Subscribe


Sunday, October 22, 2017


A few recents that have been brain splurges over the past several weeks...

Books

Small Wonder: Book of Essays - Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite writers and I love every single one of her novels. Her book of essays I came across in a used book store several months back and absolutely fell in love with her short stories and essays. Published shortly after 9/11, her thoughts on international politics, human behavior, genetic engineering and ultimately big world catastrophes are so eloquently paralleled in her enviable ability to appreciate the little things all around her. Like the bees in her vegetable garden. Her daily challenges of motherhood. Her obstacles a writer. Her interactions with the living world. When the trajectory of the world is looking so incredibly grim (still, now), she adds a thoughtfulness and shift in thinking that puts a smile on my face, every time I read her work. 

The Balance Within: The Science of Connecting Health and Emotions - This has been a fun read (taken me a while to get through, but awesome nonetheless). It's a research based dive into how our emotional body is intricately and forever connected to our physical body and how imbalance and disease are undoubtedly closely tied with our emotional health. It's one of those "duh" concepts, and for centuries we've known this (and intuitively, every single one of us knows this to be true), but proving things (especially medical things) takes a while to catch up to human intuition. Seeing as how 99% of the people I see clinically have a huge stress component to their health story, this has been a spot on reference and resource in how we can support our physical body with emotional and stress therapy. Highly recommend. 

Outlander (Dragonfly in Amber) - I know, I'm way behind on this series. I've been traveling so much in September and October that Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber have been so fun to read in the car for hours and hours and during downtime. I read Outlander probably 5 years ago and forgot everything about it other than I thought I liked it, so I read it again and totally loved it. Obviously, I mean - historical fiction, Scotland, herbal medicine, time travel, adventure. It's a total brain escape...and I like excessively long book series' I can binge on for a few months. 

Walden: Life in the Woods -  I read this book every year in the fall, cover to cover, and have since high school. It's my favorite drawing inward book, perfect for this season when I start to feel more hermit-ish and crave being out in the woods by myself for days at a time. I adore this book and all of the detailed descriptions of slower life. #goals. 

Podcasts

Becoming Wise - After my total obsession with the On Being podcast it's been no surprise that I've been loving Becoming Wise. It has a similar theme but dives a little deeper into questions and actions surrounding how we create more thoughtful and intentional lives. Embracing our many differences, recognizing how trauma affects our inner spirit, tapping into our innate curiosities, cultivating compassion...every single episode and interview makes me re-think how I've been thinking about emotions and interactions my whole life. Also awesome - Creating our Own Lives

She Explores : Women in the Outdoors - Oh my gosh this podcast is amazing. For someone who has constant travel lust this podcast is so inspirational and encouraging to get out there and go it alone (if you don't have a travel buddy, that's OK!). It interviews women who have traveled all over the world, hiked the long trails and grow their souls outside. They speak on their fears, their courage, their challenges, their emotions and their epiphanies. Total badassery. 

What are you reading this fall? Do you have a favorite genre for the season? This is by far my favorite time of year to curl up with a hot cup of tea, a cozy blanket and my pup at my feet and dive into a few good books! 

...
Comment  /  Share This  /  Tweet This
Sunday, October 01, 2017

This post is sponsored by my friends at Numi Organic Tea

Early mornings, that's when the quiet is the most appreciated and, to me, the most intentional. Everything wakes in their own time and has their own rhythm and pleasantries in the morning hours. In October, the morning light seems to come through the east facing windows later and later, and morning time feels like it extends far later into the day (so deceptively luxurious!). At the beginning of each month, I try to allow some quiet space in the earliest parts of the day to set a vision for how I want each month to manifest. It's my visual of setting some personal goals, boundaries and deadlines that I can realistically stick to and sets my mind at so much ease...

 

October is a time of great transition, both seasonally and energetically. I always feel a strong inward draw when October comes around, with that subtle chill in the air and darker mornings and shorter days and that kind of witchy vibe that accompanies the first full month of autumn. When I make my vision lists for this month while sipping on a warming blend the Numi Vision Teasan blend, clarity and creativity come from the first true flavors of warming gingery spices that truly reflect the seasonal change. Ginger, rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon are very welcome seasonal companions for this month, and they warm me right through to my core with a stimulating peripheral vigor. The added hints of cooling spearmint, hibiscus and lemon verbena add an etherial sweetness that get my creative juices flowing as I sip on this hour after hour as the sun is rising. My pen barely leaves the page while I feverishly transfer thoughts onto paper...visions into reality. This is truly a perfect morning blend to imbibe for just a subtle hint of caffeine with added guayusa for mental stimulation and to get into that early morning creative flow. 

I blend up a full pot (for long, slow mornings) or a single mug of Numi Vision Tea while I work on my monthly vision journal or morning meditations and sip thoughtfully as the reality of my morning turns into mentally attainable daydreams. With the first chill of autumn, endless cups of warm, woodsy, stimulating tea basically become part of my wardrobe. Finding a blend that is so perfectly attuned to my morning ritual is an incredible gift, and sometimes when I sip on another herbalists' or another company's herbal tea, I feel completely tended to and taken care of. Like they made it just for me. Herbs are like that. Like little long lost best friends...turning up at just the most serendipitous moments. 

With such a gift given to me, one of my visions this month is to pay it forward. I'll be stocking a supply of Holistic Numi Teasans in my office to share with my co-workers and fellow practitioners, and making sure that I take at least 10 minutes every morning for a grounding and centering practice to put me in the best mental, physical, emotional and spiritual place to tend to my clients. It makes such a huge difference to a whole day - or even just a single conversation! - to share a space wth someone while being calm, compassionate and attentive. It feels good to receive that, and it feels good to offer that. 

 


VISION PRACTICE (10 minutes daily)
Find a quiet space and time to sit in ease. Relax your body, gently close your eyes and slow your breathing, paying attention to the rise and fall of your belly as you inhale and exhale. Bring forth an intention of creativity – a project, idea or vision you want to initiate. Like a daydream, allow whatever feelings, thoughts or sensations come to flow across your mind’s eye. Non-judgmentally and without attachment, allow your mind to travel. Enjoy the ride. Once complete (or even if still in fragments), write it all down and work towards manifesting your story. 




This post is sponsored by my friends at Numi Organic Tea. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  It is my goal to use and recommend only the highest quality herbal products from companies that I wholly trust and fully support. Industry standards including sustainable harvesting, quality control, organic/fair trade standards and responsible sourcing are all things I care deeply about when working with herbs and herbal companies. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this blog possible.

...
Comment  /  Share This  /  Tweet This
Wednesday, September 20, 2017



As a follow up to my recent post on Botanical Infused Hair Oil for Long Strong Locks, I wanted to layer in the second half of what contributes to strong, healthy hair and that includes good nutrition and optimized digestion. It's often more convenient to rely on only topical products to enhance the way our hair looks and feels, and some good quality hair products are beneficial for scalp health and to strengthen and nourish damaged hair strands (botanical oils work really well for that!). But my foundational practice for long strong locks is what I'm putting in my body everyday and I focus heavily on nutrition and digestive support to make sure that, 1) I'm getting in all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats and minerals that I need to maintain healthy organ systems, detoxification pathways and energy levels and, 2) I'm able to actually absorb all of the things I'm eating. It's a common saying, "You are what you eat", but it's more accurate to say, "You are what you absorb", and if we have impaired or compromised digestion, this can dramatically affect how our hair, skin and nails show up. 

As part of my foundational routine, I always incorporate whole, fresh foods into my diet every day with a variety of color and proteins (both plant based and animal) along with nutrient rich whole grains, legumes and healthy fats. As soon as my digestion starts to get a little out of whack, I notice it in the texture of my hair (and also my nails) and this is a sign that I'm not absorbing the nutrients I need. Your body speaks to you in little whispers like subtle hair and nail changes, and those little whispers are always telling you something that you should be paying attention to. Also, keep in mind that nutrition and digestive health are not the be-all-end-all solution for healthy hair. Sometimes other health considerations need to be addressed too such as hormone balance, stress, and immune system support. Everyone may require something different, physiologically. Here are a few recommendations to maintain long strong locks from a nutritional and herbal medicine perspective:

Essential Nutrition -----

Healthy Fats: I can't stress enough how important healthy fats and essential fatty acids are for hair health (and for so many other things, too!). When we have dry, damaged or brittle hair, that is a classically dry and deficient condition. Healthy fats are not only feeding and structurally supporting our cellular membranes but they're providing that much needed moisture into our bodies to help balance out those dry conditions. Fats are one of  our three dietary macronutrients (along with carbohydrates and proteins) and are essential for us to absorb our fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. Avocado's, coconut oil, olive oil, walnuts, almonds, salmon, flax seed, chia seeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of healthy fats and a variety of these should be consumed daily. I often eat at least 1/2 an avocado or 1 tbsp freshly ground flax in a summer morning smoothie just to start off the day. A handful of walnuts and coconut butter also find their way into my snacks on the regular. Of course, everything in moderation. The amount of fats you should consume daily is different for each person and lifestyle, and your nutritionist or dietitian can help figure that out for you.

Essential minerals zinc, magnesium, potassium and selenium. If you're eating a moderate portion of at least 5 different colors every day of whole foods, fruits and vegetables, you're probably getting what you need in terms of essential minerals. All of these minerals are abundant in spinach, rainbow chard, carrots, nuts and seeds, legumes (especially lentils!), broccoli, sweet potatoes, black beans, whole grains (like quinoa, amaranth, wild rice), tomatoes, blueberries, bananas, sunflower seeds, peppers and mushrooms. Focus on COLOR, fresh vegetables and fruits and variety for each and every meal. Even a small amount consistently adds up over time!

Biotin - biotin is one of the most beneficial nutrients for healthy hair, and it's abundant in so many whole foods including walnuts, eggs, almonds, sunflower seeds, bananas and avocado's. As you'll notice, all of these biotin rich foods cross over into other categories for healthy hair like minerals, healthy fats and also proteins (hence why we should never pigeon hole foods - they're supportive in such comprehensive ways). 

Protein: proteins provide all of the amino acids we need to build strong muscles, organs and hormones so that we can function optimally and with adequate energy. Variety is key when it comes to proteins, as many protein rich foods are so abundant in nutrients that we also need for hair health. Some of my favorite proteins that pack a powerful nutrient punch include lentils, quinoa, walnuts, Brazil nuts, eggs, organic yogurts, organic turkey and chicken, salmon and black beans. Personally, I also eat organic red meats about two or three times per month for the extra iron. 

And, obviously, WATER! As a general rule of thumb, take your body weight, divide by 2, and that's the minimum amount of ounces you should drink daily. (Ex, if you're 120lbs = 60 ounces of water at minimum). Herbal tea counts towards this too, as long as it's not a tannin rich tea like black tea. 

Herbs for digestive support + nutrient absorption -----

Aloe vera - Aloe leaf, when taken internally, helps to increase the absorption of nutrients by almost 20x and provides a soothing, cooling and mucilaginous effect throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract. This helps to calm inflammation and irritated or inflamed tissues and promote daily bowel movements to eliminate toxins and maintain a thriving probiotic/saccharomyces balance in the large intestines and colon. Aloe vera itself is packed with nutrients and minerals that you also absorb, making it a powerful ally for both digestive health + nutritional intake. When there is any sign or indication where malabsorption is an issue, aloe is one of my first recommendations. 

Chamomile: Matricaria recutita is one of my personal favorite digestive modulators, being a calming and slightly cooling herbal remedy for irritated or over-active digestive states. Often if folks have a rapid digestion (i.e frequent diarrhea) or volatile and reactive GI tracts, chamomile helps to calm the spasms of the gut, allowing more time for nutrients to be absorbed via the small and large intestines, and offering an energetically cooling quality to an otherwise hot (overactive) gut. 

Nettle - literally jam packed with nutrients, Urtica dioica is like a multi-vitamin in herb form that is incredibly easy for folks with compromised digestion to absorb. It is also high in kidney nourishing minerals potassium, sodium, zinc and magnesium. Adding in a nettle tea to your daily routine is such a nourishing and easy way to add essential nutrients into your diet that's also herby delicious, affordable and easy and quick to do. 

Slippery Elm - similar to aloe, Ulmus rubra adds in some much needed digestive support with it's soothing and mucilaginous quality for irritated or inflamed digestion. Slippery elm itself is (not surprisingly) also packed with nutrients including polysaccharides and fiber and I treat this herb much like a food. I add this to teas and also use the powders in nut butter balls for a quick protein rich, healthy fat + nutrient dense snack. 

Of course, you don't have to eat every single one of these foods every day to maintain healthy hair. Think of the big picture within your weekly diet and also within your daily diet, get in as much variety as possible if these foods are affordable and available to you. I'm always a proponent of getting in nutrients via food before supplements, however high quality, food based, organic supplements can also be a good option to increase some of the minerals and nutrients on a daily basis. It may also be beneficial to have your nutritionist, dietitian or PCP do a mineral or vitamin panel before beginning to supplement so that you know exactly which nutrients and foods you need to focus on the most. Remember, foods and herbs serve as allies in your health journey and each one of us may require something a little different. 

Photography by Renee Byrd

...
Comment  /  Share This  /  Tweet This

This is the second year that we've planted Chinese eggplants in our garden with resounding success. Undoubtedly, these are one of the easiest, no fuss, take-care-of-themselves plants we have, and the yield is incredible. Come mid to late summer, we have more eggplants than we know what to do with, and we're always getting creative to figure out to how eat all of these pretty purple veggies. In all honesty, I'm not a huge fan of eggplants, but the first time Greg and I made this eggplant garden stir fry I knew this was going to be our favorite way to go through our late summer harvests! Thus, it was the perfect recipe to partner with Suite One Studio for our monthly Garden to Table series. We've served this dish for a crowd a couple of times and the Suite One Studio serving bowls make this meal look so incredibly good at a party! Get the recipe on the Suite One Studio blog this month and snag yourself one of Lindsay Emery's gorgeous serving bowls (also here) for your next garden potluck! Get the Recipe ---> 

...
Comment  /  Share This  /  Tweet This
Thursday, September 07, 2017

When we started our urban garden in 2013, we didn't start small - we went all in and planted way too much to manage. Admittedly, we were overzealous homeowners. Several landscaping revisions, forlorn tomato plants and abandoned cold frames later, we honed in our expectations and started to make better use of the space to produce only what we really love (and also what the neighbors love...we share a lot come late summer). Even so, that doesn't give us any more hours in the day and there are some weeks when the garden grows a foot higher before we even notice. What we do notice though, is how much of our daily hours are spent working, in front of a computer screen or otherwise not engaged in being outside which is, ultimately, what make us the happiest. That's why we have a garden first and foremost. Our outdoor therapy is unquestionably important to our wellbeing. It also happens to be delicious, and makes city living feel a little more connected to where our food comes from.

When it comes to wellness, it's easy to be almost too conscious about what we're doing right and wrong. It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the headlines about diet and nutrition, self care and supplementation, meditation and exercise and setting boundaries and stress management and all. the. things. Most of the clients I see every day don't even know where to start - so they don't. At all. They're at this impasse where listening to their own body just isn't a reasonable option. Regarding nutrition alone there are literally a hundred different guidelines and not a single one is designed just for you. So I have a plan I give out to every single person I see: Just do more. If you're eating only one serving of veggies per day, try to make that two. If you're only eating three different fruits all the time, try to make that four by the end of the month. If you're only drinking 8 ounces of water a day, try to double that by the end of the week. I keep an organic garden because this is my version of "more" for where I am with my health and happiness This is my more time outdoors. My more connection with the earth. My more colorful foods every day. My more time with my husband. My more intake of sensory nutrients. My more gut health focus. My happy place. 

In late summer, the surge of all things abundant and juicy start to slowly wilt and wither away. It's a slow, almost unobservable transition but it starts to happen right around the time I start to slowly come down off of my summer high and let out a deep exhale. Things start to droop and dry out around the same time my energy reserves putter to a slow spin. It's an ideal time to harvest the last of summer's bounty and store away for the fall. It's a quiet time in the garden. A heavy, humid and regenerative time. It's all I want to do to spend an afternoon tearing out tomato plants after a week in my office, tethered to my email and mentally on and engaged. Garden time is like this expansive all encompassing mind pillow that's like, "Hey overworked-cyber-ravaged-hard thinking-sleepy-wired-brain....chill with me a while and lets cover you in microbes to get that computer smell off of ya....". Oh man, it just wraps me up for a few hours and I forget what was on my to-do list altogether. Self care gold. 

Currently, we just planted more beets and chard with a handful of extra squashes and zucchini's and lots of pole beans. I'm in the beginning stages of planning a summer herbal tea garden (sooooo excited about this!) that I'll be sharing more of next year.  We also just put the finishing touches on a hand-built outdoor kitchen in our backyard that truly makes my love of garden to table instantaneous. Moderate self sufficiency is a large enough goal for city living. (That, and perpetual activism these days.) 

Read more: Urban Garden | Spring 

Photos by Renee Byrd, my sister garden fairy angel. 

...
Comment  /  Share This  /  Tweet This

September, you're a little bizarre and special. Always the start of a new beginning, Septembers past have been the start of new schools, new semesters, new apartments, new jobs, new seasons...new opportunities. This has never been a month of maintaining the same old rhyme and rhythm of steadfast summer. I feel the most open to change and challenges in September, and in my adult life it has never failed to deliver just that. Reflecting back on a September ten years ago, I was living in Galway, Ireland, settling into a new (yet very old) apartment, gushing over my new University syllabi, developing an addiction to earl gray tea and getting a crash course in UK city biking. One of the things I loved most about living in Ireland was their fondness and skill at beverage making (not coffee, alas), but crafty teas and otherwise caffeinated mid-afternoon beverages. Early in September of that year, by some happy accident I stumbled upon a magical form of hot chocolate marshmallowy milky heaven in a cafe not far from my apartment and it routinely became my weekly indulgence every Sunday afternoon. It was smooth and salty with a subtle sweetness but savory too...energizing but relaxing...decadent but rustic....oh it was an incredible liquid contradiction in the best way. I've never had anything quite like it since living there...until I discovered Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixirs.

I picked up a little packet of Reishi Mushroom Elixir several months ago from Boketto (as I can't resist a creative way to take medicinal mushrooms). As soon as I came home, I dropped the contents into some piping hot water and added a pinch of sea salt and experienced an intensely real time transport back to that little Irish cafe with my beloved imbibed Sunday contradiction. It was just a faint reminder of that liquid heaven I had in Galway - enough so that I subsequently bought a sample of every mushroom elixir available and started playing around with recipes to try and recreate it just as I had remembered. "What luck, too!", I thought, "that it's mushroom based!" I love mushrooms and any excuse to take them excited me to no end. All this time I'd been taking mushroom tinctures almost daily...and those are fine and all, but certainly don't taste as good as these little packets of nostalgia. 

I eventually struck upon a combination that was blissful and true to what my tastebuds remembered with the addition of homemade almond milk, a pinch of pink salt and a dollop of intensely delicious coconut butter infused with building and invigorating Shatavari from Laka (another incredible find from Boketto). This midday elixir has everything I've been craving lately with a texture that's absolutely transporting and as creamy as freshly melted chocolate. 

The addition of mushrooms into my daily health regimen has been steadfast over the past several years and I'm a huge proponent of incorporating medicinal mushrooms into our medicine cabinets and our kitchens! I'm fascinated with mushrooms and their eclectic and diverse use as a tonic and supportive remedy of the immune system plus about a hundred other potential uses currently being researched. Medicinal mushrooms like Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps are some of the few natural medicines being thoroughly researched in specific health conditions, giving them some major clout and potential to be accepted and utilized by the western medical community (it's all about evidence based, evidence based, evidence based and mushrooms are starting to prove themselves in that niche way too, despite their hundreds of years of medicinal use...). Mushrooms are something that I would consider a food source of tonic health, and I often think that's the best way to take medicine - in our daily diet. 

Use any milk base you'd prefer. I like to use freshly made almond milk, lightly sweetened with dates. My favorite mushroom elixir to use in this recipe is the Chaga blend but honestly all of their mushroom blends are decadent and delicious in this recipe. I add in a bit of ashwagandha root for added adaptogenic support. Top with fancy flora of your choosing if you're feeling like some mid-afternoon decadence. 

Mushroom Elixir with Infused Coconut Butter

1 cup Almond Milk
1 tsp Ashwagandha Root
1 Packet Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixir
1 tsp (Infused) Coconut Butter
1 tsp Raw honey
Serves 1

Heat one cup of almond milk with 1 tsp ashwagandha root on low heat for 7 minutes. Add to a high speed blender along with the mushroom elixir, coconut butter and honey. Blend for about 60 seconds until smooth and frothy. Serve warm, toped with a bit of cinnamon or rose petals. 



...
Comment  /  Share This  /  Tweet This

HELLO, I'M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

Subscribe

Subscribe for exclusive discounts & newsletters

The Book Bindery Building
2201 West Broad Street. Suite 107
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 977-2634

LINDSAY(at)GINGERTONICBOTANICALS.COM
 2014-2018© GINGER TONIC BOTANICALS  |  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WEBSITE DESIGN BY INDIE SHOPOGRAPHY