Setting Intentions For the New Year
Last New Year’s, a good friend and I spent a very long, snowy drive sharing and concretizing our intentions for 2009. It was an organic yet intentional conversation. We went back and forth, helping each other get more specific, as well as inspiring one another with our separate dreams. I wrote everything down while she drove. Sharing intentions in this way is something I truly value. Even if you do not have the same goals, this practice creates a context of support as you move through the year, giving you someone to check in with – someone who might notice if you, say, resolved to ski 3 weekends a month and haven’t been out once by March. This kind of social support can, for example, provide us with someone to talk to if we are frustrated by continuing to struggle with a relationship pattern we intend to overcome.
Eating Through Your Skin: Sunscreen Safety
Our skin is porous. We get this, intuitively, when we observe moisturizer being sucked up by our thirsty winter skin. The implication? Anything you put on your skin you are effectively “eating”, but without the benefit of the digestive tract’s extensive immune system and processing. Absorption through the skin is well-established scientific fact. Unfortunately, only 11% of the 10 500 ingredients in personal care products are tested for safety even by the industry’s own internal review panel.
The Kale Crusader Speaks!
Sunshine! Blossoms! Longer days! What do our bodies need, as we move gratefully into Spring and increased outward activity? Part of any naturopathic treatment plan is optimizing nutrition. Just as in a garden you prepare and enrich the soil before you plant, so food choices nourish your body, so that you may flourish and achieve your health goals. Whether your current concern is increasing energy or enhancing fertility, ensuring that your foundational nutrients are as strong as possible is a priority. And, it is something you can do for yourself and for those with whom you share meals.
New Year, Turning Over a New Leaf
“I hereby resolve…” Do your resolutions fit with your life? With the season?
A fresh start – like the start of the New Year – can feel great. There is the exhilaration of yet-to-be-realized potential, the excitement of what-may-happen, the drive to begin actualizing those resolutions. Yet there is also the letdown post-holidays, the cold, grey days, ongoing stress at work or at home. How can you honor and sustain your health resolutions this year? While the depths of winter is not the best time to do a liver cleanse or a juice fast, it is a fine time to renew your commitment to self-care. Winter is a yin time – a time for introspection and creativity, a time for invigorating skis and then cozy evenings in, a time to nourish with warm whole foods and warming tea. Why not integrate medicinal teas into your routine this season?
Allergy Season Tips – Spotlight on Nettles
Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis, is estimated to affect 10 – 20 % of the population in developed countries. Considering that there are over 300 million people in the USA alone, this percentage implies a significant impact on wellness and quality of life for many of us. Hay fever occurs when your immune system overreacts to airborne particles, most commonly the pollens of trees, grass, and ragweed. A wide variety of factors are associated with developing allergies, from air pollution, to infant exposures. The list of symptoms includes runny & itchy nose, itchy, red, watery eyes, sneezing and congestion. People who suffer from seasonal allergies are more likely to develop asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and other complications. Interestingly, there is also new research suggesting a link between seasonal allergies and depression. However there is no need to make your handkerchief a constant companion and/or stay indoors until the pollens freeze. Naturopathic medicine offers a variety of treatments that can effectively bring resolution and manage symptoms, with individual plans drawing on nutrition, herbal medicine, constitutional homeopathy and acupuncture.
Astragalus for Your Health
This Chinese herb is one of my favorites. An ally for a wide range of conditions, it is a tonic and support to the immune system,enhancing our immunity without being overly stimulating. Studies of Astragalus have found that the root extract increases activity and numbers of various white bloodells, the cells that form the foundation of the immune system. It is a central herb in many deep-acting immune formulas, including antiviral formulas, and in contrast to immune stimulants like Echinacea, these tonic formulas may be taken throughout the winter to strengthen the body’s innate defenses against colds and flus.
“Listen to your gut” – Stress and Digestive Function
Have you ever had something hit you so hard, emotionally, that you felt nauseous? Have you ever eaten out of sadness, boredom, anxiety? “Butterflies in the stomach”, “Gut instinct”, “Nervous stomach”…. There are many expressions linking emotions to our digestive tract. So, what happens in our nervous system when we are stressed out??