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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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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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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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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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