Monday, January 30, 2017

SPIRITUAL SMACK: BURNING PAIN


S P I R I T U A L   S M A C K  |  B U R N I N G   P A I N

À propos of the last post of uncontained emotions, this is a guide to release the painful past or unsaid words that are internally tearing us apart. It's a ritual to burn the path for a clearer future.  

Sometimes trauma has just struck too fresh or runs deep still to identify its resulting emotions and share it with another. Yet, we often feel the urge and muster the courage to release these blocks that hinder us from healing. This ritual of burning is a safe way to acknowledge the accompaniments of trauma, illness, or any emotional blockage; surrender to them; and release them out of the body in a safe and discreet manner.

Burning is a traditional ritual that creates a pause within the rush towards healing. It allows us to face avoided or uncontained emotions, bear the weight of what has never been or is no longer necessary, so we can carry what serves us. It provides us with a spiritual and emotional compass.

BURNING IS A TRADITIONAL RITUAL THAT CREATES A PAUSE WITHIN OUR RUSH TOWARDS HEALING.
—@thirlby

This ritual is a way to release any one, thing, or situation that has caused you pain. It can be done alone or with a loved one's support. 

To begin, obtain a flame-proof bucket or use a safe outdoor space. Gather dried twigs, your matchsticks, and the materials like photographs, letter, or documents you'd like to burn. As a precaution, pick these items cautiously and with a clear mind—not in the heat of the moment or in spite. Do not, obviously, burn any legal matter. Choose items that represent or is an item that you'd like to release that has an emotional hold on you that you can hold up to the flame. Alternatively, you could write down the emotions, person or people, or experiences you'd like to release by writing them on a sheet of paper. This is also an appropriate practise to clean your slate on a New Moon. 

Once you have gathered these items or your list, create your fire and sit in front of it. Either speak out loud if your emotions allow or to yourself of what the items or list and their release represent to you. Think about and feel why you need to let go of them. As you set the items or list on fire, say a gentle prayer of "I release you, we are free." So often we think of merely ourselves within the storyline of attachment or emotional blockage when in reality there's always another in suffering or draining our energy. 

When we recognise this bound energy—whether intentionally or unintentionally established—we allow ourselves and all that is outside of our control to release the grip. We recognise as the energy renders itself to nothingness that despite its negativity, the situation or person has served a purpose in pushing us to claim a clearer path free of what we now know of things that do not serve us. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

THE GUIDE: FEELING FEELINGS


T H E   G U I D E |   F E E L I N G   F E E L I N G S
a guide to when your emotions feel as dainty as a flower or fiery as a spark, on uncontained emotions, and remedies . . . 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

CURRENTLY COVETING & CREASING №3

2 | Give my playlists a listen over at Spotify
4| Four-eyed over:  Warby Parker x Leith Clark 
5 | Give me:  all.  the.  stickers!
6 | These: Mansur GavrielMarais mules plus how to style them à la Haley Boyd
7 | One of my main guides to living zero-waste . . .



creasing

there's a place where beauty and sadnes meet . . .  where the two become undistinguishable. it's the place where sadness is no longer ugly, and grief begins feeling like soap in a wound—painful but purgative at the same time.

—MARK MATOUSEK, "wHEN YOU'RE FALLING, DIVE"

Friday, January 13, 2017

FARMACY: ALTERNATIVE SWEETENERS


F A R M A C Y   |  A L T E R N A T I V E   S W E E T E N E R S
A guide to sweeteners and how to tame your sugar dragon for hormonal and weight balance . . .



s seemingly everyone's New Year's resolutions of eating healthier are gnawing our ears, I felt a post on alternative sweeteners was appropriate. Mainly because many people often draw their resolutions to either extreme dietary behaviours or overcomplicate their approach to changing their habits. 

I am to confess that despite a very intentional and wholesome consumption of foods, I am a slave to sucking on the devil's breast milk that is sugar. No, that does not mean refined sugars like cane sugar or golly gee damn white sugar. My own sweet tooth is slayed by stevia, Lakanto, or the occasional dates in those crack RX Bars. These are all natural, healthy alternatives to the sugar dragon itself but they still feed its fire. I know this because I recently resolved to not sweeten my morning tonic with stevia or have the few bites of Lakanto chocolate and as a result I right about lost a smidgen of my will to live. We are all addicted to sugar in one form or another, natural or refined

Many of us are unaware and feed this addiction still, even with a switch to a healthier way of eating. We find alternatives to candy bars, switching noshing on Snickers to Lärabars but disregarding the fact that both have around 20 grams of sugar. True, the sugars in the latter come from dates but all your body is thinking is "I wanted sugar and I got it." Sugar is sugar is sugar. When we feed it, it's better to do so with healthy sweeteners but we need to be mindful of when, with what, and how often we do it. As a resolution, I believe many of us can make the intention to consume less of it, whether it's starting from cutting off refined sugars or minimising the "natural, unrefined" forms of sugar we consume in the form of alternative sweeteners and fruits--I'm looking at those sugar bomb smoothies with two bananas and a handful of mango . . .

This addiction is because sugar is a rapid energy and thus comfort food. This is not only industrially-fed to us to which many research articles and NYT exposés can attest, but chemically as well. Here is a history written eloquently by my friend Kristy Mucci and beautifully illustrated by Alex Testere. First, sugar hides in almost every processed food in the market; search the labels of anything from the obvious cereal packages to that tub of low- or non-fat dairy products (which, on a side note, please switch to full-fat, grass-fed dairy that is not over-processed with milk powders because our body thrives on fat). Here are all the names under which sugar is disguised, which you can avoid by eating whole foods and avoiding processed, packaged ones:

 sugar in disguise 


  Agave Nectar   |   Barley Malt   |  Barley Syrup   |  Beet Sugar   |  Brown Sugar   |  Brown Rice Syrup 
           Cane Sugar   |   Carbitol   |  Carob Syrup   |  Caramel Colour  |  Coconut Palm Sugar  
    Concentrated Fruit Juice  |  Corn Sugar   |  Corn Syrup  |  Dextrin   |  Dextrose   |  Diglycerides
Disaccharides   |   Florida Crystals   |  Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)   |  Glucitol  |  Glucose  |  Glycerides
       Glycerol   |  Grape Sugar  |  Hexitol  |  High Fructose Corn Syrup   |  Inversol   |  Invert Sugar 
   Karo Syrups   |  Lactose   |  Maltodextrin   |  Malted Barley  |  Maltose   |  Mannitol   |  Mollasses
     Monoglycerides  |  Pentose  | Polydextrose   |  Ribose Rice Syrup  |  Rice Malt  |  Saccharides  
             Sorbitol   |  Sorghum  |  Sorghum Syrup  |  Sucrose  |  Turbinado Sugar  |  Zylose


Tongue twisted into Twizzlers reading that? According to Dr. Frank Lipman, our bodies do not discriminate when it comes to sugar, whether it is "organic," "raw," or "all-natural," the most green-washed term. We process it all the same, whether it's refined carbohydrates like bread or high-grade maple syrup from Vermont. Granted, the latter also has some vitamins and trace minerals attached but it still causes a spike in blood sugar levels. It is this spike that we should be cautious of when approaching our New Year's Resolutions--our habitual tendency and craving for the height of energy that sugar causes and instead turn to fuel for longer with healthy fats.

Unlike the slow and sustainable energy that fats provide, sugars give a spike of energy because they are processed very quickly by the body. Sugar enters and is rapidly fed into the bloodstream, causing insulin to rise and simultaneously for blood sugar to drop. Then consequential drop then causes a further craving to rise it back up again, switching on a dreaded cycle. See the image of reaching for those extra fries or scoop of ice cream? Your body sadly feels it even with a fruit-and-nut bar like Larabar--no discrimination . . .

The cycle comes down to sugar causing weight gain through a surge in insulin levels and excess glucose consumed to be stored as fat. It also further taxes other organs and those that control hormones, namely the thyroid. Adrenal glands that regulate stress hormones kicks into overdrive and cortisol is shot through the roof to raise energy levels to carry a now sluggish, sugar-craving body through the day. Taxed organs and yo-yoing hormone levels not only cause weight gain, but also lead to inflammatory and chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer. 

On the other hand, when blood sugar levels are kept stable and insulin levels are low, fat is released from fatty tissues and is burned for sustainable, steady energy levels. Eating healthy fats allows us to burn fat and subsequently lose it, with a steady source of energy unlike the many restrictive, starvation mode diets that which New Year's Resolution diets advocate.
So, this New Year, let's resolve to not only be more conscious of the form of sugar we consume, but how much of it we consume and do so conscientiously. When you do reach for a baked good with healthy sweeteners, savour it. Make it an all-senses experience where you have a lil' relationship with that cookie . . . but make it an occasional date, it's time to break up and find comfort through our own and not external pleasures like sugar. 
See the graphic below for the best options and share it with your sugar slayin' friends . . . My go-to's are Lakanto, birch xylitol, stevia, and raw honey.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

THE GUIDE: NEW ORLEANS EATS



T  H  E   G U I D E   |  N E W   O R L E A N S   E A T S 

A round-up of some favourite places to savour safely in New Orleans, LA—accommodating anything + anyone from allergies to vegan enthusiasts to paleo noshers . . .





S E A W O R T H Y  was where we moseyed on over to after our eight our road trip from Austin. Empty pit of stomachs abound gnawed by car ride food and knockin' on near 10 o'clock at night, we were thankful that this place was right next door to where we were staying at the Ace Hotel. We ordered a (insert cheeto Trump voice) hoooge plate of  RAW OYSTERS doused and slurped in lemon juice (we're partial to East then Gulf Coast)PEEL 'N EAT SHRIMP salt-cured with hijiki seasoning blend; and my husband and I shared the night's special of GRILLED TROUT lemony vegetables while his brother and friends shared GRAND BANKS LOBSTER ROLL herb, fennel, lemon, dulse emulsion, short-pickled cucumber & french fries and SHEEPSHEAD butter-poaced sheepshead, red chilli-spiced nantua, crawfish tails, & braised alliums. I could have shed a salty tear for not having been able to try the latter two dishes, but I was satisfied with the tastiness of the amount of seafood we ate that could have sunk a ship or two . . .
                                      
S E E D  was the spot we happened upon accidentally when the wait for a different restaurant was too long. They have a variety of vegan, raw, and gluten-free options including RAW ONION FLAX BREAD to spread and slather nut-based cheeses like creole cashew cheese on. I opted for creating my own salad, which was delicious but I definitely would have ordered a side of the flax bread had there been an available since, for a big green salad lover, the salad was slightly on the skimpier side but maybe that was my post-run hanger speaking. My husband got the NUVEOS RANCHEROS and thoroughly dipped himself clean in the comfort of it. 


S U P E R F O O D   B A R is a juice and smoothie joint that blends in lesser-used ingredients like coconut kefir and coconut enzymes for higher digestibility and, subsequently, bioavailability of nutrients. As with most places, I usually opt to create my own juice. If I want a thicker consistency, my hack is to ask for my DIY juice then have it blended with avocado. It gives it a light creamy texture for the palate and the extra fats allow for a higher uptake of fat-soluble vitamins & minerals. There are salads available as well for a lunch option. They even serve a CUPUAÇU SHOT, which is a rainforest plant native and under the branch of cacao (theobroma). 


This is where we had our New Year's Eve dinner and I was blown away by their careful service. They are extremely thoughtful about catering to any allergies and cross-contamination, to the point that on a busy dinner night, the chef took the time to circle every single dish on the menu that I could safely eat or he could modify. We ordered PEEL 'N EAT SHRIMP that was so perfectly-spiced that I scooped that shit out of the bowl with my shrimp-spoon; Cameron had MOULES Tlemongrass, kaffir, ginger, coconut milk, avec les frites; we then shared the night's special of ROASTED RED SNAPPER on braised greens. Licked the clean plate for the new year's slate.

R A W   R E P U B L I C another little juice and smoothie shop for a quick slurp or nosh, they also offer nut mylks made in-house blended with low-glycemic coconut sugar. Stop by the store for their rotating food offerings.

G R E E N   F O R K  is just across the street from the aforementioned Seed café. We only peeked inside from the door as it was closed by two o'clock that day, which I'm assuming was their Holiday schedule. In addition to their menu of juices that include spikes of spirulina and cayenne, they also have snacks like Simple Mills CRACKers to boot! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

THIRLBY: THE BOOK


A N   A N N O U N C E M E N T  |  T H I R L B Y   T H E   B O O K
 I have been biting my tongue to keep mum about this! Over this past weekend, I signed, sealed, and delivered my book contract from Prestel/RandomHouse Publishing for my book Thirlby: A Holistic Guide to Living. Looking down on my life high from cloud nine right now  and feeling blessed to have the family, friends, and readers who have believed in my blog since day one. THANK YOU! See y'all on the bookshelves SPRING 2018 and please do share with me in the meantime if there are any topics or questions you'd like me to touch upon and answer!