Written by Beatrice Lamarck , Sept 22nd, 2017
You’ve heard it a million times:sugar is everywhere.
It’s hiding in yogurt, spaghetti sauce… heck, even soups and ‘wholesome’ granola are loaded with it!
And this isn’t just brown or cane sugar. It’s potent, processed, corn-syrupy sugar with zero nutritional benefit.
Added sugar is as far from “whole food” as you can get. Some would argue that you shouldn’t even call sugar a food.
Aside from weight gain, sugar causes all sorts of problems you wouldn’t expect:
What if I told you there was another way? A way to satisfy your sweet tooth, while avoiding processed sugar, just by using something so common that they give it to you for FREE at the coffee shop:
Honey is a type of sugar, but it’s as far as you can get from factory-made “white sugar.”
It’s a whole food. A complex mix of compounds that delivers the sweetness of sugar, wrapped in vitamins and health-promoting enzymes.
Not only does honey have a lower effect on blood sugar than the processed stuff… it’s been shown by modern research to fight infections, act as an antioxidant, and even help moisturize skin!
Believe it or not, honey is loaded with natural enzymes that don’t appear in many other foods.
When you prepare and take honey in specific ways, these enzymes are preserved and go into your body to help fight off bacteria and other invaders.
These enzymes also reduce the glycemic effect of the sugar in honey. That’s why it’s the preferred sweetener for millions of diabetics.
And when you load up on these helpful enzymes, a lot more things can happen:
Not all honeys are created equal. For example, manuka honey from New Zealand is packed with antimicrobial enzymes and is great for infections – especially if you put it on an open wound!
Yep, open wounds. The FDA has even approved it for use in bandages.
But there are so many types of honey, and they ALL have different benefits you can take advantage of.
Once you get the right honey in your hands, the ways you can use it to cleanse your life are endless. All you need is the right information.
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Aloe Vera was known to the Egyptians as the plant of immortality for its super healing properties.
Even the Native American referred to the plant as the wand of heaven because of its unusual features.
You might also have your very own aloe vera plant in your home for those small emergencies like scrapes, cuts, and burns, however, did you know that aloe vera is not just limited to local usage and is even more beneficial to your body when taken internally?
Aloe vera consists of over 200 biologically active, natural constituents, which include polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and minerals. According to the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, aloe vera likewise possesses antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties that help the body immune system in cleaning the body of toxins and attacking pathogens.
Aloe vera has loads of metals consisting of calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, salt, iron, potassium, copper, and manganese. These minerals work together to improve metabolic pathways.
Aloe vera consists of essential enzymes like amylase and lipase which can assist in digestion by breaking down fat and sugar particles. One molecule, in particular, Bradykinase, helps to minimize swelling.
Aloe Vera provides many vitamins in a natural and assimilable form.
One study revealed that aloe vera, in fact, includes vitamin B12, which is needed for the production of red blood cells.
That would be terrific news for vegetarians and vegans in particular, who frequently do not get adequate amounts of B12 through their regular diet.
Other studies revealed aloe could make vitamin B12 more bioavailable, meaning the body can more easily absorb and use it, consequently assisting in preventing deficiency.
Aloe vera is also a source of vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), and B6. While it remains uncertain whether we can rely entirely on alow as a source of B12, it can be used in conjunction with a supplement to help increase uptake.
Aloe vera consists of 20 of the 22 vital amino acids required by the human body. It also consists of salicylic acid, which battles swelling and bacteria.
Aside from being an excellent body cleanser, eliminating harmful matter from the stomach, kidneys, spleen, bladder, liver, and colon, aloe can likewise use reliable remedy for more immediate ailments, such as indigestion, indigestion, ulcers, and gut inflammation.
It also enhances the digestive system and eases joint inflammation, making it an excellent choice for people living with arthritis.\
One research study discovered that aloe vera juice, when taken the same way as mouthwash, was just as efficient at eliminating plaque as the ordinary mouthwash and its active component, chlorhexidine.
This is a better alternative since it is natural, unlike the generally chemical-laden options found in stores. Aloe vera gel has also been found to recover from mouth ulcers, more typically called canker sores efficiently.
Aloe can be taken indirectly from the plant, but the most convenient and most palatable alternative is probably aloe juice, which you can find in many organic food stores.
You can also buy the leaves from lots of conventional grocery stores, or collect your own and juice them yourself.
You can purchase the juice and blend it into your juices and shakes or just consume it directly. Ensure you are buying pure aloe juice/gel, which is made from either the whole leaf or just the inner filet. It does have a somewhat bitter taste though, so you might wish to include other things.
On the bottle you can discover particular dosing guidelines, however, it would be smart to talk to a natural health professional or do some research to find directions on specific dosing.
Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and each day new advances within the digital space expand the potential for human knowledge and development. However, despite all of the technological advances we are making, it seems that with this same speed of connection, there is simultaneously a disconnection, as we are struggling with maintaining our emotional wellness more than ever before.
How can we be so far advanced in our technology and have access to endless amounts of knowledge but at the same time, are struggling to understand our innermost feelings? Why has it become so difficult to maintain a sense of peace and happiness? Why do so many people report feelings of loneliness and disconnection when social media allows us to constantly be in touch?
As science has proven that our day to day existence – including our physical and mental health – is absolutely impacted by the way we feel, the importance of our emotional wellness, and our ability to manage it, is more and more obvious. This lack of ‘emotional intelligence’ can have devastating consequences to our overall experience of life.
Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer coined the term ’emotional intelligence’ in 1990 describing it as “a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”.
Emotional intelligence is a popular point of discussion in the corporate world. If you’ve ever taken a personality quiz when interviewing for a job, you would be very familiar with how many employers use tests like the Myers-Briggs or the DiSC to determine not only how a new employee will fit within the culture, but how best they can be managed to ensure maximum productivity and output.
But how much can these tests really tell us when it comes to the feelings we experience, and the emotions we have to live with each day. Plus, if someone is suffering from depression, how much does their DiSC score really matter? Turns out that it does. According to an article in Canada’s Globe and Mail, people with low emotional intelligence are twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, substance abuse and even thoughts of suicide.
Since the 1800s when HP Blavatsky released The Secret Doctrine, and into the 1920s, when Paramahansa Yogananda brought meditation and the yogic to the states, Americans have been looking to ancient spiritual practices to improve their understanding of themselves and the world around them. According to a Pew Research study from 2017, 27% of adults in the United States say they think of themselves as spiritual but not religious, up 8 percentage points in five years. And many of these people are traveling outside of their country of birth to experience an awakening that they cannot find at home.
This awakening is more important than most of us realize; many people look for an awakening in response to a lack of fulfillment, a feeling of disconnection, and an experience of hopelessness – all hallmarks of depression. Depression has been linked to a 67% increased risk of death from heart disease and 50% increased risk of death from cancer. Depression, and other mental health disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. But why aren’t people just taking antidepressants and calling it a day?
According to a recent article in the New York Times, antidepressants are only modestly effective when it comes to dealing with depression; they show strong positive result in the first two months of treatment but may not be effective for anything that falls short of a major depressive episode. And what this means is that those wanting to improve their well-being must look for other ways to improve their suffering. And this is where treatment for depression, emotional intelligence, and spiritual enlightenment meet.
According to Stephen Ilardi, the Author of “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs”, depression is a ‘disease of civilization’. Thanks to lifestyle factors, including smoking, alcohol, and a lack of exercise, depression is epidemic in the industrialized, modern world while largely non-existent among modern day aboriginal groups.
We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, frenetic pace of modern life.
– Stephen Ilardi, PhD
So, what did our ancestors do to change the neurochemistry in their brains to prevent depression and anxiety? In ancient and indigenous cultures, plant medicine was practiced to help those struggling to remember their sense of oneness. When we think of plant medicine, many people automatically think of Ayahuasca, and while studies show that Ayahuasca has a positive effect on depression, grief, and anxiety – the world of plant medicine extends far beyond this particular medium. It’s not necessary to travel to the jungles of Peru and go through a deeply challenging shamanic-style journey. There are also other naturally occurring medicines that are easily and readily available, and can support emotional healing and wellness – and have an extraordinary effect on emotional intelligence.
In the South Pacific, kava (Latin name Piper Methysticum) has been used for thousands of years as a ritual and celebratory beverage. When they arrived in the 1700’s, Christian missionaries worked tirelessly to stop the use of kava, likening it’s mind and heart-expanding properties to the abuse of alcohol. But they couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Kava was and is used by indigenous peoples to reach a higher state of consciousness – and it was this effect that most likely drew the criticism of the Christian missionaries. Kava played – and still plays – a significant role in social gatherings in the South Pacific. It is consumed at events such as weddings, funerals, naming, and healing ceremonies with the express purpose of bringing people together. Once a group of people drink kava, it is accepted that they are one.
Unlike alcohol, kava is non-addictive, non-inflammatory, and does not affect blood sugar levels. And, contrary to the experience of indigenous peoples who have used kava for centuries, there are modern-day claims that kava is harmful to the liver – but this has not been proven and is thought to be a myth perpetuated by the pharmaceutical industry.
One of the original studies on kava’s effect on the liver, done by Merck, conveniently overlooked that that the study’s participants were also consuming alcohol and prescription drugs that are metabolized by the liver, possibly – and actually – causing the damage. There was also evidence that the kava extracts used in the study had been made with leaves, stems, and bark peelings of the plant. These contain toxic alkaloids and would never have been used in traditional kava preparations because it was known they could result in poisoning.
In fact, a Duke University study – and it’s not the only one – shows that kava is an effective therapy for anxiety while causing little or no side effects. Both Ohio State University and the South Dakota State University College of Pharmacy conducted animal studies and found that not only was kava non-toxic to the liver, but may even protect the liver. And, those who use kava don’t experience an effect on blood pressure, heart rate or sexual function – one of the major issues with the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) routinely prescribed for depression and anxiety.
A recent article in Rolling Stone reveals that kava bars are growing in popularity all over North America. Although kava is being ‘sold’ as an alternative to alcohol, it’s effects go much deeper than relaxation after work or getting a ‘buzz’.
Beyond a feeling of relaxation, kava users report experiencing enhanced visual acuity, seeing brighter colors, and more ease in conversation. Anecdotally, kava has a reputation of being able to open blocked ‘chakras’, supporting the healing of emotional wounding. Unlike prescription drugs that manipulate neurotransmitters, dulling out undesirable feelings (and can have devastating effects on said neurotransmitters with long-term use), kava’s kavalactones create a mild state of euphoria, relax the body, and act as a mild sedative without causing drowsiness. And, because kava isn’t technically a hallucinogen, the euphoric state doesn’t cause a feeling of separation from reality. This creates an ideal situation in which to see aspects of our lives – and the people around us – through a softer lens. Compassion and empathy for ourselves and others is fundamental to our ongoing development and evolution. Through compassion and empathy, we can increase our awareness, our openness, and our connection – and our emotional intelligence can’t help but be positively impacted.
Kava can be consumed in a tea or as a supplement – taking it in capsule form may be more desirable for those who wish to avoid its ‘earthy’ flavor. Your kava should be organic and pesticide free and must contain only the root. A company called Limitless Life makes the kava-based, emotional support supplement AVA, using only sustainably grown, organic kava. AVA’s plant-based formula naturally supports emotional wellness allowing you to safely, conveniently, and effectively experience all the benefits of plant medicine. AVA causes no harmful side effects, damage to neurotransmitters, or tolerance build up. And it can be combined with a movement practice, including yoga, to enhance physical and mental benefits.
The path to greater emotional intelligence and healing is a life-long journey. There are problems that can’t – and won’t – be solved by technology. But if we are willing to unplug so we can hear the wisdom of our ancestors, we can find nuggets of wisdom that will bring us back to the wellness inherent in all of us. If we are willing to slow down, be still, and listen, all that we need to live rich, fulfilling lives, is available to us from mother earth.