A lot of what I choose to eat and supplement my biology with is purely intuitive. Over the years, through much practice, I’ve learned to tune into and provide what my body is asking for. A couple of weeks ago, I felt called to incorporate Himalayan Shilajit into my biology. I don’t know why, but I tend to smell everything before I eat it. So, I smelled the Shilajit and was surprised to be transported back to my childhood and Band-Aids. Yes, the scent of Shilajit reminds me of Band-Aids.
Why would I want to ingest something that smells like Band-Aids? Beats me. But, I did and I have been. The flavor is a bit strong and definitely it’s own thing, unlike anything else I’ve eaten. Like anything else, when the body want something and needs something, I kind of go for it. You know what? I like it and, I miss eating it if I happen to not have it on a given day.
What is Himalayan Shilajit?
Shilajit is formed from the compression of organic materials between the rock fissures within the Himalayas. In the summer months, this compressed biomass oozes out of these fissures.
Himalayan Shilajit, also known as “the Conqueror of Mountains and the Destroyer of Weakness,” contains over 85 plant-based minerals and trace elements in an ionic and bio-available form. Minerals that are bio-available are ready for uptake and integration into our system without our bodies needing to break down, or catalyze, the minerals first. Himalayan Shilajit also contains fulvic acid, which aids in the cellular uptake of the minerals and trace elements.
What are some of the benefits of Himalayan Shilajit?
- Adaptogen. Shilajit helps the body to adapt to given stressors, much like many tonic herbs. It helps the body fight stress and fatigue, while providing energy at the cellular level.
- Energizes. Shilajit helps the body produce additional ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – our body’s primary source of energy.
- Anti-aging. Shilajit activates, stabilizes, and revitalizes CoQ10, an important cofactor in mitochondrial production. The mitochondria serve as the body’s energetic powerhouse and is used in the production ATP.
- Decreases fatigue and turbo-charges the body. Shilajit contains humic acid. Humic acid increases the rate of electron transfer to the mitochondria, which, in turn, increases the production of ATP (energy). Humic acid is bio-available.
- Helps to maintain brain function. Shilajit inhibits the enzyme responsible for catalyzing (breaking down) acetylcholine — a neurotransmitter responsible for memory retention and attention span.
- May help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Shilajit brings additional oxygen, minerals, and nutrients to the brain, which assists the body’s natural ability to self-protect against plaque forming proteins amyloid beta and tau.
- Calms the nervous system. Shilajit has been shown to increase parasympathetic activity, thereby decreasing stress (the fight or flight response) within the body.
- Boosts performance and pleasure. Shilajit may trigger the release of dopamine – the feel good hormone – as well as increase performance when under stress.
- Supports fertility. Shilajit has been shown to increase sperm production by 60% and activity by 12%.
According to Ron Teeguarden, Shilajit’s traditional functions are:
- “Jing tonic – Tones the sexual organs, supports sexual energy and stamina (traditionally considered to be an “aphrodisiac”), supports healthy prostate function
- Qi tonic – Enhances energy and stamina.
- Shen tonic – Enhances spiritual power
- Enhances bioavailability and action of other herbs
- Detoxifying – huge high-valence surface area collects debris and free radicals, cleansing the blood and tissues of the body
- A carrier – binds to herbal constituents and minerals, delivering them to their targets
- A catalyst – promotes the activity of minerals and organic constituents
- Supports urinary functions
- Supports healthy microcirculation
- Supports healthy menstrual functions
- Supports the immune system
- Supports healthy fat metabolism
- Supports lung functions
- Used for general fortification and tonification of the entire body.”
Myth and legend surround the mighty baobab tree. The baobab is known as the African Tree of Life. According to some African bushmen,
With such legend, one might assume that the mighty baobab has some incredible benefits, yes? Yes! I recently stumbled across the mighty baobab, have been researching it, and incorporating it into my biology. It turns out that this tree and its fruit have quite a few benefits that are naturally used in traditional African medicine.
What are the benefits of the mighty baobab?
Powerful antioxidant. Baobab fruit is high in Vitamin C. One single serving contains ~80% of the RDV of Vitamin C. The baobab fruit powder has an integral antioxidant capacity that is 37x greater than that of oranges and 3x the antioxidants found in blueberries. The baobab seed oil contains Vitamins A, D, and E as well as Omega 3, 6, and 9.
Analgesic. The fruit pulp is shown to have pain relieving affects similar to that of aspirin.
Hepatoprotective. The pulp has been shown to have a protective and restorative effect on damaged livers in rats. I personally am curious if baobab fruit helps to heal livers damaged by flukes (platyhelminths).
Anti-diarrhea. The fruit pulp contains ~50% fiber (equal parts soluble and insoluble) as well as tannins and citric acid.
Pre-biotic. Gut health – yes! The soluble fiber in the pulp stimulates the growth of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. When the pulp powder is combined with certain ferments, it may prevent and/or inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella sp., Bacillus sp., and Streptococcus sp.
Reduce fever. The bark, fruit pulp, and seeds may be used to reduce fever, particularly in cases of malaria.
Anti-viral. The fruit, leaves and seeds may act as an anti-viral against herpes, flu, and respiratory viruses.
Anti-trypanosoma. Baobab roots serve as anti-trypanosoma (an anti-parasitic) and reduce or eliminate the motility of trypanosomes – the causative agent of sleeping sickness.
Skin care/beautification. A decoction of baobab roots promote smooth skin.
I found these traditional medicinal uses particularly interesting:
The leaves may be used as an anti-asthmatic and anti-histamine. They may also be used in the treatment of Guinea worm (a parasitic worm), urinary tract diseases, eye and ear inflammations.
The bark may be used as a substitute for quinine in reducing fever and as a remedy for toothache. In addition, the bark, fruit pulp and seeds are used as an antidote to the poison often used on arrows.
The dried fruit pulp, which tastes similar to a mild creamsicle, is available through various super food retailers. In addition to all of the benefits listed above, baobab pulp is also rich in B Vitamins, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and manganese.
How can you use baobab?
- Add it to your morning smoothie.
- Add it to homemade ice-cream (dairy or vegan).
- Sprinkle it on your yogurt.
- Mix it in a smoothie bowl.
- Add it to un-baked, or baked goods.
How do you use baobab? If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to see featured on my blog, email it to me with a picture of your mighty baobab creation (amanda(at)onalimb(dot)org) and I’ll feature it in an upcoming blog post.
Kabore, Donatien, H. Sawadogo-Lingani, B. Diawara, C.S. Compaore, M.H. Dicko, and M. Jakobsen. 2011. A review of baobab (Adansonia digitata) products: Effect of processing techniques, medicinal properties and uses. African Journal of Food Science. 5(16): 833-844.
Images: theholbox(dot)com, bumblerootfoods(dot)com
Before diving into 10 benefits of MSM, you may be wondering — what is MSM? MSM, is also known as methylsulfonylmethane. It contains sulfur, a mineral which we are largely deficient in due to the poor mineral concentrations in the majority of soils today. Even if you eat large quantities of plants high in sulfur, it’s still likely you may be deficient in this superfood.
What are 10 benefits of MSM?
- Reduce pain. MSM is an anti-inflammatory and natural analgesic (pain reliever). It also increases cellular permeability and dilates blood vessels, increasing circulation and the removal of waste products from the cells, decreasing time needed to heal from injury and wounds. MSM is also a muscle relaxant.
- Is a synergist. MSM aids in the uptake of vitamin C, all B vitamins, CoQ10, amino acids, calcium, magnesium, and more.
- Antioxidant. MSM, particularly sulfur, aids in the production of glutathione – one of the key antioxidants in reducing oxidative stress.
- Detoxification. Aids in the removal of heavy metal toxicity and cellular waste products. In addition, the production of glutathione assists the liver in removing waste products from the body.
- Improves neurological function. MSM can cross the blood-brain barrier, improving cellular function and removing heavy metal toxicity within the brain cells. It may also improve memory.
- Reduces/relieves allergies. MSM may work as an antihistamine and works to heal the mucosa within the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts as well as the respiratory system. This decreases the availability for allergen, pathogen, and parasite binding.
- Reduces the severity of autoimmune disorders. The anti-inflammatory, analgesic, detoxification, mucosal healing, and antioxidant effects of MSM help to reduce auto-immune reactions, particularly in and around joints and connective tissue.
- Helps to balance blood sugar. Sulfur is needed for proper structure and function of insulin, essential in carbohydrate metabolism.
- Reduces muscle soreness and cramps. When taken prior to training, MSM may reduce post-training muscle soreness and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). When consumed after training, MSM aids in reducing muscle cramps and increasing recovery between training sessions.
- Beautifies skin, hair, and nails. Sulfur is needed in the production of collagen and keratin — two proteins required for healthy hair, skin, and nails. It helps keep skin smooth, soft and youthful looking, hair shiny.
I recently shared a photo of a green drink I’ve been incorporating into my biology on a daily basis. Many of you asked “what’s in it?”. I’m excited to share with you the incredible recipe that has numerous health benefits, including:
- building the blood and yin
- harmonizing the liver
- lubricating the intestines
- beautifies the skin
- reducing heat and moistening dryness
- aiding digestion
- assisting with heavy metal removal
- immune enhancing activity
- balancing blood sugar imbalances
Serves 1. All ingredients are organic unless otherwise noted.
2 granny smith apples
1-2″ piece of ginger
1/3 – 1/2 bunch of red kale
1 c. chopped pineapple
1 TB chlorella powder
- Juice the apples, ginger, and kale.
- Place in a blender: the juice, avocado, pineapple, and chlorella powder.
- Blend until smooth.
- Enjoy. To aid digestion, assimilation, and absorption, chew the smoothie (or swish it around your mouth a few times) before swallowing.
In today’s vlog, I share with you one of my favorite superfoods to make – raw cacao!
Check it out below, let me know what you think, and share both the video and recipe with anyone you know who loves chocolate.
Ingredients (all organic and/or raw):
1 c. cacao butter
1 c. cacao powder
1/2 c. maple syrup
1 TB maca powder
2 tsp. lucuma powder
1 tsp. vanilla powder
Himalayan sea salt
1.5 TB bee pollen
1-2 tsp dried lavender
1. Melt the cacao butter in a double boiler over low heat.
2. Turn the heat off. Add cacao powder. Stir.
3. Add maple syrup. Stir.
4. Add vanilla powder, maca, lucuma and a pinch or two of sea salt. Stir.
5. Pour mixture into a container or chocolate molds.
6. Sprinkle bee pollen, lavender, and 1 pinch sea salt on top of the chocolate.
7. Place in the fridge to cool and set…the freezer if you really can’t wait. Then, when it’s solid, enjoy!
How do we go about surviving the holidays? Are holidays even meant to be survived? Or, are they something that should be enjoyed? Chances are you may be stretching yourself thin — financially, physically, emotionally — by over-committing yourself this holiday season. What does that lead to?
- a run down immune system
- emotional eating
- over eating…
Does this resemble your experience of the holidays? If so, welcome to “Your Brutally Honest, and Somewhat Hedonistic, Holiday Survival Guide.” Without further adieu, here are some tips to help you not only survive the holiday season, but thrive this holiday season.
- Be honest with yourself.
If you’re dreading that visit with Aunt Jane, buying John Doe a gift because he always buys you one and you feel it’s something you have to do, or feel like you have to attend all of the holiday parties you’ve been invited to…Stop. Listen to yourself and what your body-heart-mind is telling you. If you really do not want to visit Aunt Jane, buy John Doe a gift, or attend every holiday party, admit it to yourself.
Now that you’ve sat down and gotten real with yourself, you can make a choice as to what you want to do. What is going to serve you most? What is going to make you happy and healthy? What will allow you to honor your truth? If that means not buying John Doe a gift, don’t buy one. If it means only attending three parties instead of twenty, just attend three. If you really don’t want to visit Aunt Jane, don’t visit her. Might there be backlash from this? Sure, but you can approach it from the perspective of honoring yourself, your time, your health, and your energy. What people think of you has nothing to do with you.
- Be willing to accept your decision.
If you feel the consequences of not visiting Aunt Jane over shadow the benefits of staying home, for example, then I would encourage you to accept it and realize that you have made the conscious decision to visit her. It is your choice. Man up or woman up. When we consciously choose to do, or not do, something, we become accountable for our own actions, the obligatory becomes a decision, and we may become less likely to project resentment and anger towards others.
- Embrace the overindulging.
How many times have you heard people beat themselves up, call themselves fat, disgusting, and other derogatory terms for overindulging on Grandma’s rum-soaked fruit cake, or Ma’s tiramisu, or the roast beast? Probably quite a bit. If you choose to overindulge, embrace it, bless it, enjoy it, and move on. Beating yourself up like Mike Tyson or Conor McGregor is in the boxing ring with you isn’t going to do you any favors. Accept your overindulgence. Enjoy it. Start clean tomorrow.
- Ask for what you really want.
Oftentimes, people are afraid to voice their heart’s desires out of fear of being judged by others around them. If you don’t say what is on your heart-mind, if you don’t express yourself and what it is you want — whether it’s a date night out, a massage, that ring you’ve been eyeing at the jewelers, or something that was made from nature, from the heart — chances are, you’re pretty unlikely to receive it. You may wind up like this poor girl:
Exercise, particularly in the form of working-in, can be a fantastic way to relieve stress, increase energy, and stave off some of those holiday pounds. Find something you enjoy doing and go do it. Taking an hour everyday to get out in nature is a great way to ground yourself. If you’re too busy for an hour in nature, then I’d recommend spending two hours in nature.
All those late nights will catch up with you. Set a limit for yourself, honor your biological circadian rhythm and get thy arse to bed at a reasonable hour. You cannot make-up sleep or get caught up on sleep. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Want to have the energy for those parties? Do you want to remain grounded during your visit with Aunt Jane or calm, cool, and collected whilst all around you are playing parking wars at the nearest mall or Whole Foods? Sleep. Seriously. It will help your ability to remain emotionally centered during emotionally charged times.
- Receive a massage or draw a bath…or both!
Yes, de-stress. It’s vitally important to your sanity and your health. Treat yourself to at least 60 minutes on the table while your highly qualified and exceptionally talented massage therapist works out the stresses of your day. Draw a bath, scent it with your favorite essential oils, add some Epsom salts, close your eyes and allow yourself to drift away.
- Intimately connect with your partner or yourself.
In other words, have sex or make love, practice tantra, with your partner or yourself. Mmhmm. Yep, I went there. We were given bodies to experience all that human life has to offer — including pleasure. Not only does it feel great, it also relieves stress, burns calories, can boost your mood, increase circulation and give you a natural glow, help you fall asleep, and develop a more intimate relationship with yourself and your partner. Psst — it’s also an opportunity to ask for and show your partner what you like or explore yourself and what you like.
Before your panties get all in a wad, herbs can mean many things. Some days, there’s nothing more relaxing than coming home, slipping into your favorite pair of pjs, plopping thy wonderful self upon the couch and enjoying a cup of tea. For immune-fortification effects, add some reishi, chaga, astragalus, or he shou wu to your cuppa or your smoothie. Check out one of my favorite recipes – Winter Wonderland. Likewise, if ganja is up your alley and helps to take the edge off, among numerous other benefits, by all means enjoy.
- Bonus. Drink and spread the holiday cheer.
If drinking water and green smoothies isn’t up your alley, or your friends and family’s alley, then check out this amazing holiday beverage from Meaghan Sinclair, owner and alchemist of Boston-based Booze Epoque.
2 ounces rye
1 ounce Ancho Reyes (ancho chili liqueur)
1 ounce honey syrup (one part honey to one part water)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cut fresh apple
1 slice lemon peel
1 lemon slice
2.5 ounces dry hard cider
Muddle fresh apple, lemon peel, lemon juice and honey syrup in bottom of cocktail shaker. Add rye and Ancho Reyes and shake over ice. Strain into highball glass with fresh ice. Add lemon slice and top with dry hard cider.
1 ounce honey
2 ounces apple cider
1/2 ounce lemon juice
pinch: cinnamon, cayenne powder, clove, allspice, brown sugar
lemon and apple slice to garnish
Add honey, apple cider, lemon juice, brown sugar and spices to a highball glass, stir together. Add ice. Top with club soda and stir once more. Garnish with lemon and apple slice.
It’s autumn here in the States and with autumn comes everything pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin smoothies, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin costumes, oh and…
If you’re not familiar with the Headless Horseman, check this out:
Here’s a way to over-indulge in pumpkin without turning into a pumpkin yourself.
- 3 TB pumpkin puree
- 16 oz milk/mylk of your choice
- 1/2 tsp bee pollen (if not allergic)
- 1 heaping tsp reishi
- 3 scoops Super Meal L.O.V.
- to taste:
- real maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima’s or Mrs. Butterworth’s)
- fresh ginger
- cayenne pepper for a kick and to keep an internal warmth
Place in blender. Blend. Enjoy!
Let me know how you like it below. If you have any of your own suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
Who doesn’t love a little music to dance to accompanied by some killer fig goodies that are too good to not dance about while eating?!
These delectable little figgy balls of chocolate covered heaven hit up both the sweet and savory sides at the same time. Did I mention they’re covered in chocolate? No?
Psst…they’re covered in chocolate!
While I wouldn’t recommend over-indulging, you can definitely allow yourself to indulge. These Getting Figgy with it treats are all organic, all non-GMO, all natural, preservative-free, superfood goodness.
Are you drooling yet? I am.
10 oz of dried Turkish figs
11 oz of dried back mission figs
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
a few pinches of sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan)
dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
5 TB Purium’s organic coconut oil (melted)
4 TB Ojio’s raw cacao powder
1 tsp. lucuma powder
Remove the stems from the figs. Place the figs in a food processor and process until you have a mass of sticky, ooey-gooey, fig newton-like yumminess. Add the curry power, cardamom, and a pinch of sea salt. Pulse to incorporate the spices throughout.
Slightly wet your hands and roll the mixture into approximately 30 balls. You can then roll the balls in the coconut flakes.
To make the chocolate sauce:
Combine the coconut oil, cacao powder, lucuma powder, and remaining 2 pinches of sea salt in a bowl. Gently whisk until well combined.
Dip/roll the fig balls into the chocolate sauce and place on wax or parchment paper. Allow to set in the fridge for approximately 1 hr.
Then, put on some tunes and Get Figgy with it!
PS – You can also change the spices to incorporate what suits your taste buds and mood.