Root

Gandules Guisado con Bollitas de Platano and quinoa

Gandules Guisado con Bollitas de Platano and quinoa

Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, the root chakra is responsible for your sense of safety and security on this earthly journey. The word Muladhara breaks down into two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara, which means “support” or “base.” 

The Chopra Center, The Root Chakra: Muladhara

Simply, the foundation.

To say I have been in survival mode for the past couple of months is dramatization of a strict routine ruled by weather and finances. Eat, sleep, and pay the rent. Every penny is counted (2.01 for a super small coffee), every minute is dedicated (can’t skimp on my 130 minutes of netflix a night), and I officially live by the bedtime feature on my phone (10:15pm reminder).

Writing this now, I even just realized that I cannot be alone on this. It’s the winter, none the less, we are cold and desperately trying not get sick. I mean, what if we actually had to take a SICK DAY? Nobody can afford those, anymore. Winter, you are something else. And New York too, goddamn, you’re tough.

During the last few weeks I’ve cried over a 9-5 survival job more than any grateful person should, counted just enough quarters to dry the last batch of laundry I could afford, learned how to set a mouse trap, and bring up the subways so effortlessly in everyday conversation with every other New Yorker. How quickly we get accustomed.

I’ve read books to go back. I go back to the days when Puerto Ricans fled to New York (Brooklyn to be exact) to have light, running water, and work. Go back when the Incas and Andeans who lost their land, but not their teachings. I also talk to my grandma. She tells me how easy it would be to make mofongo (after I buy a pilón, claro) and how she used to go to Prospect Park all the time, over 50 years ago….

That’s about the time, they were learning to survive to. From New Jersey, to New York, and back to New Jersey to raise a family and work their asses off. That’s where the foundation began. Merging Puerto Rico into an American way of life. My parents merging their Latin AND American values into our American Dream household. How I’ve been surviving? By trying to get to the root of where it all began.

I want the rice and beans to fill my protein deficient body, the bread to keep me full, the local squash and potatoes for that sweet nourishment I crave, sugar and coconut oil to for the cravings of my skin, classic salsa to keep my mind dancing when my body is too cold or tired to do so herself, and the New York spirit, because even when you have exhausted me, the reminder of fucking doing it, is still with there.

Rooting down with my culture and vegetables, surviving the winter months by keeping a roof over my head and my head out of the clouds, for once, I built my foundation. Lonely nights were filled with projects of dim lights and candles, perfect for cozy productivity in bed. Counting quarters taught me the value of accessible nourishing foods, not just for myself, but anyone who gets hungry. Subway rides gave me not space, but opportunity to go deeper, through the words of those before me.

This is how I root. Making my home in New York, with experiences I couldn’t have anywhere else, I dig my feet a little deeper, making sure I may extend my hunger, heart, arms, and mind ANYWHERE else, but with feet on the ground. In case you do need to go back to basics, the foundation will always be there.

4 Steps To Wellness In The Winter

Lavender Oatmeal Facial, Sweet Treat Beauty

Lavender Oatmeal Facial, Sweet Treat Beauty

You guys.  It's winter.  Whether it feels like it by you or not, the winter solstice has come and gone, so let's (if we must) embrace those changes .   

I'd be lying if I said it's been too busy.  Honestly, I have taken more time for myself.  Whether it be reflecting, taking on new hobbies, prepping for the new season, or staying warm, there is no guilt in me-time.  This is what I tell myself, but in reality I think most of guess a little shaky if we are not constantly working.  What's up with that?

Anyway, I wanted to share how I TRY to keep sane, warm and well during the holiday and winter season.  From different beauty tricks, everyday detox, and digestion tips, the way we take care of ourselves drastically changes if you experience drastic shifts in seasons. I mean, it's 20 degrees where I am at...  If my hot-and-humid-Florida-loving self can adjust, so can you!

I've actually done something similar in previous posts, a mini series if you will.  For now, here are 4 quick steps and hacks to have on hand this winter!

1. Everyday Wellness

Probably the most important one.  I feel like in the summer, wellness routines can go astray, yet the warmth, humidity, and longer days are a little more forgiving and allow us to be a little more flexible.  During the winter, no so much.  Consistency is key to maintain health all year round. 

Mentioned in previous posts, there are habits and rituals to incorporate everyday and they make a hell of difference these months!

  • Lemon water - Get those digestive juices going!
  • Dry Brushing - Blood flow of the lymphatic system which supports your immune system.
  • Netti Pot - Clear out your sinus every damn day.  Prevent bacteria buildup.

2. Light Fasting

From the time you have dinner until breakfast, you should just be looking at about 12 hours of light fasting.  It may also be looked at for many as a natural fast, but of course everyone's body clock is different.  Fasting gives your body just the right amount of time to rest, balance sugar levels, and let your digestive system work its magic. 

Find what works for your lifestyle and schedule though, and prepare the next day's breakfast based on today's dinner. If you have a late dinner, for example, you may just want to whip up a quick juice or smoothie to hold you over until the next mealtime. 

3. Movement

This one is definitely the hardest to get myself into.  It's not until I actually start moving and sweating do I remember why I recommend this in the first place.

It's easy to feel sluggish, tired, and COLD during these next few months.  Although, exercise is beneficial all year-round, if you want to combat those winter blues, you betta get moving!  Simple stretches and twists can warm up and loosen your muscles, especially if you are at a desk all day, automatically getting your digestive system moving and fired up as well.  If you're feeling it, it's a great time to take on a new workout routine or challenge.  Why wait till the new year? Watch how quickly your mood, health, and boo-tay get a boost!

4. Oil Up.

This step doesn't get enough love I think.  When I tell people I use oil instead of lotion, I get surprising, sometimes perplexed, and sometimes mortified looks.  But really, it makes perfect sense. 

For those who retain heat well, you can use coconut oil all year long, but for those of us who need an extra layer of moisture, almond oil is your best bet.  Before or right after a shower, massage into your skin and pat dry.  This will seal the moisture and vitamins in, keeping you warm and soft all day/ night long.  

*For a more healing and therapeutic effect use sesame seed oil.  It's the perfect warming body oil before bed.  If this is too much to start, try massaging it into your feet and hands first.  As temperature conductors you won't regret this healing sensation.  

 

Rosemary Pistachio Kabocha and Balsamic Reduction

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Well, that is a mouth full.  But, I promise, worth every syllable and word once you make it. 

How's life?  It's Thanksgiving next week and I just heard my first Christmas song on the radio as I type this.  I don't hate it. 

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As a healthy living enthusiast and and Holistic Health Coach, I feel it's my duty to give you those wellness hacks.  The ones that keep you feeling good, when the feasts begin, the booze is flowing, and the parties run a little later.  Oh, and it's cold.  I want to keep you warm.  Next post!

Kabocha squash.  Have you heard of it?  TASTED IT?!  It's delicious.  The great thing about all the squashes this season are the subtle differences and versatility.  (Except for spaghetti squash, you pretty much get the same deal --  a beautiful, orange flesh, easy to puree and pleasurably sweet. 

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I chose to use Kabocha for this recipe.  It was actually my first time and it came out pretty damn good.  This squash is particularly a bit sweeter with a consitency more like pumpkin; easily mashed or pureed.  The perks of this recipe are the simple production, playful use of herbs and your choice of enjoying it mashed, chunky or pureed!

Perfect freshly made and warm, or some hearty leftovers.  On a piece of sourdough toast...Heaven.

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Rosemary Pistachio Kabocha and Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 medium/large kabocha squash
  • 3 sprigs rosemary(tarragon or oregano work as well!)
  • 1 cup pistachios (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Cut squash into 1/8, wedged.  Spread on baking sheet and dress with oil (I use grapeseed) and salt to taste.  Roast for one hour, turning just once to ensure caramelization.  Once done, take out and let completely cool.  This is to ensure squash stays together for easy preparation. 

In a medium sauce pan, bring vinegar to a boil over high heat.  Lower heat to about medium, keeping the vinegar to a high simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Turn off once reduced and slightly thicker. 

Once squash cooled, peel skin and chop into large cubes.  It's okay if it's soft and fall apart a bit.  Transfers straight into bowl.  Add rosemary, chopped pistachios, and olive oil.  Toss adding salt and pepper to taste.  Using a spoon drizzle reduction over squash.  Serve!

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