Known to be the culprit of all kinds of feminine problems, hormones can be blamed for weight gain, depression & anxiety, acne, PMS, fatigue, irritability or mood swings, irregular or painful periods, and yes, even fertility challenges. A little hormonal harmony goes a long way so let’s get you on the road to rejuvenation!Read More
Find out what you need to ditch your birth control & heal your hormones!
Two years ago, my husband and I joined a Crossfit gym. Our desk jobs left us desperate for activity, so at the time it just seemed like the thing to do. Yet something didn’t feel right to me. Sure, I was getting stronger physically, but I couldn’t stop the tears from pouring down my face after each workout. I was constantly starving, and my body would seize up with pain despite following a mostly paleo diet. It’s all part of it, though. We were a community and we told each other to push harder, lift heavier, and hey, a little puking never hurt anyone. In fact, we loooved it when people puked. It meant they worked hard, they were strong, PRIMAL. We were warriors.
But we were missing a key piece of the puzzle. The paleo lifestyle means following in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors. And sure, ancient hunter-gather societies meant surviving off of (what else?) hunting and gathering. Men were hunters, warriors! But what about women? Women weren’t out running, hunting, and beating their chests with the men. They stayed at home to raise the next generation; to feed, clothe, and heal the tribe. They were revered as mothers, nurturers, goddesses. Yet somehow when cavemen made their way to modern society something got lost in translation. We focused on the warrior archetype and forgot about the goddess.
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Ovulation makes you a freaking siren to the world. I’m serious. I’m ovulating as I write this right now and I am on fire. I submitted an article to MindBodyGreen today, completed a blog and newsletter for my site, wrote this little diddy, and all while husband just can’t keep his hands off me. You see, there are these precious little ingredients called pheromones. They aren’t so much of a tangible thing as they are chemical, but one thing is for certain- those little babies come out to play right when a women is most fertile. You probably know that ovulation makes women crave sex more than the average night, but did you know that men feel it to? I don’t even have to glance in husbands direction before we make for the sheets. So I started to wonder if something about ovulation might also spur that whole biological clock thing.
An ovulating woman secretes particular pheromones called couplins that stimulate sexual arousal in men. But what if they’re also responsible for stimulating our own desire for children? Several studies have shown that women on birth control pills see the world with a bit less romance. When shown images of naked men, those off the pill could easily imagine all sorts of sexual fantasy, while those on the pill weren’t as apt to jump to any conclusions. Similarly, those off the pill were blatantly charmed by photos of little babies while those on the pill just weren’t as into it. Interesting since we don’t actually release those precious little pheromones while on the pill. We don’t ovulate at ALL when we are on the pill. No ovulation, no couplins. No couplins, no “siren to the world” feeling, and no desire for little babies precious or otherwise.
Being that the pill is an anti-ovulating machine, it would make sense then that while on the pill, you might not be so babytastic. To get to the bottom of this hypothesis I started my own secret experiment. I got off the pill more than a year ago (not to have babies but to go au naturale with my hormone situation). It took my body quite a bit of healing to get back on the ovulation train after so many years of lying dormant, but needless to say, when it came back it came with a vengeance. Experiment commenced. Like clockwork my husband (most likely prompted by my sexy pheromones) began making tipsy baby comments ONLY when I was ovulating. Hmmm… interesting. I must admit, despite being fiercely anti-baby for my last pill-ridden decade, I’ve been a lot more open than I used to be.
The experiment got far more interesting when a bunch of my friends (most likely tired of hearing my crazed rants about the pill) also ditched their hormones and took to the natural route. Suddenly babies were back on the table, but only periodically. Every couple of weeks or so babies were a bit more of an attractive concept. Double interesting.
Ok, my experiment is pretty lax at best, but what if I’m on to something? Modern research will tell you that women are holding out on children because they get married later in life than they used to, or that they have careers and busy lives. But what if the real reason is that we are all put on birth control pills fresh out of high school, are then less sexually aroused by men to begin with, less desirous to our future mate, and then less interested in children because we hold platonic viewpoints on everything without our sexy, juicy pheromones keeping us vivacious and inspired? What if we focus on our careers because we’ve flipped the off switch to our biological clocks? Without nature moving us forward into amorous trysts we become mega working women, much more like our male counterparts than our own femme fatale selves.
It’s a scary thought. There is so much about our own chemical makeup that just isn’t open to a hormonal swap! Fortunately I’ve been writing like the wind to get you my upcoming Ditch your Birth Control guide so you can decide for yourself exactly what you want to do. If you’re interested, stay tuned, the guide and my new Ditch your Birth Control workshops are on their way!
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Human beings are omnivores, which means that (in theory) we can eat just about anything we want! So why do we want to stick to one thing? Why do some people become emphatic about forgoing all animal products while others recommend bacon for every meal? Why do some folks claim raw food is the only way to go, while ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, place a heavy emphasis on cooking?
The fact of the matter is we were meant to eat in all sorts of ways. We absolutely should be vegans, but also carnivores. We should eat our food raw, but also cooked. Why take the extremist route and focus on eating one way? In truth, you need to eat different ways at different times. So let’s take a look at which eating styles will benefit you best and when!
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The first thing people ask me when I tell them to ditch the chemicals in their personal care products is: How can I do this on a budget? Because it can be a bit tricky, most people will stick to their chemicalized products in favor of their wallet. I’ll admit it’s often more pricey to go the all natural route, but there are a few tricks to get that price down. Here’s my beauty routine exposed!!
Makeup Remover: Coconut oil. Works like a charm and they sell it at Trader Joes for $6 per can. Lasts forever! I follow it up with face wash.
Face Wash: I am a huge fan of Banyan Botanical’s natural soaps they are absolutely natural (you’ll know all the ingredients), are made from Ayurvedic remedies, and are only $6.95 a bar! If you have oily, red, inflamed, or acne-prone skin- the Neem & Aloe soap is the way to go! Use it morning and night for best results. Personally, I have very dry skin so I use the Grapefruit Lemongrass soap and only in the evenings. My oily night time treatment has my face looking dewy by morning so all I have to do is add some sunscreen.
Night Oil: Plunk rose petals, calendula, chamomile, and/or lavender in a bottle of olive oil and rub a smooth layer onto your skin before bed. Use olive, almond, or sesame oils for dry skin, or coconut or neem oils for oily or acne-prone skin. I’ll admit I’m still using my pricey version from Intelligent Nutrients, but I’m switching to this I swear!
Body Wash: Once again, it’s all about Banyan’s soaps. You can’t go wrong.
Exfoliant: Buy yourself an exfoliating face brush, then just add a dab of your face wash. Ta-Da! You can also use sea salt for an invigorating rub down. Add oats and crushed almonds for the real deal. Feels so good!
Shampoo: Mix a tiny palm-full of baking soda with a tiny palm-full of water and give your hair a scrub! Easy as pie! (If only pie were that easy!)
Conditioner: Dilute one parts water to one part apple cider vinegar and rinse through your hair. It’ll be nice and shiny once it’s dry! If you still want that yummy conditioned hair smell, all you have to do is fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Spray on before blow drying!
Hair Mask: Avocado or olive oils. Drench the ends and leave overnight! You can even just mash up an avocado and work it directly into your hair. Yum!
Nails: Olive oil makes an excellent cuticle oil as well as nail strengthening serum!
Buy in Bulk: At Whole Foods, you can get many shampoos and soaps in the bulk section and save a ton! For example, Griffin Remedy Shampoo (one of my faves) is $9 for an 8-oz bottle ($1.12 per ounce), or you can get it for $0.46 per ounce in bulk. Extra bonus- buy by the gallon and you get 10% off ($0.41 an ounce! What a deal!)
Face SPF: I’ve tried them all and Josie Maran’s version tops the charts for sure. This is an area I refuse to cheat in since most un-natural sunscreens are far worse for your skin than the sun, and all the natural ones smell and feel nasty. Not this one. It’s amazing. I don’t even ever have to wear foundation or anything else.
Makeup: Bare Minerals is probably the cheapest commercially available natural makeup although there are several starting to make their debuts these days. Spirit Beauty Lounge has done an amazing job offering all natural everything and will let you get 9 samples of whatever you’d like to try for only $25! Sweet deal! I admit I still use Bobbi Brown for my eye makeup (which actually isn’t too bad on the natural scale!)
What beauty tricks do you have to keep your body pure and healthy on a budget?? I’d love to learn more!Read More
A good friend of mine introduced me to an astrological phenomenon called Saturn Return and since then I have soaked up all kinds of hippie dippie literature on the topic. Whether or not you believe astrology and it’s affects on human beings, the general premise is this: Every time Saturn returns to the point in the sky where it was when you were born, you cross a major threshold and enter the next stage of your life. Personally I’m not sure how much it has to do with Saturn, but I do know that 99% of my clients are in their late twenties or early thirties (the age of the first return in your life). In fact, I’m 28 and last year I went through a major soul-searching crisis before I up and started this little business. Now I’m noticing the same phenomenon happening in my husband as he dreams and schemes about taking up mountain climbing and becoming a certified back-country guide! Most folks start feeling the effects of their return around age 27 with effects often lasting until age 32.Put simply- its your quarter life crisis! (Don’t worry the next one isn’t due until you are 50 something!)
It’s pretty easy to see what’s going on, you aren’t a child anymore and it’s evident in your behavior. You start to go a little stir crazy, have doubts about your job, your dreams, your relationships and that path you’ve been so obediently following. Suddenly life takes a turn and you don’t know where to go anymore. If everything feels like chaos, you are probably standing in the early stages of your first Saturn Return. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Not-so-coincidentally, 30 marks a spike in divorces, marriages, and major career changes. 30 is more than just a milestone, it’s a nice big reset button. A chance to reinvent yourself from the inside out.
Let it be messy: At first it can be totally overwhelming. You might feel emotional, irrational, confused or doubting. You could experience illness, grey hair, fear, or even bankrupsy. Whatever you are experiencing chances are you feel unclear. The future is a big blank space full of question marks and confusion. You long to get out of the fog and find some clarity. Impatience for what’s next rules every waking thought. You feel like you are in a rut and just don’t know where to go from here. Embrace it! Sure it’s messy at first, but you can’t make art without throwing some paint around!
Start the soul searching: Use this time as a free-pass at a major life assessment. When is the last time you took a good hard look at your life and how you are living? Re-evaluate your job, your health, your man, your friendships, and the reason you get up and out of bed every morning. What is your drive, your passion, your purpose? Who do you want to be and why do you want to be that way? This is the perfect opportunity to cash in on some solid guidance- get a life coach, wellness coach, or a bestie who can give you some real-talk. Take care of the nagging symptoms first- lose the weight, get over that ex, make some friends- then start buckling down to get at the cause. Maybe it’s not just weight you have to loose, but the love you have to gain. Maybe it’s not the relationship that’s the problem but the attitude you need to change. Read, journal, pray, change, and dig your heels in deep. This is your chance!
Embrace the change: If you start having an inkling do do something bold, big, and completely different, take a chance and make it happen! You might need to move somewhere far away, start a business of your very own, quit your job to start designing couture doggie sweaters. Maybe there’s a promotion around the corner, new friends to make or leave behind, or a big adventure to go on. Lead a mission trip, backpack around South America, start a charity! If you hold off on taking those risks now you’ll only wind up unsatisfied and taking a drastic move later on. Take care of that antsy little craving for something new and exciting and make it work for you!
Get ready for the good stuff: The pains of childbirth always precede the miracle of a new baby and the same is true of your own journey. Embrace the mess and the unknown because right around the corner it’s going to get reeeeeeeal good! Once that mess of your late 20′s gets going, your 30′s will light a firecracker in your life. Vincent Van Gogh quit his pastor gig to be an artist at age 30, Martha Stuart was a stock broker before buying and renovating a farmhouse in her early 30′s changed her life. Julia Child worked in advertising as a copywriter until age 29 when she began working for the CIA, a job that would eventually take her to Paris where she would discover her love of cooking. Michael Jordan left basketball behind at age 30 to play baseball. Even Jesus was 30 when he left carpentry behind to begin his life-changing work.
Your Saturn Return will be totally unique to you. LOVE watching it unfold!!
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Now that the Marin breeze has started turning toasty, I’ve started to ready my running shoes. I’m signed up for my favorite event of the year: Lululemon’s SeaWheeze half-marathon (wooohoo!) and I’m determined to run with the 10-minute pacers this year! I know the pitfalls though, running IS a major source of physical stress and that means we need to be extra careful with our bodies, especially when we are in training. As a yoga teacher I’ve seen far too many runners turn up to class with shot knees and hurting hips, and those guys are hard to replace! If you haven’t hit pain yet, prevention is key and that means taking a little time re-calibrate in between those epic jogs you’ve been logging! So let’s do some yoga! I’m so excited to be pairing up with Marin Running Company in San Anselmo so that you can take a much-needed off day in your running routine this season. March 12th at 6:30pm I will be teaching a special one-hour yoga class at the store specifically so all you runners can get a nice gooood stretch-out! Sign-up here to join us!
If you can’t make it to the sesh, I’ve also designed this pretty little podcast so you can show yourself some love wherever you are at. I recommend hitting your mat on an off day or right after a run, but avoid it right before, we don’t want to send those loose hips out in the world quite yet!
With your feet hip-width apart stand with your hands in prayer. Lifting your hands to the sky on an inhale, exhale to the right side stretching that side body. Your abs do quite a lot of work when you run so it’s nice to start with some gentle stretching of the abdominal region. Lift back up on an inhale and then sink to the left side. Give yourself some time on both sides to really dip into the stretch, then inhale back to center lifting your chest and heart toward the sky and then lean back for a lower back stretch (yes, back’s are important when it comes to running!)
Inhale back to standing and (with your arms still raised) sink your hips into chair pose. Your feet should still be flat to the ground and your lower back should be slightly arching as your arms run alongside your head with hands outstretched to the sky. Reach your chest forward and then sink a little lower. Stay in this pose as long as possible and let those thighs burn! Chair pose helps reinforce all those lovely little muscles surrounding your precious knees and we need that strength to support those joints as we run! Shape em up!
So now let’s get ourselves into a nice downward facing dog. Amazing how this pose somehow does everything doesn’t it? Just a great standard. Once you are in the pose, bicicle your knees a little bit so your joints get some movement. Come up onto your tippy toes and lift your hips to the sky as if pulled up via a string attached to your lower back. Then sink your heels as low to the earth as you can. Push forward with your hands so your head falls between your shoulders. This pose lenthens your spine, stretches your calves and shoulders, and finds some stretch in your achilles, just an all around beautiful pose to counter balance those runs you’ve been doing!
Most importantly of ALL running specific poses is a really amazingly powerful hip stretch. Not only do we store emotions in our hips, but we store tension and physical stress there. After a run, your hips do this little tightening number, that unless stretched out, will accumulate and cause major issues down the line. Hip replacement anyone?? Ok, so we don’t want that so I’m going to let you in on my favorite hip stretcher- Frog pose! This beaute is killer! To start, make sure you have some padding to support your knees and calves. If you are already experiencing knee trouble on this one, you probably want to opt out and go for your hip stretch of choice. With your legs parallel each other wider than hip width, point your toes outward (like a frog). Extend your torso and fold forward coming to rest on your forearms. Then you need to find the magic spot! Try sinking your hips lower or walking your head forward or backward until you find that perfect balance! See if you can find some relaxation in this pose. Relish it!
Finally, make your way out of the pose and lay on your back with the palms of your feet touching and your knees relaxing to the mat. Put one hand to your heart and the other to your belly and let your body fall open. This gets a tiny little arch back into your lower back and is also a gently hip opener all in a nice relaxing package. Enjoy your rest, you’ve been doing so much and running on top of that has been adding extra stress to your body. Thank yourself for spending time with your body and with your breathe!
This is a guest post by Charles Yoakum, owner and runner extraordinaire over at Marin Running Company in San Anselmo! The two of us are pairing up for some awesome yoga sessions designed specifically for all you runners out there! Stop by Yoga for Runners at Marin Running Company, March 13th at 6:30pm to stretch out those lovely legs!
Why do people run? It may see rhetorical, it may seem like an easy answer, but it’s a surprisingly deep question depending upon who you ask. Pretty much every day at Marin Running Co, I find that people come to their motivation from a huge variety of different sources, some from intellectual reasoning (“I need to lose some weight, and jogging is the most efficient cardio activity I can find”) and some from a primal need to move, and two legged locomotion can be a fairly efficient and economical way to cover that ground.
My wife blames gypsy blood for her need to move and constantly be in motion. But more recent, and certainly more scientifically verifiable studies have pointed to the recent rise in female participation in running in a single phrase: “Power to the sisterhood.” They’ve found that, as more women get out and run, the more that other women want to go join them. And they like running for something, in support of funding for a wide variety of causes. The girls get together, get movtivated and get going. And they are, in ever increasing numbers, taking over domains such as marathon running, that as recently as 1986 were hovering around 16% participation for women. Now? We’re up to 50% or greater nationally. And unlike their male counterparts, pinning on a number doesn’t mean trying to beat everyone, but means joining a pilgrimage, from the starting line to the finish line
“C’mon, I’ll race you to that tree.” As the element of play pervades our childhoods, as adults we get to have structured play and participating in races for the simple aspect of seeing who the fastest is reveals one facet of our personalities: whether in checkers, running, playing Uno or in life, we like to win. Or at least try.
Certainly, on the other side, are those that run to get away from it all. They leave the cell phones at home and get out the door to escape. In our crowded, cluttered, over scheduled lives, getting an hour to not have to answer the phone, email, children, work or the spouse can be pure gold and the hills of Marin are filled, discretely, with those getting a break from the noise of 2013. Many of them find their solitude outside in those hills, and their interior solitude in yoga classes that map their inner journey from their skin to their soul and back to the very edge of their mat.
I’m certainly psyched to finally have a yoga class at Marin Running Company because I believe that it is such perfect compliment to running: the strength it builds in the body, and the mental calmness it gives to the mind are perfect compliments to running and walking. Sometimes the best way to get better is not lace up the shoes but take them off and stay still. March 13th, 6:30pm, bring your mat!
And wherever your come down on this, I’ll tell you why I love run: its all of the above. Like everyone else, I’m not one thing. I’m a father, husband, worker bee, hard worker and lazybutt. I’ll run up the hill until I can’t and then take my exercise buzz with my feet up. And I think that everyone of you reading this is just as complex if not more so. Find your inner motivation and see how many facets it has.