Welcoming Wellness: Holistic Living

Holistic has many definitions — some call it woo-woo, others spiritual, others educated.

Holistic health emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit.

Holistic Health can be defined as an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment.

avi-richards-374974-unsplashOften being holistic has been mistaken with being spiritual. It’s not uncommon for spiritually-enlightened people to be holistic because they generally are more in tune with their action and impact. They get it, that they are part of a bigger picture, that their body is their number one tool, that the mind, body and soul are all connected, and we are all connected.

The overall goal of holistic medicine is entire wellness, not simply a lack of disease or physical pain.

A holistic approach to your body, mind and soul can not only transform your health and well-being, it can benefit your relationships, make your more patient, understanding, loving and generally help you to become more awake as a person in your day to day life.

Top 3 Herbs for Digestion

A principle in herbalism is that most chronic disease begins with poor digestion. If you can’t transform your food into the nutrients your body needs, then how can you have good health? In fact, many culinary herbs have been in use for thousands of years not only because they taste good but also because they help with digestion.
Sadly, all too often, people have had poor digestion for so long that they assume it’s a natural part of life.
Did you know? Although it’s about 30 feet long, the digestive tract needs smaller helpers, too: acids, enzymes and bacteria all help break down food.
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Herbal medicine helps keep digestion perking along. In one study, 24 patients received a mixture containing dandelion root, St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), lemon balm, calendula (Calendula officinalis) and fennel. Ninety-five percent had relief of colitis symptoms in 15 days.
Digestive herbs work in a number of interesting ways from healing the lining of the gut to increasing the secretion of digestive juices to repairing digestion related organs like the liver, gallbladder, pancreas and stomach.
Stomach pain due to ulcers and indigestion from over-eating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and diarrhea are just some of the problems that can plague this sensitive area, but there are also herbs for digestion that can help with each of these. The liver, which is part of digestion, gets special attention in this article and its function can be enhanced with digestive herbs.
The following are clues to poor digestion:
Poor appetite
Recurring diarrhea
Here are my three favorite herbs for better digestion:
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Warming Digestif and Yang Herb
In addition to being one of the best digestive herbs, this amazing warming spice also impacts the circulatory system. This root was introduced into Europe during the Roman Empire, and it has held an honored place as one of the herbs for digestion in traditional medicine for a very long time.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)
Digestive Bitter Herb
The name of this flower is derived from the French “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth. This name was supposedly given to this plant by a 15th century surgeon, due to the dandelion’s jagged shaped leaves. Folk healers have long prescribed the root of this cleansing digestive herb for liver and digestive problems.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Digestive Tonic
The Greek doctor, Dioscorides, is reputed to have regularly worn a sprig of peppermint to lift his spirits. Its antispasmodic actions were recognized by physicians of the ancient world, and peppermint was popular with our more modern ancestors who saw it as a healing herb for digestion and the relief of digestive colic, sluggish digestion, flatulence, and bloating. Used for centuries as a gastrointestinal aid, peppermint is a digestive herb that helps relax the muscles of the digestive tract and stimulates bile flow.
Houghton, Marlene. Herbs Plain & Simple: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need. Hampton Roads Publishing.
De La Forêt, Rosalee. Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal. Hay House, Inc.

Escaping the City for Better Health

As the world somehow continues to spin despite everything, it can be vital to your sanity to take a step back, when you can, and distance yourself from the stress of work, the deluge of news, and the pressure of your responsibilities. Embrace the weekend and get outdoors!
The forest I visited and is featured in this post is Muir Woods near San Francisco, CA.
My boyfriend, Neil and I visited the tree lovers monument. We were just in awe of the beautiful redwoods and sequoia trees! Just walking through the forest, we witnessed natures natural skyscrapers blocking the sounds of civilization. This helped any unwated stress just melt away. You were alone with wilderness (and a few chipmunks). We were rewarded with the freshest air! How? because, trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. You can truly take a deep breath and feel the change in the air.
In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
Trees also absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark. They are truly wonderful!
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Being in nature had a lot of great perks besides just the amazing air! Neil and I explored all over and through Muir Woods, trekking and going on adventures. If you go, I highly recommend packing a picnic! Maybe one that compliments this outdoorsy day.

4 Ways Traveling Boosts your Health

In this part of Forage and Nourish I talk about living well while traveling. Sometimes just being outdoors is all we need to revitalize us. Let’s face it, we all want to go a little further than just outside our homes.
My first travel experience was at 19. I got my passport and got on a plane to Canada. Wow, I was amazed! I knew I was hooked on traveling and seeing the world. It’s full of diversity, culture and wonder.
Immune boost
One of the biggest health benefits of traveling is that it helps make your immune responses to bacteria, viruses, and other foreign bodies much stronger. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be careless about hygiene and sanitation while traveling! What it does is let your body naturally create more antibodies. (These fight against foreign illnesses.) These antibodies make your body stronger over time and protect you from similar illnesses in the future. Now that’s a perk!
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Traveling can definitely help break the shackles and stress of the 9-5 tensions occupying your mind!
Taking a nice little trip away from your city and country will help refresh your mind, do things on your own time and relax. If don’t take a break from these everyday stressors, the amount of the stress hormone cortisol gets elevated; this speeds up the aging process and increases blood sugar levels. Now book that trip on that white sand beach!
For many people, their day-to-day jobs require them to be in an office sitting down most of the time. Even if that is not the case, few jobs actually involve physical activity to the extent that it can adequately burn extra calories. So this is where traveling helps with weight-loss! Watch your steps climb by getting to and from the airport in your new destination or even the sightseeing and tours that you’ll be doing.
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Everything we do in life usually involves finding happiness, but often, we forget that working all the time or allowing our lifestyle to fall into a rut does little to secure the happiness we crave. Therefore, traveling is a great way to immerse yourself in something new and exciting, and it gives you a lot to look forward to.
Going to new places, sightseeing, meeting new people and just immersing yourself in a new culture will all help keep your happy hormones (dopamine and serotonin) flowing.
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Now it’s time to travel! Do you have a destination in mind?

Welcoming Wellness: Reiki

Reiki is a holistic system for balancing, healing, and harmonizing all aspects of the person-body, mind, emotions, and spirit-encouraging deep relaxation and the release of stress and tension, and promoting awareness and spiritual growth.

During a healing Reiki session, Reiki flows from a practitioner’s hands into the client. The client is lying fully clothed on a massage table, your Reiki therapist will gently place his/her hands on or near your body in a series of hand positions. These include positions around the head and shoulders, the stomach, and feet. Specific positions may be used based on the client’s needs and/or requests. Each position is held for about three to five minutes. A session can last between 30, 60 or  90 minutes.


Some clients drift off to sleep while others experience a tingling sensation throughout their bodies.

Each Reiki session is unique to the individual person, and each session varies as the person continues to heal more deeply, however, feelings of deep relaxation are usually felt by all. To increase comfort levels, the room will be dimly lit and relaxing music will be playing softly in the background. Essential oils are typically used during the sessions to aid in relaxation and stress-reduction


Top 10 Ways to Boost your Immunity

No one likes getting sick but the question is, how do we avoid getting sick?
The answer is a healthy immune system! We’ve all heard about boosting our immune systems but what does this REALLY mean? Let’s dive in!
The immune system is the key to fighting every insult to the body.
The entire physical healing process is engineered by the immune system. It is truly the healing power within. This complex network of cells and biochemicals is the frontline defense system against viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
A weakened immune system results in an increased susceptibility to virtually every type of illness. Common signs of impaired immune function include fatigue, listlessness, repeated colds and infections, inflammation, allergic reactions, slow wound healing, and chronic diarrhea.
Proper immune function is an intricate balancing act. While inadequate immunity predisposes one to infectious illnesses of every type, it is also possible to become ill as a result of an immune response that is too strong or directed at an inappropriate target.
The immune system is not a physical structure, but a complex of interactions involving many different organ structures and substances.
Top ten ways to boost your overall immunity:
  1. Get enough sleep and manage stress.
  2. Avoid tobacco smoke.
  3. Drink less alcohol.
  4. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
  5. Consider probiotics.
  6. Catch some rays.
  7. Go for the garlic.
  8. Eat medicinal mushrooms.
  9. Try immune-supportive herbs.
  10. Make an echinacea tincture.
Remember, the immune system is a system, not a single entity.
To function well, it requires balance and harmony.
Balch CNC, Phyllis A.. Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal (Kindle Locations 247-249). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.