Health and Healing Blog

3 Ways to Get More Vitamin L

What is Vitamin L, you ask?  A new superfood?  A scientific breakthrough? While the L is not new, if you ask me if is something that is easy to overlook!  The L stands for Love.  And what an important vitamin it is.  For me, fall especially is a time where my body and soul need a little extra TLC.  Here are a few things you can do to keep your Vitamin L high as we transition into this new season.

1) Cook with Love

We already covered this in a recent post on Instagram, but I think it’s worth mentioning again.  Have you ever tasted food that someone makes when they are mad? Or cooked when you’re mad and then end up cutting yourself while aggressively chopping vegetables?  How does the food taste after that?  Do your kids, your partner, or your roommate also become grumpy after they ate it? Food that is cooked with loving energy tastes better and is more nourishing for the soul.  And if you’re the one cooking it’s way more fun to cook when you are in a good mood then a bad one.  If you have to cook dinner and you’re upset try taking a few deep breaths before you start to get centered and grounded.

2) Get 8 Hugs a Day

Psychotherapist Virginia Satir said, "We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth."  Seriously though.  Try it. There are so many benefits to hugging, and a recent study from CMU showed that it could actually help you avoid getting sick.  Hugging releases oxytocin, which has both physical and emotional benefits including decreased blood pressure, improved immune function, lower levels of depression and anxiety, and help to fight infection and fatigue. 

3) Try a Loving-Kindness Meditation

A loving-kindness meditation, or metta bhavana, comes from Buddhist traditions but is a great tool that can be practiced by anyone!  This is a meditation that helps bring more compassion and love, both for yourself and others.   The traditional metta is fairly elaborate, but here is a simple version that you can practice. I have some suggested phrases below but make it your own and say what feels best for you.  Here is how you do it:

- Sit in a comfortable seat.  Take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to relax, letting go of any concerns.  Focus on your chest/heart and take breaths from that region. 

- Continuing to breathe energy through your chest, mentally repeat these phrases (or similar ones of your choosing).  This is a time to really show yourself compassion and feel the power behind these phrases.

  • May I be safe and free from harm.
  • May I be happy.
  • May I be healthy.
  • May I be peaceful.

- After a period of directing love toward yourself, you will turn your focus to others.  Bring a friend or loved one to mind and repeat the following phrases for them.

  • May they be safe and free from harm.
  • May they be happy.
  • May they be healthy.
  • May they be peaceful.

- Again, allow the feelings of love and compassion sink in.  Giving love freely without expecting anything in return.

- After a loved one, move to a neutral person and repeat the same phrases.  This should be someone that you do not have too many feelings toward- neither positive or negative. 

- Then, focus on someone you are having difficult feelings with and repeat the same phrases.  This is the toughest part.  Notice, without judgment, any emotions that come up for you.  Remember this is a practice of love and compassion, both for yourself and others.

- Finally, focus these phrases on all sentient beings.  You may even picture specific ones like animals, plants, or a particular forest you love as you are repeating your phrases.


If you’d like to try this meditation guided, there are lots on YouTube and on the Insight Timer app.  Give some a try and let us know which are your favorites!


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Laura Pickens's picture

Fun times with Aromatherapy


I have been having really inspiring results with raising my energy levels and setting positive intentions for my day through the use of essential oils! This is something that I have recently incorporated into my daily routine and I am very excited because my clients have been asking me about it a lot more too! 


I bought a few oils and had them in my house for months before I actually opened them. I have about 20 of them. They each smell good and have different color labels on them which I love. 


I began using them in the morning as part of my morning routine but now I am using them before I go to bed too! 


After my shower, I choose how I want to feel for the day. (This is important to decide so you can begin generating that emotion from the inside out.) Then I look at all the oils and choose one that I think will help support me in that intention. For example, if I want to feel clarity and balance, I choose orange. This helps to strengthen intuition. Or I may want to feel grounded, so I choose frankincense. It really helped me because I noticed my energy levels were dipping from it being summer and not being in my normal routine. I got pretty good at going out to eat with friends a lot and being lazy. 


It helps to smell them first too, to see which oils you are drawn to that day and incorporate the properties of that particular oil. The point isn't to make it complicated or right or wrong. It's more important to choose the oils and experiment to see how they make you feel. The process of smelling and picking an oil can bring us into the present moment. It can create a ritual that we do everyday that is quality time just for ourselves. I'm all for adding more nurturing and compassion into the day and oils are the perfect way to do that. And the oils when applied to the bottoms of your feet and belly get absorbed through our skin and help us feel better.  


I have had more energy to exercise since I have been using the oils. Also I have been mindful about making meals at home and slowing the pace of my life down which seems to give me more energy as well. I love smelling the scent throughout the day and how it immediately reminds me of my intention and how I can apply it to my day. It can have a positive effect on your mood. 


Essential oils can be used as linen spray, cleaning spray, and perfume. I mix 5 drops of rose oil and 10 drops of neroli oil together in coconut oil and apply it all over my skin. Also, I sprinkle lemongrass and spearmint on my carpet before I vacuum!  So I wanted to pass some of these ideas along to you so you can start reaping the many positive benefits for yourself. 

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What are Cruciferous veggies and Why do I need to know?

Cruciferous veggies are a category that has been relatively well studied for its link to cancer prevention. The four petal flowers resemble a cross or "crucifer" so in case you're interested in nerdy food and health trivia, that is how this class of veggies got their name! They are filled with therapeutic vitamins and minerals that promote good health in general, and also phytochemicals or phytonutrients (substances found in certain plants which are believed to be beneficial to human health and help prevent various diseases) known for detoxification and cancer fighting properties. 


Here is a list of Cruciferous veggies:


Bok Choy


Broccoli Raab or Rapini

Broccoli Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts



Collard Greens








Here is a list of some ways they could prevent cancer:

Protecting cells from DNA damage

Inactivating carcinogens

Inhibiting tumor blood vessel formation

Preventing tumor cell migration

Shifting estrogen to weaker form to reduce sex hormone related cancers

Protecting against viruses and bacteria

Preventing inflammation


Research is still being analyzed, and there is evidence that an individual's gene-diet interaction impacts how long the body retains and utilizes protective cruciferous nutrients in the body. This accounts for variation in research results. Since there are few down sides to consuming plenty of well prepared, lightly cooked cruciferous veggies for most individuals, I suggest increasing their daily presence in your diet!


NOTE: Copious amounts of raw cruciferous veggies may affect thyroid function, please consult your doctor if you have a thyroid condition.  


Recipe Ideas:


Roasting: Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower or Broccoli with olive or coconut oil, garlic, sea salt and your favorite herbs or spices....try turmeric and black pepper to kick cancer and inflammation fighting up another notch!


Sautéing: greens lightly, like kale (Lacinato or dinosaur is my personal favorite) or collards using this flavor profile: salty, sweet, bitter, heat. An example is to use coconut oil for sweet, sea salt, your favorite vinegar for acid, Siracha or crushed red pepper flake for heat.


Bon Appetit and Salud!

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Angie Miller's picture

Tumeric Tonic

I've talked to a number of my clients about the side effect free, natural anti-inflammatory benefits of tumeric, and I'm usually met with the question of "well, how do I take it?" The following is a delicious and refreshing tonic that can be made at home and sipped in the morning or with a meal.

Tumeric is that intensely brilliant yellow-orange herb of the ginger family from tropical South Asia. Its often found as a culinary spice in Indian cuisine and has been widely used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries. An active ingredient in Tumeric called curcumin has been the focus of numerous academic studies which have found it to have significant therapeutic anti-inflammatory action and can be beneficial and effective in the treatment of many inflammatory diseases including IBS, stomach ulcers, psoriasis & other skin rashes and Arthritis, among many others.

You can find it in either capsule or loose powder form at Whole Foods or the East End Co-op. If you choose to use the loose powder I would recommend getting it from the bulk herb section of either of those stores rather than as a spice from the baking section for the sake of freshness and potency. There are innumerable recipes that engage Tumeric, especially curries, and you can purchase a variety of teas containing the spice, but as for a tonic to have on hand for daily consumption, the following is one of my favorites:

You will need:
4 cups coconut water
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 cup ginger thinly sliced
1/4 cup real maple syrup OR honey
4 teaspoons Tumeric
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
dash of cayenne and a few mint leaves (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a sealed beverage container and shake vigorously.
Chill and serve in 6oz portions.
I enjoy this most first thing in the morning!

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Diane Brinsko's picture


As I watch the sun set earlier each evening, aware of the seasonal transition that is to come, I find myself holding tight to these last weeks of summer. To help coax myself through this time of apprehension and change, I turn my attention to nature. Here are my suggestions for savoring this warm-weather season:



  • Go outside in your pajamas first-thing in the morning to greet the natural world: the flowers in bloom, their stamen adorned with bees collecting the last bits of pollen to nourish the queen; myriad butterflies sipping sweet nectar; the birds twittering, especially the yellow finches that flutter from purple cone flowers to sunflowers in the garden where dewey spider webs glisten in the morning light. And marvel. Just allow yourself to marvel at the delicate artwork cast by these tiniest of creatures.


  • Repeat at night. Listen to the cacophony of crickets, cicadas, and tree frogs, and maybe catch the occasional hoot of an owl. Close your eyes. Observe this communing of animals and insects. And when you open your eyes again, look up at the sky and see the stars and the moon, ever-shifting through its own phases of darkness and light.   


  • Continue to tune in to nature all throughout your day. Take a walk through your neighborhood or the park; step outside and take ten deep breaths of fresh air, feeling the sunlight warm on your skin; smell fresh flowers or herbs or the aroma of newly clipped grass; and listen to the wild world that exists all around you.


  • When you finally retire for the evening, invite nature in. Open your windows wide, close your eyes, and settle in for sweet dreams and a childlike anticipation of doing it all over again tomorrow.


Isn't it amazing—and humbling—to know that we, like the animals and insects, the moon and the stars  are all part of this dynamic dance of existence? Don't allow the drudgery of life to close you off even to the smallest of miracles that surround you. Instead, open yourself and your heart to the world, and see what happens.


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