This cake recipe changed my life.

I’d like to thank the person that invented this cake. From the bottom of my cake and garbanzoIMG_5278 (1) bean (chickpea) loving heart.

This cake changed my life.

Because I like cake. But I don’t eat wheat, avoid gluten, don’t eat eggs nor milk. So how on earth does one eat cake? Well actually there are loads of ways, but none have touched my heart and belly such as this one… because more than anything else, it is ridiculously easy and fast to make.

Here goes:

2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or as we like to call them Garbonzo beans rinsed and drained

3/4 cup tahini or nut butter of your choice

2/3 cup of maple syrup, honey or molasses

Optional chopped dark chocolate, walnuts, coconut or crunchy treat of our choice.

Blend first three ingredients together in a food processor

Stir in final optional ingredients

Push into an oiled baking pan or muffin mold

Bake at 350° F or 180° C for 45 minutes

Wait until fully cooled to cut into pieces or remove from mold.

 

Enjoy the protein yummy vegan goodness.

 

Stay well!

 

Janet

 

 

My how-to #4 for Radiant Wellness

Tired, exhausted, wobbly, upset?

Take a break, rest, clear your mind and start again with a better perspective.

I am a big believer in a full nights sleep, from 6 1/2 hours for some to10 hours for others. The amount we need to feel fully rested.

But for how many of us is this actually happening? Not enough.

Research has shown a connection between good sleep and; weight loss, Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention, memory maintenance, athletic performance, reducing inflammation associated with heart disease… it goes on and on.

This is because the body needs rest time to cleanse and heal. When you are truly resting, your fantastic cells get working to clean you up and repair you. Think of the shoemaker’s elves that live in your cells. They wait until your breathing and heart rate have slowed and they get their gloves on and get to work.

When we are tired we make poorer choices regarding our habits and health; we reach for sugars and caffeine to help keep us awake- as VERY few of us are accustomed to dropping to the floor in the office with a lavender eye pillow and meditative music for 10 minutes. Instead, we cake and latte through our fatigue. And how much do you feel like exercising when you are exhausted? Not very much.

With sleep and proper rest, we have more energy to do better for ourselves.SIMON SAYS (7)SIMON SAYS (7)

We can take the time in the day to rejuvenate ourselves in healthy ways when we have energetic dips. also by developing habits of deep relaxation, we are training the nervous system to function calmly and appropriately, and not constantly in that state of red alert.

We can take the time in the day to rejuvenate ourselves in healthy ways when we have energetic dips. also by developing habits of deep relaxation, we are training the nervous system to function calmly and appropriately and not constantly in that state of red alert.

I am a big believer in 5-20 minutes of laying in a warm space with a guided meditation or some relaxing music playing. Flopped down on your back arms and legs spread out, fully giving yourself over to gravity.

I have created a guided meditation just for you and just for this very reason. You can find it oh so easily by going to my site  www.janetshook.com and clicking on the downloads page. It is there waiting for you. 

Thank you for reading!

 

Take good care of yourself,

 

Janet

#3 for Radiant Wellness

SIMON SAYS (4)

Move your body and love it.

Your body is made to move. Movement keeps the wheels greased, the circulation flowing, the de-tox mechanisms functioning and it increases serotonin- meaning it is a natural anti-depressant. It can be a powerful tool when you are feeling down to lift you up through the dark cloud, clear the negative energy and get your grateful on.

I want to be clear here that I do not consider calorie-burning-physical-labor-that is drudgery (Which has it’s place in our lives. Respect.) the same as Me-time physical movement.

Have you noticed the difference between a day of walking through the shops or standing at work or hauling boxes, which is all in theory ‘exercise’, has a much different effect than 30 minutes of doing your favourite sport, dance class, challenging Yoga sequence or a great run? The body aches, but you feel like a million bucks.

When we move our bodies with consciousness and care we can be de-toxing, healing and creating our better selves.

For too long we treated our bodies like the donkeys that carried the heavy load of our soul… but that can be different… the bodies are here for us to take a wild and beautiful ride inside of; expressions of our spirit, playgrounds for our imagination, and tools for our need for challenge and accomplishment.

I have come to see exercise as play for big kids. We need to play to relieve our stress, to keep our spirits high, to meet a challenge, explore our world and ourselves.

Think of when you were a child, what did you like to do most to play? Sports with others? Competition? Challenging your self or developing skills on your own? Expressive and creative play like theatre or dance? Even if you were a quieter kid who preferred to read or play chess, you had to have some way to get the wiggles out? Walking in nature or riding your bike?

Let your choice of exercise reflect what makes you feel good, what is something you want to do, not something you are obligated to do. Let yourself fall in love with moving your body around.

Thanks for Reading! I will be in touch soon….

 

Love your wonderful life.

 

Janet

#2 How-To For Radiant Wellness

Hello Friends!

Did you read my how-to #1? Can you dig it? Are you paying a little bit more attention to how you are with yourself, hopefully cutting yourself more slack and saying nice things to yourself more often? I most sincerely hope so.

My how-to for Radiant Wellness #2 is a lot more down-to-earth than #1 (Snickering to myself at the pun… you’ll get it in a second) but it is so important to real vital health and longevity that I want to circle it and underline it and draw big neon arrows pointing towards it:SIMON SAYS (10)

Eat Plants.

What really fuels the cells of the body, gives us the micro-nutrients we need, and keeps us on an even keel in energy, blood sugar and heart rate is fresh, healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

No one is saying you have to be vegan or vegetarian but I am saying that plants; vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains are hands down the healthiest forms of nutrition for you and the planet thus far (And what’s good for the planet is good for you.)

There are over 20,000 species of edible plants on this planet. How many different plants do you eat in a day? For most people the answer is around 5; Wheat, potato, tomato (based edible product), coffee and onion. (I’m making this up a bit but you get the point.)

My mother who is a fantastic gardener says that when she tries to hand out vegetables to her co-workers and neighbors they give her blank stares. “Well what do I do with this?” They ask as they dangle the eggplant at arms length. I understand! That was me! I was the world’s worst cooker of vegetables until I got used to it. Now give me anything from farm to fork and I am confidant it will be delicious and nutritious.

Your heart rate will drop, you will loose unwanted fat, you will lower cholesterol, you will stabilise blood sugar. You will look and feel better (Once you get over the highly-processed food withdrawals).

I am not telling you to stop doing anything. I am not saying stop eating meat, or sugar, or caffeine, or  blah blah blah.. I am just advising you to make a concerted effort to eat massive amounts of a great variety of vegetables as one of your how-tos to getting healthier.

Here’s my how-to advice for this one; Go to the supermarket with horse blinders on and run straight to the fruit and veg isle. Buy vegetables and fruit from every color in the rainbow. Run back to the check out, pay, bag and leave.

When you get home, look at your acquired bounty and create your meal plan for the next few days based on what you bought. Don’t worry if you don’t have a recipe- use Google. Or better yet… ask me! I am happy to provide my ideas on cooking anything that I have heard of!

 

 

Here is one of my favourites based on a traditional Portuguese appetiser:

Garlic CarrotsIMG_4648

Top, tail and peel 6 large carrots

Cut the carrots in half and place in boilng water for 10 minutes or until tender but not too soft.

Remove carrots from boiling water and rinse with cold water

Slice into small medallions about ¼ inch think and place into a bowl

Add 1 clove crushed garlic

2 soup spoons white wine vinegar

3 Soup spoons oil olive oil

2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

½ cup whole olives any variety

Toss gently together and serve at room temperature.

Thanks again for reading! I hope this has been helpful for you. I know it is repeating the obvious… but sometimes we need to hear it a billion times for it to get through to us:

EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!!!!

Until next time!

Love, Peace and Gratitude,

Janet

My No.1 How-to for Radiant Wellness

Hello Friends!

I wanted to get this blog posted about a week ago, but it didn’t happen. And I am OK with that. I was doing my best to do all that I need to do in my life and sometimes I fall short.

Cutting myself slack is something I have trained myself to do because it is absolutely key to my well-being. Nothing throws me off my wellness track or dulls my radiance more than too much pressure, a sense of failure or insufficiency and plain old stress.

 

And that is why my 1# How-to of Radiant Wellness is….

IMG_1525.JPGCheck out this Five minute sequence for calm and comfort.

 

SIMON SAYS (2).png  

 

This how-to has a two-part meaning. The first is to accept yourself for who you are where you are at. And the second is to treat yourself kindly, compassionately and with respect.

This is a different approach to wellness, as typically we are trying to get healthier because we aren’t good with ourselves. There’s always something wrong that we are trying to fix. In essence, we often start from a place of intense self criticism, shame or rejection.

With being good with You as your first priority, you are starting from where you want to end up. Naturally this means the journey will take you a lot further because in just changing your relationship with yourself you will cover massive ground.

It doesn’t end up that you say, “Well I guess I am just good enough as I am so I give up on health!”, because that is not really caring for and respecting yourself.

 When you are really good with You, you want what is best for you for the right reasons.

Why is being good with yourself so important to wellness?

 Because when you are good with You, and are confronting and dealing with your own stressors, your stress levels, anxiety, loneliness and depression will decrease. And these are all things associated with compulsive, self-destructive unhealthy habits and increased illness.

If you are in touch with your thoughts and feelings, and respectful to them, you will be able to identify triggers to unhealthy patterns and choose healthy, self-soothing and stress relieving techniques instead.

When you are confident and self-loving your energy will increase and you can choose healthy levels of exercise, not too much and not too little.

And just think about it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the person you spent the most time with always had your back, knew the right thing to say and you felt like you could really trust them? That’s You!

 You are one in 7.6 billion human beings on this planet. Your own personal health style is dependent upon your very unique personhood. No one else can tell you what is best for you, and yet we are always following someone else’s ideas about what is best for us without tuning in to what we really need.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer that we cannot become ourselves by ourselves. But we certainly can’t become ourselves if we don’t know ourselves!

How do we get good with ourselves?  

I can only make suggestions, but there are many ways to get closer to yourself. Sometimes professional help is called for; groups, organizations, counselors, guides, books, etc.. Take the time to invest in your relationship with yourself.

Here are my guiding thoughts on the issue:

 Meditate every day on how wonderful you are and how much you deserve health and happiness. Come to believe it.

Come to really like yourself. Appreciate yourself.  Don’t beat yourself up but believe in your ability to get it right next time.

Pay attention to your highs and lows, your stress levels, your anxious moments, your insecurities. Realise when they are there and try techniques to release them.

Connect with YOUR needs and wants through time spent in introspection. VALUE WHAT YOU NEED.

And sometimes you need comfort food!

carrie-ann-castillo-sweet-potatoes-5858381a5f9b586e02bd5a06BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

Pre-heat oven to 350 F or 180 C

Slice 3-4 Large sweet potatoes into wedges and put in a bowl.

Use a garlic press or grater to put 2-3 cloves of garlic over the potatoes

Add ⅓ cup of olive oil

Drizzle ¼ cup of honey

Sprinkle a pinch or two of sea salt

Sprinkle two teaspoons of Paprika over the top

Mix it until the wedges are coated.

Pour out evenly onto a baking pan and put in the oven

Bake for 25 min and then set the oven to broil for 5 min to get a little bit crispy.

Eat with Love and Gratitude.

Thanks for reading!

See you next week.

 

Love, health and light,

 

Janet

Turmeric, space, time and other natural medicines.

So the last time I wrote was just after coming back from The Key World Retreat in Bali. Since then, life continues to be amazing, wonderful, full, blessed, beautiful, magical and super, super busy. And in this great time of expansion, love and transformation, I got tonsillitis.

But allow me to tell you why getting tonsillitis was an amazing experience on two levels.

The first level was because at this particular time I had a critical issue of communication I needed to take care of that was literally stuck in my throat. I was too scared to have an important conversation with someone I loved, so although I was talking with this person for hours in the day I wasn’t saying what was eating me up. I held it in, and I could feel it like a festering wound in my throat… and what happened? Well, literally some nice little festering wounds in my throat.

So I had a thought about the fifth Chakra and what that energy is all about; relationship, communication, listening, speaking, etc…. all things I was in a bit of a bottleneck about, and that pressure, alongside some pollens in the air and some strange global warming fall out temperature fluxes, I was completely inflamed.

My life, as most peoples lives, did not stop to “allow me” to be sick. I cancelled a few classes, and spent as much time in bed as I could; drinking tea, sucking on spoonfuls of honey, turmeric and black pepper, but in my head I was in a panic feeling like the illness was keeping me back from the backlogged work I had to do, and the classes I had to teach, and the child I had to raise. My healing was urgent- I had to “Kick this illness’ ass”. I continued to be aware that there was something literally “Stuck in my throat” that I needed to get out. So I decided to clear it all out; I had the difficult talk with my loved one, which was received with much love and compassion, and went to the doctor all in one day.

Here is a transcript of how the conversation went with the doctor:

Doctor: What’s wrong with you Janet

Me: I have tonsillitis

Doctor: You don’t know what you have, your throat hurts, that’s what you know.

Me: Yes, doctor you are right. My throat really hurts for days now and I am worried about it

[Doctor looks into Janet’s throat with a small light, his eyebrows lift and he grunts a yes]

Doctor: Anti-biotics, 8 and 8 hours for 8 days. Get well soon.

Me: Thank you Doctor.

I hadn’t taken antibiotics in years, and I am well informed about their ill-effects, over use and presence in nearly everything we ingest. I had worked for years to balance my gut health and now I was going to indiscriminately bulldoze through it. But I was humbled, weak, and convinced that I just needed to take the antibiotics and get back to living my life the way I wanted to… like a holy train bound for glory no stops.

Sure enough I felt better by day two or three and kept at it… not feeling 100%, but forgetting the misery of the week before.

However…. on day 11 with the anti-biotic over and done with, quite suddenly my throat flamed up and I was exactly where I had been 11 days before.

I was deeply frustrated and expressed this frustration quite clearly to my partner and told him I as going back to see a doctor the next day, but this time to a private hospital. The exam was indeed more involved, at least he looked in my ears and listened to my lungs, but in the end the results were the same. A different anti-biotic was necessary as the doctor speculated that the strain of bacteria in my throat was resistant to Amoxicillin. The doctor threw in a few additional prescriptions for things I might want just in case, like an analgesic for my throat and some anti-histamine for my nose (I wasn’t sure what that was for actually).

As my partner and I walked towards the pharmacy, I became full of confusion and doubts… why was I taking another anti-biotic when I didn’t feel good about it the first time AND it didn’t work?

FullSizeRender (17)I had fallen into the seductive habit of the culture, which is to be too impatient, too busy, too afraid, and too dependent upon quick fixes to allow the body to heal in a natural process with natural healing methods. Medication is just all too easy, all too prescribed and all too advertised. Not to mention that this society hive is not set up for us worker bees to take the time and space necessary to heal.

Of course antibiotics are life-savers. I am so very grateful that they exist. Shout out of love to antibiotics for all the lives they have saved… But they will only stay life-savers if they are not being overused. And they are so overused that we find them in nearly everything we eat, often even in organic vegetables. So what happens when there are antibiotics absolutely everywhere? The bacteria becomes resistant and we dig a deeper hole.

Also, I am very aware now that I am just talking about a nasty sore-throat, and not a life threatening disease, which might make it all seem pretty trivial. But it is exactly because it was just a throat infection that It shook me up a bit that I would run toward a quick fix and not look at my whole system.

So here is where the second hallelujah moment of the story comes in;

By the time we got to the pharmacy I stomped my feet and crossed my arms and made a fit like a little girl, “I don’t want to take them! This goes against everything I believe in and work for!”…. and then it hit me like a cast iron skillet to the back of the head; “I believe the body can heal itself! I believe that food, rest and meditation are medicine!”

My partner very lovingly sat down with me and put it clearly. “My dear… you have two choices. You can take the anti-biotics, and probably get better quickly and get back to your life as was… or you can listen to your body, realize you’ve been over doing it, respect your values and heal without the anti-biotics- but you will have to rest and eat very well, and take very good care of yourself, and I will help you the best I can”…

How could I resist the second option?

So instead of the pharmacy, we went by the fruit and veg shop and stocked up on everything vitamin rich, and a new pot of honey.

Hot water bottles in the bed, super immunity tea, sleep, veggie soup, extra vitamin c, extra zinc, and a complete conviction that my body could fight off the infection… and 24 hours later the pain in my throat was completely gone and I felt back to normal.

What happened then? I got cocky and hit the ground running… and of course… found myself with the irritation again. Have you ever had the feeling that even one little illness makes you feel like the whole world is crashing down around you? I take these as little warnings that the walls might need to crumble a bit and some conscious re-building is in order. And why not? Some corner stone foundations of my life were shifting at that moment, so in the shifts… stuff will come up. Its like drilling a well and you run into an oil field and the oil starts bubbling up…. it is greasy, stinky and ugly… but if you utilise it, it can make you richer. Maybe not the best metaphor, but you get the point.

Instead of crying tragedy, I contemplated again what my organism was asking for me. It occurred to me that the 5th chakra is the chakra of the element SPACE. When that came to me, I laughed out loud… I HAD NONE ! My partner had just moved in with me and all my routines changed, all my space was now shared, all my “Me time”- which is critical for me to feel energised, became “Our time” (I am not complaining… just observing!). So there you go Janet; create some space for yourself. Even if it doesn’t heal the throat, you will be a happier person.

My pain is my teacher, my truth is my healer.

This was only a throat infection. But a great experience for me to have my values challenged and my alignment set again,
because as life changes, we naturally have to adjust.

So I am feeling loads better after the whole experience, because in listening to the imbalances of my body and following through, not just my throat felt better, but my being felt better about what I am doing here on this planet.

So what is that super immune tea that also helped me out so much?

3 cloves of smooshed garlic

A thumb of ginger sliced

1 tea spoon of Turmeric

½ teaspoon black pepper

Boil a few minutes and add a spoonful of honey or other natural sweetener

Drink it hot, drink it slowly, drink it lots, and think to yourself that you are feeding the frontline soldiers; white blood cells vs. invasive bacteria. And you’ve got this one.

On a final note; Making decisions about health and health care is an incredibly personal thing and the individual has the right to take care of themselves in the way they feel safe to. No one should ever feel pressure to take or not take medicine based on ideas of others. There are many ways to heal, and it depends upon the values of the individual and what makes the person feel safe and secure, as this is also key to healing.

 

Peace, health, happiness,

 

Janet

 

A higher perspective- Love from Bali

So I have just returned from retreat in Bali. Yes, I live a wonderful life. Yes Bali is a paradise.

I was in Bali in my blessed role as Yoga and meditation guide for The Key World Retreats. I have the pleasure and honor to support the work of The Key’s founder Christine McGrory as she unwinds and reveals the methodology of conscious creation.

It was an amazing week. Bali is ‘Whoa’!, and Christine is ‘Whoa’!, and everything was ‘Wow’! and wonderful.  The Key World Retreat concept is blending adventures on location (We went on a bike tour of Bali, were blessed by a Hindu Priest, Went to the monkey forest, visited an orphanage, and more…) with Key Principles workshops, Yoga, meditation and amazing healthy food. It is just high vibes all around. But with these high vibes come some important challenges; there were plenty of opportunities to be taken out of your comfort zone, but one thing that I heard many times in this retreat was, “Everything you want and don’t have exists outside your comfort zone”.

Shall I repeat that?

“Everything you want and don’t have exists outside your comfort zone”.

And you must be able to visualise something before you can call it into your reality.

We celebrated a holy, beautiful transformative week on the last night with a jovial party of creating our own vision boards.

The purpose of a vision board is that you create a visual lay-out of your aspired life; images of you in situations you want to be in, doing things you want to do, with the people you want to meet, places you go etc.. You see yourself as you truly wish to be. It actually involves you coming face to face with your dreams and aspiration, perhaps that you are not even admitting to yourself.

******

Flash forward from Bali 3 days, and I am back home at The Well and sitting across from a woman who is in the process of my wellness program.

I have struggled a bit to understand how exactly I can help her. She is not eager to make changes, and is a self-admitted “Lazy person”. She struggles with sadness and long-term depression, but refuses to leave her comfort zones. I really wanted to give this woman the keys to happiness, the raw food recipes for natural highs, and the meditations for spiritual elevation. But she wouldn’t have any of it. So as I sat there pondering how to reach her when she said that she had something she really wanted to tell me.

She told me that one thing had really helped her since our last sessions; she had taken my business card with my photo on it, and put it in her bathroom, as it is the room she walks in and out of most often in the day, and when she looks at it, she remembers not to have bad thoughts.

I was stunned and humbled. She was using my image as an anchor- and it was working.

And it all came together… if that worked for her, imagine what a vision board could do!

Back to Bali.

At the entrance to our loft sat a Ganesh with fresh marigolds around her neck. Ganesh has been an anchor for me for many years. Though I am not Hindu, or any religion at that, when I see those soft beautiful eyes, I just feel that everything is o.k. Perhaps it has something to do with Ganesh being the protector of the wild ones… wink wink.

What do you look at to elevate your spirit? What are your images that re-set your negativity? What is it that you see that brings you up above the chaos of the world to a higher perspective? Do you look at things throughout the day to remember that there is a calm within you that is always a source of inspiration, guidance, peace?

At one point we stood before the rice fields of Ubud, vast green terraces. A camera drone navigated by the photographer whirred and whizzed above us, and captured the images of us tiny, little specks of humans trying to take in the world through our little windows.

At the same moment I sat down near a guest who had become my friend, who was blind… and she asked me “What do you see?”.

“I see green, I see little temples, I see little huts in the distance and some people”…

But I see so little really, I thought. I don’t look far and wide enough. I don’t dream beyond my immediate world enough. I believe too much of what I have already seen, and what I see in a day, and not of what is possible with a “wider lens” or  “Birds eye view” or may I say it a “Higher Consciousness”.

But the more we see, the more we open our internal eyes, the more we open our vision of ourselves and the possibilities in this life- The more our world opens and changes to take the shape of our dreams.

The Key World Retreats travels to new destinations twice a year and offers bespoke programs. This Spring we are in Ibiza! You can follow this link for more information. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you were there too?

http://www.unlock-the-key.co.uk/product/the-key-world-retreats/

 

All love,

 

Janet

Sleep yourself healthy.

At one of my Yoga trainings, the master teacher said that as you spiritually progress you need less and less sleep. One of the benefits of enlightenment? But most of us don’t live at that level of energetic efficiency. In our crazy, pushy, fast-paced world, in order to allow the body time for rest and recuperation, we need sleep. A lot of it.

There is a bit of tough-guy glory associated with getting little sleep, as if sleep is only for the slothenly. There’s some competitive edge to surviving onFullSizeRender (15) minimal rest, as if it makes us a bit cooler. Like; “Sleep is for babies! I only need 4 hours and I am fine”. I wonder how many coffees a day that person is having in order to function?

I could go through loads of research on the importance of sleep and it’s effect on our memory, mental health, longevity, etc… ever heard the term “Beauty sleep?” But I want to assume for a moment that you know all this. I want to assume also that you are aware of days when you get good sleep and you feel and look great and are more productive, and days when you get poor sleep and you feel and look not so great and are dragging and disoriented (Like me today as I edit this after having stayed up late to write it).

We here reading this blog- we are going for great.

So sleep is a natural beauty, health and vitality elixir. They say that it helps balance metabolism and can be key in healthy weight loss. Sleeping is perhaps the only time when your body can really detox… it’s like the cleaners come in at night and take out the garbage and re-set the system. And the deeper the sleep, the deeper the cleaning.

We make poorer choices regarding our habits when we are tired. We reach for sugars and caffeine to help keep us awake- as most of the modern world has de-valued the afternoon nap, we must cake and latte through our fatigue. And how much do you feel like exercising when you are exhausted? Not very much.

So with sleep, we have energy to do better for ourselves.

So say it. Say it to yourself now, “Sleep is good for me”

and then say “Good sleep is a priority for me”

So if you are not a natural deep and long sleeper, what is keeping you awake?

Could it be Coffee? Caffeine from any drink or chocolate has the ability to keep us buzzing for many hours after consumption* . For people with caffeine sensitivity, the caffeine can stay in the body for literally days.

Food? I have two friends, a couple who like to say that one of them eats pasta for a good nights sleep and the other eats pasta and stays up all night. Every body is different. What are the foods that sit in your stomach, or move slowly and noisily through your intestines keeping you and your bed buddy up? Are you eating too much too late? Or are you going to bed too hungry to sleep? This will have to do with your digestion and metabolism and you must trust your experiences through your experiments.

Pee-pee tea? This is such a trap for me as I love to drink tea in the evening, but if I overdo it, for sure around 3-4 AM I have a pressure in my kidneys that will not let me sleep through and I have to get up to pee, which basically disturbs some of the best hours of sleep.

Too much energy? Physical tension? Physically releasing energy and exhausting the body can have wonderful effects on people who have a hard time winding down at night. Be aware of how your body responds to sleep on a day with exercise vs. a day without.

An uncomfortable bed, a partner who snores, extreme temperatures, noises in the neighborhood… any number of reasons could be disturbing your precious sleep. But here is what could be potentially the biggest destroyer of a good nights sleep and your overall well-being:

The incessant chatter of your own mind.
When the world quiets down, and your busy schedule is over, and its just you settling into your quiet time, the mind can start to do a lot of processing. Often this leads us to habits that don’t support a healthy nights sleep. We may avoid going to bed in a natural way by instead just watching television until we fall asleep. We might lie in bed tossing and turning, worrying, unable to unwind. Sometimes we resort to taking some sort of medication to help knock us out.

I think every one of us has experienced this in our lives at some time, and it can make our relationship with sleep a strained one instead of a self-caring, nurturing, peace enhancing, healing, journey to distant lands delight.

My sleep took a critical turn for the better when I realised that my conscious mind was not my highest form of intelligence- and could not always be trusted and therefore I did not necessarily need to listen to it when it started to “Go off”.

I began to deal with my conscious chatter through self-awareness, meditation, therapy, mindfullness and all of that good stuff. (There is a beautiful book called “Marriage of the spirit” By Leslie Temple-Thurston that helps you work through polarised thinking that keeps us in all sorts of self-sabotaging loops.)

Those nights of laying awake in bed worrying were diminishing. But it really took a turn for the better when on one particularly neurotic night as I lay in a sleepless internal torture; I stopped myself. I checked in with myself, and this is what came up spontaneously:

I GO TO SLEEP TONIGHT NOT WITH FEAR FOR THE FUTURE OR ANTICIPATING PROBLEMS, NOT CREATING ALTERNATIVE REALITIES, NOR SEEKING JUSTIFICATIONS FOR THINGS I HAVE DONE NOR FEELING SHAME FOR ANY CHOICES I HAVE MADE.

I GO TO SLEEP WITH COMPLETE PEACE, OPENNESS AND RECEPTIVITY TO TRUTH.

I LAY DOWN NOW IN THE COURT OF MY SPIRIT GUIDES AND HIGHEST SELF AS THEY FILL MY AWARENESS WITH TRUTHS BEYOND MY ABILITIES TO SEE, BEYOND MY PERCEPTIONS.

I ENTER MY SLEEP WITH THIS INTENTION.

In other words-  “Just sleep on it.”

Kind of like Rumi’s phrase from a poem “Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong –doing there is a field, I will meet you there”. Sleep became that field, a place of peace. A place, where in trust, things could be worked out on there own.

Creating rituals around sleep, rituals based on your highest health and happiness, can have a strong ripple effect on your life. Sleeping well one night is setting you up for the next day, and the next day, and the next, and that my friend is your whole life! Just one day at a time.

So if you are a troubled sleep, here is some homework:

Take the time to settle in to sleep. Eat the right foods in the evening. The ones you digest easily. Drink the right drinks: not caffeine and not too much alcohol; listen to the right music: uplifting, relaxing and not too sentimental; turn off your phone and your WiFi; tell your loved ones you love them; pet the dog; wash and massage your feet; spray lavender on your pillow; say thank you to whatever you credit the air you breathe to. End your day with determination and trust that things are working for you while you sleep- on a physical, mental and spiritual level. So relax, and let them.

So I am done writing now, It is past 11 PM, an unheard of hour for me to be up on a school night. I have been drinking just a cup of Valerian tea a magical herb that can be calming and sedative (based on your disposition). It helps me get a delicious sleep. And so as to not go to bed hungry I have snacked on a few slices of fermented buckwheat bread made by my friend and current visitor Stephanie Jeffs (The lovely lady behind Explore Raw). She has blogged the recipe, so I wont re-invent the wheel, here it is. buckwheat bread

Now go to sleep. x

Janet

*http://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-caffeine-last#overview1

SAD America.

I am back in the great USA for the bi-annual vacation with my son. This time it is more of a shock than ever to come back… it is like going to visit a good friend who has amnesia, or to your childhood neighborhood that has been demolished and rebuilt into a shopping mall… it just feels strange. My point here is to write about the eating reality in America… but it is hard to just write about food when it feels like the very ground we stand on is shaking here. It can sicken the heart… but if we must go on, and we must, then we must make sure that we are in good shape to fight the good fight. That means keeping our heads clear and our hope up; believing that as much as we have to lose now, we have that much more to gain if we can resist the current tide of hate and manipulation and forge ever further into a world of freedom and justice for all (As we so pledge).
So I sat down to write about food, and I shall.
Food and eating in America is a grand conundrum. And you can really feel it! The USA leads the world towards the obesity and diabetes or diabesity as it is now called, epidemic… and yet it leads the world also in the health revolution. The amount of resource for providing the populous with healthy food is incomparable in any other nation; and yet the government continues to subsidize the over production of corn, wheat, dairy and meat, but not fruits and vegetables. Madness.

All judgments cast aside for those who fall prey to the SAD (Standard American Diet- mainly cheap meats and processed foods). This countries highways and byways are a fun-house of fast food advertisements. YOU try to navigate this country and resist the constant deluge of cheap tasty treats; warm, fatty, convenient, colorful, cleverly pitched and at hand. If you don’t have an education about healthy eating, you have nowhere to turn. You can drive-through for about anything. Or drive up and dash in to grab one of 80 varieties of sugar infused beverage, or 40 types of salty-crispy-full of corn derivatives and strange preservatives filled food like substances and still keep your motor running to get on with your busy life.

It is certainly the land of plenty. The grocery stores are the size of small cities and although in many communities you will find small markets, farmers markets, co-ops and etc… you need to take out a small loan to do your mainstay shopping there. And then, you must have the will and knowledge to choose healthy expensive food over the cheap addictive stuff. Although the arguments in favor of eating real food are good… they are not painted across billboards every 50 feet on every stretch of free-way. The cheapest non-food food is being thrown at your hungry, innocent little self from every direction. Food marketing in the USA is a $1,000,000,000 industry. Literally.

As my brother so ironically put it the other day; “If you were living on a budget you’d be a fool not to eat at McDonalds”… Because living lean and clean in the USA does not come easy. Cheap food is dirt cheap… quality food is damn expensive; Why are we spending 5 dollars on a loaf of real bread? Why are vegetables breaking the bank? Why is a grass fed beef hamburger costing me 3 dollars for the patty alone? How can the average person really live and eat healthy food on an average salary? And people are working their proverbial asses off here to maintain the status quo standard of living.

And to top it all off? This great country is currently run by some very inappropriate and morally questionable people, who might as well make us all throw our hands in the air and put our tear-stained faces down in deep fried apple-caramel-custard-cream pie (If there is such a thing). Please watch this for a great example of what I am talking about: Tina Fey on Sheet Caking

So my analysis so far of eating in the USA is that stress levels are high… and the need to relax and release is also high… and a certain political, economical formula has made this all too easy via: junk. food. Those greasy, sweety, cheapy foods trigger the release of endogenous opioids… yes… that word IS eerily similar to opiates and as addictive. And if you are feeling the pain, eating a lot of food creates what is called “ingestion Analgesia”; basically pain relief from a full belly. So we are all getting a little bit addicted to those 99¢ cheeseburgers.

“Moderation is a fiction in the face of food addiction” says Dr. Mark Hyman. As there are literally ‘Taste Institutes’ developed to create the most addictive food-like products possible to create bottomless pits of endless consumers.
This stuff is deep, dark and systemic. It is not in the consciousness of the population to make themselves sick, but wellness is not made easy.

So, I myself am a bit of a purist. I think food should be 5 ingredients top. Any more and it will confuse the body. And I have been challenged by a colleague while in the states to throw my orthodox habits aside and just enjoy being here and taking it all in. It’s America! It’s novelty! Eat the corn dog!

So taking this to heart… just after arriving, I had a very bad day. I don’t mean a very bad day as in I got a parking ticket and stubbed my toe. I mean a bad day as In someone I loved was hurting deeply and I couldn’t help them and any attempt I made to help them only made it worse… and I realized the best thing I could do for everyone was get my face out of their space. So me and my son took a little road trip into rural America.

I grew up in a very progressive community, but the surrounding areas can be drastically different. We went to meet my sister in the town where she teaches middle school. As we entered this agricultural mid-sized rural town, I noticed there was an increase in both churches and gun shops. ?. In any case the local folk were very friendly. My son jumped right in to the river in the park. A local kid asked me for help taking the hook off some old tackle. He then asked me which country I was from (This is 45 minutes away from the town I grew up in, but I guess I’ve picked up an accent).

It was all very sweet and beautiful, but I was still tense, sad, and overwhelmed by my personal life predicament. Out of my context, away from my sacred space in the Portuguese hills where no one can get to me and I can meditate, scream, dance, write it out or make myself a sacred healing smoothie… and having fallen prey to the barrage of marketing around me, I told my sister what I really, really wanted;
“I want to eat something really naughty and comforting”
“Ice Cream?!!!” She perked up, always keen for a sugary treat.
“Or perhaps a soda pop” I said…
So we Googled the closest convenience store. We deliberated about an icey 32. oz. Doctor Pepper, but were saved by a selection of flavoured Coconut water (I got the chocolate coconut water so I could feel I was justifiably naughty) and a small bag of cheese flavoured potato chips, of which one or two chips were sufficient to remind me why I don’t eat them regularly.

I felt that lovely little release of hormones, and the fleeting satisfaction of indulging myself and throwing my caution to the wind.

Whatever. Look; life is rough sometimes. We need to take care of ourselves. Sometimes maybe it comes in the form of potato chips. But maybe if we are honest with ourselves that the treat might be a temporary emotional band-aid, or an attempt at stress relief, or an inexplicable urge, or lazyness, we can recognise the addictive nature of fast foods, and the incredible effectiveness of marketing… then at least in that honesty we are free to make the choice to “take care” in the way we choose in that moment. Knowing that deeper methods always exist for deeper levels of self-care.

Recipe for the day? Simple. It’s a healthy version of the very addictive slushie coffees they peddle around here: Add some powdered cacau or carob to coconut (Cashew/Almond/Hemp) milk, a touch of vanilla, a pinch of sea salt and some sweetener of your choice (Honey, stevia, agave, rice syrup…etc…) blend it with ice in the blender. Drink with a colorful straw. And tell me that doesn’t just hit the spot.

Sending love and strength… we all need it!

Janet

Body is hungry… but spirit is hungry too!

When my son was a baby, and I a new mother, I was stymied by how difficult it was to soothe my sons cries. my mother taught me to go through the list of reasons why he could be crying; 1. Is he hungry? 2. Is he tired? 3. Is he too hot or too cold 4. Does he have a stomache ache? 5. Is there something uncomfortable in his clothing like a tag or something too tight?  and if it is none of these, is it just existential angst? FullSizeRender (10)
How different are we than that baby? And can we not treat ourselves with the delicate and loving patience that a little baby deserves?
A dear friend of mine has recently started me on a process of hypnotherapy… and she has let me know that an absolutely essential step in this process is very alert self parenting. So I am listening to her. And after the first session I went home tired as can be and said to myself “Janet sweetheart, it’s time for bed… but first we take a quick shower to wash the day off and have a little something to eat so you do not go to bed hungry”. These are the same words I say to my son… but not often enough to myself… at least not with the same tender love. And I did tenderly tend to my spirit… via acts of self-care and nurturing, body and spirit.
We are precious little beings we are.
When we are agitated, vulnerable, out of sorts, lonely, insecure, lost in direction, overwhelmed and frustrated on a day to day basis… we are going to find ways to distract, comfort, deny, escape… soothe. There there little one… have another…. These are our survival mechanisms. And thank the stars we have them! But they can’t always do the great and noble job of care of the spirit… that is a high calling. Ultimately, that is our job. To be the keepers of our own spirits.
This body is innocent. It is just doing a job. It’s job is to do the legwork for the purpose of the being inhabiting it. So it might get hungry… but a body will only get hungry for what it needs. My car does not get hungry for Coca cola or tofu, because that would be a disaster. It wants Diesel and Water.
Of course, we are a bit more complicated as there is no one Human Model. We have “Bio-Individuality”, meaning that there is a model for every human being. The perfect fuel combination doesn’t exist for more than one person… because we are all so incredibly specifically uniquely special. And what’s more… we have hungry hungry spirits. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. We would be off floating on clouds, playing harps and eating the proverbial grapes in the ethers.
We are here because our spirits are hungry for something. For life. For energy. For connection. For experience. To be understood and to understand. Food fits into this category, as it plays a part in all of this. But man cannot live on bread alone (I am sure I read that somewhere)….
So a list. A list would be nice. So when we are feeling ravenous for no obvious reason… we can go down the list of why we are hungry.
Thank you Eric Edmeades (the founder of WildFit) for this list of the 6 human hungers.
1. NUTRITIONAL HUNGER i.e. deficient in something. This is the only real hunger. As this is the only reason we give the body food. We give it what it needs to function.
2. THIRST. We used to get water from our food, as there weren’t taps in houses or bottled water convenience. Water was inside the food we ate, and so often thirst still feels like hunger to us.
3. VARIETY. We are craving something because our diet is limited and not providing us enough flavour, color, nutrition, etc.. to satisfy us. So we keep eating more of the same thing… but what we really need is something totally different.
4. LOW BLOOD SUGAR. Especially when we have a lot of sugar in our diet… as the body will adapt to using sugar for energy… and it will cycle through it quickly, making you feel like you need to eat in order to keep energy up.
5. EMOTIONAL HUNGER. This is the one that can really get out of control. Because although a little snack or comfort food can have a nice soothing effect on the spirit… we can easily fall into the trap where we are trying to ease our pains and discomforts with food. It is definitely a case of putting the bandaid on the cancer. Not gonna help.
6 EMPTY STOMACH HUNGER. When our stomach is empty, it is a bit umcomfortable, but it also puts us in a bit of reptilian brain panic. Must eat. Must not starve. But truthfully, our digestive system is designed to have some time and space between meals to fully digest and eliminate. It needs a clean-out. And this can take hours. So a nice empty stomach hunger every once in a while can do a world of good.
Let me continue into this area of cravings and hunger pulling from the wise words of Joshua Rosenthal, the director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition:
Other reasons for cravings…  in no particular order….
  • Lack of healthy relationships and connection with others, lack of creativity, Lacking in purpose and directions, lack of physical exercise (Releasing energy!).
  • An imbalance of yin/yang energy (Too much outward energy and not enough introspection and self-care).
  • Childhood foods for comfort.
  • A residual taste on the tongue from yesterdays naughty thing that makes us think of that naughty thing and because we are thinking of it, we must want it….
  • Seasonal foods that the body is craving because it might actually want or need it. 
  • Hormones that have us convinced that we need an excess of something in order to balance out the way we feel… also linked to emotional eating or nutritional deficiency but linked also to certain hormonal cycles.

Some cravings are good and valid and real…  and all cravings are based on body intelligence. Why? Because we are very very very intelligent. The body is this perfect mechanism that is doing more microscopic magic than you can even quantify. And so if it says it needs something… it needs something. The question is… what does it really need?

Is it really a taco? Or is it a hug?

Is it a latte? Or is it more meaning in your life?

Is it a candy bar? Or a mini vacation?

Is it vegetable soup?  In that case, Yes. Probably it is.

Our habits might be limiting us. Our addictions take up our time and energy that we could be using to fulfil our higher purpose. We are not bad people for having addictions and habits. In fact… some of the most beautiful beings…

We are amazing beings grappling in a mad world.

Awareness of our hunger, of the body and spirit, is just another tool for freedom.

 

May your habits not dictate your life… but may you create habits that help you rise up in glory.
All love,
Janet
Thanks for reading this. I love to hear your comments and ideas… so please be in touch.