Friday, May 30, 2014

Healthy Foods for the Liver

Eating healthy foods for the liver can improve and support liver function on a daily basis. Having a
healthy liver results in greater energy and general well-being.  A poorly functioning liver can result in tiredness, headaches, bad breath, allergies and intolerances, problem skin and weight gain.  Foods that are healthy for the liver fall into two main categories.  First are those that promote the detoxification process of the liver. And second, are those that are high in antioxidants and therefore protect the liver while it's carrying out its detoxification processes.

Garlic and onions
Garlic contains allicin which is a sulphur-based compound needed by the liver for effective detoxification. Garlic helps the liver rid the body of mercury, certain food additives and the hormone oestrogen.

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage)
These vegetables are very powerful detoxifiers of the liver. They contain chemicals that neutralise certain toxins such as nitrosamines found in cigarette smoke and aflotoxin found in peanuts. They also contain glucosinolates that help the liver to produce enzymes it needs for its detoxification processes.

Freshly squeezed lemon in hot water
Drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of boiled water first thing in the morning helps to cleanse the liver and promote detoxification. It also stimulates bile production, cleanses the stomach and bowel and stimulates a bowel motion.

Beetroot (Beets)
It's a blood-purifying tonic that is also capable of absorbing heavy metals.

High-antioxidant fruits
Prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples and pears. Antioxidants help to protect the liver from the high levels of free radicals that are naturally produced during the process of detoxification.

Apples contain pectin that bind to heavy metals in the body (in particular in the colon) and help their excretion. This reduces the load on the liver and its detoxification capacities.

Increases bile production. One of the jobs of bile is to remove toxins through the bowel, as well as 'unfriendly' micro-organisms. It has been suggested that 30 minutes after eating globe artichoke, bile flow is increased by over 100%.

Bitter leafy salad greens 
Thinks dandelion, chicory and endive. The bitterness of these foods helps to stimulate bile flow within the liver.

When you're trying to nourish or heal a certain organ of your body, consider eating that organ from an animal. Always opt for animals that were grassfed, happy and healthy. Check out US Wellness Meats if you cannot find any in your local area. Not a fan of eating liver?  Chop one up into tablet sized pieces, freeze, and swallow the same way you would a pill!  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Buzz the Stress Away with the Bumble Bee Breath - Brahmari Pranayama

The word "Brahmari" comes from the Sanskrit word which means bee. The practice is named for the humming sound that bees make. The sound is soothing for a spinning mind, and the practice lengthens the exhalation without excessive strain.  The practice of Brahmari breathing (Bumble Bee Breath) calms the mind and reduces the fight or flight stress response. It reduces cerebral tension, anger, anxiety, and insomnia, while aiding in lowering blood pressure. This pranayama is very effective in speeding up the healing of body tissues and may be practiced after surgeries.  It has a calming effect on entire nervous system, especially it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces muscular relaxation and is very effective in stress management. So Brahmari is very effective for relaxation of body and mind.

Brahmari can be used as a regular daily practice to encourage relaxation or as an on-the-spot remedy. Because of the buzzing sound, however, it's the kind of practice that you might not choose to do in public. If you are out somewhere and experiencing anxiety, look for a place that's relatively private, like a bathroom or your parked car.  Or you could always play it off like you’re humming to your favorite song to yourself!                                                     
Practice Brahmari Breathing:
Sit comfortably, with the back tall and shoulders relaxed. Start by taking a few natural breaths, and close your eyes (as long as closing them doesn't produce more anxiety).
Then, keeping the lips lightly sealed, inhale through the nostrils. Exhaling, make the sound of the letter M, essentially a humming sound. Sustain the sound until you need to inhale.
Then repeat: Inhale through the nose, then hum like a buzzing bee as you exhale.
Continue by inhaling as needed and exhaling with this sound for several minutes. You can practice as long as it feels good.
The longer you sustain the humming exhalation, the more relaxing the Bumble Bee Breath is likely to be—but forcing the breath beyond your capacity can have the reverse effect, causing even more stress. So don't force yourself to maintain any particular speed. Inhale whenever necessary, and let the buzzing sound last as long as it is comfortable.

Finally, spend a few breaths sitting quietly and noticing whether there are any changes in your breath or mood.

Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Lammer and I enjoyed our honeymoon in Hawaii right after our wedding weekend. It was PERFECT. Here are a few highlights of our trip. Of course, lots of food stuff too since it's my life!

LIVE Kombucha Root Beer flavored was such a treat with Mary's Gone Crackers that is FINALLY soy-free! 

We found a a large patch of rocks in the shape of a huge heart on the beach in Kauai, how fitting!

Fresh, colorful produce was everywhere in Hawaii. Juice and shake stands too!

After a beautiful morning of yoga in Hanalei Bay I walked across the street to grab a cinnamon watermelon juice. It matched my pants and was incredibly delicious!

So Hawaii is HUGE with serving grass-fed animals. Most restaurants were very proud to offer it from local farmers. AWESOME!

It was so comforting to see how outraged the people of Hawaii are about GMOs. Sings like this were all over including "GMO-Free Zones," "No GMOs Allowed Here," "GMO-Free Animal Feed," etc. So much information was at every supermarket we went to, not just the health food stores, about how dangerous they are. Right up my alley!  Unfortunately I learned that Monsanto has taken over much of Molokai (another small Hawaiian island) for their GMO testing. The run off from their testing is destroying Hawaii's breathtaking reefs. Grrrr.

An afternoon snack: A glass of home-brewed and local kombucha (we had a hook-up!) with sliced apple and cinnamon while reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.

One of the many delicious breakfasts that Lammer made for me. He's such a great cook!

And then after one of his healthy breakfasts I would eat a little ice cream. Can you even believe it?! So not like me. I didn't hold back at all...and it felt awesome. I had some of the only store-bought ice cream I'd ever eat (I enjoy making my own at home) - Coconut Bliss.

Wearing a flower in your hair is a MUST in Hawaii each day. Beautiful Molokai is behind me while we were staying in Napili Bay, Maui. 

We spent the afternoon/sunset playing the plantation course at the gorgeous Kapalua golf course in Maui. Well, Lammer played while I enjoyed driving the little golf cart around! 

Vodka/pineapple with a pretty, fresh orchid. Yes, please!

Lammer used to live in Maui way back when, so he loves talking to the locals to catch up on all he's missed since he's left. We stopped at a tiny stand on the side of the road and met the sweetest Hawaiian couple. Lammer and him of course knew lots of the same people (Lammer knows everyone!) and he cut us a ripe papaya with some banana to munch on while we enjoyed the view of the Pacific. 

Pretty much the staple of my everyday foods in Hawaii. Guava kombucha & chocolate walnut brownie ice cream. Heaven!

Moments before we loaded the car up to catch our plane home...I HAD to finish the last few bites of my ice cream - HA!
We flew in a private, 2-seater, open cockpit plane over Kauai! 

Us.  =)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wedding weather & how the sun came through for our special day!

After over a year of planning, Lammer and I finally celebrated our wedding in May!  It was a dream come true. 

The week leading up to the wedding was rainy and grey…not fun for a wedding taking place at two venues that were looking over the Jersey shore. I was actually pretty glad it was raining because I kept thinking, “good, let it rain now so that it’s a sparkler for our wedding day!” We celebrated our rehearsal dinner that Friday night at the beautiful Brielle River House…but fog, mist and rain blocked any view of the water. I was enjoying our night with our closest family and friends from out of town, but every so often someone would bring the weather up and it was such a downer. I was still keeping my fingers crossed for the next day.  

I woke up at 6am to the same rainy and grey weather that it had been for the past 5 days. Are you kidding me?!  I was a wreck. I was just walking around sobbing. I wasn’t even that upset that it was going to be a rainy day, I was more upset that the weather would bring everyone’s energy down about our day. I rolled out my yoga mat and needed to make peace with the fact that I was going to be one of those brides that plans a beach wedding on a rainy day. After a much needed practice, I hopped on to Instagram to put it out there, and felt much better about it:

All I've ever done over the years was pray, wish & hope for the most beautiful weather for someone on the day they got married - whether I knew them or not. My heart ached for those brides that had the grey, rainy days...& here I am, one of them. During my yoga practice this morning while fighting back tears I realized how silly it was - we'll have years worth of beautiful, sunny days together, today is just not one of them. It still doesn't change the fact that our family & friends have traveled to celebrate the love with us today & we'll all still have a great time (even though they won't be able to see the beautiful jersey shore because of the fog). But I swear if one person says it's good luck I'm gonna knock them out - HA! I already have the perfect man to marry, we have the greatest home together, most amazing family & can I expect to have everything with the perfect day, too? Off to celebrate!! #lammerloveslauren #rainraingoaway #sunshineinourhearts #weddingday #letsdothis

But then, at about 7:30am my matron of honor found me and pointed out how the clouds were breaking and blue skies were in sight. Dude, she was totally right. By the time we were all ready to get outside for photographs the sun was blazing. We ended up having a beautiful sun-filled morning for pictures on the grass, boardwalk and beach. 

The wind was fierce as Lammer and I held hands and walked on the beach for some photographs. 

Guests were able to enjoy the outdoor deck of our venue and the beautiful view of the ocean since the rain held for most of the morning/early afternoon. 

When everyone was called in for speeches, it started pouring but stopped as soon as the speeches stopped. 

It started raining immediately after the wedding but stopped at 6pm right when our wedding after party began for our guests to enjoy the sunset and the shore. 

Like, are you kidding me?! 
Right before we started the procession - sun was shining for us!
We had a bit of everything weather-wise that day; wind, sun, rain, clouds, etc. It was absolutely perfect!  I am writing this to thank each and every person who say my post that morning because so many of them wrote such beautiful comments to me and/or said a little prayer to the weather gods to ease up and let the sun shine down. Proof that they power of intentions and prayer really do work.  THANK YOU!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The BEST parts of my wedding.

There are SO many amazing things about our wedding day that will forever remain in my mind. 
But I must say, these are the top 3 off the long list:

1. Being engaged was a blast! I was taken away by how so many people (my friends, family, coworkers and even strangers!) went out of their way to congratulate me, ask me questions, or celebrate our engagement. I usually feel bad when too much attention is on me, I like to be as mindful as I can about being sure to give a person just as much attention that they’ve given me. However, I made it a point that for my engagement, NOT to be so concerned about doing that. The result: I was able to totally soak up and enjoy everyone’s genuine happiness for Lammer and I, which was SUCH a beautiful thing!  Sometimes it’s important to allow people to devote that effort, time and happiness to you. It made me realize just how special of a time it was.  

The first few steps my father and I took as we
entered a room full of our favorite people!

2. With that being said, we were able to party down from the day we got engaged until our grand finale - our wedding!  The day of our engagement was Superbowl Sunday so Lammer had invited a bunch of friends and family to come celebrate. We were gifted a breathtaking engagement party in Garden City, NY where Lammer’s sister lives. It was like something out of a Martha Stewart magazine. My bridal party and I flew to Key West for a long weekend of total relaxation. We made it a point to sit by the pool, eat great food and catch gorgeous sunsets. Shortly after, my amazing bridal party and mother threw me a perfect wedding shower. The theme was a colorful, India-inspired design. So thoughtful and totally ME! My amazing coordinator at work threw me a surprise shower at work. I was touched at how many coworkers showed up to give me their blessings. The Indian women that I meet with each week for bhajans sang and danced to special songs called Suhaag, for me. Basically to wish me well in my new life!  Lammer’s parents hosted our rehearsal dinner at the beautiful Brielle River House the night before our wedding. It was a great way to catch up with those who traveled from out of town for our wedding. 

3. The most exhilarating part of the day and possibly of the whole experience was walking down the isle with my father while looking around the room that was jam-packed with our closest family and friends. Everyone I saw was smiling so bright back at me. There was so much love between Lammer and I that day and so much going around that room!  Even just thinking about how special it was to have everyone there at the same time makes me tear up. 

I feel so blessed and will be eternally grateful for our beautiful wedding day. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

We're Married!

John (Lammer) & I finally tied the knot and our day was a dream come true. 
We couldn't be any happier!

Check out a snip-it of our day HERE
Many more pictures to come!