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  • Nurture with Nature – Fall – Part 2 of 4

    shutterstock_108730421._fall_resizeHere it is! Another season upon us. Depending on where you live, the leaves have to drop for the season. The summer places are getting closed up, lakes and pools are getting colder, so here’s what we need to focus on and notice in the next couple of months:

    Enjoy the cooler nights! They come earlier now but it’s oh so much easier to sleep!! We need to take those walks now too, especially if we haven’t been able to fit any in. Remember to walk slowly, pause or stop and breathe deeply of the air, smell the earth and leaves around you and try to tune in and feel the energy of your surroundings before moving on.

    Fall is a great time of year to catch up with chores at home, like window cleaning, gardening, weeding or lawn mower service. It may be a great time to check on the snow blower as well! Those of us that rely on that piece of equipment can use this time to make sure it’s ready to go now instead of at first snow fall.

    Birding is in full swing now as some are migrating and flocking. Notice how the Starlings start to multiply in number from now until spring on the electric lines and how cool they look when flying in a group. How many Hawks can you count as you’re driving, they sit on the street lights or low hung branches by the road? They don’t migrate out until closer to November and some stay all winter. Start a journal if you regularly see a lot of different birds in your area, it’s great to review years later and compare.

    The smells of Fall are incomparable. Close your eyes when you come upon a pleasant smell that only happens now, the smell of leaves, dried grass or farm crop. Look around with fresh eyes and notice the beautiful fall colors, the insects that are still out and operating( look out for the bees!) or the clear blue sky that is like no other sky this time of year.

    Do you have anything that you love to do in the Fall? Please feel free to share on Facebook or leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

    Mindfulness and Present Moment Awareness

    You’ve seen many emails and articles on our website now that have mentioned Present moment awareness and Mindfulness. To explain them further and give you an understanding of just what they are, I found a great explanation that follows:

    Mindfulness is conscious awareness of what you are feeling and experiencing in the present moment. But there is more. To get to joy it’s not enough to just be aware of the present. To get to joy you have to trust that the present moment is exactly where you belong.

    Joy comes from the knowing, the trust, the deep understanding that you are, right now, enough. With that trust and the joy it brings, you can let down your defenses and stop seeking validation. You can lean into happiness, which is the bubbling up of little pieces of joy in the moment.

    As adults with histories, we can’t know happiness unless we know it’s opposite and find it in our hearts to trust despite that knowledge. It takes vulnerability and reliance on forces outside of our control, but, mostly, it takes a commitment to creating live out loud joy for ourselves.

    Huffington post; Debbie Woodbury, author, speaker, survivor

    Wow, that says a lot! I find this to be a beautiful explanation of what we’re talking about when we mention these terms. A real example in my life; things are running smooth and happy, my husband was able to retire from the Fire Dept after thirty years of putting his life on the line. Then, BAM, someone comes in to our home and steals our emergency money, right out from under us. All the plans we had for that money, gone…..

    How do you stay present when these things happen? Debbie said it best above, that it takes being vulnerable to trust in the things that we cannot control! Yes, we felt violated and crummy!!

    Yet, we allowed ourselves to feel these emotions and then come back up from them to more positive feelings, like gratitude and love. Does this happen overnight? Everyone is different as to how long they stay in that space and hold negative emotions, but the more practice you have in processing through them, the quicker you can move.

    Our strategy? We started counting the good things about it all; they did not hurt anyone or anything! They took nothing else. We can always replace the cash! Present moment awareness example; where do we go from here? Better, stronger locks; no hidden keys for starters! So, no big vacations for us this year, we’ll take smaller local ones. Wait until next year though, we’ll have saved more and learned more from this than we ever thought possible and we will concentrate on Today until then!

    Summer: Nurture yourself with Nature

    Hiking, walking or meandering through the woods in the summer is so much more special to those of us in the North. Our season is so short here, we have to be very careful not to miss it!

    It doesn’t have to be summer necessarily to enjoy nature, but warmth, sun and wildlife activity tend to make the experience a more pleasant one. There is no comparison to the sounds of summer! A bubbling brook, a roaring waterfall, the birds, locusts and bees all forming another eco system that we rarely let ourselves be a part of.

    Bathing in Nature, sitting quietly in the middle of a field or forest can quiet the mind and lift the spirit. Notice the details around you as you walk slowly, picking up pine cones, shells, stones or fossils. Can you identify the birds you hear? Do you see any signs of wildlife?

    Breathe deeply and slowly, place your hands on your belly or chest and feel your breath going in and coming out, all while standing still or sitting in this natural environment.

    Communing with that part of yourself that benefits from the peace and quiet of your surroundings can lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress, improve your mood, boost your immune system and on and on it goes!

    Shinrin-yoku is an actual practice of Forest Bathing. Specifically walking through a forest at a slow pace, sitting, noticing, and practicing silence to commune with nature.


    What part of nature can you reach this summer? Can you get out and enjoy a peaceful piece of it more than once this season? If you have a high stress job or lifestyle, try to make a point of Nature walking as often as possible. Nurture your soul with the spirit of the outdoors!

    You deserve it!

    • This is Part one of a four Season Nurture with Nature series


    What Cooking Oils to Use in Your Kitchen and Why?

    Ever wonder the difference between cooking oils in the kitchen? We found an article in Yoga Journal from Feb, 2015 that has some great information about three different oils to use for cooking and what to look for when shopping for them.

    Celine Beitchman, a chef instructor and nutrition counselor at New York City’s Natural Gourmet Institute, shared her top three oils and tips for selecting, tasting and storing the right oil for your next dish:

    Shopping: when buying, look for USDA organic label, which certifies it’s free of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors. Pick up only dark bottles, which keep out the light and heat that speed spoiling.

    Tasting: Sample your oil right after you buy it. If you’re not familiar with how your oil tastes when it’s good, you won’t know how to tell when it’s gone bad.

    Storing: If you buy in bulk or have a pricey bottle you don’t want to risk spoiling too soon, decant a small portion for your counter and refrigerate the rest to preserve it.

    Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial that’s used to reduce skin swelling and redness. It can support a healthy immune system. Add it to dishes you want to taste like coconut, such as sweets. It’s good for: Baking, Frying or Pan-searing.

    Extra-virgin Olive oil: The go-to at the Natural Gourmet Institute, it’s high in “good” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are linked to a lowered risk of heart disease. Bottles labeled “estate harvested” indicate a conscientious producer made it with oversight and care. It’s good for: Low- to no temp recipes since its flavors can quickly break down in heat.

    Sesame oil: Often used in Ayurvedic and macrobiotic diets, sesame oil has been shown to help lower blood pressure and is rich in vitamin E, an anti-oxidant crucial for healthier skin, hair and nail growth. Vitamin E has lately been studied for its role in preventing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s too. The oil can range in color from light to amber to dark. In general, the darker the oil, the stronger its flavor. It’s good for: Sautéing when it’s refined (processed to withstand high heat), drizzling over cold dishes when it’s unrefined.

    Now you can feel like an expert when next you use an oil in the kitchen!!

    Labyrinth Blog

    By Kelly Kralles

    Walking a labyrinth has always been in my sphere of influence. Hearing it spoken about, speaking to people that ran it, all going on around me for years. I never actually walked one until now.

    Wow, what a great experience!! The atmosphere generated by the participants was so peaceful, the beautiful flutes and magical music being played by Sonam Targee such a perfect accompaniment. This particular labyrinth was held at a church by the Labyrinth Society.

    I started at the mouth with shoes removed and thought of what I’d like to release or work through while walking the labyrinth. (This is what I was told to do, everyone is very helpful getting you started). Then I started following the person in front of me, stepping one foot at a time, single file, staying on the path or circuit. Taking the turns at first was a study in concentration, but I quickly got the hang of it, so that I could stop thinking about the turns as I approached them.

    About half way through, I started to feel slightly light headed. I started smiling to myself (and possibly to others) as I progressed further, because the feelings were starting to overwhelm the thoughts! As I reached the middle of the labyrinth, I joined the others gathered there to stop and say a quick blessing to the room and to the Universe for helping me find this quiet place in my mind.

    Now it is time to turn around and follow the path or circuit back out. Same feelings coming in waves now, light, airy, slightly dizzy. No room for actual thoughts anymore at all. Moving around others now too as I work back, so effortless to continue around each other without thinking about who was going to move where.

    Following one foot in front of the other, around and around until coming out again. Thank goodness for the chairs, had to go sit down, close my eyes and stay with the feelings for as long as possible. What a treat!!

    I have been around energy work and am a Wellness facilitator, so I am more sensitive to energy than some. I can honestly say, this was so much fun in more than just an energy sense. It really clears the head and allows you to concentrate on nothing but where your feet are going for just a little while. We all need that for balance and restoration. I highly recommend walking a labyrinth if given the opportunity.

    Go to the labyrinthsociety.org for more on how to find the next labyrinth walk!

    Five Steps To Finding Your Groove

    This is a great reminder of some easy basic things to do to change your daily routine so that you are functioning at a higher level. How great would it be to find that sweet spot or groove in your life where you are not being drained of energy while performing at your peak!!?

    Mindful magazine author Christine Carter wrote:

    1. Take Recess
      When we give ourselves a break from overwork, we increase our brain power and convert stress into productive and creative energy. Have some playtime.

      Take a good old fashioned recess after 60-90 minutes of hard work. Rest. What do you find rejuvenating? Reading? Napping? Looking at interesting things on the internet? Sitting in the sun? Whatever it is, it must be restful and fun, it can’t be “instrumental” in any way.

    1. Switch Autopilot On
      This doesn’t mean being “Mindless” and bumping into walls because we don’t know where we are. It’s about using our brain’s natural ability to run on well-grooved habits, which are more powerful than will power in carrying life’s burdens.
    1. Unshackle Yourself
      Take time to break free from things that tax us, like our smartphone’s constant siren’s song. It opens the door to more joy, and it’s much simpler to do than you think.

      We need to play! We need to laugh and delight in the small things. We need to play peek-a-boo with babies. We need to sing our favorite song at the top of our lungs! We need to dance with our children, lovers and friends!

    1. Cultivate Relationships
      What are friends for? Lots of things. It’s a cliché and it may sound hokey, but life is simply hard to pull off all by ourselves, and there is solid science that tells us our brain is healthier when we nurture our connections to others. It is also being proven as we speak, that maintaining connection to others prolongs your lifespanJ
    1. Tolerate Some Discomfort
      Do what it takes to develop mastery, which makes hard things easy; have the courage to follow your passion and purpose; learn how to bounce back when the going gets rough.
      Let yourself rest, and choose to live more like an olive tree- which bears fruit for centuries-rather than like your smartphone, which is built to last only a couple of years.

    When we judge our worth by how busy we are, we start to believe that if we’re not busy, we’re not worthwhile. Don’t let exhaustion become a trophy.

    Mindful magazine can be found at Mindful.org

    Diabetes Risk Questions

    Diabetes Risk Questions:

    MVP, one of our local Insurance companies, has published a quick quiz to gain insight into Diabetes and could add years to your life!

    If you are 65 yrs. or older, you are at risk for Diabetes.
    It is preventable!

    Here are the questions asked:

    1. Are you a woman who had a baby weighing more than 9lbs. at birth?
    2. Do you have a sister or brother with Diabetes?
    3. Do you have a parent with Diabetes?
    4. Are you younger than 65yrs of age and get little or no exercise in a typical day?
    5. Are you between 45 and 65 years of age?
    6. Are you 65 years of age or older?
    7. Does your weight fall into the range acceptable for your height?

    The answers to these questions can help you make a decision to follow up with your Health care provider and allow you to take the necessary steps to a diabetes free future!

    Maintain a healthy weight, don’t use tobacco and regularly check in to yourself and notice anything unusual that starts to occur in your body, such as excess thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision or extreme fatigue.

    Check out our page on Diabetes under General Health and learn more!

    Probiotics and Why You Should Take Them

    Essential to digestive health is taking a whole food probiotic. Healthy bacteria found in organically grown fruits and vegetables and in raw fermented foods are often missing from the modern American diet. These bacteria helped colonize the gut with beneficial flora whenever people ate raw fruits and vegetables or through the traditional way of preparing foods through fermentation. The average American is greatly lacking in these kinds of foods, not to mention the use of antibiotics even once in life creates the need for a good probiotic to rebuild the gut flora.

    Probiotics enhance the immune system and detoxify the colon for anyone but especially for those who suffer from digestive disorders. Additionally probiotics help to maintain a healthy gut microbial environment, increase the body’s natural absorption of calcium and magnesium, improve overall nutrient absorption and digestion as a whole and promote normal and healthy bowel regularity and consistency.

    Lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha also provided healthy bacteria in traditional diets and these should be part of the diet of any person suffering from digestive problems. But probiotic can help “jump start” the system in those with serious digestive problems as they will quickly populate the gut with beneficial organisms. When choosing a probiotic make sure it contains both pro and pre-biotic. Be mindful that if you overuse probiotics it can in turn, cause bloating and gas if you are taking too much.

    Andréa Evans, MSACN, CHC, AADP
    Clinical Nutritionist, Applied Kinesiologist, Holistic Health Counselor
    Gateway Nutrition and Fitness @ East Side Wellness Center
    625 Ayrault Road
    Fairport, NY 14450

    Overcoming Sunscreen Hurdle With Kids!

    Sunscreen is so important for our future Skin health and longevity. Thinking about applying it as adults, it’s no big deal and we just slather it on and help out those around us by getting their backs. With kids though, most of us that have been through that phase of life have blocked out the difficult moments we had trying to apply it to our young children! However, if you have young ones currently, you can definitely relate to the difficulties that come from their resistance to applying sunscreen before any outdoor activities.

    Important note: read the labels on the sunscreen and be aware:
    Oxybenzone is a hormone disrupting sunscreen filterRetinyl Palmitate is a form of Vitamin A linked to skin damage.

    An article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle had some great advice I wanted to share with you:

    According to the article written by Priscilla Dunstan, a behavioral researcher and author of “Child Sense” and Calm the Crying”, It is so important to be adaptable in your approach to your kids and work with them using their dominant sense to make sure the sunscreen gets applied and protection is given.

    All children respond well to rules and clear boundaries she says, don’t be afraid to make sun protection a priority. No Sun protection, no playing in the sun!

    Tactile children tend to dislike the texture of the sunscreen and will resist with vigor as you try to apply it. A spray can be a good option for these children as they can stand still with their eyes closed for a minute while it is applied. Alternatives such as clothing that blocks the sun, hats and large umbrellas may also work well with these children.

    A low fragrance, sensitive skin sunscreen is a good choice for the taste and smell child. They will prefer lotion rather than the spray as the mist can interfere with their sense of smell and taste. Remember to think hats, sun umbrellas and shirts or sun body suits.

    Forget large brimmed hats that cover your auditory child’s ears as they don’t tend to be fans of items that can distort the sound around them, which large hats can do. Baseball caps will be a hit for them however, especially if others are wearing them and there is a story attached to it. Applying the lotion while discussing the cap story can be very effective. Create a summer song about sunscreen for them and sing while applying or spraying lotion.

    Visual children can become obsessed with sunscreen not showing or being too shiny or white according to Priscilla, so bring a small mirror to reassure them that’s it’s all rubbed in to their satisfaction. They may also be interested in helping to put it on, so if they’re old enough, encourage this type of self-care. Pick a sunscreen that doesn’t leave a color or residue and if it has a picture of their favorite cartoon character on it, all the better.

    Thank you Priscilla from the D&C for a great article that reminds us how different every child is and adapting to their senses will reward us with easy and stress free outdoor activities!

    Sleep – Let’s take a deeper look

    In general, with a good night’s sleep we feel better, we think better, we have more energy, we are in a better mood and we enjoy our day overall. We rebuild and regenerate while sleeping. According to WebMD, and almost all other qualified resources, 7 hours a night is a minimum and 8 is ideal. They also mention a study that showed with less than 7 hours sleep people are 3 times more likely to get sick than if they get 8 hours or more on a regular basis.

    It’s essential to ease out of our busy days and leave behind its tensions, stress and hectic pace and enjoy a good night’s sleep.  You’re not alone, if you have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep. Lack of sleep can negatively impact many areas of your life.

    A wide range of things can contribute to trouble sleeping. Physical and/or emotional stress is often the most common reason. Lifestyle, health issues, medications, and aging have also been known to contribute to sleep problems. Chronic problems, such as severe nervousness, agitation, nausea or thoughts/feelings that are self-destructive should be discussed with your doctor.

    Our minds are now being over stimulated with the fast pace of work, constant use of television, computers and mobile phones. Our brains find it hard to switch off and allow us to sleep. We have to learn to relax and take control of our own minds – thinking and worrying about sleep can lead to no sleep!  There’s no one sleep solution, often it’s a matter of finding a range of solutions that work for you – your own path to a better night’s sleep.

    Tips for what to do as you prepare for Bed on our next Blog!