Subscribe



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! 

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.



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

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