Create a Hummingbird Friendly Garden

Though I grew up in Fairfield County, CT, I had no idea about the abundance of Ruby-throated hummingbirds that venture up this way for the summer. This changed when my younger brother, Charlie Plimpton, completely opened my eyes to an incredible world that exists right in our backyard. Charlie, who is completing his bachelor’s degree in wildlife and conservation biology at the University of Rhode Island this winter, has loved hummingbirds since he was a boy. Initially, he began hanging sugar-water feeders around the yard for these magnificent little creatures. A few years ago, he began cultivating a passion for gardening, which led him to create an ever-expanding oasis of hummingbird friendly flowering plants.

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What’s Your Mantra?

First, what is a mantra? 

The word mantra, which literally means “instrument of thought” in Sanskrit, originally described sacred and vibrational sounds or Sanskrit words or phonemes repeated as an offering or to deepen one’s meditative state.  As the world has grown smaller and more interconnected, the definition of mantra has expanded to mean a phrase, in any language, repeated with regularity.

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Coconut Black Rice Pudding

This coconut black rice pudding makes a delightful and healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert.  It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and processed sugar-free, too.

Black rice is indigenous to Southern Asia and an excellent source of iron, vitamin E, fiber, and flavonoid antioxidants called anthocyanins.  In Chinese medicine, it’s considered a good blood tonifier.  Black rice has been consumed for centuries in China.  In fact, because of its rich nutritional value, legend has it that it was reserved solely for the emperors’ consumption.  As a result, it was granted the names “emperor’s rice” and “forbidden rice.”

Enjoy this simple pudding warm or cold.  As always, feel free to be creative in the kitchen!

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Verses that Nourish the Soul: Gathas

A couple years ago, my beloved brother-in-law Tim and I discovered that we had a mutual interest in the teachings of Zen Buddhist master.  Soon after, Tim gave me a book by this great teacher called Peace is Every Breath, which presents inspiring and accessible ways to cultivate greater mindfulness in everyday life.  One practice in this book that really spoke to me is the expression of gathas.

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Comfortable Postures for Meditating

Occasionally, yoga students will ask what are the best ways to sit during meditation.  Today, let’s examine 4 basic meditative seats that can help your practice and your posture.  Each of these poses encourage an upright spine, which helps the breath flow deeply and the mind remain alert.  They’re also excellent seats for practicing pranayama, or breath control exercises.

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Natural Deer Tick Repellent

After seeing so many Arogya patients dealing with Lyme disease over the past 18 years, I admit I get stressed when I visit the woods, even though it should be a calming and relaxing experience.  It’s terrifying how real the threat of tick exposure is- just last year, we pulled them off our daughter Rose’s skin 3 times.  As a result, ticks have become evil in my mind and I’m always researching ways to repel them.

This led me to create a very simple, chemical free repellent using apple cider vinegar, almond oil, rose geranium, and distilled water. 

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Mindful Tea

A nourishing verse for mindfully brewing tea:

Holding the little tea pot in my hand
As if we have met in the past
You know me, and I know you
The secret language between us brings us joy.

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Homemade Sugar Scrub Cleanser

About 10 years ago, I started making my own skincare products.  My inspiration was a friend named Carol, who’s an artisan skincare producer based in New Mexico.  She taught me that simple kitchen ingredients can be turned into nourishing food for your skin.

I’d love share with you one of my favorite skincare recipes: a simple sugar scrub cleanser. 

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