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Give it up – coffee that is

So I have a bit of a guilty pleasure…..coffee.  I love coffee.  I have had this love for a very long time and until recently had no intention of breaking up with my beloved.  Maybe you are like me?  Maybe you sometimes only get up in the morning because you know you can make this wonderful cup of joy that will get you going.  Or maybe you get to mid-afternoon and want that pick me up that will keep you going until bed.  Of course there are all the in between times like the “morning coffee break”.  A great time to chat with friends or colleagues or just take a break from what you were doing along with  a jolt of caffeine.  And there is the evening coffee to get you through the big project that has to be done.  There are lots of times that I love coffee.

When I was younger I was an all or nothing kind of gal.  And to be honest the substances were a bit stronger than coffee so I really needed to just stop.  But you know and I know that you can say you are going to do something, you can start your day with that intention, you can do everything right and still not make it happen.  I quit smoking about 5 hundred times before I made a decision and stopped.  I spent $80 on a patch, which at the time might as well have been a million dollars, and that was it.  I was not going to waste that money.  I made a decision and stuck to it.  To be fair the patch helped me to transition my lifestyle.  Having small victories builds momentum and that is a great resource.  We are about 90% emotionally driven and so the physical cravings and changes are the smallest part of giving something up.  It’s the voice inside your head that says “just this last time” or ” you deserve it”.  This voice is not helping you.  It is sabotaging you, destroying your health, and making you feel like a failure.  So what’s a girl to do.

I had wanted to do some cleanses this year and felt held back by my coffee habit.  I have three kids, I work, I home school one child, and I try to fit in exercise and self care.  I am a busy person, you are a busy person and we don’t want to fall off the deep end and not be able to fulfill our responsibilities.   Quite honestly I was scared of what I would be without my coffee.  When I realized that I had a lot of fear around removing coffee from my life even temporarily I decided it was time to face that head on.

So about a week ago I started switching out my afternoon coffee for a cup of Chai or Breakfast Black tea.  I gave myself a week but after 5 days I felt ready to give that up for an herbal tea.  In the morning I was still going with one cup of coffee.  I gave myself 2 weeks to adjust to that level.  So afternoons and evenings have been a bit tough.  I won’t lie.  I really wanted a cup of coffee and I had all of the caffeine withdrawals.  My eyes were sore, I was mentally fuzzy, and I was craving sugar.  (I have also cut out most of my sugar intake too – so double whammy)  But I was really surprised that my dread of how bad it was going to be really didn’t happen.  I didn’t fall asleep driving my son to basketball practice or have to take a nap everyday.  The bad moments passed within 10 minutes at the most and I just kept thinking that plenty of people live their lives without caffeine and they are not bed ridden. 🙂

This coming week I will be changing my morning cup of coffee for a caffeinated tea.  I still have fear around this but I am forging ahead.  It helps that I have told people I am doing this and so I have a level of accountability.  I am making some coffee alternative drinks that are really helping bridge the gap and I will be sharing some of those in my videos.  I had wanted to have the experience of living without coffee and to see if I would feel more balanced.  I often feel like I am on a constant feedback from my body concerning sugar and caffeine.  In my experience the more body and mind altering substances that you are playing with the more you feel like you are juggling your addictions.  I need to add a bit more of this now, then a little of that after….It never ends.

When I was in my 20’s I thought that a lot of the issues that younger people had would just dissipate with age.  Somehow being older meant you had your act together.  Boy was I surprised when things just got worse.  So if the problem wasn’t addressed it could still be there 30 years later?  That was mind blowing.  Now that I am in my 40’s I see in myself things that I have not fully delved into.  On top of that I find that habits are more entrenched meaning that it is easy to do the same thing over and over.

So if you have something you would like to give up and it can be just for now, just for today, then join in the fun.  Here are some questions I am asking myself.  They help me to remember why  I am doing this.

What are you gaining from this?

How does this help you to accomplish a personal goal?

What have you gained from this today?

Do you feel stronger?

Are you proud of yourself?

How are you feeling at the beginning, one week in, two weeks in?

Good luck and I’ll keep you posted on my successes.

 

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Soluble fiber and Bamboo Leaf Tea

Soluble fiber is a key part of combating digestive issues. Whether your stress goes right to your stomach or you suffer from IBS, drinks with soluble fiber can make a big difference in your daily life. Let’s face it we all have to eat.

We all know that adding fiber to our diet is key to a healthy digestive system. So what exactly does soluble fiber do differently from the bran flakes that I ate for breakfast? Ingesting soluble fiber prior to eating food creates a coating on the inside of the stomach and intestines that helps the entire system to relax. It actually slows down the digestive process and reduces muscle spasms. When the stomach and intestinal tract relax IBS and other diarreah issues are greatly reduced if not eliminated. Slowing down the digestive tract also helps to regulate blood sugar. As your lunch, snack, or dinner is digested, sugars get dumped into the blood stream. Soluble fiber helps the body to work more efficiently. This, of course, is especially important for people with diabetes. Thirdly, soluble fiber makes the body feel more full. The digestive system has slowed down and this tells the brain that the body is full more quickly than without the soluble fiber. So it helps to promote weight loss.

Those are some powerful benefits! Bamboo Leaf Tea contains 4% soluble fiber. If you are drinking it unsweet it is a calorie free form of soluble fiber. Wow! So remember to drink some Bamboo Leaf Tea before that next meal and your body will thank you.

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Tea made from bamboo?

“Tea made from bamboo really?” This is the question I get asked a lot. The short answer is “Yes”.

Bamboo is a fantastically versatile plant that can be used for everything from flooring to clothing, from utensils to food. It is and continues to be a food staple in Asia and is slowly being introduced to the rest of the world. Bamboo teas have been used medicinally in India, China, and South America for hundreds if not thousands of years. The documented use of the plant shows up in the Ayurvedic books as well as the Chinese Compendium of medicine. In Central and South America the uses have been passed down from healer to healer. The green leaves would be picked and boiled to make an extract that has been used to treat upper respiratory problems, aid liver detoxification, digestive issues, and skin ailments to name a few. In Chinese medicine bamboo is believed to reduce dampness in the liver which manifests it self as irritability, anger, and toxification of the body. In Japan the people who work weaving bamboo are thought to have less health issues due to the absorption of the plant through their skin. In Columbia boiled leaves are used to treat coughs and in Cuba the leaves are used in poultices. In Asia bamboo leaf extract are widely added to drinks to boost the immune system and promote overall health.

 This is the beginning of bamboo teas. Bamboo Leaf Tea has taken this idea and turned it into a beverage that can be enjoyed in many variations. There are many types of bamboos as there are many types of people and so I intend to create many bamboo blends and so bring this ancient health benefit to you.
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Bamboo and Flowers

Bamboo can be used in so many creative ways and it’s all natural. Asian cultures have of course been using bamboo for centuries and yet we are just discovering the possibilities. I love these variations but even just simply putting branches into a vase is beautiful. Discover your own variation.

 

                                       

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How to make the perfect cup of tea

Making the perfect cup of tea is pretty straight forward. The biggest parts are the ingredients. So water, tea, and a mug or bottles. Easy right?  But what ingredients are you putting in the mix.  They are not all created equal.
The water should be alkaline, if possible, or a good high quality water. All water is not the same. I like to use alkaline water because it has a wonderful softness to the feel and it super hydrates the body. If you can find a spring that is a great option.  So aim high with your water and your body will thank you.
Next is the tea. Bamboo Leaf Teas are made with fresh, organic ingredients. The bamboo is hand picked and processed right here in the USA to ensure the highest quality.  The nutrients of the soil the plants are grown in along with the time of harvest and the handling of the material all have a huge impact on the tea.  
Thirdly is the mug or glass container. Please don’t use plastic especially with hot water. A nice high quality mug for hot teas is perfect. When making larger quantities for ice tea it is best to use stainless steel pots to make the tea in and glass to store the tea in. 
To make 6 quarts of ice tea fill a stainless steel pot with water, measure 1/2 cup of loose leaf tea or 8-10 tea bags and add to the water. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then turn off the stove. Cover the pot and let it sit for several hours to cool. If you are making any of blended varieties bring the water to a boil, turn off the stove and let the water cool for a few minutes, then add the tea. Green and black teas should only be steeped for 3-5 minutes. Lemongrass, mint, ect. can steep longer even several hours. The bamboo opens up a bit more in the higher temperatures but when blended with other herbs it is best to let the water cool to just below 200 degrees F before adding the tea.  After the tea has steeped, and the water has cooled, add sweetener and pour into glass containers. I like to use 1/3 cup of Agave or honey for 6 quarts of tea. If you get some nice glass quart size bottles you will have a great to-go drink in the fridge ready to grab as you head out the door.
So start with high quality ingredients and you will notice the difference.
May the strength and flexibility in bamboo be pervasive in all aspects of you life.                       
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Is there caffeine in it?

 

One of the most frequent questions I get asked about Bamboo Leaf Tea is “Does it have caffeine?”. The short answer is that no bamboo does not contain caffeine but some of the teas that I blend it with do.  Coffee, cacao beans (chocolate), the tea plant (camellia sinensis), kola nuts, guarana berries, guayusa, and yaupon holly all contain caffeine. As far as teas go black tea has the highest amount of caffeine, then green tea, then white tea. So the Green tea + Lemongrass blend, the Breakfast Black blend, and the Chai blend all contain caffeine. These three makes good alternatives to coffee in the morning or afternoon.

 As a society we are hooked on caffeine. We burn the candle at both ends and wind up compensating for lack of sleep with an energy drink or another cup of coffee. This stresses our adrenal glands which can cause problems with our thyroid. There is not a mother in America who doesn’t have low functioning adrenal glands. We are just tired. So how do we get out of this rut. Well we can start with giving ourselves some al

ternatives to caffeine. A great cup of tea high in nutrients made with alkaline water is a great place to start. Mint Medley with it’s refreshing peppermint taste is great after meals for digestion and wakes you up. Usually our body is most tired when it is dehydrated and under nourished. So bamboo with it’s soluble fiber and antioxidants can make a great afternoon drink.

Maca is a great stimulant that can be made into a coffee like drink. It helps with clarity and focus. Green smoothies with wheatgrass or just a wheatgrass shot can give a super boost to your day. The super nutrients in wheatgrass will power you up naturally for the afternoon. So try one of these healthy alternatives when you are running on empty and your body will thank you with renewed energy that lasts.

 May the strength and flexibility of bamboo be pervasive in all aspects of your life.             

 

Blessings,

Shanti

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The Energy of Food

So we talk a lot about the chemical and nutritional make up of foods.  What compounds are in the food that make them healthy?  What nutritional aspects of a specific food helpsheart disease or diabetes?  Which supplement should I take for bone density or chronic fatigue?  Is it organic?  What is the pesticide level on or in the fruit or vegetable?  Questions and more questions about what is in the food or on the food that we consume.  And these are all valid questions and worth looking into.  We are eating such a limited diet and the majority of the grocery store is devoted to corn or soy based products.  Our food is being grown on huge farms where the pesticide and herbicide applications are excessive at best, and our soil quality is decreasing every year.  So what if we put all of that aside and look at the energetic side of farming.  It makes sense that small farms, especially organic farms produce a higher quality of food.  But just maybe the food from small farms has an even higher value.   Food that contains the energy of the place it is grown and the people who grew it.

 

The energy of the area we live in and the people who we surround ourselves with is apparent in all aspects of our lives.  We say things like “if all of your friends jumped off the bridge would you jump too?”  or “he lives on the wrong side of the tracts”.  There is more evidence now then ever before that who we are with affects our behavior.  Our brain is built to mimic our surroundings.  This is so we can more easily adapt to new environments and live more efficiently.  We consciously and unconsciously copy our neighbors, friends, and co-workers on both the surface and  on deeper levels.  I once lived in a neighborhood where within six months in the five houses that surrounded mine there were 3 divorces, 2 plastic surgeries, and 1 affair.  To this we respond with sayings like “there must be something in the water”.  I responded by moving.  So if where we live and who we surround our selves with matters what about who grows our food and where it is grown.  It is this idea that leads many to bless the food they eat before consuming it.  It is both an expression of gratitude to our higher being, and those who worked hard to produce it, as well as a cleansing of the energy that it contains, and an intention of what we hope to receive from it.  This concept is replicated in most cultures.  I do this when I process and package the tea.  I also have begun to wild harvest some products from Canada like Chaga, raspberry leaf,  and St. John’s Wort.  I find that incorporating wild elements into our food brings another dimension to our diet.  We are so completely immersed in our human designed world and our human designed food that our world is becoming smaller and smaller.  Nature is still out there vast and beautiful, known and unknown.  Consuming wild food brings the element of the bigger picture into our life and we can appreciate gratitude for it’s creation.

 

So think about where the food you are eating not only came from but who grew it, processed it, cooked it?  How is that affecting you?  It’s an idea worth considering.

**Blends that contain wild harvested herbs include Ruby, Chaga, and Letting Go

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Commitment

Like most of you I have been thinking a lot about what I want to create in the New Year.  I have been through a lot of changes in my personal life in the past two years along with starting Bamboo Leaf Tea and I wanted to really get clear on where I was going and what I wanted to accomplish in the next 12 months.  Here are a few ways that I am working on my list this year and I thought I would share them with you.  It never ceases to amaze me that showing up consistently is 70% of the game.  So dig in and focus on what you want then take some steps that move you in that direction.  If by June you have fallen to the side just get back on and try again.  Everyday is a new beginning.

So on my list are things that have been on my list forever.  Things like exercise regularly and make healthy foods for me and my kids.  (By the way my son asked how I could make New Year’s resolutions for other people and my answer was that as a parent I got to do that until he was at least 18. 🙂  Those two items have been on my list and probably yours since I started making a list.  But when I think about it they are not a goal that you achieve and then it’s done.  They are a life style a choice of what I want to do everyday.  And while I might be busy and not have time to catch a yoga class today I do try to get to the gym so many times a week.  This is a commitment that I make to myself to value my body that I live in and take care of it.  It is also something that I build on every year.  If I look back over the past ten years and especially over the last twenty I can see how far I have come.  I find this to be encouraging because I know that I am trying new things and having fun with it in the mean time.  I re-commit every year at new years when I resolve to continue on this path and I look for new areas of health that are exciting to me and find ways to bring them into my life.

Other parts of my list are a lot more goal oriented.  For those goals I am trying this year to get really specific.  I would like to increase my income so I am listing exactly how much I would like to make this year. I am then writing some ways that I might start to take action on these goals.  Next to each goal I am also writing ideas of what emotional blocks might be holding me back.  I have found that most of the goals that have not gone as far as I wanted them to were because of an a conflicting part of me that blocked it’s progress.  So I want to make more money but I feel like it might make me a different person then I am.  Or I want to forgive someone but then I can’t play the victim and feel sorry for myself.  When I can see what emotional block might be keeping me from achieving my goal I can work on letting it go and truly committing to my future self.

A few goals on my list involve accepting help even if it isn’t exactly the way that I want it.  That’s a tough one.  So maybe there is something that you need to get assistance with but it comes in a form that isn’t how you would have done it.  Letting go of the control can be painful but it can also be balancing.  This doesn’t mean that you need to let your quality of life go or let your responsibilities lag.  It does mean that others may help you in ways that might surprise you or that you might try seeing their help in a different light.  Try visualizing that help all the way through and then open up to the possibility that it might even be better in some ways.  Committing to an expectation of another person is sure to disappoint but allowing for the idea that something different from your way could be just that something different opens up more possibilities and if it really doesn’t work ask someone else and try again.  The key word is accepting.  You can’t control someone else, their actions, their feelings, or their beliefs you can only choose to accept what they offer or move on.

I try to every week take actions that contribute to the bigger picture and then to make room for committing to my everyday life.  To go too far into one or the other gets me out of balance.  If I am always thinking of what I am going to do I miss out on the now.  If I don’t take time to make that juice or take that walk I won’t be ready for the big stuff coming.  Overall my goal this year is to truly commit to the goals that I want to reach.  In doing so I may need to let go of some crutches and I may need to limit my choices.  So here we go.  Happy 2013!       

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What’s in a name?

 

 

Dear Friends,

We all have names.  Ones that we are given at birth or that we acquired somewhere along our journey and these names are significant to us.  They represent who we are and where we come from, they denote lineage, and evoke emotion.  Mine was given to me at birth and forever connects me to the place from which I come, India.

Bamboo is a name of a grass but it’s name is more than that.  Bamboo is a word that was introduced by the Portuguese during the 1500’s and became the Latin work bambusa.  It’s origin is not known but it is thought to have come possibly from India or Malay.  In the west we associate it with Asian Zen.  It evokes calm and tranquility.  In the east it has many meanings mostly referring to it’s beauty and it’s strength.

I find that most people have an immediate connection to the word bamboo even though they may have never seen a bamboo plant.  It is fascinating and yet not surprising that the symbology of bamboo relates to the medicinal qualities of the plant as well.  Silica is the essence of bamboo and translated into our bodies it brings both strength and elasticity to us at a cellular level that permeates all parts of our body.

What follows are five symbolic translations of bamboo from the Chinese culture.  It’s a great time of year to think about what intentions you are setting for the coming year.  I am using these concepts to think about the changes that I want to make daily in the New Year.  What does bamboo mean to you?

Many blessings to you all and Happy New Year,

Shanti

What’s in a name?

1)  Bamboo is known as the perfect gentleman in Chinese.  It represents upright integrity with accommodating flexibility.  This is echoed in it’s silica content.  The large amount of silica allows bamboo to grow with great strength and yet remain flexible so as not to break.  So in our lives as we look into the New Year can we find places to bring more of our steadfastness and yet be open to new possibilties especially the unexpected?

2)  Bamboo represents the balance of grace and strength.  It is the yin and the yang.  I love that in a name we are given both gifts and lessons.  Because to know happiness we must also experience sadness.  And yet as we try to balance between polar opposites in our lives let us strive to do so with the grace of bamboo.  We shine our gifts on the most difficult of situations because those are also where we will gain the most balance.

3)  Bamboo is always ready.  To be present in our daily lives is a struggle.  In business and in our personal lives so much of what is needed is from us is to show up and be consistent.  If we can stick with the simple tasks of kindergarten, of starting and finishing tasks, we will go far in the New Year for ourselves and for those who count on us.

4)  Bamboo’s hollow culms represent humility.  So many of our actions are based on pre-concieved notions of what we are suppose to do.  Expectations passed down from people we may never have met.  As we start to question why we do what we do, we can begin to re-write our own story of what we want and who we want to be.  To be open to a new path, a new story, is a gift that we should give to ourselves everyday.  So empty the vessel and open up for new beginnings.

5)  Bamboo symbolizes longevity.  The longevity not only refers to the life span of the bamboo plant, but also to it’s ability to adapt and to withstand extreme conditions.  High winds will not pull a mature bamboo from the ground.  Some bamboos can sit for extended periods of time in water, others can survive temperatures well below zero.  Adaptability is key to longevity and bamboos do that very well.

 

May the strength and flexibility of bamboo be pervasive in all aspects of your life.

 

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A sweet tea for muscle tension, digestion, and wellbeing

 Peppermint Patty is an excellent blend of organic cacao nibs, organic peppermint, and organic Bamboo Leaf Tea.  It was originally inspired by my son who is a mint-aholic. 🙂 I love this tea mid-morning or mid-afternoon when I am feeling just a bit of a dip and am starting to eye up the cookies or other sweets in sight.  It has a wonderful light chocolate flavor with a minty freshness that perks you up and inspires you to new levels.  So I thought I would get into a bit of the awesome benefits that this tea has by breaking down it’s components.  I won’t go into the details of bamboo since you can read about that in other articles or check out my you tube videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QrMcdPqPNc or Bamboo Leaf Tea on You Tube.

Cacao is an excellent source of magnesium which most people are deficient in.  Magnesium is necessary to build bones which makes this tea an excellent bone healer and builder.  And don’t forget the teeth they also benefit greatly by silica and magnesium.  Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer thus improving the cardiovascular system and aiding in muscle tension.  Cacao is rich in antioxidants, 10 times that of red wine, green tea, and blueberries.  Cacao also contains phenethylamines and anandamide which aid in focus and concentration as well as feelings of love and pleasure.  Wow what a combination!

Cacao also contains chromium a trace mineral that aids in regulating blood sugar and increasing insulin sensitivity. This is another mineral that 80% of the population is deficient in so it is really important if you are struggling with blood sugar levels.  Chromium also decreases bad cholesterol levels while increasing the good cholesterol.  So huge benefits to the cardiovascular system!

Cacao also contains zinc.  Women who are on hormone replacement therapy or take birth control pills are likely to be zinc deficient.  Zinc is important for reproductive health and fertility as well as overall energy levels.  It also is important for brain function and has been shown to benefit those who struggle with ADHD.

Mint is one of the longest used herbs used even before the Greeks and the Romans.  It well known for it’s digestive benefits.  It relaxes the digestive system and stimulates digestive enzymes.  This really helps those that store tension in their stomach.  Mint can relieve the pain as well as prevent it.  The essential oil was often sprinkled on the table prior to a meal by ancient Greeks.

Mint is excellent for nausea and headaches as well as relieving sinus congestion.  Mint also is anti-inflammatory and can work both topically and internally.

This tea is excellent as a foot bath especially for those who suffer from swollen feet.  The combination of silica from the bamboo, magnesium from the cacao, and mint would make an excellent relief for any muscle tension as well.  Simply make the hot tea and use a washcloth to apply it to the affected area or place several tea bags in the bath tub for an overall body tonic.

So whether are looking for a supplement for your bones and teeth or relief for muscle tension, a digestive aid or help with regulating blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels or an overall feeling of wellbeing this is the tea to perk up your afternoons or wake you up in the morning.  Enjoy!

 

May the strength and flexibility of bamboo be pervasive in all aspects of your life.

 

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