Types of Smudge Sticks and How to Use Them

Types of Smudge Sticks and How to Use Them


Are you curious about the ancient practice of smudging? For centuries, various cultures have used smudge sticks for their spiritual and energetic benefits. These bundles of dried herbs, leaves and flowers are ignited and used to cleanse and purify the energy of objects and spaces. It’s like waving a magic wand, except instead of spells, you get to banish negative energy and fill your space with good vibes! 

As someone who practises spirituality and meditation, I use smudge sticks as a part of my daily rituals to deepen my connection with the divine and to create a sacred space for myself. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how I use a smudge stick during my candle-gazing rituals, as they help guide me to a more transcendental state of mind for meditation. 

But that’s not all that smudge sticks can be used for! The possibilities are endless, from enhancing uplifting or peaceful energy, to cleansing spaces and raising vibrations. If you’re still curious to explore the vast potential of smudge sticks, then read on for more!



Smudge Stick - Dragons Blood Tree
Smudge Stick - Sage

Cleansed and Protected

Smudge sticks are an ancient and powerful tool used for a variety of purposes, but none quite as popular as cleansing and protection. When it comes to selecting a herb for this purpose, Sage reigns supreme. With a wide range of variations including Desert Sage, Cedar Sage, and the ever-popular White Sage, this herb has been revered by Indigenous tribes as a vital component of their spiritual ceremonies. And for good reason! Its potent aroma is known to repel negative energy and attract positivity, making it an essential addition to any sacred space.

But Sage isn’t your only choice when it comes to cleansing and protection – Juniper and Dragon’s Blood smudge sticks are also just as effective! Juniper is thought to have incredible protection qualities, with its smoke creating a barrier between yourself and negative forces. Dragon’s blood smudge sticks, made from the resin of Dragon trees, can help in strengthening your aura. 

To harness the powerful energy of these smudge sticks, I carefully light the end of the bundle and allow the fragrant smoke to permeate every corner of the space. I focus my intention on releasing any negative energy and welcoming in cleansing and protective energies to fill the space. I allow the sweet fragrance to envelope me, and take a deep breath, allowing myself to be fully present in the moment.

Raising Frequency

I often use Palo Santo as a smudge stick to raise my vibration and rid myself of negative energy. It’s said to have a high frequency, promote positivity and help with grounding. Palo Santo is native to South America and has been used for centuries by indigenous tribes in shamanic rituals. They share the belief that when the smoke of Palo Santo wood comes into contact with our personal energy field, the tree spirit within the wood eliminates negative thoughts and events, repels malevolent spirits, assisting in restoring a sense of harmony and equilibrium.

When I use Palo Santo as a smudge stick, it guides me into a state of transcendence that’s perfect for my meditation practice. As I light the stick, I envision my energy elevating while my spirit becomes more grounded in the present moment. The high frequency and positive energy of Palo Santo helps me feel more centred and connected to myself and the world around me.


When I’m looking to bring in new and uplifting energy, I turn to lemongrass as a smudge stick. Its refreshing and citrusy aroma is believed to enhance mental clarity and promote positive energy. Using lemongrass in my smudging rituals helps me clear out any negative energy and fill my space with a renewed sense of optimism and positivity.

To incorporate lemongrass into my smudging ritual, I light the end of the bundle and let the fragrant smoke waft throughout the entire space. As the smoke rises, I envision a renewed sense of energy and optimism permeating the atmosphere, uplifting my mood and bringing a fresh perspective to my day.


Lavender is a herb I use for my smudge sticks when I want to bring forth a calming energy. It has a soothing scent that can promote relaxation and peace. We’re all aware of how potent lavender is for aiding a good night’s sleep, hence its popular use in room sprays and essential oils. However, burning a bundle of dried lavender is a far better natural alternative, as it eliminates the harsh chemicals that are often added into synthetic products. 

When I want to invoke calming energy, I light the end of the bundle and let the smoke spread throughout the space, making sure to reach every corner. As part of my nightly rituals, I visualise peaceful and calming energy entering into my space to aid a restful and restorative night’s sleep.




Smudge Stick - Lavender


If you’re seeking to tap into the love frequency, using a rose smudge stick is a perfect avenue to take. It has a sweet and floral scent that can promote self-love, romantic love and friendship. Roses have been a timeless symbol of love, and are closely associated with goddesses’ such as Aphrodite and Venus. When used in a smudge stick, they can be a magical tonic for your heart chakra, allowing you to receive and give love unconditionally. 

When I want a boost of self-love, I light the end of the bundle and let the smoke spread throughout the space around me.  As the smoke rises, I visualise love and positive energy filling my heart chakra and the space around me.



Smudge sticks can be a powerful tool for spiritual and energetic practices, helping to deepen your connection with yourself and the universe. I encourage you to experiment with different smudge sticks and find the ones that resonate with you the most. Remember to always set an intention when using smudge sticks and visualise the energy you want to bring into your space, be it a sense of love, tranquillity or to raise your vibrations.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
My Favourite Guilt-Free Vegan Desserts

My Favourite Guilt-Free Vegan Desserts

I am a huge advocate for adopting a vegan diet as it has many benefits for your health, spirituality and the environment. Done the right way, a vegan diet can be rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats, which can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic illnesses. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and decrease the unnecessary suffering of animals, making it the ideal diet choice for anyone that wants to do better for the planet and the creatures we share it with. But many worry that going vegan means missing out on sweet treats like cakes, cookies and ice cream.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Vegan desserts can be just as indulgent and delicious as their non-vegan counterparts. And by choosing vegan desserts, you not only satisfy your sweet tooth but also fight against animal cruelty while supporting a healthier food system.

Having studied nutrition at university, I would argue that vegan desserts are an important part of a balanced lifestyle. Treating yourself to a sweet indulgence once in a while can help prevent feelings of deprivation and promote a positive relationship with food. So, don’t be afraid to include vegan desserts in your diet – they can be a delicious and healthy addition to your meals and snacks! So, here are a few of my favourite vegan desserts that I think you’ll absolutely love.

Orange Chocolate Mousse from Plant Essence

If you’re a fan of chocolate and citrusy flavours, then this dessert is perfect for you. The Orange Chocolate Mousse from my own plant-based foodie venture, Plant Essence, is a light and airy dessert made with raw dark chocolate, vegan cream, and orange zest. This vegan dessert is not only delicious but is also packed with antioxidants and healthy fats.


Walnut Brownie from Plant Essence

Another delicious dessert from Plant Essence is the Walnut Brownie. This vegan dessert is made with walnuts, dates, and raw cacao powder, making it both healthy and indulgent. The texture of this dessert is fudgy and moist, and it’s the perfect dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.



Vegan Milk Choco Biscoff Donut

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Non-Dairy Ice-Cream from Ben & Jerry’s 

Ice cream is a dessert everyone loves, and it’s easy to find since plenty of vegan options are readily available in most supermarkets! The Chocolate Fudge Brownie Non-Dairy Ice-Cream from Ben & Jerry’s is a vegan dessert that is sure to delight your taste buds. This dessert is made with almond milk, fudge brownies and chocolate chunks, making it a perfect indulgence.


Since vegan desserts tend to include more natural, wholesome ingredients and zero animal products, you can bank on them being just as good for your body as they are for your taste buds. Whether you’re a vegan or not, these desserts are sure to satisfy your sweet cravings. So, go ahead and indulge in these treats guilt-free!

Vegan Orange Chocolate Mousse

Milk Choco Biscoff Donut from Donaccino

For a classic dessert with a vegan twist, I highly recommend the Milk Choco Biscoff Donut from Donaccino – a vegan dessert sure to satisfy your sweet cravings. This donut is topped with vegan milk chocolate and a Lotus Biscoff biscuit and filled to the brim with Biscoff spread, making it a delicious and decadent treat!


Cake Me Out dessert from Vibe Café

If you’re someone who loves to eat cookie dough, then you’ll love the Cake Me Out dessert from Vibe Café at the Al Wasl branch in Dubai. This vegan dessert is ultimate decadence with a vegan cookie dough base, topped with chocolate ice cream, crystal sugar and coconut cream. Plus, the space has funky decor., so it’s a great spot to snap some pics while you enjoy your vegan dessert.


Chocolate Fudge Brownie Non-Dairy Ice-Cream

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Spiritual Healing Plants: Amazonian Hapé and Sananga

Spiritual Healing Plants: Amazonian Hapé and Sananga

Spiritual Healing Plants

Amazonian Hapé (Rapé)

Also known as shamanic snuff, Amazonian Hapé is a psychotropic spiritual healing plant used for thousands of years in sacred rituals. Derived from a type of tobacco plant known as mapacho, Hapé isn’t to be smoked like cigarettes but instead administered through the nose.

While tobacco is the main component in Hapé, the final medicine is a mixture of other sacred healing plants. The exact mix of tree barks, leaves, seeds and roots also included is a closely guarded secret by each shaman, meaning each experience is slightly different depending on the combination of the other plants’ healing properties. The ingredients are combined and ground down with a pestle and mortar into a light-coloured powder before being strained through a fine mesh. 

Since Hapé is a psychotropic substance, it’s really important to pay attention to your set (mindset) and setting (physical environment). You want to create an internal and external space that feels safe and intentional. For your set, my advice is to go into the Hapé ceremony with a clear intention in mind. This could be to answer a question you’ve had, find guidance or deepen your connection with yourself. For your setting, choose a space that feels sacred to you with safe energy. If anything doesn’t feel right, it’s best to take a moment to pause, step back and only proceed if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Hapé v-shaped Kuripe pipe

It remains an ancient cultural practice that is still commonly used by Amazonian tribes to enhance their night vision while hunting, but it is fast becoming widely recognised for its additional spiritual healing benefits. These benefits include detoxifying your body, increasing visual perception, clearing pent-up anger, resetting your energetic field, treating ocular diseases and it can even be used in conjunction with other practices to heal depression, anxiety and addiction. 

Since the eyes are incredibly sensitive, administering Sananga can be uncomfortable, and I personally find it quite painful. However, the burning sensation only lasts a few minutes and is actually a big part of the ceremony and the plant’s healing powers. The ceremony leader will guide you through the pain with some deep breathing. Riding through the discomfort is worthwhile as you’ll reap the benefits of the endorphin rush that comes after. I usually experience a sense of detoxification, intense relaxation and overall feel much lighter emotionally and physically.

While it is a potent medicine, you can administer it yourself without a guided ceremony, so long as you double-check (and triple-check) your source is reputable and thoroughly educate yourself beforehand.

Since embarking on my spiritual healing journey, I’ve come to understand how integral it is for me to feel rooted. Connecting with the Earth on a deeper level helps me feel a sense of oneness and calm with myself, others and the world around me. Because of this, I have such a strong sense of gratitude for everything Mother Nature provides. And one of her many gifts is the power of healing plants.

I’ve enjoyed documenting my experience with spiritual healing plants and taking note of how each medicine makes me feel and draws me deeper into my inner self for some time now. In my last blog on the topic, I looked into the powers of Cacao and Blue Lotus, both of which are great if you’ve just started out experimenting with this type of healing. This blog, however, takes things a bit further by looking at slightly more potent plants: Amazonian Hapé and Sananga. 

Since both plants have the potential for more powerful spiritual transformations, I would advise you thoroughly research each medicine and read about other people’s experiences – which I hope this blog will help you with! When you’re confident in your decision, be mindful of your mental state and surroundings (which I go into more detail below) to make sure you feel as supported as possible to let the plants work their magic.

Hapé Tepi applicator instrument

As mentioned, Hapé is administered through the nose, but it’s not snorted or inhaled, instead, it is blown forcefully up the nostrils. If served by someone else they will use a Tepi applicator instrument, and if serving yourself then you’ll need to use a v-shaped Kuripe pipe. 

It’s administered first to the left nostril, signifying death and then to the right for rebirth. It can feel a little uncomfortable when it’s blown into the nose, but this passes, and you’ll quickly begin to feel the effects. It instantly opens and cleanses the pineal gland and relaxes the body. Personally, I find it calms me while raising my awareness, making it perfect before a meditation. 

It goes without saying, always seek out a reputable practitioner to administer or supply Hapé!


Another Amazonian spiritual medicine, Sananga is made from the roots and bark of a shrub found in Brazil and the rest of South America. This healing plant is typically administered as a liquid eye drop, which is extracted by grinding the root and bark into a fine powder to release the juice. 

Spiritual Healing Plants: Amazonian Hapé and Sananga

While I have found that Amazonian Hapé and Sananga have helped me with spiritual healing, that’s not to say they are miracle cures! The journey to deepening your relationship with yourself is a long path you’ll likely be walking for the rest of your life. Plant medicines are just one of the many tools you can use to help you on your way to becoming at peace with yourself, so make sure to use them in combination with other spiritual practices and learning like meditation, movement or reading.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Vegan Blender Recipes

My Top 3 Vegan Blender Recipes

Under the assumption that plant-based diets are challenging? Not with these flavoursome vegan blender recipes! 

It’s been three years since I embarked on my journey into veganism, having already spent many years as a vegetarian. TAs my journey into self-discovery and spirituality deepened, I found that veganism was the most ethical choice for my body, my mind and the planet. Not only has my mental and physical health improved, but consuming a plant-based diet has drastically cut my carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions.

I initially thought the transition would be difficult since there’s a popular notion that plant-based diets are boring and bland, but that could not be further from the truth. Since committing myself to veganism, I’ve discovered an abundance of simple, yet delicious recipes. With these vegan blender recipes, it’s never been easier to rustle something up in the kitchen. 

It’s inspired me to blend my own creations, where I’ve made everything from side dishes and desserts to dips and sauces with just a handful of ingredients.

Here are my top three vegan blender recipes for you to try.

Beetroot Hummus

A twist on the traditional recipe, this beetroot hummus is a tasty addition to any meal. Beetroots are a great source of nutrition too; they’re filled with fibre, iron and vitamin C. Plus, they’re great for improving blood flow making this hummus ideal for a post-workout snack. 


1 cup of chickpeas

1 cup of beetroot

Lemon juice


Olive oil

Salt and pepper  



First blend the chickpeas and lemon juice until the texture is smooth, then add the beetroot and tahini along with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

You can follow along with my how-to video here!

Vegan Blender Pesto

Banana Ice Cream

I often find that vegan ice cream can be really expensive and full of unhealthy additives, so I thought why not try making some at home? The most appealing part about this vegan blender recipe is how versatile it is – just swap out the banana for a fruit of your choice to mix it up. 


2 frozen bananas

50 ml plant-based milk

2 tsp vanilla essence




To make this delicious dessert, all you need to do is pop the ingredients into the blender and turn it on. It’s that simple! Tip it out into a bowl and feel free to add any toppings of your choice. 

Check out my how-to video here!

Vegan Blender Beetroot Hummus

Vegan Pesto

This vegan pesto recipe is amazing for meal prepping as it can stay in the fridge for a few days. Use it as a dip, with pasta or even in sandwiches and salads. It’s an incredibly healthy alternative, too! The avocado is especially filled with vitamins, fibre and monounsaturated fats.


Half an avocado

Handful of fresh basil

Handful of pine nuts

Vegan cheese

2 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of Himalayan salt

Black pepper 



This vegan blender recipe calls for half an avocado, fresh basil, vegan cheese, and pine nuts. Add to the blender along with the olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of Himalayan salt and black pepper. Blend until the texture is smooth and consistent – the perfect sauce for pasta and pizza dishes. 

Watch my how-to video here

Vegan Blender Recipe

I’ve discovered that being vegan doesn’t mean foregoing your favourite recipes – it just means you need to be creative. It’s never been easier (and tastier) to transition to a plant-based diet, with lots of vegan-friendly ingredients readily available in most supermarkets, making it more accessible for everyone. 

And fortunately, there are lots of incredible vegan food blogs out there to follow, including Pick Up Limes and From My Bowl. My personal journey has become an immense source of inspiration for me too, leading me to create my own vegan food venture, Plant Essence

If you’re curious to learn more about the health side of plant-based diets, read my blogs on macro and micro nutrition. Or, if you have any questions that you’d like to ask me about the topic, please feel free to get in touch!

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
5 Tips For Staying Vegan After Veganuary

5 Tips For Staying Vegan After Veganuary

There is nothing new about the phrase ‘new year, new me’ or the idea of building healthy habits as the calendar turns to January 1st. However, whether you’ve committed to exercising more, connecting with friends regularly or adopting a healthy diet, the most challenging part is staying committed for the rest of the year. 

According to health psychology researcher, Phillippa Lally, it takes more than 2 months (66 days) on average before a new behaviour becomes a habit. For those of you who have chosen to try out a vegan diet this new year, I hope this blog will give you the motivation you need to make it a permanent lifestyle change.

Taking On Veganuary!

As a passionate vegan of three years, it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of the non-profit organisation, Veganuary, and its efforts to encourage more people to embrace veganism in January and beyond. The organisation aims to “make powerful strides toward a world where vegan is the norm rather than the exception”, and made huge strides to achieve this last year. At the time of writing, more than 620,000 people from 228 countries have pledged to try a vegan diet this January, bringing the total #Veganuary sign-ups to more than 2 million since the initiative started in 2014. What an achievement!

As mentioned, keeping up with healthy habits is the hardest part of adopting them. So, from someone who’s embraced a vegan diet and lifestyle for 3 years (and been vegetarian for many years before that), here are my top 5 tips on how to stay vegan even after the hype of veganuary has worn off.

Tip 1: Make your favourite go-to recipes vegan-friendly

Embracing a vegan diet shouldn’t feel like a chore. By swapping out a few ingredients in your favourite recipes for plant-based alternatives, you can easily make any meal vegan-friendly. Since adopting a plant-based diet is rising in popularity, suitable recipes are abundant online and there are many ingredients in-store to help support your goals. If you’re on the go, mixing up some healthy ingredients in a blender is a great way to easily incorporate vegan goodness into your diet. 

Tip 2: Plan ahead when eating out

While prepping vegan meals at home can become an easy habit, eating out often stops us in our tracks when trying to embrace a vegan diet fully. Though many chain restaurants now offer plant-based and vegan alternatives, some establishments are still lacking in options. Be sure to think ahead when you’re planning a meal out and research the places that can support your vegan diet, as these are the ones that you’ll keep coming back to!





Tip 5: Don’t get hung up on perfection

Sticking to a diet can be tricky, and the thought of slipping off is daunting. But momentary lapses are only normal and might be circumstantial, like a restaurant not providing vegan food options, or accidentally eating something non-vegan. Don’t beat yourself up if this happens – as long as you can recognise the reasons why and get back on track, then you can continue on your journey.

As with any change or new habit, embracing a new diet takes time and effort, it’s important to give yourself time to ease into the process. If you were previously a meat eater and want to commit to eating plant-based alternatives every day, that might be too much of a change to make all at once. If you’re finding it tough, try going vegan once a week. At the end of the day, anything we can do to make a difference to animals, our planet and ourselves, is a huge step in the right direction.

5 Tips For Staying Vegan After Veganuary

Tip 3: Follow fellow vegans on social media for daily inspiration

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people that are on the same journey as you is a great way to immerse yourself in veganism and be motivated to keep it up. There are many chefs, authors and nutritionists out there who share great content on their websites and socials. As well as Veganuary, I would recommend following Oh She Glows, Deliciously Ella, Tracey McQuirter’s By Any Greens Necessary and Michelle Cehn with World Of Vegan. Plus, I also share regular content about veganism on my social channels (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok) if you’d like to follow my journey.

Tip 4: Continually educate yourself (and remember why you started)

Remember to stand by your reasons for embracing a vegan diet. Whether that’s because you wanted to make positive changes to your mind and body or protect animals by reducing meat consumption, referring back to your “why” will keep you motivated and committed along your journey. There are many books out there to educate on the importance of veganism, many of which are on my reading wishlist, if you’d like to take a look!

Vegan reading

Embracing A Vegan Lifestyle

The easiest place to start is with a plant-based diet – which is where my relationship with veganism began. Having noticed many positive changes in my mind and body since going vegan, this inspired and motivated me to launch my own plant-based food business, Plant Essence! But, once you’ve nailed the vegan diet, you might want to consider other ways to make your life more vegan-friendly. For me, and many others, veganism isn’t just about diet, as it can be applied to many aspects of your life such as your beauty routine, what you wear and how you decorate your home. 


If you’re keen to learn more about how veganism could positively impact your life, read more in my recent blog about what I learned after adopting a vegan lifestyle. Or, if you have any questions that you’d like to ask me on the topic, please feel free to get in touch!

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Balance Your Diet: Micros Edition

Balance Your Diet: Micros Edition

I recently published a blog on the concept of macronutrients and the importance of achieving the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats in your diet. Since then, I have been thinking a lot about the other elements that make up a healthy, balanced diet, and I decided that this topic deserved a part two! So, in today’s blog, I am exploring the lesser-known nutrient group, micronutrients.

What Are Micros?

Micros, or micronutrients, are the essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need but don’t make naturally. They are vital for a wide variety of bodily functions including growth, immune function, brain development, and even preventing and fighting disease. We only need these nutrients in very small amounts, hence the name ‘micronutrients’!

Micros are especially important if you’re following a vegan or plant-based diet, because many of the well-known sources of these nutrients are meat, fish and dairy. However, it is entirely possible to get all of the vital micronutrients your body needs whilst following a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet. In this blog, I will run through five of the most important micronutrients, why our bodies need them, and some of my favourite vegan-friendly foods that contain them.


One of the most important micronutrients, iron supports natural growth and development. Your body uses iron to make haemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body from the lungs, and myoglobin, the protein that provides oxygen to your muscles. Your body also requires iron to make many of the hormones it makes naturally. 

Some of my favourite sources of iron are lentils, beans, tofu, dark chocolate and dried apricots – or, you can boost your daily requirement with iron tablets.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B-12 (also known as cobalamin) is essential for bone health, red blood cell formation, nerve function and the production of DNA. It is also closely associated with mood regulation and energy levels. 

One of my favourite sources of B12 is marmite, but I also take an IV drip twice a month to top up on B12. If you don’t want to take B12 via IV, or there is nowhere close to you that offers the service, you can also find B12 tablets at most pharmacies or health food stores.

Mushroom Vitamin D Micro


An important ingredient in the recipe for DNA, zinc is also vital for building proteins, healing damaged tissue and supporting a healthy immune system. It is particularly important during periods of growth, such as childhood and pregnancy, as it helps cells to multiply and grow.

Some of my favourite sources of zinc are quinoa, chickpeas, beans, hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Is That All?

While these five nutrients are widely considered the most important, there are actually 20 vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly. Scroll to the bottom of this blog for the full list, with sources and recommended daily allowances (RDAs). 

Contemplating the micronutrients in your diet can feel quite daunting, but don’t worry! The chances are, your diet is probably already rich in most of the nutrients your body needs. The best way to find out is to monitor your food intake through a diet-tracking app like MyFitnessPal, Cronometer or MyMacros+. This way, you can see if you’re already hitting your RDAs and, if you’re not, you can make some adjustments to ensure you are (such as taking supplements or adding a new ingredient to your usual breakfast, lunch or dinner).

Balance Your Diet: Micros Edition

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body to absorb and retain calcium and phosphate – nutrients which are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone deformities, pain and chronic inflammation, so it is important to keep up your intake. 

Some of my favourite sources of vitamin D are portobello mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, almond milk and lots of sunshine!

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are linked to many health benefits, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving eye health, improving risk factors of heart disease and reducing inflammation. They have been shown to help prevent heart disease, strokes, cancer, and may even control lupus, eczema and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Some of my favourite sources of omega 3 are algae, seaweed, flax seeds and spirulina.




Micro nutrients

A Micro-Nutrient Booster

My favourite way to give my body a boost of micronutrients is by making this nutrient-rich smoothie once a week. All I do is drop the following five ingredients into a blender, blend until smooth, and then enjoy! 

  • Hemp protein
  • Spirulina powder
  • Flax seeds
  • Frozen banana 
  • Almond milk 

Want to know more about balancing your vegan diet? Read my first blog in the ‘Balancing Your Diet’ series, which focused on macronutrients, here.



Full Micronutrient List


Nutrient Vegan Sources RDA
A Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach 700-900 mcg
B1 Whole grains 1.1-1.2 mg
B2 Nutritional yeast, mushrooms, mange-tout 1.1-1.3 mg
B3 Leafy greens, beans 14-16 mg
B5 Mushrooms, avocado 5 mg
B6 Carrots, potatos 1.3 mg
B7 Almonds, spinach, sweet potatos 30 mcg
B9 Black-eyes peas, spinach, asparagus 400 mcg
B12 Nutritional yeast, fortified soy or cereals, tempeh 2.4 mcg
C Citrus fruits, bell peppers, brussell sprouts 75-90 mg
D Sunlight 600–800 IU
E Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds 15 mg
K Leafy greens, soybeans, pumpkin 90-120 mcg
Calcium Leafy greens, broccoli 2,000–2,500 mg
Phosphorus Nuts, lentils, chickpeas 700 mg
Magnesium Almonds, cashews, black beans 310–420 mg
Sodium Salt, processed foods, canned soup 2,300 mg
Chloride Seaweed, salt, celery 1,800–2,300 mg
Potassium Lentils, acorn squash, bananas 4,700 mg
Sulfur Garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, mineral water None established


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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Spiritual Healing Plants: Cacao and Blue Lotus

Spiritual Healing Plants: Cacao and Blue Lotus

The power of spiritual healing plants is something different cultures across the world have harnessed for millennia. Not only did plants provide our ancestors with food, clothes and shelter, but they also used botanicals to relieve ailments and as sedatives or stimulants to heal the mind, body and spirit. 

Humans started with a deep connection and appreciation for nature. We moved with the seasons and looked after the Earth just as it looked after us. Our modern lives, however, are so far removed from living in sync with the natural world that we’ve become disconnected, not only from nature but from ourselves. 

It’s no wonder alternative medicines are rising in popularity as we wake up and respond to our malnourished spirits. I am so glad many hear the call to return to our roots and rediscover the ancient wisdom of spiritual healing plants. If you’re new to experimenting with alternative medicines, then a couple of my favourites to start with are Cacao and Blue Lotus as their healing powers are gentler than others. I’ll be covering a couple more potent plants in an upcoming blog so stay tuned for part two of this mini blog series! 

Read on to find out more about Cacao and Blue Lotus, and how I like to use them to aid deep healing. 

Ceremonial Cacao

The use of Cacao dates back almost 4,000 years to Mexico where traces of its active ingredient were found in ancient fermenting pots and ceramic vessels. The most evidence we have of Cacao being used, however, comes from the ancient Mayan and Aztec empires almost 1,000 years later. Both ancient civilisations treated the Cacao bean as sacred and as a food of the gods. If you look back through Mayan drawings you’ll see many depictions of gods sprouting from the Cacao pods, while Aztecs considered the Cacao bean to be of divine origin and a gift straight from the god Quetzalcoatl. 

In our modern world, however, the Cacao bean isn’t regarded in the same way and is often confused with cocoa that’s used for chocolate. Although derived from the same Theobroma Cacao plant (and with similar names), cocoa and Cacao are processed in such a way that they are significantly different. To make cocoa, the beans are processed at very high temperatures to produce the smooth, sweet chocolatey taste we all know and love. However, this also removes many of the nutritional benefits of the bean. Cacao, on the other hand, is minimally processed and at much lower temperatures, so the beans maintain their nutritionally dense properties.

Ceremonial Cacao Spiritual Healing

Blue Lotus Flower

Thanks to its calming properties, Blue Lotus tea is one of my favourite spiritual healing plants. Also called Blue Water Lily, it is known to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and assist with muscle control. First cultivated by ancient Egyptians along the banks of the river Nile, the flower has been spiritually and culturally significant for more than 3,000 years! 

I usually drink Blue Lotus tea before bed as it can be soporific, promoting drowsiness and sleep. In my experience, drinking Blue Lotus tea before bed can induce lucid dreams and increase the likelihood of experiencing deja-vu. 

Making Blue Lotus tea is really simple. I like to use dried flowers to prepare my tea by adding about 5g for a mild dose or 10g for a stronger dose to a teapot, pouring over hot water and leaving the flowers to steep for 10-15 minutes before straining and enjoying while it is still hot. You can add a natural sweetener, too, like agave or coconut sugar, if you like. Ready-made tea bags are also available as an even easier option, but I prefer the ritual of making the tea fresh, as waiting for it to brew gives me time to reflect on my intention and connect with myself.

Ceremonial Cacao

Although Cacao is far more bitter and less palatable, it is also so much better for you than chocolate. In fact, Cacao drinking ceremonies haven’t changed much since the early Maya tradition. They would drink the Cacao at full strength in its natural state, usually without any sweetener, though adding honey wasn’t an uncommon practice, and that’s generally how it is consumed ceremonially today. 

Ceremonial Cacao is a heart opener that offers a gentle “high” without entering a mind-altering state. It’s a stimulant that feels similar to coffee minus the anxiety – which anyone with caffeine sensitivity will be glad to hear! 

I like to incorporate ceremonial Cacao in many of my practices. For example, I will drink Cacao during lunar rituals, equinoxes (read my blog on my Autumn equinox ritual including Cacao), when working with my heart chakra or any other time I want to tap into the childlike energy and creativity Cacao brings out in me.




Blue Lotus Spiritual Healing

Both these ancient spiritual healing plants have helped me so much on my journey, so I hope sharing my thoughts and insights will encourage you to also explore what powers they possess. In my next instalment of this mini blog series I’ll be sharing a couple of more potent medicinal plants to experiment with: Amazonian Hapé and Sananga. 

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Crystals for emotional healing

Crystals For Emotional Healing

Using crystals for emotional healing is an incredibly powerful practice, widely used to help us manage our feelings with the ability to dispel negative thoughts and bring to light our best qualities. Each crystal has its own unique abilities, which, when used in conjunction with other mindfulness practices, can help to guide us on our journeys of self-improvement.

The process of sourcing sustainable crystals is tricky business, however, as they continue to grow in popularity, so do the number of unethically and unsustainably sourced types. Be sure to check the small print so you know you’re buying from a credible and ethically sourced-provider. I recommend Moonrise Crystals who deliver internationally, or Dubai-based OOAKSTONES.

In this blog, I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite crystals, their properties, purposes, benefits and how I use them in my daily routine.

Rose Quartz

A pink-coloured crystal belonging to the mineral class of quartz, also known as hyaline quartz, rose quartz is a translucent crystal with a trigonal central system. It is one of the most abundant and inexpensive crystals – making it perfect for jewellery. 

With its blushed feminine hue, there’s no surprise that rose quartz represents love and compassion. This crystal will inspire you to love yourself, especially in times of loneliness and abandonment, and is a great tool for healing the heart. Rose quartz is ripe with emotional healing properties for negative feelings, too. It has the power to release bad emotions like grief, anger, jealousy, stress and rage, so you can convert them into joy and self-love instead.

Making the most of the stone’s compassionate energy, I like to keep rose quartz in my bedroom to increase the love vibrations. Since we’re 80% water and rose quartz is a very high-frequency crystal, I find placing it in my water every morning helps to set me on the right path for the day ahead. 

Jade Crystal


A purple variety of quartz, amethyst is a semiprecious stone with a glassy lustre and forms part of the hexagonal crystal system. Thanks to its ability to change under the influence of different lights and temperatures, the stone can evolve with the body and create a close connection with our life experiences. 

One of the most powerful gemstones of its kind, amethyst has strong healing properties and is known for its ability to purify, create serenity and overcome sadness. With its spiritual awareness and protective nature, it can balance your emotions making it a great stone to have by your side during a time of loss. Amethyst’s warming purple colour acts as a natural tranquiliser and a spiritual connection, believed to welcome intuitive energies and enhance our psychic abilities.

I tend not to use amethysts on my body when I’m feeling distracted as it can increase feelings of anxiety. Instead, I prefer to keep them in my bedroom as they help me reach a deep state of sleep and induce psychic dreams as I’m able to connect with my mind on a deeper level.

Moonstone Crystal for emotional healing


Amazonite, or  “The Hope Stone”, is a variety of potassium feldspar, in the microcline mineral class. Part of the triclinic crystal system, it has a  glassy lustre. It is mostly recognised for its cool blue or green colouring; a gentle colour scheme that reflects the earth’s natural beauty. Amazonite helps us to prioritise the good over the bad as it calls on our inner strength and commitment to apply that can-do attitude to everything we do.

Amazonite has the power to restore calm, ward off negative thoughts and grant a sense of peace. Replacing confusion with clarity, this gemstone can guide you through your emotional healing journey when you’re experiencing anger, fear or confusion. Helpful for those with past trauma, amazonite can soak up toxic attitudes – whether from yourself or others – and leave you with a clear path to let go of negativity.

This stone is also connected to the heart chakra, by allowing love to be given and received, and the throat chakra, to open up communication channels and create healthy boundaries. During my chakra healing regime, I like to place amazonite on my throat chakra and chant “HAM” to rebalance this part of my body and focus on the positive healing effects.

Carnelian Crystal for emotional healing
Rose Quartz Crystal


Identified by its tranquil shade of green, jade is another popular stone. A silicate mineral often synonymous with East Asian art, it is part of the jadeite class and has a monoclinic crystal system. Inspired by the ancient world, the stone is often placed within the home to cleanse the environment and create beautiful decorations, but can also be worn to ignite feelings of luck, happiness and energy for the user. 

Jade’s meaning translates to confidence, acceptance and health – whether that’s emotional, spiritual or physical. Mentally, the stone can encourage feelings of self-sufficiency and the need to dispel negative thought patterns so you’re able to love and accept yourself more easily.

Since rose quartz and jade both deal with compassion and heart healing, I like to combine these crystals and place them on my heart chakra to connect with their energies. My daily beauty routine utilises these crystals together, too, as they have significant benefits for the skin. Whilst rose quartz helps stimulate blood circulation and create a more natural glow, jade releases its healing powers when placed close to the skin.

Crystals for emotional healing


Part of the feldspar mineral group and an orthoclase stone, the moonstone is made of sodium potassium aluminium silicate which creates that pearly opalescent look. Deeply connected to the moon, this stone acts as a symbol of the goddess spirit, balancing feminine, hormonal energy. 

A powerful tool for creating emotional balance, this gemstone ensures you are moving in flow with the world around you and is known for helping to create new beginnings. Replacing feelings of overwhelm, the moonstone can create harmony with its naturally calming effects. Connected to the cosmos, the moonstone is deeply spiritual allowing you to connect with and heal the heart, third eye and crown chakras. 

My favourite is the peach moonstone, which helps to light up the dark to wash away fears and anxieties. I use this stone during my moon cycle to calm the cramps, as it has great healing powers for the female body. For me, the moonstone goes hand in hand with rose quartz, as both work in unison to calm female energies and increase feelings of compassion – I tend to keep both together in my bedroom and let them work their magic.

Amazonite Crystal


A member of the chalcedony family, carnelian is a silica mineral with a hexagonal crystal system and a glassy lustre. Known for its warm red and brown colouring, it is often referred to as ‘The Sunset Stone’. The stone was blessed by ancient Egyptians who tied the orange carnelian to feminine energy, the menstrual cycle and fertility. Whilst the red carnelian represents masculine energy and embracing new, emerging energies, this stone can stimulate feelings of love, passion and courage for its user.

A potent healing crystal, the carnelian is all about bringing your internal powers to light and giving you a bright burst of energy, banishing feelings of misplacement and fatigue. With the power to give you the drive you need to prosper and conquer – especially with tasks of a creative nature – it’s no surprise that it’s also considered ‘The Artist’s Stone’, encouraging feelings of spontaneity. Once your creative juices are flowing (and your spirit), you’ll be granted the power to let go of anger – which could have been holding you back. 

As the carnelian is a highly energising stone, I tend not to keep this one in my bedroom since that’s my space to relax and unwind. Instead, I find it’s best when worn or placed in my workspace as this can increase my motivation and determination to get things done. I like to use this crystal when working with my sacral chakra, where our passion, intimacy and inner fire sit. Using the carnelian in my practice helps to guide energy from my pelvis to my navel, so it can flow freely throughout my body.

The Holistic Approach

Each of these crystals can make a great addition to your home, workplace or jewellery. Keeping them close will emanate their powers, passing them onto the mind, body and soul. They’re best used as part of a wider holistic approach and in conjunction with other healing methods, so I would recommend combining crystal work with wellness practices like movement, meditation and maintaining a balanced diet

Or, if you’d like to find out more about the ancient practice of chakra and how to best connect with your inner self, have a read of the first blog in my series: The Chakra Chapters.

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Breathing Techniques To Calm The Nervous System

Balance Your Vegan Diet: Macros Edition

BSC in Food Science and Nutrition from Coventry


I am forever grateful for my degree, as I find the concept of nutrition comes into almost every conversation I have around wellness, veganism and even spirituality. And, when having those conversations, there is one key topic that frequently comes up – macros.

An important part of any diet, but perhaps even more important for vegans, macros are a valuable tool in maintaining your physical and mental health and reaching your goals. They are something I have spent a lot of time both in and out of my degree researching, and a factor I considered carefully when developing the recipes for my plant-based cloud kitchen, Plant Essence.

In this blog, I’ll be exploring what macros are, why each macro is important and how you can balance yours.

I have a BSC in Food Science and Nutrition from Coventry University. If you’d like to learn more about this qualification, or any others I have, you can find them on my about page.

What Is A Macro?

A macro, which is short for ‘macronutrient’, is one of three categories of nutrients that you eat most often: protein, carbohydrates and fats. 

Keeping track of your macros helps you to balance them out in a way that is right for you, your health goals and your activity levels. It helps you to make smarter food choices and reach your goals faster – both mentally and physically! 

Here is a quick run-through of the importance of each macro…


Carbohydrates get a pretty bad rep, despite being one of the most important food groups we can consume. They are your body’s main source of energy, which is why  a “no carb” diet can often leave you feeling tired and sluggish. But there are many other dangers associated with a lack of carbohydrates, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. 

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is then converted into energy to support bodily functions and physical activity. They are known to fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles and central nervous system as well as aiding digestion, helping you to feel full and keeping your cholesterol levels in check.

There are three main types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fibre. Sugar can be found in fruit, nectars and syrups, as well as some vegetables and germinating grains. Starch can be found in potatoes, bread, cereal products, rice, grains and pasta. Meanwhile, fibre can be found in vegetables like broccoli, whole grains, beans and lentils, popcorn and some fruits, like apples and bananas.

My favourite healthy and vegan-friendly carbohydrate sources are millet, potatoes and rice.

Vegan Carbohydrates


Protein is well-known for being crucial to building muscle and helping your body to grow and repair itself, but it also has many other important functions, too. Protein helps red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body, supports normal digestive function and regulates hormones. It can also curb hunger (particularly those late-night cravings) and boost the metabolism, helping us to maintain a healthy weight. 

A common misconception of a vegan diet is that vegans often struggle to get enough protein, but that is rarely the case. Protein can be found in a wide variety of plant-based foods, including seitan, soy beans (including tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk), lentils, beans, nutritional yeast, spelt, quinoa, oats, rice, chia seeds, nuts, seeds and even fruits and vegetables! For example, did you know that spinach is equal in terms of protein per calorie to chicken and fish?

My favourite plant-based sources of protein are lentils, chickpeas, edamame beans and tofu. 

Vegan Fats

What Is The Right Macro Balance For A Vegan?

Many people talk about getting the “perfect macro balance,” but truthfully this all depends on many factors, including your personal goals, your activity levels and the type of exercise you do. However, there is a general rule that I often recommend. Ensuring your daily calorie intake is made up of approximately 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fats is a great place to start.

Not sure where to start with your macros? Try aiming for 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fats.

While not every meal you eat will have the perfect balance of macros, it is important to try to create a balance like the one in my pie chart in the food you eat each day. Some of my favourite recipes with a perfect macro balance are hummus with flax seed crackers, chickpea & lentil curries with rice, and a breakfast burrito with tofu and avocado.  That’s why all of these recipes are part of the menu at Plant Essence!


Because the word “fat” has such negative connotations, we often shy away from fatty foods for fear of gaining unhealthy weight. However, a moderate amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. These acids are vital energy sources for our body. They influence tissue and cell metabolism while affecting how they function and response to natural signals, such as hormones. Fat also helps the body absorb vitamins A, D and E, which can’t be absorbed any other way. They are helpful sources of energy, as they can be easily stored around the body. Plus, fats support cell growth, keep blood pressure under control and protect our organs! 

There are four main types of fat: monounsaturated, polyunsaturates, saturated and trans. The first two are ‘healthy’ fats, whilst the latter two are not so healthy.  

Healthy (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats can be found in nuts and seeds, olives and avocado, whilst unhealthy (saturated and trans) fats can be found in meat and dairy, palm oil and coconut oil, and, unsurprisingly, in many biscuits, cakes, pies and pastries.

My favourite healthy fats are avocado, coconut oil (in moderation, as it is a saturated fat!) and cashew nuts.

Balance Your Vegan Diet: Macros Edition

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra
Breathing Techniques To Calm The Nervous System

Breathing Techniques To Calm The Nervous System

Breathing is a natural reflection of the current state of our body and mind. Our pace of breathing changes depending on how we’re feeling at the time – whether that’s relaxed, stressed or in between. And, though it is an automatic reaction that we don’t even have to think about, once we find the time to tune in, we can unlock its powerful healing abilities for our mental and physical health.

As the easiest, most accessible and often most powerful form of healing, studies have shown that breathing exercises can relieve feelings of stress and anxiety by removing mental blocks and allowing you to think more clearly. Our brain associates different emotions with different breathing patterns, making breathing exercises a useful tool to help us understand how we’re feeling and apply effective coping mechanisms to counteract negative feelings.

In this blog, I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite breathing techniques for reducing anxiety and promoting calm. I hope you find them useful!

Breathing techniques

Breath in Through The Nose and Out Through The Mouth

One of the most common techniques, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth is a great way to relieve feelings of stress, anxiety and panic. You can get the most benefit by making it a part of your daily routine. This technique can be done standing up, sitting or lying down. Begin by breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth for a consistent length of time, like 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out. After repeating this exercise in a cycle of at least 5 minutes, you’ll feel much more relaxed and ready to overcome the barriers that were once in your way.

I find this method helps when I am feeling restless and finding it difficult to focus when meditating. Whilst meditation is a calming practice in itself, it can be easy to get distracted and struggle to find the inner peace that is required for a really fulfilling session. Thankfully, this breathing technique really helps me to circle back and refocus when I feel agitated or unsettled during a meditation.

Many basic breathing techniques like this one are also being incorporated into popular apps like the Mindfulness feature on the Apple Watch, which includes a ‘Breath Session’. If you’ve already got an Apple Watch or a similar wearable device, you can set a reminder to do this every day, which is a great way to ensure you’re consistently incorporating breathing techniques into your daily routine!

Diaphragmatic Breathing

A slightly more advanced breathing technique that also uses the in through the nose and out through the mouth method is diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing. This technique helps you to connect with your diaphragm and train it to open up to your lungs so you can tune into your entire body and breathe more deeply and efficiently. The basis of many relaxation techniques, diaphragmatic breathing has many positive physical benefits, like increasing oxygen in the blood and reducing your heart rate and blood pressure, all of which help you to relax.

This technique is easy and involves a simple method – breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Once you’ve got yourself in a comfortable sitting or lying position, the first step is to relax your shoulders and place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Next, without straining, breathe in as much air as you can through your nose. As you do, take note of the air moving through your nostrils and into your diaphragm, as your stomach expands and your chest remains still. As you exhale, purse your lips and breathe out for 4 seconds through the small hole you’ve created as your stomach gently contracts. Repeat these steps a few times for the best results.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

I like to do this breathing exercise when I’m feeling overwhelmed by a situation or task and I need to bring myself back to the present moment and start afresh. Encouraging feelings of renewal, this method puts me in a better position to approach the challenge again with a clear mind.

Alternate-Nostril Breathing

Forming part of Pranayama (yoga breathing practices) and also known as nadi shodhana, alternate-nostril breathing is used not just in yoga, but mindfulness and relaxation methods, too. Deep-rooted in ancient traditions, this method works to recognise and channel the feminine and masculine energies; with the breath creating balance between the two sides. As the name suggests, this technique involves breathing through alternate nostrils, one side at a time. By controlling your breath and focusing your attention, this method of deep breathing has many positive effects on the body and mind including regulating the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, improving overall breath quality (if actioned regularly), and reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Begin by pressing your right thumb on your right nostril, close your eyes and exhale slowly through your left nostril. Once you’ve exhaled fully, you can move onto the other side and place your ring finger on your left nostril, inhale through your right nostril and release. Repeat the process by placing your right thumb on your right nostril and so forth. You can do this 3-5 times, but research shows you’ll reap the most benefits if you continue for around 10 minutes.

As an avid yogi, alternate-nostril breathing is a method that I regularly apply to my yoga practice. It helps me to generate the right mindset and take notice of my breath so I can sync my breathing with each movement. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is focusing on their wellness or using meditative techniques like yoga to connect the body and mind – particularly if you are practising vinyasa. 

My pet dog

My Practices

In addition to breathing, there are a few activities that I like to do to stay calm and centred.  These include practising yoga, going to the gym, playing the guitar and spending time with my dog. These activities help to clear my head and reach a peaceful and graceful state of mind.

Breathwork can be a great way to gain better control over your physical and mental wellbeing. Having incorporated all of these techniques into my practices and witnessed how effective they can be in keeping me calm and centred, I would highly recommend trying them out for yourself! 

Or, if you’re already using breathing methods like these and would like to explore some more complex techniques, I’d recommend holotropic breathwork, which I explored in a previous blog

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© 2022. TanyaS.Mansotra