Updated on July 15, 2016
Life is a whirlwind! Always changing, speeding up, then slowing down….then inevitably speeding right back up again! It’s exhausting! In the midst of this glorious chaos, do you ever feel like you need some time to check out and get pampered? That sounds wonderfully luxurious doesn’t it? Well, I’ve got some good news for you, it’s just within your reach and you don’t even need to leave your home and nor spend a fortune (#winnning ).
I’m sharing some of my favorite “go-to’s” for when I need to get some spa-laxation at home. I hope you’ll give these a try!
1) Quiet time – I can be quite the energizer bunny when I want to be. Between running errands & chores, parenting, working out, and building my health coaching and Beautycounter businesses, I can get myself worked up into a serious self-induced tizzy. Often times this causes me to unnecessarily stress myself out. It’s not a good look…Can you relate? When I get into this state I know how important it is for me to take a time out and just a few minutes can do the trick to help me hit the reset button. Typically when my son takes his afternoon nap, I jam in as many things as I can off my to-do list at home, tackling laundry, tidying up, answering emails, etc. More recently, after a friend of mine (who is a mother with two young children) reminded me that parenting is a truly 24 hour job, I realized that it was ok to use some of my son’s nap time to have some quiet time for myself even if it means simply sitting down and flipping through a magazine or spending 10 minutes in quiet meditation. Being that I am a stay-at home mom, I have the luxury of this built in time during the day and can use it when I need to. Of course, I fully recognize that not everyone’s day or life is like this. Some other moments where you may be able to take some time to yourself is during your bath/shower time and before you go to bed. Take the time. You need it and you DESERVE it.
2) Yoga– My relationship with my yoga practice is always changing. I find that certain times of my life allow for more dedication, formal classes at a studio, and regular practice. But lately, I’ve found that less is sometimes more (or honestly all I can squeeze in) and a few sun salutations will really bring me back down to earth. If that’s not in the cards for me I’ll do some light stretching on the floor and rest in a few poses for as long as it feels good. Some favorites include “legs up the wall” and “child’s pose.” Both are truly restorative.
3) Mask & Scrub – Out with old and in with the new. Skin, that is! There’s no reason why you can’t give yourself a great facial or body treatment at home. Sure it’s not EXACTLY the same as having an esthetician perform the service but I can assure you that if you use great products during your “quiet time” you can reap the benefits all on your own. If you are short on time, combine your mask and scrub experience in the tub! Right now, I’m loving the charcoal mask by Beautycounter and use that weekly. It’s awesome at drawing out impurities in your skin and has a cooling peppermint feel. For my scrub, the Beautycounter Lustro Body Scrub is divine. Truly, it smells like heaven in a jar. Nothing feels better than scrubbing off the day with this citrus smelling scrub and the silky smooth feeling you get afterwards!
To shop these items click here.
4) Soothing sippers– I often drink tea several times a day depending on my mood or need for a pick me up. Sometimes a cup of tea is just what you need to satisfy or calm you during an anxious moment. Personally, I don’t discriminate on most of my teas but just like produce, it’s good to look for organic teas when possible. I love the brand Aloha! Also, be aware of caffeine. For those who are easily made anxious, caffeine can hurt you more than help you.
In the evening sometimes a “sleepy” time tea will do. Something with chamomile or valerian root will help me settle into a calm state of mind. But, If I’m feeling particularly stressed I love to mix up a glass of Natural Calm. Natural Calm is magnesium supplement that helps to balance out your magnesium and calcium balance and provides a natural assistance for stress relief. I love the raspberry-lemon flavor and it’s delicious both hot and cold. You can learn more Natural Calm by clicking here!
5) Aromatherapy – Essential oils became a part of my life in the last few months thanks to a fellow health coach, Julie Sanella. Julie introduced me to the many benefits of essential oils and I soon I began diffusing essential oils in my bedroom in the late afternoon and early evening. Certain oils have healing properties but for me a simple lavender scent really does the trick. Then I met “Peace” an oil blend made by Doterra. My first whiff of the scent immediately gave me a feeling of PEACE and so for me, diffusing this oil in my bedroom in the evening is such a treat and really calms me down for a restful night.
* Please remember that herbs, supplements, and oils can sometimes interact with medications and are not always safe depending on a specific health conditions, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. Pay particular attention to what is or isn’t safe for children. Always educate yourself first and consult your physician to be on the safe side.
Now that you’ve read some of my favorite spa-laxing tips and tricks, I hope you’ll take sometime for yourself to try some of them! If you want to super stack these for an ultimate R&R session then try these tips one evening as a relaxation routine:
1) First, diffuse some soothing essential oils in your bedroom and set the tone for the evening.
2) Next, draw a warm bath.
3) While you prepare your tub, in the privacy of your bedroom/ bathroom, stretch or practice an easy yoga flow.
4) Apply a mask then enjoy a nice loooooong soak.
5) Try a body scrub using circular motions and moving upwards towards your heart.
6) Dry off and moisturize.
7) Get ready for bed, sip on something soothing and snuggle up
When it is time for your child to start trying new foods you may be wondering what happens beyond air puffed snacks and rice cereal. You’ll Google, you’ll read, and you’ll likely get a ton of unsolicited advice from people about what your child should be eating and how much. It’s important to recognize that all children are unique and what works for one child may certainly not work for another. That being said I’ve developed some helpful “do’s and don’ts” that I believe can help children explore food in a way that’s healthy, exciting, and what it should be—an experience.
Recommended Do’s & Don’ts:
- Do test for allergy or intolerance. Keep a journal in your kitchen when your baby first starts trying solids. Write down the date that they try a new food and do that for roughly 3-4 days. Offer a little each day into your child’s mouth, even if they don’t scarf it down. Allow for them to get that exposure and then watch for any signs of allergy or intolerance such as rash or upset stomach. It’s important to speak with your pediatrician about when to introduce common allergy foods such as eggs and peanuts as some foods may cause serious reactions. Also important, no honey for babies before age 1.
- Don’t assume your child won’t like something. I think this is the biggest mistake we can make as parents. Just because YOU don’t like something doesn’t mean your child won’t like it. Allow them to figure that out for themselves. For example, a super nutritious food like broccoli may not be your thing but your kid may enjoy it! Don’t turn them off to something just because it’s not your favorite.
- Do say “Ok” when your child wants to try something new. I’ve gotten plenty of funny looks when my son eats seaweed paper or pickled ginger. The thing is, he wanted to try it and I said “ok”. The truth is, why not? We must allow children to explore taste and flavor just as they do through play. It is part of the human experience!
- Do offer things multiple times in different varieties. All too often parents assume that after one failed attempt it’s over for that new food. A wrinkled face and spitting out food followed by a “yuck” shouldn’t mean that that food is out forever; try cooking the food a different way and offering it again a few days later.
- Don’t OVER glorify goodies and treats. We’ve made such a big deal about cake and ice cream that it’s become this magical meal in the eyes of many children. Of course, you would be hard pressed to find a human being on this planet who doesn’t love a decadent desert but it’s important to set healthy habits regarding dessert when children are young. If we treat these things as the ultimate reward then they may start think they “need” this food as part of their normal diet. With childhood obesity rates on the rise, this is something absolutely within our control. It’s our job as parents to teach our children about how we can enjoy treats from time to time and that a healthy diet involves balance and awareness of the power of food (both good and bad). Even better, we are fortunate that there are company’s creating healthier snacks and cookies that parents can feel good about.
- Do talk about healthy foods from the start. This is a fun one! Talk about the amazing properties of food with your kiddos. This can be a great way for you to enhance your own knowledge of the nutritious benefits of different foods and their incredible properties. I’m not saying you need to get super scientific here but simply share the information with your toddlers. It will stick and it’s never too early to help them appreciate the healing powers of nutritious cuisine.
- Lastly, Do get creative. From teething to tummy aches, there will be some times where your munchkin is just not in the mood and peanut butter crackers are all that he or she may want. Recognize that as frustrating as this is, it likely a temporary phase and you’ll have to work around it. A great way to do this is to use other foods as a vehicle for superfoods. For example, you can get a lot of fruits and veggies into a power packed smoothie or oatmeal bowl. Chat with other moms for support, they’ll be your best bet for finding great tips for sneaking in broccoli and kale when the little one is suddenly boycotting dinner!
If you haven’t jumped on the protein ball bandwagon, please join me! PS- These plant-based poppers are gluten-free.
For years, I’ve loved the concept of raw and healthy snacks that you can easily whip up at home. From time to time I’ll throw together a mixture or try some of the other amazing recipes out in the google-sphere.
Today, was one of those days where I just felt like a cookie. You know what I mean?
For most of us, it’s typical around the post-lunch lull to want something like this. I often sip a hot green tea and nibble on some of my favorite Alter Eco Blackout chocolate. Today I recalled a great post on aloha.com that was recently shared on their website. That got me thinking I ought to whip up some protein balls to cure my cookie craving. I’ve been loving the chocolate Aloha plant-based protein powder in my smoothies and so it was destined to appear in this afternoon’s creation (I get a protein supply mailed to me directly from the company that comes in handy single-serve packets which means I’ve always got it on hand).
Here’s how you can throw together these scrumptious chocolate protein poppers!
Mix the following dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl:
- 1 cup gluten-free quick oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 single pack of Aloha Chocolate Protein
- 1/4 cup Hemp Hearts (I used Manitoba Harvest)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Then mix in:
- 1/3 cup of 100% pure organic maple syrup
- 1/2 cup Justin’s almond butter (I used maple almond which I keep refridgerated)
- and throw in a handful of dark chocolate chips!
Stir well, but let’s be honest…I got right in there! I worked the mixture with clean hands into a well-mixed dough and got to rollin’. I rolled roughly 10-12 balls and put them on a plate in a fridge for 20 min.
20 minutes later… Cookie fix taken care of! Even my little guy liked them! You can try this for yourself or get creative and see what you can come up with. Have a little fun and share your creation with me on Instagram by taking a photo and tagging @mindbodybespoke!
If you have unfortunately come down with a brutal winter cold, flu, or infection– first, I am so sorry! It’s terrible! Good news is, you can use this as motivation to get yourself into a health focused mindset, use food to heal, and start focusing on healthier living going forward!
Kicking off 2016 with a new guest post, my friend Nicole Cleary gives us the scoop on getting started at Pure Barre!
Hello fit friends! My name is Nicole and Iʼm a Pure Barre instructor at Pure Barre in Bronxville, New York. I am also the Studio Coordinator. Iʼm here today to share the inside scoop on Pure Barre for beginners!
Moving to a new area? Looking to try a new gym? Iʼm sure a lot of us can relate to these situations. I found Pure Barre when I moved to Eastchester, New York in August of 2014, right before my wedding. I wanted something different and searched for low impact activity because I had hurt my knee in the spring. Pure Barre was just opening in Bronxville (which was a few minutes away) so I bought the New Client Special. After that first class I was left with a million different thoughts and feelings– Beginning with, “Wow, why was that so hard?!” I was a dancer all my life and fitness enthusiast after all! Well, let me tell you none of that matters at your first Pure Barre class. Whether you have prior experience or none at all, you will still start as a beginner, and thatʼs okay! I can guarantee you, youʼve never tried a workout like Pure Barre before. Listen to that little voice and step out of your comfort zone. Give Pure Barre a try with these helpful hints!
1. The beginning: Set a goal–The class is challenging. You begin on the floor doing Pilates inspired moves, there is a 90 second plank and weight work. The weights may be light (2, 3 and 5 lb.) but the moves will exhaust your muscles. Maybe your goal will be to get your form perfect in tricep extension before choosing to pick up weights. The next time you come your goal may be to hold your plank 5 seconds longer than you did last time. Eventually, making it the whole 90 seconds on your toes! Think about smaller goals overall so the whole class doesnʼt seem like a long, tiring 55 minutes. It can be fun with small goals!
2. The middle: Find your working zone–Three thigh sprints come after warm-up. These will engage the top of your thigh, as well as the inner and outer thigh. You want to find the point where your muscle shakes. Thatʼs when the change happens! Beautifully sculpted, lean thighs are in reach my friends. It may be difficult to feel the thighs engaged if you are not in correct form. As an instructor, we come over to adjust and help you find your deepest working zone but you should be able to feel it on your own after coming to a few classes! Here is the thigh position called “Chair.”
3. The climax: Contract your seat muscles–During seat work in Pure Barre, you are in two positions. One of them is a “turned out” position, which works your side seat and outer hip. The other is “parallel” where your hips are squared off and you are working the base of your seat. We like to call that your “Pure Barre Ledge.” Sounds prettier than butt, right? 🙂 It is hard to sometimes find the working zone and contract these muscles around the seat. Always look in the mirror to see your form and make sure your hips are tucked under. When you work against your tucked hips, you can get deeper into the muscle contractions. The more you come, the more you will continue to push yourself and find your best form.
4. The end: Rounding through your abs–You made it! Almost at the end! Arenʼt you sad? Well, we still have some work to go ladies! Underneath the barre, you work your abs in two different sections. Again, this is not your typical ab work so it can sometimes feel like the work is coming from your legs or arms. First, you create a “C” curve with the spine and there are slow movements in the abs here with a relaxing song playing. You want to continuously keep your abs in tight and pressing down toward the mat. Second, there is an upbeat song playing and your black is completely flat against the wall. You may not be rounding your abs here, but you still want to contract the abs against the wall so you feel this work. There is an abs series at the end as well in the center of the room, where once again we will remind you to round your waistband down toward the mat. Beginnerʼs tip: Using a ball behind your back can help relieve tension as you work!
Remember, Pure Barre is fun! Even though it is challenging, your teacher is there to support and encourage you. We want you to modify exercises if you donʼt feel ready to try them, that is why we are always walking around and checking out everyoneʼs form (and ledges! :)) Now that you have a nice understanding of how the class is laid out, you should come and try it! Scaling back workouts is all apart of the learning process so donʼt feel frustrated at first if you didnʼt stay in every move for all the counts. Our community of women (and a few men!) is so strong and inspiring, you can just feel the energy in the room. That is one of the main reasons I would encourage you to try Pure Barre. It is a place to come where you can challenge yourself for 55 minutes and forget everything going on in the outside world. Sometimes, itʼs just what you need to do for yourself.
To try a Pure Barre class at a location near you, please visit www.purebarre.com.
To try a class at Pure Barre Bronxville with Nicole or any of the other outstanding teachers please visit http://purebarre.com/ny-bronxville/.
Pure Barre Bronxville is offers a “New Client” special where you can take unlimited classes for an entire month for just $99 as well as a “Extended New Client” for 9 weeks of classes for $199 (valid through January).
Out with the old and in with the new! Can you believe I’m writing a post about this during the holidays?? Crazy, I know. Who talks about resolutions before January 1st?
Ok, listen up. Let this holiday season MOTIVATE you and propel you into the New Year with guns blazin’. You must have a “take no prisoners attitude” this year if you are yet again setting a “get healthy” resolution. Why am I saying this? Because chances are you are coming back to some of the same resolutions as you’ve set in the past (maybe more than once). Now, I don’t want us to get hung up on why those past resolutions didn’t stick– that’s counter-productive. We need to forge ahead and focus on the new goal you have in mind and how you will get there.
Here are some solutions to staying the course on your journey to your health-focused resolution:
- Shout it out! Let your family, friends, co-workers, Facebook pals, whomever, know about your goal. Own it completely and show confidence in your desire to make self-improvements. By announcing your resolution to others, you’ll likely get a lot more support than trying to keep it to yourself and do it alone. There is no reason be alone in working on your resolution. The more positive encouragement around you, the more likely you will be to stick to it and succeed.
- Write it down. Everywhere. In your phone, on your iPad, on your work calendar, on a post-it on your fridge, have that goal all around you. This will serve to remind you that you are on a mission.
- Make a plan. This is the tricky one. We can all say we want to “do” something” but if we don’t plan HOW we will do it, it’s a lot less likely to happen. Scheduling time to work on your goal is essential for your success. I suggest using a few quiet minutes on a Sunday to map out your workouts or fitness classes. Put them in your phone as you would a business meeting. Don’t miss a meeting with yourself, you are too important to cancel on.
- Be accountable. The familiar quote: “The most important relationship you have is with yourself” is the meat and potatoes of self-accountability. By setting a resolution and making plans to work it, you are essentially making a promise to yourself. Keep your promise and when you find that you’re not sticking to it, own up to it, and the most importantly, REFLECT and RESTART. Do not let a missed workout or a bad meal, or even a bad day, stop you from getting right back at it. You are allowed to give yourself a second chance, you are human after all.
- Celebrate victories! Pat yourself on the back, clap for yourself, whatever you need to do to celebrate, do it! Find HEALTHY ways to treat yourself after a great week of working on your goal/resolution. Some ideas would be to have dinner out one night a week, treat yourself to a spa pedicure or sports massage, or purchase yourself a new piece of workout gear that you want to add to your growing collection!
So now that we’ve covered some tips on how to really commit to your resolution, what do you say? Are you ready for 2016? Don’t wait until January 1st– start RIGHT NOW.
Need help? Working with a Health Coach is that extra support that may be exactly what you need to keep your eyes on the prize. I can help keep you motivated and accountable. Please email me at [email protected] to set up your consultation!
Paradise in Paradise…or 5 Ways Yoga Retreats Change Your Life by Melinda Abbott
Since 2012, I have traveled to study, teach and lead Yoga retreats in some of the most stunning natural beauty the world has to offer.
While practicing and teaching yoga, I have rediscovered what is wonderful, beautiful and awe-inspiring about life. I cannot express how transformative this has been. Make sure you read all five.
- We need eye candy! Nature is beautiful. We as city dwellers need nature. We need oceans, dirt, trees, flowers, plants, birds and all manner of living things to remind us of how perfect the natural world is, and how blessed we are to be able to enjoy it. Nicaragua is a great place to go to see abundant, vibrant nature. My next retreat, April 22-28th 2016, is in Nicaragua. J What are you waiting for? www.triptribe.com/melindaabbott
- Retreats chill you out! Actions that are selfless generally produce better outcomes than actions that are selfish. This is because with every action we are creating and projecting our world. If we create and project a world where we are kind, compassionate, selfless and thoughtful, we suffer less. We are rewarded with experiences of peace, feelings of love and a bountiful stream of blessings, prosperity and feelings of unity rather than feelings of division, manipulation or guarded self protection. This takes practice, patience and the right atmosphere. We are often up against social norms that tell us how great it is to succeed at the expense of others, and how being nasty, spiteful, vengeful and selfish is empowering, and being kind and of service to others is weak and leaves us open to pain and hurt. This shift poses a question only you can answer: Do you feel good around people who are mean, nasty, self-serving and seeking only power, revenge and control? Or do you feel good around people who are kind, thoughtful and generous?
- Yoga is awesome! Teaching and practicing yoga is a noble, humble and honorable pursuit. Sometimes in the competitive, high stress world of winner-take-all and survival-of-the-fittest, we forget that there is more to life than being “the best” or “the only” or “elite”…What about the space to enable peace and tranquility? How about providing relief from tension, pain, chronic agitation and worry? What about engaging not only the physical body, but the emotional, spiritual and energy body as well?
- We let our imagined limitations control us! What we seek, I believe, is control over the mind. We often take a circuitous route to control the mind by first attempting to control the body. We may live in a state of subtle or very obvious chaos, where whirlwinds, discomfort, dis-ease and often irrational thoughts of likes/dislikes/preferences only serve to limit us. Imagine for a moment if there were no concept such as “I am just not a morning person” or “I could never do that pose, it’s too hard for me” or “Yoga and I just don’t mix, I don’t have the time, and it’s too far away, too expensive, too scary” etc, etc…Think of all you could accomplish if you didn’t buy into that!
- We need support! We can’t do it alone, usually. I was fortunate to meet a new lifelong friend, runner, yogi, professor and just beautiful person. We met almost every day for a 5:30am run in the spectacular hills and countryside of Costa Rica prior to our schedule of asana practice and lectures. Imagine if I confined myself to my perceived limitations! I didn’t even bring “running sneakers”…I made it work because I wanted it to happen. A tranquil run through the countryside alongside an inspiring and amazing person is just too incredible of an opportunity to miss! And guess what? My mind said “don’t run, sleep in today…sleep, so nice…” I learned to discern what mental messages nudged me further towards who I want to become, and what messages kept me grounded in limitations. And I harnessed the power to choose. You can do the same.
Below is a link to an excellent article about the science of addiction. You don’t have to abuse drugs or alcohol to relate to having habits which we cannot seem to break, or tendencies that we wish we could overcome. It is a short read, with a wonderfully concise summary of how the breath can stimulate the relaxation response via the practice of yoga. I recommend it.
So when are you signing up for your next retreat? Because you CAN change, all you have to do is move towards it. Join us April 22-28th at Buena Vista Surf Club, in Playa Maderas, Nicaragua for a week of amazing transformation. $195 is all you need for a deposit. Click www.triptribe.com/melindaabbott to get started. See you there!
Melinda Abbott is a Yoga teacher, health educator and all around nice person living and smiling in NYC. She is excited to lead her fifth Yoga retreat to Nicaragua April 2016. She is an Adjunct at Hostos Community College, CUNY and a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves any and all cute animals and making people feel good and excited about transformation. Find her on instagram @melindababbott, and her website, www.melindababbott.com
Guest Blogger, Dr. Jordan Wolff of Sutton Place Chiropractic shares the benefits of chiropractic care for all of us– including pregnant women!
Many people think that true health just means feeling good and not having any symptoms. The truth is that health is not how your body feels, but it is how your body heals. Your body is constantly changing and adapting to your external environment, and everyday you either get a little stronger or a little weaker. In order to make sure you are getting stronger each day, you must have a clear connection in the nerves between your brain and all parts of your body. In order to make sure you have this clear brain-body connection and grow stronger each day, you need an optimally aligned and functioning spine. This allows you to adapt to stressors in your daily life more efficiently so they do not build up in your nervous system and cause problems. Chiropractors specialize in helping you to maintain your optimal spinal and nervous system alignment and function to have an optimally functioning body so that you can keep moving toward being your absolute best.
Sutton Place Chiropractic (300 East 57th, New York, NY 10022)
Sutton Place Chiropractic is not your average Chiropractic office; we are a holistic office, which means we treat your body as a whole. We are not only concerned with the symptoms you are coming in with, but we strive to improve how your entire body is functioning. We do this by using the most advanced techniques in chiropractic including Applied Kinesiology, which is only done by a few doctors in the city. What is special about Applied Kinesiology is that not only do we make sure your spine is in the proper alignment and the nerves are functioning optimally, but we also balance all the muscles in the body using a very specific muscle testing and balancing system. This is only one of the many Chiropractic techniques that we use in addition to other therapeutic techniques that allow us to treat a wide range of patients from newborns to geriatrics. Getting adjusted is safe, effective, and feels amazing, and we pride ourselves on being specific, gentle, and delicate in our office.
Pregnancy and Chiropractic
Besides being pediatric specialists, we take care of many new moms during pregnancy and after the delivery. Many pregnant woman experience lower back pain and leg pain during pregnancy from carrying around the extra weight. Keeping your low back and hips in alignment not only helps keep you feeling good, but also keeps your pelvis in alignment for a less problematic and smoother delivery. It is important to keep your body functioning at its optimum because you have another human being developing within your body, and all the amazing processes that are going on are controlled through your nervous system. Many pregnant moms always tell us how much better they feel after being adjusted, and that they wished they knew about the benefits of Chiropractic sooner!
Dr. Jordan Wolff Dr. Jordan Wolff received his first Chiropractic adjustment on the day he was born from his father, Dr. Michael Wolff. Growing up, Dr. Jordan watched his father bring joy to people’s lives by helping them to reach their full health potential through Chiropractic. Dr. Jordan graduated from University of Vermont, receiving a Bachelor of Arts & Science degree, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Music. After college, he earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree at Life University in Atlanta, GA. During his time at Chiropractic school, Dr. Jordan was the president of his class and was honored to be on staff with a world-renowned Chiropractor, teaching adjusting techniques to students and doctors. Also, during his time at Life University, Dr. Jordan and Dr. Mike served together on a Chiropractic mission trip in the Dominican Republic. They were part of a team of Chiropractors providing care to thousands of people. Dr. Jordan is proficient in some of the most advanced techniques in Chiropractic, including Upper Cervical, Applied Kinesiology, Sacro-Occipital Technique, Diversified, Toggle Recoil, Network, Bio Geometric Integration, and Activator. He also specializes in Pregnancy and Pediatric Care.
Dr. Jordan also speaks about many topics in health and wellness at places all over the city including corporate offices, gyms, and schools. He is available to speak and loves spreading the word about living a healthy life.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Jordan or to learn more about Sutton Place Chiropractic, please visit www.suttonplacechiropractic.com
I get it. Social media isn’t for everyone. However, in today’s tech driven world, social media can be so much more than reading about celebrity news, new apps, or looking at pictures of someone’s new puppy or baby (guilty of this on about 1000 levels). Have you considered using Instagram to help you get healthy and improve your fitness?
If you are getting to that place where you’ve hit a wall and you know it’s time to make a change in your life with regards to your health, I strongly encourage you to explore the health and wellness space that’s incredibly abundant on Instagram. Especially, but not only, if you are on a weight loss journey. Now, just like with anything you read or see on TV, you’ll need to be a smart consumer, take things with a grain of salt, and be critical of what you see and read. There are many people out there from trainers to nutritionists that are wonderfully qualified. There are doctors, TV hosts, instructors, bloggers, health coaches, and a whole heck of a lot of fitness and health loving people on Instagram. Being critical here only means thinking carefully about how advice, workouts, or products recommended may fit into your life. Of course, a smart consumer, particularly someone with a medical condition or who takes medication regularly, should ALWAYS check with their medical doctor before implementing something new into their life.
So, what exactly am I saying here?
I’m saying this — There are some insanely amazing accounts out there for you to follow that will provide you inspiration, motivation, and education. You can use Instagram in your journey to getting healthier, stronger, smarter, and feeling positive about yourself. Here’s how:
- Create your own account (if you don’t have one already). You can create an additional account solely focused on your goals or use your current one.
- Start following health, fitness, nutrition and wellness related accounts. You’ll find there are a ton of fabulous accounts by well-known trainers, chefs, and gurus galore. Try searching different hashtags such as #fitfam, #fitspo, #eatclean.
- Track your progress. Be bold and confident– take selfies!
- Gain support & make friends. I love this about Instagram. There are so many positive people out there giving kudos and love to each other for their hard work. If someone negative comments—block ‘em! There’s no room for that in the #fitfam !
- Learn! Your journey will only get more enhanced by the information you get from the accounts you follow. You may find a great recipe or workout tip that fits easily into your life.
Lastly, please join me on my Instagram account if you aren’t already a follower.
I am often connecting with other great accounts and you can easily link to them from many of my postings! I’m always looking to educate, inspire, and motivate my followers. I’m always real which means you get the real deal ;0)
If you are looking for more one-on-one support, personalized health and wellness coaching may be perfect for you. I occasionally offer free consultations so make sure you look out for those. Otherwise, you can always contact me to schedule a consult in person (NY/NYC/CT area) or online through FaceTime!
Guest Post: Alexandra Hynes of “The Hitch List” shares some health-focused vacation spots for your next getaway!
Like just about every other couple, my fiancé and I have a hard time slowing down and checking out. We jump at the chance to travel, even if work is involved, because it means we’ll steal time away from email and for an adventure. The best vacations to me, no matter how brief, combine beautiful scenery with great food and healthy activities.
Here are four locations we’ve traveled to this past year that led to total mind-body relaxation. Some are easier on the wallet than others, but all are worth every penny and so memorable that you don’t need more than a few nights to reap all of the benefits.
1. BIG SUR:
In a word, Big Sur is majestic. The views. The winding roads. The deep, deep blue ocean visible from nearly every corner. The dramatic heights. And you have to love a place that still doesn’t have good cell service; it’s the perfect way to have an interrupted getaway.
SLEEP: We stayed at Ventana Inn & Spa, which is a stunning cliff-top garden oasis overlooking the ocean. The room was one of the best I’ve stayed in, the definition of rustic luxury. It also has tons of winding pathways meaning a walk or hike is built into breakfast, pooltime, and wine tasting. Deer and wildflowers are in abundance.
EAT: Big Sur Bakery was incredible for a chill outdoor lunch with enormous sandwiches and salads.
MOVE: We hiked through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park with 3,000 foot ridges and redwood trees. You could get lost all day in here. I loved it.
SLEEP: This surf town is the perfect balance of chill and active. We stayed at Harmony Hotel which blew me away! It is full of lush, winding paths lined by soaring Palm trees, most with monkeys howling from them. Each room comes with its own patio, complete with a hammock and outdoor shower.
EAT: It’s not all that often that I’ll opt to eat at a hotel over local restaurants, but to be totally honest, Harmony is where it’s at in Nosara. It has the freshest food in town. Its juice bar is incredible, made all the better but it’s shady thatched roof, and its sushi and fish entrees were addictive.
MOVE: It’s hard to choose just one, so here are two! Harmony has a fully programmed yoga studio overlooking a lily pond. Even the inflexible anti-yoga is bound to fall in love with it; it really is that pretty. Nosara is also a known and loved surf spot, which is what drew us to the area. The waves are challenging for advanced surfers and gentle enough for beginner surfers. We booked lessons with a local legend named Pio. He was intense and fierce, but his technique guaranteed improvement.
Being from Boston, I have a soft spot for Nantucket and find it impossible to leave once I get on its island clock. We recently went for a 2-night vacation in September and I highly recommend visiting this time of year when the droves of tourists clear out and those more in the know hang in.
SLEEP: We stayed at the White Elephant Residences. I like these much more than the famed main hotel- they are much airier, modern and chic.
EAT: Our favorite spot by far was Nautilus, with modern Asian fusion and fresh New England seafood. Asian food is certainly not the first thing you’d think of on Nantucket but holy. It is unreal with big bold flavors and surprising combinations like corn with nori. Most of the vegetables are sourced from the island’s Bartlett’s Farm and it shows.
MOVE: We biked from our hotel in town to trails in Madaket, then did a 5-mile run through trails and to the beach, and then biked home. It was a perfect way to see some of the island’s outer beaches and marshes.
4. BEAVER CREEK
I’m very partial to this one since it is the destination of choice for our wedding this April!
SLEEP: My two favorite hotels out there are The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, nestled in its own mountain ridge, and The Park Hyatt, right in town. Both are ski-in and ski-out gems. Booking before ski season can deliver rates at 35% off.
EAT: I love Beanos Cabin. You take a sleigh up to the restaurant, which in and of itself is magical, but then you’re treated to an amazing five-course meal. It is not cheap but it is worthwhile, especially for special occasions. We went as a Christmas gift to one another.
MOVE: Skiing or snowboarding! Until I skied out west I had no idea that skiing could be such a cardio workout, particularly if you do moguls. Also, you work such different muscles that it’s very easy to justify springing for a massage. The Park Hyatt tends to be my go-to choice.
She dreamed up The Hitch List after she got engaged last fall and launched it shortly after in June 2015. Having been a bridesmaid, maid of honor or wedding guest about 45 times, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that weddings were a topic that sparked immediate conversation, creativity and generosity. She also realized one would be hard pressed to find a married person, bride or groom, who did not want to tell you every detail about his or her wedding… she even noticed mothers, and yes, even fathers of brides and grooms, loved telling her how the wedding planner saved them money, the chef made the best filet ever, or the band played well over their 4-hour contract.
Thus, The Hitch List is a place that makes these very kinds of conversation limitless and effortless; it channels how happily and freely people want to share information about one of the most important days of their lives, and in doing so, Alexandra hopes to make the wedding planning process a whole lot easier and more fun!
Maybe you were picked last for capture the flag. Maybe you hated changing into your dreaded gym uniform. Maybe it was performing pull-ups while the ENTIRE class watched. Or, perhaps it was that one kid –a bully — who launched a foam dodgeball at your face when you were tying your laces. Sadly, we can all most certainly remember a moment from our Physical Education experience that wasn’t pleasant. **I promise to share my thoughts in a future post on how the world of physical education pedagogy is changing (thanks goodness!). For now, I’m wondering if some of you are struggling to take a group fitness class, join a recreational team, or simply start working out because you are holding on to a fear of embarassement or bad memory from your early years?
If the answer is “yes”, then let’s take a few minutes to talk about why you simply need to let go and how to do just that.
As we all know, holding onto things, especially traumatic events, never does anyone any good. Eventually, the issue will resurface and rear it’s ugly head in some way. Time and time again that fear can hold us back from participating in social and health-focused events, even fundraisers or charity events that we’d like to be a part of simply because we don’t feel “ready” or fit enough to participate. Now, as gently as I can say this — If you truly desire to become a more active, healthy, and fit human being, you’re going to have to get over it. I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s time to take a deep breath, let it out, and give yourself new start. Leave the memory or fear behind you — start fresh!
Here are some thoughts to help you get started.
- It’s ok to be a beginner. We all must start somewhere. There will only be one time in a fitness class that is your FIRST time. No one, especially a good instructor, will expect you to know what you are doing. The best thing you can do is tell your instructor that you are new to the class. Most instructors really appreciate knowing this and they will be better able to assist you.
- Find a place that’s comfortable. Try out a few gyms, studios, or trainers and see where you feel comfortable. Look for an environment that supports “newbies”. If you are not sure where to look in your area, contact me for a consult.
- Surround yourself with supportive people.
Hang out with people who support your desire for self-improvement. These people should be positive influences and positive people. It’s great if you can find a friend or co-worker to buddy up with on a fitness journey.
- Think positively. You have no time for negative vibes if you are looking to become a CONFIDENT health-focused person. While it’s completely normal to have bad days, you mustn’t let negative moments or pessimistic people distract your from your goals. Getting a journal can help you to work out any frustrations that crop up and many are filled with positive quotes to help you along the way. You can try barnesandnoble.com for these. If you are interested specifically in running, my friends at Gone for Run make great journals!
- Keep track of your progress. Piggy backing off of the previous comment. Journaling is a nice way to keep track of your progress. Specific to weight loss and increasing fitness levels, many people find motivation by taking selfies along their journey (* you do not need to post selfies online for the world to see but some do and this helps them. Different strokes for different folks!). Photo-journaling allows one to see the physical changes as they are happening over time. This may not be for everyone but I do feel that combing these methods (personal journaling and pictures) over time does give people the ressaureance and confidence that they’re working towards.
- BONUS: Get involved! I’ve added this last one because it simply cannot be left out. There are an enormous number of incredible charitable and philanthropic fitness related events that are nothing short of AMAZING. By signing up and participating in these events, you are helping others improve their health while also working on your own goals. I have participated for many years in Cycle for Survival, an indoor cycling and fundraising event sponsored by Equinox that donates to cancer research for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This October, I am over the moon to be participating in an incredible event through Movemeant Foundation called Dare to Bare. I will be cycling with some incredible Soul Cycle instructors in the middle of Union Square in New York City. Movemeant Foundation helps young women feel confident about their bodies by empowering them with the tools they need to be active through “positive mentorship, engaging content about health, nutrition and well-being, and grants that make fitness and physical movement a reality.” To learn more about this event and/or sign up, click here.
So now that we’ve talked a little bit about letting go, what will you do to move forward?
Tips on eating healthy in college (including sample recipes!) by Maggie Russell
Hi! My name is Maggie and I’m super passionate about healthy living and healthy eating. I’ve made it my goal to make healthy eating both easy and delicious. I’m still in University and working so I know the struggle of wanting to eat well but having no time! I hope these simple recipes and tricks will help you achieve your health goals.
Being healthy and being a student is the ultimate struggle. As students, we are forced to eat at the school cafeterias, the local pizza joint, or the local burger joint and if we do eat a meal we made ourselves… well, it’s usually made with our microwave. So, what is the solution? Thankfully with the way our society is going it is actually easier and easier to eat clean. I personally have faced these challenges being allergic to gluten, dairy, and refined sugar. In my first year of college I was terrified of what I was going to eat because I knew I had to eat in the dorm cafeteria. These are some simple things I did to make my life easier:
- Buy a mini fridge, you will be amazed at how helpful it is.
- Stock the fridge with easy healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt and veggies.
- If your lucky enough to have relatives near by, USE THEIR KITCHEN! I would go on the weekend and make meals to last me for a couple days.
- Keep milk, organic granolas, and cereals as they are an easy way to have a healthy breakfast.
- When in the cafeteria, ask for simply olive oil as the dressing to everything. This way you know there’s no contamination from sauces.
After following these simple tricks I’m sure that you’ll find it easy to stay on track!
Now that I’m out of a dorm, I’ve faced a whole new problem – easy cooking and navigating the grocery store. I recently have launched my own food blog and instagram to help people who are trying to figure out how to eat healthy as well. The first step to eating clean is knowing what to buy. Recently the whole ‘eat organic’ fad has blown up but there’s more to it than just eating organic. If you are really dedicated to giving your body the best, you should also be making sure the products you are buying are GMO (genetically modified organisms ) free. This means that product was not chemically modified by humans, which surprisingly enough can happen even if a product is organic. So now that you know what your looking for, what should you actually buy? FRUIT AND VEGGIES !! If you are eating for just one, make sure you only buy a small quantity at a time otherwise they’ll go bad. Buy things like lettuce, potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchinis, carrots, etc. They are all veggies that turn into a very simple meal. As for the other stuff, stock up on chickpeas, red lentil pasta, paleo bread, chia seeds, almond spread, GF rolled oats, nuts and eggs. Obviously, you can buy what ever you want but those are my basic recommendations.
Here are some breakfast recipes I want to share including dinner ideas as well.
Over night oats: Grab a mason jar and combine one cup of oats, one cup of almond milk, some chia seeds and raspberries. Shake the jar and place in the fridge over night.
Almond milk: Place one cup of almonds in a mason jar with water over night. The next morning drain the water and rinse the almonds. Place the almonds with 3 cups of water in a blender. Blend until pulverized, then pour into a milk bag to get rid of the almond bits. To make milk flavored, simply blend the almond milk with cacao or any other flavors.
Chestnut crepes with sautéed chicken: This is a great recipe to change up the usual “boring chicken dinner.” The crepes are very simple to make. Simply combine 1 cup of chestnut flour, 1 cup of coconut milk, 2 eggs, ¼ cup of parsley and ¼ stick of melted butter. For the chicken just chop up the breast into pieces and cook them in a fry pan with onions, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Serve together.
Baked chickpea stir fry: This is one my fave meals for dinner. Simply toss your raw chickpeas with turmeric, cayenne, olive oil and salt and bake at 350 for 15 min. Combine with quinoa, wild rice or brown rice and some veggies.
Are you missing out on the glory that is The FARMERS MARKET?!
I was spoiled rotten while living in Ithaca, NY where the farmers market is totally UNREAL. Luckily, in my new spot of Bronxville I’ve been able to hit up the farmers market on a few Saturdays and have been pleasantly surprised to find some great people, produce, and postivitiy! Yeah baby!
If I sound overly enthused about this it’s because I am. The farmers market is a wonderful place and it’s more than what we often think. While I absolutely love to pick up fresh berries and dark leafy greens, it’s also a fantastic place to find unique items and gifts. During my last two trips I picked up awesome homemade spicy tomato chutney by Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, raw coconut graham crackers by Healing Home Foods, and an incredible spicy habanero ketchup by NY Chup. I’m dying to get back for some of the homemade kombucha that caught my eye as I was leaving.
It is a great place to take the kiddos because there are samples galore! Here’s my son enjoying a dairy-free avocado lime popsicle. It got ALL OVER HIM and the stroller but he was so happy I just let it go. The sun was shining and he was enjoying a health conscious treat so I was a happy mama bear.
Have you tried your local farmers market? Hit up a google search and find the closest one near you. Check out my youtube video below where I chat more about this awesome way to spend a weekend day.
Guest Post: Teaching Zumba® during Pregnancy by Eva Geier
Zumba® is a dance-based fitness workout class that is designed to be for everyone; that is, choreography and routines made simple enough that anyone at any level could follow. Granted, some people pick it up quicker than others, and it is certainly not everyone’s “thing”. But, what I love about it is that you don’t feel like you are working out – you feel like you are shakin’ it like Britney Spears (Kidding! Well, not really)! For classes I teach, I incorporate fitness (squats, lunges, abs) and dance moves in an effort to give good balance and a good workout to my participants. I want them to feel like it is a dance class but at the same time burning and toning their muscles. It is said that one can burn 500-1000 calories during a given Zumba class. That’s not so bad is it? I have worn a heart rate monitor and I average 500-600 calories per class I teach. Pretty awesome if you ask me for a workout that is FUN!
Fast forward a few years and many exciting life changes occurred. I was married in April of 2014 and almost immediately my husband and I knew we wanted to start a family. Four months later, I became pregnant in August of 2014 with a due date of May 19, 2015. I also knew, no doubt, I would continue teaching while I was pregnant. My doctors were on board with me continuing to teach, and it is often advised that anything you did before getting pregnant, you could continue with while pregnant. **Please always consult your doctor with anything fitness related in pregnancy.
Pre-pregancy, I taught Zumba with every ounce of energy and every inch of my soul that I could possibly give to each class. My husband would argue I put Zumba before him, and he may be right (kidding, but that’s how much it means to me!). I rehearsed routines for hours before each class every week, and playlists took time and creativity to put together. I wanted a good balance of high intensity dance routines with low intensity routines to catch your breath, as well as fitness and toning songs to strengthen muscles and the core. I gave the class 500% because as I was taught in training, that the more you give, the more your students will give back. If you only teach at 50%, your students will only give you back 25%. You have to really push yourself harder if you want the participants in class to pick up the intensity, as well. So that was the teaching philosophy I instilled into every class.
After getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to take the intensity down just to be safe. My doctors never said I needed to, but it was something my intuition told me to do. Pregnancy is scary, especially the beginning. I had the constant fear of miscarriage. The hardest part was trying to tone it down without sacrificing the workout my participants would get from class. Zumba is funny like that – when I, the instructor, take it down a notch, so does the class. It can take away from the energy and charisma of the room. So for that reason, I learned how to teach smarter; not harder. I always felt like I was taking it down, but my participants told me after class they could never tell!
At around 10 weeks, I just couldn’t hide it anymore, and told the class I was pregnant. This way they could understand if I wasn’t going as “full out” as they were used to. So teaching while pregnant honestly wasn’t too different from pre-pregnancy, UNTIL around 20 weeks or so. That was a huge turning point for me as I was definitely showing. It was also when I also felt my daughter move for the first time. I wanted to be safe while teaching such an intense class so I tried to watch my breathing and to pace myself. I was teaching 2 classes per week so this was manageable. At 28 weeks, I taught in a masterclass, which was an event for charity. This was an awesome time and I pushed myself. There was no doubt about that. The only thing that felt different teaching at 28 weeks was obviously the belly, and the out of breath feeling that started to happen easily and constantly. Something as simple as walking up the stairs was hard! Again, this far along, I just wanted to be mindful of my breathing while teaching and to make sure I was drinking plenty of water.
Here I am at the masterclass at 28 weeks pregnant with my pregnant twin, Vanessa, an instructor who was due on the same date as me (also with a baby girl!).
I continued to teach Zumba until I was 33 weeks pregnant. I felt about done at that point and was looking forward to the break. Teaching at almost 8.5 months with over 25 extra pounds on my body was no longer possible – it was so hard to “shake it” Zumba style with that belly! The most basic moves, like the salsa, were really hard, since those moves are almost all core and it was so hard for me to move with that belly. Definitely no more ab thrusting!
My last Zumba class at 33 weeks.
With all of that said, I truly think staying active during my pregnancy helped with labor and delivery. May 10th, Mother’s day of 2015, I went into labor, 9 days early. Labor was intensely painful but also quick. Caroline was here in 6.5 hours, and I only pushed for 6 minutes. All the nurses and doctors said working out and staying active throughout those 10 months definitely helped and contributed to my labor progressing the way it did. My epidural failed (!), so it was the most painful thing of my entire life, but I got through it and was walking immediately after delivery. And, of course, I’d do it all again!
Fast forward to 6 weeks postpartum, I felt great and was ready to get back into working out (although I started doing my own home workouts 4 weeks postpartum). At 8 weeks after Caroline’s birth, I taught my first class, and felt pretty good. The body is an amazing thing and truly has muscle memory. It was awesome not being out of breath while teaching (like I was at 33 weeks pregnant), and awesome to be able to move my abs again. Zumba involves using your core almost 100% of the time. I admit, I definitely lost some stamina about half way through, but I expected that. The next morning after teaching my entire body was sore from head to toe! It felt so good to work all those muscles again. Each week I expect to get back into my “groove” more and more. New routines will also take me more time to come up with as I am now a mom and will be heading back to work full-time this August.
So to all those who think you can’t do Zumba or workout while pregnant, that is just not the case! If you did it before you got pregnant, you can do it while you are pregnant (but as always, be sure to check with your doctor and get approval). Funny thing – my daughter loves music and being bounced constantly, so it must be from the Zumba!
A short youtube video where I share some snacking tips! Don’t let a crazy busy day derail you from your healthy eating goals. Prepare! Bring healthy options to work so that you stay on track. Questions? Email me through the contact page!