A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

JOIN SOULSPRING FOR CONSCIOUS INSIGHTS.

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality... PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to Create a Peaceful Mind.

Nutrition Takes Another Spin - Why Can't the Experts Get It Straight?

Fad diets come and go, but officially the subject of nutrition is guided by science. The public stubbornly thinks in terms of "good" foods and "bad" foods, so when the government's nutritional experts issue scientifically based advice, any attempt at a nuanced picture generally gets lost. Recently there were headlines when the highest board for dietary protocols, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Council, reversed a government warning about avoiding foods high in cholesterol, which has been in place nearly 40 years.

The public is likely to shrug off this about-face, or else decide that eggs, the most common food high in cholesterol, is no longer a "bad" food but has moved into the "good" column. This ignores the council's message, which weighed one thing against another. For people in a normal state of health, saturated fats from animal products pose a higher risk than high cholesterol. This finding is more a shift in focus than an about-face. It's still unhealthy, the majority of nutritionists agree, to eat too much red meat as opposed to eggs, but eggs are high in saturated fat, too, so you shouldn't overdo them, either.

Continue reading

Should You Eat Organic Foods to Reduce Your Cancer Risk? A New Study Says Yes

A 2018 study examined the link between organic food and cancer. And it came to some remarkable conclusions. Researchers found that eating organic foods can help cut overall cancer risk due to the reduced exposure to dietary pesticides.

By Charles Benbrook • A version of this article was originally published on Environmental Health News

More than 1.7 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2018, and 35% of these cases will prove fatal.

A little less than $150 billion was spent fighting cancer in 2017.

Imagine the excitement that would accompany the discovery of anything — a new drug, therapy, diet, or lifestyle change — that promises to cut overall cancer frequency by 5%.

Every year, such a discovery would spare 87,000 people this most-feared diagnosis and reduce deaths by 30,000 and cancer-related health care costs by around $7 billion.

Such monumental benefits would justify major investments and significant policy change.

Well, not necessarily.

Continue reading

Give Thanks for Your Digestion!

The holiday season brings feasts, parties, merry-making and heavy foods. Big meals complete with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy leave us sleepy and ready for an afternoon nap on the sofa in front of the fireplace. If you're concerned about increasing your immunity during the flu season, you'll want to avoid overeating.

Instead, take time to savor each bite and stop eating when you are satisfied. Before each meal, pause for a moment and be thankful for your digestive system, the food, the cooks and the Creator. Digestion is the process of taking in and assimilating Intelligence from the universe to feed and nourish our own Inner Intelligence.

Through our digestive tract and our senses, we digest and metabolize our food and our experiences. If we digest well, we maintain good health. If we don't digest so well, ama is formed (ama is the ayurvedic term for impurities, the sticky stuff that clogs the srotas, or the channels of flow). Ama is defined by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as, "the product of unripe digestion of food and experiences." Ama is fertile ground for viruses and bacteria to multiply and cause disease.

Continue reading

Plant-Based Protein: Here’s What You Need to Know

Protein is a buzzword these days, but what is protein? And how much protein do you need? What are the ideal plant-based protein sources? Can you have too much protein? And what is protein deficiency? Here’s what you need to know about this critical nutrient.

“But where do you get your protein?”

Anyone who adopts a plant-based diet or even considers going vegetarian is likely to hear this question with alarming frequency.

You don’t have to look far to see what can sometimes border on something of a protein obsession. From protein shakes, bars, and powders to cereals, cookies, and protein-focused diets and meal-delivery services, attention to protein seems to be just about everywhere.

But what is protein? How much protein do our bodies really need? Is more always better? Or is it actually possible that some people could be getting too much?

Continue reading

6 Science-Backed Reasons to Drink Matcha Tea

Is matcha tea good for you? How is it different than other green teas? And are some types of matcha better than others? Get answers and discover some incredible health benefits of drinking matcha tea.

Matcha tea comes from the same plant that originates all green, white, and black teas: the camellia sinensis bush. The name “matcha” literally means “powdered tea.”

The process of turning tea leaves into a powder is not new. Matcha was the primary way to consume tea in China during the Tang Dynasty (600-900 AD).

In the 1100s, a huge transfer of knowledge and culture from China to Japan occurred, and that’s how matcha made its way across the ocean. Matcha and Zen Buddhism flourished together, and the two were often considered inseparable.

By the 1500s, matcha took hold as part of the formal Japanese tea ceremony, which celebrated stillness and simplicity. It grew in popularity in Japan, even as it lost its appeal in China.

Continue reading

14 Top Foods to Boost Your Immunity Now So You Can Stay Well During Cold and Flu Season

As temperatures get cooler, do you want to know how to boost your immune system? Discover some of the best foods to boost your immune system and which supplements you might want to take. The right foods can help you avoid falling victim to colds and flu this year!

Do you sometimes get colds or the flu, particularly in the colder winter months? If so, you’re not alone. In the U.S., the average adult gets sick two to four times per year, and the average child between six and eight.

You probably know the basics of cold prevention, like practicing good hand washing and avoiding contact with sick peers. But have you ever wondered why two people could have exactly the same exposure to a sick friend — and one of them gets sick, while the other doesn’t?

The difference is often their immune system.

So how can you boost your immune system? It turns out that one of the most powerful tools for a strong immune system can be found right inside your own kitchen: the food you eat.

Let’s take a look at what your immune system does and how to boost your immune system with food, so it can protect you from nasty, cold-weather bugs.

Continue reading

Antioxidants And Why Are They So Good For You

Antioxidants have become a health buzzword. And the media and many marketing departments have seized the opportunity to tout their many supposed health benefits, claiming antioxidants can prevent cancer, protect against heart disease, slow aging, and more.

But beyond all the hype, what are antioxidants? How important are they? And what are their proven health benefits?

Learn the truth about these compounds in food, and discover which antioxidant-rich foods will give you the most bang for your buck.

What Are Antioxidants? And How Do They Help Your Body?

Woman preparing fruits and veggies

Continue reading

Why Your Gut Health Is More Important Than You Probably Think

Deep in your gut, 40 trillion chemists are hard at work helping you digest your meals, making essential nutrients you can’t produce on your own, protecting you from disease, and even shaping which parts of your DNA manifest and which remain dormant.

These talented creatures are fungi, bacteria, and other single-celled organisms. And they are a bigger part of who you are than you have probably ever imagined!

While your body includes about 22,000 human genes, it also hosts as many as two trillion microbial genes that are technically not “you,” but rather benevolent guests working in exquisite harmony with your body. Some of these microbes flourish on your skin, but the vast majority take up residence in your digestive tract.

Study of the microbiome — the community of microorganisms living inside your body — could well be the most compelling frontier of health science.

The digestive process breaks down food and beverage particles so that your body can absorb the nutrients it wants and excrete the rest. Trillions of organisms join in the effort.

Continue reading

Watch How Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams Reversed His Type 2 Diabetes Using A Plant-Based Diet

See how the Brooklyn borough president transformed his health by switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet. This remarkable story of reversing diabetes may inspire you, or someone you love, to take control of your health using food.

Eric Adams, the elected leader of New York City’s largest borough, had type 2 diabetes so severe he was losing his eyesight as well as the feeling in his legs.

Doctors told him he’d need to be on medications for the rest of his life and that he faced a high probability of blindness and amputation.

No doctor he visited ever said anything about nutrition. But Adams didn’t let his diagnosis determine his fate.

He was one of millions of people inspired by the powerful film and implementation guidance of “Forks Over Knives.” He learned about and adopted a whole-food, plant-based diet — and soon afterwards, his condition and all accompanying symptoms were completely reversed.

Continue reading

Get Your Glow On With These Beauty Foods

Open a magazine or turn on the television and you’re bound to see advertisements for lipstick, anti-ageing creams and other magic elixirs that promise youthfulness, beauty and radiance. But if you’re here, reading this article then chances are you’ve discovered that these ‘quick fixes’ don’t build the long-term beauty that you are seeking in a natural and holistic way. What does build beauty is a balance of daily diet and lifestyle choices and attentiveness to mind-set, outlook and self-perception. Real, beautiful results come from ordinary, everyday actions that have the power to affect a dramatic overall change in the way you look and feel.

I continually hear from women just how important there skin is to them and the concepts around beauty nutrition, that is, the foods and nutrients that directly support and enhance our beauty by defending, repairing and strengthening it – and healthy vanity or our innate desire to look and feel beautiful are so relevant in our lives today. Our skin can literally ‘sell’ us, as a first impression is often everything!

Continue reading

Summer Fruits You’ll Love for Their Incredible Health Benefits and Tempting Tastes (Including 3 That Are Surprisingly Healthy!)

What fruits are in season in summer? And how can they benefit your health? Learn about summer fruits that are naturally delicious and bursting with benefits.


Ah, summer. The temperatures heat up, the days get longer, and activities abound. Fresh fruits can help you survive (and thrive!) all season long.

Summer fruits give you energy and nutrients your body needs, help cool you down and stay hydrated, and can even help protect you from the sun.

And overall, fruits have been found to be spectacularly effective in treating and preventing a variety of health conditions.

For example, they have been found to help reduce heart disease. The province of North Karelia in Finland convinced local dairy farmers to grow berries on some of their pasturelands to increase fruit consumption and improve the health of its citizens.

By replacing animal-based foods with berries, along with other healthful changes, in only one generation, the region went from having one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world to one of the lowest. In a population of 170,000 Finns, cardiovascular mortality dropped by more than 70% — an unparalleled achievement.

Impressive! But that’s not all… Fruits have also helped patients all over the world lose weight and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. And contrary to popular belief, fruits can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Not to mention, fruit is naturally sweet (no added sugar needed) and oh so delicious — whether enjoyed on its own or in a smoothie, salad, dessert, or another dish.

Why Eat Fruit That’s In Season?

Continue reading

Creating Mindful Eating Habits

Keeping up with a modern, fast-paced lifestyle can leave little time for tuning into your needs. You’re constantly moving from one thing to the next, not paying attention to what your mind or body is truly craving. Practicing mindfulness can help you become aware of those needs. When mindfulness is applied to eating, it can help you recognise your patterns and behaviours, while bringing attention to bodily cues associated with hunger and fullness.

 

The body carries a lot of knowledge and information, so when you apply mindfulness to the eating experience, you can start to make conscious choices, instead of falling into automatic—and oftentimes emotion-driven—behaviours. Once you become aware of these habits, you’re better equipped to change your actions.

 

With some basic guidelines in place, try putting mindful eating into practice. Here are some tips to get you started.

Continue reading

Eating With a Beginner's Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”  Shunryu Suzuki


In our culture we spend a lot of time talking about WHAT to eat, and not as much focus on the HOW of eating. Watch a baby try new foods for the first time and you can learn so much about eating with a beginner's mind. A beginner's mind is something we are born with and later on rediscover on a more conscious level. It is the mind that lets the knowing self fall back and a more curious and willing self emerge. Here are some insights of the last three weeks introducing new foods to Olive. 

  

Variety is instinctual

Olive is like any other baby in that she fixes her attention on color, which is why I try to prepare foods different in color from one another. One day her spoon has red from beets and the next day there's green from spinach. I've noticed she tires of something after I've given it to her three to four times in a row. Instinctually, we like variety on our plate. Most of us don't live in the wild Amazon with exotic plants all around us to forage. In our industrialized world we tend to eat the same thing day after day, missing out on a variety of fruits and vegetables that provides vital nutrition. Variety in the diet has beneficial upstream effects. For example, the Harvard-based Nurses Health Study, one of the largest and longest studies to date, showed eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke (1).  To improve the variety in your diet, try this exercise (I just took part in this with a nutrition practice group): see if you can eat 50 different foods in one week. If you have a smoothie every morning, that's fine, but you can only count the ingredients in it once. 

Continue reading

To French Toast or Not to French Toast?

For my birthday this year I was treated to breakfast at one of my favorite seaside restaurants.I find that when I’m in a birthday frame of mind, I feel that I should eat and do what I want. Even if it is outside of the list of things that keep my well being intact. So I ordered the French toast! It was freshly made using large slices of artesian bread and house made whipped cream. It was outstanding. The chemical rush of sugar overload was surging through my body and mind.

 

At about the half way point, I started to feel nauseous. So nauseous that I was afraid that one more bite would result in literally needing to vomit. I stopped eating, and the sugary euphoria started to be replaced with sluggishness and a feeling of regret that I had ordered it. The small child inside me still believes that sugar it the ultimate treat. “She” had ordered breakfast. Not the health-conscious woman seeking vitality and a clear mind. Herein lies the conflict.

 

At this stage in our lives, seeking pleasure in the very temporary euphoria of a sugar rush will derail us from all the things that are important to us. People often get depressed or sad over the idea of giving up dietary guilty pleasures for health or weight loss reasons. They feel that one of the greatest joys in life is being taken away. The second their willpower is compromised, they go in the polar opposite direction and binge on the foods that they know will hurt them. We need to redirect our focus on the pleasures that are healthy and life sustaining.

Continue reading

7 Ways to Improve Your Mood Through Diet

Pretending that food doesn't matter to health is at best denial, at worst a serious delusion. But we have all been there when we have reached for a sugary snack when stressed out or feeling grouchy. We had that fleeting moment of satisfaction followed by the inevitable blood-sugar crash, with added irritability to boot. Not nice! Well, I am here to help and I am going to help you improve your mood with these 7 tips.

1. REPLACE PROCESSED FOODS WITH FRESH ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS

Our bodies are extremely clever: when we try to feed them something that is processed, they recognise that they're eating something but cant quite figure out what it is, because its missing so many nutrients and its molecular structure has been altered. So, to make up for the missing nutrients, our bodies have to tap into our own reserves and they end up taking minerals from our blood and bones. This is obviously not a sustainable way to eat because our nutrient reserves need to be replenished and if all we do is eat processed foods then pretty soon we mill find ourselves malnourished and on a slippery slope to irritability and illness.

blueberry smoothie


2. EAT MORE SOLUBLE FIBRE

Fibre helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood stream into your body and therefore lessens those dreaded mood swings. Oats, brown rice, barley, apples, pears, carrots, beans and sweet potatoes are good sources. Avoid processed grains like white rice, white pasta or white bread, which have been stripped of their fibre.

3. REPLACE COFFEE, SOFT DRINKS & BOTTLED JUICES

... with water, herbal tea & fresh juices

Continue reading

Expand your heart with green foods

Anyone who has taken a cooking class with me, knows I'm in love with green foods. They are my warrior ingredients whether I'm teaching about detoxification, weight loss, cancer, brain health, or gut health. Recently, I discovered a whole new reason I steer toward eating so many greens. The color green reflects the qualities of LOVE: openness, expansiveness, nurturing, compassion, abundance. The impact of color in our diet and the way it influences our health comes from the work of one of my nutritional sheroes, Dr. Deanna Minich. I'm knee, or I should say heart, deep into her new course Rainbow Food and Supplements. After 15 years studying nutrition she is rocking the way I look at color in our diet. In light of spring, let's look at the color green or what she refers to as our "LOVE system". 

 

Take a minute to reflect on how GREEN foods make you feel.

 

Think about how you feel when you work in your garden or take a walk in nature. Taking in the color green through your senses fills your heart with peace, and gives you a sense of being alive and in harmony with life. Similarly, eating green foods can have a strong sensation in the heart center. Some people claim that green foods makes them feel more vital. Others, have a hard time consuming green vegetables. There is no right or wrong feeling here. It is simply good information for your relationship with the LOVE system. 

Continue reading

What Should You Feed Dogs and Cats for Their Health and The Planet?

Pets bring unconditional love and immense joy to many families. They also consume nearly 1/3 of the animal products in the United States — creating what is, for many people, an ethical and environmental dilemma. What’s the answer? Can dogs be vegan or vegetarian? Can cats be plant-based? Or must they eat meat to survive?

I grew up with cats. The sound and warm vibration of my beloved Popo purring in my lap is one of the happiest memories of my childhood.

Companion animals teach us about unconditional love and devotion, and they often bring out the very best in us humans.

Now, studies are showing that having a companion animal can be good for us, too.


How Dogs and Cats Can Improve Our Health

It’s no secret that children often love pets. But recent research has taken it a step further.

Children raised with pets are less likely to become asthmatic, more likely to be kind to other children, and more likely to have healthy self-esteem once they reach their teens.


Researchers are also finding that having pets positively influences children’s physical and emotional development and even their scholastic achievement.

But it’s not only children who can benefit from a loving relationship with a furry friend. One of the most celebrated “pet studies” was undertaken by Erika Friedmann and her co-workers at the University of Pennsylvania.

They found an unmistakable association between pet ownership and extended survival in patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease.

Those patients who had pets at home were far more likely to survive — even after accounting for differences in the extent of heart damage and other medical problems.

In 1991, the medical value of pets became unexpectedly apparent to researchers who were conducting the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. They were studying the effects of two pharmaceutical drugs (encainide and flecainide) on men who had had heart attacks and were now experiencing irregular heartbeats.

Paradoxically, the drugs were found to cause an increase in cardiac deaths. At the same time, however, it was noted that those patients who had dogs were only one-sixth as likely to die during the year of the study as those who did not have dogs.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the drugs rather than the dogs had been shown to cause a six-fold decrease in deaths?

The drugs might be prescribed for every heart attack patient in the world with an irregular heartbeat. And drug companies would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling physicians and the public how great the drugs were.

But because the loyalty and loving friendship of a dog cannot be bottled and sold, there has been no such publicity campaign. And most people to this day do not realize how much healing can be found in loving relationships — including ones with companion animals.


But There’s A Shadow Side, Too

man feeding dog

No offense to Fido or Buddy, nor to Leo or Cleopatra, but there are also shadows to pet ownership. It’s worth taking a fair look at them to round out the picture.

Continue reading

Is Coconut Oil Good For You?

I get this question a lot! Mostly, when discussing cooking oils. So here are my thoughts on coconut oil. Yes, it is a saturated fat, it is actually one of the few found in the plant-kingdom, and a significant percentage of that saturated fat is composed of Lauric acid, which is (comparatively speaking) quickly and easily metabolised as a very good energy source.

This means you are likely to burn the kind of saturated fat found in coconut oil for fuel rather than pack it away as fat, provided you are sufficiently active and it isn’t digested along with something high in sugar to supersede & hijack your metabolism first. An example of this would be vegan treats such as cheesecake where coconut oil is mixed with lots of maple or date syrup and nuts to create the dairy-free cheesecake filling.

Coconut oil is the optimal oil to cook with — if you are going to cook with oil — due to the fact that it holds up (meaning it does not oxidize) better than other oils at high temperatures (translation – less free radicals). It is immune boosting, has anti-infection properties and some studies suggest it aids with the absorption of certain vitamins and other nutrients like beta-carotene and some amino acids.

That said I use coconut oil very rarely in my cooking. In fact, I rub more on my skin than I consume in my diet!

Continue reading

Yoga Eating Principles

You may have noticed since your yoga practice has become more regular that you naturally find yourself gravitating toward a type of diet that gives you nourishment, energy, lightness, and flexibility. A yogi diet is a balanced way of eating that ancient yogis believed had a huge influence not only over your physical wellbeing, but also over your thoughts, and ultimately your emotional and spiritual wellbeing. With continued awareness about the body through yoga you may find that vegetarian foods become a natural choice. This way of eating helps you maintain that same energized, light feeling you achieve through yoga.


Eat ‘life-force’ in abundance

Like all living organisms in the universe the foods we eat possess qualities and energies that affect our mind, body and soul. Yogic food is known as ‘sattvic’, which simply means ‘pure essence’. These foods are considered abundant in ‘prana’, the universal life force that gives energy to all beings in both the plant and animal kingdoms. When you eat a pure diet the food and life-force found in these foods bring you physical strength, a good mind, health, and longevity. They calm, purify and lead to a peaceful mind in control of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them leading to a peaceful state where higher consciousness becomes accessible. Enabling you to keep an open mind to possibilities, think more positively and be far more kind to others and ourselves.

Eating a sattvic diet means you get to enjoy the plant kingdom in its total abundance. Whole, real foods, found in their natural state dance together on your plate, offering their vibrancy to you. Foods, which are pure, light, soothing and easily digested, become your staples. There are whole grains beautifully arranged around lots of olive oil and vegetables. There are fresh fruits and natural sugars scattered through meals offering us the taste of sweet in perfect proportions, handfuls of nuts and seeds to bring texture and healthful benefits, nothing is too stimulating nor is it boring, this way of eating is vegetarian food alchemy in its most beautiful form.


Maintain a consist energy flow

A Yogi In A Pool
Continue reading

Can You Eat Too Much Avocado?

The once-humble avocado has infiltrated almost every meal of the day: we’re spreading it on toast, using it to make chocolate mousse, and chucking it into our smoothies to make it extra thick and creamy. If you’re like most people, you’re probably eating more avocado than ever before. But as your scooping out (or ordering) that buttery, green goodness you may have stopped to ask yourself, how much avocado is too much?


You might think all that healthy fat means it’s always a healthy choice. But is it? Therein lies the conundrum. We're told that avocados are super good for us, with a balanced amount of monounsaturated, saturated, and polyunsaturated fats that help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin K, A, D, and E) from your food and leave you feeling full and satiated. They contain B vitamins (super important for methylation) and vitamin E, which helps with collagen production and retaining moisture in your skin. They help keep your brain healthy and your immune system strong. Gosh, hand me guac!

Continue reading

30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

Join Soulspring for conscious insights...

...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind