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The Belize Community Health & Wellness Blog

Live your Best Life * embodying your best self

The Origins Of Copal

The word copal is from the aztec Nahuatl language. It is derived from the word “copalli,” which actually means incense. In Belize, copal is most commonly used as an incense but, as I happily discovered is also being made into essential oils for topical application and is perfect for blending into massage oils. Because of its genuinely soothing nature and pleasant spicy smell it is also aroma-therapeutically useful.

Copal resin comes the Protium Copal, commonly known as the copal tree which is a species of tree endemic to Mexico and Central America. It is found in wet tropical forests, preferring heavy shad, It grows to 98 ft in height and has long leathery leaves. The Copal tree bears a small smooth fruit with a single pit. The resin from the tree is known to the Mayan people as the blood of trees, and can be found for sale in market places around Belize wrapped in leaf parcels. The copal resin is extracted from the tree by removing the bark and collecting the Sap to dry.

In Mayan tradition, pieces of copal resin are put on coals for spiritual cleansing. Copal has been used in ancient Maya and Aztec ceremony as a ritual offering to the gods for thousands of years. The smell of Copal is said to strengthen the auric body, helping to remove stagnant energy. It is believed that Copal unites the energizing force of the sun with the grounding properties of the earth, drawing out and transmuting negative energy on every level.

The other less known use of copal is as a medicine, used in its raw, unrefined form especially for skin infections and the resin has been used to plug tooth cavities, as an expectorant and in the treatment of muscular aches and pains. Chemically copal resin is made up of isomeric tertiary and secondary, cyclic terpene alcohols. These constituents are known to have antiseptic (both externally and internally) and anti-rheumatic properties. The indications for Copal Medicinal Oil are labelled for burns/Scalds Insect Bites Skin Infections / Fungus Muscle Rub / Arthritis.

As an herbal remedy it is described as hot and dry making it very good to treat arthritis or muscle aches. 

Eating Healthy Belize Style

May, 4th 2021

For the month of May Balance Point Wellness will be focusing on presenting healthy food options and recipes. Being surrounded by fresh options and amazing tropical food surprisingly Belizean Diets are not typically the healthies and our health statistics with diabetes  numbers reflect this truth. Belizeans are not even inundated with fast food chains, gigantic supermarkets, or corporate advertising as they are in the United States and still we have alarmingly high rates of childhood obesity and heart disease related to bad diets.   Belizeans do have have a traditional love affair with, salty sugary foods, mayonnaise, packaged food and spices, unhealthy vegetable shortening, white flour and chicken (among other things) Raw and vegetarian options can be hard to find in restaurants and it is easy to submit to the cheaper, oil saturated over salted and cooked street food or  highly processed packaged food options because they look easier or perhaps even more familiar.

So. to make a change in you life style here, does require a fair amount of courage and determination to make a decision to ditch the conventional Belizean food/cooking and look at healthier greener more raw choices and lifestyle. If you have a plan, a little help and support, take baby steps, it’s doable and preferable for your health and well being going forward. Maybe you are not yet ready to ditch the rice and beans and stewed chicken all together, that’s fine as well. But perhaps you could consider implementing more healthier recipes and habits into your daily life. A focus on the freshest of fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, seafood, legumes, spices, free range eggs, local dairy and nut milk, coconut oils and products. I buy my vegetables and fruits from the market directly from the farmers. 

Sometimes I buy produce I have never ever heard or seen before of myself just to challenge myself to cook and eat differently, not get stuck in a rut with my diet and routine. Washing everything properly before I prepare or eat it. 

You might try inspiring yourself by Researching recipes and spice combinations might take some concentrated focus but also making it important. It is all much more work than simply buying the amazing tacos from the corner in town, or making your mothers famous and ever popular stewed chicken. And will your family even appreciate and like your attempts at healthy cooking?  but, believe me, the effort to incorporate healthy fats (try olive or coconut oil),  raw and fresh fruits and veggies into your every day diet is so much more worth it for you and your body.

I think you will find it is not as complicated as it might at first seem. Habits are hard to break particularly when they are attached to cultural norms or family love. but you might find, as I did that the main attraction is that healthy tropical foods is really how simple they are to prepare and eat. If you spend a little time looking on UTUBE you will realize Tropical recipes are generally quite light, tasty and filled with tons of healthy properties that are readily available in the market. They’re also not packed with saturated fats, refined sugars, additives and preservatives which have been associated with a ton of really ugly and far to common health conditions that we find here in Belize.

Healthy Belizean options to Concentrate on eating:

•Root vegetables: carrots, squash, pumpkin and sweet potato

•Whole grains: brown rice, oats

•Legumes: beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans.

•Green vegetables: broccoli, spinach, kale, celery, cucumbers

•Fruit: Pineapples, citrus fruits and papaya

•Fish: red snapper and tilapia

•Herbs: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, basil and dill.

Stay tuned if you Want to know more. Sign up for the newsletter for recepies and tropical eating suggestions. On the contact for here form

DONT forget how important it is to give yourself time. When you give yourself downtime, your brain is able to concentrate and find peace among the chaos. start meditating. 


HAPPY APPLE KALE SALAD - kid friendly 

prep time 20 min

 1 bunch fresh kale, rinsed & finely chopped massaged lightly with a squeeze of lime and pinch of salt and splash of olive oil. Let the massaged kale sit for 20 min. This is to infuse the kale with taste, and break down some of the tough, fibrous characteristics of kale; making it easier to chew and digest, and makes for a more tender salad.

Add 1 apple, Green apples are my favorite in this recipe because it is slightly tart but the red is a good option if you want to keep you salad on the sweet side) rinsed, skin on, coarsely grated

¼ cup chopped cashew or almonds

• Optional extras: dried fruit such as cranberries , tangerine wedges. Grated beets or carrots


• 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

• ⅛ tsp salt 1/8 tsp. sugar


1. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Pour dressing over the salad ingredients and gently stir.


September 17th, 2021

I was introduced to this super simple, delicious, kale salad when visiting a friends house for dinner. I casually asked for the ingredient list because it tasted so great and (honestly) raw kale had never been on my list of “liked food”. I have noticed kale being  more readily available in the market in San Ignacio these days and  because it is  jam packed with all the vitamins and minerals that make it on the list of top ten SUPER FOODS, it is worth exploring ways to use it in your every day cooking or juicing. 

That particular kale salad was  coming out of the kitchen of a “stewed chicken and rice and beans” family, so It really intrigued and surprised me that it was so delicious.  I got excited to share this with you because, if you have never experimented with kale in your cooking before, particularly raw kale,  it can be daunting and frankly unappealing. But this recipe is simple, raw (so you get all the benefits of its micronutrients) and tastes great. And guess what: you can even serve this to your veggie hating kids and chances are THEY will LOVE IT!!

SO here is the recipe 

...And for more recipes including “How to bake a healthy brownie” don't forget to to sign up for the BE*WELL*BELIZE newsletter which is chalked full of all kinds of tips on healthy living and fun ways to stay fit. 

 12 Step To A Healthier You

* Drink more water

* Practice cooking healthy meals at home

* Experiment with incorporating more new and whole foods into your diet

* Increase you intake of fruits, veggies, especially leafy greens

* Experiment with your source of proteins

* Eat fewer processed foods by crowding them out with healthier options

* Make self care and nurture a necessary daily habit 

* Cultivate healthy, loving relationships, including with the natural world

* Enjoy regular physical activity that strengthen the bodies systems and create flexibility 

* Find work you love to do that helps you stay financially secure

*Make your home a clean and beautiful space that invites prosperity and happiness into your life

* Develop a spiritual practice to feed the soul

Art as nutrition for the soul

Dec 10th, 2020

Even if you don't necessarily consider yourself an "artist", there are noteworthy therapeutic benefits to simply being in the process of making art. In art as self care there is no actual creation. The benefit is exclusively in the process of creating itself. The materials and medium you choose may be limited to what's available on hand or what you can afford. 

Simply with a pencil and a piece of paper, put on some music, find a comfortable seated position where you are breathing easily, let go of your egos expectations of an end result and let your inner creativity flow. The best thing you can do is give up on ideal of what good art is or what your end result is going to be. It is a meditation and amazingly healing for body and mind.

5 daily practices

to find more ease in your body and mind

 March, 20, 2020

We have all done it...  gone through the day only to realize that we had forgotten to check in with ourselves, forgotten, in fact, to really breath? Well not breath in the way our breath keeps our heart beating and keeps our body moving, but forgetting to breath in the way that the breath connects us to the present moment, in the way our breath can calm and sooth the nerves, ease the mind, create space in our body and movements. In a world that has us running from one things to the next it is easy to loose connection and become dis-ease-full in the body and mind. 

 Here are 5 easy and simple practices you can do throughout your day to cultivate more ease in your body and mind.

TRUST YOURSELF. Don’t second guess how you feel. give yourself permission to be sad or tired, confused or unsure. Be with the discomforts of these moments and give them space in your busy day in order to allow an appropriate response according to the genuine truth of the moment.

SLOW DOWN through out the day, give yourself moments to stop and ask: How am I breathing, where is my mind going, can I move, in thought and body, with more mindfulness and integrity?

EMBRACE IMPERFECTION instead of I WISH mentality practice moving your thoughts toward the ITS OK model of being. Fertilize your day with I AM statements. And LETS SEE HOW WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK. Moving your awareness into an open field, beyond judgement, and into possibility

DEEPEN AND EXPAND YOUR INHALES find ways to move your breath three dimensionally into all parts of your body. Fill the belly, expand the ribs, lift and lighten the heart. Visualizing the cells being nourished and oxygenated. Generate a sense of healing in the body though the deepening of the breath.

EXTEND YOUR EXHALES. This is important and something we forget: allow your awareness of your exhale to cultivate the feeling of the breath completely leaving your body. Empty out all the way, feel the bodies ability to let go and shed all that is not serving it in that moment. Each exhale is an opportunity to start over again, fresh and aware.

The question, The choise

 Feb 15, 2020

I ask myself this morning

What has my fear tricked me into today

And how

Can I trick it back into joy?

The Magic of Lemon Grass & Oregano Tea 

March 15, 2020

If you don't have these plant growing in your garden or in pots in your house. They are easy to grow in Belize with minimal care and well worth having on hand in you natural medicine cabinet. contact us at Wild Roots Botanicals here in Bullet Tree. We do have these plants for sale. Its comforting and both of these herbs have been used for thousands of years for their health and healing benefits. This tea is easy to make and delicious. Taking a few stalks twist and tie up and put in boiling hot water to steep for 5 minutes. Add a squeeze of lime and honey to taste . Below are seven health benefits that may result from drinking lemongrass tea.

  • Relieving anxiety. 
  • Lowering cholesterol. 
  • Preventing infection. 
  • Boosting oral health. 
  • Relieving pain. 
  • Boosting red blood cell levels. 
  • Relieving bloating.

A delicious beet and carrot salad

December 22, 2020

Here is a challenge for your health and wellness goal this coming week:

Experiment with preparing a new and different kind of food. Pick one that you have never tried or cooked before. Or you can try preparing ingredients you are familiar with but in new ways, baking rather than frying, for instance, or using virgin olive oil instead of over processed vegetable shortening. 💚💙💜❤️💜

Not sure of a recipe? u-tube is a wonderful thing... and share below in the comments your failures and successes to inspire others.

And truthfully, You may not like your new dish for all different reasons.. and that's ok, but it is important to try because

We all get stuck in cooking the same familiar dishes over and over. Personally I just get lazy. but, by diversifying your pallet and introducing new and different sources of vitamins and micronutrients into your diet you might just give your body and wellbeing the nutritious boost it is looking for or needs to heal.


I recommend experimenting with cooking new dishes that use only "clean", minimally processed, and locally sourced ingredients. If you can not read the ingredients on your packaged food it is not "clean". for your future self these processed foods are hazardous to your health and best to be avoided.

Fresh food tastes better anyway and you can help support your local farmers!!


Another reason people avoid the "healthy stuff" is that clean, fresh, local foods - unprocessed oils, leafy greens and veggies - might seemingly cost more. And, Lets be honest, when you are on a budget, or constrained for time, its easy to let yourself be romanced by the store bought processed and packaged foods that certainly cost less and take less time to prepare. However, your effort to save on groceries and time now, can lead to heftier costs down the road. Here is the truth the food industry does not want you to know: processed foods give you less energy, create more illness, more diss ease, and lead to more doctors and hospital bills in the long run. 👍👍👍 not just better for your body and mind to eat real foods, it is also better for the environment and so by eating locally sourced, fresh food , we can do our part in healing ourselves and the planet.😍😍😍

I look forward to hearing about your experiments!!

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