Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I am back, and I come with great news!

Hello Friends!

I have great news! I took a 6 month leave of absence from sharing my writing online, to check in with myself and give some thought to what it is that I want.

Thanks for rollin' with me through the changes. Here's one major change: Awakenwithkatie.com

Other happenings in my life while I was away:

  • I finished my first year of plant spirit medicine studies in Southern Vermont with Sage Maurer.
  • I completed an intensive Chakra Therapy course with spiritual leader Anodea Judith, and learned how energy moves and creates blocks in the body.
  • Working with my plant allies, I've started creating intuitive herbal products, which you can now buy online and locally in my hometown :)
  • I've ended my Women's Mediation Circle at the Zen Center in Beverly, but I plan to join or co-create one with women of all ages! Contact me if you're interested in this!
  • I've been cooking and creating tasty, local, plant-based meals with some of my favorite women at Chive Catering
  • I strengthened new and existing relationships, and lost some too.
  • I had my heart broken.
  • and I slowly invited her to come together again, with more gentleness and kindness.
  • I cleansed my space, getting rid of a lot of things I didn't love, and bringing in more of what serves my lifestyle~ inspired by the documentary, Minimalism
  • I've just begun training as a preschool teacher at an alternative preschool in the North Shore~ which will begin this summer :)
  • I've been seeing an energy healer, which is helping me to feel safe in my body again. 
  • and learning how to slow down…especially with food and my body, which is the basis of my latest journal post.

I am here!
With a fresh, new website: Awakenwithkatie.com and my cultivations: a teeny little online herbal store, showcasing a few of my healing plant allies that I have grown to love (I'm so pun-y)

Also an updated blog- my journal. I feel like a completely new person compared to the Katie I was last year, and for me, this feels like dumping what no longer serves me. "Thank you, I need to free up some energy now."

To YOU, reading this, I am TRULY DEEPLY SO VERY grateful to have you by my side through this journey.

Thank you thank you thank you!!
I love you
<3 Katie

Monday, August 8, 2016

Exploring the Depths of Love in Relationship

photography by my dear friend Rory Savatgy, www.savatgy.com 

As you may have seen, my writing style is changing.
just as I am forever evolving
as you are too…
I crave to feel deeper meaning in beautiful words
where time and space have such importance.
so here I am respecting yours, and ours
in sharing these depths of love.

an eternal journey we travel, navigated by love
in relationship.
Relationship with words, with being, with other beings, with physical things,
with soul…

though my essence is pure love
I have been too afraid to offer her space to flourish
strangled by my worries, my delusion, my childhood trauma
a safety net catching my woes and dangling them above magnificent earth below…
along with the rest of life’s pleasures.
I’ve been missing out.

I know why I did this though,
to protect myself from being hurt.
to keep myself in a safe, shiny bubble
Ha! bubbles always pop.

Right now, I feel open to sharing the love,
from a space of true courage and vulnerability,
de-masking the free-spirit, cool girl facade I've so enjoyed wearing.
with loving recipients offering their faithful love,
may we experience a mutual presence and harmony.

so here I lay, bathing in the velvety warm waters
surrendering to the mystery of life, of love, of trust.
I see more clearly (lovingly) now,
This is the only way.

~Katie Ring

Sunday, July 31, 2016

We are the Cosmos

I thought this was wild cosmo, it is actually a chicory !
“If you see anything horrible, don’t cling to it. If you see anything beautiful, don’t cling to it.” Excerpt from How the Swans Came to the Lake, a Narrative History of Buddhism in America, by Rick Fields.

We are the Cosmos

Yesterday, I ran.
I ran, not too far, not too fast, but I ran
I ran because my legs would let me
And my body asked me to move her fluidly
Like I did as a child, or an adolescent.

I ran to the big, hilly cemetery, right in my town.
I didn’t know where my run would take me, but I was led here.

At first I worried, as I was in a sports bra for a top,
A concern came to mind: someone thinking my lack of clothing disrespectful.
SO, I came up with a comeback in my head, because I felt like arguing...
And the reply came through as a mirror of sleeping thoughts.
This is how I support my truth, when I feel doubt creeping up. As she always does...

I return again. Presence.
I’m running around the graves~ noticing, appreciating, loving, blessing…
I think of these people, how they lay with their family members
Beautiful names they share.
Tombstones adorned with art, sentiment, and love…

I notice a bluff of cheery purpley-blue flowers at the edge of the cemetery
The rising sun giving them full permission to be noticed.

I don’t know what flower she is, but I see her a lot in fields.
Five elegant petals with pearly blue stamens at the center.
Nothing less than angelic.
On each petal I see the shape of 5 fingers, reaching out to the sun
I dance my fingers along, holding hands with the petal-hands.
So delicate, so worthy of my affection and attention.
I see you. I know you. I honor you.
I will tell them you are safe.
I will tell them you haven’t actually left at all,
But rather we have left you…

I’m here now, I am ready to connect with you
And share your ancient wisdom with humanity.
And with that mission, I will do my best to speak with humility and integrity
I will share your undying love with the rest of mankind.
I will nourish your traditions through the elements through which you sing
And with that, I devote my life to all that exists.

We are the cosmos.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hungry for Wisdom

When did food and pleasure become so twisted?

When I eat alone, where is my mind?

My thoughts are...
on my phone
on someone else
on my to-do list
or my next bite.

Or is it on how I feel…

Do I check in with myself over the course of my meal?
Or did I even forget I was eating in the first place?

When I'm in good company, and we're breaking bread
I eat much slower
so long the conversation is balanced.
Though if I want to escape,
I begin to shovel
stuffing the emotion down my throat.
after it goes past my tongue, I can't be bothered.
My body will tell me otherwise.
She says, "Hey! Pay attention to me, I'm here for you!"
but I ignore her saving cries
that manifest in pain and frustration
in small ugly, in dissatisfaction.

She has always known,
look at her when she was a child.
She eats small bites when she's hungry
She stops when she's full.
She even plays in-between.
and remember…she'll eat even more if she's bribed with a sweet.
and too much sweet followed by an achy belly.
"I'll never do that again"
just like I said in college…

Our fear of the body's wisdom is worse than simply listening

Friday, July 8, 2016

Easy Zoodles with Marinara

Zucchini noodles gets even the pickiest eaters excited about plants. Zoodles, or zucchini noodles, are made using a Spiralizer or Spirooli, which turns any hard fruit or vegetable into a thin, thick, or wide-ribbon noodle. Gluten-free, sugar-free, plant-based...In Italian we say, “Spaghetti di naturale!” You could also sub out the marinara for butter if you prefer.
By Katie Ring
Serves 4      Tools: Peeler, knife, cutting board, spiralizer, scissors, saucepan 

6 small zucchinis
A few generous pinches of sea salt
1 jar no-added-sugar marinara sauce (I like 365 brand from Whole Foods)
Optional: fresh basil, parmesan cheese

-Peel off skin from zucchini, don’t worry if you don’t remove all of it. Once skins are removed, cut off the sides, leaving you with cylindrical naked zucchini :)
- Place zucchini in spiralizer and spin into noodles. Once they’ve all been zoodled, cut the noodles into smaller pieces. Set aside.
-In a saucepan over medium heat, add zucchini.  Sprinkle with salt.  Stir. After a couple minutes, add marinara to your liking.  Saute for a few more minutes to heat sauce.  
-Scoop zoodles into bowls and sprinkle with fresh basil or parmesan cheese.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Vegan Caesar Salad

This vegan take on a classic salad is super health-supportive with booster foods like detoxing nori and gut-supportive fermented miso.  Pair with roasted chickpeas, gluten-free croutons, or cubed and roasted tofu.  I buy organic tofu as most non-organic soy tends to be genetically modified. This recipe can be made soy-free by removing the tofu and adding extra olive oil for creaminess, and substituting chickpea miso for white miso.
Serves 4-6

1 oz soft tofu
3 cloves garlic
1 sheet nori, toasted and crumbled
¼ cup EVOO
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 ½ Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs white miso
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs capers
1 tsp coconut aminos (or tamari)
¼ tsp white pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
optional garnish: nutritional yeast, scallions, gomasio or sesame seeds, toasted chickpeas or cubed tofu

-Combine all ingredients in a blender, except lettuce, and blend until smooth and creamy.
-At serving time, toss lettuce with dressing in large bowl.  Top with nutritional yeast, scallions, sesame seeds, or toasted chickpeas.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sunset Jicama and Apple Slaw

This crunchy, refreshing, raw salad is perfect for anyone on a balancing or cleansing diet.  Jicama is a Mexican tuber high in vitamin C and healing to the immune system. This fiber-rich dish is packed with prebiotics, which are are metabolized in the intestines, where our bacteria can then use it for energy. I'd take this to the beach with me or on a picnic.
By Katie Ring

Serves 4
Tools: knife, cutting board, peeler, food processor or grater

1 small Jicama
2 green apples
1 medium carrot
Juice of 1-2 limes
Optional: spearmint

-First we’ll prep ingredients. Take your peeler and peel tough skin off jicama.  Using a large chef’s knife, cut off bottom of jicama, so it rests flat on your cutting board.  Cut jicama into rectangles.  Set aside.
-Cut apples into quarters, discarding seeds and stem.  Set aside.
-If using food processor, use the shredding blade and one-at-a-time, feed the jicama, apple, and carrot through.  If using a cheese grater, this process will take a bit longer, but it can be done the same way.  

-Transfer shredded mixture to a large bowl and add lime juice.  Let marinade in fridge for 20 minutes.  Top with spearmint if you desire!

Purple Beet & White Bean Dip with Dill

"Beans Beans the Magical Fruit…" If using a can of beans, I highly recommend Eden Brand since they do not use BPA in their cans.  If time allows it, soak beans overnight for maximum health benefits. This colorful dip is delightfully inviting, especially when served to someone who thinks the worst of beets...I bet you can change their mind with this one
Source: Adapted from Chef Angie Federico, Bauman College Staff
Serves: 6-8
1 cup white beans, uncooked
¼ cup Tahini
1 medium purple beet, roasted, peeled & medium diced
2 medium cloves garlic, smashed & minced
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp salt, more to taste
¼ tsp black pepper, more to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill, more to taste
-Cook, drain, & cool beans.
-Add all ingredients except dill to a food processor & blend until smooth.
-Transfer dip to medium mixing bowl and mix in dill. Salt & pepper to taste.

Dreamy Chocolate Chia Pudding

This can be made several days in advance, as it will keep refrigerated for 3 days. The longer the seeds sit, the more liquid they can absorb. Chia seeds are fiber beasts! They aid in digestion, and are loaded with Omega-3 fats, which improve brain function. Raw cacao is high in minerals like magnesium as well as antioxidants to protect our cells from damage. This dessert is so supportive that it gives me an excuse to eat chocolate pudding for breakfast!
By Katie Ring
Serves 4

⅓ cup chia seeds
1 ¾ cup Cinnamon-Vanilla Coconut Milk
2 Tbs raw cacao powder
1 small pinch sea salt
optional: maple syrup to sweeten, banana chips and granola, coconut whipped cream, toasted hazelnuts and cherries

-Soak chia seeds in coconut milk. Let sit for 10 minutes and stir.  Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes longer or overnight.
-In a medium mixing bowl, whisk hydrated chia seeds with remaining ingredients.  Add sweetener like maple syrup or stevia to your liking. Scoop into small bowls and serve with any of the optional toppings.  Indulge freely!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Four years ago I would not have thought yoga would lead me towards spiritual awakening

These are dancing grebes

What an open, honest expression of love that is, coming from an animal.  When these birds unite with their mate, they mimic one another, as they move, expressing themselves fully.  After a series of doing that, the birds then dance across the water, opening their chests, their hearts. Their necks elongate, beaks and heads pointing to the heavens. As though reaching all their energy outward.

I think of it like nature's yoga.

These birdies remind me of my current yoga practice.  I first started practicing hot yoga after my doctor recommended it to me to relieve my chronic back pain and learn to touch my toes (Not long ago I was soooo inflexible!)  There were two Corepower studios pretty close to my school, so I decided to give hot yoga a try with a couple willing friends.

At first, it was painful and miserable. I was sweating profusely in barely-breathable studios, forcing my body into various postures so that I could fit in with the rest of the class, rather than listening to my body's natural messages.  Sometimes I would get to the studio before a class and still decide not to go in.  My ego mind was totally in control, calling all the shots.  Over time, I realized that the work I was doing on my mat directly correlated with how I was approaching life off the mat.

At the end of my classes, I felt so damn blissed-out, like nothing could take my buzz away.  It was that juicy yoga enlightenment that was dripping into my subconscious and permeating into my day to day life, loooong after the yoga class ended.

About a month ago I was talking to my friend who said she'd been getting into a consistent yoga practice and she just loved how good she felt, like she could tackle anything life threw her way.  I was inspired by her drive and passion. I wanted that too, so why was I not continuing with my own practice? Money.  The reason why I wasn't practicing regularly was because I thought I couldn't afford a membership at my local studio that I love.  And then I realized, this is my life, my health and my happiness (and likewise other people benefit from my happiness). What I can't afford is to not live my life fully. That's way more expensive.

Only recently, after 4 years of on-again off-again practice, have I realized the purpose of yoga is to expand energy.  This has manifested itself differently throughout each phase of my practice. Originally, I used yoga to manage my physical pain and touch my toes. But more than that, yoga is teaching me to create space, no matter how many times I fall out of a pose or get a reality check in a beginner's class (Beginner classes are not just for newbies, they are so so key for my growth!)  I'm becoming stronger and more stable each day, regardless of whether I practice yoga or not.  And it's manifesting within me in physical, mental, and spiritual ways.

"I'm so tired. I have no energy. I just don't have the time to do it. When am I going to fit that into my day? I'll start tomorrow. I'll do it next week."

We say these things ALL.THE.TIME.

Even though I'm still making these same complaints, yoga practice has taught me how to create more time, space, and energy for myself. Through yoga, we fire energy out through our fingers, toes, chest, head and tailbone. My practice is always evolving, but currently it's all about learning to tap into these energy bodies and expanding in love, just like these beautiful dancing grebes.

Maybe yoga isn't your spiritual catalyst, and that's totally ok!  I want you to ask yourself:

What is it in your life that helps you create more time, more space, and more energy for you? Is it a walk in nature with your dog? Spending time with your family and friends? Meditatively preparing a meal for yourself in your kitchen? Getting crafty and artsy by yourself?

I still have days when I'm driving to the studio, creating excuses as to why I shouldn't go to class.  I will continue to fight the asanas, choosing whether or not I can breathe into the ridiculously challenging pose to see what comes up, or chill out in child's pose and learn gentleness with myself.  I'm constantly learning about myself, about life, about spirituality.

my favorite yoga pose, in my favorite place :)
Photo by National Geographic

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I can't stop eating and I'm not even hungry

I can't stop eating and I'm not even hungry.
My belly is full yet my emotions are starving.
A sort of addiction to excessive pleasure. 

All I want to do is shovel something crunchy, sweet, salty, creamy into my mouth. I want to chew, grinding my teeth into something satisfying.  Using my teeth to get out the frustration I feel. Chomping and biting to release my tension.  The flavor doesn't matter. Standing or sitting- it doesn't matter. Oh, and the faster the better.

And how ironic that I'm hosting a mindfulness eating workshop this weekend. 

It all came full circle at one of my catering jobs yesterday.  A woman I work with was really getting on my nerves.  It's not the first time either.  So I try to have compassion for her, even though it's the hardest thing to feel, especially when I'm running on cortisol.  

I see that she's unhappy.  She doesn't smile much, I doubt she loves her job. I'm sure she'd like to look and feel healthier… She set me off when she impulsively barked at my coworkers and me to eat our staff meal quickly, while we had some downtime. 

This set off my inner critic, who mentally challenged her: 

"Why should I have to eat according to your rules, bitch? I see you eating your meal, without thought or feeling, and you still look unsatisfied after your plate is cleared.  And I see you eyeing the desserts, I see you slathering butter on your gluten-y bread and devouring it without thinking.  Who do you think you are? You are so greedy. Why do you need to be do demanding? Is it because your life is out of control and you think you can control this?"

And that's when I realized: She is me.  Because she too, is an emotional eater. That is when my compassion swooped in.  

When it hit me, holy shit, you are me. My shadow self, my shameful self.  

And I'm trying to find peace with all parts of me. 
To love every cell of my being.

Two days ago I was eating what I call "clean".  I was savoring flavors in smaller portions. Avoiding sugar.
You know, to prepare for my workshop this weekend on mindful eating.
Yesterday, my cravings took over.  In many moments of weakness, I gave them power.
I ate two chocolate covered strawberries, two chocolates, four pieces of cake, some chocolate covered almonds, and a home-made brownie (Birthdays at work+literal eye candy=deadly guilt duo).  They were all supposed to taste delicious. And yet, I felt guilty about every. single. bite.  I ate them anyway.
So I can't say I truly savored these decadent treats. 
I abused the pleasure of food. I abused my mind. I abused my body. 

Why did I do this?
Was it my lack of willpower? 
Or my unwillingness to be present in the moment? To experience a fleeting moment of passion? To distract myself from the stress and emotion that keeps coming up?  Do I do it because I want to disrespect my body? Do I get high off the guilt, succumbing to my shameful truth? No matter how long I meditate, or how positive I feel. I want to hide from it all. Because the truth is really fucking scary. 

Dear food, I thank you for providing me with nourishment and pleasure.  
But we gotta change this relationship. Right now I see you as good or bad with a side of guilt.
Is this healthy? No
Am I ok with it? Kind of…
Do I want to do something about it? Yes…but at this moment all I want to do is eat. 
In the moments where my thoughts are useless 
and my willpower doesn't stand a chance
and my stomach is my slave,
I expect food to satisfy my every need.  

That isn't fair to you, food.
You're purpose is innately good.
But I've strangled you to the point of gluttony and greed.
At my fingertips. Always within reach. Whatever I desire.

But you know better.
You are wise, as nature intended.
You keep feeding me like I ask, 
but I'm still starving.

~Katie Ring

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The moose, the moth, and making love to myself to understand what I need.

It's been weeks since my last post, the longest I've gone without writing here.  I've been creating, but on my own and with my close friends.  Expressing myself through communication- poetry, dance, singing, arts, music. I've been focusing on all the feels.  Experiencing.  Being present with whatever feelings show up.  The pleasurable, uncomfortable, frustrating, painful.  I've given myself time to connect with myself, understand what it is that I want, what the universe is telling me I need, and what brings me home.  

During this time a lot has come up, and I've been holding back from sharing in this blog space.  I've been avoiding it. On a deeper level, I'm afraid of embracing my authentic self completely, in her pure, raw form.  I started the Naked Truth Challenge for this reason; I wanted to be real, to share with others my feelings, thoughts and experiences in hopes that it would inspire truth and compassion in others.  To know that we can share in this human experience with one another.

Giant leap of faith!
In the last month, I've been having super intense-feely dreams.  In these dreams, everything is based on love. Time doesn't exist.  These dreams are an exploration of the beautiful mind, the world of the heart, and the connection between the two.  I am only brushing the surface of this magical dream world, but to me it's an experience, a feeling, and a familiar place all in one; where everything exists in full awareness.

I've come to understand this as mindfulness.  A nonjudgmental awareness that brings me peace and understanding.  I'll even experience these dream-like states in my waking life, having fleeting moments of comfort and familiarity.  I don't have to understand it, I can just be with the feeling. With it a deep knowing that we're serving a greater purpose, outside this human experience.  It's kinda like a super-heightened deja-vu.

Last month, a few friends and I held our first Yin Circle.  We gathered together on the eve of the full moon in a peaceful, nurturing space where we shared ourselves with one another.  It was beautiful. We practiced gratitude. We reflected on the last year and set intention for the new. We also shared what our spirit animal might be, something I had never thought of before.  There has always been a theme with moose in my life. The moose stands strong, rooted by love in earth.  Her antlers reach towards the heavenly sky, connecting us to spirit.  She has always been my reminder, from writing her name almost daily for sign-ins to seeing her sticker on my car.

The night before the circle, I was watching a documentary on the mysteries of life. The film talked about how the blue morpho butterfly reflects light in the most brilliant depths of blue because it is covered in microscopic scales that reflect and absorb light unlike any other organism we know.  As I'm watching this, I realize that hanging in a frame above the couch I'm laying on is a stunning Urania Ripheus sunset moth. I bought this little guy at a butterfly science museum years ago, without hesitation.  Now I have this gorgeous iridescent moth literally watching over me, reflecting the magnificent colors of the rainbow.

Moth guides us from darkness into light, connecting us to our higher selves, higher conscious. Moth signifies transformation. She moves through life's crazy changes with light and love.  They are covered in tiny hairs, making them highly sensitive (anyone else a HSP?!) I try to see the light in situations, which can sometimes lead me astray when there are false flames (this could explain my innate trust in people and difficulty understanding sarcasm).

"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." George Addair 

Moth flew into my path recently as a reminder.  She is the master of disguise, which plays so well into my life, in that I have a hard time expressing my own emotions. That I could be hiding something from myself.  Moth is a reminder to have faith that transformation will bring me exactly what I need.  

With all this in mind, I'm doing some serious emotional uprooting.  To dig up all the shit I've repressed and forced away, bringing it to my awareness, acknowledging it with loving forgiveness, and movin' along.  A major emotional block coming up for me is intimacy.  It doesn't scare me to make publicly bold moves, but when it comes to what happens in private, well, this makes me want to run far, far away. I'm wondering, can I have my alone-time if I invite in an intimate relationship?

Will this lead me to seclusion?
Separation and embarrassment?
Shame and fear?
Release this so I can be free
To love and accept myself.

For the last month or so I've been asking the universe for super guidance, really trusting that I can take on all these sudden career transitions and relationship challenges with strength and pleasure. I'm biting my nails, but it's all working out just fine.

Before I can move forward into a happy and healthy relationship with someone, I need to be totally in love with myself. Obviously, right? Well, easier said than done.  So so often I find myself criticizing my thoughts, my actions, or my body without even realizing it. I even take digs at my writing before anybody's had a chance to read it yet!

To counteract this deadly behavior I've been practicing the art of making love to myself.  I used to think making love = having sex.  I'm learning that making love is taking care of myself- my heart, my mind, my body, and my soul.  It's saying no when someone asks me to cover their shift at work.  It's pushing through that last round of chaturangas in my yoga class because I know it will make me stronger.  It's taking 10 minutes to massage my feet and legs with lavender oil before bed. It's removing the guilt for enjoying a sweet gluten-y treat.  It's making love to myself, embracing every physical and energetic cell of my being.

If I don't do this for myself, how can I expect someone else to do it for me?

Share the love <3


Monday, December 14, 2015

Reducing your toxin exposure could help you lose weight and stay healthy

view from top of Mt. Willey, NH
Day 67 of the #NakedTruth challenge. I went on my first winter camping/hiking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire this weekend.  The conditions could not have been better for a mid-December weekend in the mountains.  It reminded me of how little I need, and how good being outdoors makes me feel.

Being in nature exposes an innate sense of wonder, pride, joy, strength, appreciation, and peace.  We reconnect with the earth, its life force, to become one with our environment. The place from which we came.

This week I watched a relevant discussion between Dr. Pedram Shojam and Tom Malterre on Well.org, called, "How to Avoid the Deadly Chemicals All Around Us." (Watch it free here) This super informative video discusses how the air we breath, what we put on our skin, and what we involuntarily ingest is significantly contributing to obesity and the onslaught of modern day diseases; diseases that only started appearing at the turn of the century, a time when chemicals and pollution started being produced on a mass scale. As Dr. Shojam says, "Just because something doesn't kill you, doesn't mean it's not harming you."

Here are some mind-blowing facts discussed in the video:
  • There are 74 billion lbs of chemicals that exist, 745 million were introduced in 2012 alone.
  • Over 12 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year.
  • Bisphenol A, or BPA was created in a lab in 1891. By 1930 BPA was primarily used as a synthetic estrogen to fatten up livestock.
  • These synthetic estrogens, or xenoestrogens are so potent, that they are actually stronger than the natural estrogen our bodies produce.  
  • Studies show that hundreds of chemicals are being found in cord blood of unborn babies. 
  • The average westerner generates 4.4 lbs of garbage daily.
  • Plastic NEVER biodegrades.

That's terrible, but how is all this affecting me?

Do you experience fatigue? Have a hard time remembering things? Watery eyes? Difficulty breathing? Migraines? Eczema? Can't get an erection? These are all signs of toxin exposure. I've experienced most of these, and yeah, it sucks.  Especially since ingesting, breathing, and smothering our bodies with these toxins seems nearly impossible to avoid. 

Founder of Whole Life Nutrition and Tedx Speaker Tom Malterre, explains how eczema and asthma are associated with a loss of tolerance of our immune system. When the immune system is constantly attacking these toxins, our bodies can't function properly.  Do you find that you can't tolerate certain fragrances anymore? Do you break out in a rash easily and don't know the cause? Or have you developed an allergy that is progressively getting worse?

These prolific chemicals are contributing to diseases like obesity, diabetes and cancer.  Young women can't get pregnant and babies are being born with allergies. Our bodies, which are under a constant state of attack, over-react to foreign substances in our environment leading to damaging effects on our physiology and neurology.

But wait, there is hope! We can mitigate toxin exposure and overtime, restore our bodies to homeostasis.  
photography by the talented Mike Plassmann

So what can I do to reduce my toxin exposure?

Here are some ways I try to reduce my exposure:
  • Go for a hike in nature or walk in a park.
  • Eat foods your great grandparents would recognize. Think fresh foods, seasonal and local when possible, and definitely organic.  This alone reduces your BPA exposure by 66% (Malterre, 2015).
  • Eat and drink from glass, ceramic or stainless steel glassware and dishes.  Same goes for storing leftovers.  I love using ball jars for fruit or herb infused water and tea. You can also reuse glass jars for storing leftovers.
  • Bring your own to-go cup for coffee or tea.
  • Ask for no straw when you order a drink
  • Take epsom salt/magnesium flake baths.  Magnesium helps detox the body.
  • Sweat! Working out is a great way to detox.
  • Blue-green algae and wheatgrass are super detoxifying. You can easily add them to a juice or smoothie.
  • Sulfer-rich vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage and brussels sprouts bind to toxins in the body to rev-up detoxing.  Incorporating more of these foods into your diet will help you shed excess weight and improve your memory.
  • Be a conscious consumer.  Look at the label next time you go shopping, think about all the factors that brought that product into your hands.  Was it made locally or internationally? Is it a socially responsible company? Are you buying new or second hand? It's not about right or wrong, but rather just to become more aware.
  • If it smells like cancer (chemicals) it's probably harmful.  Think paints, ink, exhaust, fragrances, soaps, candles, car fresheners, detergents, fabrics, lotions, cleaning supplies, nail polish, makeup. 
  • It's hard to hear, but your beauty routine could be making you sick.  Try making your own lotions infused with essential oils or buy them from your favorite local herbalist.  At the bottom, I've included a list of some of my favorite natural products and where you can buy them.
  • You can bring your own canvas tote bags to the grocery store, or any store for that matter.  I always keep extras in my car. 
  • Avoid canned goods, most of them are lined with BPA or other phthalates.
  • Bring your own produce bags, canvas bags, or jars to the bulk section of the grocery store to save money and reduce waste.  Some stores even offer bulk teas and spices!
  • Replace paper towels and napkins with old cloths or rags. (check second-hand stores too!)

Katie's Favorite Health and Beauty Products
http://www.justherbals.com/products.html  I worked with Emma this summer and her products are just incredible
http://fatandthemoon.com Based out of Northern California
http://www.rebeccasherbs.com my favorite apothecary based out of Boulder, CO
http://wellnessmama.com for tons of non-toxic beauty and home care recipes
http://www.ewg.org tests thousands of products for chemicals and then rates them
lifewithoutplastics.com for more ways to reduce consumption

photography by Mike Plassmann