July’s Tip: Have a Tea Bath!
Everyone knows that drinking tea is great for you. There are tonnes of health benefits, from antioxidants to fighting free radicals to being heart healthy, etc. So many of us drink it all up throughout the day, but why not try it a different way. Tea baths are becoming a “new thing”. Our skin is the biggest organ on our body and theoretically if consuming tea has all those benefits for us, why wouldn’t absorbing tea through our skin give us the same or very similar results? I was right on board with this as soon as I heard about it, but after some quick research, I was unable to find a whole about it. One comment that was common throughout all the things I read, tea baths are deeply relaxing! So, to my knowledge there is not a whole lot of proof of the benefits of tea baths, but I would think it’s similar to the principles of an Epsom salt bath. Putting the salt in the bath to infuse into the water gives you a chance to allow the bath water and all the goodness it’s infused with to absorb into your body through your skin. The properties in the Epsom salt are great for muscle soreness, so for a tea bath, I feel like you would absorb the benefits of the particular tea through your skin. Give it a shot if it sounds interesting to you, I know I’m going to!
Put Oil in Your Nose!
No, really. Go and do it! You will not regret it, there are numerous benefits, it’s not just some weird thing I’m suggesting you do. Putting a high grade, cold pressed, organic oil in your nose will lubricate your sinus passage. Have you ever woken up in the morning and had a terribly dry nose? Do you suffer from allergies? Do you have constant sinus congestion? Does the inside of your nose frequently feel dry and itchy? I know mine did before I started doing this. And no, I didn’t make this up, it’s practiced in Ayurveda, so it’s a pretty ancient technique used to calm your sinuses and moisturize your inner nose. It is also said that putting oil in your nose can treat any pain/discomfort/condition from the shoulders up. I would say that the effectiveness can vary, but you can definitely feel it treating everything from the shoulders up… So think of allergies or colds as little germ particles that you breathe in and they get caught in your sinuses either because they are dry and rough or because there are mucus blockages keeping those germs on the inside. If you begin a practice of putting oil in your nose, you clear the blockage and moisturize the tissue, this way when you breathe in those particles again, they come in and go right out, there’s nothing left to keep them caught inside of you! For this reason, cultivating a practice of oiling your nose helps to keep you healthy, particularly in cold and flu season. It is also said that putting oil in your nose helps with aches and pains, so if you have sore shoulders, neck, jaw, maybe a headache, doing this practice can help or even alleviate those issues. I don’t know if this has been scientifically proven, but I put oil in my nose every night before bed and I have to say it’s one of the most relaxing things ever. It’s probably the best nighttime ritual to get you ready for a great sleep. When the oil goes it and it slips down, you automatically feel at ease, do not be alarmed if you taste the oil as it comes down, this is natural! I can also tell you from experience that it soothes the vocal cords. If you had a day with a lot of talking or singing, maybe you were at a concert and you were screaming, any other reason that you could have a scratchy throat the next day, put oil in your nose and your throat will be 100% fine. My nose used to be so dry that I would sometimes get nose bleeds or just generally feel uncomfortable in my nose at all times, putting oil in my nose on a nightly basis has gotten rid of that feeling for me. My nose always feels great now! The best oils to use would be sesame, coconut, or olive oil because they work equally well for all constitutions. For me, in the winter I choose sesame oil, it’s slightly warming so it just feels amazingly cozy and warm. For the summer, I choose coconut oil, it’s slightly cooling, so it just feels so relaxing and smooth going down. I have only used olive oil once and couldn’t handle it because of the taste, I have to admit that I didn’t realize that olive oil had such a strong taste on it’s own! Anyways, putting oil in your nose can sound scary, but seriously, try it out for fun one day and see what a difference it makes!
Sesame oil has got to be my favourite oil that I use frequently. During one of the yoga trainings I did, we were learning about Ayurveda, and sesame oil came up (since the season was changing from summer to fall). We learned that sesame oil has warming components and is therefore great for use in the fall and winter, unlike coconut oil which is cooling. Depending on your dosha, sesame oil could be the perfect oil for your constitution. We learned about oil pulling, which I spoke about in a previous post, sesame oil is great for oil pulling because not only is it warming, so it makes you feel cozy, but it also draws toxins out. We also learned that using a dropper to put sesame oil in your nose is fantastic for your sinuses. I have been putting sesame oil in my nose everyday since and it has made such a difference, particularly over the winter when it starts to get more dry in the air. To be clear, I’m talking about the cold pressed raw sesame oil, because there is also a lot of toasted sesame oil products in stores, stay away from those ones (particularly if you are oil pulling or putting the oil in your nose). The best way to tell is by colour, raw sesame oil is a light golden colour whereas toasted is a darker brown colour. More benefits of sesame oil include: healthy skin, decreased risk of diabetes, lowers blood pressure, heart health, cancer prevention, bone health, arthritis relief, respiratory health, antiviral, and antibacterial. All of these benefits are the result of compounds that are found in sesame seeds and oil such as zinc, copper, sesamol, manganese, an assortment of vitamins and other minerals. For such tiny seeds, they are packed with super nutrients, plus they taste pretty good. I love everything about sesame oil and I highly encourage you to try it out!
Use Coconut Oil!
Have you hopped on the coconut oil band wagon yet? If not, you definitely should, you will not be disappointed. Let’s start with the obvious, cooking. Many people aren’t aware of the fact that olive oil isn’t actually a great oil to cook with. Olive oil is full of healthy goodness, but it has a low burn temperature, this means that if you throw some olive oil on a pan and pan fry whatever it is you’re going to eat, it is highly likely that the oil will burn. When it burns it loses all that healthy goodness and actually can create some not-so-healthy toxins and you wouldn’t even know it. So coconut oil is wonderful for pan frying because it takes a higher temperature to burn it, therefore it maintains it’s healthy goodness longer. If you’ve heard about the fact that using oils for pan frying can be harmful and choose to use ghee or water instead, you can actually add the coconut oil after the fact when the food is still hot and let the oil melt and absorb into the food so you get the most benefit from the oil possible (same goes for olive oil). From an ayurvedic standpoint, coconut oil is soothing for many dosha types (constitutions), it’s wonderful to use if you tend to feel hot most of the time because it is can create a cooling sensation. It has a pleasant taste if you wish to use it for oil pulling (discussed earlier this month) which can reap for you many health benefits (whiter teeth, healthier gums, etc.). Coconut oil is so healing for your skin, all that healthy goodness can be absorbed through your skin, repairing dry skin and actually helping with acne, exzema, rashes, etc. You can even use it on your scalp if you’re experiencing a dry, flaky scalp and/or hair strands. Coconut oil is a lot safer than many moisturizers which contain numerous chemicals and weird ingredients which cannot be pronounced. In fact, in my experience, coconut oil works better at moisturizing than many and most of the store bought moisturizers. Give coconut oil a shot and fall in love with it as much as I have!
I was introduced to oil pulling last September and it has changed my life! Oil pulling is one of the kindest things you can do for your mouth. Do you ever wake up with a super dry mouth? Has your dentist let you know that your gums are receding? I think probably everyone can answer yes to at least one of those questions. The thing is, oil pulling prevents your gums from receding because the mucous membranes and pores of our tongue absorb the vital nutrients from the oil, therefore it lubricates your entire mouth, including your gums. The viscosity of oil allows it to slowly seep into the areas that toothbrushes won’t get and that mouthwash moves too quickly away from, then the oil will slowly draw any junk out of these nooks and crannies. The thing is, contrary to the 30 seconds you gargle with mouthwash, because these things need to happen slowly, oil pulling must be done for at least 5 minutes. I do it for 20 minutes every morning. Something to note is that the oil you choose is very important. You can’t necessarily just go into your cupboard and use the no name cooking oil, it must be a cold pressed virgin oil. Furthermore, if you subscribe to the ayurvedic perspective on things, certain oils compliment you and certain oils aggravate you. Coconut oil and sesame seed oil are complimentary for all types of people, coconut is cooling and therefore best in warmer months and sesame is warming and therefore better for colder months. This practice should be done first thing in the morning. Do not swallow the oil when you are finished, since the oil draws junk out of hiding places, if you swallow it you are just reintroducing the junk into your body. Brush your teeth when you are finished.
1. Choose the oil best suited to you.
2. Take a spoon, or if you have one, a tongue scraper, and scrape your tongue to get the night’s gunk off of your tongue.
3. Take about a tablespoon of the oil and swish it around in your mouth for at least 5 minutes.
4. When you’ve finished, spit out the oil and brush your teeth.
5. Enjoy your day!
Drink Warm Lemon Water
Did you know that the key to health is through your digestive system? Essentially if your digestive system isn’t working to it’s full capacity, then there is food that is stuck inside of you, spoiling. Ever hear of “gut rot”, that’s what it means. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ve been dieting and exercising, how come I still have a belly?” or, “I’ve been dieting and exercising, how come I’m not seeing results?”
First of all, it’s my firm belief that we should all stop using the word “dieting” because your diet is what you eat everyday, good or bad. When people say they are on a diet, it’s associated with calorie counting, minimizing food intake, numerous fad diets, etc. etc. etc. Our diet can be changed to be more optimal for your health, but being “on a diet” assumes there is an end date.
Back to the lemon water, if you have said those tings to yourself before it is highly likely that you’re experiencing some form of gut rot. This is where the lemon water comes in. If you drink warm lemon water at least every morning before breakfast, this will stimulate your digestive track. The warm water will open the channels of your body (think hot yoga principles here, the room is warm so your muscles relax more easily, same hing with warm water). The citrus of the lemon will basically chisel away the stuck food and get everything flowing better. Some describe the feeling of drinking warm lemon water in the morning as drinking a glass of sunshine or having a warm hug on the inside. This can be explained by the fact that lemon is high in potassium which gets your electrical transmissions in the body stimulated. It sends a message to your brain and nervous system which clears away the fog. The nervous system needs these messages to keep the heart functioning well, so lemon water also helps with your heart health, that’s right it can even lower blood pressure! It can also reduce uric acid, lower the phlegm in the body, and alkalize your body, helping to stave off infection and disease.
So when should yo have lemon water? Every morning after you brush your teeth, but before breakfast.
Can you have lemonade instead? The results would be less optimal. The best way to take lemon water is to have the water at least be lukewarm (but warmer preferably) with a generous squeeze of a fresh lemon (and skip out on the sugar)
Can you have it more often than just before breakfast? Of course! You could have it before every meal, or if you really love it, try replacing all water you drink with a lemon water for awhile.
Try it out and see how quickly you notice a difference!