And yoga nidra (yogic sleep) is literally dreamy. I'm pretty shy and am no technological wizard, so getting this out there into the world was a bit of a feat. Thanks to my students who implored and encouraged me to create this guided meditation to share. Yoga nidra is one of my favourite ways to explore and restore my mind-body-spirit. I hope you enjoy it too, that it supports you to rest, sleep, heal, feel sensation or anything else that it brings.
Elderberry is a plant that is used as both food and medicine. Science shows that elderberry's bioflavonoids prevent the flu virus from entering our cells and replicating. Last fall and winter I took Elderberry syrup daily and did not once succumb to the flurry of colds and flus surrounding me. Nature in her wisdom provides us with these berries just as we head into the season of colds and flus. I am happy to share my herbal mentor's (Danette Steele) tried and true recipe here.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
- 125 grams or 1 cup of dried whole Elderberries
- 1.25 litres of boiled filtered water
- 300-500 grams of raw local honey - this preserves the syrup
Place the Elderberries in a non-reactive pot or large glass jar and add the boiled water. Cover with a lid. Let the mixture steep on the counter top for 8 hours or overnight.
After 8 hours place the berries in the pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, lower heat to a simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes. Then take off the heat and let mixture cool down.
Strain the mixture, keep the juice and compost the berries. You should have about 1 litre of liquid left. Warm gently over a low heat and add the honey, stirring until the honey is completely mixed in (just a few minutes). Take off the heat and let cool to room temperature before storing in clean/dry sterilized bottles or jars. Label and store in the fridge. Will keep for 2-3 months.
Dosing - shake before using
- Adults: 1 tbs per day as prevention
- Children: 1 tsp per day as prevention
- If exposed to a viral infection you can take it 2-3 times per day, or if you are sick with cold or flu you can take hourly up to 8 times a day.
You can take the syrup as is or add to water or tea. My favourite is with seltzer water and lime. Enjoy this delicious plant medicine!
It's that time of year when we feel the sun coming into its full power. For some of us that means time to slather on sunscreen to avoid the burn. A significant amount of what goes on topically is also absorbed internally, so it's important to know what you're using to protect yourself. A great resource for this is the Environmental Working Group's database, which helps you to navigate the world of skin products. This year they also have created and shared a Guide to Sunscreens.
Our skin is our body's largest organ, playing an important barrier role for our immune system and also is one of our main systems of elimination/detoxification. It didn't make sense to me to be coating it in anything less than wonderful. For the last 5 years I have been using a homemade sunscreen that has helped to both protect and nourish my skin, in addition to using a cover up during longer spells in the sun. Let me know if you have any questions, and enjoy the sun!
- 1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs like lavender first if you like)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 2 tablespoons Shea butter (natural SPF 4-5)
- 2 tablespoons Zinc Oxide (natural SPF 20) *non-nano version which is not absorbed
* A few notes about the zinc oxide - I had a hard time finding it locally so ordered it online - it comes in bulk so find some crafty friends to share with. Also beware not to inhale it, use a mask if necessary.
1. Combine ingredients, except zinc, in a large glass jar
2. Put a few inches of water into a pot and place over medium heat, place jar with ingredients into pot
3. As the ingredients start to melt in the jar stir them occasionally (I use a chopstick)
4. When all ingredients are fully melted and mixed together add the zinc and stir well
5. Pour into small storage jars and do another quick mix to ensure the zinc is well blended
6. Store in a cool place and use as needed
- Reapply after swimming
- Use more beeswax to thicken, less for a smoother cream
If you haven't heard about The Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto you should check it out. The Stop helps people meet emergency food needs with dignified, respectful services, all centered around healthy food. The programs offered there bring people together with food as the center and provides opportunities to make friends, build skills, combat social isolation, and advocate for change.
I had the opportunity to co-facilitate several of the sessions in the BOOST program and we had a blast. Thursday afternoons we would meet, enjoy a warm hearty snack (prepared by our fearless leader KD) and then settle in with some movement and relaxation practices. Afterwards we split up into groups and tackled the various dishes we would share for dinner. We had a chance to get to know each other over the zucchini spiralizer and as our hands turned orange from turmeric.
While dinner was cooking we would often learn new skills, like how to sprout at home, or making our own flu busters using food. All our different skills and experiences would cumulate into what always seemed like a delicious colourful feast, as illustrated by our salad below. At the end of the evening we clean up together feeling relaxed, nourished and head home with a container packed with food for our next meal, some recipes and new connections to the community.