Mindfulness & Heart Health

Have you ever been so engaged in something that you love to do that you completely lose track of time? You were so present and attentive to a creative activity that everything else seemed to just fade away. In those moments of authentic joy, you experienced mindfulness.

Mindfulness is being completely aware of the present moment, focusing solely on being where you are and attending only to what is right in front of you. So many of us live in psychological time, meaning we are either dwelling on our past or considering our future, while completely neglecting what is real – our now!

There are many ways to deliberately cultivate mindfulness. Meditation is an excellent tool for achieving and maintaining optimal physical, mental, and emotional health. Meditation has been shown to lower stress levels, increase energy, inspire greater creativity, and enhance mental clarity. It has even been scientifically proven to lower the risk of addictiondepressioneating disorders, and anxiety!

Research has also found that people who consistently cultivate mindfulness through meditation improve their heart health and are substantially less likely to have cardiovascular issues, including heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.                                                                                                                                         

Whether or not you are experiencing stress, cultivating mindfulness in your life through meditation is important for optimal health!

As with everything, bio-individuality plays a role as there are countless practices available. Experiment with a variety of meditations and find what works best for you. Remember that what works for you at one time may not work at a different time, so it’s important to be open and flexible to change.

Here are a few practices to improve mindfulness, heart health, and overall well-being. Feel free to experiment with one or more to see what resonates with you!

1.     Mindfulness Meditation – The Body Scan

One way to practice mindfulness is doing a body scan. Simply sit or lie on your back with your eyes closed. Start by noticing your breath and bringing your full attention to its natural flow. Then gently bring your awareness to the sensations in your body – the temperature, tingling or buzzing in your hands, constriction in certain muscles, or the feeling of your weight being held by the floor or chair. Then, very gradually, focus your attention on each part of your body, scanning from your toes, legs, and pelvic region up to your stomach, chest, back, arms, hands, neck, and head. Without having any agenda or expectation, focus your full attention on each body part, becoming more and more mindful and relaxed.

For a guided body scan meditation, try this video led by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
 

 2.     Well-Being Meditation – Meditation for the Heart

Another way to cultivate mindfulness is through a heart meditation. For this one, sit or lie comfortably and bring your awareness to your heart. See what arises. Gently notice your breath as it moves in and out of your heart center. As you focus on your breath and become more relaxed, ask your heart what it would like to share with you. Then simply listen without expectation or judgment. If you don’t hear any response from your heart, that’s okay, too! Just continue to focus on your heart center and follow your breath as it flows in and out of this area.

For a guided heart meditation, try this video led by Christie Marie Sheldon.
 

 3.     Breathing Meditation – 4-7-8 Breath

Using breathing exercises to focus on the breath can help cultivate mindfulness and support heart health. One great breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 breath. Inhale through your nose for four counts, hold the breath in for seven counts, and then release it for eight counts. Repeat this cycle of breath three to five times. Notice how it helps slow down your breath, which slows down the heart rate and supports deeper relaxation. (This form of breath work isn’t recommended if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure).

For more on the 4-7-8 breath, check out this video from Andrew Weil, MD.

If you find yourself dwelling on the past, stuck in regret and guilt, or anticipating the future, lost in worry and anxiety, then cultivating mindfulness could be beneficial! Enjoy these exercises or experiment with your own mindfulness practices to guide you back to the present moment. Cultivating mindfulness is a practice and takes consistency, patience, and compassion – so be easy with yourself! Remember, not only will you be creating relaxation for your heart, but you will enhance the quality of your life by being fully attentive to the richness of your NOW!

*used with permission of IIN

6 Ways to Lift Your Mood in Minutes

When you’re in a bad mood, what’s the one thing that snaps you out of it no matter what? What makes you feel amazing on a not-so-great day?

One of the key things I learned while studying at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition is how to fuel myself and refresh my outlook through primary food – the relationships, work, exercise, and spiritual practices that fill me up in ways food can’t.

Today, I want to share my favorite ways to turn a negative mood into a positive mood and instantly feel reenergized and inspired. 

WORK OUT
Physical movement is high on my list! Especially when I’m feeling a little down. I try to get myself moving in any way. Some of my favorite ways to move are obviously yoga, but also spin, barre, nature walks and hikes. 

TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Even just stepping outside, putting your feet in the grass or dirt and connecting with the Earth can be of huge benefit to our health. I love going for a walk in my neighborhood or taking my book to the backyard to breathe in fresh air and connect with nature.

HAVE MORE FUN
Fun and laughter are great medicine for low moods. Laughing with a friend, watching a funny movie or show, playing with my kitties, and singing are ways I cheer myself up.

CONNECT SPIRITUALLY
I reconnect and recharge through prayer, meditation, journaling, writing a gratitude list, breathing deeply, and reminding myself that difficult moments will pass and that ultimately everything is temporary.

CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES
Surrounding myself with family, talking to a good friend, getting a hug, or even connecting with like-minded people on FacebookInstagram, and other social media outlets make me feel more connected and less alone. 

GET NOURISHMENT WITH ENERGIZING FOOD
A warm cup of tea, healthy meal, energizing juice, or some raw chocolate can lift my mood in minutes.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite way to improve your mood and reenergize yourself? Tell me in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Big Love,
Allie Rae

3 Signs you KNOW Self-Care is Calling

Our mind, body and emotions are constantly keeping us informed as to whether they are being taken care of or not. Our body is our biggest divination tool, meaning, our body is so highly intelligent that it tells us exactly what we need to know in order to make the necessary shifts or step in the right direction.

Here are 3 signs (yes, there are many more!) to know that some self-care practices are in order:

1) Feeling Stressed, Irritated and Frustrated
The modern world seems to now run on copious amounts of coffee for breakfast, overwhelm for lunch and stress for dinner. Our culture and society is moving at a faster pace than ever and our bodies can feel it. The response? Becoming more irritated, frustrated and REACTIVE rather than proactive. The more we do, do, do, the more we find ourselves on the hamster wheel of coffee, overwhelm and stress trying to accomplish more, produce more, be more.

Our body suffers. Our mind suffers. Our relationships suffer. Ultimately this leads to complete burn out which when not tended to, leads to disease or dis-ease.

2) Lacking Motivation & Procrastinating
Remember that thing you were going to do yesterday but kept putting off? And today you’re not in the “mood” to tackle it? Tomorrow you are busy with other things and this weekend you have family coming into town? YA....I get it. Through my entire schooling procrastination was my middle name and seemed to be the only way I got my assignments, papers, projects, etc. done. By waiting until I was so stressed and had no choice but to complete it.

Obviously, this is not healthy. If you find yourself unmotivated (likely due to the hamster wheel above) which leads to procrastination, this is a wake up call. Are you living in a way of proficiency, efficiency and productivity?

3) Lacking Zest or Passion for your Life
Nothing seems to “light you up” anymore. You don’t have the same inner radiance shining from within. You stopped seeing your favorite people and engaging in your favorite things. I’ve been there. Feeling completely blue and down in the dumps. You begin to isolate yourself only to increase your lack of zest and passion.

Resonate with the above? Ya, so do I! Each day is an opportunity to step into our life with a sense of awe, wonder and delight for the gift of this body and the gift of our life. It is a choice that we make each day.

Get my ultra favorite top 3 simple mini midday [re]TREATs to bring you back to your confident, creative self by giving yourself the attention you need & deserve. 

Get to know this Powerful Plant Protein + Cooking Tips

I was determined to know beans.”— Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field

How about you? How well do you know beans?

Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.

Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories.


++ Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

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What To Do With Beans

Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them? 

  • Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
  • Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
  • Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
  • Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
  • Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
  • Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.

 

If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans.

  • Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.
  • Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).
  • After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
  • To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water
  • Cover and simmer for the suggested time.
  • Remember: Only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
  • Quick tips: For speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours. Or use canned beans instead (some people find them even easier to digest!).  Be sure to avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once removed from the can.

GET EVEN HEALTHIER!

Would you like help learning how to choose and cook healthy foods like beans? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule a complimentary breakthrough session with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!

Published By: Institute of Integrative Nutrition 

12 Ways to Use dōTERRA On Guard® Protective Blend

One of the top selling doTERRA essential oils is non other than On Guard. doTERRA On Guard, a proprietary essential oil blend, provides a natural and effective alternative for immune support when used internally.* As one of doTERRA’s best-selling blends, doTERRA On Guard protects against environmental and seasonal threats with essential oils known for their positive effects on the immune system when ingested.* doTERRA On Guard can be taken internally on a daily basis to maintain healthy immune function and support healthy cardiovascular function.* It can also be used on surfaces throughout the home as a non-toxic cleaner. When diffused, doTERRA On Guard helps purify the air, and can be very energizing and uplifting.

To purchase your own doTERRA On Guard oil, visit: http://bit.ly/EnhanceYourHealthOils

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Primary Benefits

  • Supports healthy immune and respiratory function*
  • Protects against environmental threats*
  • Supports the body’s natural antioxidant defenses*
  • Promotes healthy circulation*
  • Energizing and uplifting aroma

Ingredients

Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils.

12 Ways to Use On Guard in your home

1. Diffuse On Guard (Protective blend) anytime you are concerned about what’s going around.

2. Mix a few drops of On Guard with 2 drops Lemon essential oil and honey or agave nectar in a teaspoon to soothe your throat during the winter.

3. Add 15 drops of On Guard to a cup of corn starch or baking soda. Mix, sprinkle and rake on carpet then allow it to sit for up to an hour. Then, vacuum it clean!

4. Mix 5-6 drops with a half cup of baking soda to clean your bath tub and skip all of the harsh, bleaching chemicals.

5. Put a few drops of On Guard on your car’s cabin air filter or home air filters to obliterate dank, stale filtered air…right from the duct!

6. Boost your Immune System Some people amp up their Zinc or Vitamin C intake (via orange juice) every autumn. If this is you, add a few drops of On Guard to your juice for added protection.

7. Gargle with one drop of On Guard to 4-6 oz. of water for fresh breath. Bring it for after your teeth get cleaned at the dentist and sign up your dentist (!)

8. For a clean toothbrush, store it overnight in a small glass of water with 3-5 drops of the On Guard.

9. When you take out the garbage, spray down your cabinet with On Guard and water (new ON GUARD MIST COMING OCT 2nd!). On Guard Cleaner Concentrate (my favorite!) is also excellent for this purpose.

10. After your oven’s self-clean cycle, spray a mix of purified water, On Guard and Lemon essential oil onto the oven interior. This will clear up all of the greasy smells as well as the smell of the oven cleaner...

11. Before climbing on to the equipment at the gym, spray it with On Guard and water.

12. I have a bottle of OnGuard next to my kitchen sink and always put a few drops in after we clean up; then i use the Cleaner Concentrate in spray bottle on every counter.

To learn how to incorporate essential oils into your home or office + purchase your own doTERRA On Guard oil, visit: http://bit.ly/EnhanceYourHealthOils

 

**Adapted from Elena Brower

Ritual for Offering and Receiving Nourishment

from jayakula.org

“Your body” is in nite. It does not end at your skin. When we enjoy healthy, nourishing food that is satisfying to the senses, all beings feel enjoyment. When we are nourished, all other beings are nourished. When we express the desire for the liberation of all beings, ourselves and all beings benefit. 

The correct orientation while performing this ritual is that you are Self offering to Self. Self offers nourishment to Self and then receives the offered food from Self. This is natural devotion expressed through the activities of everyday life. 

Method 

Before each meal, take a moment to offer your food, and the nourishment and enjoyment derived from your food, to all beings. First, when you are seated at the table, preparing to eat, take a moment to make contact with the food. 

See the beauty of what you are about to consume.
Smell the beauty arising from what you are about to consume.
Feel the heat or notice the tactile qualities of what you are about to consume.                          Hear any sounds associated with what you are about to consume.

Second, offer this nourishment to all beings by saying either aloud or mentally:

May this food nourish all beings.
May this food be enjoyed by all beings.
May all beings be free. 

Fruit 

The ritual of reciprocity expresses the natural devotion of Self to Self. This ritual attunes you to the movement of manifest life toward moksha and establishes you greater awareness of interbeing. 

 

How to Detox Your Body, Mind, and Home Without Dieting

Detoxing is hot right now, but it goes beyond doing a juice cleanse to lose a few pounds and get glowing skin. You can renew your body, mind, and home any time of year – you don’t have to wait for the seasons to change or a beach vacation where swimsuits are required.

Here are nine high-leverage ways to refresh your body, mind, and home so you can feel light, clear, and motivated to move forward in your life.

First, let’s talk body. Follow these three steps to detox your body without dieting:

1. Eliminate processed foods. They hinder your circulatory and excretory systems, leaving you bloated, tired, and heavy.

2. Sip warm water with lemon throughout the day. This is a natural and highly effective way to gently trigger your body to release excess fluids that lead to bloating and toxicity.

3. Experiment with an elimination diet to easily test for allergies. Start by eliminating dairy, gluten, soy, and eggs for two weeks. Then add in each allergen, one at a time every three days, and notice if you have any reactions or symptoms. Always get approval and guidance from a medical doctor.

 

Next, master your mind with these steps:

1. Start each day by writing down 3–5 things you’re grateful for. When you’re grateful for what you already have, everything you want flows more easily.

2. End the day by doing a brain dump of everything on your mind and writing out a to-do list for the next day. This will wipe your mental slate clean for the following day and help you sleep without anxiety.

3. Experiment with meditation. Start by sitting and breathing deeply for 3–5 minutes. If it feels good, meditate for longer and research different techniques to see what you like best.

 

Now cleanse your environment to support yourself. A clear, calm environment fosters a peaceful mind and a balanced body:

1. Grab a large garbage bag and go through your closet and drawers, throwing in everything that no longer fits and/or makes you feel great. You can sell or donate these things.

2. Replace your cleaning products with nontoxic versions. Choose products that use the natural power of essential oils, soaps, and even household items like apple cider vinegar and lemon to keep your house clean.

3. Burn candles to absorb food scents and naturally keep the air fresh. Open your windows frequently to improve air circulation.

What’s the first step you’ll take to detox your body, mind, and home without dieting? What’s the big reason you want to renew and refresh yourself on a holistic level? Your big “why” will drive you and keep you on track.

Leave a comment below and tell me the first step you’ll take – I can’t wait to hear from you.

Published By: Institute of Integrative Nutrition

Forest Bathing: What it is and Why it's healthy

Wellness trends come and go, but we can always look to nature for timeless wisdom that’ll never go out of style. If you’ve taken a walk in the woods lately, you probably know what we mean.

Forest bathing is a creative term for something our ancestors have known for a long time: nature heals. It comes from the Japanese phrase “shinrin-yoku,” which means taking in the forest atmosphere, and was first proposed in 1982 by the Forest Agency of Japan as a wellness and relaxation activity to promote good health – especially for those who lived in cities.

Simply being among trees, breathing fresh air, and walking at a comfortable pace can do our bodies and minds a world of good. But it wasn’t until recently that the scientific research of forest bathing caught up with the reasons how.

Here are some of the benefits associated with walking in a forest:

  • Improved immune system functioning, with an increase in the body’s cancer fighting Natural Killer cells – partly due to the essential oils from wood in the air
  • Reduced stress and blood pressure – via a reduction in cortisol
  • Improved mood/positive outlook
  • Increase in energy
  • Greater ability to focus and think clearly
  • Improved sleep
  • Quicker healing from illness or surgery
  • Additionally, participants in research studies on forest bathing showed a decrease in mortality rate from cancer and a greater frequency in feeling “calm,” and children also experienced benefits in fitness, weight, and attention span.

Now that spring is upon us in the northern hemisphere, this is the perfect time to get the benefits of forest bathing firsthand! No matter where you live, find the closest forest or hiking trail and embrace wilderness on a regular basis.

Why do we love forest bathing?

At Integrative Nutrition we believe that health is about much more than what you eat. Our concept of Primary Food states that a holistic approach to life creates the greatest balance, which is why we consider spending time in nature, physical movement, a fulfilling career, nurturing relationships, and many other non-dietary elements as all playing a vital role in our wellbeing.

Published by: Institute of Integrative Nutrition