Get Wild- A Day in the Woods….Wild Gourmet Food for 40, Hydrosol How to’s and Spring 2018 Chicken Stu Event with West Virginia Extension and Urban !

There are so many opportunities to Get Wild and explore Your Backyard and Beyond!

backyard alchemy hydrosols and essential oils

Summer 2017 found the United Plant Savers’ Interns dabbling in alchemy by making Hydrosols with my Copper Alembic Still. I also set up a demonstration of how to make a table top version with large cook pots for an Anybody Can Kitchen Apothecary approach! It was a great group to work with, they picked plenty of Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis for the large still and we created a facial toner of rose, lavender and lemon balm for a refreshing and renewing spritzer in the table top demo. While we waited, poured, changed the water we all ‘wafted” our way through Jeannie Rose’s The Vocabulary of Oder. How fun. Once we where done pouring off both still, they had to sniff there way to deciding which of the 7 Odors their alchemy produced and you know what, they all came up with very similar review! Young noses. They also named and labeled their labors appropriately!

Unitred Plant Savers Botanical Sanctuary
History of UPS

Spring of 2017 found Hopewood Holistic Health and partners OSU Extension, United Plant Savers and  Rural Action offering Wild Food for 40 and more… It was an extension of OSU’s A Day in the Woods where normally share a Wild Slide presentation, talk and walk about to about 50-70 interested Ohioans. This adventure was an opportunity  to get their fingernails dirty planting Ramps with Tanner, walking the woods with me and learning to prepare and eat those tasty Wild Treats! It was a great success.   Wild gourmet food for 40 from soup to nuts  or should I say nettles to ramps!   Lunch demos and eats included; nettle wild mushroom quiche, nettle ramp wild mushroom lasagna, ramp garlic mustard pesto and hummus, ramp crackers, violet-goat cheese roll up canopies, wild mixed green salad, violet honey, violet butter, pickled ramps, wild mushroom pate,.  We started the morning with paw paw/persimmon and strawberry/knot-weed muffins…. Dandelion coffee, nettle mint tea and roasted root Tea.  Oh it was a busy, tasty day.

Wild, wonderful and free for the picking

Thank you all who came and thank you United Plant Savers for hosting our pre A Day in The Woods OSU Extension’s “How to” Wild Plants event.  Rural Action, you all rock and Tanner… Yes Ramp Man…. we can now, not only dig ’em… we can plant and propagate ’em.. too, a much more sustainable solution. I  Could not have done this event  without the help of herbal volunteers and Paleo-cooks, Kim and Kim and Bill, Crazy Dave and Jenn… past students, friends, and inspiring herbalists!

Test your wild plant knowledge, you know more than you think.

It was a lovely, vibrant spring day, we where lucky to catch the sun amidst a raining week… thank you Green Goddess and Sun Spirits!  40 plus folks came from all over Ohio and Pa to join in the fun and be delighted by taste tantalizing treats from the wild (with help from lots of friends and Nature’s Bounty… cooking for 3 days prior).

 

Much was shared, Chip and John shared a presentation about  the history and great new plans at United Plant Saver’s Goldenseal Botanical Sanctuary (please join, become a Botanical Sanctuary Member, Sponsor Herb Students and or donate to the new James Duke Library and Welcome Center).  A project near and dear to my heart.    Paul Strauss was there as well as Chip, an

umm umm good

d John, caretakers and Office Manager extraordinaire,

It really was a  beautiful day at United Plant Savers with artists, herbalists, students and Lonnie, newest manager and steward of herbs and yoga at Equinox Botanicals.  I feel we are in good hands with the next generation… but hold on, the older generation ins’t done yet, there is so much to share, learn and love!  Come visit, hike, stay the weekend in the Tornado Cabin or one of the rooms in the “barn” pretty nice “barn” accommodations….stroll, walk, swim, be inspired by nature at it’s  best.

It was a day to learn how to… Yes, How to make our own… food from the wild and as importantly, why… we ate, oh we ate…and we hiked, botanized, took time to sit in the sanctuary only Nature can offer and  ponder. We learned to Id and plant ramps and felt community with new and old friends and nature.

So many Thanks…. to each and every one.  Next year?  Who knows, Wild food for 100! Oh joy!  Just need a little help from my friends and our Green Plant Allies…………… now go ahead, I dare you….”Get the Green Spark

Upcoming 2018 will find Hopewood on April 12-14  at the West Virginia’s Urban Agriculture Gathering Chicken Stew!  Thanks for the invite Annette Ericksen of West Va Extension.  Plan to enjoy a Walk about Exploring Food Security and Value Added Products in Your Backyard & Beyond and maybe a second session Permaculture Solutions Large or Small, It all Starts with a Resource Inventory!  Should be a bountiful time of year to explore Wild Urban Solutions.

It’s Time to Take Time but do it NOW to Save!

New Early Bird Date

Val, Lura and I are so excited to share The Art & Science in Wellness II this year in The Blue Zone of Costa Rica! Ahhh Yes, find yourself nestled just outside of Uvita, Costa Rica immersed in Waterfalls, Bamboo Forests, spotting Whales and Dolphins and delving deep into yoga, art expression, creative movement,  meditation, breath and more.  New for you this year is the access to YACEP logo CEU’s or CMU’s in Allied Health, Yoga and Massage, just ask.  So join us and experience Yoga in new ways, open and balance your Chakras, discover your Dosha and renew your spirit!

Some folks are already signed up but to ensure early bird saving to all, I do need to alert folks to one new change, I am shifting to a new marketing company, BookYogaRetreats.com and they take a percentage.  So early bird prices will end earlier than stated on the first flyer.  I will be redoing it and reposting it but for your convenience and saving, I am sending out the alert now.  Stated EB prices will end November 15th. and the regular price of $1,750.00 will stand regardless if you book through me or BookYogaRetreats.com after November 15, 2017.   It’s their policy that I only have one price advertised.

$1,750.00 is still an outstanding price for the event as it includes sweet accommodations, amazing cultural cuisine, all in-country travel, guides, entrance fees, all your yoga, art and materials and  a chance to be in one of the healthiest, happiest most  beautiful places in Costa Rica.   Experience the Playa and beauty of The Ballena National Park and the jungles and cloud forests from N to S in this amazingly diverse gem of a country.

To register or for more information follow the links below  or contact Rebecca with any questions you might have.  740-590-3954 or becaherbtravel@gmail.com.  Yes, It’s Time to Take Time!  Discover wellness, renew your commitment, find the joy  as you  gain new insights and techniques that will broaden and deepen your skills in teaching or your personal practice.  Namaste

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New International Eco-Journeys for 2017, It’s Time to Take Time

Rebecca teaching yoga at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize
Rebecca teaching yoga at Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize

Eco-wellness wanders with Rebecca!  Wow it’s time to start planning for two amazing Holistic Journeys  this upcoming winter.  Hopewood Holistic Health is teaming up with two Wise  and Wild Women this winter to offer, The Art and Science in Wellness Feb. 4-11, 2017.  Join me, Lura Shopteau, Yogi and Integrative Medicine Practitioner and director of Bienstar Yoga Shala in Uvita Costa Rica along with Valerie Dearing, Yogi and Omega Inst. Artist in Resident, founder of Valerie Dearing Yoga, for a truly special 8 day/7 night  eco-wellness adventure.  The tropical paradise of Costa Rica will set the stage for this exploration of wellness, nature and art , all designed to nurture your heart, your mind your soul.  

Your trip begins with transportation from the San Jose International Airport to the sustainable bio-dynamic eco-lodge, Finca Luna Nueva near Volcano Arenal.  We will spend 6 nights here, exploring the grounds through Farm, Sacred Seed, Waterfall tours and night hikes.  While at Finca Luna, we will explore tropical plants and food as medicine through healthful, ‘localvore’ meals, workshops on Tropical Medicine, Flower Essences and Hydrosols!   You are guaranteed to have fun and deepen your understanding of Pan American and Tropical herbs, their healing possibility, scared foods (chocolate) and the history of Sacred Seeds.BodyMindSpirit.jpg

Every morning, Lura, Val or I will offer an opportunity to explore various Yoga and Qi Gong techniques. This is a chance to test the waters with something new or delve deeper into your existing practice.  We will offer Yin, Kundalini, Hatha Flow, Iyengar, Partner and MRF (Myofascial Release) selfcare classes integrated with Qi Gong breath and flow.  You can schedule  privates in yoga, Qi gong or MFR if you wish to deepen  your skill or forestmed11have personal needs and questions.   Lura, Val and I will also be sharing  afternoon or evening sessions in meditation, art exploration and Chakra  Awareness & Balancing.  All workshops and classes are open to participants and scheduled around various eco-tours to ensure you experience as much as there is to offer, but know, you can join in or just take time for yourself  as this is your chance to let go, relax and be present in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

We will transfer on the morning of our seventh day to the boutique accommodations of Hotel Bougainvillea.   This will give us a chance to reflect, rest, relax and enjoy the shear beauty of Bougainvillea’s grounds, gardens and pool.  The hotel is situated a convenient 20 minutes from the International airport so your last day shuttle will be worry free.  We will enjoy one last eco-adventure along our three hour journey to Hotel Bougainvillea so you can experience one more tropical delight that the tiny county called the Cost of Riches has to offer, but your have to be there to know what it is.   This experience is all inclusive once you IMG_1361arrive in county at the San Jose International Airport, all for the Amazing Price of   $1,475.00-1,575.00   based on double or triple occupancy.  A $300.00 non-refundable deposit due by Nov. 1st . Pay in full upon registration, save $100!, you can’t beat that.  A sir charge of $100.00 applies after Nov. 1st . Round trip air, tips and gratuities not included and we request you have your own international travel & health coverage. 

For Information or to register Contact  Rebecca Wood  at 740-590-3954 or becaherbtravel@gmail.com or www.hopewoodholistichealth.org and on facebook/hopewoodhealth!

For more specific information on teachers and programs contact Lura Shopteau at  506-8505-1369 or www.lurashopteau@gmail.com and Valerie Dearing at 330-397-1250 or www.valeriedearingyoga.com   Find and follow us on facebook and instagram for updates, pictures and specials!  Once you register a full daily itinerary will be sent to you.

Belize

For our second Central American Adventure of 2017 Rebecca and Hopewood Holistic Health is thrilled to join the incredible offerings of Arts and Cultural Travel for an UnBelizable experience Belize; Through the Lens and Beyond!  Join  me and Botanist, Herbalist, Author, Photographer Steven Foster and special guest Herbalist, Author Dr. Rostia Arvigo Feb 12-19  2017 (yes, I am a busy gal this winter, but how lucky am I.  As Rumi said “Travel brings power back into your life” ).  Steven and I will share our love of tropical plants, nature, birds, Mayan history & culture from the Rain-forests of the Cayo District to the Reefs of Southwater Caye.

The backdrop for the first five days of this Eco-Botanical & Photography Adventure  extraordinaire is the lovely DuPlooy’s Rain-forest Lodge.   Explore the surrounding grounds of The Belize Botanical gardens and hikes and tours of neighboring Eco-Resort, Chaa Creek.   Daily field sessions and adventures with Steven will sharpen your photographic skills, be it with camera or I-phone, helping you to capture the beauty of plants, nature or landscapes.  Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned photographer…in Steven’s words “You do not need sophisticated, expensive equipment to take great photographs. It’s more about understanding simple concepts – lighting, being in the right place at the right time, and patience. I will show you have to get great photographs with whatever camera you own.”  Steven is an old, dear friend and herbal mentor, I know your will love spending time with him as much as I do.  All workshops and  adventure outings are designed to capture the culture, botany and exquisite natural beauty of Belize and a glimpse of neighboring Guatemala.  Tours include; Barton Creek Cave canoe tour, Mayan archaeological sites in Belize and Guatemala and the inland Blue Hole.

Sunset SW Caye
Sunset SW Caye

Ahh, but, we aren’t done yet.  You will spend your last two nights on Southwater Caye, one of the most pristine cayes on Belize’s Barrier Reef.  Listen to the waves lap the shore under you cabana, tour the surrounding cayes and reefs by boat and kayak and for be sure  to just take time to sit, ponder, wonder and wander…..

Pricing for this trip is just about done, it is all dependent upon the numbers of participants minimum 6 max 15  but we are looking at $2,700-3,200. So, if Photography, Herbs, Wellness, History and or Culture are your interest, grab a friend and sigh up now!    It’s an amazing opportunity to travel, explore and learn form the talented, skilled  and fun hosts.  Let us and our local expert guides will share our love of Belize’s Botanical, Natural and Cultural secrets.  This is all inclusive adventure once you are picked up at the Belize International Airport and you’ll love the flight back from Dangriga  to the airport mid morning of your last day, making for a spectacular and EZ transition  from Belize to home.

To register or get more information  on pricing and workshops or tours please contact  http://artsandculturaltravel.com/portfolio/photography-workshopbelizefebruary-12-19-2017/  For more general questions or to get to know your hosts check out www.stevenfoster.com or hey, me Rebecca at www.hopewoodholistichealth.org.

Stay tuned for more information on any of these tours and follow us on facebook, instagram and our individual web sites. 

 

Breaking Boundaries through Nourishing Traditions in Food and Culture!

Hopewood Holistic Health & The Center for Food and Culture of Bowling Green Ohio brings your this Eco-Culinary and Garden Experience in Belize.  The Food and Culture Center’s main goal is to nourish connections people make to food, through food and the implications these connections have for our communities, environment, and quality of life.  What a better way to understand ourselves and others than tour their country and  experience their stories through their food, herbs and gardens.

During this journey, Doctor Lucy Long a professor in Eco-tourism and Foodways at Bowling Green University and Rebecca Wood of Hopewood Holistic Health will share their love of food, it’s nourishing tradition, ethnobotancial uses and foodways as we tour the country of Belize this winter. We invite you to join us as we discover the Maya secrets of copal resin in healing, the role of rue for medicine and magic and how red roses or hollyhocks might stop blood flow. Taste the spices of the Creole, Garifuna, East Indian and Maya in their traditional dishes with (garnochos, tamales, hudnut, serre, recado, fy jacks or dukuna) and share their history, stories, fears and dreams.

We’ll walk among the tropical gardens, milpas, monocultures and polycultures then discuss first hand, the pro’s, con’s and concerns of present and past farming techniques with the farmers and families that tend them. You’ll taste cocoa from the pod, sucking the sweet white pulp from your fingers before you bite into the bitter chocolate of the bean. We’ll pondering the trade routes and traditions of chocolate; the maya ‘drink of the gods’ and why the beans, once a currency for trade is now a major part of international trade and industry.

Each morning we’ll wake up to the many colorful birds of the tropics, the aroma of coffee and then discuss our days adventure as we sip our morning brew with a tipico breakfast of tropical fruits, gallo pinto and plantain. We will tour the shade grown coffee coppices, so important in trade and livelihood of Belizeans and indigenous throughout the world and see and hear about impacts and consequences of our love affair with coffee and chocolate and why is the concept of fair trade, worker owned, value added is so important to their lives of many. Or, we might find ourselves floating down a lazy jungle river, comparing the beauty the land use and the importance of water and water ways, both here and at home.

We will tantalize our taste buds with a plates of’ beans and rice’, ‘rice and beans’ or your choice ‘stew beans and rice’ with the obligatory dash of Marie Sharp’s many hot and exotic sauces and then try to count the multitude of ways to prepare and savor plantain (a banana relative), coconut and the many regional specialties.

We are bound to have more than one version of a Belizean Boil up; a dinner of corn, beans and pumpkin (squash) or cassava tubers and yams with hand made tortillas (made from you) on the comal. The variation will never bore you as the roots, spices and choice of fish or poultry (for the non vegetarians) vary with each culture and tradition.

Each day we will discover the importance and necessity of food , how it’s planted, harvested, prepared and the stories, prayers and cycles of the moon that dictates these long traditions. We will experience the diversity of the tropics, taste the sweet juice of fresh squeezed cane and see why some farmers grow the many flora just because they are muy bonita as my friend Don Saul says, “The flowers, they are so beautiful, they just make you feel better when you work so hard”.

A special part of our adventure, as always, is daily opportunities to slow down, with gentle yoga, qi-gong or nature meditation. The exploration of art, music, dance and craft unique to each culture in Belize will also give us pause. Rachel Clark another Holistic Journey guide will help you integrate all of these experiences through her Getting Closer to Nature sessions. These optional sessions are open to anyone and will entice you to tap into your inner artist and create your personal journal of your adventure.

I can guarantee you will enjoy the company and culture of those who will tell their tales and share their lives with us throughout this journey. We will nourish ourselves through food, art, music but also by expanding our insights into others as we learn what brings people of all cultures to the table and how breaking bread or folding tortillas helps bridge the culture gap through commonality, laughter and life’s stories. It’s time to take time. For a better world and a journey you won’t forget contact Rebecca Wood for more information on the Dec. 10-20 or Feb 18-28 trips. becaherbtravel@gmail.com or check us out at www.hopewoodholistichealht.org or hopewoodhealth@facebook.com.

 

Bound For Belize

From Hollyhocks to Hibiscus; Belize Bound-Join in the Adventure!

You Betta Belize it! Holistic Journeys is offering two amazing Eco-Cultural experiences for those with a sense of adventure, love of plants, ethnic food, art, music, history and of course the beauty of tropical nature. Pick the time that’s best for you and your family, but pick the time, these 10 day inclusive adventures are filling fast. Either adventure (Dec. 10-20 The Flavors of Belize and Feb. 18-28, A Plant Lovers Journey through Time and Tradition) will immerse you in the diverse culture of Belize; the Maya, the Creole, the Garifuna and more. Prepare yourself for taste sensations, hearth fire aromas, jungle sights and sounds and healing sun, sand and time, yes time, when was the last time you took some time just for yourself and your family. You can choose to participate in the many activities Holistic Journeys has in store for you or just relax in a hammock, with palm fronds dancing in the breeze and toucans flying in the trees.

Rebecca Wood and guest hosts will ensure your expectations will be met with comfortable, culturally unique accommodations and a choice of diverse experiences to meet your level of interest. Tour healing gardens and art parks, walk with Rosita Arvigo along the Panti Jungle trail, enjoy open air family style meals of tropical fruits, coffee, curry, fresh caught sea food, hand-made tortillas and rice & beans served Belizean style. Picture yourself cave tubing, snorkeling, kayaking a jungle river, enjoying the view a top a Mayan Ruin or walking through coffee and chocolate farms while you nibble locally harvested and prepared chocolate (food of the Gods). One thing is for certain, you will see Belize from all angles, cultures, land and air and you will return with a new perspective on people, places and yourself.

As an Herbalist, Ethnobotanist and Natural Health Care Professional, Rebecca will share her joy and knowledge of pan-American and unique plants, how they are used traditionally and how you can use them in your everyday life. So find out how hollyhocks and hibiscus can be made into a tasty healing tea or how the magic of marigold or man vine might just be for you. You’ll be busy, but every Holistic Journeys trip includes daily wellness options of yoga, qi gong, nature meditation and reflection time, join in or sleep in but don’t miss this exploration of one of the natures best kept secrets; Belize! It’s time to take time, for more information contact Rebecca at becaherbtravel@gmail.org.

 

Spring Plant Spotlight 2012

Spice bush, Lindera benzoin, is one of the two members of the Lauraceae family found on mesic sites throughout the Eastern Deciduous Forest. This multi-trunked shrub can be easily recognized in every season once you learn its individual characteristics. Know as “forsythia of the forest” because its waxy yellow flowers brighten the sleeping woods before any other woody shrubs have woken up. It is an important early insectory and nectory plant for the immerging insects buzzing about.

Lean in close and take a whiff… Ah, the light spicy flora essence is what attracts these critters and subtly spikes our interest in the changing season. It’s waxy deep green, simple leaves are also a recognizable characteristic creating a rounded or arched configuration and deepening the forest shade where it is found growing in dense clumps. Early explorers looking for rich farm land used this shrub as an indicator for rich moist soil and sadly removed the forest for farming and the bergeoning western expansion of a growing nation. We now see them an indicator for ginseng and goldenseal or other woodland medicinals that prefer A moist quality site. It’s bright red barrel shaped berries are easily recognized and a cheery contract in the autumn understory. These fruits provide food for many forest species and have been dried and used for centuries as a spicy cooking condiment. (Don’t forget to crumble, scratch, sniff and taste the leaves, berries and twigs to help you place this plant in your herbal memory!)

The aromatic twigs and leaves have long been used in blending delightful teas and medicinally as a strong tea or decoction for mild, colds, flu’s or fevers. It has a mild diaphoretic, stimulant and expectorant action (Howell 2006) and has been used for delayed menses and as a spring tonic. Foster and Duke (1990) also reference the use of the berries as a carminative and the oil from the crushed fruit as a rub for sore muscles, bruises and rheumatism.

One of my favorite tea blends, created by my students is 50/50 spice bush twigs and white pine needles. It’s so light and sweet it doesn’t even need honey. But experiment, it’s tasty with sumac berries, sassafras and raspberry leaves too! Spice bushes light and sweet taste makes it a good choice for children or those of us with delicate tastes and olfactory senses.

Another recent use of the dried berry is in scenting candles, soaps and sachets. I would gander it would add a “spicy twist” to any bay rum recipe. Regardless of how you use it, it is important as with all plant allies to have a positive Id, know when and how to harvest and prepare and use all ethical aspects of wildcrafting. It’s also important to share your personal experiences and discoveries…….happy exploring. If you want to Get the Green Spark and learn more about Spring treasures in the Appalachian forests join us May 13th at the Goldenseal Sanctuary follow the link Love Your Mother for information on the United Plant Savers Mothers’ Day Celebration for hikes, workshops and more, more, more.

Rebecca Wood
Herbalist & Educator
Hopewood Holistic Health
14411 Rocky Pt. Road Athens Ohio

Sources: Peterson Field Guides, Easter/Central Plants, Steven Foster and James A. Duke 1990. Medicinal Plants of Southern Appalachians by Patricia Kyritsi Howell 2006 and many, many years in the woods.

Get the Green Spark; Food for Health


Your Backyard and Beyond 2012 series
By Rebecca Wood
hopewoodholistichealth.org
Winter 2012

Tired of diets, handfuls of supplements, confused as to what herbs or pharmaceuticals are helpful or harmful? Here’s a way to get a handle on nutrients, not nutri-ceuticals. First step; Get the “Green Spark”, go for plant based, whole food, seasonal food and food prepared with love and joy. We certainly are what we eat and we are a culture that loves to eat and drink. So why not “eat, drink and get healthy”, you’ll find merry falls right into place. When all systems (circulatory, integumentary, respiratory, digestion, immune, etc.) are in sync; we feel better, move better, look better and better things just come our way. Whole plant based food can do that for us, it also opens the door to cultures, colors, taste, texture and health.
What, how and when we eat positively or negatively affects our health, so why not pack as much Fiber, Phyto-nutrients, Anti-oxidants and Water into every meal. Read the stat’s: most American’s and especially the elderly are chronically dehydrated and constipated. Processed food, STOP; research reveals a 51 % increase in type II diabetes if you eat processed meats like coldcuts , a 19% increase if you eat just one serving of unprocessed red meat per day (Delicious Living 2012). Even the young are suffering, overweight adolescents have tripled since 1980 and 16% of children ages 6-19 are now considered overweight (ASPE.hhs.gov). What we eat is key, but it’s more, according to the recent book The Metabolic Diet Effect (Harper Collins 2010), diet along with age, menopause and chronic stress greatly affects our health and healthy outlook, that’s why just slashing calories and increasing exercise doesn’t equate to weight loss and fitness. Real food, whole food, when and how you eat, and managing stress must be considered.
Two films that have a broad appeal and present simple ‘how to solutions’, are Forks Over Knives, directed by Lee Fulkerson and Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue with Rip Esselsytn. Other films that will shake your socks off are Fast Food Nation and Food Inc. The data is there and it’s SAD, yes and it’s mostly the result of the Sad American Diet! If you’re not into movies and you’d rather snuggle up to a book, try any of Michael Pollan’s, Food Rules, The Omnivores Dilemma (or the Kid’s version), In Defense of Food or one of my all time favorites, The Botany of Desire. Barbra Kingsolver’s , Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is also informative, inspirational and fun.
“The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore, the physician (and you) must start from nature, with an open mind” Paracelsus.
Understanding the ins & outs of health and healing are also key. These wise words from an ancient healer offer insight to health and healing. It’s not just the right combination of foods, but adopting healthy habits including fresh air (nature), walking (or your choice of regular exercise), sitting in a quiet, contemplative setting, regular small meals at the table, focused breathing (at least three
times a day for 5 minutes), creative outlets and community. These suggestions coupled with an open mind and compassion will insure a path to enhanced wellness.
Yes, we can improve our health and it starts from a ‘podium of positivity’ and acceptance of who we are. Personal responsibility and action are also key, because if we don’t do it, it never happens. Case in point, in the past, I spent a lot of time on good diet, healthy habits and exercise but I noticed I always measured my progress by what I didn’t achieve. For example: if I missed a workout or yoga class or had that extra glass of red wine, I felt just dog-gone guilty. Then a friend shared a simple suggestion: focus on that ‘I do’ vs. the ‘I didn’t’.
So – I created a list of all the healthy things I did every day, hummm . . . simple but what a shift, instead of ‘shoulding on myself’, I started looking, daily at all the positive things I did. That shift in outlook, along with positive affirmations and time in nature, really helped me accept myself and move forward in my goals of health and wellness. Now I share that bit of advice with all my students and clients.
Give these simple solutions a 30 day trial. Consider shopping at farmers markets, food coops or local grocery stores when possible. Fresh is better and the shortest path from garden to table will always be a healthier choice, there are many studies comparing the nutrition of organic and fresh to processed and transported foods. Common sense tells us that healthy soil, fewer chemicals, shorter shelf live and knowing the source of your food leads to greater health benefits. It also supports your local community and economy.
Make preparing your meals as much fun as eating your meals. Sit down, share meals and chew, ponder, take it all in; the smells, colors, tastes. Eat the colors of the rainbow, later we’ll discuss phyto-nutrients in detail, but suffice it to say, plant based chemicals and nutrients are those vitamins, proteins, minerals, enzymes that are essential to health, you can reduce your supplement list to a few key needs. Assess how many colors are on your plate. How many flavors? Try to incorporate the 5 Flavors – sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy. Yep- the Sad American Diet (SAD) usually includes two flavors, Sweet and Salty, and is heavily processed- canned, boxed, bleached, additive enhanced and preservative dense, that is not food.
So, Get the Green Spark, take a tour of your local farmers market or grocers’ produce section. Notice the colors, read the labels, and if most of the calories are from fat and sugar, put it back. Look for words like Whole Grains, Certified Organic and talk to your local farmers and growers, become a part of the slow food, local movement and read that ‘I Do’ list – I bet in 30 days your health, outlook and livelihood will improve.