5 Self Care Podcasts to Inspire Your Practice

As our lives become increasingly more chaotic with a steady diet of bad news, overwhelmingly divisive rhetoric, and a never ending stream of work emails pouring into our phones even after business hours, the need for self care has never been more important. I’m sure you’ve heard that the path to self care is paved with aromatherapy candles and soft bath towels. You’ve heard that all you need to do to travel that path is to unplug for a while and meditate. The fact of the matter is, it’s just as impossible to meditate while crammed on a Manhattan bound, rush hour 2 train as it is to get more than 10 minutes to yourself on a busy weeknight.

Self care is a little more complex than all that. That’s not to say that ritual baths and relaxation aren’t a necessary part of self care. Intention is key. It’s not about escaping, it’s about letting go of what is standing in the way of your overall well-being. Whether it’s anxiety and mental health, or lack of sleep and feeling overwhelmed, we all have challenges in our lives that can’t be ignored. So as part of my self care practice, I’ve been listening to some mind blowing podcasts. These self care podcasts offer honest conversations and real life strategies for improving overall wellness. Here are some of my favorites!

Sarah James, a lifestyle blogger and self-help aficionado, and her bestie Kristen Howerton, a writer and psychotherapist, tackle the tricky and often elusive aspects of caring for ourselves on the weekly podacst, Selfie. Their conversations explore questions like: Why don’t I eat the way I should? How do I get enough sleep? What aspects of my personality make self-care tricky? And what’s the best way to deal with pubic hair? From the silly to the serious, Kristen and Sarah are taking a vulnerable and often humorous look at body, mind and spirit . . . and maybe a touch of the random, all while looking at the distractions and defenses that keep us from caring for ourselves like we should.

Untangle is the meditation podcast produced by the Meditation Studio app. This podcast features interviews with experts who have devoted their lives to helping others through meditation.

In this podcast series, Fearne Cotton, author of the bestseller Happy: Finding Joy in Every Day and Letting Go of Perfect, interviews inspiring individuals who have either made a change in their own lives or who help people every day to find a different way of looking at life.

On Make Light, bestselling author, speaker, and photographer Karen Walrond interviews light-seekers and light-makers from around the world, learning how they live with intention and a sense of adventure.

On the Mom Hour, Megan Francis and Sarah Powers, two moms with eight kids between them from preschool to teen, take on parenting topics and issues related to motherhood in a tone that is reassuring and real— with lots of room for laughter.

Gut Health Beyond Food—3 Organic and Ethically Sourced Online Stores

Fun fact for the kids: William the Conqueror died September 9, 1087. A few weeks earlier during the Battle of Mantes, William, quite possibly already suffering from an impacted colon, was hurled against the pommel of his saddle, badly rupturing his internal organs. His condition worsened and he died of infection. Attempts to stuff his severely bloated corpse into a stone sarcophagus proved a fool’s errand as his putrefied intestines exploded, releasing a vile smell that sent vomiting mourners rushing for an exit… So yes, kids, you are going to sit right there at that table until you finish your kale.

Kale is totally good for your gut, there’s no denying that. But eating nutrient dense foods is only part of the gut health equation. In order to fully benefit from our efforts toward healthy lifestyles, we have to make sure that our environment isn’t putting the gut barrier under undue stress. The gut barrier (made up of the intestinal wall and gut microbes) is your body’s natural defense against toxins. The idea is simple: strengthen your gut barrier and hopefully you won’t go out like William the Conqueror.

Problem is, so many everyday products can throw off the balance of microbes in our digestive system, compromising our nutrient absorption, our immune system, and our overall wellness. Some of the culprits may surprise you. Commonly used antibacterial household cleansers, personal hygiene products, pet supplies, and even birth control pills and antacids, impact our environment causing a depletion of the good bacteria in our guts necessary for proper digestion and nutrient absorption. The good news is that you can protect yourself by swapping out everyday items with items from these gut-friendly, green living online stores.

The Ultimate Green Store

Natural, organic, recycled, eco-friendly goods- products that are made with your health and the health of our planet in mind. At the Ultimate Green Store you will find a wide range of high quality products in categories such as clothing, bedding, home goods, personal care, and even yoga mats.

Organic Surge

All those toxic ingredients in skin care products can punch you in the gut too. If you’ve already started your green skin care journey with all the DIY beauty recipes I share, you might want to add Organic Surge into the rotation. I’m really crushing on this line of skin care products I got as a gift. Truth: I’m using this more than any of my homemade products!

Our Green House

Let’s not forget how our fur babies for all their cuteness can introduce some yucky stuff into our lives. This store offers a curated collection of ethically sourced and natural products from fair trade artisans. You can find pet supplies, candles, and a pretty awesome line of household cleaning products.

4 Wellness Rituals to Start Today

There’s been a lot of talk about self care recently. While it may sound super indulgent at first glance what with all the emphasis on ‘me time’, it is an essential part of physical and mental health. If you’ve ever felt like you have nothing left to give, like you’re emotionally and physically exhausted, or even like you just need a moment to get away, you already know how important self care is for you and everyone else around you. There is no shame in hitting the reset button. There’s no shame in trying to keep all the cogs and wheels in your mind and body running as smoothly as possible. That’s essentially what all this ‘me time’ talk is hinting at.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for self care. Sometimes it’s as simple as lighting a candle and meditating. Sometimes it’s as painful as confronting the obstacles that we put in our own way. Whatever method of self care we choose, the fact of the matter is, we just need to find the rituals or habits that allow us to be our best selves. The mind and body are inextricably connected. We have to nurture both. Here are 3 suggestions for self care that you can incorporate today!

Drink warm lemon water every morning

As a coffee drinker, I completely understand if you hesitate on this one, but if I can do it you can too! Warm lemon water, detoxifies and hydrates the body, aids digestion, and gives you a nice kick of Vitamin C. Just squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon into a mug of warm water and enjoy.

Start a gratitude journal

I used to think journaling was something you did just to vent out deeply repressed frustration. Not so! There is so much to be thankful for and sometimes we lose sight of it. Each morning, take a few minutes to jot down a quick list of things you’re grateful for to kick the day off with a positive frame of mind. Seriously, a gratitude journal will remind you to be happy and keep you grounded.

Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic tradition that is primarily for oral health, but is also known to vastly improve overall health. Oil pulling is said to boost energy, clear up the skin, alleviate headaches, and much more. Swish a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. Spit it out in the toilet or in the garbage to avoid clogging your drains. Rinse your mouth out and start your day!

Dry Brush Your Skin

This is another Ayurvedic tradition that has a ton of benefits. Not only does dry brushing stimulate the lymphatic system, it promotes detoxification, improves circulation, and you guessed it, it exfoliates your skin. Using a brush with natural bristles take an extra few minutes before your regular shower routine to dry brush. Beginning at your feet, gently brush in upward strokes working your way up toward your heart. Shower as usual. You’ll totally feel the difference.

Again, there is no right or wrong blueprint for self care. Don’t hate on yourself if you’d rather take a bubble bath than do any of the things on this list. Find what’s right for you and start today! Your future self will thank you.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Try This—The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

I make it a point to eat yogurt everyday. Yogurt has so many health benefits! Everything from weight management, to digestive health, to healthy skin, nails, and hair, yogurt does it all. I’ve had my fair share of health concerns and yogurt has seriously regulated my system. I love yogurt, but in keeping with my quest to decrease the amount of sugar I consume, I’ve been paying special attention to the amount of added sugar in popular yogurt brands. Surprisingly enough, some yogurt brands have more added sugar than ice cream! Double U, Tee, Eff!

As for me, I’ve settled on Siggi’s yogurt which is totally amazing and has just 8 grams of added sugar as opposed to some of the brands that have over 30 grams per serving. Everytime I go to the store, I stock up on Siggi’s. In fact, if after reading this post, you go to the store and there’s no Siggi’s left on the shelf, I apologize in advance because it was probably me that bought them all… Also, If you happen to see Siggi vacationing on the French Riviera, or some beautiful tropical island, you can tell her that I said you’re welcome. I’m pretty sure I’m financing that trip.

As absolutely wonderful as yogurt is, I admit it can get a bit boring when you eat it Every. Single. Day. That is unless you have an arsenal of add-in ideas to take your yogurt from drab to fab! This is seriously the list to end all lists of yogurt toppings. I have tried every single one of these bad boys and let me tell you, these toppings take yogurt to a whole new level. Guilt-free, fine-yogurt-dining, y’all! You must try these!
Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Toss together pitted and quartered peaches with a pinch of cardamom and drizzle of maple syrup. Roast in 350°F oven until tender. Eat warm or at room temperature over yogurt with chopped pecans.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Roast extra peaches and keep refrigerated in a sealed container so you can use them throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Coarsely grate carrots and toss with honey and cinnamon. Spoon over yogurt and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Stir lemon juice and a dash of almond extract into yogurt. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Pit and coarsely chop cherries. Add to a saucepan with a few tablespoons of full-bodied red wine and a pinch of sugar. Simmer until the liquid is thickened, then cool and serve over yogurt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Cook extra cherry-wine sauce and keep refrigerated in an airtight container so you can use it throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Whisk together honey, orange juice, and orange zest. Drizzle over yogurt, and sprinkle with chopped crystallized ginger and chopped pistachios.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra honey-orange sauce and keep in the fridge in an airtight container so you can use over the next few days.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Swirl honey into yogurt. Top with coarsely chopped almonds and apricots. Drizzle with additional honey.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Wrap whole sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and roast in a 375°F oven until tender. Peel and mash with a drizzle of maple syrup. Dollop on top of yogurt and sprinkle with hazelnuts.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Roast extra sweet potatoes to make extra potato-maple mash and then keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container to use throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Whisk together lime juice, zest, and agave. Slice fresh sweet corn kernels off the cob. Toss with lime mixture and sprinkle over yogurt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra topping and keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container to use throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Toast large flaked coconut in a 350°F oven until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool slightly. Stir cocoa powder into yogurt and top with the toasted coconut and chocolate shavings.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

In a bowl smash together half of the blueberries with fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Swirl gently into yogurt. Top with whole blueberries and lemon zest.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra blueberry sauce and store in the fridge in an airtight container so you can use throughout the week.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Stir vanilla extract into yogurt. Top with diced fresh strawberries. Sprinkle brown sugar and coarsely chopped pecans over top and serve.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Mash banana and cinnamon together with a fork until smooth. Swirl gently into yogurt and top with finely chopped peanuts (or pecans).

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

***Make extra banana-cinnamon mash and store in the fridge in an airtight container so you can use for the next few days.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Stir lime zest and lime juice into cajeta. Swirl the lime-cajeta into yogurt and top with diced kiwi and sliced fresh mint. [Cajeta is a goat milk caramel sauce, but if you can’t find it, feel free to use regular caramel sauce]

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Whisk together balsamic vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl. Add the berries and set aside to macerate for 30 minutes. Spoon over yogurt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Halve fresh or dried figs. Drizzle the cut sides with honey and place, cut sides down, in a hot skillet. Caramelize for 2 minutes. Top yogurt with figs, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Try This---The Definitive List of Delicious Yogurt Topping Combos

Swirl pumpkin butter into yogurt and top with shards of graham crackers and pumpkin seeds.

There’s something on this list for everyone for sure. These combos aren’t just for yogurt either! Get creative and amp up your oatmeal, waffles, or toast!

If you’re more of an ice cream lover and you’re trying to stay away from all of that sugar, you absolutely must check out this 30 Days of Nice Cream series for a totally healthy and satisfying alternative to traditional ice cream!

Source: buzzfeed

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts---Spa Days at Home

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts—Spa Days at Home

I’ve been super stressed lately. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I’ve had this general sense of anxiety and malaise for weeks now. This weekend was a particularly rough one, and I couldn’t really calm down long enough to get any rest. Sigh. So Sunday night, after all my efforts to chill had been exhausted, I decided to soak in a bath. I don’t know guys, lately I just really feel like I need a 24-hour hug. A warm bath is always the next best thing, so I whipped up this quick bath salts recipe and melted away in the tub. It was a total pick-me-up and my skin felt amazing. This is my new favorite and I’m pretty sure you’re gonna love it too!

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked oatmeal, blended
  • 1 cup unscented Epsom salt
  • 1 tbsp unrefined sea salt
  • 10-15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Homemade Eucalyptus Oatmeal Bath Salts

Directions

  • In blender, add uncooked oatmeal and lightly blend it until it’s almost flour
  • in a glass container, mix together your blended oatmeal, epsom salt, and sea salt
  • slowly add in the drops of eucalyptus
  • store in a sealed glass container in a cool dry place for up to two months
  • to use, just add 1-2 tablespoons to your bath water and relax

***If eucalyptus isn’t your thing, you can replace that essential oil with another soothing essential oil of your choice (lavender, chamomile, or peppermint all work well)

***You can also add fresh herbs like rosemary or lavender to this mixture, but be warned that the overall mixture won’t stay fresh for as long.