We don't have babies yet, but we have many in our community carrying on the incredible role of being a mother. While having children is a gift, it certainly comes with its struggles of the body and mind. That's why we created this tea - to nurture the mother after delivery, supporting her physical and emotional body. Postpartum is a speck of time unlike any other, and with this tea we hope to augment the good and celebrate the creation of life! Read on to learn more about the herbs in Post-partea! *
***BONUS: this tea will nourish expecting mothers, too! All the herbs in Post-Partea are Class 1, meaning herbs that can be safely consumed with no identified concerns during pregnancy or nursing.
Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, Lamiaceae
This lemon-y mint is indicated for those feeling weary and depressed - it is the ultimate, delightful antidote to that gloom-and-doom sort of depression that sometimes eclipses a new mother after going through such an incredible (yet exhausting!) experience. Lemon balm uplifts and revitalizes. As an antispasmodic and analgesic, she eases physical aches and pains while her nervine, anti-depressant properties tend to emotional pains. Lemon Balm has been used successfully in clinical trials to ease postpartum mother pains.
Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum, Lamiaceae
Progesterone drops after pregnancy, as does the sense of joy and meaning that high levels of this hormone provide. This drastic change in mood as hormones recalibrate is so common it even has a name - the baby blues - leaving new mothers especially emotional and sensitive. Fortunately, nervines like Holy Basil remedy this situation by nourishing the nervous and endocrine systems. Tulsi is also an adaptogen, enhancing your body’s ability to handle stress - something every postpartum mom can use.
Oatstraw, Avena sativa, Poaceae
A gentle, restorative tonic perfect for nursing mothers who need added vitamins and minerals to support their transition to motherhood. Drunk regularly, Oatstraw rebuilds tissue - particularly of the nervous system - and supports total body health.
Hawthorne, Cratageus spp., Rosaceae
This multi-faceted herbs tends to both the emotional and physical heart. Compounds in Hawthorne literally strengthen the heart muscles while its nervine properties build up emotional resolve. Hawthorne leaf, berry, and flower are tonics to the cardiovascular system, intended to be drunk regularly for gradual, inevitable improvement. When we improve our cardiac function, we improve blood flow and therefore nourishment and rejuvenation to the entire body.
It can be tricky navigating the does and don'ts of herbal remedies while pregnant. Unfortunately in the West, there's just not enough clinically backed science for medical professionals to advocate for the use of many herbs before/during/after pregnancy, even if they may be safe. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering using herbs while pregnant:
1. Where Does It Come From? This is HUGE. Herbs aren't regulated by the FDA which means you don't know what you are getting unless you trust the company you are purchasing from. Make sure the supplier you use is able to provide details on the herb/products origins, and always opt for organic - the benefits far outweigh the slight price difference.
2. How Much Are You Taking? "Danger is in the dosage" is a phrase that applies here. For example, a sprinkle of Cinnamon on your morning oatmeal may be a harmless treat, but in large amounts, Cinnamon's great warmth and moving energetics make it a powerful uterine stimulant while pregnant. For this reason, it's important to assess all the herbs - culinary & medicinal - you consume and make sure you aren't overdoing it.
3. Who Are Your Resources This one comes with a bit more nuance, but it's important to understand that there are many voices in the medical and herbal field. No matter the herb, you will get conflicting results for many a Google search about its safety while pregnant. Always exercise caution and go to sources you trust. Since there is so much noise on the web, we look to tradition and tried and true textbooks. If you are working with a midwife, doula, holistic doctor, they can also help!
Since we have so many mommas in our community, we wanted to share the safety ratings for the herbs used in our products. See below!
Also, don't hesitate to reach out if you have any clarifying questions!
1 - safely consumed when used appropriately
2 - the following restrictions apply unless otherwise directed by an expert
2a- external use only
2b- not during pregnancy
2c- not while nursing
2d- other specific use restrictions
3 - only use under the supervision of an expert; labeling must include dosage, contraindications, etc.
4 - insufficient data for classification
Powdered Herb Blends
Turmeric - Class 2b*, 2c*, 2d Therapeutic quantities not to be taken for those with bile duct obstruction or gallstones, stomach ulcers or hyperacidity; stand dose is 1.5-3 g daily; 4.5-9 g when prepared as tea
Eleuthero - Class 4 It is likely there are no issues if taking 1 tsp/day of powdered herb during pregnancy/nursing, but data is lacking. Always check sourcing for adulterated products.
Maca - Class 1, Class 4 A German doctor released his own article with claims that there is evidence that taking Maca during pregnancy can prevent miscarriage, likely safe but data is limited
Cinnamon - Class 1
Fenugreek - Class 2b, Promotes milk flow (galactagogue)
Cardamom - Class 1
Nutmeg- Class 1
Black Pepper- Class 1
Matcha- Class 1
Shatavari- Class 1
Rose- Class 1
Eleuthero- Class 1
Cardamom- Class 1
Ginger- Class 1
Dandelion- Class 1
Reishi- Class 1
Chicory - Class 1
Shatavari- Class 1
Ashwagandha- Class 2b*, 2d, May potentiate the effects of barbiturates; not recommended for those with hyper-thyroid function; Traditionally used to improve conception and to provide strength and stamina to mom and growing baby. After birth, it is thought to help mom regain energy and stimulate milk flow. Large amounts can cause early menstruation and therefore there lies the risk of abortion (uterine stimulant), which is why it’s discouraged by conservative doctors. Do not exceed 1 tsp/day during pregnancy and always check with primary healthcare provider
Cardamom- Class 1
Cinnamon- Class 1
Bless You Tea
Nettle- Class 1
Rose- Class 1
Calendula- Class 1
Elecampane- Class 2b*, 2c*
Horsetail- Class 2d, contraindicated in cardiac or renal dysfunction; don’t exceed 2 g/day of powdered form. Powdered form is not recommended for children due to silica. If taking 5 g, have with food
Ginger*- Class 1
Licorice*- Class 2b*, 2c*, 2d Not for prolonged use in high doses; contraindicated in diabetics, hypertension, liver disorders, severe kidney deficiencies, and hypokalemia; may potentiate potassium depletion of thiazide diuretics, stimulant laxatives, cardiac glycosides, and cortisol; reduce sodium and increase potassium when taking
Ginger- Class 1
Elderflower- Class 1
Elderberry- Class 1
Holy Basil-Class 1
Lemon Balm- Class 1
Licorice*- Class 2b*, 2c*, 2d, see previous
Cardamom- Class 1
Healing Harvest Tea
Roobios - Class 1
Oat straw - Class 1
Orange peel - Class 1
Licorice* - Class 2b*, 2c*, 2d, see previous
Ginger*- Class 1
Angelica* -Class 2b*, 2d avoid prolonged sunlight exposure; emmenagogue/uterine stimulant
Artichoke - too little data
Sexy Time Tea
Hawthorne (leaf and flower) - Class 1
Damiana - Class 1
Hawthorne Berry - Class 1
Rose - Class 1
Ginger* - Class 1
Licorice* - Class 2b*, 2c*, 2d, see previous
Hibiscus - Class 1
Lemongrass - Class 2b*; emmanogogue/uterine stimulant
Holy basil - Class 1
Schisandra - Class 1
Oat Straw - Class 1
Tulsi - Class 1
Nettle - Class 1
Raspberry Leaf - Class 1
Rose - Class 1
Ginger* - Class 1
Red Clover - Class 2b* (used in minimal amounts here)
Cardamom - Class 1
You’ve Got Male
Nettle- Class 1
Lemongrass- Class 2b*, emmanogogue/uterine stimulant
Hawthorn Leaf- Class 1
Hawthorn Berry- Class 1
Hibiscus- Class 1
Epimedium- Class 2d*, Not for singular long-term use at large doses; In very large doses, can cause vomiting, dizziness, dry mouth, thirst, nosebleed, and respiratory arrest
Ashwagandha- Class 2b*, 2d-see previous
Ginger*- Class 1
Licorice*- Class 2b*, 2c*, 2d-see previous
***Licorice, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Artichoke leaf, and Black pepper can all cause issues when taking in unnaturally large amounts and without the balancing support of other herbs. We use very small amounts of these synergizing herbs in our formulas, not large therapeutic doses that can have a uterine stimulants effect.***
Our safety ratings were obtained from The Botanical Safety Handbook by The American Herbal Products Association Staff, 1997.
Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions Plus Herbal Adjuncts with Medicines, 4th Edition, Francis Brinker
Publications by the American Herbal Products Association
Understanding the magical history of matcha might elevate your tea-drinking experience
Matcha revolutionized the way we drink tea. Before 12th century Zen monks popularized this powdered form of Camellia sinensis, leaves were dried and compressed into bricks before drinking. Matcha’s first advocate, the Zen monk Eisai, taught his pupils how to properly cultivate and regularly consume powdered tea for optimal spiritual and physical health. Back then, the growing process was revered as much as the ceremony of drinking tea.
An Enchanting Upbringing
Tea bushes were treated with great respect and care from seed to harvest. In the winter, they were allowed a full season of rest in order to accumulate nutrients below ground. The tea bushes would awaken from their slumber in the spring, fortified by their hibernation and ready to transfer energy into newly forming buds. This is why the first spring harvest is always the sweetest and most nutritious - just as we feel best after a period of rest, Camellia sinensis creates the best product when it’s allowed the entire winter to restore.
Since sunlight causes bitterness, wooden structures topped with reed screens were built around the bushes to block ~75% of the sunlight. 10 days later, a layer of straw was placed over the reeds, blocking 90% of sunlight. This added effort renders an incredibly soft, bright green leaf to later be hand-picked by skilled harvesters.
After harvest, the leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation before being put into columnar wind turbines outfitted with nets to dry and catch all the leaves. Next the leaves are sent to ovens with three layers of conveyor belts where they go through multiple rounds of drying at various temperatures. At this point, the leaves are called raw tencha. It’s not until the leaves are cut, separated from twigs and veins, and stone-milled into a powdered form that they finally become matcha.
Before the 20th Century, matcha was consumed as ‘thick tea’ (koicha) in which a large amount of matcha was mixed with only enough hot water to make it fluid. Koicha was considered the purest form of matcha because in order for it to be drinkable, only the sweetest, most tender leaves could be used. Thin tea (usucha) was reserved for more laid-back occasions. This is what we drink today.
Reclaim Ritual - Make Your Tea Time Exceptional
Many people might not realize that they are as attached to the process of making a morning pot of coffee as they are to the caffeine. Humans crave rhythm and routine- it’s in our DNA! Creating a ritual around our tea making and drinking process can be highly beneficial to your physical and mental health. Maybe squeezing in a few words of gratitude, prayers, or simple stretches while your water boils and savoring the first few sips slowly and silently will not only calm your adrenals but also get your mind in the cool, calm, and collected setting it craves in our hectic world.
We've turned modern matcha magical with our carefully formulated blend.
To elevate the modern matcha drinkers experience, we add adrenal nourishing herbs like Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) to our Matcha Magic. These adaptogens fortify and calm our stress response. Heart strengtheners like Rose (Rosa rugosa), rich in Vitamin C, and Ginger (Zingiber officinale), improve circulation and support cardiovascular function. A touch of Cardamom (Eletarria cardamomum) supports digestive function, cleanses the breath, and imparts a lovely, aromatic finish. We use organic matcha, finely ground and with a bittersweet taste the pairs perfectly with the other herbs and a spot of cream.
The Perfect Cup of Magic Matcha
CC Flickr pics: Dinesh Valke, Christine Lynch, Markus riedi, Betty Dish, Brian Wotherspoon,
We’ve all got men in our life that could use some herbal love.
By and large, herbalism is a women’s world. There are many reasons for this.
Women naturally might be more attracted to medicine made from beautiful plants, and historically, creating herbal remedies fell under the realm of the homemaker. Herbs are also particularly useful in pregnancy, childbirth, and supporting hormonal health. However, men stand to benefit equally from plant medicine. These days, it’s hard to find a supplement for men that does more than just enhance libido. Men have needs too, and we wanted to create a tea that saw to them.
The herbs in You’ve Got Male are listed below. Our formula is carefully balanced to provide support without tipping any one system out of balance- a common issue in simple formulas showcasing only one herb.
More on the Herbs in You've Got Male
Hawthorne, leaf, flower, and berry, Crataegus spp, Rosaceae
Sweet, sour, warm, astringent, heart-opening + strengthening, cardiotonic
In our culture (and in general), its not as common for men to express their emotions as freely as women. Traditional wisdom acknowledges that when we repress our emotions, it manifests physically. High blood pressure, weakened or exhausted heart muscle, and other cardiovascular issues may all be a result of this repression. Hawthorne is known to strengthen the heart, physically and emotionally, with clinical studies to back it up.
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, Poaceae
Cooling, sour, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, diaphoretic, digestive
Lemongrass is the ultimate cooling remedy. Men tend to get a bit more overheated than women, so this mild yet effective herb can do the trick to calm and relax. It's traditionally used to cool fevers and release heat. As a diuretic and diffusive, it helps with the elimination of waste, reducing heat and inflammation once again. Apart from its purely physical effects, Lemongrass is also capable of promoting feelings of hope, confidence while helping to decompress and relax.
Nettle leaf, Urtica dioica, Urticaceae
Dry, cool, nutritive, alterative, alkalinizing diuretic, urinary tract tonic
Nettle is an amazingly nutritious tonic herb meant to be taken regularly. It’s high mineral content builds bone, muscles, and hair. It’s particularly high in iron for healthy blood, and magnesium, a critical mineral deficient in the SAD diet but that enhances exercise performance and nervous system health.
Roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Malvaceae
sour, slightly sweet, bitter, cool, soothing, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure), reduces prostate
Another cooling herb with a propensity to enhance heart health (lowering blood pressure and lipid levels), Roselle (or Hibiscus) is tangy, delicious, uplifting energizing without containing caffeine! It’s also been used to help treat prostate cancer due to its high antioxidant content. Studies show that Roselle inhibits the expression of prostate cancer cells and their signaling pathways.
Horny Goat Weed, Epimedium grandiflorum, Berberidaceae
Dry, acrid, warm, possible adaptogen, strengthens HPA axis, hypotensive, aphrodisiac, anxiolytic, circulatory stimulant
Epimedium was made famous when a herder noticed his goats exhibited robust sexual activity after nibbling on Fairy Wings (common name of this beautiful ornamental).
Epimedium is used in TCM to support normal peripheral circulation and to tonify kidney yang energy, or the driving force of libido. In the West, icariin, an active constituent, has received great attention because of its ability to inhibit Phosphodiesterase type 5*, the same mechanism of pharmaceutical male enhancement drugs (although plant medicine always represents a safer, more balanced remedy due to the vast number of compounds working along with the active constituent). Historically, because of it's potency and potential for exhausting the kidney yang in the long-run, Epimedium is always used in balanced formulas.
*Do not take Horny Goat Weed if also taking a Phosphodiesterase Type 5 Inhibitor
Ashwagandha, Withania somnifera
Dry, warm, adaptogen, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, astringent, immune amphoteric, mild sedative
We couldn’t make an herbal tea without adding the Sweat of the Stallion. This root is historically used to enhance the strength, endurance, and virility of men - and it works! Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen, providing strength and energy while also supporting the adrenals for calm and focus.
Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Fabaceae
Sweet, warm, bitter, moistening , adaptogen, adrenal support, anti-inflammatory (specific to irritated GI tract), demulcent, expectorant, nutritive, antispasmodic, aperient (mild laxative), hepatoprotective
We add this sweet root to harmonize the formula while adding an adaptogenic touch. Like Ashwaghanda, Licorice is an adaptogen that enhances the body’s ability to handle stress. Due to its soothing, mucilaginous nature, it's been used to treat ulcers and inflammation in the digestive tract. Licorice is known to enhance the activity of other herbs when used in formula
Ginger, Zingiber officinale, Zingiberaceae
Warming, dry, peripheral circulatory aid, cardiotonic, hypolipidemic, analgesic, digestive, antiatherosclerotic
Herbs that enhance circulation are critical for healthy reproductive function, particularly if you have a long commute to work or sedentary job. Similarly, Ginger is renowned in its ability to strengthen the cardiovascular system but stimulating circulation. Ginger is a supreme digestive, soothing to the stomach, dispelling gas and enhancing digestion. Anyone with a sluggish digestion with gas and burping will benefit from daily Ginger. Ginger has also been shown to be as effective as aspirin for remedying headaches.
Creative Commons, Flickr: Carol Coward, Hair Prasad Nadig, Sidney Pacheco, Tatters, Forest and Kim Star, Christine Lynch, Markusriedi, Betty Dish
Grain free, no refined sugar, Paleo option available
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with a bit of coconut oil and dust completely with oats and coconut shreds. Set aside.
Mix 1st eight ingredients together well in a medium bowl.
In another bowl, combine eggs, syrup, and banana. Slowly pour in melted coconut oil while stirring so you don’t scramble the eggs with the oil. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet with a large spoon or spatula. Fold in the zucchini.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with extra coconut shreds and/or oats.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden and the loaf is set (stick a knife in the center and it should come out clean). Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.
*Use 1 ½ cups almond or cashew flour and omit the oat flour if making paleo
Cacao... EVOO... cookies...
3of our favorite things all perfectly packaged in these delicious cookies. Bake some and tell us what you think!
3/4 c flour (all-purpose or gluten free)*
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c coconut sugar
1 large egg
3/4 tsp vanilla
plus powdered sugar for topping the finished cookies
.Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix the first 4 ingredients well in a bowl and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk or beat** the olive oil and coconut sugar together until fully incorporated. Next, add the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until you have a thick batter. Let cool in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To prepare for baking:
Line a pan with parchment or a Silpad. Use a soup spoon to measure out 1-2 tsp worth of batter. Roll into balls and drop onto baking sheet spacing 2 in apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until flattened and set around the edges. Let cool completely before storing.
*I have found that all-purpose flours yields flatter, crispier cookies while gluten-free flour tends to keep the cookies much more short and fat. If you want thinner gluten-free cookies, you can use your fingers to press down your dough balls before baking.
**You can use a hand beater but I find using a whisk or spoon works fine.
Don't Be a Statistic: Why You Need to Balance Your Blood Sugar
Insulin issues are the name of the 21st century disease game. At the current diagnosis rate, 1/3rd of all children will have Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is essentially accelerated aging due to increased oxidation from excess glucose in the blood; at this rate, we are priming a whole generation to lead a disease-riddled, expensive life. Not only does diabetes profoundly inhibit health, but it is also seriously expensive. Yearly, an individual will spend $13,700 and our country will spend $825 billion just to ameliorate the effects of a 99.99999% preventable disease (Harvard Chan School of Public Health, 2016).
Insulin resistance is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes, and 25% of the non-diabetic population are unknowingly insulin resistant (and 25% will go on to develop full-blown Type 2 diabetes). We need insulin to tell our cells how to deliver glucose out of the bloodstream and into tissue so it can be utilized for energy. The conversion of food to energy is foundational to life; when the body loses the ability to do this task correctly, a domino effect of disease ensues. This is why insulin resistance (also known as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X) and diabetes are always accompanied by co-morbidities: neuro-degeneration, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cancer, etc. The underlying biochemical defect of all these chronic degenerative diseases is all the same: decreased sensitivity to insulin signaling.
So why does our body stop responding to insulin? It’s a combination of things- mainly sugar, processed foods and trans fats (the two go hand-in-hand), stress, and lack of exercise. Obviously, there is a lot of this in the modern world, and some individuals are more susceptible than others. When insulin signaling gets disrupted and excess glucose remains in the blood instead of being transported to the appropriate places, our internal environment shifts to a disordered state. The pancreas will begin secreting larger amounts of insulin to overcome to the lack of insulin signaling. So now, there is more than enough insulin in the blood but the cells simply can’t get the message because of all the misplaced glucose.
All that glucose floating around in our blood stream eventually oxidizes, clunking up our vessels and jeopardizing circulation. Think crusty bread- the same reaction that forms crust on bread forms clunks in our blood: the excess sugar molecules react with the proteins in our blood to form clunky, gloopy advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) which are seriously bad news. They stress our body out, contributing to further inflammation and stress and screwing up blood flow.
There is great biochemical diversity among individuals, so some folks can maintain this hyperinsulinemic (“excessive insulin”) state for a while without developing diabetes, while others develop it immediately. Folks with Syndrome X will have a cluster of signs and symptoms: abdominal fat, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides, depressed HDL (“good” cholesterol), cognitive decline, poor circulation, etc. With excess glucose in the blood, the body goes into an alarm state because it knows that glucose isn’t supposed to be there. The body’s alarm state is inflammation. It starts firing off inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers), tipping our bodies further and further in the direction of disorder and disease. It’s a vicious cycle and the one spinning the wheel is us. Our unfit lifestyle and dietary habits are fueling the diabetic fires.
When you tally all the potential pain and expense you’ll be sparing yourself by making some simple yet effective lifestyle modifications, the answer is easy: do it! You can reverse diabetes and Syndrome X- it will take time and effort, lots of vegetables, herbs, and exercise, but your renewed vigor and figure will outshine your longing for simple, refined sugars. When you start eliminating sugar and processed foods and then go back to them, you will be amazed by how excessively sweet they taste. We must shift our bodies back to states of efficient metabolism, smooth digestion, and clean elimination. It is our responsibility on earth to take care of our bodies.
There is a simple formula to re-sensitize our bodies to that ever-important chemical, insulin. You can follow these recommendations as closely or loosely as you’d like, depending on your degree of insulin resistance:
10 Steps for Better Blood Sugar Handling
1. Eat vegetables, protein, with every meal. A typical day could look like this: eggs and greens for breakfast; berries and nuts for snack; sautéed vegetables and pesto with chicken/mushrooms/fish for lunch; an apple and cheese for snack; lentils and salmon for dinner; 70% or higher dark chocolate with a fat glob of coconut oil and sea salt for dessert.
2. Stay away from fruit juices, tropical, and dried fruits. Berries are the best fruit choices, then things like apples, plums, pears, and citrus fruits. Avoid all processed food and refined sugar. Avoid all breads and grains, especially white bread. After a while, you can start incorporating a bit of good quality, whole and ancient grain treats: sprouted grain bread, whole-wheat sourdough, oatmeal, and buckwheat are some fine examples.
3. Eat the right veggies. Dark leafy greens, brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.), onions, zucchini, cucumber, squash, peppers, beans, tomatoes, turnips, radishes, lettuce, avocados, asparagus, carrots, parsnips… Wow! there are so many wonderful vegetables to eat. If you are concerned about blood sugar, it’s best to avoid super sweet starchy vegetables like sweet peas, white potatoes and corn. Starchy vegetables that are okay to eat include sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and Jerusalem artichokes.
4. Eat good fats with every meal. Omega 3s – essential for good health and lacking in the modern diet- shift bodies back to un-inflamed states. When we get our body to an un-inflamed state, it will begin to heal itself. Fish oils, walnuts, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil are all good sources. Animal fat/butter are okay to eat in small quantities for they have many Omega 6s, which can shift our body back to inflamed states. Some body types, typically prone to constipation, are able to handle large amounts of good fats and need it for smooth digestion. For others, a modest amount of fat will do.
5. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS and TRANS FATS. Even if a processed food doesn’t have sugar, it is still playing a major role in perpetuating insulin resistance and inflammation. The more packaging and indiscernible ingredients, the more processed the food. Processed foods and trans-fats go hand and hand. Humans created trans-fats so they could turn liquid fat into a solid for transporting and processing purposes. Our bodies haven’t quite figured out how to process this new chemically structured fat. Therefore, it doesn’t get processed and just sits in the blood stream causing clunkiness and oxidation. Oxidized fats in the blood is a ticking time bomb for blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, etc. Sometimes, in a pinch you might have to rely on packaged food to fuel you. But feed your cells the right way! Instead, choose nuts, seeds, beef jerky, or a piece of fruit for a quick snack.
7. Get a good quality probiotic and eat fermented foods. Every aspect of our being is dictated by the bacteria in our gut (Salina Nelson, 2016). The bulk of our immunity and neurotransmitters is maintained and manufactured by our gut bacteria. They unlock crucial vitamins and minerals and make nutrients available to us. Gut dysbiosis – an unhealthy bacterial state in our tummies- effects our whole body. Gut dysbiosis, which largely results from lack of vegetables (they eat fiber), excessive sugar, trans-fats, and processed foods, is marked by inflammation. Remember: when our bodies shifts to the alarmed state of inflammation, everything malfunctions. Dr. Ohhira probiotics are a great choice. Stay away from cheap probiotics at convenient stores and those that need refrigeration (probiotics should be shelf stable).
8. Exercise. Move every day. Don’t sit down so much. Little subtle movements add up: use the stairs; bend at the knees rather the hips when you pick something up; take a 30 minute walk after dinner; do ten pushups during your bathroom break (and then wash your hands and smell your pits); stretch. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, lubricates hungry joints, and facilitates circulation so that life-giving blood can travel to all the places it needs to go. Exercise reduces stress, too. Stress hormones cause inflammation. Are you seeing
9. Don’t eat past 8 PM. It is a bad health habit to go to bed on a full tummy. Digestion takes a lot of energy. Even though we are sleeping, our bodies are still working if we have to digest food and alcohol while we sleep. Night-time is time for our detoxifying organs to do rejuvenation and maintenance work. If you are starving, a small snack is fine.
10. HERBS and MINERALs.
While food and lifestyle habits are foundational, herbs and minerals help wake up our cells to insulin signaling and help us efficiently utilize the fuel we are ingesting. Here are some common herbs and minerals known to improve insulin sensitivity and sugar handling:
-Bitter melon, Momordica charantia
-True cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum
-America Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius
-Triphala (a traditional Ayurvedic blend)
-Turmeric, Curcuma longa
-Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum
-Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra
-Blueberry leaf, Vaccinium ssp.
-Mulberry leaf, Morus ssp.
-Any bitter herb (Milk thistle, Artichoke, Gentian, Wormwood)
-Moringa, Moringa oleifera
Any adaptogenic herb is also great to take daily. Adaptogenic herbs strengthen our body’s complex reactions to stress. They are generally regarded as safe to take daily and come in many different forms. Find the one that works with your body. I like Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) and Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum/tenuiflorum).
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Like Julia Child says, “Everything in moderation, even moderation”. Treat sweets and breads like just that - a treat! When you do this, your appreciation and enjoyment of them will enhance greatly.
Head over to our online shop to check out our Healing Harvest Tea, designed to enhance digestion and blood sugar handling
Stellaria media, Caryophyllaceae
Literally means “in the midst of stars”
Chickweed is a low grower who knows no boundaries. She sneakily, sweetly sprawls, hugging the earth and producing a soft green carpet in her wake. Chickweed loves cool weather and cool, damp places. You will find her in moist, fertile, low spots of the land, alive and kicking in winter, early spring, and even into summer in cooler climates. Chickweed is shy, blending in with other garden weeds and hiding her gentle white, star-shaped blossoms until mid-day. Chickweed is good for the garden. She helps soil retain nitrogen and forms a protective barrier for gardens in the off-growing months. Chickweed has naturalized herself throughout the US and if you see her, you should use her- her medicine is absolutely best fresh (seriously, don’t even bother with dried Chickweed. Her power is held in the moment)
Chickweed is a nutritive tonic, rich in minerals. Eat her daily if you can! Chickweed is a cooling agent in her anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, and refrigerant properties. Chickweed soothes - she is a demulcent, emollient, vulnerary, and pectoral herb perfect for any itchy, inflamed, painful or irritated situation.
Fresh Chickweed juice is rich in steroidal saponins. These compounds have a soap-like activity in the body. As you can imagine how soap cuts through grease, Chickweed’s saponins also cut through fat in the body. In the same way, chickweed’s steroidal saponins increase cellular membrane (made of fats) permeability, making it easier on cells to release and neutralize toxins while uptaking good minerals and nutrients. Chickweed can even soften bacterial cell walls making it easier for the immune cells to destroy them. Chickweed’s saponins and delmulcent qualities are great for breaking up gunk in the lungs and a fresh poultice can even dissolve cysts. Rinse eyes with diluted (with distilled water) fresh chickweed juice or a poultice for inflamed, itchy, or infected eyes. Chickweed’s anti-inflammatory, bioavailable nutrition are a dream on hungry, inflamed, and upset tummies. For any hot, inflamed and dry condition, think Chickweed! Hot sore throats, congestion, dry coughs, hoarseness, cranky livers, and constipation - think Chickweed!
Identification points: habitat, small white flowers with five deeply divided petals, single row of tiny hairs growing along stem- smooth otherwise, grows out instead of up, crush the stems- feel the juiciness
Taste: mild, buttery, sweet, cooling, nutritive/salty
Best as: FRESH! Chickweed salad, pesto, substituted anywhere you would use fresh greens, broth, tincture added to water and/or vinegar - stay away from dried (basically worthless)
Visit our Perfect Pesto Every Time post for our full-proof pesto recipe
Sea salt, lemon, beet, yum.... This is how we hydrate - all day long and with botanicals and minerals that help us absorb the water we are drinking.
Did you know that many modern maladies are simply the result of chronic dehydration at the cellular level?
WHAT TO DO:
1. GET A BERKEY - Berkey makes the best water filters out there and we really can't recommend them enough. From basic filters to cartridges that remove flouride, you are definitely investing health when you get berkey with it.
2. GET TO KNOW BEETS - Beets are filled with betaine (and lots of other goodies) that improve liver and gallbladder function. We need these fat-digesting organs, toxin-removing organs to be functioning if we want to feel good. Sluggish livers and gallbladders can really make us feel crummy. Beets get the motors running and the bile circulating! We love this beet powder and keep it on hand for hydrades, smoothies, and sauces!
3. LOVE LEMONS - These sour fruits are our tummies favorite fruit, hands down. Lemon water helps replenish digestive juices and keep our system running clean.
4. DON'T BE SCARED OF SALT* - Sea salt is PACKED with minerals that have been stripped from modern table salt. Lava, pink Himalayan, black - whatever floats your boat! Just makes sure its straight from the source and in its whole, mineral rich form. You can also add Trace Mineral drops for extra mineral-y goodness.
*Excessive salt does lead to high blood pressure and stressed kidneys, but naturally occurring salt is self-limiting, meaning it is VERY hard to overdo. What gets people is all the crummy sodium added to processed food to add flavor to lackluster food. If you eliminate processed foods, you shouldn't have to worry about overeating salt
HERB GIRL'S HYDRADE
As herbalists and nutritional therapy practitioners, we relish in the interface between nourishing herbs and foods.
We adapted this recipe to be fitting for our students in the Restart Program, a guided 3-week vacation from sugar and processed foods. During this time, we retrain our bodies to burn fat - its preferred fuel - over carbs - the macronutrient that has been villianized by current fad diets but that actually holds tremendous value when consumed in the proper amounts (there is a that reason sweets taste so good!).
The addition of rose hip and licorice powder give a delightful herbal touch to these satisfying chocolates.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is known as the great harmonizer in several herbal traditions for its ability to enhance and round out the flavor and action of other herbs in formula. A little bit goes a long way with licorice, so treat it like you would sea salt. Rose hips (Rosa ssp.) are excellent cardiovascular aids and give a bright touch to the deep richness of the cacao.
Raspberry Rose Chocolate Recipe
keto, paleo, no-sugar, delish!
Ready in 15-20 min (10+ minute chill time)
¾ c coconut butter
¼ c coconut oil
¼ c grass-fed butter
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ c coconut butter
½ c frozen raspberries
2 tbsp coconut cream/milk
1 tbsp rose hip powder
2 pinches licorice powder
2 tsp maple syrup
1 c toasted, shredded coconut
In a small pan, add ¾ c coconut butter, ¼ c grassfed butter, ¼ coconut oil, 1 tsp vanilla, and 4 tbsp cacao powder, and a pinch of sea salt and heat on medium low until everything is melted. Stir until everything is combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
1. Filling-In a small saucepan mix together ½ c coconut butter, ½ c raspberries, 2 tbsp coconut cream/milk, 1 tbsp rose hip powder, 2 tsp maple syrup, and a pinch of salt on med-low. Heat until coconut butter is melted and incorporating into the raspberries. Pour ingredients into a blender or use an immersion blender to blend well. Set aside.
Using a silicon ice cube tray, pour the bottom ½ of each cube with the chocolate mixture. Put this in the freezer so it is resting evenly and the chocolate sauce doesn’t cool crookedly in the ice cube molds. Let freeze for at least 10 minutes until the chocolate is set. Remove from the freeze and spoon ~1 tsp of the raspberry filling into each cube mold. Press ~½-1 tsp of toasted coconut flakes into the raspberry filling. Pour the remaining chocolate sauce over each mold so that the raspberry and shredded coconut filling is covered. Return to the freeze for another 10 minute at least to let that set. Remove from freezer and dust in a combination of cacao and rose-hip powder or toasted coconut.
Add 1 tbsp maple syrup to the raspberry filling
Add 2 tsp maple syrup to the chocolate base
Eileen Brantley & Amy Wright
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