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New Year – New You

“The highest spiritual practice is self-observation without judgment.” – Swami Kripalu

 

 

New Beginnings

 

Maybe you are one of many who find themselves at the beginning of the New Year saying “this year is going to be different”.  “This year I am going to prioritize my health.”  If so you may also be one of those who by the beginning of February has completely given up on any change and is just keeping on with the same routine as the last year.  It just seems to get to be too much.  Too overwhelming.  “I am too busy right now.”  “In a few months I will have more time.”  Sound familiar?

 

The problem seems to be that we get to a place in our lives where our bodies may not be in the condition we would like.  We would like to lose weight or be in better shape.  Maybe we are worried about our health or we have been told by a doctor that there is a problem.  January seems to be the month where all of this collides and after indulging in holiday cheer from Halloween through New Year’s Eve it all comes to a screeching halt.  

 

I am all for cleanses and working.  I think you should do all of it but if you are going from chicken wings and beer to a cleanse and then back to soda and pizza that not only isn’t healthy it isn’t helping.  It is a shock to the system.  What I am suggesting is a change in the trajectory of your life.  An altering of the course.  You didn’t get here in a day or even 30 days so lets together make changes that move you to a different place from where you are.  

 

The idea behind this is grace.  Grace is the gift that you give to yourself.  It is not guilt or shame.  It is love and acceptance of where you are and a realistic plan of where you want to go from here.  It is the gift that allows you to love yourself on a journey to a healthier place then you have ever been.  The best is really yet to come.

 

The process is going to be based upon one simple principle which is addition.  In school you learned to add before you learned to subtract.  If you notice New Year’s resolutions are all about subtraction.  I want to lose weight, to eat less, to stop drinking, to stop smoking….  This is the hardest form of change.  As soon as you say to yourself you can’t have that it becomes all that you think about.  So we are going to add instead of subtract.  Add in health, add in respect, add in care for yourself.  Adding in simple steps that lead to big changes.  The rest will go away on it’s own.  Really it will.  Your path will change and you won’t want to do the same things.  Not through guilt and shame but out of love of yourself and your life.

 

So as we progress through the year we are going to walk through some simple steps that you can add into your life.  Each week we will build on what has come before.  If you fall off the cycle just get back on.  Health is all about the routines in your life.  Adding in simple new routines will put you in a different place next year.  

 

We want to alter the course in a way that is not overwhelmingly painful or difficult but easy and fun.  So let’s get started.

Tomorrow is a New Year and a new day.  

 

 

This year I will be sending out emails on simple steps to change the course of your health so keep an eye out for easy ways to make your health the best it can be.  This is for email subscribers only so if you know someone who might benefit from this please pass this on.  

 

I am wishing you the best health in the New Year,

Shanti

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Trade your multivitamin for tea :)

 

 

Taking a multivitamin?  Do you really know what is in there and if it is helping you?  Let’s break down what Bamboo Leaf Tea can do for your vitamin level and give you five healthy ways to get your body in top shape.

The water soluble vitamins are needed in frequent increments as they work through the system quickly and are excreted by the kidneys.  Fasting has been shown to lengthen the time that water soluble vitamins remain in the body thereby increasing the absorption of the essential elements.  In fact taking any supplement after fasting for a period of time increases the strength of the supplement.  That is why taking a supplement in the morning can produce the greatest effects.

Step 1  Try taking your supplements in the morning and waiting at least a 1/2 hour before adding any food or caffeinated drinks.  To really feel the effects of a supplement fast on water taking the supplement several times during the day.

Here is a review of water soluble vitamins and their effects.  Good news B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and vitamin C are all present in bamboo.

Water soluble vitamins include:

  • B1 / thiamine – important for nerve function, promotes a healthy appetite
  • B2 / riboflavin – important for vision and skin
  • B3 / niacin – important for nervous system, digestive system, and skin, helps to produce hormones
  • B5 / pantothenic acid – important for producing red blood cells and hormones
  • B6 / pyridoxine – important for making red blood cells, helps to produce melatonin, helps to reduce levels of homocysteine
  • B7 / biotin – helps to maintain blood sugar levels, strengthens hair and nails
  • B9 / folic acid – important for making DNA and red blood cells
  • B12 – important for making new cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system
  • Vitamin C – antioxidant, important for the immune system, aids in iron absorption, building block of collagen

Step 2  Drinking one cup of Bamboo Leaf Tea will cover most of the water soluble vitamins.  It’s best to do this several times a day to flush the system with the vitamins needed.

Step 3  B12 can be found in nutritional yeast (2tsp can be added to salads or to other foods for all of your B12 needs).  It is also present in shellfish, beef, fish, crustaceans, tofu, dairy, cheese, and eggs.

Teas are a great way to take in some of these important vitamins because they are extracting the water soluble components and delivering them in a way that the body can best absorb them.

Other minerals that are in bamboo are silica, calcium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

Calcium is being added to everything from cereals to orange juice but is it harming the body or helping it?  Calcium is available in leafy green vegetables, raw dairy, sesame seeds, carob as well as bamboo.  The calcium  being added to our foods is inorganic, a cheap filler that is now being shown to possibly increase the risk of heart disease.  Calcium added to the body can cause calcium deposits which can lead to everything from bone spurs to kidney stones.  So stick with the good stuff and don’t buy fortified foods.

Step 4  Get rid of all your vitamins that contain calcium from inorganic sources.    

Bamboo is a powerhouse of bone building components.  Magnesium, silica, manganese, and calcium all work together to increase bone density.  The components in whole foods are formulated perfectly to ensure the highest nutritional value.  Separating out one element causes the body to pull necessary components from other parts of the body in order to absorb the single element.  Lucky for us this has already been worked out.

Step 5  Take bamboo powder for strong bones.  Whole food supplements are the best way to go for supplementation.  

So go ahead get rid of your multi-vitamin and drink another cup of tea, add in lots of veggies and you will be setting yourself up for the best health yet.  Take 5 steps in the right direction and see where it takes you.

Here’s a great recipe for Raw Kale Chips.

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Bamboo infused hemp oil – magic in a bottle

When we talk about the benefits of plants it’s important to understand that some components are water soluble and some are fat soluble.

The water soluble vitamins are needed in frequent increments as they work through the system quickly and are excreted by the kidneys.  Fasting has been shown to lengthen the time that water soluble vitamins remain in the body thereby increasing the absorption of the essential elements.  In fact taking any supplement after fasting for a period of time increases the strength of the supplement.  That is why taking a supplement in the morning can produce the greatest effects.

Water soluble vitamins include:

  • B1 / thiamine – important for nerve function, promotes a healthy appetite
  • B2 / riboflavin – important for vision and skin
  • B3 / niacin – important for nervous system, digestive system, and skin, helps to produce hormones
  • B5 / pantothenic acid – important for producing red blood cells and hormones
  • B6 / pyridoxine – important for making red blood cells, helps to produce melatonin, helps to reduce levels of homocysteine
  • B7 / biotin – helps to maintain blood sugar levels, strengthens hair and nails
  • B9 / folic acid – important for making DNA and red blood cells
  • B12 – important for making new cells and maintaining a healthy nervous system
  • Vitamin C – antioxidant, important for the immune system, aids in iron absorption, building block of collagen

Teas are a great way to take in some of these important vitamins because they are extracting the water soluble components of the plants.

Other vitamins are fat soluble.  They tend to get stored in the body for longer periods of time.

Fat soluble vitamins include:

  • A / retinol – important for bone growth, tooth development, regulation of the immune system and fertility, it is an antioxidant and keeps the mucous membranes moist
  • D – critical in helping the body to use calcium and phosphorous, essential for strong bones and teeth, deficiency linked to autoimmune disease and osteoporosis
  • E / tocopherol – antioxidant, helps to prevent heart disease, critical for healthy skin and eyes, protects the circulatory system
  • K – essential for normal blood clotting, promotes bone health especially in reducing post-menopausal bone loss in women

These vitamins can be found in oils.

 

Hemp oil and bamboo have properties that accentuate each other so let’s talk a bit about this specific blend.

By combining hemp oil with bamboo we can get the best of two fantastic supplements.  One way in which this is done is through the magnesium content in bamboo.  Vitamins A and D require adequate levels of magnesium to carry out their functions in the body.  Bamboo contains magnesium which helps to build receptor sites on the cells for vitamins A and D.  So adding the bamboo to the oil increases the bodies ability to utilize these important vitamins.  This is really important for bone density and healthy teeth.

Another example is zinc and vitamin A.  Vitamin A helps the body’s intestinal tract to better absorb zinc, in turn zinc then helps transport fat soluble vitamins across the intestinal wall.  Bamboo contains zinc which works with the fat soluble vitamins to improve overall health specifically in relation to the immune system.

A third example is with beta-carotene, which is found in vegetables (think carrots).  Beta-carotene is turned into vitamin A by the body.  It has been shown that eating a salad with a oil dressing greatly increases the ability of the body to absorb beta-carotene.  So adding a hemp oil dressing to your salad improved the body’s ability to absorb vitamins in the salad.  Interesting.  This is why adding seeds to a salad greatly increases the benefits of eating the salad.

So drinking teas made with bamboo and then adding in oils infused with bamboo gives the full spectrum of benefits.  So making a smoothie with Bamboo Leaf Tea and then adding 2 tsp of bamboo infused hemp oil brings all of the benefits of bamboo in a delivery system that works.  I find that hemp oil is one of the best oils out there to deliver the fat soluble components and it brings a host of amazing contributions itself to the mix.  Let’s break down a bit some of the benefits of this fantastic combo and more importantly how to use it.


benefits and use – external 

Massage is great for stimulating the body.  It aids in increasing circulation and rejuvenating the skin.  Massage is also great for the scalp.  It stimulates hair growth by bringing vital nutrients to the surface where the hair follicles are located.  The bamboo infused hemp oil is the perfect addition to this regimin.  A small amount of this oil goes a long way so start with a few drops and add more as needed.

  • fatty acids present in hemp oil combined with the silica in bamboo can be used as a conditioner for the scalp or moisturizer for the skin, this is especially good during the dry winter months when the skin can become dry and the hair brittle
  • the high protein content in hemp strengthens the hair
  • topical use of hemp oil with bamboo can be used on burns, skin irritations, eczema, and in healing tattoos
  • unlike the chemically laden shampoos, conditioners, and skin care products this is 100% organic with no additives – so no stress on the liver
  • hemp oil with bamboo acts as an anti-inflammatory and contains anti-oxidants
  • hemp oil makes a great massage oil – healing sore muscles

 

benefits and use – internal 

First things first there is much confusion over the difference between hemp and marijuana.  This product is safe for everyone to use and is not a drug.  Here is a link about the safety of using hemp products if you are concerned with THC levels.  http://nutiva.com/documents/THCStudySummary.pdf  Hemp oil has amazing benefits that are unique to this seed.  Combining it with bamboo accentuates the benefits of both ingredients.  You can use hemp oil as a replacement for olive oil in foods, dressings, and smoothies.  I recommend not heating it to preserve the highest nutritional value.  For the best results take 2-4 tsp a day.

  • hemp oil has highest amount of fatty acids of any plant, these EFA’s cannot be produced by the body and play a big role in preventing diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and high blood pressure
  • EFA’s are essential for a healthy brain and nervous system
  • vegan alternative for fish oil (without the worry of toxins)
  • natural anti-inflammatory
  • EFA’s in hemp oil shown to heal ulcers
  • lubricates joints and reduces swelling – this hemp oil with bamboo is one of the best products on the market for joint pain and arthritis
  • high silica content
  • contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E
  • high levels of chlorophyll
  • it is a complete protein          
  • hemp oil is the only plant to contain vitamin D      

 

                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

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Thyroid, Silica, and Bamboo Leaf Tea

 

Women are facing more stresses than ever these days.  We are multi-tasking gurus and so when faced with work, kids, home, ect. we say yes to it all.  We are over worked, over stressed, under nourished, and this is showing up in multiple areas of our health.   We are exposed to more toxins in our food and our environment then ever in the history of the world and all of this is being stored in our bodies.  We drink water that fluorinated and chlorinated.  We use toothpastes that states “harmful if swallowed”, we slather our bodies with make up and lotions that are full of bad estrogen components.  Our soils are depleted and our food is processed.

According to the American Thyroid Association 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid problem and 60% of them don’t know it.  Women are 5-8 times more likely to have thyroid issues.  The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones which helps to regulate bodily functions including metabolism.

Some of the symptoms for hyperthyroidism include:

weight loss – increased heart rate – anxiety – sensitivity to heat – trouble sleeping – increased sweating – hair loss – brittle bones

Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

weight gain – increased sensitivity to cold – brain fog – depression – fatigue -pale skin – horse voice – hair loss – higher levels of LDL cholesterol – constipation

More women than that fall into the catagory of sub-clinical meaning they have symptoms related to thyroid problems but the testing is not showing that there is a problem.  According to an article written in the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2005 there may be more than 20% of women over 60 being affected by sub-clinical thyroid issues.  Think about what that number might be now!

We need to heal ourselves, our bodies, and our soul.  We need to reduce stress and ground ourselves by walking barefoot on the grass and swimming in the ocean, lakes, or streams.  We need to reduce our sugar and flour intake and increase our sea weed consumption.

One of the great benefits of bamboo in relation to thyroid disease is the combination of digestive support and silica content.  Digestion is a huge component of every aliment that we have including thyroid issues.  Our body’s ability to eliminate waste and toxins has a direct impact on our overall health.  We have killed off beneficial bacteria in our gut by taking antibiotics and using antibacterial soaps and gels.  These bacteria are critical to our digestion ability.  In starting the healing process we need to first start with the gut.  This means pro-biotics, fermented foods, kombucha, and soluble fiber.

Bamboo Leaf Tea is the perfect tea to add in for the health of your digestive system.  The soluble fiber benefits help to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, relieve constipation, and aid the body in eliminating toxins.  At the same time the silica content of Bamboo Leaf Tea aids in promoting hair growth, and increasing bone density.  Silica also has been shown to aid in the elimination of aluminum which adversely affects the thyroid.  Bamboo also helps to heal the liver, the filter of the body and this supports the overall digestion process.  The best part is that Bamboo Leaf Tea is easy to add into your diet.  Whether it’s cold tea on a hot day or hot tea at the end of your day Bamboo Leaf Tea is an simple and powerful way to move into a more healthy state of living.

I feel so fortunate that I can grow and manufacture a product that is aiding so many people on their path to a better life.  I get wonderful emails that touch my heart from women that have had hair falling out by the handfuls and after introducing Bamboo Leaf Tea into their daily routine the problem has stopped.

If you are experiencing thyroid issues please seek the guidance of a medical professional such as a naturopath or a holistic practitioner.  I wish you the best health and wellbeing on this life journey.

 

 

 

Many blessings and happy summer,

Shanti 

 

 

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Healthy, delicious, refreshing Bamboo Leaf Tea

 

Healthy, Delicious, Refreshing Bamboo Leaf Tea

 

bamboo leavesAfter reading an interesting article on bamboo leaf tea and its health benefits, I did a Google search and uncovered a link to the Bamboo Leaf Tea Farm (www.bambooleaftea.net) in Champions Gate, Florida, about a half-hour south of Orlando. While visiting friends in Orlando last month, I decided to make arrangements to go to the farm to learn more about bamboo tea.

The farm’s bamboo leaves are grown and processed by hand without the use of any chemicals or pesticides. The tea has a wonderful sweet green flavor. It also has the highest amount of vegetative silica of any plant. It is what allows bamboo to grow so fast and remain flexible. Silica adds strength and flexibility to all the cells of the human body. It also supports hair and nail growth as well as adding suppleness to the skin. Bamboo tea offers silica in a whole food form that can be absorbed better than any supplement. The tea also contains soluble fiber that benefits the digestive system and is high in antioxidants promoting overall health and wellness.

Shanti & Chas 4The farm is owned by Shanti Pierce. She was hired by Disney Imagineering as a bamboo and ornamental grass expert for the Animal Kingdom project. From there she started her own bamboo farm eventually growing more that 40 species. Of the 40 varieties, she selected three that produce a superior cup of tea.

Bamboo is a species of flowering perennial evergreen plants in the grass family. It is one of the fastest-growing plants on earth, with reported growth rates of up to three feet per day. Unlike trees, individual bamboo stems, or culms, emerge from the ground at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season of three to four months.

bamboo1The plants will grow in height anywhere from 20 to 80 feet. When asked about the longevity of bamboo, Shanti indicated that no one knows for sure. What indicates the end of the growing cycle is the flowering of the plant, a phenomenon consuming all of its energy. All plants of the same stock flower at the same time, regardless of their geographic location, and then the bamboo dies. The lack of environmental impact on the time of flowering indicates the presence of some sort of “alarm clock” in each cell of the plant that signals the diversion of all energy to flower production and the cessation of vegetative growth. This mechanism, as well as the evolutionary cause behind it, is still largely a mystery.

After sending several different tea leaf samples to an independent laboratory for analysis, she learned two things: one she knew and the other was a complete surprise. The first was that the bamboo plant itself as well as the leaves were very high in silica, which explained its flexibility, especially in inclement weather conditions like a hurricane. The second thing she learned was that bamboo leaf tea has a soluble fiber that is ingested when consumed. The silica and fiber supported her conclusion that bamboo leaf tea was an extremely healthy drink to consume regularly. She indicated that her research is ongoing.

After several years of research combined with trial and error, Shanti came up with the process she uses today to create Bamboo Leaf Tea. She follows an orthodox method of harvesting the tea by bending the stalk down to eye-level, clipping off the leaves, and releasing the stalk which then springs back to its original upright position due to its silica content flexibility. Following harvesting, the leaves are processed using several heating procedures. The process she developed retains the bamboo plant’s sweetness which is discernible in the tea itself.

Her vision for the future is to go to decimated parts of the world where water is present to re-vegetate the land with bamboo and grasses. The bamboo could then be harvested to create an improved source of livelihood and economic prosperity for the local population.

 

by Certified Tea Master Chas Kroll

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Questions and more questions about Bamboo Leaf Tea

I get emails all the time about  the tea and how to get the most out of your order.  Once people know all of the great benefits that Bamboo Leaf Tea has to offer they want to optimize their use so here are a few tips on brewing the tea and taking supplements.

How much tea do I need to use per cup?

1 tsp of tea is sufficient for 8 oz of water.  If you like your tea strong you may want to use more.  When I make ice tea for the markets I use double the amount of tea because I know I am serving it on ice and the ice will melt.  Bamboo Leaf Tea has a light, sweet flavor so if you are switching from coffee or black tea you may want a stronger flavor.

If I were to describe the flavor I would do it in this way.  Do you remember as a kid lying in the grass on a summer day, the grass has just been mowed and you are looking up at the sky and finding shapes in clouds?  You have nothing that has to be done, no homework, no job, no responsibilities.  Your two best friends are lying next to you and a soft breeze is blowing the air just enough so that you are neither cold nor hot.  Your body is relaxed, the ground is completely and totally supporting you.  The three of you are laughing as you pick out funny shapes and tell jokes.  Life is easy, it is fun, and all is well.   That is my description of the flavor of Bamboo Leaf Tea. 🙂

How long should I steep the tea?

The standard answer is 3-5 minutes.  If you would like to use the tea more than once then the second time boil the tea for a minute or two.  For a third cup boil the tea for up to 10 minutes.  When there stops being any color to the water you have dissolved all of the nutrients and can start again.  Bamboo is very fibrous and so cooking it opens up the plant and allows the nutrients to be accessible.  Bamboo is one of only two teas that can be used in an expresso machine and this is because the leaves will withstand the high temperatures.

What is the best way to store the tea?

I like to refrigerate all of my teas.  Bamboo has a beautiful green color and that will leach out if exposed to sunlight.  It is best to store any tea in a dark, cool place.  Freezing the tea will destroy any nutrients that are sensitive to freezing so I prefer refrigeration.  If you would like to re-use the tea leaves later on simply store them in the refrigerator and boil them in water for a second cup of tea.

What are other uses for the tea?

The tea leaves can be ground up and used in cooking or added to baked products.  I am always adding supplements to my kids pancakes or eggs.  In Asia bamboo charcoal is often added to bread for it’s medicinal properties.  This is called sweet bread and is of course black.  The tea can also be used in hair rinses, bathing, soaking hands and feet or adding to a pets water bowl.  (there are some past blogs on different uses)

How much silica is in one cup of tea?

Each cup of tea has 350 mg of silica per cup.  That is based on using 1 tsp of tea per 8 oz of water.  That is the amount recommended in supplements.  Of course I drink lots of bamboo teas and there is no upward limit.  Silica is flushed through the system and excreted through the urinary tract.  Often times when we are taking supplements starting off with a larger amount for at least 30 days brings the system back into balance and then we can cut back to a maintenance amount.  Silica deficiencies affect almost every adult in the US and relate to chronic problems with teeth, bone density, and cellular strength.  Silica is a basic element that we all need for so many functions of our body and yet we get almost none in our diet.

Is there caffeine in the tea?

Bamboo has no caffeine in it.  There are several blends that I make that have caffeine:  Green tea + Lemongrass, Breakfast Black, Chai or Medicinal Chai, and a little in Peppermint Patty.  These are great teas for the morning routine.  Way better than coffee!

How can I take the powder supplement?

Most of us know how to take a capsule but incorporating powder supplements into our diet is another twist.  The benefit of buying the supplement in powder is that the price is usually cheaper, you aren’t ingesting the  capsule material, and you can easily increase the amount that you take.  However a lot of people have never taken powders so here are some ideas.

1  Mix the powder in a smoothie.  The easiest smoothing base is banana, spinach, and almond milk.   The best part about the smoothie is that you can add all of your supplements in and take them at the same time.  Here is a link to 15 ideas for smoothies.

2 Mix the powder into your breakfast.  You add the powder to your morning eggs or even pancakes.  The flavor doesn’t really change just a new twist on Green Eggs and Ham.

3 Mix the powder into yogurt, applesauce, or pudding.  Chia makes a great raw pudding.  You can mix chia with almond milk and add your supplement and some flavoring like vanilla.  Let the mixture sit for about an hour and enjoy.  Here is a link to a chia pudding recipe.

Are the capsules vegetarian?

Yes the material used to make the capsule is a vegetable product.

How many capsules do I take a day?

I recommend taking 2 capsules three times a day.  This is equivalent to 1 tsp of powder per day.  I like to break up the process so that the body has a silica intake throughout the day.  If you start your day with caffeine it is best to wait a couple of hours before taking any supplements as the caffeine will inhibit your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

 

 

 

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Best little eco resort in town – Tropical Treehouse in Rincon, Puerto Rico

If you are looking for an adventure that you can do over a long weekend.  This is the place for you.  Of course you could go all out and stay for a month and really experience tropical paradise.  Believe me when you get there you will wish that you had figured that out before you left.  I love Puerto Rico.  It is close by, fairly inexpensive to get to,  there is no language barrier, you can use your cell phone, and there is a Walgreens on every major road.  Plus the roads are amazing.  Ok that is in relation to going to Central America where my rule of thumb is “never assume that the road it there”.  I really felt it was half way between Florida and Costa Rica.   Tropical plants, warm, beautiful water, gorgeous beaches, and everything that you forgot to bring is just down the street.  I also really enjoyed the latin american feel of brightly colored houses, street vendors, and salsa music.

January and February are birthday months in my house.  My two daughters as well as myself all have birthday celebrations and this year we had a great opportunity to visit Puerto Rico so we jumped on it.  I had no idea what to expect from Puerto Rico and every person I told said “you better be careful”.  I have to say every single person I spoke to in Puerto Rico went out of their way to be helpful.  I am personally making it my mission to tell people how wonderful it is there.  We flew into San Juan and drove straight to Rincon which is on the west side of the Island.  You can fly to Mayaguez which is closer but this worked and we had no plans before arriving so that left everything open for options.  I have to say we were so lucky to have been invited to Rincon because I think we landed in the best spot on the island.  It is the coolest little surf town which hosts many surf competitions every year.  The water is picture perfect and the beaches are clean and beautiful.  There are waves of all shapes and sizes depending on which beach you go to plus snorkeling on amazing reefs.  Next time I will be sure to bring snorkel gear because you can go right off the beach and see brain corals that are 2-3′ across.  My daughter Maya saw a small octopus.  And no wet suit needed the water is warm.

Ok so the place is amazing but I also came to see big bamboo.  I am kind of geeky like that.  I drag my kids to nurseries and farms where we go anywhere.  I was fortunate enough to get an email with two bamboo suggestions for the island and as luck would have it they were both right where we were.  This is how we met Jo Scheer owner of Tropical Treehouse.  What a find.  We called him up and asked if we could stop by and he very graciously said he would show us around.  Like most latin regions getting directions is different than the US.  So here a person will use street names to guide you to the place in latin america people use physical references.  So directions might go like this.  Follow this road until you see the gas station then turn left, go a bit until you see the big mango tree and take a right, follow that up a hill until you see the pink house with the cow and take another right.  If you have ever traveled in latin america you know what I mean.  In San Jose, Costa Rica all directions are based around a Coca cola factory that was torn down years ago.  I have to say in Puerto Rico the major roads have signs and GPS generally works.  But I like to go off the beaten trail and then you have to rely on directions from locals.  Jo’s place is right off of a main road so that was lucky and he stayed on the line as I drove past land marks to find the turn.  From there it was up, up, up a steep, winding road that was about 1 1/2 cars wide.  We recognized his place by the bamboos at the entrance and a little sign that said TT.  Actually we drove past it the first time but decided that had to be it.

We drove down the shaded drive to a bamboo entrance structure with a small hand bell.  We were standing on the side of a hill.  A flattened surface carved into the hillside with bamboos all around us.  It was shaded and cool under the canopy and we could see glimpses of the blue sea far below.  Jo met us there.  Jo is a great guy and I could tell that if you stayed at his place half of the experience would be getting to know him.  He is personable, unassuming, very knowledgeable about plants and specifically bamboos, he is a master craftsman of bamboo, and has had experiences that most will only read about.

The finca (farm in spanish) is 12 acres and sits almost at the top of a small mountain or large hill.  It is planted with bamboos and fruit trees.  Jo and his wife have groves of Guadua angustifolia, Dendrocalamus asper, Bambusa textilis, B. tulda, B. stricta, B. ventricosa as well as an interesting native bamboo that flowers yearly.  You can walk through the farm on trails that wind you through the groves and gardens.  When they bought it there was part of an original structure on the property which they built into a two story house where they live.  It is full of Jo’s creative passion for bamboo.  From the window frames to planters, silverware holders to shelving bamboo is in every corner of the house.  This is also where the workshop is and Jo said that he and his wife road out a category 3 hurricane here.

 

From there Jo took us on a walking tour of his property and the magical tree houses that we were so eager to see.  These are fully functional structures designed and built by Jo out of bamboo grown on the farm.  They have solar panels and solar heated water.  They have a propane burner to cook on so you can make all of your own meals.  If you love meat and starch then Puerto Rico is the place for you but if you are a vegetarian then you are going to need to go a different route.  So vegetables in latin america are really just for garnish and if you order a salad they will try to talk you out of it.  Rice and beans is always an option but I kept getting salted red beans and white rice not my favorite option.    There are plenty of fruit stands with all sorts of seasonal vegetables and fruit.  The best bananas ever are $1 a bunch and on Sundays there is a farmer’s market in Rincon with local farmers selling everything from arugula to fermented beet juice. So having a place that you can cook is key.

The bathrooms are fully functional with hot water from a solar water heating system.  You can literally experience sleeping in a tree or should I say a bamboo!  From the top you can view the ocean.  The structure is open aired – no mosquitos in Puerto Rico and for extra sleeping room there are bamboo hammocks nearby.  If you are interested in building out of bamboo this is a must see.  I love that the structures are simple and strong.

The experience of sleeping in the open is a once in a life time event.  I was so jealous of no windows or screens.  Here in Florida we practically have to walk around in bug nets to keep the mosquitos from carrying us off.  The spare bedroom is a mattress on a bamboo platform or a bamboo hammock of sorts.  It has a roof and some optional netting and is located near the bamboo hooch.  This is a great space for afternoon siestas or the friend who wants to come and join the fun.  My girls loved them and I could see them reading, coloring, or  just having a secret get away in the beautiful space.

There  are three different tree houses to choose from so you could even do a several family get away and all stay there.  What fun that would be.  Jo says he loves that he gets so many interesting people who come to stay.  I think when you do things out of the ordinary it attracts like minded individuals which makes the experience even richer.  We love what we do but really it is the connection that we are always looking for and Jo’s place is a space of beauty and peace.  A place to live in nature, learn about bamboo, or simply get away from it all.  It’s easy and fast to get to and puts you in another dimension which is often just the thing we need!

www.tropical-treehouse.com

 

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Help with sugar cravings

 So I wanted to give you a few more tips on helping you along the path to reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet.  This is something I have been working on for 25 years or more so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen over night.  Every day is a new beginning and you can restart your day as many times as you want to 🙂

Sugar can be an addictive substance.  I would have to say by looking at the level of obesity in the US that more people have an issue with sugar than don’t.  So what am I talking about.  I mean sugar is a caloric form of food that is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and is especially important for brain function.  But that was before the pounds of refined white sugar that we consume each year.  So if we look at sugar as an addictive substance I think it helps make some of the solutions to reducing our consumptions easier.  And it also validates why people have so many problems cutting back on sugar.   We all see the guy smoking a cigarettes and know that he know’s what he is doing but he can’t stop himself.  Sugar might not be causing lung disease but it is causing many severe health problems and no body is petitioning to ban it from schools or all of the other places it is handed out.

Alcohol is a sugar and so people who have problems with alcohol also have problems with sugar.  Thankfully there is a lot of research now about nutrition and alcoholism and this research can also help people who aren’t waking up with a hangover again but waking up and saying I can’t believe I ate all of the ice cream again.  The first thing to keep in mind is that we are about 80% emotionally driven and %20 physically driven.   That means that underlying our cravings are usually emotional traumas or areas that we are stuck in.  I know that whenever I detox it’s not just the physical toxins that come out but I also have a lot of a ha moments.  It’s like the body is flushing out all of the old gunk and that is cleaning out the stuck emotional areas of our lives.  This can be a painful process but it can also be a rejuvenating one.  There are a couple of tricks that I like to use in this arena.

1  HALT:  This is an AA term for hungry, angry, lonely, tired.  Most cravings are strongest when you have one or more of these feelings.  If you are a parent you know that kids melt down at these times and guess what so do adults we just have developed strategies for getting us through them.  The problem is that a lot of these so called strategies that we have are damaging our bodies.  Studies have shown that alcoholics that can eliminate sugar and caffeine in their diets have less struggles with cravings.  Keeping your blood sugar level consistent is a huge part of reducing cravings.  It is especially important to increase protein and fiber in your diet as these will help.  This is yet another way that Bamboo Leaf Tea can help with cravings since it is high in soluble fiber and will aid in balancing blood sugar levels.  So if the afternoon is a struggle for you make sure you add some beans to your lunch.  This also means cutting out fruits fresh or dried and white flour.  It’s not that in moderation these items are bad it’s just that moderation seems to be a problem.  If you can take out as much as possible at the beginning then eventually you can add items back in.

2  Just for today:  I know when I thought to myself I want to stop drinking coffee a little voice in my head says “forever, that really seems a bit over the top, I mean it’s not that bad for you”.  You get the idea.  This helpful voice will go on and on until you feel overwhelmed enough to say “what was I thinking, I can’t do this”.  And then it’s all over.  So just for today or just for a week or just for a month is a better way to approach anything.  Giving yourself a finite period of time is a way to say I am trying this out and having this experience and I’ll see where it goes from there.  I can do anything for one hour or one day.  I encourage you to pick a time frame that doesn’t trigger an overwhelming feeling and start with that.  When you achieve your goal gift yourself with something fun (no food treats) and try for a bigger time frame.  You will begin to feel more confident in your ability to stick with something and your body will learn new strategies for getting through stressful times.

3  EFT:  If you don’t know what EFT is this is exciting for you.  EFT stands for emotional freedom technique.  It is a way that you can clear emotional energy in your body while it is happening.  I have been using this for many  years and I encourage you to check it out.  A great site that has lots of resources is The Tapping Solution  I have taught my kids how to do tapping and sometimes I just do it for them.  At the very least it is like a moving meditation and for me it’s a whole lot more.  You can use this for help when you are really struggling with not having sugar and the relief will be immediate.

I hope that some of these tips help you to successfully cut down or eliminate sugar in your diet and if you are struggling with alcohol addiction or know someone who is check out this book 7 Weeks to Sobriety.

As always I wish you many blessings in your journey,

Shanti

 

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Incentive for your sugar free week :)

I wanted to give you a bit of incentive on your sugar free week.  And here it is my 12 year old son is going sugar free this week.  Actually he is doing more than that he is eating all fruits and vegetables with a few raw nuts.  This is my son who wouldn’t eat more than five things by the time he was 7, he still has a really tough time with more than one ingredient in food, and all veggies are raw.  (which is fine by me)  What happened was he started talking to me about living in the jungle when he grew up and living off the land.  He had recently come back from a trip to Costa Rica and was all about eating what was available ect.  I said that sounded great why don’t we start now?  Actually I said “really carb boy you are going to eat all fruits and vegetables?”  In a few short months this boy will be a teenager and be taller then me so my days are numbered. 🙂 So he took the challenge and is doing his first cleanse this week.

Day 1

Breakfast: strawberries and bananas

Lunch: apple, potatos, carrots

snack:  strawberry smoothie- strawberries, blueberries, bamboo leaf tea, grapes

cup of raw cashews

apple

Dinner:  baked potato, raw broccoli

I realize he has a lot of fruit sugar in there but I am still proud of him for trying and wanting to follow through.  I also hope that he notices how he feels.  We talked about detoxing and how that can make you feel tired or angry.  That cleaning the body can feel not so good at the time but that getting rid of junk from your body is like cleaning your room not much fun but really necessary.   So it comes down to grace again.  Give yourself grace when doing any cleanse because none of them are easy.  And start with something small so that your success can lead you to something a bit bigger.  He made a list of fruit and vegetables that he wanted me to buy and he has come up with meals that he wants to eat.  So I hope to be empowering him to lead the way.  When he was younger I could control most of what he ate.  As he grows up he is really driving that train and I try to always remind him of the choice that no one ever offers “no thank you”.

Here are a few more tips for cutting out sugar:

1)  apple cider vinegar:  You can drink it straight or put it on a salad.  Braggs is the most well know brand and they have a lot of information at their website.  Among the many benefits of using apple cider vinegar is the immediate relief from sugar cravings.  It is something that my son has done first thing in the morning for a while.  He just drinks a few tablespoons after waking up.  This alkalizes the body and helps to remove toxins.  Many people swear by it for losing weight.

2) salad:  Get your favorite green salad or cabbage, add a few nuts or seeds (pumpkin or  hemp are great) then a bit of olive oil and some vinegar and a touch of sea salt.  By combining seeds or nuts with your salad you increase the benefits.  One and one do not always equal two in this case they equal 4.  Salads a yin foods like bamboo and sugar and so they fill that slot.  The oil and the salt balance it out.

3) snacks:  Make sure you have plenty of quickly prepared snacks because we all know that being hungry and out of time are the worst two things for your food choices.  kale chips, raw nuts, seaweed, popcorn, raw veggies like carrots and celery

4) watch the clock:  After 8 o’clock at night our bodies are ready to rest and so working means increased cravings.  Anyone who studied late nights at college knows pizza and sodas don’t make for the best body strategies.  If you need to work make a pot of tea to fill that void.  Bamboo Leaf Tea has soluble fiber so it will help you to feel full.  Another idea is brushing your teeth.  It just makes you think at least twice before you eat that cookie.

I hope you had a wonderful day and that you get lots of rest (BTW that is number 5),

Shanti

 

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Bamboo Leaf Tea – the perfect tea to reduce sugar cravings

        So I am still headlong into my no coffee and no sugar journey and I have to say that it is going way better than I thought it would.  I am also heavily emphasizing the journey part because to do something all at once is never easy and sometimes life gets in the way.  So grace is an important part of changing your diet.  It’s like when you want to start a diet so you go out and eat all of the junk food you love because you aren’t going to have it any more.  Grace is allowing for the journey of that day and that time.  Not binging on food and then fasting but balance and tolerance of the moment you are in.  So if you have a cookie stop at one and enjoy it instead of saying well now I blew it so I’ll have ten.

Sugar or sweeteners are really tough to pull out of our diet.  They are flavor enhancers so food doesn’t taste the same.  Part of this is the way we are made.  We are programed to eat sweet foods from birth.  We start with a sweet breast milk and go from there.  But like many things in our society sugar has gotten way out of balance.  It is handed out at banks and doctor’s offices.  Teachers and parents give it as a reward.  Sugar can also be a drug.  People who have problems with alcohol have a strong attachment to sugar.  I would go so far as to say that sugar actually feels different for them it is an exaggerated feeling of well being.  This is why studies have shown a link between kids who have a strong affinity for sugar being pre-disposed to having problems with alcohol.  Sugar intake also directly correlates with diabetes.  So we really want to get a handle on this issue for ourselves and our children.    

But we know all of this and to be honest it gets a bit overwhelming.  How do we navigate the day for ourselves let alone our families with less sugar?  Well I have a great tip that I have learned over the past few weeks.  And that is not to say that I haven’t craved my beloved oatmeal and raisin cookies but this has helped me follow through on my intention.

 I find it amazing what comes up when you detox in some way.  There is always a gift.  Well one of my gifts in the past few weeks is something amazing that I want to share with you.  It turns out that Bamboo Leaf Tea is the perfect tea for sugar cravings.  So this goes back to the idea of food in balance.  In this world we are constantly balancing.  In the Chinese culture they refer to the Yin and the Yang.  And this relates to all parts of your life including food.  The Yin is feminine, contracting, cool , restful, intuitive, absorbing.  Yang is masculine, bright, active, hot, intense.  Sugar is the Yin category.  So is bamboo.  Bamboo Leaf Tea made as a hot tea is actually the perfect balance of Yin and Yang because it is both cooling by nature and warming in temperature.  I have been drinking the tea when I feel the urge for sugar and it has really been working.  I feel balanced and the craving goes away.  So my secret weapon on the sugar cravings is a simple cup of hot tea.  I love that the most effective practices are simple and easy to come by.

I am continuing on my path detoxification and I will share any insights I have along the way.  

As Gandhi said “action expresses priorities”, so think about what you are taking action on today.

Many blessings and have a great week,

Shanti

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