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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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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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