(Thanks to GLO and Grace Van Berkum for the graphic - more about Grace below)
Luckily my mom already had plenty of toilet paper, but we had a very limited supply of hand sanitizer. Scouring the usual online sources for the usual brands of hand sanitizer had me coming up empty handed. Then I recalled an online store my mom ordered from once around Christmas.
***Grove Collaborative specialize in amazing natural products.
They carry everything from hand soaps to multi-surface cleaners, to toilet paper and yes, hand sanitizer. I placed an order for this wonderful sounding hand sanitizer gel in blood orange scent with moisturizing coconut oils. I also ordered sanitizing hand wipes, some sanitizing spray cleansers, walnut scrubber sponges and a palm fiber scrubber. All the products were excellent. The Hand Sanitizer and the Palm Fiber Scrubber (for fruits and veggies, it’s the bomb) are now new favorites that I will be buying long after the quarantine is over.
***Thanks to experiencing a Cleanse and learning to incorporate smoothies in my diet with GLO’s, Grace Van Berkum, I learned about the products and companies below:
Sun Warrior Protein powder that is easily ordered on Amazon is another new favorite. Both chocolate and vanilla are excellent. This is an organic plant-based protein powder that is a great base for easy to make smoothies, that are delicious and super healthy to support the daily stress of this difficult and uncertain time.
Navitas Organics Plant-based Superfoods have added further nutrition and flavor to my daily smoothies. They still have a great 40% off sale, and I tried all of the following products: hemp hearts, Vanilla and Greens powder, chia seeds, cacao butter, cacao nibs and cacao powder, coconut palm sugar and cacao hemp organic almonds. Cacao hemp organic almonds are a new delicious favorite snack! I'll surely be buying these again.
This great company and their products are new to me, and I’m so glad that Grace pointed me in their direction. Along with Sun Warrior Protein, I’ve been boosting my mom's and my immune systems daily with these great products.
The Coronavirus doesn't stand a chance!
Trying the many, sure to please, GLO recipes that Grace has created leads to delicious success.
For me, I create a new recipe daily for Mom and me. It is fun to experiment. Below is the recipe from one of the yummy Smoothies I made:
1.5 scoops Sun Warrior Protein Vanilla
1/2 frozen banana
1 small avocado
Small Handful of spinach leaves
Good sized Handful of almonds (soaked overnight - skin still on)
1 tbsp hemp hearts
6 oz (I used almond or coconut) milk and 4-6 oz water
Blend in a Vita Mix or high powered blender. We have an Osterizer Commercial blender, and it works fine.
I’d encourage you to try these companies and products. I’m sold on the quality and service that I received and what a pleasant surprise to find new favorites at a time like this while quarantined indoors.
Be safe, stay healthy and keep social distancing - it is working!
Loving Life and Living Love,
I am currently back in Chicagoland to be near to family during this uncertain time.
I'm guessing that many of you are also in the quarantine mode of life, doing your part to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. After weeks of this social distancing,
I realize how much I appreciate technology as a means to connect with family and loved ones. FaceTime, Messaging, What's App and Email are very helpful at times like this. I am grateful for the access to it, the extra time to enjoy it, and knowing that those I love are safe.
Watching my grandkids jumping in puddles and riding on their scooters gives me a reason to smile and feel joy and hope.
I am grateful for the great parenting that I observe, as my grandchildren in this country and the UK continue to thrive. Schools have children and parents busy doing creative assignments using online learning and phone photos as a means to turn in assignments. Whether taking a ride and having a picnic in the open trunk of their truck or making maracas from paper plates, cups, dried corn and tape or coloring and practicing writing letters, or counting and recording how many two footed hops can be done in a minute - it's pretty special that teachers and parents are coming up with so many good ideas. Teaching our children to cope well in difficult times is a very important lesson. Watching my adult kids and their spouses partner with the schools to keep the children learning, busy and happy is wonderful to see.
I’m grateful for so much and hope to keep gratitude flowing as a balance for the news that is a constant reminder of the impact of Coronavirus each day.
Your coping skills and approach to daily activities are the messages your children will pick up. Who your children are tomorrow begins with what you do today.
May you remain safe, healthy and grateful during this time.
Loving Life and Living Love,
These Ayurvedic Tips to Boost Immunity are shared by Ayurvedic Healing in Santa Cruz, California, the clinic of Ayurvedic Physicians Suhas, Manisha, and Manas Kshirsagar.
COVID 19- Ayurvedic Tips to Boost Immunity
Wishing you and your loved ones health and peace of mind during these turbulent times.
Loving Life and Living Love,
I’ve led a workshop recently at the ashram on Ayurveda(knowledge of science of life) and Dinacharya (Daily Routine). It has been interesting to note that in a group of 40 people only 7 or 8 knew nothing about Ayurveda. Considering I had never heard the word Ayurveda before 6 years ago, I’m continually reminded that my views and knowledge were quite limited.
I’ve embraced Ayurveda and revised my lifestyle substantially, aligning more with yogic principles and Ayurvedic knowledge. It has been a natural flow somehow, and I’ve been compelled through my fascination with these two sciences of yoga and Ayurveda. The results I’ve seen and transformation in my levels of peace and tranquility keep me practicing and staying on this path. It was fun to share my experiences with others.
Interestingly, I’ve also been doing a 4-day “Gracious Living Detox Cleanse” with Grace Van Berkum that focuses on vegan and plant based raw foods. This is my first ever cleanse of this type. Grace’s story is fascinating, especially with regard to the impact she’s had on her father’s health issues - first with his cancer and recently helping him with Alzheimers and making great progress. I encourage you to check out her website www.gracevanberkum.com
The first day we had a delicious salad and chia seed smoothie (photo above) and then we had liquids on days 2 and 3. Day 4 was a combination of liquids and for dinner a delicious salad. Through this process I’ve learned more about the importance of Enzymes, which are obtained through raw foods and herbs. I’ve also learned about the importance and discovered some new sources of Chlorophyll, Phytonutrients, Good Fats and Plant Proteins.
I hadn’t realized, for example, that in order for beans to be a complete protein, it was good to eat rice either with the beans or sometime during the day as the food sources work together. I’ve also become a big fan of hemp seeds and learned about soaking seeds and beans to eliminate the gaseous feeling we often have after eating these foods. Soaking seeds and nuts removes the invisible shell of enzyme inhibitors and other nutrition blockers inherent in nuts and seeds. This allows for better digestion for humans. Soaking for a few hours or overnight makes the raw nut come to life and makes it easier to digest.
Bee pollen as a source of protein was also new to me. Soaking chia seeds in water or almond milk, again new to me, made delicious, easily digestible and healthy smoothies. Our smoothies included a green food for enzymes and chlorophyll such as cucumbers, zucchini, basil or fresh mint and additional protein sources such as hemp seeds or hemp hearts (3-4 tablespoons is equivalent to a chicken breast in protein), pumpkin seeds or flax seeds, avocado or coconut flakes for good fats. Colorful vegetables and fruits provide phytonutrients. Grace advises to limit fruit consumption.
We learned how to make almond or any nut or seed milk. It is incredibly simple and delicious, plus inexpensive. I am looking forward to blending this new knowledge of Grace’s 5 keys to good nutrition with my Ayurvedic principles and daily including them in my meal preparation.
Grace teaches that every meal should include these 5 elements in order to energize and have peak performance throughout your day. The 5 elements increase vitamins, minerals, fiber and hydration in the system. And her recipes are absolutely delicious!!!! I encourage you to investigate Grace's Wellness center in Nicaragua and check out her website which has a wealth of knowledge and great recipes.
5 Elements for every meal
Loving Life and Living Love,
Thanks to Daureen Collodel for sharing her sister, Deborah's video and some facts and solutions to raise awareness of the ever growing plastic pollution problem on our planet. Thank you for taking the time to read and view.
1. As of now we produce 300 million tons of plastic per year including 20+ million plastic water bottles a day.
2. 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year - most of that is single use plastic.
3. Plastic never goes away... the idea of out of sight out of mind or even recycling is not working!!
4. All of the plastic trash around the world is either burned or dumped in rivers and oceans or put in landfills forever.
5. The petro chemical plants tied to the big oil corporations are gearing up to build more plants and divest into making more (mostly) single use plastic.
1. Say NO to any single use plastic!
2. Shop sustainable small and local.
3. Sign petitions and support bans of plastic.
4. VOTE for politicians with a green agenda.
5. Call out big businesses that continue to think profit over planet.
Some Links..with tons of great info and positive work happening around the world:
Loving Life and Living Love,
I’ve been reading Yoga Essays for Self Improvement. In his chapter on “Lessons of Life”, Swami Jyotirmayananda ponders that 'despite man’s amazing academic knowledge, he is unable to control his anger and restless moods.' He further says that 'man does not know how to cope with his own problems in daily life, nor does he understand his own mind, nor does he experience true happiness and peace.'
It has been my experience, after meeting tens of thousands of people in my 66 years of life, that what Swami Jyotirmayananda states is true. As humans, we struggle to find peace and happiness, cope with daily problems, control anger and balance our restless natures.
He shares important lessons from the ageless wisdom of sages and saints of the past. Here are just a few of the lessons.
“Rather than giving credit to your ego when prosperity develops, recognize the glorious workings of the Divine Hand and be thankful to God. When affected by adversity, do not lose sight of the Divine Hand that sustains your every step; in fact what seems adverse is nothing but prosperity in disguise.”
…”Everything that happens to person has been designed for the unpliftment of his soul.”
Loving Life and Living Love,
Thank you to Banyan Botanicals and Rumin Jehangir for this great article and yummy recipes. See more about Rumin at the end of the blog.
Warming Herbal Chai Recipes for Each Dosha
Clarifying Herbal Tea Brrr...it’s cold outside! Gray days are calling for some inside time—preferably on the couch, curled up with a soft blanket, watching a classic film. Add a toasty fire to this story and we’re visualizing a lovely Sunday.
During this cold month, being dormant (like the plants) sounds perfect and natural. According to Ayurveda, the winter season is the time to slow down and reserve nutrients (similar to the plants) in order to sprout anew on a warm spring day, with an immune system ready to conquer the year ahead.
During the winter months, it feels instinctive to want to hibernate and spend more time indoors. The air outside can feel too cold and heavy to move through. At the same time, a lack of movement can decrease the internal heat we generate from normal activity.
Understanding and appreciating these seasonal qualities is important in supporting the immune system. Combined with the cold qualities in the external environment, the body can succumb to an increase of cold energy. As the season progresses, this may lead to seasonal imbalances.
Ayurveda recommends a counterbalancing lifestyle approach to help prevent imbalances: in the winter, balance the cold with warmth.
Herbal spiced chai is a delicious beverage for generating internal warmth and keeping the digestive fire burning. The pungency of spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, tulsi, and turmeric can ease the stagnation that can stem from the cold, supporting movement and flexibility. The rich, enlivening aroma awakens the senses, adding a little pep to the step, even on those gray days when the sun seems to have disappeared.
These spices, along with ajwain (carom), licorice, and fennel support the respiratory system, circulation, elimination, and activate digestion. The combined benefits can help lessen the impact of winter’s influence while nourishing the immune system.
So, the next time the sofa calls for a snuggle under a warm blanket, spice it up with a cup of herbal chai, as it’s going to get colder before it gets warmer.
Turn off the heat and add the tulsi leaves. Let the leaves steep for 3–5 more minutes, then add milk (optional) to your liking. Stir in the milk, strain, and serve. Makes about 2–3 servings.
*Honey—adding honey to hot tea reduces its beneficial properties, according to Ayurveda. It is best to add honey to the tea once it has cooled slightly. For the optimal results, do the pinkie test. If the pinkie can remain in the tea for 10 seconds, add the honey.
Rumin Jehangir is a NAMA certified ayurvedic wellness counselor who incorporates jyotish (vedic astrology) and ayurvedic nutrition into her holistic practice. Her website is chit.chaat.chai.
Loving Life and Living Love,
With the start of the New Year, many of us make New Year Resolutions and either vow to begin on the path to a healthier lifestyle or like me, we choose to renew our commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Statistics show that fitness centers and gyms are at their highest attendance in January each year.
I find it interesting to note in myself that while I’ve not had a cup of coffee in more than five years, nor alcohol, nor meat, my challenge is with sweets. Especially during the holidays, when the familiar favorite cookies, cakes and other sweet treats are seemingly inseparable from our family’s traditions, I felt the cravings for overindulgence resurface.
Occasional sweet treats are not an issue. Ayurveda is a proponent of moderation and right choices made most of the time. The more balanced our body becomes, the occasional ‘not ideal choices’ in food and drink become less of an issue, as our body quickly resets and recovers. One-offs are not the problem.
After I managed to keep the caffeine, alcohol and meat out of my system for more than a year, I’ve had little desire for these one-time staples in my daily life. I don’t consciously decide to not have them, I just have no interest in them. The present quality of my life and lack of the powerful side effects of the coffee, alcohol and meat have been effective dissuaders for me. I sleep better, digest better, no longer have puffy eyes in the morning or swollen ankles at night, and I have fewer headaches and no hangovers.
Sugar and sweets, for me, have proven much more challenging to keep in moderation. For the most part, I’ve slowed my appetite for them and can be satisfied with much less quantity than my pre-yoga and Ayurveda days. Yet, this holiday season, I noted myself eating way too many cookies and other sweet treats. I passed the mark of moderation. The positive is that I observed the setback and am determined to get back to better balance.
You might ask, ‘How do you tell if you are past moderation?’.
How much is too much? Or Why not splurge a little?
For each person the answers to these questions are a little different. For me, the indicator of a concern is that I start trying to talk myself out of eating something that is calling to me. The healthy me knows that there will be repercussions from overindulgence. More than a day or two of overconsumption inevitably results in negative effects. I become less energetic, feel the effects of stressful situations more, am more emotionally sensitive, start feeling deprived and increasingly want more sweets than the day before. Unfortunately, when that conversation begins in my head, most of the time, the craving wins - that’s when I know I’ve passed the mark.
Usually, there is no conversation going on in my head. If I feel like a sweet treat and am in a healthy balance, I have a small portion, enjoy it and don’t think twice about it. I may not have another sweet for days or weeks. When I’m out of balance, the cravings have a hold on me.
Each time I passed the cookie dish or candy tray while I was home, the voice in my head began. At the ashram there is less temptation, it is true. But there are still plenty of sweet treats available there, if I choose to have them. The cravings at home may have more to do with the nostalgia of holidays, and that requires some meditation about what that all means for me.
I know I’ve still got work to do regarding my strong attraction and attachment to sweets. Hence my New Year’s renewed commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Good luck with your New Year resolutions, whatever they may be!
May 2020 be filled with blessings for each of us.
Loving Life and Living Love,
In the Bahamas ashram where I reside for much of the year, it is interesting to note the interplay of the many, many people who come and go. Vacationers and karma yogis (those volunteering through selfless service in the ashram) display similar emotions and often arrive with many of the same problems from their life in the world.
Anxiety and fear are two of the most prevalent emotions that seem to plague people, and in a community of people living in close proximity to one another, it is interesting to observe what transpires. Anxiety is like a disease. Just as when one person catches a cold, if he is not careful, he easily infects others. So do those who carry anxious thoughts and then communicate them to others, spread anxiety.
One person tells his neighbor about the effects of the full moon being negative and causing harmful effects. The neighbor becomes highly frightened and feels intense anxiety in anticipation of the full moon. The first person has relieved himself of the information and feels a little better to have shared it with someone else. The neighbor however, is now burdened with these thoughts and feels anxious. And all of it transpires in the mind, not in any reality. Just as many good things occur with a full moon, as negative effects.
One such interesting positive impact is that a new moon is the time when the sap in a tree is at its lowest. This is a time when loggers cut down the trees and can avoid termites. Termites prefer the trees that have an abundance of sap. This bit of information was shared by a Swami visiting the ashram, as his father grew trees and taught him about the moon’s effects.
Fear can be destructive as it is a deep rooted disease of the mind. Fear clouds our reasoning, dulls the will and intensifies illusion. Anger, greed, passion, delusion and grief are companions of fear. Fear also affects our nervous system and brings about imbalance and disharmony in the functions of the body. This dysfunction gives rise to toxic elements being present in the blood and promotes psycho-somatic ailments. Fear is also a magnet that attracts negative circumstances. This is clearly seen by observing fear inflicted people.
Fearful people cause fear in others. And so the anxiety mentioned above sets in.
By observing others in their habitual process of spreading fear and creating anxiety, I’ve come to realize that it is best to keep anxiety to myself and try to dissipate the negativity and underlying fear that accompanies the anxiety by involving myself in creative work and selfless action. Disengaging from the fearful thoughts helps me to develop the ability to see things in their proper perspective. Fear and anxiety most often include exaggeration and unfounded assumptions.
For some, every day is a new calamity fueled by fear and resulting in anxiety.
As Swami Jyotirmayananda says, “…develop insight into the structure of the subconscious and gradually change that worrying habit. Fill your mind with positive impressions so that each time nature creates a situation for anxiety, immediately your intellect brushes it aside. You have nothing to be anxious about, so train your mind to see clearly and not become overwhelmed by petty things; transcend them. Also, understand those qualities that are contrary to anxiety: calmness of mind, cheerfulness, open-heartedness, joyousness, courage and hope. Promote them all. If you free yourself from anxiety, your mind becomes a garden of spiritual qualities…”
I like to think of this “garden” of the mind, as one filled with beauty, love, patience and joy. Fear and anxiety do not grow well in this type of soil.
Loving Life and Living Love,
I am in picturesque Vermont! It is my first time here, and with the Fall foliage turning such beautiful colors, it is an ideal place to be.
I’m here for a Panchakarma program. The word panchakarma means five actions and refers to five procedures intended to intensively cleanse and restore balance to the body, mind, and emotions. Some of you may recall that I did a Panchakarma program in India with Dr. Vasant Lad last year. Allison Morse, the Ayurveda doctor and owner of The Ayurvedic Center of Vermont (where I am right now) was trained by and worked with Dr. Lad for a number of years. The center's therapists are also Dr. Lad followers and students of his.
You may be curious as to why I would need an intensive cleanse when I follow a mostly healthy vegetarian diet, do yoga practices daily and already have been on an Ayurveda health routine of herbs and supplements for nearly five years now. You may also wonder why I need another cleanse after having one last year in India. Both are good questions.
While I try to eat a very healthy diet, I cannot control the environmental impacts of air quality, nutrients or lack of nutrients in the food I eat due to the soils the food was grown in, noise pollution that I often encounter, or emotions that may be negative. Emotions such as anger, annoyance and frustration, sadness, fear, guilt and disappointment have all made their way into my psyche throughout the year. My response to these emotions is very slowly improving, but it is a daily struggle and practice. Some situations put my emotions in what feel like tight knots inside my body. My digestion and sleep are both negatively affected.
Emotions are highly impactful on the body’s nervous system, which then affects all other systems in the body. My emotions are less extreme than they once were, and some emotions I’ve listed only appeared on a few occasions, but nonetheless, they did appear.
All this to say, the balancing that will be the result of Panchakarma treatments will be very beneficial.
I can’t say enough positive about this Ayurvedic Center of Vermont experience. The staff are gentle, kind, skilled, highly educated, and proficient in their services. The accommodations are fantastic, and I feel so at home in the tastefully and comfortably decorated yellow house. The sun room/dining area where I now sit to write this blog, overlooks a lush backyard with beautiful trees, bright red sumac, a lovely flower garden, brick patio and birds, bunnies and squirrels in abundance. It is a magical place.
The kitchen, yoga room, library and each of the cozy, spacious bedrooms have views of the beautiful, natural setting. I’m able to spend time reading, hiking, meditating, chanting, contemplating and enjoying the quiet beauty of the nature around me. I've also met interesting and lovely people since I arrived. I am so grateful to have found this place and highly recommend anyone interested in Ayurveda healing treatments to consider coming here. They have weekend ojas/energy building retreats and many other services besides the Panchakarma that I am doing. Even if you know nothing about Ayurveda, but you know you need to recharge and relax, this would be a perfect place.
Their Abhyanga massages and Shirodhara (warm oil streamed on the forehead/third eye) are so relaxing and rejuvenating - heavenly! Everyone would benefit from these treatments. The treatments are done at the Center, less than a minute walk from the yellow house, in an historic building with beauty, charm and a special healing energy.
Those who follow Ayurveda in India do cleanses twice a year - in the Spring and in the Fall. It is a regular routine for them to maintain good health. In Thailand, pretty much everyone regularly gets Thai massage; in some parts of Europe regular salt baths are part of the health routine. Many other countries do some type of yearly treatments as a typical maintenance for their bodies. In the West, we have Spring cleaning for our homes but there is no annual health routine that I am aware of. For me, I’m so grateful to have discovered and had the opportunity to participate in this once a year cleanse which will not only balance my body, mind and spirit but will also give me more energy to meet the days ahead with joy and peace in my heart.
I am deeply grateful to the wonderful staff here and the equally wonderful accommodations. What a blessing!
Loving Life and Living Love,
I've been enjoying giving Ayurveda Bliss Treatments for the past three weeks at the Sivananda Ranch. If you ever wanted to experience an ashram with delicious food a warm and cozy feeling of spirit and amazing terrain, I'd highly recommend visiting the Ranch. Fall colors and cool temperatures are greeting me daily in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and I am soothed by warm drinks. Tea is my go-to favorite, but there are some lovely drinks that have pretty powerful heath benefits too.
Thank you to Lorilee Gillmore who shared these delicious latte recipes in a Banyan Botanicals post. Energy for the morning and peaceful rest for the evening - Ashwagandha has it all.
Good Morning Ashwagandha Matcha Latte
Ashwagandha’s powers are accentuated by matcha in this recipe. Matcha, a powdered green tea, is made from the whole tea leaf and is loaded with natural antioxidants, providing a sense of calm while also promoting awareness.
Matcha also contains high levels of an amino acid called L-theanine, which calms muscles. Plus, matcha contains moderate amounts of caffeine for a gentle energy lift. Blend this superfood with the goodness of ashwagandha and you will be ready to take on the day.
Good Night Ashwagandha Chamomile Latte
Ashwagandha’s ability to help the body relax into a restful night’s sleep is strengthened in this recipe with the aid of other popular herbs. Well-known as a sleep aid, chamomile (both European and Egyptian) has been consumed for centuries for its calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system. The floral flavors work well in this recipe with the earthy ashwagandha.
Turmeric works its magic while you are sleeping, easing excess heat, boosting the immune system, and supporting healthy intestinal flora. The ginger and cardamom aid the digestive process, while the cinnamon can help to support healthy blood sugar. Nutmeg crowns this golden latte, calming the mind, while also adding its warming and fragrant nature.
While the herbs are simmering, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.
Once the herbs have finished simmering, pour the liquid into a mug while straining out the herbs. Pour milk over the tea. Sweeten to taste with the maple syrup. Add a pinch of nutmeg to finish.
Sip on this delightful drink a half hour to an hour before bed, before you begin your bedtime routine.
Milk Substitutes. Please feel free to use a milk substitute for either of these recipes. A creamier type is recommended, such as coconut, or even macadamia.
You can also use other nut milks as substitutes. I encourage to you choose a substitute that is appropriate for your dosha, be it vata, pitta, or kapha, and to make your own nut milk rather than store bought. It will not contain stabilizers or preservatives and generally be healthier for you. And yummier too!
Lorilee Gillmore is the owner and operator of Moksha Ayurveda Phoenix.
Loving Life and Living Love,