Chaga is another of nature’s most precious gifts to us 🌱 This medicinal plant is THE most 𝘯𝘶𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦, 𝘪𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘤𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘣𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘥-𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘪-𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘨… BAD BOY of all Mushrooms! It’s Honestly Magical (& non-psychedelic) So I’ve been building a love-hate relationship with Chaga for the past year or so, but I think I’ve finally found the perfect Chaga combo in this really easy Hot Chocolate recipe.
Chaga is a dark, woody type of mushroom that offers a wealth of health benefits. Most famously, Chaga is known for its highly potent antioxidant content and immune-boosting properties.
Known as ‘kreftkjuke” in Norway, (which translates as “cancer fungus”) Chaga has been used in folk & botanical medicine backdates right back to the 16th century to treat & prevent illness. To this day Chaga is still a popular and profound medicine used in holistic treatments.
Being a big fan of mushrooms in general and impressed by its nutritional content, I was really excited to start incorporating this into my PlantBased diet. Typically, Chaga is dried and grounded into power which can then be brewed and ingested as a tea.
On it’s own, I’m not gonna lie, it doesn’t taste great. It’s quite a thick consistency with a pretty bitter taste, but the botanical benefits of this plant really do make it a very worth-while taste to get acquainted with. And I’m going to tell you how…
• 1tsp Organic Chaga Powder • 1tsp Organic Raw Cacao • 1C Water • Drop of Maple Syrup • Coconut Milk • Fresh Nutmeg.
Method: Simmer a tsp of Chaga in 1C water, covered & over a low heat for 40mins. (This is necessary to activate the nutrients in the Chaga) Towards the end of brewing, add the Cacao, Milk (I just use a splash, but you can make it as milky as you like- just add less water when brewing the chaga), a grating of Nutmeg and Maple Syrup (sweeten to taste). Give it a good stir and return to the simmer for a further 3-5mins. Serve and Enjoy!
It’s now day 8 of Lockdown after the school closures and I’ve finally found an hour for writing, so I wanted to share what I’ve noticed about isolation in the Huntano Household. As individuals, we’re a pretty introverted family so social-distancing hasn’t been too much of an adjustment for us… but the proximity between us has been an issue at time. So after a week of confinement with my family- here’s what I’ve learnt…
Extroverts and introverts alike, none of us are Ok in confinement. Whilst extroverts are feeling like their wings have been clipped, us introverts are suffocating under the overwhelm of a full house.
My partner and I aren’t used to the constant compromise of someone else in our space. Until recently, we’ve worked opposite schedules so become quite accustomed to solitary space & 1:1 time with our daughter. The sustained stimulation has been tough for me. Everyday has felt busy. At times, the inside of my head has looked like the frozen desktop of an old PC, trying to load a hundred different windows at once but with nothing much happening. … I can relate to that struggling, static sound that computers make when they’re overloaded with commands.
There’s always something going on!
The other half doing things, my daughter’s demand to do things, the noisy neighbour doing things… getting headspace has been hard and this has really reflected as a lack of creativity over this last week.
I always thought I appreciated my “alone time”, but I’ve never appreciated how fortunate I’ve been to have had the freedom to choose to be alone. Limiting travel means being mindful that jumping in my car to escape for an hour is a luxury, not a necessity. …And getting out for a run has become a treat, rather than a chore. The serendipity of all this is that I’ve found a new layer of respect for those moments that i do get to spend by myself, nurturing my introversion.
How much of my time do I really give to my family? Often on a Sunday, we (& the extended family) will pile into my Parent’s house on a Sunday to kick-back, eat and spend time together.
The kids run havoc, whilst I, my brothers & our partners cast off our “adult hats” and hand over the reins to our Parents. But how much communicating do we actually do?
Not much really… sure, we’re together, we exchange words and it’s a nice vibe, but really, we spend this time just disengaging from our responsibilities for a few hours. Don’t get me wrong, the weekly winddown is good for my soul. But I’ve found myself wondering how much of this time “together” I actually give to my family?
Reflecting on this last week, when we’ve pick up the phone, we’ve done so with intention- to be in communication. With a genuine enquiry… “How are you?”, rather than the unspoken “what can you do for me today”. In the 30mins-1hr conversations I’ve had with the special people in my life, we’ve gifted each other authentically, with our presence & attention.
This virus sure has turned everything on its axis, hasn’t it? Drop me your thoughts on this week below!
I’ve opened up a few extra slots in my week for single sessions and I’m able to offer reduced rates to those on low income. If you’re struggling with the dynamics of isolation or experiencing increased anxiety, contact me here to book in for a chat.
Shmoo and I planted cress seeds today and it got me thinking about a science experiment we did at school to test how well plants grow in different environments. And i found myself being mindful about what happened to the little plant we put in the dark.
With so many of us feeling like that little plant in the dark, I thought it was important to remember that; Plant’s that grow in the dark still grow.
The Experiment: For the seeds to sprout and grow into a green & healthy plant, there are a few basic things it needs;
Pot to Grow in (We used an old yogurt pot)
Growing in the Dark.
I got to thinking how alike human growth is to that of a Plant. We, like the plant, need several basic conditions to grow.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs reminds me of the fortunate conditions I shall be isolated in.
An economy that meets my basic physiological needs, the safety of my home & the security of the family that I love & belong to. A time where creative expression is welcomed & valued. But with more and more restrictions being imposed, I’m mindful that gratitude for these basic things is now the light I grow towards.
So what happens to the plant growing in the dark?
The seeds in the dark sprout quicker and although the plant appears slender & pale, they grow taller than the other plants. But if you place that plant back on the windowsill, it will become stronger and healthier than ever.
The plant’s instinct to survive makes it resourceful. It grows thinner, so that it may stretch further and just a glimmer of light is all that it needs to keep striving forward.
This nature lives within us too.
These may seem like dark times, but a lot of positive growth can come from this. This is the time to experience a slower pace of life and a less materialistic existence. A Time to accelerate Personal Growth. Use this time to re-connect with your roots, tend to the environment that you grow in and to reach out and expose yourself to as much light as possible.
Ironically, we’ve never been more connected than we are right now and the online world is a beautiful place to be at the moment. These are Serendipitous times. For the first time ever, we’re being encouraged not to buythings and instead, Life has become a transaction of Skills and Strengths. How wonderful it is to be surrounded by so many valuable people.
What a crazy week it’s been.. I feel like i’ve been windswept trough it all & then dropped off well outside of my comfort zone.
There’s been a lot of changes & adjustments going on & with the added task of home schooling, the weight of responsibility is feeling pretty heavy right about now. Although I’ve never had to take on the role of Teacher/Quarentiner, Shmoo (my daughter) has been used to me working from home for a while, so I thought it might be helpful to offer my approach to tackling the Work/Life Balance.
Address the Elephant in The Room. “It’s been a long time since Mummy was at school, so you’re going to have to remind me how this works.”
Be frank with your kids. There’s no shame in being honest with your child about your lack of experience as a teacher. Our kid’s teachers trained for a long time to develop the skills and patience needed to teach, so to kick this “Home Schooling” thing off, I thought it best to address this with Shmoo.
When we first heard the schools were closing, we talked about what “home schooling” might be like; the best bits & the worst bits. I told Shmoo that she might have to remind me from time to time that she is just 8 & that she’s at complete liberty to tell me if I’m being impatient or an unhelpful teacher. I told her that sometimes I might get frustrated too because of the work I have to do, but that the frustration is going to be about the situation, not about my feelings towards her. (well.. most of the time ;p)
Collaborate with your Child. This builds cooperative, working relationships.
I asked Shmoo what she might miss most about school and if I’m honest, I half expected her to stop at “playing with her friends”. But she went on to tell me she’ll miss little things like; Assembly, Reading hour, Newsround, Helping the dinner lady... These little things that keep your children engaged are all things that you can factor into your Home Schooling routines.
Let them guide you and they’ll show you what works best for them and they’ll also be a lot more invested in their studies. So far it’s been decided that Shmoo will be holding assembly once a week where we’ll be discussing topics out of the “Suggestion box” that she’s gonna make for our “Home School” next week.
Don’t get Stagnant! Our sense of Wellbeing depends on how we function & feel in the world.
The temptation might be to sleep in, stay in our Pjs and binge on Netflix, but the novelty of this freedom will wear off and then you’re just stuck in a bad routine with a sluggish mindset. This is how boredom sets in and life can begin to feel a little stagnant, disorganised and defeatist.
This weekend, we’ve arranged to sit down and draft out what a “normal school/office day” so when Monday comes around, we get up with the same intention towards the week as we always have. Having a weekly structure will not only benefit your productivity, but also your’s & your family’s Wellbeing. A sense of security, accomplishment & direction are essential to functioning & feeling well.
“To-Do” Boards. My daughter throws a million and one new activities “to do” at me every 3 minutes it often goes in one ear & out the other. Get your kids t write their ideas down. That way, they don’t feel ignored & you’ve got a go-to stash of ideas when they need entertaining.
As parents and caregivers, our children look to us for guidance. We spend most of our interactions with or children, serving their needs. From a child’s perspective, life does revolve around them so depending on your child’s age, they might not be aware of how much we’re juggling- so be mindful of this. You don’t want them to interpret your business as a lack of interest in them.
Pin/White/Black boards are your friend.
To them, being “Off” can mean just that & they’re little journalists when it comes to sniffing out things that interest them. Shmoo keeps track of all the weird & wonderful ideas/experiments she has on her Pin board. This not only means that we have plenty of her ideas to keep her occupied with, but it also encourages children to develop a sense of autonomy and insight into their personal preferences.
Set up an “Office Space” This helps cultivate a calmer environment and will set boundaries in the house around “working from home”
For those of us who are working from home, this arrangement has to factor in our working schedules too. During the school holidays, ive found it useful to set up Shmoo with her own “office space” so she can work alongside me, rather than running rogue through the house. Setting up an “Office Space” will cultivate a calmer environment and help set boundaries in the house around “working hours”
Study Groups! We’re all in this together
We’re all in this together, so that means your child’s classmate, cousins, friends (& their parents) will be in the same position. Set up skype/facetime study groups so your children can work on “lessons” together. This will not only give you a little break, but it will also nurture a sense of community & support which are vital, basic Wellbeing Needs.
The Economy may crash, but lets not let it take our Wellbeing with it. We’re very fortunate that no matter our proximity, we’ve never been more connected! So lets get communicating with each other.
It was 10 years ago that I started my Wellbeing Journey when at 23, I stumbled onto a Humanistic Counselling Degree at The University of Nottingham… and when I say stumbled, I mean quite literally stumbled onto the course. As the Photo on the Left suggests, I was a mess.
I went into my counselling degree, thinking it’d be a nice little walk through the park. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first year broke me to the point of deferral. Up until this point in my life, for one reason & another, I’d been living behind a fortress of coping mechanisms. But within that fortress lay a pretty broken & vulnerable child. Therapy, theory & process groups taught me how to forgive & accept. I became empowered by the realisation that ultimately, it’s down to my decisions, not my conditions that will determine which outcomes I get from Life.
Really, these years have been about finding a balance in life, the restructure of my attachment style & growing towards being the most authentic Self that I can be.
I’ve made some good decisions which were liberating; and I made bad ones, guided by hedonism. But what I learnt from every decision that was mine to make is this; Good decisions brought about new experiences, and Good-experience was gained from the bad ones.
What i’ve learnt about Growth is that;
It takes conscious application of healthier habits. Whether it’s the type of thoughts, foods or behaviours that are holing you back from your growth point- it’s about being aware of how much control you do have over your life.
40% of our happiness is determined by the choices we make, so you wanna make sure that you’re making decisions that support what is good for you & your Wellbeing.
My Wellbeing Journey means dedicating time to “me maintenance”- that is, being mindful to take the time to nurture my needs & make choices that support my Overall Wellbeing. If you Follow my stories on Instagram, you’ll see that as well as my fitness, I’m mindful about the company I keep; the quality of thoughts that I think; & the foods that I eat, as this stuff is all important Life fuel too!
We have a great way of blaming or scapegoating our responsibility for our mental attitude and/or our lack of prosperity on to our circumstances. But that will keep you going round in circles. We have to take responsibility for the life that we have, because life really is just a result of the choices we make.
Einstein said that the definition of insanity was to keep repeating the same behaviour and expecting different results- If you’re stuck in a rut and you just keep doing the same rounds of the same grounds, slowly but surely, you’re going to lose the plot.
Everything that you do is a choice. Even if it is to just get up and do the same old laps, day in, day out..
If you’d like to talk about your Choices or Wellbeing needs, drop me a message here!