Laurel Whole Plant Organics Review

Aromatherapy, Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

I’ve been using Laurel Whole Plant Organic body oil, lavender lip treatment, and eye balm for about three weeks now. One word: POTENT!

As someone who loves to give my body only the best, most natural laureland eco-friendly products, I have to say Laurel is a high-end line for lovers of natural, essential oil infused magic.

Here’s the low down:

The body oil has 13 whole organic plant ingredients, including avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, rosemary extract, cedar, pine, and other flower and gem essences. The experience of the earthy aromatics leave your skin feeling nourished and smelling hypnotic. No greasy mess.

Aside from experiencing a noteworthy lift in my mood from the plant extracts, I’ve been diligently applying the body oil to some unwanted stretch marks on my thighs, which after only 3 weeks appear noticeably lighter. Score!

The lavender lip treatment smells amazing. While I love the beautiful glossy glow it lends to my lips, it does absorb quite quickly and I find I have to reapply often. As someone who struggles with dry lips, I usually prefer something that requires less application. I have noticed, however, that throughout the weeks my lips have been less dry than usual. Definitely worth a try.

Laurel’s eye balm is perhaps my favorite product of all! I Laurel_Organic_EyeBalmabsolutely LOVE the texture, smell, feel on my skin, and most importantly, the results. I have tried different ‘natural’ eye creams with little success in reducing morning puffiness, but Laurel’s whole plant treatment is PURE MAGIC.

List of ingredients include a whole plant blend of Bilberry, Fennel, Licorice and Nettle to reduce puffiness, inflammation, fluid retention and dark circles. The blend is high in vitamins and minerals as well as carotenes. An indulgent, exotic floral, blend of organic and therapeutic grade essential oils: Lavender, Bergamot, Sandalwood, Myrrh and Helichrysum are included to tighten, plump and brighten eyes.

I am absolutely SOLD on this eye balm. If your eyes need a vacation from stress, this concoction is the perfect way to allow them to luxuriate.

All of Laurel’s products are a bit pricey, but completely worth the high-end quality you pay for. Besides, I always feel our bodies are priceless and worth treating like the royalty they are (and by using natural products, you’re doing a friendly favor to the environment as well).

Overall, I would recommend Laurel’s Whole Plant Organics to anyone looking for a top quality facial/body care line. I can’t wait to try their other products.

For more information on Laurel (including their sustainability and eco practices), visit their website.

 

 

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Review: Balanced Guru Body Mists

Aromatherapy, Body Work, Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

cropped-chakra-center2.jpgSince I’ve started using essential oils, I’ve become incredibly sensitive to synthetic perfume. Because I love to smell good (what woman doesn’t?!), I’ve been experimenting with different essential oil body mists. And I love finding good ones.

One of my new favorites is from Balanced Guru. Using all organic, cruelty free, recyclable material, this company makes a different body mist to work with each of the seven chakras.

I started with their Intuition and Fearless scents (working with the Balanced Gururoot and third eye chakras). Both mists not only utilize essential oils that assist with the subtle energies of these chakras, but I notice a gentle lightening of my energy body when using them (especially the Intuition, which I’ve been using before doing intuitive readings with clients).

If you’re sensitive to energy at all (especially for those who are empathic) the Fearless mist is an excellent companion for crowded/dense energy spaces. It was on me almost non-stop as I traveled for over a week doing a lot of energy work — definitely a constant source of grounding and comfort — perfect for airports.

The only thing I don’t like about these mists is how small their container is (only 0.27 fl.). As someone who uses essential oils constantly, I went through them a lot quicker than I’d like. I wish they offered them in larger volume.

Essential oil body mists are great for clearing stagnate energy EssentialOils900around your body and helping you connect to your feelings/emotions. There are also hundreds of health benefits associated with essential oils.

It’s worth a quick google search if you’re interested in exploring the topic (or you can also check-out the interview I did with aromatherapist, Athena Ziegler last year, which provides a lot of information and history on the magic of essential oils).

Balanced Guru is currently offering a free gift for first time buyers (no minimum purchase). Simple add in the “notes” section of your order which product of theirs you want to try, and they will send you a free trial size.

My bonus was the No Frizz hair oil. It works just as well as the No frizzargan tree oil I typically use, but I like the smell of it even better (and the scent seems to linger longer, as well).

If you only do one thing to make a difference in the world, choose to support small companies like Balanced Guru (or any of the many, blooming others). It’s important not only for your health and the environment, but for the overall consciousness and vibration of the planet.

Namaste.

For more information on Balanced Guru, visit their website.

 

Rebbl Tonic Elixir: A Powerful Adaptogenic experience!

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

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It’s one of my new favorite drinks. Rebbl’s Forest Berry organic tonic elixir is deliciously complex in flavor, potent in synergy, and provides just the right amount of energy boost for your day, without the crash of most caffeine enriched drinks.

Tonic elixirs are one of my favorite types of drinks to experiment with. Their adaptogenic properties provide a powerful experience for the body, mind, and soul. And I must say, if you live in a state (like Washington or Colorado) where other expansion herbs are legal (like cannabis), the two combined make the most exquisitely sacred spiritual experience – highly beneficial for higher meditative states of consciousness (in my personal experience).

Here are some fun facts about Rebbl (taken from their website):

ADAPTOGENS : Higher Herbal Intelligence

Every REBBL tonic is formulated as a celebration of the finest, world-class adaptogenic herbs.

Adaptogens, a very special class of herbal compounds, are among the most prized health promoting substances known to man. Famed for normalizing the body, gently bringing it back to homeostasis, adaptogens appear to target and correct what’s out of balance. Only a handful of these unique supertonic herbs exist and we are dedicated to bringing you the best.

Some of the benefits attributed to adaptogens:

  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Improve focus & attention span
  • Balance appetite and mood
  • Accelerate physical recovery
  • Decrease anxiety and tension
  • Increase long-term endurance
  • Increase protection to the vital organs

Adaptogens promote general wellness through complex biological processes. Sometime referred to as dual-directional herbs, adaptogens can promote homeostasis when important body systems (like the immune system) are out of balance. These special herbs can be taken daily as they have both an immediate and cumulative long-term effect. It’s the oldest and newest wellness science – a higher herbal intelligence.

Rebbl offers two other tonic elixirs besides the Forest Berry — they’re next on my list to try:

To find out more about this powerful drink (as well as where you can find it), visit the Rebbl website.

Wonderfully Soft Hair

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features

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Ok, it’s basically warmed up all over the USA and other places where Spring is sprung. Took long enough, that was part of April fools y’all! That Winter was still around. Now it’s finally warm! Yay! That means I’ll be out in the sunshine as much as possible. For all of you other sun lovers no doubt SPF is in your basket of useful tools. It better be!!!

What about your hair though? Extended sun exposure like swimming pool days or beach time means your hair is gonna be fried! Sun damage can make your hair lackluster, dull, and dry. My hair likes to get nappy, it sticks together and begins to really nest up. Pretty scary! You long haired folk know exactly what I’m saying! No body has time for all that! If you color your hair or style it regularly you need to condition weekly.

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Yes, moisturize moisturize moisturize. That being said, not all conditioners are created equally. Even some of the better brands like Aubrey or Alaffia work well and use totally clean ingredients.. but they may not be up for fixing your hair snafu in one swoop. The super organic products tend to need more frequent use in order to work well. Personally, I am quite impatient when it comes to my hair. When it’s dry it drive me nuts! I want the fastest working product.. No doubt you do to.

ImageEnter the solution, Earth Science Deep Conditioning hair masque. This stuff is amazing! It’s got olive, coconut, and avocado oils. It’s also got silk protein in it! I tried a sample of it years ago when I worked in retail… and I’m still buying it. It’s literally one of the few products I am forever in love with. I get nervous when it starts to run low! The ingredients could be cleaner but it’s so effective I use it anyway.

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In the Spring and Summer you can transform your neglected locks into silky soft strands of glory. Let your hair flow in the wind!!!

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Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. She is not a board certified medical doctor. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

Sir Richards

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products
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Hey there! It’s February.. The month dedicated to all things related to the heart. So make sure to take care, take heart, and share love!! The second month of the Solar year (and first month of the Lunar year!) is about much more than love.. It’s the month dedicated to intimacy too. Time to talk about things like sex. Are you getting any? Well even if you aren’t, someone you know is.. and they need condoms. Yep, it’s true. People do!

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Chemical free condoms are something that (surprisingly) a lot of folks have never considered shopping for. Think about it.. We’re discussing the most sensitive areas of your body! Are you putting chemicals in there? And what is a clean condom? Mega brands like Trojan or Lifestyles aren’t exactly using American made ingredients.. Nor are they using clean lube. Add to it the cheap latex that causes irritation, swelling, imbalance, and even infection. I’ve spoken to lots of people who were under the impression they were allergic, or at least sensitive to latex, but they weren’t.. They just used the dirty brands!
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For just a moment, I’d like to show you the horrors of the chemicals present in those drug store condoms. Trojan uses a chemical called Nonoxynol-9. Sounds terrible, I know! It’s as bad as it sounds. It’s been linked to endocrine system disruptions, soo not sexy. Then there’s Propylene glycol, which is in tons of toxic body care products. It’s a known carcinogen linked to immune disruptions and respiratory damage.. and you’re putting it where? On what? Eww! Dirty!!!!
Let’s get real, if you put chemicals in your special spots you’re bound to have issues. Yeast infection? Totally. What about 24hrs of swelling and tenderness? Hey, it happens! Don’t let using megabrands keep you down, make sure you can keep going as long as you like!! Keep your happy places chemical free and help your body to love you back.
So, what we’ve learned: Valentines day is all about too much chocolate, overplayed romance, big tacky glittery hearts, and overstuffed smiling animals.. All very scary things. Soo nix the chemical condoms already!! Chemicals are so 80s.. and nobody loves a dirty rubber!

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My condom company of choice is Sir Richards. They use American made medical grade latex.. and NO CHEMICALS! But wait, I saved the best for last. Sir Richards donates condoms to people in need around the world.. and unlike “charity” brands like TOMS shoes.. Sir Richards REALLY donates those condoms. Also for your viewing pleasure, their website is loaded with feel good and funny features. Check it out here at SirRichards.com.. Oh and they offer subscriptions. I love these folks!

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Also if you’d like some suggestions on which ones to try first..  the Pleasure Dots will make you say “Yeeeah condoms are awesome”.. But you can also start with the multi pack.. That works too! Want a free box? Leave me a comment and tell me why! Skip emailing the company- I’ll mail you one right away! Just choose your type (classic ribbed, XL, pleasure dots, or extra thin)

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Enjoy!!!

Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. She is not a board certified medical doctor. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

PS: This bugs me.. You ladies who love mens.. just because you may not be male does not mean you are shirked from the responsibility of carrying your own condoms. Please always be prepared for action and be responsible. Condoms are cheaper than babies. Thanks.

Candida Freedom

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

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Well, it’s January. The holidays have passed and I hope you didn’t get sick.. or gain weight.. or get too stressed out.. Or, develop a yeast problem from your Grandma’s pies.. or three square meals a day of fudge, sugar cookies, or fruit cake.. Yeah, nix that last one.

So I have one word for you, Candida. By now you’ve heard this buzzword. It was all the rage in the 90s to “cleanse Candida from your body” and there are literally hundreds of products which claim to decrease or rid your body entirely of Candida. You may have tried some of them.. Without much success. It may be a good idea to understand what you’re up against.

Let’s cover the basics.. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast in our blood streams. Everyone has it, you’re supposed to have it, it’s a helpful yeast. If it wasn’t for this symbiotic relationship, which has evolved with us over time, we would probably all go into a diabetic coma at some point (that pie!). Candida helps regulate the amount of sugar in our blood. It’s pretty cool stuff! Just like plankton in the ocean, Candida will bloom to feed, and then die back once it’s run out of food. Once it’s job is finished, it retires. Just like the human body, if you overfeed Candida, they’ll turn into an eating machine. So those terrible sugar cravings you can’t seem to control.. Yep, it’s the sugar gobbler in your body demanding to be fed, it’s Candida.

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But you don’t eat candy or drink soda.. Much.. Sugars are loaded up in mass numbers in soda. Even in “moderation” any HFCS or corn sugar sweetened treat is a Candida buffet playdate. What about the average organic diet? Sugars are found in sweet grains, “healthy” junk food like gluten free cookies, and refined carbs like frozen pizzas.. Don’t forget about dairy products either, Lactose is a pretty concentrated sugar source. Candida loves the modern American Diet. What happens when Candida has too much food? It blooms all day! That’s right.. it will just grow and grow and grow. It will totally take-over your blood stream.. Not such good news.

Candida is a necessary symbiotic yeast, but in excess it creates an acidic environment. Like any flora that’s out of balance, excess Candida can totally wreak havoc on the body. It causes skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rashes. It can be the root of vaginal yeast overgrowth too. Candida can be related to many digestive complaints like loose stools, constipation, bloat, gas, burping, and excessive sugar/carb cravings.. It causes bad breath and a white coated tongue. Too much Candida can be responsible for mental fog, headaches, joint pain, physical fatigue, and depression. Yikes!

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Do you have excess Candida? If you eat refined foods, chances are that you do. If you’ve tried a cleanse before you know that symptoms usually will get worse, then slightly improve, and (fingers crossed) you hope it stays that way. Usually however, it doesn’t. That’s because most people put themselves on a very strict “Candida Free diet” (so boring). You can use herbs that will correct the current excessive bloom in the blood, but not the root problem.

You see, Candida does live in the blood, but it loves your intestines. Think of the blood as the dance floor and your intestines as their nesting place. If you cleanse your blood, but not your small intestine, you’ve accomplished nothing.. You’ve skimmed the top of the pool and left the rest of the pond.

Yet with all of the products on the market, not many actually work. In fact, I’ve only found one that does. I’ll get to that soon.

There are cranberry based products, which flush your system via the kidneys. That just recirculates the yeast. You may urinate excessively, nothing else. There are enzyme based products, which claim to break down fungal cell walls.. But if the yeast isn’t dead (via diet starvation or other means) then they don’t work. Most people won’t tolerate a major diet change for very long. We’re talking bland, no sugar, raw low starch vegetables only.. No diary, no fruit, no grains.. So that doesn’t tend to work out!

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To insure an enzyme based product works you need to pair it something that will destroy (yes, totally annihilate!) the excess Candida in your entire body. You can use a detoxifying herb like Goldenseal, but in my experience it’s too harsh. I don’t want my face to be broken out, the whole world need not know I’m cleansing!

So the answer my friend is Candida Freedom. Yes, I know that’s the answer.. The product I’m recommending to you is called Candida Freedom. It’s formulated by a small company that is practitioner owned, run, and based out of Georgia, USA. The product is in two parts, the killer, which is considered Lactic acid therapy, creates a very unfriendly environment to Candida. It turns their oasis of pleasure into a desert of pain. It’s very effective but totally gentle probiotic supplement. Nothing complicated, nothing crazy.

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This information is taken from the website for Candida Freedom

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The Formula: 

Bacillus coagulans – A transient bacteria which is resistant to extreme

heat, light, oxygen and stomach acid. Provides an optimal environment

for growth and colonization of a wide variety of friendly bacteria necessary

for better digestion and stronger immunity.

Aloe vera – Assists in the repair of tissue damage done by bacterial and

fungal pathogens.

Alpha lipoic acid – Helps in areas of aging, inflammation and oxidation. Boosts cellular energy production. Assists in blood flow to the skin when applied topically.

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The second part of the Candida Freedom program is the Candida Digest, the enzyme based fungal dissolver. If you don’t want the detox symptoms, this is a must have. You can take them together, everyday, without any of the inconvenience related to cleansing.. and your skin won’t have a bunch of dead yeast on the surface.. Mmm, die off!

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The best part about Candida Freedom is you do not have to change your diet! Yep, you can still eat those gluten free cookies. I don’t suggest it be a daily activity, but perhaps once a week you can cookie binge. I hope this information has made you happy. Make sure to drink lots of water or these products won’t work very well. The formulator recommends using the product for 4months for long term results. There’s also a soap, for all of those previously mentioned skin issues related to Candida.

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You can find Candida Freedom products at most Whole Foods stores as well as independant retailers. It’s also available on Amazon.com

Want to read about real people’s success stories? Click here

Now go forth and control your yeast!

Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. She is not a board certified medical doctor. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

 

Christy’s Choicest Choices: MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Facial Scrub

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

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It’s holiday time! While to some folks that may mean gifts galore and huge parties.. To others it means cultivating more inner peace with meditation or expressing love with more random acts of kindness. But whatever the holidays mean to you, we can all agree it’s the time of year to share yourself with others. So, are you glowing and vibrant? Hmm..
It’s time to put your best face forward. It’s the time of year where you’ll see people you only see, once a year. You’ll be pinched by your Aunt, photographed by your Mom, and kissed by your sweetie under the mistletoe. Why not get a little holiday glow before you go?
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Touch your face, go ahead.. Rub your finger along the bridge of your nose. What’s it feel like? Grimy? Gritty? If you’ve got a layer of scum over your skin, it’s time to take it off.. Because here’s what’s up, all of those old dead skin cells never go away! They’ll hang onto your face until you decide to let them reincarnate. They’ll make your face look sallow, lackluster, and just plain dingy. Yuck! Save the funk for an Ugly Sweater party. No body needs to see the skin cells your forehead made last February.  
Ok so the solution is MyChelle’s Fruit Enzyme scrub. I’ve used this scrub for years and even though I’ve tried other brands, I always go back to it. First of all, it’s non irritating. The ingredients are highly effective but also very clean. Whoa, yeah I said it. The scrubby beads are made of jojoba oil. So they aren’t abrasive like a salt scrub, and not a total sticky bacteria laden disaster like a sugar scrub. There’s some bamboo which leave my skin feeling freshly renewed. It’s not drying, easy to use, and it doesn’t cost a quarter of your paycheck either. It’s about $18 for 2.3oz. 
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I approve of this product. My only advice is just make sure not to use too much pressure. The product will do it’s job so there’s no need rub yourself raw.
Here is what the MyChelle website has to say about this particular product: 
Bioactive Ingredients of Interest
Jojoba Esters – Smooth spheres which deliver jojoba emolliency and active ingredients directly to the skin.
Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) Stem Extract – Polishes skin, buffs away surface debris, assists in clearing clogged pores to alleviate future breakouts.
Pectin (Fruit Enzymes) – Infuses the skin with antioxidants and phytochemicals that assist in skin repair functions, protects from cellular damage and free radical assault, stimulates cell renewal and exfoliation mechanisms. Also used as a natural polymer that increases ingredient cohesion and water resistance.
Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract – Provides a rose-like scent, improves cell regeneration, tissue repair and skin toning, regulates sebum production to reduce surface shine.
Ingredients
Aqua (Water), Glycerin (Vegetable)*, Behenyl Alcohol (Plant)**, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut)**, Jojoba Esters, Bambusa Arundinacea (Bamboo) Stem Extract, Pectin (Fruit Enzymes), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Juice, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Ruscus Aculeatus (Butcher’s Broom) Root Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Bark Extract, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract, Panthenol (D) (B5), Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil*, Xanthan Gum (Fermented Sugar), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Potassium Sorbate, Phenethyl Alcohol (Rose), Caprylyl Glycol (Coconut), Potassium Sorbate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate (Green & Biodegradable), Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate (Vegetable), Dicaprylyl Ether (Vegetable)**, Sucrose Stearate (Sugar and Coconut Oil)**, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (Salt)**, Alcohol Denatured (Grain). (*Certified Organic)
Christy Patton

Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. Find out more about her work on our staff-and-contributors. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

Christy’s choicest choices: Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Giveaways, Health Products, Recipes

It seems that for the past month or two we’ve been socially experiencing quite surge of energy, coupled with a bit of a vortex. I couldn’t even stand still! The election media has been in everyones face stirring up some exhaustion. Then there was Hurricane Sandy, yikes. The storm pushed and cleared a lot of old energies, while destroying everything in it’s path. We all need some major recovery right about now!

Synchronistically enough, the product I set my sites to review several days ago, is a recovery product.

Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator is pretty amazing stuff. 

I have been using Recovery Accelerator regularly with my heavy gym workouts for three weeks now. It’s really been an essential part of my routine. I started from a ground level, you know, I was a soft-body. I haven’t been to the gym in years and my hiking schedule was irregular this year. I wanted to see fast results in order to stay motivated. That meant I needed to do cardiovascular exercise coupled with weight lifting around 5xs weekly.

I had all the willpower I needed already stored up, from late night Pinterest surfing. Yet my experiences with sore muscles from previous fitness endeavors left me a little nervy. I did not have the time for feeling sore or being slow! Hey look that’s me headed to the gym with my game face on!

Now we cue the solution.. Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator my vote, this stuff really does work. I push it to the edge at the gym. I’ve had two gym visits where I did push it too far, but after an extra dose of Recovery Accelerator I felt much better. Magic, I know.

This stuff has some really awesome target dose ingredients!

-Almost 4,000mg of yellow pea and brown rice protein

-1,500mg of gelatinized maca root.

-Plus highly effective amounts of: Devils claw, Glucosamine, electrolytes, Astragalus, Turmeric, L-Arginine, and American Ginseng.

Lets talk in more detail about these effective ingredients.

First of all the additional small print things are lovely, nothing unnecessary or questionable.. Just good effective stuff.

Then we have the superstars of the ingredients list:

Devils Claw is used in the treatment of pain and inflammation. It’s a very sacred herb hailing from Africa.

Glucosamine hydrochloride aids in the rebuilding of “exercise damage” related to the bodies cartilage and tissues. It helps strengthen joints in the body which is essential for injury and accident prevention.

Electrolytes keep us hydrated, which is extremely important. Adding the Recovery Accelerator to Coconut water gives it a super charge!! Plus it takes your coconut water to a whole new flavor level!

The superstar in the mix, Astragalus is an amazing herb used for thousands of years aiding numerous issues! It boost antioxidant levels by ridding the body of free radicals, it’s been used as an anti viral/bacterial, and also as an anti inflammatory.

Turmeric has thankfully become more well known lately, beyond it’s curry claim to fame. It’s a natural anti inflammatory and also helps to heal the liver. Vega uses a 95% active compound, no cutting corners!

L-Arginine is a vasodilator commonly used by performance driven athletes to help the heart pump blood faster.

American Ginseng is another ancient herb used over thousands of years for physical stress, inflammation, and immune health.

It all sounds so complex but I promise it tastes delicious. I mix the Tropical flavor in my car while I’m still in the gym parking lot. I just bring a single serving with me and some extra spring water. It shakes well. There’s an Apple Berry flavor which is quite tasty as too.

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I hope you take this Mercury retrograde time to heal yourself and recover from the passing storms. In an effort to pay forward my own recovery efforts, the first three people to comment and tell me how they help with any type of recovery (for yourself, other people, our planet) will receive their own supply of Post Workout Recovery Accelerator by Vega. 

With each recovery comes greater strength,

Go with Love.

Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. She is not a board certified medical doctor. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

After a bit of a wormhole induced hiatus, I’ve returned to reviewing products for Chakra Center.. Sorry for the programming delays. I’ve missed you.

Christy’s Choicest Choices: Alaffia Virgin Coconut Body Cream

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features

Alaffia Virgin Coconut Body Cream

I’ve tried so many different lotions, body creams, and hand creams over the years, but I never polish them off. I always become annoyed with a product for various reasons. Either they get sticky, don’t soak in, or I get tired of the scent. On many occasions I’ve missed an irritating ingredient and had to toss it! There’s nothing worse than picking something that looks clean, but isn’t*. I like short ingredient lists, they’re usually safer and much easier to decipher.

I’ve had my favorites in the past, like Weleda’s skin food. It’s greasy and amazing but sadly takes a while to sink in. Practically speaking, greasy isn’t always good. You know, it gets all over your clothes! So I always move on, still longing and searching for the best, yummiest, and most moisturizing body cream ever made. A cream free of wild, flashy ingredients and low on the (much overused) plant derived preservatives.

About 4 months ago, I found it. Alaffia’s virgin coconut body cream is truly delicious. I’ve known about Alaffia for years. I love their products but their Coconut cooperative is rather new. I’m totally in love with their coconut lotions (the body cream in particular). It’s thick and lasts forever (I’m on my second tube, the first one lasted well over a month!). Unlike many new creams, I haven’t gotten tired of it. I long for it, crave it, need it! It still works wonders and I love the smell –real fresh coconuts, lightly toasted with a deep scent of love and hint of lemon.  Yummy!

Since it’s so thick a little goes a long way. It mostly contains Fair Trade shea butter, Fair Trade coconut oil, glycerine, and water. Alaffia doesn’t use parabens or any other nasty questionable ingredients. Their products are gluten free and are never tested on animals. And the best part is, the company was founded on love, not profit. Here’s the scoop:

Alaffia was created for one reason: to empower the women living in absolute poverty in Togo, West Africa. Their founder, Olowo-n’djo (pronounced All-O-WANd-Jo) is from West Africa and wanted to change the terrible circumstances in his village. The drop out rate for school children was very high, almost 100% for girls, due to the distance they had to travel on foot. The natal birth/death rate was also very high, just like other places in Africa. The company was founded to change these things.. and change, they have. (NOTE: around 8% graduation rate then but now inverted to only 8% drop out rate. change shown in 10 years time.)

Since an indigenous craft was producing Shea butter, creating a Shea cooperative was the first step in empowering these women. The Shea nuts are harvested when they fall from the tree and then processed in traditional ways: by hand. The elder women in the village are in charge of whipping the shea into heavenly butter. They have a long, tedious process! Yet they all sing, smile, dance, and chant while they work…because they are happy and enjoy it! The products they make vibrate with their joy and are quite magical.

Recently Alaffia started a new coconut cooperative employing over 130 new women! People are pretty coocoo for coconut lately and sales seem to be going very well. Yay for them!

I feel good rubbing their coconut body cream all over myself. Not just because it smells like coconut cake, or because Alaffia gives over 10% of profit back to the village (and pays far above minimum fare trade standards) but because it’s awesome.

This product cells in 4oz tubes for around $10.

I hope you get all coconutty shea slathered and support a good cause doing so!

Christy

Other products Alaffia makes that I love include:

Tangerine Citrus Black Soap (http://www.alaffia.com/store/pc/Authentic-African-Black-Soap-16-oz-Tangerine-Citrus-39p211.htm)

Everyday Coconut Body Wash (http://www.everydaycoconut.com/shopEDC/index.php/shop-online/edc-body-wash.html)

and Rose Geranium Shea Butter Balm (http://www.alaffia.com/store/pc/Shea-Butter-Hand-Body-Balm-16p115.htm)

I encourage you to support their efforts in empowering women and changing the world!

Read more about Alaffia here:

http://www.alaffia.com/index.asp

Read more about the IMO here:

http://www.imo.ch/logicio/pmws/indexDOM.php?client_id=imo&page_id=home&lang_iso639=en

Read more about Fair for Life here:

http://www.fairforlife.org/logicio/pmws/indexDOM.php?client_id=fairforlife&page_id=home

*Would you like an example of dirty but “clean” body care? Let’s use a lotion label from Andalou Naturals.

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Aqua, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Citrus Reticulate (Mandarin) and Vanilla Planifolia Extracts*, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil*, Sodium Alginate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*†, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter*, Malus Domestica (Apple), Solar Vitis (Grape) and Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Stem Cell Cultures and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5), Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Extract*†, Allanotin, Soy Tocopherol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil*.

*Organic †Fair Trade

We see Panthenol which is B5, about as pure as the stuff in Panteen Pro-v. Note it’s not organic, which means it’s probably derived from a corn (or coal!) source (could be GMO!). Speaking of, the Soy preservative (vitamin E called tocopherol) isn’t organic ether. Then there’s Ethylhexylglycerin, which they say is better than Parabins, but I don’t necessarily agree. Read about it HERE (http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2009/7/31/ethylhexylglycerin.html).

Although this label looks flashy with it’s fruity oils and 8 berry complex stem cells (Andelou uses water soluble cells which do not absorb into the skin) there are tons of preservatives, water, and filler oils. This is not a gluten free or soy free product. The only thrill of this item is it’s price, $8 for 11oz. While it’s not terrible, it’s what I consider an acceptable “Sold at Target” naturalish product. But sadly, it’s sold in Whole Foods and other Health Stores nationwide.

You can find this product here: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/andalou-naturals-body-lotion-mandarin-vanilla-11-fl-oz-lotion

Now let’s looks at the Alaffia coconut body cream. The fragrance is a blend of indigenous oils while the steric acid, potassium sorbate, veggie wax, and glycerin are likely coconut derived. This is a gluten free and soy free product. Yum! It’s also got a much shorter list of ingredients and a better fair trade certification list. Oh, and it’s handmade… Ya just can’t beat that!

Ingredients: Distilled Water, Virgin Coconut (Cocos nucifera) Oil**, Vegetable Glycerin, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Handcrafted Cocoa (Theobroma cacao) Butter*, Stearic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Fragrance, Lemongrass Essential Oil, Limonene, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).

*Handmade by Alaffia Cooperatives in Togo. **Certified Fair Trade by IMO.

Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. Find out more about her work on our staff-and-contributors. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

Chakra Center’s Newest Contributor: Christy Patton!

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

Meet Chakra Center’s newest contributor, Christy Patton! Christy is the site’s health product reviewer, and in case you haven’t had a chance to read her first review on medicinal mushrooms, (medicinal-mushrooms-christys-choicest-choices), we want to be the first to tell you that she is AMAZING ( full of information, funny, and most of all, relevant)! We are thrilled to have Christy join our growing team of talented crazies!

Welcome, Christy!

Christy Patton is a Cancer/Leo cusp and native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She masquerades as the supplement faerie by day and a couch bound blogger by night. She has a passion for nature, beauty, and sharing light. Christy has a freelance evolutionary astrology practice and enjoys all things metaphysical and extraterrestrial. She is currently a resident of Knoxville, TN. You can email her at Christy.Patton@rocketmail.com or visit her blog: CProjectPatton.Wordpress.com

Medicinal Mushrooms: Christy’s Choicest Choices

Christy’s Choicest Choices, Features, Health Products

Medicinal Mushrooms

People like to ask me questions about supplements. I’ve answered thousands of questions over the years, and it’s safe to say the most common questions fall along similar lines: How to boost energy levels/ make you feel younger/ more attractive/ and usher in world peace. (Ok most people don’t bring up the world peace thing, and that’s just sad).

I use to offer short-lived herbal solutions to most issues. Fatigue problems can be temporarily remedied with herbs like Rhodiola or anti-aging supplements like Resveratrol. Nothing was ever a long-term solution. Up until early last year I thought this very common request was totally absurd. I assumed if a product seemed too good to be true, it was. Then, I discovered I didn’t know much about mushrooms.

I’m not talking about the kind that makes the walls warble around, or makes you think Tori Amos is singing in your living room. I knew all about those from my sophomore year of college. I’m talking about medicinal mushrooms:

Mushrooms have been used since the dawn of human kind for food and medicine. They’re probably what Hippocrates was talking about when he said “Let thy food be thy medicine and they medicine thy food.”

While they have been commonly overlooked in modern times as the slimy portabella sandwich, medicinal mushrooms are experiencing a renaissance.

Mushrooms are typically used in their two parts, the fruiting body (as in the mushroom itself) and the mycelium (pronounced mahy-see-lee-uhm). Each species varies in preparation requirements (alcohol bath vs water bath or both) for optimal potency. Almost all types need to be heated for best results.

The Mycelium is the mushrooms brain, or Internet, to put it simply. It resembles the neurons and dendrites of our brain. I think it’s so pretty! Like our brains, Mycelium is also pretty smart. It senses disease, invaders, and other issues and sends electric like impulses through established channels within its system (1). Over 7,000 studies have been done on Mycelium alone, published since around 1900 (2). It is a subject unto itself.

But let’s get back t0 mushrooms.

Medicinal mushrooms contain polysaccharides (3), healing sugars that have antioxidant properties, which have been repeatedly shown to increase the amount of macrophage dependent immune system responses (4). Say what? Simply put, these eatables can literally shrink tumors and keep us living longer. But raspberries can do that, right? Sure, but we aren’t very closely related to raspberries, and we are to mushrooms. That alone has huge implications. So now that you know about this otherworldly solution to all of life’s problems, (except your dirty dishes), let’s talk about product.

Starting out as a student of Mycological supplementation, you may  feel overwhelmed. Questions may arise like: Should I try a blend? Is a single species safer? Why the big difference in prices? Which brand is better? I like to recommend a blend that goes with just about everything: herbs, vitamins, and mushrooms alike. Blends mean a more custom fit for your cells. But single species are great, if you know what you’re doing.

Price differences predominately depend on the literal company structure. Larger companies like New Chapter tend to follow a Big Pharm model: Profit over gross quality product and marketing sparkle over full disclosure or honesty. While smaller companies like Mushroom Wisdom or Mushroom Science tend to stay in the Stone Age (yes, the typewriter was a good invention, but a MacBook Pro is much better). Also- if a company manufactures mushrooms but isn’t a mushroom company, it’s best to steer clear.

Christy’s Mushroom Company Recommendation:

So what is the MacBook Pro of the mushroom world? Host Defense is the answer.

The company is owned and run by Paul Stamets, a leading world renowned Mycologist for well over 30 years. Paul is the authority on mushrooms. He absolutely knows his stuff. Simply put, he uses the best manufacturing methods for the best results. So how does he know the best methods? Because he had to invent them, duh! Host Defense uses only lab-cultured mushrooms from very small tissue samples. There is no alteration of the natural environment whatsoever.

Paul’s home, farm, labs, and grow-rooms are located in one compound at the base of The Olympic National Rainforest in Olympia, WA. These mushrooms do not, nor ever will, come from China or various other unsafe sources. There is no co mingling in the Host Defense product line, which is very important.

‘What’s co mingling?’ you say? Oh, it just means that your mushrooms weren’t shipped from all around Asia inside of an aluminum box, in the heat, with some rotting bug guts, plastic, and other nasty bits. Remember, mushrooms are like sponges to toxins; they absorb everything. Yum!

Christy’s Brand Recommendation:

So now you know the best brand, but what’s the best product to start with? If you answered a mushroom blend, congrats, you’ve been paying attention.

My favorite product by Host Defense is Stamets 7. It’s Paul’s own blend and it contains 7 mushrooms for each of your 7 chakras. It’s best taken in the morning, about 30 before breakfast, so the polysaccharides can get to work uninhibited by food. I recommend starting with one capsule. If you’re not sensitive to new things, by all means take the serving size, 2 capsules. Also good to know, Paul’s company uses an organic mushroom derived capsule, which no other company uses. Those v-caps the other brands brag about are a DOW (cough. Monsanto! cough) patent. Just fyi, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is pretty vile (5)(6). Hey kids, chemicals in supplements are bad! mmk?!

Stamets 7 will change your world.

Well, I can’t promise that, but I’ve never had someone tell me it didn’t. I’ve turned skeptics into believers with this product – it’s that amazing. I have had people with years of chronic fatigue feel balanced and awake within a few hours. People with chronic illness find they have no more headaches or sniffles. Coffee addicts abounding- this is the best way to quit that adrenal torturing crutch of yours. So there is a magic pill that you can take everyday to increase your energy, make you feel younger, and keep you healthy. Mushrooms are pretty cool.

The following 7 Species can be found in Stamets 7:

Royal Sun Blazea supports immunity and longevity. It’s been used to treat HIV, cancer, and liver disorders (7) .

Cordyceps drives nutrients and oxygen into your cells creating a boost of energy and blood flow (8).

Reishi calms the bodies Qi (aka lowers stress) and balances the system. It’s nourishing for the heart and supports longevity. There are numerous studies published on the effect of Reishi in the treatment of cancer (9).

Maitake contains beta-1,6 glucan with beta-1,3 branched chains and prevents the growth of abnormal cells (aka cancer). It also lowers blood pressure/hypertensive symptoms and helps with unhealthy cholesterol levels (10).

Lions Mane has been clinically proven to regrow dead neurological sites in the brain, improve memory, and nerve health. It’s also been shown to improve mood through these actions (11).

Chaga is a powerful antioxidant and is being studied in relation to healing the gut and intestines from chronic inflammation. It is also known to be anti bacterial and prevent allergic reactions (12).

Mesima is a potent anti viral, anti bacterial, and anti cancer mushroom, which support immunity and longevity (13).

I’ve been using Stamets 7 for about a year now. I don’t rely on coffee or tea to get going every day and I haven’t had a cold ‘latch on’ in forever. I feel great, I think faster, I breathe better, and oh yeah, I love this product. It retails for around $38 for one months supply at recommended doses.*

So now you know that mushrooms can change your life, go learn how they can change our world. Watch Pauls Video “Six ways mushrooms can change the world”. You can also go read more about medicinal mushrooms on the Pubmed website. If reading abstracts isn’t your thing, I encourage you to google Paul Stamets or watch his videos on YouTube. Paul also writes a blog for the Huffington post and has authored 6 books about mushrooms.* He is my only living hero.

1: Belozerskaya TA. Cell-to-cell communication in differentiation of mycelial fungi. Membr Cell Biol. 1998;11(6):831-40. Review. PubMed PMID: 9718578.

2: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

3: particularly mannoses, hexoses, arabinoses, glucoses, galactoses and fucoses

4: Ren L, Perera C, Hemar Y. Antitumor activity of mushroom polysaccharides: a review. Food Funct. 2012 Aug 6. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 22865023.

5:http://www.dow.com/dowwolff/en/industrial_solutions/polymers/hydroxypropyl-methylcellulose/

6: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsugel

7: http://research.whnlive.com/Mycology/AgaricusBlazei/

8: Panda AK, Swain KC. Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2011;2:9-13

9: http://www.myco-quest.com/Reishi.html

10: Kabir Y, Yamaguchi M, Kimura S. Effect of shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and

maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms on blood pressure and plasma lipids of

spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 1987

Oct;33(5):341-6. PubMed PMID: 3443885.

11: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/mushroom-memory_b_1725583.html

12: Park YK, Lee HB, Jeon EJ, Jung HS, Kang MH. Chaga mushroom extract inhibits

oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay. Biofactors.

2004;21(1-4):109-12. PubMed PMID: 15630179.

13: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phellinus_linteus

For More on Paul Stamets see:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/

*Pauls books include: The Mushroom Cultivator; Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms; Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World, and MycoMedicinals, An Informational Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms. All of which may be found on Amazon.com or through his website Fungi.com

**http://www.fungi.com/product-detail/product/host-defense-stamets-7-capsules-60ct.html

Paul Stamets is not affiliated with Chakra Center, nor does he endorse this article or its author.

Christy Patton is Chakra Center’s savvy and experimental product reviewer. She is not a board certified medical doctor. This information is intended for educational purposes only.

*Please do not attempt to identify wild mushrooms as many are toxic and may cause permanent liver damage or possibly death.*