Favorite daily habits, lavender white hot chocolate recipe, Mary Oliver's new book, and more.
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Hi <<First Name>>,

Happy 2017 to you! I wish you and your loved ones the best in this new year. Read below for:
  • Favorite daily habits
  • Shire City Fire Cider: Don't buy it
  • Book of the month: Upstream by Mary Oliver
  • The Cold Shower Challenge
  • Lavender white hot chocolate
  • Good reading elsewhere on the web

Favorite daily habits for satisfying and productive days

With full time work, half time school, clinical practice and my own health needs, I make sure to nourish body, mind, and spirit daily (and eat well) - no matter what.

  1. Movement: this varies daily. Sometimes I do crossfit/bodyweight exercises. Other days it's yoga,  kettle bells, or running, or the 7-minute workout when I'm in a time crunch. 
  2. Meditation: I usually do 15-20 minutes on the cushion. On days when I have trouble focusing I use guided meditations (like Tara Brach's site or the Buddhify app). When I'm feeling really frazzled, I use tapping/EFT to get myself centered again. 
  3. Freewriting: Last year I committed to 20 mins daily of no-expectation, free-flow writing. I have a lot of material now, from personal essays, to poems, haikus, prose pieces, short stories. 
  4. Journaling: For the past 19 years (since age 12) I have journaled every day. It's incredibly rewarding and helps clear the clutter from your head. You can use prompts like those from Tim Ferris's 5-minute journaling.
  5. Getting outside no matter what - self explanatory. Our connection with the natural world is vital. Move and meditate outside whenever possible. 
Shire City Fire Cider: Don't buy it

You may have recently learned out the potential health effects of fire cider, a sweet, spicy, sour, eye-widening infusion of pungent herbs in vinegar and hon. The taste is true to its name. It’s a popular additive during cold and flu season. Fire cider is one of those “medicinal foods” that can be taken as-is or used in a variety of foods and beverages: juices, teas, salad dressings, soups, etc.
Do not purchase Shire City Fire Cider, as you are supporting unethical use of trademarks and intellectual property theft in herbal medicine.

Read the post here for the full story, including a recipe to make your own fire cider. 
Lavender White Hot Chocolate
  • 1 cup water
  • 1¼ cups full fat coconut milk 
  • 1 ounces cacao butter
  • sweetener of choice to taste
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • heaping teaspoon lavender flowers
  • pinch sea salt
In a medium saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add lavender flowers. Continue simmering until cacao butter is melted. In very small batches, blend until frothy. Serve in mugs and enjoy! Serves 2, or just one if you're feeling really decadent. (Recipe adapted from Elana's Pantry.) 

You can also use rose petals or chamomile flowers as an alternative to lavender flowers. 

Book pick: Upstream by Mary Oliver

I am a lifelong follower of Mary Oliver and her writing. 

“In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.” 

So begins Upstream, a collection of essays in which revered poet Mary Oliver reflects on her willingness, as a young child and as an adult, to lose herself within the beauty and mysteries of both the natural world and the world of literature. Emphasizing the significance of her childhood “friend” Walt Whitman, through whose work she first understood that a poem is a temple, “a place to enter, and in which to feel,” and who encouraged her to vanish into the world of her writing, Oliver meditates on the forces that allowed her to create a life for herself out of work and love. As she writes, “I could not be a poet without the natural world. Someone else could. But not me. For me the door to the woods is the door to the temple.” 

Cruise over to Renee Reads on Goodreads to join the bookclub and discussion. 
The Cold Shower Challenge

You may have heard of the "Iceman" Wim Hof, world-renowned athlete who has developed methods of increasing athletic endurance and downregulating inflammatory responses through a combination of cold exposure and breathing techniques. These have been clinically studied.

As someone who is ever interested in improving the immune response and controlling inflammation for personal reasons, I've been using cold showers as an accessible way of engaging with cold exposure therapy. 
Elsewhere on the Web
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