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Last week, I braved the elements and ventured over to a traditional Chinese medical clinic for a session of acupuncture. My first experience with acupuncture was years ago, when I was living in Brooklyn and training for a marathon and got seriously injured. After one session with a therapist my ankle and knee healed very rapidly. If you are like I was at first, the idea of getting poked with needles in order to promote your health may seem a bit cray-cray. However, my most recent session really opened my eyes to that fact that there is nothing crazy about it at all. In fact acupuncture not only balances the organs and the overall energy or “chi” of the body, in is effective in treating numerous conditions including: chronic pain, digestive issues, gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, infertility, sleep disturbances, chronic fatigue, asthma, sport injuries, weight loss, acne, migraines and more. If you want to see some incredible testimonials just get on YouTube and search for acupuncture. More research is being conducted, but acupuncture can also have a very positive effect on relieving stress, anxiety, and even depression.
So how does this work? There are a lot of different scientific theories floating around about why acupuncture produces results, but the basic idea is that the insertion of thin needles releases any blockages or disruptions in chi (or qi), which then travels through channels in the body called meridians. Think about your body like a vehicle. When any part of the vehicle is not functioning optimally it affects the flow and eventually whether or not the car will run properly. When our organs are either overworked or weak, because of the wrong fuel (diet), or other factors, eventually we get clogged up in some areas and may show outward signs of imbalance. Acupuncture acts like a retuning of our overall energy flow so that balance can be restored.
If you are still a skeptic, don’t knock it until you try it.
~Xo Raw Girl
#GOTVEG GIVEAWAY !!! Starting September 7th until September 28th, 2015 enter to win a FREE EBOOK copy!!!
I’m excited to give away some free books packed with information and inspiration sure to jumpstart your healthy lifestyle. To enter the contest:
- Sign up for the Raw Girl email list here: http://bit.ly/1JBgAwK
- SHARE this post with 5 friends on Facebook or Instagram (Tag me on Instagram @therawgirl or on Facebook www.facebook.com/therawgirl)
- Email a picture and 400 words or less about your personal health journey
Winners will be announced every Sunday and will receive their ebooks the same day! XO
Last Friday, the photo shoot for my forthcoming book was indeed epic! Can’t wait to share with you all. For the shoot I worked with a Sephora makeup artist who gave me a completely all-natural look using makeup that was vegan friendly, paraben-free, talc free, and cruelty-free. I was super excited to finally get rid of the last remaining makeup products I use often that contain questionable chemicals.
It was very refreshing to learn from the makeup artist I worked with how many vegan, paraben-free, and cruelty options are now specifically at Sephora. My two favorite vegan-friendly lines were Hourglass, which has a range of tinted moisturizers, foundation, powders etc. and Bite Beauty which has an awesome line of lip glosses and lipsticks in fun colors that are made from fruit and resveratrol. The Hourglass line is not entirely vegan, but they have a large number of options so if you go to purchase inquire with the sales rep.
Frankly we need as many cruelty-free, vegan, toxic chemical free options as we can get, until the cosmetics industry has the epiphany that it is not okay to sell beauty with the added health risk of exposure to toxic substances daily. Just like we are what we eat, we are what we put on our faces. Did you know that the makeup industry is generally unregulated? So the only person who can truly look out for you when it comes to cosmetic products is YOU. Do your research. If you have not done so just yet, take a moment today and look through your makeup bag. Google any long fancy words you don’t understand, and really consider if using that product is worth the risk. Makeup is a wonderful thing, it can enhance naturally beauty and help us feel our best but in this toxic world we live in we have to be vigilant. If we can’t get access to toxin-free cosmetics, it may be best to just rock our natural vegan glow. -XoXo Raw Girl
As we approach the end of year holiday season many of us are thinking about our health. What goals did you set this year? How much have you accomplished for yourself in the realms of mental, spiritual, and physical wellness? If you have fallen short, don’t worry, now is the time to start dreaming about your new vision for a healthier you in 2015. Below are some simple rituals that may help you close out this current year and start next year off with a bang.
- End the year with a juice cleanse or fast
- Create a vision board for 2015 that includes goals in all areas of your life work, family, spirit, health, and finances
- Clean House and remove clutter in your home or work environment
- Write a letter to yourself that you will read at the end of 2015 seal it and do not open it until next year
- Write a gratitude journal for as many things you can think of that you are grateful for in 2014
- Make a list of healthy milestones or progress made physically or spiritually in 2014, then write goals in those areas for 2015
- Dance it out! You made it to year’s end so you deserve to shake your groove thang on whatever kind of dance floor suits your fancy
- Commit now to your #MoveThatBody regimen for 2015. Whether it be hot yoga, pilates, or the gym, start your fitness routine now so you don’t have to jumpstart in the first week of January.
No matter what rituals you choose, make sure to take a moment to celebrate all you accomplished in 2014. Celebrate the experiences that brought you to where you are now, and the baby steps you have taken to ensure that you are living into your vision of optimal health. Hope you have an incredible holiday full of love, laughter, and healthy eats!
~Xo Raw Girl
Give the Gift of Health!
20% off All E-Books and Detox Plans until January 1st!
To help you ring in the new year right, all E-Books & Detox Plans in the Raw Girl Store are 20% off until January 1st!!! Discount will be applied at checkout. Visit The Raw Girl Store for details.
Ever since I was introduced to Ayurveda, I’ve been hooked. Learning more about doshas and energy imbalances while at Wanderlust (the yoga festival) helped me to realize that I needed to move from the East Coast and that the stagnant energy of where I was living was affecting my health. As soon as I took steps to relocate everything shifted back to optimal. The wonderful thing about Ayurveda is that it emphasizes the bio-individuality or uniqueness of every being and takes into consideration the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.
Ayurveda is the traditional system of medicine that originates from India and has the goal of maintaining health and preventing the onset of disease. This is system is personalized and considered a macro-explanatory model for disease because it takes into consideration the whole person being treated along with environmental factors. Ayurveda is based on three entities called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas help to explain the makeup of the body along with the temperaments of individuals for the purpose of understanding balance and imbalance. Ayurveda is based on energies of the elements including: fire, air, ether, water and earth; and each dosha corresponds to one or more of the element energies. Every single person at birth comes into the world with a specific makeup of these doshas that is fixed, and referred to as Prakriti. One’s Prakriti is the most important factor in ayurvedic medicine because it determines the treatment plan for each individual. Optimal health is achieved when there is optimal functioning of the doshas and the interactions between them to maintain balance in the body. Proper elimination, clear thinking, proper functioning of sensory organs, and a peaceful mind are also considered signs of good health.
Diagnosis of disease in the ayurvedic system is holistic involves examination of the manifestations of disease, subtypes of disease, and severity of condition. Development and progression of disease within Ayurveda, is explained by deviations or imbalances in the doshas. Imbalances of the doshas can be caused by a range of external or internal stressors including: environmental conditions, nutritional deficiencies, physical stress, or emotional turbulence. Treatment of any condition is highly personalized and includes parameters for overall health, diet, digestion, immunity, and response to environmental factors. Ayurveda also takes into consideration six tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, pungent, astringent, and bitter. These can be used to determine dietary changes or herbal treatments that also help to counteract imbalances. Herbs may be used in tandem with manual treatments, massage, dietary and lifestyle advice, nutritional supplements, and yoga to restore balance. If you are experiencing a health challenge that seems to be a impossible to diagnose, or if you just want to try a different perspective, Ayurveda may offer you interesting new insights. -XoXo Raw Girl
Sumantran, V., & Tillu, G. (2013). Insights on Personalized Medicine from Ayurveda. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19(4), 370-375.
Iyer, J. (2013, July 1). The Goal of Ayurvedic Treatment. Tampa Bay Wellness, 7-7.
Have you noticed that there is a whole new crop of health enthusiasts that have just said no to grains? Not only has the gluten-free craze become all the rage, carb-free, and grain-free diets are becoming more common. If you’re scratching your head wondering how in the heck eating grain-free is possible, I’ll break it down further for you. To get rid of grains you must eliminate all grains including wheat, rice, corn, millet, barley and oats. This type of diet can be helpful and provide relief for some chronic conditions such as Crohn’s disease, chronic fatigue, or just the overall feeling of being weighed down by your diet. Quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat are exceptions because they are not technically considered grains. All that said, my policy is listen to your body. Perhaps certain grains need to go on your do not touch with a ten foot pole list, and others can be regular staples in your diet.
If you are living la vida 100% raw I’m sure you crossed most grains off your grocery list, with the exception of those that you can soak or sprout in their unprocessed form. After years of avoiding processed foods and carbs, my body generally has a strong aversion to grains especially in large quantities. So when I received a packet of millet in the mail from my Master’s program, I was excited to try it but worried it may aggravate my system. The good news is, it didn’t, which I consider a good sign. Millet looks similar to cous cous and has a nutty grainy texture like quinoa but takes much longer to cook than the latter. It is an ancient food that has been a staple for thousands of years in India and Africa and was even mentioned in the Bible as a primary ingredient for bread. Millet was the world’s first cereal grain and can be used in some sweet breakfast recipes like muffins, or simply as a rice substitute for more savory dishes.
If you do eat grains and want something you can add to dishes that packs a mean nutritional punch, millet is a great option. Not only is it comprised of around 15% protein, it is a great source of fiber, B-complex vitamins like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin E. Add to that iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, and you’ll have an excellent side dish or entree that adds more nutrients than your rice ever will. -XoXo Raw Girl
Did you know that the average American eats an average of 142 pounds of sugar per year? Keeping this in mind makes it easy to understand why diabetes has become such an epidemic. Living with pre-diabetes and diabetes is a delicate issue and much care has to be taken to change lifestyle choices and consume sugars that have little to no effect on the blood sugar level to avoid aggravating the condition. The great news is there are a decent variety of natural sweeteners that do not aggravate blood sugar, and in some cases actually prevent tooth decay or repair tooth enamel. Within the natural sweetener world some substitutes have a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, such as agave nectar or birch syrup, but still may not be suitable for pre-diabetics or diabetics. The best course of action is to use sweeteners that have no effect on the blood sugar. Here’s a list of four sweeteners you can try that fit that criteria:
- Stevia. Not so long ago this leafy herb was completely unheard of. Now you can find it in most grocery stores in powdered or liquid form. Stevia has no calories, will not spike blood sugar levels, and its’ extract is considered 100-300 times sweeter than white sugar.
- Birch Sugar or Xylitol. This sugar substitute is a naturally occurring alcohol made from tree fibers and occurs naturally in fruits and mushrooms. Xylitol is sweet to the taste like sugar but it does not cause tooth decay. In fact, it actually reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in saliva.
- Chicory Root. This natural sweetener is the root of a perennial herb, and has no calories. Not only will consuming chicory not spike your blood sugar levels; it decreases levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, contains vitamin C a powerful antioxidant, supports detoxification of the body via the liver and kidneys, and serves as a prebiotic which feeds and promotes growth of good bacteria in the gut.
- Erythritol. This sugar alcohol is made by fermenting the natural sugar found in corn. It has no calories, will not raise blood sugar, and no carcinogenic properties. In addition erythritol is very easy to digest and is considered an antioxidant, which helps the body to fight freed radicals and reduce the signs of aging.
Sugar alcohols should not be confused with artificial sweeteners. Part of their structure resembles sugar and the other looks like an alcohol. They are used are sugar substitutes because they do not cause tooth decay, feed candida or fungal infections, and convert to glucose more slowly in the body and do not require much insulin to metabolize. When consuming sugar alcohols some people may experience uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating or diarrhea, so it’s important to not consume in excess. Hopefully these options give you a few places to begin finding the best sugar substitute for you. If you do not have diabetes or any related conditions, there are many other natural sweeteners you can try including indulging on good, plain old fruit. If you or anyone you know is dealing with diabetes I also highly recommend you watch “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days,” for inspiration. It’s a documentary that chronicles the treatment and reversal of diabetes over the span of 30 days using a 100% organic raw vegan diet. –XoXo Raw Girl
For more on diabetes check out this past post: Natural Cures: Bitter Melon for Diabetes
It’s wonderful how something you didn’t even know you needed can show up in your experience and feed your soul. This past weekend I got an impromptu invite to attend Goddess On The Go in downtown LA and I am so glad I answered the call. The gathering happens several times a year here in Los Angeles, New York, and Detroit, and was created by Leora Edut to forge healing and community among strong, passionate, powerful women. The mission and vision driving Goddess On The Go is that every woman on the planet lives her best life. Designed as a day long retreat, the event gives any “goddess” the time and space to connect with other women, check in with herself, release any blocks that need healing, and reaffirm intentions for the future. Through classes, talks, and communion with other women a sacred space is created that can lead to empowerment, self-transformation, and AHA moments. The day included a Kundalini yoga class, a talk and mini-workshop on sensuality, an astrology recap, dancing, and really awesome raw vegan fare including lunch and dessert.
Beyond meeting a bunch of incredible and inspiring women, some of my favorite moments were the kundalini yoga class, and meeting one half of the dynamic AstroTwins duo, as I read their horoscopes via Elle, religiously. If you’ve never checked out their scopes, you’re missing out because they are well written, witty, and always have a positive angle while remaining spot on with the current planetary energy. The food was certified delicious and provided courtesy of The Springs LA, a wellness hub and restaurant coming soon to downtown LA that will serve 100% raw vegan cuisine, offer yoga, and holistic treatments. Overall the the event was cathartic and left me feeling full to the brim spiritually; I highly recommend it for any woman who is going through a transition, needs a break from their daily grind, or is just looking for something different that may spark some inspiration. To get more information about the next Goddess On The Go or find out about dates in other cities visit: http://goddess-onthego.com/.
During the month of August my fasting regimen went to another level. If you follow this blog by now you know I am a big fan of fasting on fresh vegetable juices which immediately boosts your complexion, rids the body of excess toxins, and can in general give you your groove back. Well, last month was the first time I tried water fasting. Which consists of drinking, you got it, only water all day. I actually chose to drink both coconut water and water and conducted the fasts for no more than three days at a time. Water fasting to me always seemed too extreme, as it does require more of a slow down in your normal activities. With any fast you should slow down if not eliminate all of your hectic schedule so that you actually have time to go within and rest. This need increases tenfold with a water fast, because the healing reactions can be more aggressive, or you may feel fatigued as the body goes into fasting mode. Water fasting for longer periods like 14-40 Days should never be conducted alone; there are facilities that you can enter to go through those longer term fasts in which doctors will monitor your levels throughout and you will be in an atmosphere of complete rest. Many ailments have been reversed with these longer water fasts, simple because they body got an opportunity to reset. For more on this check out the interview at the end of this post, which features two doctors who promote water fasting for health and have healed numerous conditions in their facilities. Some benefits of water fasting include:
- Physical and spiritual healing
- Detox, eliminates toxins from organs, skin, glands
- Strengthens immune system because of break from food; restores stronger immune response
- Scientifically proven to increase lifespan; studies have shown that restricted diets lead to a longer life
- Prevents the onset of degenerative mental diseases
- Improves brain f(x), mental clarity, and ability to focus
- Induces an anti-inflammatory response that helps to heal arthritis in muscles, joints
- Ancient tradition that has healing minor health issues along with more serious chronic ailments
- Increases metabolism; promotes weight loss
- Drastically improves mind over body will power; and portion control
- Increases energy in some cases as energy is diverted from digestive process
- Deepens connection with spirit and nature