These days, digestion has become a big topic of conversation. Whether it’s “getting regular,” what fermented foods to eat, or what strain of probiotics are the best, people are talking about their guts and how to get them healthy. For more than three thousand years, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asian cultures have been using congee, a delicious, digestion-harmonizing dish of porridge. Typically made with rice but also other grains and legumes, congee is pure comfort, especially on cold dreary days.Read More
I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth. I’ll take an entrée over a dessert any day of the week. Thus, I’ve never understood people’s obsession with chocolate. I mean, sure, I enjoy a bite every now and then if an organic, small batch, artisan-made piece of a chocolate bar is offered to me, but I don’t seek it out. Recently, however, as tends to happen for me, an idea and inspiration struck. I could make my own chocolate! Better yet, I could make a chocolate bar sans refined white sugar, which is my main repulsion to most sweets. I declared to my household that I would make a chocolate bar with maple syrup as the sweetener. My daughter found this to be a less than revolutionary statement. “Dad, that’s what you always use.” Hey, sometimes I use honey…Read More
No matter how fulfilling or joyful our lives are, experiencing sadness and grief is a natural part of our being. When we have the blues, it shows us that we care enough about something to give it our energy. Experiencing this also exercises our ability to navigate through the full range of feelings that we are lucky to possess as humans. As a wise woman once told me, “Not everything is rainbows and unicorns all the time.” At first sound, the statement sounded cynical but the more I pondered it, the more I realized that I was wrong. What it really means is that sometimes it’s okay for things not to be okay. And while the blues can be unpleasant, there are ways to naturally work through them.Read More
While some people may be naturally born with heightened senses, most of us must hone and practice these skills throughout our lifetime, and particularly when we are children.
During my years of mentoring in environmental nature immersion, I’ve seen countless children develop “super senses” (hear, see, feel, smell, intuit) that astounds their parents. I love stories like the one when a father was flabbergasted by his seven-year-old daughter. “She could hear the sound of an owl hooting way off in the distance,” he excitedly said, “long before I even could sense it and her observation skills are through the roof – I can’t keep up!”Read More
I have to admit that I have a fairly one-track mind about holidays—I really like festive food. Whatever else happens, fine, so long as the food is good. This works for the big holidays as well as ones hardly anyone knows about. For instance, in my house we are practically religious about Lemon Meringue Pie Day. Over the years, certain things have become tradition, and I’ve grown to really enjoy Valentine breakfast. Other people call this Valentine’s Day breakfast, but my husband and I celebrate our anniversary in mid-February, so Valentine’s Day has never meant much for us… except for Valentine breakfast. In our house, this is a time for sharing nurturing food and laughter with the people we love and who love us. Whether or not they are romantic partners is immaterial. Lovers, family, friends, your favorite four-leggers—this is a day for just feeling the love.Read More
Moon milk is one of my favorite beverages for eliciting feelings of peacefulness and serenity. Each sip of this herb-filled heated milk fills my belly with warmth and contentment and acts as the perfect vehicle for me to work in the herbs and spices my body craves. Over the years, I’ve created many moon milk recipes, and have also found some wonderful gems from other genius content creators. One of my favorite moon milk mavens is Stephanie from MyTinyLagunaKitchen. She even has a free ebook with some of her amazing adaptogenic creations that I highly recommend!Read More
There is no way to fully know all the accomplishments and contributions people of color have made in the healing arts. Throughout my American herbal studies, I heard people sing songs to the plants and listened to their stories about herbalism. While these stories were helpful, they didn’t resonate as deeply for me because they did not represent people of color. Many times, when teachers could tell a story about someone in the BIPOC community who influenced their path to herbalism, they had forgotten those long-ago educators’ names. I began a quest to speak the names of my ancestors, to collect the stories of the powerful women who wove a patchwork quilt of herbal knowledge that was passed down to them from lands most had never felt a sunrise in.Read More
The olfactory magic of essential oils is a very personal journey. In many ways, the power of scent and the power of devotion are bound inextricably together. They can illicit passionate and intoxicating sensations, pure comfort and relaxation, or a feeling of deep connection. Each of these oils celebrates this communion of the senses with earthy, sensual essential oils that have been crafted to inspire closeness and affection. We invite you to relax your hard-working mind, envelop your senses, enhance your self-appreciation, and create memorable moments through scent.
I am a self-proclaimed coffee lover. Unfortunately, however, stimulants don’t work well for me. I can have a 12-ounce cup of coffee at 10 a.m. and still be wide awake at 10 p.m. Over the years, I have gone back and forth between regular coffee and decaf, but then I discovered the enjoyable benefits of herbal coffee substitutes and found a new warm beverage to love–chicory and dandelion root coffee!
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a store-bought chest rub? When you’re congested, bleary-eyed, and feeling like death warmed over, reading ingredients is not high on the priority list, but it’s also not comforting to find out that you just rubbed a semisolid soup of petroleum products onto your skin in order to give your respiratory passages some relief. The classic over-the-counter chest rubs are often less than 10% herbal ingredients, and approximately 90% petrolatum in the form of petroleum jelly, which is generally combined with turpentine. When petrolatum is not refined properly or entirely, as is sometimes the case in the U.S., it can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known carcinogens particularly when used over a period of time. There are of course excellent petrolatum-free chest rubs on the market with all the herbal benefits and no carcinogenic ingredients. But why purchase something that you can easily make at home in 15 minutes and for less money?