Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ellie's Kitchen: Dark Chocolate Orange Muffins


(It's actually from, a blog I am now addicted to.)
Dark Chocolate Orange Muffins

Dark Chocolate Orange Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Serves: 12 muffins
Dense but moist, packed with dark chocolate, with a hint of orange and vanilla flavor, and the nuttiness from the spelt flour.
150 g all purpose flour
150 g organic spelt flour
100 g organic raw cane sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp orange zest (1 big orange or 2 small)
1 tsp vanilla extract
80 ml orange juice (1 big orange or 2 small)
100 g sour cream
100 g whipping ream
2 organic free range eggs
60 g vegetable oil (I used peanut oil) or melted butter
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a muffin pan or individual muffin cups.
  2. In a medium bowl mix the sifted flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another bowl mix well the eggs with the sugar, sour cream, whipping cream, oil or butter, Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing lightly, just until the flour is no longer visible. Do not overmix!
  4. At the end add the chocolate chips, previously tossed lightly in the flour.
  5. Fill the muffin cups with batter and bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until nice and golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let cool on a griddle (but they're awesome warm, when the chocolate just melts in your hands and mouth).
They can be frozen, individually wrapped in plastic, and then warmed up in the oven ready for breakfast.

Myddfai Reiki: 5 Lesser-Known Eating Disorders

   I myself have what has been defined as an eating disorder by some doctors. I am reluctant to say I have binge-eating disorder because others struggle with it far more than I ever have. However, when I am experiencing any kind of stress or I am in a depressive cycle I find myself going in and out of the pantry and refrigerator again and again seeking....what? Some kind of solace, apparently. I try to stay conscious of this, and reiki and meditation, as well as journaling help me greatly, as does the constant love and support of my husband. This list only identifies these lesser-known eating disorders; it does not offer advice on treatments or possible cures. I am posting it here to help bring awareness to this very real health issue, and I urge anyone who experiences some of these behaviors to please, please talk to someone you love and trust, and seek out help. You do not have to be alone.

Simply put, an eating disorder is any severe and lasting disturbance to the way a person eats. The reasons why one might participate in these behaviors can be complex and difficult to establish, even on a case-by-case basis. The most well known disorders, however, are arguably anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, all of which deliver a variety of serious injuries both to the mind and body.
Still, while there are a handful of reasons why some lesser-known eating disorders, although well-documented by medical experts, might seem unfamiliar to most, they stand as a continuation of examples of how human brains express personal pain or trouble through their owners’ diets.
Pica prompts the regular consumption of materials that offer no nutritional value — chalk, dirt, paint, sand, paper, clay and even animal feces. Unlike many patients diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia, those with pica can rarely express motivation behind their compulsions. However, the disorder is linked in both children and adults (especially pregnant women) to medical phenomena such as anemia, intestinal blockages, digestion of toxic bacteria and other causes of nutritional imbalance. Some individuals with pica even report being drawn to the mouthfeel and texture apparent when eating particular, otherwise inedible substances.

Night Eating Syndrome

Unlike those with binge-eating disorder, individuals who experience night eating syndrome express their loss of control over food intake less as a symptom of how much they eat and more as a symptom of when it feels safe to eat. At the core of NES are altered hormone levels that unwind one’s circadian rhythm, or the inborn 24-hour “biological clock” indicating when to sleep, when to wake and when to eat. NES sufferers are often pre-diagnosed with depression and/or sleeping dysfunctions and are, in turn, more likely to eat not during the day, but when they cannot sleep, are bored or are emotionally restless.
Rumination Syndrome

Like pica, rumination syndrome is an eating disorder directed by subconscious behaviors, not self-aware decision-making. Individuals with this disorder chew, swallow, and then shortly thereafter, regurgitate their food. This behavior usually takes place every day, at every meal, at which time individuals either re-chew and re-swallow their food or remove the contents of their mouths into their napkins.
Because the disorder is so often displayed in children, concerns remain that the behavior is a sign of deep-seated problems between young people and their primary caretakers; rumination has been reported as a self-soothing behavior or a means of gaining attention, especially when food is spat out in more eye-catching displays.
Diabulimia typically affects individuals with Type 1 diabetes who cannot produce their own insulin hormones. These individuals purposefully restrict their insulin doses, which affects the presence of blood sugars in the body. This behavior is carried out with the expressed purpose of losing weight, as calories are “purged” through insulin restriction, not unlike other indviduals’ attempts to do the same by over-exercising, intentional vomiting or refusal to eat.
Like many eating disorders, diabulimia is potentially fatal: Those with diabulimia can fall into diabetic ketoacidosis wherein the body produces toxic organic compounds known as “ketones.” In turn, diabulimia increases the chances of other serious diabetic complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and the need for limb amputation.
Defined as the “fixation on righteous eating,” orthorexia is observed in individuals who have an obsession with consuming only “healthy” foods. While one might consider such aspirations favorable to the body, the operative word in understanding orthorexia is “obsession,” which can lead those with the disorder to become fixated on proportions, nutritional labels and the consequences of “mistakes,” such as eating foods that are not absolutely “pure” and untainted (like organic items). These mistakes can sometimes lead to self-punishment, such as over-exercise, purging or even direct self-harm.
Like anorexia, orthorexia is seen by many with the disorder as a badge of honor for remaining “in control” of one’s impulses — a sign both of physical and even spiritual health — although the effects can eventually not only leave one malnourished, but removed from the company of loved ones who maintain more balanced diets.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ellie's Kitchen: Fresh Cream Cheese, from Charlie Lee-Potter at in my last post I mentioned that I should stay away from most things dairy, and now I'm giving you a cheese recipe from the great writers at HOWEVER, the base for this homemade cheese is Greek yogurt (which I can eat), and anything homemade is always 1000% better for you than store-bought. (And there's the added fact that just because I cannot eat most cheeses does not mean you should be deprived of the lovely cheesy goodness.)


Fresh Cream Cheese

500g authen­tic Greek yoghurt
Three quar­ters tea­spoon fine sea salt

Stir the salt into the yoghurt, then turn the mix­ture into a small sieve lined with muslin. Allow the yoghurt to drip into a bowl in the fridge overnight and the next morn­ing you will have the most exquis­ite, creamy cheese as if by magic.

Myddfai Reiki: Face it real?

Your face is an insight into what is going on in your body. You will be surprised to find that redness, dry patches or Acne can be directly attributed to the inner workings of your body. Face Mapping has been around forever but you may not have heard about it. Scroll our post to view how your skin can give you a very good understanding of your internal health and possible problems!Face MappingAccording to Ayurvedic tradition and ancient Chinese medicine, various parts of our body surface reflect our inner health,  The face map is a way of examining which acne or skin problem is caused by what. Where we break out, rash, wrinkle, or get dry skin can help identify the cause so that you can start to take corrective action. As always, be sure to consult your health practitioner if problems persist.

(from The WHOot:

   Most people I know all agree, when they get stressed, their face breaks out. And for myself, pretty much all of my breakouts are around my mouth, chin, and nose. I did notice a significant drop in them when I cut back on dairy, but I think this was related to the fact that I am lactose intolerant. Now that I know what kind of dairy I can eat without causing stomach issues (and the breakouts linked to consuming something I shouldn't) my skin has somewhat calmed down, but I still have pretty significant acne. Is Face Mapping a good guide to sleuthing out the issues behind your skin problems? I would say yes, but keep in mind that you are not a doctor. (...unless you are, then by all means, diagnose away...but still get a second opinion.) Make some small changes as you are able to safely, but if you have serious issues or side affects, go see your regular care provider. At best, I think Face Mapping is a conversation-starter, and if you have a good doctor (or Nurse Practitioner), they will be glad you asked.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Myddfai Reiki: 10 Yoga Poses to Improve Circulation

by Becky Striepe

Poor circulation can cause all sorts of problems in your body like fluid retention and swelling in the lower extremeties. Often the causes of poor circulation are out of our control, but one way to improve your body’s circulation is with exercise. Check out these yoga poses to help get your heart pumping and your blood flowing!
Swelling is more than a cosmetic concern – it can be very uncomfortable. Exercise can’t always totally cure the effects of poor circulation, but it can definitely help give you some relief.
For example, my pregnancy is causing some swelling in my feet and ankles, and practicing yoga helps bring that swelling down visibly. I recommend following this up with a warm bath with plenty of epsom salts. You can also try elevating your legs on cushions in the evening, so they are above your heart. Let gravity help you!
Ready to get moving and give the ol’ circulatory system a boost? Check out this sequence of poses! You can do this sequence once as you get acclimated, and once you get more used to the poses, you can do two sets of each posture for added benefit. Don’t push yourself – just listen to your body. If it hurts, don’t do it!

easy pose
1. easy pose with deep breathing
Sit cross-legged on the floor. If you’re dealing with poor circulation, you don’t want to sit criss-cross for too long, but a minute or so of deep, focused breathing should be fine. Focus on taking deep breaths in and exhaling completely.
mountain pose
2. mountain pose
Come to a standing position, with your feet just under your hips, arms by your sides, and spine straight. Imagine a string going up your spine and to the sky, pulling your body straight and strong. You can leave your hands at your sides or bring them into prayer position, like in the photo. Stand here for a few deep breaths.
chair pose

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.

3. chair pose
Begin in mountain pose, then bend at your knees, and lower your butt toward the floor. Imagine that you’re sitting down in an invisible chair. Go as low as your flexibility allows up to bringing your thighs parallel to the floor. Raise your arms above your head, lengthening through the spine. Stay here and breathe for 10 deep breaths.
warrior II
4. warrior II
Come back to mountain pose, then widen your stance so that your feet are about 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. You may need to adjust this slightly once you bend your knee. Raise your arms so that they are parallel to the floor, then turn your right foot toward the right wall and turn your left foot in ever so slightly to give you some extra stability. Bend the right knee, bringing your thigh parallel to the floor. Keep your torso pointed straight ahead and turn just your head to gaze beyond your right hand. Hold for 10 deep breaths, then repeat on the left side.

5. triangle
Remain in the wide-legged stance from Warrior II, but straighten both legs. Raise your arms so they are once again parallel to the floor, then stretch your upper body out to the right, then tilt your torso to the right, raising your left arm straight up in the air and stretching your right arm towards the floor. You can grab onto your thigh, calf, ankle, or foot with your right hand if you feel like you need the support. Turn your head to look up at your left hand, and breathe. Hold for 10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.
downward dog pose
6. downward dog
Come onto your hands and knees, with palms flat on the floor. Curl your toes under, so they are in contact with the floor, then push up through your palms and the balls of your feet, straightening your legs and lifting your butt up into the air. You want to have a flat back and straight legs, though your feet will most likely not be flat on the floor. Keep your neck neutral and breathe here for about 30 seconds.

yoga lunge
7. yoga lunge
From downward dog position, step your right foot forward, placing it on the floor between your hands. Arch your back slightly, and look up at the ceiling, keeping your palms on the floor. Hold this supported lunge for 10 deep breaths, then push back into downward dog to switch sides and repeat on the left side of the body.
8. pigeon
Come back to a hands and knees position, then swing your right foot forward, so that your knee is between your hands. Slide the left leg back along the floor slowly until it’s as straight as you can get it without straining your groin. Arch your back, and look up to the sky for 10 deep breaths, then release your spine and lower your head to the floor. If you need more support, you can rest your head on your hands or even stack your fists and rest your head there – it all depends on how flexible your legs and spine are. Hold this for 10 breaths, then switch and repeat on the left side.
Image Credit: Creative Commons pigeon pose photo by lululemon athletica
shoulder stand
9. shoulder stand
One word of caution: if you have not done shoulder stand before and you are pregnant, you don’t want to start now when your balance is a little bit iffy. Practice legs up the wall pose instead. You don’t want to lie on your back for too long when you are pregnant, so limit shoulder stand or legs up the wall to 10 deep breaths to avoid putting too much pressure on your vena cava.
To begin shoulder stand, lie on your back, then bring your feet close to your buttock, feet on the floor. Use your core strength to lift your feet and your butt off of the floor, so your legs are pointing to the sky and allow your chin to tuck into your chest. Do not turn your head in this posture, because you could hurt your neck. Just gaze at your navel  and engage your abdomen. Use your hands to support your lower back in the posture, which you can stay in for as long as is comfortable, up to 5 minutes.
10. savasana
Every yoga practice should end with savasana. If you are pregnant, modify this posture by laying on your side rather than on your back. You can also put a small cushion between your knees to help make you more comfortable. If you can, lay on your back, with your feet slightly apart and your arms by your sides.
In either postition, focus on relaxing your body, beginning with your feet and working your way up to your face and the top of your head. Think about letting go of tension in each extremity, in your buttocks and groin, and in your abdomen. Relax here and breathe for as long as you like. You may even fall asleep, and that’s fine!

Myddfai Reiki: Home Detox Sheet, from Laura Trotta at

It's that 'Spring Cleaning' time of year, so....

Great job on saying 'yes' to a healthier, greener and cleaner home!

Here's your FREE Home Detox Cheat Sheet to help get you started right now.

Kind Regards,

Environmental Engineer and Sustainable Living Expert

© 2016 Laura Trotta Enterprises Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Myddfai Reiki: The Top 10 Acupressure Points for Headaches

Headaches can seriously interfere with a person’s quality of life, particularly when they occur on a regular basis. Regardless of the type of headache you may be experiencing, there are some excellent acupressure points that can help you to relieve the pain and get back to things you enjoy in life. While the following is by no means a complete list of acupressure points, or acupoints as they’re also called, it includes my top ten points:
GB20—Known as “Gall Bladder 20” or “Wind Pool” because it’s a point on the gall bladder meridian in Chinese medicine. It’s situated in the depression at the back of the head, below the skull where the skull meets the neck, about a half-inch out from the middle of the neck. It’s actually two points: one that is left of center and one that is right of center as you can see from the photo. It’s particularly good for headaches linked to neck stiffness, old whiplash or other neck injuries, or from headaches linked to cold or flu. Firmly hold both points for at least one minute, but preferably longer or repeated until the headache starts to dissipate.  GB20 acupoints are depicted as the top two red dots in the following photo.
GB14—Known as “Gall Bladder 14” or “Yang White,” these two points are also found on the gall bladder meridian in Chinese medicine. GB14 is found about one thumb-width (known as a “cun”—pronounced “chun”) above the hairline if you draw a line directly upward from the middle of both eyebrows. Firmly hold or massage both points for at least a minute, but preferably longer. Repeat until your headache starts to dissipate.
LI4—Known as “Large Intestine 4” or “The Great Eliminator” for its reputation in Chinese medicine as an eliminator of many health conditions, these two points are found on the top of the hand in the fleshy mound that connects the thumb and forefinger. It’s one of the most important points in acupressure for many health concerns and is excellent firmly held for 5 to 10 minutes when you’re experiencing a headache. And I’ve also never met a fever that wasn’t reduced with this powerful point. Avoid using this point if you are pregnant. Of course, you should consult a physician for high fevers.
Du 20—(pronounced like “do”) This point is also known as the “Meeting Point of a Hundred Points” because, in Chinese medicine, it supplies energy to most other acupressure points in the body and is frequently involved in many health problems, including headaches. It’s located on the top of the head about half way between the hairline on the forehead and the neck. Alternatively, imagine a line connecting the ears over the top of the head. Du 20 is the mid-point. It’s a good point to start with as it encourages proper energy flow to the other points. Hold or massage this point for at least one minute, but longer if necessary.  This point is depicted as the top red dot in the following illustration.
Du23—(pronounced like “do”) This point is also known as “Upper Star” and is situated just above the middle of the forehead, about one thumb-width above the hairline on the forehead. It is helpful for many types of headaches, including those linked to sinus congestion. Firmly press or massage the point for at least one minute. Repeat as necessary until headache dissipates.
UB3—Known as Urinary Bladder 3, this point is located about one-half of a thumb width above the hairline at the inside edge of the eyebrows on both sides. These two points (one on the left side of the forehead and the other on the right side) are good points to use for any type of headache, including sinus headaches and sinus pressure or congestion.
man lying, gets massage, reiki,acupressure on his face
You’ll know if you’ve found the correct points because they will typically feel tender if you suffer from headaches. In Chinese medicine tender points are known as “Ah Shi” points, or as my acupuncture professor used to call them “Ah Shi# points” since they’re sore when you find them. You can use the acupressure points above to prevent future headaches as well as during an episode. Of course, you should consult a physician if you suffer from frequent headaches, if they are debilitating in nature or change in frequency.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a board-certified doctor of natural medicine and doctor of acupuncture, as well as an international best-selling and 18-time published book author

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Library Loot #5: Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue


 This was one of the best collections of re-worked faerie tales I have ever read :) Each story blends seamlessly into the next, as though the preceding story was the introduction for the following. Elegantly written, beautifully imagined, and completely engrossing.        


Monday, February 1, 2016

Prayer in a Time of Awe

Prayer By
Holy grandparents of the Universe...energies of creation...endless mysteries of life:
You are the music that sounded before our world was born,
sound and silence woven throughout the ages,
far beyond the most profound wisdom humanity has been able to touch.

Be with us, deepen our willingness to live without certainty;
to take the risks of living on the edges of our creativity;
to step beyond the boundaries of possibility and hope.

Help us always to remember that we are in our essence the magic of star stuff:
that we are kin to all that is and was and may yet come to be.
Teach us to temper our impatience, to retain our conviction that what we do makes a difference;
that even our smallest act can contribute to the good of a greater whole.

Be with me in my uncertainties. Rejoice with my small triumphs.
Comfort my losses. Remind me I am never alone, not in my joys or in my tears.
In the blessing of our silence, may I feel your presence, something greater than I have yet been able to comprehend.

About the Author

Blessed Imbolc!

Halfway between winter and spring,
This day - February 1st or 2nd - has been celebrated in many cultures for thousands of years as the holiday when the light begins to return - like Imbolc, Brigid's Day, Candlemas.
It falls on the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
In pre-Christian times, it was the festival of Light. The Celts called it “Imbolc". Although it is attributed to the ancient Celts, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and indigenous groups are also believed to have celebrated an equivalent holiday.
Also called Brigid's Day, Imbolc honors the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery and the young.
She is also the deity of poets, and is represented by fire. She is the inspiration to all bards and artisans, scholars and any who work with words. In Christian times the Goddess was transformed into Saint Brigid of Ireland, and St. Brigid's church in Kildare was built on a site sacred to Brigid.
The term 'Imbolc' derives from Old Irish and means "in the belly," or alternately "ewe's milk," pointing to the the time when the first lambs were born, associated with a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young.
For some people Imbolc is a time for spring cleaning. Some clean their homes, take ritual baths and de-clutter their lives in other ways. This is believed to create space for new seeds to take root in the coming spring.
Nowadays Imbolc may be related to Candlemas — celebrated on February 2nd— a Christian holiday with pre-Christian roots. The custom was to bless the candles as a symbol of light, so they would protect the people, the house and the seed on the fields.
Image: Early 20th century painting of St. Brigid, artist unknown.