Weight Management: The Natural Way

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I’ve hesitated to approach this subject for a long time.

Partly, it’s because of my own checkered history with weight ups & downs, disordered eating, and general body image angst, but it’s also because it feels like our culture puts WAY too much emphasis on weight to the exclusion of other important measures of health. I didn’t want to add to the noise.

But after a few listener questions started to pile up asking for help with weight management from a natural & herbal perspective, I decided it was time for us to have this conversation.

Today’s episode will shed a new perspective on this familiar topic. I’ll explore:

  • The first question you should ask yourself before setting a weight goal.
  • Calories, counting, diets, and all the rest—how to decide what to do, if anything
  • If it’s health you’re after, is changing your weight really the best goal?
  • Harnessing creativity & joy on the way to your weight goals

Healing with Water

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How much water do you really need to drink?

Does your water have to be “alkaline” in order to be healthful?

And what are some other ways to use water’s remarkable properties to support healing?

Listen to this episode to find out!

Nonviolent Communication & Mindful Self-Care: A Conversation with Sheila Pai

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Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a simple tool to improve your communication with loved ones—-including yourself.

Today, I’m talking with Sheila Pai, a teacher of Nonviolent Communication and mindful self-care strategies who has worked with everyone from Moms to middle schoolers. Sheila talks about how breaking free from our limitations is about breaking out of what we think we should do, should be—-and focusing instead on what we’re really feeling and what we really need.

Shelia helps us to understand how NVC can help us to get in touch with our feelings and needs so that we can take better care of ourselves and live life more fully.

If you’re interested in learning more about Nonviolent Communication, here are some great resources:

  • Shelia Pai’s company, A Living Family. Keep your eyes peeled for a free chapter of her upcoming book on mindful self-care, a course in NVC that she’s teaching this summer, and lots of great articles & resources.
  • A full workshop with Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of NVC, available for free on YouTube.

Thyroid: Symptoms & Support

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Hang in there; your thyroid is a little bit complicated!

Today’s episode is a little more detailed than our usual conversations, but I hope you’ll come away with a better understanding of how your thyroid works, what your blood tests mean, and how to navigate the conflicting information you might read about how thyroid function relates to adrenal fatigue, which blood tests to get, and whether or not broccoli is to blame for a sluggish thyroid.

 

Summer Solstice

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Swift as a shadow, short as any dream,

Brief as the lightning in the collied night,

That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,

And ere a man hath power to say, — Behold!

The jaws of darkness do devour it up:

So quick bright things come to confusion.

~ A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act I

 

 

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and an opportunity to reflect on the abundance and generosity that support our lives.

It’s a moment in time when the fresh foods of summertime are everywhere, when gatherings with friends and loved ones can last late into the night, and a holiday that has been celebrated for centuries and centuries.

Today’s episode is designed to inspire you and “light you up” with some of the history and lore associated with Midsummer, including some special insights into St. John’s Wort, a plant that’s been closely associated with this time of year throughout European history. I’ve even dusted off my rusty Shakespeare skills.

 

Recipes for the Summer Solstice

 

Balsamic-Glazed Strawberries

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries
  • sugar or agave nectar, to taste (anywhere from 1 TBSP to 3 TBSP depending on how sweet your berries are)
  • balsamic vinegar ½ TBSP-1TBSP

 

Directions:

Slice the berries in half and sprinkle the sugar (starting with the smallest amount, adding more only if needed) and balsamic vinegar. Toss together and taste for balance. Add more vinegar or sugar as needed.

Cover and allow the berries to macerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

 

 

Summer Salad with Basil, Peas, and Rice

This is more of a template than a real recipe, so feel free to adjust this salad to fit whatever’s fresh in your garden or at the Farmer’s Market right now. Dill substitutes beautifully for the basil, raw corn kernels can work in place of the rice, etc.. Here’s one way to put this salad together:

Ingredients:

2 C fresh peas (frozen will do in a pinch; sugar snap peas are also a great choice)

1 C (or one large bunch) fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade

2 C brown rice, cooked and cooled

1 C walnuts, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds

½ C Red onion, diced (substitute fresh chives if red onion is too strong for you)

Juice of ½ lemon

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

Directions:

Toast your nuts or seeds in a pan until fragrant, then set them aside to cool. Then, combine the basil, peas (be sure to chop them up if you’re using sugar snap peas), cooled rice, and red onion. Squeeze the lemon juice over top, then follow with a drizzle of olive oil, using more or less according to your taste and dietary needs. Top with the cooled toasted nuts and finish with salt & pepper.


Sweet Dreams Tomatoes

adapted from NIgella Lawson’s recipe in “Nigella Express”

This is a technique makes the tomatoes so full-flavored and delicious that I could easily eat an entire batch in a sitting, but I (usually) restrain myself because they’re so fabulous added to a salad, on top of a flatbread or pizza, or served with fresh basil & olive oil as a side dish. I haven’t tried it, but I suspect they’d also get along beautifully with fancy olives, cannellini beans, and garlic-rubbed crostini.


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1.5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, oregano, or basil
  • ¼  tsp sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F

 

2. While the oven warms up, slice the tomatoes in half and place them on a rimmed baking sheet or oven-proof dish. Ideally, the cut side of the tomatoes should face up, but I don’t usually fuss with getting all them them perfectly arranged.

 

3. Mix the olive oil, salt, herb or herbs of your choice, and sugar together in a small dish. Pour the mixture over the tomatoes.

 

4. Put the tomatoes in the oven, close the door, and turn the heat off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight (or for 8-10 hours) without opening the oven door.


Happy Summer Solstice!

“It is through this season that we can see the beauty of life, the intensity of being, the rapture of passion, the exhilaration of awareness, possibilities of creation and the surprising tenderness of love…This is the time to experience our passions and the force within, to be conscious of how we use them and the gifts they can bring…”

~ Christina Aubin