Archive for June, 2009

h1

Hitting Detox Walls and Overcoming Them

June 29, 2009
P1011463

Here I am this past weekend eating... I mean, picking strawberries! 🙂

Hello Guys!

 How was your weekend? I had a great weekend myself! It was sunny and beautiful all weekend, and I was up in Connecticut. I got to pick strawberries at this wonderful organic farm, went on two long hikes, and even made it to Compo Beach in Westport for a refreshing swim. I’m so happy that the sun came back out over here on the East Coast! I’m really happy I was fortunate enough to escape this weekend. Are you doing something special for 4th of July weekend- which is already next (!) weekend!

 P1011457

So when I was laying on the beach and watching the ocean this weekend, this particular topic came to mind. Some of you have written to me about it, and I have experienced it myself. When I began a mostly raw diet, the first month, maybe two months I felt awesome! I got very lean, my energy was high, and I was so excited about my newfound diet. Then…I started getting more sluggish. My skin broke out a bit, and I started craving old foods again!! Sounds familiar?? Well this is what is REALLY going on:

When you shift into eating more vegetarian, vegan, or an even more dramatic change…raw (!) your body automatically goes into ongoing detox mode. This is because previously we were constantly eating foods that were full of toxic matter (pesticides, dairy, gluten, flour, processed sugar, toxic food combinations, acidic animal products, often full of steroids and hormones, etc.), that it really was too much for our bodies to handle on its own. So what happens? It ends up being stored. Yes, accumulating in our bowels and in our cell tissue!! It doesn’t matter if you go to the bathroom 3 times a day! Trust me, waste and toxins, which are baking in the body at our temperature of 98 degrees, become lodged in our bodies, and over time lead to diseases and other signs of NOT optimal health- low energy, difficulty in losing weight, etc. Our bodies become more and more acidic over time with these levels of toxins.

 P1011458So when you stop eating so much toxic food, or toxic food combinations, your body can take a rest from having piles and piles of “new” toxins to deal with, and starts detoxing the surface stuff. Plus you’re eating tons of alkaline foods. That’s in the first month or two! That’s when you feel like a million bucks, and your feel that you’ve finally figured out the best food plan for you amongst the mind-boggling phethora of food diets and confusing information!

But alas…after that you start feeling not well. You go to your standard doctor who will tell you that you are low in protein, a vital nutrient or mineral like iron and calcium, that its not really healthy to be vegetarian, and you better start eating animal products again! So then you scratch your head  and think, “I guess vegetarianism and eating this way isn’t sustainable??” But this is not really the truth.

What is happening, is that as we shift into these new ways of eating, our bodies start to detox on a deeper, organ, tissue and cellular level. As we dislodge new toxins because our new, much cleaner eating habits, we “wake” up those toxins and they start to recirculate in the blood and body. Before, they were just lodged in there- weighing us down in many ways, but not making us sick…yet. The amount of impaction and waste that is in the colon (5-6 feet long) is indeed unfathomable to most people- it can be pounds and pounds, and can even permeate through the colon walls and into the tissue over time.

So when we hit this WALL after we know we’ve been eating great, clean, detoxing food we must realize that with our enzyme-rich diets we are starting to dislodge toxins from the colon wall. As they hit the bloodstream, we feel those symptoms again- headaches, skin break outs, weakness, irritation, moodiness, etc. etc.- and the toxins must be eliminated from the body so they don’t become reabsorbed back into the boodstream.

P1011464

Some other friends came over to say hello!

Once we get through these walls of intense detoxification, we can continue on our highway to superior health! So how to get the toxins out? Well the most effective and best (in my opinion) way is to get some gravity colonics. Over 45 minutes, 25 gallons of water power washes out your colon, as opposed to 1 to 2 quarts, which is an enema. There can be moments of pressure, as old stuff is released, but you feel amazing when it is done! Also, be sure you are getting fiber in the diet- that is why the Green Smoothie is SO important, as it has a huge amount of fiber that acts like an internal broom and helps sweep toxins out. If you feel major detox symptoms you can add ground flax seeds. Also, chia seeds (see my blog on that), can also help as they expand and can help sweep debris out. Be sure you are having your lemon water in the morning so you are sure to have as complete an elimination as possible (see my blog “How is Your Colon This Morning?). Drink plenty of water to help yourself flush out!

I am trying a slightly different method of a gravity colonic here in NYC tomorrow, and I am thrilled!!  (It might sound weird to be excited about a colonic, but after you’ve had a few and see how effective they are, you’ll feel differently!) I’ve shifted my diet since it started getting warmer (even more smoothies, less solid food, different vegetables and fruits), a few weeks ago, and noticed a few little symptoms myself- some back acne, a few little headaches, etc. So I know I am detoxing! Remember everyone hits walls and has difficult detox periods- so we just have to acknowledge them, and then get past them. 

Have a great start to the week!

Love, Kimberly 

P1011453

h1

The Green Baby Movement

June 25, 2009

baby

Hello my Loves,

Have you ever met someone who is so full of light and love that it just strikes you like lightening that this person is very special? And they stick in your head? And you just want to do everything you can to help them in whatever they are up to?

Well I have met one such person: Mary Boehmer. She is a beautiful young woman who is now my friend and is extremely motivated to bring light and health into the world. She started this amazing organization called BeamGreen.com, which is all about creating healthy babies and health in the world for the next generation! Below is my interview with her:

Kimberly: So, Mary what is BeamGreen.com all about?.

Beam Green - Bio PicMary: BeamGreen.com eco-educational community dedicated to The Green Baby Movement! Beam Green is a Green Social Club for women – a forum created for the sharing of Green knowledge and wisdom in order to guide parents and children towards superior health and wellness.

Beam Green’s mission is to be a positive eco-educational community for families that will assist in the creation of children who are strong, vibrant, and healthy that they contribute to the world in countless ways.

Kimberly: I know that you don’t have kids yet yourself and are not pregnant (right! 🙂 ), so how did the inspiration come for working with pregnant women??

Mary: I speny most of my childhood and College years overwhelmed by “death”. After losing my 42 year old Dad when I was 12 in 1996, and my 17 year old brother when I was 20 in 2004, and having my mom diagnosed in 2005 with two benign brain tumors and helping her undergo two craniotomies- I CAME TO TRULY APPRECIATE THE NOTION OF A HEALTHY HUMAN BODY free of disease! 🙂 I wanted to contribute to the prevention of disease/death and contribute to the opposite side of the coin … LIFE! There is nothing better then healthy, happy children and families!

Kimberly: Wow! Amazing that you turned tragedy into so much love!! (Her story does bring a tear to my eye whenever I hear it.) Tell us a little bit about the importance in detoxifying in preparing for pregnancy?

Mary: A healthy child starts before conception. The healthier the parents re at the time of conception, the stronger genetic foundation of the child. Beam Green suggests that couples prepare at least six months to a year prior to conception by cleansing and building their bodies using certain guidelines that will be shared during The Green Social Club each month. Prevention is a critical component! Cleansing and re-building the body may also have a favorable effect on fertility challenges once any underlying medical problems can be ruled out.

Note by Kimberly: This is not to make anyone feel bad that perhaps didn’t detox at all before conceiving! We can onlypregnancy-baby-massage-how-to do our best with our given information at the time. So if you already have children Mary’s forum can be more about having them lead more detoxed childhoods or getting more info now!

Kimberly:
And what are some easy ways that women thinking about getting pregnant can start to detoxify?

Mary: My Top 3: What is Simple is True! (and often makes the greatest impact!)
1) Each 5-9 servings of GREEN vegetables a day. (Do not eat pass 7pm
at night! This will help you to get the best and most healing sleep!)
2) Exfoliate in the shower!
3) Rebound! Rebound! Rebound!

Kimberly: Oooph, eating past 7 is hard for me a lot, but I’m trying! (LOL). So, what’s on the agenda for BeamGreen this year?

Mary: BeamGreen.com will continue to hold its monthly Green Social Club meetings at Tavern on the Green once a month with guest speakers from across the country who are experts on Going Green! Women nationwide and international (we have 15 different countries who watch the archived uploads and live webcasts) can watch the Green Social Club Meetings by going to www.beamgreen.com and clicking on the button at the top of the homepage that says “Green Social Club” Monthly meetings!

Kimberly: Anything else??

Mary: YES 🙂 The ultimate mission of BeamGreen.com and The Green Social Club is to have fun and take small steps everyday, in our own individual lives, to MAKE THINGS BETTER FOR THE NEXT GENERATION.

When you almost have your entire family die (me) you realize that other people’s families are actually your own as well
— that all are equal — if I am a single twenty-something year old girl who has embraced this — then anyone can embrace the notion that we are all detoxing and preparing for the next best thing …. Our next best version of ourselves and our next best version for generations to come.

Just amazing!!

Well have a great day and happy Friday tomorrow!

Love, Kimberly

IMG_1927

h1

Summer Solstice Goals

June 21, 2009

stonehenge_summer_solstice

So today is a very auspicious, important day of this year. Not only is it Father’s Day (and yay for all our fathers as well as the fatherly aspect of Divine Love!), it is the Summer Solstice, which marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year.

The solstices mark important times in the year- turning points, phases, energy shifts. I remember being really amazed when I was hiking the Incan trail in Peru a few years ago, and exploring other Peruvian ruins, and discovering that many of their structures were created around stonery that would light up perfectly on the highly worshipped summer and winter solstice days. In fact, their calendars were built around the solstices. So they have indeed been considered very significant time periods by many cultures and throughout the world’s history. I had a very contemplative weekend—just spent time with family members, moved things around in my apartment, did a lot of mediation (but very light asanas). Since this is also marking about halfway through the year, it was a time that I took a really hard look at my goals.

So I think this is a great time to really examine our habits and figure out a few doable goals to stick with this summer! Again, unlike New Year’s, which is a completely manmade holiday based on our Western calendar, the solstices mark actual new energy beginnings, as we begin to shift into a different phase within the sun and nature and our natural environment. So I believe is an even more powerful time to create new “resolutions” or goals or whatever you want. And constantly being conscious of our own habits and creating goals to improve ourselves is the way to sustained long-term improvement- it creates steps that enable us to do so.

img_news_solstice_scheme
And maybe you are in the right mindset for a change? Are you feeling ready to do some kind of detox, cleanse and re-energize yourself for summer? Maybe get out of a little rut or just elevate your energy, skin, balance your weight??
As it applies to food, here are a few suggested Goals You might adopt right now, without having to find the “perfect staring time”!

–     Having one coffee or less per day
–    Eat a huge salad for lunch at least 3 times a week and/or making your own lunch (so you can use sprouted bread and the best ingredients if you are going to make a sandwich)
–    Give up Diet Coke once and for all (and switch to lemon water)
–    Have the Green Smoothie at least 3 times per week
–    Visit a local farmer’s market at least once a week to stock up on organic, local greens
–    Stop microwaving any food- or buying microwaved meals
–    Replace packaged protein bars with fresh fruit or some raw nuts

So go for it!! Pick 1-3 Summer Stolstice Goals and start incorporating them this week. Pick doable ones that you know that can accomplish, but still make them challenging, and know that each one is moving you towards your newest, most beautiful and energized self!!! It always helps to write your goals down to make you more serious about htem, so they aren’t just floating around as a possibility. Make them real! And look at them when you need reinforcement or in moments of weakness. And I like to write down why I’ve taken on that particular goal anyway. For instance, “I am giving up Diet Coke, because I want to have more energy and I want more glowing skin.” The universe and nature will be particularly supportive of you right now. ☺ As will I!

I’m excited for you to get excited about your new goals. 🙂
All my very best,
Kimberly

download-8

Look!! Doesn't this wonderful looking tree I happened upon in LA last week look so happy?? Like he is just waving and welcoming us to summer?? 🙂

h1

Recipe: Key Lime Pie Bars

June 18, 2009
One glorious hour next to the ocean before heading for the plane!

One glorious hour next to the ocean before heading for the plane!

Hey Guys,

How are you??
So I realized that I forgot to post my recipe in the last blog! So check it out, below.

IMG_2045

I just got back to New York late last night, and hit the ground running today!! In a very good way. 🙂  Some exciting meetings, and I got to teach my first yoga class in a week today. I really miss teaching and my students when I am away, so it was nice to teach a nice big class today.

IMG_2049-1

IMG_2048

download-4

Backbends are probably my favorite yoga poses. I love to shine the heart energy open!! 🙂 If you don’t have any kind of regular backbending practice you can start with some gentle ones, even holding on to the sides of your chair (if it isn’t a rolly chair!) and leaning back at work sometimes! Don’t worry if you aren’t too flexible, your spine can open up over time. Keep your shoulders relaxed and don’t hunch them up. Feel and imagine the light of energy expanding from your heart and throat chakras!

It is always interesting for me to be constantly traveling between New York and LA. In LA, I find that you have to spend a lot of time in cars driving around! I was  on some really cool movie sets  with my smoothies and had some great dinners. And of course having the ocean so close is so energizing and revitalizing, and great to connect back to our divine nature connection. These photos were taken in one last yoga hurray about one hour before I had to leave for the airport ☺ Today back in New York, I welcomed the flurry of running after cabs to rush into meetings in conference rooms and creative brainstorming sessions in coffee shops, and welcomed back the rush of high energy in the compressed space of Manhattan. So I really love and am grateful to be able to experience these very different environments.

I hope you are having a great week! How is your diet doing, as we adapt into summer? In the next few weeks I’ll be talking a lot more about summer food and diet choices.
Take care. 🙂
Lots of love,
Kimberly

download-5

Fat-Burning Key Lime Pie Bars

download

The whole family will love this recipe! They are a great substitute for all the summer ice cream and other deserts- as the lime is summer-y tasting, and they are creamy, rather than icy.

This desert contains coconut oil, which is an unprocessed, cholesterol-free oil that contains Lauric Acid. Overall, coconut oil stimulates the thyroid, increases your metabolism and can help you burn stored body fat!
Secondly, like lemon, lime has over 200 enzymes and helps restore liver tissue. The liver is our main fat-burning organ, so with this recipe we are also giving it a boost.

This recipe is low-glycemic, so will NOT spike your blood sugar the way refined sugar will. This is great for us adults that don’t want to gain weight, but it is ALSO great for kids-so they don’t get those crazy sugar rushes that other recipes give them!

Remember that one serving size is ONE bar, about 2″ x 3″. Nuts still have a lot of calories, so that is a good serving for a dessert!

Recipe:
1 cup organic lime juice

½ cup unrefined coconut oil

1/4 cup raw organic honey

4 cups cashews

Liquid stevia as needed, to sweeten

½ -1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a blender except for the water, and blend on high. Add the water last and as needed to keep the blending going and make the mixture smooth.

Freeze at least 4 hours, or overnight. Cut into bars and serve! Makes about 15 full-portion sized bars. Can store in the freezer and keep for a few weeks.

h1

Good Day LA Segment: Raw Key Lime Pie Bars

June 15, 2009
CHECK OUT THE GOOD DAY LA SEGMENT
IMG_1918

Here I am, pretending to be one of the Good Day LA hosts. Ha! 🙂

So Friday I was on Good Day LA, doing a demo for my Raw Key Lime Pie Bars. Check it out!

xx Kimberly

IMG_1914

Hmmm....waiting by myself until the hosts come over. Trying not to get nervous!! Even though I'm just sitting there completely by myself!

IMG_1915

Here I am with Michelle, one of the Good Day LA producers. She is awesome and I love her so much!!!

IMG_1917

Here I am with Steve and Lisa, 2 of the hosts, before the show. They were funny and sweet!

h1

Beverly Hills Event…and Raw Food-Making Sprint!

June 11, 2009

IMG_1893

Hey Guys!!

Hope you are having a wonderful week so far. 🙂 Well here I am back in LA! It is Thurs. morning here, and thankfully I am just now getting a moment to catch my breath and be fully aware of my surroundings.

I was going to fly here on Tuesday, as I had this event on Wednesday starting at 2:00, but it was too busy Tuesday and I had too much going on. So I had to wake up yesterday at 4:30 am to catch the earliest flight to LA, which was slightly delayed but still came in at 10:30 AM. I landed to a million important emails to answer right away, which I tried to do quickly while I was waiting for my bag to arrive. 🙂 Then I was picked up and dropped off at the house where I was staying with a BIG kitchen (yay!). As soon as I walked in I dropped my bags then raced to the kitchen, which my partner John had wonderfully stocked with my shopping list of everything I needed! I was supposed to make all this raw food for this event, with about 100 women coming, and I only had a few hours!

So it was sort of like that show Top Chef, where the chefs are under the gun with the time! I was running (oh yes! literally) around the kitchen, muttering to myself, “Where’s my chopping knife?”, “Where is the Vitamix plunger?”. Thank GOD the kitchen was so big that I had different stations set up! There was the lemon cutting and squeezing area, a table with the food processor ready, an area to mix, another one to chop, and of course a whole table dedicated to the Vitamix and Vitamix prep area. After a few hours, miraculously I had concocted a variety of dishes: spreads, a few different kinds of raw “cheese”, etc. etc. Right when I was running out of steam, John came over, and I put him to work chopping so I could go take a shower and get dressed! I threw on a dress, did my hair (sort-of!!!), then we had to run out the door.

The event was fabulous!! It was in Beverly Hills, at the gorgeous Point de Vue salon, which has an amazing outdoor space. There were drinks and food and women gathering and chatting- I of course served the food and was able to talk about Envision Beauty, and I met SO many amazing women!!

IMG_1899

The amazing Chantal: Broadcast superstar (including hosting Good Morning America for 13 years, also hosting "Conversationg with Remarkable People" and "A Second Look,"), philathropist, humanitarian.

This is one of my favorite women in the world: Chantal Westerman. She was the one that pulled me into the event, and I love her!! She is the most vivacious, intelligent, loving woman you can imagine.  She has been one of my biggest chearleaders! And I am forever grateful to her. She wants nothting but for me and other women to succeed, and it is so amazing to be in that energy of support and love. I am inspired to continue on this quest to pass that onto as many women that I encounter directly or indirectly through my company, including of course all of you!!

IMG_1905

So… after dozens of refills for the food plates, tons of wonderful conversations, photos for various media and press outlets, I was officially exhausted…and cold! I forgot that the temperature drops like crazy in LA at night, and by 8:00 pm it was chilly in that beautiful backyard! I went home, passed out around 11:00 PM LA time (eek 2:00 am NY time, so much for my “Getting More Sleep Naturally for Beauty Sleep blog” info :). Oh well, no one’s perfect, especially me!!). So I just woke up recently, and am writing to you now first thing after meditating!

Lots more adventures happening in the next few days…I’m trying not to get overwhelmed by focusing on each day as it comes. I’ll write to you in a few days.

Have an awesome day!!!!

Lots of love, Kimberly

IMG_1894

h1

Detoxing through our Organic Produce Choices

June 7, 2009
P1011442

Here I am chilling in my backyard with a nice big salad. Yes, I am one of the lucky few to have a private backyard in the West Village! Ah, so relaxing... Shall we imagine we are having this conversation lounging here outside? 🙂

Never doubt for a minute that a small group of committed, thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead

Hello there!
How was your weekend? I hope your weather was as nice as it was here in New York. It was so sunny and amazing out!P1011446

P1011436On Saturday we took a big trip to the farmer’s market in Union Square to get some greens (we get produce there about 3 times a week) and stock up on more plants and flowers! Do you have access to a farmer’s market? I know that hundreds of communities do now, which is such a great thing.

Over this weekend in particular, I began to think about the importance of organic farming again. I am so grateful for organic farmers- they provide an amazing service to humanity by providing the highest quality produce that protects our soil and our nourishes our planet. Organic produce has around 88% more nutrition than commercially-grown produce, including the beauty minerals (zinc, selenium, iron, etc.) that we rely on to have beautiful skin and luscious hair. Organic farming practices are grown in harmony with the earth, so that the soil can remain living with beneficial bacteria in an ecosystem that rotates crops and does not deplete the minerals from the soil.

Just like I say with skincare, it is just as important what is NOT in our produce and food as what it is comprised of. If we are not eating organic produce, guess what??? We are continually exposed to pesticides. The scary truth about these pesticides, is that a congressional report in the 80’s estimated that 85% of registered pesticides had not been adequately tested for their ability to cause cancer, 70% for their ability to cause birth defects, and 93% for their possibility to cause genetic mutations. These toxins are harming our biological makeup and polluting our blood and therefore our skin, and can therefore contribute to accelerating the aging process. Everyone wants to talk about detoxing these days, which is great! Since we’re starting to realize that toxins make us fatter and look older, to put it bluntly. But again, if we don’t look at the root cause of the problem and keep going on constantly piling up toxin levels in our bodies, what good is it to detox just once in a while?! A major source of pulling the plug on constantly bringing toxins into our body is to choose organic produce.

P1011437

Right when I got home from the farmer's market on Saturday I unpacked then eagerly made this salad out of all the stuff I just bought!! I just couldn't wait! Arugula, sunflower sprouts, cilantro, radishes- yum! So fresh and amazing with a light lemon/olive oil/cumin dressing. 🙂

Pesticides are neurotoxins, which are designed to specifically attack the brain and the rest of the nervous system in biological, living beings. WE are biological, living beings! So though our nervous systems are more complex than insects and it may take longer for us to be poisoned, it still happens. Besides the fact that these toxins could initiate cancer, other subtle effects on the brain and nervous system include reduced mental functioning, poor concentration, decreased mental clarity, and hyperactivity. Children, whose brain and nervous systems are still developing, are particularly susceptible to these neurotoxins. Is it a wonder that over 10 million children in the US today are diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Ritalin? Childhood cancer and many other diseases have skyrocketed in the last few decades. People are getting sicker, our ecosystems and the earth is suffering, all because a few people in the chemical business can materially profit. And by the way, errrrr…. it’s not even actually working! There are at least 500 new strains of insects which have mutated to be unaffected by the pesticides. So they keep trying to spray more and more toxic chemicals into the soil and crops, which of course go into the food supply, and the little buggers are just too smart for them. So sad isn’t it??

We really have to vote with our food choices. If we keep choosing more and more organic food, then it will become cheaper. And we should be pressuring with our demands, for places like Costco to carry more organic produce. I know it is a tough economy right now, but for our health, we should choose to purchase as much organic produce as we can afford. Perhaps if we shift our perspective a little to think about how much healthier, more mineralizing and beautifying it is for our planet to consume organic food, we could make some different choices. For instance, I love picking out my food directly and talking to the farmers at the farmer’s market who are growing my food. It is pretty inexpensive there… I can get a huge bag of cilantro for $1.50 and a bag of spinach for  $3.00. It makes me so eager to go home and make a delicious, enormous salad, that I have no desire whatsoever to eat at a restaurant. I SO much more prefer my food. Then if I want to do something social and see friends (which is a big reason for eating out I know), then we can meet up to grab a takeout tea and sit in the park. So I don’t spend money on eating at restaurants…and so even though I’m buying organic, if we make intelligent choices as to our sourcing of food and how we spend our money on other activities we do NOT have to be way out of pocket.

As we give ourselves better food, the practice organic farming grows, which is so much more beneficial for the planet! Isn’t it amazing that when we truly take care of ourselves, we naturally live a “green” lifestyle in many ways.
P1011438
So I hope you will try to get yourself more organic, local greens. Give yourself the very best! And when you are picking out your own produce from these beautiful markets, you will be so inspired by your food that you will not want as much crappy junk food snacks either, and that is beautiful too!

I’m leaving for LA on Tuesday so I’ll write to you from there. Have an inspiring start to the week!
All my love,
Kimberly

P1011441

h1

Getting More Sleep Naturally…For Beauty and Weight-Loss

June 4, 2009

200140664-001This Blog is dedicated to Chantal.

Hi Guys,

So as a little reminder, the low-down on sleep is that getting a consistent amount of good sleep makes you LOOK good, FEEL good, and keeps you SLIMMER and your ideal weight. Yay sleep!! 🙂

Our bodies are governed by a biological clock, and we rely on it for the regualation of our metabolic processes, such as our hormone levels, blood sugar levels, body temperatures, metabolism, immunity, etc. Faulty sleep patterns could impede surges of growth hormone, that promotes lean muscle tissue and the burning of body fat. Inadequate sleep also forces cortisol levels to rise, which can quicken fat storage, especially around the belly area! So not getting enough rest, unfortunately, can definitely make you fat and look more FLABBY. Eeeek. (Now THERE IS some motivation to cut back on your late night web surfing hmmmmmm??????).

Everything suffers if we don’t get adequate sleep! You’ll feel crabby and sloth-like during the day, and won’t have as much energy to achieve your goals. To help combat the energy slumps you will also be more apt to reach for snacks and more food— even though it is more sleep that you need, NOT more food!

3-Toed Sloth!

3-Toed Sloth!Can you relate- just wanting to chill out when you're tired?

How much sleep do we really need? Well I’m sure you’ve always heard that scientists insist that we need 8 hours of sleep a night. I think that it is more individual than that, depending on our lifestyle and diet. If you are eating mostly raw food you should require less sleep, since you have so much more energy freed up from the processes of digestion. I need about 6 hours of sleep a night to feel amazing and fully energized! Be intuitive with your own sleep patterns and understand your own body to know how much sleep your really need. Then be responsible for your health and get to bed at the time you need to get those necessary beauty sleep hours!

All of us have trouble falling asleep sometimes- or for some of us it is a chronic problem. We live in such a fast-paced world, with so many sensory elements pulling us this way and that, it is no wonder that it difficult for us to shut everything off at the end of the day and immediately pass out! So we must be conscious of the root causes of our sleep problems and work to correct them- rather than put a bandaid (and an unnatural and liver-harming one at that!) on the issue and resort immediately to the multiple varieties of sleep pills available to us today!!! Sleeping pills should be a very last resort.

Smiling Sloth hanging from a tree

So you ever feel like you are just "hanging on" to get through the day, because you didn't sleep well??

Here are some easy, natural sleep tips:

–    Eat dinner 2-4 hours before bedtime. Do your best, and eat as early as is feasible for you. Be sure your dinners are of the best food combining possible (more on that later). As a general rule, avoiding eating complex starches with heavy proteins. We want our digestion to be as easy as possible and not impede our sleep or rest at all!

–    Avoid drinking any caffeine (a stimulant)- even green tea- in the evenings. Remember raw cacao has some caffeine, so if you are having your raw cacao truffles or raw vegan hot chocolate for desert, just be sensible in limiting the amounts and again, have dinner as early as possible.

–    Avoid eating “Rajastic” (stimulating activity) foods at dinner. This would include excessive spicy chilies, lots of garlic and onion, and a large amount of animal flesh foods.

–    A cup of warm almond milk (see Megan’s Almond Milk recipe to make it truly raw or buy the unsweetened kind at the store) before bedtime is very soothing and contains magnesium and calcium, which can be helpful for falling asleep.

–    Try to avoid taking naps after 4:00 PM.

–    Take a hot shower before bed. There is a signal to your body that it is bedtime, created by the rise in body temperature followed by the decline in the core temperature. I take one every night! And I find it immensely helpful. I like to imagine the stream of water also as white light flushing away the stress and other peoples’ energy from the day, off my body and down the drain. It soothes my muscles, which are always sore from yoga 🙂 and makes me feel fresh and restored.

–    Try to get to establish a (somewhat) consistent pattern of going to bed and waking up around the same time. I know, I know, the weekends are when things go a bit awry in this area, and you deserve to kick back and hang out with your friends or stay up late watching  movies etc on your weekends (!) but like I said, just do your best!

–    Make sure your bedroom is cool- a warmer temperature creates a harder sleep environment. I sleep with my air filter on “turbo mode” which makes a pleasant white sound and produces cool air!

–    Make sure you don’t have any electrical appliances plugged in in in your bedroom. That includes plugged-in alarm clocks, etc. These appliances have subtle radiation currents which can interfere with our body’s natural sleep clocks and REM sleep!  So buy a $10 battery-operated alarm clock instead! 🙂

–    Drink a cup of Kava Tea, which is a tea derived from a root from the South Pacific, and has been shown to reduce anxiety. When I was in Fiji, at night and whenever I met some locals, they would always invite me to a cup of Kava. They would put the root in a cloth and use their hands to rub the essence into a bucket of water for over 10 mins., then ladle it out into cups. Of course I tried not to focus on the level of everyone’s hand cleanliness 🙂 , but it sure did make me feel relaxed! You can get Kava Tea at the health food store with several popular brands.

–    Don’t watch TV in your bedroom or right before you fall asleep. The TV is a lightbox of sounds and images meant to stimulate your senses. How can we be expected to instantly rest peacefully when we have just watched the imagery of all the drama shows they have one, or even worse…the nightly NEWS??? Which is often about doom and gloom and fear-based things and not really peaceful sleep material we want on our mind as we are drifting off!

–    Lastly and most importantly: Be sure to arrange your schedule for a nightly meditation practice. Even more importantly in our busy, busy lives, we need a barrier between the craziness of our days and our sojourn into peaceful sleep. We need some time to reconnect back. Allow yourself at least a few minutes (1/2 hour would be blissful!) to go into meditation. It will make all the difference! If you have no definite technique, do some deep yogic breathing techniques and focus on being still. It will really help you calm down. There are some breathing techniques in my blog, “A Little Discussed Weight Loss Tip.

Happy rest dear ones. ☺
xx Kimberly

Look at this beautiful bird and its reflection!!

Look at this beautiful bird and its reflection! Just another amazing facet of nature.

h1

The Fire Within

June 2, 2009

vancuver-island-with-sweat-lodge-792238

Hey Guys,

So I hope you had a great weekend! I know that it is already Tuesday, but I am STILL processing a very interesting experience I had over my weekend that I wanted to share with you!

I spent the weekend up in upstate New York, where I was invited to take part in a sweat lodge.  I remember vaguely hearing about it but I really didn’t know what it was. It did sound amazing though, so of course I was up for it! Well a sweat lodge is a traditional Native American ceremony to purify yourself and offer up prayers and intentions for the world and what you want to manifest. Sounds cool right? Well I had NO idea how intense this ceremony would be…

sweat-lodge-1
A shaman/tribal leader from out West, a descendent of a long line of medicine men of the Apache tribe, was flown in, and assisted by 4 of his “sons and daughters.” (I was told members of the tribe consider themselves all family- which is so beautiful! By the way.) Everything was done very respectfully, blessing the earth and planting tobacco where we were building, blessing the trees and keeping their edges in the water to keep them “alive”, then volcanic rocks were brought in. A fire pit was build, then an altar, then the actual lodge itself, which was no higher than 4 feet tall, and had a fire pit in the middle. 44 volcanic rocks were heated over the fire for 2 hours, until them became literally red-hot.

There were so many sacred ceremonies that took place- to bless the earth, the water, everything. I can’t talk about all of it- but I want to tell you the gist! Basically there were 4 rounds of prayer, where the shaman decided how many rocks would be brought into the pit for each round. He called for good energy, good spirits to come in, and it did create a sacred, spiritual space. Us women had to cover our shoulders and wear long skirts.

imagesOur first round started with 7 rocks, plus the 5 “blessing rocks” underneath. The sweat lodge is covered in heavy sweat blankets, so when the door closes, you can not see a single spot of light. It is the darkest dark you can imagine, and extremely claustrophobic, since you have to just sit there and there is really nowhere to go. You really can’t get up in the middle of a round, as it is totally dark and so small you don’t want to accidentally burn yourself on the volcanic rocks! So you have to surrender to the panic and the discomfort. They pour water over the rocks, producing a sauna-like effect- except like a bizillion times hotter! They pour herbs over the rocks, so there is also smoke. What was the hardest about the first round is that you have no idea how long it is going to be! Later I found out that the rounds were over an hour! The sweat just poured and poured, and through the intense heat I did my yogic breathing through my nose, as slow as I could. Right when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, I HAD to get out and breathe, get away from the fire heat, the shaman ordered the door to be opened.

After the first round, many left, so there was me, the family that invited me, another friend, and the Indian tribesmen left. In the second round, 12 more fire rocks were added. When I didn’t think that it could get hotter- it became an inferno. My skin was throbbing and felt like it was on fire. All the while there are Native American chants going on, and the shaman was praying outloud. It was so unbearably uncomfortable that I couldn’t just breathe slow- I had to put my mind somewhere else. So I began to chant OM, over and over again, the sacred yogic sound, and some others joined in with me. It required a lot of energy, given the tiny amount of air in that smoky inferno- but it put my attention on something much higher than me, and I forced myself to detach from the situation I was in.

fire pit

We weren't allowed to take pictures! So this is sort of what the fire pit looked outside where the rocks were being heated. Inside the lodge it was the blackest black- completely dark, and no fire light.

Round 3: Some of the few that stayed lay on the earth, as the air was a bit cooler down there. 12 more rocks were added. Round 3 was the round that broke me. I chanted OM much of the time, as well as some Sanskrit chants I know. At that point I was sitting next to one of the tribesman and I could hear their rattles and Indian chants so clearly- someone else was chanting Tibetan Buddhist chants. At the end of Round 3 there was a pause and I put my head down for a minute. I can’t explain how my body and mind felt- so wiped out, sweated out, uplifted in a weird way, and very much on fire.

In Round 4 I completely surrendered. The last 8 rocks were put in the fire pit. As the door closed again, I sat completely still in meditation. I could no longer chant or say anything. I just let the fire and smoke take over…and gave in. In the other rounds I was praying for peace, the earth, my family, Envision Beauty, everything. But in Round 4 I was just still- very still. Finally the shaman called the end of the ceremony, and the door opened for the last time. I was totally out of time and space, and I crawled out of the lodge I saw the most beautiful starry sky. Spent and exhausted- I wandered out of the woods and finally saw the time- the whole ceremony was 6 and a half hours long!!!

I am still processing what happened in that lodge, but I can say that it was an extremely powerful experience. Like an analogy to life, when things are uncomfortable and not easy, you must use your will power to get through- not focus on the pain or discomfort of the present time, but really learn to focus your mind and detach, and then you can get through. Fighting it never helps- you have to surrender that the conditions are what they are, then figure out to move forward. For me, it really was a 6 ½ hour meditation, an extremely intense one. But yoga teaches that we must learn to retain our equanimity, evenness of mind, under ALL conditions. And conquer any challenge. You are stronger than you realize.

IMG_1847
On Sunday I returned to the city, and since then I have felt more clear, and more calm. There are challenges I am facing right now that I must rise up to with getting everything done with the business, etc. and now I feel even stronger to deal with them. So I am very grateful for having experienced this amazing ceremony, and thanks for reading this, I wanted to share it with you.

Have a wonderful day! And hope to see you back here soon!

All my love,
Kimberly