Tag Archives | bamboo

Growing Bamboo For Production – a quick guide

IMG_7922Bamboo is quickly becoming a must have for everything from non-woven fabrics to composites, food to forage. The problem is there isn’t enough bamboo planted at this time to fill that need. Manufacturers are scrambling to lock in raw materials for current and future use. Bamboo grows fast and harvesting can begin in less then 7 years and sometimes as soon as 4 years. The harvesting can then continue annually for decades.

Bamboo grows in many climates and there are over 1600 varieties currently known. This versatile grass gives off up to 35% more oxygen then an equivalent stand of trees. It also is excellent at soil remediation and could potentially be used for toxic site clean up.

If you are in an area that is tropical like Central Florida or South Florida then clumping bamboos are the best choice. If you are in a colder region then running bamboos will be required. Both have great options for structural and bio-mass producing plants. It is very important that you pick the right plant for your area and your intended use.

What will I do with my bamboo? There are two main options for utilizing bamboo one is poles and the other is bio-mass. Think tiki hut construction vs particle board. One involves using whole culms that are treated and dried. They can then be made into lumber, or used in construction, art, and manufacturing as poles. The second option involves chopping up the plant material for use in composites like plywood, clothing, and paper type products.

In the first case the plant would need to be a variety that has a good structural density and is straight. There are applications that could require specialization such as plantations that make curved bamboo culms. These could be used in bicycle or furniture manufacturing. The second involves a fast growing plant that produces a large quantity of material. Of course left over pieces from the poles could be used for bio-mass as well.

In Central Florida we have some good options. One is Bambusa ventricosa or Buddha Belly. It’s common name comes from the bulging nodes that the plant will produce when grown in bonsai like conditions. When planted in the ground this fast growing bamboo can get over 55′ tall with culms that are a bit over 2″ in diameter. This plant can be used for both poles and bio-mass as it is very structural and grows rapidly. Other options include Bambusa oldhamii and Bambusa malingensis.

Bamboo requires water and fertilization. They are heavy feeders and to get optimal growth they should have a regimen of irrigation and fertilization. This being said I am a firm believer that sites should be chosen well for planting. Clumping or tropical bamboos do well in low sites even ones that might hold water for short periods of time. High and dry requires a lot of water which might not be the best solution for bamboo especially with growing concerns about the future of our water supply. In northern regions running or temperate bamboos require well drained soils and will not tolerate standing water. As always we want to be careful of mono cultures and look to see how bamboo can be incorporated into existing farm production or re-forestation projects.img_0313

As the bamboo industry begins to blossom in the USA processing facilities will evolve to process the material. At this time they are not available but there are plans for some to go online in the near future. These processing facilities will be the buyers of the bamboo poles and a grower could contract with them to both harvest and process the plant when the time came. This is the important part because it will be when you get paid!

It takes between 5 and 7 years for tropical or clumping bamboos to be ready to harvest. This depends upon the size of the plant initially and the rate of growth. The first harvest will be small and will happen during the dry season. In Florida harvesting is best done between February and April. This is when the plants hold the least amount of moisture and so will be naturally more resistant to insects and funguses. Every year the harvest will be at this time and then the new growth will come after in the summer months. The time frame may be a bit altered for running bamboos since they tend to shoot earlier.

The bamboos can be harvested every year until the plant goes into flower. Flowering of bamboo is cyclical and each cycle is different for each plant. Some plants don’t flower for 80 years or more. The longevity of the grove depends on where you are in that cycle. The confusing part IMG_7977is knowing when that will happen. Unless your plant came from seed there isn’t a guarantee on it’s lifespan. You might be buying a plant that has 50 years to go or 10 years to go it’s unknown. For this reason it is important to diversify the planting so that there is less risk.

When a bamboo flowers it will produce seed and it puts all of it’s energy into this process until the plant dies. This can take a few years and can generate lots of potential seedlings but the original plant is rendered useless and a new grove has to be started. The biggest risk therefore is how long will the plant live before going to seed. Sometimes a person will know when the plant flowered because they grew it from seed or bought it as a seedling. This is ideal because you will have a good idea how many years are left in the cycle.

That being said you can diversify your grove by getting different clones of the same plant and by planting different varieties. The bamboos quickly pay for themselves and turn a profit so having several varieties online can help when one type goes into flower. Also when that happens you will have potentially a enormous amount of year one plants that will now be available to you and be highly prized in the market place for new groves.

As we move into a new realm of manufacturing and farming in the US it is important as always to be well informed and work with people who have experience in the field. Bamboo is part of our developing future and I encourage you to research it further or contact me for additional information.

Happy Bambooing 💚

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Compost Tea – feed yourself by feeding your plants

Finding viable organic alternatives to commercial fertilizers is crucially important in a world where tens of thousands of chemicals have been added to our environment in the last fifty years.  These chemicals are either directly applied to our food or make their way into our food system via water and air.  Luckily finding easy and alternative methods to feed our food and rebuild our soils can be as easy as brewing tea and bamboo is a great place to start.  Feeding plants minerals is crucial to growing nutritious food.  You are what you eat.

 

First let’s do an overview of how bamboo feeds itself.  The bamboo plant strategically begins on day one to build the perfect place for itself to live.  It does this in several ways.  It starts to build a massive root system that is comprised of both large structural roots and smaller feeder roots.  These roots spread and eventually fill every square inch of dirt approximately one foot deep.  This is true for both clumping bamboos and running bamboos.

 

Clumpers or tropical bamboos (mostly, there are some non-tropical clumping bamboos) start from a central point and radiate out in a circle.  Runners or temperate bamboos shoot a straight line out in multiple directions then systematically fill in the space back to the original planting.  This allows the plant to eventually control all of the nutrients in the top layer of soil where typically most of the nutrients are concentrated.  At the same time it eliminates most of the competing plant material.  Some tap root plants like trees can survive because they grow down and so only minimally compete with the bamboo.  Otherwise a bamboo plant will slowly kill off all other growth in the surrounding area.

 

Bamboos have shallow root system and this makes them vulnerable to drying out.  Tropical bamboos shed up to 80% of their leaves every year.  Temperate or running bamboos shed significantly less but still manage to create a dense ground cover of leaves over time.  The bamboo leaves create a perfect mat that traps moisture allowing the bamboo root system to grow to the surface of the soil as well as a mulch that prevents seeds from easily growing.  It also forms the perfect environment for mycelium to grow.  One of the important benefits that bamboo gets from mycelium is that they help to feed the plant more efficiently by optimizing the nutrients and available moisture in a way that the bamboo can best use it.

 

(On a side note.  Bamboo and mycelium create such a power house environment for soil rehabilitation that they would be well used for cleaning contaminated soils.)

 

Simply lift a layer of bamboo leaves and you will witness the webby mycelium growth.  The leaves very slowly break down with the help of the microorganisms, which in turn feeds the bamboo with the nutrients that it needs.  Recycling itself back into itself.  The root system follows the path of many grasses in which it grows and composts and overtime creates a new more organically rich soil content.  In these ways bamboo alters dramatically it’s living environment to best suit it’s own needs.

 

Bamboo leaves can be used to feed other plants as well.  Old fallen leaves can be raked up and used as mulch.  Bamboo leaves are thin yet tough.  Their high silica content makes them slow to break down.  this results in a weed barrier that is quite effective.  Chipped wood and other mulches create air pockets that allow the soil to dry out more rapidly, thus making the growth of mycelium more challenging, and they also encourage insect activity especially ants.

 

Bamboo tea can be made from the leaf litter, the green leaves, and/or the smaller branches.  You can even use the shoots.  The more woody the material the more it will need to be broken down.  This can be done by grinding it into smaller pieces and by heating it for a longer period of time.  Making compost tea for plants is the equivalent of juicing for humans.  The nutrients are immediately available to them.  The tea can be applied topically in a spay application or poured onto the soil.

 

Bamboo compost tea can be used by itself of in conjunction with other ingredients.  Bamboo leaves have a high sugar content when green adn will ferment quickly, usually 24 hours or less.  The brown leaves from the ground will have less nutrients but the sugars have broken down and do not ferment as rapidly.  Bamboo can be added to other ingredients to create specific blends.  Just be sure if you are using branches or culms that you cook them for longer since they require more heat to break down the nutrients.

 

Green leaf bamboo compost tea can be made by putting leaves into a bucket and filling it with hot water.  Let it sit in the sun for the day and then apply when the water has cooled.  No need to strain the leaves!  The plant is getting lots of silica which helps it to build a strong cellular structure.  The difference in growth will be impressive!  Adding the leaves to the soil adds minerals especially magnesium and manganese.  By grinding the leaves or branches you can create a mulch that is feeding your plants with minerals over a longer period of time.

 

Topical applications can help to strengthen the plants natural immunity and make it less susceptible to insect or fungal attacks.  Bamboo itself has an amazing resilience to disease and insects.  This strong immunity can be passed on to other plants through the use of compost tea.

 

Most people are not far from a bamboo plant or perhaps drive past cut bamboo put out as waste.  Utilizing this resource is a great way to increase the mineral content of your food or to simply grow healthier plants.

 

Add bamboo into your life, your pet’s life, and your plants life.  You will be stronger for it!

Happy bambooing!

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Black Gold – Bamboo Activated Charcoal Food Grade

Natural air purifier..bamboo charcoal | Earth Elements | Pinterest         I have to say that bamboo charcoal is just such a wonder substance it’s hard not to sound over the top when talking about it.  It’s long past the point where it’s in all of our vehicles, every bag or purse, and the bathrooms.  My kids all know how to use it and advise their friends.  So lets go through some fast and fabulous ways to use the Black Gold.

It’s all about surface area.  Charcoal works through surface area.  The charcoal binds to toxins and pulls them from the body or water and holds them in place.  The more surface area there is the more area there is to bind to.  The process is called adsorption quite different from absorption.  Absorption is what a sponge does, water is taken into the sponge.  Adsorption is where the atoms adhere to the surface of another material in this case charcoal.  Charcoal does this electrostatically which in general means it adheres to substances poisonous to life.  Activation of charcoal increases the surface area so that one tsp of activated charcoal can have up to one football field of surface area.  The structure of bamboo allows for more surface area when creating charcoal because of the system of tubes that make up the culm of the plant.  In addition Black Gold is ground to a fine powder which further enhances the potency.  That is the basics so now onto it’s numerous uses.

Teeth

To whiten and brighten teeth dip your toothbrush into an coconut oil or toothpaste and then into the charcoal powder.  Carefully polish each tooth with the mixture with circular motions.  This is a bit easier with an electric brush but certainly not necessary.  It is very helpful to have a smaller head on the toothbrush so that the polishing can focus on the tooth.  Don’t panic your mouth will be black and so will your teeth.  In fact I usually do it at night because it naturally rinses out over night and is gone by morning.  I usually swallow the oil and charcoal mixture after brushing just to get all of the benefits.  The charcoal is abrasive and will polish the teeth.  This can be done up to once a week at first then back off to every other week.  The enamel on the teeth is important and you don’t want to damage it by using abrasives too much.  Upgrade with oregano oil

Detox / Food Poisoning

Charcoal is phenomenal at removing toxins from the body and has been used in drug and alcohol overdoses for years.  There are two different ways to go about using it for getting rid of toxins including heavy metals.  One is take 1-3 tsp per day a couple of days a week.  The other is to do the same thing but everyday for up to a month then stop for a couple of months and repeat.  I tend to do both.  I like to switch up my nutritional supplements using them a lot for a while then switching to another supplement then coming back maybe for a few days and so on.  Charcoal can be dehydrating and it is important to drink a lot of water when taking it.  Start with 1/2 tsp to see how your body reacts then work up to 3 tsp.  Some people experience constipation and using soluble fiber like Bamboo Leaf Tea or chia can help.  Chaga is also a great tea for helping with digestion and works best as a tea.  Again don’t panic the charcoal will flush through your body so your bowl movements will be black.  I have used charcoal for food poisoning many times and it works!  The best way is to take 1/2 tsp as quickly as possible.  Take another 1/2 tsp in 15 min if the nauseous feeling has not subsided.  You may also throw up which is the body’s way of getting the toxin out.  I have a sensitivity to MSG and if I eat something with it in it I can feel the effect within 10 min.  I will then take charcoal and within another 10 minutes all of the symptoms have subsided.

Sore Throat

Mix one tsp of charcoal and a pinch of sea salt in 1/3 cup of warm water.  Use this to gargle with.  Soar throats can be viral or bacterial and charcoal has been shown to help with both.  It alleviates pain and helps to reduce inflammation.  Upgrade with oregano or basil essential oil.

Bloating / Digestion

One of the best known uses of charcoal is with digestion.  It works wonders on everything from stomach aches to gas.  As a side effect it also alleviates bad breath which is usually stemming from the digestive track.  Mix 1 tsp with water or food and this will help rid your body of the toxins in your digestive track.  Upgrade with peppermint or ginger essential oil

Hangover Cure

Alcohol and fried food make for the worst combination in your system.  While avoiding overindulgence is best charcoal is here to help.  Take 1-2 tsp at night and then repeat again in the morning.  Lots and lots of water will be required to flush out the system because the alcohol, bad food, and charcoal are all dehydrating.  This really works!  I had plenty of customers at my Sunday market who would stop by in the morning to get their fix after a late Saturday night.

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Insect Bites

This is my kids favorite use.  We love to go barefoot and live in an area where there are lots of biting ants.  We keep a small container handy at all times with this mix:  1 tsp charcoal, a few drops of oil or coconut oil, and enough water to make a paste.  You will need to add water as the mix will dry out over time.  This can be applied with a finger or a q-tip.  If you put a band aid on it the charcoal won’t stain your clothes ect. plus it keeps the moisture in which activates the charcoal. This can also be used for snake and spider bites as well as bee stings and leaches.  For snake bites or many ant bites make a charcoal bath by mixing 1/4 cup of charcoal per gallon of water and immersing the area affected.  This will draw out the toxin.  Upgrade with lavender, tea tree, and/or clove essential oil.

Gout / Broken Bones / Sprains / Inflammation /Joints / Organs

Poultices have been used for thousands of years because they work.  Charcoal has been shown to work externally even on internal problems.  It can detox an area of the body and reduce inflammation.  The simplest way to make do this is mix the charcoal powder and water together so that it is a paste and not too watery or it won’t stick to the skin.  I like to add a bit of oil to keep the mixture moist.  Charcoal works when it is moist so this is important.  This basic recipe can be upgraded by adding in essential oils, clays, teas, and other healing remedies.   Coat the area of skin with the paste and then cover with wet paper towels or wet napkins.  Wrap the area in plastic wrap or towels to keep the moisture in.  This can be applied to the feet for detoxing as well as the face for acne.  Leave the mixture in place for 1-8 hours and repeat as necessary.  This will both reduce any pain as well as aid in healing the body.  Upgrade with frankincense, tea tree, clove, or eucalyptus essential oils.

Acne / Skin

Charcoal is great for ridding the face of acne or other blemishes.  Charcoal soaps are an easy face remedy for acne and I make mine with that intention.  To make a mask mix 1 tbs of charcoal with 1 tbs of aloe vera gel, add water if needed.  Apply to the face and leave on for 5-30 min.  Wash off with warm water and apply aloe directly to the skin for a moisturizer that won’t clog the pores.  To upgrade this add turmeric powder or clay to the mix, then a floral water or tea like Bamboo Leaf Tea or chamomile, and finally an essential oil like lavender and frankincense for normal skin, geranium, chamomile, and jojoba oil for dry skin, or tea tree or juniper berry for problem skin.  Be very careful applying essential oils to the skin they can burn especially on the face.  Tea tree and juniper berry are the harshest so start with one drop and test it before putting the mask on.  Charcoal can be used to make an organic eyeliner by making a simple paste of charcoal and water.  Just like the Egyptians used to do.

 

Air Freshener / Moisture Control

Charcoal is the best for getting rid of unwanted odors and moisture.  This can be used in the refrigerator or freezer, or in a closet.  It can be reactivated by placing the charcoal in the sun for a day.  After several times of doing this simply add it to your favorite plant or lawn for an upgraded fertilizer.  Plants love charcoal!  Upgrade with your favorite essential oil.

 

Burns

Mix 1 tsp of charcoal with water to make a paste an upgraded version of this includes aloe vera.  Another way is to apply the charcoal paste and then cut aloe so that the gel part is exposed on one side and the skin on the other.  Use this as a bandage over the charcoal paste and leave in place for as long as possible.  For large areas a cold water bath with charcoal can be made.  Lavender is the essential oil used most for burns.

 

Cuts / Infections / Ulcers / Boils

If the wound is wet or weeping the charcoal can be applied dry and let the moisture of the wound absorb it otherwise make a simple mixture using water.  Clean the area and redress 1-3 times a day.  Charcoal has been shown to reduce and often eliminate infection.  When we are in Costa Rica any scratch or open area of skin quickly gets infected.  We have learned to immediately apply a charcoal paste to all cuts ect. to avoid the inevitable infection and aid the body in healing quickly.  Upgrade with lavender or tea tree essential oil.

 

Hair Detox Rinse

I don’t recommend this for light colored hair.  Charcoal can be added to shampoo or conditioner for an upgraded hair detox.  Sprinkle a small amount of powder into the shampoo or conditioner and leave on for 1-10 minutes.   Rinse thoroughly.  Another version is add 1/4 tsp, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, and 4 cups of water, mix and apply to the hair.  Rinse.  Upgrade by using teas in place of the water.  Bamboo Leaf Tea is great for this application.  This works well for stripping chemical or other build ups on the hair such as those from well water.

 

Candidiasis

Charcoal is a must when trying to get a handle on candida.  The charcoal will aid in both reducing the growth of yeasts in the gut and help to eliminate the toxins from die off of yeast.

 

Alternative Methods to Take/Use Charcoal

Charcoal is a powder and so has a tendency to get everywhere.  Place the powder in a cup and add a small amount of water slowly so the powder doesn’t blow out of the cup.  Try to get the mixture to the back of the throat so that the powder doesn’t stick in your teeth.  (It will come out with brushing and rinsing or just over time.)

Mix the charcoal in a pudding like substance such as a chia pudding, yogurt, applesauce, or smoothie.  Charcoal can be added to baked goods or foods as long as you are ok with them turning black.  Great for a Halloween detox.  

Poultices are really effective especially a bit warm.  Mix charcoal 1 to 1 with flax see meal or chia add 1/4 cup of warm water and let gel and apply to area.  Bread, oatmeal, four, corn meal can all be substituted as a binder for the poultice.  Upgrade with aloe gel.

Bathing in charcoal is a great way to detox the body or just a problem area.  Mix 1-2 cups in a warm bath and soak for as long as possible.  The clean up is worth the results!  Upgrade with your favorite essential oil.

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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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