Health, Yoga

Om Sweet Om

This morning I practiced yoga with a group of friends, family and yoga teachers.  It was morning satsang and kirtan in celebration of my dear friend Lauren’s birthday.  It was the first practice I have done in months.  That seems shocking to say out loud.

When I got the invitation in the mail a few weeks ago, my stomach dropped. I spent weeks trying to figure out how to tell her that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I am so detached from my practice. My body isn’t what it was when I was teaching. My boobs no longer fit into my yoga clothes. I was horrified of what my yogi friends would think and afraid of my own judgement. I knew in my heart I wanted to go. That I needed to go. I just didn’t know if I could actually follow through.

Of course the morning was judgment free and wonderful. Our practice was outside in the backyard. It was hazy and cool. I connected to my voice and my body. I took the flow slow and at my own pace. My calves and hamstrings were angry but slowly began to loosen and by my last down dog my heels came to touch the earth. During savasana a light rain began to fall as connected to my breath and listened to Lisa sing.  I felt a peace with my body and my yoga for the first time in over a year.

As we gathered inside for Kirtan, my friend Ming gave me a big hug. “It’s wonderful to see you practice again, Terra.”  It brought tears to my eyes. I blinked them away and settled down into a cushion for kirtan.

Oddly enough, Ming is the only person I have actually talked to about my disconnect with yoga and my practice. A month or so ago, he held space for me over a beer without judgement. I was grateful in the moment and I am grateful for his words today.

Sometimes we just need an open mind, an ear and a hug to remind us where home is.

Food, Health

All I want is Food and Creative Love

 Eating for Fertility Part I

in celebration of National Pregnancy Month!

Pardon the Rusted Root reference (all I want is food and creative love) but considering food and love have been bedfellows for centuries, I thought it was appropriate. Food and love, sounds like a fresh new relationship, doesn’t it? You know, the blissful ones, sharing chocolate cake, gazing at each other with honeymoon eyes.

So, say you’re past the honeymoon eyes phase and onto the seed germination phase….conception…baby making. Does one have to do with the other? Does it even matter what passes your lips? You betcha it does!!

What you eat BEFORE you get pregnant is important!

Hundreds of years ago, before people really knew what vitamins, minerals and nutrients were all about, people attributed qualities such as shape (ie: foods in the shape of sexual organs such as oysters and figs) or the food’s ability to make your temperature rise (e.g. chili peppers or curry) to increased potency or fertility.(P.S. That’s a picture of a fresh fig, one of my favorite fruits!) Aphrodisiacs aside, diet really can affect your ability to conceive. Positively and negatively. And believe it or not, there’s actually a bit more to aphrodisiacs than the shape and temperature of the food!!

Overly strict dieting and excessive exercise that results in extreme weight loss may result in loss of ovulation. On the other spectrum, too much eating resulting in obesity may also inhibit fertility. The diet of both men and women trying to conceive should be well balanced, consisting of whole foods rich in folic acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Zinc. There are simple changes you can make to your diet to boost your fertility and bring your body into optimum baby making shape.The fun part is the food and creative love….aphrodisiacs!After conducting a little research on traditional aphrodisiacs and their nutritional content I found the correlation between tradition aphrodisiacs and preconception health to be uncanny! The ancient ones who ate whole foods rather than processed, chemicalized foods always got it right. Just check out a of the aphrodisiacs on the list below:Avacado: The Aztecs called the avocado tree “ahuacuatl,” which means “testicle tree” (avacados hang in pairs on the tree). Avacados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid, all of which are essential for preconception health!

Banana Flower

Bananas: Do I really have to articulate why a banana is an aphrodisiac? Besides the banana flower’s amazing phallic shape, bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins, necessities for sex hormone production. Bananas also provide 452 milligrams of potassium, 33 milligrams of magnesium, and just over 2 grams of fiber. They are high in potassium and a respectable amount of magnesium as well.

Chocolate: See, there really IS a God and the Aztec’s called chocolate the “nourishment of the Gods.” Not only is chocolate a superfood, it contains more antioxidants than red wine! So if you really want more bang for your buck, try sharing a glass of Cabernet with a small piece of dark chocolate.

Oysters: have been linked with love and sexuality for hundreds of years. The ancient law of similarities reasons that their similarity to female genitalia dictates they may in fact possess sexual powers!! Similarities aside, oysters are full of vitamins and minerals like A, B1, B2 ,C and D, calcium, iodine, iron, potassium, copper, sodium, zinc, phosphorous, manganese and sulphur and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids.

Pineapple: has been traditionally used as a homeopathic treatment for impotence. It’s an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B1, copper, dietary fiber and vitamin B6.

Other aphrodisiacs include almond, arugula, asparagus, basil, broccoli rabe, carrots, fennel, figs, garlic, ginger, honey, licorice, mustard, nutmeg, pine nuts, raspberries, strawberries, truffles, vanilla, and wine.

In Part II of Food and Creative Love: Eating for Fertility and I will provide a few recipes to boost your fertility while tickling your taste buds! When I first researched and wrote this blog entry, I had so fun doing the research and learning about it that I turned it into a workshop.  One of the most awesome things ever, is that a 41 year old woman that attended this workshop (last fall) is now pregnant and due in October!

Food, Health

Getting Your Body Ready

Last week I told you guys the month of May is National Pregnancy Awareness Month. Since I am fully aware that I am NOT in fact pregnant. I thought I would dust off some Sprouting Wellness tips and talk about getting pregnant.  It’s funny, as women we tend to spend the majority of our early adult lives trying our hardest not to get pregnant, then somewhere around our late 20s to early, mid or late 30s we realize we do in fact want to get pregnant.  We try like hell and realize, it’s not so friggin easy!

While each path to conception may be different one thing everyone can do is take proactive steps to get their body ready for conception. Many parent’s to be think caring for baby begins at conception; once you see the little blue line, or the pink plus on the stick, it’s time to quit smoking, stop drinking and start buying organic. The truth is, prenatal health begins with preconception and fertility health.

Another important (often unrealized) fact to remember: it takes two to tango.  Even in the world of artificial insemination, it still takes two to tango.  And what I mean by this is, the health responsibility doesn’t solely fall on us women folk! Our men need to get healthy too. You don’t want their little swimmers crapping out before they reach the finish line, right?!

The ability to get pregnant, carry a child, fetal development, give birth naturally and breastfeed are all intertwined. Each is dependent upon lifestyle choices, diet, stress and yes, our environment. As many as one in six couples will experience fertility problems within the first year to trying to conceive, however, you can increase your odds of conception by making a few nutritional and lifestyle changes.

Fertility and preconception health awareness should begin with both parents, ideally six months to one year prior to conception. This starts with two basic tenants; the removal of toxins and the infusion of nutrients. Both male and female reproductive organs are highly susceptible to free radical or oxidative damage from environmental toxins. Environmental toxins include additives and preservatives in our food, toxics in household cleaning products as well as the products we use to clean our bodies and guilty pleasures such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

Simple changes in our diet will boost your fertility and bring your body into top baby making shape. The diet of both men and women trying to conceive should be high in folic acid, vitamin D, Vitamin E and Zinc. It’s imperative that both parents eat clean, organic foods free from pesticides, fungicides, additives and preservatives.

Men and women eating for fertility should incorporate the following foods into their diet:

Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal are good for insulin function. Refined grains (bleached flour, rice and pasta) should be omitted as they cause insulin spikes.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard and conifers such as broccoli, cauliflower and rabe are high in folate, which is important for conception and fetal development.

Protein. Vegetarian protein from sources like beans, peas, legumes and nuts are high in iron and preferred to animal proteins. You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but meat should be limited to small occasional portions.

The right fats. Omit trans fats and saturated fats from your diet, but include monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. These will reduce inflammation and any insulin sensitivity. The can be found in avocados, nuts, chia seeds and salmon.

Fresh organic fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that will promote general, and fertility health. Many fruits such as citrus, oranges, strawberries (and green leafy vegetables) are high in folate.

Taking a conscious approach to fertility simply by adjusting your diet and lifestyle will increase your chances of conception. Removing environmental toxins and making positive, organic food choices has been shown to increase the chances of having a healthy, happy and comfortable pregnancy, a positive, safe birth with little or no intervention, a shorter postpartum recovery period and a baby who is healthy and present.

Health, Yoga

Keeping Motivated

When I was doing my Soul Sweat vinyasa training, one of the required readings was Effortless Prosperity by Bijan. It’s a good little book about living life, it has daily affirmations meant to guide you towards that good life. I sort of likened it to a dumbed down, modern day version of Book 1 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

To remind you of your daily affirmations, Bijan suggests you write them on the palm of your hand so you have a reminder throughout the day. This was totally my speed. Before my iPhone, blackberry, file-o-fax, I was a notorious blue bic pen appointment setter on my palm. Naturally I followed Bijan’s suggestion and wrote my little daily affirmations on my palm each morning:

I am peace

I am light

And so on. It was a wonderful excuse for me to get artsy on my palm. When the 30 days of affirmations were up so was my palm artistry. I haven’t written notes on my hands since!

My question now is why?!? it was a fabulous daily reminder and I’ve just decided I’m going to do it again. Not Effortless Prosperity, but my own daily affirmations and mantras on the palm of my hand to keep my goals and intentions fresh in my thoughts. Maybe I’ll blog the pictures.

I wonder if it’s going to be a helpful change catalyst. Only time will tell. I’ll keep you posted!

Food

Healthy Kickstart – Going Raw

Since my yearly vegan challenge slipped my mind, I’m upping my ante. I am going raw to detox and kickstart my bridal health goals.

Today is DAY 1.

For the next 10 days I will be drinking deliciously fresh juices and for the 18 days following that I will be only consuming raw foods.  I will be getting moral support from Nancy and Jill, and we’ll all get help from Raw Food Rehab.

So what the heck is going raw all about???

Sure, you might feel like you’re being healthy when you order a nutritious salad (meaning: not a pile of iceberg lettuce saturated in creamy, fatty dressing, but actually vegetables), but would you want to commit to eating all raw food, all the time? The raw food movement, sometimes called the Live Food movement, is focused on eating only raw and unprocessed foods, often organically grown. Although many are only familiar with the vegan version of this movement, there are vegetarians (lacto-ovo and others), as well as omnivores who participate. A smaller component of the movement actually promotes a carnivorous (only animal product) diet. Similarly, fruitarians- those who try to only eat fruit- are a part of the raw food movement.

One of the main tenets of the belief that raw food is better lies in the loss of nutrients through cooking or processing food. While this is certainly true to a very large degree, it does not hold across the board. A more holistic approach might be to look at each food individually to determine whether it should be eaten raw, slightly cooked, or thoroughly cooked. As with most things in life, knowledge is power.

For some foods, scientists have discovered that light steaming actually makes nutrients available in food that the body would not otherwise be able to digest- broccoli is one such food. If the focus is truly bio-availability, then knowing that the nutrients in spinach are most readily absorbed by the body when it is lightly steamed and eaten with vinegar makes it hard to argue for eating spinach raw. With both of these foods, overcooking leads to a loss of nutrients, so attention paid to each individual food will allow you to gain the most nutrients from them. Likewise, freezing blueberries unlocks many of their antioxidant properties – increasing their health benefits, which is what exploring healthy diets is all about.

So, is raw right for everyone? Probably not. Is raw right for you? Maybe….you never really know until you try it. What it all boils down to is bioindividuality. What works wonders for one person may not for the next. You simply have to experiment to find out. Is raw right for me? I guess we’re going to find out! Stay tuned for updates on my juice detox and raw foods journey.
Food, Inspiration

Living Positively through Gratitude

Last night one of my close friends called me crying. She was heartbroken because her son had just left for bootcamp. He joined the Marines. She kept apologizing for breaking down and not “keeping it together.” She’s a super mom and one of those women that does it all and is there for everyone else, all. the. time. She amazes me on so many levels. She also kept saying that she couldn’t help but think the worst. I was so honored that she called me to let it all out, really meant so much to me. And the best thing that I could give her, was to stay positive. Then she asked me how and my only answer was gratitude.

There aren’t many out there that haven’t seen The Secret these days, it’s Oprah mainstream.  We all know about the Law of Attraction, and we all know the power of positivity.  But The Secret doesn’t really give you a manual or how-to for positive thinking. They just tell you to do it.  But how do you flip the positivity switch?

Live in Gratitude. Create a gratitude journal, write a list of 10 things that you are grateful for. Then write 10 more things. Then 10 more. Write 10 things every morning that you’re grateful for. This list becomes more powerful as it gets longer and as it gets more detailed. The longer the better, star including brief descriptions.

The more you pour into your gratitude journal, the more happiness you will bring into your life and the easier it will be for positive thoughts to replace negative. Gratitude simply the key to a happier life.

Today I am grateful for  Stephen, for dear friends that value my friendship enough to let their guards down and cry, for my yoga practice, for my business partners, for my amazing maid of honor, for the ability to follow my dreams, for being in Oprah magazine, for a mother that is as excited about planning a wedding as I am, for my health, for the health of my family, for my clients, for teaching yoga. Im grateful for you, for reading this blog.

What are you grateful for?