Pure vanilla extract
is produced when the vanilla bean pods and seeds are chopped and soaked in alcohol. Time enhances the flavor and aroma of the homemade pure vanilla extract.
Have you ever made your own Vanilla Extract? If not, you should. It is surprisingly easy to make and only requires 2 ingredients:  Alcohol, preferably Vodka because it is composed primarily of water and ethanol. Ethyl Alcohol is great because it has virtually no flavor of its own and it is very good at extracting the flavor from other substances including vanilla beans. You can also use bourbon, brandy, or even rum but the less taste the liquor imparts, the better. You can always add something to flavor later;  Vanilla Beans, preferably Grade ‘B’ or ‘extract grade’ since they are cured differently and have a moisture content of 20%. It means they have less water weight so there will be less water ending up in your extract and will give the most vanilla flavor.
In order for a vanilla extract to be called pure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21) requires that the solution contains a minimum of 35% alcohol and 100g of vanilla beans per liter (13.35 ounces per gallon).
Here’s how to make vanilla extract at home—with or without alcohol. It would take a couple of months to make your own but if you make some now, it’ll be ready in time for your holiday baking.
You will need:
- Inexpensive Brand Vodka
The proof is more important than the brand.
Use: 70 to 90 proof or 35 to 45 percent alcohol.
- Grade ‘B’ Vanilla Beans
Buy your beans by weight and not by number. Many recipes found on the Internet don’t use enough beans for the amount of extract desired or assume that there is an infinite amount of flavor in a vanilla bean.
General Rule: Use 30 grams per 250 ml of alcohol and multiply accordingly if making more extract.
- Glass Bottle or Jar
Amber bottles are preferred since it protects your extract from UV rays and light degradation.
- Cut the vanilla beans in a size that can fit inside your bottle. Cut it in half lengthwise to expose the seeds while keeping them attached to the bean.
- Use a small spoon to scrape the seeds away from the bean pods into the bottle.
- Fill the glass bottle with vodka or your choice of alcohol. Put the lid on and give it a good shake.
- Put a label with the date on the jar.
- Place the bottle in a dark place to steep for 8 weeks. Give it a shake vigorously once a day for the first week. On the following weeks, shake it for at least 2 – 3 times a week.
You may use it as soon as 6 weeks, but just like wine, the extract only gets better and better with age and optimally you should wait 6 months.
Yup. There are some people who cannot tolerate or do not wish to include alcohol in their diet. But, we only use a little vanilla in a recipe that I couldn’t see the alcohol being the problem. However, for someone with a genuine allergy, “Non-Alcoholic” would make sense. Since the law requires the vanilla extract will be contained at least 35% alcohol in it, the one we called “alcohol-free” cannot be classified as an extract, instead they are called “Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Flavor.”
The “Non-Alcoholic” version goes through the same initial process with the alcoholic vanilla extract. They would only differ in the finishing step by replacing “Vodka” to a solution of propylene glycol or commonly known as “glycerol” or “glycerine.” (For more info, click here.) Buy the one that is Food-grade Vegetable Glycerine.
The only drawback in a Non-Alcoholic Vanilla Flavor is the loss of its aroma. Let’s make an experiment by making both version and try smelling the two together if you ever get the chance to. Let’s see for ourselves if we are ever going to notice about the difference.
We’ve heard the term “brain food” since we were little, but how much do you really know about them? Our brain affects all aspects of our life, health, happiness, relationships and our ability to function in the universe.
It impacts literally everything we do. Every thought, word, action, behavior and feeling about everything. It would pretty much make sense to start taking care of it. There are numerous guidelines that will help to improve cognition in general. Some of these includes living a healthy lifestyle.
A major component of a healthy lifestyle is supplying our body with the RDA of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The food we eat has an awful lot to do with how our brain functions. Since the brain is a complicated machine, here’s a great article from Psychology Today for you to read on. It also helps you understand how and why certain chemicals in foods have an effect on our brains.
Here’s the list of the top brain food and the things they can do for the mental well-being.
- Avocado – act as a “nutrient booster” to aid the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. It is also a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E. It protects the body and the brain from free radical damage. A source of monounsaturated fats, omega 3, and omega 6 fatty acid. This increases blood flow to the brain, lower cholesterol, and aid in the absorption of antioxidants.
- Broccoli – a good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin E and folate. Vitamin K enhances cognitive function and improve brainpower. Folate helps lowering the levels of an amino acid known as homocysteine in the blood. High levels of homocysteine may trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain, but folic acid helps break down homocysteine levels.
- Coconut Oil – This brain food is loaded with saturated fats that actually raise HDL (good) cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. Coconut oil contains an unusual blend of short and MCFAs, specifically lauric, capric, and myristic acids that are linked to special health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol.
- Celery – is a rich source of luteolin, a plant compounds that may calm inflammation in your brain, which is a primary cause of neurodegeneration. It’s a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamins A, B, C and K.
- Walnuts – they high in antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals, but the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid found in walnuts — alpha-linolenic acid — is also good for brain health.
- Blueberries – contains antioxidants and other phytochemicals that improves learning, thinking and memory, along with reductions in neurodegenerative oxidative stress. They’re also low in fructose compared to other fruits, making them one of the healthier fruits available.
- Rosemary – carnosic acid is one of the main ingredients in rosemary which helps protect the brain from neurodegeneration. It does this by protecting the brain against chemical free radicals which are linked to neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, strokes and normal aging in the brain.
- Banana – contains Vitamin B6, Potassium (good for the heart) and folic acid (essential for our mental and emotional health).
- Dark Chocolates – contains antioxidants and flavonoids. It simulates in increase blood flow to the brain. Improves your memory and concentration.
- Tomatoes – contains a powerful antioxidant, lycopene protects against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Favour cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimise absorption and efficacy.
Add these brain food to your diet to improve your chances of maintaining a healthy brain.
August 29, 2016
How do we really clean our fruits and vegetables? Perhaps, we can by removing pesticides from it.
Pesticides are the only toxic substances allowed into our environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds, insects, fungus, rodents and others.
It can be used to control a variety of pests, such as insects, weeds, rats and mice, bacteria and mold, and more.
Another way pesticides can spread and cause potential harm is by volatilization. Volatilization occurs when a pesticide turns into a gas or vapor after it has been released, allowing it to travel through the air and spread to different pieces of land. This can be harmful for wildlife, such as frogs or pets.
Although pesticides help farmers control insects, weeds, fungi and other potentially harmful pests it can also be harmful to humans.
Ideally, we wouldn’t have to worry about chemicals in our vegetables and fruits. However, we are not living in an ideal world. Food-grade waxes and strong pesticide coats are present in the fruits and vegetables we buy daily. A simple rinsing by water alone wont get rid of the chemicals coated around our food.
Here’s a natural way of getting rid of nasty pesticides and wax coated in fruits and vegetables.
All we need is water and vinegar. Yes, white distilled vinegar.
- Put 1 cup of water in a descent bowl
- Add 1/2 cup of vinegar and immerse fruits and vegetables that are coated with insecticides for 15-30 seconds. In some fruits that sprayed with thick coting of harmful pesticides, you can submerge it up to 20 minutes and then rinse with water.
- You can now enjoy a wax free healthy snacks.
Notes: Getting the chemicals from fruits and vegetables may shorten the fruits and vegetables’ shelf life so might as well rinse it if you’re going to use or eat the product. 😉
Pesto is a delicious sauce often made from basil, olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts
Ingredients such as the olive oil and pine nuts are higher in calories, because they have a high fat content.
All of these ingredients have health benefits and can be included in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Ingredients such as the olive oil and pine nuts are higher in calories, because they have a high fat content. However, what makes this food considered “healthy” is that the fat is unsaturated.
These unsaturated fats help reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol levels and have other health benefits when they replace saturated fats in the diet. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, unlike saturated fats that are solid at room temperature.
When consumed in moderation, unsaturated fat can contribute to decrease inflammation in your body. Lowering inflammation is good because inflammation is associated with a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many other conditions associated with aging.
Now, lets talk about the ingredients of pesto. First , Basil.
Basil plant looks a lot like peppermint,which by the way is related. it’s very fragrant leaves are used as seasoning herb for variety of food. This plant contains nutrients such as 98% of vitamin K, 12% manganese, 9% copper, 6% vitamin A, 5% vitamin C, 4% of calcium, folate and iron, and 3% of omega-3 fats and magnesium. Wow! That’s a lot of nutrients.
Second is Garlic, according to research garlic contains Allicin which has potent medicinal properties. 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of garlic cinatains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium which by the way helps strengthen our immune system, and fiber which helps our tummy digest well.
Third Olive oil, when we think about oil the first thing that pops on our mind is cholesterol and fats, but this kind of oil contains healthy fats that can lowerthe risk of diabetes 2 and of heart diseases. It is also loaded of antioxidants and niutrients.
Last but not the least in our pesto ingredient are nuts, could be pine nuts or wall nuts whichever your heart desires for your pesto. Aside from being packed with protein, nuts have unsaturated fats, which again is good for our body, fiber, vatamin E and more.
So what are we waiting for? let’s go and make pesto. 🙂
Avocados are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants like pantothenic acid (B5) that can alleviate conditions like hair loss, allergies, asthma, stress and anxiety. Constipated? Avocados contain dietary fibers that can normalize bowel movements. It also has vitamin K that regulates normal blood clotting; copper that helps reduce cholesterol; folate which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair; vitamin B6 that protects the immune system; potassium which enhances muscle strength, metabolism, water balance and electrolytic functions; vitamin E and vitamin C that protects our body from toxins.
But did you know that the way you use to peel an avocado might make a difference to your health?
Research shows that the there are more nutrients in the peel and the seed and the avocado pulp has actually much lower nutrients. So here’s a way on how to peel, cut and dice your avocado and get the necessary nutrients you need.
This method is what we call the “nick and peel” method.
First you cut the avocado lengthwise, resulting to 2 long avocado halves that are still connected by the seed. Second you hold both halves and twist it in opposite directions until they separate.
Remove the seed and cut each of the halves lengthwise and peel it off just like peeling a banana. Lastly, you can then cut it into cubes and viola! you now have avocados that gives you the best possible nutrients.
I am healthy and vibrantly alive because of my food
choices. Nature provided all I needed to turn my
life around and get well. I eat food from the earth
and I fast regularly to give my body a break from
digestion and for it to heal at a cellular level. I’ve
spent the last 10 days juice fasting. I feel so much
more alive when fasting, I have so much clarity.
And a deep appreciation for this knowledge and the
opportunity to heal at this level. With no outside
sustenance and stimulation we become quite, we
Did I feel hunger? Very rarely and after the 1st day it
just gets easier and easier. I wake up feeling so
fresh and full of energy. Did you know that 70% of
our energy is spent on digestion!
After a few days of fasting and the body has thrown
off a load of toxins we become more alert and self
Fasting is the fastest way to health!
Short term fasts relieve symptoms and long term
fasts over haul health.
What does it take to really change?
To change the body?
A change in consciousness?
Are you willing to take on a new journey?
Do you want to get well?
Are you willing to let go of preconceived ideas
Do you think because you’re not sick you’re healthy?
Disease is not random. It takes many years of
unhealthy choices and stress for symptoms to
manifest. Every little ache or pain is a signal from
your body saying HELP! I chose to ignore all those
signals for years and ended up in a chronic state of
degeneration. I dug myself out of that awful place
and now I’m able to share with you what it takes to
be truly well and vibrant. I want to inspire you to
make those healthy choices now!
Whats on your plate?
Is it living?
Does it energise you?
Man has become unconscious when it comes to
food. We no longer know what foods are in
resonance with the body.
For the body to function at an optimum level we
must change to the foods we are designed to eat
not the foods we’re taught to eat.
When we bring ourselves back into balance with
nature and start feeding the body electrical
chemistry it changes your whole world. As
electrical beings the more electricity you allow to
flow the faster the healing and regeneration. Fruit is
the highest magnetic energy essential for healing
as energy is the core of all healing. Fruits are highly
astringent and pull the acids out of the body. Why
not try fruit fasting? Also a very powerful form of
detox. Don’t be afraid of fruit or fruit sugar, it’s the
food we’re designed to eat. Nature didn’t get
Living foods are alkalising, cooling and anti-
inflammatory and pain free. Acid foods are
inflammatory, dehydrating and corrosive. Anything
you eat is either feeding dis-ease or fighting it.
Getting your food from the earth will change your
life as dis-ease falls away. We must visit this place
to get well. Your body is self healing and would
never turn on you. You only need to create the
environment for this healing to take place. You do
not have to suffer, that’s conditioning.
Regeneration is real!
Higher consciousness and a deeper understanding
of your truth arise when in harmony with the laws of
Take charge of your own health, take your power
back. You do not need anybody’s permission to
start eating this way. Claim your right as a free soul
to get out of pain. Allopathic medicine is not the
answer to getting well. They work in the field
of disease management. Human misery and suffering
is big business!
In the ancient Indic language of India, the healing science of sun bathing is called Atapa Snana. While Sun gazing is a strict regimen of gradually allowing sunlight into your eyes at specific periods of the day.
Sun gazers report a variety of benefits. The most basic are improved health, increased energy levels, clearer thinking, an increase in awareness, and results from what is called wish fulfillment. If you are considering sun gazing, please research this as much as possible. For starters you can read more on this website Solar Healing Center.
The circumstances and ideas of the present age of how we should stay away from the sun is depriving us to fully benefit from the sun.
“Too much of everything is not good.”
Like how sodium in appropriate amount is essential to our health but it can also be detrimental to the body in high quantities raising your risk for several potentially serious medical problems. How sugar provides a quick source of energy but high intakes could contribute to diabetes and obesity. The list could go on but we get the point.
Yes, too much of the sun’s warm rays can be harmful to your skin. But don’t completely shun the sun, as moderate sun exposure has numerous health benefits that go beyond just vitamin D.
In the book The Healing Sun, author Dr. Richard Hobday documents a wide array of studies which show that the sun protects against cancer of the breast, colon, ovaries and prostate. It can also prevent diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and high blood pressure, osteoporosis, psoriasis and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
I know a friend that had a skin cancer, and the army doctor told him to be in the sun to cure it. It drew the cancer right out of the scap. This video presentation explains fully how we’ve been systematically lied to about the sun and skin cancer for years. How many know that there is no definitive proof that the sun alone causes skin cancer?
Lots of exciting news to share, so much is transforming!
Our retreats are taking a big turn in a new direction. We are restructuring our attention towards opening up the week to create space for radical healing in response to people’s desire to get answers and discover what is happening to them in these shifting times.
To match the transformation we are excited for our new collaboration with people who are committed to creating change, who are pioneering a new way of being by what they stand for.
It’s the Art of Life Retreats with more power and intention!
We’ll be fueling our bodies with organic living foods. Yes!
We’ll be flowing with Yoga Synergy. Perfect for beginners who want to start moving their bodies, and perfect for those who are fluent and want to find more grace and ease in a more advanced practice.
We’ll also be incorporating our new love-affair with the movement practice of Qi Gong and going deeper on bridging our connection to our center.
We’ll focus on bringing everything back to ourselves. There will be sessions in self healing, releasing unserving habits and looking into the control settings of patterns to ultimately come closer to restoring our factory settings. Freedom!
This is the perfect opportunity for those wanting to make real change in their lives, to resolve the unresolved. We’ll create a space to cultivate energy and then apply it to deepen our intuition and connection, to be who we really are. The feeling is fantastic.
This is no ordinary retreat. We are coming together to catalyse change.
30th April – 5th May 2016
Notice something different?
Our April-May retreat has had to be reduced to 6 days – We aren’t reducing the offerings, we’ll just be packing more in, but we are offering a super special discount in lieu of the unexpected changes.
Book 2 places together for US$2,000 all inclusive for 2 ~ perfect for couples, best friends and partners in support of coming to experience the retreat week together.
Limited spaces, reserve your spot now email@example.com and for more details see our website www.artofliferetreats.com
We are keeping all of our favourite elements with guest speakers sharing their passion for movement and philosophy, as well as being powered by amazing living food meals that keep us nourished and satiated from the inside out.
Have you seen our new video Come on a magical tour with us!
Our very talented friend and yogi Ms Shabby tells us the intricacies of muscle activation to get into a handstand ~ with a little cheekiness on the side too!
Have you ever wondered what’s the essence of yoga? Or how to be cool and do handstand? I’ll tell you both.
I jump out of bed on a Saturday morning to snap on my gypster outfit after I have massaged green juice into my forehead. Then I whisk down to the closest yoga studio to plug into Mother Earth with my sitting bones and open my heart chakra while chanting a Sanskrit song whose meaning I don’t have the slightest clue about.
No, wait. Rewind. I jump out of bed on a Saturday morning to start the day with hot lemon water and wheat free pancake – yes, I’ve finally nailed that wheat free pancake with organic Nutella – and then I do a few sun salutations bare naked to air my labia and realise that my individual consciousness is one with the universal consciousness .
Maybe not. Start again. So I just jump out of bed to sit on my yoga mat for half an hour to dwell on how cool it would be to do all those one arm balances and fancy inverted postures in handstand like that tiny ashtan. But unfortunately my legs are long, my hips are wide, my shoulders are narrow and I have flabby arms, which cannot lift up and bear the weight of my lanky legs and massive bum.
Sexy and enlightened
I just want to look like Kino MacGregor and do all the fancy postures. I know that putting my legs on the top of my head in a tiny bikini in Scorpion posture will make me sexy and enlightened at the same time.
Now that I have figured out the essence of yoga, I’m going to reveal to you the secrets of handstand, so that you can be the weird yoga person at parties who entertains their pals after you’ve got tired of small talk, or you can do it on a sunny beach in front of some exotic temple and ask someone to take a photo of you to post in on Facebook.
Inverted postures are the asanas that have the most rejuvenating and energising effect on your body if you do them properly, and for long enough periods.
To be able to do handstand, you need not only core (abdominal) strength, but also strong shoulder flexors (anterior deltoids), strong shoulder depressors (pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi), and substantial elbow extensors (triceps) which will all make a joint effort to help you maintain the handstand once you have lifted your legs off the floor with the help of your core muscles. If your shoulder muscles and your triceps don’t have enough strength, your shoulders and back will collapse, and you will fall back to the ground no matter how much core strength you have.
When you are in handstand-preparation – which means that you are bending forward, feet still on the floor while leaning on your arms, and then you start shifting your whole weight gradually on your arms – your shoulder joints are semi-flexed and you try to activate the shoulder flexors in a shortened state. After that, from handstand-preparation to actual hand-stand you have to go from shoulder semi-flexion to complete shoulder-flexion and that is when you need the strong shoulder flexors and depressors, or else, you won’t be able to push and hold yourself up from semi-flexion to flexion.
In the moment of lifting-up, however, you use mainly rectus abdominis, your diaphragm, a little bit of transversus abdominis, hip-extensors (glutes and hamstrings) and spinal extensors (the hip-extensors and the shoulder-flexors will switch on the spinal extensors, namely the erector spinae).
There are quite a few yoga postures in which you can train each of these muscle groups I have mentioned above, but you should know how to activate those muscle groups effectively as it is easy to do these postures in a completely non-effective way:
How to train the rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis:
Do half sit-ups, Pendulum Posture (Lolasana), and Kneeling Plank (see below for how to do kneeling plank)
How to train the spinal extensors:
Do Locust Posture (Shalabasana)
How to train the hip-extensors:
Activate the glutes and the hamstrings in asanas like the Unsupported Standing Frog (Niralamba Utthita Eka Pada Bhekasana), or in Triangle Posture (Trikonasana) and in the Side-lengthening Posture (Parsvakonasana) by trying to ‘stretch the mat with your feet’.
How to train the shoulder-flexors and depressors:
In Kneeling Plank:
Armpits (shoulder-depressor pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi) should push forward towards the hips while elbows and hands should push away from the hips. Hips and sitting bones should push towards the hands by which you activate the rectus abdominis as well. The knees should push away from the hands as if trying to do hip-extension. So in short, armpits and sitting-bones should be pushed towards each other while knees and hands should be pushed away from each other.
If you push the knees forward, that will train your rectus abdominis, but if you push the knees backwards, the deltoids will be trained more (as the hands will push forward) and the rectus abdominis will switch off.
In Downward Facing Dog:
Push sitting-bones and armpits towards each other, while arms and legs push away from each other. The hips and the knees try to extend; the ankles try to plantarflex (as if you want to push your feet into the ground) and the shoulders try to flex just like the wrists, meanwhile the elbows extend.
Our retreats are taking a big turn in a new direction. We are restructuring our attention towards opening up the week to create radical healing in response to people’s desire to get answers and discover what is happening to them in these shifting times.
We are coming together to create our own mastery. We want to bring our attention to being in charge of our own shifting. Pausing and ultimately releasing the constant reliance on asking anything / anyone from outside of us to always help us.
The aim being is to stop living in a cycle of needing to constantly better ourselves in a world that wants to constantly distract us into believing that we’re not either good enough or were not ready.
What if you knew of your own entirety ~ and you knew you could not fail? What would you do, who would you be?
We want to deepen into the teachings of bringing everything back to ourselves. There will be sessions in self-healing, releasing unserving habits, deprogramming conditioning, looking into the control settings of patterns, behaviors and genetic traits to ultimately come closer to restoring our factory settings.
Each person has varied levels of different emotions that will tend to govern their lives. Deep seeded thoughts of fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, doubt, grief, etc. will vary, but are present in all of us. What if your emotions were set to an automated setting and we were not in control of them as we are led to believe? And what if we were able to completely neutralize them from having any ill effect on us, forever? How would this feel? Who would we be without them?
This is the perfect opportunity for those wanting to make real changes in their lives, to resolve the unresolved. The possibility to transform comes from a commitment to take time to slow down, to connect to our own beating heart, to tangibly feel the experience of what it is to listen to our inner voice. Here is a space to cultivate energy and then apply it to deepen our intuition and connection, to be who we really are. The feeling is fantastic.
And we always have a lot of fun, connecting with new people, exploring new enriching ways of being, leaving us feeling energized and ready for taking all we’ve experienced back to our lives. There’s no better way to experience it all surrounded by nature, with yoga and Qi gong to and vibrant healing, living foods to support the week of diving deep.
And it just gets better, to support you coming to our next retreat we have offered a never to be repeated special offer for you and your partner or friend to attend at US$2000 twin share.
January 18, 2016
EATING your way CLEAN with FRUITS vs JUICING – High Carb
New year is always a great time to kick start new projects, new programs, set goals, make healthier choices, start a dance or singing class, and to generally bring focus on new intentions for the year.
If you’re still recovering from the Christmas festivities, or have just had no time and are already back at work perhaps these tips can help you start today.
All of us have heard that the greatest thing we can do for our body and for that extra kick in motivation is to Alkalise!
If you are suffering from lethargy, have weight problems or water retention your body is probably overly acidic. When you alkalize your body through proper eating and healthy living, you can overcome all sorts of discomforts, reach your ideal body weight and literally have more energy for all the things you want to do.
One of the most obvious signs of acidity is excess body fat. When your body is acidic, it tries to neutralise the acid. One of the ways it does this is to store excess acid in fat, which can lead to that puffy feeling. When you alkalize your diet, your body sweeps through and removes this buildup.
To alkalize you need to eat more alkalizing foods and fewer acidic foods. In this way, you can create a healthy diet that will help you reach your ideal weight without “starving” yourself.
Juicing and fasting / abstaining from food is one way. But time and time again its proving that for most people it disrupts their metabolism and only works as a quick fix rather than having long term success. Most people break a fast in desperation to satiate hunger and the unhealthy relationship to food is re-instilled.
So the new option to try is to eat your way clean!
All fruit is alkalizing, and so are all leafy green. Vegetables are next. But nuts, seeds and oils are on the border of being neutral acidy/alkalinity. If you focus on making sure you eat all alkalizing foods for each meal, guess what you will be on your way to an alkaline body very quickly.
On the opposite end of the alkalizing spectrum is the acidic side: sugary and manufactured foods, meats, fish, dairy products, bread and other cooked grains, drugs, alcohol and caffeine. Pork and Parmesan cheese are a few of the extremes. To neutralize the acidity of just one cup of coffee you need to drink 12 glasses of water!
Most people get their daily calories from concentrated foods – too much protein, too much fat, and too much sugar sprinkled on top. These meals are generally smaller because they are caloric-ally dense and acidic.
When we make the switch to high carb foods we need to eat more quantity. The trick is not to under-eat in calories otherwise the body goes into starvation mode and can wreak havoc to the metabolism. Under-eating is the biggest reasons why most people can’t sustain ‘diets’. Most, if not all basic bodily/brain functions require glucose, not eating enough ‘good carbohydrates’ will have the body screaming for the ‘dense/acidic’ foods to get its fix.
When you start making changes to alkalize the body, toxins will be released. You may feel ill temporarily, but push through it, once they are eliminated they are gone and a surge of energy will take its place. Make sure you drink at least two litres of purified water or fresh juices per day (you can include enemas or colonics – they aren’t necessary but they do speed things up in the early stages.) so your body can flush things out quickly.
Raw Greenylicous Herb Soup
This raw herb soup will (apart from blow your mind) serve 10 peeps as an appetizer or 4 hungry ones as a dinner.
You will need:
- 1.5 medium sized Avocado
- 2 stalks of Celery, finely chopped
- 1 large handful of roughly chopped Cilantro
- 1 small handful of roughly chopped Mint
- 1.5 cup Coconut water
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 small tsp of Himalayan salt/Celtic sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
- Some fresh garden cress for decoration and final flavor touch
How to make:
- Cut and scoop out the avocados in a large bowl or a high speed blender.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a hand blender or in the high speed blender.
- Keep refrigerated.
Try and enjoy our recipe for a satisfying superfood soup that is packed with living food energy!
Raw food, Fries, Face wash and Forest
I write this on a little idyllic island just off Bali called Nusa Lembongan. The sunsets are magical from the heat haze that’s spreading far from the Borneo forest that is ablaze at the moment.
These fires are consuming the oldest jungle in the world, destroying the natural habitat of the last largest remaining population of Orangutans, (which literally translate to the people of the forest), its threatening the indigenous Dayak communities, and engulfing 40 million people in toxic haze. All in the name of planting Palm Oil.
As I lean into the calamity of the situation my heart cries in anguish for mother earth. The rape and pillaging of her precious resources seem to be accelerating in this very moment. Like it’s a race towards some dead-line to exterminate and disintegrate anything and everyone that might still be living in its natural organic order.
I came to Bali five years ago to immerse myself in a life of yoga, to heal from social traumas, to live more closely to nature, to live in community, there were many reasons but the biggest one was to give space to pursue the prime challenges of today’s time: what it means to live as a sovereign being.
This quest requires a lot of self reflection and self analysis. It turns out that humans are easily programmed, and to start peeling away habits and external doctrines from natural impulses is not an easy task to do ~ especially amidst all the ‘noise’ of fear and condemnation that society implants from the very get-go.
I came to appreciate how much a living food diet allowed my body to heal from many ailments, but it also facilitated another level of understanding of how much our food choices impact the greater world. I used to live on dairy, breads and packaged foods just like everyone else. I use to think that as long as I had my bit I was in the lead. I was the privileged and I deserved the best.
I now even more so believe that I am the privileged and I deserve the best. Just the best has changed. Rather than slabs of cheese and processed delicacies, beers, and barbecues which have a huge impact on the earth, I now wholeheartedly choose organic, unadulterated, cleaner and leaner choices. And with these conscious choices I make a stand for what I value most: A healthy planet, healthy relationships with ourselves and one another.
Palm oil is used by big corporations and pharmaceutical companies as the new fossil fuel and it is literally in everything that is known as conventional. Not only is it known as vegetable oil for deep frying, but its derivatives are used in the production of bactericides, cosmetics, soaps and detergents. It also goes by the names of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate which is literally in all products that foam. Check your shampoos and face-wash for it.
Here is a great article that will help you test your own usage. Be honest! http://blog.ucsusa.org/how-many-products-with-palm-oil-do-i-use-in-a-day
And here is what you are hunting for. The different names to Palm oil and its derivatives are:
Vegetable Oil, Vegetable Fat, Palm Kernel, Palm Kernel Oil, Palm Fruit Oil, Palmate, Palmitate, Palmolein, Glyceryl, Stearate, Stearic Acid, Elaeis Guineensis, Palmitic Acid, Palm Stearine, Palmitoyl Oxostearamide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Kernelate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate, Hyrated Palm Glycerides, Etyl Palmitate, Octyl Palmitate, Palmityl Alcohol
Whether you take a stand for nature, for the orangutans, or for your own well-being your choices will not only vastly improve your own health and prospects for longevity but it will inevitably be doing the same for other creatures, people and the environment. You see we aren’t separate from one another, it all comes hand in hand. It’s time to make a stand and not just wait for others to fix it.
Excellent viewing: Heart of the Haze http://www.channelnewsasia.com/tv/tvshows/getreal-s14/heart-of-the-haze/2227836.html
Know Your Vitamin Pill – What’s In It?
If only taking a vitamin pill was the same as eating the real thing, like eating fruits and vegetables. Science wants us to believe that they can simulate anything and everything that nature has to offer. This might be true, to a certain degree but at what price? There always seems to be a tradeoff, a compromise, a side effect.
We were all made to believe that supplements are taken as a health insurance to improve your health, reduce the risk of chronic disease or condition, beat stress, lose weight, boost energy and the like. These are a few of the many promises the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies are trying to claim. But can vitamin pills really deliver the health and vitality they are promising?
Let’s take a quick review of the pros & cons of dietary supplements, and compare naturally occurring vitamins and their synthetic counterparts.
Vitamin E, in foods, is effective against ageing, oxidative stress, restless leg syndrome, diabetes, cataracts and a host of other ills. Vitamin E in its synthetic form is petro-chemically derived, and can cause endocrine disruption.
Magnesium stearate has been shown to cause kidney stones and liver abnormalities. Since it is made by hydrogenating cottonseed oil, you risk consuming pesticide residue. Cottonseed oil has the highest content of pesticide residue of all commercially produced oils.
Supplemental Vitamin Pills are not what it usually tells you on its label.
Common fillers found in Vitamins:
BHT – This fat-soluble compound is used in jet fuels, rubber, petroleum products and embalming fluid. Research has linked BHT to bladder cancer, DNA damage, and gastric and lung cancer.
Boric acid – An antiseptic, insecticide and flame retardant. It is also connected to DNA damage.
Synthetic vitamin A – Petro-chemically derived product capable of causing birth defects.
Cupric sulfate – A herbicide, fungicide and pesticide.
Stearic acid – Prepared synthetically by hydrogenation of cottonseed and other oils, it contains pesticide residue. It is added as a lubricant and to hold tablets together.
Maltodextrin – This sugar is obtained by hydrolysis of starch. Used to add texture and as a flavour enhancer.
Modified maize starch – This filler is a derivative of corn that has been chemically altered to dissolve quickly and serves as a thickener. Most corn is GMO.
Sodium benzoate – Synthetic chemical used as a preservative. Can damage mitochondrial DNA.
Hydrogenated oil – Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen gas to liquid oils. Hydrogenation leads to trans fats which contribute to fat-clogged arteries.
Potassium chloride – Colourless, odourless powder used to improve fermentation. Intestinal ulcers may occur with oral administration. Larger doses can cause gastrointestinal irritation, weakness and circulatory collapse.
September 15, 2015
They sit on the grocery store aisles, appearing rather innocent. They are clear and odorless – mainly because they have been bleached and deodorized with chemicals after high-heat processing has turned them rancid. And yet they are actually touted as “health foods” that can save your heart.
They are polyunsaturated oils such as soy, canola and corn oil. They are industrialized oils, and they continue to damage the health of virtually all of us.
Why is polyunsaturated fat bad for your health?
The main difference between polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat (such as coconut oil) is the structure. Monounsaturated fatty acids are linked by one double bond, but polyunsaturated fats are linked by multiple double bonds. This structure is unstable and wreaks havoc on the cells in your body. It contributes to oxidation and free radical damage in the body, which is linked to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, autoimmune diseases and premature aging.
The instability of polyunsaturated fats is especially volatile during any kind of processing. Even small amounts of light, moisture, air or heat damage polyunsaturated fat. These oils cannot withstand exposure to heat when used for cooking, but they are still the main choice for restaurants and fast food joints because they are cheap and the claim “cooked in vegetable oil” sounds healthier to customers. The truth is that cooking with these oils makes them even more dangerous when consumed.
Another concern about consuming high levels of omega-6 fatty acids is they may interfere with the body’s production of prostaglandins. This can cause many adverse conditions in the body, including blood clots, sterility, poor immunity, indigestion, and cancer.
Too much omega-6 fatty acids can also interfere with the use of the very important omega-3 fatty acids in the body. And since polyunsaturated oils are used almost exclusively in conventional processed foods, it’s very easy for people to take in far more omega-6 fatty acids than their body can use. The omega-6 fatty acids in these oils essentially crowd out the omega-3’s, leaving health to suffer as a result.
What about the claims that polyunsaturated oils are good for your heart?
Some experts have advised the public to toss out traditional cooking fats such as coconut oil, and replace them with polyunsaturated oils. They claim this will save your heart, but heart disease is more rampant than ever, while we virtually soak our foods in polyunsaturated oils.
Historically, the evidence is hard to miss. Heart disease was a rare occurrence when most cultures consumed mainly saturated fats such as coconut oil, palm oil, butter, tallow and ghee. The rate of heart disease began to skyrocket in the mid-20th century – about the time that cheaply manufactured polyunsaturated oils became popular.
Take Control of Your Health and Escape the Sickness Industry by going to
Elaine Hollingsworth’s website ~ She is the
Director of the Hippocrates Health Centre of Australia. Actively promoting truthfulness, and is a modern day pioneer of health and vitality.
Chemical and heavy metal dangers seem to be lurking everywhere you turn in the 21st century!
Pesticides coat much of our fresh food supply, chemical by-products from manufacturing are routinely dumped into our air and water, aluminum, and mercury, broken energy light bulbs and amalgam fillings in your teeth may be releasing mercury into your body with every bite of food you take!
In fact, acceptable levels of many poisons are allowed to come into your home through your drinking and bathing water, including fluoride, chlorine and low levels of many heavy metals.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see that your body too is under attack from environmental pollution every single day.
You can try to protect yourself and combat this hazard by eating foods that are free of pesticides and chemicals, but you simply cannot entirely remove all sources of toxins from your environment. The damage to our world is just too widespread and pervasive. You have to take it upon yourself to take measures to protect yourself and your family from this toxic world, and one of the best natural sources for moving these toxic materials out of your body is a whole-food based, green algae called Chlorella.
To address the harmful and unwanted chemicals your body picks up through the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the water you drink, it is wise to develop a proactive plan. One of the most powerful parts of this plan is detoxification of the toxins you may have already built up inside your body.
Your body is naturally able to remove many of the harmful pathogens, chemicals and poisons you may come into contact with in the environment. That’s how we are all designed.
But in the 21st century, we’re seeing an explosion of accumulated toxin-related diseases like cancer, auto-immune dysfunction, brain disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, nerve disorders and more common ailments like depression, learning disabilities and fatigue. It can become relatively easy to overwhelm your body’s ability to remove many of these toxins. Symptoms of toxic build-up due to chronic metal exposure include:
Digestive distress, and reduced ability to properly assimilate and utilize fats
Impaired blood sugar regulation
Female reproductive problems
Just to name a few.
There are ten to 100 times more toxins in your fat than in your blood, so one of the best ways to remove toxins is to decrease your body fat. That really is your first defense. Choosing the right foods and exercise are key here. After that, one of the most effective detoxification strategies I know of is the use of an infrared sauna. This can be done for about one hour daily for a month. Remember, it’s important to hydrate well before and during the sauna treatment to avoid dehydration.
Additionally, you can exercise for 30-60 minutes immediately prior to help liberate some of the toxins from your fat.
Chlorella as a Powerful Detoxification Tool
One of the most exciting nutritional resources available today to help your body naturally fight environmental pollution is a whole-food based supplement called Chlorella. Chlorella is actually one of the most widely used supplements in the world, where over 10 million people use it regularly.
You should always start any detox with Chlorella gradually, taking just a small amount at first to see how your body tolerates this powerful detoxification tool. Some people also report benefits from beginning a detoxification by first eating small amounts of cilantro for a few days. Cilantro also promotes a detoxification response in your body, but at a less intense level — which may help your body ease into a smoother detoxification response from chlorella.
One of the reasons Chlorella is so high on the list of eliminating heavy metals, is its natural detoxification abilities. Chlorella is a “green food,” a single-celled, micro-algae that is about two to ten microns in size. It’s very small. It is this small size combined with its unique properties that make it such a useful detoxification tool. Its molecular structure, allows it to bond to metals, chemicals and some pesticides.
When Chlorella is taken into your body, its natural action will bind it to lingering heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides found in your digestive tract, which is your body’s pathway to your bloodstream where these harmful toxins are delivered and deposited into your body’s cells.
So Chlorella first and foremost will help your body eliminate unwanted metals and toxins. But it does more than that.
Chlorella is uniquely designed to not bind to the minerals your body naturally needs to function optimally. It does not bind to beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, or zinc. It’s almost as if Chlorella knows which metals belong in your body and which chemicals need to be removed. Supplementing with Chlorella is like unleashing a tiny army inside your body to fight the battle of removing toxins from your tissues and ushering them back outside your body where they belong.
Chlorella is such a powerful detoxifier because it is rich in chlorophyll, which is known to:
Aid you in processing more oxygen
Cleanse key elimination systems like your bowel, liver, and blood
Help purify your blood and clean away toxins
Aid you in promoting optimal blood pressure
Support elimination of molds in your body
Help neutralize bad air you might breathe in
Promote growth and repair of your tissues
Chlorella is actually very useful even beyond detoxification, and its range of health benefits includes:
Boosting your immune system
Improving your digestion, especially if constipation is a problem
Providing B vitamins from an animal source
Enhancing your ability to focus and concentrate
Increasing your energy levels
Balancing your body’s pH
Normalizing your blood sugar and blood pressure
Reducing your cancer risk
Freshening your breath
You should always start any detox with Chlorella gradually, taking just a small amount at first to see how your body tolerates this powerful detoxification tool. Some people also report benefits from beginning a detoxification by first eating small amounts of cilantro for a few days. Cilantro also promotes a detoxification response in your body, but at a less intense level — which may help your body ease into a smoother detoxification response from Chlorella.
At the Recipe page you’ll find a magical recipe I have been working on to combat the heavy metal blues. Enjoy your miracle smoothie!
September 8, 2015
Just as a waterfall trickles down a mountain side, caressing, and splattering down the solidified rock, incessantly, every day, and every night, thus evolving and shaping the mountain, ever so slightly, subtly, so do the foods we eat, they shape and sculpt our bodies, slowly, over the period of our lives.
Eating raw plant food is truly a beautifying experience! I love walking through a blooming lush garden painted with vibrant colours, an array of textures, fresh fragrances, and rich aromas. I am delighted to know that I lavish my body with noble gifts from nature. Allowing these gifts to nourish me from the inside out.
By understanding the idea that what we consume on a daily basis, will create our future. It makes sense that eating beautiful foods will support us, so we flourish, and come alive. Beautifying foods are living foods in its raw and natural form. Living the way that nature has intended is the last frontier we must cross. Nature alone cures, all anyone can do is assist, and not interfere with its efforts. Our bodies are able to heal itself, when given the raw materials to do so.
Eating different foods will lead us to certain directions in our lives. They fuel our emotions, they create our appearance, and affect the way we act. By consuming vital, rich, living foods that are energizing, we are going to begin feeling more bountiful, and more vibrate then ever before.
To find out what works for you, you must try and create experiences for yourself. Always trust your own common sense, regardless what others may tell you. What makes the most sense to you? If it resonates with your beliefs, and it is making you feel good, go for it, and try it out!
I choose to align my diet with what is provided by nature. When we choose not to interfere with nature, it maintains a perfect rhythm, balanced harmoniously, and its symmetry is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. To me it just makes sense!
“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
-Edgar Allan Poe
About the blogger:
Ashley Dawn is a health and sensuality coach, and an artist. She is passionate in love, beauty, and power – the Goddess power. You may also read her blogs from her own website.
I can’t say I have a favourite mudra but this one comes close. I feel a great sense of calm and relaxation whilst using it when in meditation. No wonder it’s called the ‘gesture of mediation’.
It’s super simple to do. The right hand is placed on the left hand with each finger gently resting on the opposing finger with thumbs touching. The hands form a triangle-like shape which circulates energy.
It’s most commonly used in Buddhist and Zen style mediations and is known as the psychic gesture of meditation.The mudra either rests in the lap or can be positioned at the level of the navel center.
If the thumbs disconnect during meditation it’s a fantastic indicator that you’ve drifted off and gives you the opportunity to bring your focus back to the present moment.
When I was in India on my days off from the Yoga Synergy training I would often go to the bookstore where I would peruse their vast collection of yoga books. I bought a little book titled Yoga Mudras by Shivayogi G. Madanbhavi . The descriptions are quite basic and sometimes most amusing:
Dhyana Mudra ‘The performer achieves greater brilliance and becomes an attractive personality. He becomes capable of influencing people widely. His worries seem to disappear as he attains mental peace. This mudra greatly helps in improving concentration.’
They recommend performing this mudra for a minimum of 20 minutes daily to achieve the above results.
Happy and safe practicing!
August 17, 2015
THE TEAM : The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.
I have to admit that when I started writing this blog I wasn’t sure how to approach it.
Here’s a clear description on this subject which I randomly googled:
Teamwork is often a crucial part of a business, as it is often necessary for colleagues to work well together, always trying to do their best in any circumstance.
Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.
And I totally agree with it.
Below I rewrote how I see a team. I guess anyone can have their views but the results remain the same.
I see the team as a machine and the participants as the fuel of the machine. Without fuel the machine just cannot run. Every member of the team and what they contribute is crucial.
Isn’t it incredible how one person can have an idea and turn it into something that not only benefits themselves but everyone around, and then to be able to share the idea with others? A seed is planted now let’s nurture it so it can grow into something amazing.
A well run team is always creating, inspiring and motivating each other to be part of the big picture .
The preparing, advertising, sourcing, ordering & communicating are just the beginning .
The list goes on and on.
As a team we divide and share the work load.
Also very crucial is communication with each other and carrying each other during a retreat.
I like to always do something new for each retreat. For the last retreat I chose a theme fruit according to availability and what was current in season. It was dragon fruit with its amazing fuchsia-magenta colour.
I used it in everything from fruit salads, wraps, cakes and desserts, drinks you name it – I just love creating menu’s around a fruit and its colour. It also brings so much more creativity into each recipe and dish.
So after many weeks of pondering, drum roll please; for our September retreat I have decided that Mangoes and their beautiful golden yellow colour will be the feature fruit!
Who doesn’t love its taste and texture? It’s one of the most cherished and loved fruits in the tropics. And I already can think of so many new ways on how to use it in the dishes I’ll be serving. Just wait and see. We are all in for a real treat.
There are so many benefits fermented water from the kefir grain can give you. It’s a no brainer to include them in your life if you’re looking for ways to keep healthy and vibrant.
Drinking Water Kefir can help you to achieve your optimal health, strengthen your immune system, and help to prevent diseases of all kinds. Most importantly, it restores good digestion – the key to health and longevity. When your body is out of balance, unfriendly opportunistic bacteria and yeasts can take over – producing irritable and bad digestion, food allergies, headaches, flu, skin rashes, and other more serious disorders. Water kefir is something you and your family can drink and use on your skin every day.
It inhibits the growth of unfriendly bacteria and yeasts, and helps beneficial probiotic microorganisms to colonise and thrive in your digestive tract, and throughout the rest of the body (skin, eyes, bladder, vagina, nose, throat, etc).
It contributes to a healthy immune system.
It reduces inflammation.
It helps with the digestion of food and micronutrients. The key for health and longevity is good digestion, and a balance of good bacteria is the essential starting point.
It can heal and reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome IBS including bloating, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhoea/constipation, nausea, low energy, muscle aches and pains. It heals intestinal dysbiosis and SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).
Your increased energy and overall feeling of good health rises.
As a consequence it can stop unhealthy food cravings, especially for sugars and sweet foods.
Skin complexion and overall condition improve. Brown liver spots / age spots can fade, as can skin tags, moles, warts etc. It can ease or cure many skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Hair and nails look healthier, and are strengthened and improved.
Liver cleansing, as in traditional Chinese medicine, eases aches and joint pains, and benefits the eyes.
Glandular ( endocrine) system (adrenals, thyroid, pituitary, ovaries) benefits. Women have healthier periods, some women have periods start again after early menopause.
It has a tranquillising effect on the nervous system so helps many who suffer from sleep disorders and insomnia, depression, ADHD and autism.
What more could you ask for in these little bundles of bacteria. They are so easy to cultivate and keep at home. They thrive on a sugar solution in water. Making a fresh batch of KefirWater every few days and keeping a supply in the fridge to drink doesn’t get any easier than that!
At our retreats we always place emphasis on adding fermented foods and drinks into our diet. We’ll get to explore different types of fermentation processes as well as taste them as they come around the table.
Come join us on our retreat check our website for all the details www.artofliferetreats.com