The Adventure begins…flowing energy towards a higher purpose.

Brahmacharya is one of the Yamas, a way of right relationship with the outside world, in the Yoga Sutras.  Brahma means “God or Creator”  and  Charya translates “to follow” ~to follow God!

Common understanding of Brahmacharya comes from classic  Vedic teachings –  celibacy or restraint.   In Tantra teachings, the householder remains in the world and integrates spiritual practices like Brahmacharya into daily life.     Utilizing and directing our vital energy/life force for our highest purpose is also the practice of Brahmacharya.  This higher purpose comes in many forms, one being  service.

My immediate family leaves Sunday July 6th for India.  We are excited for this adventure together which will take us from Delhi and then to the foot of the Himalayas.  However, meeting the beautiful little souls and the teachers  at The Children of the Ganges School in Rishikesh and uncovering ways we can help serve this mission in the future is our “higher Purpose”.

Things have been shifting in our lifes and we are so intrigued to see what beauty and insight India will show us.    We go with open hearts, immersed in Durga’s love and energy.

Om Shanti – Laura, Greg, Alanna, Noa , Scott and Troy

Illuminating your Hearts Longing

May our lights shine so bright that they light the paths for all beings.  OM Shanti and Happy New Year!

When the mind begins to still, it gives the heart an opportunity to open.   “Dropping” the thinking mind into the heart mind is the first step towards cultivating  a life that is guided by compassion, love, and gratitude.   We practice moving from the heart mind each time we step onto our mats, coming back into our bodies and connecting to our deeper self through mantra, breath, meditation and asana.   Yoga is a felt experience of deep listening where sensations are met as they arise emotionally, physically and spiritually.    Through feeling and listening we can begin to see what it is we truly value that serves the higher self.    This is the space where our heart longings begin to be revealed and more often than not the path of service is some capacity begins to be illuminated.

Through our donation classes and workshops, we are looking forward to continuing down this path of service to others throughout 2015.

May our lights shine so bright that they light the paths for all beings.  OM Shanti and Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Eat to cope

Edible Yoga? Well, kinda! Introducing, Adaptogens!

By : Nicki Formica

When you’re under stress, the stress hormone cortisol is pumping—no, raging! We need cortisol, don’t get me wrong, but as with “all things in moderation” this is not an exception. We are a a nation are under chronic amounts of stress which skyrocket our cortisol and lead to a whole mess of issues….

Back in the old days (way, waaaaay back) normal meant our cortisol spiked while under temporary stress in a “fight or flight” type response, and then, for it to fall back to normal levels once the stressor was alleviated. For instance, while your great great great great grandpa was hunting for food or trying not to be someone else’s dinner!

In 2014, our stress can last for hours, days, weeks or even YEARS ; Heartbreak, Credit card debt, being overworked—This is a recipe for disaster for our health and inevitably has devastating consequences on our bodies!

(By the way, Cortisol is also known as the “aging hormone”, I really don’t think I need to explain that! Chronically elevated Cortisol can affect every physiological and psychological system)

-An inability to lose weight- (think pesky belly fat that won’t budge)

-Hormonal imbalance 

-Colds

-Sleep disruption

-Fatigue

-Cancers

-Anxiety and Depression

-Autoimmune diseases (ex : IBS, Colitis, Chrones, Alzheimers)

-Thyroid issues

 

 

….all from too much Cortisol?!

Yep.

So here’s where adaptogens come into the picture. Adaptogens, being the name because they help you “adapt” to whatever situation might be stressing you out. Sounds like magic, does it not?

These healing botanicals aid your body in balancing and recuperating via your adrenal system, while helping you properly respond to stressors. And by stressor, it could be anything from a bad break up, to battling the flu.

Adaptogens normalize your physiological functions, and while it might be subtle and take a bit for them to help you, these medicinal foods have been used and trusted for centuries. Adaptogens work to calm your nerves but also help you access more energy, a double whammy that coffee can’t promise. Your body receives better access to oxygen and thus strength and endurance, and it eliminates toxic by-products with ease. If you notice nothing else, it will be that of a sense of well-being and mental clarity!

 



The following is a very concise list of what I deem to be the most accessible adaptogens. *all of these are available in pill form, and if you plan on seeking them out, please note that I am not a doctor and to speak with yours before taking herbal supplements*

1. Maca – “Peruvian Ginseng” a powder made from a crushed root native to Peru, contains 20 amino acids and 7 essential amino acids and fiber, phytonutrients vitamins and minerals. It also contains 5x the amount of protein as a potato and is perfect for smoothies. Nourishing to the endocrine system and can help you balance your hormones. BMC complementary and Alternative Medicine 2006 found it effective for anxiety and depression in post-menopausal women.

2. Licorice root – Beyond being a candy flavor, licorice root has been known to help with SO many ailments including brain fog, depression, mood swings, circulation and energy. I personally take this in pill form daily.

3. Ginseng – Claimed as the most effective and potent adaptogen, ginseng also works to boost fertility and regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, its been known to have anti-depressant effects and aid in mental clarity.

Here’s a broader list for those who are curious :
-Holy Basil
-Ashwaganda
-Astragalus
-Rhodiola Rosea
-Eleuthero Root

Raw Hemp Spirulina Bars

bars

Ingredients 

 

1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp spirulina
3/4 cup dates, chopped  (or 1 cup, depending on taste)

 

Instructions

 

1. In a food processor, process the pistachios, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and dates until the mixture is crumbly but beginning to come together.
2. Remove to a medium mixing bowl and stir in orange juice, coconut oil, hemp seeds and spirulina.
3. Press into an 8-inch square cake pan or glass dish.
4. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, then slice and serve.

 

Notes :
-You can choose to add more dates if you prefer your bars to be stickier rather than crumbly.

-Will keep if refrigerated for several days (air tight container)

 

Recipe & Photo credit : GrokGrub.com

Eating like our Ancestors

 

 

By Nicki Formica

 

Before there was Nexium and zoloft and there were …better food habits

Its not exactly a newsflash that prescription drugs have become our go-to solutions for just about anything. We have headaches, a depression that just won’t lift, or whatever it may be, and our first move is to see our doctor. You have a problem? Theres a pill for that. There will always be an important need for western medicine, but during an era in which pharmaceutical companies can advertise potent drugs with some 52 odd side effects alongside a GMO-packed sugar cereal, the concept of preventative medicine is alien. …And you have to wonder—were people always this sick?

The answer is no.

Its not a secret : Nature holds the key to our well-being and longevity. Medical students and the average citizen alike; neither is taught much about nutrition, and what most do know is to just count calories and avoid sugar. Just as we swallow pills and expect an effect, the nutrients (or lack there of) in our dinner hold great potential to better us, or, cause us harm.

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”, a phrase coined by Hippocrates, known as the Father of Western Medicine, is not exactly a family practitioner’s modus operandi.

Did you know that viruses can mutate and replicate to stay alive longer in a host (you) low in antioxidants and phytonutrients? To boot, 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. Best to be mindful of what you put in it.

You could write volumes about the benefits of healthy eating, but here’s a list of some of my favorite vegetarian miracle foods and their benefits :

 

Turmeric

 

-Contains curcumin, a compound that may increase seratonin production in the brain. Used in Chinese medicine as an anti-depressant
-Potent anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, useful for disinfecting cuts and burns
-Liver detox
-Speeds wound healing
-Inhibits cancer growth

*Fact : India has the lowest incidence of Alzheimers, and consumes the most turmeric. Alzheimers disease, being inflammation of the brain.

 

Coconut

 

-Immunity booster
-Kills viruses, fungi and parasites, i.e. things like the flu, throat infections, UTI’s, bronchitis
-Great source of electrolytes for rapid hydration
-Slows the aging process by protecting from free radical damage
-Lowers cholesterol

*Fact : Pacific islanders deem coconut oil to be the cure-all gift from nature for all illness.

 

Raw Chocolate (Cacao)

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 1.51.59 AM

-Flavonols relax arteries and reduce blood pressure
-Potent antioxidant associated with longevity
-One of the most chemically and nutritionally complex foods on earth!
-Aids in weight loss thanks to the high chromium content

*Fact : raw cacao beans have an antioxidant score of 95,500, 14 times more flavonoids (antioxidants) than red wine , 21 times more than green tea!

 

Mushrooms

 

-Contains lentinan, an anti-tumor polysaccharide
-Act as a bloodhounds for irregular cell growth (reduces cancer of the breast by 64% via ONE mushroom eaten daily. Couple that with green tea and your breast cancer risk goes down 89%)
-Regulates estrogen levels
-Boots your immunity
-Helps improve circulation, eyesight, influenza

*Fact : mushrooms have been used in ancient chinese medicine for thousands of years. Mushrooms contain a substance called Germanium, a nutrient that helps boost the oxygen efficiency as well as counteract the body’s exposure to environmental toxins

Ginger

-nausea, even from motion sickness
-digestive aid, improving absorption by stimulating the gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion
-improve blood flow via chromium, magnesium, zinc which prevent chills, fever and sweats
-fights respiratory problems by breaking down mucus
-Reduces pain and inflammation

*Fact : In India, a ginger paste is applied to the temples to relieve headaches

 

Kefir

 

-Contains and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria (probiotics)
-Cleans and strengthens the intestines, making you more resistant to things like E. coli and parasites.
-Helps you digest food better (and is easy to digest itself even if you’re lactose intolerant)
-Eliminates yeast overgrowth in the body, which is a scarily common issue in men and women
-Supports immune system function
-Promotes a feeling of “well-being”, as its name means in turkish.

(*Get full-fat organic and grass-fed Kefir to ensure you are getting the best quality. I buy “plain” and add my own fruit in to a smoothie control the amount of sugar)

 

Avocado

 

-Anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the risk for degenerative disorders
-Reverses insulin resistance (an issue if you’re pre-diabetic, or diabetic)
-Protective against stroke
-Controls blood pressure
-Lowers cholesterol levels
-Anti-cancer, specifically; mouth, skin and prostate

*Fact : Avocados are great for fertility

 

Wild blueberries

 

-Improve gene expression
-Protective against obesity, Alzheimers and cancer
-Reduction in chronic inflammation
-Decrease in damage from oxidative stress

 

Garlic

 

-Combats allergies
-Prevents tumor growth, reduction in risk of cancer
-Reduces arthritic pain
-Boosts immune system while killing off bad bacteria, viruses and fungi

 

….Here’s a recipe that includes many of the foods above!

 

Thai Vegetarian Coconut Curry :
This recipe includes coconut, garlic, ginger, turmeric and mushrooms 🙂

Serves: 2-3

• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 garlic cloves minced or thinly sliced
• 1 small piece of (peeled) finely chopped ginger
• 2-3 tbsp red curry paste, adjust to taste
• 1-2 tsp ground turmeric to taste
• 1 tbsp coconut aminos, or soy sauce
• 1 can full-fat coconut milk

Vegetables :
• 1 small eggplant, cubed
• 1 small red or green bell pepper, evenly cut
• small head of broccoli or as many florets as desired
• small bunch of mushrooms
Serve over :
• rice noodles, steamed white rice, or low carb options : zucchini ribbons, “spaghetti”squash

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok, once warm saute the onions until soft. Next add the ginger and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggplant, bell pepper and broccoli florets and saute for a few minutes. Next add the curry paste, turmeric, coconut aminos / soy sauce and stir to mix all ingredients well. Allow to cook for 3 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and add the mushrooms. Cover and simmer under low heat until vegetables have cooked to desired tenderness. Serve over desired “noodle” or rice.

Notes :
-You can choose to add more heat to your curry by adding cayenne in addition to your red curry paste
-for pescatarians, I’d recommend adding shrimp, otherwise if you want more protein, add a scrambled diced egg or crushed nuts

adapted from “the spicy foodie”

 

Street/Underprivileged Children of the Ganga –

building-a-bottle-wallI wanted to take a moment to let you know about a global seva(service) project my family has recently made a commitment to.  Truike Boekholt-Daly’s founded “Children of the Ganges” after experiencing first hand the plight of the orphaned and homeless children on the banks of the Ganga in Rishikesh, India. “Children of the Ganga” mission includes providing free quality education, for street/ underprivileged children in Rishikesh, promote the qualities of kindness and compassion, ethical behaviors and a sense of universal responsibility, and to inspire children with the qualities of leadership and the motivation to bring peace, happiness and well-being to their communities and environment.  “Children of the Ganga “also provides a hot meal to the children every evening.

Recently, an initiative to build a “bottle school” on the roof top of one of the Ashrams in Rishikesh has become a main focus. Bottle schools are built using tried and tested post and beam construction. The foundations, columns and beams are made from concrete reinforced with iron. The difference with traditional construction is that instead of cinder-blocks or bricks, the walls are made using “eco-bricks”. This is in the beginning stages of gathering information and finding volunteer experts including engineers and architects and of course fundraising.

Over the next 7-8months, I will be holding donation based classes and workshops(Nov 19th and 16th are the first two). Sometime during the summer of 2015, my family plans to travel to India to work with the children of Rishikesh and gain a better understanding through direct experience of what is needed at the school.  None of the money raised will go towards any of our personal expenses. 100% of the funds raised will go directly to the “Children of the Ganga”.

Six yrs ago, I traveled to Vizag in the state of Andhra Pradesh India with my teacher Parvathi Nanda Nath and my husband has traveled to areas around Mumbai years ago as well.   The country is beautifully peaceful and wonderfully chaotic all at the same time.   My vision is to create an easy roadmap of sorts that includes contacts, ashrams, hotels, transportation information etc.. so that in years to come perhaps those interested in seva in our community ( not necessarily Yogasphere only) can become more involved and possibly one day travel to Rishikesh with me and my family.

I want to thank Stanely Currier, a yogi with a beautiful soul, for introducing and inspiring me to become involved in this program!   Much grattitude for introducing me to Truike and setting the wheels in motion.

Om Shanti – Laura

Introducing Yogasphere’s Program – “Yoga for Stress Free Living” by Laura Rothstein

Restore~Renew~Relax~Rebuild

Over the past several years, Yogasphere’s community has grown in many areas. One particular modality  that we felt needed  focused attention has to do with living life in a manner that was more stress free,  less anxious, rested, restored and peaceful.    We are very exciteyogasphere2014d to introduce our “Yoga for Stress Free Living”  a la cart program.  We have consolidated our current offerings that are in line with this initiative and require no prior knowledge of yoga.   You can find “Yoga for Stress Free Living” on our website under a menu item titled  “De-stress”.    These offerings include, Gentle classes, Meditation, Restore and Renew along with specialty workshops like the popular ” Healing Stress and Trauma through Yoga” with Cathy Frank.   Classes and workshops will be added on a regular basis.

Of course all yoga when practiced brings you to that space of quiet mind through breath and movement,  however these particular offerings focus more on the  relaxing, healing, restorative and gentle  qualities  of Yoga.   Our intent is to create community within our community of people working through transitions, life events or those who just need a moment  to rejuvenate.

Please take a moment and visit our website at  www.yogasphere.net and click on menu item “de-stress”.   Whether you are having a tough day or week or possibly dealing with a challenging life experience, we hope we can provide a safe haven to restore, renew, relax and rebuild.

“Yoga for Stress Free Living”  classes and workshops will be offered at our Newtown and Doylestown Locations.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti – Laura

 

 

Creamy Vegan Pesto “Spaghetti” (Squash) with Kale

Its squash season! Buy local! Buy organic! This recipe is super simple, guilt-free, gluten-free and vegan! I go for this when I’m craving something creamy and filling.

 

 

 

For the spaghetti squash : 

-Place your squash in a large pot with water and salt, and bring to a boil. Turn with a fork every so often to evenly heat all sides. When easily pierced with a fork, your squash is ready and can be removed. Should be allowed to cool for 10 minutes.

-Slice your squash directly in half, scoop out the pulp which hold the seeds and put to the side if intending to roast your seeds, otherwise discard.  The rest of the inside contents of the squash can be separated and removed by a fork and will naturally be in “spaghetti”-like strands for your dish! (*One squash can feed about 7 people.)

-Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and set aside

 

 

For the creamy dairy-free pesto : 

Food process the following :

1.5 Cups Fresh Basil

1/3rd Cup Olive Oil

5 Cloves Garlic

1/3rd Cup Walnuts or Nutritional Yeast

Lemon juice (optional)

1/2 TSP Sea salt

1/2 TSP pepper

1 avocado

 

 

 

For the Kale: 

-Sautee 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and moderately chopped, and one half an onion in your oil of choice until kale is semi-wilted and onion is translucent. Toss with your spaghetti, and mix your pesto into your spaghetti!

 

Yogasphere Doylestown Grand Opening Open House and Donation Classes – Sunday Oct 5th

Please join us for the Grand Opening of Yogasphere’s Doylestown (Dtown) Location on Sun, Oct 5th from 10-2pm! Come and meet some of our teachers and staff and enjoy light refreshments.  We will be also offering 2 donation only classes ($5 suggest donation) and highly suggest preregistration through the links below!    Please take a look at our regular Doylestown Schedule which begins Monday Oct 6th.

Grand Opening Open House

  • Yogasphere – DTown
  • Address – 739 North Easton Rd Doylestown, Pa, 215-885-6130
  • Sunday, Oct 5th
  • Time 10-2pm

Grand Opening Donation Only Classes

  • Yogasphere – DTown
  • Address – 739 North Easton Rd Doylestown, Pa, 215-885-6130
  • Sunday, Oct 5th
  • 10:30am All Levels with Yogasphere Co-Owners  and Senior Teachers Laura and Elle   Register here
  • 12pm Gentle with  Senior Teacher Cathy Frank  Register here

With the addition of our DTown Location, Yogasphere offers over 70 classes per week in addition to workshops/special events and a very successful and unique 200 Hour and 500 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified Teacher Training.   Please check our our website for details on all of our locations and offerings at www.yogasphere.net

 

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti – Laura and Elle

 

 

 

 

The magic of Apple Cider Vinegar : Nature’s multi-purpose product

 

Put it in your medicine cabinet, kitchen cupboard, bathroom and everywhere else, because this miracle vinegar deserves an infomercial! As far back as the ancient Egyptians, cultures around the world have been using Apple cider vinegar as a healing elixir, a youth preserver, disinfectant and much much more. This inexpensive multi-purpose product is an absolute must-have for those of us who love harnessing the power of nature. Doctor Hippocrates recommended!

 

Natural cleaning product.

Toss your chemical-laden cleaners! Drains, floors, kitchen worktops, windows, even vegetables! Diluted ACV is a great natural anti-fungal, disinfectant, anti-bacterial. It can cut through grease and act as a deodorizer. Most cleaning recipes call for a mixture of 50% ACV, 50% water.

 

Hair boost

Apple cider vinegar easily amps up your hair’s body and shine! This is a great way to remove residue and build up that come with using products, while also reversing the damage from exposure to sea salt and the elements. By balancing the PH of your scalp, your hair is left shiny and full as its meant to be. After shampooing, spray or pour one part ACV, one part water onto your hair and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse, then condition. Though the scent is potent, it fades quickly.

 

Make your face glow

This detox concoction improves your overall complexion and has the power to turn back the clock—or at least slow it down! Skin is naturally acidic, so the acid in the vinegar helps to restore balance between dry and oily. ACV works to improve blood flow, reduce scars, acne, fine lines, age spots and just about any skin ailment you might have. This antiseptic and antibacterial is a multi-purpose toner and moisture retainer.

Toner Recipe :

1 part apple cider vinegar

2 parts water

*Note : try this out on part of your face before applying to the entirety as some may be sensitive to its potency. If so, just dilute further.

 

Whiten your teeth

After those few glasses of red wine and that venti coffee in the morning, you might be less than pleased with your smile. Swish 1-2oz of ACV in your mouth for 1-2 minutes and rinse with water. Some will notice immediate improvement, others need to keep up for a month, but theres no doubt about it— this stuff has definite stain-removing capabilities.

 

Soothe sunburnt skin

Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes to eliminate the uncomfortable stinging from sunburn. Its been said that it also helps to reduce the redness faster than when left alone. After bathing, I suggest moisturizing with coconut oil, another remedy for sunburn.

 

Your weight loss buddy

In a 2009 study, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid, the main ingredient in ACV for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in abdominal fat, body weight, waist circumference and triglycerides. Why is this so? ACV helps to inhibit the digestion of starches, for example potato or pasta. Taking a swig of this powerful stuff, (or using it as a component in your salad dressing) also regulates blood sugar. Inhibiting digestion might sound questionable, but the fact is, the less starch your digest, the less that gets converted to calories . Not all calories are created equal, we want to remember that excess calories from starches contribute to weight gain and weight retention. This isn’t a free pass to down three servings of penne, but it will certainly help.
*Note : Make sure to check with your doctor before regularly ingesting ACV as some people might might need to ween themselves onto this. You never want to do too much of a good thing. Stick to a tablespoon diluted before meals!

 

Balance from the inside out : Detox

Equilibrium is your body’s ultimate and constant goal. Did you know Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level despite it being an acid? Thats right, an acid doesn’t always make for a more acidic environment. Furthermore, ACV can swing either way, and it helps your body in whichever way it needs. Apple Cider Vinegar is such a brilliant form of preventative medicine, and is especially useful after some unhealthy habits like a junk food binge. Naturally, our body strives to be slightly alkaline. If it falls out of balance, the following can result : Lethargy, mucus, infection, anxiety, moodiness, headaches, sore throat, congestion and much more. Try taking a shot of 1:1 ACV and water prior to meal(s) or incorporating it into sauces and marinates! ACV is rich in natural minerals, vitamins and enzymes that bind to toxins and make it easier for the body eliminate. It breaks up mucus, purifies the blood, and cleanses the lymph nodes. Overall, the immune system is a big fan of this stuff!

 

 

Candida killer : Bacteria overgrowth

Rich in natural enzymes, regular use of ACV can help rid your body of excess Candida. A cousin of mold, Candida thrives in various places, and is one of the billions of necessary organisms that call your body home, but with overgrowth comes lots of problems, some of which include : yeast infections, eczema, fatigue, digestive upset, memory problems, sugar cravings and headaches to name a few (there’s a lot more symptoms sadly). How do we keep it at bay? You guessed it. ACV creates a very unfriendly environment for the yeast. Another reason to take this sour shot pre-meals! *Note : sugar and gluten, as well as the rest of the “standard american diet” have been shown to perpetuate and feed Candida.

 

Heartburn and Indigestion : The real answer

Cue pepto bismol jingle! So, you’re telling me to treat an acidic “burn” sensation (as well as other ailments pepto cures) with acid-containing vinegar? Yes I am. You can toss your Tums in the garbage can now, folks. ACV mimics stomach acid, so has the power to correct the true issue behind heartburn : low acid, not excess. Yes its true, we’ve been dooped again by big pharma because natural remedies are not money-making! When your stomach is lacking in its food-digesting acids, the environment gets a little turbulent as it tries to compensate, sending some of its contents into the esophagus giving you that awesome burning sensation. Next time you feel heartburn, give your stomach the pro-acid it needs, not the opposite.

Ok, so why should I not use antacids if it helps with the pain? Since heartburn and indigestion are a result of inadequate stomach acid, anti-acid pills, while they may dilute the potency of the acid that ails you, does nothing more than suppress the true issue at hand : your body needs more acid! If you are suffering from frequent heartburn, your digestion and immunity are very much at risk and you pave the way for costly health consequences. In addition to supplementing with ACV daily (dilute a tablespoon with as much water as needed), we must turn to diet to prevent heartburn in the first place. Refined sugar and excess carbohydrate intake are a few of the causes of low HCL (hydrochloric acid).

 

Ok I’m sold! What brand do I buy?

Just like theres conventional apples and organic apples, the same goes for ACV. You’ll reap more nutritional benefits if its organic and unprocessed! And good news, the best brand doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet. 32oz of Bragg’s Organic ACV runs for around 6 bucks and can be found in just about any health food store, or online. Despite your aesthetic preference, the “dirtier” the better : your cider should be cloudy, not distilled, refined and pasteurized to be perfectly clear. So stray from brands like Heinz or Goya, go for the gold!