Natural Cures for Bug Bites

Some natural prevention and cures for summer bug bites:

1) Prevent bug bites by applying lavender oil or tea tree oil to yourself, you can also use citronella oil, all of which can be found in most natural stores, though if you’re with someone that you want to be hugging and sitting close to, opt for lavender oil
2)After the bug has bitten you, treat it as soon as possible for the best results.

Within a few hours of the bite: clean the area with cool water and soap, apply witch hazel or rubbing alcohol and a dab of lavendar oil. If it’s a major bite from a spider or bee (once the stinger has been safely removed of course), get some meat tenderizer (at most stores in the spice section) and make sure that the label includes “papayin”, this enzyme from papaya draws the toxins up and out of the skin. Apply with a little water in paste form and cover with a warm towel. Repeat as needed every few hours until pain and swelling subside
The next day: if it’s really itchy and red and swollen, get some epsom salts (with all the bath products in the store), apply as you would the meat tenderizer by making a paste of it with a bit of water, putting directly on the wound and covering with a very warm wet washcloth. If it’s a big bite, use a hot water bottle and stay put for 20 minutes. Repeat 2 – 3 times per day until symptoms cease
A few days later: it’s still bothering you? ok, try the methods above and then also get some calendula cream from a natural store, often with the homeopathic herbs. If it’s particularly swollen and sore, arnica gel can help too.
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Sleep Better

When your mind feels swamped with, “tomorrow i need to….why haven’t i already…oh! I forgot about that…” Try these 3 rituals to quiet the mind and get better sleep.
1) 30 Minutes before bed:
Turn off the TV. Believe it or not, it’s not relaxing and is actually stimulating your nervous system without asking you first. Think about the last scary movie scene you saw, notice that
your heart started beating faster, maybe your muscles were tense and you were just sitting there knoshing on overpriced popcorn? Yeah, that’s not relaxing.
2) Relaxing bedtime smoothie
In a saucepan bring the following to a boil:

1/2 cup milk of choice (milk, rice milk, hemp milk, etc)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp protein powder of choice
2 whole cardamom pods cracked with a knife
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
After it boils, let it simmer 5 minutes, then add a tsp of your favorite sweetener like honey or agave nectar. You can also add a tiny bit of flaxseed oil or ghee if you have it (1/4 tsp)

This recipe calms the mind and soothes Pitta, the dosha that has trouble falling asleep due to rushing brain activity and general “busy people” thoughts. There’s a balanced combination of sweetness, protein, fat and if you’re using hemp/almond/nut milk and flaxseed oil, you’ll get omegas too. All the spices are calming, centering and relaxing to improve digestion and release tension
3) in bed yoga

Try this pose for 3 – 5 minutes after your bedtime smoothie has
settled (usually about 15 minutes).

You’ll need: 3 – 4 pillows.

Lay the first pillow lengthwise so it will line up with your spine. Lay back on the pillow with your head and low back supported by the end of the pillow and your hips on the mattress.

Bring the soles of your feet together, making a diamond shape with your legs, let your knees flop out to the sides and place a pillow beneath each knee for support (each person will require a different height of pillow support here, make sure you’re not using any muscle effort but you can still feel a gentle stretch in the groin area).

You do not need a strap as you’ll see in the picture above, just relax into this posture, opening the chest by rolling the sholder blades together and down the back, allow your hands to be face up.
This routine, all together 20 – 25 minutes or more has sent a number of my clients to better sleep and therefore more productive days. Try it for yourself and see!
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Simple Ways to Detox for Busy People

There are a million ways to detox, but when you can’t slip away to a resort or spend hours preparing organic meals, add these 2 simple activities to your life and feel better immediately.

Both products can be found in most drugstores or health stores.


Twice a day from the root of the tongue (not too far back of course) towards the tip. Do it after you’ve brushed your teeth. The white stuff that comes off is plaque, but also what’s called “ama” in traditional Indian medicine. Ama is the toxic residue of bad food, sleep, stress, medications etc being released from the body. Removing this helps the body to detox more efficiently and quickly from a variety of health concerns like: halitosis, indigestion, mucous congestion and more.

The lymphatic system, a subtle network of channels that lie beneath our skin help to move normal detox elements (old food, old blood, waste products) through our body, but it is also the place where our immune system gets it’s strength. Body brushing in the morning will take you 3 – 5 minutes but can keep you from getting that cold that’s going around, reduce cellulite by increasing bloodflow and helps the skin to exfoliate.

Here’s how to brush the body correctly:

  • Start from the bottom and work up: Start from the right foot, the calf, thigh, buttocks. Repeat on the left side.
  • Then do clockwise circles on the stomach.
  • Then start on the outside of the right arm, brushing from the finger tips to the shoulder, don’t forget the armpit where many lymph nodes are found. Repeat on the left side.
  • To finish, brush up the back from the base of the spine to the shoulders and up the back of the neck, then brush down the chest stopping near the heart.

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Simple Yoga Poses for Complicated Problems

Pawanmuktasanas, a series of traditional yoga postures have been used for centuries to relieve chronic health problems like arthritis, chronic sports injuries, digestion issues, and much more.

Pawan: Air Mukta: removal Asana: posture
These postures are in part named for the hindu wind god, it’s a chance to move the stuck “wind” or “air” from your joints.

Try this basic sequence in the morning, during the day or at night to find relief and open your body to yoga and other physical movements. With a little patience and diligence you’ll soon fall in love with the benefits of this simple practice:
For each exercise inhale when moving towards the body, exhale away from the body.

1. Above the body is in “starting pose”. Flex just the toes forward and back, x 5 (Pause, breathe one full deep breath with eyes closed after EACH exercise)

2. From starting pose: Ankle rotation clockwise and anticlockwise, x5. keep heels and toes touching.
Staff Pose - Dandasana
3. From starting pose, Kneecap contractions: shrug knees tightly, pressing backs of knees into mat so much so that the ankles naturally raise up, x5

4. Knee crank/rotation: interlace fingers behind thigh, inhale leg up straight, exhhale down, x5 then circles x5 and counter clockwise circles x5
5. Hold the ankle as shown, start on right leg first. Inhale up, exhale down, x5

6. Butterfly: Inhale up, exhale down, x5, then hold down and arch gently forward, 5 breaths.

7. Tiger finger clenching sit in starting pose, arms out parallel to floor, shoulder distance apart. inhale fingers outstretched wide, exhale and bend knuckles in, x5

8. Wrist bend. Arms are parallel to floor, shoulder distance apart. inhale back, exhale extend forward, x5

9. Wrist rotation, do x5 clockwise and x5 counterclockwise. both wrists can be done at the same time.
10. Elbow stretches. (no pic) With arms outstretched and parallel to ground (like for 7-9) make fists and pretend you’re doing bicep curls. inhale up, exhale down, x5
11. shoulder rotation. Inhale forward and up, exhale back and down x5, then reverse, inhale back and up, exhale forward and down x5 always touching shoulders w/ hands

12. neck circles (no pic) gentle neck circles x5 clockwise, x5counter clockwise.

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Miracle Salad

Ugh! I ate too much/ate the wrong things/have indigestion/feel gassy!!!!

A simple fix to the occasionally off tummy caused by a variety of mealtime experiences including a strange combination of foods from a sunny day picnic, a late night out with alcohol and cheap diner food or even just monthly gassiness or eating too much of something you know always gives you gas, try this simple medicinal salad at your next meal:

  • 4 cups of washed mixed greens or lettuce (this looks like a lot, but you’ll love it)
  • Enough raw apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice to coat the clean dried leaves (about 2-3 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp olive or flaxseed oil
  • a tiny bit of salt and fresh pepper
  • top with cilantro/parsley and or cucumber if you have it
This is a recipe for one. Stay away from tomatos, carrots, olives or any other normal salad topping. Have this at your next meal following the unhappy meal that caused the upset.
How’s it work?
The greens and raw vinegar/lemon juice act as alkalizing brooms through your system, helping the body to process that funny meal with ease.
What’s it do?
It will relieve bloating, gas, slight reflux and sluggishness. Don’t be afraid to have this late at night after your meal in question to get a better night’s rest or as an appetizer for the next meal you’re hungry for.
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Balance Your Thyroid and Balance You

Sleep, Weight, Hormones and Nutrition: All the things your Thyroid Does

Did you know that your thyroid and parathyroid, located in the base of the throat is responsible for a number of important bodily functions including: balancing your weight, regulating your sleep and absorbing key nutrients like calcium?

It’s true! We’re so concerned in our culture about the size and shape of our hips, waists and more, but we need to take a closer look at the pit of our lower throat, because that’s where the thyroid is located. The thyroid requires iodine to function normally, and the best way to supply this nutrient is NOT through iodized table salt, but through a natural source: Sea Kelp.

Kelp is a seaweed naturally rich in minerals like calcium and iron, but also iodine. It is used in many Japanese and Macrobiotic recipes. The good thing about taking kelp is that the nutrients will balance your thyroid, but will not overload the system like taking an artificial source of these supplements could.

You can find sea kelp supplements in any health store, I suggest you take a 650mg tablet once or twice a day with a meal for a month, careful not to take too much and see if you notice any changes.
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Why do we binge eat?

Over eating and emotional eating is just another sign that you are in fact human.

You’ll see a lot of articles about how to fight the occasional eat-fest, in fact I dare you to find one woman’s or man’s magazine near the holidays and at the beginning of summer that doesn’t address this issue.

In these magazines, and even on weight loss forums all over the net, you’ll see suggestions with how to beat it: eat this food, don’t eat that food. Go for a walk, take a bath. But let’s be honest, if these things worked, we’d all be prunes from taking all of those bubble baths and ben and jerry’s would be out of business….well, okay, they’d have to at least sell the summer home in Buenos Aires.

So here’s some more practical advice on discovering your reasons for binging and how to heal from them:

There are only 2 possibilities for eating past hunger:

1) you’re not getting enough nutrients from the foods you eat.

If this is true, your cravings will be for very particular food groups and will often come with other health problems like light headedness, cranky moodswings, headaches, muscle cramps, etc.

For example, someone that does not get enough protein or is getting too much protein will crave sugary foods because both proteins and sugars will show up in your blood sugar insulin levels, keeping the right amount of proteins in your diet will keep sugar cravings at bay. If this is you, you may feel fatigued in your workouts, have irregular periods or feel sluggish.

People on over restrictive diets low on calories will crave carbohydrates and sugars because these are the sources more quickly turned into energy in the body.
If you know that you’re not eating well or are on a ___diet (fill the blank in with any one food item and you KNOW it’s a bad idea), this could be your reason. Do you feel hungry constantly, do you have trouble sleeping? These could be signs of imbalanced carbohydrates in your diet.

2)you’re not getting enough emotional outlets in your life.

Look, we’re emotional beings. We eat for hunger, yes, but we also eat because we’re stressed, tired, lonely, bored, celebrating. And we’re not the only ones. I’ve watched my cat eat until she puked (and then eat the puke, and then puke the puked food and eat it again) because she was lonely, so why should we expect more from ourselves? Okay, fine, don’t eat what you’ve puked.

If you know this is why you over eat, I ask you to think of one question: What feeling am I seeking when I eat too much?

This one question will get you a lot more than you may think. If you eat until you feel happy, what happened today or earlier that made you UNhappy? If you eat until you feel calm, what made you irritated? Generally, emotional eating form their own kind of food groups:

Crunchy salty foods = aggravation, irritation.

Sweet, soft doughy,creamy foods = sadness, need for consolation.

Soft, salty foods = boredom, loneliness.

Fatty, fried foods = feeling spacy, ungrounded, unsure.

Now of course there’s no science book that’s going to break down these parallels in what you eat, when and why. You could be ready to punch your boss in the face and reach for ice cream, not chips, but hey, don’t you want someone to console you after you punch him?

In the end, if you can start with knowing why YOU eat too much, that’s more than half the battle.

So I’m not saying the next time you go shopping to distract yourself from the Dorito aisle because it’s “bad”, but just think, what do I want to feel after I eat this? and see if that changes anything.

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Nature’s Hydroxycut…revealed…in a flower!

Yes you read it right, hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or “hydroxycut” used in many diet formulas that are otherwise dangerous to the body, bad bad bad) has a natural safe original source:

the Hibiscus Flower!

Hydroxycitric acid (HCA) is effective in weightloss because it helps to stop the conversion of carbs in food to body fat. It fights appetite and encourages weight loss not by increasing your energy, but by limiting how much we convert the carbs we eat. HCA is not a good idea on low carb dieting (which is a crap idea anyhow) but it does help weight loss when used with a healthy program of general calorie restriction reducing consumption of carbs, protein, and fats equally.

Hibiscus tea affects how we absorb fats and carbohydrates because it contains phaseolamin, a powerful enzyme inhibitor that blocks amylase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down fats and carbohydrates. This enzyme inhibitor acts in the same way as the drugstore-pill versions, but remains in its natural, unadulterated form and is much safer and more beneficial for the body than laboratory-produced concoctions. (This can be said for almost all things, if it comes in nature, why make it in a lab?) By the way, the same form of amylase inhibitors is present in kidney beans and other hard-to-digest legumes, so eat your beans! 😉

In addition to blocking the absorption of sugars, this traditional tea has cleansing and anti-bloating properties, helping the body rid of excess fluids and therefore further contributing to weight loss, especially in premenstrual and menopausal women. It’s especially good for women as it balances our Yin (female) and Yang (male) energies when our hormones are changing.

Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and has a high vitamin C content, it has a bright red color and a tart cranberry-like flavor, it’s like natures Kool-aide but way way better for you. Hibiscus tea is also known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In folk medicine, they are used to prevent and treat heart and liver diseases. I dare you to get those benefits out of a crappy diet pill or kiddie drink!

You can find dried loose flowers in most nature stores, and some brands even market hibiscus tea bags. It’s inexpensive (no more than $20 per pound here in NY, and a full pound will last eaons) and can also be added to loose green or black tea for an added flavor.


Steep 3-4 dried flowers in about 16oz of freshly boiled water for 5 minutes. It’s so great in the summer as a refreshing afternoon drink, but to use it medicinally for cholesterol or weight loss management, I suggest you have 3 cups a day, 1 hour after each meal.

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Cardamom and why it’s amazing

Did you know that Cardamom, that secret spice in many Indian and Mediterranean dishes is nature’s Ricola and Pepto bismal all in one?

Ever taste the earthy vanilla undertones in Chai or that gloopy Indian milk dessert and wonder what that special flavor is? Most likely it’s cardamom. In the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda,

cardamom seeds are also used as lozenges to suck on after meals to help digestion. I’ve tried it, its a little minty, sorty like licorice but pleasant.

Indian medicine says that the acid from teas and coffee and spicy foods irritate the intestines, leading to an increase of gassy gassiness that make the other foods we eat (namely milk, cheese, wheat) more difficult to digest. Cardamom in your diet can help the body to better digest all the other possibly irritating foods we eat because they are natural carminatives which reduce gas. I recently learned that the word “carminative” comes from the latin word that means to “card” as in carding wool…so it helps to remove gas from the intestinal wall as you would remove knots from wool. See, didn’t you always want to know that? 😉

Cardamom is also used in the Middle east as an additional flavor to ground coffee, making coffee brewed with these little pods less acidic on the body and actually helps regulate how we absorb the caffeine. You’ll still get the buzz without the possible gas or irritated stomach. And besides, it can make any coffee, especially bargain brand coffee taste like something that rhymes with Barbucks.

If you want to try it out, buy the bottled powder stuff and use it with cinnamon…over toast, oatmeal, in a cookie recipe, even in tea with milk and cheat your way to better digestion.

Best Benefits of Cardamom:

  • Detox the body of caffeine

  • Cleanses kidneys and bladder
  • Stimulates digestion and reduces gas
  • Improves circulation to lungs, helping asthma and bronchitis
  • Cures bad breath, even the official “halitosis” bad breath

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No more cold sores

Yup, cold sores.

One of the best euphemisms ever for the “gift that keeps on giving” if you ask me. But! Cold sores are just as easy to prevent and heal in a natural way as they are to freak out about!

One of the easiest ways to treat an existing breakout:

Avoid acidic situations: spicy foods, tomato products, hardcore toothpaste/mouthwash, coffee, alcohol, processed sugars. Now I’m not saying to stay away from these forever, but just as you’re healing.

Rub a raisin in your mouth: at the end of your day, after brushing your teeth gently, rinse your mouth completely with warm sea salt water (1/2 tsp per 80z). Then rub a raisin around in your fingers until it’s soft. Now split the raisin and apply the open side to the sore for 15-20 minutes. This can be repeated for 2-3 nights until it’s gone.

This is of course easiest on a cold sore that’s on the inside of the mouth, but you can apply a bit of the raisin mush to a band-aid or use like a lip balm for an external sore. I know I know, NOT the hottest look, but please, you’re embarrassed already, why not? 😉

Raisins have a high iron and potassium content which balances out the acidic environment that cold sores love.

Preventing more breakouts:

Discover L-lysine:

The amino acid l-lysine, one of the key essential amino acids (meaning we have to get it from our diet) to fight, minimize and prevent viral herpes (sorry, that’s the real name for cold sores!) is a nutrient you can easily find in supplement form. It also comes naturally in foods, but brewer’s yeast is a unique food with a high lysine content. (sorta like vegan powdered cheese…sorta)

If you’re taking the supplement form, make sure to take at least 1250mg per day when you feel it coming on, and then back down to lower levels once you’ve been breakout free for a while. Also remember to consume plenty of Vitamin C, Zinc and Bioflavinoids (from a good multi-vitamin or better from dark leafy veggies) when taking this supplement to support it’s benefits.

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Yoga and Nutrition Programs

Let’s be honest. What’s the best part of personal therapy sessions of any kind: psychotherapy, physical therapy, nutrition therapy, personal training? It’s the personalized attention. Great.

And what’s the worst part? How do you know when you’re done?!?!

When you enter the counselor-client relationship from either side, it can be hard to gauge your progress and then comes the inevitable fade-out that sometimes can start to feel like the end of your last relationship (the phone calls become less frequent, your schedule seems more filled with more important things to do than to get together…)

So I’ve decided to come up with a focused, 3 month program for nutrition counseling and yoga therapy counseling where the practitioner (me!) and client (you and your amazing friends) choose a focal point for therapy.

We decide to focus both of our efforts on helping your chosen specific range of concerns and can track it’s progress consistently and easily. And then once the 3 months is over, we can continue our sessions, or end it feeling confident that we’ve made some serious changes for good, and no one feels dumped! 😉

Check it out:

Our initial consultation:

In this 60 minute session, we will discuss which goals you’d like to reach over the next 3 months. You will fill out a brief health history form (takes 10 minutes) and we’ll talk about how to get you there taking into consideration the lifestyle that you already lead. After this first meeting, I then will create a detailed and personally tailored program that blends a variety of traditional healing methods from Eastern and Western culture. I will map out your progress plan in 2 week segments that will give consistent and steady results.

Our 6 follow-up sessions:

After our first visit, we’ll meet for 60 minutes once every 2 weeks over the next 3 months. At each meeting we will discuss your progress, tweak and adjust what needs to change and review the next steps. In these sessions you’ll start to collect lots of helpful information that you can keep for life and continue to heal and grow in all areas of your life.

Program cost benefits:

Honestly, a 3 month program will end up costing you less money than traditional therapy sessions. Why? It takes on average 6 – 9 months of regular sessions to get substantial results because there isn’t a pointed focus. With a shared goal, you get better and more dramatic results. So in the end, you get what you want and don’t spend a fortune on therapy.

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