The Cold and Colds

Wellness Shot

Wellness Shot It's been freezing in these parts.  Dead of winter.  And it's no secret that little kids carry lots of little germs.  And those little germs create runny noses and sore throats and all that is evil.

On Sunday Avital puked into my hands while Richie sped to try to get us home.  Yesterday I came home to Ellie's poop everywhere.  Tonight Bar vomited all over me while cuddling on the couch.

I AM SURROUNDED!  And I cannot afford to get sick.

This season is just tough.  Period.

Almost every day I get a text or call from a friend or family member asking what are my remedies for x, y, or z.  Soooooooo...I figured I'd post my cure-all, preventative, germ killing wellness shot for all of you.

You can make it in a juicer to in a blender.  I used my mini-prep Cuisinart thingy then strained it all through a hand strainer and glugged it down.  It's spicy and sweet.  It may burn a bit going down, but I promise it works wonders!  Boost that immunity y'all!

Here are the ingredients (no exact measurements necessary):

1-2 inches of fresh ginger

2-3 cloves of garlic

lemon juice

apple juice

raw honey

cinnamon

The Sacred Bath

Love Life and Lollipops- The Sacred Bath

For some time now, the bath has been my place of quietude, fun, self.  With the craziness of kids running around the house, pregnancy, life…the bath has always been my getaway.

I believe strongly in the power of both hydrotherapy and calming the mind, but also it’s power to bring us back to our starting point, forget the responsibilities of life and find who I am, who I want to be, it’s time to think, but not always be so serious.  Whenever I’m feeling tired, achy, fatigued, or plain old bored, I run myself a nice hot bath and soak.  It gives me a  slice of time to be me, not mommy, or wifey, or any other title.

For a while I was loving sitting in the bath and watching reruns of old favorites (law and order, friends, my so called life) on my iPad and just zoning out.  Sometimes I light candles and soak in silence.  Often I bring my book (I’m reading Philippa Gregory’s The Other Queen right now).  Sometimes I blast some music and sing along.

I always add some salts and herbs or oils to my bath to enhance the experience.  The salts work deep into my body to detox and cleanse, calm nerves and offset achy muscles.  The herbs and oils heal through aromatherapy and skin softening.  Our skin is our biggest organ and what we put on it, what soaks through it, is incorporated much quicker than that which goes through our digestive systems.  So…a bath can be much more healing than you might otherwise imagine.

For salts I always go for natural sea salts when I can.  Otherwise I opt for an Epsom salt which is easily found in any drug store.  As for herbs and oils, here are a few I go to regularly:

  • Lavender for relaxing and calming
  • Eucalyptus for centering and soothing any respiratory ailments
  • Lemon for awakening and cleansing
  • Calendula for skin healing and softening
  • Peppermint for awakening and rejuvenating
  • Tea tree when I feel a cold brewing…it’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic
  • Orange is my happy scentJ

Tea Tea Tea oh and more Tea!

image via http://www.worldhealth.net/images/homefeature/050311_GreenTea.jpg I’m a tea freak.  Honestly, I drink tea all day every day.  I love it!  I shy away from black because of it’s caffeine content, but anything else (for the most part) does the trick for me.  I like green tea (usually a fruity one) in the morning, always iced in the warm months, lemon, no sweetener ever, spicy in the winter.

I use tea as a soothing agent, healing tonic, a way of slowing down.  Lately I’ve been mixing a peppermint tea with my nightly hot green tea.  The combination is an amazing digestive aid.  It helps sooth my nerves at the end of a long day and settle my stomach after dinner.  I’m addicted!  When I don’t have a green tea at night I feel unsettled.  It’s amazing how powerful a hot cup of tea can be!

Acupuncture with Benjamin Craig L.Ac.

Love Life and Lollipops- Acupuncture for Pregnancy

Acupuncture with Benjamin Craig at Coastal Wellness Last week I had my second acupuncture appointment with Ben Craig for pregnancy ailments.  You can read about Ben and his training and background here, but what I'll say is that he's totally awesome, accommodating and smart, and entirely saving my back and superscary leg veins!

I plan on seeing him regularly now that I'm in the home stretch on my pregnancy to increase circulation, relieve lower back pain, and generally bring my mind back to a state of calm and reason.

After a session with Ben I feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and totally sane (at least for a little while).  If you're in the New York area and are interested in exploring all that acupuncture can do for you and your body and mind, I'd definitely try to book an appointment with him (all his info is here and he has offices in Manhattan and Port Jefferson and does house calls here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn).  If you don't live in the area, I'd try to find someone local.  I'm a firm believer in acupuncture and other Chinese Medicine modalities helping to bring the body and soul back into a state of balance and serenity!

Chai Tea For Me

Image Coutesy of http://www.wondersoftea.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/chai-lattebeauty-sm.jpg I stopped drinking coffee well before I began my venture into the world of veganism.  I wonder if it was the seeding that started my quest for a healthier lifestyle?  Hmmm...

About 5 years ago, when I owned my clothing line, life was stressful to say the least.  I was 23 with so much responsibility including a payroll and partner, live-in boyfriend (yes, Richie), and orders to fill and too many receivables.  Long story short, I would lie in bed at night thinking about how to keep my business alive and busting my butt during the day to follow through on all those late night ideas.  I never really depended on coffee like some, but I definitely used it to keep me going through the day (I usually had a couple cups per day).  I'm not sure at which point coffee stopped giving me a boost and started making me jittery, but it was not a fun sensation!  I would get anxious and shaky every time I'd drink some joe.  I think the stress and caffeine combo was a really bad one for my body, so one day I decided to cut it out and went totally cold turkey.

I've never looked back and have become a tea freak!  I LOVE tea.  I drink tea all day long.  I ice it and keep a pitcher in the fridge and drink first thing in the am and always before bed.

Caffeine is so bad for all of us on so many levels.  According to the Skinny Bitches (who at one point changed my life and made me laugh and so I infinitely respect): "Caffeine can cause headaches, digestive problems, irritation of the stomach and bladder, peptic ulsers, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, anxiety and depression.  It affects every organ system from the nervous system to the skin.  Caffeine raises stress hormone levels, inhibits important enzyme systems that are responsible for cleaning the body, and sensitizes nerve reception sites...Furthermore, coffee beans, like other crops, are grown with chemical pesticides...So every single morning, you are starting your day with a dose of poison...A much better way to start the day is with a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea- organic of course.  Decaffeinated green tea is like a wonder drug."

They go on, and you should totally read what they have to say, but, they're totally right.  Tea is amazing, and has so many health benefits while coffee is, well, a little, sludgy, don't you think?

A really fabulous way to transition away from coffee is with chai tea.  It's spicy and strong and so yummy.  Most coffee houses have it, though they serve it as a latte with tons of milk and sugar.  You can always get it with soy (or better off almond) milk if you're out.  But if you're home you can make it yourself with a tiny bit of agave and a splash of nut or oat milk and you've got a grand slam breakfast drink.  I drink mine without anything in it sometimes.

Yogi makes a few fabulous versions.  I love the Chai Green and feel totally healthy drinking it (to be honest, I'd love to be totally off caffeine, but every once in a while the tiny bit in a green tea is exactly what I need).  When writing this post I noticed they make a Chai Rooibos which looks superyum.  I'm going to hunt it down today to try!

This Chai Green tea by Yogi is the perfect beginning to any vegan day.

I can't wait to try this Chai Rooibos from Yogi.

What's your favorite tea?  And how do you prepare it?!?

Origins Is Back and Way Better Than Ever!

Origins is eco-friendly and totally natural. When I think of Origins, I can't help but get a little nostalgic about those days when hanging at the mall was cool.  That's about the last time I can remember wandering into an Origins.  That said, I did wander into one on lower 5th Ave the other day and was blown away!

They're not only doing a whole line of organics, but Dr. Andrew Weil has created a line of skincare with them that is totally natural and based around the principles of integrative medicine.  Here's what their site says:

For the past thirty years, Dr. Andrew Weil has devoted himself to developing, practicing and teaching others about the principles of integrative medicine, a proactive approach to wellness. Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.

Sounds good, huh?!?  I splurged and bought a couple products that I'm now loving (and are making me want to pop back in and purchase some more!!!).  I bought the:

Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Eye Makeup Remover Pads with Therapeutic Benefits.  They're so amazing I find myself wanting to just place one of them on each of my eyes and let it seep in a bit.  Supercalming and relaxing AND they get the job done!

Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Eye Makeup Remover Pads with Therapeutic Benefits is the best on the market.

Brighter by Nature™ High-potency brightening peel with fruit acids.  I've been using these twice a week and my skin feels UH-mazing after (read: supersoft and clear).

This exfoliating peel is totally paraben-free and sulfate-free and amazing for my face.

Modern Friction™ Nature's gentle dermabrasion.  Though I use a loofa daily (I actually bought a new one from Origins that I couldn't find on their site) and when I remember I dry brush my body before I shower (...less often than I should), it had been a while since I actually did a body scrub.  So I decided to invest in one.  This one is great and really makes you work.  Totally worth the investment if you're looking for a great scrub that seriously works away those dead skin cells and gets your blood flowing!

I love this Modern Friction™ Nature's gentle dermabrasion

Have any of you used any Origins products worth trying?!?  I can't wait for my next trip there.  Maybe I'll get over there this weekend to buy something (bath salts?!?) to idulge in over the holiday!

Guest Post: Madeleine Starkey

Love Life and Lollipops- G.T. Kombucha

I've mentioned my friend Maddy before (here, here, and here, and most likely somewhere else;).  She is sassy and smart and I lover her to pieces.  And though she is years younger than me, she teaches me new things all the time.  Mad is the lady responsible for getting me on the vegetarian track! I asked her to write me something for the blog (which I'll undoubtedly do again and if she's willing: regularly).  So with no further adieu...Madeleine Starkey:

Kombucha is a big part of the vegan diet for many people.

If you are at all a health food aficionado you have most likely heard of kombucha.  Until recently, komucha was sold in Whole Foods across the country.  Whole Foods carried the most popular and ubiquitous brand, G.T. Other, smaller health food retailers similarly stocked the brand.  While other kombucha suppliers and manufacturers exist, G.T. has undeniably been the most frequently purchased, and the most recognizable.

According to Wikipedia, kombucha is "a fermented tea that is often drunk for medicinal purposes. There is limited scientific information supporting any health benefit and few studies are being conducted, although there are several centuries of anecdotal accounts supporting some of the health benefits attributed to the tea. Kombucha is available commercially and can be made at home by fermenting tea using a visible, solid mass of yeast and bacteria which forms the kombucha culture which is often referred to as the 'mushroom' or the 'mother'".

Proponents of the fermented beverage consider it an elixir that improves immune function, hair and skin health, and that supports the proliferation of of "good bacteria" of probiotics in the digestive process.

Skeptics feel such claims are anecdotal rather than proven, and further they fear the potential hazards of home-brewed kombucha.  The risks of home brewing include contamination and mold.

The underground kombucha culture was going strong until suddenly, earlier this summer, G.T. took a hiatus from distributing its products.  According to G.T.'s website,

Understandably evasive, G.T. fails to address on its website the reason for the recall.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Whole Foods pulled all Kombucha from its shelves after "determining it contained more than the usual trace amount of alcohol."
While the Baltimore Sun article suggests Whole Foods pulled all Kombucha brands, G.T. Dave only addressed its brand's alcohol content controversy:
"We are investigating reports of the potential for slightly elevated alcohol levels in our Kombucha products that may be occurring after the product has been bottled and has left our facility. Although our products are tested to be compliant at the time of shipping, a subsequent increase in alcohol levels could potentially cause the product to go above 0.5% causing potential labeling issues. We are working quickly to identify the possible causes and which lot codes and/or regions are being potentially affected. Please keep in mind that this is not related to any type of food contamination, is not a recall, had NOTHING to do with Lindsay Lohan and that you can still find our products at certain retailers. We are trying our best to get our product back on the shelves of every store. Until that happens, you can check the store locator featured on our website for further information on these retailers."

Furthermore, it seems the Whole Foods embargo incited a suspension of all kombucha sales at Whole Foods, and G.T. Kombucha sales at smaller retailers.

While smaller retailers have started to carry G.T. kombucha again, it has yet to return to Whole Foods.

To stay updated on G.T. Kombucha specifically, check G.T.'s facebook page, which promises to let its fans know the moment it starts supplying its product again.
Personally, I've had nothing but good experiences with kombucha (I do prefer G.T. brand, and my favorite flavors include Guava Goddess, Gingerberry, and Gingerade). I'm glad to have found the G.T. Kombucha facebook page, since I cannot wait until it's back at Whole Foods.  For now, I can find it at Yes! Organic Markets in D.C.  And this just might lead me to switch up my go-to grocery destination from Whole Foods to Yes!

A Little Herbal Trick of the Trade

Love Life and Lollipops- Cinnamon Tea

Cinnamon tea is said to cure menstruation pains. So, I'm on my period this week (which is a good thing because it means I can start trying to get pregnant again!), but it's not a good thing because the discomfort is killing me!

I've been popping Advil more than I'd like, so I decided to consult Risa to see what herbal remedies she'd suggest.  Luckily the two she mentioned were both relatively easy!

The first is cinnamon tea.  Boiling water and some cinnamon sticks.  That's it!  And from my post yesterday, you all are getting the idea that I'm a cinnamon freak and that's because I am.

The second was a bit of castor oil rubbed into some soft cloth like flannel or the such.  Place it over the cramping area then a heating pad on top and voila, cramps be gone!