs, but I drink Nettle daily; sometimes several glasses a day during extended activity demands or periods of high stress.

So by now I’m guessing you are also starting to recognize the connection between Nettle and hormonal harmony.  Over production or under production of sex hormones, as affected by the adrenals, also impede sleep along with causing a landslide of other unpleasant experiences.  Again, stress is an important factor in harmonized hormones, but we can also nourish and support our body, providing optimum nutrition that goes beyond food.  Food is important of course, but most of us don’t eat perfectly each and every day.  Nourishing infusions provide all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our body needs without any need for further supplementation.  It is also affordable, doesn’t require fancy machinery, or gobs and gobs of organic produce.

But Nettle certainly isn’t the only nourishing herb that is helpful to hormonal harmony.  Here is an excerpt from Susun Weed (my favorite herbal mentor) in an article she wrote on how minerals make the difference:

“By 2015 half of the female population of the United States will be post-menopausal. But this group of post-menopausal women won’t be old fuddy-duddies with broken hips, heart attacks, and failing memories. Women of today expect to emerge from menopause energetic, zesty, and passionate! Are hormones necessary? No! Wise women nourish their hearts, bones, and spirits with simple, safe mineral-rich herbs.

Herbs, especially the weedy ones, are minerals powerhouses. Getting those minerals isn’t as easy as taking a tincture (alcohol extracts little to no minerals) or swallowing a pill (minerals are poorly utilized from encapsulated herbs) but it isn’t difficult either. At the Wise Woman Center we include mineral-rich herbs in our daily diet; it’s easy, tasty, and very rewarding. How do we do it?  Drink 1-2 cups nourishing herbal infusion each day.

Herbal infusions differ from herbal teas: They are darker in color and richer tasting because their long brewing extracts many more nutrients — especially minerals. My favorite nourishing herbal infusions for menopausal women are oatstraw, red clover blossoms, stinging nettle leaves, and comfrey leaves.

To prepare your infusion: Put a quart of cold water up to boil. Weigh one ounce of dried (not fresh!) herb into a quart canning jar. Go brush your teeth and count your grey hairs until the teapot whistles. Pour the boiling water into the jar with your herb (only one herb at a time, please!), screw on a tight lid, turn off the light, and go to bed. Next morning strain out the herb and drink the liquid: cold, hot, or at room temperature. Add honey, tamari, or milk if desired.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa) has a mellow taste. It eases frazzled nerves, lowers cholesterol, improves circulation, strengthens bones, eases headaches, relieves depression and encourages us to be sexy old ladies!

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) infusion not only builds bones, and prevents cancer, it reduces serum cholesterol (protecting heart health) and helps maintain strong pelvic tissues –thus preventing incontinence, lowered libido, atrophic vaginitis, and uterine prolapse. Red clover contains ten times more phytoestrogens than soy, without soy’s bone-damaging, thyroid-impairing side-effects.

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) infusion contains more than 500 milligrams of calcium per cup. (Nettle tea has none, neither does the tincture.) Nettle strengthens adrenal functioning, promotes sound sleep, increases overall energy, prevents allergic reactions, strengthens the blood vessels, and prevents hair loss.

Comfrey (Symphytum uplandicum x) is controversial. Ingestion of its roots can cause severe liver congestion. The leaves are safe, though labeled otherwise. Comfrey leaf infusion helps maintain good vaginal lubrication, strengthens the bones, protects against cancer, soothes painful joints, and improves mental functioning.”

I have not tried comfrey or oatstraw yet, but have an order on the way.  I’ll let you know.  I love the taste of red clover.  Red raspberry, which is not mentioned above is also a great nourishing herb for infusion, and I drink that regularly.  It has a strong taste, but a little peppermint mixed in helps, which does not interfere with the medicinal qualities of the herb.  I use ample peppermint with my Nettle, and I will admit it was an acquired taste.  It has such high chlorophyll content that it tastes a little like a fish tank at first.  But within a day or two of first trying it, you’ll notice level energy throughout the day and excellent sleep at night, which is what we all want isn’t it?

So cheers <clink> to you!  May you be blessed with hormonal harmony and a beautiful night’s sleep.  And please do leave a comment and let me know your experiences with nourishing herbs.

Harmonious Blessings,

Melinda

What’s In The Cards For You?

readingWhen I went within to ask what I should write about for this week’s Wisdom Wednesday, I was guided to do a collective card reading that taps into Universal energies and applies to everyone. Transitions abound for all of us right now, in one form or another.  A little direction from the loving spiritual forces that guide us is a powerfully wise tool that can help us stay centered and focused as we journey upon our individual pathways of wisdom.

I have a unique way of working with cards of guidance in that I shuffle them with intent and then let the ones to be used for the reading either stick out or fall out.  I chose to use Doreen Virtue’s Angel Cards for the bulk of the reading along with one helper card from the Medicine Card’s deck.  These are the cards that literally fell out for your reading:

The main card and the first to fall out was Surrender & Release.  With all that is going on in our world right now as well as in our personal lives, it is so important that we don’t get caught up in trying to control and change it all.  Things are unfolding as they should right now.  Trying to control outcomes, people and even ourselves can be exhausting!  When we surrender and release the issues and situations in our life over to Spirit we open ourselves to the highest outcome for all involved.  That may or may not be what we want, but we can completely trust that it is what we need.  More often than not however, surrendering allows things to unfold in a way that is even more favorable that we could have imagined with our controlling mind.  Think back for a moment about the high moments of your life.  Were they contrived or did they unfold organically and naturally?

The next card that fell out was Intention.  This segues beautifully from the first as what you are being asked is to set intention around your personal situation and then surrender and release to your Spirit.  Whatever you are dealing with in any given moment, set your intent for the highest, divinely orchestrated outcome for all involved.  Be aware of any negative thoughts that flow through you.  Without judgment of those thoughts, bring yourself back to intention.  This is where your power dwells – in your intention.  Negative thoughts are natural, so don’t get caught up in some sort of positive thinking 24/7 protocol.  Allow yourself the full gamut of thoughts and feelings as they arise, all the while keeping your intentions in sight and working your way back to your truth.

The last card that fell out was Healing.  The planet as a whole and each and every one of us who dwell here are embarking upon a massive opportunity to heal when we surrender, release, and set intent.  We are being asked to allow healing to occur in those old buried wounds so that we can move forward in harmony with our purpose and the very evolution of our soul.  We did not come here to lead a perfect life in perfect balance from beginning to end, every moment of every day we draw breath!  We came here to experience the polarity of the Earth realm and to learn to love deeply; love ourselves, others and the beauty that exists here.  We ALL have healing to do along the way.  It is unavoidable.  But so many have gotten stuck in their wounding.  Most of us don’t intend to be stuck there.  Life just happens around us so fast that we keep on trucking without realizing we are living fragmented instead of whole.  Or maybe we avoid tapping into the pain out of fear and avoid healing thereby just sticking our head in the sand and continuing on.  Spirit is asking you to allow the healing to occur.  Surrender and release, set your intent, then lovingly allow the healing to flow into your life in a way that is joyful and pleasing.

The helper card is one that signifies an ally to assist you on your journey at this time.  Their message and/or medicine is one that will accompany you as you follow Spirit’s guidance and help you to accomplish your divinely ideal outcome.  For this reading, Deer fell out of the deck.  Traditionally Deer represents gentleness and she would like to remind you to be extra gentle with yourself right now, as well as with others.  She will help you reach your Sacred Mountain by inspiring you towards love in all situations; love for yourself, and love for those around you who have their own wounds to heal.  Deer reminds us of the gentleness of the Spirit that heals all.  Call upon Deer to work with you.  Be open to her signs.  Anytime you see a deer, a picture of a deer, hear the word deer – these are validating sings of her presence.

So there ya go.  These are the messages Spirit would like to share with you at this time.  It doesn’t matter when you are reading this, the first time you do is when it is applicable to you and the coming days, weeks, possibly even months.  I welcome your questions.  If you are reading this on my website, send me an email.  If you are reading this on my blog, leave a comment.  I’m on this journey with you.

Blessings,

Melinda

The Wisdom of Living Well

There is a wonderful story told by Dr. Lissa Rankin about Stamatis Moriatis; a man living in the US in is mid 60’s diagnosed with cancer and given 9 months to live.  Instead of seeking aggressive medical treatment, he decided to return to his native Ikaria, a Greek island near the Aagean Sea.  With the life he had left, he decided to live richly.  He and his wife moved into a small house on a vineyard, he reconnected to his spiritual roots, planted a garden, basked in sunshine and reconnected with old friends daily over a bottle or two of wine.

Six months had passed and not only was he still alive, he was actually feeling better than ever.  He found purpose in his daily life and enjoyed his evenings with community.  Three and a half decades later, Moraitis is 97 years old, still living in Ikaria, never undergoing any cancer treatment.  At one point, 25 years after his diagnosis, he decided to go back to the US to ask the doctors what had happened.  The doctors were all dead!

135d9ef2a5953403cc96191a708d51d2I retell this story because I find an immensely important teaching for those of us living a fast-paced, stressed out, hectic Western life style.  In a land where conventional medical care is actually making us sicker than our insane lifestyles, it is time we come home to the truth of how to heal, reclaim our wholeness and bask in a state of wellness.  It is a process of unlearning societal programming and investing ourselves in the vital wisdom within that is thirsting to emerge.

Adrenal fatigue is plaguing a large percentage of Westerners today.  Some are aware of it, some are not.  What is most alarming is that we don’t seem to understand the depth of our endocrine system and the massively important role our adrenals play in our total wellness.  If the adrenals are taxed, the whole body goes out of whack.  Our hormones become unbalanced, our thyroid shuts down or goes berserk, inflammation sets in, and if left unattended, it all WILL lead to serious disease that can create a sickly life and even an early death.  It’s time to stop the madness!

You and only you are the master of your Destiny.  It is never too late to begin to make the changes that will lead you to the life you deserve; the life you were born to live.  But I have good news – this does not have to be a difficult process.  And I’m here to guide you.  I shall share some lovely pleasurable tips here, and should you desire further mentoring, you know where to find me.

First and foremost, I’m going to once again harp on the single most powerful herb on the planet!  You’ve heard me talk about it time and time again.  It is affordable, and may very well be growing in your own backyard.  Stinging Nettle!  This powerful little ally knows exactly how to nourish your adrenals, kidneys, bones and the entire body.  Stop popping umpteen vitamins and supplements each day and simply drink them via a tall glass of Nettle infusion.  A glass of Nettle infusion has all the vitamins and minerals you need for the day, and they are in their natural, effective, complex forms; not synthetic and broken up like they are in pill or capsule form.  Nettle infusion has calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, chromium, selenium, trace minerals, chlorophyll, manganese, silica, boron, zinc and iodine.  It is also a great source of vitamins A, C, E, K, B complex vitamins and beta carotene.

Stinging Nettle is the most powerful ally for adrenal fatigue, along with a whole-foods diet and a balanced rest/movement ratio.  These three components alone will empower you revive your adrenals and process the stress that comes your way.  The next step is to deeply evaluate your life style.  If there is too much stress, where and how can you begin to eliminate it?  The goal is not so much to deal with stress more effectively, but to eliminate the excess.  You can’t sugar coat a pile of shit and expect it to taste like ice cream.

Some components of stress may not be eliminated, so you have to look at what you can realistically (not necessarily easily) reduce.  If your job is more stress than joy, it is time to think outside the box and find other work.  If there are people in your life that suck the life out of you, it is time to contemplate letting go of them.  If it is a family member that can not be let go of, look at possibly less time spent with them and treating yourself to pleasure following exposure.  If your home environment is toxic – mentally, physically, emotionally and/or spiritually – clean it up!  If you need help with any of this, seek it.  Remember, you ARE power.

Setting up certain rituals in your daily life that bring you pleasure and peace are a step in the right direction.  Morning meditation and/or exercise are fabulous rituals.  Mid-day deep breathing, singing, dancing or nature brakes are delightful ways of flinging off stress.  Evening relaxation rituals are my favorites indeed.  I love to go out into my garden with a glass (or two) of wine and enjoy the flowers, the breeze, the birds and my doggies.  Even when I travel I make time to unwind, even if it means an hour less of sleep.  Studies now show that enjoying an evening cocktail actually enhances wellness.  A recent study showed that middle-aged women who averaged 3 – 15 alcoholic drinks per week (spread out over every day of the week vs. binge drinking) had up to 28% higher odds of being free from chronic illness, physical disability, mental health problems and cognitive decline.  Experiments from this same study even showed moderate alcohol intake can reduce inflammation!  Whoa!!!  Here is a link to the article http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/06/health/women-drinking-daily-health

ae924b653bad7e5397b5499ccf79afb1Now, I’m not advocating getting schnockered.  I truly believe that it is the relaxation ritual of that evening cocktail that holds the key to the health benefits.  It divides the day and sets the intent that whatever has happened is now in the past.  The potential of the rest of the night is infinite and full of possibility.  Additionally, if you are not a drinker, starting now just to get the benefits described here is probably not a good idea.  Find another additive for your evening ritual…perhaps a glass of Nettle!  But if you do enjoy a drink in the evening, this is great news and reason to let go of any guilt.  Many cultures outside of the US with phenomenal longevity stats indulge in such pleasurable activities (with responsible moderation).  Could Mr. Moriatis’s spontaneous healing be in part due to his evening wine drinking with friends?

The truth is however, drinking wine, Nettle or anything else in and of itself does not hold the secrets to wellness and longevity.  It is taking control of your life and making it one that is nurturing and nourishing that lead to joy and health.  That may mean you need to unapologetically step out of societal expectations, make some decisions and changes that are initially uncomfortable, but ultimately bring you happiness.  At the end of life, I guarantee you will not look back and be pleased with how hard you worked.  You will find peace with how well you lived, how hard you played, how lovingly you took care of your body and how unabashedly you loved.

I’d love to hear from you.  Your questions, comments and life experiences are welcomed and encouraged.

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

Ancestor’s Whispers

Long ago, on the very land where I currently live, there were sacred people. I feel their spirit every time I look around and see a hawk soaring, a deer or coyote walk by and hear the sweet song of the birds and the wind through the pines. There wisdom still runs deep in the soil; it is etched in the very molecules of air I breathe. The ancestors speak to me through the language of nature.

b48990ec3c9be0df5cb65be3e76a614dThis ancestral wisdom is from people who had no technology and yet remained profoundly connected. They had no money and yet they lived richly. They had no cars and because of this their bodies were strong and fit. They had no kitchens or even gardens but they knew how to live off the food of the land and they ate well. They lived in community. They had healers amongst them who knew how to heal the whole person – body, mind and spirit. They needed no government, no police force, no military. But they had warriors amongst them who knew how to protect without extremes or needless killing. They honored women, they listened to them, followed their wisdom and always protected them. They honored each other; it was never “them” or “us” or “I’ but always WE.

This past Monday I felt an unexplainable sadness.  I kept experiencing an urge to cry, but I didn’t know why.  After some introspection I realized I was feeling the Earth Mama’s sadness.  It was Earth Day, but so what? What good is one day to honor her, only to go back to sleep and continue the abuse. All she wants is for her human babies to wake up! She beckons us to see through the illusion of being separate from her and to fully comprehend that our body and her body are one. What we do to her, we do to ourselves. What we do to ourselves, we do to her.

She doesn’t need adoration of her beauty. She asks us to adore our own beauty and the very temple we exist in while here. I am not just talking about nutrition but the whole being, body, mind and spirit.

When we truly honor ourselves we dissolve the notion of separation and then recognize the beauty of everything and everyone. This concept eliminates greed, a hunger for power, poverty and violence. And this is why Mama cries. We have yet to achieve this as a species. But every small step we take as individuals and as communities towards this awareness and self love is a giant step towards drying her tears and making her smile.

What we need now more than warriors are Earth Missionaries, Love Emissaries and Potential Visionaries. There will always be warriors, but these roles take extreme courage to walk our talk. It begins by awakening our own inner Shaman, our wilderness, for there lies the wisdom and courage to live authentically with Nature.  This essence is already an intrinsic part of who we are, it just needs to be nudged out of dormancy and nourished into a flourishing force that drives our actions.  This state of awakened wisdom is a blissful way of living.  And although it does not eliminate difficulty or adversity, it provides a strong foundation to transform life’s trials into triumphs.

The ancestors are my mentors. Part of my life’s mission is to be a bridge back to the red road, right mind, and the way of sacred, peaceful, healthy living while maintaining what is good about contemporary life. There is no one pathway to this wisdom, for we are all imbued with our own sacred uniqueness.  But this I do promise; when you connect with your rhythm a profound sense of clarity is unleashed.  Through the pulse of the Earth Mama’s heartbeat, we are eloquently guided to our purpose and reclaim our oneness with nature.

The journey back to the land of the ancestors is not backwards but one that gathers what we need to remember as we move forward. It is not a swift journey but it also need not be prolonged. Open your heart, listen with your soul and you too will know this wisdom. May it lead you to peace, wellness, and the magnificent wholeness that you are. Aho!

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

Ten Easy Ways To Detox – Healing From The Outside In

Part II

Last week we looked at five easy ways to clean up your exposure to toxic chemicals.  Although I want to keep this simple and easy, I cannot stress enough the impact this can have on your health; now, and in the future.  The reality of body burden is still being explored as more and more data shows up showing the effects that the accumulation of toxins and chemicals has on seemingly unrelated health issues, including inflammation, which is now being discovered as the root of most disease including cancer.

ImageOn a spiritual level, I am a huge advocate of returning to our wild nature and reconnecting with the natural world on a very deep level.  Nature is the way of the Shaman. In nature, we have all the wisdom.  Yet, modern cultures seem to be moving further and further away from all things natural and it is taking its toll on our wellness and wholeness, body, mind and spirit.  The closer we get to nature, the clearer we see the absurdity that is infiltrating our food and the products we use on a daily basis.  Although we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves with all that is wrong and how to right it at once, we can take small yet effective steps towards a more natural way of life that our human bodies and psyches are designed for.  One actionable change at a time we begin to improve our wellness.

I would like to briefly share a very intimate aspect of my own journey towards a more natural lifestyle in an effort to illustrate the ultimate outcome of detoxing our environment.  In my late thirties I began to have very difficult periods (sorry guys).  They weren’t painful, but very heavy.  It got to the point when I was 40 that I was flooding, which made it difficult to live life during those few days.  Then, after suffering a miscarriage at 41, I began to seriously explore the toxins in my environment (and my food, but that is a different topic).  After implementing the very changes I am suggesting, my periods returned to normal.  Again, my menstrual improvement also had to do with improving my diet even further and working with herbs that supported my efforts, but I know without a doubt that detoxing the products I use daily was half of the healing equation.

So, let’s dive in.  Here are five more easy ways to get the toxins out of your life.

  • Lotions & Moisturizers – We all want soft skin of course, but so many of the products on the market are pumped full of those nasty endocrine disrupting parabens along with other unsavory toxins.  Companies are beginning to wise up, and there are more products coming out now that are paraben free.  Check out ewg.org (Environmental Working Group) and see how your favorite moisturizer rates.  This is an outstanding resource for detoxing your products.  They rate products and provide suggestions.  Make it a bookmark in your browser.  A really great alternative for moisturizing is coconut oil.  I keep a jar in the shower and let the warm water run over it to melt it.  Then I use it as a shaving lotion and after the shower I put on my body while it is wet then pat dry.  It absorbs fairly quickly, so it isn’t greasy.  You can also get great recipes for homemade lotions at herbsandoilsworld.com.  In fact, like their FB page and you’ll get tons of fabulous suggestions for all kinds of household and beauty products.
  • Soaps & Body Wash – So often these products are full of sulfates, parabens and other sleazy chemicals.  Ditch them!  Again, herbsandoils.com has great suggestions on how to make your own if the budget is tight.  For a little extra dough Dr. Bronners Castile soaps are awesome!  That’s what I use, along with salt and sugar scrubs I make myself with salt or sugar, olive oil and essential oil for scent.  Easy peasy.  While you’re at it, ditch all the antibacterial soaps in the bathroom and at the kitchen sink and put a bar of Dr. Bronners, or your own homemade soap there instead.  The next item explains why.
  • Antibacterial ANYTHING – I knew a woman that used to purell her son’s hands constantly.  I would tell her not to do that, as it ruins the immune system.  Not only does the antibacterial kill the good bacteria that we need, but the chemical that makes it antibacterial is another hormone-altering endocrine disruptor.  My friends, we NEED bacteria.  Do you really think God/dess made a mistake with our biology rendering it useless and unable to deal with germs?  Please, please, please, for everyone’s health get rid of antibacterial anything.  Your immune system, if properly cared for naturally, can fend off harmful germs.  If something really freaks you out, and you can’t wash your hands with simple soap, use vodka or rubbing alcohol.  You can even carry around a small spray bottle of alcohol and tea tree oil (a natural antibacterial) and use that.  It also doubles as deodorant.  But use it sparingly, because despite what the commercials wants you to believe, germs are necessary and really unavoidable, so get over it.
  • Sunscreen – Intuitively, I’ve always believed that it is the products we put on our skin that cause skin cancer, not the sun.  Again, I just cannot comprehend how God/ddess made a mistake with our bodies and the sun.  Now it is finally coming out that I was right!  And ironically, sunscreen is one of the worst culprits of all.  And yet, the industry has you believing that without it, cancer is eminent.  Sunscreen drained $687 million from our pockets in 2010.  Hmmm.  Not to mention that vitamin D, which is best in its natural form – the sun, is now surfacing as a hugely important component to wellness.  Furthermore, sunscreen is another endocrine disruptor that can wreak havoc on your hormones.  So what do you do?  There are a few options that can be combined or used individually.

First, if you were able to tan at some point in your life, you have the appropriate pigment in your skin to “season” yourself.  Seasoning is short durations of full sun exposure to get your skin used to the sun and slowly build a tan that will protect against burning.  Start with 5 minutes, move to 10, then 20, then 30. I’ve also heard of fair-skinned people using this technique successfully.  Your diet and what you are putting on your body will impact this process, so be mindful.

We have to be sensible with our sun exposure.  Get in the shade if you’ve had enough!  Our ancestors knew to limit their sun exposure and rest during the hottest part of the day.

Extra protection for those that are not of fair-skin ancestry is coconut oil.  I know it seems counterintuitive, but it works.  However, it does not protect the skin for long periods of sun exposure; it is simply extra protection for every day use.

IF you are going to be in the sun for long periods of time, sunscreen may be your only option.  Check with the EWG website (www.ewg.org) and get their recommendation on sunscreens with the least toxic impact.

  • Plastic – One of the most troubling endocrine disruptors is a common ingredient in plastic called bisphenol A, often referred to as BPA.  It is found in the bottles of water, plastic drinking containers, the lining of most food and beverage cans (including soda) plastic food storage containers, toys and more.  BPA is also in printer ink, newspapers and carbonless receipts.  BPA leaches onto our skin and into our water and food when exposed to it, and heat exacerbates the leaching.  Yes, it’s pretty much everywhere.  But don’t get overwhelmed.  Remember, one step at a time.  Start with switching from bottled water to filtered water.  Reverse osmosis is recommended as a superior system.  Then move on to replacing plastic food storage to glass. And, make sure all your water containers are BPA free or metal.  Lastly, when you purchase something and get a receipt, ask for it to be thrown away.

ImageAgain, I want to emphasize the importance of not getting weighed down with all of this.  I haven’t even mentioned the full spectrum of chemicals in so many products.  For example, shampoos, conditioners, hairspray and a wealth of beauty products are unfortunately choc full of toxins.  Some hard core naturalists have started a “no poo” movement, which omits the use of shampoo completely.  There are less toxic varieties on the market, some quite affordable.  I have tried a slew and they just don’t work with my thin, fine hair.  So, my hair products I’m not giving up.  I’m a Diva after all.  But I make sacrifices in other areas to at least dramatically reduce the toxins I’m exposed too.  If you’re committed to reducing your toxic exposure, you will find harmony in what works for you and your family.

Once more, here are the resources you will want to pin to your browser’s bookmarks bar to help you detox:  www.ewg.org (environmental working group) www.herbsandoilsworld.com (find them on FB too) and www.mercola.com.  Dr. Mercola is a world renowned alternative physician and has a wealth of information on his site.

I would love to hear about your journey in going natural and reducing toxic exposure.

In Rhythm & Harmony,

Melinda

Ten Easy Ways To Detox – Healing From The Outside In

Part I

debc44e105e3777dae4c2130a8ea1128I know we’ve all heard so much about diet, organic food, GMO’s and such and how to detox our diet and heal from the inside out.  I’m all about a healthy diet and continue to stay informed on the latest research.  There is no denying that fresh, organic, whole foods are best; whether that be paleo based (with non factory farmed meat), vegetarian based or vegan based. We all have different blood types, ancestry and DNA that determines what foods we thrive on and we all have to do our own research, trial and error to figure out what is best for us as individuals.

However, we can eat all the healthy food we want; if we don’t clean out the toxins we are putting ON our body, near our body and breathing, what good is the right diet?  Sometimes detoxing and healing DOES happen from the outside in.  Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your entire body?  More importantly, what you put on it, and what you breathe go directly into the bloodstream without the benefit of filtration from digestion.  The whole notion of “for external use only” is such an alarming contradiction and should be seriously considered.  In other words, if you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t go ON (or near) your body, because it will end up IN your body.

From a spiritual perspective, to awaken the wild wisdom that is our truth and unleash our inner Shaman’s dream into our every day life, we have to go back to nature.  Nature holds the key to our wellness, not only from an emotional and mental metaphor, but also in physical form.  Our wise inner shaman cannot thrive in a toxin-laden environment.  In order to flourish we must be willing to take even the tiniest of steps towards clearing out what holds us back.  For now, our food, water, and the air we breathe are being threatened.  But we can make a difference; we still own our personal power.

What is of additional concern is body burden.  We all have different levels of sensitivity, emotionally, mentally, and physically.  Many children are being born today with their poor little bodies already so chemically sensitive.  Then there are those of us that grew up on Lysol, bleach and Windex and all kinds of things we consider toxic today, and we are fine.  But at some point, those toxins build up.  It may or may not build up to a point of disease for you, but it may have already impacted your children before you were even aware it could.  And the truth is, just because you are healthy now, does not ensure you will always be.  If we continue with the onslaught of chemicals everywhere, it will take its toll.  In fact, much of the suffering that happens from illness or health issues is connected to body burden – the build up of chemical toxicity in the body.  One example is the suffering some women experience at menopause.  This need not be a time of discomfort if our endocrine system is well supported.  But the very chemicals I propose everyone begin to take notice of and weed out of their environment are the very perpetrators known as “endocrine disruptors.”

Hormone imbalance is a huge issue with many Western women today.  The problem is, many of us are uninformed on how the hormonal system in our bodies works.  And unfortunately, our doctors are not always straightforward with the info.  We are all familiar with the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and such.  And there seems to be a huge focus on only getting these into balance.  But the whole body is connected and designed to work congruently and in fact, there are other, more influential hormones that regulate those sex hormones that we need to be equally, if not more considerate of.  It is the entire endocrine system as a whole that requires harmony for us to be healthy and feel good and produce all the right levels of hormones.  Therefore, endocrine disruptors are no joke and something we need to recognize and remove from our environment.

Our lives have become so incredibly busy that whatever is quick, easy and familiar is what is often most desired.  And this is where the danger lies, because most of the time, whatever is quick, easy and familiar is also toxic and harmful.  I get it.  We are all busy.  But the decisions we make now about our health and the health of our family directly affect the health of our future.  If we want a lifetime free of disease and health issues we have to get our priorities straight.  But I have good news!  The changes I propose are not only easy and non time consuming, but usually less expensive than what is quick, easy and familiar.

Now, I don’t want to overwhelm you.  If this is all new, I know how overwhelming it can be.  So we are going to take it slow and easy – baby steps.  Therefore, I’m dividing this article into two.  This is part one and part II will be out next Wednesday.  That way you have some time to digest it all and maybe begin to incorporate some of the changes into your life.  Hey, it’s only five!  So here is the first five of my list of the top ten easy changes you can make to detox your environment.  And the best news of all…none of it requires colonics (yikes!) or going on some master cleanse and denying yourself the joy of eating.  If you’re into those things, that’s cool, but I prefer a more nurturing approach to healing.  And, you might save a few bucks in the process!

1.  Deodorant – Oh how toxic this little social norm is!  Aluminum, which is linked to breast cancer, is one of the main concerns with deodorant, but there is so much more.  It is a toxic cocktail full of endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and carcinogens (parabens, propylene glycol, triclosan, TEA, DEA, FD&C colors, among others).  Now, the purpose of this article is not so much to describe WHY these chemicals are so toxic.  Much of this info is widely known and can be easily researched.  I will provide some resources and links in part II of this article, which will be out next Wednesday.  My goal is to provide you with alternatives.

There are many “natural” deodorants on the market today.  You have to read labels though; some aren’t as natural as they tout.  Frankly, I’ve tried many and wasn’t impressed.  For a while I used plain baking soda.  I just dusted it under my arms with a makeup brush.  It worked well but then I began noticing a red rash.  It didn’t hurt, but wasn’t very attractive.  But that was just me.  Many swear by baking soda.  Then I tried cornstarch.  Well, it helped to keep me dry, but did nothing for odor.  There are a slew of recipes on the internet to make your own deodorant, but it involves melting down products.  Maybe at some point I’ll dive further into that, but I have found an easier solution.

Somewhere I read about using plain old rubbing alcohol.  Eesh, I shave my pits every day and that sounded painful.  But, I tried it.  I use a spray bottle full of alcohol and essential oils in place of Lysol, so I sprayed a little on my hand first then wiped it under my arm.  There was maybe a slight sting at first, very slight.  Then when it dries I dab a little cornstarch.  Dang if it doesn’t work!

Now, I need to be straight up honest here, it only works for the day.  And, if you’re a stinky gal or guy, you might need to reapply during the day.  No big deal though.  Anyone can carry a little spray bottle full of alcohol around and reapply.  By the next morning, especially after my run, it’s bum status here.  And I have to wash my workout clothes more often for sure.  But it is all worth it to avoid chemicals.

Also, if you sweat a lot, it doesn’t keep you from sweating completely.  It just kills the stinky germs.  Sweating is good though and why the heck are we plugging up the glands that detox our body?

  1. Toothpaste – Another chemical laden hygiene product.  The most dangerous of all, fluoride.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists fluoride among about 100 chemicals for which there is “substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”  It is in our water and other products, so avoiding toothpaste as one way at least that helps reduce exposure.  There are natural, fluoride free toothpastes on the market.  Sometimes I use Tom’s when I get lazy.  But I also make my own by warming up a little coconut oil so it’s liquid (just run it under warm water with the cap on) and then in a little jar I mix the coconut oil with baking soda and peppermint essential oil.  I also rinse with hydrogen peroxide before each brushing for whiteness.  You might need to play with the portions of each until you get a consistency you like.  I like it real gritty, with lots of peppermint.  The combination doesn’t need to be refrigerated or anything, just keep it where you would keep your toothpaste.  It lasts weeks.  If making your own products is totally new to you, the texture and taste might take a little getting used to.  We are so conditioned by commercial products.  But your body will thank you with a long life of good health.
  1. Air Freshener – We live in a culture obsessed with smelling good.  While no one likes bad odors, fake, chemical laden smells are actually toxic!  A 2007 study by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) found a variety of harmful chemicals in air fresheners including formaldehyde and phthalates, which are connected to developmental and reproductive problems.  A fantastic alternative is essential oils with water in a spray bottle.  Pick your favorite ones.  I like lemon and eucalyptus.  Depending on the size of your spray bottle and how much water you use, you can simply pour several drops of your favorite essential oil into the bottle filled with warm water, which helps activate the oils, then spray!  You don’t need to warm up the water each time you spray.  So ditch that Fabreeze and Lysol!
  1. Household Cleaners – If toothpaste, deodorant, and air fresheners are full of chemicals, imagine the level of toxins in what you are using to clean with!  Seriously, just look at the warnings.  If you have to call poison control from exposure to your household cleaner how can it be safe?  Cleaning ingredients vary in the type of health hazard they pose.  Some cause acute or immediate hazards such as skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns while others are associated with chronic or long term effects such as cancer.  I have always been sensitive to chemicals, especially in cleaners and switched to plain white vinegar many years ago after getting sick every time I cleaned.  Did you know that white vinegar is a natural antibacterial?  Studies have shown that vinegar kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold and 80 percent of germs (viruses) according to the Heinz Company.  In fact, you can clean your entire home with three natural ingredients – Vinegar, Peroxide and Baking Soda!  You can mix them or use them separately.  Peroxide and Baking Soda are great in the laundry for whitening.  They clean tile grout, toilets, even carpets, and so much more.  Between these three super powers I was able to get red wine out of white carpet.  And let me assure you, the vinegar smell does not linger.  After a few minutes the smell of vinegar dissipates.  If it is really bothersome, you can always dilute the vinegar in water and add some essential oils for scent.
  1. Fabric Softener – Here we go again with our obsession with things smelling good…artificially!  Fabric Softener is a major endocrine disruptor and contains a wealth of other dangerous chemicals that are linked to upper respiratory problems and even cancer.  Ditch it and all the health problems that go along with it and switch to white vinegar!  Yes, vinegar to the rescue again.  Put it in the fabric softener compartment of your washing machine and it will wonderfully soften your clothes as well as ad some extra cleaning power.  I also pour it directly into the wash.  And again, no, your clothes won’t smell like vinegar.  It dissipates.  If you want to add scent to your clothes, dab a little essential oil on a wash cloth and toss it in the dryer.

04fd7ce762b6183eb7758a6d1fe869f0Do you know how much I pay for vinegar?  I get a gallon jug with each shopping trip for about two bucks.  That gallon of vinegar cleans my house (great on windows by the way), my laundry, disinfects and I even use it as a weed killer.  Now compare that to the cost of all the products consumers buy for all the jobs I give to vinegar.  Quite the savings, not just economically but on my health and the healthy of my family and pets.

One last word on endocrine disruptors, also known as xenohormones…they destroy your reproductive system!  Your reproductive system is not just for making babies; it affects your overall health.  A slew of female reproductive disorders including difficult periods, endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, PCOS and infertility have all been linked to endocrine disrupting xenohormones.  There is study after study from a variety of reputable sources linking the toxic chemicals in the above mentioned items to endocrine disruptors that are wreaking havoc on the endocrine system from the Pituitary gland to the Adrenals and Thyroid.  Don’t take my word for it, one little Google search will reveal a wealth of information.

Change doesn’t happen over night.  The first step is awareness.  Then, make small moves towards detoxing your environment.  Connect with other people who are on the same path and support each other.  You know the old saying, “cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  I interpret that to mean that when we are on a quest for spiritual awareness and creating a pathway of wisdom that creates harmony in our lives, we can’t ignore the body.  The cleaner our bodies (from toxins), the more enjoyable our lives are and the more capable we are of living our purpose.

Stay tuned next week for the next five items that can be easily switched along with some valuable resources to help you stay in the know.  For now, let it sink in and ponder

The Wisdom Of Wild

What sorts of images come to mind when you hear the word “wilderness?”  Is it a lush forest untouched by man?  Is it a jungle inhabited by unknown animals of which you have never seen?  Maybe it is more local than that and as simple as a nearby nature trail.  What about the word “wild?”  What does wild mean to you?

sacredwomanbeach (2)We are all born wild.  We know nothing but instinct at the moment we enter this world.  These instincts stay in tact for months, even years until slowly the civilized world begins to erode away the wilderness of our psyche.  But no matter the manners we are taught, or the education we pursue, or the expense of the clothing, cars, and fine houses we perceive as necessary, there is a wild autonomy that our body retains from the moment we were conceived through the last breath we take.

Civilized ideals and conformist medicine may temporarily quiet and quell this biological wilderness, but should we awaken to the diseased consciousness of modern technology and misguided conventional interventions, our wild woman (or man) will unapologetically reemerge and begin to remember its nature and organic sovereignty.  Due to the evolution of contemporary culture, it is the wild woman who more often lives in the shadows, for the wild man is more readily accepted and even celebrated.  Men also have less outwardly obvious biological activity, so there is less to “quiet” by convention.  But women, well we are a biological force to be reckoned with and should we unleash the wilderwoman within, our bodies magnificently respond and deep healing for the whole being ensues.

The “wild” that I speak of is not necessarily an unruly, ferocious, uncultivated characteristic, although it can take on those mannerisms when necessary.  Every synonym that is connected to wild is accurate and applicable.  However, I am referencing the natural wisdom that once dwelled within our psyche and still, quite powerfully, is the very fiber that makes up our physical body.  We women, we bleed, we birth, we cry, we love, we nurture, we fight we are complicated, yet once the veil of conventional cover up and cultural insistences are removed and rejected, there is actually a beautiful simplicity to the female creature.  This is the wild woman I’m talking about and who Clarisa Pinkola Estes so beautifully wrote about in her epic best seller “Women Who Run With The Wolves.”

When we stop resisting and dishonoring the organic beauty of our wild nature and stop buying into the lies that conventional culture, media and medicine are spewing our way, we have the power to release a great deal of suffering and surrender to an enormous force of healing and harmony.  When we stop plugging up the blood, being repulsed by it and ingesting artificial substances to control its presence, we heal.  When we remember our bodies were made to birth without the need of a hospital or medical intervention (in most cases), we heal.  When we stop listening to the surgery hungry, pill pushing doctors that try and silence our wild woman, we heal.  When we turn to our kitchens for medicinal support, we heal.  When we tune into the earth and recognize our connection, we heal.  When we listen to the plants and discover their ability to correct disruptions in our body, we heal.  These acts of healing dear sisters, and brothers, is how we access the wisdom of the wild; the wilderness of our being.

It is time to stop silencing our wild nature and instead turn those silencing skills onto culture and conventional medicine.  Every step we take to embrace the wilderwoman is an invitation to our daughters and sons to reject the criticisms of culture and own their power of wild.  Every day that you honor your authentic self, your earthly biology, your wilderness, you are creating a movement, a shift in the planetary consciousness.  Every time you listen to your body, treat it with the very substance it is made of and allow the nature of your biology to blossom, you become your own medical insurance.  Health care becomes unnecessary when we treat the root of our dis ease with the roots of the earth.  Our bodies have their own wisdom and know how to heal.  When we unleash our wilderness our psyches, our bodies, and our spirit dwell in a state of harmony and wellness.

902a3fda39e50243dfd2af9caa6283b7 (2)As you welcome spring and all that is bursting forth in your life, it is the perfect time to rock your inner wild child.  Let her come forth and awaken your wilderness.  Put your bare feet upon the earth, smell the flowers blooming, feel the breeze upon your face and let nature remind you of who you truly are.  Let the sacred earth that surrounds you uncover the natural beauty that is you and the wild tendencies that are thirsting to be liberated.  Step by step be bold and chuck the conventional nonsense that attempts to cover up who you are in an effort to sell you something.

Be free.  Be you.  Unleash the wisdom of the wild exquisiteness that you are.

 

With Love,

Melinda

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