End of the pillow

No pillow
Move over pillows… I might not need you after all.

About 3 weeks ago, I woke up with the worst neck pain I ever experienced. I must have been fighting off dragons in my sleep and the kink in my neck was my battle scar. Normally, a trip to the chiropractor and massage therapist would be enough to set everything back into place but not this time.

The oddest thing about my jammed neck is the following night I was unable to sleep on my pillow. It made my pain unbearable. My pillow is actually quite new so I couldn’t equate it to being old and shapeless. I had recently invested in a pricey, ergonomically-correct one to avoid this exact situation.

For the next few nights, I was completely pillow-less. It was the only way I could get a full, pain-free night’s sleep. I later re-introduced a pillow but the thinnest one I had. It gave me what I needed and craved – which was the softness around my face – but still allowed the back of my head to be flat against the bed. It’s a $1 pillow from IKEA…

I was curious to find out what the world wide web thought about this. Turns out my pillow aversion is a bit of a thing. Similar to the “low-poo” / “no-poo” shampoo movement, I found some information about “low-pillow” / “no-pillow”. Some argue that no pillow is better for your neck and posture, and compare pillows to shoe insoles. Both just lead to weakness in the arches…

The verdict is still out as to whether or not I keep going with the “low-pillow” / “no-pillow” approach but for now it’s what my body seems to want.

Any other pillow-less peeps out there?

M.

 

Pine needle camping tea

Red pine needles
Red pine needles

The May long weekend officially launched camping season for us. Other than the stillness, fresh air and nature, my favourite part of camping is making pine needle tea!

We found out about pine needle tea in a wilderness survival book. Being a tea lover, I decided to give it a try. Plus, it has some amazing health properties:

  • More than 4 – 5 times the vitamin C content of lemons
  • High in the fat-soluble antioxidant Vitamin A
  • Anticatarrhal (reduces mucous) and antiseptic properties

This site has a great top 10 list of benefits. Apparently, “Taoist priests drank pine needle tea as they believed it made them live longer.” I’ll have a second cup, please!!

Making the tea is as easy as boiling a generous handful of pine needles in some water for about 20 minutes. I let it sit and cool for a while with the needles still in, to keep drawing out all of the good stuff.

Pine needles in pot

Some pine needles can be toxic so avoid the Ponderosa, Norfolk Island and Yew variety of needles. I use red pine.

Also, avoid pine needles that could have come in contact with pollution and waste materials. The further out in nature, the better!

Enjoy 🙂

M.

 

Healing body through mind

Picture of the evening sky, overlooking the lake, on an island in the forest
My favourite place to meditate and reset the mind – in the middle of nature…

I knew our minds played a role in our health and overcoming illness but I admit I didn’t pay much attention to it until my friend shared this video. This women beat stage 4 ovarian cancer using a combination of conventional and alternative therapies and she placed a large focus on improving her emotional state. Amazing! You can read more about her story here.

According to this website:

“Although it is still often overlooked, emotional health is absolutely essential to your physical health and healing – no matter how devoted you are to the proper diet and lifestyle, you will not achieve your body’s ideal healing and preventative powers if emotional barriers stand in your way.”

Lately, I can’t say I’ve been taking good care of my emotional self. I’ve been burying myself in work and side projects, to the point where I’ve been feeling numb and completely void of healthy emotions. The video is a good reminder that this aspect of our health should not be ignored.

I’m still working on nailing down my morning routine, which was a New Year’s resolution of mine. I’ve been implementing a few rituals but now I’m definitely going to add some mind work! A good first step for me will be to re-implement a 10 minute yoga and meditation practice before starting the day.

Also, the Emotional Freedom Technique keeps popping up whenever I’m online or meeting new people and I’m starting to wonder if it’s a hint! Anyone tried it?

M.

My first ever detox

Hol-Fit 30 day cleanse image
Photo credit: www.hol-fit.com

I’m finally going to make good on my New Year’s Resolution and will be starting a detox tomorrow: the HOL:FIT Essential 30 Cleanse. Can’t wait!

Since this is my first ever detox, I’m going easy on myself… This detox/cleanse places a greater emphasis on supplementation and is extended over a 30-day period. I figure it will be a good, gentle introduction to detoxing and I’m looking forward to moving towards more intense cleanses someday.

The supplements used for this detox are from doTERRA’s cleanse + restore kit, which includes a multi-vitamin, land+sea oils, probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc. I have already been using many of these supplements with amazing results! My energy levels, mood and ability to manage stress have never been so great. I’m super excited to try the rest of them.

It also includes a series of self-care rituals to help the detoxifying process. I’ll be making good use of my tongue scraper and dry-skin brush!

I’ll be posting about my progress along with any improvements I may be experiencing. The process hasn’t even started yet but, as part of the prep work, I discovered I likely have candida overgrowth. That could explain some annoying and lingering health concerns I can’t seem to shake off…

Wish me luck 😉

M.

 

 

DIY antibacterial hand soap

Super easy, cheap antibacterial hand soap
Super easy, antibacterial DIY hand soap using glycerine and OnGuard

I finally ran out of my supply of hand soap refills. It’s something I used to love stocking up on or getting as a gift. However, lately I’ve been anxious to run out of it so I could try making my own.

This is another two ingredient recipe (think deodorant) – my favourite! The first ingredient is The Soap Works pure glycerine soap and I chose it because it is:

  • vegan / all vegetable
  • gluten free
  • ph balanced
  • unscented (so I could add my own!)
  • free of sodium laurel, lauryl or laureth sulphate, and phosphates

The second ingredient is doTERRA’s OnGuard blend and I chose it because:

  • i love doTERRA essential oils
  • it contains clove, which is anti-microbial
  • it contains eucalyptus, which is an excellent cleanser
  • the combination of clove, orange and cinnamon is a great deodoriser / freshener

I used about one quarter of the bottle of glycerine soap, 20 drops of OnGuard and filled the rest of the glass soap dispenser with water.

It actually turned out quite thick so I’m thinking I will use less soap and more water next time. Regardless, it works great and the smell is amazing!

Enjoy 🙂

M.

 

Buckwheat pancakes with molasses

Galette sarrasin served with fancy molasses
Galette de sarrasin served with blackstrap molasses

I haven’t met many people familiar with buckwheat pancakes or “galette de sarrasin” as we called it when I was growing up. It’s definitely one of my favourite breakfast options. To some, it may be an acquired taste but I always loved its strong and unique flavour even as a kid. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered it also has impressive health benefits.

A few fun health facts about buckwheat:

  • It is not a grain but actually a seed.
  • It is gluten-free and non-allergenic.
  • It ranks low on the glycemic scale.
  • It has more protein than most grains.

The pancake is sweetened with blackstrap molasses, which has its own nutritional value. Unlike refined sugar, this sweetener is rich in vitamins and minerals. (Side note: I actually put way more molasses than pictured above!)

Ingredients

  1. 1 ¾ cups of water
  2. 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  3. ½ tsp of baking powder
  4. Pinch of salt
  5. Blackstrap molasses (to serve)
  6. Butter (to serve)
  7. Cast iron skillet

Instructions

Pre-heat skillet on medium heat. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and start with a small pancake as a test. Sometimes, the first pancake sticks to the pan and doesn’t turn out but the next one will. Pancake is ready to flip when it bubbles and the edges start curling up. Spread some butter on top (optional) and pour blackstrap molasses. Makes about 8 thin pancakes. 

For some reason, I always feel really good after eating “galette”. Never too full, but satiated for a long time. Must be the health benefits…

Enjoy!

M.

 

 

 

Seed cycling for hormone support

Pumpkin, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds.
Pumpkin, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds.

These past couple of years, I’ve definitely noticed my hormones going out of whack. The second half of my cycle is often a rollercoaster of uncomfortable physical symptoms and emotions.

A naturopath had recommended seed cycling a few years ago as a food-based way to support my hormones and I did it for a few months but quit because I didn’t feel like I needed it at the time. If only I knew then…

According to the Herbal Academy, seed cycling:

“… integrates different seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle to support optimal hormonal balance. The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. The seeds used in seed rotation are flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds.”

So here’s the routine…

Day 1 to 14

  • 1 tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground pumpkin seeds

Day 15 to 28

  • 1 tbsp freshly ground sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground sesame seeds

And so my smoothies will include two more ingredients as of tomorrow 🙂

I’m also going to keep supporting my hormones in other ways using clary sage essential oil and magnesium supplementation.

Hope this helps!

M.

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