The Supplements I Take and Why:

I used to think taking a box of supplements was crazy and I’ll be honest, I sometimes still wonder if they work, but for the past 7 months I’ve prioritized taking supplements to feel and look healthy, happy and nourished. I haven’t gotten sick (except for whatever virus I got in Morocco and that brutal wedding hangover) my digestion is the best it’s ever been, my hair is shiny and strong and my skin is the most consistently clear it’s EVER been. The only thing I wish was better was my muscle and joint recovery since I’m in the midst of marathon training and still dealing with a very stubborn IT band / hip pain. But besides that, everything has worked really well.

I think this goes without saying, but I still have to say it:

Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet. They are called supplements for a reason; to enhance and add to your (already healthy) diet. 

You can’t eat fried foods every day and take a bunch of supplements and expect it to counter-act all of the bad crap you’re eating. It doesn’t work that way.

Anyway, here they are:

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Hum Nutrition: An amazing brand that you can purchase online and at Sephora. Their slogan is “Beauty comes from Within”  which is probably why they scored a deal with Sephora and I love that Sephora is promoting that philosophy. Their website provides a questionnaire where you answer diet and lifestyle questions and based on your answers they recommend some of their supplements. I’ve been using their recommendations for 7 months! Plus, they have a  cool subscription program that gives you a discount on your supplements every month so it makes it pretty affordable, as far as supplements go.

If you want to try HUM use my code for $10 OFF your first order: 11CA2D

  • Daily Cleanse: I take this amazing blend of spiraling, chlorella, dandelion root, beet root and more first thing in the morning. It helps aid the body’s detoxifying process after a long night of detoxification.
  • Gut Instinct: A 10-strain probiotic when most probiotics contain 2-3. It’s good to have different strands so your body never becomes immune to the couple of strains that you take. I tell everyone I know to take a probiotic. Ever since I started taking probiotics, my digestion improved dramatically. Probiotics are good for more than just digestion because probiotics are filled with healthy bacteria that help replace the bad bacteria in your gut, so it affects the immune system too.
  • Base Control: Pretty self explanatory. A Multi-Vitamin!
  • Air Patrol: I got this one a few months ago because I found myself thinking in a “dooms day” sort of way and that our environment is royally effed and the pollution is just unimaginable and heyyy I live in New York freakin’ City so… ah, you see? Dooms day.  I decided to try to do my best to detox from environmental pollutants and this is one of the ways I’m doing that. It has a high amount of Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids which helps the body absorb the vitamin C that is killed off due to air pollution and smoke.

Renewlife Digestive Enzyme: I got these when I traveled abroad earlier this year as a precaution. Digestive enzymes take stress off your digestive system by helping it break down foods that are difficult to digest such as gluten and dairy. That’s what I use it for anyway. Anytime I go out to eat I bring an enzyme with me just in case.

Fish Oil : I started taking this because I read in a running book that it may further reduce muscle inflammation when you’re dealing with an injury and/or marathon training. Since I’m experiencing both, here I am taking fish oil!

L-Glutamine : I started taking this because I heard it was good for building muscle, recovery and increased endurance (do you see a trend here?) and then I found out it’s great for your digestive system so, even better! Come to find out it is an essential amino acid that helps the intestines rebuild as well as helping with balancing the mucus in our bowels which leads to better digestion. I’ve only been taking it for a couple of weeks so I haven’t felt the full benefits yet (you should allow at least 30 consistent days for your body to adjust to the supplements) but I’m hoping it’ll be helpful during marathon training.

And these guys:

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Amazing Grass Green Superfood Powder: I love this stuff because it tastes good when you simply mix it with water and that’s a rare find with this sort of product. It claims to have the equivalent of 3 servings of greens, probiotics and digestive enzymes in one scoop. When I’m in a rush and don’t have time to make a smoothie or make myself a salad, this is a life saver.

Collagen Peptides: Yea, I know, I know. Collagen is sooooo in right now and I definitely jumped on the bandwagon. But once I tried it, I experienced the benefits and don’t really want to stop. I’ve tried two brands, this one and Vital Proteins. I’ll be honest, I bought this brand on AmazonPrime day because it was super discounted, sorry to say the price has gone back up, but I honestly think it is worth it especially if you’re an athlete and/or work on your feet/work out a lot. This collagen is made out of grass-fed pasture-raised cows and has protein plus all the benefits of collagen(obviously); healthy joints, muscles, gut lining, hair, skin and nails. See, it’s so much more than just a beauty supplement.

Vega Protein & Greens Protein Powder: It sounds gross, I know, but this stuff is delicious. Seriously. It’s got 20g of plant based protein, plus 2 servings of greens and only 1g of sugar. I tend to forget to have enough protein (especially in the summer, I just love my fruits and veggies you know?), so protein powder comes in handy when I’m in a rush or when I want to enhance a smoothie pre or post-run.  I don’t typically use a full scoop in my smoothies because I find that the taste overpowers the fresh veggies and fruits (and I like to taste ’em) so I use half a scoop which leaves you with the perfect amount of vanilla sweetness. As a pre or post run fuel I’ll keep it simple with a full scoop and mix it with coconut milk and water and that tastes delicious too!

Well there you have it, folks. Supplements! 

Like I said earlier, eat a healthy diet first and foremost. If you can’t afford all of these supplements, or simply don’t want to spend money on them, that doesn’t make you an unhealthy person. These are meant to enhance your already healthy diet and lifestyle. I like to use these supplements because they work for me, but what works for me may not work for you. That’s why it’s fun to experiment! I may use these supplements now, but in another year… who knows?

Happy experimenting!

How Lovely to be a Woman!

“The wait was long worthwhile. How lovely to wear mascara and smile a woman’s smile. How lovely to have a figure that’s rounds instead of flat! Whenever you hear boys whistle, you’re what they’re whistling at.”        

                                                                                               – Bye, Bye Birdie 

I listen to this song as an adult and realize how unfortunate it is that it was written by Lee Adams (a man), instead of a woman. I’m positive that a woman could have portrayed a more accurate depiction of what it feels like to grow up and go through puberty… But that’s not the case and unfortunately that’s not the world we live in. But I’m not here to talk about that today.

I grew up never really aware of my womanhood. I didn’t know why I got my period other than it meant I had the ability to get pregnant, what the difference between my uterus, clitoris, cervix and vagina were and what hormones had to do with my overall health and well being. “Hormonal” had a negative connotation to it as in: “you must be feeling very hormonal right now” a.k.a.: “you’re acting like a bitch” . Hell, I thought that I had to be okay with men staring at my boobs and touching me a little too far down my back. I thought I had to “like” that, or approve of it at the very least.  I know that I am not the only one who has experienced this and that’s upsetting. I don’t know if it is a product of poor education or the culture we live in, or the culture I personally grew up in. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. (And Mom, don’t take this personally. You raised me to be a strong, independent, and intelligent woman and I couldn’t ask for anything more.) 

It is because I was raised to be a thoughtful, strong, independent and intelligent woman that I write about my personal experience with hormone imbalance, birth control and discovering my femininity. I hope someone reads this and finds comfort in that they are not alone, that it’s okay to be confused and that your anxiety, depression, weight and skin issues may be due to inflammation and a hormonal imbalance. There’s nothing wrong with you and you are not alone in your struggles.

Here’s my story.

I always struggled with acne and weight issues, especially when I was going through puberty. I didn’t go on birth control until I was in college, where I got a free pack at my College Health Center with no consultation or discussion of what dosage I was given or how it may affect my body or mood. Just: “I want birth control.” Nurse: “Okay, here you go.” I don’t want you to think I was ungrateful, I know that I was incredibly fortunate to have such easy access to birth control because so many women around the world, and right here in the U.S.A. , are denied birth control every day. Many of those women end up pregnant before they are ready. The father is most likely someone they do not love, or even know, and their future is changed in an instant. That is not my story and I am grateful that it is not.

 

My story is of a young girl who was naive, uneducated and scared. Who probably had hormonal imbalances that could have been fixed by changing her diet and not going on the pill. She needed to be educated on the other birth control options available to her. She had no idea there were any other options or that the pill had side effects at all, so instead she would have to suffer through the next eight years going on and off birth control only to experience digestive, skin and mood issues no matter what she did or didn’t do. Now that I know more, I think I can trace the start of my severe digestive  issues back to 6 months after I was put on the most recent birth control I was taking. This birth control was a lower dosage because I eventually spoke with a doctor who understood that I was having negative reactions to my previous prescription. I did feel better, but I began to have digestive issues that I, in no way, thought could be from the birth control I was on. I still don’t know if this is true, but time will tell.

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So, what’s the deal with birth control anyway? Why is it so bad? Well, it’s still being studied. So far, I’ve read studies that show that birth control interferes with our microbiome because of the artificial hormones being pumped into our bloodstream, which may result in leaky gut syndrome. It also messes with our thyroid because, you guessed it, the artificial hormones. Women already produce estrogen, but when on birth control, women become estrogen dominant, which negatively affects the brain and heart. This could be why many women complain of depression and anxiety and the chances of heart attack and stroke are increased considerably. Oh, fun fact, after five years of being on birth control, there is a 300% chance of developing Crohn’s Disease. The pill is also inflammatory and insulin resistant masking metabolic disorders like PCOS, which is a severe metabolic disorder caused by hormonal imbalances. All of this disrupts the immune system causing your body to go into fight or flight mode, which increases inflammation… Not to mention it’s affect on libido and vaginal health: i.e. more yeast infections, dryness, etc. UGH.

What bothers me is that this is not common knowledge. There are far better birth control options and every woman should be educated on ALL of these points. When I began learning about all of this, I was in denial. I thought, “I’m healthy, I don’t have any inflammation, none of this pertains to me.” How could it not? I didn’t like the sounds of other birth control options, IUD’s scared me and I wasn’t ready for kids. So why not just stay on birth control? But I was horrible at remembering to take the pill, constantly having to double-up for fear of pregnancy which ended with paranoia, a messed up cycle and askew hormones… why did I want to stay on the pill?!

I finally woman-ed up and decided to get an IUD. An IUD is a small, T-shaped intrauterine device inserted into your uterus that provides long-term birth control. We’re talking, 3-10 years depending on what kind of device you decide to go with. Some devices have hormones and some do not. Initially, I wanted to go with the non-hormonal one since that was one of my number one reasons for going off the pill, but after a consultation with my gynecologist, I decided to get the Mirena device. Mirena releases progesterone, no estrogen, over a period of time to prevent pregnancy. I went with Mirena because adding progesterone isn’t harmful to the body and it protects your ovaries which is a good idea since there’s cervical and ovarian cancer in my family history.

I got the IUD inserted yesterday and DAMN it was painful. I expected it to hurt, but wasn’t prepared for quite how much. I kept telling myself: “You’ve run a marathon, you’ve fractured bones, you can deal with this pain.” . Which, I did. But it was definitely not easy. At first I thought it wasn’t so bad, until I realized she was only dilating me (since I haven’t gone through childbirth) and had yet to insert the device. Once she did, it felt like a horrible cramp with a very large brick on top of my uterus. I had the sensation that I was either going to pee or poop, which she assured me was normal since I had to be dilated. She asked me how I felt, to which I replied: “uhhhh, weird?”. After she cut the strings and came out, I felt the cramping subside and thought I’d be back to feeling normal. Nope, not so much. All the blood rushed to my brain and I felt insanely dizzy and nauseous. They laid me back down, gave me a puke bucket and rushed to get me water. My ears were buzzing, the room was spinning, my vision was blurry and I questioned why I ever agreed to do this on my own free will. They were incredibly supportive and patient with me and brought Mike in to hold my hand and talk me through everything. After a minute or two with him I had the courage to sit up and leave. The dizziness didn’t subside for a while, which made the 5 minute walk home into a 20 minute one filled with many stops to take deep breaths. I was keeled over while I was walking because I was having the most intense sensation of where my uterus was located, which is really strange. You know you have one, but you’re never really aware of it until you have an IUD inserted, and when you’re pregnant, I imagine. I feel like I got a nice little childbirth preview yesterday and have so much respect for all the mother’s out there. I didn’t experience half the dilation and pain that you go through during labor!

And now, I am free. Free of the pill. Free of artificial hormones (for the most part) that may or may not be causing the digestive, skin and mental issues I’ve been coping with for the past eight years. I am excited to experience change, but am also nervous and not looking forward to the spotting, bleeding and for my cycle to be off, but I am thrilled that I don’t have to worry about missing a pill for the next five years and look forward to (hopefully) healing my microbiome once and for all.

More importantly, I am proud that I finally kissed fear goodbye and went for a healthier and more sustainable birth control that will hopefully be much better for my body. I am also grateful to have access to this  kind birth control, for FREE with my health insurance, and hope that the education of women’s reproductive health only advances and improves and that our health care doesn’t regress.

Don’t feel bad if you feel like you’re completely clueless about your reproductive health because I’m 28 years old and am finally understanding my body for the first time and I truly feel how lovely it is to be a woman. IMG_8306

 

 

 

What I Learned Doing the Whole30

About a month ago I embarked on the Whole30 diet program (essentially the Paleo diet) in an effort to get my body ready for Marathon training.

I didn’t complete the whole30 program. I had a bunch of family events and celebrations and I did it successfully for 23 days and that’s okay with me. Why? Because I pretty much follow the Whole30 lifestyle as it is. It wasn’t a huge change for me and I didn’t experience many symptoms other than extreme bloating around days 10-14 (but I also had my period, so there’s that).

There are definitely things about it I liked:

  1. I was forced to eat more veggies. Veggies were the base to all my meals: even breakfast! I found myself craving salads and raw vegetables. This is most likely a seasonal effect, but still!
  2. I paid more attention to what food I had on hand and planned meals and snacks ahead of time instead of winging it when busy or at work.
  3. I felt energized and lighter.
  4. Not drinking alcohol was the most challenging part for me! I never realized how often I’d resort to a glass of wine or beer after a long shift or when cooking dinner. It forced me to be more present and to not drink away any sadness or frustrations I may have been experiencing.

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Here’s what didn’t work for me:

  1. A lot of Whole 30 for me was feeling like I had to eat all this animal protein in order to feel satisfied and full. And while I don’t ever rule it out, I feel much better when I’m eating plant based protein or fish. I just don’t think I’m much of a carnivore. Doing this diet made me realize that.
  2. Being restricted for such a long amount of time triggered a lot of old eating disorder and body dysformia thoughts and feelings for me. I didnot like that. There were a few days where I felt like I was playing “a game” to see how little I could eat and feel satisfied just like I used to and that is obviously not good. When I began to feel bloated ( a symptom of cleansing and detoxing) I began looking in the mirror and obsessing over every little wrinkle, jiggle and curve on my body. Getting into this frame of mind is self destructive and affects every area of your life. I felt miserable, unmotivated and wanted to give up. It is a curse and a blessing to be so intuitive because I was fully aware of what was going on, but I couldn’t stop it.

…and that’s the real reason I stopped at 23 days. I saw myself going down the rabbit hole of counting calories, obsessing over the quality of food I was eating, choosing not to eat a meal (or meals), hating my body and myself.

I want to be honest about my experience. I am in no way condemning the Whole30 program. I’m sure it works wonders for some people. But for me, the negatives outweighed the bad and I knew enough was enough. I embarked on the journey to feel fresh and clean and ready for marathon training. Instead, I’m feeling more self conscious than ever.

And that’s why I don’t do diets. DIETS SUCK! They’re too black and white and life has gray area. Also, if you’re experiencing any trials and tribulations in other areas of your life such as relationships, career or spirituality (as an example) it doesn’t matter how much kale you have, you’re not going to feel amazing without working on the other areas of your life first.

That’s another reason I ended the program early, other areas of my life were being pushed to the side. I realized that all the hard work I was putting into successfully completing this challenge was only taking energy away from things that I really needed to focus on. It was really hard to come to terms with this because I felt like I was failing.

But what felt like failure, wasn’t failure at all, it was success.

Because now I’m focusing on stuff that’s way more important than a diet. I’m focusing on my career, my business, my happiness, my health and my artistry. Naturally, by focusing my energy on the things that needed it, I’m only drawn to nourish myself inside and out, I’m not falling off the bandwagon and I’m still eating a pretty whole30-friendly diet because I want to.

And that’s the difference. The desire to fuel yourself with foods that support where you want your energy to go instead of following a regimen that takes up all your energy so you have none left to dedicate to the stuff that really matters. I know how difficult it is to pull yourself out of the dark, lonely hole you dug for yourself. You know, that hole that’s filled with calorie counting and excessive nutrition label checking? Yea. But it’s possible.

Have you ever felt this way? I urge you to experiment by factoring in this non-diet mentality. Think of what else feeds and nourishes you.

Your job? Your partner? Your friendships? Your guitar? Your gardening? Your painting? Your home environment?

Do these other areas of your life feel nourished, taken care of and healthy? If not, try spending more time and energy on these areas of your life. Trust yourself! Get rid of the obsessive calorie counting and worrying and focus on something that really needs it.

Experiment and let me know what you discover! If you feel like you could use more assistance and outside perspective with this, contact me! We can chat and figure out the best program for you to reach your goals and feel healthy, happy and nourished.

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A Savory Green Smoothie a day…

I don’t know if it is post-vacation blues, but lately I’ve been feeling more tired and low-energy than usual. I’m sure it is a combination of working more, running more (pre-marathon training has begun), the temperature change and potentially recovering from e coli, or whatever weird virus I contracted in Morocco. I have been extremely mindful of what I am fueling my body and nothing is more frustrating than knowing that everything I have consumed should do nothing but give me adequate energy. But alas, here we are. When your body is craving rest, listen to it, don’t push it. I have a very difficult time with this, especially when I can’t find as much time as I’d like to rest, but you have to make an effort in whatever way you can which is why I prioritize fueling my body with quality, whole foods.

Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born! I really wanted a kick of energy and electrolytes but did not want anything sweet. Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born!This smoothie could be turned into a chilled soup with some added thickness for those hot summer months. It’s so delicious. I drank it in probably 60 seconds. Try this first thing in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me up. You won’t regret it!

Savory Green, Energizing Smoothie 

Servings: 1

Ingredients:img_9611

  • 1 cup coconut water-natural electrolytes
  • 1/2 frozen avocado – stabilizes blood sugar, healthy fats for sustained energy
  • Handful of arugula- helps alkalizes the body
  • Small handful of frozen pineapple – anti-inflammatory and natural electrolytes
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Greens powder – contains all daily vegetable servings plus vitamins, minerals and probiotics
  • 4 basil leaves – anti-inflammatory
  • 1 knob ginger- anti-inflammatory, aids digestion

You may need to add a little more coconut or regular water for optimal blending. Blend and enjoy!

Cheers, friends!

The Challenge with Wellness and Balance

I am a newly certified Holistic Health Coach and the program I attended, Institute for Integrative Nutrition (if you’re interested in hearing more about the school please reach out!) , was completely transforming. Are all of my problems suddenly fixed? No, not even close. However, I do have a health and wellness toolbox that I am confident in and know that I can fall back on, and that is truly my main goal as a Health Coach, is to share what I know with others and help them develop their health and wellness toolbox too! Everyone’s will look different and will change and evolve as their life changes and evolves….

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I find myself saying these things and I wonder: “Does anybody get what I mean? Does it all sound like a bunch of crap?”. Sometimes I think to myself, I am a hypocrite, I talk about all of this stuff but then I go and drink a bottle of wine and eat cheesy potatoes and then feel like shit in the morning and hate myself. Seriously. It happens. I sincerely believe in living a life that brings you joy and if sharing a bottle of wine with your friend brings you joy, do it. Some say live a lifestyle that’s 80% healthy and 20% indulgent. But what is healthy anyway? Is it this achievement you reach when you say “no” to everything bad for you and isolate yourself because you’re on a “diet”? No, I don’t think so. I’m also bad at math, so trying to figure out what actions I take 80% of the time vs. 20% of the time hurts my brain. I think “healthy” is subjective, like art. Which is probably why I am so passionate about it.

Healthy looks different on everyone.

So how do you find that balance? I think we’ll all be on our own journeys with this for our entire lives. To me, balance means that you make choices that you know will make you feel good. You have french fries but you also have a salad. You drink a bottle of win but then you wake up and drink your lemon water and green smoothie. You look to add veggies whenever and wherever you can. You choose to nourish your body, instead of punish it by over-eating or under-eating. You enjoy your life. You say yes to things you want and say no to things you don’t. It sounds simple, but I know it is not.

Despite knowing all of this, I find myself comparing myself to other health and wellness professionals and bloggers in the online world. Everyone seems so perfect, and like they all have an infinite about of money to spend on all of these fancy products. Yes, I understand that a lot of companies endorse them and they are sent free products to try and share, but still! How can you afford $50 for a supplement powder and have umpteen million different kinds to choose from?!

You don’t have to buy these supplements in order to be healthy, you just don’t. 

Everything that you see on blogs, Instagram and Facebook are all the best portions of someone’s day, you don’t see the bad and ugly. I get it, it makes sense, and I find that I post “best of” content a lot. It’s natural, I think. You want to present your best self and if you were always your best self that would be an accurate representation of you, but nobody is perfect.

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Drinking cocktails on the roof of the Met with my favorite strong, fierce woman. (My Mom)

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Drinking adult bevs with another one of my favorite people, Krissy. 

Here’s what I don’t post on my blog and Instagram:

I work at a restaurant waiting tables in order to make easy, quick money that has flexible hours and allows me to do what I want to do, whenever I want to do it. If I want to take off and travel for one month, I go for it. I have nobody to really answer to. That’s a plus. A downside is that the hours are late and because of that I often skip meals and/or eat food that is not compliant with my diet and lifestyle. So, yea, this means eating leftover food from a party at 1AM while folding napkins. Hm, not exactly what I’d recommend, ever. But sometimes, I’m starving and it’s what is available to me.

I am in a lot of student loan debt. A lot. I wish I could go back to my 18-year old self and teach her a thing or two about federal vs. private loans and interest rates. But alas, here I am. It’s all done with and there’s nothing I can do about it now except to pay what I owe… for what seems like the rest of my life. I am not a victim by any means and I do not regret my education. Most of my closest friends are friends from college or friends of friends from college, including my incredible boyfriend. If I didn’t go to Nazareth College, who knows if I would’ve met Mike. I can’t put a price tag on that, so I don’t. Does it sting a little bit that I pay more than my rent in student loans? You betcha. Sometimes things are really tight financially. But I am grateful that I can pay them while living in NYC, following my dreams, traveling and knowing that one day they will be gone.

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This guy right here 🙂 

So if you find yourself struggling to find balance in any area of your life; diet, work/social, relationships, money, etc. You’re not alone. I want you to know that I am on this journey just like everybody else. I am not somehow above you just because I am educated and trained in health, nutrition and wellness. If IIN taught me anything it is that living a balanced, healthy life is a lifelong journey that’s not as complicated as it may seem.

 

Now go be well and love your life!

Why Spring is my Time for Resolutions.

It’s FINALLY starting to feel like Spring!

I don’t know about you, but Spring is when I truly feel like my year is beginning. Maybe that’s because my birthday is seven days after Spring starts and I literally become one year older when Spring comes around… but that’s beside the point. Spring is the time for resolutions!

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Me, on my Birthday, enjoying Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan. 

For me, Winter is a perfect time to catch up on sleep, relax, spend time with family, cook rich, comforting foods and practice self-care. It doesn’t feel right to start off a new year with loads of resolutions in the bleak mid-winter. Most everyone, especially those who live in temperate climates, experience a lack of motivation during the Winter. We’re kind of programmed to do so. We’ve evolved (humans) but we don’t forget where we came from! And where we came from, we had to  hibernate and bulk up during the winter to SURVIVE, so, let’s be easy on ourselves when the new year comes around, shall we? Is it just me? I get that it’s a new “calendar year” or whatever, but geez, can we all just accept that it’ll be freezing cold for the next couple of months and that it’s totally acceptable to want to hibernate?

Anyway, Spring:

Spring is a time for hope and renewal. Flowers and leaves bloom, the grass gets greener and birds chirp. There’s a distinctly crisp smell in the air that’s filled with infinite possibility. Cultures and religions across the globe celebrate Spring with Easter, Equinox, Passover, Holi (the Festival of Colors) and May Day, just to name a few. What they all have in common is the cleansing of the past for hopeful, new beginnings.

To promote renewal in your diet, add cleansing and alkaline greens such as dandelion greens, arugula, asparagus, fennel, watercress and artichokes. Increase your raw or lightly cooked food consumption, juices, smoothies and be mindful about chewing your food throughly for complete digestion and assimilation. All of these small dietary changes can help your body shed any extra winter weight and restore your energy.

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Spring is the perfect time to focus on renewal, detoxification and refocusing your purpose. The mind and body are incredibly influential on the another, so what will affect one, will affect the other. So when you’re looking to make new resolutions, think about not only your diet, but your life, your choices, your relationships, your spirituality, your soul. Breathe fresh air and rediscover your love for your life and for yourself. Don’t feel like you have to do it all, one change, no matter how small, is better than no change at all.

What am I focusing on? Eating seasonal, cleansing greens and herbs such as fennel, asparagus, peas, arugula and watercress. I’m increasing my juice and smoothie intake because my body is craving a cooler, hydrating and energizing form of nutrients. I’m running, and taking leisurely walks, outside. I’m refocusing my business plan and what I truly want to accomplish in the next year. I’m rediscovering my spirituality and working on my relationship with myself and some trust issues and mental road blocks.

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to figure out what you want reborn and revitalized within yourself this Spring.

There’s never a more perfect time to bloom than during the Spring.

Take care and be well!

I leave you with a spring-y, cleansing and detoxifying Green Juice to give a try!

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Detoxifying Springtime Green Juice

Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple
  • 5 Celery Stalks
  • 1 large Cucumber, or 3-4 small Persian Cucumbers
  • 3 Fennel Stalks
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Knob of Ginger
  • 2 Handfuls of Kale

Juice it up in a juicer, baby!

 

 

I’m Obsessed with Turmeric, and You Should Be Too.

Turmeric is everywhere lately and rightfully so; it’s freakin’ delicious and magical. Prior to this past year or so, it’s been that weird ingredient that you need at the grocery store because you want to try this new Indian or Asian recipe. That’s how I knew of it. I started to become obsessed with making curries and Thai noodle dishes before, and after, my Southeast Asia trip and turmeric was a common ingredient. I didn’t know too much about it other than it’s vibrant yellow color and it’s ability to stain my white dishes if not washed right away. (Lesson learned)

When I began my studies at IIN, turmeric came up in multiple different lectures ranging from Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, Food Energetics, Inflammation, Religious and Cleansing lectures. My interest was peaked and I found myself looking up more recipes and holistic remedies to use this incredible root.

Turmeric is a root, looks similar to ginger, and is native to the Southeast Asia region. For centuries it has been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. It is said that turmeric aids indigestion, boots immune system helping fight the common cold, an anti depressant, anti inflammatory, assists liver function and may even help treat cancer and prevent heart disease. It’s used in savory and sweet Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Moroccan dishes.

Magical, right?

I’ve even used it mixed with coconut oil as a holistic method to whiten my teeth.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, small dash of turmeric.

It’s a little messy, and you’ll ruin a toothbrush, but you see results right away.

Same thing with your face: add coconut oil, turmeric, mix and apply to your face as a mask for 10-15 minutes. The moisturizing properties of the coconut oil, plus the multitude of antioxidants and antibacterial properties in turmeric help treat acne, remove scars and brighten your skin giving it a glow.

Today I needed a little afternoon pick-me-up. I really wanted some coffee or another matcha but decided to switch it up and make an Iced Turmeric Latte. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? RIGHT! So easy, so pretty, so yummy.

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I thought it was fitting to take a picture of my gorgeous Southeast Asian inspired drink in front of pictures from my trip to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. 

 

Iced Turmeric Latte or CappuccinoIMG_8219

Good for an afternoon pick-me-up or a caffeine/coffee substitute in the morning. 

Makes: One 8oz Latte or Cappuccino

Benefits: Cleansing, Anti-Inflammatory, Immune Boosting, Mood Boosting, eases Indigestion and aids Digestion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Date Sugar (substitute Maple Syrup or Honey)
  • Unsweetened Dairy-Free Milk (I used Almond)
  • Ice Cubes

Directions:

Mix ground turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, sweetener and dairy-free milk and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to steep. Strain the contents through a mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a new 8oz glass, add ice cubes and enjoy!

If making a cappuccino: add all ingredients into a blender to get a frothy foam or use a froth stick to create the same effect.

This may have a bit of spice. If this bothers you, add more sweetener, cinnamon or non-dairy milk. I kind of like the combination of sweet, yet slightly spicy, so it tastes just fine to me.

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What’s date sugar? And why? Ever since I did the elimination diet, I’ve been very wary of sugar. I’ve been trying to consume it little, to not at all. I found a great substitute that is completely sugar free: Date Sugar! I bought mine on Amazon. I cannot recommend this brand enough. It is literally ground up dates until it has a sugar-like consistency. I’ve been adding it to my matcha, coffee and oatmeal and have loved it. It’s easier to mix into drinks and bake with, which is why I got it. It adds just enough sweetness and remains sugar-free, obviously. Check it out!

Have you ever cooked with Turmeric? What do you think? If you try this recipe let me know what you think!

Be Well!

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What to do After a Night of Indulgence.

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St. Patrick’s Day weekend. A time when we all say that we’re Irish, because everybody is Irish in America. We drink green beer and McD’s Shamrock Shakes and eat lots of bar food. Come Monday morning you still feel like crap (am I still hungover?) and you find yourself wondering where it all went wrong. We’ve all been there, some more recently than others. And you know what? I’m here to tell you that

It’s okay. 

That’s right. It’s okay! We’re all allowed to have these kinds of nights from time to time. I would be lying if I said that I always drink my matcha and  green juices and eat veggie bowls and curries. It’s called balance. Why do people scoff at balance? Because it’s not easy. It takes a lot of discipline and self-control to achieve balance.

Health and wellness is not all about nutrition. There is so much more that feeds you besides food.

  • Having healthy, strong relationships
  • Working a job you love
  • Taking part in physical activity that you enjoy
  • Doing something creative
  • Finding your own spirituality whether it’s traditional or not
  • Your social life
  • Stable finances
  • Safe and happy home environment

All of these factors affect your overall health and, to me, “wellness” is the balance between diet and the above list. If you’re only paying attention to what you’re eating and drinking you’re ignoring  the enormous breadth of what really makes you happy and healthy. Food is secondary. Rather, what feeds your soul should be your primary concern.

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This is why I say to enjoy your St.Patrick’s Day fun. If you’re fostering healthy friendships and joy, I don’t see a problem with it. That doesn’t change the way you feel when you wake up in the morning.

*cue horrible headache and nausea*

Chances are, if you’ve been really good about what you’re eating and drinking, this sort of night will really make you regretful. And we all know that all you want to eat and drink after a night of drinking is greasy food and sugary drinks to replace the electrolytes and nutrition your body is working very hard to detox. But that’s not ideal, is it? Because if you have another bad day you might get stuck in that terrible cycle and end up feeling worse than you did before. And we definitely don’t want that. The goal is to enjoy yourself, have that beer, eat those chicken wings and then wake-up the next morning back on track.

Here are some of my morning-after tips and tricks after a night of indulgence:

  • Warm lemon water mixed with ginger and turmeric: I have this almost every morning anyway, but it’s most important to have the night after drinking and eating more unhealthy than normal because the lemon and water helps the liver detoxify quickly, while the turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and the ginger soothes digestion while amplifying the body’s cleansing properties.
  • Get your body moving: My family has been telling me for years that the best way to cure a hangover is to go for a run. I always thought they were crazy. But as it turns out, it’s true. Sweat = bye, bye toxins! Even a brisk walk or yoga flow will help. I don’t blame you if you don’t want to run 5 miles. You could also go to a sauna or take a hot epsom salt bath if you’re really feeling rough. Just sweat and get your blood flowing, your body needs it.

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  • Breakfast: Make sure your breakfast is filled with protein, healthy fats and greens. The greens are super important because they will help alkalize your blood, which will help your body in it’s recovery. Ideal breakfast would be: Avocado Toast with two eggs and a green juice.
  • Ginger Tea: You know how ginger ale always makes you feel better? Yea, except it has all of that sugar which is no good. Substitute with ginger tea! It does the same thing with real ginger! You can buy ginger tea bags or mince fresh ginger and let it steep in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Add a little honey if you need to.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar– You can take it quick like the shots you may have done the night before, or you can dilute it in hot water. This is another detoxifying elixir. This will cleanse, kill bad bacteria, detox your liver and intestines and aid digestion.
  • Probiotics– I always take a probiotic, but after an indulgent night I take two the next morning to really assist my body in the detoxifying process. Probiotics replace the bad bacteria in your gut with good ones which helps with digestion, bloating, gas, nausea and immunity.
  • Detoxifying Juice or Supplement- A green juice with ginger, blue-green algae, dandelion root, fennel, daikon radish or mint is great for detoxifying. You can also find cleansing supplements like the ones I use by Hum Nutrition.

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  • Other soothing/cleansing teas: Dandelion Root, Peppermint, Licorice and Fennel Seed.

Do one or more of these things and I promise that you’ll not only feel better but you’ll be back on track. You don’t want to be in this situation every other day or even every week. When the occasion is right, here’s a helpful cheat sheet to help your body recover and achieve balance.

Be well, friends.

 

six. more. weeks. of. winter.

winterThe groundhog saw his shadow last week which means that spring will not come early and we will have six more weeks of winter.

Can we just take a moment? WHAT! What sort of logic is that? This tradition is so silly, yet wonderful. I love how this holiday is on all of our calendars and that the groundhog still gets airtime on the daily news. Regardless of it’s silliness, we all believe in the groundhog and accept our fate of 6 more weeks of winter. Even though it hasn’t been a particularly grueling winter in NYC, it’s still dark, dreary, and depressing in general.

But you still want to stay, or get, healthy, right? Maybe your New Years Resolutions are still going strong, or maybe you never made any, no matter where you are, it’s hard to stay motivated during this time of year. It’s cold, the sun hides for most of the day, and all you want to do is stay hidden underneath a cozy blanket. What if I told you to follow your instincts? What if I told you that it was okay to slow down and sleep more? Well, I’m telling you.

It’s okay.

Winter is time for rest, relaxation, and revitalization. Instinctually, we’re designed to bulk up and hunker down to survive the winter. It’s time for the body to revive and prepare to bloom and renew. A.K.A. gettin’ ready for Spring!

However, you don’t have to knowingly gain 10 pounds and hide under blankets and bulky sweaters and feel self-conscious when the first beautiful spring day comes around because you don’t look as good in your favorite t-shirt or sundress.

I have some tips to help you stay healthy during the winter months while embracing the time to rest and relax.

  1. Buy Frozen Fruits & Veggies – This is an excellent and cheap option during the winter to get your fruits and veggies. I recommend buying frozen over “fresh” produce during the winter especially with berries, corn, peas, and leafy greens. You have no idea where this “fresh” produce came from and how long it took to get to you. Frozen fruits and veggies are frozen right after harvest when they’re fresh. They contain almost all of their nutrients they had when they were fresh. Plus, it’s so much cheaper. You can easily heat it up by steaming it or plopping it in a soup, which brings me to my next point:
  2. Soup, Soup, Soup-  Really cold? Hate the cold? SOUP is the answer. You can use multiple veggies in one soup or stew! Soups are incredibly healing and nourishing especially during the winter. The body wants to feel comfort and warmth in the winter, so give it what it wants. Don’t try to continue drinking your daily smoothies when it’s 20 degrees out. Your body doesn’t want it, it wants something warm. Give it what it needs and wants. Not canned soup! Homemade soup, or stew, or chili. Crockpots are your best friend.
  3. Pay Attention to Your Cravings– It’s normal to crave foods that we may not crave as often during the warmer months. Sweets, carbs, meats, and heavy dishes. This isn’t necessarily bad, your body is telling you that it needs something that it may be lacking. But it doesn’t mean that you need what you’re craving to feel better. Just pay attention to what your body is craving and ask yourself “why” and “how” eating this food will make you feel better. Maybe the answer is a nap, more water, a cup of tea, or a good hot yoga session instead of that piece of pie.
  4. Vitamin D Supplements- Most people don’t get enough Vitamin D even during the spring and summer but it is especially important during the winter to get this Vitamin that helps regulate mood and energy. Taking a Multi-Vitamin is great, but during the winter I recommend getting a specific Vitamin D supplement to take in addition to the Multi to enhance the benefits you’ll receive. You may even be motivated to exercise when you normally wouldn’t be!
  5. Take your Time- Take advantage and use it as an excuse to slow down, spend more time cooking, reading, sleeping, and spending time with loved ones. Winter is a perfect time to reset and invest in self care. Whether that manifests in investing in a massage for yourself, or sleeping in until noon on the weekend, it’s important to take the time when you have it and when your body craves it.
  6. Try Something New- Try a new form exercise:  switch it up! If you normally run outside, try running on the treadmill inside. Don’t like the treadmill? (I don’t) Try a spin, Zumba, or Yoga class. Lots of studios have specials around the new year/ in the winter so check out a different form of exercise. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite way to stay fit!

 

Which steps can incorporate into your life? Do you already take some of these steps to get through the winter healthy and happy?

 

Be Well!

-Anne

 

Coffee: Is it worth it?

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Coffee: the most used drug in our society.

Yea, that’s right. Drug. It is. Caffeine alters your state of mind for better or worse.

Caffeine pumps adrenaline into the body and gets the adrenal glands working in a way they’re not supposed to. The adrenals are responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is a hormone that affects everything from blood sugar to metabolism. Adrenaline equals energy. Caffeine is a stressor to the adrenal glands so instead of releasing adrenaline, it activates cortisol; the fight or flight response. Now, the adrenals are just trying to keep everything “normal”but caffeine throws a wrench in things.

Let’s set one thing straight: I drink coffee. I drink coffee almost every day. I love my French Press. I love sipping a warm cup o’ joe while I wake up or while I catch up with an old friend. It’s sacred time for me.

BUT 

I drink only one cup a day (in a ginormous mug), in the morning, and then I switch to herbal tea. I am not dependent on coffee. I have gotten my intake down this low with lots of withdrawal and hard work. I try to only drink coffee when I want it. I could want it for comforting reason, because my boyfriend already made some, or because maybe I actually think I need it. But if I’ve made it through the first four hours of my day without a cup, I don’t drink any that day. I don’t need it.

The average American drinks 3.5 cups of coffee/day and a lot of the time it’s not just the coffee. It’s the coffee, plus cream, plus sugar, plus whipped cream… that’s when it gets out of hand. That’s when coffee becomes unhealthy: when it’s too much, too often, and too many calories. You’re dependent on coffee. You NEED it to get through your day. Not good.

The health benefits for coffee are controversial.

The Good:

  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients that help stabilize free radicals in the body
  • Assists Vitamin C assimilation
  • Slow tumor growth

The Bad: 

  • Adrenal fatigue (key to a healthy immune system & thyroid function)
  • Insomnia
  • Addiction
  • Liver, Bladder, and Intestinal Issues

 

Everyone is different. You should look at your relationship with coffee and think about if it is a good one. If you get tired after drinking coffee, have insomnia, or can’t eliminate in the morning without it, you probably need to reevaluate.

That’s what I did. I didn’t go cold turkey. I’m not crazy. I started with not drinking it first thing in the morning and drinking a big glass of warm water with lemon instead. This helps stimulate liver function, boosts metabolism, and curbs cravings. After an hour, or more, I would have my coffee. If I felt like I needed more later on in the day I would get myself green tea instead.

Eventually I stopped feeling like I NEEDED coffee every morning and would forget about it. I’ve noticed that I am more alert and don’t need it much at all anymore. Sometimes I’ll make a full french press and I’ll drink a few sips and be good. Which is can be wasteful but, not to worry, I just pop the french press in the fridge and have cold brew the next morning if I want it! Or my boyfriend just drinks it. That’s more likely.

Moral of the story: 

Coffee is worth it if you don’t turn into a crazy person if you don’t have it. If you’re grumpy and not yourself unless you have a cup of coffee, probably not worth it. Experiment! Our bodies are awesome science experiments!

Everyone is different. I’m not going to tell you all that you shouldn’t drink it or else you’ll die!!! That’s just not realistic. I truly believe that everything can be enjoyed in moderation.

Next time I’ll tell you about some fun upgraded coffee concoctions I’ve been trying lately!

Until next time-

Anne