Show your liver some love

2015-09 LiverBring your hand to your right lower ribs. Behind the bones, just below your diaphragm, is your 3 pound, rubbery liver. Most of us are unaware of the body’s largest gland, unless there is a problem. But now is the time to start showing your liver some love.

You cannot survive without your liver. It supports almost all the other organs. Your liver is a filter for blood leaving the digestive tract. It detoxifies chemicals, metabolizes drugs, and makes proteins important for blood clotting. Special cells, called Kupffer cells, capture and digest bacteria, fungi, parasites, worn-out blood cells and a bunch of debris from cellular processes throughout your body. Imagine the constant fight your immune system would have without your liver’s help.

Viruses, like Hepatitis A, B and C, overuse of acetaminophen, and chronic alcohol abuse can cause scarring in the liver. Over time, the growth of scar tissue destroys the liver cells, a condition known as cirrhosis. Just because you don’t have cirrhosis doesn’t mean your liver is healthy, however. An overload of the bad stuff your liver should be filtering results in toxicity. An overloaded liver might show up as chronic fatigue, moodiness, bloating after a meal, or being unable to lose weight despite lots of dieting and exercising. Or you might not even notice it.

When I was researching my last “Lunch Date” call, I found out that eating too much fructose can lead to fatty liver and insulin resistance. Cutting down on or eliminating refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup helps ease your liver’s load. Eating whole, organic foods reduces the amount of toxic chemicals your liver has to filter out. Taking probiotics or eating fermented foods helps maintain your digestive system’s health so less bad bacteria and other microbes get to your liver.

Supporting your liver is supporting your whole body’s health. What other signs and symptoms of liver toxicity are there? How are you caring for your liver? Please share by leaving a comment.

Lunch Date: the science behind the sugar blues

This week’s “lunch date” is a 15 minute rundown on sugar. The history of sugar (including an interesting tidbit about the American Revolution), what sugar is, how your body processes sugar and what happens when you eat too much of it are covered. Plus I share how to spot hidden sugar in processed food and some tips on giving it up.

Listen in during your lunch break, or anytime. You can join me live on meet.FM every other Monday at 1:00 pm ET for another topic. Find the upcoming topics on my calendar, or join my email list for an invitation in your inbox.

Freedom has four wheels

2015-08 Freedom Car

That’s me with my new Honda Fit. Snazzy, isn’t she?

I am very excited to have a new car. (I might have said “squeeeeee!” in the dealership.) And while I’m very glad that it has room for lots of yoga mats, gets great gas mileage and is fun to drive, the reason I’m smiling so much is because I’m free.

You see, as every car in our driveway passed the 150,000 mile mark, they started to break down. Often. Car repair bills were getting out of hand, and even my mechanic started hinting that we should consider retiring them. Then one died, and suddenly we had three drivers with different but equally crazy schedules juggling two cars.

For someone who places a high value on freedom, being trapped at home without wheels is a drag. Yes, I can walk, and I did, but there were things I wanted to do that weren’t within walking distance. Plus, I was getting pretty stressed out about how I was going to manage the drive to Essex, New York, this winter to lead teacher training with one of the two remaining ailing cars. And there were a bunch of opportunities to lead workshops and yoga classes that I’ve been saying “maybe, someday” to, while thinking that someday would probably never come.

As weeks went by, my body tightened and my heart ached with wanderlust. I wanted to share all the tools I have for getting well and to support as many people as I can, but I was walled in. Then my coach asked a simple question:

“What is holding you back?”

And I knew what it was. I knew that until getting places was no longer a problem, I couldn’t move forward, literally or figuratively. And I couldn’t authentically help other women explore their ideas of freedom until I stepped into my own.

Buying a new car was a financial risk, but waiting risked everything.

On the day I picked up the car, I drew Elk from my Medicine Card deck. Elk’s medicine is stamina – energy to go the distance. I took it as a sign that the Universe is on my side.

Consider your dreams, goals, and plans. What is holding you back? And what would you be willing to risk to break down that wall? I’d love to hear from you. You can share by leaving a comment below.

“Lunch Date” talk – 5 ways de-stress your workday

Please enjoy this talk when I share five tricks I’ve learned to keep workday stress under control, wherever you work. These are techniques I used when I worked in public accounting and then in corporate finance. I still use them now, in my home office. My intention is to show you how to be calm, centered and much less stressed at work.

Join me for another lunchtime webinar every other Monday at 1:00 PM Eastern Time. Upcoming topics will include yoga, nutrition, aromatherapy and Reiki. Get the call-in information by signing up for my email newsletter or liking my Facebook page.

Dancing in the Moonlight

MoonlightOnce every three years or so there is a month with two full moons. The second is known as a blue moon. If you’re reading this on July 31st and you go outside right now, you’ll be standing under one.

Astrologers seem less excited about the second-of-the month aspect of today’s full moon than about the moon being in Aquarius. Breakthroughs in the midst of struggles are predicted. You’d do well to pay attention today.

But perhaps you were not even aware that the moon has just gone full. Why is the lunar cycle even important?

I grew up on the south shore of Long Island, on a skinny street between two canals. It was a poorly crafted street which went downhill as you traveled inland from the bay to its lowest point where the two canals dead-ended. When the moon was full, high tide was very high – so high that the ocean spilled over the bulkheads and flooded the street at that low point. If you needed something from the store, you were just going to have to wait a few hours.

Most of us live too cut off from natural phenomenon like moon tides to feel the consequences of the lunar cycle. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore it. The same gravitational pull that affects the tides draws gently of the water in your body. It changes you, in albeit subtle ways. When we start to pay attention – really pay attention – we become aware of those subtle changes.

Yoga is an excellent tool for building subtle awareness of your body. The practice of Chandra Namaskar, the moon salutation, taps into the cyclical nature of the moon while opening the hips, the seat of the second Chakra. The sacral energy center is the home of water energy. Water is changed by the moon. Do you see where this is going? The circling sequence of Chandra Namaskar itself represents the cycle of lunar transformation, the flow and ebb and flow and ebb that is the constant rhythm of life.

Are you tuned into the lunar cycle? Is it time to start exploring the moon’s ever-changing energy again? I’d love to hear from you. Share your comments below!

If you are going to be a chicken, be chicken number six

1...2...3...4...5...where's number 6?

1…2…3…4…5…where’s number 6?

Before I brought home six chicks, nobody told me how noisy chickens were. I knew roosters crowed, of course, but the hens? It starts in the morning with the “where’s that boy with our breakfast?” complaints and builds to the egg-laying announcements that I’m sure echo off the mountains. And at least once a day there is the alarmed squawking that brings the dogs running and at least one human member of the household outside to count chickens.

It goes like this: “One…two…three…four…five…(pause to look around)…where’s number six?”

When you share space with foxes and coyotes, you don’t name your chickens. We’ve been lucky so far and have all six still with us, but you never know. We thought we lost chicken number six to a feral cat last fall, but a day later she showed up at the gate.

You see, chicken number six won’t stay in the yard. While the other five chickens are content to hunt bugs within the fence-line or to lounge under the picnic table, number six is over the fence and scratching in the woods or, occasionally, wandering down the road. We’re not sure if she’s at the bottom of the pecking order or just an adventurous soul, but she’s always somewhere else.

I was watching number six in the woods today and it struck me that she seemed to be the happiest of the chickens. Since she takes the whole “free range” thing seriously, I imagine she is very well nourished. She has the juicy bugs, seeds and fresh greens that grow outside the fence all to herself. She is clearly fearless, having now had more than one encounter with cats that all end in the cat being told in no uncertain terms to back off. And she refuses to allow anything to limit her freedom.

Today number six is out there on her own, but every now and then the others follow her over the fence. Maybe all chicken souls are a bit adventurous, but only number six has the courage to lead the way. When I think of the women who have inspired me to nourish myself, be fearless and embrace freedom, I am grateful that there are number sixes out there.

Which chicken would you be like? Would you be scratching your way through the woods, or eyeing freedom from inside the fence? Who inspires you to test your wings? I’d love it if you’d share in the comments!

Essential Oils that Bug the Bugs

2015-06 Mosquito EONothing announces the imminent arrival of summer in the Adirondacks like itchy mosquito bites. I love to walk outside, but can’t bear to coat my skin with harsh chemicals to keep the bugs at bay. I also don’t want to spend all summer scratching.

Of course, the earth provides natural bug repellents. You can make your own bug spray with essential oils, water and witch hazel. Which essential oils bug the bugs? Choose one or a combination from this list:

  • Blue Cyprus
  • Citronella
  • Clove
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary
  • Tea tree
  • Basil
  • Rose Geranium
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedarwood
  • Lavender (this is the only one recommended for use on young children)
  • Peppermint
  • Juniper
  • Thyme

Here’s how I make my bug spray:

Essential Oil Bug Repellent

You’ll need:

  • A spray bottle (8 oz works well)
  • Boiled water (unless you have untreated well water)
  • Witch hazel
  • 30-50 drops of bug bugging essential oils (here’s my combo: 6 drops of clove, 6 lemongrass, 3 basil, 3 cinnamon, 3 lemon, 3 eucalyptus, 5 cedarwood, 6 lavender, 6 peppermint and 5 thyme)

Fill half of the spray bottle with the boiled water and fill the rest with witch hazel. (Leave some room at the top so you can shake it.) Add your essential oils. Cap the bottle and shake it. Spray on your skin, clothing and hair, being careful not to get any in your eyes. Reapply as the scent fades.

How to make your dream come true

The stories are everywhere, always uplifting, always inspiring:

Every day, people just like you go out into the world and make their dreams come true.

They did it. Why not you? You’re no different than any of these individuals.

Why Couldn’t Your Dream Come True?

2015-05 butterfly+pulling+rockTrue, it sounds hard. In fact, it probably is hard, with a number of obstacles to overcome. That may be excuse enough to put your dream on permanent hold. But how would you feel if you made your dream a reality? How badly do you want that feeling?

“Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.”
– Orison Swett Marden, writer

Could a Plan Help?

The easiest way to turn a dream into reality is one step at a time:

  • Choose one small thing to get done. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • Identify what scares you most about taking that step. Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I face this fear? Write down the worst-case scenario, and also write how you would confront it.
  • Choose a small reward for yourself once you’ve accomplished that activity.
  • Then just do it – and check that task off your list.
  • Now treat yourself to the reward, rejoice, and celebrate!
  • Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary and watch yourself get happier and healthier as you move in the direction of your dream. And enjoy the journey.

Need more inspiration? Check out Daily Good – a news blog full of uplifting stories. It’s my favorite source for good news.

What’s your dream? What one small thing can you do today to bring that dream closer to reality? What scares you? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

Inspiration to Run with the Wolves

One of my Goddess Spirit Circle sisters is reading Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ book, Women Who Run With the Wolves, and shared a reading from it when we met last month. I remember reading the book many years ago ( remembers I bought a copy in 1998!) and being wowed by the powerful feminine archetypes. Ready to be inspired again, I just ordered another copy. And when I was putting together graphics for my social media posts this week, I added some quotes from Dr. Estés. Stand up and howl, sisters!

CPE Stretch

CPE Wherever

CPE Woods

CPE Defiant

Do you have a favorite quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estés? Share it with me in the comments!

Affirmations for a New Year

I couldn’t let the clock strike midnight and usher in a new year without leaving you with some affirmations to inspire you in 2015. Happy New Year!