Like plants, we need the sun. Our bodies produce vitamin D through being exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is important to your body in many ways: it helps with the absorption of calcium, helps fight disease and depression, and surprisingly may even help with weight loss. Most people are deficient in vitamin D, due to lack of exposure to the sun. This is due mainly to two things: spending too much time indoors, and using copious amounts of chemical sunscreen. Despite being toxic to your body and the environment, chemical sunscreens block out most of the sun’s rays which our bodies need to produce vitamin D. Take a look at who is making these products (large corporations who care more about money than they do about people or the environment). And then stop using them.
Mike and I live in Hawaii. We are outside all the time. We never use chemical sunscreen. We use a mineral based sunscreen and we take astaxanthin and almost never burn (unless we are in the water for long periods of time and forget to reapply). Astaxanthin is a supplement made from marine algae-It is derived from microalgae which produce astaxanthin as a protective mechanism to shield the fragile algae from harsh ultraviolet (UV) light and other environmental stressors. It is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. We have found it to be helpful as an internal sunscreen in addition to all its other benefits. We like Nutrex Hawaii Bioastin Hawaiin Astaxanthin – 12mg, 50 Gel Caps (pack of 4) because it is locally sourced (from Hawaii) and pure.
As far as mineral sunscreen goes, we have tried several brands. Our favorite by far is the new sunscreen from Young Living. It is SPF 10 which is strong enough to prevent sunburn while still allowing your skin to produce vitamin D. It smells good, doesn’t leave any white residue, is reasonably priced-and costs even less when you have a wholesale membership. Mike and I are Young Living members and business owners and we are happy to help you get started with this amazing company-whether with a retail or wholesale membership (for more information or to sign up send us an email or check out our page here). Whatever brand you decide to go with, make sure your sunscreen is mineral-based and natural… Your body and the environment will thank you.
Sunshine is good. Embrace it-go outside, do fun stuff. Live your life with aloha.
I am a salad expert. And by expert I mean that whenever I offer to bring something to an event people always ask me to bring a salad. I tell them, “I know how to make other things besides salad you know.”
“But you make the best salad! ” Is always their reply. I was skeptical for the longest time but it kept happening over and over… salad, salad, salad.
It always boggles my mind when people tell me, “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to eat the salad you made!” Mmmmkay… I mean it’s salad. When you ask people to write down their favorite foods of all time, I’m pretty sure that salad almost never makes the list… ever. But somehow my salads have achieved legendary status among my family and friends. My daughter Merryn actually asked me to make a bottle of salad dressing for her friend Brigitte’s birthday. I told her, ” Why don’t you just bring her over and I’ll show her how to make it? Then she can eat it anytime she wants.”
“It’s not the same,” she replied.
So I started thinking about it. What actually is it about the salads that I create that make people want to eat them so darn bad. I have been analyzing this for the past several days and have come to a few conclusions:
Dressing: Obvi, I mean if your dressing is crap than your salad will be crap too. I seriously don’t get why people waste their money on bottled dressing when it is SO easy (and inexpensive) to make your own. And there is really no comparison in taste… it’s like comparing your mom’s homemade pot roast with a can of dog food. My recipe (see the end of the blog) is so simple that a preschooler can make it. And it is legit delicious.
Fresh ingredients: Ok, I don’t know why I need to spell this out but I know I do… if you are buying bagged salad then you need to NOT do that anymore. Not only is salad in a bag inferior in taste, but it is inferior in nutritional value. STOP IT RIGHT NOW! In order to make the salad of legends, you want to look for fresh, organic vegetables, preferably locally grown. The best place for this is at your local farmers market. You are getting the highest quality for the best prices AND you are literally helping to pay for someone’s mortgage. Bagged salad=bad, farm market produce=good… got it?
Balance your flavors: I like to throw in something sweet (dried fruit, fresh berries, grapes or other fruits, etc), something salty (Gorgonzola or other salty cheeses, salted nuts, homemade croutons, etc), sometimes something tart (diced Granny Smith apple, a spoonful of fermented veggies-sourkraut, kimchee) or spicy (dried spicy mango, pepper jack cheese) just to have some flavor contrasts.
Balance your textures: When you throw in some of the above items, they also add in a different texture: crunchy macadamia nuts with chewy dried mango or crumbly Gorgonzola with crunchy toasted pine nuts and soft ripe strawberries… Think about this as you’re deciding on your ingredients; a bunch of soft wet things is not going to make an appetizing salad.
If you’re concerned about time, just wash all your salad in one batch, put it in the salad spinner and keep it in a bag in the refrigerator until needed. Keep the leaves whole until ready to use as the nutrients begin to degrade quickly once the leaf is cut into pieces. Wash other fruits and vegetable so they’re ready to use. Make a big batch of dressing and keep it in a glass bottle or jar in the refrigerator. If you prep everything in bulk than you can use it throughout the week and it will be super fast and easy to throw together a salad for lunch or dinner.
I know that seems like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself just naturally knowing what things are going to taste good together. Greens typically have a natural bitterness to them so adding sweet, salty, spicy and/or sour ingredients gives you a foil for the bitterness and makes your salad like a symphony of tasty goodness. Just think contrasts and you’re good.
Ok for my dressing recipe, I am NOT going to give you exact measurements. You are going to get ratios and you are going to have to TASTE your dressing as you go along. This way you can make as much or as little as you like and you will feel like an artist in your own kitchen creating your masterpiece. Some batches may come out better than others and that’s ok! You will learn something each time. You CAN do this!
Salad Dressing of Legends
2-3 parts olive oil to 1 part vinegar- this will depend on the type of vinegar (rice, champagne, some red wine vinegars are less tart than balsamic or apple cider vinegars for example) and whether or not you like it more or less tart. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use distilled white vinegar!!! Yuck, no, yuck! Again, use quality ingredients for a quality result.
Sea Salt- to taste. Do not use iodized table salt-that stuff will kill you (seriously-look it up). Sea Salt, pink Himalayan salt, Hawaiian salt… high quality salt. Again… quality.
Black pepper- to taste. Again, quality. Buy yourself a Telicherry pepper grinder from Costco. Avoid pre-ground black pepper.
Small spoonful of Dijon mustard- to taste but a general rule is about 1 tsp. per cup of oil.
Minced shallots or red onion- approximately 1 Tbs per cup of dressing.
You may also want to add a small handful of fresh or dried herbs: tarragon, basil or oregano. Remember, dried herbs are stronger in flavor than fresh so add a small amount and taste as you go.
For those of you who are freaking out right now because I didn’t give you an exact recipe, you can try this…
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2/3 c. olive oil
1 Tbs. minced shallots
1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsps. sea salt
Several grinds of the pepper shaker
You are still going to have to taste it and adjust the salt, pepper, oil and/or Dijon mustard. You’ll get the hang of it and soon everyone is going to be asking you to bring a salad every time you go somewhere.
I am privileged. I accept and admit that. Being a white, middle class, educated woman has granted me access to people, places, situations and things that others do not have access to. I have never been asked to leave somewhere or been denied a job because of how I looked. I have never known what it feels like to be hungry and not have access to food. I have always had a place to rest my head at night. I can walk into nearly every establishment and be treated as if I belong there (even if I don’t). I often take these things for granted and forget that not everyone has these same comforts and privileges.
Living in Hawaii is a bit different than what I’m used to. I am not in the majority here. I have, on occasion, felt people’s anger and hatred towards me because of my color. I have been in places and situations where I am accepted only because I am there with my husband (who is Hawaiian). I have seen, first hand what complete assholes white tourists can be and I am embarrassed sometimes, many times actually, to be white.
But just like people of color cannot change their color, I cannot change my whiteness. Despite the fact that I have always gravitated towards people who are different than me, have always had interest in learning about other cultures and have a deep love and respect for those cultures, I am still white. At least on the outside, where, to many, many people, it counts the most. And that is sad because the inside is really where it’s all at. You can look one way on the outside and be someone completely different on the inside. I have to be reminded sometimes (usually by my children) that I’m white. Which is funny. Except not really.
Many of us “whites” have lost our own cultures through the process of assimilation into the American culture. My father’s family came from Poland and France but neither the languages nor any of the traditions that my great grandparents brought with them are remembered or practiced by any member of my family. I know people whose ancestors came from the Middle East or Latin America who see themselves as white now because they can pass as white. And they want that privilege of being white. They want the country club and the big house and the access and the stuff and they don’t care what they have to give up to have it. Some even vote for politicians who create laws that oppress the people with the same racial and cultural backgrounds that they themselves have. And they don’t even realize that they are contributing to the oppression of their own people by giving up who they are to have what they have. My ancestors did this too and I am privileged because of it… but at the cost of losing where I came from and, as a result losing who I am
So yes, many times I am embarrassed to be white: When I read about the atrocities committed here in Hawaii by people who look like me I am embarrassed. When I witness first hand the damage caused to the environment here because of the selfishness and greed of people who look like me, I am embarrassed. When I see white tourists appropriating the Hawaiian culture for their photo ops or enjoyment, I am embarrassed. When I am either ignored or greeted with hostility by people of color when I attempt to speak to them I am embarrassed. I’m embarrassed by that last one but I get it. I get why some people dislike me. People who look like me have been oppressing other peoples for hundreds, if not thousands of years. People who look like me have caused the near extinction of virtually every indigenous people on the face of the Earth. People who look like me have raped this land, poisoned its people and continue to do so because of pure greed. People who look like me continue to benefit at the expense of others and many do horrific things to insure that they continue to benefit and exert their power over others.
There is good reason for me to feel embarrassed for my whiteness; I continue to experience privilege from being white and I most likely will for the rest of my life. I did nothing to earn these privileges and I can’t give them back but I can acknowledge that they exist, I can give back to my brothers and sisters of color with my time, my talents and my resources. I can be an ally to people of color in how I think, how I speak, how I vote and what I do. And I can encourage other people who look like me to do the same. So I encourage you now (whether you look like me or not) to acknowledge the privileges that you benefit from and think about what you can do to be an ally to those who don’t benefit in those same ways.
Sending you much aloha,
PS. I know this blog seems random… one post on Hawaii, then some on energy and one on privilege… I just share what I’m experiencing and if that makes me random, so be it. I hope you’re enjoying my randomness, and if you learn something along the way, that makes me happy. Namaste.
Chakra is a Sanskrit word which means a point of energy or power. You have many energy points or centers in your body but there are seven primary chakras that are referred to most often. These are referred to by both their location and by the order of ascent in your body. The higher upwards you travel, the higher the number of the chakra. They are generally described as spinning wheels or vortices of light.
If your chakras are spinning well, they are considered “open” and you’re healthy. When the energy in your chakra slows down or stops, it is considered “closed” or “blocked” and you may show signs of illness in that area. Eventually the whole system suffers as all of the energy in our bodies is connected.
Here’s a quick overview of the 7 chakras:
1st: Root Chakra- This is at the base of your spine, deep within your pelvic area. Many times in yoga this chakra is referred to when discussing “grounding” as it regulates your ability to collect energy from the earth. The colors associated with this chakra are red, black and brown (earthy tones).
2nd: Sacral Chakra- This is in your lower abdomen and sacral area. Many people hold onto pain in this area resulting in lower back pain. Second chakra issues tend to pertain to your community and your perceived place within it, as well as issues of security and safety. It is associated with the color orange.
3rd: Solar Chakra- In your solar plexus, your third chakra carries fireenergy, and is the center of your will and direction. It is associated with the color yellow or light green.
4th: Heart Chakra- In the middle of your chest at heart level, this chakra houses your intent to love and acces unconditional love. It is associated with both pink and green (pink for love and green for healing).
5th: Throat Chakra- This chakra is centered above your clavicle bone in your throat, and houses your intent to create and manifest your dreams as well as to speak your truth. It is associated with a clear bright blue color.
6th: Third-Eye Chakra- This is located about an inch above the bridge of your nose between the eyebrows. It is your highest creative energy center, where your spirit meets creativity. It is associated with the color violet or indigo.
7th: Crown Chakra- This chakra is on the top of your head near where your soft spot was as an infant. It is where you have the intent to receive wisdom and receive your Qi from the universe. It is linked with the color white.
There are many, many essential oils that can help with chakra health. I will be posting some over the next few days on my Instagram feed (follow me @thealohalounge) but you can always GTS (Google That Shit) and find a TON of ideas! Haha
You’ve heard people talking about “vibes” at one time or another I’m sure. “She has good vibes,” “He has bad vibes”… it really is a thing. Vibes=Vibrational Energy or the frequency at which the energy of a “thing” vibrates (I just have to mention that there really is no such thing as good or bad vibes; it’s all just energy. It’s just our perception that we put on things that makes it good or bad to us). Just to recap… Vibrational energy (or vibes) is the frequency at which a substance is vibrating. And we, at some level, can sense this.
Have you ever been in a certain space and felt calm? Or in another space you feel energized? That is vibrational energy that your body is sensing. Higher vibrational levels can make you feel uplifted while lower ones can have a calming effect. The same with certain foods, or thoughts, or pretty much anything else.
Okey doke… so we’re all clear now- everything is made up of energy and that energy vibrates at different frequencies. These frequencies are measured in megahertz. Just like everything else, essential oils also have vibrational frequencies. Higher frequencies are helpful for emotional work while lower frequencies are beneficial for physical healing. I’m still figuring all this out but I thought it would be fun to take you all along on my super nerdy energy journey. Sound like a plan???
Here we go…
To get you started here’s a quote by Gary Young, founder of Young Living Essential Oils: “Clinical research shows that essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man, creating an environment in which disease, bacteria, virus, fungus, etc., cannot live. I believe that the chemistry and frequencies of essential oils have the ability to help man maintain the optimal frequency to the extent that disease cannot exist.”
Want to learn more?
Check out this article about the vibrational frequencies of essential oils. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Want to get started using essential oils? Join our oily ohana and have an instant support group of likeminded, healthy people. Check out our About Young Living page to find out how to join us on our journey towards health and wellness.
A great way to boost your energy levels is to increase your consumption of raw organic vegetables. The greener the vegetable, the more nutrients, so vegetables like kale or green or red leaf lettuces are much more nutritious than iceberg lettuce. Cooking diminishes the enzymes and the inherentenergy in your vegetables (it kills them) so eating your veggies raw is best.
Here are some ways to increase your green vegetable intake:
Young Living Multigreens supplement
Fermented vegetables are delicious and have an added benefit of having probiotics. And if you’ve never sprouted your own seeds you need to try it! It’s so easy and pretty cool to watch! We have an easy sprouter (you can buy one on Amazon) which is great and makes it easier to drain and change the water for your sprouts but you can also use a glass jar covered with cheese cloth.
The Multigreens supplement is an easy way to increase your green vegetable intake and to give yourself a boost of energy throughout the day!
Cheers to living foods that give us great energy!! How will you add more veggies to your diet?
One way to ensure a joyful life and positive energy flow is to do things that you like. Eat what you like (in moderation), listen to music that makes your soul sing, find activities that you love and do them.
One thing that I’ve finally learned about myself is that I despise going to the gym. It is just a giant energy sucking nightmare for me. I started to think about the kinds of activities I liked to do a child. I realized that most of the things I did as a child were outdoor activities. I rode horses, played outside, swam, danced… Today I prefer activities outside. Thankfully in Hawaii we can be outside pretty much everyday. We even go to yoga classes outside! I realize that most of you live in a place where the weather isn’t so accommodating but you can still go outside (I lived my whole life in Michigan so I know this). Bundle up, take a walk and hug a tree. Connect to the earth!
When you are not enjoying what you’re doing, it is not in vibrational alignment with the real you. When you are joyful, you are in full alignment to the real you. You are filled with source energy. You are at peace. You are full of joy. Maybe you love going to the gym- do it! Maybe you love walking- do that! Whatever it is that makes you feel happy and connected; that’s what you need to do. Fill your life with joyful activities and watch your energy soar! Add some oily goodness in there and watch it soar even more!!
Most people like food. Pretty much everyone I know eats on a daily basis. So you would think that people would be more interested in their food, specifically what they’re eating, how it was produced and where it comes from. But clearly people are not that interested because the situation with food is clearly out of control. It’s pretty obvious by what’s on the grocery store shelves; most people happily spend their money on processed and genetically modified foods without giving it a second thought. The problem is immense and dangerous and out of control. This quote from John Robbins, author, activist and humanitarian sums it up.
Our food chain is in crisis. Big agribusiness has made profits more important than your health- more important than the environment-more important than your right to know how your food is produced.
To me this is beyond disturbing. Because I cannot for the life of me understand how or why this happened. And I really can’t even begin to wrap my head around the idea of how to fix it. Except we must. We must fix it and soon because our very existence depends upon it being fixed. This is the stuff that only a revolution will fix so we must, all of us, become revolutionaries. We must revolt against the status quo of factory farmed, genetically modified, cruelly raised, earth destroying and chemically altered food that most of us consume on a daily basis. How do we do this? We make choices that support change by refusing to give our money to companies that put profits above what’s right. Read my husband Mike Spencer’s blog to learn the power of a boycott.
On a recent visit to Kauai we had the great fortune to visit a lo’i kalo (taro farm) run by Kaina Makua and his nonprofit Kumano i ke Ala. It’s so remote that to get there you either have to walk across a swinging bridge or drive your truck across the river- there’s no road that crosses the river to the property. But it’s beautiful, peaceful and sustainable. It’s also free from genetic modification. We spoke with Kaina for some time about his vision to grow taro on a small scale and to provide unpasteurized poi and other taro products through their partner business Aloha Āina Poi Co. He spoke of his dreams and his hard work and the community he is building there. He told us that the water from the river near his farm is being diverted and that the river is flowing less and less over time.
This taro farm is a reminder of the roots of Hawaii; a place that was, not so long ago, free from contamination. The Hawaiian people had one of the most sustainable food systems ever developed, the ahupua’a. The water was channeled from the mountain to the taro fields. It would then drain to the fish pond and out to sea leaving in its path food for everyone. Then the colonizers came and diverted the water for sugarcane and greed and began the process of stripping the people not only of their water and land, but of their culture and dignity as well. It is the same story told too many times in too many different settings. I’m sure you’ve heard the story before. If not in the context of the Hawaiian people, then certainly in the context of Native Americans or Mauri or Aboriginal or indigenous people everywhere. The story always ends the same… greed wins and everyone else loses.
Now we have a chance to write a new story. We can do this by being mindful of who and what we support with our dollar. We can buy food from small farms with big missions like Kaina’s. We can grow our own food. We can tell our friends and families to do the same. We can make a difference in the small things we do each day because the small things done by the many will be greater than the big things done by the few. We can be like David, who with his tiny stone, defeated the giant. We can and we must. Our entire existence and the existence of our future generations depend upon it.
As we stood in the lo’i kalo speaking with Kaina that day about why he was growing his taro there in that remote and beautiful place I was reminded of this quote I had read some time ago…
In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest. One that can-and will-overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world. We change ourselves.(author unknown)
I pulled up the quote on my phone and gave it to Kaina to read. He was thoughtful for a moment and said, “I don’t know about all that activism stuff… I just like to grow food.”
Support Kaina’s mission by shopping at Aloha Aina Poi Co (website for the nonprofit Kumano i ke Ala is being developed and will be available soon).
As I set off on my journey towards self awareness and inner peace, I can’t help thinking that this world is seriously in trouble. All this conflict is getting in the way of my peace: the current political craziness, the environment, racism, homelessness, it goes on and on. How do you have inner peace when you witness so much chaos?
Our western culture is built upon what we can observe with our senses. Even science is built upon this, which is so ironic considering that there are things that we can’t directly observe that we know exist. For example, we know that dogs can hear sounds that we cannot hear. We don’t say the dog is crazy for hearing these sounds. We just accept the fact that they can hear things we can’t. Our culture is so focused on the self and our sensory experiences and what we can consume that everything else has no value. That, to me, is completely horrifying. And it daily creeps in on my ability to maintain inner peace.
I was reading a bit about quantum physics the other day. Now I am probably the farthest thing from a scientist that ever lived but even I can see the implications that quantum physics has about how things work in the world. According to quantum physics, everything is made up of energy. This energy vibrates at different frequencies, thereby giving us the illusion of separation. We are basically all blobs of energy floating around in more energy, surrounded by blobs of energy. We are all connected by what is called the unified field (basically just more energy).
What this means to me is that what some people call New Age, is really Old School, Original Gangster (O.G.) thinking. Thoughts have energy. Words have power. We can connect to a higher source. We are one. The idea of interconnectedness is old. And sacred. And was somehow lost to the people who greedily began to conquer the world some hundreds of years ago (aka white people. Yes I said it). What happened?
My husband is Native Hawaiian. He has many friends who are from various indigenous heritages and I have been blessed to sit around the table with them and listen to them talk story. From my tiny (but growing) understanding, indigenous people all have a belief in the interconnectedness of the people with the land, with each other and with what some might call the spirit world. From what I gather, this interconnectedness is pretty much universal among indigenous people and has held on despite the fact that western people (aka white people… again) have been doing their best to wipe Native peoples and their beliefs off the face of the Earth for several hundred years now. Native people see themselves as caretakers of the land. It is a sacred law. Take a look at what’s going on at Standing Rock. I can barely stand to read the news; it has made me sob uncontrollably many times. The Water Protectors are living out their sacred responsibility. They are doing this for everyone. When all the water is poisoned, what are we going to drink?
This sacred responsibility of the Native Peoples extends to humans as well; in caring for each other. One friend told us that in her tribe The Great Law is that if there isn’t enough food for everyone to eat, then no one eats. I felt my eyes filling with tears when she told me that because, really, this is how the world should be. Why isn’t it? I’ll tell you… the world is like this because people don’t share. We consume and collect and hoard and then throw away things that we’re bored with or have rotted or turned to dust while others are forced to rummage through our trash, hoping for a few bottles to exchange for a packet of bologna or a McDonalds happy meal.
So how to have inner peace when there is so much outer chaos? To me I have to believe in the goodness and love that is within all these blobs of energy that surround me. I have to believe in the goodness and love that is in myself. Then I have to extend my goodness and my love and my positive energy outward; knowing, trusting and believing that this energy, this love has power and that it can change the world. I focus on this love knowing that what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said is truth: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Let us all unite our light and our love and drive out the darkness that has somehow overtaken us. Let us live surrounded by, and filled with, and extending love.
I’ve recently added meditation to my daily routine. I’m not gonna lie. ..That shit is hard. I’m told it gets easier, but I have to say that every time I sit down and start to quiet my mind, all these thoughts about how much crap I need to get done start to bubble up and stress me out. Or else I fall asleep. So ya. I need to keep working on it.
I know these thoughts are coming up because of my false beliefs and fears. Most likely something I have stuck in my head is I need to do everything myself. In fact I know that thought is stuck in there. And I need to get it out. Because really, it’s impossible to do everything yourself. Having been a single mom for 16 years, I pretty much had to do everything. By myself. At least that’s what I thought at the time and so I continued to perpetuate that thinking (and still perpetuate it and let it stress me out). But I’m ready to give up that thinking. Right here. Right now. Because it’s untrue. And it is limiting.
My mantra for today is I am a magnet for miracles. Real miracles are shifts in our thinking that free us from our past fear-based thinking and turn us towards love and abundance. It’s not always easy, just like forgiving isn’t easy, but it’s possible if the desire and intent are there. The first step is being aware of your thoughts because thoughts are fucking sneaky. They creep in there and become so habitual that you feel as if you can’t control them. That’s called anxiety. And it sucks.
But the truth is that the only thing that you can control is your own thinking. And that is awesome news because when you control how you look at things, you control your perception and that means that you control your reality. So today begin your journey towards inner peace by realizing that whatever it is that is stressing you out, or making you feel less than awesome, is something that you can change just by changing your own mind. Set that intention and work until you achieve it. That’s the key though. You can’t just set your intention and then go watch TV. You have to work to achieve it. You have to sit through those meditations and consciously work on changing your negative thinking patterns. You need to rid yourself of toxic people and emotions. You need to do whatever it is that you need to do: ask for help, pray, read a book, say a mantra, use some essential oils or crystals, whatever resonates within you to do. I’m not saying it’s easy. But if you truly want it, you will be willing to put in the work and it will happen. Today we can all be magnets for miracles.