In Vermont, we look forward to summer all year. There’s nothing like those first few weeks of hot sunshine that make us grateful to live in this lush and green paradise. The warm weather inspires all sorts of summertime activities, from working in our gardens, swimming in clear, cold rivers, hiking in our lovely wild spaces, spending time with friends, and sleeping under the stars.
Because we spend so much time outside, it’s important to think about caring for our skin as we take on the blazing summer sun. And what better way to do so with plants! It connects us to the season and allows us to savor the sweet gifts of summer.
Our skin is the barrier to the world around us, always coming into contact with smoke, exhaust, sunshine, and dirt, and unnatural substances.
Pampering our skin not only makes us feel adorned and special with the act of self-care, but it’s also such a lovely way to use the herbs and flowers that are blooming around us.
Here are some ways to add flowers, herbs, and sunshine into your everyday skincare routine:
Summer sun tea or herbal water
The ultimate sun + plant connection
Connecting sun, plants and water is such a vibrant way to bring summer magic into our daily rituals. Plus, it’s like drinking liquid sunshine, after fresh herbs have sat in the blazing sun all day, infusing into fresh water.
To make sun tea: Fill a jar about halfway with fresh plants, cover with water, and let the sun work its magic, […]
Our two adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. From this perch, they not only have access to a rich blood supply, but are also close to the site of fluid and mineral balance in the body. This makes sense given their role: they participate in the stress response, of course, but are also involved in energy, libido, lean muscle growth, immune response, blood pressure, blood sugar, and water balance. So you can see how the hormones secreted by our adrenal glands have far-ranging effects: from the short-acting jolt of adrenaline to the longer-term influence of cortisol, which modulates metabolism in the liver, reduces our sensitivity to insulin, and suppresses inflammation (and immunity). We think of the adrenal glands as producing stress hormones, and this is true – but while we can perceive the effects of acute stress (heart racing, clammy hands, perhaps some anxiety), it is the more subtle ongoing hormonal activity of the adrenals that ends up having more profound effects on energy, metabolism, sleep, and mood. Unfortunately, this is hard to see until it’s gone: when our adrenal function begins to drop off, we notice fatigue, lack of motivation, metabolic slowdown, sleep disruptions, and more pain.
It is this last piece that usually serves as a good indicator that our adrenal function is sub-optimal: if we recover more slowly from vigorous exercise, feeling more fatigue – and crucially, more pain – after a big hike, or an extra-long jog, it can often mean that our reserve of adrenal hormones is flagging. This ability to recover and feel ready again is a key piece of the adrenal response, and, as it turns out, to healthy sleep patterns, too. […]
Staying Healthy With Herbs by Eating Them at Every Meal
Alas, we are headed full steam ahead into summer, the time of bounty! Our local farmers markets and grocery stores are filling out with fresh, seasonal produce—and if we’re lucky to have gardens they are, too. When fresh fruits and veggies abound, it’s easy to include lots of them into our diets and lifestyles—making the warmer months a perfect time to jump-start our health with nutrient dense food. It’s also the time of year to take advantage of fresh herbs, whose delicious and aromatic attributes are not only a flavor boon but a major health boon as well.
To get you inspired for an herb-infused summer, we’re sharing a few of our favorite recipes. Enjoy!
Fresh Strawberry Rhubarb Rose Syrup
1 cup chopped rhubarb
½ cup honey
½ cup cane sugar
½ cup lightly packed fresh rose petals (¼ cup if using dried)
¾ cup strawberries
Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Let rest and after 5 minutes has passed, mix again crushing the rhubarb a bit as you mix. Continue this pattern, mixing and crushing every 20 minutes for an hour.
While the rhubarb mixture is sitting, stem the strawberries. Using a blender or mortar and pestle crush the strawberries until well liquified. You are trying to yield a little over ¼ cup of blended strawberries.
At the end of the hour, strain the rhubarb mixture. Add the blended strawberries to the resulting rhubarb liquid and stir well. If sugar granules remain, continue stirring or transfer to a jar and shake until they dissolve.
What makes this syrup […]
After the long Northeast winter and this year’s chilly and hesitant spring, the arrival of the bright, expansive energy of early summer feels like a golden nectar. Schedules soften, we feel a sun-warmed sense of ease, and the season’s fruits and flowers invite us to pause and savor. By summer’s end, we glow with the vibrant energy of the season, and we feel ready to take on whatever lies ahead.
In my work, I am often asked for my thoughts on the most important part of a healthy skincare routine. We all want to know what we can do to look and feel our best, but people are often surprised to hear that one of the very best ways to support healthy skin is get to get plenty of rest and to reduce and mitigate our exposure to stress. As our largest organ, and the gateway between our inner and outer worlds, the skin sends us important messages about finding balance in our overall health. Good rest gives our bodies, skin and spirit a chance to recover from the day, and we both look and feel our best when we give ourselves plenty of restorative downtime and make choices that help us get enough good quality sleep. In the midst of our busy days, time for rest and rejuvenation can so easily be overlooked in favor of seemingly more pressing projects and deadlines, but we can use the feeling of spaciousness that summer offers to help us make room in our lives for self-care rituals and healthy habits that we can carry with us through the rest of the year.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for glowing brightly in the midst of this season and beyond: