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.
Chances are if you are human, you’ve experienced the wonderful pleasure of feeling triggered. Either something someone said or did likely set you off. Perhaps you felt unworthy, sad, angry, unloved. You may have cried, screamed, yelled, gone off and hidden in your wo(man) cave, or all of the above. You may have reacted to the trigger and ripped someone a new one or told them how you really feel…possibly regretting it later. Ouch.
Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? Perhaps you’ve gone so far as to blame the other person for what you are experiencing. Doh. Psst…your feeling triggered has absolutely nothing to do with the person who has triggered you.
If feeling triggered is such a volatile experience, how and why is it beneficial? Read on to discover why I feel grateful when I feel triggered and why I would rather experience a trigger than feel like someone has to walk on their tip-toes around me.
- It shows us that we are human.
If we were never triggered, we’d be robots. We are emotional beings here to soak up this incredibly human experience of being human – part of which is feeling triggered at times.
- It shows us what is unresolved and unhealed within ourselves.
Feeling triggered is an opportunity to look into the mirror of your soul and see what is there in a way that we are unable to without someone else reflecting back our stuff. It’s an opportunity and a gift to be shown where the dark, fertile soil resides so that we may tend to the earth of our heart and plant the nourishing seeds of our souls.
- Intimacy, or into-me-I-see.
Are you craving intimacy? Here is your opportunity to step through the threshold, open up and be intimate with the person who triggered you (as long as you feel safe doing so). It’s also an opportunity to share an incredibly intimate co-versation with the part of yourself that is asking for resolution and healing.
- The art of vulnerability and authenticity.
Would you be willing to share when you feel triggered, vulnerable and raw? Or, are you more likely to put on a stoic mask and hide your triggered self under the rug, in the dark recesses of your closet, or under your bed? There is little more real than being fully present in the moment and authentically sharing from your heart your vulnerable self.
- Projecting or owning your own shizzle.
When you give yourself permission to step back for a moment and witness yourself being yourself, you can see whether you spew projections at others when you feel triggered, whether you internalize your projections, or whether you own your own shizzle. Each of these has its benefits and its pitfalls. The first step is noticing which you tend to do and why.
So, next time you feel triggered, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride. I’d be curious to hear how these 5 benefits to feeling triggered help you weather your next storm.
How do you disarm a ticking time bomb? What is a ticking time bomb?
Have you noticed that when you ask someone how they feel that they tend to respond with “I am happy,” “I am sad,” “I am angry!”? When we use the phrase “I am,” we tend to take on the energetic qualities of that emotion, thus becoming sadness, anger, or fear for example. When we take on the energetics of an emotion, we can become a ticking time bomb. A ticking time bomb tends to be a challenging person to be around, unless you enjoy working with explosives.
What can we do to diffuse a ticking time bomb? Well, first off, we can give that person space to feel whatever they are feeling and express the emotion in whatever way needs expressing (barring harm to self or others). It’s not our “job” to change anyone. We can, however learn how to accept them as they are. That being said, you can work on disarming your own ticking time bomb within yourself by changing your language.
What might that look like? Next time you feel angry, sad, frustrated, fear, etc. rather than say “I am angry…,” see if you can give yourself permission to flip the coin and say “I feel angry.” Notice how that instantly changes the quality of anger within your body. Instead of becoming anger, you are now a witness to your anger – someone who can experience the feeling of the emotion of anger as it flows through you.
Give it a try and let me know how you feel.
Comment below and share with anyone you think may benefit from this simple, yet profound practice.
When was the last time you watched the sun rise?
When was the last time you watched the sun set?
When was the last time you spent the day at the beach and laid upon the sand until the stars came out?
And when was the last time you took the time to connect with the ones you love?
When was the last time you told them “I love you”? And when was the last time you looked in the mirror, said “I love you,” to yourself, meant it, and believed it?
When was the last time you chose to make a decision to change your diet, your exercise, your job, your life not because you look in the mirror and tell yourself –
“I’m fat. I hate my body. If only I lost 30 pounds, then I’d be happy. I’ll be so happy when I can quit my job and leave this area…”
…I don’t like you, I don’t love you, and you’re not good enough…
…but chose to instead make a conscious decision to change your diet, your job, your life. To watch the sun rise, to revel in connecting with the people, nature, and experiences that invite you to feel alive, because you love yourself as you are and you love yourself enough to choose to live a life that exemplifies that.
I invite you to choose to make one conscious decision, one action to do for yourself, each and every day that will inspire you to celebrate and enjoy this one wild and precious life. If you’re not sure where to start or how to start, let me know. I’d be honored to help guide you.
When we’re having a great day and really enjoying ourselves, it’s pretty easy to say that we’re having the best day ever. Have you noticed that?
What happens when less than ideal things happen to us? Maybe we were in a car accident, lost our wallet, dropped the cell phone in the loo…maybe we broke a bone, found out we’re experiencing an illness, or are mourning the loss of a loved one.
Perhaps you’ve realized that you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship and you sit there, on your bed, locked in your room, with a bottle of Tylenol next to you, wondering…
“Is this all there is to life?”
Or, perhaps the emotional pain you are feeling is too present, too intense to process and…
…you beg on hands and knees for some sort of physical pain so you don’t have to feel the pain within your heart.
You receive that pain only to spend three years learning how to get out of it, chasing your tail in circles. In that blind, circle-chasing process stumble over your own two feet to discover
in order to let go of the physical pain you’ve been feeling, you have to allow yourself to feel all of the emotional pain you’ve been numbing yourself from and hiding from.
What happens then? Do we say that it’s the best day ever? Probably not. Chances are, we’re more likely to sound like Alexander from “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
I get it. I’ve been there. Up there, that woman who sat on her bed, who numbed herself, who begged for physical pain, over 10 years ago, was me. I understand what it’s like to have hit some sort of rock bottom and to wonder if you’ll ever pull yourself out of the hole that you’re in.
Just as a rainbow can light up the darkest of skies, we can choose to light up our own sky. Regardless of what happens to us or what we’re experiencing, we have a choice. We have a choice to choose whether or not we’re going to have the best day ever — regardless of the circumstances that come our way.
You may be sitting there saying that that is absolute cockamamie bullshit. That’s OK. I invite you to hear me out.
I suspect one day, you might reach a point in your life when you’re tired of “having bad days.” Is any day really bad? What defines a bad day? The day itself doesn’t change. The sun rises and sets, the earth rotates on its axis and around the sun, the moon waxes and wanes, the tides rise and fall. So, what’s different other than our perspective about that particular day?
You see, we fall into the carefully designed trap of living a life of comparison. We consciously and subconsciously compare each moment of our day, each experience we have, to all of the other experiences we have experienced and decide — good or bad; the best day ever, or the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Why? Why choose to compare? Why live your present life in the past?
Each and every single moment of every single day we are free to consciously choose what kind of day we are experiencing.
Wouldn’t you like to experience the best day ever, each and every day? Now, I’m not saying that dark, negative, or challenging experiences won’t ever fall your way because they will. It’s inevitable. It’s part of this human experience. However, you can choose how you react to those dark, negative, or challenging experiences. You can choose to flip the coin. You can choose to open the door to a part of yourself that you may not have experienced.
You can choose to reclaim your power rather than victimize yourself by giving your power away to the situation.
Notice the next time you find yourself saying “I’m having a bad day,” or “this is the worst day ever.” Make a conscious decision to flip the coin. Make a conscious decision to open the door behind which a new experience of your Self lies in wait.
I invite you to choose to say “I am having the best day ever.” You may not believe yourself at first. I certainly didn’t. Once I said that a few times to myself though, I experienced the cathartic, cleansing release of tears.
In that moment, I realized that the only thing holding me back from having the best day ever was me — my mindset, my thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, and my attitude. You too can choose to shift your perspective.
When you stop comparing this day, this one moment which you have never experienced before, with any other day or any other moment, when you choose to live life like there is no past and no future, and all that exists is right here, right now…you will shift.
If all that exists is this one precious moment, regardless of the experience and the visitor that has landed on the doorstep of your Home, what will you choose?
Thanks for joining us again. If you missed Part 1, you can view it here.
Without further delay, here are tips 6-10:
6. Go outside and connect with nature.
Have you ever laid upon the earth and noticed how incredible it feels to do so? When was the last time you watched the stars come out at night? The sun rise in the morning? We spend so much time, in general, surrounded by technology in our man made concrete jungle, that we have largely become disconnected from who and what we are. We are human beings, not human doings. Unplug. Go visit the forest, the beach, or the mountains. Kick your shoes off, close your eyes, and allow yourself to connect with the earth. You may notice you breathe more fully. Your stress may decrease significantly. Your mood may brighten, and you may feel more grounded. If you feel so bold and daring as to be called a tree-hugger by your friends, please do hug a tree. If you “listen” carefully, you can “hear” the flow of movement within the tree, “hear” it “speak.” Yes, I hug trees. Part of me feels ashamed to share that with you. Interesting.
Some would argue that this should be first on the list. Without breath, we would not be alive. So, breathing is just a little important.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive a deep breath? Can you receive a deep breath? Can you fully exhale? When you inhale, where do you breathe from? What is your belly doing? Are you a chest breather? A mouth breather? A noisy breather? Are you really breathing or do you just think you are breathing? Dysfunctional breathing patterns are a sign that your system, your body, is under stress.
I invite you to lie on your back, place a small sandbag, bag of rice, or herbal hot pack on your abdomen. Which direction does it move when you inhale? It should move up towards the ceiling. Draw your attention to your ribs. Are they expanding laterally? Posteriorly? Can you breath in 360°? I would like to invite you to take a few moments and breathe. Focus on slow, steady, quiet breathing, inhaling through the nose for a count of three, exhaling through the nose for a count of 5-6. You may find yourself experiencing emotions as you relax and let go. Allow yourself to feel them, to experience them, and let them go. Experience what it is like to feel, to receive and to give breath, and to relax.
Perhaps it would be worth exploring tips 6-8 together? Have you ever noticed how noisy our minds can be?! I don’t know about yours, but mind used to wander like crazy (and still does at times)! I would sit in meditation and find my mind wondering about what I had to do, what was going on in my life that was stressing me out, what to cook for dinner…inhale for three, exhale for six. Why can’t I relax? Breathe in, breathe out. Is this over yet? Has it been five minutes? My bum hurts and my feet are falling asleep. There goes my mind again. Monkey brain, monkey brain. Focus on the breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Sound familiar? It does get easier.
Meditation has many benefits, including, but not limited to the following:
- reduces stress
- lowers high blood pressure
- decreases tension within the body
- increases serotonin
- increases the immune system’s ability to fight infection
- increases energy
- increases mental clarity
- increases emotional steadiness
There are numerous meditation apps out there. I invite you to try one and incorporate 5-10 minutes of daily meditation into your life. Who knows, it may just carry over into the amazing art of what I consider moving meditation, like what my friend Rusty is doing here:
9. Play and allow your inner child to express his/her unique, creative self.
Now we’re getting serious. When was the last time you played? Really played and had fun and allowed yourself to be wild and carefree? What were some of your favorite things to do as a child? I loved climbing on things, swinging, sitting under this huge blue spruce tree in the backyard and making mud pies, blowing bubbles and running around to pop them…
What would you do right here, right now if no one was watching that would invite your inner child to giggle with sheer delight? What’s stopping you from doing that? I’ll admit, this is a topic that likely has many layers to it and may very well warrant a post of its own.
One of the things my inner child likes to do is write. She also likes to swing, though I get nauseous if I swing for too long. She loved the experience of contradancing, and would probably enjoy contact improve…and, I’m a horrible dancer and haven’t done it in a long time. She likes to climb on things, slide down slides, and be upside down on her hands. She loves to laugh and laugh with you.
What are some things you could do right here, right now that would allow your unique inner child to express him/herself through you? I’d love to hear about it from you. You won’t be judged, even if it means catching frogs or, holding a pumpkin and acting like it’s a microphone. Go for it and have fun!
10. Ask yourself what makes you happy and go do it.
What invites you to feel happy? Only you can answer this. What can you do for yourself to welcome more happiness into your life? Do you feel happy? Do you really feel happy or are you in denial that you are unhappy? I’m curious, what does true happiness mean to you?
This isn’t a fake it until you make it post. I’m inviting you to consider one thing, just one that invites you to feel happy. One thing that invites me to feel happy is taking care of myself and moving my body every day. Another is spending time connecting with people I love and care for. I would like to invite you to spend some time every day doing one thing that invites you to experience happiness.
11. Be curious about yourself.
Have you noticed how certain patterns may reappear in your life? Have you noticed that sometimes you are triggered for no reason whatsoever or that seemingly trivial situations leave you worked up and in a tizzy? Have you wondered about your dreams and what they may be telling you?
Would you consider being curious about yourself? What does that mean? Rather than rationalizing and accepting things at face value, would you consider asking yourself “why”? Would you consider asking yourself “what”? Would you consider asking yourself “is this true,” or “is this for my highest good at this moment in time”? I’ll admit that asking questions often leads to more questions and few answers. However, the answers are sometimes in the questions themselves. By remaining curious about ourselves, we may open ourselves up to a realm of possibility that may not be realized otherwise.
How do you nourish yourself? I would enjoy hearing from you below. Please feel free to share some of the ways you nourish yourself. If you find that you’re not nourishing yourself or don’t know where to start, please shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help guide you.