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Canada Legalizes Marijuana. Here Are the Highlights.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Canada. Canada will become the first G7 country to legalize marijuana country-wide.

If you've been following me for awhile, then you know hat this is a topic that I have geat interest in from a health perspective and a political angle. Two of my more popular posts from last year:  Why I didn’t post about 420 on 4/20 (May 5, 2016), My Thoughts on Toronto’s Pot Dispensaries (June 6, 2016). In the latter, I noted that were over 100 dispensaries in Toronto at the time. This number has drastically reduced due to several factors, including competition, police intervention, and landlord issues. Many dispensary owners got excited at the prospect of legalization and jumped ahead, even though the federal announcement, based on Trudeau's campaign promises, took over a year

In my post from June last year I also noted that I was going to create a 4-6 week email course, which is still sitting in a draft form. The process got overwhelming while I was planning it but it is still on my radar.

In this post, I  provide the highlights of Canada's legalization plan.

The purpose of Canada's new marijuana plan

It's not a matter of “getting with the times” or making it easier to get your medicine, both of which I think are benefits. The government is positioning its plan as a way to reduce the role of criminal organizations in the marijuana market and limiting the availability of the drug to youth. In other words, dealers, and dealers selling to kids.

Who will be able to purchase, possess, and consume marijuana?

The new federal law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy marijuana. Provinces can set a higher minimum age. The minimum age requirement to buy alcohol is 19 in all provinces except Quebec, where it's 18, so provinces might choose to make 19 the age minimum for pot at well.

Where will you be allowed to buy marijuana?

Marijuana will be allowed to be bought by mail or in provincially regulated retail spaces. Note the emphasis on “provincially regulated”. Currently, individuals with medical marijuana licenses can get mail order pot from provincially licensed growers.

The federal government will license and regulate growers, but each of Canada’s provinces will need to decide exactly how marijuana will be distributed and sold. A model similar to our Liquor Control Board (LCBO) stores could be likely. There's also been a discussion of licensing existing drug stores.

Where will stores get their marijuana?

All product sold will be produced by federally-approved growers.

The government says that this will ensure product quality and safety, but this has been an issue before. One side of the argument – largely made by licensed producers – is that with a local, illegal dispensary, you could be getting a product with mold, pesticides, and other nasty things. However, a few months ago Health Canada faced controversy because those very producers were selling tainted marijuana. As a result, patients experienced pain, nausea, vomiting, rashes and other reactions.

A senior Health Canada official acknowledged that even though the government prohibits the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as myclobutanil, known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated, the department had not been testing cannabis growers to ensure that they weren't using it or any other pesticides. Health Canada claimed that they expected companies to do their own testing. Evidently, they weren't. Government-approved growers have become the marijuana equivalent of big pharma, lobbying against small family operations, dispensaries and for some big growers, legalization.

Another analogy: Grocery items bought at the farmers' market vs. items bought at a supermarket. Big companies often have recalls. Last week, there was a national recall of flour due to E. coli contamination after 26 people across the country got sick. Robin Hood and other companies were part of the recall. Other recalls in the past include those on packaged vegetables, bottled juice, packaged meat and other packaged products. However, small farmers with small operations generally don't have these issues. Small marijuana growers who are growing organically to help a population won't have the same issues as the large warehouse producers who are publicly traded on the stock exchange. Smaller operations take more care. Organic growing practices with natural ways to repel pests are important for a medicinal plant.

Marijuana vape

What forms of cannabis will be legal to buy?

Fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oils and seeds and plants for cultivation (see below).

What about edibles?

The sales of edibles aren't included under current legalization plans but will be legalized at a later date.

Individuals will be able to make edibles at home, for personal use. Bake those brownies but keep them to yourself.

What will the marijuana possession limit be?

The possession limit of dried cannabis would be set at 30 grams.

The new legislation will also allow individuals to grow up to four plants at home.

How much will marijuana cost?

It’s important the government keep the prices of the legal pot low enough to compete with the black market. It will likely be priced on a per-gram basis, just like your dealer does.

No one knows yet, but economics experts point out that the government should keep the prices of the legal pot low enough to compete with the black market, which means not overtaxing it. The tobacco industry has seen this happen: Taxes on cigarettes increase and people turn to the black market, increasing illegal sales. People like to save money where possible (I won't ramble about quitting smoking to save money and maintain health – if you smoke, you know it's bad for you and that it's costing you money).

When I was in high school there was a cafe that illegally sold cigarettes under the counter to minors. Although it's not black market, I know people who buy cheap smokes from Indian reservations just off the highway, where they don't tax their cigarettes. The cost of marijuana would ideally compete.

What marijuana activity can get you into legal trouble

Anyone caught providing cannabis to minors can face up to 14 years in jail. Stop smoking up the teenaged neighbour. While you might allow your child a bit of wine, keep your teenagers away from your pot stash.

Driving with THC in your system, like drunk driving. I know people who drive well after consuming cannabis, but better safe than sorry. Sorry has potential consequences that you don't want. The new legislation will allow for roadside saliva testing to detect drug-impaired drivers. Drivers with a small amount of THC in their blood would face a fine of up to $1,000, while those with high levels (or those who also have alcohol in their blood) would face up to 10 years in jail.

Some of my favourite memories from when was 19 include hotboxing at the drive-in, but I was young and less knowledgeable then. I don't recommend it. Hotbox your bathroom and chill with Netflix instead. Pot, Netflix, and chill.

When will marijuana be legal in Canada?

Marijuana will be legal in Canada by July 2018.

What about medical use of marijuana in Canada?

The existing program for access to medical marijuana would continue as is. You get a prescription from your doctor and then a federally-licensed grower “fills it” by mail or courier.

This begs the question: If a person needs pot as medicine, wouldn't it be more convenient and quicker for them to get it at their local retail store?

Furthermore, here's an interesting quote from Liberal MP Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief:

“It is not our intent to promote the use of this drug. In every other jurisdiction that has gone down the road of legalization, they focused primarily on a commercial regulatory framework. In Canada … it’s a public-health framework.”

My opinion: By legalizing it, the government is promoting it, but no more than it already is. Politicizing the issue promotes it. Telling people not to smoke pot promotes it. Every time the issue is in the news, it's promotion. Every image of marijuana is an advertisement.  If it's a true public health framework, I think that there must be public education about cannabis as medicine, and public education about recreational vs. medical use, along with the risks associated with addiction. Not that the public is educated about painkiller addiction or addiction to other prescription medicine.

I think it makes sense to promote it as a medical intervention to relieve your aches, pains, anxiety etc.  Marijuana is a drug. Alcohol is a drug. Coffee and sugar are drugs. Still, it's a step in the right direction.

marijuana medicine

Final notes:

What about marijuana legalization in the U.S.?

According to Rolling Stone magazine: “In the U.S., though 29 states have some sort of legalization program, cannabis remains federally illegal, including for medical use. Due largely to this restriction, America's legal cannabis industry has grown into a patchwork Frankenstein monster: each state has had to determine for itself whether legalization makes sense and how the industry should be governed.”

And remember: Marijuana is a drug. Whether used recreationally or legally, keep out of reach of children.

my ayurveda routine

My Ayurveda Morning Routine… Then & Now

Back in February I had this idea: Start a new ayurveda morning routine (or, at least, ayurvedic-based). Blog about it.

The routine included activities I was already doing, such as yoga and meditation, so I was building on it. It also incorporated habits that I used to have but had stopped.

I started strong. Then a few weeks in I started a new corporate day job and my schedule changed both in terms of how long I had for said routine, and my blogging schedule. Honestly, for the first month of my employment I had little energy to do anything outside of work. (Working to make money vs. working on my passion is a topic I'm putting some notes together on, potentially to create an article on LinkedIn.)

What's in an ayurveda morning routine?

When I started my routine, based on some googling and what I'd seen in an Instagram account I follow, it looked like this – though the order would sometimes change:

  1. Meditate (20 minutes) – I still use the Insight Timer app.
  2. Journal (15 minutes)
  3. Scrape tongue with a plastic tongue scraper (30 seconds or so)
    • Ayurveda recommends scraping away white coating that accumulates on the tongue overnight. This coating is perceived as accumulated undigested toxins sitting in the digestive tract. Those toxins can cause illness.
  4. Splashing cool water on my face/in my eyes, 7 times.
    • Ayurveda recommends splashing your face and eyes with water as soon as you wake up, seven times. Seven represents the body’s chakras, or energy centers.
  5. Drink a half liter or full liter of warm water.
    • Some practitioners recommend lemon, some recommend lime. Morning lemon water has long been part of my routine. Sometimes I juice of lemons or limes. Other times I use lemon or lime essential oil from Young Living, or their Citrus Fresh essential oil blend, which contains orange, grapefruit, mandarin, tangerine, lemon, and spearmint. Some days I get my magnesium in, with Natural Calm lemon flavoured powder.
  6. Give myself a body massage with coconut oil or sesame oil (washed off in the shower).
  7. Oil pulling with coconut oil and a couple of drops of Living Libations Healthy Gum Drops, done for 10-20 minutes.
    • Oil pulling is where you swish oil around on your mouth.  I scoop up some oil with a spoon, add the gum drops, and pop it in my mouth. It's part of the oral hygiene routine, though NOT a replacement for brushing teeth. When you spit, always do it into a garbage can, as it can clog pipes.
  8. Skin brushing with a dry skin brush before showering.
    • Skin brushing, allegedly, helps encourages lymphatic drainage, improves blood flow, and rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin. It improves circulation and helps rid toxins from the body.

So many steps!

That's a LOT of steps. I also walk my dog in the morning, and like to do morning yoga. It's time consuming, and I was keeping it up at least 6 days a week. I tried including pranayama (breathing) exercises but I kept forgetting to do them.

Sometimes I multi-tasked with other activities on the list, or with other activities. For example, I'd oil up and then sit at my computer, or oil up and then empty the dishwasher. Or sit with oil on my body and in my mouth at the same time.

Oil pulling is one of the activities that I've been doing on and off for years, and I usually do it in the shower (again, spitting into a garbage can). Once, I sat down on the couch with my body oiled and coconut oil in my mouth while my man told me stories. For 10 minutes, I nodded and “mmmhmmm”ed , amused by it.

From this morning: Preparing for morning oil pulling with @nutiva coconut oil with 2 drops of @livinglibations Happy Gum Drops. 20 minutes of swishing later, my mouth feels fresh and clean. Next step: Brushing with Living Libations Tooth Truth Powder Polish and Neem Enamelizer liquid and my @drtungs ionic toothbrush – all part of the Living Libations Successful Self Dentistry Kit. My mouth always feels extra clean when I use these products. I'm almost out of the enamelizer. I've been making it last by not using it every time I brush, instead alternating with an all-natural toothpaste. Living Libations also makes an oil swishing serum that's on my wishlist for the future. . . . #ayurveda #ayurvedicremedies #morningslikethese #healthyliving #wellness #oralhealth #findinghealthwellness

A post shared by Andrea Toole (@findinghealthwellness) on

(My sister commented that she has a similar routine. Of course she does!)

My Ayurveda morning routine now…

When I stared my new job I couldn't sustain that time-consuming ayurveda morning routine. Some experts say that you should wake up at 6 am, or before the sun. By the end of March, the sun is rising around 7 a.m. My optimal sleep cycle is 11 p.m. -7 a.m., though 10:30-6:30 is do-able and 6:30 wake up is necessary now. I still need 2 hours before I leave for work in the morning!

I need 8 hours of sleep, though can get by on 7.5 without feeling too bad. When my dog was a puppy I DID get up before 6 a.m. to walk her before work but she's older now and her morning needs have changed.

So here's what I say to 6 a.m. wake up – and especially any time earlier: Screw it. If you can do it, that's great! We all have different needs and rhythms. I'm a little envious, but I'm satisfied where I'm at, I'd just like to get up a little earlier. Last week I made myself 3 versions of a morning schedule. One does have a 6 a.m. wake up. I eye it in the way that one looks at something unappealing. Then I sleep later. Maybe if I start with 15-minute increments…

Do what's right for you (find YOUR health and wellness)

In an article on Chopra.com, provides the following note before its ayurvedic-inspired morning routine:

These suggestions for morning habits are inspired by traditions in Ayurveda; however, the invitation is to try them out, do what feels right, skip the ones that don’t, add ones that balance you best. They can be done in any order. Whether you’re already an early riser or more of a drag-myself-out-of-bed, stumble-to-the-coffeemaker, why-is-it-so-bright, kind of person—these tips will help you get a jump on your day.

Indeed. And I did.

The activities I kept were those that were already part of my life:

  • Meditation (20 minutes tops these days, though I'm striving for earlier wake up and longer sessions)
  • Journal
  • Yoga
  • Tongue scrape
  • Skin brush
  • Oil pull in the shower. Above, I said that I take a spoonful of the oil. In past warmer months when the oil was melted, I swigged straight from the container.  My Happy Gum Drops are a new addition – maybe I'll drop them straight into my mouth.
  • Drink warm water. I've been saying for years that even if I neglect to drink water throughout the day, at least I know I've had my morning water.

After 100 days of meditation I missed a day. And then went back to it. I'm doing yoga most days but I occasionally do skip. I loved challenging myself and feeling really good about streaks but I eventually decided to go easy on my self if I miss a day.

Sometimes I forget to skin brush as part of this ayurveda morning routine. I often forget to splash water on my face. Most mornings I go from bedroom to living room for yoga/meditate/journal. The massage would be nice, but it's more of a treat now. I remember one evening after I'd done it in the morning, when suddenly felt my neck release nicely and knew it was a result. The timing just doesn't work right now.

How do I feel from all this ayurveda morning routine stuff?

I honestly don't know if the skin brushing is benefiting me, but often times we don't see or feel health benefits. Not seeing or feeling doesn't mean it's not working, nor does it mean that it is.

My tongue always feels cleaner with a good tongue scrape. I use the small plastic scraper that came with the Living Libations Successful Self-Dentistry Kit that I won last year. Some people swear by stainless steel or copper. You could use the back of a spoon. I used to sometimes do that.

My teeth always feel cleaner with I oil pull before brushing. It amazes me that oil pulling will loosen debris from the day before that evening flossing did not.

I was sick with colds in both March and April, even though I usually only get sick twice a year, in fall and spring. However, both times the cold lasted less than a week. The first one stayed mostly in my chest. I didn't even go through an entire box of Kleenex. The second one was more intense and in my nose, but brief. It could be the ayurveda morning routine, the turmeric consumption, or the Genuine Health probiotics I've been taking.

All I know is that I'm trying, and being as consistent as possible without being extreme about it.

We try our best and be gentle on ourselves. That's the way to live.

I'm glad it took me a couple of months to get around to blogging this because it provided the opportunity for a “then and now” post, which I think is more interesting and relatable.

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Sweet, Sweet Freedom! (Summit)

A few summers ago I read the book I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson. Here's an excerpt from page 6, which resonated with me:

I was a sugar addict. I didn't look like one. I didn't drink Coke or put sugar in my coffee. I've never eaten a Krispy Kreme donut, and ice cream bores me…. I hid behind the so-called “healthy sugars” like honey, dark chocolate and fruit.”

I love ice cream, but I rarely put sugar in my coffee. I don't like sweet sweets. I eat the occasional TimBit (for my international readers, though are doughnut holes from Canadian coffee chain Tim Horton's) and I prefer burnt sugar flavours. Of course I needed to keep reading.

When I first heard about the Sweet Freedom Summit I thought, “Yeah yeah, Americans and their affinity for sweetness”.  Then I started reading the promo material.

Sugar is not just candy and pastries, the soda and loaded coffee drinks you order each day; it’s also found in many other foods- foods processed by their manufacturers to force your body into addiction.

True that. As as Sarah says, it's not just about refined sugar. That said, refined sugar is made similarly to heroin and cocaine, but triggers the brain’s receptors 8 times MORE than cocaine. It’s a serious issue, because refined sugar is found in most grocery store foods.
Sweet Freedom Summit

The Sweet Freedom Summit starts on Monday April 10.

People worldwide will learn from the expert wisdom so important to ending the depression, fatigue, illness and obesity caused by sugar addiction.

Here are some of the diverse talks taking place in The Sweet Freedom Summit:

  • The Sugar-Cancer Connection
  • What in the World Is Sugar Doing to Your Body? 
  • Impact of Stigma/Self-Stigma on Sugar Addiction
  • Holistic Dental Approach to Giving Up Sugar 
  • Power of Sleep for Survival (and Beyond!) 
  • There's a talk called, The Man Who Only Ate Potatoes for 365 days

You can learn…

  • How “non-food addiction” can lead to a serious and painful death
  • Impacts of poorly processed foods on your emotional state
  • Educating your family to be supportive and healthy
  • Why diets rarely work long term (and the strategy that does!)
  • And, so much more…

Some of my favourite experts contributed.

How to participate:

  1. Register immediately to make sure you'll see the free talks.
  2. Purchase all of the expert talks and help us reach more people struggling to live healthy lives. This means that you own all the talks to watch at your own pace. It includes all the slide shows, the presentations in MP3 – so you can listen in transit, at the gym, while walking your dog, etc., and transcripts, in case you learn best by reading. It also includes around $500 worth of bonus gifts. The online access package for all of the expert talks is $59 through Tuesday morning (April 11) at 10 A.M. U.S. eastern. After that, it increases to $79.

Register For Free

Whether you like your refined sugar sweets or are addicted to more natural sugars, this is for you. If you're in the latter camp, you might be even more interested in the event.

I'll never give up fruit, honey and maple syrup permanently because they have immense nutritional value but I do occasionally take breaks from them to heal from candida, fatigue, mood and more.  I'm looking forward to this.

 

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer package
Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer package steep
Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer pour
Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer Bulletproof
Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer Bulletproof Bulletproof Coffee

Review: Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Brewer

According to a study conducted by Melitta in 2015, coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in Canada, with 84% of Canadians saying that they drink it.

Normally I'd note the potential bias there but a) potential bias is pretty obvious and b) 84% doesn't seem far-fetched.

According to CBC.ca, 67% of Canadians aged 18-67 drink coffee daily.  According to that same article, coffee drinkers consume, on average, 16.6 cups of coffee per week, or 2.4 cups per day.

Melitta's history

German housewife Melitta Bentz invented the Pour-Over™ over 100 years ago. Before that, coffee was brewed similar to the way tea is steeped now – coffee grounds were boiled in a cloth bag tied with string. This resulted in a cloudy, bitter coffee with an oily residue. The pour-over technique changed the way people made and consumed coffee.

Everyone's got their favourite – and their opinion is “THE RIGHT” one.

Coffee is a personal, very subjective subject. Everyone's got their favourite coffee spot and a preferred at-home method. They like it just so.

Some people prefer a stronger cup, others prefer a weaker cup. Some people want it black, others load it with condiments. Some like it flavoured, others insist on – to quote Denis Leary in this swear-laden rant – coffee flavored coffee. I think that if you need to load it up with condiments or flavour, you don't really like coffee and should choose another beverage. Embrace the bean.

My last five years of coffee makers

When I first moved in with my man almost five years ago he had an espresso machine that he'd modified to his liking. It eventually broke.

We tried French press for awhile, and it was good. I'd used one when I lived alone. We used one as our camping coffee method.

Then we went Keurig but the environmental guilt was too much for us. So much waste! For awhile, after each time I used the Keuring to make a cup of coffee, I would open the k-cups and dump the grounds into the compost bin. After awhile I stopped doing it each time, instead tossing them aside to do a bunch of them “later”. A time came when I stopped altogether. Eventually we started using reusable cups with our own freshly ground coffee but we still had that guilt. Two people have told me recently – and this might just be rumour – that the inventor of Keurig machines feels guilty about his invention and its environmental impact. In my home, we refer to all coffee machines that use cups and pods as “waste packaging dispensers”. I know that biodegradable cups exist now, but the non-recyclable and non-compostable still dominate.

Then came our beloved Aeropress, of which we own at least 3. (One at home, one at work, one at our trailer…) It became my favourite method by far. Using the “inverted” method, I get a strong cup with a thin layer of crema on top. Crema is one of my criteria for enjoyable coffee.

Today: Melitta?

Having experienced many home coffee brewing methods and having a current favourite, I wasn't looking to make a change. I was slightly skeptical when Melitta's PR company offered me Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer to try, but I accepted it with an open mind. I do not accept every product offer. In fact, I decline most. However, Melitta is an established name. They've been around a long time. And I like coffee.

Having a current favourite, I didn't expect much from Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer. I was pleasantly surprised.

Melitta's representative sent me a can of ground coffee but I haven't opened it, choosing instead to grind my own as usual. Nothing is the same as freshly ground. My current beans aren't fancy. They're not fair trade or locally roasted, although I have some favourite local roasts. The beans I currently use are “Colombian Supremo” from a local grocery chain.

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer package

Just one disadvantage to start

The first thing I noticed with Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer was a disadvantage: I didn't know how much water to use. One of the brewer's features is a “window” that allows you to see how much coffee you're brewing. However, while it allows you to see into your cup, it doesn't help determine how much water to put into the cone. As I do with the Aeropress, I began the brewing process by slowly pouring a little bit of boiling water into the coffee grounds to saturate them and let them “bloom” before slowly pouring the rest of the water. With the Melitta brewer, I paused after pouring in a little more water, let the cup fill, poured some more water, pausing and pouring until the cup was filled with the desired amount of coffee.

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer steeping
You can see the “window” at the bottom.

The solution to the water volume issue that I came up with is to fill your mug with water, pour that water into a measuring cup, and then note to use that much water next time. (So if your favourite mug holds 1 U.S. cup of liquid, pour 1 cup of boiling water into the cup.) You'd have to do this with every different sized vessel that holds your coffee.
If you've got a better idea, feel free to share it.
Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer pouring

Oh, but the smell…

After that, all good. My man walked into the kitchen as I was making the first cup and observed that it smelled good. It really did. The smell of fresh-brewed coffee is one of the best smells in the world, isn't it? Unless you don't like coffee or the smell of it.

The taste?

I tried it black first, and it tasted really good. Much better than I expected.

I proceeded to make one of my Bulletproof-like lattes and it was delicious with its added cinnamon, vanilla and grass-fed dairy, blended to a lovely froth.

Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer Bulletproof

Clean up is a snap!

[*finger snap*, like in a cheesy commercial]

Clean up was easy. Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer takes a #2 cone filter. When the coffee has finished brewing, dump that in the compost bin and rinse the plastic brewer- and the rinsing part is optional.  It's slightly easier to clean than the Aeropress, which requires a good rinse.

Verdict

I still love my Aeropress, but will use the Melitta 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer at work. It saves money on buying coffee, and saves the guilt of using one of the Keurig machines at the office. Curious? Go for it! Melitta's 1-cup Pour-Over Coffee Brewer is a great choice. It also costs under $5 in both Canadian and U.S. currencies. You can find it at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other retailers.

My "almost Bulletproof" coffee.
My “almost Bulletproof” coffee.

Events: On Now & Ending Soon

1. The Heart Revolution – February 25-March 5.

More than 60 doctors, scientists, and experts teach you how to prevent heart disease, heal from childhood trauma, recover from grief, release resentments and bring more health, love, laughter and peace into your heart and your relationships. Experts include Dr. Eben Alexander, Rollin McCraty of Heartmath Institute, Dr. Steven Stosny, JP Sears (you likely know him as the guy who makes videos that parody new age spirituality), JJ Virgin, Sayer Ji and Dr. Tom O’Bryan. Join The Heart Revolution today and learn to heal, empower and follow your heart.

Join Here

2. The Thyroid Secret– starts today!

Dr. Izabella Wentz and her amazing team have produced this powerful 9-part documentary and it truly is groundbreaking​.

30% of the population could be walking around with undiagnosed thyroid disease. It's one of the most overlooked diseases and is so often misdiagnosed.

For this 9-part documentary series, Dr. Izabella Wentz and her team spent the last year traveling all around the country interviewing top experts in thyroid health as well as patients who overcame thyroid disease.

Topics will include:

  • Underground information on how to recover your health
  • How toxicity robs us every day – plus what to do about it
  • Why food can be your best friend or worst enemy
  • The connection between stress, trauma, and autoimmunity
  • Finding hope in the midst of fertility issues
  • Success stories and SO MUCH MORE!

Watch Here

3. Miracle Mindset – free and upgraded options

In case you missed it, JJ Virgin’s Live Training on how to master your mindset was awesome! You can check out the replay HERE now. This Live Training demonstrated that a strong, positive mindset is the missing ingredient to reaching your goals in every area of your life! If you don't want to watch the entire thing you ​can skip around. The replay ends tonight at midnight. That's the free part. Want more?

Join the Miracle Mindset Academy. Enroll before tomorrow at midnight, and save 62% on Miracle Mindset Academy PLUS get over $278 in FREE bonuses!​

Learn More

Buckwheat Bean Salad

Recently I had one of those instances where I looked in the fridge and cupboards and they all seemed bare. I didn't want to order in or go out, so I decided to make one of my “clean the pantry” meals. It was either going to be rice and beans, or some other sort of grain and beans. I had lots of buckwheat even though I don't like buckwheat. I chose the buckwheat.

Beans are full of protein and fiber.

I'm still on a turmeric kick. Turmeric has been a repetitive presence in my blog and Instagram posts. I credit it for me not getting sick when my partner was sick, and then when I did get that cold it was mild and short. I bought new boxes of Kleenex (really the Kleenex brand – I'm loving the “Ultra Soft 3-ply”) thinking that I'd run out of my 2 open boxes at home quickly, but the nose blowing was less frequent than expected. It was mostly a chest cold, with sinus pain and some nasal congestion.

Here's my rationale behind the rest of the ingredients:

  • The mixed vegetables were for variety and crunch. You can use them, or not.
  • The wakame was added 1) because I really like wakame and 2) Because wakame is said to mitigate the gas problem caused by beans. You know how the rhymes go: “Beans beans are good for your heart, the more you eat them, the more you fart.” and “beans beans the magical fruit, the more you eat them the more you toot.”
    I ate this salad twice and the first time the wakame defense failed miserably. The next day my ass was like a wind machine. However, I added tuna to the leftovers and farts were minimal so either my stomach was used to all that fiber, or the added tuna helped. The nutritional benefits of wakame were secondary to me, but here they are:

    • Wakame is a good source of magnesium, which I've been trying to get enough of. Every cell of the body relies on magnesium and people tend to be deficient. Magnesium is integral to hundreds of biochemical reactions across all bodily systems and it's depleted every 12 hours so it needs to be constantly replenished. If you're feeling “off” try increasing your magnesium intake.
    • Wakame is a good source of iodine, essential for strong metabolism of cells, and also iron, manganese, folate and bioavailable calcium.
    • It's rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain health.
    • It's a good source of a number of vitamins including A, B2, C, E, and K and vitamin D, which isn't a vitamin, but a hormone.
    • It's got a ton of health benefits including boosting immune function. Combine wakame with immune boosting turmeric, plus pepper and fat to maximize the benefits of turmeric, and you've got an immune system powerhouse. Turmeric might play a role in thyroid health. For more information about thyroid health, check out The Thyroid Secret, a documentary series that runs from March 1 – 10.
  • I really wanted apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and turmeric together. If you prefer a sweeter dressing you could add maple syrup or honey, but I prefer my dressing unsweetened.

Here's the recipe:

Golden Paste
Print Recipe
You could use this in Golden Milk or mix it with hot water for an alternative to coffee. Make a turmeric latte. Add Golden Paste to your smoothies or add it to muesli or oatmeal.
Golden Paste
Print Recipe
You could use this in Golden Milk or mix it with hot water for an alternative to coffee. Make a turmeric latte. Add Golden Paste to your smoothies or add it to muesli or oatmeal.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the coconut oil in a small pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer over low heat.
  3. Cook until it begins to thicken.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in coconut oil.
  6. Transfer to a clean, dry jar, such as a mason jar, and store in the refrigerator
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The Thyroid Secret

Call this “Thyroid Thursday”.

If you're constantly searching for more knowledge to empower yourself to help you find YOUR health and wellness, read on:

There’s an event coming soon that’s going to have people talking. It's a 9-part Docuseries called The Thyroid Secret.
It’s going to open people’s eyes to a prevalent, but hidden disease.

That disease is thyroid disease and an estimated 30% of the population may be diagnosed in their lifetime… and most of them won’t know why they’re so sick.

The charge is being led by thyroid expert, Dr. Izabella Wentz, a renowned pharmacist and thyroid disease survivor. I've heard her speak on telesummits in the past and I really like her.
(If I didn't, I wouldn't be promoting her event.)

Izabella has assembled an amazing army of health rebels, including some of the most respected health experts today and patients who have overcome their thyroid conditions to bring us a groundbreaking series that debunks the myths surrounding thyroid disease.

In this groundbreaking 9-part documentary series they’re going to take western medicine head-on and reveal the truth.

The Thyroid Secret’s mission is to raise awareness about thyroid disease and empower people to implement natural alternatives and therapies to get their health back.

The series contains everything you could ever want to know, plus so much more.

What You'll Learn

  • Diagnosis – Many people are misdiagnosed with other conditions and never get the proper diagnosis. Could you be one of them?
  • Medications – Did you know that most people are not getting the right medications for their thyroid conditions and that recommended medications can often be harmful?
  • Thyroid cancer – So many people receive a misdiagnosis of thyroid cancer! Find out what you could do to reduce your chances of being a statistic.
  • Fertility – Sadly, many women needlessly experience infertility, miscarriage and have children that are born with disabilities because of thyroid disease. Find out what you can do about your own fertility and the health of your children.
  • Hashimoto’s – People often receive a misdiagnosis and mistreatment for this condition. Find out how to address and reverse this condition.
  • Graves’ disease – You don’t have to accept the status quo of barbaric treatments here. There’s a better way to recover your health!
  • There are complementary treatments that can restore thyroid function!
  • Nutrition – Did you know that food can be your worst enemy and your best friend in healing? Find out how to optimize your nutrition.
  • Supplements – Some supplements can subdue thyroid symptoms. You’ll discover the ones you can use to help yourself.
  • Toxins – Learn about the environmental toxins that are wreaking havoc on your thyroid.
  • Triggers – Know which triggers bring about thyroid disease and what to do about them.
  • Symptoms – Learn which symptoms are thyroid related and how to get better!
  • Healing – Yes, there are case studies and best practices so that you can recover your health.
  • Adrenals – These tiny little glands can sabotage your thyroid health if ignored.
  • Success stories – Celebrate with the many patients and individuals that have suffered from hypo and hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s and Graves, and other related conditions, and who reversed their conditions through root cause protocols!

Mark your calendar for March 1st and get ready for the World Premiere of The Thyroid Secret, then get ready for one brand new episode every single night over the next 9 days.

Register

 

Schizandra
St. John's Wort

Feeling SAD?

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Winter Blues.

Winter Blahs

Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD.

It's February. Are you feeling it?

Last week I talked about self-care and the routines that help keep me mentally healthy. Let's call today Mental Health Monday.

I've been keenly aware of mental health for a long time and in addition to the routines, the yoga, the meditation etc. that I discussed last week, there are some other key elements to mental health. I'll discuss some of them briefly, departing from my usual verbose style. Note, none of this is a replacement for advice from a healthcare practitioner:

Light Therapy

Light Therapy consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light. Basically, it simulates day light. Some studies show that it's as effective as antidepressants at treating SAD. Light therapy makes up for lost sunlight exposure and resets the body's internal clock. Also, sunlight generally improves mood.

English: Light therapie lamp Philips HF3319/01...
Light therapy lamp Philips HF3319/01 Energy Light. Light intensity compared to daylight (circa 11.00 a.m.). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vitamin D

Here's some information that might be new to you: Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D isn't really a vitamin, it's a hormone. It's made on the skin when UVB from sunshine hits the skin. Only the UVB wavelength of light makes vitamin D. So now it will make sense when I tell you that pork from pastured pigs – pigs that spend a lot of time outside in the sunshine – has the highest amount of Vitamin D of any land animal. If you're a pork eater, eat lots of pastured pork in the winter.

Exercise

Staying active increases the production of feel-good chemicals. Even a walk outside. Try a walk around the block, then see if you can keep going. Or walk to where you need to run errands, because you have to go anyway (unless you have a lot to carry or the errand is filling the gas tank). A walk to pick up a few groceries or to the laundromat is a good kind of multitasking.

Borrow a dog if you don't have one

This one is part exercise (dog walk), part pet therapy. My dog sometimes gets borrowed. Cuddling and playing with a dog is highly therapeutic.

Borrow a baby or child if you don't have one.

Same idea. One of my favourite things about babies: When you smile at them, they smile back. It's hard not to feel something. Also, children are inspiring. They're full of wonder and innocence.

Herbal Supplements

St. John's Wort

According to this book, it's Nature's Blues Buster. The fact that the author is one of my family members is tremendously helpful. St. John's Wort is one of those subjects with conflicting study results – some studies say it doesn't work at all, that it's a placebo, some say that it works on mild-to-moderate depression. It works on mine, so whenever people claim that it, or anything else, is a placebo I say, “That's fine with me!” I'm all for a placebo that will keep me from feeling like shit.

English: St John's wort in Bahrenfeld, Hamburg...
St John's Wort

Ashwaganda, Astragalus, Rhodiola, Schisandra

I'm lumping these together because they're part of a class of herbs called “adaptogens”. Adaptogens help balance, restore and protect the body and modulate your response to stress. They go to work where you need it. Dr. Frank Lipman provide one of the best descriptions I've ever read:

Adaptogens work a bit like a thermostat. When the thermostat senses that the room temperature is too high it brings it down; when the temperature is too low it brings it up. Adaptogens can calm you down and boost your energy at the same time without over stimulating. They can normalize body imbalances. By supporting adrenal function, they counteract the adverse effects of stress.  They enable the body’s cells to access more energy; help cells eliminate toxic byproducts of the metabolic process and help the body to utilize oxygen more efficiently.

I use them when I'm starting to feel symptoms of adrenal fatigue. One of the symptoms that I tend to notice most (as opposed to those I don't notice) is physical anxiety without mental stress. Not all adaptogens are listed here, only a few.

Ashwaganda

Even the word makes me feel better. I really enjoy saying “ashwaganda”. To me, it sounds like the name of a place inhabited by natives, referred to as “ashwagandans”. Ashwaganda is considered one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing. As an adaptogen, it helps the body adapt to stress. Furthermore, ashwaganda is anti-inflammatory, it protects the immune system and the brain and nervous system, and it improves learning, memory, and reaction time.

Say it: Ashwaganda.

Astragalus root

Astragalus, also fun to say, is used in Chinese medicine to boost immunity. It helps reduce stress and aging by protecting cells and DNA. Astragalus is found in some adrenal support formulas.

Rhodiola

Also known as roseroot, Arctic root or golden root. It's long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, in Scandinavia and in Russia. Like the others, it enhances the immune system. A study published in 2007 in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, showed that patients with mild-to-moderate depression who took rhodiola extract reported fewer symptoms of depression than those who took a placebo. It's long been used to treat anxiety. A small human trial of rhodiola at UCLA published in 2008, reported significant improvement in 10 people with generalized anxiety who took the herb for 10 weeks. Rhodiola appears to work faster than conventional antidepressants. (Source: Dr. Weil) Some studies have concluded that rhodiola is neuroprotective against toxins. It's also used to reduce the effects of prolonged and physical exhaustion that leads to fatigue.

Schisandra

Schisandra is a berry used in Traditional Chinese medicine. It helps balance hormones and improves the ability to deal with physical and psychological stress. It also reduces inflammation, improves cognitive function and is neuroprotective.

Schizandra

There are 2 adrenal formulas that I've used and like:

  1. AdrenaSense by Preferred Nutrition
  2. Adrenal-Pro by Can Prev

Finally, Take advantage of the sunny days! Don't let yourself stay inside because it's cold, bundle up and go get your face in the sun. Take a brisk walk, maybe with a borrowed dog. Go sledding or skating, and follow that up with a hot beverage of your choice such as a hot chocolate with milk or golden milk. You might feel better.

SO-SUAWriteathon-Logo
Amy-poehler-preface
Shut Up and Write post screen shot
leave-839225_1280

Shut Up and Write (athon)

Shut Up and Write – My Journey

This is a departure from Finding Health and Wellness, but bear with me: Through elementary school and high school I wrote a lot of fiction, a lot of stories. I had imagination and told stories with dialogue and narrative. I didn't need to “shut up and write”, I just did because I had stuff to say. My parents still have a copy of a short story I wrote called “The Elephant's Party” with 2 friends in Grade 3. I remember working on it in the school library.

When I was applying to universities I applied to both a Creative Writing program and a Journalism program. I ended up in Mass Communications, where I did a lot of report & thesis writing and fell in love with that in a way that I didn't in high school. The essays I enjoyed most in high school were reports on books I enjoyed and on topics I enjoyed researching, and then in University when I was more often allowed to choose my own topic, I thrived. I spent hours in the library pouring through books noting THEIR sources and going to secondary sources in both my university's library and the library of the “competing” university (both universities had cheer songs that mocked the other). The internet was JUST coming of age and so internet research wasn't as robust as it is now.

I thought of this yesterday as I was completing a 10-day challenge called the Shut Up And Writeathon, a free 10-day program for coaches, healers & self-employed professionals. It does what it says, encouraging participants to Shut Up And Write!

Mailing Lists Galore & Lack of Inbox Chaos

One of the many people whose newsletters I subscribe to is Stella Orange, leads these challenges. I've been subscribed to her newsletter since September 2015 and it appears that I'd signed up for some of her free classes and workshops in the past but I honestly don't remember sticking with them. I tend to get overwhelmed. I can tell you that I'm an email pack rat.

In Gmail, I assign a label to everyone whose newsletters I subscribe to and then do one of three things: Read and delete, read and archive with the label, or don't read but archive with the label anyway. I have 82 of Stella's emails. Eventually one of her programs had to stick. Stella has lead the Shut Up and Write challenge (minus “athon” it's my SEO keyword here) at other times in the past but I never signed up before because it didn't resonate.

“The Shut Up And Writeathon is a free 10-day program that takes you to the heart of whatever is NOT WORKING in your marketing, so you can face it, defuse it, and come up with your own original solution to creating great clients!“, says her website.

It didn't seem right.

Why Not?

Then this time I thought, “What the hell?”

And, as it turned out, this time the Shut Up and Writeathon complemented the work I've been doing on myself to get over my fear of using my voice and being visible. Maybe that's why I was guided to do it.

I didn't do 10 consecutive days of Shut Up And Write, but I did every prompt. Sometimes I skipped a day, then wrote two, or I'd do two days in a row, catch up and miss a day.

I struggled with day 1, but not so much because of the starting part, but the prompt: Freestyle write, then burn it.

My response to that was, “But, I journal every day, and I don't want to write anything I'll want to keep if I've got to burn it.” I thought about taking a photo of my writing but I thought that wouldn't count, and would defeat the purpose. It reminded me of the concept of the “Shitty first draft”, which Brene Brown wrote about in some of her books, crediting Anne Lamott's book Bird By Bird.

Shut Up and Write

Shut Up and Write – Write Now

I found that some days the prompts seemed tricky, and that's one of the reasons I didn't write every day. I needed time to let it marinate.

The day 10 writing prompt is this, here, now. I wrote much of it in my head yesterday, when I chose family time over writing. The prompt was this:

Write a 500-word blog post telling a story about your Shut Up And Writeathon experience, with a headline and bulleted list with 5 things you learned.

The prompt is brilliant. See, by writing this, I'm promoting Stella to my readers. And by posting a link to this post in the Writeathon Facebook group later, I'm getting more eyes to my blog.
(Hi Writeathoners, please sign up for my newsletter.)

Here I go, starting the assignment “for real” (after 800 words):

Shut Up and Write: The Blog Post.
Spaceballs: Shut Up and Write: The Screen Shot. How meta is this? I might miss my old Macbook, but the Snipping Tool on Windows comes in handy often enough.

What I learned from the Shut Up and Writeathon

  • I learned that business writing isn't completely unlike the creative writing that I used to love doing. This series of writing prompts got me back in touch with that.
  • A reminder that writing is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. Bring some fun  and joy into it, even if it's not fun. In your own writing you can choose enjoyable topics. In writing for others, ask yourself where you can find joy in it.
  • I learned that I still have a knack for dialogue, evidenced in Day 8 when I was to have a conversation, on paper, with my “mean wolf” (you could call it your ego or the devil on your shoulder). Big Bertha made 3 pop culture references. Not quite Gilmore Girls cadence (see what I did there?). I also referred to improv “Yes, and” rules. I've never taken an improv class, but I read a lot and know about it. “Yes, and” should be an important part of the writing process. Consider open-ended words and be open to possibilities. Use your inner dialogue.
  • Use your inner dialogue!
  • When you keep pen to paper and don't overthink it, marvelous, unexpected things can appear on the page.

I used my notes from Day 9 + reflection for this. The prompt: “In the dance with your mean wolf, what’s been the most helpful to you? What hasn’t been helpful? What are 3 new disciplines or instructions you have for yourself when it comes to dancing with your mean wolf, going forward?”

On Day 5 I ended up with some ideas for this website. Writing while seated on my couch next to my bookshelf on Day 4, I pulled Amy Poehler's Yes Please off the shelf. opened to the following bookmarked  page, and transcribed a paragraph. Then I shared the page with my SUAW Facebook group.

It was a wonderful experience, and now I'm over 1200 words, so I'll leave you here.
(Next challenge: Self-editing.)

I encourage comments below.

 

 

Keep Calm, Self-Care
Awaken-Your-Light-Wisdom
habit infographic

On Milestones and Self Care

Meditation Update

On Monday I hit DAY 50 of consecutive meditation. 50 days is a lot. My previous longest streak of consecutive days meditating was around 50 days, hit in October 2015 (Insight Timer shows milestones) and it says that my “best” consecutive days – my personal best – is the current 52. I'm quite pleased with this. When I hit 60 it will be 2 months. When I hit 90 it will be three. These are milestones I'm looking forward to.

My new current favourite guided meditation in the Insight Timer app is called, Awaken Your Inner Light and Wisdom, by Melody Litton. It clocks in at just 17:35 but it's powerful. I left the following review after the first time I did it:

A new favorite. This will go in my regular rotation. I feel lighter, taller, more creative, more optimistic, and inspired. Thank you. ❤

My previous new favourites, and still in rotation, are three Kabbalistic meditations by an LA-based teacher. I wrote about the Good Morning Soul meditations in a previous post, and then added Awaken Heart opening Meditation to the rotation.  The way I choose a meditation is to ask myself what I need that day and then I go to my go-tos, I search for what I want (e.g. by style and/or time), or I search a list. Before Insight Timer I did this with YouTube but Insight Timer has nearly 4,000 guided meditation. Not all of them are in English – at least 4 other languages are represented, but  most are.

The guided meditations that I've been drawn to use intuition and souls. That might not be for you, but one of the cool things about meditation – regardless of whether you're guided or not – is that there's something for everyone, whether you prefer religious or secular, science-based, psychology-based, mindfulness, focusing on breath, or spirits, angels and souls.

If you're looking for good meditation tools, I recommend Insight Timer (free), or the 5-week Master Your Mind program, or the Calm app for mobile or desktop (I sometimes use the desktop interface during the day).

(Clicking won't take you there. This is a screen shot.)

Yoga Update

My yoga practice has been consistent too. One month ago yesterday I committed to daily yoga practice. Except for missing one day near the start, I've done every single day. My practice lasts from 10-25 minutes, although now that I'm consistent with it and my body is adjusting, I feel more comfortable starting 40-60 minute videos, which is closer to the amount of time that studio classes last (90 minutes is usual but in the past, 75 minutes was my limit). When I say that my body is “adjusting”, I just mean that I'm used to the consistency and the movement, though it's still challenging. My body is constantly sore, in a good way. Five days ago, I made the following comment on the YouTube page of Brett's Yoga for Core Strength & Flexibility | Abs & Core Workout for Women:

I did this one this morning. It made me angry because my body was having a tough time with it and my wrists were hurting, but my anger isn't necessarily a bad thing. On another day I will love it. Sometimes the workouts that make me angry are my favorite ones because I like the challenge (if I'm complaining it's hard, I'm often loving it simultaneously). Today, I sat out in child's pose a few times, just as I would in a yoga studio. Not being in a studio, I was free to whine and swear out loud. 🙂

It was hard. And the next few were hard. This core strength session reminded me of the gym classes that I used to take that were lead by a former gymnast who had long blonde hair and perky everything, who kind of looked like a Barbie doll, but healthy and in proportion. She instructed like a drill sergeant, which is a style that I respond well to, though I acknowledge that this style is not everyone's preference. She had perfect form – I remember her perfect plank – and her classes were so hard that I'd grunt and complain and she liked when I did. Even when I hated it I liked it. My continued simultaneous love and hate for a challenging workout remind me of those great workouts. My muscles are constantly sore now and I feel grateful for that because it's a sign that I'm working hard for it and getting stronger. I'm grateful for my sore muscles and to myself for working them, and for the person who instructs via YouTube – and all those who help her do it.

Self-Care

I realized something on the weekend: The habits and routines that I've cultivated since the beginning of the year are essential for my self care and several of them are non-negotiable. They're helpful for a variety of reasons, including…

Overall health & wellness, prevention & treatment

Many of these activities are beneficial to physical and mental health.

Mental health

Many of my habits/routines/activities keep me mentally healthy. Making the bed and reading a hardcover book are at the bottom of that list, but above it is flossing and at the top are meditation and yoga. They're among the tools that keep me from losing my shit, from lying on the floor sobbing. I've got a post about my mental health issues rolling around in my head. In the meantime, I threw together this quick infographic:

Control

Related to mental health, they give me a sense of control. I'm not a control freak, but there's only so much one CAN control. I can't control a lot of what's not working in my life, but I can take 10-20 minutes to do yoga – even if it's in bed – and I can stop and breathe and have a 10 minute meditation. I can take 5 minutes to make the bed. I can take a few minutes to floss my teeth every night when I'm way overdue for a cleaning. I can read a few pages of a book. I can (mostly) control my time.

Also…

I have 2 major priorities in my life right now. Self-care is one of them. The two depend on each other.

I also like that I'm achieving these goals and that makes me achieve other goals. It's putting life into sync. It's helping me fulfill my  2017 theme, “Perseverance”. I am persevering. I'm doing it.

I'll put together a post about mental health. I've been thinking about it since a national mental health awareness day on which mental health stories were shared, for one day. I decided that in order to keep the conversation going,  wouldn't have one day of discussion because mental health shouldn't come out of the closet for one day only. It should be be taboo for 364 days of the year. It should always be okay to talk about. Right?