Yoga is great for the mind and body, and it doesn’t just create a chiseled body. It can help you achieve inner peace too. If you’ve ever wanted to get involved with this ancient practice, here’s how to get started today.
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Take Beginner Classes
Beginner classes will help you get a feel for yoga without committing a lot of time or money. Most cities offer a free “community” class that is taught by a skilled instructor. Try to sample three to five different types of yoga classes to really get a sense of what the education and training is like in your area. If you like a particular class, sign up! If you can’t find a class or instructor that you’re fully satisfied with, it might be worth the extra cost to go on a retreat.
Go on a Retreat
A yoga retreat, like the Bali yoga retreat, will immerse you in the culture and practices of yoga, as well as get you familiarized with the basics. Once you’ve determined that this is something you could stick to long-term, a retreat will give you access to experts, other practitioners, and an environment where you can form a mental imprint for later.
Mental imprints are important. When you’re meditating at home, the memories of the retreat or the scenery you experienced can have a powerful calming effect. The retreat will also allow you to get the experience you need so that you can sign up for more advanced classes at home and get the most out of your time with your permanent instructor.
Headspace is a new meditation application for mobile phones and tablets. The app lets you start practicing meditation which can be very challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before. One of the major mistakes people make when doing self-guided meditations, is that they don’t really have enough experience or knowledge to do the meditation.
Those new to meditation either focus too hard, creating anxiety—the total opposite of what’s supposed to happen—or they relax too much and fall asleep. Headspace helps you practice good meditation habits, which will play a very important role in your yoga practice.
Some argue that meditation is more important than the physical aspect, since it’s the meditation that’s so often credited with many of the health benefits of the practice. Regardless of whether you’re a “mind over matter” type of person or you enjoy the physical aspects of yoga more than the mental, the fact remains that meditation is part of yoga, so it’s good to practice.
Beginner Yoga Poses
Start with easy poses, like mountain pose, pigeon pose, and bridge pose. Work into downward facing dog and cat pose. Tree pose is also a beginner pose that will teach you balance, while strengthening the thighs, calves, ankle, and muscles that protect the spine.
Beginner poses help acclimate you to the physical demands of the practice. Some poses, like triangle pose, can be more or less beginner or intermediate, depending on how you perform them. The important thing is that you start where you’re comfortable, while also challenging what you think are your limits.
Yoga’s methods are designed to strengthen both the body and the mind, and help you to develop the mental toughness required to get into, and maintain or hold, various poses. If you’ve never done any sort of physical activity before, start slow. You may be sore for the first few weeks, but it will pass as you become stronger. Eventually, you will transition into more advanced versions of beginner poses or additional poses that challenge your physical ability.
Commit to Long-Term Training and Practice
Ultimately, you’ll want a teacher who can help challenge and educate you. There are a lot of philosophies about training, even within yoga. Finding the teacher that you personally connect with may take some time.
A long-term relationship with your instructor will help you get the most out of your practice, while also helping you achieve your own personal physical and mental goals.
Most people get into yoga because they want a chiseled body, or because they believe that it’s healthy. After years of practice, these things seem very superficial. Yoga is really about balance, living well, being calm, and living a peaceful life.
It’s about being able to pass on knowledge, challenge yourself and any preconceived notions about the world around you, and to learn how to better love your fellow man.
Lily Goncalves is the founder and director of the Blooming Lotus Yoga schools of Bali and Thailand. Having received her Masters in Counseling Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Lily combined her knowledge of Western psychology with the self-development tools of classical yoga and now offers yoga retreats to clients from around the world to help them heal both body and mind. Based on the tropical island of Bali, Indonesia, Lily continues her life-long work of offering the sacred wisdom of yoga to her many students.
If you have been doing yoga for a few weeks or even a few years, you may have discovered that you tend to do your stretches and poses close to the same time every day. Getting into this kind of health and wellness routine is terrific, but it can be limiting in terms of yoga benefits.
Yoga can actually provide you with some amazing physical and psychological advantages when you perform specific movements at specific times such as morning, afternoon and evening.
It isn’t essential that you do your yoga at the exact same moment each day, but if you start to weave yoga throughout each 24-hour time frame, you may just find that you have more energy, are able to de-stress faster and get better sleep.
Photo by Henrik Moltke
Yoga in the Morning
In the morning, it is common to occasionally – if not all the time – feel a little groggy. This is understandable; your body is trying to wake up, and so is your mind. Therefore, it’s critical to explore yoga routines that gently prepare you, holistically, to start your day in the right mood and with muscles, tendons, joints and bones ready for action.
Some frequently suggested yoga poses for the morning include spine and leg stretching poses such as:
Spine Stretch – Do this stretch on a firm surface. Sit cross-legged and make sure your back is nice and tall. Keep your hands lightly on your legs. Slowly lift your left arm until it is completely extended above your head. Then, let it guide your body as you lean toward your right side, stretching your back. Hold for a few seconds at the deepest part of the stretch, then return to the center. Switch arms and repeat.
Child’s Pose – Start in a kneeling position with your back straight. Lean forward and put both hands on the floor in front of you. Slowly curve your back over your thighs as you reach forward with your hands and slide them along the floor or yoga mat. By the end of the post, your chest should be as close to your thighs as possible, and your arms should be outstretched.
Yoga in the Afternoon
There’s a reason so many people run for the snack table or vending machine in the afternoon: It’s tough to stay focused! No wonder some countries encourage a siesta or a few hours for light snoozing during the afternoon. If you don’t have that luxury – and most of us can’t afford to take a two-hour break to nap – you can always turn to the very vocal ujjayi pranayama yoga to make it easier for you to get through that low point in the day.
Breathing is essential in this type of yoga, and it helps keep your mind from wandering. Practice your Conqueror Breath by inhaling through your nose and then exhaling through a wide mouth and repeating the “ah” sound. After a few times, repeat again but both inhale and exhale from the nose. Keep the mouth closed, but perform the same throat and tongue motions so a deep hiss comes out when you exhale. Your breathing should be slow and very focused.
Most people enjoy sitting in a cross-legged position when practicing the Conqueror Breath. If that isn’t possible, you can try to do it at your desk if your co-workers are all out on a mid-afternoon coffee run.
Yoga at Night
Do you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Chances are that you’ve been going full-force all day, and what you need is some yoga to wind down. Calming yoga will assist you in completely letting go and getting yourself prepared to give your entire being a chance to reset. Most of us simply hop into bed. This doesn’t enable any kind of relaxation process. Just 10 to 15 minutes of the right type of yoga will increase your chances of deeper slumber.
A few calming yoga poses that are gentle on the body include:
Hamstring Stretch – Lie on your back. Gently wrap your hands around one of your thighs and stretch the leg to the ceiling with foot pointed. Repeat with other leg.
Savasana Pose – Lie in bed on your back. You can prop your head up with pillows or not. Let your feet relax. Allow your hands to lie apart from your body. Place your palms in a more upward than downward position. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Some people fall asleep doing this pose.
As someone who wants to live naturally and as healthfully as possible, you owe it to yourself to try yoga at different times throughout your daily activities. This will help you unleash the true power of yoga, and show you why believers know that there’s so much more to yoga than a great way to exercise.
Kayla Matthews is a health and wellness blogger who loves jogging, yoga and hiking. Follow Kayla on Google+ and Twitter to read all of her latest posts.
Most of us pay close attention the quality of food and drink we choose for ourselves on a daily basis, why then do we drop the ball when it comes to choosing quality impressions?
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The Three Gunas of Ayurveda
Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas, are universal energies that are ever present and in flux. The Gunas are a key concept of Ayurveda and must be understood before Ayurveda Psychology begins to unfold.
"Sattva” is the quality of goodness, truth, clarity, and love. It brings joy, health and healing. When we feel calm, clear, and peaceful, Sattva is the dominant energy. Nature is an abundant source of Sattva Guna. Selfless service, art, spirituality, pure foods, herbs, and water are also sources of Sattva.
“Rajas” is the quality of passion, distraction, and turbulence. It seeks power and stimulation. Rajas is instant pleasure that quickly diminishes into pain and disharmony, and is the predominant energy in society today. Rajas Guna is predominant in substances that cause excitement like sex-based entertainment, coffee, alcohol, and amphetamines.
“Tamas” is the quality of darkness, inertia, and stagnation; it is the lethargy that follows Rajas. When we feel stagnant, depressed, and can’t get out of a rut, Tamas is the dominant energy. Tamas Guna is predominant in greasy, fast food, violent entertainment, factory-farmed meat, and substance abuse/addiction.
Now, let’s put them into context. Picture yourself meditating by a trickling stream under a clear blue sky with the sounds of birds chirping. You are wearing organic light colored linen clothing and you feel perfectly at ease. This is a pretty good visual of Sattva Guna. Now visualize a group of people parking SUVS on the other side of the stream. They are yelling excitably and pull out case after case of beer and packages of fast food. They turn the stereo all the way up and with the bass pumping the once serene setting is filled with crude pop lyrics. Rajas Guna has taken over the scene. After several hours the partiers pass out from excessive intake of alcohol and the greasy fried foodstuff, they lay face down in the grass. When they awake they feel very heavy and move slowly. This is Tamas.
Feeding Your Senses
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are, here are two questions to consider:
1. Which Guna do you want to feed your senses?
2. How can you feed your senses more high quality Sattva Guna, and less low quality Tamas and Rajas Guna to promote higher consciousness?
The main source of Rajas and Tamas Guna today are sex- and violence-based media and entertainment. Much like junk food—full of salt, sugar and ingredients we’ve never heard of—clogs physical digestion and promotes intestinal stagnation, mainstream media clogs intellectual digestion and promotes spiritual stagnation. One super simple way to decrease our intake of Rajas and Tamas Guna then is to remove violence- and sex-based media and entertainment from our lives.
Begin today to cut back on—even cut out!!—all sex- and violence-based entertainment and replace it with wholesome activities such as creating art, playing music, taking fresh air and exercise, gathering with friends and family, playing with pets, moon gazing, gardening, meditation, yoga, and so on.
These are only a few examples of ways you can feed your senses high quality Sattva Guna and stay on track with spiritual progress. We can only be as good as what we feed our senses. The science is easy: What goes in must come out. Take the challenge.
Shar Veda is an Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor & Health Educator, Yoga Therapist, and herbalist living in Ashland, Oregon. She works with at risk teen-aged girls and offers compassionate health and lifestyle counseling anywhere in the world via Skype and or the good old-fashioned telephone. Shar has had the great gift of studying with leading teachers in Ayurveda, Yoga, and herbalism for nearly 20 years. However, it was her adopted grandma, Doe (English-American and Blackfoot Native), who instilled within her profound appreciation for the supreme power of loving touch, healing arts, and world family. Visit her website for a video, full bio, and photos or find her on Facebook!
Germs are a part of life, and it is no secret that the world can be a dirty place. Many of us tend to avoid the ‘go-to’ germ areas like public toilets and handrails, but you may be surprised to discover that the most common items you touch every day are riddled with germs. This infographic from the Cleaning Services Group showcases the most prominent germ spots you encounter in your home, workplace or on the go.
Surprisingly even the cleanest homes can harbor germs, and in some of the most surprising places. The kitchen chopping board is a place where food is prepared, however, there are 200 times more fecal bacteria on the average cutting board than on a toilet seat. Similarly the dishcloth, used to wipe down freshly washed dishes, on average contains about 10 million bacteria per square inch – making it 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. The kitchen may actually be the dirtiest place in the house. There are typically 600,000 bacteria per square inch in the kitchen sink drain alone.
Your workplace may be more germ-ridden than you think. If you’re seated at your desk reading this article right now then you’ll be shocked to learn that the average office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Eating lunch at your desk is a bad idea – crumbs of food in your keyboard are a breeding ground for germs. In a study of 33 office keyboards, a shocking 4 were found to be health hazards! Your office phone harbors a whopping 25,127 microbes per square inch, the measly 49 microbes per square inch on toilet seats pales in comparison.
Even outside your home and workplace you can encounter unexpected germs. Many of us use our mobile phones while using the bathroom, so it is unsurprising to find that one in every six phones, comfortable in your pocket has fecal matter on them. Everybody loves money, and wants more and more of it. The same money has been held in different people hands in so many different stats average of found 135,000 bacteria from washing one bill are found. A recent study has shown that ATM buttons are hotbeds for two types of bacteria, called bacillus and pseudomonads, which are known to cause gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhea.
Have you been curious about using essential oils, but haven’t really been sure where to start? There’s a lot of information out there, and a ton of different essential oils, and it can be pretty confusing. Lavender is a great beginner oil to try, for those that are new to using essential oils. It’s gentle, has an appealing scent, and helps with relaxation and pain relief. And you don’t need fancy equipment or complicated recipes—with these five applications, you’ll be enjoying the benefits in no time.
Lavender Sleep Sachet
Lavender’s gentle, relaxing scent makes it a great sleep aid. I like to use a mix of lavender flower buds and essential oil in sleep sachets. Simply mix about 10 drops of the oil into a few tablespoons of the flower buds, and drop them into a small fabric drawstring bag, or tie them up inside of a fabric handkerchief. Tuck it into your pillow and settle in for a good night’s sleep.
I’m a big fan of diffusing oil into the bedroom at night before going to sleep, and I don’t use a plug in or candle diffuser to do it—I just put a few drops directly onto the light bulb of my bedside lamp. The heat from the light bulb will gently perfume the air while you read or relax before bed.
Lavender Drawer Liners
You might be wondering what having scented drawers does for relaxation and stress relief, but I really think that unexpected pops of calm and things that make us happy (and doesn’t the smell of lavender make most of us happy?) go a long way in helping us feel more balanced. Throw a scented liner into a sock or delicates drawer for a little whiff of a warm summer’s day, in an endless ocean of lavender can help bring you right back to center. Just add 10-20 drops of oil to a fabric handkerchief or square of cloth and tuck it into the drawer. Vintage handkerchiefs are lovely for this, and can be picked up for just a dollar or two at thrift shops or antique stores.
Lavender Hot/Cold Pack
Muscle tension is no fun, and one of the best relief methods I’ve come across is a scented warm pack laid right across my shoulders. If you’re handy you can sew one—a simple rectangular “pillow” will suffice, and I like to sew a zipper into one side so I can easily refresh the filling from time to time. But here’s a secret: If you’re not much of a seamstress or are short on time, grab a fabric pencil or cosmetics case—it will do the same job!
For the filling I prefer buckwheat hulls the best, but I promised solutions that don’t need “fancy” ingredients, so rice works just as well. Put your filling of choice and 20-30 drops of essential oil inside the bag, and warm it up. You can use a microwave for 20-30 seconds if you have one, or lay it on a steam radiator, run a hairdryer over it or wrap it in a heating pad for a few minutes. Then apply it to your sore neck, sit back and relax. And if you need a cold pack, just throw in the freezer for ten minutes or so—it’s very versatile.
Lavender Oil Roll On
All of the above uses are great when you’re trying to get some stress relief at home. But what do you do when you’re at the office, or out and about? Having a roll on of lavender essential oil saves the day. And yes, this is the one “special” piece of equipment you need, but there are so many uses for roll-on bottles that $5 spent on a dozen will be worth the price. I really appreciate the convenience factor of these little gems, but of course you can always put the oil into a small bottle and use your fingers to dab it on.
You don’t want to use straight essential oil for this, as even gentle oils like lavender is generally too strong to use directly on the skin. Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. My favorites are almond or grapeseed oil, as they’re both gentle and don’t leave your skin feeling like an oil slick. But in a pinch you could use plain vegetable oil, though it’s a bit greasy. I’d avoid olive oil in a use like this because it has a dominant scent of its own which may overpower the lavender. Simply add 30-40 drops of lavender essential oil to the bottle, top it up with your carrier oil or choice, put the lid on, and shake to combine. Roll (or dab) on whenever you need a calming moment. This roll-on oil is great applied to the temples or pulse points for headache relief as well.
If you’re new to essential oils and need a little help with stress relief and healthy sleep patterns, lavender essential oil is just the ticket. As you learn more about the different properties and uses of other essential oils, you can certainly try them in some of these applications too—they have a variety of uses and can be a beneficial aid to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Amanda is passionate about cooking, gardening and crafting. To read more, please check out Apartment Farm.
The aloe plant is a wonderful healing tool. If you are interested in growing herbs at home, Aloe vera is a great plant for beginners. Even when neglected, it’s virtually impossible to kill. Plus, its leaves produce an aromatic juice with a multitude of health benefits—particularly skin-soothing benefits. Keep a potted aloe plant near a windowsill on your kitchen counter, that way it’s close by to immediately treat burns or other skin irritations.
1. SOOTHE BURNED SKIN: Various studies have shown that aloe is useful in treating wounds and burns. It’s particularly great at soothing sun burns. Scoop aloe gel into an ice cube tray and freeze for several hours until hardened. To use, apply an ice cube to the affected area for about one minute, until your skin starts to feel numb and the ice cube begins to melt.
2. BANISH BRUISES: Dr. Weil recommends using aloe to treat bruises. Apply aloe gel directly onto the bruise, turn it into a lotion or cream or buy aloe lotion from your local health-food store.
3. TREAT TEETH: Naturally antifungal and antibacterial, aloe can actually treat bad breath. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory b-sitosterol, which soothes acid indigestion—a common cause of bad breath—it can help kill bad bacteria as well as fight tooth decay and gum disease. Dissolve 1/4 cup aloe gel in 1/2 cup water and drink the solution down to improve your breath and oral health.
4. HEAL ATHLETE’S FOOT: Athlete’s foot, a common fungal infection, is another condition that antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory aloe can help tackle. Mix aloe gel with a few drops of tea tree essential oil, another powerful antibacterial, to create a soothing ointment. Apply onto the affected area twice a day until the infection starts to disappear.
5. SANITIZE HANDS: Fight germs (a battle that seems especially necessary during cold and flu season) with a homemade aloe-infused hand sanitizer. In a spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons aloe gel with 1 tablespoon witch hazel and 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil. Next, add 10 drops each lavender and tea tree essential oil, as well as enough filtered water to almost fill your spray bottle. Shake before use.
6. MAKEUP REMOVER: Gently remove your makeup with aloe gel. It’s a great alternative to oil-based removers, and is great for the delicate skin around your eyes. Soak cooled aloe gel in cotton balls to use. Alternatively, you can combine 1 cup aloe water with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and use the same way you would a standard makeup remover.
7. SHAVING CREAM: Combined with olive oil, aloe vera makes a great shaving gel. Mix one part olive oil with three parts aloe gel. Optionally, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. Mix well and use. Store the remaining mixture in a container with a tight-lid.
8. FACE WASH: Use aloe to create a gentle face cleanser. Mix 1/4 cup aloe gel with 2 tablespoons sweet almond (or olive) oil and 1 tablespoon castile soap. To finish, add about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance, then use as you would a normal face cleanser.
9. LIP GLOSS: Use aloe to protect and moisturize your lips. Its high moisture content is very soothing, and it feels especially great on cold sores. Keep your lips kissable with this homemade solution: Mix 1 teaspoon fresh aloe gel with 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil and 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E oil. Pour into a small, clean container and use up!
10. SKIN EXFOLIANT: Light homemade scrubs can reduce the appearance of blemishes and blackheads by sloughing away dead skin cells that clog pores. Use moisturizing aloe to make a homemade exfoliating scrub: Combine 1 tablespoon aloe gel with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. To apply, rub a dime-size amount of the mixture to your skin in upward, circular motions. Rinse and pat dry.
11. WRINKLE REPAIR: A study of women in their 40s discovered that aloe gel can significantly improve wrinkles and elasticity in photoaged human skin. Apply pure aloe gel to the affected area, or apply a mixture of aloe gel with a few drops of vitamin E oil and lavender essential oil. You can even allow the solution to soak into your face overnight, washing it off with cool water the following morning.
12. HAIR MASK: Aloe can also benefit your tresses. To hydrate your hair, mix 5 tablespoons aloe gel with 3 tablespoons coconut oil and 2 tablespoons raw honey. Apply the mixture onto your hair, from root to tip. Keep it on for about 20 minutes then wash it out with a gentle shampoo.
13. DIGESTIVE AID: Apart from treating wounds, skin and hair, aloe can also boost overall wellness. Rich in a number of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids, aloe may soothe and cleanse the digestive tract. You can find aloe juice drinks for sale at your local health-food store to aid digestion.
14. IMMUNITY BOOSTER: The polysaccharides in aloe juice stimulate white blood cell activity, which fights against viruses. Drink aloe juice to also boost your immune function.
15. SUPER SMOOTHIE: Instead of buying store-bought aloe juice, use aloe to make a delicious health-benefiting smoothie. It may not be the tastiest plant on the planet, but surrounded by an array of sweet-tasting fruits it can make a delicious treat. (And with a laundry list of health benefits, it makes sense to take advantage of it via food!) Try this recipe from Healthy Smoothie Headquarters, which, in addition to aloe juice, uses almond milk, blueberries, mango, coconut oil, basil and a little bit of honey.
Gina DeBacker is the associate editor at Mother Earth Living, where she manages the health section of the magazine.
With this February marking American Heart Health month, best-selling author and renowned nutrition expert Jonny Bowden (author of The Great Cholesterol Myth and The Great Cholesterol Myth Cookbook) emphasizes proper nutrition for optimal cardiovascular health.
Surprisingly, most women mistakenly believe that cancer is the No. 1 killer, but they’re wrong—it’s cardiovascular disease. In fact, mortality rates for women show that one out of three deaths of American women this year will be caused by heart disease or stroke. But these stats can be improved significantly.
Bowden brings a healthful dose of clarity and preventive wisdom to the table beyond the CDC’s standard recommendations for controlling risk factors, such as diet, exercise, tobacco, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Check out his tips below and please spread the word!
10 Super Heart-Health Tips from Jonny Bowden
• Reduce sugar and processed carbohydrates in the diet.
• Stop worrying about fat, including saturated fat. Two major meta-analyses in the last few years have established that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease. However, the combination of sugar and fat is a very bad one.
• Do an oil change! Reduce your intake of vegetable oils and increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, especially fish oil. The balance between omega-6 (vegetable oil) and omega-3 (fish oil) is one of the most important metrics for human health, and the ideal ratio of these two types of fat in the diet is 1:1. Research shows we consume more than 16 times more (inflammatory) omega-6s than (anti-inflammatory) omega-3s.
• Learn to manage stress. Stress contributes to every disease known to man (including heart disease) and is a tremendous risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
• Get some sun and spend some time outdoors.
• Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, but inflammation does. Foods rich in anti-inflammatories include virtually all vegetables as well as some low-sugar fruits such as apples and berries. And new research shows ‘Bergamot’ citrus to be a powerful balancing agent for the critical triglyceride: HDL radio as well as the lipid profile.
• Supplement wisely. My top recommendations include fish oil, magnesium, vitamin D and, for those with existing heart issues, D-ribose and L-carnitine.
I particularly like two supplements that have wide-ranging, systemic effects on the body—curcumin and resveratrol. They are both in my personal daily regimen. While not usually thought of as a specific “heart” supplement, resveratrol has many benefits that impact heart health—it thins the blood, acts as an antioxidant, is anti-inflammatory, and turns on the SIRT genes (forlongevity). Recent research shows it also improves memory and glucose metabolism. NOTE: The active ingredient in resveratrol is trans-resveratrol, and this is the only part of resveratrol that really matters. As far as I know, Reserveage Nutrition is the only company that makes a 100 percent trans-resveratrol supplement, in doses that are clinically relevant (250 mg and 500 mg).
• Do some kind of exercise every day. For basic heart health and protection, it's hard to beat a daily walk.
• Cultivate nourishing relationships (and not just "Facebook friends"). Friendships, connections and social usefulness have enormously beneficial effects on both the heart and on health in general.
Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, (aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”) is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology and the author of fourteen books on health, healing, food and longevity, including three best-sellers.