What to Expect During An Ayahuasca Ceremony

Body Work, Features, Health Products, Spirituality, Websites

Those of you who follow my blog know I have an avid interest in the use of certain medicinal plants for expansion purposes. While ayahuasca is certainly not for everyone, I do like to provide information for those who are interested in exploring what plants have to offer us on our soul’s journey.

Mindbodygreen recently published this article on what to expect during an ayahusca ceremony and I wanted to pass it along. Enjoy!

What to Expect During An Ayahuasca Ceremony

It would appear from recent articles in Marie Claire and The New York Times, and a few documentaries I’ve seen, that there has been a rise in the number people attending Ayahuasca ceremonies.

For those of you who have not heard of Ayahuasca, it’s an ancientmedicinal plant with origins in the Amazon, namely Peru. It’s a thick brown tea derived from Caapi, a vine that only grows in the rainforest. The Caapi vine is blended with plant leaves that contain hallucinogenic properties to create Ayahuasca.

An Ayahuasca ceremony involves drinking the hallucinatory plant/vine tea blend under the guidance of a respected Shaman, for a long night spent in deep connection to a higher intelligence and an understanding of one’s true self. Ayahuasca is indigenous to the Amazon and is legal there, where retreats and ceremonies are held and authorized, but not in the U.S., where the scene is still underground and secretive.

If you are considering partaking in such a journey, prepare to encounter the divine, the infinite, the mystery — whatever you choose to call it — that which is beyond the limited perspective of your mind.

You must also be willing to accept that the divine/infinite/mystery cannot be experienced in a way that will make sense to your brain; the infinite is infinite — duh; while your brain is still finite.

Be wary that you might not necessarily like the information that the divine/infinite/mystery chooses to share with you either.

In the documentary Vine of the Soul: Encounters with Ayahuasca, one user reported that the horror she experienced was truly indescribable and that she thought she was going to die.

But another participant in the ceremony said that Ayahuasca opened her heart in a way it had never been opened before.

Ayahuasca is always referred to in the feminine, because users have said that the voice of higher intelligence that they’ll hear while during the ceremony is female. She (meaning the plant) speaks to you directly and tells you what you need to work on in your life.

Returning ceremonial participants should also be aware that each time you experience the divine/infinite/mystery, it will be different — each experience is akin to just a small drop in the ocean.

The experience will be ineffable, beyond language, and you will likely find that trying to put it into words after the ceremony has ended will be daunting if not impossible.

“Ten years of therapy downloaded in a night,” seems to be a fairly universal analogy to convey the possible takeaway from a ceremony. A typical Ayahuasca ceremony is a full night — the trip can last up to five hours. You may wish to take this into consideration before you make plans to attend a barbecue or any other form of social activity, the following day.

The icaros, sung by a Shaman, are an integral part of the ceremony. It is through these songs that your mareación (the visionary effects of Ayahuasca) is enhanced. It is also quite likely that you will likely gain a greater appreciation of the power of music through the icaros.

If you do not adhere to the recommended dieta (diet) before the ceremony, then the plants will assist your body in ridding itself of the chemicals — salt, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, etc., by fleshing out the toxins and impurities that you have crammed into it over the years. This is commonly known as purging, which translates to literally just that. You’ll probably vomit profusely but purge buckets will be provided. But fear not, if your body (including the subtle energy body) is clean, then there will be nothing to purge.

Another possible outcome of an Ayahuasca ceremony is that you will realize that everything perceived through your five senses and assimilated by your mind is contrived or false.

It is possible that plant medicine allows one to open The Doors of Perception, as Aldous Huxley described in his detailed account of taking mescaline. The subjective self is temporarily shed and a merging with the infinite “other,” is realized. After a ceremonial night of purging, you might find that you gain a fresh new outlook on what was once a seemingly mundane reality.

You should also be quite certain that your Shaman is bonafide, as you will be entrusting him or her with your psychological and emotional well-being. Be prepared to experience your mind deconstruct first-hand, and then reconstruct itself back together.

Once your mind is shattered or “broken open” as the psychedelia author Daniel Pinchbeck calls it, you may encounter what feels like schizophrenia, which can be frightening. Therefore it is imperative to do your research on your Shaman and the ceremony itself — whether it’s a retreat center in the middle of the Peruvian jungle or a loft space in Brooklyn — so that you can ensure you are in good hands and feel safe.

It is not a coincidence that seekers interested in yoga and meditation would gravitate towards plant medicine, for yoga and meditation were originally designed to guide practitioners beyond their rational thinking minds and experience the divine/infinite/mystery.

Much like yoga and meditation retreats, the Ayahuasca ceremonial retreat has found a home right here in the wellness world, and even amongst celebrities like Tori Amos, Sting and Paul Simon. Some are even calling it, “the new juice cleanse.”

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Raw Chia Seed Pudding: The Breakfast of Champions

Features, Food, Health Products, Recipes, Uncategorized

Two days on raw food and already feeling HIGH on life. That’s the best part about eating raw — it’s a naturally potent anti-depressant.

If you’re looking for some yummy recipe ideas in the raw, this one is simple and delish!

Breakfast of champions:

Chia seed pudding: chia seed pudding

Soak about 3 tablespoons (or more, depending how how thick you want your pudding) in 1 1/2 cups of almond milk in the fridge over night.

In the morning, cut up banana, plumbs (they’re in season now and oh-so tasty) and any other fruit that fits your fancy.

Add a sprinkling of walnuts and raw honey and voilà! You have a breakfast full of omega 3’s and 6’s, potassium, healthy carbs, and essential vitamins.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

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.

 

 

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.

Calling All Alchemist and Magic Workers for 2014!

Empaths, Features, Health Products, Online Courses, Workshops/Retreats

Dear Chakra Center followers,

2013 has been a year of lessons for me! I’ve started many new projects, watched some of them take root, some drift away in the wind, and others transform into unexpected magic! I want to say ‘thank you’ for staying with me, offering encouragement, and sharing your hearts. I feel you are my family and I’m full of gratitude for our connection!

This year I received a loud and clear message about what I’m here to do. I learned more about my unique gifts (and what I’m really not so good at) and have come to understand what I really want Chakra Center to be used for. I was confused at times and humbled…A LOT (and I’m thankful for that). I was reminded that when I follow my mind vs. my heart, all that usually follows is mundane living at best, and depression at worst. But when I follow my heart it calls me to a life of enchantment!

When we live in the magic and enchantment of this vibrational Universe, we live a life of FREEDOM!

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by ANY yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

My heart has made it clear to me that 2014 is a year of Alchemy and I’m calling all alchemist and magic workers to be apart of it!

For those of you who have been following me or what’s been happening at Chakra Center, you’ve noticed a lot of change, stagnation, – maybe even uncertainty. But this year I will finally be bringing forth a vision that I had from the beginning, and I can’t wait to unveil it.

I will still be offering online classes, but Spirit has made it clear that I am to work specifically with empaths/intuitives, as one of my most powerful/unique gifts is empowering this new wave of Alchemy workers (I intentionally use this word in place of “light workers,” for reasons I’ll explain in later posts) to live in the full power of freedom, magic, and transformation!

2014 will be a year of gathering for me. I am dedicating this year to Enchanted Living, and my intention is to gather, activate, and empower empaths, alchemists, and magic workers – for I feel 2014 is truly a year of Enchantment, but it is up to us to ride the wave of magic.

I will be traveling a lot, meeting many of you, sharing your stories with the world, interviewing Alchemist who look for magic in life and choose to live from their hearts, and sharing with you the tools and resources to help you do the same. And I want to hear from all of you!

A lot is changing, unfolding, and being revealed. The platform on which to share your magic with the world is growing! Please forgive the chaos on this site in the meantime. I’m still getting this new format organized.

Make sure to sign-up for our newsletter and follow the blog to be a part of the magic! So much is coming and I can’t wait for you to be a part of it!

I wish you all a year of enchantment and I hope Chakra Center will continue to inspire you to live life to the fullest! I pray this year you will feel empowered, creative, abundant, and FREE!

Happy New Year! Here’s to the magic!

Amanda

PS. For all of you empaths and alchemist out there, start the New Year feeling empowered and clear about your gifts! Join me in my “Empowering and Understanding Empathic Abilities” online class. I can’t wait to connect with all of you!

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Tidings of Joy Custom Elixir!

Aromatherapy, Features, Health Products

Features

I forgot to mention to all my Chakra Center followers that Soul Sister Alchemy is now offering a small, custom aromatherapy elixir for the holiday season called “Tidings of Joy!.”

There are only two more days left to order (to receive this lil’ gift of magic by Christmas).
Here is a an except from the website:

“Experience the magic and enchantment of the holidays with your own personal channeled message and aromatherapy blend!

Simply tell us your Christmas wish (for yourself or the recipient of your gift) and we will create a custom aromatherapy blend and personal channeled message. These elixirs are created to facilitate a positive shift in your subtle energy and tune your vibrations to your highest intentions for the New Year!

This alchemical holiday elixir is only $33! A perfect gift for family and friends! Your aromatherapy blend will be intuitively chosen by Athena with three potent essential oils to symbolize the 3 gifts given by the Wise Men to the infant Jesus.

***To receive your order by Christmas, order by December 17th!”

In other news, as many of you may have noticed not much activity has been happening on Chakra Center. This is all due to some major life renovations. Much beautiful change IS coming. I promise. Stay-tuned!

10 Things Every American Needs to Know About the Meat and Dairy Industries

Features, Health Products
Features

While I certainly am leaning into a completely vegan lifestyle for health reasons, I have to admit, the biggest and more pressing factors for 026 (5)my decision to stop eating animal products is by far motivated by the manipulation of our government to push meat/dairy on the public while at the same time causing devastation to the environment, health, and animal welfare.

MindBodyGreen recently published an informative article on the top 10 things all American’s should know about the meat and dairy industry, and I just had to pass it on to all of our readers here at Chakra Center. Educate yourself about what is really going on. The truth will, as they say, set you free:

10 Things I Wish All Americans Knew About the Meat & Daily Industry

by David Robinson Simon

Are you being manipulated into buying things you don’t want or need? In my book Meatonomics, I show that animal food producers control our everyday food-buying choices with misleading messaging, artificially low prices, and heavy control over legislation and regulation.

This producer behavior is simply shocking. The result is that in many respects, we have lost the ability to decide for ourselves what – and how much – to eat.

By learning just 10 quick facts about this industry and its highly coordinated messaging and manipulation, you can empower yourself to make better-informed choices immediately. You’ll see benefits to your health, your waistline, your ecological footprint, and more.

1. In a creepy, Big-Brotherish tactic straight out of a sci-fi movie, the federal government uses catchy slogans to get people to buy more meat and dairy.

Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.

Milk. It does a body good.

Each year, USDA-managed programs spend $550 million to bombard Americans with slogans like these urging us to buy more animal foods. Although people in every age group already eat more animal protein than recommended, and far more than our forebears did, these promotional programs are shockingly effective at making us buy even more. Each marketing buck spent boosts sales by an average of $8, for an annual total of an extra $4.6 billion in government-backed sales of meat, dairy, and eggs.

2. Americans eat more meat per person than any other people on earth, and we’re paying the price in doctor bills.

At 200 pounds of meat per person per year, our high meat consumption is hurting our national health. Hundreds of clinical studies in the past several decades show that consumption of meat and dairy, especially at the high levels seen in this country, can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other diseases. Thus, Americans have twice the obesity rate, twice thediabetes rate, and nearly three times the cancer rate as the rest of the world. Eating loads of meat isn’t the only reason people develop these diseases, but it’s a major factor.

3. Animal food production is the world’s leading cause of climate change.

That’s right. Forget carbon-belching buses or power plants. Animal food production now surpasses both the transportation industry and electricity generation as the greatest source of greenhouse gases. Yet amazingly, if Americans could just cut back on animal foods by half, the effect on greenhouse gas emissions would be like garaging all U.S. motor vehicles and vessels for as long as we keep our consumption down.

4. There’s no sustainable way to raise animal foods to meet the world’s growing demand.

Two acres of rain forest are cleared each minute to raise cattle or crops to feed them. 35,000 miles of American rivers are polluted with animal waste. We’re watching a real-time, head-on collision between the world’s huge demand for animal foods and the reality of scarce resources. It takes up to one hundred times more water and five times more land to produce animal protein than equal amounts of plant protein. Unfortunately, even “green” alternatives like raising animals locally, organically, or on pastures can’t overcome the basic math: the resources just don’t exist to keep feeding the world animal foods at the level it wants.

5. A $5 Big Mac would cost $13 if the retail price included hidden expenses that meat producers offload onto society.

Animal food producers impose $414 billion in hidden costs on American society yearly. These are the bills for healthcare, subsidies, environmental damage, and other items related to producing and consuming meat and dairy. That means that each time McDonald’s sells a Big Mac, the rest of us pay $8 in hidden costs.

6. American governments spend $38 billion each year to subsidize meat and dairy, but only 0.04% of that ($17 million) to subsidize fruits and vegetables.

The federal government’s Dietary Guidelines urge us to eat more fruits and vegetables and less cholesterol-rich food (that is, meat and dairy).

Yet like a misguided parent giving a kid cotton candy for dinner, state and federal governments get it backwards by giving buckets of cash to animal agriculture while providing almost no help to those raising fruits and vegetables.

7. Big businesses love farm subsidies. Small farmers and rural Americans hate them.

In the last 15 years, two-thirds of American farmers didn’t receive a single penny from direct subsidies worth over $100 billion – the funds mainly went to big corporations. The subsidy money spurs the growth of factory farms, which are surprisingly bad for local economies (they employ fewer workers per animal than regular farms, and they buy most of their supplies outside the local area). That’s why when pollsters asked Iowans how they feel about farm subsidies, a large majority preferred ending the handouts.

8. Factory fishing ships are exploiting the world’s oceans so aggressively that scientists fear the extinction of all commercially fished species within several decades.

Like an armada bent on victory at any cost, the 23,000 factory ships that patrol the world’s oceans have decimated one-third of the planet’s commercially fished species. They also indiscriminately kill and discard 200 million pounds of non-target species, or bycatch, every day. Because of such colossal destruction and waste, the United Nations says fishing operations are “a net economic loss to society.”

9. Fish farming isn’t the answer.

Sometimes hailed as the future of sustainable food production, fish farming is actually just another form of factory farming. Farmed fish live in the same stressful, tight conditions as land animals, and concentrated waste and chemicals from aquaculture damage local ecosystems. Escapes lead to further problems, as in the North Atlantic region where 20% of supposedly wild salmon are actually of farmed origin. When genes from wild and farmed fish mix, it degrades the wild population.

10. If they treated a dog or cat like that, they’d go to jail.

Industry-backed laws passed in the last 30 years make it legal to do almost anything to a farmed animal. Connecticut, for example, in 1996 legalized “maliciously and intentionally maiming, mutilating, torturing, wounding, or killing an animal” – provided it’s done “while following generally accepted agricultural practices.” Since most states have similar exemptions, farmed animals have almost no protection from inhumane treatment.

What’s a person to do?

Vote with your pocketbook. If you’re concerned about the creepy marketing, environmental damage, health risks, economic problems, or ethical issues that plague the meat industry, you can take action immediately. Make a choice to buy less meat, fish, eggs, and dairy – or better yet, give them up completely. It’s one of the most powerful things you can do.

David Robinson Simon is a Los Angeles-based lawyer, an advocate for sustainable consumption, and the author of Meatonomics. He works as general counsel for a healthcare company and serves on the board of the APRL Fund, a non-profit dedicated to protecting animals. David received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley and his J.D. from the University of Southern California. For more information, visit: http://www.meatonomics.com

Soul Sister Alchemy One Day Sale!

Features, Health Products

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Hello Friends!

To celebrate our lovely friends on Facebook, Soul Sister Alchemy is offering a"Sale Today Only" Meditation Elixir & Intuitive Reading special one day sale! For today only our complete Meditation Elixirs (a written channeled meditation/intuitive reading with a custom essential oil blend) is 50% off our normal price! Be sure stop buy our site to take part in this special offer! Today only!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

To find out more about what a Meditation Elixir is, click here!


“I recently experienced Amanda’s Meditation Healing Elixir and to say it was profound would be an understatement. To go through this process is truly unique, and one that I had never experienced before. Amanda has a genetic ability to perceive and translate information specific to an individual that is simply cutting edge in this spiritual industry. She also has the ability to remove her own ego from the process so the information you get is truly for you. My elixir contained within it so much validation and direction along this path I have chosen to walk. It was such a beautiful experience and one that I can truly say assisted me in a great leap forward on my journey. The whole process is one that I HIGHLY recommend.”

Athena’s amazing custom blends are akin to my most precious treasures. Athena’s knowledge of essential oils is not only vast, but intuitively sagacious. To say she is a “mystical aromatherapist” is an understatement. What she provides is an aromatherapy blend that has been energetically infused with subtle energy specific to the being receiving it which will greatly assist the frequency changes you desire. Amazing!”

– Amy Landerman (Numerologist)

www.amylanderman.com

“I completed my meditation elixir recently, and wanted to let things sink in before writing about my experience. I’d first like to note that Amanda and Athena’s loving attention comes through in their communications. The materials I received from both of them were detailed and thorough, clearly the product of a lot of time and energy. They used all of their capacities to come up with my personalized elixir; I knew that I’d truly been seen and felt. As they suggested, I did my part to engage with their magic–reading over and feeling into the material for a couple of weeks before intuitively knowing the right time to begin.

When I did begin, I made sure to tune my attention and intention into what they had created for me. During the period of my elixir, I was given a couple of insights/experienced forgotten memories that corresponded with the blockages the elixir was working with. I also felt tender (in a good way) during that time; an intuitive friend who spoke to me while I was undergoing the elixir sensed that I had been “energetically exfoliated.” I found that to be an apt description.

Amanda’s reading reflected things I knew about myself, but with added depth and awareness, and also offered brand new perspectives. This created a powerful and valuable energetic diagnosis. Athena’s oils smell delicious, are beautifully packaged, and her descriptions have made me much more aware and appreciative of the power of essential oils and the vibrations we pick up through our sense of smell. They also of course complemented my meditation in ways that go beyond my conscious understanding. Using everything that Amanda and Athena presented to me, I underwent a cathartic and transformative process.

I write this on a new moon; I began my week-long elixir on the last new moon, so I’ve had three weeks to feel the after effects. I find myself continuing to turn my attention to things I discovered during the elixir. My heart has remained more open and I feel increasing empowerment from the themes and energies that were engaged and upgraded during the elixir. I give deep thanks and reverence to soul sisters Athena and Amanda for what they have shared with me!”

– Jared Domenico (Energy Worker)

www.jareddomenico.com

3 Ways to Boost Thyroid Function

Features, Food, Health Products

Features

To continue my posts about thyroid health, I thought I’d share this insightful article featured on Dr. Oz (with a few modifications for the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle).
For those of you who have had to focus on keeping your thyroid in balance, let us know if any of the following suggestions have helped.

Hypothyroidism may be the reason you’re overweight, but it’s not an excuse! I too have battled with a “dead” thyroid my whole life so I understand how frustrating it can be. You can still lose weight even if your thyroid is not working properly by taking a few simple steps.

There are many causes of hypothyroidism, and you want to make sure you know why your thyroid isn’t working properly so you can treat it accurately. It doesn’t matter if your thyroid is underactive because you have Hashimoto’s disease, goiter or your hormones have slowed it down. Most times, your doctor will treat you with thyroid hormone pills and you will start to feel better within a week or two.

But what should you do if you have all of the symptoms (tired, cold all the time, hair and memory loss, brittle nails and hair, leg swelling) and your doctor says your blood tests are fine? Most thyroid tests aren’t articulate enough to catch this, so pay close attention to how you feel and treat your thyroid naturally to keep it working at an optimal rate so you never have a problem with it slowing down.

The thyroid is “The Master Hormone” that controls everything in our body. One of the biggest reasons our thyroids slow down is due to iodine deficiency in addition to aging. In fact, 40% of us are at risk for iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism. Not giving our bodies the nutrients that are important for a healthy thyroid will also slow your thyroid down. Since the body does not make iodine, it relies on the diet to get enough. We can easily maintain adequate iodine through our diets by using table salt because it’s fortified with iodine, but most of us need to restrict or limit our sodium causing iodine deficiencies to show up.  Many medications also slow down the thyroid and also cause iodine deficiency. Lithium and corticosteroids are thyroid-slowing and should be used sparingly if at all. Pain medications, antihistamines and anti-depressants may also slow the thyroid down. Medications that make you feel sleepy or slow may also slow your thyroid and your metabolism down even more. Ask your doctor about alternatives.

 

Here are three things you can do to boost your thyroid function:
1. Eat more of these great sources of iodine to enhance thyroid function: 

  • Low fat cheese
  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Low fat ice cream (coconut milk ice cream is an delicious substitute)
  • Low fat yogurt     (again, coconut milk yogurt, especially homemade, is an excellent choice)
  • Saltwater fish (for vegans, stick with the salt water plants below)
  • Seaweed (including kelp, dulce, nori)
  • Shellfish
  • Soy sauce (not a huge advocate of any soy products myself)

2. Eat less of these foods; they slow your thyroid because they block your thyroid and your medication from producing thyroid hormone properly, especially when eaten raw. Cooking these foods inactivates their anti-thyroid properties. These foods are called goitrogens, which are chemicals that lower thyroid function. Eat these foods sparingly or only once every four days:

  • Almonds
  • Cauliflower (Any vegetable that falls into the broccoli family is a goitrogen and shouldn’t be eaten more than twice a week if you have hypothyroidism.)
  • Millet
  • Pears
  • Turnips
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Corn
  • Mustard
  • Pine nuts
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Peaches
  • Soy (Isoflavones block iodine)
  • Canola oil
  • Peanuts
  • Spinach

3. Workout every day. All you need is a pair of sneakers and a watch, and you’re ready to go. For optimal thyroid function, you must exercise at least three days a week for 40 minutes per workout. I strongly suggest working out/walking every day so your thyroid gets a boost daily to correct the condition until your thyroid is running at an optimal rate. Circuit training is also great way to lower insulin levels and increase thyroid function. This is easy to do in the comfort of your own home by doing pushups, lunges and sit-ups back to back without rest, pushing yourself a bit to get out of breath.

Bonus: Enhance your thyroid with supplements. Take thyroid-enhancing supplements daily to gently and safely keep your thyroid working optimally for life. The best way to treat anything is to prevent it!  Supplementing is the best way to keep your thyroid running at an optimal rate and to keep your weight under control. Start your supplement regime first by using a very strong, high quality multivitamin.

Most store-bought vitamins are not suitable or strong enough to help hypothyroidism, so look for a very potent high quality multi with high levels of iodine, selenium, zinc, vitamin B, D, E and at least 2 grams of vitamin C. Other nutrients such as omega-3 as well as amino acids also help regulate the thyroid and need to also be considered. One of my favorites that I put all of my hypothyroid clients on is gugglesterones. Guggulsterone or guggulipid’s have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine to naturally regulate the thyroid and keep it running at an optimal rate without the side effects of medications.

Look for supplement multitaskers from a very reputable source so you don’t have to take 29 different pills every day.

Gluten and its Harmful Ways

Food, Health Products, The Root Chakra

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve had quite the battle with my thyroid and food sensitivities. Going 100% raw only seemed to exacerbate my thyroid issues (as many raw foods prevent the utilization of iodine), while even the vegan route — though the most appealing to my conscience — caused weight gain.

In the spiritual community being vegan has become synonymous with  “enlightenment.” And while I understand the importance of lifestyle choices that are best for the environment/planet, I feel that it is almost taboo to talk about health problems faced on the vegan journey and how to overcome them.

While I’m still on my own path of discovering what the best diet is for my body, one thing I have discovered for certain is the many harmful affects of gluten on overall health (and thyroid).

For those of you struggling with thyroid issues who haven’t considered looking into the gluten aspect, I suggest this article from The Natural Thyroid Diet website. I know it’s not the whole piece, but an important one to consider.

What is a gluten free diet?

The hottest diet craze among Hollywood celebrities is a gluten free diet. Is this just a fad or could eliminating gluten help end the bloat, brain fog, nagging indigestion, and even turn your thyroid health around?

Gluten is the main structural protein found naturally in a variety of grains including wheat, rye, spelt, barley, oats and triticale which is a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten is also used as a single ingredient in many processed foods as it makes an ideal binder or thickener. This means you could be consuming additional gluten without knowing it.

A gluten free diet defined

A gluten free diet strictly excludes all grains and packaged foods containing gluten. This means cutting the common gluten containing foods such as bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, desserts and biscuits from the daily diet. But this may not be as restrictive as it first appears as health food stores and supermarkets offer gluten free alternatives. In addition, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fish and lean organic animal protein are all naturally gluten free.

However for most people changing to a gluten free diet plan is a big step and takes some getting used to. The restrictions can even make you feel downright deprived. But the upside is that excluding these gluten based foods often results in weight loss, especially around the middle.

The modern problem with wheat

These days highly refined wheat is the most common source of gluten as it is used in a wide variety of foods found in supermarkets. To meet ongoing demand wheat is grown on an industrial scale. Along with the development of modern agricultural methods there has also been selective breeding of wheat. Wheat crops now yield a much higher ratio of gluten. This is not good news for those who are gluten sensitive or have diagnosed gluten-related disorders.

And not only that, there is evidence the newer high yield wheat strains are less nutritious and lack important nutrients such as zinc, iron, copper and magnesium.

Gluten sensitivity can result in a broad range of symptoms

Gluten can easily irritate the lining of the digestive system. Once this happen the body launches a swift immune response as it reacts to gluten as something foreign. This creates inflammation that spreads like wildfire throughout the whole body. Gluten sensitivity symptoms can therefore be linked to specific digestive problems as well as broader health issues. There is little doubt emotional stress plays a significant role in intensifying these symptoms.

Could you be gluten intolerant?

Gluten sensitivity can result in a broad range of symptoms. The major symptoms include:

  • Weight loss or weight gain, especially abdominal weight gain
  • Fatigue or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten
  • Digestive problems: bloating, pain, gas + diarrhoea
  • Weak + cracked fingernails
  • Fat in the stools due to poor breakdown of dietary fat
  • Joint + muscle pain
  • Mood swings + depression
  • Poor memory + concentration
  • Skin rashes including dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Osteoporosis due to lowered mineral absorption
  • Migraine headaches

The best way to discover if gluten is a problem and to what degree is by strictly excluding gluten from your diet for at least 4 weeks as it takes this long to clear gluten the negative effects of gluten from your system. If you feel far better when you exclude gluten, or feel worse when you reintroduce gluten then it’s likely a problem for you.

Minor symptoms such as bloating, fatigue, brain fog and indigestion can disappear fairly quickly when gluten is excluded from the diet. Improvements in chronic health problems made worse by gluten sensitivity such as arthritis, eczema and autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may take longer. Many people report their thyroid symptoms improve once they eliminate gluten from their diet.

The gluten-thyroid connection

A gluten intolerance markedly reduces the absorption of a wide range of nutrients. This is not good news for thyroid health as the thyroid is particularly sensitive to a decline in micronutrient intake. For example; iodine, zinc and selenium as three minerals critical to aid ongoing thyroid hormone activity.

Gluten sensitivity contributes to a wide range of autoimmune responses including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Studies have shown individuals with low selenium intake or poor absorption of selenium are also more likely to develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. There are two factors:

  • A selenium deficiency results in lower activity of the selenium dependent enzymes vital to assist ongoing activity of the thyroid hormones, including activation of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3). Low T3 is associated with the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
  • Selenium plays a role in protecting the thyroid gland itself as this mineral boosts glutathione activity. Glutathione is naturally produced by the body using selenium and a combination of three amino acids sourced from dietary protein – cysteine, glycine and glutamine. Glutathione acts as a potent antioxidant and is highly active within the thyroid to help protect this important gland.

Coeliac disease

For people with Coeliac disease avoiding gluten is a very serious issue and a gluten free diet is advocated to treat this chronic digestive problem. Individuals with Coeliac disease are so sensitive to they must avoid all foods containing gluten as even a minute amount will prompt a noticeable immune reaction.

If a person is unaware they have Ceoliac disease and continue to consume gluten the inflammation damages the small bowel. This leads to low intake of essential nutrients. Over time their poor health is linked to malnutrition.

Gluten sensitivity contributes to a wide range of autoimmune responses including autoimmune thyroid disorders. Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are frequently diagnosed along with Coeliac disease and vice versa. Coeliac disease is associated with selenium malabsorption which is considered a key factor linking this digestive problem with thyroid health decline.

Coeliac disease is commonly considered to be a genetic disorder however it can be set off later in life by a stressful event, such as an infection, injury or surgery. A specific diagnostic test is used to confirm Coeliac disease.

Gluten free shopping

A gluten free diet excludes all types of grains that contain gluten. Here are some gluten free alternatives to common grain based products:

  • Breads: rice, buckwheat + ‘wheat free’ varieties.
  • Breakfast cereals: organic corn flakes, rice bubbles, Amaranth, puffed buckwheat + gluten free muesli.
  • Flours: 100% buckwheat, rice, Besan (chickpea), Lupin, coconut.
  • Noodles: rice + 100% buckwheat.
  • Pasta: vegetable + rice varieties.
  • Porridge: Quinoa, rice + Polenta porridge.
  • Rice: brown rice + white rice varieties.

It is important to read food labels carefully as gluten is often a hidden ingredient in packaged foods. Examples include; baking powder, flavourings and hydrolysed vegetable protein. Beer may contain varying amounts of gluten as it is produced by the alcoholic fermentation of germinated cereals, usually barley.

Cross contamination of gluten free foods can occur during the manufacturing process when these foods come into contact with foods that contain gluten. For example, if the same equipment is used to make a variety of snack foods some gluten free items may become contaminated. Food labels often include a ‘may contain gluten’ statement if this is the case.

Foods labelled ‘gluten free’ are not always healthy

Just because it is a ‘gluten free’ food product, doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy for your thyroid. Food manufacturers regard corn (maize) and soy ingredients as cost effective substitutes for gluten containing grains. Corn and soy are common food allergens and in turn can also initiate symptoms of a food intolerance. These ingredients should be avoided when you have an under active thyroid problem. This includes soy oil which is often labelled as ‘vegetable oil’. If you are not sure check to see if the label states the product contains soy.

Activating your gluten free grains

All grains including gluten free varieties have naturally occurring enzyme inhibitors that make them difficult to digest and also lower absorption of important minerals. Eating large quantities of grains and using flours that have not been soaked, sprouted or fermented can lead to mineral deficiencies and long term bone loss. This means even gluten free flours and whole grains should be activated with these traditional methods to release their full nutritional potential.


 

Valentines Vegan Chocolate Truffles from Gnosis Chocolates!

Health Products, Uncategorized

Features

If you have yet to discover the medicinal magic of Gnosis Chocolates, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to indulge! Not only are all of Gnosis Chocolates raw and vegan, they are packed with nourishing tonic herbs and superfoods! It’s the ultimate chocolate bliss-out!

I recently finished off a bag of their Aphrodisia Elixir hot  chocolate blend and knew I’d be a customer for life! Soothing, stimulating, and mind altering! Spice up your Valentines Day with a little help from the aphrodisiac quality of raw chocolate,  Lucuma ,Maca , Horny Goat Weed, Damiana, Fo Ti, and Dong Quai! Super yum!

Allow yourself to indulge in The World’s Most Nutritious Chocolate!

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.