If you follow my blog you’ll notice that I’ve had quite the break in between posts. It’s because I’ve been wanting to post about the heart chakra for a while, but I was feeling that my heart was not in the right place to do so. You see, I took a job that I thought would allow me more freedom and it was in the arena of what I went to school to do. However, what happened was I started to feel as though I was losing myself. Everyday became more stressful. My days became consumed with worry about making sales goals. And honestly, I really just don’t feel that my heart was in it.

 

I’ve been gone from that job a little over a month now. I’ve gone through a grieving and mourning process. I’ve worked through my feelings of failure. I kind of feel like I’m starting to ReDiscover what brings me joy in life. That, is very good for my heart.

 

So this inkling of joy leads me here, to my happy place…to my blog….to my business. It is, after all, where I want to be. When i went through all of the health issues way back at age 16 and 17, i wasn’t very joyful. I was depressed and melancholy and generally felt like shit on a daily basis. When herbs and natural methods made me feel good, I wanted to share this success with others so they could feel good, too.

 

This is where the heart chakra comes in. Anahata is the sanskrit word for the heart chakra.  Its associated with the color green and is thought to be located in the center of the chest. So perhaps it is best to think of it as being just behind the breast bone. Anatomically,  this is the location of the thymus, and the anatomical heart sits just slightly to a person’s left of that.

Anahata sits right behind the breast bone.

 

 

 

Anahata is the energy center that allows us to connect with unifying forces in the universe. It aids in each person realizing they are a part of a greater whole. It’s where bonds with other living things are created. It houses caring, compassion, self-love,  altruism, generosity,  kindness and respect – for self and others. It can be destroyed by grief.

 

When these are in balance there is joy, warmth, and love about a person. You can imagine the expressions of imbalance, can’t you? Note, this is also the chakra that allows people to say no, with grace, and not over extend him or her self.

It is associated with the element of air…amazing since the lungs are in this area, too. The color green is assigned to it. Yarrow,  an herb looked to as an “attitude adjuster” is often associated with Anahata, as are the scents of jasmine, lavender and rose. (Yarrow, as well as lavender, jasmine and rose essential oils are available for order in the The Herbchick’s Shop)

 

 

Affirmations for the heart chakra

  • I am open to love.
  • Love resides within my heart.
  • I completely love and accept myself.
  • I am wanted and loved.
  • I live in balance, in a state of gracefulness and gratitude.
  • I love the beauty of nature.
  • I am open to love.
  • I am connected with others.
  • I feel one with nature and animals.
  • I am peaceful.

 

 

 

A plethora of stars have been in the spotlight lately for flipping their age to the big 6-0. Aging is one thing that no one escapes. We all get older, whether we like it or not. So what have these stars been stressing? SELF CARE.

 

That’s right, they have been stressing the importance of taking care of yourself. Eat right; sleep well; exercise…all of it…the total package. How many times have you heard, “take care of yourself or you won’t be able to take care of anyone else” ? As a mother, I hear it. However, for most of us it is much easier said than done. The biggest thing I have heard from my clients, and even myself, is the financial costs associated with purchasing supplements and/or the lost wages in taking the time away from income earning pursuits. I know the struggle. Believe me I understand! But I also understand what happens when a person gets so run down s/he cannot function any longer. Many times I catch myself pushing things to the limit. Throughout the years I have come down with influenza A, influenza B, multiple UTIs, and frequent migraines. I have found them to be challenging learning processes – very blunt life lessons taught through pain and humbling circumstances. I am now even more dedicated to taking care of myself. After all, it is truly the best insurance you could ever have!

 

Below is a video where I talk about self care being the best insurance a person can have. It is from a periscope live video I did a while back. I want to make sure all of you know I am dedicated to work with anyone who is dedicated to taking care of him or her self. I am open to discussing working with medical doctors, other natural practitioners, etc. After all, we are all on this planet together and we must all use every single resource possible to further the experience for all. So, watch the video and, as always, take care of yourself.

 

 

Those of you who actively follow the “latest and greatest” may have heard some about a supplement called Berberine. This bright yellow supplement is bitter and is often found in capsules alone.

The shrub known as Indian berberry or Tree Turmeric
The shrub known as Indian barberry or Tree Turmeric

 

Berberine is a bright yellow supplement.
Berberine is a bright yellow supplement.

Nature’s Sunshine also has a berberine supplement. While berberine is found in many yellow root herbs ( like Oregan grape and golden seal – both very bitter tasting yellow roots), NSP gets theirs from Indian barberry.

Known in ayurveda for its uses as an antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal and antioxidant, barberry is sometimes referred to as Tree Turmeric. The bark contains many alkoloids, including berberine, and the plant has been studied in India as a possible treatment of the urinary damage that can be caused by the chemotherapy drug called cisplatin. The studies show the nephrotoxicity caused by the cisplatin was reversed by a decoction of root bark of Berberis aristata (Indian berberry).

In traditional herbalism, it is a bitter herb. This usually means it has the ability to flush bile from the liver. This is highly beneficial for those seeking to use it during cleanses.  Bitter herbs aid in digestion, too.

It is now becoming popular in the US for its anti-diabetic uses. It seems use of berberine is associated with maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. This is one point being addressed in many weight loss programs. It seems when the body is supplied with proper glucose balance, a person is not nearly as hungry and does not crave as many simple sugars. In one study, berberine was found to be as effective in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels as the drug metformin.

And that is not all. Berberine is being looked at for an aid in all areas of what is commonly referred to “metabolic syndrome.” This includes high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and obesity. Berberine seems to have a healthy effect on the cholesterol and triglyceride levels of a person, as well. This, along with the research pointing to its ability to help reduce fat (even fatty liver), makes it a wonderful resource for those fighting the triple threat of metabolic syndrome.

And there’s even more! Berberine may even help with the following:

Depression, perhaps due to increases in nor-adrenaline and serotonin

Cancer: Berberine may help suppress tumor growth and spread

Infections, including anti-viral effects against the flu

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD),as it helps reduce fat build up in your liver

With the majority of berberine research available on PubMed being done in the last five years, this “newcomer” shows major promise!

 

Berberine from Indian barberry is the ingredient in many berberine supplements.

 

Earlier, I wrote about metabolic age as an important measurement of your body’s functionality. It is a newer measurement than resting metabolic rate or your basal metabolic rate. Both of these terms refer to the amount of calories a person burns while the body is at rest (not involved in exercise). This is sometimes referred to as your BMR.

BMR Calculations

For women:

BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)

For men:

BMR = 666 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches ) – (6.8 x age in years)

Once you have your BMR, you can then compare to other in your same age bracket.

Your metabolic age is simply the age at which your body is functioning.

So, if you are 5 foot 4 inches, female and have the same BMI as a 16 year old female of that height and weight, your metabolic age is 16. You can find many charts and calculator tools online.

Another option is to use various scales that measure your metabolic age.

As a trained IN.form coach, I use a biotracker. This is a fancy name for  a scale that takes various measurements. I input the sex, age, height, and activity level. It then does the calculations for weight, body fat, daily caloric intake, hydration levels, visceral fat, bmi, bone mass and metabolic age. Not a single one of these measurements is an end-all and be-all. The idea is that the weight, visceral fat, metabolic age, bmi, and body fat all come down, while the other numbers go up. These measurements are merely tools to give visual confirmation and feedback to confirm we are doing the right things for our bodies. It can be a huge motivation to see those numbers change. I know it was for me. Especially when my initial reading was 92! (Completely, not kidding….it was a whopping 92!! I was functioning. metabolically as a 92 year old woman….at 40!)

How do we increase our metabolism?

-Exercise

Move your body! Just get up and move. It does not matter what kind of exercise you choose to do. Just pick one. The best kind of exercise for you is one you will do!

-Supplements

Some synergystic blends of supplements may help speed

-Proper Sleep

This is an area where I lag behind. I tend to burn the midnight oil. Not getting adequate rest can work against weight management efforts. Most experts agree that an adult should get between seven to 10 hours of sleep a night. Eight hours is a nice middle ground.

-Stress management

This is where I REALLY fall behind. My stress management, at this time, sucks! As a wholistic consultant and IN.form coach, I know I should probably serve as an example. However, let’s face it. I am human just like all of you. My stress levels have been through the roof, at times! That’s when I find myself eating and grabbing the chocolate. I also know that certain adrenal hormones, produced as a reaction to stress, block weight loss attempts!

Whatever you do, know that there is always a tomorrow.

So your readings one day aren’t that great. Oh well. The world did not quit spinning. You try again. And again. The idea is to keep up the effort. Everyday you make another small change for the better. You then become better and better until you are the best you there is to be!

 

It’s the new year! All thew champagne is gone. All the party poppers have been sprung. You are now left with a brand new year. What are YOU going to do with it? Do you really want an “all new you”? I’m hoping to just improve and refine the “me” I already am!

I recently did a periscope broadcast on just this very topic (you can find me on periscope and twitter under @herbchick1, by the way). I urge you to share. What are your resolutions for 2016? I’ve got mine! I’m aiming to do my belly dance drills daily; become more avid in the use of my kettle bell (hopefully pushing along the loss of my baby apron); reduce my metabolic age (more coming on this very, very soon); and revamp my diet. In the spirit of that last one, please check out the video below. Just changing one thing at a time, like reducing your wheat consumption, can make a world of difference!

Enjoy! And hit me with those resolutions, people! They mean more when you put them in writing!

The fat loving band wagon

Every day there seems to be another blog about equal love for the “big girls.” Being a bigger girl, I’m all for this. However, I am not all about the loving of the big gals if it means forsaking the health of the big gals.
Health comes in many shapes and sizes. We’ve all seen the pictures of how 160 pounds sits differently on different women. This is true. Frame size, muscle mass, and more all play a part in how one’s appearance takes form. But to truly get to a healthy place, it isn’t all about exalting the heavy girls. It’s not all about equal representation or blindly accepting body weight.

It’s so much more

I spent over twenty years fighting against my self. I always held the idea that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, cute enough, yadda yadda yadda. In general, I felt that I was not enough. To be more exact, I felt that I would never be enough. Ideas such as these is what paves the road to self loathing, eating disorders, cutting and self mutilation, destructive habits like illicit drug use and the like. It takes more than “giving in and giving up,” as the saying goes. It’s not accepting the size and/or shape of your body. It takes finding those parts within yourself deserving of love, awe and celebration. That’s regardless of whether your are 105 pounds or 405 pounds. It took me over twenty years to find those things within myself. Read More