8 Reasons You Should Probably Try Meditation

CoachMeditation may not be the easiest habit to form, but it could be one of the most rewarding. Meditation has the studies behind it that prove it’s good for you to do. From personal experience, I can tell you that although it was definitely a struggle at first, meditation is something I began to look forward to. I noticed a difference in my mood, the way I reacted to work stress, as well as my general stress level. But if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out eight great reasons that studies show meditation is good for you

1. Lower your stress levels. Much like yoga, meditation helps to relax your nervous system. This helps to lower the level of cortisol in your system, and that’s a good thing. When you’re sympathetic nervous system is constantly engaged your body takes a beating. In today’s go-go-go world, it’s pretty common to live in a constant low-level stress state. Meditation gives your system a break

2. Sleep better. If you meditate before bed, it can help slow down the busyness of your mind, allowing you to fall asleep easier and stay asleep

3. Be more creative. Calming your mind, your body and your nervous system can help you focus, bringing greater clarity of thought. When you’re focused you’re freer to be more creative

4. Improve your mood. If you’re less stressed and are sleeping better, then you’re two steps closer to feeling better

5. Get a better handle on your emotions. When you meditate on a regular basis, you learn how to watch thoughts and emotions bubble up without engaging with them. This extends into your everyday life, so when you encounter life’s little obstacles, you’re less apt to react without thinking first

6. Improve your memory. Research proves that regular meditation can thicken the brain’s cerebral cortex due to increased blood flow. Learning, memory and concentration take place in the outer cortex, so meditating can help improve all three

7.Be your own fountain of youth. Every time you stress about something, cortisol is released and your body pays for it, becoming a little bit older. Lowering your cortisol level isn’t just good for your stress level, is also helps to save brain cells. High levels of cortisol can kill off those precious cells leading to cognitive issues. So in the same way it helps you better your memory, it also helps maintain the life of your brain cells and cells throughout the rest of your body

8. Increase your overall health. Better mood, healthier brain and restful sleep…it’s no wonder your overall health will improve. But that’s not all; studies also show that meditation can have a positive impact on your heart, as well as other organs throughout your body.

This is just a brief overview of some of the wonderful affects meditation can have on your body and mind. And maybe best of all—it’s free! All you need is you. So if you’d like to be calmer, happier and healthier, why not give meditation a try?

Finding Your Happy

at-home yogaHappiness

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’ve probably heard a teacher say that deep down inside we are nothing but love and happiness. I know I’ve heard that countless times, and while I always wanted to believe it, I never truly felt that in the core of my being I was a happy person. I had struggled with depression on and off for too long to feel like I was anything but a sad person fighting my way into the sunlight.

I’m not saying that I am not happy these days; I’ve worked hard to get to a place of happiness, stability and self-awareness, but there was always a part of me that felt like all of that was a fragile state. At any moment the dark chemicals in my brain would take over again and shatter the balance when I’d be least expecting it. But then I went to India.

It was a trip I didn’t necessarily want to take, it was one I felt like I had to take. I didn’t know what was in store and what I learned in those two weeks is hard to describe. But there was one day, one moment even, which changed everything.

It was the second morning of our stay at the Govardhan Eco Village. Three pilgrimage groups had come together to do sunrise yoga in a gorgeous wooden yoga shala lined with giant windows that looked out into the mountains that surrounded us. Kirtan was being sung; the sun was rising over the mountains and shining in through the windows, taking the morning chill out of the air. And there I was—in India.

In that moment, I took in the sounds, the smells and the energy. There was no work stress, no money stress, no everyday life stress—there was just love. There was music, love, support and happiness pouring out from everyone around me and filling the room. And as hippie as that may sound, I felt it wash over me and ignite every cell in my body. I was alive and completely free. I felt light and happy—completely happy. Before I knew it I was crying tears of joy. That morning and that feeling will stay with me forever.

It wasn’t until I got home and was talking about that morning that it dawned on me: I am not a sad person trying to be happy, I’m a happy person who just needed to clean the dirt off of the lens (albeit, a lot of dirt). Knowing, feeling and truly believing that there is a core of utter bliss inside me, whether or not I am able to find it on a daily basis, changed what I thought I was made of deep down. It completely changed my perspective on life.

Now, I’m not saying everyone needs to hop a plane and go spend two weeks in India. What I am saying is that, for most of us, there is something in this world that makes us truly happy, that allows us to tap into that core of love and happiness each one of us has inside. There is something out in the world that makes you feel connected and alive. There is something that will help you clean off your lens.

I encourage you to find what that is. And if you don’t know, or it takes sometime (or help) to find, know that it’s okay. It took me 35 years, several medications, various hobbies, entirely too many drinks and trips all around the world to find my inner peace. But finding it, finding my footing in this world was worth every second of the struggle.

5 Superfoods to Super Charge Your Health

SuperfoodJust like Superman, the word superfood alone makes it sound like they’re going to come in and save the day. While they may not be a magic bullet for all that ails us, they can certainly help keep us, or even get us, on a healthy track. But just what is a superfood? And why does it seem like there are always new ones being announced?

Superfoods are foods packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamin and minerals. In today’s world of fast and processed food, most Americans could stand to eat better. Adding superfoods to our diets is a great way to start.

But why do they change? Like any other fad, a superfood’s popularity comes and goes, but that doesn’t change the fact that whatever is hot at the moment (or what was hot last week) is bursting with goodness for your body. And, the even better news about superfoods is that there are a lot of them. So if broccoli makes you cringe, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Here are just a few:

Aloe Vera: You may think of aloe as your go-to for cuts and burns, but aloe’s benefits go far beyond that. Aloe Vera juice is detoxifying, full of nutrients, is packed with immune-boosting polysaccharides and has anti-inflammatory properties—just to name a few of the reasons you should run out and get some.

Bee Pollen: If you’re looking for something that is protein packed, you’ve come to the right place with bee pollen. This stuff has more amino acids than beef, eggs and chicken. It enhances energy, helps with digestion and for you allergy sufferers, local bee pollen can provide relief to seasonal allergies. And since it’s super, you can bet the benefits don’t stop there.

 Cauliflower: You may think, “meh” when you think of cauliflower, but this little unassuming veggie has a lot going on. For starters, it provides you with 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Cauliflower is a good source of vitamins B1, B1 and K. It’s got omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and biotin. Plus, since cauliflower doesn’t have a strong flavor, there’s so much you can do with it in the kitchen!

 Chlorella: If it’s green, it’s generally good for you. Why’s that? Phytonutrients for one. Chlorella, similar to spirulina, can help detox heavy metals from your body, lower cholesterol and strengthen your immune system. So yea, green is good.

 Hemp: No, we’re not talking about the stuff you wear around your neck. Hemp seeds and hemp milk are becoming quite popular and for good reason. Hemp milk is more digestible than cow milk, has omega 3’s and 6’s, it’s rich in vitamin E and helps boost your immune system. So the next time you’re sitting down for a bowl of cereal, consider trying some hemp milk.

Other superfoods include: almonds, apricot, amaranth, apples, artichoke, avocado and asparagus. And that’s just the letter A!

Interested in more guidance for living a healthy life?  Get in touch with our wellness coach here!

U.S. Navy Veteran Uses Yoga to Help Other Veterans Heal

Veteran & Yoga Instructor

Anthony Scaletta joined the U.S. Navy as part of the Special Forces as a Special Warfare Combatant Crewman between 1998-2003. Deployed two times, he spent much of his time doing missions on fast attack boats. Boats known for going fast, the repeated jarring on the waves took tole on Anthony’s body, causing him severe back pain. Still in his 20s, he didn’t start feeling the effects until a few years later. Always an athlete, “I just knew that stretching, and trying to get back into my body madeAnthony Navy me feel a little better.” And so yoga became a part of his routine to get healthy, and now he is using yoga to help other veterans.

Practicing yoga for 10 years now, it has been “ever-evolving and slowly growing.” After having a spinal fusion surgery in January 2007, he found that the metal piece in his body was hard to live with in the cold climate of his home in the Northeastern U.S. “So a year or so after the surgery, I think my yoga practice began to pick up. It became apparent it was more than just a physical aspect for me.” His favorite yoga pose, Final Resting Posture, or Savasana, usually is at the end of a yoga session, and according to Anthony, “it’s where the healing happens.”

Using Yoga to Help Other Veterans

Anthony YogaFour years or so later, Anthony became aware that he could help other veterans through the practice of yoga. Working with the Wounded Warrior Project, There And Back Again, a non-profit out of Boston, and the school he attended, Asheville Yoga Center in North Carolina, he was able to complete his yoga teacher training.

Completing his yoga teacher training at the end of October 2014, he is now a yoga teacher as of November 2014. “It’s an honor and a privilege to teach yoga to anyone…I have had the privilege to work with a few veterans that are regulars in my group classes…who had never practiced yoga before.” Now, Anthony is focusing on veteran outreach and fundraising, as the new Outreach Coordinator for the Give Back Yoga Foundation.

He is currently getting ready for an event coming up in June, with the Give Back Yoga Foundation working together with Warriors for Healing, a non-profit based in San Diego, CA. As Anthony says, “(Warriors for Healing) are bringing yoga to the military community, especially veterans with PTSD, TBI, and chronic pain.” Warriors for Healing put together a great video about Anthony here.

Yoga Journal Live! Event JUNE 25-29, 2015 in San Diego, CA

The Yoga Journal along with Warriors for Healing and Give Back Yoga Foundation are putting on a benefit event to support the recovery of 200,000 American veterans with PTSD. Funds raised will provide free trauma therapy for veterans in VA hospitals, yoga studios, and community centers nationwide. Interested in being a part of this great event? Anthony is fundraising for this event with his own team here and is also asking individuals to start up their own teams to help spread the. Join him to support this wonderful cause.

Bridging the Gap Between Veterans and Yoga

Anthony Yoga Poses

What is next for Anthony? In May, he is moving to Virginia Beach, VA, to begin a Mission Continues Fellowship serving as the Outreach Coordinator for Veterans Programs with the Give Back Yoga Foundation.  He will also be undertaking advanced studies in the Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans certification during this time.

Build a Positive Relationship With Cooking

Have you ever felt so completely into a meal that you wanted to savor each indulgent bite for ages? A meal so enriching and delectable that it it delights not only your taste buds, but your soul as well. This is the kind of experience that calls for eyes half-closed in a dreamy state and a sweet smile on your lips as you slowly taste, smell, chew and enjoy your food.

Think about what it would feel like to eat this way. How would the food taste as it reaches your tongue? How enticing would the aroma be as it wafts through the house? Would you eat this meal quickly, scarfing it down without so much as tasting it, or would you take your time and finish it when you’re truly satisfied?

With all of the convenient options and boxed meals available nowadays, so many of us have lost the sacred art of preparing meals by hand and enjoying them mindfully while seated at the table. When you cook meals yourself, you are taking the time to connect with your food on a deeper level. You have the ability to taste it as you go, smell the delicious spices you’ve used, and have complete control over the quality of ingredients. Chopping vegetables and mincing herbs can be a meditation in itself.

Body + Mind + Soul + Spirit = You card isolated

When you have a positive relationship with cooking, and make meal preparation a mindful activity, you make it feel more special–more sacred. You can infuse your food with love and healing thoughts of nourishment while it simmers on the stovetop, for example. Creating a positive environment around your food, especially when it comes to eating, makes it a safe and enjoyable space. Unfortunately a lot of people are more concerned with counting calories or staying away from carbs, which causes us to fall out of touch with listening to our body and nourishing it on all levels.

That’s where the power of mind-body affirmations and mindful eating comes in to the equation. Imagine that you are about to eat your favorite not-so-healthy dessert. What do you tell yourself before you take the first bite? Many of us would have already begun to berate or punish ourselves for eating something that we know isn’t good for us, even before we take that first bite. This constant negativity and stress around food and punishing ourselves for indulging is what causes us to have an imbalanced relationship with food, which can lead to weight gain, emotional stress, eating disorders, and even worse conditions (Have an issue with one of these disorders? Our art therapist can help).

While you shouldn’t indulge in unhealthy foods too often, tearing yourself apart and causing your body even more stress isn’t going to make that food any better for you. Indulging occasionally is soothing for the soul, but the best way to heal yourself in the food realm is to utilize positive mind-body affirmations before eating your food. You can make meal preparation sacred, positive and fun by playing music, simply thinking positive thoughts as you cook, or other creative therapies.

Another great way to make your dining experience uplifting is to eat at the table. Sit with your feet firmly planted on the ground so that you have good posture. You can light candles or decorate your table with fresh, local wildflowers for a visually appealing meal if you wish. Before you begin to eat, use your senses to engage all that is in front of you, ready to nourish your body, mind and soul. Smell the food and try to notice each scent from the spices or herbs you used. Plate your meal beautifully and use a variety of whole foods for an array of vitamins and minerals that also look nice when displayed. Maybe even taste a small sample from your fingertip. Take these moments to be mindful and associate positivity with your meal.

I encourage you to always practice gratitude at mealtime. Think of the farmer who grew such juicy produce or the earth and appreciate this bounty of whole foods. Now take a quiet moment to breathe deeply and become one with this experience. There are many different affirmations you can recite, whether in your head or aloud, but choose one that fits for you at that particular moment. You can find some examples to help build a positive relationship with cooking listed below:

  • This meal is going to nourish my body and supply nutrients, vitamins and minerals so that my skin glows
  • I am thankful for this spread of food that will heal my digestion, uplift my spirit and satisfy me on all levels
  • I infuse this meal with abundant and healing love so that I may feel energized and recharged
  • I know that my body will assimilate and utilize these nutrients as I need them
  • I indulge in this food, but I know that on occasion that is perfectly okay
  • I choose to consume this meal in a mindful and peaceful manner for optimal healing

If you are going to consume something that is considered more of an indulgence, like the dessert mentioned above, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply accept that you are choosing this food and say an affirmation such as “I allow my body to have delicious treats on occasion and in moderation because I nourish myself on all levels.” This doesn’t mean that you can make poor eating choices and simply say an affirmation beforehand to excuse it, but every now and then, we all deserve a treat. If you make healthy choices most of the time, you are doing your body wonders.

Having a positive relationship with cooking and a mindfulness around food are incredibly beneficial and will allow you to become more in tune with yourself. When this happens, you will rely more on nature to heal you in the form of fresh, tasty whole foods. The next time you sit down to a meal, close your eyes and just be in that moment. Taste your food, chew it extremely well and breathe deeply in between each bite to prevent overeating. Mindfulness will connect you to your spirit and improve your digestion and ability to detect when you are actually full.

So take this time to play with your food, infuse it with love, and create a positive relationship with cooking. Enjoy!

Meditation Styles to Suit Your Personality

Just like there are different styles of yoga, there are different styles of meditation. If you’re eager to start a meditation practice, explore your options and find one that works for your goals and your personality.

Here are a few meditation styles to help you start on your journey.

meditation styles

Guided Meditation

Personally, I would recommend this for beginners. The mind is so busy and running all over the place that it can be helpful to have a reminder that you should come back to your breath, or whatever your focus point is. You can find recordings online and sometimes your local yoga studio will have guided meditation classes. It can be helpful to do it in person with a guide when you are just beginning.

Breath Meditation

When I started meditating, I used guided meditation to help keep me focused. But once I got used to the process, I moved to breath meditation, as I found it less distracting. It’s just what it sounds like—you focus on your breath. Notice the length and depth of your breath, but do not get involved in a conversation with yourself about it. If your mind wanders, come back to your breath.

Concentration Meditation

During this type of meditation, you focus on a single point. So, in theory, breath meditation could also be considered concentration meditation, since the breath is the “one point.” But this could also mean staring at a candle flame, a picture of a beloved place or person, or even repeating a mantra to yourself. When you notice your mind running off, come back to your point of focus.

Metta Meditation

This is also known as loving-kindness meditation. When you practice metta meditation, you first find kindness and love for yourself, then others, including those you do not like. Then you move to wishing and cultivating love for all living being. A common metta meditation is: May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free.Then thinking of someone you love, followed by someone you dislike, followed by all beings you say: May you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free.

Walking Meditation

This is “meditation in action”. The focus in walking meditation is on the physical act of walking. Don’t have a destination, walk for the sake of walking, and the purpose of using it as time to meditate.

Guided Visualization

Here you have a guide, generally in the form of a recording. All you need to do is listen to what he or she is saying and let your mind follow. This can help foster deep relaxation and help improve overall well being by the use of positive imagery.

No matter what you choose, give yourself the time to explore what works for you. I’ve been told that when a person starts meditating they should choose one method and stick with it to fully explore everything it has to offer. But I do think it’s okay to try a few on in the beginning. Eventually you’ll find yourself coming back to one form or another. Then the real journey begins.

Why Diets Don’t Work

If you walk into a bookstore on any given day, chances are you’ll see a section designated specifically to diet books. The newest trend diet that promises you that you’ll drop fifteen pounds in two days or that you’ll have rock hard abs in less than 24 hours. Only cabbage soup? Microwaveable meals that are chock-full of processed chemicals and preservatives? If you’ve been in the ring for a while, knocking yourself out with one diet trend after another, you’re probably beginning to realize that a book claiming to zap your pounds away is not the answer.

Unfortunately we are conditioned to believe that we must be a size zero or look a certain way and apparently the media does a marvelous job at marketing these tactics to us via diet trends, social media, celebrity figures, etc. It’s no wonder that we’ve lost touch with our wild, human and might I add, feminine nature. How is it that no other species, but us, relies on a diet book or doctor to tell them what to eat? If you go outside right now, you will be surrounded by wildlife. Wildlife that is functioning in perfect alignment with what is truly innate to it. Frolicking in the sun. Eating what is provided by nature. Moving the body and taking appropriate amounts of time for restoration.

I’m going to share a not-so-secret secret with you: diets don’t work!

Why Diets Don’t Work

1. Diets are created simply to attract us to these ideas. The more extreme, the more likely it is to have a following just for that reason. The truth is they are not sustainable over long periods of time. Our bodies are incredibly resilient, but they can only take so much negligence. Eventually your body will begin attacking itself and a number of horrible things can transpire. Weight gain, lackluster or acne-prone skin, or even worse–autoimmune deficiencies, disease or even cancer can result from not taking care of our precious bodies.

2. The key to unlocking good health relies simply on dropping the idea that you can lose weight, improve your skin, or whatever it may be, through the newest diet. The answer is to listen to your body and make a lifestyle change! This may sound strange to you, but imagine battling your cravings by actually understanding what you are craving, why you are craving, and how you can emotionally, physically or spiritually release that craving. Typically when a person craves sugar, for example, we don’t even think about the fact that we are even craving it other than the mere seconds it takes for us to swallow a candy bar whole. By making a lifestyle change you begin to realize what your trigger cravings are, what nutrients may be lacking or over-abundant and what foods or activities it will take to heal that craving.

3. If you are craving sugar, it is entirely possible that your craving has nothing to do with wanting sugar, but wanting something to give you instant energy. The downside to consuming sugar is the immediate spike in blood sugar, which ultimately leads to a quick crash, thus perpetuating the cycle of needing even more sugar. Perhaps what you really need is extra or better quality sleep at night to lessen your chances of being energetically deprived during the day. Or maybe you simply need foods that will nourish your body with vitamins and minerals that will actually give you sustained energy without the painstaking crash later on.

4. Eating food should be about pleasure, nourishment and of course fueling ourselves with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It should not be about deprivation, starvation, skipping meals, or loading up on processed, chemical-laden “low-fat” or “sugar-free” foods. Taking a more mindful approach to healing your body will help you release your fear of making a lifestyle change–which is not just about what you eat, but how you live your life. A lifestyle change requires an open mind and heart, a positive attitude and a willingness to experiment with new ideas.

5. Keep in mind that each person on this planet is unique in what is needed to heal on a body-mind-soul level. The foods that nourish one may sicken another. Get familiar with eating only fresh, organic whole foods. These are foods that are provided to us in their natural form, straight from Mama Gaia herself! Whether you choose to nutrify yourself with animals products or not is up to you. I encourage you to experiment with all whole foods and find what makes you glow and what doesn’t quite sit right in your body. Keep a food journal each day and write down what you ate, how it was prepared and how you feel minutes and hours after consuming it. This will help you find out which foods trigger allergic reactions or sensitivities.

why diets don't work

Lifestyle Changes

As mentioned before, a lifestyle change is not just about nutrition. It’s about your life as a whole. Take some quiet time each day to check in with yourself. A few moments of deep breathing, meditation, or reflection on a daily basis will help you relax and find inner peace. We often forget how to simply be. We focus too much of our time on being perfect and getting copious amounts of work done. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but it is completely necessary to have time to just be as well as time to devote solely to yourself! Practice some yoga, journal or snuggle up with a good book and a green smoothie.

Moving your body daily is just as important as eating delicious whole foods. Skip the judgment and do something you love! Did you have a blast hula hooping as a kid? Order a dance or fitness hoop online and release your inner goddess! Perhaps you enjoy swimming? Hit the beach and frolic in the waves or dive into a pool at your local gym! The possibilities for movement and play are truly endless. Just focus on having fun, working up a sweat and releasing the glow from within!

Another crucial factor of a lifestyle change is getting ample amounts of high-quality sleep. High-quality sleep is delicious! This kind of sleep can be described as deep, uninterrupted, soul restoring, clutter releasing, nourishing and energizing. Once you have this kind of sleep you’ll never want to go back to late night caffeine binges, midnight snacks or hours of mind-numbing television. In order to have better, more restful sleep you should skip eating late, drinking little to no caffeine or having small amounts early in the day, and turning all technological devices off a few hours before bedtime. Having nighttime rituals like yoga, deep breathing, hot tea or a warm bath might help you sink into deep, enticing sleep.

Want to know another easy tip to long-lasting health? Drink more water! Yes, water is ultra healing if you didn’t already know that! Our bodies are comprised of mostly water, which we lose through bodily functions like sweat and urination, so it only makes sense to hydrate with more water in order to replenish those lost minerals. If you find drinking water to be difficult, try adding some berries, cucumber, lemon or lime slices to a mason jar and top with water and ice. You can start a challenge with your friends or colleagues to see who can drink the most water, or you can carry a water bottle around with you as a reminder.

Changing your lifestyle habits doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take patience, lots of love and kindness towards yourself. This is a journey and we are all in this together. If we continue to listen to our bodies and take action to heal, then we will always be in alignment with nature and the cycle of life.

 

At-Home Yoga

I enjoy the people I work with so much, that sometime it is hard for me to do an at-home yoga session. I love being with my clients. I love the energy, the music, and the people I’ve come to know and chat with before and after class. But sometimes I don’t have time to run to a class or work in a group.

at-home Yoga

1. Find a space in your home or apartment that you’d look forward to practicing in. Maybe it’s by a window, maybe it’s a cozy den, or maybe it’s right next to your bed so you can roll out of bed in the morning and get right to it. Having a “yoga spot” can help you get over to your mat and practice.

2. Make your space relaxing and comforting. Make your at-home yoga studio a retreat. Light a candle, dim the lights and try to make it a relaxing experience.

3. Find a yoga video you love. Everyone has a favorite teacher or teachers. If you are lucky, they’ve made a video.There are hundreds of teachers at your fingertips when you search online (Try MyYoga), so you’re likely to find one that fits your needs. Having a go-to teacher or a favorite class can be a great way to make you want to practice.

4. Memorize some of your favorite flows and start to practice on your own. Doing yoga without being led is a completely different experience than following along with an instructor. You get a better sense of how the poses feel throughout your body. You may even start to notice which transitions you enjoy and can start to build your own flow. Plus, you get to move at your own pace, which can be a real treat, especially if you want to enjoy child’s pose just a little bit longer.

5. Make it your own group. Turn your at-home yoga sessions in to your own class with friends and family. Invite the girls over!

6. Take advantage of your couch and practice inversions. A lot of people fear inversions because they fear falling and getting hurt. I’ve found that practicing in front of my couch takes away all of my fear because if I fall over, I just land on my couch. When you practice against the wall, you never really get to chance to practice balancing because if you go too far you hit the wall. Practicing in front of your couch allows you to get the sense of being in the middle of the room, without actually being in the middle of the room. (Note: if you’re new to inversions, you’ll want to practice with a teacher for your beginning attempts to avoid injury, our new yoga instructor can help!)

Like anything else, practicing at-home yoga is a habit that can be built. So roll out your mat and get your stretch on.

 

First Time Juicing

Many of you know that juicing is one of my love languages. I tell clients about it, I post recipes for it, I send pictures of it. I can’t explain enough how much I love the health of juicing and smoothies. So when my virtual assistant asked about juicing, I gave her my usual download of information full of excitement, and everything she would need for her first time juicing, and then it hit me. Most people are probably tired of hearing how amazing juicing is from people who have been doing it forever. So I asked her to share her experience with you. Indianapolis Wellness Family, meet Codi Quick, my virtual assistant.

Codi QuickFirst Time Juicing

My first time juicing? Well, let’s say it was an adventure. You picture this glorious kitchen, fruits and vegetables neatly piled, all clean and fresh. Maybe even me in my yoga pants, hair in a cute pony tail, and my brightly colored sneakers. Sounds nice right? Healthy and fit. Well, that is not at all how it went.

I thought I had a “juicer” attachment for my handy little chop/blend machine that I will leave unnamed. I have had it for years, and have never put the juicer attachment to work. Can you tell that I was a bit skeptical about this whole idea? But now I had built myself up, and I was excited about my first time juicing. I was ready to give it a try! I followed Lacey’s advice and started with a simple recipe­­-a granny smith apple and a couple carrots. I get my “juicer” all ready, stick my carrot in. Push down on the plunger…push harder…push a little harder. I continued to shove my produce into this thing the best I could. The result was not this beautiful picture of my first time juicing. Actually the result was nothing edible or drinkable. I had this small amount of mush in a jar, a sticky kitchen, and a lot of frustration. This obviously was not going to work for me.

But Lacey is full of encouragement, and I did try again. This time, I purchased a real juicer. I read all the instruction because I was determined this attempt was going to be better. This juicer made a huge difference. I put in my first carrot and couldn’t believe the result. This thing ate it up like it was nothing and out came the orange liquid-no chunks, no mush. Couple more carrots in and an apple, took only seconds. In my little pitcher was this vibrant color juice. So I did it. Simply stirred it up, and drank it. And to my true surprise, it was good. It was real good.

As the next few days went by, I tried more and more recipes. And it all became very exciting to be honest. I would search for hours online about juicing and my juicer. Tips and trick, health benefits, the dos and don’ts and information galore! It really was a whole world that I had never seen before. You see people throwing a little of everything in. Here is where another adventure begins. You start getting confident and exploring new combinations. Some juices are better than others. Personally, I like them colder, and would pour them over ice. I got adventurous. I was able to juice Kale, and actually not hate it. I did find where I draw the line. Beets! The only juice that I could not finish contained beets. And not a lot of beets. I am sure there are people out there who enjoy it (Lacey!), but that is just not a taste I could get over. As stubborn as I am, I still convinced myself to try another recipe that had beet…several weeks later. It is hard to not get in to it when they say something is so good for you, so I had to try again. Moral of the story, I obviously don’t like beets! AT ALL! But the cool thing is I am still eating more produce now that I probably ever have, even if I avoid the beets.

I will be honest. I am an average person. I am not a “health nut.” I really love pizza! But I know that my diet and nutrition are important and I do look for ways to improve health and still indulge a little. My first time juicing may not be a glory moment; actually, my juicing today doesn’t look anything like those pictures. But I am now juicing at least five times a week, and I actually do enjoy it. It is a quick easy way to get my breakfast in, and let me tell you, I hit my daily recommended veggie and fruit intake now, where I never did before. On the days I don’t juice, I notice a difference in my energy and sleep.

It may not be earth shattering, but I like the positive lifestyle change. It is the baby steps in the right direction that are sustainable, and juicing has been a habit that I can keep. So you don’t have to go crazy. You don’t have to do a cleanse or fast. But try it for a meal, you might be surprised.

Want to learn how to juice or make small changes that have a big impact on your health and wellness? Contact our wellness coach to get a plan build just for you.

6 Tips for Finding Self-Love

Love is a beautiful, enchanting thing. It is held dearly and shared amongst friends, lovers, and relatives, passed down through generations like a precious heirloom. It’s that one thing we all yearn for so desperately. We search endlessly for it, lifetime after lifetime, seeking out the comfort of love in all the wrong places, and if we’re lucky, in all the right places. It resides in between pages of novels about star-crossed lovers and in the hearts of new mothers’, cradling their babies for the first time. Love is the key to a peaceful world, a better place, a new hope. Imagine a world filled with not only love for others, but love for ourselves. A love so deeply rooted within our bones and soul that it’s only natural to let it flow freely. We seem to have disconnected completely from our inner spirit, our love, and the degradation of our self-love burns a bright path to slowly destroying our planet as a result. We can heal this though.  It starts with each of us and our ability to love ourselves through and through and building that sacred bond that transforms us entirely. Self-love can be renewed, built or simply maintained by following some healing core concepts as defined. Come in to this experience with an open heart and mind in tow.

Find Your Self-Love

● Self love starts with self-acceptance: It’s easy to be hard on yourself or to punish yourself for being a certain way, doing a certain thing or showing a specific behavior. Everyone has self-doubt, an inner shadow within your ego that belittles you for what you ate for breakfast or how little work you did over the weekend. In order to begin the flow of authentic self-love, you must accept yourself fully and truly. Instead of focusing on the negative aspect of something or judging yourself, simply accept whatever it may be and say to yourself aloud “I accept this part of me and I release any negative energy surrounding it. I choose to heal and live in a path of love and light towards myself.” Then simply let that thought go. You can practice this in a moment of self-judgement to bring awareness to any self-destructive habits and replace it with thoughts of abundant love.

● Look into your own eyes: You know that feeling of staring dreamily into your partner’s eyes? Try channeling that love while looking into your own eyes in the mirror. You can do this as a daily practice for a set number of minutes or simply do this anytime you come face to face with yourself, perhaps while washing your hands in the bathroom, applying your makeup or brushing your teeth. However long you choose to do this self-love mirror work, release any snap judgements
or harshness. Smile gently. Feel the love, warm and radiant, flowing through your entire body as you lock eyes with your reflection. She is you and she is beautiful. Acknowledge and accept yourself as you are, find something to love in the things you feel that you don’t. Saying positive affirmation aloud can be incredibly beneficial during this self-love ritual. Something as simple as “I love you,” or “You are beautiful,” can be effective in generating more awareness and love within.Self-Love

● Set aside time for you: Life is busy and hectic, but that’s no excuse to deny yourself some pleasure or relaxation. Carve out some time in your schedule each day to do something just for you. It can be as extravagant or indulgent as you want. Do you have a stack of books you’ve been itching to read? Pour yourself a cup of tea, sink down into your favorite chair and dive into the first one on your list. Is your body trying to tell you that it’s exhausted? Accept this with love and draw yourself a hot bath, toss in some epsom salts, a few drops of lavender essential oil, and soak luxuriously while listening to your favorite playlist by candlelight.

● Eat whole foods that nourish YOUR body: Getting caught up in the newest diet trend is a waste of your precious time and money. The real secret to losing weight, increasing energy and living a healthier, happier life is by eating real food. Everyone is unique and learning what foods make you glow inside and out will align you with your true path to healing, thus perpetuating the wondrous cycle of self love. It’s been said that when you look good, you feel good and perhaps even more rightly so, when you feel good, you look good. When you take the time to give your body what it actually needs, you are operating from a place of love and understanding. Real food can be defined as whole, unprocessed, and fresh. So whether you are an omnivore or a plant-based eater, you will undoubtedly benefit from choosing organic whole foods to nourish yourself–mind, body and soul. Our wellness coach can help you create a meal plan based on real food and give you more information about the impact of ingredients on your overall health.

● Embrace your passion: No matter what it is that you’re passionate about, whether it’s living a healthy lifestyle or a specific hobby, such as dancing or painting, pursue it wholeheartedly. Never let anyone or anything stop you from embracing who you are and what you enjoy or want. When you make the time to live in your passion zone, you are living on course with your authentic self. Authenticity is a catalyst for abundant self-love in all areas of your life.

● Be more mindfully sensual and feel: You don’t necessarily have to make this practice about enticing or attracting a mate or your partner. This practice is for you and your inner goddess. Take some time out to simply feel your body in the moment. If you’re doing yoga, feel your muscles stretch gently and be mindful of each movement as you transition to another pose. Or learn to start meditation. If you are drinking a beverage, engage all of your senses and feel the liquid as it swirls on your taste buds, igniting them. Simply be in your body and feel each pulse, each trigger, each touch or aroma you encounter. Experience it in that brief and fleeting moment. Take it all in and allow it to fuel your desire to be even more mindful. Nothing is more delicious than feeling every sensation and generating that positive self-love while doing so. Being in touch with your body is the gateway to self-love, so embrace it fully and without regard.