Saturday, October 15, 2016

Guayusa ~ Night Watchman's Tea

I have been challenged to write my dreams down every morning for a month.  I love this practice because it connects me to thoughts and concerns that lurk below the surface of my conscious mind. The only problem is that I often have a hard time remembering my dreams

One of my girlfriends mentioned that she has the same difficulty and turned me on to guayusa for help with dream recall. I did a little research and found a wealth of info on the web. Guayusa is a holly tree native to Ecuador whose leaves are brewed like tea. It's in the same family as herba mate.  Indigenous peoples in the Amazon use the tea in a morning ceremony in which participants arise in the early morning hours, brew and drink the tea then share their dreams with one another. It is known as a dream aider that helps you cultivate intuition, connect to the spirit realm and recall your dreams. It is a healer plant used for many purposes and is considered a tonic. It's high in antioxidants and contains caffeine, theobromine and l-theanine. It could it be a great addition to a dream recall practice and is available locally in the tea section of stores like Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. 

Read more about the morning guayusa ceremony:  

Because of its caffeine content, guayusa is contraindicated for use with these conditions: High Blood Pressure, Recent Heart Attack, Abnormal Heart Rhythm, Ulcer from Stomach Acid, Inflamed Colon and Small Intestine with Some Tissue Death, Severe Liver Disease, Seizures, Chronic Trouble Sleeping, Moderate to Severe Kidney Impairment

Wishing you the best,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August Recipe - Baingan Bharta

One of my clients shared this recipe for Baingan Bharta with me, and I just can't get enough. Besides being inexpensive and easy to prepare, it's flavorful and hearty, dairy free but creamy and absolutely scrumptious. Serve it with rice or naan, and you're in for an epicurean delight!

Baingan Bharta

serves 4-6


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 inch minced piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bunch cilantro


  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Half eggplant lengthwise.
  • Rub both sides with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle the meaty side with salt.
  • Roast, skin side up for 25-30 minutes until tender.
  • Set oven to broil and roast an additional 5 minutes.
  • Saute chopped onion in olive oil until tender.
  • Add chopped jalapeno and minced ginger and saute another 5 minutes.
  • Add spices and stir until you begin to smell the spices.
  • Scoop out the flesh of cooled eggplant into a bowl and discard the skin.
  • Add the eggplant and diced tomatoes to the onion spice mixture and stir together.
  • Cook together for another 5 minutes.
  • Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Top with cilantro and serve.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nepal Vegetable Curry

Late summer is definitely here. It's easy to attune with this season through diet. Eat simple, well cooked meals that are easy to digest. Choose foods like millet, carrots, cabbage, garbanzo beans, squash, potatoes, string beams, yams, sweet potatoes, rice, amaranth, peas, chestnuts, filberts, apricots and cantaloupe.

I love this simple Nepal Vegetable Curry from Paul Pitchford's Healing With Whole Foods:

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon oil

1 bay leaf, broken

1 green chili, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 inch ginger grated

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

sea salt to taste

1 pound potatoes or carrots, cubed

1/2 cauliflower, broken into florets

1 cup green peas

1 teaspoon each coriander and cumin seeds

1 cup hot water or almond milk

  • saute onion until golden brown
  • add bay leaf, chili, garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt.
  • stir in potatoes and saute until brown
  • add remaining ingredients and hot water
  • cook gently on medium heat until vegetables are tender
  • serves 4 - 6
If you're interested in more information and recipes, check out the book through the "I Recommend" widget in the right hand column of this blog!

Late Summer

According to the principles of Chinese medicine, we have just entered Late Summer, the time of year that corresponds to the earth element and the organs of the Spleen and Stomach. This season lasts approximately from late July through mid-September. Now is the time to nourish your earth element and protect your Spleen and Stomach to keep them strong.

In Chinese medicine, your Spleen is responsible for the assimilation and transportation of nutrients. In other words, it is responsible for metabolism. The absorbing and transporting function of your Spleen produces Qi and Blood and is directly reflected in the development of your flesh and muscles.

Spleen Qi is responsible for holding your organs in place and your Blood in vessels. Its lifting quality holds your organs in place, and just as rivers and streams are contained by an earthen bed, the body's blood is contained in the channels by the yin organ of the earth element. Weak Spleen Qi can manifest as prolapsed organs, easy bruising or irregular menstruation.

Mental processes like thinking and remembering are attributed to your Spleen because it houses Yi, the spirit of the intellect. A person with poor digestion may have a hard time thinking clearly, and if a person thinks or worries too much, it can easily lead to digestive disturbances like poor appetite, diarrhea, or constipation.

The flavor associated with the earth element is sweet. Sweet refers not just to plain sugar, but also sweet tasting foods like sweet grains and potatoes. A little sweet strengthens the Spleen while too much weakens it.

The best way to protect your Spleen and Stomach is through diet. Think of your Spleen as a small camp fire. Your camp fire needs fuel. If you skip a meal, you deny it that fuel, and it will dwindle - skip too many and the fire will go out altogether. Your Spleen needs fuel that is easy to burn. Eating foods that are difficult to digest and overeating in general is like throwing a huge log onto your campfire which will smother the flame. The best way to support your Spleen is to eat small meals of easily digested food. Foods that are cooked and warm are most easily assimilated. Raw foods, salads, juices and fruits should be limited and balanced with garlic, black pepper, cardamom or fresh ginger. Likewise, iced drinks and cold foods like ice cream should be limited and balanced with warming spices to protect digestion. Eating like this will promote good digestion. Although these tips are especially important during late summer, it's a good idea to protect your Spleen and Stomach all year long.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mystic Music To Set The Mood

A Record Review

I was at a yoga workshop when I first heard Jai Hanuman. The song started with the sound of dolphins singing as water pushes against a shore. By the time the instruments came in, I was no longer sitting on the on the cold hard wood floor surrounded by a hundred other yogi's. I had been transported to a place beyond the relative world of time and space. I felt my heart open in a way that only great art can initiate. I fell in love with the song and knew I had to hear more.

The artists, Shaman's Dream Music Collective, has been described as "a group of musicians, artists, and producers dedicated to creating peace and unity through music, dance, art and ritual. Be it yoga, meditation, ecstatic dance or just the act of daily living, the music of Shaman's Dream is an ideal accompaniment that supports the path towards wellness and joy."

The album is called Kerala Dream. It is 71 minutes of undulating beauty that infuses environmental sounds, rich ambient textures, and gentle pulsing down tempo rhythms. The vocals are both exotic and familiar at the same time. These layers entwine with flutes, sitar, bass, and hand drums to invoke a state of inspired introspection. I use this album to set the mood for all types of yogic practices, massage, and anytime I want to feel soft, open, and creative.

For more information, check out Shaman's Dream Music Collective's website. To purchase Kerala Dream, please use the I Recommend widget in the right hand column this blog ! Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Caring For Yourself Creates Deeper Integration

A lot of my friends have been creating lists of all the things they're grateful for. I love this practice. It's a great way to shift your perspective so that you see more of the beauty and goodness that surrounds us.

When I started my list, I realized that it's not just the things in my world or my relationships that I'm thankful for. My gratitude list starts with life itself,
and I express my appreciation with the way I care for myself and my body.

Your body is a gift and should be treated as such! It's through our bodies that we are able to experience all that life has to offer. As you care for your body, you grow more sensitive to all that lies within you; you have the opportunity to align more deeply with your true nature and to become more integrated with who you really are.

When we are really rooted in our true nature, we get healthy and happy which allows us to offer our light back to the world as a gift, an offering of thanksgiving. Caring for yourself is not a luxury, it's a way to bring more joy and beauty into the world!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sweet Holiday Treats!

During the holiday season sweet treats are everywhere presenting some real challenges to our willpower. We all know it's important to eat sweets in moderation and to be wise in choosing what we use to sweeten our foods. Refined sweeteners are stripped of their life force energy and their vitamins and minerals. They deliver quick energy but when eaten in excess will contribute to unhappiness and disease. Natural sweeteners made from whole foods are a much better choice. This year make your holidays more healthful by replacing refined sugar with maple syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, unrefined evaporated can juice or any other whole food sweetener that suits your tastes.

Here are some of my favorite holiday treats:

Maple Spiced Pecans
1/2 tsp coconut oil
2 cups raw pecans
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
1/8 tsp ground all spice
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease baking sheet with coconut oil
Combine ingredients in a bowl or even better, shake in a zip lock bag
Spread onto baking sheet
Bake for 10 minutes, stir and bake another 10 minutes
Cool and serve

Maple syrup comes from the sap of maple trees and is one of the least refined sweeteners available. It is graded according to USDA standards. Compared to grade A, grade B maple syrup has a stronger flavor and higher minerals content. It's important to get real maple syrup and to read product labels because many maple syrup flavored products are actually made with corn syrup. It's also important to use organic maple syrup to avoid the formaldehyde that many companies use to process the non organic types. To use it instead of sugar, substitute 3/4 cup maple syrup for each cup of sugar while reducing the other liquid in the recipe by 1/8 cup.

Mango and Pineapple Crumble

1/2 cup whole white wheat flour (This is not white flour. It is whole wheat flour that comes from white wheat. It is lighter in color and flavor but still but still has all the fiber and nutrition of regular whole wheat flour.)
1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix in a large bowl until mixture forms coarse meal

Fruit Filling
3 tbsp evaporated cane juice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
3 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cubed in 1 inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 a pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed in 1 inch cubes (about 2 1/2 cups)

Mix the dry ingredients together and toss with the fruit

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Lightly oil an 8 inch square glass baking dish with coconut oil
Pour fruit mixture into pan and top with the flour oat mixture
Bake 40 minutes or until topping is brown
Serve slightly warm

Evaporated cane juice has been used for thousands of years and is made by evaporating the water from whole sugar cane juice. Although derived from the same source, evaporated cane juice does not undergo the same degree of processing that refined sugar does. Therefore, it retains more of its nutrients. It's nearly as sweet as refined sugar but also offers us a host of other subtle flavors. Use it anytime sugar is called for!

It's important to maintain a healthy relationship with the sweet things in life, receiving and enjoying their pleasant nature without overdoing it. Use your sweeteners judiciously this year to help make this holiday season your best yet.