Meditation – Don’t Overthink it!

When I first heard of meditation,  the thought of a silent mind sounded impossibly ridiculous!  Even in this very moment the amount of ideas and thoughts going through my mind make it seem impossible to say: “ok quiet time everyone, we’re going to meditate!” Like how can anyone possibly do that??

I understood the concept, even thought it would be lovely, because quite frankly my mind (and I’m sure yours) is an exhausting place to be at times!  But it was the “how” part that had me stumped!  I, of course, took to the internet in an effort to figure out the “right” way!

The problem for me is that there are so many ways to meditate! Such as a guided group, or youtube video, using your breath, gazing into a candle, chanting a mantra, or  music meditation, where the music is not understood by the conscious brain but draws someone into a dizzying state of relaxation.  Not only that, but figuring out how to sit, and how you should sit. Do I need a whole comfy pillow set up? Maybe it’s better to lie down? Once you have that figured out, you can’t be distracted by outdoor sounds, the kids, the door bell, the phone ringing, or your feet falling asleep!

One day the realization came to me… I was over thinking this whole meditation thing!  These words crossed my computer screen and changed my thought process: “If you can breathe, you can meditate.” Meditating is only being quiet with yourself and listening to your breath. I have a creative mind, so for me it really helped when I gave my breath a colour and visualized it going in and out of my body.  Yes, thoughts came to me but I did what I was suggested to, and stopped judging and shushing my thoughts. Instead I pictured them as clouds floating by, observed them for a moment, and then guided myself back to my colorful breathing.

This practice, (and it does take practice!),  basically helped me to become the observer of my thoughts, feelings, and emotions so that I am no longer controlled by them. Just try saying these words out loud: “I am going to be the observer of my thoughts, feelings and emotions. I am not going to judge them, question them, doubt them, or anything! I am only going to watch them float by and allow my body to receive cleansing breaths.”

Then something amazing happens!  You allow parts of you to come to surface that usually get drowned out by that constant chatter. You’ve now opened yourself up and made room for new ideas, new emotions, new beliefs. However it happens, trust me when I say: it’s a real thing!

In a nutshell, we live very busy lives and sometimes we are like hamsters in a wheel! That is not only exhausting but limiting! We miss out on experiences because we are so focused on running the wheel with the false belief that it’s taking us somewhere.

I encourage you to begin a practice of meditation. Start with 5 minutes and build up to make it a daily practice. It will become a moment that you not only look forward to, but also a moment you will cherish.

Lastly, there is no “right” way, there is only your way.  You can practice anywhere, anytime, anyway you like!

Facial Friday = Fresh, Fabulous, Faces!

Every Friday evening I love to give myself a facial.  It has become such a self-care ritual, that I am always looking for ways to improve either the atmosphere I create to enjoy my facial, or trying out a new facial product. It’s a great way to end the week, detoxify your skin from all the free radicals we are constantly exposed to that are so damaging to our skin.

When I was first learning about the possible toxins in skin care, I made my own facials from whatever I could find in my kitchen!  This is a fun way to experiment and can even include the kids!  I have sons and taught them early on about the importance of self care and taking care of your skin. Now that they are older they often come to me asking for me to whip them up something to help with either winter dry skin, sun stressed skin or occasional breakouts.  I now of course have access to ready to use facial masks that offer amazing benefits and make “Facial Friday’s” that much easier!

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Locally made, Naked Skincare Apothecary currently offers two types of facial masks.  Detox Mask & Radiance Mask.

Photo Courtesy of Naked Skincare

I lovvvve both of them! They are my go to’s and available at Generation Green!

Detox Mask will help neutralize oily skin and prevent or clear up breakouts.  Thanks to the activated charcoal & kaolin in this mask, it will basically pull out dirt & toxins.  Super easy to use, simply add a small amount of  liquid to a teaspoon of the mask powder.  Play around with different liquids to add like a toner, facial oil, or even hit up the kitchen for honey or yogurt!

Ingredients: Activated Bamboo Charcoal, Kaolin Clay, Fuller Earth Clay, Papaya Extract, Turmeric Powder.

Radiance Mask will do just that! Make your face radiate!  Offering up some magical ingredients like Australian and French Pink Clay that not only detoxify and do away with dead skin, but also leave you with a refreshed look!  This one really is great for mature skin too thanks to the addition of  Mango Extract which helps prevent the decline of elasticity in the skin.

Ingredients: Australian Pink Clay, French Pink Clay, Mango Extract.

Mama Pacha : 

Another locally made favourite that we stock at Generation Green and is offered in refill is Mama Pacha’s  Daily Face Wash & Super Scrubby Face Wash.  These face washes can also be used as a face mask just by leaving on longer. They are gentle enough for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Both offer the benefits of kaolin clay (the mildest of clays). Kaolin clay contains a high content of silica that not only can remove dead skin but also regenerate skin. Also offers purification by removing toxins and oils without drying out skin.

Both masks contain oats that offer a gentle scrub as well as the soothing benefits of chamomile.  The only difference in the two is the Super Scrubby contains jojoba meal as an exfoliator (really good scrub) without dangerous microbeads (little pieces of plastic that are not only bad for your skin but also the environment) that can be found in some conventional face scrubs.

Orgaid Sheet Masks : 

This is a new stock item that I’m anxious to try out!  

Orgaid masks are not made like other sheet masks. Not only because of the serum combination in the masks but the delivery system they use!  The unique fibre, (called Ecoderma) Orgaid uses is not only breathable and adheres well but more importantly the fibre helps absorb the serum deeper into skin, helping you to get all the benefits those ingredients offer.  The masks are made with certified organic ingredients,  all safe ingredients with no chemical preservatives.  I also love the rating they get on EWG’s Skindeep Database!

Yes, you might look a little scary wearing one (think Jason from Halloween), but makes for great selfie pics! (before & after).

Available in 3 types: (information taken from Orgaid Website)

VITAMIN C 
 Reduces the appearance of brown spots and sun damage 
 Provides potent antioxidant protection to keep firm and youthful skin 
 Improves skin’s natural healing response, resulting in skin revitalization 
+ Orange peel and pomegranate boost healthy collagen synthesis
ANTI-AGING & MOISTURIZING
+ Vitamin B3  reduces skin aging
+ Aloe Vera  helps moisturize and calm skin
+ Witch hazel  reduces swelling and blemish
+ Hyaluronic Acid hydrates skin
GREEK YOGURT
+ Organic Greek Yogurt supplements essential nutrition on skin
+ Organic Botanicals soothe  skin smoother
+ Pro-Vitamin B5  and Allantoin tightens skin
+ Beta Glucan and Vegetable Proteins condition skin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Ways To Find Your Zen

Whether you need a moment to de-stress, want more quiet moments in your life, or want some health benefits – taking time to find your zen is easier than you think.  Not only is it easy, but it’s necessary!

Life is so busy. In order to appreciate and enjoy it, or even to get through the rough patches, we need to find the moments that take us away from it all.  Moments that nurture our spirit and quiet the chattering in our minds.

The first step is to make yourself a priority!  Let go of any guilt you have for taking moments of self-care.  Remind yourself it’s important for your well-being.  Start minimally if needed and work your way up to a daily practice.  It doesn’t take long before it becomes a habit, and even better, something to look forward to.

There are so many ways to find “zen” or create it.  Here are my personal top ten!

1) Go for a walk, alone! No partner, no kids, no dog! Just you! Stop along the route to take notice of simple things. Maybe it’s the birds flying, trees blowing, or the warmth of the sun on your face.  While you take notice place your hand to your heart and breathe deeply.  Enjoy how it makes you feel and say thank you.

2) This leads to practicing gratitude.  Feeling grateful and saying you are grateful opens up a whole new world. When you take time to send out that grateful energy into the world, it returns to you tenfold.  Learn to be grateful for all moments, not just the good ones. The bumps in life are also lessons to be grateful for.

3) It can be really tough to quiet the mind but regular meditation practice can help.  Find the best way to meditate, for you! I sometimes like to lay down with headphones and follow a guided meditation. Other times I enjoy the mediation space I created in my room, or I will simply sit on my swing in the backyard and pat my dog.  However you can find ways to quiet your thoughts. It is natural that our minds will wander while we meditate but just recognize it and go back to your focussed place.

4) I recently discovered the benefits of burning resin.  The smoke of frankincense is used to quiet a racing mind, making it useful for meditation. Myrrh can also be used to still the mind and align the energy centers of the body. These can burn anytime in your home.  I am currently burning some as I type this!

5) Creativity helps!  I love to crotchet.  I don’t make much more than a scarf or a blanket but it’s the simple act of taking time to do something you can focus on in quiet.  Something that you can enjoy, that isn’t stressful. I am also an artist, and because of the type of art I do, I can actually delve into a form of meditation while drawing that requires no effort. For others – I can imagine dance being amazing for this, or a potter becoming one with the clay.  Try something new, something that can take you to that place of complete zen.

6) Exercise.  Yoga would be the first thing that comes to mind as it encompasses the body, mind, and spirit.  Tai Chi would also be great for this. Even a bike ride or a run. When we move our bodies we allow energy to move and flow through us. We also can release that “feel good” dopamine or “happy” serotonin from our brain.

7) Tune up your energy centers!  Otherwise known as chakra balancing.  There are seven energy centers that start at the base of the spine and run to the top of your head. When these centers are blocked it can stop us from living fully, and can even cause illness.  Each energy center has a specific function that is related to a specific emotion.  I once asked my energy worker how often I should have this tuneup done and she replied “you will just know.”  The more time you take for yourself, the more in tune you will become with your body and what it needs.

8) Massage or reflexology are more than helpful with pain or discomfort, they also can produce feelings of caring, comfort, and connection. How nice does it feel to have someone care for you?! Sometimes we are so busy caring for others that we forget how much we also need to be cared for.

9) My other all time favourite thing to do that makes me feel completely grounded and grateful is the simplicity of rocking a baby to sleep.  Watching them doze off while you offer warmth, connection, and a hypnotic rocking motion. Then to enjoy the complete peace on their face and the slow, quiet breaths they take.

10) Lastly, sometimes we just need a break from everyday life and this is when travel can give us that take me away moment.  I have heard it said sometimes you need to go away to miss home but I also think going away helps you find a safe, sacred home in yourself.

I’m sure there are a thousand other ways to find and add zen moments into your life. No matter what you choose to do or practice, doing so with an intention of caring for yourself will make all those moments (big or small) zen.

 

Article written by Sherry Sobey

 

 

DIY Pumpkin Spice Lattes

As soon as the leaves start falling I begin craving anything warm, spicy, and comforting!  As convenient as it may be to stop off at Starbucks on the way home, it’s so much nicer to stay in pajamas on a Sunday morning and whip up some homemade pumpkin spice lattes. –It’s easy, trust me!

 Pumpkin Spice Lattes (Makes enough for 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of milk of choice (I used soy)
  • 2-4 tbsp of pumpkin puree
  • sweetener of choice to taste (I used 2 tbsp maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (because more cinnamon is always better)

¼ cup espresso or 1 cup strong coffee (I used a ratio of 4 tsbp of coffee grounds to 1 cup of boiled water in my french press)


Directions

Combine milk, pumpkin puree, and sweetener in a saucepan.

Cook on medium heat while stirring, until steaming.

Bring to a boil and add spices.

Whisk well.

Pour in espresso or strong coffee.

Divide into two mugs and top with cinnamon.

~Enjoy!

Article & photo’s by Lily Thrift

 

Beautiful You, Naturally.

I love makeup! It’s my favorite part about getting ready and it’s my favorite section at Generation Green! Maybe you’ve seen me at the shop sporting colorful glittery eyes with an extra shiny lip or a pure glitter highlight (I like to have a lot of fun with my looks), either way, I always get so excited to help with any makeup-related questions. I’ll talk more about what exactly we can help you with later on.

I consider my own makeup practice as a habitual process of celebrating creativity and exercising self-care and self-love. It’s what makes me happy, and I want to have as much fun with makeup as I possibly can! I wish everything about makeup was fun-related… but unfortunately there are so many unspoken rules and standards that dictate how to “properly” wear makeup. Wearing ‘too much’ is a no, wearing none at all welcomes the wonderfully uplifting comments like “You look so tired today!”, and being 30+ should rule out wearing fun colors on your eyes/lips, obviously… I’m sick of it! Makeup should not be policed by unrealistic standards of beauty and age restrictions! I strongly believe that you should wear whatever you’re most comfortable in and select makeup that makes you feel happy!

I have found it incredibly helpful to take time to understand what makeup means to me. I have become grounded in my own self and secure with my decisions when it comes to makeup (this is why it’s so easy for me to rock a wild glittery look for a 9 am shift). Take a minute out of your morning routine to consider what wearing makeup means to you. Remember, the reasons you come up with are valid. It truly does not matter whether you are doing it for yourself, for someone else, to better deal with peoples’ ignorant comments about the state of your skin (people suck sometimes…), whatever! Understand why you choose to wear makeup and ground yourself in your ability to actively participate in your own body’s autonomy.

Now, when it comes to natural makeup… I have truly tried it all. Considering this, I can confidently say that the makeup line from Pure Anada is actually SO AMAZING. I’m going to take you through some of my favorite products. Maybe some will become your own favorites, maybe they won’t, but these are the products that fuel my love for naturally made, beautiful makeup.

Their mascara is #1 in my heart. It stays on all day, does not smudge, pumps up your lashes, and even holds up pretty well to tears/other liquids (it’s not totally waterproof, but it is definitely water resistant).

I swear by the pressed mineral foundation. It can give you very heavy coverage (if you apply heavily/apply in layers) but I have also used it for a finishing powder/ light foundation. It never looks powdery AND the colors blend beautifully with natural skin tones. A++++

Last, but by no means least is their lip gloss. My absolute favorite color to wear is Sheer Opal, it’s a transparent gloss with a hint of baby pink that wears with a wet, dewy look. It’s incredibly moisturizing and it smells very yummy. I have also used this to apply loose glitter to my eyes/cheeks… it’s the right amount of sticky that works better than any glitter adhesive I have used before. WONDERFUL!!!

Finally, let me briefly explain what we can help you with here at Generation Green. We are by no means makeup artists.. but we have been told that we are quite the superstars when it comes to color matching. Finding the perfect shade of foundation can be overwhelming, but we are always happy to try however many colors it takes to find something that will work best for you! If you have questions regarding the ingredients/production/how something so pretty and pink can be naturally made, we can also help you out there! Pure Anada’s website is an excellent resource if you’re ever searching for more information! If you’re ever in the store when I’m working… ask me about what colors compliment each other or how to do a fun shimmery eye, I LOVE talking about makeup… if you haven’t already noticed.

-Article written by Dallas Gillingham

Natural Living Series – Detox Your Fine Self!

 

Focus: Detoxifying & Cleansing

In my previous post I spoke about adding a daily probiotic as a start for looking after your gut health. A daily probiotic keeps your gut populated with good fighting bacteria. It can also be beneficial to cleanse your colon, as years of built up toxins can affect your health. Think dirty colon = dirty blood = bad health.  A cleanse can be a chance to “reset the system.” Others do a cleanse more spiritually for inner peace.  Some like to do a spring & fall cleanse, but others like to do it once a month.  How you do it is all a personal preference, and comes down to listening to what your body wants or needs.

There are a few different types and lengths of cleanses you can try. With any cleanse you want your body to be prepared for it.

Step 1 – Approach your cleanse with a self-care attitude.  It’s most important to make sure you will have the time to relax,  and not stress. See this as a time to pamper and care for yourself.  Plan to be home, read a good book, mediate, take a bath; whatever helps to create a nurturing environment for yourself.

Step 2 – Be prepared with everything you need in order to be successful!  Make a list! You want to make sure you are keeping your body hydrated and putting back minerals and nutrients.  Find recipes for fresh detox juices you can make at home, or if you prefer there are programs here in Winnipeg, such as the ones offered at Green Carrot.  You also want to have certain foods on hand, such as brown rice or Miso broth, in case you find it too difficult to be without food.

Step 3 – Be realistic with yourself, and your intention with the cleanse.  Don’t go into a cleanse with an ideal of shedding unwanted pounds, but rather envision your body cleansed and refreshed in order to give you optimal health.

As I mentioned, there are many different types of cleanses available. You really should research what is best for you, and be sure to check with your doctor if you have any health restrictions.

In addition to the toxins in our colon, cleansing also gives our other organs a much-needed rest! With the amount of toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis, in addition to a cleanse, we should find ways to help our body detoxify.

Detoxification removes impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymphatic system, and skin. There are numerous ways to enhance your cleanse and help your body detoxify. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Detox baths are wonderful, not only for helping relax your body, but drawing toxins to the surface.  Encouraging our bodies’ natural detoxification process is simple!  You will want to start with bath water as hot as you can handle and add in 2 cups of epsom salts (also known as magnesium sulfate.) It can also be beneficial to add a cup of baking soda to your bath to help neutralize any chemicals, such as chlorine.  Add a few drops of essential oil if you like, and submerge your body for at least 20 minutes. When finished, drink lots of water to hydrate.
  • Dry Brushing is another great tool for detoxing! By dry brushing your skin with a loofah or a dry brush, you will stimulate the lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system is our personal filter, it keeps toxins out of your bloodstream. When we stimulate it with a dry bush, it activates this powerful defense system.  Dry brushing can also help rid cellulite, and naturally rid of dead skin cells.
  • Any exercise that helps you break a sweat is going to be a detox tool.  So dance in your kitchen, get outside for a brisk walk, whatever you enjoy, just get sweating!
  • Go for a massage, my personal favourite!  Ever wonder why a massage therapist will tell you to drink plenty of water after a massage? Think of it like this: your muscles are a sponge and when a massage therapist starts rubbing your muscles they are squeezing that sponge and stimulating your lymphatic system.

Eliminating our exposure to toxins, especially environmental toxins, can be difficult. But we can help our bodies have a strong defense system by making healthier choices!  Some of the other benefits that you can receive from a cleansing & detox routine are: beautiful skin, clear thinking, more energy, & better mood.

Next up in our “Natural Living” series:  Understanding Omega’s, Superfoods, Enzymes & Antioxidants.

 

 

 

Green Carrot Juice Co. Detox!

Detox me please!

I had been feeling tired and a little sluggish no matter how much I slept, and basically not really myself, so I decided a juice cleanse sounded like a good idea! Not to mention, I have been taking an online nutrition course, and was having a real good understanding of what our body does for us, therefore thought I should show it some love!

I had attempted a juice cleanse only one other time, but found it very time-consuming as I was using my home juicer, and because I’m on the go (boys play hockey, need I say more!), not very convenient.

I had been wanting to visit the Green Carrot Juice Company, to try out their fresh pressed juices, then I saw the twitter feed that they were now offering juice cleanses, (you can do either a 1 day or a 3 day), it was kinda of like the universe telling me that is what I needed!  Since I’m an “all in” kind of person, I opted for the 3 day!

Green Carrot suggests you prepare yourself before the cleanse by eating lighter each day, eliminate starchy foods and adding in lots of veggies!

Morning Greens
Morning Greens

Received my juices (they deliver!), cracked open the “Morning Greens”, which is a combination of Kale, Spinach, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Ginger & Lemon.  Was expecting it to taste “greenie” so prepared myself, but was pleasantly surprised by how delicious, not to mention fresh it tasted! Slurped that down no problem, while I read through the little booklet of instructions and tips.

There are 6 juices for each day, so you want to spread them out, with the last one being 2 hours before bed.  Drink lots of water throughout the day, and be prepared for a headache!

Next up is the one they call “Amp”, Apple, Mint and Pineapple! A refreshing blend that had me envisioning warm tropics, sitting in a law chair with an umbrella drink! Love it!skd187377sdc

juicing
Beet It! Beautiful Color!

Mid afternoon is another “Morning Greens”, followed by a “Beet It” which is made up of  Beet, Carrot, Orange & Ginger.  The “Beet It” was probably my least favorite but not in bad way, it was just a strong beet taste, that overpowered the other ingredients.

Dinner, early eve I was able to enjoy “Hardcore Greens”  loaded with Apple, Celery, Cucumber, Parsley, Spinach, Kale, Romaine Lettuce, Ginger, Lemon, Lime,  Flax oil and Aloe Vera! Were talking loaded here!  Taste was okay, you know this one just has to be good for you!

Finally, finishing off with “Bliss”, which is basically your little treat for making it through the whole day!  Bliss contains a delightful combination of, Almond milk, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Organic Cane Sugar & Medjool Dates! YUM is all I can say!

I also started taking a probiotic to help repopulate the good flora and keep the ol’ bod in balance!

A couple other recommendations from Green Carrot are to Dry Brush (we have wonderful Merben dry body brushes available at Generation Green), as well they suggest sweating either with sauna or steam room, or even light exercise will help flush the toxins out, just remember to rinse off otherwise it’s being reabsorbed into your body.  Also, massage! Speaking my language here! Apparently if you let your massage therapist know you’re doing a cleanse, they can massage the liver and that could increase the effects of the cleanse.

The little booklet that you get with your cleanse, also gives you great tips for post cleanse, and easing back into eating.self_care_tips_women_entrepreneurs

So how did I do?  Well, I did start getting a headache mid afternoon on day 1, but since I was expecting it I managed through, even while working a 12 hour shift! I wasn’t hungry at all actually, which was very surprising!  Just needed lots of bathroom breaks 😉

body-is-a-machine
Our bodies our machines!

Day 2 I woke with a bad headache, that just kept getting worse, but I still really thought I could manage with it. Especially after a visit to my store from Obby (owner of Green Carrot).  Unfortunately, by late afternoon I was in pretty rough shape and needed to eat 🙁  I did continue drinking the juices for the day as well as the next, as they really are quite delicious, but added in some light meals as well.

I had originally thought that doing the cleanse while at work would be a great distraction, but maybe with my next attempt I will opt for the cozy confines of home, really making the whole process a nurturing, self-care event.

I really do support the idea of giving your body a break once in awhile by doing a cleanse like this one, but I also think it’s important that everyday we think about what we are putting into our bodies, as most disease and health issues start within your gut. Although each of our organs has a specific function, they also function as part of a group, very much like a machine that we need to maintain, service and keep well fueled!