How To Improve Digestion and Metabolism

We’ve often been taught that digestion starts in the mouth. We are reminded and encouraged to chew a certain number of times and the enzymes secreted in the mouth begin the digestion process. And while yes, this does occur….digestion actually begins before you take that first bite.

 

Digestion begins in the brain. The moment you begin to think about a meal, the smell, the visuals of the meal, the taste…even the amount of pleasure and satisfaction you receive from the food play a role in how it is digested. The is called the cephalic (head) phase digestion response and contributes to 40-60% of our digestive ability!

 

How many times have you eaten a meal while you continued to power through your work? Or while driving? Under an intense amount of stress? Or even eaten food with fear, guilt, and shame that it may cause you to gain weight or that you “shouldn’t” be eating it? Unfortunately, these have become cultural norms.

 

When we aren’t present to truly receive nourishment from our meals and initiate this cephalic phase of the digestive response, our brain doesn’t register the food and will continue to tell us to eat more. If we are consuming our meals quickly, stressed, and possibly in a fear-based mindset (ie. this will make me gain weight, “expert’ said I shouldn’t eat this, this is “bad” for me, etc.) the body will activate the sympathetic nervous system, which means that we will have excess cortisol, blood sugar dysregulation, impaired digestion, immune dysregulation and appetite dysregulation among other things. Because the body believes it is under attack, less blood is supplied to the digestive system. Nutrients from the meal are unable to be absorbed properly and we even excrete more nutrients to help combat the perceived “attack”. We may experience gas, bloating, and digestive discomfort soon after due to eating too quickly and/or in a stressed state as our digestive organs aren’t a priority in a chronic stress state and our gut microbiome is also be shifted under stress.

 

Let’s all take a deep breath after acknowledging all the things that could be going on when we aren’t in the optimal state of digestion and start honoring some simple things we can do to improve it.

 

  • Step away from work or any other distractions (if possible)
  • Center yourself back into the present moment with 3 deep breaths while arriving with your food
  • Take in the visuals and scent of the food
  • Bless the food: give gratitude and honor all the work that was put into the cultivation of the crops, whoever cooked the food, and that you have food present to nourish your body
  • Set an intention: I like to set an intention that my food be digested with ease and grace and all the nutrients of the highest good be absorbed
  • Chew each bite with intention as you allow yourself to fully experience all the flavors and pleasure from the meal (so rather than counting how many times you’ve chewed, savor the flavors and textures of each bite as long as you can!) 
  • Take your time. If you struggle with eating quickly…this may be difficult. Try extending your mealtime by just 5 minutes this week. Remind yourself that there is always enough, that it is safe to be present and eat slowly, it is safe to enjoy and savor your food, it is safe to experience pleasure and satisfaction from a meal.

 

Fear around food and pleasure are a whole other topic soon to come. Stress can de-sensitize the ability to experience pleasure, so that means you require more of that meal or dessert in order to be satisfied if you eat it in a stressed or fearful state. **(remember those fear-based thoughts and feelings of guilt or shame significantly impact our metabolism!) 

For now, I invite you to bring more presence and awareness to your meals. To slow down and fully experience your food in a new way without the old stories that carry the heaviness of fear, guilt, or shame. Bless your meals and your body each time you eat. Honor your divine and sacred temple with the nourishment you deserve.

All of these are simple things to think about and shift at your next meal. And if you find it to be difficult, that is normal. This is a practice, just like anything else in life. Each meal is a new opportunity. Each time you fail you learn something new. Bring some curiosity to your next meal.

Let me know how this goes in comments below!

 

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How Binge Eating Changed My Life

You’re on your way home from work or school, you’ve had a terrible day. Your mind is so overwhelmed, you’re exhausted, and all you want to do is numb out and check out from the day. You feel as if you never got anything done for yourself, and frustrated that yet again another day has passed. You just started a new diet earlier this week, but you’re really craving something that isn’t allowed on it. After making decisions all day long, your mind is now fatigued and all you can think about is how much you deserve the ice cream. You skipped or ate a small breakfast, maybe skipped or ate a very late lunch (in a hurry while still working or thinking about how you needed to get right back to work), and as you eat dinner you are ravenous, so you eat it quickly and maybe more than planned. After you complete your dinner, you still feel hungry not long after, or maybe you start to feel guilty for eating more than you should, so you curse yourself and your plan and start to eat anything in sight. You then feel as if you’ve completely screwed up and proceed to the store to buy the items you previously considered “off limits” and binge on them, maybe even before you leave the parking lot, or somewhere in secret away from your friends and family. You feel as if something has taken over your body, you feel completely out of control, you eat until it becomes physically painful, until you feel numb to life. After the binge, here comes the guilt and shame. You start to beat yourself up mentally, cursing your choices, believing that you lack willpower, that you are powerless, that you have a problem or feel broken. You immediately proclaim that the next day or diet will be different, maybe already making plans to further restrict the next day or rushing to get in extra exercise to account for your binge. The only problem is the binge happens, again and again, driving you insane, driving you further into a downward spiral of feeling hopeless, lost and broken. Does this sound familiar?

I know this scenario because I too have experienced it. Years ago I believed there was no way out. But I am here today to tell you that what I perceived at that moment to be one of the most shameful and embarrassing behavior patterns was a Divine symptom that forced me to wake up and look at my life closer.

Prior to binge eating taking over, I was completely obsessed with controlling and restricting my food. It felt like the one area in my life I could have control over when everything else felt chaotic.  What started as a seemingly innocent diet morphed into a very disordered relationship with food. Maybe you’ve been there too, you go on a diet, restricting your food intake, and/or eliminating certain foods. You have good intentions, you want to lose X amount of pounds so that you are “healthier”, more confident, more loved (what your mind tells you) or maybe you read an article or watched a documentary that terrified you, and so now you have eliminated all of your favorite things…forever.

In the beginning, these new diets can be exciting, we put all of our energy into planning and preparing meals and doing intense exercise. We believe that if we push hard enough we will receive all the happiness and joy when we reach our goals in the future, and it will be all worth it. We become obsessed with counting calories, weighing and measuring food AND OURSELVES,  We reduce ourselves to standards created by our society that are so flaky they can’t even commit to themselves. So we end up forever chasing some elusive goal, that even when met, we still feel unhappy and not good enough. Even if you were to achieve your “perfect” body, you will continue to live in fear of losing it when approached with this mindset.

Right around the time binge eating started for me,  I was at one of the lowest moments of my life. Even though I was below my original “goal weight”, I was still not happy with my body and felt I just needed to push harder. After weeks of trying to restrict my food more and even double up my workouts, my body actually began to gain weight. Yep, my worst fear was manifesting and I felt frustrated and angry at my body. I lost my period, my hair was falling out, I was freezing cold all the time, my digestion was terrible and ruining my life, I had no energy, I felt lost, hopeless, depressed and was having panic attacks at the same time. I had isolated myself from everyone, refused to socialize or ever have an ounce of fun. I had also completely suppressed all of my creativity during the last few years and my emotions pretty much my entire life. The obsession with control and restriction began to falter, and I began to actually lose all control, binging multiple times a week.

I was so disconnected from my body that it took myself falling apart and losing all control to get my attention.

To be completely honest, I’m not sure how long I truly struggled with the binge eating…it started out occasional episodes and then continued to grow until finally one day I broke down completely. I struggled some as a teenager with this unwanted behavior as well and was terrified to see it return at the time. I prayed at that moment for a creative solution, a way out, anything that would help me heal. I had also at this time found out I had an autoimmune thyroid disease Hashimoto’s, which I then had a lot of work to do in healing the false belief around me “causing it” due to my past disordered behaviors, but that is a whole other story in itself. Having an answer to why I felt so “broken” gave me some sense of relief, but I still felt like this was all happening to me, that I was powerless and a victim. I didn’t understand why I was going through this and I felt betrayed by my own body.

 

The binge eating doesn’t go away overnight, and it continued to stick around until I began to implement more compassion towards myself, my body, my habits, and release the limiting beliefs, old stories, victim mindset, self-judgment, and attack towards myself.

  • I had to learn to become more embodied and connected to what I was actually feeling in my body. Scary, I know. ( Yoga  and meditation helped me tremendously here, find a compassionate teacher ❤ )
  • I had to learn how to enjoy and relax into life more, even among the uncertainty.
  • I had to begin to work on releasing all the fear and anxiety I had around food and allow myself to begin to eat in a way that supported, nourished, and fueled me.
  • I had to be okay with experiencing pleasure and joy, to rediscover and express my creativity, to begin to release all the fear around stepping into my authentic truth, speaking up, and allowing myself to be fully seen.
  • I had to let go of all the stories of how I thought I was “supposed to look” and who I was “supposed to be” (according to society) and actually begin to explore who I am in this exact moment and begin to love and appreciate that.
  • I had to release all control. (binge eating is an interesting balancing act, as this “out of control” behavior shows up when we attempt to excessively control and restrict in other areas of our life, i.e. controlling our expression of emotions, creativity, withholding our authentic truth, our appetite and consumption of pleasurable foods)

I began to shift my perspective towards my situation and begin to ask:  

  • What is it that these symptoms are here to teach me?
  • What is it that my body needs at this moment?
  • Where is life asking me to grow and show up?
  • Who would I be if I could release all of the obsession with food and my body?
  • How would I utilize all the life force energy being spent on criticizing myself and worrying about food if I let all that go?

Most importantly, I had to forgive myself.

 

Binge eating used to bring me intense feelings of shame, but now I feel grateful for its teachings. It forced me to look at how I was treating myself, to slow down, to begin to heal and rediscover balance in my life.  

This type of work takes time, but if I could leave you with a few tips to start with that can make an impact today, they would be:

Self Compassion & Embodiment

Self-compassion is a practice that entails being more kind and gentle with ourselves, knowing and understanding that there will always be difficulties in life and that we can overcome with extending the same compassion, love, and kindness to ourselves as we would to a friend going through a difficult time. It acknowledges that we are not alone in our struggles, that all human beings are imperfect and as a collective, we are all going through similar struggles. It also includes a mindfulness practice, where we observe discomfort, thoughts, and feelings without judgment and without over-identification.

Highly recommended read: Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff

Embodiment is being in the body you have right now. Learning to love, care for and accept it exactly as it is in this moment. Our emotions, feelings, desires, hopes, dreams, fears, pain and love all reside and live within the body, and to suppress and ignore them further disconnects us. With binge episodes, you are disconnected from the self, so taking a moment to reconnect to your breath and body through a meditation, talking with a friend or professional, dancing, art, yoga, or even just taking a few moments before eating to take 3 deep breaths and set the intention to eat more slowly and mindfully, enjoying each bite and savoring it.

I know the thought of dealing with these components may seem completely overwhelming, but I ask you to take a deep breath and know that you are so much stronger than you know. It doesn’t have to be a huge and heavy task that you try and do all at once. Start to play with the self-compassion component, practice slowing down and being more present with your food. Maybe try some meditations and yoga with a gentle and compassionate teacher, begin to explore what it feels like to reconnect to your body and how it feels, as it is always communicating with us.
Bonus tip: binge eating occurs also when we aren’t eating balanced meals or enough food throughout the day. Try experimenting with eating a larger breakfast and lunch with normal or maybe slightly smaller dinner if it tends to be large and see how you feel, trying as best as possible to be fully present with our food and eating in a soothing and relaxing environment. However, sometimes…binge eating has nothing actually to do with the food itself. Our imbalanced relationship with food is often a direct reflection of our imbalanced relationships in life and disconnection from our body’s wisdom. 

Meditation I recently recorded infused with Reiki energy, intended to help you cultivate self-compassion towards unwanted behaviors such as binge eating: https://youtu.be/MPQ621HpicE

If you would like support getting to the root of binge eating and/or working on transforming your relationship with food and your body, please set up a free consultation with me here. This is for us to get to know one another briefly and for you to receive guidance on where to best focus your attention in order to get where you want to go. I just ask in return that you honor my time by showing up or letting me know in advance if you need to cancel/reschedule. If you’d like to learn more about coaching first, you can read about that here.

If you need support on your journey or have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at caroline@nourished-strength.com

 

Energy Healing Journey

2017 has been an intense yet amazing year for me. I started down a path of accelerated growth when I began working with mentors who trained me in energy work. I began to connect with myself in ways I never had before, peeling back the layers of doubt and fear that had caused me to guard myself, especially my heart.
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My whole being opened up, and in the process of opening, I found my gateway into healing myself and assisting others in finding their opening as well.
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As I began to release all the limiting beliefs, doubts, old stories and fear that stood in my path I began to be propelled forward to the people, places, and things that were being shut out by my MIND alone. They were always there, I just was never slowing down enough to see, feel and hear the guidance directing me to them. I was clogged up with negative thoughts that kept me stuck in self-sabotaging behavior patterns.
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Along with discovering the power of my mind, I began to observe the cycles and rhythms, the ups and downs of life. Realizing that there will always be challenges or obstacles but that I could shift my perception and see them as training for my soul’s growth, the lessons I am here to learn, and I could move through them much more gracefully. With every down, an up is soon to follow. We must keep ourselves grounded, connected, and present to learn the lessons. Knowing that energy moves, it must soon shift, nothing ever stays exactly the same, truly.
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We often times live in these old stories without realizing their impact on our lives because we have simply gotten comfortable with those thought patterns, our brain sees the unknown as a threat, so we fear it. We resist what wants to come into our lives, pushing away the opportunities, people, and ideas that we were meant to do something greater with our lives because we are so wrapped up in the busyness, completely overwhelmed. We stay stuck in and reliving our greatest fear every.single.day. when we brace ourselves against it, as it consumes our thoughts, attracting the very thing we don’t want to us.
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The good news is you can shift this at any moment, all you need is the willingness to see it differently. Connecting to your breath in the moment, beginning to use it as an anchor to ground you into this present moment. Breathe in love, exhale all doubt and fear. As you begin to do this consistently, bringing more mindfulness and awareness to your thoughts and patterns, you can create a space to shift it. You will discover your opening. Meditation helps this, but energy healing will take it to a deeper level!
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PS. Don’t be afraid to feel your feelings. We are often taught to suppress them and move on, stay busy and avoid them. This only promotes the blocks, fueling the fear, the emotions literally get stuck in your body and influence your thoughts and wellbeing. Obviously, we don’t want to hurt others or react in a harmful way (meditation will assist you here in training you to create space before you react and allow you to respond in a more aligned way with practice-or at very least allow you to notice when your not aligned!) but if we never process our emotions they can’t be released (energy healing helps tremendously here!. The paradox is when we slow down and process we are freer because we have less holding us down.

While meditation is a powerful training system for our mind and I believe it assists us in learning to better handle daily stressors, if you are still struggling with mental and emotional stress, energy healing such as Reiki may be extremely beneficial for you! Reiki can be done in person or from a distance. My goal is actually within the next few weeks to months is to be creating some Reiki infused meditations and online courses to assist you further in your journey! These can be done alone or in combination with private sessions with me to further accelerate your healing and growth.

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Photo Credit: Artist Lori Portka

You can order prints and goods from this amazing artist here!

Resistance & Fear

I’ve been questioning a lot what exactly I want this blog to be.  It has been over two years since I’ve made a post. It started as a project for school, but I’ve always wanted to “make it something special”. A place to share my journey, to share what I’ve learned along the way, to help others who are struggling and looking for connection and support. I’ve always hesitated to make any posts at all because, in my mind, nothing was ever good enough. This is a deep fear that holds most of us back, it keeps us small, it keeps us stuck. We end up dying never sharing our gifts because we are so outwardly focused on trying to please and receive the love and attention from everyone around us,  or give all that we have to someone else, that we forget to give that love to ourselves FIRST!

Have you noticed this in your own life? Are you giving so much of yourself to others that you don’t have anything left at the end of the day (you may even be crashing before your day even begins! This happened to me at one point in my journey) Are you comparing yourself so much to everyone else that you forget who YOU are? Do you spend most of your time and energy trying to please other people, seeking their love and gratification, only to end up empty-hearted and disappointed?

I spent most of my life playing small because I was afraid of who I would be if I began to release the limiting beliefs and fears that held me back. The fear of the unknown, the uncertainty can be overwhelming. At times we can even begin to imagine the worst or even say the most hurtful things to ourselves because we believe that if we say these things to ourselves first, or experience this truama in our mind, then no one else can hurt us. What we don’t realize though is that focusing on the “worst” or the “bad” in our lives only creates more of the same. Not to mention this raises our stress hormones through the roof, which begins to break down and dysregulate our bodies. While it is important not to sugar coat what is going on and pretend that everything is perfect when it most certainly not, there is no harm in beginning to believe that you can and will open up to the greatness in your life that is waiting to embrace you! When you do this, you begin to raise your own vibration, attracting into your life the people, places, and things that will help you achieve whatever greatness it is that you desire for yourself.

Life is not always easy, and certainly not perfect. We are all going through some struggle at some point in time. Even when you are focusing on the good and flowing, you will have lessons to learn, you simply move through them with more grace and ease as you embrace this practice. It takes time, it takes patience, it takes you being kind and supportive to yourself. What if we could start to relax into the uncertainty and allow what wants to come up and move through us in the moment to do so, rather than fighting it so viciously? What if we could open our minds and hearts to others, to see them in a new way, to challenge ourselves to see things through their eyes? Doing this in a way that we stand grounded in our true values, but open up to the compassion, curiosity, and playfulness within our spirits.

My challenge to you is to simply become more aware of your thoughts, without judgment and without attaching to them (Remember they are just thoughts!)

How are you speaking to yourself? Could you begin to soften and treat yourself the same way you would treat a deeply loved friend?

What experiences trigger fear in your life?

In what ways does this fear hold you back?

In what ways do you resist and suppress your truth?

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With the energy of releasing and letting go, I will leave you with something I wrote on the theme of resistance floating in my mind.

Pushing, screaming, kicking, fighting
Clinching onto these beliefs
Holding on so tight,
As if I let go I might die
Who would I be without them?
Where would I run?
Where would I hide?
What would I do?

What if I could just let go?
To allow,
To accept,
To breathe,
To just be?

To trust that I am guided on this path
Growing slowly,
Growing into who I’m destined to be

It feels light
It feels supported
It feels completely loving & adorning
You don’t have to have it figured all out
You don’t have to control every single step,
Plan every minute or second of your day

You can just stop,
Breathe,
Ask & listen

The voice you hear is your truth
Divinely guided,
Divinely supported,
Full of Divine love

Listen closely my dear,
Allow the releasing of all fear.
Let go of the doubt,
Let go of the littleness,
Let go of the need to be perfect

Breathe through the discomfort,
As the emotions move through in waves.
Simply be with your body and this moment

Listen,
Receive,
Trust,
Believe.

-Caroline

 

Update: I recently recorded a meditation on releasing resistance, which can be found here, on YouTube ❤

Watermelon, Blueberry, Jicama Salad – 4th of July

Simple fruit salad honor of the upcoming holiday! Crunchy and sweet ❤

Watermelon, Blueberry, Jicama Salad

Watermelon, Blueberry, and Jicama Salad

  • 1/2 watermelon, cubed (3-4 cups)
  • 1 large jicama, peeled and cubed
  • 2 pints of blueberries
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • Fresh mint, to taste

Mix all together in large bowl and enjoy!

Jicama
  • Low in calories and low on the glycemic index scale
  • Excellent source of vitamin C
  • Contains insoluble fiber (great prebiotic for friendly bacteria in the intestines)
  • Texture of a radish, taste similar to an apple
  • Best consumed raw in salads, salsa, slaw, or sliced into sticks for snacks
  • Peeling jicama and slicing it can be a bit difficult at first, but worth the effort!

If you would like more tips on how to cut jicama check out this post.

Meditation Techniques

In my previous post, I shared an infographic that displayed some of the benefits of meditation and how to begin. Next, I would like to share some other meditation techniques that also provide the same benefits.

  • Mindful Meditation: Mindful meditation involves taking a break and making yourself aware of your surroundings and/or sensation in the body. Start with a focal point—typically your breath. When thoughts arise, simply acknowledge them without judgment and let them pass by, like waves on a beach or clouds in the sky. As you inhale and a thought arises, exhale and let go of the thought.
  • Guided Meditation: Type of meditation practiced with the help of a guide or a teacher.

Free resources for beginning Guided Meditations:

Free 30 Day Meditation Challenge (5-10 minutes)

BexLife YouTube 4-Minute Guided Meditations (4 minutes)

Hay House Meditations: Free Podcast (time varies)

  • Mantra/Affirmation Meditation: Mantra is given to focus on. As your mind begins to drift, you bring your attention back to your mantra or affirmation. Repeating a single phrase over and over sends powerful messages to your subconscious mind.

♥ Mantra = chanting of sacred Sanskrit sounds. The pronunciation is important, as the vibration from these sounds cultivates inner power and healing.  Example: Om is the universal sound of creation

♥Affirmation = Statement that affirms an action or feeling. Meaning that matters, not the sound. Repeating an affirmation is a way of feeding the subconscious a positive suggestion to enhance wellbeing. Choose affirmations that resonate with you and your intentions. 

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TIP: You can program these into your smartphone to pop up as an alarm or reminder throughout the day.

If you would like to use an App that will provide daily affirmations with an option to set an alarm I enjoy this one by Gabrielle Bernstein called Spirit Junkie

  • Moving Meditation: Walking, Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi
  • Visualization: Picture yourself accomplishing your goal, creating your dream. How do you want to feel? Visualizing yourself reconnecting with nature. Repeat a mantra (or statement or phrase) actually experiencing it and the feelings associated with that mantra. Could also utilize a guided meditation that creates an image for you to visualize and have a healing and/or rejuvenating experience.
  • Prayer: Moments of silence asking for help and Divine assistance. Maybe a time spent expressing gratitude, love, and compassion. Handing over your problems to the Universe to let go and release. Surrendering to Divine wisdom and a larger plan.
  • Journaling: Time spent reflecting and an opportunity to release feelings by putting them down on paper, especially if you are unable to verbally express them. If these are negative feelings you are releasing onto paper you can even physically burn them. Journaling may also give you the chance to discover creative writing skills or your inner poet.

Meditation: Fitness For The Mind

I was going to write out a post highlighting some of the benefits of meditation and busting some of the myths. Seems this awesome infographic beat me to the punch.

meditation infographic

Not mentioned above that may peak the interest in many…..

When should you meditate?

  • Start with just 5 minutes in the morning before you do anything else and too many distractions arise.
  • Before bed (yes, your prayers and thoughts of gratitude count as form of meditation)
  • When you feel overwhelmed (Too many tabs open in your brain?)
  • If you are having trouble making a decision
  • Before writing, public speaking, meeting people
  • Feeling any sort of anxiety or depression
  • Anytime you have a few spare minutes (instead of scrolling through your favorite social media feed…I am guilty myself here)

How to MEDITATE?

Simply think of meditation as taking time to sit quietly and breathe deeply.

  • Sit in a comfortable position, but make sure you sit up straight. Sit cross legged on a folded blanket or pillow to elevate the hips. You can also use the wall to support your spine if you need to. If you are more comfortable in a chair that works also, move away from the back of the chair and ground feet into the floor, keep the spine straight.

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  • Select a calm and quiet place. Turn off electronics or remove them from the area during your meditation. If a distraction does occur, simply acknowledge it and return back to focusing on your breath.
  • Close your eyes and breathe deeply, focusing on the inhale and exhale. (Counting helps. Try inhaling for a count of 6, holding for a count of 2, and exhaling for 6. Giving your mind this simple task to focus on will help clear your head)
  • The goal is to train the mind, NOT necessarily empty it of all thoughts. It is normal to have thoughts arise. The trick is to just “notice” them but do not react (create situations in your mind around them). I once had a teacher describe it as cleaning up a desktop. Each time a thought enters your mind simply attach a label to it. (Feeling, action, person, sound, ect.) Then imagine dragging it and organizing it into its proper file, then continue focusing on breathing in and out until the next thought may arise and repeat.
Consistency is more important than duration, so schedule in the time for yourself each day. 
  • Start small and stay consistent. Goal of just 3-5 minutes a day. Eventually work to increase this time after establishing the daily habit. Set a timer before you start.
  • Create a regular routine. Specific time and location.

MEDITATion on the fly

Take note of those moments when you feel overwhelmed, as this is the PERFECT time to use this tool that you have been practicing every morning. No matter where you are you can use meditation technique to calm yourself or even reenergize yourself depending on the situation.  Take the time to slow down and reconnect with your breath. Breathing deeply will activate the parasympathetic nervous system (also referred to as “rest and digest”) and this is where healing and recovery occurs. Once you take this time for yourself, you can come back from it with a clear mind and feel rejuvenated.

Even Charlie makes sure to get in is time on the meditation pillow….

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In my next post I will share some more mediation techniques…

Comment below if you have any other resources you would like to share or tell us about your personal experiences with meditation!

Slow Cooker Chicken Vegetable Curry Recipe with Immune Boosting Spices

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates

Food is information, not just calories. The choices we make when it comes to food influences gene expression and the immune responses in our body that can promote or prevent disease. Most all diseases begin with inflammation in the body, which can be intensified with poor diet choices. The easiest way to take charge of your health is to eat real food! Minimizing packaged, processed, and “fast” foods as much as possible.
This particular recipe does use a larger variety of spices and herbs for flavor and nutritional enhancements.  The best way you can build up your own medicine cabinet on a budget would be to buy a few new spices at a time or even growing your own. An awesome discount website for spices (among many other health products) is vitacost.com
You can follow this link to get $10 off first order http://goo.gl/dGbSeu

My medicine cabinet:

Medicine Cabinet


Want to learn more about the benefits of the spices used in this recipe? Check out this blog post by Christa Orecchio: http://thewholejourney.com/homemade-immunity-spice-mixture-your-new-secret-weapon
TIP: Always add black pepper when cooking with turmeric. Piperine is a compound in black pepper that improves the absorption of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric that has anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup chicken bone broth
1 lb chicken (I had boneless, skinless breasts)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
Cauliflower florets (I used 12oz bag of frozen)
2 cups chopped bell peppers (substitute zucchini or another veggie for AIP)
1 medium onion
1 Tbsp coconut oil
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger root (or 1 tsp ground, dried ginger)
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander, ground
1 Tbsp turmeric
1 Tbsp fennel seed, ground
1 tsp paprika (optional, omit for AIP)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional, omit for AIP)
1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
1 tsp salt
SERVES 4

Directions:

Heat up the crock pot and place the chicken broth and chicken on the bottom.
Over medium heat melt the coconut oil in a skillet and saute’ the onions until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and all of the spices, stirring frequently heat until highly fragrant (1 minute or so, careful not to burn).
Add the onions and spice mixture to the crock pot with the chicken and broth. Stir well to allow flavors to combine.
Layer the cubed sweet potato on top of the chicken, then the cauliflower and peppers. Cover and cook over low heat 4-5 hours.

slowcookercurry

NOTES/OPTIONS: I was using up the only vegetables that I had on hand, feel free to change them up or add more. If using greens may be best to wilt or steam, adding at the end. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet simply swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth and add some chickpeas or lentils instead of chicken. I did not have any coconut milk on hand and was not going out in the icy snow weather to buy it either. Many curry dishes contain coconut milk and you are welcome to add this in place of some of the broth.

chickenvegcurry

Connecting the Mind, Body, & Spirit

choosehealing

This is an introduction to my journey and the practices I will be exploring to focus on healing from within. I will also be providing tips and resources that promote an improved quality of life. These practices are not indented to be a cure for any condition, but simply bring balance and harmony back into your life.

Aristotle believed that every person was a combination of both physical and spiritual properties, with no separation between the mind and body.

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