Wellness Encyclopedia: Cherries + Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Wellness Encyclopedia: Cherries + Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Cherries are more than their garnet-colored flesh and delicious flavor would lead you to believe…

Late summer might just be my favorite “season” at the farmers’ markets here on the East Coast. Tables and stalls of local producers are overflowing with ripe peaches and nectarines, fresh flowers cascade from their baskets like tidal waves, every shade of green imaginable is represented by the cornucopia of vegetables available, and on more than one seller’s table the prize of August sits — fresh cherries. It’s not just the outdoor markets cherries commandeer come August, grocery stores and even corner markets all seem to procure them, the fruits practically begging to fill a bowl and be lazily eaten under the canopy of some shady tree somewhere, the difficult-to-navigate pits forcing those eating them to slow down and just enjoy it… And probably have a pit spitting contest too (just be sure to aim for the compost). As you might imagine with any lucky fruit or veggie lucky enough to be chosen for a Wellness Encyclopedia post, cherries are more than their garnet-colored flesh and delicious flavor — turns out they’re super good for you, too! Today — and for the remainder of August for that matter — I’m celebrating cherry season. Read on to learn how these pretty stone fruits can benefit you, then be sure to whip up the recipe below the next time you need a little recovery time post-gym session.

What are they? The cutest stone fruit (or drupe) in the Prunus genus, cherries are believed to be native to Turkey before they were eventually exported to Europe and later, North America. Late summer is typically cherry season in North America, making August the perfect time to pick some up at your local market. The most common cherry available is the Bing cherry, but a wide variety exist, including sunset-colored Rainier, Coral, and Tulare, with most cherries coming from either Prunus avium (sweet and/or wild varieties) or Prunus cerasus (sour varieties).

What are the benefits? Your first tip-off that cherries might be kinda-sorta really good for you should be their dark outer skin. Generally, most fruits and veggies that feature dark or deeply hued outer skins contain high levels of antioxidants, collagen-boosting anthocyanins, polyphenols like quercetin, and carotenoids — cherries included! Cherries are also rich in vitamin C, which not only boosts immunity but aids in cellular turnover, keeping skin looking healthy, youthful and smooth. If you have trouble sleeping, try drinking a small glass of tart cherry juice before bed, as it’s been found to contain phytochemicals that aid in sleep, including melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. Athletes and casual exercisers can both benefit from the anti-inflammatory powers that cherries are believed to possess — cherries and tart cherry juice can help reduce muscle damage and increase healing time after intense exercise, and as a bonus, you might get the best sleep of your life after a good workout and some cherries! Try the restorative smoothie below after your next workout.

How do I use them? Like most stone fruits, cherries are incredibly versatile and work well in both sweet and savory recipes for any time of day. Try them in savory grain bowls nested next to avocado, walnuts and arugula, or tossed into a bright salad with almonds and crunchy romaine. Cherries are easily reduced to a sauce or glaze, and depending on direction can be used to top something sweet (like ice cream) or savory (like a protein). Use them as you would any fruit for dessert recipes, or take the healthy route and add them to juices, oatmeal, chia puddings, and of course – smoothies! …psst, like the one below.

Cherry Recovery Smoothie

Ingredients

1 handful fresh dark cherries, pits and stems removed

1 scoop protein powder of choice (either plain or vanilla)

1 cup frozen steamed veggies (I recommend either cauliflower or zucchini — or both!)

8 oz coconut water

1 tsp coconut butter

¼ tsp almond extract (optional)

1 cup ice

 

Method

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a cup and enjoy! Top with unsweetened dried coconut flakes if desired.

 

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pineapple + The Easiest Pineapple Recipe Ever

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pineapple + The Easiest Pineapple Recipe Ever

In the heat of August, is there anything quite as gorgeous as a bite of fresh pineapple?

With its sunny yellow hue and juicy sweet taste, to me, fresh pineapple is the only answer to the question of what to eat on a blistering hot afternoon. It’s the perfect snack to have on hand all summer long — from the beach, to picnics, to the ideal dessert when it’s 8pm and somehow still sweltering. As we enter into high summer, my pineapple consumption has increased exponentially with the heat, so I thought it was time to finally give this incredible fruit its day in the sun. Along with being super delicious and super affordable, pineapple boasts incredible benefits for the whole body — it’s more than its tropical flavor! Read on to learn why the humble pineapple (a whole, unpeeled, as-is pineapple!) deserves a place in your market basket the next time you’re browsing the produce section.

What is it? Native to Brazil and Paraguay (and possibly the Caribbean), pineapples are part of the Bromeliaceae family, the same family as most air plants (which makes total sense as soon as you look at the top of a pineapple and a tillandsia side by side). Pineapples begin their interesting lives as large flowers, consisting of over 200 blooms for most fruits. As the flowers mature, the fruits of each flower join together, with the ovaries of each flower transforming into berries which bind together to make a single pineapple (told you it was interesting). Pineapples are classified as multiple fruits (or collective fruits) consisting of coalesced berries, which means each flower produces a fruit/berry, but these mature into one large fruit (figs and breadfruit are another example of this). Phew! It’s a lot to take in, but next time you’re eating a pineapple, you can think about how you’re really eating a bunch of berries joined together.

 

 

What are the benefits? While some people turn to orange juice to fight off a cold, my family swore by pineapple juice (which might explain why it took me years to warm back up to it). But! My mother wasn’t wrong — one cup of pineapple contains 105% DV of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and immune booster. Along with potentially boosting overall immunity, the vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B1 in pineapple can help scrub the body of free radicals, aiding in cellular turnover and resulting in healthier cells from the inside out, healing sun damage and possibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Pineapple’s high level of bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, soothes and relaxes tense muscles and connective tissues, aiding in everything from pain relief, arthritis relief, wound healing, and tendonitis. Bromelain has also been shown to be a powerful digestive enzyme, aiding in the absorption of nutrients and in the healing of digestive disorders.

 

 

How do I use it? Before listing all the delicious ways you can use pineapple, first allow me to make the case for purchasing a whole pineapple instead of pre-cut chunks or — shiver — canned:

Price. In peak season a whole pineapple can usually be bought for somewhere between $1.99 and $2.99, a far more economical choice than purchasing pre-cut chunks, which you’ll end up paying a premium for, sometimes upwards of $5.99 per pound. You’ll save some cash if you’re willing to spend five minutes of your time cutting it up yourself. Plus, you’ll earn some IRL fruit ninja bragging rights.

Taste. Canned pineapple can’t hold a candle to the fresh stuff. If you don’t believe me, do a taste test. Unless you’re making a pineapple upside-down cake or some type of drink, canned pineapple is actually pretty awful. Choose fresh whenever possible. Fresh pineapple is like summer’s prize for making it through the winter. You win!

Now that I have you convinced, how do you use fresh pineapple? Besides cutting up a big bowl of it and devouring it right then and there, fresh pineapple is surprisingly versatile, lending its sweet and tropical flavor to everything from sweet to savory. The next time you make salsa, try tossing in some diced pineapple for a new twist, or add pineapple chunks to kebabs before throwing them on the grill. For a summer-ready dessert that won’t leave you feeling stuffed, dip pineapple chunks in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with dried coconut before popping in the fridge to set. Add pineapple to smoothies, chia pudding, or overnight oats, or top with plain yogurt for a tropical breakfast. Or, try the recipe below — it’s one of my favorite summer treats and takes all of five minutes to throw together.

 

 

Spiced Fresh Pineapple

Ingredients:

½ to 1 whole pineapple, peeled and cubed (this video will show you how to choose and cut a whole pineapple)

Chili powder

Lime wedges

Dried unsweetened coconut

Method:

Place pineapple cubes in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with chili powder and toss to combine (start off slow, then add more to taste). Divide pineapple between serving bowls and top with dried coconut. Serve with line wedges to squeeze on top. Enjoy!

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Arugula + Arugula Plum Summer Salad

Wellness Encyclopedia: Arugula + Arugula Plum Summer Salad

It’s time to give a little love to the workhorse greens that carry all the fixings from fork to mouth…

Last week I found myself in possession of some greens, freshly grown and generously gifted by a neighbor. Lettuces, herbs, and some particularly alluring arugula, the plants had obviously thrived in the sandy soil where they were grown, but it wasn’t until they made their way to the salad bowl that their true colors were allowed to shine. These were no ordinary, run-of-the-mill, store-bought baby greens! Everything tasted greener, fresher, brighter, but the arugula! The arugula was so spicy, peppery and pungent that it could barely be eaten raw. So accustomed have I become to the mild baby arugula available in the grocery store that can so easily be made into a salad all on its own that the real thing — the real, grown by loving hands plant — was a brand new experience. Turns out, arugula is a lot more complex than I could have imagined. As we enter into salad season — the season when the thought of turning on the stove is enough to make you start sweating preemptively, when cold salads in every variety are what’s eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — it’s time to give a little love to the workhorse greens that carry all the fixings from fork to mouth. Read on to learn why arugula deserves a place at the table — and in your bowl — this season. The benefits might surprise you.

 

 

What is it? Arugula, also called rocket, is a member of the Brassicaceae family (along with kale, turnip, and broccoli) native to the Mediterranean region, specifically Morocco. With a unique spicy, peppery flavor it’s a common sight on the summer table as it thrives in sandy, dry soil and, depending on the region, is considered to be either an herb or a lettuce and treated as such (sometimes added sparingly as a garnish, sometimes taking center stage as the main dish). Arugula’s electric flavor inspired excitement in at least one culture, earning it the label of aphrodisiac by the Romans and Egyptians for its ability to awaken drowsy people, and was mixed with boring, mood-killing lettuce in Medieval times to dampen its otherwise too-stimulating properties. These days, arugula is most commonly found in the produce section, though it’s an easy plant to grow and one that rewards with an even more pungent flavor profile than what’s available in stores.

 

 

What are the benefits? For a simple, seemingly everyday green, arugula boasts some pretty surprising rewards. Rich in vitamin C, it can help ward off summer colds by strengthening the immune system and increase cellular turnover and collagen production in the skin. Rich in antioxidants, arugula can help scrub the body of free radicals and boost the body’s ability to flush out toxins. Rich in vitamin K, arugula could also boost brainpower and strengthen your bones — vitamin K has been found to ward off brain degeneration and build and strengthen healthy bones. The high profile B-complex vitamins present in arugula could also aid in speeding up the metabolic process, as B vitamins have been shown to increase cellular turnover and the production of red blood cells.

 

How do I use it? Arugula lends itself beautifully to a variety of culinary uses and can stand on its own as a side (try it mixed with lemon and good olive oil) or as part of a dish (try tossing some fresh arugula on top of a homemade pizza just as it comes out of the oven). It’s delicious tossed into pastas and added to salads and is hearty enough to even be sauteed — the peppery flavor adds a unique profile and counterbalance when paired with fresh fruit, seafood, or even a sweeter balsamic dressing.

Arugula Plum Summer Salad

[serves 1-2]

Ingredients

1 large handful baby arugula

2 cups mixed baby greens

½ cup chopped red cabbage

4-5 radishes, chopped

2 plums, pitted and sliced

Small handful of walnuts, chopped

Optional: Goat cheese, crumbled

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine (pro tip: a big bowl makes all the difference when it comes to a great salad). Top with salad dressing of choice (I recommend good olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar). Serve with a crusty baguette or favorite gluten-free bread. Makes one large serving or two smaller side salads.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

 

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Chamomile + Calming Face Mist

Wellness Encyclopedia: Chamomile + Calming Face Mist

These innocuous little plants are more than meets the eye…

For as long as I can remember, wild chamomile has run rampant in the dirt driveway of the home where I grew up. The sweet scent wafting up from beneath bare feet, one of many summer scents programmed into my brain. As a child, I liked picking the smaller plants and crushing the little yellow flowers between thumb and forefinger to smell the herby-sweet aroma, and delighted in how large some of the plants could grow to be (as long as I left them alone). Years later, I’m still barefoot, but now a little older and wiser, pulling up the plants from the roots, rinsing ‘em off, and hanging them to dry. All the better to harness their power! Because I’ve since learned these innocuous little plants are more than meets the eye. Sweet, sweet chamomile is a powerful healer, ideal for soothing summer sunburns, dry skin, and soothing sore bellies. Today I’m diving into incredible chamomile and sharing a simple way to use it. Read on to learn all about it…

What is chamomile?

Also known as “water of youth” and “earth apple” in its original Greek, chamomile refers to several species of small daisy-like plants in the Asteraceae family. Native to Europe and parts of Asia, chamomile can now be found almost worldwide and has been used for centuries to heal everything from ulcers to skin conditions, along with being enjoyed as a tea and baking addition. Chamomile can be easily cultivated, but has a tendency to spread, so it’s best kept in small planters, or allowed to roam as an excellent-smelling ground cover.

What are the benefits of chamomile?

Calming chamomile is probably most widely appreciated for its sleep-inducing properties (sleepytime tea, anyone?), and it can indeed promote more restful slumber. But you don’t have to drink it to reap the rewards — the simple act of breathing in the scent of chamomile essential oil has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Chamomile can have similar stress-relieving effects when taken internally, easing stomach upset, soothing ulcers, and improving digestion thanks to anti-spasmodic compounds that can also relieve cramps and bloating. The flavonoids present in chamomile have been found to reduce inflammation in skin suffering from eczema, psoriasis, and sun damage, with anti-bacterial properties fighting infection and staving off acne and reducing redness.

How do I use chamomile?

Always be sure to choose food-grade fresh or dried chamomile to ensure safety. Use dried chamomile to make your own custom tea blends, or add fresh or dried chamomile to baked goods and other recipes. Steeped chamomile can be added to everything from smoothies to face masks, and can even be used as a rinse for hair. The calming properties of chamomile are incredibly mild, suitable for most people, and are especially beneficial in the summer when skin conditions can be exacerbated by heat and sun exposure.

Chamomile Face Spray

Materials

1 cup boiling water

2 tbsp dried or fresh chamomile

4 oz. glass spray bottle

2-3 drops chamomile essential oil

1-2 drops lavender essential oil

1/2 tsp witch hazel

Optional: 1/2 tsp jojoba oil

Method:

Prepare the chamomile tea by placing the dried chamomile in a glass bowl and pouring boiling water over top. Allow the chamomile to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean bowl or mug and allow to cool completely. To make the face mist, pour chamomile essential oil, lavender essential oil, witch hazel, and jojoba (if using) into a glass spray bottle. Fill the rest of the way with chamomile tea, cap, and shake.

To use: Mist face any time you need extra moisture or to sooth dry, irritated, or sunburned skin.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Bentonite Clay + Rose Bentonite Face Mask

Wellness Encyclopedia: Bentonite Clay + Rose Bentonite Face Mask

When it comes to drawing out impurities, reach for the best…

Has there ever been a beauty product so effective as summer? I love what this season, specifically the all natural vitamin D3 care of all that sun, does for my skin. Even with the prerequisite SPF, after just a couple glorious days spent outside, my skin is clearer, my freckles are out, and I’m feelin’ fine in every sense of the word. The days of flaky winter skin far behind me, I find myself easing up on the makeup and embracing my skin in all it’s glory — that was, until a couple of days ago, when I caught a glimpse of things close up! Turns out, all that SPF can wreak its own kind of havoc… it was time for a detox. It’s true, sunlight has a tendency to bring out the best in our skin (it’s believed that vitamin D3 is behind it) but even in summer our skin needs a little pick-me-up every now and then. When it comes to drawing out impurities, I reach for the best: bentonite clay. When mixed with water, this silky soft clay transforms from a powder to a powerful detoxifier, removing all the gunk and junk left in and on our skin from sunscreen, makeup, city living, sweat and chemicals. Learn more about this all-natural clay below, then scroll on for a simple detoxifying mask to refresh your face and reveal your best summer skin yet.

What is it? Bentonite clay is a healing clay derived from aged volcanic ash and consists mostly of montmorillonite, a group of minerals found in clay. Named after the Cretaceous Benton Shale in Wyoming, where most bentonite clay is harvested, it’s also found in Italy and France and can have a different mineral makeup depending on the dominant elements in each clay (e.g. calcium bentonite, potassium bentonite, and sodium bentonite, which is shown in this post). Bentonite clay powder should be a cream/grey-ish color, never white, and is an ultrafine powder, similar in texture to fine cake flour. Bentonite produces an electrical charge when hydrated, allowing it to absorb toxins internally and externally. Because of this, bentonite clay should not come into contact with anything metallic — including mixing bowls or spoons — as metal components can neutralize its effectiveness; instead, always use glass, ceramic, or stone bowls and mixing tools.

What are the benefits? When bentonite is mixed with water, witch hazel, rose water, or any other liquid, it swells, acting like a sponge and giving it the ability to sop up impurities and toxins in and out of the body, especially heavy metals. The negative charge of the clay bonds to the positive charge of the chemical or toxin, and draws it from the system — either getting flushed from the internal system through elimination, or rinsed off topically from the skin. It can help alkalize the body and normalize digestion, and has been found to help with acid reflux and bloating. When used topically, bentonite clay can help heal wounds and skin abrasions, ease symptoms of dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema, reduce redness, clear up acne, and reduce pain caused by bug bites and chicken pox by calming the skin and helping to draw out the underlying issue (impurities, venom from a bee sting, infected acne, etc.). Not only can bentonite clay help to clear up congested skin, it even leaves skin feeling softer and more supple. The perfect way to refresh skin after sun damage or too much sunscreen.

How do I use it? Bentonite clay can be easily made into a variety of masks for face and body and can be customized to treat a variety of conditions. See the recipe below for a simple mask to calm and purify skin. Mix bentonite clay powder with tea tree oil to create a spot treatment to use on acne-prone skin. Mix it with plain old water for a simple mask to draw out chemicals, or to use as a poultice for burns, rashes, minor cuts and burns, and insect bites (spread the poultice on the affected area, then cover with a clean damp cloth). Add to a bath of warm water to treat the entire body and draw toxins from the skin and soften all over (this method is also effective in treating chicken pox, psoriasis and eczema).

Bentonite clay can also be used internally, and has been found to be especially effective in improving oral health, boosting the effectiveness of probiotics, and improving digestion. However, always consult your doctor before ingesting a new-to-you herb or clay, and always be sure to purchase food-grade ingredients meant to be taken internally.

Rose Bentonite Detox Mask

Materials

2 tbsp bentonite clay powder

2 drops rose essential oil

Witch hazel or rose water (see notes below)

Non-metallic bowl

Non-metallic mixing spoon or stick

Method

Place bentonite clay powder in a non-metallic bowl (plastic, glass, or stone works well) and add rose essential oil. Add witch hazel or rose water** and mix until clay forms a paste. Bentonite clay is highly absorptive, so add a little moisture at a time until the paste forms. It may be chunky — that’s fine!

Witch hazel: Use for troubled skin suffering from acne, blemishes, redness or rashes.

Rose water: Use to calm skin and reduce redness, especially beneficial for sensitive skin.

To use: Always do a patch test first to ensure compatibility with your skin. Use a clean brush or your fingers to spread a thin layer of clay mask onto your face, avoiding eye area. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until dry. Rinse with lukewarm water, using a washcloth to help remove the clay. Follow up with your favorite face oil to finish.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Calendula & Facial Steam DIY

Wellness Encyclopedia: Calendula & Facial Steam DIY

Dive into the beautiful benefits of the calendula herb and learn a simple way to harness its skin-renewing powers…

Try as we might to keep them concealed, we all have our own unique bad habits. Too little sleep (that would be me), maybe a little too much sugar, not drinking enough water, never cleaning your phone… besides being not-so-great patterns to form, the flaws on this list all share one major factor. Can you guess? While we might wish to keep these habits under wraps, these particular persuasions have a tendency to make themselves known front and center by way of breakouts. Germs, sugar, lack of sleep, and dehydration can result in some pretty nasty skin issues and could be the underlying cause of redness, inflammation and acne. But, hey, we’ve all been there, and besides learning from past mistakes, luckily there are actions that can be taken to treat the issue in the here and now: witch hazel, tea tree, and my personal favorite, calendula. Boasting incredibly calming properties, the yellow calendula flower can be used internally and externally to promote healing throughout the body. Today I’m diving into the beautiful benefits of calendula and sharing a simple way to harness its skin-renewing powers.

What is it?

Also known as pot marigold, sunny yellow calendula is the same species as the marigolds that grace your garden. Native to Europe, calendula can be used internally and externally and has been revered for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and all-around healing properties.

What are the benefits?

These bright yellow flowers are more than just a pretty accompaniment to your bouquet — calendula can help heal, nourish and soothe troubled skin. Linoleic acid present in the plant could help reduce inflammation, helping to heal skin affected by psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and acne. Applying a lotion containing calendula could reduce redness in the skin and around blemishes, promoting healing and reducing visibility. Calendula could help increase blood flow throughout the body, bringing much-needed oxygen to compromised skin, promoting quicker healing and even helping to increase skin’s firmness and resilience. The same healing properties that benefit the external skin could also promote better oral health and even potentially heal ulcers when taken internally as a tea or tincture. If you experience an irregular menstrual cycle, the flavonoids present in calendula could help bring regularity, promoting blood flow and easing cramps — making calendula the flower you’ll want to keep on hand at all times.

How do I use it?

Calendula flowers can be easily dried and distilled to make face and body creams, oils, baths and steams. Always be sure to choose food-grade calendula if purchasing flowers pre-dried. Food-grade calendula can be made into teas and tinctures, either by itself or combined with other food-grade herbs.

Calendula Facial Steam

Materials

½ cup dried food-grade calendula flowers

Boiling water

Large mixing bowl

Clean towel

Face mask or favorite face oil, to finish

Method

Place dried flowers in mixing bowl and carefully pour in boiling water to cover. Cover bowl with towel for 10 minutes to allow to steep. Before steaming your face, be sure to test the steam temperature to avoid potentially scalding your skin. Then, cover your head with the towel and place your face over the bowl and steam for up to 10 minutes. Follow up with a face mask or your favorite facial oil to finish.

+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

Free People Blog

Intro to Helios + Solene: Be The Flame

Intro to Helios + Solene: Be The Flame

Throughout her practice, Emily Mikaelah has trained with industry leaders in the fields of breathwork, reiki, sound healing, and crystal healing, integrating her teachings with her South American roots… Read on to get to know more about her magic.

This post comes to you from Emily Mikaelah, a Brooklyn-based energetic healer, teacher and spiritual development coach. She carries the ancestral teachings of the curandera women of Venezuela that have been passed down to her from the generations of medicine women in her family. In 2016 she founded Helios + Solene to create safe and sacred spaces throughout her travels to bring the powerful healing medicine of Spirit into the lives of others. She holds workshops sharing her practice with the community through group classes, women’s circles, and one-on-one private sessions. To learn more about her offerings, please visit her online portal.

As we evolve within our lifetime we shed identities of the past… like a snake shedding its skin, we release what no longer serves our highest purpose. We step into newer, more comfortable shoes, taking one step closer to greater alignment with our truth. Not each step is the same in distance, nor time, nor difficulty. Our path is a winding road with speed bumps and potholes causing unexpected detours and few shortcuts. Yet if we manage to take a moment for reflection, we’ll notice the wild flowers bursting through the cracks in the concrete. It is in this state of awareness that we acknowledge each detour has been gifted to us from the Universe, filled with soul shifting lessons, new adventure, and deep rooted self discovery. It is in this space that we find gratitude.

I like to think of our human identity as fire — the essence of the fire is the flame. It expands and contracts into its surroundings, dancing to fill the space it needs to grow rapidly, wildly, untamed. Yet at the core, the essence is still the flame. On my personal journey with the fire I have allowed it to morph constantly, to grow prosperous, rampant, and unruly. To fill the rooms, and the forests, and the valleys, and when the flames expanded too far past it’s essence it began to burn out. This is where things got interesting, because I could have walked away from the wildfire and lived a life far from the truth. Yet like a moth entranced by the light it drew me back in. I stepped closer and closer to the fire and it was then that I realized I didn’t get burned.

Peeling back the layers of the soul’s onion, I began to unlearn all of the teachings that I was told I needed to be “skillful”, I released all that was expected of me, I began to rewild. I followed the calling of the rose and the drum, I listened to the wind and heard her guide me. The closer I stepped towards the flame the deeper I began to embody my truth. I began to feel whole in ways that felt grander than the third dimension. I allowed myself to be held and nurtured by Spirit and felt such deep rooted love that it made my heart vibrate. I found myself dancing on the subways, singing down the sidewalks, smiling at strangers passing by me. And then they came- from all walks of life they began to gravitate towards the high vibrations emitting from my sacred body temple, ”What is your secret?” they would all ask. The answer was simple, “I woke up.”

Who am I? 

My name is Emily Mikaelah Maria. I come from a lineage of Curandera women from Venezuela. My teachings are a compilation of all of the masters I have ever met, in this lifetime and previous, in the physical world and beyond. Generation by generation the women in my family have carried the sacred knowledge of the light, passing down the torch to those that felt called to work with, through, and on behalf of Spirit.

My grandmother Maria Lourdes Morillo was the matriarch of the family. They called her La Montes, The Mountain. She was a born onto this Earth an intuitive healer carrying all of the psychic gifts the Universe had to offer. She spent her lifetime helping others, traveling the world spreading the sacred medicine of Spirit to thousands of light seekers. During her lifetime she carried nine children, six of them daughters. Each child was born with an intuitive gift, the youngest being my mother Rosalia.

I was my mother’s firstborn and only daughter. I have the honor and privilege to be born into this Goddess tribe, to be surrounded by these magic women, to carry the blood of my ancestors in this body, and to be in service to the light. This is my flame.

So who am I?

I am a manifestation of Divine love. I am a vessel of light, a messenger of truth, and a guardian of the sacred. I am a protector of the Earth, a sister to all. I am here to serve all who feel called to prosper, to love, to live their highest potential. I am a life artist, bird spirit, magic wombman. Daughter of the sun and moon, daughter of the ocean. I am the collection of all the women I have ever been, and all of the women I will become. In sacred service to the light, I am here to support you on your journey to your truth.

Mujer de la luna, Hija del mar.

I am here to share my story, and I thank you for lending your ear.

In love + gratitude,

Emily Mikaelah Maria

+ Check back next Thursday for more from Helios + Solene!

Photos by Ash Lynn.

Free People Blog

Into the Mystic: Ruby Warrington talks The Numinous

Into the Mystic: Ruby Warrington talks The Numinous

The hostess of our astrology workshops in Soho shares her connection with the human experience…

I find it only befitting to first compliment Ruby Warrington’s parents on naming her so appropriately; namely because Ruby is a true gem, her glistening voice and selfless spirit apparent in the first few moments of our meeting. And, not to mention, her unbridled enthusiasm about her MANY projects. There’s The Numinous — the site she founded to corral her love of “all things astrology and esoteric;” Moon Club, a live life-coaching program run by her and partner Alexandra Roxo; her ongoing residency performing astrology/tarot workshops at our Soho pop-up store; AND, not to be forgotten, the imminent arrival — May 2nd — of her first book, “Material Girl, Mystical World.” Needless to say, FP is grateful that she made time to answer a few questions for us, in hopes that you can all bask in a little of Ruby’s love and vision. If you’re in NY next month, consider coming by to attend one of her classes…and look for more content from Ruby in the days and weeks to come. <3

The “Numinous.” What does it mean?

The dictionary definition of “numinous” is: “(adj.) describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted—the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired.” Which totally gives me chills! I use it to describe anything within the realm of human experience that can’t truly be articulated with words…and which makes us aware of being connected to something bigger and infinitely more powerful than ourselves.
Talk to us about “the shift”… What propelled you to focus on the mystic as a full-time venture?
Five years ago I found myself in my dream job as a magazine editor…and so so unfulfilled. On paper, I had achieved everything thing we’re told will make us happy: great job, tons of glamorous perks, “perfect” relationship, a home of my own. And yet I was suffering from accute anxiety and felt like something MAJOR was missing (which I can see now was that I didn’t feel I was contributing anything of value to society). I decided to study astrology as a side project, as it had always been a passion of mine, which in turn let to me creating The Numinous, and writing Material Girl, Mystical World! The later is the story of the personal transformation that occurred along the way, and how to experience a similar awakening yourself.
Your spirit animal is…
A black stallion, and I met him over Skype in 2014 (when I did a guided spirit animal meditation with a shaman based in London!) The stallion represents a strong desire for freedom and an unshakable inner strength.
Your go-to plan when in need of reconnecting with yourself.
I discovered Transcendental Meditation (TM) last year, and practicing this for 20 minutes every morning has helped facilitate a strong ongoing connection to myself—meaning my soul / inner voice, vs. the voices in my head and in the outside world. I also find saying “no” to things I kind of feel like I should do but which don’t actually feel amazing to be a fast and effective way to reconnect to who I truly am!
Best advice you were ever given.
I recently interviewed Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation (and my TM teacher) for Moon Club, an online mentoring program I run that’s an offshoot of The Numinous. He said that to truly live in alignment with our path we must—a) know ourself (i.e. know what we are here to give and what we need to make it happen); b) have conviction (trust that we are on the right path—that is, the path of our highest good); and c) have persistence (expect to be knocked down time and again and be willing to get back up and keep going!) This last piece in particular resonates with me.
Worst advice you were ever given.
 Make your body look like *this*…or you will never be popular / cool / loved.
5 songs that would make a perfect soundtrack to your life.
“Material Girl” by Madonna, “Go”by Moby, “Jump N Shout” by Basement Jaxx, “If I Ever Feel Better” by Phoenix, “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence & The Machine.
Mantra.
“What would Oprah do?”
Your wish for women everywhere.
To be free to live and lead as we are born to do.
What does free mean to you?
The freedom to truly know who we are, to seek to have our unique needs met at soul level, and to speak what we know to be true. Astrology is a wonderful tool for this once you begin to understand how to use it more deeply.

+ Be sure to look for Ruby’s Astrology Workshop at our Soho pop-up store on 5/3, from 6-8pm! Look for sign-ups on the blog May 1st!!!

Free People Blog

Wellness Encyclopedia: Pau D’arco + Anima Mundi

Our bodies do all they can to restore and heal, but sometimes they need a little help…

The body’s capacity for healing is astounding. Think about it — about all we put ourselves through over the course of our lifetimes — even the most cautious lifestyle is bound to acquire a bug or two and some bumps and bruises along the way. To say nothing of those of us who choose to truly embrace life and all it has to offer, gaining more than our fair share of battle scars. In the same way we carry outer stamps of trauma and healing, our inner selves are just as susceptible to the inevitabilities of life. We get sick, we take antibiotics (healing yes, but not without their consequences), we maybe eat a little too much sugar from time to time… and our bodies do all they can to restore and heal, but sometimes they need a little help! Just as a band aid or cast assists in the healing process, tonifying the internal system with vitamins, minerals, adaptogens and superfoods gives our bodies the extra boost they need to flush out the bad stuff that may be chilling a little too long and wreaking havoc on the system. Today I’m diving into just such an ingredient. Antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory — powerful pau d’arco does it all, naturally. Read on to learn all about this South American superfood and how to use it!

What is it? Most often sold as a powder or tea, pau d’arco is sourced from the pink ipê (or pink trumpet) tree, a tree native to South America and the national tree of Paraguay. Boasting gorgeous bright pink trumpet-like flowers and extremely hard wood, pau d’arco powder is crafted from the wood and external bark of the tree and has been used since — at least — the 1800’s to treat a wide range of ailments (though it’s use most likely dates much farther back than that — pau d’arco use is even thought to predate the Inca). Known as a rainforest heal-all, pau d’arco helps everything from inflammation and candida.

What are the benefits? Though it treats a variety of ailments, pau d’arco is most commonly used in Western medicine to treat candida and yeast overgrowth, often caused by too many antibiotics, and too much sugar and caffeine. These two issues can cause a host of dramatic symptoms, including brain fog, depression, digestive upset, migraines and infertility. It’s thought that the main active chemicals in pau d’arco are naphthoquinones — specifically lapachol and beta-lapachone. These two chemicals boast anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties, killing off candida and ridding the body of yeast overgrowth. These same properties are also effective in treating arthritis, pain, inflammation, and boosting the immune system — pau d’arco is a full body healer, boosting nearly every system.

How to use pau d’arco… Add 1-2 tsp of Anima Mundi’s Pau D’Arco powder to freshly pressed juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls or porridge. To make as a tea, mix ½ – 1 tsp pau d’arco powder into 8 oz. boiling water and allow to steep for 15 minutes. If using for candida or yeast overgrowth, take 2-3 times daily. If using to tonify, take 1-2 times daily. Pau d’arco is best consumed with food or within an hour of eating. Try the simple smoothie recipe below for an easy and delicious way to make pau d’arco part of your wellness routine.

Anti-Candidal Pau D’Arco Smoothie

[serves 1]

Ingredients:

8 oz organic coconut water

½ frozen banana

Handful organic kale

½ small mango

¼ cup organic blueberries

1-2 tsp Anima Mundi Pau D’Arco

Optional: Vegan protein powder

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Serve & enjoy!

+ Shop all Anima Mundi products here.

Follow Julie on Instagram + check out her blog.

This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. 
Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.

A Manual to Crystals

A summary of five rocks that’ll certainly assist you to help-yourself…

Utilizing the correct items and consuming the privileges meals and getting the exercise courses that are best are excellent methods to make sure rsquo you &;re-in tip-top form that is, but occasionally it will help to call-in some copy.

Although they might have not been unpopular between the 70s’ hippies crystals are now actually the best element of a method of home- spirituality and treatment. Simply the work of putting deposits on or near the body might help emphasis digest and immediate powers to really get body right and your mind.

It’s not very as simple as strolling exterior, selecting up a stone and keeping it for your brow. In the end, you’ll find countless rocks for each feeling, character, disaster and wish, therefore it’s very important to pick the one (or types) that function the problem you’re-facing. And keep in mind that rsquo deposits aren&;t a cure all: they merely boost rsquo & the work-you;re currently performing, therefore rsquo & it;s essential that you maintain participating and operating.

Should you re simply getting started, listed here are five rocks that will assist you drop a foot in to healing crystals’ short end. Use it, enhance with it, bring it&hellip when you create your pick;deposits are designed to be used that best acts you.

Amethyst

From fine lilac to lively crimson, amethyst is definitely an all purpose rock that encourages joy motivation and positivity. It may be helpful whenever you re seeking to middle oneself or appear inward for connecting on the deep-level while still outstanding seated because the rock resonates with both overhead and third-eye chakras.

Rose Quartz

Although the light-pink colour may not seem rugged, rose quartz is definitely an extremely effective recovery rock as it pertains to issues of one’s heart. Tranquil, caring and soothing, rose provides mild, energizing assistance for explorations of self love, allowing you determine what type of love you ought to be displaying oneself and appear inside yourself.

Obsidian

This gem that is dim is clearly glass when lava from volcanic eruptions cools rapidly shaped. It s carefully associated with the main chakra, meaning it’s defensive qualities and effective grounding. Not just may obsidian help to keep the feet securely on the floor, additionally, it performs miracles to ward damaging power off.

Jade

Jade hasbeen utilized 000 decades, like a therapeutic rock for pretty much 6, therefore its forces are legit. Recognized in historic civilizations whilst desire rock “ the,” jade carries mdash a peaceful power &; think whilst the calm in the centre of the surprise &mdash of it; which makes it an ideal partner for introspection and yoga.

Agate

Should you re likely to bring around one rock with you you proceed, allow it to be agate. Whilst the conversation rock, agate create phrase easier and can help you open. Marketing balance that is internal, self-confidence and protection, rsquo & it;s no surprise agate is respected like a defining and stabilizing impact.

Hematite

The tshirt of recovery rocks, hematite is advantageous for anybody anytime. Occasionally known root rock “ as the , hematite assists safeguard and link you using the encouraging powers of Planet, floor. It s likewise a great device for increasing self-esteem and assurance.

Clear Quartz

Known Learn Healer “ as the,” obvious quartz may be used for something that was virtually. If the problem is psychological bodily, psychological or religious, link and this rocks works to clean your body using the brain. It certainly will boost the result of additional deposits and also performs nicely with others.

 

 

Citrine

Also called success’ rock, citrine provides powers of individual energy and can help you concentrate on variety. You gained’t turn into a cash magnet but you will be clear by citrine of the damaging, flat power that frequently delays wealth.

Carnelian

Should you re-feeling caught or listless, carnelian could be a large aid. This rock works to promote a need to move ahead by eliminating caught or clogged innovative power which may be gumming up the works. Think being a motion rock of it, one which may stop the sofa into equipment and provide you pleasure and the determination you have to get started.

Turquoise

Once utilized whilst the talisman of players and leaders, turquoise is thought to be the lively link between your bodily and religious sides. Particularly when provided like a present for hundreds of years, it s offered like a defensive best of luck appeal. (Therefore today guess what happens to increase your birthday wish-list.)

This article isn’t meant as assistance for use.