Ideas to Create a Bedtime Ritual

Better Sleeping

Create a Bedtime Ritual for Better Sleep

Starting the day of right often involves getting restful sleep. Having a bedtime ritual can help you sleep better. Good sleep is imperative for good health. Current research shows a strong relationship between sleep and our brain’s functioning. Lack of quality sleep can lead to poor motor functioning as well as foggy thinking and lowered ability to overcome stress. There are studies that link insufficient sleep with increased rates of Alzheimers disease.

Here are some ways to help you create a bedtime ritual to sleep better and wake up feeling energized.

Turn down the lights

As the sun sets our body responds by increasing melatonin levels in the brain. Bright light at night can block our bodies production of melatonin making it harder for us to fall asleep.

Most of our devices, like phones, tablets and televisions emit blue light which mimics the effects of sunlight and suppresses our melatonin levels. Some devices have the option to switch to a night time mode that decreases the amount of blue light produced.

Start dimming your lights a few hours before you plan to go to sleep to boost your melatonin levels.

Take supplements

Some supplements can be hard on an empty stomach or having one more thing to do in the morning can feel overwhelming. After dinner is a great time to take any supplements to help your body rest and restore.

Take a mineral bath

Warm baths with a few drops of essential oils and a cup of sea salt can soothe sore muscles and nerves. Try adding magnesium flakes or epsom salt for sleep inducing minerals. I love soaking in a bath before bed with dried flowers and herbs to invite sweet dreams.

moisturize

Gentle massage with your favorite lotion or body oil can help you relax and is a good way to start quieting your mind. Try rubbing yourself down with a magnesium infused lotion to help your GABA production. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, is a neurotransmitter that inhibits synapses in the brain. Nourish your skin with rich creams and oils can slowing brain activity to prepare you for sleep while relieving tense muscles and moisturizing your skin.

Mentally prepare for sleep

Take a minute to reflect on your day and write down your thoughts. You can keep a journal or note pad next to your bed to make a list of all the things you want to follow up on the next day. I tend to worry at night so I like to write down the random thoughts that are on my mind to help me stay asleep.

Yoga

Stretching and meditating will clear your mind and prepare you for quality sleep. Doing a few poses to loosen tight muscles, especially from sitting, can relax your mind and body. I like to do a few dynamic movements like cat cow to increase my circulation and then follow up with deep belly breathing to slow down my heart rate and quiet my brain. Here are some other breathing techniques to help you relax into a restful slumber.

Consistency

Having a consistent bedtime and waking time helps your brain produce the right amount of sleeping and waking hormones. Your bedtime ritual doesn’t have to be a drawn out process but having a few consistent activities can help cue your body for restorative sleep.

Create a bedtime ritual that works for you and sets you up for success. Sometimes starting the day off right can help you get the quality sleep you need and deserve. Here are some ideas to create a morning routine for an energized morning.

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

Is Your Sunscreen Safe for You and the Environment?

The sun provides the Earth with light and energy, it stimulates the production of vitamin D. However those powerful life giving rays can be harmful, so it’s important to cover up. But is your sunscreen safe? It might not be protecting your skin enough or leaching chemicals into your blood stream. Some chemicals in sunblocks are harmful to coral, is yours?

The Difference Between Ultraviolet A, UVA and Ultraviolet B, UVB

The sun produces a spectrum of rays. Some of it is visible light the comprises the rainbow of colors we can see. Some of it is invisible to our eyes like Ultraviolet and Infrared.  UVA has long waves that can penetrate deeper into our epidermis layer of skin, which can lead to skin aging. UVB has short waves which can burn the superficial layers of skin which can lead to skin cancer. The sun protection factor (SPF) rating on your sunscreen refers to the percentage of protection from UVB rays only.

The Safety of Mineral vs Chemical Sunblock

Mineral sunblocks are made with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA and UVB rays. Data shows that these minerals are unable to penetrate the skin and leach into your blood stream. However check the other inactive ingredients, for chemical preservatives of fillers that might leach. These minerals offer full spectrum sun protection and do not harm coral reefs.

Chemical sunblocks are made with a combination of chemicals that either scatter UVA or UVB. These types of sunblocks blend together chemicals to create a lotion that protects from both types of rays. Many of these chemicals are able to be absorbed through the skin. There is reason for concern. New lab studies have found that some of the chemicals used, like Oxybenzone, have been found to also be endocrine disruptors in animal tests.

This means that some animals, like coral larvae, are unable to develop properly, which has contributed to coral bleaching. Oxybenzone is able to penetrate the skin and reach soft tissue. The CDC has found it in breast milk and the blood stream. Unfortunately our current safety system allows for products to be available on the market until they are proven unsafe. There has been minimal testing for many of these chemicals on humans.

How to Choose a Safe and Effective Sunblock

With over 600 products available it can be hard to sift through the copious amounts of unintelligible lists of ingredients. The Environmental Working Group has create and annual list of sunblocks available in the US and chooses the safest and most effective products. Most major brands make both mineral and chemical products, so you have to check each one individually.  You can also check their pocket guide for a quick reference of ingredients to avoid.

Even if you don’t plan trips to the beach or intend on long exposure, I encourage everyone to choose a mineral sunblock with a short list of ingredients. This will reduce your risk of absorbing potentially harmful chemicals and keep our oceans healthy.  We are all connected and the production and distribution of chemicals is often the actual culprit of environmental disasters rather than individual use. Lets all stay safe.

Ideas to Create a Morning Routine

Ideas to Create a Morning Routine

Ideas to Create a Morning Routine

Having a morning routine can significantly improve the quality of your life. Here are a few things to incorporate into your morning routine to nourish your body and get you feeling great.

Drink Water

Activate your digestive system by drinking 8 ounces of warm water. Good hydration helps regulate hormones and flush toxins from your body.

Detox Your Mouth

At night our bodies are in cleanse mode and bacteria can build up in our saliva. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash or try oil pulling to freshen your mouth.

Move

Take a few minutes to get your blood flowing. Doing some light stretches and excercises will help prevent injuries and improve thinking.

Eat Breakfast

Activate your digestion and supply your body with energy for the day. This is the best time to load up on carbohydrates. Ensure that your are getting enough protein, about 30 grams. Eat within one hour of waking up in the morning. Try sipping on some bone broth if you don’t have an appetite early in the morning.

Take Supplements

Breakfast is a great time to pop those pills to give you an extra boost for the day.

Mentally Prepare for the Day.

Take a few deep breathes and write down a list of tasks that you want to accomplish for the day, later on you can enjoy the satisfaction of checking things of the list. Try different breathing techniques to help you wake up.

Your morning routine can be short, even if its just a few minutes to do one or two things for yourself can improve your health. Part of creating a successful morning routine sometimes also involves having an evening routine. Have water by your bed or prep something for an easy breakfast.

Savory Bourbon Pate Recipe

Pate is a wonderful way to incorporate organ meats into your diet. Liver is full of vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B 6 and 12. The bourbon in this recipe adds a subtle sweetness that complements the rich flavor of liver.

8 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound of chicken livers
1 sprig of fresh thyme, finely chopped
Heavy whipping cream as needed
Sea salt to taste

In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 4 pads of butter until it begins to foam. Add bourbon, shallots and garlic, until translucent. Add the livers and thyme to the pan until the outsides begin to brown but the inside stays soft pink, about 5 minutes.
Move livers into a blender or food processor with about 3 tablespoons of cream and blend until smooth, adding cream and salt as needed.
Transfer into a glass container and smooth the top, then cover tightly and allow to chill for 2 hours before serving.

Easy Lacto-fermented Ketchup

Ketchup is rich condiment that gives everything a little extra umami and sweetness, however most ketchups contain a shockingly high amount of sugar. Swap out conventional ketchup for this nutritious version with probiotics.

2, 6 ounce cans of tomato paste
1/4 cup sucanat or natural sweetener of choice
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
sea salt to taste

In a small saucepan dissolve sucanat in warm water.
Combine sugar water, tomato paste, vinegar, clove, cinnamon, mustard powder and salt in a quart jar and stir until well combined. Cover with a lid and allow to ferment in a warm spot for 2-5 days, then transfer to refrigerator.

Chickpea Cookie Dough

I recently needed a sweet protein snack so I whipped up this easy treat that I highly recommend for a late afternoon pick me up.

Chickpea Cookie Dough

makes 3 servings

  • 1 1/2 cup sprouted and cooked chickpeas,
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • sea salt to taste
  1. In a food processor combine chickpeas, nut butter and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in chocolate chips and salt.
  3. Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado and Banana Cookies

Sometimes chocolate cookies are very necessary. Here’s a scrumptious gluten-free cookie recipe I will be making for my grandmother, who drastically reduced her arthritis by going gluten-free. 1 ripe avocado 1 banana 2 tablespoons raw honey 1 egg ½ cup cocoa powder Dark chocolate chips, to taste ½ teaspoon baking soda Preheat your oven to … Continue reading Chocolate Avocado and Banana Cookies

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Nourishing Our Whole Selves

Nourishing Our Whole Selves

I am a confident and outgoing person, yet I struggle with chronic anxiety and depression. I often wake up at night overwhelmed with worry and doubt. Towards the end of 2017, my depression was near crippling. I laid awake at night running over lists and scenarios in my head and would rise the following morning exhausted. I was uninspired and became irritable. I wasn’t enjoying motherhood or spending time with friends and family. With a little push from a friend and client, I decided to get help.

Less than six months later, I feel like a new person. With a few daily homeopathic supplements recommended by Miriam Mackey of Likewise Homeopathy, whom I highly recommend for all your physical and existential troubles, I continue to practice mindfulness techniques to keep me grounded and present. From the afternoon of our first visit to the following morning I felt the ominous fog that had been usurping my life begin to lift away. My liveliness was still low from months of sleeplessness but I began to have energy for ideas. I was finally able to think again.

My First Dream, Glitter and Sisterhood
I wanted to put together a contingent for Carnaval San Francisco. But I wanted it to be more than just a weekly rehearsal. I wanted to start finding my people, to create a beautiful community where we can support each other through all of our various struggles. Together in a sea of glitter while we practice our Samba. I want to strengthen our bonds, or as a friend once said “tighten the hoop” in a fun and exciting way.

Nourishing Our Bodies
I’m still a holistic personal trainer and cannot negate the fact that the Carnaval Grand Parade is essentially a marathon. And to be able to maintain the same amount of energy and sparkle Sambaing down the first block until 1.7 miles later, you need to train. This means building up endurance, which entails proper nutrition as well as cardio and strength training. I want to support my dancers to be as explosive at 17th and Harrison as 24th and Harrison. So I consulted the talented and deeply generous Executive Chef, Jefferson Sevilla, of the Town Kitchen, a great social enterprise that I suggest you order your next lunch from, to compose a meal plan that is rich in nutrition and delicious. It is designed to enhance your digestion so you can beam from within as you leap, twirl and blow kisses through the decorated streets of San Francisco…or while taking out the trash.

Our bodies are designed for movement, our muscles and joints allow us to pivot, hinge and glide. I constructed a workout series that focuses on using our bodies in ways that will enhance grace and coordination. It centers on core engagement, flexibility and limb isolation. Thank you and rest in power Katherine Dunham, who gave the world a lexicon for Afro-Caribbean dance.

The Event Horizon
Wow. After weeks immersed in social media ad buying, wholesale fringe and listening to an endless amount of Favella Funk, our first rehearsal happened. And I’m so proud. I’m proud of myself for conquering my anxiety. I’m proud to have so many people in my life who support me. I’m proud of the womyn who came out and are as excited as I am about this journey. I am finding my people and spending time with them is empowering. My soul is nourished and I want to share this feeling with others.

Join us
The parade is still many weeks away and you can still join our sisterhood (and potentially brotherhood). Rehearsals are Monday nights at 7:30 at Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda.

I Want You to Dance with Us, Apply for a Scholarship.

Dance with BeadSquad

Dance with BeadSquad

The Bay Area is a magical place that inspires artists and innovators. The temperate climate allows one to explore the its glorious mountains and beaches year round. The diversity of people bringing a variety of ingredients  has lead to a cuisine all of its own. The array of qualities that make the San Francisco Bay Area special, also make it hard to live in.

The cost of living is incredibly high and the pressure to make ends meet can be stressful. I want everyone who is as excited about being in Carnaval San Francisco as I am to be able to participate without an economic burden.

If you are struggling to figure out how to afford our holistic dance training package, you can apply for a scholarship. Carnaval is a meant to be an inclusive event, don’t let money prevent you from joining BeadSquad, we want you to dance with us!