The Army Base Yoga Studio That’s Healing Wounded Warriors

Originally Published on Yahoo.com on October 11, 2018 By Reader’s Digest Editors

The Army Base Yoga Studio That’s Healing Wounded Warriors_1

Editor’s Note: Life Moves Yoga in Killeen, Texas, was selected as one of Reader’s Digest’s Nicest Places in America. Meet the winner, find out how the finalists were selected, and hear from our chief judge, Robin Roberts.

Army Lieutenant General Paul E. Funk II is no stranger to stress. He’s been deployed five times, leading soldiers in combat in Operation Desert Shield and more recent efforts in Iraq and Syria.

But these days, when General Funk II needs to work out his stress, he’s more likely to stand in warrior pose than to drop and give you 20. In 2011, the U.S. Army completed the biggest update to its physical fitness program in over 30 years and, for the first time ever, yoga is now part of the routine.

Known for their toughness and macho swagger, soldiers have been slow to replace “Yes, Sir!” and “Hooah!” with “om” and “Namaste.” But a movement that aims to change that is gaining momentum in Killeen, Texas, home to Fort Hood, the largest military base in the country. Its goal is to help service-members build physical and mental strength, even when they are battling wounds, both seen and unseen. And it’s starting at the top.

After his fifth tour, Funk returned home to take the helm at Fort Hood. He was born there, when his father, Paul Funk Sr., was commander-in-chief. He met his wife, Beth, there and they got married at the chapel on base.

“I’ve found yoga to be relaxing, but it also gives me an opportunity to think and put life in a balanced perspective,” Gen. Funk II told Reader’s Digest. “It’s a good practice for soldiers and families for that reason: It gives us time to slow down and get in tune with our environments while also building strength and endurance.”

Lucky for Gen. Funk II, he doesn’t have to go far to find his center. Life Moves Yoga, a studio owned and operated by his wife Beth Funk, is right across the street from the fort. She opened the studio in 2017 with a goal of helping wounded warriors regain mobility as well as peace of mind. In addition to offering various kinds of yoga to the soldiers and general public, Life Moves also holds a free class on Wednesdays called “Warriors at Ease,” which caters to soldiers who have suffered physical and mental trauma. Until recently, the class was paid for by a grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation; when the grant dried up, Life Moves kept the classes going for free and has since trained more teachers in this special kind of yoga who give classes on the base itself.

“We had to continue it because it’s that powerful for the community,” said Beth Funk.

Caity Underwood, 31, is a student. She served for seven years but had to leave the Army because of medical problems that severely limited her mobility.

“By the time I got out, I couldn’t do a pushup because I couldn’t put pressure on certain joints,” she told Reader’s Digest. After just a few months at Life Moves, she can do many. Underwood goes every Wednesday.

“Wednesday is my favorite day,” she said. “It puts me in a better mood just by knowing I have that outlet.”

Another student is Lieutenant General Paul Funk, Sr., 78, a Vietnam and Desert Storm veteran who, in addition to being the former commanding officer of Fort Hood, is the commanding officer of the Funk family.

“The whole notion of mind, body, spirit is something that can be valuable to anybody and in particular those who have had setbacks, like being wounded in war,” he told Reader’s Digest.

Before you assume the whole base has swapped doing 100 pushups a day for warrior poses, Gen. Funk, Sr. admits that getting soldiers excited about a slower-paced workout has been a challenge. But the Army likes challenges.

“If ordered, I can promise you that all the members will try it,” he said. “But you can’t just order this and expect it to produce results.”

One enterprising non-commissioned officer at Fort Hood, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, has done just that. When asked to come up with a new physical training program for her crew, she suggested a yoga day.

“When I told my crew that we’re having a private class, they said, ‘I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible,’” she said. “But they didn’t have a choice because they had to come with me.”

Given that this is no ordinary yoga class, it won’t be long until they too see what makes it so special. And once they’re ready to try it again, Life Moves Yoga will be there.

What is Refill?

Originally Published on WeWantrefill.com

What is Refill_1

What if you could refill your laundry detergent, shampoo and soap in reusable containers at affordable prices? Would you do it? Of course.

Refill technology is changing the way consumers shop, all while improving the environment.

Get the lowdown on refill technology, see how it works and how you can get involved.

How does it work?

Just like bringing your reusable bags to retail stores, now consumers can bring along refillable bottles too.

Consumers simply place their refillable bottle in the refill station, which can sit in any retail store, and tell the machine what to refill.

Let’s say you want to refill your laundry detergent. Pop the bottle in the machine, select your favorite brand of detergent, and the station will clean, refill and seal the bottle of detergent for you.

It’s as simple as getting candy from a vending machine. Just push a few buttons, and within seconds your empty bottle is refilled and ready to take home.

Why is this technology revolutionary?

Refill technology is one of few options that provide a zero waste solution to product consumption. Think about it, if you refill your bottles there’s no need to buy plastic bottles over and over again.

But recycling plastic bottles is just as good, right? Wrong. The truth is, only about 27 percent of plastic bottles used are actually recycled, the rest likely end up in landfills. When plastic bottles land in a heap at your local landfill, it takes them up to 500 years to decompose.

Recycling efforts are important, but there’s a better way: refilling.

Using refillable bottles will drastically reduce the time and energy you spend rinsing, sorting and hauling your blue bin out to the curb. It’s a win-win for manufactures, consumers and the planet

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

It’s time to tell retailers and manufacturers that we want new technologies to replace plastic waste.

The government hasn’t taken the steps necessary to ban plastic waste so it’s up to us – the consumer – to petition retailers and manufactures for change.

The technologies exist to create refill stations at your local retail store so why you haven’t seen them? Retailers and manufacturers are hesitant to install refill stations because it’s a huge industry shift and, most importantly, they have no idea that consumers want it.

When it comes to change, consumers have to take charge. It’s time for you to get involved and tell retailers and manufactueres that #WeWantRefill.

The #WeWantRefill movement is gaining momentum, but more must be done. To show retailers how serious you are about using refill technology, please take a minute to sign this petition to send a clear message to retailers that it’s time to refill, not waste.

Finally Healed After One Year of Repurposement

mountshasta-sunset-500

It’s been exactly one year since I repurposed AKA retired.  I have to say that I recently had the honor and privilege to go on a much needed retreat with Blissful Massage.  It was such a beautiful experience.  Almost 3 days back home and I am still dwelling in the blissful experience.

We went to Stewart Mineral Springs Retreat in Weed, CA which is right outside Mt. Shasta.  I can only say, Wow.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  It had a Creek running through the middle of the grounds.

parks-creek-in-winter

It was such a healing experience.  Jody Davis of Blissful Massage and Amber Nicole, The Daily Healing, put together a very conscious uplifting retreat.  They are both Reiki Masters and there was burning sage, singing bowls, tuning forks and lots of love and nourishment.

Cocktails

Our meals were consciously prepared with love and nourishment.  Healthy juices, grains, fruit, vegetables, hummus and a magical ceremonial tea.  Did I say chocolate? Everything was ooey gooey dripping with love.  And there were 6 other beautiful women.  I have to admit, I was a little concerned about being with women that I did not know.  I was hoping they would keep their claws in.  I had fear about the women and hoping they were kind to me.

Well was I just so blessed.  I met some of the kindest most beautiful women.  I forgot my socks and Amber (a different Amber)  let me borrow a pair.  I didn’t have a hair tie and Linda gave me one.  They were so nurturing and kind.  I really appreciated their kindness.

Stewart Mineral  has these amazing mineral springs that is super healing.  Then we went in a sauna that was heated with firewood to be followed up a dip in the 45 degree creek.  It was so rejuvenating.  Wow I absolutely loved it.  There were beautiful trees and rocks and stars, birds.  I know my ancestors used to do this.  You see I am Native American.

photo of lighted firewoods in dark place

Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on Pexels.com

The first night it rained and I really felt like it was God’s way of making sure there were no fires.  He wanted to protect us.  Think of Glinda in the Wizard of Oz making it snow.

We did some amazing yummy yoga nidra and I slept so good.  Also we did some amazing journaling.  OMG Jody came up with the most healing journal practice that brought us to our labels that we were given as children.  It was super healing and we did a ritual of releasing these false labels.  We also were roaring which was so fun!!

lioness beside on brown wood

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

We went to a beautiful Labyrinth and it was just so healing.  There were healing trees and prayers galore.  You can write a prayer and tie it to a tree.  Lots of crystals and malas, crosses and statues.  We walked around there barefoot and could feel the grounding energy of our dear sweet Mother Earth.

statue lab

These are real rose quartz crystals that are here to make this alter.  Nobody takes them because that would be really bad luck.

So I can now say one year later that I am feeling so nourished, supported and loved.  I honestly owe it to this retreat full of beautiful women that were so kind and supporting and loving.  I want to thank each one of them for their beauty.  I made some great friends and we are staying in touch.

I left out the part where we went to downtown Mt. Shasta and I admit I went a little insane in this crystal shop.  I couldn’t resist all of the beautiful crystals.  Just so beautiful.  Crystals just brighten up my day.  They are completely natural and I just want their beautiful healing energy around me.  I’d buy a crystal any day over something plastic.  Also when I’m no longer here, my family will have these beautiful rocks to remember me.

different types of stones

Photo by Jennifer Ben-ali on Pexels.com

I am so thankful and blessed for the opportunity to go on this retreat.  My hope and prayer is that you will be able to carve out a little time and go on a retreat to reset, recharge and get back to who you really are.  You little Rock Star you.  You’ve forgotten your greatness.  Your job is to find your greatness.  If you need help, just ask.  May you have a long life and peace, joy and love in your heart for all eternity.

Valerie is a health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter and puppy, Amber.  Valerie hopes to share her messages of healing with the world.  Know that you can shift to positivity always. It’s like changing the channel.  Please follow and share her blog to encourage World Peace and also a Clean Healthy Planet. To learn about the New Climate Economy, click here.  $900 trillion investment by 2030.

tee pee

ɴᴀᴛᴜʀᴀʟ ᴡᴀʏs ᴛᴏ ʀᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ sᴛʀᴇss

Originally Published on thehappyminimalistgirl.com on September 27, 2018 By thehappyminimalistgirl

Young woman lying on the bed at home

 

Hi Lovelies! Lets talk some of my favorite stress relievers, and best of all they’re all natural ways to make you less anxious and relieve that stress! Some of the topics I’m going to talk about are unconventional and probably things you haven’t heard of so stay with me.

𝔽𝕖𝕖𝕥 𝕦𝕡 𝕠𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕨𝕒𝕝𝕝

Lay down with your back on a flat surface i.e your bed or floor, and put your legs flat up against a wall. This sounds super odd, but it actually has some awesome stress relieving benefits to it! Laying in this position allows your heart to not have to pump as hard and fast, and overall gives your heart a break. As soon as your heart rate lowers, even slightly, you’ll feel almost immediately less stressed and or less anxious. Stay in this position for 5 minutes and take deep and even breaths!

𝕄𝕠𝕟𝕢 𝕍𝕒𝕡𝕖

ᴡᴀʏs ᴛᴏ ʀᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ sᴛʀᴇss_3

This is a product I live by, now let me start off by saying there is absolutely no nicotine in this product! Monq Vapes are made of 80% coconut derived vegetable glycerin and 20% essential oils. You do not inhale Monq Vapes smoke you simply, allow the smoke to move around in your mouth, then you release it. They have a vape for every one of your moods, to feel happier, healthier, less stressed, less anxious and many more. I use the stress relieving one and it works wonders, it doesn’t make me feel light headed, it is however able to bring my pulse and heart rate down to a normal rhythm.

𝔼𝕤𝕤𝕖𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕒𝕝 𝕠𝕚𝕝𝕤

 

I just did a recent blog post about essential oils and all their awesome benefits. The best way to relieve stress while using essential oils is through a diffuser. The most popular oils to relieve stress are lavender, rose, orange, peppermint, and frankincense. Add a mix of those in your diffuser and let it filter through the air. Take some deep breaths and allow your mind and body to relax and get into a state of peace. I always diffuse some essential oils before I go to bed, it helps me calm down and get into a cozy mood for bed.

𝔼𝕡𝕤𝕠𝕟 𝕊𝕒𝕝𝕥 𝔹𝕒𝕥𝕙

This is probably one of the easiest and cheapest ways to relieve stress and anxiety. You can buy epson salts at retail stores as well as grocery stores and drug stores. Epson salts are used most for relieving muscle pain, settling upset stomachs, and lowering joint inflammation. They sell epson salts mixed with lavender extracts which is what we are going to be discussing today. The epson salt is gonna relax your muscles and the lavender is used to relieve stress and anxiety. Take a warm or hot bath, mix in the salt, lay in the bath, cover your eyes with a cloth and take some deep breaths. Allow your body to soak in the baht for twenty to thirty minutes, you’ll feel rested and rejuvenated!

ℂ𝕙𝕒𝕞𝕠𝕞𝕚𝕝𝕖 𝕥𝕖𝕒

Chamomile tea has a bunch of natural benefits, its used for sedative, relaxing, anti-anxiety and digestive issues. You can buy chamomile tea almost anywhere, avoid adding lots of sugar or milk products, you really want your body to digest all the nutrients from the tea. You can add a few drops of rose essential oil for mood lifting, calming and soothing benefits. Drink a cup before bed, or fill a tumbler with some homemade chamomile tea and take it on the go. Sip it slowly throughout the day and let it work its magic.

𝔼𝕒𝕥 𝕤𝕠𝕞𝕖 𝕔𝕒𝕣𝕓𝕤

This one probably sounds weird, and a little scary if you’re on a weight loss journey but trust me it works. Some times your body is feeling super stressed and anxious because your blood sugar has dropped. This can obviously happen if you haven’t eaten all day but it can also happen randomly throughout the day. Eating carbs like fresh bread, even a donut, or crackers can help tremendously. Even if you are on a weight loss journey, take a step back and have a cheat snack. The carbs will turn into sugar and it’ll almost immediately raise your blog sugar giving you a high. Sometimes your weight loss journey or strict healthy eating lifestyle can be the thing causing your body stress. Give your self a break from time to time.

ℍ𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕒 𝕘𝕝𝕒𝕤𝕤 𝕠𝕗 𝕨𝕚𝕟𝕖

ᴡᴀʏs ᴛᴏ ʀᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ sᴛʀᴇss_4

Lets be honest, sometimes work and life can get so hectic that it causes reoccurring stress in our lives, and a glass of wine can help. Don’t get into the habit of doing this every night, or drinking a ton, simply have a glass anytime you feel overly stressed. Take the time to enjoy the wine, and how it taste, don’t just throw it back to take the edge off. You can even invite a friend over to enjoy some wine and bread and talk about whats bothering you. Trust me none of your friends are gonna turn down an evening of carbs and wine!

Why is Forgiveness so Difficult?

 

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Well I do not consider myself to be a super religious person, I do follow the teachings of one of the greatest teachers ever.  That taught me after many years of study, 2 basic things.  Those things are to Love One Another and the other is to Forgive.  Now this sounds like a really easy thing to do.  I mean who doesn’t love puppies?  And who can always forgive their kid when they put your new lipstick over their beautiful face?  Of course those are the easy things to love and forgive.

But what about when someone you don’t really know hurts you or if it’s the same person over and over.  It can even be that really annoying co-worker.  That’s a book in and of itself.  But one thing to realize about people that hurt others is that they have been hurt before. We are all walking around with some wounds and some have worked on healing them and others are right in the midst of their pain.

Interpersonal relationships can often be the most painful because you have trusted that person and then you get burned.  The teachings come in and the thought of forgiving someone doesn’t seem so easy.  Family tends to hurt those nearest and dearest to them.   Many give those they love chance after chance after chance in a destructive cycle.

hug - Englighten Your Lives - forgiveness.jpg

Maybe out of a need of self-preservation, it’s time to just walk away from something that seems like it’s going to be painful or bring up too many issues.  One thing that is truly healing to the soul is to forgive that person.  It actually frees the person doing the forgiving from carrying around that extra baggage of resentment and hurt.  But it can be challenging to forgive and many times it can be easier to just cut your losses and move on.

At some point, if you continue to cut people out of your life, you will start to see patterns of how you cut people out and maybe begin to feel isolated.

Other times you can realize that this person did not intend to do harm but they were simply going through some form of pain (real or imagined) and at any given time, they were functioning in the best way they knew how which obviously wasn’t very good.  But if you can have compassion for that person and know that they were going through a difficult time and forgive them, then you have a better chance of having peace in your heart and that, my dear, is the ultimate goal:  to have peace.

Peace is priceless and it doesn’t cost anything but is super powerful.  Know that all good things come together for a higher purpose.  Things happen so that you will learn the lesson.  So every person in your life is your own personal teacher trying to teach you love and compassion.  Try giving them a little love and watch the amazing, beautiful things that begin happen.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter and puppy.  She enjoys friends, singing, dancing, yoga, healthy food and a healthy Mother Earth.  Wishing you a beautiful day where ever you are.  

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Please leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing.  Just say hi.  It’s easy.

 

How to Make Epsom Salt

Originally Published on healthfully.com on July 27, 2017 By Enzo Silvestri

How to Make Epsom SaltThere is no nicer feeling after a hard days work than soaking in a hot mineral bath. There are any number of commercially available bath salts that are touted to do wonders for your skin and vital bodily functions. Most bath salts can be quite expensive, though, and if you make a habit of taking mineral baths they can be prohibitively costly. Instead, save some money and make your own Epsom salts.

Boil 1/2 cup of water.

Mix in the magnesium sulfate in a 1:2 ratio with the boiled water in a bowl or dish. As you grow in proficiency you could make greater amounts but begin by using ¼ cup of magnesium sulfate and a ½ cup of water.

Add food coloring to the mixture, if desired.

Leave the solution to grow the Epsom salt crystals. Pour the solution into a shallow container and place it in a sunny location where it can evaporate.

Collect the crystals after the water has evaporated and the crystals have dried.

Warnings

Don’t eat the Epsom salt. Always use caution with boiling water.
Things Needed

Magnesium Sulphate (MgSO4)

Bowl

Sponge

Food coloring

Measuring cup

About the Author

Enzo Silvestri is an author and educator in English, languages, and social sciences. Currently teaching in college he has published novels, poetry and a variety of articles for online health and fitness publications, and is currently working on two new projects as well as continuing online writing.

An eco-friendly lifestyle made easy

Originally published on worldtravelable.com  on March 24, 2018 By Ella

An eco-friendly lifestyle made easy

Reduce, reuse, recycle… Rings a bell? Why is it so important? With events like the Earth Hour being celebrated worldwide, have you thought of the importance of your own impact on the environment? And if there is anything you can do at your level?

In this article, I want to discuss all this from my own perspective. I live in Spain but those tips can apply to you no matter where you live!

I am nobody to say what should be done, I am still learning and nobody’s perfect! But if you love travelling like I do, you will realise that caring is the only way to preserve the beauty of our planet! And even small and easy steps can actually make a huge difference!

An eco-friendly lifestyle made easy_2

The importance of education in sustainability

Before I wrote this article, I wondered when I started to actually care about the environment.

I would say that it goes back to my childhood.

When I lived in Germany, you could get a fine just by throwing a paper on the ground. And I never did. I do not know if it’s effective, but it worked for me and all the kids I knew. It just became a habit to simply keep my stuff in my pockets until I found a bin. It would never occur to me to throw trash on the ground! And when I went to live in France and I saw children of my age doing that, it bothered me deeply!

I also have clear memories of learning how our democratic system works. I think I was about 9 years old, and I was living in France at that time. I remember thinking that when I grow up I would vote for the Green Party. So in my case, it started very early.

Perhaps that is the key: education.

Caring for our planet: more than recycling

When I was a kid, protecting our planet seemed very simple to me. I thought it was enough to place the garbage in the bin and not on the ground, as it was already an effort that many people around me were not doing.

I also knew that I should return glass bottles in the store, and would even get rewarded a few cents. I actually never understood why this method was abandoned. I hope it will be implemented again soon in France and extended to other materials, like plastics! It is indeed already happening in other countries like the Netherlands.

But I was far from imagining that my daily actions could have such an impact on our environment.

It took me over 30 years to realize that the problem was much more complex and that I could do many more things to help our ecosystem.

Step 1: Recycling

An eco-friendly lifestyle made easy_3

Recycling is a first step very easy to implement.

In Germany, I learned that recycling was not only about sorting glass and plastic bottles, I found out that we could actually recycle a lot more!

Compost is a good example and it’s great for the garden! Something totally unknown to me until then.

Initially, I felt that recycling so many things was complicated, but now I realise it’s just a matter of habit and organization.

Most importantly, I realized that I spent a lot less time bringing the garbage out of the house. Why? Because if we recycle well, paper and plastic can be kept a long time since they are generally clean materials. And the compost is in a mini trash which is great since it is actually what usually annoys the most due to its bad smell. So in the end, it’s a win-win situation! In Barcelona, the recycling containers are very easy to reach, just opposite my house! And it was the same in Germany, so no excuse at this level either! In Ireland, they came to pick it up at your house once a week. Each country or city has its own way, so just get informed!

Recycling is good, but I quickly realized that it’s not because I recycle that I am eco-friendly. Remember the RRR logo? Well, it actually starts with reduce. How? It starts with reviewing the way we consume. That’s the most powerful tool to reduce our impact.

Step 2: Our consumption

This is where everything shifts. Yes, money always has the last word!

So think before spending! Your dollars are powerful: the companies who own products that are unsustainable would be obligated to react and take care of their impact if you ban them!

Tip nº1: Think local

Whether buying clothes, food or furniture, there are often local solutions to avoid the “Made in China”.

I know, even with the best intentions, it’s not easy to escape that trend!

Ready-to-wear fashion brands are often much more accessible, in terms of price or location. But alternatives not only exist: they are growing!

For example, I remember buying a jumper made in Italy from one of the major brands! I found it incredible because I usually see Bangladesh or China on the labels.

There are also big brands that sell products made of organic cotton or even of recycled products! I worked at one of those brands for a while and that’s the only thing I would buy from them.

A company like Inditex may be considered local for a Spanish people because it is the nationality of its founder, Ortega. However, it is far from a local business as you know! Globalization has made it a monster, and we could debate for hours to discuss pros and cons.

But it’s not the point I wanted to make. All I am saying is that if I have the choice, I would rather buy local and avoid all these big brands. And if I buy from a big brand, I would only buy the clothes made close by, and from recycled or organic materials.

And yes, it exists, small neighborhood shops that make quality products and made in the country.

In my neighborhood, Poblenou, I found 2 clothes stores that make quality products and remain very affordable, which also helps run the local economy.

For furniture, it also seems very complicated. We immediately think of Ikea or any other big brand when we have to buy a table. You might say it’s still European if you are living in Europe! But maybe there are other solutions. Ask around, there are lots of people with recycling projects, to give a second life to objects. I have heard of this type of shops in France for example.

I even have family members who love wood and create furniture.

Another thing you can do is to simply try to repair before replacing. Make your shoemaker work for example! In my case, he did a great job with an old suitcase I was about to throw away! Be creative and observe your environment! There are other ways to consume!

Tip nº2 : Think Quality

If you think of food, quality is going to make a huge difference for your health.

There are so many options available: local markets, cooperatives, farmers who sell their products on the road, those who open their farms to pick up their products directly from the field! Yes, I assure you, it exists!

Tip nº 3: Remember to focus on seasonal products

I know… I get lost too! We are so used to seeing the products available all year long that we do not know anymore what is in season.

If you have a doubt, ask! And if you do not like to ask, go pay a visit to Sir Google, as my aunt would say! In fact, I prefer the search engine Ecosia for the initiative to plant trees!

Tip nº 4: Follow the proverb: seek and ye shall find!

I know what you are thinking: organic food is way more expensive…

Well, I must admit that when I went shopping in Paris, I got a slap in the face! But it’s just a matter of time. You have to keep looking, and you will end up finding something more affordable, believe me! In Barcelona, it’s the same, I had to search and compare shops.

Another point I wanted to make: going to an organic store like Veritas or Whole Foods Market may be more expensive than going to a traditional supermarket like Mercadona or Walmart… But as I often say, I prefer to eat less and eat better. Focus on quality rather than on quantity. My taste buds are so much happier than with processed food! So at the end of the day, I do not spend much more. It often happens to some of my relatives to tell me that when they eat at a fast food restaurant, they are hungry again after an hour… There seems to be a reason for that… And not a healthy one according to a study presented here…

Try to think of small convenience stores. They are not necessarily expensive.

Zero waste shops start to appear everywhere and it’s good news! Here we do not care so much about the brand. We care about the quality of the products. You come with your jars and you fill them in. In Barcelona, we have a small chain like Goccia Verde where we can buy all household products that way. We also have grocery stores where cereals, herbs, starchy foods, dried fruits, legumes etc can be bought in bulk. A real pleasure not to have piles of plastic around my products! If you do not have jars, they give you some! And at worst, there are paper bags available! See if this kind of shops exists in your city!

And that’s a lot cheaper since we do not pay for packaging or marketing the brand anymore!

Same thing for our cosmetics. I thought I was making the right choice by buying from Yves Rocher, because I thought their products were more natural, until I read an article from a study of a famous French association doing a customer review…

My husband and I joined a German company to become a distributor of their health products. I try to make him work as much as possible when it comes to the health products. It’s local in a sense as we do not go through intermediaries. And they have certified quality products, especially the Aloe Vera line.

I also like to check the products of my neighborhood herbalist’s shop that are often organic and work better than what I find in the supermarket! It is amazing to see the natural power of apples, aloe vera or bamboo!

Step 3: Transportation

That’s a chapter that could take pages. But to summarize, you should avoid the car as much as possible. Take public transportation i.e. metro, bus, tramway. Or carpool if you have no other option. There are also ecological taxis in Barcelona, I’m a fan! It does not cost much more, they have an app, it’s very responsive and you can pay by credit card and ask a charger and the Internet! And they only drive hybrid or electric vehicles!

Personally, I cannot live without my Bicing subscription to move around the neighborhood by bike or to make short trips. My back does not allow me to do a lot of cycling but I do what I can, and at my own pace! We must also be aware of our impact during our travels.

As for vacation, I’ve already talked about it in the article to travel responsibly. It’s not a simple matter when you want to discover the Globe. In an ideal world, and if my boss allowed me to take 3 weeks in a row, I would travel far away only when I have enough time to be able to truly appreciate a country.

Our hectic pace and work do not always allow it, but let’s think about it. I try to take the train rather than the plane when I go to Madrid or France for example. It’s more expensive but if you think you should also go to the city centre then, there is some time saving and in terms of my business trips it can save me a hotel night! Plus travelling to airports is usually very expensive. When I take the train I spend less money to reach the city centre.

I also really liked this article about slow travel.

In short, all these small actions, if added by millions of people, can have a very positive impact on our environment! Try to think of it with creativity and openness! I know I do not always make the right choices, but at least I’m trying. This is a first step towards the right direction.

And you? What other habits do you feel are helpful for our environment? Maybe it’s as easy as switching off the lights in the office when everybody’s at lunch! Or sharing my article to raise awareness within your community! Feel free to do so! And do not hesitate to share your comments below, and add any other tips you feel are simple to implement in your day to day life!

Sac Sustainable Business Awards 2018

golden 1Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Sacramento Area Sustainable Business Awards Expo at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA.  It was such a cool event.  Best part was it was free.  As we arrived, we were able to check out some really cool cars.  Tesla’s, Nissan Leaf, Honda Fuel Cell and more.

val tesla

Valerie, a Health Coach and Johnny, a Videographer checking out the Tesla’s.  

Once we arrived inside the beautiful Golden 1 center, there was a free contentinenal breakfast which was really good.  It was all locally grown and zero waste as well.  Major score!!

Congresswoman Doris Matsui was there and she gave a little speech about how awesome Sacramento is and their sustainable way of life.  Also Aran Rush, Vice President of Arena Operations for the Sacramento Kings discussed how smart the Golden1 Center actually is.    It has solar panels and also gets its energy from a solar farm.

2018 Award Winners

Cocktails

The Award for Water Conservation goes to Veg Cafe which is a Thai Restaurant.  They do many things to conserve.  They allow you to take only the amount of water that you will drink.  All water that is left over is used to water the plants and also they use it to flush the toilets.  What a cool restaurant.  I definitely want to go there.  The food and beverages looks amazing!!

The Award for Transportation and Air Quality goes to Taylor’s Market & Kitchen.  I can’t remember why they got it to be honest but hey they did something to get the recognition.  Way to go Taylor’s Market & Kitchen

The Award for Pollution Prevention goes to Roxy Restaurant & Bar.  They get their food locally and they compost. They are a Farm to Fork restaurant.  Can’t wait to try this place!!

roxy

The Award for Solid Waste Reduction goes to Gutterglove Inc. They have removed 4500 tons of waste from the landfill. Wow that’s a lot of waste!!  Thank you so much!!!  You’re a rockstar!!

The Award for Energy Conservation goes to Datacate, Inc.  It’s a Virtual Data Center with Cloud computing and all kinds of cool stuff!! Congratulations!!

The Award for Green Building goes to Clark Pacific. Their core value is to be sustainable. They built the 49ers Stadium and are working on the Warriors Arena as well.

Honorable Mentions: Sacramento Eco Fitness, Refill Madness, Cal Family Fitness, Tim’s Music,  Dream Coffee.

I had the opportunity to check out the bikes with Sacramento Eco Fitness and you can watch the video here:


The BERC Sacramento Area Sustainable Business (SB) program certifies businesses that voluntarily adopt environmentally friendly practices in any one of the above areas.  This certification is provided free of charge due to sponsorship of the following:

Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, Sacramento County Department of Water Resources, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), SACRAMENTO REGIONAL COUNTY SANITATION DISTRICT, Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, Sacramento Regional solid Waste Authority (SWA), Environmental Management Department, Environmental Management Department, Business Environmental Resource Center, US Small Business Administration, California Farm Fresh to You, Sacramento Metro Chamber, Dr. Bing Gu, CEO California Sunlight, SAC EV.

This was such an amazing event!!  I’ll definitely come again next year.  There’s so much happening that’s wonderful in the world.  And this was definitely an opportunity to meet some amazing people that are taking positive action.  They are not just complaining but choosing to do it the right way.  I’m so grateful to have attended this event.  It gave me so much hope for out beautiful world.  A world  that is coming together in Unity to heal our Dear Beloved Mother Earth.

Please Follow my blog to heal the world.  Also have you heard about the new Climate Economy.  $900,000,000,000,000.00 by 2030.  That’s $900 Trillion dollars to be invested world wide by 2030.  Read the comprehensive Climate Economy Report.  It’s comprehensive but well worth the read.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and  a Yoga Instructor.  She has a passion for  Singing and Dance.  She believes as you heal yourself, you heal the planet.  To learn more about Zero Waste Eco skin and hair care click here.  For Eco friendly products that need to be purchased globally to reduce waste  click here.

 

DIY Lipstick Recipe with Essential Oils

Originally Published on www.ewg.org 

DIY-Lipstick-Recipe-with-Essential-Oils

by Sabrina Ann Zielinski (“Mama Z”)

Women around the world apply toxic, synthetic ingredients to their face, including around mucous-membrane eyes and mouths, daily. The chemicals are blinked into eyes, seeped into pores, and accidentally licked into mouths daily, accumulating over a woman’s lifespan. Hence, the reason for my DIY lipstick recipe.

Don’t you want to know those ingredients are safe?

The first stop is the Environmental Working Group database to identify products that are made without toxic chemicals, fragrances, and preservatives. Often, this is the only step someone will consider because it’s hard to believe cosmetics can be replicated at home. This simply isn’t the case – you can DIY cosmetics just like any other topical formulation!

Dangerous Chemicals in Lipstick

Learn how to avoid these dangerous chemicals by making my DIY lipstick recipe. Have you ever wondered how many chemicals you’re swallowing by putting toxic lipstick on your lips? Studies suggests that up to 75% of all lipsticks contain lead! Our friend Dr. Josh Axe published a fantastic article about how dangerous they can be! This is what he says….

“Lipstick and glosses are often ingested over the course of the day so the impact of any toxin is heightened above and beyond skin absorption levels. According to prior research, the Berkeley scientists estimated average lipstick use as twice-a-day applications and heavy use as applying lip gloss or lipstick 10 times a day. One application spreads 10 milligrams of product across a woman’s lips, most of which is ingested. Average use of lipstick means that a woman ingests about 24 milligrams of product. Women that apply lipstick or lip gloss frequently may be ingesting as much as 87 milligrams of product per day.

“The researchers compared what the women were likely ingesting in lip products to health standards for heavy metal consumption like those defined by the EPA for drinking water. They found that average lipstick or lip gloss use in these products resulted in women exceeding daily intake guidelines for aluminum, cadmium, chromium and manganese. In 10 of the products they looked at, daily use meant that a woman would exceed chromium intake recommendations by 100%.”

A Natural DIY Lipstick Recipe

My DIY lipstick recipe is nothing more complicated than a jazzed up lip balm. In addition to this homemade lipstick recipe, have you tried my DIY lip balm recipe?

DIY Natural Lipstick

Author: Mama Z
Ingredients

Instructions

Set a glass measuring cup or a jar into a sauce pan with an inch of water in it to create a double boiler.
Melt the wax, carrier oil and shea butter in the jar over medium heat.
Stir in optional coloring.
Finally, remove from heat and quickly stir in a drop or two of essential oil for fragrance and nourishment, like cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, or lemongrass.
Pour into lip balm tins or sticks.
Let cool.

Notes
Word of Caution:
Most reports state that citrus oils are phototoxic (can cause excessive burning when exposed to the sun) to varying degrees. If you choose to use citrus in your lipstick, be careful to only use 1 drop and stick with the list that’s considered safe according to the classic text, Essential Oil Safety:

Bergamot Oil (FCF) – Bergaptene/Furanocoumarins is removed
Blood Orange Oil
Lemon Oil (Steam Distilled)
Lime Oil (Steam Distilled)
Mandarin Oil
Sweet Orange Oil
Orange Leaf Oil
Satsuma Oil (Cold/Expeller Pressed)
Tangelo Oil
Tangerine Oil
Yuzu Oil

16 Impressive Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea

Originally Published on OrganicFacts.net  By May 31, 2018

16 Impressive Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea

Kombucha is a fermented, lightly fizzy sweetened tea with health benefits like aiding in digestion, promoting weight loss, facilitating detoxification, lowering cholesterol levels, boosting heart health, controlling diabetes, and protecting the liver. It also aids in reducing arthritis pain and providing relief from gastric ulcers.
What is Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha tea is a refreshing beverage obtained by the fermentation of sweetened tea with a symbiotic association of acetic acid, bacteria, and specific yeast cultures. Believed to have originated in northeast China during the third century BCE, this miraculous tea has been valued for its unique, refreshing taste and impressive range of medicinal benefits. It is famously known as the ‘Immortal Health Elixir’ in ancient Chinese literature. Other names for kombucha include Manchurian mushroom tea, Russian tea, Kargasok tea, spumonto, tea beer, tea cider, and tea kvass.

It has various flavors depending on whether it’s made from black or green tea and tastes somewhere in the middle of apple cider and champagne.

Kombucha Nutrition Facts

Kombucha contains a range of yeast and bacterial species with polyphenols, amino acids, and organic acids. Post the completion of the fermentation process, the tea develops into a nutritional powerhouse with the richness of minerals like sodium, numerous beneficial enzymes, a range of vitamins such as vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxin), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and many healthful chemical constituents such as gluconic acid, oxalic acid, acetic acid, glucuronic acid, usnic acid, fructose, and lactic acid.
Health Benefits of Kombucha Tea

Let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of kombucha.

Detoxifies the Body

Kombucha contains large amounts of organic acids like glucuronic acid and powerful antioxidants which help in shielding the body from oxidative damage. The antioxidants present in it look out for free radicals and neutralize their effects, thereby repairing and protecting the body from chronic diseases and inflammation. [1] Furthermore, it prevents the harmful effects of pollution caused by the petroleum products along with plastics, pesticides, resins, and heavy metals.

Improves Digestion

Kombucha is fermented with a live colony of bacteria and yeast, so it works as a probiotic by sustaining gut health and provides relief from various abdominal disorders including chronic constipation and diarrhea. The digestive enzymes present in it enhance the effects of glucuronic acid and aid in the breakdown of proteins and saccharides, making the digestive system more efficient.

Promotes Weight Loss

Kombucha tea boosts metabolism. A high metabolic rate helps in weight loss as it makes you feel more energized, and more likely to engage in regular physical exercise. Also, the sugar and calorie content in this fermented tea is very little, five times lesser than a fizzy drink.

Protects Liver

Kombucha possesses the remarkable ability to detoxify the body. It contains a powerful detoxifier glucuronic acid which binds the toxins by entering the liver and eliminates them via kidneys. This helps in reducing the burden on the pancreas and keeps the liver healthy. A research study has shown that this tea helps in restoring the levels of glutathione and is remarkably effective in reducing hepatotoxicity. [2] A comparative study conducted on black tea, kombucha tea, and enzyme-processed black tea has proven the superiority of kombucha tea in providing hepatic protection against toxicity due to the antioxidants in it. [3]

Maintains Cholesterol Levels

Another superb benefit offered by kombucha tea is the maintenance of healthy levels of cholesterol. [4] Research studies have provided qualitative evidence regarding the anti-lipidemic properties of this tea which help in reducing the absorption of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, and elevating the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body. [5] [6]

Prevents Heart Diseases

Studies show that drinking kombucha can be beneficial for the heart as it regulates cholesterol as well as lowers triglyceride levels in the blood. [7]

Controls Diabetes

Kombucha is a natural therapeutic agent which helps in suppressing the factors that cause diabetic conditions. A comparative study involving black tea and kombucha has revealed that kombucha has better inhibiting properties as compared to black tea and aids in a superior deterrence of the elevated blood glucose levels. [5] The study has also suggested that the tea exerts healing action on the pancreas of diabetic individuals and helps in guarding their liver and kidney functions by reducing the concentration of urea and other unfavorable activities occurring in the plasma membrane.

16 Impressive Benefits of Drinking Kombucha Tea_2

Prevents Cancer

The antioxidant-rich tea possesses anti-microbial properties and prevents conditions such as cancer as it contributes productively to maintaining cellular health and strong immune defense. Studies have shown that glucaric acid present in it is quite effective in the prevention of various types of cancer including pancreatic, colon, and breast cancer. [8] As stated earlier, the detoxification qualities of the drink also contribute to the prevention of different cancers.

Relieves Arthritis Pain

Kombucha contains glucosamines which are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of all types of arthritis. Glucosamine present in it stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, which helps in the maintenance of cartilage structure and provides relief from the pain associated with arthritis. [9] Hyaluronic acid aids in reducing the free radical damage, lubrication, and elasticity of the joints by empowering the connective tissue to bind the moisture.

Enhances Mood

Kombucha has a variety of amino acids, methylxanthine alkaloids (caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine), ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and B vitamins (including B1, B6, B9, and B12), which are needed for a healthy nervous system. This helps in inhibiting the release of stress hormone cortisol, battling depression, balancing mood, and enhancing concentration. Regular consumption of this tea can also help you overcome sleep disorders. Depression is one of the symptoms of a leaky gut. Drinking the tea can rewire the gut-brain axis and heal gut inflammation to promote mental health.

Boosts Immunity

Kombucha is rich in numerous antioxidants that strengthen the immune defense and boost the energy levels of the body. The anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of this tea help in fighting various bacterial and viral infections. A study conducted on this tea has validated the fact that intake of this drink may help in boosting the immune system. [10]

Anti-microbial Effects

Kombucha tea has anti-microbial properties which may prove effective against a variety of pathogens. An investigative research has revealed that apart from acetic acid, it contains other anti-microbial components, which even at neutral values of pH, provide protection against a range of microorganisms including Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermis, Escherichia Coli, Salmonella enteriditis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogens, and Helicobacter pylori. [11]

Treats Asthma

The theophylline in kombucha is well known as a bronchodilator, which helps control chronic asthma due to its anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and bronchoprotective effects.

Heals Gastric Ulcers

Kombucha provides relief from discomfort caused by gastric ulcerations. Studies conducted have revealed that antioxidants and phenols present in this tea help in protecting the mucin content in the gastric tissues and decrease the secretion of excess gastric acids. [12] The same study also suggested that the efficacy of the tea in healing gastric ulcers is at par with the commercially available drug, omeprazole.

Improves Cellular Health

Kombucha helps in maintaining cellular health which is vital for the healthy functioning of the body. A study performed on its tea has shown the protective effects against induced cytotoxicity and demonstrated positive results with respect to the factors implicated in the reduction of cellular toxins. [13]

Other Uses

Finally, kombucha drink has a revitalizing effect which helps retain the natural color of the hair, keeps the skin firm and improves the feeling of overall health and vigor. [14] It is an effective wound healer, which is also known to improve eyesight. [15] Apart from a plethora of health benefits mentioned above, kombucha culture can also be utilized to manufacture artificial leather. [16]

How to Prepare Kombucha Tea?

Kombucha tea is prepared by mixing the colony of bacteria and yeast (called SCOBY, which is an acronym for “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast”) into sugar and tea, which is followed by fermentation in suitable and sterile conditions.
While sometimes referred as kombucha mushroom, there is no mushroom associated with kombucha. The SCOBY is also called the kombucha mushroom or Mother. This live yeast present in the beverage provides it an active life which carries on even after transferring it into the storage containers. [17] The culture includes Candida stellata, Zygosaccharomyces baili, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Torulaspora delbrueckii, and Schizosaccharomyces pombe yeasts.
After fermentation, the resultant fluid is a healthy beverage containing a wealth of vitamins, vinegar, and many powerful components.

Side Effects of Kombucha Tea

Although kombucha has been valued as a phenomenal healer, brewing the tea under non-sterile conditions can cause contamination and spoilage which can be extremely harmful. [18]

  • Ceramic pots for brewing: Usage of ceramic pots during the brewing process of the kombucha tea can raise the risk of lead poisoning. [18] The tea, while brewing, has the potential to elute lead from the glaze coating used in the ceramic pots making it unfit for consumption.
  • Gastrointestinal toxicity: Another side effect of kombucha tea is gastrointestinal discomfort, which can cause the onset of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and headaches. [19]
  • Lactic acidosis: Consumption of this tea can result in lactic acidosis in some individuals which can further lead to severe circumstances. [20]
  • Suppressed immune system: While kombucha can activate the immune system, it is not suitable for those on immunosuppressant medication.

Prior to considering kombucha for therapeutic usage, it is always advisable to consult a medical professional to better understand its effects.