Category Archives: Nourishment

The Placenta Cookbook

For a growing number of new mothers, there’s no better nutritional snack after childbirth than the fruit of their own labor.

By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian 

Published Aug 21, 2011 

A fresh placenta simmers with ginger, lemon, and a jalapeño pepper.

(Photo: Kathryn Parker Almanas )

 

Jennifer Hughes’s placenta was delivered ten minutes after her first child, just before midnight on March 31. It was on the large side, with a liverish texture and a bluish tinge; it measured nine inches in diameter and weighed a pound and a half. Placentas are considered biohazardous waste by the medical Establishment and are usually disposed of accordingly. Some hospitals send the afterbirth in formaldehyde to a pathology lab for analysis before it is carted off by a tissue-disposal service; others toss it out with bloody miscellany in special containers.

 

 

But in the birth plan that Hughes brought with her to Beth Israel Medical Center, she specified that she wanted to keep her placenta, for cultural reasons. Complying with New York State health regulations, which says that hospitals “may, at the request of a patient or patient’s representative, return a healthy placenta for disposition by the patient,” the hospital allowed her to take it home, and even packed it up for her.

In some cultures, it is customary to bury the placenta and plant a tree over it.

Hughes had other plans. She was going to eat it.

Early the next morning, a 28-year-old woman named Jennifer Mayer is driving a Subaru from Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge with an opaque takeout container in the passenger seat. Inside the container is a gallon-size Ziploc bag, and inside the bag is Jennifer Hughes’s placenta.

Mayer—an upbeat, blue-eyed blonde from upstate New York—is a professional placenta-preparer. Her job is to transform placentas into supplements that are said to alleviate postpartum depression, aid in breastmilk production and lactation, act as a uterine tonic, and replenish nutrients lost during pregnancy. Her clients are mostly middle-class, like Hughes and her husband, Doug, who are college-educated, in their thirties, and live on a gentrifying street in Crown Heights. On this dreary April morning, Mayer is driving the afterbirth to their apartment to begin preparing it.

 

“It’s the freshest placenta I’ve ever worked with!” she says, glancing over at the container as the car lurches through traffic. Mayer speaks about the organ in tones most women reserve for newborns: “perfect,” “beautiful,” “precious.”

 

Her enthusiasm isn’t unfounded. The placenta feeds the baby until birth, filtering toxins while letting in vitamins, minerals, oxygen, and other nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream. It even helps reduce the risk of transmitting viruses, including HIV, from mother to child.

Mayer, who also works as a massage therapist and doula, first became interested in placentas as a student at the University of Colorado. After reading up on the purported benefits of consuming one’s afterbirth and learning that a client was planning to try it, Mayer decided that she wanted to offer her customers placenta capsules: dried, ground afterbirth packaged into a clear pill no bigger than a regular vitamin supplement.

The technique, called encapsulation, was not widely practiced in Colorado and, until quite recently, was practically unknown on the East Coast. But Mayer found a doula who conducted training sessions with donated placentas, and started her business, Brooklyn Placenta Services, shortly thereafter.

“They’re happy pills,” Mayer says. “They’re made by your body, for your body. Why wouldn’t you want to try?”

 

In 1930, the researchers Otto Tinklepaugh and Carl Hartman described a female macaque monkey eating her placenta. “After licking the afterbirth, she begins the grueling task … of consuming this tough fibrous mass,” they wrote. “Holding the organ in her hands, she bites and tears at it with her teeth.” Tinklepaugh and Hartman could not determine the precise reason why macaques—and virtually every other land mammal—eat their own placenta. To this day, the reasons remain unclear.

Mark Kristal, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Buffalo, is the country’s leading (and quite possibly only) authority on placentophagia, the practice of placenta consumption. He has been researching the phenomenon for twenty years, and concludes that it must offer “a fundamental biological advantage” to all mammals. What this advantage is, he writes in one of his papers, “is still a mystery … in fact, a double mystery. We are not sure either of the immediate causes … nor are we sure of the consequences of the behavior.” But placentas have carried a special spiritual significance in some cultures. In ancient Egypt, it had its own hieroglyph, and the Ibo tribe in Nigeria and Ghana treats the placenta like a child’s dead twin. In traditional Chinese medicine, small doses of human placenta are sometimes dried, mixed with herbs, and ingested to alleviate, among other things, impotence and lactation conditions. And in modern medicine, doctors often bank umbilical-cord blood to treat genetic diseases with harvested stem cells.

According to Kristal, the first recorded placentophagia movement in America began in the seventies, when people residing in communes would cook up a placenta stew and share it among themselves. “It’s a New Age phenomenon,” he explains. “Every ten or twenty years people say, ‘We should do this because it’s natural and animals do it.’ But it’s not based on science. It’s a fad.”

Continue reading here

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Ways to Energize Your Chakras

Everyday we stimulate our chakra centers in one way or another, for example, through the different thoughts we have or physically through our senses. Daily we energize our centers, consciously or unconsciously, through various methods. Following is a list of common ways we charge our chakra centers:

Thoughts
Thought is an energy form. Science has proven a positive thought allows our energy to flow freely and unrestricted. Whereas, negative thoughts decrease energy within our body. Every thought (whether mental or emotional) is connected to a chakra. For example, a passionate thought is a red energy stimulant, but an angry thought decreases one’s positive red energy flow. This means that continual angry thoughts will lower your root chakra’s energy.

The Sun
This is our most important energy source. Through light all the seven color energies flow from the sun’s rays to the earth. People, animals, plants, minerals, water and our chakras receive energy from the sun’s light. (If you are not able to enjoy the sun for a few hours daily, add a quality full spectrum light bulb to alight source in your work area or in a lamp at home.)

Food
When the sun’s rays bless all plant life, it gives the plant life/energy. Once the plant absorbs energy, the color energy that remains is the energy of that fruit, vegetable or flower. Without this energy our body could not assimilate the nutritional value of the food. Balance your chakras daily by eating foods that contain each of the seven color energies (that’s why the doctor always said to eat a plate of different colored foods… for the color value!).

Visualization
Meditation & Breathing (Yoga). Since thought is an energy form you can stimulate your chakra centers through meditation, visualization or breathing energy into your various chakra centers. By adding the color intention adds additional power from a chakra’s vibration.

Gems/Minerals
Gemstones and minerals are also energy forms. For example, crystals contain a similar crystalline structure as the human body. Crystals amplify energy and can be programmed (e.g. computer chips and watches). Wearing gemstone jewelry or placing gemstones and minerals in your environment is a simple way to absorb the stone or mineral’s healing vibrations.

Color Bathing
(One of my favorites!) Water is a conductor of energy and color is an energy. While lying in the colored water your body absorbs the vibrational frequency from the color. Take the time to give back to your body and soul! While bathing, balance that chakra by thinking about what you would like to achieve from that specific energy and maybe add the correlating aromatherapy oil. Do not use chemical food coloring to dye your water. I recommend Colour Bath™ by Colour Energy Corporation, as it is totally organic and therefore safe to use.

Aromatherapy
Essential oils are the pure essence of the plant or flower. Every oil has a vibration that correlates to a color. Oils contain the healing properties of herbs, flowers or plants. Use only therapeutic quality oils (inexpensive oils may contain toxins). Also never apply oils directly on your skin (dilute with a carrier oil or in a bath).

Music & Dance
Music effects us in a positive or negative way. Every musical note corresponds to a color and chakra center. Certain sounds can stimulate an emotional, mental, physical or spiritual response. E.g. Listening or dancing to primal music, such as the beating of drums, can energize your physical body and stimulate your root chakra.

Toning & Sounds
We can vocally make sounds to vibrate at the same frequency as various organs in our body. Regular toning can help keep our body’s organs functioning properly. Noise pollution can be very disturbing to our environment. Surround yourself with sounds, which make you happy and productive!

Color Tonations
By shining of light through various color filters directly onto the body, the vibration of the color will be absorbed through your skin effecting the designated area.

Solarized Water
Charge water by filling a colored glass with water or by placing a colored filter in front of a glass of water and let the sun’s rays kiss the water with color energy. Make sure the glass is not leaded and of a clean color hue.

Syntonics
Is the use of color through the eyes. Via our eyes color stimulates our pituitary gland, which in turn releases hormones connected to the correlating organ of the same frequency. Therapeutic eye glasses that are manufactured with various colored filters can be simply worn whenever you need a boost of a certain color or chakra energy. Make sure the color eyeglasses are 100% UVA & UVB coated if wearing outdoors and again the exact color tint of the lens is very, very important. Note: Unless the color glass manufacturer or distributor is aware of color therapy, chances are their colored lenses are not made for healing purposes.

Decor
Use colors consciously in your home or work environment to give you more positive and productive energy. Paint a room or add different colored pillows, artwork, carpets, etc.

Clothing
What we wear will influence our mood, mind and energy level. Light penetrates through our clothing amplifying the color energy we are wearing. The more vibrant the clothing the better the energy transfer.

Art & Color
Art and color can be used as an outlet to either express or stimulate. Surround yourself with the colors, which are suitable for what you need to accomplish in that area. Use calming colors in your bedroom and mentally stimulating colors in your workspace.


Mind Control

The mind is a powerful tool.  Many (if not most) people live their entire lives never truly realizing its full potential.  Ponder for a moment, the mind has the ability to think, dream, predict, forget, and even manifest.  When people talk about the subconscious, what they are really referring to is the part of the mind that has been “flashy thingyed” by society– the part we were programmed not to recognize.  Men in Black does a great job of depicting this phenomenon (click on above link for details)!  But, by design, we are able to overcome this setback if we are willing to put in the work.  It takes time, although the reward of awareness far outweighs the challenge it takes to get there.

 

Consider this scenario for a moment:

You awake from a long, unscheduled nap, and you know you have to make it to the dining hall to eat lunch before it closes.  You rush around, but the entire time you are doubting your ability to get there in time to eat, check your e-mail, and return before your campers come back from their afternoon activities.  You keep telling yourself not to forget your meal ticket before you leave your room, so you make sure you take it out  of your wallet (which you are not bringing with you). You are also unsure of what to wear because you know the forecast is calling for mild weather, but you are almost certain it will be warm outside.  You grab your laptop bag, and head out the door.  As you are locking the door, you double-check your laptop bag and realize you don’t have your meal ticket! You left it on the dresser next to your wallet.  You run in, pick up the ticket and stick it in your pocket.  You briefly think to yourself, “what if it fell out of my pocket on my way to the dining hall?  That would suck!”  This thought makes you laugh because you think it’s highly unlikely.  You get outside and a few things pop into your mind: you aren’t dressed appropriately because you threw on a long sleeve shirt even though you expected it to be warm, you want to walk fast so you have time to eat and check e-mail but rushing will cause you to sweat, and you better not drop the meal ticket.  You finally get to the dining hall and as you reach into your back pocket, panic starts to sink in.  Where the heck is the meal ticket?!

 

Now honestly ask yourself what you would do or think in this situation?  For me, this was one of the many events that actually happened to me today!  But there is a lesson in this, and that’s that our minds have the power to manifest.  I had been thinking about all these negative scenarios, and I doubted my own ability to make things happen peacefully.  Furthermore, I didn’t actually listen to myself long enough to change somethings around, like put the meal ticket in a safe place (i.e. in my bag), or put on a cooler shirt.  But the difference between myself and the average person is, the whole time I was aware that these negative events would happen.

The first issue is that I was rushing.  What I have learned through experiences in my life is that rushing is futile.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be at any given time.  Rushing expends unnecessary energy, makes you do things sloppily, and may even cause you to arrive at your destination before your favor, blessing, or fortune!

The second issue is doubt.  When you doubt yourself, you actually welcome negativity or opposition.  The best thing to do is to trust your instincts.  If it doesn’t feel right, leave it be. But if you feel like you will forget something, you most certainly will so do yourself a favor and write it down, or act immediately.  Had I just changed my shirt or put the meal ticket in a safer place, I could have avoided the confusion all together.

The last issue is this:  Think, speak, and act positively.  Giving yourself room for negative thoughts creates negative outcomes.  It’s true it can be difficult to be positive all the time, but if you have a negative thought, finish it, and then replace it with something positive.  This may require you to actually tell yourself enough.  And then forgive yourself, and move on from it.  When we harp on our issues is when they consume us and over-extend their welcome.

 

Because I am aware the power that my mind has, I was able to pause for a moment, think clearly, laugh at myself for my own carelessness, and retrace my steps (not far at all), back to my meal ticket which was lying neatly on the ground awaiting my return.  It was as if the ticket, the Universe, and myself all shared a moment that no one else noticed.  Had I not known the power of my mind, I may not have retraced my steps successfully finding the ticket, and I would have been angry at how careless I was and allowed it to takeover my mood, the whole time sweating unnecessary buckets, and still hungry.

This is a super simple scenario (and true could have been avoided altogether, but I’m happy to share), but I guarantee it can be applied to all of life’s situation.  We are often the culprit for confusion, not because we are unfortunate people, or deserve chaos in our lives, but because we fail to recognize that we do have a say in how we react, and how we welcome the flow of energy into our lives.  It is unwise to assume that you have no control over what happens to you.  And while the Universe has the last say, we can use our minds to give a gentle push in the direction we hope to go.

 

My mom always taught us as kids, think good things, good things happen.  Think bad things, bad things happen.


Bizness!

I’m trying to find meaning.  Literally, I researched the meaning of this song.  But mostly, I just find it mesmerizing for no known reason other than it makes me lose myself for a moment!  Enjoy!


Infographic: School Cafeteria Food vs. Prison Food

GOOD, Infographic, School lunch, Prison lunch, Column Five Media, transparency, Spending
Hopefully you haven’t gotten the chance to taste jailhouse cuisine, but if you’re a product of the American school system, you probably have childhood memories of standing in line for grey mashed potatoes, half-thawed mystery meat, and slimy canned peaches. How do the trays measure up?

A collaboration between GOOD and Column Five Media


Moqueca and Farofa: Bringing the taste of Brazil home

Moqueca and Farofa: Bringing the taste of Brazil home.


Cultured Almond milk?

So… I’m working to ween myself of of animal products and by-products gradually.  A few days ago I discovered that you can purchase non-dairy yogurt (aside from the soy yogurt that has been out for a while) and I was super excited! Yogurt has been a part of my daily mourning breakfast routine since 2008 (before that I hated yogurt!  And anything else white and creamy…think what you will lol), when I learned the benefits it has for digestive and vaginal health:-)  But when I decided to embark on a new lifestyle that includes less of the animal stuff and more of the raw, fruity and leafy stuff, I was kind of devastated…

Now I learned of a couple other options to take the place of the dairy yogurt I had grown to love: cultured almond milk and cultured coconut milk!  I bought some of the cultured almond milk, and umm.. I can’t get with it.  Now it was my first time today, so I shouldn’t rule it completely out, but I do NOT like the way it feels.  The consistency is like gelatin, but it’s creamy and opaque (not a good combination).  I haven’t tried the cultured coconut milk yet, and probably will next, but does anyone know of a yogurt alternative (besides soy yogurt) that is vegan but has the same consistency as regular yogurt and all the above noted benefits?  Perhaps it’s just the brand I purchased? (Amande – you have to scroll down a bit to find it).

Please help!!


Spoiled Little Organic Girl…

😦

So today, I went to my neighborhood grocer to purchase some organic fruits and veggies.  I was very disappointed when I got there because the selection was pitiful!  And to make matters worse, everything was overpriced!  Now, I completely understand and have grown accustomed to paying a bit more for organic produce, but I almost passed out in my shopping basket when I got to the register and saw that those organic Roma tomatoes I grabbed were $6 (and they were even pre-packaged, the only option available!)  I left the store with one small bag of produce, and a $50 receipt…

I’m not really complaining about my own personal experience or expense.  What bothers me the most is the thought of how much it will cost others to be healthy.  Think about it:  the single mother with three kids, the man who’s been laid off for the past three months but has to feed his family, or the college student who doesn’t have a meal plan.  Do you think that they are all interested in buying organic produce at their neighborhood grocery when the prices are ridiculous and the selection sucks?  No way!  So basically this means that many will continue to put toxins, pesticides, and wax into their bodies voluntarily because it’s the most economic option…

And I have no children to worry about feeding, and I although I’m FAR from rich, I’m fortunate to have a LITTLE extra to spend.  But do I really want to pay this much for produce when bills need to paid and gas is so freaking high?  NO WAY! But I can’t sacrifice my health, so I’ll be buying more gas to head to a market that specializes in organic produce, even if it is 2o miles away…


A trip to the Farmer’s Market!

It’s that time folks!  Pretty soon, if not already, farmer’s markets or open air markets all over the nation will open their doors, gates, roofs, fields to visitors!  It’s a time to celebrate!  Natural, organic, and handmade items will be available to you in an irresistibly fresh quality and at irresistibly cheap prices (sometimes 😉  This is a time when Farmer’s and venders come together and bring you the items that they’ve harvested or created just for you!  You should know, most markets operate on a summer schedule (unless it’s indoors, or year round), and typically run on Saturday, in the morning to early afternoon.  Sometimes, the same market will be open one day a week, but have less items to sell.  If you are lucky, your city or town will have multiple markets, and the once-a-week schedule allows them to rotate so that visitors can check out various vendors, or makes it easier for vendors to schedule a time to sell that’s best for them.  If you are unsure of a market in your area, or if you want to check a market schedule, simply research online and call your local chamber of commerce.  There should be plenty of information available!  Farmer’s Markets allow you the opportunity to help with sustainability!  You get to buy fresh, and it helps local farmers!

People who should definitely visit a farmer’s market:

If you love fresh veggies

If you absolutely detest veggies, or your children do

If you are living/interested in an “alternative”  or healthy lifestyle (vegatarian, raw, organic, vegan, gluten-free)

If you love MEAT

If you are an herbalist, or like fresh herbs and flowers

If you like natural remedies for ailments

If you are a tea connoisseur

If you love chocolate or handmade candies

If you like candles, bath salts, or other beauty items that are homemade

If you like finding things you can’t buy in a store (non-branded or non-commercialized items)

If you’ve never been to a farmer’s market

If you frequent farmer’s markets

If you know of a wonderful market in your neighborhood, town, or city, please post a comment with the location, hours/schedule, and your favorite things to buy!  This will help others decide if they would like to travel to your market, and give those new to the concept an opportunity to hear from you, the expert!

Check out these links for popular markets in:

Indianapolis

New York City

Philadelphia

Cincinnati

Los Angeles

Happy Marketing:-)


Wonton-Wrapped Thai Shrimp

Wonton-Wrapped Thai Shrimp.

Check out the above link from The Boogie Blog!  I’m a huge fan, and I love shrimp and Thai so I had to repost!


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