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self-care

2017: The Year of Self-Care

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2017 commences, I’m sure many of you are doing what I’m doing: trying to mindfully come up with a tangible wellness goal. My usual go-to is “I won’t drink any alcohol in January!” or “I will work out every day no matter what!”

But you know what? Those goals usually become stressful because they may not be realistic. And when your new year’s resolution doesn’t come to fruition, it can be depressing. Which starts the cycle of feelings of failure and disappointment!

Ugh.

So instead, this year, I’ve decided to focus more broadly on self-care. This means no hard rules, but it encourages me to remember that being mindful about all facets of my health is important. Here are 5 ways in which one can focus on self-care (and this is my personal plan; what I’ll be doing):

Eats

The first thing most of us think of when adopting a self-care routine is a diet tweak. And fair enough! I mean, you are what you eat, right? The fuel we choose to put into our body directly correlates with mood, behaviour, weight, aging, and more.

So what should we be eating?

I think the trick is to not be strict and deprive yourself. (Because most of us can’t stick to an all-or-nothing plan.) Instead, a healthy balance is optimal. In general, tons of fresh vegetables, lots of whole grain carbohydrates (like yams and sprouted grains), and lots of plant-based or lean protein.

Basically, anything that makes you feel good and gives you energy and lends to quality sleep and rest is what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a new healthy cookbook, try Vegetarian Comfort Foods!

Drinks

Water, water, water. That is all. (Haha…) Here’s the thing: we know that caffeinated beverages and alcohol are dehydrating and affect mood. We know that sodas and juice contain way too much sugar, which spike our blood sugar and then leave us feeling sleepy after.

And more recently, I’ve discovered my go-to non-alcoholic drink of choice (club soda with lime and cucumber) makes me bloated because of all the carbonation. So I’ve come to the conclusion that water and herbal teas should definitely make up the bulk of what I drink during the day and night.

To find out how to make your own herbal teas, check out The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea!

self-care

Movement

Movement is so essential to our bodies and growth and development, and yet we forget to move! Most of us intentionally schedule in time for movement (which is great), but ideally, our bodies should be moving a lot more. Small ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives, include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, parking on the outskirts of the parking lot so that you’re forced to walk a little more, getting up from your desk and stretching every 45 minutes, and so on.

Think about what you can do to incorporate more movement into your life, and your body will thank you for it.

Sleep

Fresh off of reading The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington (which I mentioned in a previous blog post HERE), I’m really beginning to understand (and I mean REALLY understand) just how much we should all be appreciating and emphasizing better sleep.

Our culture has somehow evolved to think of being busy and sleep-deprived as something to be celebrated or respected, and yet, being sleep deprived is basically the same as being intoxicated. Would you go to work drunk or drive home from a business meeting while under the influence?

I hope not, and yet we all do it in the form of being exhausted. Let’s start NOT doing that. Let’s just remember to place appropriate emphasis on sleep, and celebrate what it feels like to not be tired!

Mental

As in mental health, that is. Although everything that’s listed above contributes to better mental health, we can a couple more things to really give a final push.

  • Meditate.
  • Be grateful.
  • Say thank you.
  • Breathe deep.
  • Love yourself.
  • Try aromatherapy.

And that’s it. By committing to general improvements in your own self-care routine, you become more in tune with parts of yourself that you can’t possibly reach when you’re not as well as you could be.

Happy New Year, friends! Cheers to self-care, and to living life with intent and grace. Give yourself a break, and tune into YOU!

You deserve it. xo

The 24th Annual Wellness Show Vancouver

This weekend (February 12-14) marks the 24th annual Wellness Show Vancouver, taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre. I’ve been before, but it’s either been as an attendee or a media representative. This year, I’m much more involved! Check it out:

Fresh + Fit Vancouver

The best place to catch me will be at my booth for Fresh + Fit Vancouver. This boutique white label firm specializes in assisting small wellness businesses promote themselves on social media, and build better online visibility through original content creation in the form of website content and unique and relevant blog posts.

If you’re wondering why small businesses need a service like this, click HERE or watch the video at the end of this post.

The Fresh + Fit booth is located in space 817B—come say hi!

Healthy Families Cooking Stage

I’m not totally sure how this happened, but I’ll be conducting two live demos of healthy snacks for the new Healthy Families Cooking Stage. On Saturday the 13th, I’ll be making Bliss Balls at 3pm, and on Sunday the 14th (Happy Valentine’s Day!), I’ll be making Sprouted Endive Boats (sponsored by Eat More Sprouts) at 3pm.

Come watch my demo(s) and I’ll be happy to make sure you get a signed copy of Vegetarian Comfort Foods after!

Book Sales + Signing

At the Fresh + Fit booth, I’ll also be selling and signing books. They include:

So if you’re at The Wellness Show this weekend, come pop by and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you. xo


 

Why Your Business Needs to Utilize Social Media

Make Your Own Medicinal Tea

Last month, my third book was released into the world. The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea: 50 Ways to Brew the Cure for What Ails You is officially in a bookstore near you.

Or at the very least on Amazon HERE.

This book is different than my first two, because unlike them, I had no background or reference or experience in what I wrote about. The subject matter interested me, and because I’m kind of a holistic chick, I was genuinely curious as to how to go about making all of these amazing remedies for various ailments we suffer with every day.

There are teas for cough and cold, hair loss, and worms. There are recipes in this book for skin rashes, hives, and constipation. Pages upon pages of information regarding how to use herbs that, until recently, I’d never heard of before (like Goldenseal, Burdock, and Feverfew).

Honestly, there are approximately 40 pages of references citing peer-reviewed studies to accompany my suggestions, as well as some kind and careful observations and recommendations by a certified medicinal herbalist.

If you’ve ever been curious about making your own medicinal tea, now is the time to get on it. In our world of Big Pharma and lab-created drugs for anything and everything, getting back to basics and using safe and effective ingredients to make our own remedies is both healthy and empowering.

THC detox drinks for sale.

I hope you love this book as much as I do!

Tea Cover - Copy

Release: The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea

Friends! I’m excited to announce that a book I signed a contract for over a year ago will be releasing in just ONE WEEK! On January 5th, The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea: 50 Ways to Brew the Cure for What Ails You will hit the shelves at Chapters, Indigo, Coles, Barnes & Noble, and more! It will also be available for purchase through amazon.com, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond!

Here’s the description from the back cover:

More than just a warm and comforting drink, tea has medicinal properties that are widely underused in North America. Common herbs, spices, fruits, and barks have been scientifically proven to help relieve pain, menopause symptoms, high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, and digestive angst. When taken preventatively, certain herbs in tea can help fight off cancer cells, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease and fibromyalgia. By learning about what these various natural ingredients are capable of and how they work, readers can begin to treat many ailments with what grows in their gardens—plants that have been used in eastern medicine for thousands of years.

The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea invites readers into a world of medicinal plants, instructs on the specific healing properties of each, matches them to ten common North American health disorders, and provides simple tea recipes readers can make in their own homes.

Late Japanese author Okakura Kakuzo has been famously quoted as saying, “Tea began as a medicine and grew into a beverage.” The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea encourages readers to turn their favorite drink back into medicine—and outlines exactly how to accomplish this. With the help of beautiful photographs and an easy dialogue, Jennifer Browne clearly explains to readers how teatime can garner impressive health benefits.

This book is my third, and I’m extremely proud and excited to share it with everyone. If you’re someone who loves to create and cook and be healthy and inventive and holistic and maybe has a little bit hippie inside of you, this book is for YOU.

Merry Christmas and Nappy New Year–2016 is going to be amazing. xo

3 Ways Rosemary Can Prevent + Treat Hair Loss

M’kay…this week’s post may be inspired by a) the fact that I feel like I’m getting old and my hair is getting thinner, and b) the fact that I’m currently writing a book on medicinal tea, and have recently learned a lot about rosemary.

Take it however you want to, but you’re about to get schooled.

On rosemary.

No more staring skeptically at your screen! Here are 3 ways in which rosemary can help save your hair (and the cost of extensions…and really, REALLY expensive shampoo…):

NUMBER ONE

What: make a strong rosemary scalp rinse.

How: steep 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary in 12 ounces of hot water, and steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Next, strain herbs from water, and work infusion into your clean hair, massaging the scalp. Repeat once a week.

Why: this move stimulates the hair follicles and wakes up your scalp.

Rosemary for hair loss

NUMBER TWO

What: make a rosemary oil treatment

How: combine 5 drops of rosemary essential oil with ¼ cup of olive oil in small dish. Sit it in a pot with some hot water on stove, and heat. (Think double-broiler.) Remove from heat, and making sure it’s not too hot, massage oil into scalp. Wrap your hair in a clean towel, and let sit for 20 minutes. Wash hair thoroughly, and repeat once a week.

Why: this treatment helps to nourish the scalp, and draw waste from clogged pores. It also leaves your hair healthy and shiny, and helps prevent excessive hair fall. Peer-reviewed studies have concluded that rosemary oil treatments work.

NUMBER THREE

What: drink rosemary and horsetail tea

How: combine 1 tablespoon each of dried rosemary and dried horsetail in large Mason jar (1 quart), and fill with hot water. Let steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Strain herbs and sip throughout the day, every day.

Why: rosemary and horsetail are both herbs that are great for the hair. Since hair loss is usually attributed to poor nutrition, consuming this tea each day will aid your entire body, thereby helping the hair loss situation.

If you’re interested in what other herbs can do for you, pre-order The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea HERE.

10 Herbs for Prevention and Treatment of Colds and Flus

Traditional chinese herbal medicine ingredients, close-up

Researching herbs has temporarily taken over my life. Because I’m currently writing a tea guide, I’m inundated with amazing facts about an enormous amount of medicinal herbs. Yesterday I spent about two hours researching herbs that expel worms and kill lice.

(Aaaaaaand I’m still itchy. *Shudder…)

Since we’re smack in the middle of winter and surrounded by colds and flus, I decided to share what I’ve learned about herbs that help with both prevention and symptoms of viruses that are running around, rearing their ugly heads.

Here are 10 herbs that everyone should have on hand from October to March:

Ginseng tea

  1. Ginseng: to stimulate the immune system, fight upper respiratory tract infections, prevent the flu when taken consistently, and decrease susceptibility to colds.[1] Take as a tea or in capsule form.

Echinacea Flowers homeopathic remedy

  1. Echinacea: Shortens severity of colds when taken as soon as symptoms emerge.[2] Take as a tea or in capsule form.

lemon

  1. Lemon: to kill viruses and bacteria, fight infections, and boost the immune system. Lemon also contains extremely high levels of vitamin C.[3] Squeeze half of a fresh lemon in hot water and drink 2-3 times per day.

Bundle Of Fresh Thyme

  1. Thyme: to kill viruses and bacteria, relieve a cough, and lessen inflammation. Take as a tea.[4]

Medicinal Herbal Tea

  1. Marshmallow: to soothe a sore throat and suppress a cough. Take as tea or in capsule form.[5]

Mint tea

  1. Peppermint: for sore throats, chest and sinus congestion, and nausea. Try sipping peppermint tea, and mixing a few drops of the essential oil in lotion to rub on sore, achy muscles.[6]

Eucalyptus Tea

  1. Eucalyptus: for chest and sinus congestion. Place a few drops of this essential oil in a hot bath.[7]

Ginger Tea homeopathic remedy

  1. Ginger: for nausea, vomiting, treating inflammation, and relieving chills.[8] Take as a tea.

Plantain Tea

  1. Plantain: to soothe a cough, and relieve inflammation.[9] Take as a tea.

Cinnamon

  1. Cinnamon: to kill bacteria, relieve chills and aches, and relieve inflammation.[10] Take as a tea or in capsule form.

So there you have it! Stock up and be well. xo

References:

[1] Predy, Gerald N. et al. “Efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng containing poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides for preventing upper respiratory tract infections: a randomized controlled trial.” Pubmed. Web. 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1266327/?tool=pubmed

[2] Block KI, Mead MN. “Immune system effects of echinacea, ginseng, and astragalus: a review.” Pubmed. Web. 2003. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15035888

[3] “Lemon (Fruit).” HerbWisdom.com. Web. 2015. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-lemon.html

[4] Zohra Ashpari. “The Best Natural Cough Remedies.” Healthline. Web. 2014. http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/best-natural-cough-remedies#2

[5] Zohra Ashpari. “The Best Natural Cough Remedies.” Healthline. Web. 2014. http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/best-natural-cough-remedies#2

[6] Zohra Ashpari. “The Best Natural Cough Remedies.” Healthline. Web. 2014. http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/best-natural-cough-remedies#2

[7] Zohra Ashpari. “The Best Natural Cough Remedies.” Healthline. Web. 2014. http://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/best-natural-cough-remedies#2

[8] Ann M. Bode and Zigang Dong. “The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.” (Chapter 7.) Pubmed. Web. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/

[9] Wegener and Kraft K. “Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.): anti-inflammatory action in upper respiratory tract infections.” Pubmed. Web. 1999. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10483683

[10] Joung-Woo Hong et al. “Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon water extract in vivo and in vitro LPS-induced models.” Pubmed. Web. 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533872/

Green, Oolong, and Black Tea: What’s the Difference?

Green tea

For those of you who may not know, I’m currently in the throes of writing a book on medicinal tea. I’m deep into the research phase of the project, and stumbled across the answer to the following question: what’s the difference between green, oolong, and black tea?

If you know, and are pretty sure I’m an idiot because everyone else knows, keep it to yourself. I’m choosing to believe that no one knows this but a small, select few, and that my knowledge on this topic is fairly on par with everyone else’s.

Don’t tell me if I’m alone in this matter.

Anyway, the answer to the question lies in the fermentation of the tea leaves. Turns out, all three types of tea are from the same plant. The herb is called Camellia Sinensis.

Green tea

Green tea: This bevy is made with fresh tea leaves. It’s considered the most medicinally potent of the three, and is the official drink of Japan, even though its origins hail from China.

Oolong tea: It’s made with the same leaves as the green, but they’re slightly fermented.

Black tea: Same leaves again, but are fully fermented. This is the most pungent of the three teas.

Different countries specialize in the production of each type of tea, and they are marketed and sold in a way that would lead one to believe they are different plants. (Okay, I made that up. But I think that’s what they do.)

The primary properties of tea are called polyphenols or tannins, and they determine the tea’s color, strength, body, and ultimately, the taste. Fermentation changes the medicinal properties of the leaves, which results in each of the three teas yielding different health benefits. All three are considered stimulants.

Kombucha Tea

So there you have it. If you want more, you have to pre-order the book! (Which will take a couple of months to reach Amazon, I think.) It’s called The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea, and it’ll be a goodie. 😉 xo

New Book Announcement: The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea!

Kombucha Tea

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how December is FLYING by! Two sleeps ’til Christmas! Woo hoo!

I received an early Christmas gift a couple of days ago: a new book contract! I’m super excited to announce The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea: How to Brew the Cure to What Ails You will be released in January 2016! Not only is this fabulous, but I’ll be fortunate enough to work with Tanya R. Loewen from Wild Honey Art House again! Sooooo exciting!

 dried green tea leaves

It’ll be a few months before I’ll be able to unveil a cover for this new book, so instead, I decided to post a few extremely gorgeous tea images to satisfy myself (and maybe you? Any hardcore tea lovers out there?!), until I can make it happen.

My holiday is already off to a fab start, and I hope everyone who reads this has an amazing couple of weeks, too. xo

Medicinal Herbal Tea