Is There a Safe Almond Milk?
As a Health Coach, I am constantly researching products and trying to find healthy and hopefully affordable foods for people. I was asked recently about a safe almond milk....well making it at home is a good way to go, it doesn't take a lot of work (it does require awhile for soaking, but you can just leave the almonds there! Not a lot of manual labor!, keep scrolling down for a recipe feat. in another post) and you can then choose how you like it to be sweetened, or not. The truth is, when it comes to my non-diary milks, I do prefer the convenience of buying them at Whole Foods or a local co-op. I do make a lot of my own food, but as I'm not a wiz in the kitchen and it's sometimes not where I want to be, it's nice to have food already made that's safe as well. New Barn's almond milk is just that. (No, I don't get paid by them, they don't know I exist.) They actually make it like you'd make it at home, and it doesn't have carrageenan, which is an emulsifier found it so many processed foods and often in "milks." Carrageenan isn't digestible and has no nutritional value...WHY WOULD I WANT THIS IN MY MILK? If you want to find more about that, look here.
So, New Barn doesn't add the bad stuff, has different options for flavor and sweetness, and if it's on sale, isn't terrible in price. (I know, I wish it was less too, but I don't drink a lot of it, so it's worth it to me.) Let the milk talk for itself, go with New Barn if you're wanting the real stuff. Click here for their website.
Summertime Sunshine
Going Natural With Sunscreen
Feel gross and greasy with sunscreens that aren't good for your skin? (Skin is our fastest absorbent to our sensitive insides!) According to Organic Authority, "There are two reasons even mineral sunscreens can fail to protect against sun damage. If you plan to partake of more than incidental sun exposure, you need a broad spectrum sunscreen. "Broad Spectrum" refers to a product's ability to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. The European Union determines broad spectrum protection by the ratio of UVA to UVB protection, requiring one third of the SPF number to be UVA protection." Here are some natural options for sunscreen that use Zinc oxide (non nano) – a non-toxic, usually non-irritating, effective broad spectrum sunblock. The particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays, protecting the skin below:

Goddess Garden
(I use for my face, it's gentle)
Badger Brand (smells great!)
Homemade Sunscreen for DIY Types
oisturizing Sunscreen
Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?
Today I was at a cafe I enjoy going to for their delicious pastries. (I do treat myself, key word, "treat," not consume on the daily.) I had seen advertised before at this cafe that their food was quality and they tried to go local, something of that nature. I'm always one to support locally sourced cafes, so I asked the woman at the register two questions, "Where do you get your turkey?" and "Where does your cheese come from?" The woman didn't know, turned to ask a supervisor, who also wasn't sure, and the supervisor kindly went to check for me. Already this gave me red flags. The supervisor doesn't know where two main ingredients of their food comes from. I.E. She doesn't know if the quality of the food is good, or if it is local. "Good quality" does not just mean good taste, at least it shouldn't in the food industry. "Good quality" should mean SAFE and of course, delicious. Since when is good quality "cheap, American made cheese I can buy at the store?" Upon coming back, the supervisor informed me of a company she had never heard of that produced the turkey, and then informed me that the Parmesan cheese was imported from Italy, which she thought was cool. I was happy I could inform the workers of where at least a bit of their food came from, hopefully it will give them something further to think about. Imported cheese made me feel safer, as European made foods are generally safer than American, especially where diary is concerned. This is not a new experience for me, I often ask at restaurants and cafes "where does your food come from?" And MOST places DO NOT KNOW. At least, the workers do not know, including high up managers. They do not know if their products contain hormones, added chemicals, food coloring, etc. etc. The lack of education about where we get our food is appalling. It makes me that much more supportive of places such as Johnny D's in Brighton Mass where I live. He knows exactly what farms each of his produce comes from, and he knows if it's organic or not. Support places that offer REAL QUALITY FOODS and don't be afraid to ask questions! We need more advocates out there for healthy food to protect all of us and send a message. So let me ask you, "Do you know where YOU'RE food comes from?"
What's the Deal with Soy Lecithin?

Instead on writing an article that has already been written, this week's wellness tip is informing you about soy lecithin, a confusing substance for sure! Dr. Axe does a good job of breaking it down, so below is his article explaining what this is and if it's dangerous....you can make a pretty good guess on that one.
Cough Drop Danger
About a month ago I had a combo cough/cold. Of course, this wasn't pleasant and I had to go get some cough drops, a common cure in my household growing up. As I was looking at the options in the convenience store my mouth kept dropping open...every one of the brands contained harmful ingredients, and I mean every one! You think I would cease to be amazed at the ingredients lists on the back of American food and medicine products, but it still hits me, especially when I think about children sucking up all of the danger as they're trying to get relief from a cold. I was discouraged, but fortunately, at the very bottom there were cough drops made by a doctor for his children that didn't contain any harmful ingredients. Whew! Of course, they were more expensive, but I felt safer and actually "taken care" of with these. Embarrassingly, I didn't keep the package and have forgotten the brand, but I'm sure it will come up one of these days. The important thing to remember is to READ LABELS and familiarize yourself with the most dangerous ingredients--aspartame (which was in almost every single one of the cough drop brands), sugar replacements, food coloring/dies. (Read HERE for an article on acesulfame, cuz' what is that?) Look at these ingredients for two popular cough suppressant brands and notice....controversial and then just plain proven dangerous chemicals. Also something to look for, ambiguous ingredients, what in the world does "flavors" mean? Please, be safe this season and protect yourself well! (Read HERE for homemade cough drop recipes, or just drink lots of water, honey and lemon!)
*ZarBee's Naturals Children's Cough Syrup is an option for young children if you don't fancy making something at home*

Halls Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Menthol 15 mg. Inactive Ingredients: citric acid, eucalyptus oil, FD&C blue 1, flavors, glucose syrup, potassium citrate, soy lecithin, sucrose, water

Ricola Ingredients: Content per herb drop (3.6g): Extract of Ricola 13-herb blend 36mg, (Plantain,Marshmallow, Peppermint, Thyme, Sage, Lady's mantle, Elder, Cowslip, Yarrow, Burnet, Speedwell, Mallow, Horehound), Peppermint oil 3.0mg, Menthol 3.0mg, isomalt, aspartame, acesulfame-k, coloring (caramel), excip. per herb drop (= 3.6g)
A juice I made with beets, kale, ginger, carrots, lemon, one apple and one pear
So, is juicing good for you? I get the "is this good for you" type question A LOT for every subject you can think of. "Is Yoga really that good for you?" "Is gluten free really good for you?" "Yeah, but is driving with your seatbelt really good for you posture?" (Ok. that one I thought myself, regardless of the posture question, it's safer.) Remember, BIOINDIVIDUALITY! Everyone is different. Though everyone needs fruits and veggies! Sometimes it's easier to get the nutrients though juicing because we don't eat enough whole fruits and vegetables. For others, the sugar intake of sweet juices is detrimental. And for others who don't eat a complex diet, they're missing out on their fiber intake. Here's an article by Dr. Oz that can help with the basics.
Perfectionism--Does it Really Help Me Holistically?
As some one still getting over perfectionism, I appreciated this article. For some, articles with this kind of logic will be helpful in allowing you to let go and actually accomplish what you desire.
Relate-able: "I used to spend endless amount of time tweaking my blog layout, which is really insignificant to the reader. These days I focus more on writing articles and guest posting which are the big rock activities."
What Do I Wear Under There?
What should you wear under your yoga pants? It's a sensitive area, so take care! Check out what one OB/GYN says and make an informed decision when dressing to move under any tight clothing.

6 Foreign Health Concepts from Around the Globe
Words of Health
I am super into words, vocabulary and semantics. So when I stumbled across this article about different health related words from other countries I was stoked! Super interesting to see words in other languages that we don't have in English. May these new words facilitate new thoughts for holistic health and self-care!
HIIT 2017!

High Intensity Interval Training Benefits

I believe it's important, and rather essential to keep up-to-date on what is the latest information regarding food and body health. Now, not everyone has time to do this, hence holistic health coaches. ;) This year I will be starting to personally do more high intensity interval training. My body responds well to this type of training, and I now how to properly execute movements. I keep my eyes and ears open for new information, and even opposing views on health, because I know I need to take in a variety of perspectives and not be stuck in my own subjective view. Read this article, from Dr. Axe, for some super interesting and important facts about what we now know is a more beneficial and safe way to exercise. From Article: "Research from the past decade continues to report that high intensity interval training actually balances both leptin and ghrelin, which increases fat burn and weight loss. In fact, burst training is one of the best ways to best manage unhealthy hunger behavior and maximize ghrelin and leptin to lose weight." Read this article for some super interesting and important facts about what we now know is a more beneficial and safe way to exercise.
Sharing is Caring
If you have been awakened to the truth of the food in-justices in the United states then NOW is the time to share. Food is a tough subject to talk about because it is so personal and involves talking about our bodies, something many people are uncomfortable with. Being able to break out of the box and be a compassionate informer of the importance of whole foods, natural foods, and healthy food access for everyone is a bold step that I've chosen to take. I love helping others find their own personal voice regarding their healing healthy journey to abundance and being able to share that with others. By owning your own story with food, you're able to spread awareness and bring a new perspective to people without coming off as snobbish or just plain weird....ok you may still sound a little strange, but this doesn't mean you will be ineffective. Society is in a dialouge every day about social justice issues, and this is one that can easily be added into that conversation. What we put into ourselves can change our whole life. Everyone should have the right to access to healthy food options, so their lives can change for the better too. Check out this article reviewing a film, "A Seat at the Table," that shows the reality of "food insecure."
Self-Care in Self-Reflection
A Practice of self-care is self-reflection
"You cannot paint or sing yourselves into being good men; you must be good men before you can either paint or sing, and then the colour and sound will complete in you all that is best." ~ John Ruskin
I am a big fan of the power of art to heal. I believe in expressing feels through artistic means can release, reveal, and begin to heal. But I have also seen people come to an art therapy type of setting and "miss themselves." They get caught up in what they perceive as "protocol" in the dance, painting, song--expecting a big bang, when often a still, small voice inside is speaking truth but can't be heard above the shouts of the mind. The mind often tells us "You're not doing it right! You will fail!" A practice of self-care is self-reflection. By practicing self-reflection one can "breathe" revelation into spaces of lies in order to see truth. An exercise I recommend is looking at yourself in the mirror, taking deep breathes. Really take yourself in, reflect on who you are in this moment, and who you want to be tomorrow, in the next year, in the next five years. Although yourself to recognize what holds you back in you, and then, what strengths you have to bring you where you want to be. Then you can take these revelations in your healing artistic practice with someone who can help guide you, without judgement, into a freedom that isn't BASED on the artistic experience, but grounded in who you are and your inner strength of developing character.
(Is this topic interesting to you? Let's talk more! Contact me at bethbrooks@abundantbeing.net)
Turmeric Magic
Ayurvedic, unani, siddha and traditional chinese medicine advocates the use of turmeric

Turmeric's most active ingredient, curcumin, has antioxidant properties that help ease inflammatory ailments

I am currently reading the book "The Blue Zones, 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest" by Dan Buettner. As Dan's group observes the practices of the centenarians of Okinawa, they see these healthy, older people commonly use and grow turmeric. Says one of the scientists in the expedition to un-lock the secrets of longevity, "Turmeric is one-fifth as powerful as cisplatin, which is one of the most powerful drugs in chemotherapy." Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer! Many age-related diseases are caused by an immune system that is out of balance and inflamed. Click here for a nourishing non-dairy milk, honey, turmeric drink! Combining milk&honey also has healing benefits and adding in spices can enhance the nutrition of your drink.
Milk is Not Your Best Source of Vitamin D

After my talk on milk, I had a question about vitamin D in milk. The diary industry would have us think that milk is the best source of Vitamin D, but this is not true. SUN is. Dr. Axe breaks down Vitamin D in this article, featured for this week's wellness tip.
Movement-Based Healing
We go throughout our day feeling, moving, breathing, and thinking. But often these things are separated within us and we carry tension and stress in our bodies. We don't take time to mentally process the day, or physically care for our tired bodies. This has been the reality in my own life, and now the work that I do is focused on movement and how to bring an awareness of our whole self to our self. I try to intentionally move every day and incorporate movement and music into my meditation practice. Because I am healing from Lyme Disease I have to very intentional to target healing my muscles and nerves. So, I bring sequencing work into my movement. I move my bones and muscle groups in alignment and in balance of both sides of my body, sending signals to my brain of how my body is supposed to function. The pattern brings calm to my mind and helps bring me into a flow where my body feels stronger and calmer and I'm able to take in the music and pleasure of moving intentionally. I come from this practice empowered and more able-bodied and able-minded to create, work, and interact with other people. Often, after I do my mindful movement practice I will create a simple choreography that also incorporates sequencing. This is exercise for me that is fun and freeing, and also gives me insights into what to create for clients and dance students. Below is a sample of my practice (concentration on upper body, arms and hands—we often forget about our hands!) and then my choreography work after a bit of that practice. Here also is a great article about the power of movement/exercise to heal! (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/embodiment-in-emotional-health-is-mindful-movement-a-primal-key/)
Make Your Own Almond Milk

Don't want to deal with all the non-food-safe carrageenan, which is inflammatory and carcinogenic, in almond milk?

I appreciate "Wellness Mama" and she gives a great recipe for some homemade almond milk that's easy and safe! There are many un-safe additives in dairy alternative milks. If you have a blender then homemade nut milks can be an option for you! Click HERE for recipe and come to "The Milk Mystery" Workshop!
Death Trap
Is This Real Food?
Why do I title this photo, "Death Trap?"

Let's take a closer look at the ingredients and dive right in to understanding the danger in "foods" like these jellies......
HFCS--High Fructose Corn Syrup. Whenever you see this on a label, it's processed junk food that has HFCS creating "fatty liver" inside your system. HFCS is a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose. What actually happens is a separation of the natural bond of glucose and fructose--and un-natural processes aren't a sign of good food.
The Apple Jelly in this picture contains not only HFCS, but added sugar as well! Talk about death by sugar intake.
"In recent history, we've gone from 20 teaspoons of sugar per person per year to about 150 pounds of sugar per person per year." (Mark Hyman, MD CHECK OUT THE ARTICLE ON HFCS HERE)
THEN there's added corn syrup...more processed corn, more dangerous chemicals...
and fruit pectin, pectin is a natural fiber found in most plants, but in processed foods like this, it is often added in, synethic and processed with preservatives and other chemicals to make it "work better."
Sugar itself, whether natural or not, should be taken in moderation, as it is a major cause of inflammation that leads to disease. Put in chemicals and preservatives and separation of fructose and glucose and you have a death trap presented before you.
(Need to detox from sugar? We should talk!)
What Exactly ARE Electrolytes?
Dictionary Definition: the ionized or ionizable constituents of a living cell, blood, or other organic matter.
My brother, Jeremy Brooks, is a soccer champ at Cal Poly University and isthe Intramural Sports Supervisor for the school. I asked him personally about how he balances his electrolytes and he mentioned coconut water. Yes! We'll get back to Jeremy's personal health story, (be on the look-out for a new section on the website!) but for now.....Here are some facts about electrolytes:
  • Electrolytes are vital for the normal functioning of the human body
  • Fruit and vegetables are good sources of electrolytes
  • Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium and bicarbonate
  • The symptoms of electrolyte imbalance can include twitching, weakness and, if unchecked, seizures
  • Elderly people are particularly susceptible to electrolyte imbalance
  • Hypercalcemia - too much calcium - is common in cancer patients
  • Kidney disease and severe dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Patients with diabetes or heart failure have an increased risk of low sodium levels.
Click here to WATCH a simple, fun, video for more of what electrolytes are and why we need them.
Breathing Through Your Nostrils
Note: I said "Mindful Movement" but I meant "Weekly Wellness" ;) Check out the Movement Videos for "Mindful Movement" :)
This week's tip is a healthy smoothie recipe!

Spinach and Kale Smoothie

Might sound intimidating, but this powerful blend of spinach and kale in this smoothie is actually quite delicious, and quite nourishing!

Jamie Lynn Mehney explains this simple smoothie recipe well. Click here.

Not all sites that promote health can be trusted, so knowing about what ingredients are beneficial for your specific needs at this time is something I, as a health coach, can help you with. For example, with this smoothie, it's important when adding the almond milk to use homemade, or organic. Almond milk from the store has many added chemicals and sugars. Where you get your food from makes a big difference! If you work with me, we can work together to check recipes and make them the best they can be to nourish your whole self!
Nettle Tea!
Wellness Tips for Everyday Abundance
9.7.16 Tip:
The Olive leaf, or Olea europaea, was first used as medicine in Ancient Egypt. (Way to go Egyptians!) The olive leaf has many similar health benefits to olive oil. I bring up the leaf because we often forget about whole plants and instead focus on what we see packaged in stores. But nature's health benefits are far more than we even realize! Some benefits of the Olive leaf: . Lowers blood pressure
. Improves cardiovascular health
. Reduces blood sugar levels
. Reduces risks of cancer
. Improves brain function
. Treats arthritis
. Kills harmful bacteria and fungi
. Improves Immune system & protects skin
The Olive Tree is an evergreen tree or shrub that is native to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa and "includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia and the true ash trees." Next time you're in a store, try thinking about whole plants. This can bring you into a more whole understanding that gives more benefits. Find out more about this amazing leaf and how to actually use it here: https://draxe.com/olive-leaf-benefits/ (Also my source for this tip.)

This Wednesday's "Tip" is a little history lesson in dance! I'm a big fan of movement and am in a movement mood after the Express Yourself Workshop on Sunday. We see dance moves all over our screen from our past and into the future, where new moves make old moves belong to nostalgia. Here is a quick video explaining about some familiar looking footwork that came from African American Social Dances.
Wellness Tips for Everyday Abundance
This Week's Tip:
Grapefruit lovers unite! I am a fan of grapefruit, as it helps me detox in the morning and gives me a pick-me-up. I feel happy eating this pretty and bright fruit. Grapefruit is a mind/body fruit connection for me. I've been known to say before "It's like eating a smile in the morning." Now, whether you find that creepy or pleasant, the point is, grapefruit is a "peppy" fruit, giving vitamin C without too much sugar (aka orange juice), burning fat, and helping the liver detox. Grapefruit and grapefruit seed extract helped me in the first months it was discovered I had Lyme Disease. This, along with a change in diet and taking other supplements, really helped me get my body into properly working order. Grapefruit can decrease levels of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the body's metabolism, energy, and blood sugar levels. While going on a purely "grapefruit diet" would probably not be beneficial, incorporating this fruit into your diet could be immensely helpful-and happy!

Some Sources: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice...
wellness mama

Wellness Tips for Everyday Abundance
What is wrong with the tip below?
This Week's Tip:
A 15 minute workout can be very effective. As we talked about last week, high intensity movement has proven to be great for the body....when it is done correctly. A 15 minute poorly executed workout can cause damage to bones and tissues and leave your muscles aching--the kind that is not soreness from a good workout. When I was in community college, my jazz dance teacher, who was also a yoga instructor, would always point out the importance of proper alignment while doing stretches and strengthening exercises. She would mentioned students who would complain about back problems and other aliments after class, but these were the same students she had to constantly correct their positions because they weren't actually aligning themselves correctly. It is frustrating to be doing a workout and not seeing the results afterward. Could a lot of this be because we don't actually take the time to have an expert or knowledgeable person check and make sure we're doing our movements/stretches correctly? If you've never done yoga before and you just go to youtube and start a practice, you could be damaging internal tissue because you're not holding the position in the healing way it was intended. So-be wise with you workouts! Check in with someone, and be intuitive to your own body, take a simple anatomy lesson and listen to what your body is telling you! We want an EFFECTIVE 15 minute workout. Let's build up, not break down.

Wellness Tips for Everyday Abundance
This Week's Tip:
Let's talk about "high intensity intermittent" training. Before you say "let's not," don't worry, this isn't actually too "intense." HII training means that during your day, no matter what you're involved with, working, playing, commuting, you can insert some high intensity movement that is actually more beneficial for your body than continued dull movement. Jumping jacks, running around the block during lunch break, squats and twists, movements like this, for as little as 15 mins, burns fat and balances insulin levels in the body. Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of this type of interval training (done three times a week) than the girl jogging on the treadmill for an hour! To learn more about the importance of heart pumping movement during your day, contact me!

Sources: International Journal of Obesity (2008) 32, 684–691 / Arthur S. Agatston, MD, FACC for IIN

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