Walnut Chocolate-Chip Cookies with Yogurt and Almond Flour

A grain-free twist on an old-time favorite.

Article by Divina Helene|July 1, 2021

These walnut chocolate-chip cookies made with yogurt and almond flour are a delicious, grain-free twist on an old time favorite. They were delightfully soft and gooey with these perfectly browned, crispy edges—so good! Try them out and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup of plain, full-fat Greek yogurt (I use www.wallabyyogurt.com)

3/4 cup of sugar (I use www.lakanto.com)

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup almond flour (I use www.bobsredmill.com)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Mix the yogurt and the sugar until mixture becomes creamy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients, stirring with a rubber spatula until no lumps remain.
  5. Add chocolate chips.
  6. Add walnuts.
  7. Use an ice cream scoop to portion the cookie dough and arrange on baking sheets about 3 inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies for 14 minutes.
  9. Remove and cool (move to a wire rack after 5 minutes).
  10. ENJOY!

 

 

Combating Adrenal Fatigue

Ward off adrenal fatigue by implementing adrenal-supporting habits into your daily routine.

Read Article

Ashley Rarick’s Calming Chamomile-Rose Tea

Looking for a soothing, calming evening treat? Try this simple recipe from Ayurvedic practitioner, Ashley Rarick.

Read Article

3 Ways to Boost Your Immunity Now

We can over-complicate it, but let's not.

Article by Divina Helene|March 27, 2021

More and more Americans are lacking three fundamental components required in building and sustaining a robust immune system: sleep, sunshine, and movement. There are likely many reasons for this, from sedentary lifestyles (as compared to our ancestors), high-demand, high-stress jobs, and an exaggerated fear of the sun (disclaimer: burning is never good).

Consistent sleep is paramount when it comes to boosting both our immediate (innate) and learned (adaptive) immune function. Even if you aren’t obviously hurt or sick, studies have shown that our immune system revs up the production of cytokines (proteins that act as immune system messengers), helping to strengthen our body’s “immune memory”. As the body begins to wake (thanks to our circadian rhythm), this inflammatory response winds down. When you don’t get adequate sleep, you risk compromising this delicate self-regulating system, allowing inflammation to persist, and risk many unfavorable short-term side effects and in some cases, the development of  chronic conditions. You may function on insufficient sleep, but your body will never grow accustomed to it; human beings need a minimum of 6-7 hours of restful sleep at night. For tips on establishing better bed-time habits, be sure to read Seven Steps to Better Sleep.

Human beings need sunlight. Vitamin D isn’t found naturally in many foods but your body produces it when exposed to direct sunlight. Vitamin D is integral for bone health, but it also plays a crucial role in both the body’s innate and adaptive immune response (hello, monocytes, DC’s, T and B-cells!). Vitamin D deficiency is associated with autoimmunity and an increased risk of infection. It’s best to get outside in the sun, but if sunshine is lacking, you may wish to supplement daily with 600IU of Vitamin D. Remember, there’s a difference between safely spending time in the sun and burning, which is never good.

Movement is also an important component of healthy immune function as movement and exercise mobilizes immune cells. Depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise, the number of circulating immune cells increases by 50-400% for up to three hours! Research shows that even 20-40 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day is enough to boost the immune system. So while we may think of exercise and movement as mere methods of slimming down, we can see that an active lifestyle is important in many ways.

These three simple, yet vital, components of healthy immune response are worth emphasizing in a world that’s constantly barraging us with the latest high-price health trends and modalities. It can seem overwhelming to sift through. I encourage you to keep it simple by sticking to the time-tested basics.

Help Your Body Detox

Your body is detoxing all the time—how are you helping?

Read Article

Vegan, Grain-Free, No-Bake Fudge Brownies

Boy, are you in for a treat with these decadent and wildly satisfying vegan brownies! Not only are they vegan, but they're grain-free and refined-sugar-free, making them a much more favorable alternative to the traditional sweet treat.

Read Article

Tricia Rose Stone’s 28 Acts of Kindness

Spark joy this February with Tricia Rose Stone's 28 Acts of Kindness.

Article by Divina Helene|February 2, 2021

I came across Tricia Rose Stone’s 28 Acts of Kindness on her uplifting and inspiring lifestyle blog, Rose Colored Glasses. Small acts of kindness are a sure-fire method of sparking joy and cheerfulness within your community and it leaves those giving just as happy as those receiving (hello, oxytocin). February is a time to celebrate the bold expressions of the heart chakra and small, random acts of kindness is a prime example of that. And who knows, perhaps your month-long commitment to an act of kindness a day will transform into something more permanent—the world could use that now more than ever.

1. Pay it Backward: buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
2. Compliment the first three people you talk to today. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could
make someone’s entire day.
3. Send a positive text message to five different people throughout the day.
4. Donate old towels or blankets to your local animal shelter.
5. Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats.
6. Send a friend a helpful or inspiring article that made you think of them.
7. Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for a coworker or connection.
8. Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant
other, or a family member.
9. Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford, along with an encouraging note.
10. Pick up any litter you see around you as you go through your day.
11. Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
12. Run an errand for a family member or friend who could use some extra help.
13. Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
14. Slow down so someone can merge in front of you in traffic.
15. Email or write to someone who has made a difference in your life.
16. Write a positive comment on your favorite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account.
17. If you’re an Amazon.com customer, you can donate Amazon.com’s money to your favorite U.S. Nonprofit through Amazon Smile. Once set up, Amazon will contribute to your favorite nonprofit each time you purchase.
18. Write a great online review for a restaurant or local business you love.
19. Reconnect with an old friend you have lost touch with over the years.
20. Let someone cut in front of you in line at the grocery store.
21. Say something encouraging to a parent who struggles with rambunctious kids in a
restaurant or grocery store.
22. Offer to return a stranger’s grocery cart to the front of the store.
23. Write a sweet, encouraging note and put it under your child’s pillow.
24. Call your mom, dad, or siblings to say I love you.
25. Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
26. Send a care package to a service member.
27. Donate your old cell phone or other electronics to charity.
28. Collect and donate sample-size toiletries to a local homeless shelter.

Visit Tricia’s blog at Rose Colored Glasses and Instagram at @rosecoloredglasses_official.

Reflections From a Walk in the Woods

We must remember that our single greatest power as free and sovereign beings, is the ability to create our own reality; a reality that deeply resonates with us and truly feeds our soul and purpose here on Earth. We get to choose freedom over enslavement, peace over war, individuality over conformity.

Read Article

Manifest Your 2021 Dreams Into Reality

Mindset is key in manifesting an epic year ahead, no matter what comes your way in 2021.

Read Article

When Stress Becomes Chronic

I don’t want to believe that it took a pandemic of global proportions to prove to us that this sub-life is unsustainable. But I guess it did. The subliminal signs weren’t enough to slow down our lives on our own accord. It’s remarkable, in a dark, strange way, just how much stress the body can take before complete and utter exhaustion, and how the mind continues to justify it.

Article by Divina Helene|December 16, 2020

In a habitually flurried modern world, burning the midnight oil has become the new normal rather than the exception to the normal. The high-demand jobs, the late nights and inadequate sleep, the poor and overly-processed diets, the unresolved traumas, the lack of connection—connection to ourselves, to others, and to nature—have led us to a sub-life of heightened stress, fear, and anxiety.

I don’t want to believe that it took a pandemic of global proportions to prove to us that this sub-life is unsustainable. But I guess it did. The subliminal signs weren’t enough to slow down our lives on our own accord. It’s remarkable, in a dark, strange way, just how much stress the body can take before complete and utter exhaustion, and how the mind continues to justify it.

We are designed for stressful situations just not chronic ones. Many of us are so disillusioned or numbed-up with caffeine, alcohol, or drugs that we’re unable to recognize that we’re living in a state of perpetual heightened stress. Only when symptoms like irritability, headaches, digestive issues, insomnia, and depression or withdrawal begin to rear their ugly heads do we finally pause in search of respite.

From purely holistic perspective, the root cause of our habitual chronic stress must be addressed—and this is no small feat. For one, it would require a massive socio-cultural awakening and a collective mindset shift. This won’t happen overnight (although, I think we’re on the way). So, for now, we may have to settle for second best: managing it with mindful awareness and a nurtured brain-body connection.

At the helm of the brain-body connection lies the almighty vagus nerve, a discerning bundle of nerve fibers that govern the parasympathetic—or rest, digest, repair—branch of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Because these expansive pair of nerves connect with all the organs of the visceral body, the vagus nerve is able to continuously relay information to the brain about the body and how well everything is—or isn’t—functioning, via neurotransmitters. The vagus nerve is also comprised of descending fibers that relay information from the brain to the body. These bi-directional interactions between the brain and the body via the vagus nerve are everything.

Chronic stress impairs, or lowers, vagal tone, or the functionality of the vagus nerve, creating an unpleasant ripple effect throughout the body. Low vagal tone has been linked with chronic inflammation, digestive disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, heart conditions, and many other familiar ailments. Similarly, low vagal tone caused by issues in the gastrointestinal tract (the vagus nerve rules the gut-brain axis), alcohol use, excessive dental work, muscular trauma, or even genetics, hinders the ability to handle chronic stress. It’s a two-way street.

To avoid the undesirable side-effects of chronic stress, we must uncover the uncomfortable truth about what’s causing it. This is challenging. Often times, it’s more than just one thing but many things compiled together over time. This kind of deeper housekeeping requires a mental, physical, and spiritual commitment, one that many, ironically, don’t have the time (or desire) for. I do believe that the tides are slowly shifting and that perhaps more people will be ready and willing to do the work. In the meantime, we can learn to better support our body’s ability to rest, digest and repair and learn to manage and cope with our stress effectively.

Managing chronic stress effectively isn’t all that complicated; it just tends to be overlooked. For example, regular movement and a diverse, whole-foods diet is paramount in managing stress yet how often are both placed on the back burner? We must also set boundaries—at home, at work, and in our social lives—and get comfortable saying no. We must keep good company—that is, surround ourselves with people who are positive, supportive, and a good influence. We must get off our screens and out of the fluorescent-lit classrooms and offices and ground in nature daily (also known as earthing). We should spend more time doing the things that bring us true joy and happiness; getting lost in the rhythm of good music, writing or journaling, coffee with a good friend, or volunteering with a favorite nonprofit.  And let’s not forget that the vagus nerve is a key player in stress management. We can mindfully integrate the practice of vagus nerve stimulation, which increases vagal tone—and increases our resilience to stress—into our daily lives.

This can be achieved in many ways but consistency is key. We can practice slow, rhythmic belly-breathing (diaphragmatic breathing), commit to daily movement and mild exercise like walking or yoga, try cold therapy (ice baths or cryotherapy), take a few minutes a day to gargle, sing or hum, utilize sound therapy (listening to calming ocean waves, for example), increase our sun exposure, commit to deep, restorative sleep by turning screens off early, meditate often, book a massage (lymphatic massage, if possible, or gently massage your own neck, abdomen and belly daily), and generally cultivating a deep sense of gratitude, connection, and purpose in life through writing, therapy, soul-work, and meaningful social relationships.

I’ll conclude by saying this: we must stop wearing our chronic stress as if it were a badge of honor. Instead, let’s be cognizant of the many ways that chronic stress manifests in the body, slowly crippling our quality of life. We must purposely and mindfully make the choice to lean in to a slower, more sustainable way of life that supports our health and well-being. We just can’t run ourselves ragged anymore; there’s too much on the line for that now.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry—Without the Guilt

It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner! As a Holistic Nutritionist and clean-eating advocate, I have a few tips to share with you about enjoying the upcoming Holiday—guilt free.

Read Article

A Goddess State of Mind

Peel back the layers and discover your Divine Feminine.

Read Article

A is for Accountability

Outsourcing our deep inner work doesn't shift anything—it leaves us running in circles. We must be accountable.

Article by Divina Helene|November 9, 2020

As we’ve lost touch with our true selves we’ve also lost touch with a little something called accountability. The two go hand-in-hand—if you’re not at the helm of your own ship, then accountability would seem to be a rather foreign concept, or an altogether useless one, would it not?

For the truly out-of-touch, there may be an appeal to outsourcing the inner work, pointing fingers, and passing the blame as they wait for someone else to swoop in and save the day, but this lackadaisical approach isn’t sustainable any longer. We’re simply moving in circles. We need more individuals who are willing to roll up their sleeves, dig deep, and do the inner work that is required for everlasting change—in other words, we need people to take personal accountability instead of merely passing off the work.

The correlation between those who are quick to relinquish control (and/or their freedom) and those who lack accountability is worth examining, too. Perhaps they have forgotten (or refuse to accept) the fact that despite what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they’re in full control—sovereign and with limitless potential. Let this be a reminder.

Only once these connections have been made (or re-made), will we begin to see a true shift in the collective toward true peace, joy and freedom.

Thoughts on the Times

More emphasis must be placed on educating the masses on other ways to “slow the spread”—more like “slow the spread of the many chronic diseases plaguing Americans and leaving them susceptible to complications from COVID-19 or any other cold or flu."

Read Article

A Note to My Boys in 2020

To my discerning and ever-curious young men: I hope you continue to ask the difficult questions even when—actually, especially when—it's unpopular to do so.

Read Article

‘Ol Blue Eyes

Our high-tech world is affecting our eyes in a massive way, and the current shelter-in-place isn't helping.

Article by Nestorius Owner-DeKelaita|May 9, 2020

Our high-tech world is affecting our eyes in a massive way, and the current shelter-in-place isn’t helping.

More than half of children and over seventy-percent of adults experience symptoms of digital eye strain. These numbers are likely climbing due to the global pandemic where distance learning and working-from-home have us depending on our digital devices more than ever before. So what’s the big deal? Well, after prolonged exposure to screens and other digital devices, all which sit close to the eye, the eye’s auto-focus system (known as “accommodation”) becomes stiff and locked in place. Distant objects will now appear blurry, and the eyes will feel strained when refocusing on distant objects. This excessive strain on the eyes will manifest itself in various forms, such as:

  • HEADACHES – especially common in the temple or upper neck area.
  • DRY, ITCHY EYES – while staring we blink less, and this dries out our eyes and causes them to itch.
  • FATIGUE AND MALAISE – poor vision causes squinting and bad posture, tiring the muscles around the eyes and face, straining the body and reducing natural energy levels.

To make matters worse, these digital devices emit artificial blue light, which our eyes have not yet evolved to filter. Artificial blue light is a more powerful suppressor of melatonin than any drug known to man. When we are exposed to blue light in the evening hours and especially before bedtime, it is extremely disruptive to our sleep patterns. Exposure to blue light at night wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythms, because there are special light-sensing cells in the back of our eye that control our sleep-wake cycle and these cells are especially sensitive to blue light in the 459 – 485nm range.

The good news? Your local optician can offer state of the art protection against digital eye strain and blue light exposure with products such as ZEISS Blue Protect. ZEISS Blue Protect has been thoroughly researched to block the harmful effects of blue light in children and adults. It’s ideal for:

  • Students (reading and writing on screens)
  • PC/console gaming
  • General indoor protection and comfort
  • Working around bright fluorescent or LED lights
  • Watching widescreen HD television/movies

If you can, be sure to turn off blue light sources at least three hours before going to bed, or wear a blue-filtering lens. Our understanding of blue light’s impact is growing every year. We’re sure to learn even more, but there’s no better time than right now to protect something as valuable as your vision.

Get Back to the Basics

Navigating our ever-changing world can seem like the first day of a summer circus gig on repeat; the second you get the hang of one trick, they go and change things up on you.

Read Article

Human in the Mirror

Have you looked at your reflection in the mirror and told yourself “I Love You” yet today? The thought itself might make you uncomfortable—it’s silly, or pompous, or even a little crazy, you might say. But why?

Read Article

Seven Steps to Better Sleep

Struggling with sound sleep? Here's an Ayurvedic practitioner's tips for deeper and more restorative sleep.

Article by Divina Helene|January 1, 2020

We all know that adequate sleep is crucial to optimal health and immune function so make a promise to yourself here and now: get enough sleep—no matter what. We spoke with Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Ayurvedic practitioner Ashley Rarick of Ayurvedic Vitality about getting a better nights’ sleep, and here are her tips for inducing a deep and restful slumber, naturally:

1.—Take 10 deep belly breaths: when lying in bed place your hand over the belly button and breathe in deeply and slowly to the point where you can feel the belly rise for ten breaths. This will stimulate the Vagus nerve, bringing natural relaxation to the body. This can also be done if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.
2.—Have a cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg and/or a natural sweetener of your choice about an hour before bed. Nutmeg is traditionally used in Ayurveda to naturally relax the body to help induce sound sleep.
3.—Have your last meal at least 3 hours before bed.
4.—Do not take day naps if you are having trouble sleeping at night.
5.—Take a warm bath with rose essential oil before bedtime. This will help you unwind and soothe the mind, preparing for sound sleep. Rose helps heal not only skin, but also brings about a state of deep mental calm and healing.
6.—Spend the hour before bed without the use of electronics.
7.—Have a cup of warm chamomile tea before bedtime. Chamomile brings deep calm to the nervous system.

Wishing you a better night’s sleep…

Fresh InspirationforLiving Well