Winter is time for…
Hibernation, internal processing, incubation, sleep, dreams, appreciating the darkness, staying warm, recognizing the force of the seasons.
I spent the last four years in Los Angeles and I didn’t experience much of the “seasons”, so I’m thankful to be in Northern California where it rains for weeks on end, and a wood-burning fire serves a true purpose.
Today is the first day of winter and I rose before the sunrise to welcome back the light. After the darkest night of the year, the days slowly start to elongate for the next six months. Even as we enter the coldness of winter, the days become longer. I love recognizing the force of the seasons- even if we don’t live somewhere that snow falls, our bodies recognize a change in pace, a feeling, a rhythm of winter. Before spring comes, we have time to snuggle up, take a deep look inside, and see what seeds we want to plant and nurture.
If you’re wondering what to nourish this season, I encourage you to create a space for yourself to reflect and explore. As the year ends and the business of the holidays have many of us bustling between work, parties, and family obligations, it’s essential to take time for ourselves to cultivate a place of personal intentions. This is not about creating a grand list of overwhelming “resolutions”, but rather feeling into what it is that actually supports you in your life, what it is that allows you to feel creative, alive, sustained.
In a quiet place, light a candle and make yourself some tea, coffee, or a favorite warm drink. I recommend writing on paper, but if you prefer a computer (or typewriter, like my sister), go ahead and use the tools you prefer. Ruminate on the following questions:
· How am I feeling right now? (free write, as much as you’d like, without judgment, just let it out onto paper. This is not to share or publish, it’s a catharsis and safe place for you to just let go)
· What can I do to take care of myself in the coming winter months? Without using “shoulds”, take note of what it is that you feel good doing, what it is that nourishes you. It could be long walks in the forest, on the beach, a long bath, a bike ride, a silent meditation, writing in your journal, connecting with loved ones, making home cooked meals, etc. Allow yourself to be fully immersed in the feel-good aspect of this exercise.
· From a place of possibility, imagine what you could nourish and create, beyond your Self, this winter. Maybe it’s cultivating a writing practice, finishing a business plan, cleaning out the garage, continuing with an art project or something left in the dust. Whatever it is, you feel some sort of call or inspiration toward this, not just a “should”. It may not feel easy, but you know that it’s something you truly want to do.
· If you need support with this project, write down what that is. Maybe it’s making time once a week, or asking a neighbor to borrow their tractor, or getting a group of friends together for a craft night. Whatever support you need, acknowledge it, write it down, and know that it’s possible.
· Last but not least, acknowledge yourself and the real commitment you have made to nourish yourself this season. You are capable, creative, and responsible for your influence on your own life.
Enjoy the coming months. It’s ok to stay inside, turn down dinner invitations, go to bed early. Get plenty of rest. Let me know how the ritual goes for you, and adapt as you feel inspired.
Winter Blessings and Self Care Sanctifications!
First of all, YAYYYYYYY!!!!! Thank you everyone for your positive feedback and generosity and willingness to support me in this endeavor. It is so much fun for me to have a product I am actually sending to people in the mail! So tangible and lovely. And I love that I get to share myself, recipes, inspiring elements, etc. through the interwebs. What a community I have!
Here's a kombucha recipe that I have been using for years. It has changed a little bit, and I encourage you to be intuitive and play with your recipe. Let me know what works for you!
*Boil one gallon of filtered water
*Turn off stove
*Add 1 - 1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar and about 7-10 tea bags (or loose leaf equivalent) to hot water. You can also add herbs to steep for flavor/medicinal purpose.
*Stir to dissolve sugar
*Let the hot sweet tea steep for about 15 minutes
*Strain the tea bags/loose leaf tea
*Let the sweet tea sit until room temp
*If you have kombucha culture in the fridge now is a good time to remove from fridge and let it warm up to room temp.
*When the sweet tea and the kombucha starter are at the same temp, pour the sweet tea into a gallon jug (or bigger) with a wide rim. With clean hands, and NO METAL (jewelry etc) place the kombucha culture into the sweet tea and pour the kombucha "starter fluid" in there as well
*Cover the brew with a breathable material, towel, paper towel, etc, and secure with a rubber band or string so bugs can't go swimming!
*Start tasting your brew after five days. You will know it's ready when it has the right sweet/sour flavor (it's up to you! Brewing longer will result in a more sour flavor. You can also let it ferment to kombucha vinegar).
*When it's ready, remove a cup of the liquid and the kombucha culture (or cultures, it's possible a new baby has grown in the past week!) Set this liquid and culture/s aside for a new batch.
*Bottle the kombucha in sealable bottles ie mason jar or swing-top bottles (you can get them at IKEA for cheap!)
*Let these bottles ferment a day or two longer at room temp, they will get fizzy! You can also add some simple syrup or fruit for extra fermentation/fizziness here (this is a second fermentation).
*Refrigerate to stop the fermentation!
*You have made your own kombucha! Congrats!
I love adding almond milk to my herbal coffee, chai, smoothies, everything! I make it nice and creamy so it tastes rich and delicious. Oftentimes the almond milk you buy in the store is pretty watered down, with a low fat content - or it has thickening agents to get that creamy consistency. This is the real deal! Let me know how it goes for you.
Soak 2.5 cups of almonds overnight in the fridge.
Rinse/strain almonds well before adding:
4.5 cups filtered H20
1 tsp vanilla
2 pinches salt
BLEND until smooth
Use nut milk bag to strain
This will keep in the fridge for about 4 days, maybe more. Don't forget to soak almonds for your next batch!
Here are some herbs we use in our blends at Wild Coyotea. This is not meant to treat or diagnose any ailment, but to provide some more information on our products.
Kava-kava is from the South Pacific islands, used ceremonially to make people feel euphoric, tranquil + sociable. Known to reduce anxiety, help depression, used as an anesthetic, to treat sleep problems, among other benefits. Kava is banned from some countries because of potential harm to the liver and because it is such a strong medicine. It is not recommended for pregnant women or children under twelve, and not recommended to be combined with alcohol. This is a serious plant!
Chamomile is good for soothing the stomach, known to be used as a sleep aide. Also NOT recommended for pregnant women as it may cause contractions.
Mugwort is also known for easing anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Good for menstrual cramps + to regulate hormones during menopause. Also NOT recommended for pregnant women.
Lavender is good for insomnia, restlessness, to ease headaches, upset stomach and to stimulate the appetite. Ok for pregnant women in small doses.
Raspberry leaf has many health benefits, specifically for women. It eases menstrual cramps and is said to strengthen the uterus during pregnancy, making for easier childbirth.
Hibiscus helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure + is high in anti-oxidants (vitamin C), fighting free radicals that damage cells in our bodies.
Rose petals are known to be calming, to ease menstrual cramps + have a soothing effect on the stomach. Also contains vitamin C (anti-oxidant)
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and contain high doses of vitamin C, which is good for the immune system. High in vitamin A, good for the skin. Also known as an anti-inflammatory. Gentle laxative, good for constipation.
Pau d’arco is a tree bark that has incredibly varied health benefits. Lapachol, the active component of the inner bark of this tree is known to be an antibiotic, antifungal, antitumor, antiviral, digestive, diuretic, fungicidal, antidiabetic, analgesic, astringent and parasiticide. Pau d’arco is great for the immune system and to combat yeast in the body.
St. John’s Wort is a known anti-depressant. Warning: Not to be used in combination with prescription Rx: MAOI, SSRI
Chicory root is good for digestion as it increases bile flow because of inulin, a soluble fiber, which is a powerful probiotic, aiding healthy flora in the digestive tract. It is also good for liver detoxification, and has anti-fungal + anti-bacterial properties. Chicory is also known to be a mild sedative.
Dandelion root also has many benefits related to the digestive system. Detoxifying to liver, gallbladder + kidneys. Anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce pain. Also an effective diuretic (increases urine output). Helps with fat digestion.
Ginger root is a super-herb. Benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, helps with nausea and digestion, is warming to the body by increasing blood circulation. Great for people with arthritic symptoms as swelling reduction lessens pain. Ginger is also known to kill cancer cells.
Cinnamon is good for digestion, to fight bacterial and fungal infections, and to soothe muscle spasms and pain. Known to stabilize blood sugar and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
Pau d’arco is a tree bark that has incredibly varied health benefits. Lapachol, the active component of the inner bark of this tree is known to be an antibiotic, antifungal, antitumor, antiviral, digestive, diuretic, fungicidal