GOLDEN BALANCE: NITSA CITRINE, CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT SUN POTION

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As creative director for a brand that wants its users to feel nothing short of amazing, Nitsa Citrine is as inspiring in her spiritual approach to life, as her love for herbs like us. Sun Potion is home to many medicinal plants, tonic herbs + superfoods crafted with a view to improving overall wellbeing, health + happiness.  Nitsa is the epitome of golden and today she shares what keeps her balanced on the daily.

- How do you find your daily source of golden balance?

Tuning into a sense of gratitude for every moment I am here on the planet.

- How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?

Self-care is a priority for me.

I truly feel that in order to make positive shifts in the outer world, we must tend to the inner.

I implement self-care into my daily life through vibrant, nutrient-dense foods, surrounding myself with beautiful music, art and friendship whenever possible, as well as taking time for quiet and solitude. I love silent mornings. 

- Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration. 

“Love is a clash of lightnings.”

― Pablo Neruda

- We know nourishment from the inside out is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day? 

Daily living tea meditation + adaptogenic herbal tonics!

- What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?

I love to finish my workday with a solid half hour + in my infrared sauna

-Or, slightly less detoxifying - a glass of biodynamic wine.

- Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen? 

Organic, local and/or wild harvested ingredients (absolutely no GMOs!!!)

Minimally processed, if at all (ie. only whole, living foods, or if processed it is fermented, stone ground, or intelligently extracted to the most bioavailable form - our 10:1 cold water extract of he shou wu, for instance)

Sharp Japanese knives! (can't stand a dull knife, kills me)

- Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?

 Ordering room service and not leaving my hotel for as long as possible

- What is your favourite way to use turmeric, be it in your beauty regime or recipes?

I put turmeric in everything - in my elixirs, shakes, food, salad dressings... sometimes even DIY face masks!

- Matcha or turmeric latte?

Impossible decision! Matcha and Turmeric are the two loves of my life!!

GOLDEN BALANCE: ALEX HEAD, FOUNDER OF SOCIAL PANTRY

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With a dedicated team of experienced chefs, event planners + waiting staff, Social Pantry has become the go-to London caterer for bespoke events, weddings and parties. We caught up with founder Alex to chat all things golden when it comes to mind, body and soul food.

- How do you find your daily source of golden balance?

Throughout the winter I was loving a turmeric latte, it gave me the gentle, warming boost I needed in the morning, this along with plenty of fresh mint and ginger tea is key to my routine. 

- How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?

It is really important, but like anyone I am sure, it is the first thing to go when I get busy. I swim 2 or 3 times a week and do yoga twice a week which gives helps keep me balanced. An evening in by myself is also crucial to keeping on top of everything and getting a moment to relax with my own thoughts. 

- Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration. 

“The best people love to eat” - Julia Childs

- We know nourishment from the inside out is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day? 

I’m big juice fan. I have one juice a day, which seems to fight off all sorts of colds in the winter.  I have invested in the company PRESS as they’re doing great things and I love their juice. A daily juice at the start of the day, lots of fresh, seasonal and delicious food during the day and a fresh mint tea at the end of the day keep me balanced. 

- What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?

I love a bubble bath! This plus a wine or calming tea depending on the mood for me is the perfect way to end the day and something I often look forward to on busy days.

- Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen? 

  1. Fresh mint – in your tea, salad, water…
  2. Grains – I have a selection of them in my larder, I love mixing them through delicious fresh salads.
  3. Seeds – I am known for adding seeds to everything! 

- Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?

Oh goodness… dark chocolate. Anything dark and fair trade normally wins.

- What is your favourite way to use turmeric, be it in your beauty regime or recipes?

Adding a pinch of turmeric to your scrambled eggs is a winner….

- Matcha or turmeric latte?

Being an independent café owner I would recommend both but when ordering for myself, I always go turmeric.

GOLDEN BALANCE: SARAH MURRELL, FOUNDER OF BY SARAH

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What we put on our skin is just as important as what goes in. Meet Sarah Murrell, founder of organic skincare brand BY SARAH. We are mesmerised by her plant-based tonics + oils that leave skin looking more dewy and glowing than ever.  Today she shares her favourite rituals that keep her mind, body, soul (+ skin!) shining bright. 

 - How do you find your daily source of golden balance?
I start each day with an intention. My intention for today is focus. There's a great Google Chrome extension called Momentum which allows you to set your focus for the day and reminds you with each new tab you open!

- How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?
It’s very important to me; using our BY SARAH natural and organic skin care collection is part of my self-care ritual as I know I’m nourishing my skin with the very finest, plant-based ingredients at the start and end of each day.

- Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration.
One I read recently which I love is "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" - Eleanor Roosevelt.

- We know nourishment from the inside out is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day?
Water, water, water is rule number one! Choosing organic food is number two. And using our BY SARAH skincare is number three :)

- What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?
I practise yoga, movement, and take long walks in the countryside.

- Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen?
Mylk (for breakfast, smoothie bowls and a hot turmeric drink), organic honey (keeps away colds and doubles up as a face mask!) and lemon (added to a mug of hot water every morning or as a dressing on plant-based meals)

- Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?
Chocolate - but the good stuff, 80%+ cocoa.

- What is your favourite way to use turmeric, be it in your beauty regime or recipes?
I love a turmeric mylk before bed.

- Matcha or turmeric latte?
Turmeric latte.

GOLDEN BALANCE: CHI SAN WAN

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We’re big believers in the ‘less is more’ approach to staying nourished, healthy + grounder, and so is creative consultant + co-author of A Simple Table, Chi San Wan. Blending sustainable living, with glow-giving rituals, recipes, she shares simple steps we can all take to help live our healthiest lives yet.

 

- How do you find your daily source of golden balance?

I try to do meditation first thing to ground myself for whatever the day will throw at me. Failing that, I’ll squeeze it in when Marloe (my 20 month old) is having a nap, out with her dad or at nursery. If I fit meditation in at least once a day, all is good in the world.

- How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?

It’s incredibly important to me, but sometimes it falls by the wayside. Living in London, you’re constantly on the go and with a small human being dependent on you, sometimes I let self-care slide. But when I do get into a self-care groove, everything seems easier, so I try my best to keep at it and not see it as a luxury, but rather a necessity.

- Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration.

The last few years I have repeated this a lot (to myself and to others): “Things happen FOR you, not TO you.”

- We know nourishment from the inside out is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day?

The basics really, which I think we can easily forget sometimes. I try and meditate, I drink a lot of liquids (water, herbal infusions, tonics), I take time to make and eat my food, I make sure I move in nature and I get to bed by 10pm.

- What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?

This year I have really gotten into baths. I try and carve time out for myself and take a bath (salts, candles, crystals, essentials oils an’ all!) at least once a week, put on a podcast, some meditation music or even Netflix depending on what I feel like I need the most. Sometimes it’s just going for dinner and some wine with my man friend or my girlfriends. Sometimes it’s doing some gentle yoga and hitting the sack at 8:30pm (the DREAM).

- Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen?

I panic if I don’t have really good sea salt, lemons or garlic in the house. I am a simple person.

- Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?

It changes constantly what I deem as a ‘guilty’ pleasure, but right now it’s Ombars, one almost every night post-dinner.

- What is your favourite way to use turmeric, be it in your beauty regime or recipes?

I use turmeric in most curries I make (and that’s a lot because Marloe is a fan!), my eggs, any savoury baked goods and some tonics.

- Matcha or turmeric latte?

Is it boring to say I am 50/50 on this? It depends on what the day calls for!

Focus: Turmeric's benefits for Maidens

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It is beautiful to see the increased awareness of the power of food but let’s be honest, it can be overwhelming at times. What to eat, paleo? keto? to go vegan or not? what about herbs…do we need them? It can be easy to add all kinds of things to your wellness routine but then how do you know which is beneficial for you?

One of the reasons we are so passionate about sharing turmeric is because this one plant alone is a powerful addition to health for all stages of life, especially for women. As females we have 4 distinct stages in life that we go through, each one having very specific needs.

Holistic nutritionist Kristin Dahl has written about these stages and we wanted to share part of her post which is full of wonderful advice. It also highlights some of the challenges we can have at this time, which is one of the reasons why we have developed our golden range.

Turmeric isn’t just another spice but an ally for the stage of life you find yourself in right now. We’re sharing this particular stage (The Maiden) because we know this is the majority of women who currently support us and our ethos. We want to show a little about the why and how easy it is to introduce WW Turmeric into your daily routine to support your wellbeing.

MAIDEN

Approximate Time Frame: 20’s until mature or until the conception of the first child.

Main Areas of Focus for Maidens: Digestion, absorption, integration, transformation, maturation, forming an identity, developing talents, hormonal balance and stress management.

Vulnerabilities of Maidens: This life stage is characterised by increased ambition, education and competitiveness. Overworking, inflammation and having a strong will can often accompany these areas of focus. With greater attention being placed on career and monetary gain, physical and emotional needs are generally disregarded.

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Turmeric is one of the most effective but gentle herbs readily available to us. One of the most powerful aspects of turmeric is its ability to control inflammation. The reason that’s so important is because it’s been suggested that inflammation is at the root of most diseases (2).

Stress is a major factor in both inflammation and digestive disorders and whilst the primary focus should always be on stress reduction and defined boundaries first and foremost, we believe in preventative wellness.

This is one of the reasons we developed our Golden Mylk® Turmeric Latte blends. The ingredients we combined work together to make this blend effective, quick and easy to make (just add to hot nut or seed milk) with the potential benefits of reducing inflammation, supporting digestion (by balancing levels of bacteria supporting a healthy digestive environment) as well as supporting hormone balance (due to the healthy fats it contains).

Our newest adaptogenic blends take this support further, adding in herbs that have traditionally been used for thousands of years to support stamina and help you adapt to stress (3) (Ashwaghanda - contained in our Golden Balance) and Brahmi (in our Golden Glow) promoting healthy skin and hair as well as supporting energy levels, focus and concentration (4).

Adults in this stage are naturally more prone to imbalance, irritability and hyper-acidity. This can cause acid-indigestion, heartburn and other digestive disorders, and is often followed by hormonal imbalance and, eventually, infertility.

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For many women, it has become normal to experience monthly pre-menstrual pain, often so intense that they have to take days away from work. Whilst we definitely advocate seeking out support from a functional medicine practitioner or registered nutritionist to get to the root cause and rebalance hormones we wanted to find a more natural way to relieve what can often be very distressing pain each month. We combined two of the most potent plants to create our Turmeric CBD oil. Research has shown that both CBD and turmeric actually work on pain receptors in the body (8,9) which make it particularly effective for menstrual cramping. The list of benefits of CBD are extensive, you can read more here.

The habits developed during this time are often carried throughout our lifetime. Make this an essential time of self-care and self-love. The nurturing patterns created will serve as a preventative measure to our hormonal health, fertility, well-being and long-term vitality.

Self-care practices are a non-negotiable part of our wellness routine and we try and promote them as much as we can. We believe that turmeric doesn’t just belong in the kitchen, which is why we also love using our Golden Turmeric Honey as a facemask. It can help reduce skin inflammation, balance oily skin and speed up healing. Combined with the anti-bacterial, nourishing and softening properties of honey, it’s an inexpensive, non-toxic way to get glowing skin. (5,6)

Healing Nutrients for Maidens

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The qualities of foods needed to support these years are cooling, hearty, energizing, and dry. These elements balance internal temperature, prevent inflammation, nourish the body, and have a grounding effect.  

Nourishing Foods: Raw foods (during spring and summer), vegetables, greens, nuts & seeds (excluding peanuts), healthy fats (ghee, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados), pastured eggs, wild-caught fish, lean organic meats including organ meats, and grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat. Probiotic-rich foods are also highly beneficial (raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, etc.).

+ Plenty of Water - Drink ½ your body weight (in lbs) in oz. daily

Nourishing Herbs: Cumin, fennel, mint, turmeric, nettle, red raspberry

Grounding Teas: Holy basil, burdock, lemon balm

Herbal tea is one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to the benefits of turmeric. We also believe in turning the regular practices we do, like making a cup of tea into small mindful rituals. One of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety and improve your resilience to stress is by practicing mindfulness (10). Being fully present in the moment with what you’re doing. Making a Golden Mylk® or tea in a beautiful mug, sipping it slowly, taking in everything around us. Allowing ourselves to find inner calm and happiness in the small moments is what wellness is about.

We also believe this time in our lives is about developing and nurturing connection, with ourselves and others. Food plays an integral part in this which is why we love finding turmeric based recipes that are not only delicious but nourishing. This kitchari recipe by Kristin is one of our favourites. 

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Lifestyle Recommendations for Maidens

To balance the fiery nature of this life stage, focusing on activities that promote relaxation is incredibly effective. Engage in activities to balance perfectionist tendencies and foster a healthy relationship with both the self and nature.

We are huge advocates of being outdoors. Spending time in nature is scientifically proven to lower the stress hormone cortisol, as well as boost mood and improve focus and creativity. (7)

Develop daily self-care practices and routines. Deep breathing, meditation, self-massage, breast massage, dry brushing, long baths and ample time in nature are great places to start.

Did you know that Wunder Workshop has a sister company? Boobs Essential. Created by WW Founder Zoe, made with 100% natural ingredients and essential oils, to promote the checking and prevention of breast cancer. Prevention is always at the heart of what we do, especially for us women who need to nurture ourselves daily. Self-massage is also a beautiful way to connect to your body and to the wisdom it has.

Move daily. Yoga, practiced in a studio or at home, with or without video guides, is grounding and has both mental and physical benefits. Also try strength training, pilates, swimming and dancing. Walk, run, or go for a hike on a daily basis.

Calm the nervous system. Think: Gentle thoughts, gentle approach.

Meditation calms the mind, strengthens awareness, and relaxes the nervous system. Meditation can be practiced independently or guided. Apps such as Headspace and Calm are convenient and accessible, with plenty of free guided meditations available on each.

Journaling is a powerful tool for gaining clarity and accessing intuition. At the beginning or end of each day, practice free form writing, just letting the thoughts flow.

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Breathe. Take mini “breath breaks” throughout the day or whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. Simply inhale deeply for 7 counts, hold for 2, and then exhale for 7 counts.

We hope you’ve found this information supportive. We want to thank Kristin for kindly allowing us to share part of her post, you can read her full post here.

Kristin is a holistic nutritionist and founder of Dahl House Nutrition and The Women’s Wellness Collective. A beautiful online space and membership program that offers a wide variety of ‘female healing protocols that educate, motivate and inspire profound transformation. Topics are organized by life stage and created with roots in holistic healing, herbal medicine & functional nutrition’. You can find out more here or follow Kristin here.

Words by: Clare Fairhurst @cfairhurst_

References:

(1) https://thewomenswellnesscollective.com/journal/2018/1/6/a-womans-guide-to-vitality-through-the-life-stages

(2) https://www.nature.com/articles/nature07201

(3) https://www.realnatural.org/over-fifty-recent-studies-prove-ashwagandhas-potential-for-treating-a-myriad-of-conditions/

(4) http://rspublication.com/ijphc/2015/april15/3.pdf

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25200875

(6) www.bioline.org.br

(7) http://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/the-science.html

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29722036

(9) https://www.nap.edu/read/24625/chapter/6#90

(10) https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/pst-48-2-198.pdf

GOLDEN BALANCE: LEO COSENDAI

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When you love what you do, maintaining a sane work life balance can prove tricky. This is something teacher, speaker, gong master + founder of #1 sound meditation app Third Ear, Leo Cosendai knows all too well. Today he shares the holistic techniques, mindsets + practices that keep him full up + energised despite the long hours. 

 

 

Hi Leo. We would love you to tell us little about your journey.

Right, I’ll try and keep it short & sweet! I moved to London in the late 2000s to both study and make music. I rapidly got into yoga and meditation- was introduced to sound therapy by my wife and loved it so much I decided to blend my knowledge and practice of music with my love for meditation to create a potent tool for self-care and wellness. This tool has now expanded into the workshops that I hold across the globe as well as my sound meditation app THIRD EAR (available at the appstore) and my upcoming podcast STRESS BUSTING (coming out June 2018). 

How do you find your daily source of golden balance?

I think there are different kinds of balance… I have come to a point in my life where I realise imbalance is necessary to actually define the next level of balance for optimal growth and evolution. 

Mental balance I find through spending time in nature (Hampstead Heath / Queen’s Park) as well as meditating with THIRD EAR.

Physical balance I find through daily yin and kundalini yoga practice, as well as sprinting/calisthenic exercises every other day. 

Emotional balance I find by both spending time alone and with my wife or close friends. 

How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?

I work 7 days a week averaging 14 to 17 hours every day. Needless to say self-care is crucial to my well-being. I take at least 1 full hour daily to do one of the below and also include one mini meditation every hour when my schedule allows it. As you can see, I am quite the biohacker and tend to collect toys…

-Sound bath (home) 

-Infrared light therapy (home)

-Oxygen therapy (home or in Central) 

-Floating (deprivation pod in Vauxhall)

-Yin or Kundalini Yoga (home) 

-5 element acupuncture (Notting Hill) 

-Acupressure mat (home)

-electrocranial stimulation (alpha/theta waves at home) 

Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration. 

A combination of “Truth dawns when conclusions are kept at bay.”

and… “Will this help?” 

We know nourishment from the inside is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day? 

I go for the following formula:

Good food, beautiful words (out loud and mentally), calming sounds and kind intentions. 

What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?

I am lucky (I think?) in the sense that I don’t really need or have the time to wind down. I am either at full speed or in total stillness. Both states feel good and organic so I am sorted for now! 

Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen? 

Sun+Air dried Sea Salt from Brittany (more and more important in this microwave world of ours).

Healthy fats (raw cold pressed organic olive oil, coco butter, grass fed butter/ghee, avocados when in season). 

Spices (cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, coriander seeds, etc) 

Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?

I guess sugar used to be a guilty pleasure but that’s been dealt with now! Ha ha. It may sound boring but taking a day off and hitting a couple of galleries + a walk in the park and a nice meal in candle lit room will certainly evoke happiness in me :)

What is your favourite way to use turmeric?

I love making carrot and sweet potato soups with lots of fresh turmeric and black pepper. However, I don’t have the time to cook at the moment! Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep my turmeric intake thanks to the Wunder Workshop CBD turmeric oil as well as the shroom mix!!! It’s seriously delicious and I can’t believe you’ve managed to make it taste so good without any sweeteners! 

Matcha or turmeric latte?

Turmeric latte with some shroom powder and a few drops of your CBD oil!!!

GOLDEN BALANCE: KAT FARRANTS

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The frenetic pace of the daily grind means we often are not able to give importance to rituals that nourish mind + body- ones that we need the most. Cue Kat Farrants, founder of online yoga, mindfulness + meditation portal, Movement For Modern Life, aka the antidote to modern day life. She shares what keeps her on golden form while running a business + the healing power of yoga. 

 

 

We would love you to tell us little about your journey what led to the creation of Movement For Modern Life.

I started MFML in a ‘perfect storm’ of events. First of all, I knew that I had been in the wrong job, living the wrong life, for so many years, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I quite suddenly got the courage to leave my job as a lawyer, my husband had left me, and I was looking to start a new life. I didn’t know what that would be, but I knew that yoga had been part of my life for many years.

I’d had a bad car crash a few years earlier, and yoga had really helped me heal. I wanted for yoga to be widely available, as a healing tool, for people to be able to deal with the challenges that life brings, like car crashes and husbands suddenly walking out on us! There are so few tools for people to turn to in life crises, that I wanted for people to know that there are things that they can do to help. I also had a very clear picture of the teachers I wanted on the platform, I knew that it would be with a selection of the most senior teachers, the ones who have had the experience, the wisdom and can inspire all of us, and I wanted to make their practices accessible to all.

How would you sum up what MFML stands for? 

Movement for Modern Life is just about making yoga easy.

How do you find your daily source of golden balance?

My daily yoga and meditation practice! Running a company is so busy and stressful, it’s easy for that stress to turn into overwhelm. If I didn’t have my daily online practices I certainly wouldn’t be able to get the balance. I live rurally, where it’s hard to get to classes, but even for folks in the city, by the time you’ve got to the studio and got home, half the day is gone, let alone actually doing the class. I just don’t know how people fit it in! So yes, online yoga practice truly is my source of golden balance!

How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?

It’s absolutely crucial. When I’m not looking after myself, I’m simply not able to run MFML effectively. I do ‘make’ myself go on yoga retreats every now and again. Simply because the team always comment on how super-charged I am afterwards. So that’s an absolute essential for me for the wellbeing of others around me. It is great getting instant feedback from other people on how important it is to look after ourselves. Every day I make sure I incorporate of course yoga and meditation into my day. But also delicious, nutritious food and long walks in nature. 

Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration. 

I’m a big believer in taking responsibility for our lives, in questioning existing structures, in saying what needs to be said, and not going along with easy options. So I love this quote from Maya Angelou which reminds me of the importance, how absolutely crucial it is to wake up and live a conscious life

 “Most people don't grow up. It's too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That's the truth of it. They honour their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don't grow up."

We know nourishment from the inside is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day? 

I eat healthily by habit, simply because it feels so much better to me than eating processed or sugar-loaded food. It’s quite easy to eat nourishing food I think if you’re sensitive, if you’re connected to the way you feel. You just want to seek out things that make you feel great, like yoga, good food, being in nature and great company, so it’s an easy practice to remember!

What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?

My favourite way of course is yoga, and yoga nidra especially is amazing. I also love long, long rambles in nature and in woodland with my dogs.

Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen? 

I do put garlic, spinach or kale and lemons in almost everything!

Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?

I do love sitting on the sofas getting comfy with the dogs and putting on the telly every now and again, and yes, I might just have a piece of chocolate too.

What is your favourite way to use turmeric?

I make up golden paste regularly and put it in an almond milk. So yummy and comforting. I also put golden paste in the dogs food, so it’s for all the family!

Matcha or turmeric latte?

Tumeric latte every time – I love it! Especially with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. Delicious.

 

The Wunder Founder Story - taking the golden path

 photo by: Jutta Klee for Wrap London

photo by: Jutta Klee for Wrap London

Taking the golden path - the power of decisions.

A few years ago I was living in the future. I was constantly looking forward to the next weekend, the next party, the next holiday, or day dreaming about a faraway goal I set myself. I don’t believe this is abnormal behaviour and looking around me I see most of my peers living in a similar manner. We all tend to be too busy worrying or bothering ourselves with a future time or a past experience that we ignore this very moment. I realised that this really isn’t the most satisfying way to live, and as cliché as it might be, discovering Echhart Tolle’s book ‘The Power of Now’ opened my eyes to making the decision to live in the present moment, and that was the source for following my desire to set-up my own business and having control over enjoying life on a daily basis.

So as part of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions I set a deadline that if I was unhappy with my life and job in six months’ time I would hand in my notice and start my own thing. This coincided with the amazing experience of visiting Sri Lanka with my mother at an Ayurvedic retreat. We were privileged to spend a lot of time with Ayurvedic doctors and learned so much about herbs, spices and the power of the food that we ate. Turmeric, as it turns out, is one of the most powerful spices we can consume. Shortly after my visit to Sri Lanka, I followed through with my initial plan and started Wunder Workshop, a turmeric focused business – piecing together what I had learned about Ayurveda and the knowledge and passion I had gained from my mother.

The timing could not have been more significant, as it never occurred to me that perhaps all the changes that I was making to improve my own life actually held a much higher purpose. I was going through a deep inner transformation that was giving me confidence in myself and in the path I had chosen to embark on. What I was to discover was that I would be needing this strength and confidence in order to cope with the news that one month into starting my business my mother had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

No one could believe it. My mother, who was radiant with life and youthfulness, had cancer. She was the most active and resilient woman I have ever met, so the idea that she would become weak and fragile was a very big shift. This pivotal event put my whole life into perspective. It made me realise that my decision to start my own business was the right decision, as it gave me the flexibility that no other job could ever have done and together with my aunt we cared for her from home in Germany flying back and forth to run my business in London. What struck me was that all the knowledge, love and gratitude she taught me throughout life, I could now give back to her.

Only one year later my dear mother passed away. We didn't expect (or dared to acknowledge) this, we still believed that my mother was getting better every day and that soon the cancer would have been a forgotten temporary inconvenience... I ask myself every single day whether we would have done anything different if we had known. Would I have asked her more questions, told her even more how much I love her, spent even more time with her and would I myself live my life differently today if knew I only had one year, month or day left to live? I was once taught the word ‘malkosh’—which means 'last rain' in Hebrew, it is only relevant in retrospect as when it is raining you do not know when the last drop is going to fall. This is similar to our whole life, and to losing a loved one, losing your mother who has always been there.

Letting the light in

Life is ridiculously unpredictable and the loss of my mother has come with such an important message, namely that we can’t take anything for granted. We learn what and who really matters and over the last year since she passed away I have learned that we get to choose our attitude in any given circumstance, that we can be serene and happy in moments of distress.

I often find we are not living life, but merely living time. We aren't embarking on the wild, wavy sea of our dreams and desires, but instead we’re bobbing along the still and safe stream, knowing that time will keep us afloat. Primarily what is holding us back from following our dreams is our mind. Our mind magnifies small things into big problems, fears and anxiety, and we make our daily decision based on these unconscious negative feelings and thus continue living a life of least resistance to our mind. But is so important to actually thrive on these aspects, I find uncertainty and change so exciting and that is what gets me jumping out of bed every morning. We need to challenge our mind, and most importantly we need to take control of it. I am so grateful to have learned this before my mum was diagnosed and especially for when she passed away as it is so important not to let your mind run wild with dark thoughts and self-pity, instead take control and be committed to improving and enjoying your life even when everything goes against you and especially when you lose the most important person in your life.

2000-year-old wisdom by philosopher Seneca is a poignant reminder of what we so easily forget and so chronically fail to put into practice, namely that it is not..

”that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing.”

When faced with a loved one dying, prioritising values and passion become a no-brainer, so in so many respects I can now say ‘hey, is it possible to start living your dreams this week, instead of waiting for everything to be in ‘order’? If you put your mind to it, you can do it.

By Zoe Lind van’t Hof, founder of Wunder Workshop and Boobs’Essential, first published in Inspire Magazine.

www.wunderworkshop.com

www.boobsessential.com

GOLDEN BALANCE: URSEL BARNES

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Finding a golden balance is so much more than what you feed your body- what you nourish your mind with is of equal importance too. With this in mind, executive coach, Qi gong lover + co-founder of tummy friendly deli High Mood Food, Ursel Barnes, shares her take on holistic living. 

How do you find your daily source of golden balance?
I start with a prayer of gratitude, have a turmeric infused tea and visualise bathing in a golden shower of heavenly light!

How important is self-care to you, and do you often implement it into your regular rituals?

I believe we are our own best doctors. I rate self-care quite highly and feel out of sink when I neglect my routines. I meditate in the early mornings, practise yoga, I go for acupuncture and reiki treatments, and I take part in rituals such as a cacao ceremony with a shaman.

Share with us a quote that gives you daily inspiration.

I love the Instagram poet Nayyirah Washeed. She is contemporary yet wise. Today’s poem is “Compassion. Is the longest emotion there is.”

We know nourishment from the inside is fundamental to you. How do you practice this every day?

Nourishment includes feeding the body, mind and soul. Seasonal and fresh food which is enhanced by fermented veg and drinks is food as medicine. A generally positive disposition, good sleep and feeling energy circulate inside my body gives me the feeling of satisfaction and not wanting for more.

What are some of your favourite ways to wind down?

I practise Qi Gong, I love my infra red light for any aches and pains and I take our dogs for a walk.

Ingredients-wise, what are your three non-negotiables in the kitchen?

Coconut oil for cooking and (bullet proof) coffee, extra virgin olive oil on nearly everything, Himalayan pink or rock salt.

Now tell us, do you have a guilty pleasure?

I am still in lifelong recovery from my historic sweet tooth! Luckily, by now I get full pleasure from dark chocolate. For an extra treat my daughter and I dip figs and berries into melted dark choc. It keeps well and one or two pieces instead of dessert hit the spot.

What is your favourite way to use turmeric?

I sprinkle turmeric on my oven baked kale chips (with Himalayan pink salt) and mix it into my homemade hummus - I love the golden colour effect and fortunately my kids love both.

Matcha or turmeric latte?

I am not a huge fan of lattes. The combination with dairy milk doesn’t resonate with me and alternative mylks don’t quite do it for me. I get put off when the milk separates and tastes watery. I love both matcha and turmeric teas!