Posts Tagged ‘Diet and Health’

Medical Intuitive and Personal Thoughts on Healthy Skin and High Vibe Living

Becky Symes at Holistica-Skin originally contacted me about my 2009 article “Healthy Skin: A Medical Intuitive Perspective.” She asked me to do a follow-up interview for her own blog and just published that here. The interview includes additional insights into skin, as well as my current and evolving skin and lifestyle practices.

Elicia Miller ~ Understanding Eating Disorders & How to Heal

I am so glad my colleague Elicia Miller made this important video, which I know will speak to many!

In this video you will learn:

  • Elicia’s journey with her eating disorders from age 15 – 39
  • What is at the root of eating disorders
  • Why cleansing, fasting, and extreme restrictive diets and exercise are other forms of bulimia
  • Why telling other people that your diet is the best way to eat is coming from your own shame
  • How to recognize an unhealthy relationship with healthy food and your body
  • How to release the chains of perfectionism
  • Why just changing your thoughts about yourself and/or letting yourself eat whatever you want doesn‚Äôt heal your eating disorders
  • How to be supportive, and not shaming, of someone who struggles with their relationship to food, their body and their emotions

Elicia’s Core Emotional Healing programs are good for anyone struggling with eating disorders, addictions, physical and emotional symptoms and/or relationship struggles. Since we share so many clients, I have witnessed huge changes in people who’ve had the courage to work with Elicia on these issues. Many thanks for sharing your story and professional experience!

Macrobiotics and the Raw Food Diet

On the surface, Macrobiotics and a Raw Food Diet seem either very close on the continuum or very far apart. Both can be viewed by the mainstream as “radical,” “extreme,” often “vegan,” and “quasi-religious in their fanatism.” Both focus on the energy of food, albeit in different ways. On the other hand, Macrobiotics cooks nearly everything, including fruit, eschews things like chocolate, coconuts and bananas as far too yin for the Northern Hemisphere, and views beer as superior to wine. Most raw foodies steer clear of grains, whereas Macrobiotics puts grains, especially brown rice, into the highest category of nutrition. Despite these apparent contradictions, in my raw food coaching and dietary transition coaching, I have found that Macrobiotics and Raw Food can synergize into quite a valuable combination.

Here’s how you, too, can combine “big life” with “the best day ever”:

Eat with the Seasons

Primarily a Macrobiotic principle, this one offers some strong benefits to raw foodies, most obviously in terms of produce freshness. It also ensures a variety of nutrients instead of the green smoothie ruts many raw foodists can slip into.

You know what I mean, right? Throw some bananas and spinach in the blender and you’re good to go … every single day … for weeks on end! Uh-uh. Green smoothies are great, but every diet needs variety, especially ones that exclude a wide range of “normal” foods. Eating seasonly helps bring trace nutrients and different vitamins into the mix. You can still drink a green smoothie every single day, but mix it up a bit with whatever fruit and greens are in season where you live.

Eat Locally

A Macrobiotic corollary to the last principle, this one seems both obvious and challenging to raw foodies. On the one hand, of course! Support your local Farmer’s Market or CSA. It’s cheaper, fresher, seasonal and usually organic. And did I mention cheaper??

On the other hand, most superfoods come from all over the globe. It is a common feat for that Vitamix to contain items from perhaps 5 of the 7 continents on any given morning. Hey, I love my cacao, hemp, goji berries, and acai just as much as the next superfoodist. OK, maybe more in the case of cacao. ūüėČ I personally find superfoods a valuable and sustainable addition to the raw food diet, and I would find life without blue green algae, well, a little less fulfilling.

But … and this is a big but … there is something to eating locally. According to Macrobiotics, tropical fruits (especially bananas and coconuts), coffee, nightshades and chocolate are extremely expansive and “yin.” Macrobiotics looks at the energy of food in terms of yin (up, opening, feminine, expansive) and yang (down, contracting, masculine, focusing). I am drastically oversimplifying here, but please bear with me.

Sometimes raw foodists have a difficult time staying “grounded.” They enjoy the clarity and high of 100% raw food but after awhile start feeling spacey, out of body or generally disconnected from “the real world.” If this describes you, then eating locally can help in two ways. First, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you will drastically reduce the amount of airy fairy yin foods in your diet because bananas, coconuts and cacao don’t grow in Pennsylvania or New Hampshire. Or England. Second, eating food grown within 1-50 miles of where you live anchors you to that locale. Raw foodies like to say, “You are what you eat.” Indeed, you are also “Where you eat.” If you have trouble with “Be here now,” try working in some local goodies. It really does help!

You will also feel warmer if you eat more local foods, especially in winter. Tropical foods help to cool the body because it’s HOT in the tropics. If you find yourself shivering on a raw food diet during a Chicago January, cut back on the bananas in your morning smoothie and see if it doesn’t curb those goosebumps.

Chew Your Food

Macrobiotics advocates chewing each mouthful 50-100 times. Indeed, with all the whipping, blending, chopping and juicing of a raw food diet, we sometimes forget the necessity of truly chewing our food. Raw foodists emphasize “enzymes” as one of the greatest advantages of raw food over cooked food. Please remember that digestive enzymes begin in the mouth. “Chew your smoothies” even if you blend them thoroughly. You will digest them better. When you eat crunchy things, especially dehydrated crackers or “breads,” make sure you chomp them into a liquid slurry. You’ll find your body handles them much easier.

Eat Sea Veggies

Yep, nori, wakame, kelp … they provide rich nutrients in both Macrobiotics and many Raw Food Diets. If you want to stay strictly raw, watch your sourcing of sea vegetables. Most supermarket ones are cooked. As an added treat, you can use Irish Moss to congeal or thicken raw pies. Holy wow, does that make a tasty difference! Actually, you won’t usually taste the Irish Moss, but you’ll appreciate the texture of Raw Lemon Meringue pie and Chocolate (gasp!) Mousse that much more with this wonderful sea veggie in the mix. Because both Macrobiotics and Raw Food Diets tend to eliminate or minimize most meats, sea veggies provide important minerals that might otherwise be lacking in these diets. Eat up!

Whole Foods

No, I’m not talking about the grocery store that drops your jaw every time you reach the cash register. I’m talking about the principle that whole, unprocessed foods tend to offer more bang for your caloric buck than crazy mixtures of ingredients ground into “flour” or mixed together in strange ways to resemble “traditional” foods. Yep, I’m talking about Gourmet Raw Food and processed raw snacks.

Confession: I adore both and I love supporting places like Cafe Gratitude and One Lucky Duck. Truly. I hope they take over the world like Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Hostess and Little Debbie. But … do consider what you’re eating on the most regular basis, especially if you find yourself locked into the “it must be 100% raw” mindset. Do you honestly believe that an entire bag of coconut macaroons is “more nutritious” than an occasional cup of brown rice for dinner? Or that a side of lightly steamed broccoli pales in comparison to say, a jar of raw nut butter? If so, that’s fine. Trust your own body’s response at ALL times over anything I say. If, however, you gradually begin to feel less energetic, more sluggish or generally less than “the best ever” on a 100% raw food diet, examine two things:

1) How much fat are you eating?

2) What ratio of whole foods versus processed items do you eat per day? The body does like simple things, so some brown rice or quinoa with steamed veggies might actually feel more balancing and energizing after awhile than multiple raw fats combined into a tasty “sandwich” or pate.

Watch Your Sugars and Salts

Macrobiotics likes to focus on foods that rest comfortably in the middle range of yin and yang. Sugar, sweet fruits, alcohol, chocolate, coffee and recreational drugs are the most expansive or yin. Meat, eggs, and salt, including miso, Nama Shoyu and sea veggies, are the most contractive or yang. If you find yourself bouncing between extremes of energy and lethargy, between euphoria and irritability, or between spot on intuition and brain fog, you might want to explore your sugar-salt patterns.

The body likes balance. That’s why Coconut Bliss tastes so yummy after a seaweed salad. Oh, alright, Coconut Bliss tastes good anytime! But seriously, even on a “conscious” diet like Raw Foods, we can quickly become a slave to the yin-yang tyranny of foods. If you feel less than optimal on any diet, consider how you’d like to feel and utilize foods to bring you there. If you feel too spacy, think roots. If you feel like you want to bite someone’s head off, back off on the salted sauerkraut and flax crackers for awhile. And if you want to live on cacao, don’t forget your celery-cucumber juice to bring you back into orbit.

For more on the Raw Food Diet, mood and food and Macrobiotics, please check out The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide, which takes out most of the work and leaves the fun. ūüėČ

4 Mistakes People Make When Going Vegan

Whether you‚Äôve read PETA literature, seen the Alicia Silverstone commercial, or just want to lose weight‚ÄĒgoing vegan seems like a healthy, earth-friendly choice. Indeed, this animal-free diet and lifestyle features zero cholesterol and 1/20th or less the field growing space required for beef. Since heart disease ranks as the number one killer in the U.S., and our demand for cattle contributes highly to destruction of the rainforest, a vegan diet makes sense. Unfortunately, some people jump right in without much knowledge and soon find themselves living less than optimally. This article lists the top four mistakes people make when going vegan‚ÄĒand offers ways to make a smart transition.

1) The ‚ÄúFake Meat‚ÄĚ and Potatoes Syndrome:

With Tofurky Brats, Tofu Pups, dozens of veggie burger styles, Chik‚Äôn and even BBQ Riblets in supermarket freezers, anyone can substitute a meat analog for meat and serve a Standard American Diet dinner with soy and wheat modifications. While these products can work well as transition foods, they also contain both wheat gluten and soy‚ÄĒtwo high contenders in the food allergy arena. Yes, they offer lower-fat, plant based protein alternatives, but eating gluten and soy at every meal increases your chance of feeling less than great on a vegan diet. Symptoms can include: bloating, sluggishness, irritability, fatigue, and constipation. People who did not previously notice sensitivities to wheat or soy might if these two foods make an appearance in every meal.

The body likes variety. Interview long term vegans and they will tell you that despite the exclusion of animal products, they now eat a wider variety of foods than they ever did as omnivores. Try to break out of the meat and potatoes mindset. Vegetable stir fries, salads with nuts, fruit smoothies with rice or hemp protein powder, and a world of ethnic dishes offer ample protein and nutrients without relying on wheat and soy. When you want to feel mainstream at a 4th of July party or even at family meals with omnivores, meat analogues can help you fit in. But allow yourself to embrace Mother Earth’s bounty: vegans do not live (well) on gluten and soy alone.

2) ‚ÄúI‚Äôm So Healthy I Don‚Äôt Need Vitamins Anymore‚ÄĚ:

For some people who carefully plan their diets, this statement might be true. For most new vegans, it can appear true‚ÄĒfor awhile. Compared to the Standard American Diet, vegan diets bring in more antioxidants than average people acquire through food. Several nutrients do require attention, though, namely: B-vitamins (especially B-12), zinc, calcium, and iron.

If you eat whole grains or leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach and chard, you can get lots of these items, but perhaps not quite enough. Although you have stores of B-12, without inclusion of animal products, your reserves can drop to dangerous levels. Low B-12 can result in a form of anemia, increased homocysteine levels (which can lead to heart attacks), fatigue, mood swings and mental fogginess. Gabriel Cousens, M.D. offers a comprehensive article on various vegan B-12 studies: http://www.therawdiet.com/b12.html. The other B-vitamins can help you manage stress, achieve mental clarity, and maintain energy levels. Bottom line: if you feel tired after a few weeks or months of vegan living, a B-vitamin complex and especially B-12 may raise your energy. If symptoms persist, ask your doctor for some blood tests.

Although studies show comparable calcium and iron levels in vegans and people following a standard diet, many people suffer from anemia and pre-osteoporosis conditions. You ingest adequate amounts by drinking green smoothies, eating (and chewing well) at least one salad per day, and juicing calcium and iron powerhouses like broccoli, spinach and kale. Fortified breads, cereals and orange juice can also amp up your intake. Legumes and small doses of blackstrap molasses offer other ways to increase your iron. Look at your diet honestly, though. If you do not consume these (or equivalently iron-rich) things several times per day, consider adding them in or taking a vegan multi-vitamin. If you prefer whole foods, you can add a teaspoon or more of spirulina (a blue green algae) to fruit smoothies for an instant nutrient boost. It’s green, but a kale, spirulina, avocado (and/or almond milk), banana, and agave nectar smoothie will leave you energized and wanting more.

Zinc poses a challenge to animal-free diets, but you can find it in pumpkin seeds, legumes and nuts. Their protein facilitates zinc absorption. If you find yourself getting sick a lot since going vegan, have lower sexual drive, or skin problems, make sure your multi-vitamin contains zinc. If you decide to take a separate supplement, you might want to check with your doctor first. Zinc overdose can quickly become toxic.

3) Low Fat, No Fat and Wrong Fat

Most people have heard of the benefits of Omega-3 Fatty acids, especially as doctors began recommending fish for its Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) profile. ‚ÄúEssential‚ÄĚ means you must acquire these fats from food; your body needs them and cannot make them on its own. Ideally, you want a balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty acids, but without planning, a vegan diet can become very Omega-6 heavy. Corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil all favor Omega-6 absorption. Imbalances of Omega-6/Omega-3 can lead to mood swings, mental decline, sore joints, poor immunity, and acne, among other problems.

High sources of vegan Omega-3 fats include: flax seeds and oil, walnuts, canola oil (controversial due to genetic engineering) and leafy greens. Hemp seeds and oil provide the perfect ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats, as does Udo‚Äôs Oils, a product created by scientist Udo Erasmus. Additionally, algae‚ÄĒfrom which fish receive their Omega-3‚Äôs‚ÄĒprovide great plant source fats. In addition to spirulina, Omega-Zen 3, E3Live, and Crystal Manna offer vegan ways to balance your fat intake.

4) In Search Of: Perfection through Diet

No diet will solve all your problems, all the time. I have personally witnessed some incredible transformations in people switching to a vegan diet, but the changes proved long lasting only in those people who also made major lifestyle and attitude changes. Trying to eliminate every possible animal ingredient, animal testing or negative impact on an animal can become an obsession that interferes with abundant, joyful living. If you’ve made the commitment to live animal-free, I commend your choice. If you would like to inspire others to live this lifestyle, then I suggest you make it seem as easy and attractive as possible.

Yes, you’ll need to read labels in the grocery store and ask questions in restaurants. Yes, you might consult PETA’s guide to shopping, but ask yourself how far you need to go on every single item. We live in a world that, unfortunately, exploits animals and destroys our environment. We can each make small and large strides towards improving that state of affairs. We also live among other human beings. In your new found compassion towards animals, try to remember the people in your life. Education by example usually proves more effective than lectures, shame fests and ultimatums. If you turned to a vegan diet for health reasons, enjoy your new found health! If you turned vegan for the animals, become an advertisement for animal-free living! Look good, feel good, smile more.

Still confused?

Contact me here to set up a personalized Medical Intuitive Session where I scan your body and surrounding energy field to identify hidden factors and unseen support.

Henna for Hair

I just finished teaching an all-day Reiki Master Teacher certification workshop. Congratulations to the new Reiki Masters! We had a wonderful, information- and sharing-packed day, and one of the stranger observations was that occasionally my hair “turned” a different color during class. Purple, actually. Just for a few moments when I was talking about certain esoteric things. Did the sun hit it an odd way? Perhaps. Were the students seeing my aura? Maybe. That often does happen during Reiki classes. Once last year I was teaching a class on Atlantis and the students swore my hair momentarily turned blue.

I don’t have a “logical” explanation for any of this, since the lighting didn’t change in those moments, but I do get a lot of questions about my hair. People want to know how I get it to grow so long, how it stayed so healthy when we lived in the desert, what color IS it? Do I dye it? Do I curl it? Why is it straight on some days and super-wavy on others? Do I blow it dry? After class, I decided to blog-surf and saw that Kristen of http://kristensraw.blogspot.com¬†had a recent post about going back to her natural brunette hue. Since I’ve felt nudged to post about hair for a few months and haven’t, her post, combined with the multiple class discussions about my weirdly illuminated hair convinced me that it was time to share a few things.

Laura Bruno in San Francisco

Laura Bruno in San Francisco

1 ) Yes, I use henna on my hair, but no, that’s not really why it’s red. I always had some red in my hair. My dad was a carrot top for the first two years of his life, and I must have inherited some of that natural coloring. Traditionally, though, my hair has always grown in extremely light blonde, then blended into a brownish-red.

I’ve always had a¬†problem with knots. Not little tangles: big, huge, struck by lightning, scary witch’s knots. A friend in Reno advised me that I could curb some of the craziness by using henna, so I tried it in December 2006, dreaming of red-headed bliss. It did tame the knots, but my haircolor looked exactly the same as pre-henna. Nothing happened on the color frontier.

In February 2007, my now-ex-husband and I moved to Monterey, CA from Reno. The next morning, he said, “Woah, did you dye your hair last night?”

“No, why?”

“Go look in the mirror.”

When I did, I had flaming red hair. My skin color also looked several shades lighter. I thought it might be from the salt in the air, but it stayed red even when we returned to Sedona in October 2007.¬†It took me quite a while to get used to this overnight¬†shift of both skin tone and hair color, but eventually I did, and eventually the knots returned in all their witchy grandeur. I figured why not use henna again, since it really couldn’t get much redder? And so I did.

I still do every 4-8 weeks, depending on my mood or the level of knottiness. Using henna has meant I no longer go through 4-5 giant bottles of conditioner every month. I also like that it temporarily makes my hair feel thicker. (The reason it tames knots is because henna coats the hair shaft, plumping it up while conditioning it at the same time.) Ever since Monterey, my hair has become like a personal mood ring. It does seem to change color (by other’s observations). If you use henna, it can definitely reflect more red in direct sunlight, and mine does that, but I can’t really count henna as the sole explanation for why sometimes my hair looks brown and then I get really happy and it suddenly looks red. Or purple. Or blue. ūüôā

2 )¬†Besides henna, what else do I¬†do to care for my hair? Um, not much. I’m not a¬†big brusher.¬†I used to cry when my dad brushed my hair out as a girl, and old habits die hard.¬†Back when I was traveling a lot, I once found my brush in my suitcase. It had sat there for 3 weeks and I hadn’t even missed it. I didn’t even notice it was gone! When I do brush, I use a wooden, flat Aveda brush, and I never brush when my hair’s really wet. I finger comb, do nothing, or wait until it’s mostly dry.

I don’t use a blow dryer unless I’m running really late or if I have recently henna’d and not gotten all the goop out of my hair. In that case, it can drip orange for a couple washes, so I will sometimes blow dry the ends to avoid having to clean up from the drips.

3 )¬†How do I keep my hair from breaking off? I’m sure the henna helps. I am also currently using shampoos by the Morrocco Method. They’re pricey and somewhat heavily fragranced with essential oils, but overall I like them. They are 100% raw and 100% vegan and natural, so I feel like it’s totally non-toxic hair care.

The shampoos don’t lather like regular shampoo, though, and I’ve been told by people who switched from more toxic products that they almost get the “no-poo” hair effect of having extremely greasy hair until their hair adjusts. I didn’t have that problem, but I have noticed that my hair does kind of clump together more, almost like it wants to curl into ringlets or big waves lately. I brush it more frequently since switching shampoos because I don’t want it to clump out and look greasy.

I don’t know if¬†the clumping curls come¬†from the Morrocco Method shampoos or from my many months of massive doses (6-10 grams / day) ¬†of MSM. David Wolfe claims that MSM makes hair curlier, and I have to say I always had stick straight hair, but over the last few years and especially the last few months, it’s gotten much wavier.

4 ) How often do I wash my hair? Definitely not everyday. I usually go between 2-4 days between washes. In the desert it’s closer to 4; on a humid week, it will be closer to 2. The Morocco Method has all those essential oils in it, so hair doesn’t get stinky even when it still looks clean. Before Morocco Method, I just used to spritz a bit of lavender water or a little essential oil on my hair on the 2nd or 3rd day.

5 ) What about diet? Well, as I mentioned above, I currently take a lot of MSM. I take it for removing scar tissue, but I believe it has strengthened my hair and made it shinier. I follow a 90-100% raw vegan diet. Once in a blue moon, I’ll eat a bit of bee pollen. I take the Vitamin Code raw vitamins, B-12, chia seed in my smoothies, Jarrow’s Vegan Bone-Up, and lots and lots of greens, Vitamineral Green and currently also spirulina. If I remember, I sometimes take a little swig of the gluten-free, yeast-free Floradix because I¬†eat so many antioxidants that sometimes my iron gets a bit low unless I’m on a cacao kick. I’m sure¬†all of these things contribute to healthy, fast-growing, shiny¬†hair.

6 ) What about hair loss? People ask me about this a lot, especially people new to a raw diet. Hair loss can come from lots of sources, including a lack of B-vitamins, especially B-5 (Panthenol) and B-12, since a deficiency of B-12 or folic acid could contribute to anemia. The scalp does not like anemia. Your hair is considered a luxury item in terms of cell nutrients. If you have anemia and hence low oxygen levels, guess what’s not getting leftover O2?

Hair loss can also occur due to vitamin A (beta-carotene) toxicity. Yes, on a plant-based diet, most people will not get too much viatmin A; however, as I explained in The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide and this post, it does sometimes happen with the use of lots of superfoods. Superfoods are “super” because they have huge antioxidant profiles. Occasionally, people get so high in beta-carotene that the liver starts acting like someone who’s on Accutane. Skin can dry and crack; hair can fall out. In big clumps. I’ve had this happen myself. It does grow back. You just can’t keep up those levels of beta-carotene indefinitely.

Sometimes hair falls out because of detoxification. Again, it will usually grow back as the detox clears. Sometimes hair falls out due to hormonal imbalance. This can occur in both men and women. Male pattern baldness almost always has a hormonal component. Many men find that when they start taking saw palmetto for their prostate health, their hair loss slows. A nice perk!

There are literally hundreds of things on the market promising faster growth and slower hair loss. Some work, some don’t¬† Some treat the root cause of problems; some work on the surface; a few are probably quite toxic. I’m not a doctor. Not a hair expert. I’m¬†just sharing some things I’ve observed:

Essential fatty acids tend to help; MSM helps; hemp protein usually helps; Sun Warrior protein (highly absorbable) seems to help; Morrocco Method shampoos supposedly stimulate hair growth (my hair does seem to be growing faster, but this is totally anecdotal on my part; check out their site for photos); checking beta-carotene levels helps; staying on top of B-12, B-5, folic acid and iron helps; getting hormone levels checked can sometimes help; examining what hair represents for you gives some nice clues as to what’s happening and why.

7 ) What about cowlicks? Yep, got ’em. They’re crazy. They stick straight up. If you find something that works, let me know! LOL, my hair gets really crazy sometimes, and aside from changing my part, which only sometimes works, I haven’t found anything that helps. You’re on your own on this one.

8 ) OK, back to henna: isn’t it incredibly messy? Yep, and you’ll smell like hay or grass unless you mix it with essential oils or some kind of tea. I don’t know why, but I actually like that it’s a big, green goopy mess that I leave on for 4 hours. It creates a whole ritual and I know I’ll have that day to myself. It does take a long time to wash out. It does make your bathroom a big mess (but at least that means mine will get a good scrub down!), and it does change most people’s hair color.

9 ) Will henna turn my hair green? Not if you haven’t used artificial coloring or bleach on your hair, but if you have, then yes, it might.

If you have artificial coloring in your hair you need to cut it out, grow it out or otherwise wait 6-8 weeks until you have no fake dyes prior to henna-ing your hair. Please don’t mess with this; I have heard nightmare stories. I would not use a non-natural shampoo anymore anyway, but because of my henna, it’s not even an option on the table. I’m OK with red, purple or blue, but I don’t want green hair! You’re also not supposed to touch the henna with metal. I’ve messed up and accidentally used a metal spoon without incident, but the instructions are so insistent that I don’t recommend it. I honestly don’t know what might happen. I just usually remember to use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula.

The henna powder itself is green, but when warmed with water or tea, it begins to stain the hair shaft a reddish color. You can purchase different “colors” of henna, but really, there’s only one true henna and that’s red. All other “colors” of henna are actually dyes mixed with henna powder. Some may be natural, plant-based dyes, but if it says it only contains henna, but it will turn your hair black or brown or strawberry blonde, then you can bet there’s something else in the package.

10 ) What about black henna? Products marketed as black henna are extremely toxic and should not be used. If you want to turn your hair black using natural henna, you need to henna first and then follow it with an application of indigo powder. This will create a shiny black look. It is NOT the same as black henna.

11 ) Won’t henna stain my hands? Yep. Wear gloves. Henna has been used for thousands of years in the ancient art of mehndi. The red brown dye can create beautiful designs on the hands, feet, pregnant belly or anywhere else on the body.

Henna doesn’t adhere well to oily skin, so if you want to avoid staining yourself, use some kind of coconut oil, olive oil or other oil around the hairline, over the ears and on the neck. For the hands, you really need gloves. If you mix oil on your hands, the oil gets in your hair and the henna may not adhere well to the hairshaft. If you don’t wear gloves but do oil your fingernails, they will still probably turn orange because they’re so dry. Whereas the orange on your skin will eventually wash off, you’ll likely have orange nails until they grow out. It’s not terrible, but it does happen.

12 ) Is there a spiritual reason to henna? Traditionally, yes, henna is associated with the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance and prosperity. Ancient Egyptians used henna in rituals and for sacred body adornment. Henna is mentioned in the Bible — both for its intense fragrance and for its use by pre-Christian Jews. People today use henna during birth ceremonies, baby showers to honor the coming child, at yoga studios, to inscribe sacred symbols or chants on the body, and just for general nurturing.

I don’t know what’s in henna in terms of nutrients, but I do feel like using it alters something in my brain — in a good way. I feel more relaxed and receptive to intuitive perceptions (yes, even more than usual!); I do tend to make a ton of money the whole week after I henna my hair (it’s like money arrives in huge chunks all that week);¬†I feel more mischievous in a fairy way; and overall, I just feel more in tune with my “goddess” self. The last observation may be because in terms of other self-care and fussy things, I’m kind of lacking, so my henna represents a conscious acknowledgment and celebration of that part of myself. In any case, yes, henna¬†can be considered a spiritual practice.

13 ) I can’t think of any other frequently asked questions about my hair, but please feel free to ask away. I frequently hear from clients in Medical Intuitive sessions that they would like “better hair.” I’ve listed most of what I know here that works generally. More speicific details really apply in the case of your own personal symbolism of hair.

Many Blessings and Lustrous Locks to you!

Laura Bruno

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

 

Sugar Cravings, Salt and Minerals

During the summers while I was in college, I waited tables at an Italian restaurant. I enjoyed the people interaction and the exercise. Sometimes I walked the equivalent of three to five miles per day, carrying trays that weighed half as much as I did. While some people found this exhausting, the sustained weight and movement left me invigorated. The only problem occurred after a long shift. Rationally, I knew I had just burned a ton of calories, but physically, I no longer felt hungry. In fact, after serving salads, garlic breadsticks and all manner of Italian foods all day, I couldn’t bear to look at any food. What to do?

That’s when I discovered a sneaky trick for gaining (or in my case maintaining) weight: combine sugar with salt. A heaping bowl of Rocky Road or Heavenly Hash ice cream topped with pretzels guaranteed that I could eat not just one, but two or more bowls of ooey-gooey calorie-laden food even when I didn’t feel hungry. In retrospect, it’s a little appalling that I lived on ice cream and pretzels for two summers and considered this a means of supporting my health, but it taught me something important about sugar cravings.

Later, when I studied macrobiotics, I learned that sugar represents the most yin (expansive) food and salt represents the most yang (contractive) food. Prescription drugs, nightshades, coffee¬†and tropical fruits are also highly yin, whereas meat and eggs are highly yang.¬† The body wants to find a balance between yin and yang, and this fact has implications for people trying to beat food cravings or the late night munchies. According to macrobiotics, a meat-heavy meal almost demands a glass of wine or a sweet dessert in order to rebalance the yang effects of the meat. If the meat contained a salty sauce, then¬†multiple drinks and desserts might seem irresistable. Conversely, if someone gorges on candy — even¬†agave-sweetened “healthy” candy — s/he might suddenly experience an irresistable urge for¬†salty foods. If the salt gorging swings past the middle, then¬†s/he needs more sweet.¬†Meanwhile, in the course of this pendulum swinging, a person could consume as much as an extra day’s worth of calories.

Macrobiotics follows principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which considers uncooked food difficult to digest, cold and harmful. For this reason, a truly macrobiotic meal contains very little raw food — perhaps just a salad — and lots of “neutral” brown rice.¬† The principles seem incompatitible with a raw food diet, and many people don’t see the point of integrating the two approaches. Gabriel Cousens does a wonderful job of¬†combining¬†the two diets¬†in his book, “Conscious Eating.” I highly recommend this classic¬†for more¬†detailed information on the cross-cultural connections between spirituality and food.

For the purposes of this article, though, I would just like to share some things I’ve noticed repeatedly in Medical Intuitive Sessions. In The Lazy Raw Foodist’s Guide, I mention salt as one of the potential excesses on a raw food diet. Even if people do not salt their food, high salt sources include: miso, tamari, seaweeds (sea vegetables), Nama Shoyu, and salt-fermented veggies like sauerkraut. Over the years, and especially recently, I’ve noticed that a lot of people have turned to a raw diet in order to eliminate cravings and yet they’re still having them. Big time. I get a lot of calls from people struggling with this issue, so¬†I’d like to address a few things here. As always, I intende my posts for information and research springboards only, not as medical advice:

1 ) If you crave sugar or sweet foods (agave,¬†juicy frutis, bananas, candy, cane sugar, rapadura, etc.) on a raw food diet, check your corresponding salt intake. Trying to eliminate sugar cravings while continuing to indulge in lots of salty foods creates an impossible challenge. The body seeks balance. If you want to reduce one extreme, you’ll find it much easier to reduce the other extreme at the same time. Celery contains lots of natural sodium, and celery juice or celery with almond butter can help bring that sweet/salty pendulum into smaller arcs.

2 ) Consider a Candida connection. The “yeastie beasties” crave sugar, pure and simple. You can have the best intentions in the world, and if you do not get that Candida in check, you’ll have a devil of a time trying to resist the call of candy, carrot or fruit juices, beets, and agave. I’ve written on Candida many times before, since it affects so many areas of life. My top picks for regaining control of your gut include: fermented foods with Body Ecology starters, Oil of Oregano; pau d’arco tea; MSM (gradually building up to higher doses); no fruit juices; and taking steps to move beyond perceived or habitual limitations. (Candida vibrates to the kind of victim that feels put upon by life circumstances or other people. That “poor me” attitude lets Candida thrive, which unfortunately¬†means that you don’t.)

3 ) Look into mineral deficiencies. Years ago, I heard from Victoria Boutenko that fruits grown in calcium-rich soil taste sweeter than fruits grown in depleted soil. I experimented with adding calcium to my diet and found that I did crave fewer sweets when I ate more tahini or broccoli. Odd, but true.

Salt cravings often signal mineral deficiencies. Some people have found that the use of sole, a specific concentration of Himalayan sea salt diluted in water, helps not only salt cravings but also sugar cravings! This may come in part from the trace minerals and in part because it helps people off the sugar/salt pendulum. 

One of my clients effortlessly lost 20 pounds by¬†adding a¬†combination of sole and MSM plus pau d’arco tea¬†to her daily supplements. She had tried to lose those 20 pounds for years with no success, but by getting the mineral imbalances under control, driving those minerals into her cells with the MSM and¬†drawing upon pau d’arco’s antifungal properties, she found her cravings disappear.¬†

4 ) On a more metaphysical level, you might also consider the symbolic properties of sweetness and saltiness. In macrobiotics, the spleen is most associated with sweetness. Western medicine doesn’t have a clear sense of exactly what the spleen does, but in esoteric healing, the spleen marks an¬†entry point of life force energy or divinely directly helaing energy. Craving sweetness sometimes happens¬†when people feel they’ve missed their deepest calling or “sweetest” desire in life — that something, which makes life amazing and joyful.¬†I also notice this pattern frequently in diabetics. I call it¬†“the diabetic profile” because I see it so often. Not surprisingly, diabetics have a difficult time “receiving” sweetness on the physical level, too.

For saltiness, I always think of Jesus saying to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness , how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” Harsh words. Yet many of my clients feel exactly this way — as though life has robbed them of their saltiness, their essence. I call this the “Candida profile” and not surprisingly many of these people bounce between salt and¬†sugar cravings.

You might notice a commonality between these two symbolic descriptions: both emphasize some kind of spiritual component. In the case of sweetness, things like meditation, Tai Chi, Reiki (especially learning Reiki and receiving an attunement) can provide a sense of reconnection with the Divine, which helps jump start recovery. Giving permission to receive abundance and enjoy love also helps. In the case of saltiness, some in-depth soul searching about life path and the nature of resistance often helps move things more into balance.

Your body never betrays you. It always works to support the soul’s deepest longings. Listening to your body offers one of the best ways to rediscover misplaced joie de vivre. I wish you many blessings¬†along the way.

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com

Healthy Skin: Some Medical Intuitive Observations

I’ve been having a “rash” of Medical Intuitive clients complaining about acne, rashes or other unpleasant skin issues. Although many people face these issues, calls about them have become more frequent lately. It seems that rounds of doctor visits, natural or steroid creams, water or juice fasts, visualization and liver cleanses have not managed to alter the symptoms.

I find this very interesting! It’s not the same rash or the same location, and these clients live all over the world, so the same environmental factor seems unlikely.¬†I do sense some similar root causes, though, so I thought I’d share the most common observations here.

1 ) Check Your Superfood and¬†Beta-Carotene Consumption. Although getting too much vitamin A through diet seems unlikely on a SAD or SUKD, in the realm of raw foods and superfoods, it does happen. High sources include: goji berries, spirulina, carrot juice, AFA algae, mango, spinach, kale, beets, and many seaweeds. People who load up on antioxidant rich foods can easily slip into a beta-carotene¬† glut in which they’re consuming many, many times the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A. Unlike B-vitamins that we excreet through urine, vitamin A goes into the liver. Too much can cause a strain.

I have had many raw food clients call me complaining of excessive skin dryness, flushing¬†and/or a burning itch that seems to creep under the skin. In most cases, once they backed down high beta-carotene foods for a few days the itch completely resolved. Depending on severity, they may need to avoid seaweeds, mango, goji and spirulina for a few weeks to a few months, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that hasn’t been able to work some of these back in with time.

2 ) “Face” Your Fears of Increased Visibility. Skin represents the face we show the world–the wrapping on the package of our soul. So many of the most visible people in our society have suffered severe battles with acne, rosacea, or other skin issues. In many cases, the fear of people seeing their skin kept these¬†folks in the shadow much longer than was natural for them. Having suffered mild acne myself, I totally understand the urge to think, “Oh, I can’t possibly teach about health if I don’t look perfect. No one will listen to me if I have a zit. They’ll¬†think I don’t know what I’m talking about.” This attitude kept me from putting myself “out there” as a medical intuitive until 2006, even though I had been a practicing medical intuitive since 2001.

I get it. When skin issues present themselves, the last thing people want to do is increase their visibility. But sometimes that’s exactly what needs to occur in order for the symptoms to resolve. My own skin cleared as I grew more courageous about admitting what kind of work I do. Each time I feel challenged to raise that visibility a little more, I still experience an occasional blemish. I know from working with so many other leaders that this is extremely common, so now I just roll with it. The more people can embrace the beauty of what wants to flow through them and allow that message whatever size stage it needs, the more the acne or other unsightly things seem to resolve.

Even when it does not resolve right away, the energy takes over. I know many people who have acne who routinely get told how radiant and beautiful their complexions are! Sometimes they want to argue with whoever bestows the compliment, but in reality, they are living more honestly by letting their gifts and energy flow. Other people perceive that as beauty.

3 ) Look to the Past to Understand the Present. As one of our major detox organs, the skin offers an easy exit for all sorts of things we really don’t want clogging up our system. Many already understand the importance of cleaning the colon and liver and how that can affect the health of the skin.

From an intuitive standpoint, the colon represents control and the liver houses anger, especially anger stemming from frustration. Just as the body will release toxins when it feels strong enough to handle them, so it will release old emotions or issues when it senses enough of a support system to process these away. Skin offers a dramatic way of “coming out” about formerly repressed or embarrassing events, feelings or issues.

On a global scale, many people are getting ready to release their gifts into the world in huge ways beyond what they dreamed of doing.¬† In preparation of this next level of visibility and awareness, we’re going through a global purge on this planet and as individuals. I believe this accounts for why so many people who “never” have skin issues suddenly do. These rashes and other challenges represent a call to look very deep and to send compassion to ourselves in earlier times when we did not have the necessary tools to handle trauma or disappointment.

By way of example, I’m experiencing this in my own life right along with so many of my clients. I have had an odd rash on my right thigh for the last couple months. I found it fascinating because it exactly traces my “bladder meridian,” which is an energy channel in Chinese medicine. While recovering from my brain injury, I learned that fluorescent lights would “blow out” my bladder meridian. It would just short circuit and leave me hopelessly fatigued and unable to function until my holistic doctor “reconnected it” through energy work and some herbs. “How interesting,” I thought, “that I’m finally at a place where my body can let the rest of that go.”

When the rash continued to creep its way down my leg in a straight line, I contacted a dermatologist. She gasped because she had “never seen this in an adult before.” She biopsied it and found that it was, in fact, a childhood rash, which usually occurs at age 3. Hmmm … even more interesting! My paternal grandfather died when I was 3. He was my absolute favorite person in the world, my very best friend. I have memories of drawing with him when I was 2, as well as vague memories from even earlier than that. I vividly remember the day he died. I also remember a quick recognition (especially for a 3 year old) that other people were hurting and that my grief would only upset them more.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of work around that grief, and it certainly helps to have so many intuitive gifts of communication! Still, my reaction — that stuffing of the grief and shock that someone could just disappear — had left a mark on my inner terrain. The dermatologist urged me to use a steroid cream, even though the rash typically resolves on its own. It’s not contageous, infectious or in any way dangerous. It just looks like a red line running down the limb. If the location and diagnosis (Lichen striatus) did not so obviously tie into old trauma, I might feel worried or frustrated. But in reality, I see this as a celebration that my soul feels ready to release those traumas in a final way before moving on to the next level. I opted not to use the steroid cream, since that only represses the symptoms. If this is an old drama coming to the surface after 33 years, then it feels right to let it play itself out.

I’ve seen this pattern so many times in clients. Sometimes dietary shifts or creams help, but sometimes the skin simply announces progress — making visible what occurs beneath perception. Sometimes “ugly” skin makes us infinitely more conscious of our inner pathos, vulnerability¬†and beauty. And whenever that happens, I rejoice.

Peace to you!

Related posts: Natural Beauty, 2012 and the Mayan Calender: What’s Happening?, Coaching Yourself through Food Issues,¬†Breast Health: Some Medical Intuitive Observations.

www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com