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40 posts from January 2017

Ashwagandha!

Ashwagandha Super Root
That sounds like a Hindi-style greeting, doesn't it? Ashwagandha! How are you today? Ginseng, thank you! How about you?

Ashwagandha is Indian ginseng. While I normally don't like to put the focus on supplements, this is one that, in my opinion, belongs in everyone's kitchen cabinet. You know, a cabinet that you actually open. Not the one with the champagne glasses and your grandma's antique tea set that gets opened once a year on Thanksgiving. 

The reason I've picked ashwagandha - OMG is there a shorter way to write this word? How about I call it "ash" for short? Great. So the reason I've picked ash is because so many people suffer from STRESS, and anxiety in particular. How many? 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,  anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness, affecting over 40 million Americans. That's 18% of the population! My math is stellar. Actually, I'm just really talented at copying info. Furthermore, people with anxiety are 3-5 times more likely to go to the doctor and 6 times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.

While there are many types of anxiety-related disorders, I'm going to focus on the more generalized, non-trauma-induced anxiety disorders. However! Even though I am relating to a more general and idiopathic type of anxiety, what I am about to suggest can certainly be used in tangent with psychotherapy. 

After my fifth kid, my body felt broken, and I had a very hard time dealing with all of the daily stress. I generally felt that I was going to freak out from being so overtired and stressed, and I felt sick all the time because of it. A friend suggested I start taking ashwagandha. OMG I just fell asleep for like 20 minutes at the computer. Ash is an adaptogen, which means it helps your body respond to and handle stress better. It's arguably the best adrenal support supplement that you can take.

So many people suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome and related diseases. Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress. Whether it's emotional, mental, or physical stress, your adrenals are working on overdrive if you're stressed out. And if they're on overdrive all the time, you're likely trapping yourself in a vicious cycle of physical stress/adrenal stress/more physical and mental stress.

When the adrenals are chronically overworked, they also begin to stress out and get tired. Basically, they want to quit and go on vacation in Tahiti. How long and how well can they function at such high output levels? The answer is not very long. Eventually, they're going to give up and go to sleep, just like I'd like to be doing right now.

What is the problem with your adrenals taking a little break? Well, that means that your body can't deal with stress as well as it should. When that happens, you may begin to suffer all types of anxiety disorders for problems that might have nothing to do with mental or emotional issues. I suspect that there are many others like me, who haven't (thank God) had a serious trauma in their lives, but suffer from all types of anxiety-related disorders.

In other words, you can be perfectly normal and balanced, yet still have anxiety! You're just too stressed!

The great thing about ashwagandha is that it has such a wonderful and powerful calming effect, that it can even be used by those who have really good reasons to be stressed, such as a traumatic life situation. 

Here are two links talking more about this superhero herb. I would encourage you to read up as much as you can on the tremendous benefits that ash has to offer, such as reducing blood sugar, increasing muscle mass, helping minimize symptoms of depression, increasing fertility in men, and so much more.

I take ash every day, twice a day. In the morning, I take one pill with my iodine, (which I hope to write about in the future,) along with a teaspoon of coconut oil in warm water. I gotta tell you, this combination gives me such a supercharge in the morning! I have so much energy at the gym, that the ladies in my Zumba classes give me strange glances from time to time throughout the class. Whatever. I think the espresso I have in the morning might also be a minor factor. Just a little bit.

Then, at about 3:00 pm, before the kiddies get home, I take another one because I know that I'm gonna get stressed. Big time. It helps me so much! It takes me so much more effort to scream at them and react to their uncontrollable boyness. 

If you're on anti-anxiety meds, do not stop taking them without discussing it with your doctor first! See how the ash works in tangent with your meds, and if you feel that it's helping you, speak with your doctor about weaning yourself off the meds and taking the ash instead. 

If you're not on meds and want to feel less stressed in any case, do what I do and take one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I don't weigh much (about 115 pounds) so if I take two, I feel so relaxed that I just want to sit on the couch and chill. So if you don't feel any difference and you weight a little bit more than I do, try two of them after you eat something. 

Wishing you all a low-stress, high-energy, and HAPPY week! Let us know if you're taking it, and how you feel!

~Racheli

Rabbi Lazer adds:

In addition to all the benefits that Racheli has mentioned, Ashwagandha - which I like to call "super root" is great for athletes. Since it minimizes stress hormones such as cortisol, it paves the way to better results for the same amount of work in the gym or on the track, namely, development of muscle mass and reduction of body fat. Google "ashwagandha" and "athletes" and you'll get all kinds of clinical documentation. Unlike drugs, ash doesn't cause a "spike" peak performance followed by a "crash" letdown. Since ash stimulates testosterone development in men, it's great for male fertility. And, since it helps so much in relieving stress and burnout in women, it's a female fertility enhancer as well, since stress is one of the worst enemies of female fertility. Bright Beams blessings for your better health!


Hormone-Crazed Chickens

How crazy is this? 

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And this?

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And this?

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Have you ever seen Siamese eggies in your life? All in all, over the past week, we've had about 20 sets of twins. Thank G-d I wasn't the one giving birth to them. I wonder what this means, you know, spiritually. Is anyone out there a secret kabbalist that might be able to tell me? But you can only tell me what it means on one condition: that I will like your interpretation. If you're going to tell me that this means that we'll double our income four times over, then by all means, do it! Whatever cool and imaginative interpretation you may come up with, just do me a favor and don't tell me these are hormone-crazed GMO chickens gone wild. 

I thought ignorance was bliss or something. No? So I can't just ignore the fact that these eggs might have way too many hormones, even by the crooked FDA standards? Sometimes the truth hurts, don't it.

That reminds me - I was talking to a neighbor and trying to convince her to get on the almost-vegan lifestyle that Rav Brody and I are following, and she asked me point blank: "So what do you eat?" Can you believe that I had no ready answer for her? I was like, "Well, I eat... um... I don't really know.... lots of fruits and vegetables?" It almost sounded like was asking her what I ate. She asked me if I can be more specific. "Umm, I'm not really sure... bananas? Cucumbers? Sweet potato? Black bean pasta?" I was so extremely bothered that I was answering her question in the form of a question. Did I need confirmation? Validation? Was I just confused? I have no idea. In the end, I only managed to convince her that I'm a little bit kooky. 

Well I don't know what that had to do with anything. I guess what I'm trying to say in a very roundabout way is that people don't like to hear the truth unless they're searching for the truth. It's human nature to try to rationalize your point of view, even though it may be totally wrong. It really hurts to be wrong. I know - I am so allergic to apologizing to my husband that I break out in canker sores if the "S" word tries to escape my lips. 

Rav Arush is no stranger to people like me. In fact, he wrote a whole article on people that I like to call "Delusional Tzaddikim." These are baalei teshuva who, upon committing to a holy and Torah-observant life, suddenly believe that they belong light years ahead of where they are. Not only that, they don't think that all of their baggage from their former lives needs to be dealt with and fixed. But have no fear, Hashem is here! Here to bring them back to reality with a good dose of BT Bubble Burst. Hashem ain't afraid to tell it like it is, yo.

You know who else ain't afraid of telling it like it is? That's right, our very own Rav Lazer Left-Hook Brody. He's swingin' punches in his latest article by showing that everything that happens is because Hashem wants it to happen, and for a purpose. Even the Nuremberg laws and Hitler's ym"s rise to power were all Hashem's doing. Rav Brody explains why Hashem was giving us a Warning from Above. Is your jaw dislocated yet? No? Then just wait until you read the article! 

Yours truly is also no stranger to sharing the truth with others, even though it might make me, let's just say, a bit controversial. Okay, I admit it. Some people might get their feathers all ruffled up because the truth ain't so pretty. This week, I'm showing y'all how western medicine is in the business of making money, even at the expense of your life. Instead of helping people learn how to eat properly in order to minimize disease, Big Pharma and the rest of their medical mafia are doing what they can to keep you in the dark and make you think that getting sick is a matter of chance, luck, karma, tikkun, astrology, Mercury in retrograde, your parents' fault, or like, so totally random, dude! In my latest article, I expose these criminals for what they are: Medical Vampires. Read this. Now.  

Rebbetzin Yehudit Channen shares a wonderful and deep lesson she learned about truth over the course of her life. She shows through her own personal example, how much the fear of taking a good look at who we are actually creates so much stress in our lives. We create unnecessary competition, both within ourselves and with others. She takes an objective look at her fear of Measuring Up, and realizes that she was trying to live up to a fantasy instead of being truthful with who she is and what her unique set of strengths were. Don't we all do this to one degree or another? C'mon, be honest! And read this article, STAT!

Even though I have no idea what STAT stands for, I know that it's a medical term, so I think it's perfect to introduce Dr. Ballen next, even though he's not a medical doctor, but a psychotherapist. That's not an MD, is it? I'd better ask him. Until I do, Dr. Ballen exposes a type of sadistic therapist that uses threats and sadism therapy in order to control his clients. These therapists are extremely dangerous! If you or someone you know is seeing a therapist, then you must read Consumer Beware!

After reading my dear friend Sunny Levi's latest article, I'm convinced that she's way too righteous for me. I'm going to have to break up with her. She was able to take a potentially explosive and long-running nasty situation with her next-door neighbor and turn it into sunshine and butterflies - and a brand new martial arts studio! I would have just killed the neighbor. I'm kidding (but not really.) Check out this 6th degree black belt Tae Kwon Do Master's Spiritual Aikido moves! 

Yehoshua Goldstein wants to Get Up Like a Lion, and I just want to Go To Sleep! Here's another one that's too righteous for me. I would never think to ask my Rosh Yeshiva about the characteristics of a lion in order to properly fulfill the halacha of rising like a lion in the morning. Of course, I'm a woman and don't go to yeshiva. But of course. I'm so tired I'm rambling. Anyhow, he found out the meaning, and I bet that it's not what you were thinking! 

Oh, here she is again! Rebbetzin Channen teaches us a great way to thank Hashem for things that you either don't think are worth thanking Him for, or you don't feel like thanking Him for. It's called The Glad Game, for all you folks that never heard of the Walt Disney movie, "Polyanna." Actually, I never heard of it, either. But I'm sure this game is a lot more fun than The Mad Game, or The Sad Game, or The Get Out of My Room Right Now Before I Throw a Hanger at You Game. 

On that note, have a lovely week!

~Racheli

 


Aleinu and Donald Trump

What's the connection between the Aleinu prayer and Donald Trump? Hopefully, soon, every human on earth will realize his or her inalienable right to establish their own personal relationship with the Creator and to speak to Him whenever they choose. Enjoy today's emuna lesson and have a lovely new week!


Parshat Va'Era: Getting Worse Before it Gets Better

Moses can't understand: after spending seven days and seven nights with Hashem and praying in behalf of Klal Yisrael, things look much worse. What's happening? Enjoy this week's mini-lesson and have a wonderful Shabbat!

Enjoy our Beams Weekend Magazine: Below this post, there are two marvelous posts:

Entertainment and Inspiration: Voice on the Mountain

Racheli's Recipe for Shabbat: Tehina Cake


David Dome: Voice on the Mountain

Our cherished friend and sweet-singer David Dome from London sent me a gorgeous traditional Irish ballad by the name of "Wild Mountain Thyme". He performs this balled ever so beautifully with new emuna lyrics I wrote for him. We now call this lovely song, "Voice on the Mountain," which we hope you'll enjoy. I can't stop listening to it. Sing along - the lyrics appear below the vid.

Melody: Traditional Irish, "Wild Mountain Thyme"
Instruments, Vocal and Arrangement: David Dome 
Lyrics: Rabbi Lazer Brody

Oh Mashiach times a comin'
And the trees are sweetly bloomin'
And The Voice from the mountain
Calls in love and in emuna
Come home Neshama
Come home....

And we'll all go together
To hear The Voice on a mountain
And we'll sing a song forever
Come home Neshama
Come home

I will then say a prayer
By yon high and holy mountain
My love song for my Father
Flows like waters from a fountain
Come home Neshama
Come home...

And we'll all go together
To hear The Voice on the mountain
And we'll sing a song forever
Come home Neshama
Come home.....

Come home Neshama come home
Neshama come home

Hashem forever be with me
For there never is another
And it's His Voice on the mountain
Calling you and me dear brother
Come home , Neshama
Come home......

And we'll all go together
To hear The Voice on the mountain
And we'll sing a song forever
Come home Neshama
Come home
My brother
Come home
My sister
Come home
Neshama
Come home....


Let Them Eat Tehina Cake!

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Awwww, yeah.... 

You know you want some.

I have to come to terms with the fact that I am obsessed with cake. My yetzer starts working overtime when Shabbat approaches. "You've been eating so healthy all week, my dear," he sneers, so full of concern for my health and well-being. "Why don't you just enjoyyy yourself on Shabbat? You've earned it..." Amazingly, my yetzer looks like the wicked witch from Snow White. "I'm gonna stuff your face with poison apple, yetzer!" I wanted to swat her with my spatula, but then I realized that swatting myself in the head might be a conflict of interest. 

Earlier this week, I posted Rebbetzin Brody's amazing tehina bread recipe. But I had to figure out some way to turn it into cake, so I could eat as much as I want on Shabbat without exploding. And, eureka! I have done it!

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Okay, that picture is seriously huge, and I don't know how to fix it. Sorry.

So here's what I did. I took the original recipe and tweaked it up a bit, whatever that means: 5 eggs, about 3/4 cup tehina, 2T honey (or date honey,) 3 almost-rotten bananas (very ripe,) 1 zucchini shredded, a few handfuls of cacao chips, dried cranberries, crushed walnuts (roughly chopped is also fine,) lots of pumpkin seeds,  2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt, lots and lots of cinnamon, a good sprinkling of ground clove and ground ginger, and lots of siyata dishmaya (Heavenly help.) 

I'm sorry that I can't give you proper amounts, but I don't have enough patience to measure things out. Just be generous with your seasoning.

I first mashed the bananas, then added the eggs, honey, and tehina and mixed it all up with a fork. Then I added the baking soda, powder, and seasonings. Then I added the shredded zucchini. Then, I threw in the cranberries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and cacao chips. You can use chocolate chips if you prefer. 

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I gotta say that I'm blown away by my photography skills. Couldn't you eat the batter just like that?

Then, I did the smart thing and put the batter into two rectangular cake tins. 

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I loaded up the toppings again and put another generous helping of cinnamon on the top. OMG, I just realized that I have no idea how long I baked it for! Just check the thing with a knife starting at 20 minutes. It will look very well done, and the cranberries may even get a little burnt, but trust me dahlings, the flavor will be out of this world!

One more thing: the cake has a very spongy and moist texture. I like it, but if you prefer something more dense, add 1/2 cup of flour, preferably whole wheat. 

Please let me know if you made this! Wishing all of you a wonderful, relaxing, and healthy Shabbat!

~Racheli