Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Running Out

We are running out of some of our favorite Miessence products, and it's reminded me why I love them. Although making your own can be a great option, it's not appealing to everyone, and I was tiring of it myself. Miessence provides me something of an even higher quality and purity than I could make myself (due to their sourcing) and far more effective. If you aren't the DIY type and try to go more natural, you are usually left spending more but still unsatisfied with how your products work, or falling for misleading labels. 'Greenwashing' is making products appear more natural than they really are (because the word 'natural' is meaningless in the labeling world), emphasizing certain ingredients and hiding others, or leading you to believe something is organic when it isn't. Certified Organic (often to a food-grade standard) takes care of that! Can't wait to order again ;)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Life Flourishing in the Cracks

     One of the inspirations for the logo of Manhattan's Leaf was a piece by David Suzuki called 'Life flourishes even in the cracks.' Writing about grass, weeds, vines, and other plants which grow in the city sidewalk cracks, among bricks, or on rock faces, Suzuki quotes researcher Jeremy Lundholm, 'rather than seeing our communities as entirely human-created, unnatural environments, we should recognize that urban spaces are in many ways "structurally and functionally equivalent" to natural ecosystems.' 
     To me this was reminiscent of the human microbiome, as well as the bacterial ecosystem of a city, such as the New York City subwayI believe the city and its people are beautiful in themselves, but living here, my family also finds ourselves being outdoors and enjoying nature in ways that we rarely did before. Here we walk everywhere, go to playgrounds or beautiful parks sometimes twice a day, and are in walking distance from a rocky river shore where the kids can see seaweed and algae, climb and collect rocks. Jacqueline is learning the names of plants growing next to the sidewalk, in planters, parks and gardens. She remembers all of them and collects fallen flowers, even if we can't grow them in our own space. 
     I love to see the places that plant life springs up amidst the concrete walks or pre-war walls. The fern above was outside a nearby subway station. It helps to live in a quieter neighborhood with easy access to parks, but even downtown the same things occur: mossy brick, a dandelion in the sidewalk. They're beautiful reminders. To me, of renewing the city with life and healing (and in a lesser way, the microscopic life within us!).

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Nine Months In

These past few months have been full for my family. We are enjoying our new city, with so much still left unseen. We welcomed a new baby, now 10 weeks old, born at home in our NYC apartment! We experienced our first autumn, winter, and spring in the city, and the first year of seminary is almost completed for my husband. Although still tweaking our routine and life with three children, I hope to be more present working on Manhattan's Leaf.

 Echoing my last post about the enormous bacterial ecosystem on the subway, here is an almost beautiful visual, created by Craig Ward. "The samples were taken using sterilized sponges that had been pre-cut into the letter or number of the subway line from which the sample was to be taken - A, C, 1, 6 etc etc. The swabs were then pressed into pre-poured agar plates - their circular shape echoing the graphic language of the subway - and incubated for up to a week in his Brooklyn workshop, and photographed at various stages of development before being safely neutralized and disposed of."

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Subway Floors

Since we moved to NYC and sold our car, the subway has become a major part of our life. Between stair rails, elevator buttons, seats, and subway poles, my kids are introduced to a lot more germs than ever before. Is that a bad thing? Geneticist and author Chris Mason thinks not, even suggesting a parent should "roll their child on the floor of the New York subway." His study on subway bacteria was published earlier this year, and it should be a comfort to germaphobes (despite the scary numbers!). The exposure to different bacteria influence the presence in our microbiome of specific beneficial microbes, boosting our immune system.

We are trying to be in a good hand-washing habit, and I use homemade hand sanitizer (aloe gel with witch hazel and lavender and tea tree essential oils) when out and about. I avoid commercial products with triclosan, and alcohol-based sanitizers, which disrupt the protective acid mantle on our skin. My goal is to be cautious and wise but not fear the microbes! 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Big Move...

This July, we packed up our little house in Virginia and moved to an apartment in New York City! It was a long-expected move for Joel to go to school, and we were excited to finally arrive here. It has been a huge adjustment, but we are loving it in the city. 
I'm excited to finally share a fitting change for my Miessence business - a new logo, website, facebook page, and store site, as Manhattan's Leaf. Feel free to like my facebook page and subscribe to the blog on the right if you haven't already!
We are very thankful for the work of a friend in bringing my sketch to life as a beautiful logo. I look forward to getting back into sharing with you here about natural living, the microbiome, Miessence, and life in Manhattan!


Monday, 29 June 2015

The Man Who Drank Cholera

Joel sent me this article about Ilya Metchnikoff, 'the man who drank cholera and launched the yogurt craze.' 
   Its the amusing history of an unusual and lively man who connected the dots from probiotics to immunity. 

Here's an excerpt: 
"The cholera drink didn’t sicken Metchnikoff, so he let a volunteer from his lab repeat the test. When the first volunteer didn’t contract cholera either, Metchnikoff didn’t hesitate to accept an offer from a second one. To his horror, the young man fell ill and nearly died. When Metchnikoff took his experiments into the petri dish to find out what caused such a marked difference, he discovered that some microbes hindered the cholera growth while others stimulated it. He then proposed that the bacteria of the human intestinal flora played a part in disease prevention. And, he reasoned, if swallowing a pathogenic bacterial culture sickened you, then swallowing a beneficial one would make you healthier. Therefore, he decided, the proper alteration of the intestinal flora could help battle diseases that had plagued humans for centuries."

Friday, 19 June 2015

Listen: The Brain and Microbiome

A few weeks ago I listened to a mind-blowing podcast about gut bacteria, brain function, ADHD and Autism. It was on Underground Wellness Radio, which is run by Sean Croxton, and this interview was with Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain - For Life. Sean is a superb interview host, letting his guest shine and asking pointed questions. I'm always impressed by his shows and free online summits. Dr. Perlmutter brings up amazing new discoveries relating gut health and probiotics to improvements in Autism, ADHD, Alzheimers, and even a person's timidity.
 If you know anyone with these concerns or are fascinated by the microbiome, I highly recommend a listen!
[And if you know anyone looking for a certified organic probiotic like InLiven Probiotic Superfood, please point them in this direction :)]