• Unique Ways to Celebrate The Summer Solstice

    Chances are high that on this summer solstice, the longest day of the year, you’ll be doing one of two things: celebrating the sun at a rooftop party or BBQ after work, OR sitting in a dark, air-conditioned room scrolling through Instagram in silence. But what about other options on this blissed out Wednesday? Does anything else even exist? Me thinks yes, pals. Me thinks definitely YES. 

    A rooftop party is great and all, but do you really want to be hungover for the Thursday grind? I don’t think so. The dark, air-conditioned option sounds more appealing in this heat, but the tech aspect of it certainly feels like a brain fry (and lonely). Read on for things I’d rather be doing today/tonight. Feel free to join me!

    Take The Exercise Routine Outdoors

    If you exercise with an app to guide you, or even if you do your own thing, take you exercise routine outside this evening because why not? You’ll still be able to see what you’re doing around bedtime. Give your lungs some fresh air and your body a break from the germ-ridden equipment at your local gym. 

    Go On a First Date


    Yes, it’s already just past noon on the east coast which means you better GET ON YOUR DATING APP and lock down a date. How cuteeeee would it be if you met the love of your life on the Summer Solstice? You’d have a great story to tell your kids. I’m sort of avoiding my apps after a few weeks of heavy app use, but it would still be fun to get out there and meet somebody dope.

    Camp Out

    If you have a roof or yard, whip out your light sleeping bag and tent, bring goodies for S’Mores and get the fuck outside with your gear. If I had the luxury of a grassy knoll I’d fall asleep to the stars and wake up to the soft morning light that tomorrow will bring. Being one with nature is totally pacifying and healing, y’all.

    Plant a Plant

    It’s the longest day of the year for crying out loud. Help Mother Earth celebrate this glory by giving her another plant to photosynthesize. Plant something that is meaningful to you – maybe a nice herb or something, or a beautiful flower that reminds you of Mom. Even if you have to plant indoors like moi, making this connection to the soil and earth can be a powerful way to find fulfillment today.

    Go to Sleep Super Early

    Perhaps my fave option after planting a plant is the option to go the fuck to bed SUPER EARLY today. Like, when it’s STILL LIGHT OUT! It’s gonna be like 9pm and sunny so trick yourself into thinking it’s basically the most chill day of the year and make the most of it. Your body will totally thank you in the morning. Draw those blinds and start counting sheep in 3, 2, 1…


    Tell me, pals! How are you celebrating the Summer Solstice today? 

  • Get Your Probiotics In Ways That Are Actually Fun To Eat

    Howdy, friends. Can I just tell you that probiotics can literally be life-changing, and not just in the digestive sense? They’ve been proven to aid with depression and anxiety, autism, eczema, and a whole list of other ailments (just do a quick google search). Why, you may ask, are they so beneficial to ones health? Because probiotics are living microorganisms that promote a healthy digestive system and intestinal tract.  A lot of disease comes from the gut, the home of the immune system, so if yours is healthy and full of the right types of bacteria, chances are the rest of you will be healthier as well.

    Probiotics boost the immune system, improve digestive function, and also fight food-born illnesses. And I will tell you from personal experience that taking a kick-ass probiotic everyday for the past few months has really helped me deal with my own mental health issues. I read about the life-changing benefits of probiotics in a book called “A Mind of Your Own” by Dr. Kelly Brogan and she is a true advocate of the life-changing benefits of probiotics. I even started giving my dog probiotics for dogs and they eliminated his seemingly constant ear infections. True story!

    So, lets do a dive into my favorite natural sources of probiotics because well, not every human on the earth can or enjoys swallowing pills. I’m also making unique suggestions on how to eat these foods in a way that isn’t traditional so that this list is actually unique from others you can find on the interwebz. When the food is this tasty anyway, why not stuff yourself full of it, getting all the fab benefits from the good little bugs crawling around your body’s interior eco-system?

    YOGURT

    Duh, everyone knows about this one, but have you tried making YOGURT POPSICLES and enjoying them on a hot summers day? Many scientists believe that the good bugs DO indeed survive the freezing environment because anything hardy enough to withstand the acids in our stomach can surely take on zero degrees F. Here’s a vid to some frozen pops I made and enjoyed last summer (no need to use any kind of sweetener though, really).

    KIMCHI

    Kimchi is so good, you guys. It’s even available pre-made now at most grocery stores, so go pick up this Korean condiment like right now. It’s a fermented vegetable dish made from cabbages and seasoned with garlic, salt, chili peppers, and vinegar. It’s the fermentation process that makes Kimchi probiotic. 

    My favorite unique way of using kimchi is in turkey or beef meatballs. Just chop up your kimchi and add to the raw meat along with other ingredients before cooking. You can even add some more kimchi on top of the dish when you serve it! The flavor is spicy and outstanding!

    GINGER BEER

    Ginger beer doesn’t have a high alcohol content, but the fermented drink is certainly high in probiotics. It’s fizzy and delicious and a fabulous mixer when added to cocktails. If you want to really surprise your guests with a fun but sophisticated cocktail, freeze up your ginger beer into ice cubes and use those rather than traditional ice cubes to cool off your drink. Pro tip: put the actual cocktail mixture itself into the fridge for a bit so the ice cubes hold their shape longer than just a few minutes!

    SAUERKRAUT

    I hated sauerkraut when I was a kid but the moment I hit the French Culinary Institute I was asked to make it one day, and turns out, I love it now! It’s made from shredded cabbage that’s been fermented and it has the tangiest taste and crunchiest consistency. I absolutely love it. Rather than put it on a rueben sandwich, I suggest serving it simply as a side salad or as a condiment for lobster rolls or fish burgers (like a piece of seared halibut). Yummo!


    Tell me – what are your favorite probiotic foods and ways to eat them? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas 🙂

    Images from CookieandKate.com and TheKitchn.com

  • This Virtual Reality Facial Promises Zen AND Great Skin

    Getting an invitation to a virtual reality facial sounds a little kooky, right? Yes, you would be right. It IS kooky! The sheer logistics of getting facialed while wearing a VR headset is confusing, but the Natura Bisse team at Julien Farel uptown are determined to bring the concept to life. Why? To bring you moments of zen while your face is being massaged by a stranger.  Wellness – it’s all around us these days, pals.

    I arrive without any expectation, except knowing that the facial I’ll be receiving is all about collagen (perf, I have an event the next day I’ll be photographed at). The collagen treatment promises to sculpt and define my facial features while plumping the areas I want plumped, like my lips and cheeks. I’m invited to get cozy in my heated treatment bed (love a heated bed) and my friendly aesthetician Hannah guides me to put on an enormous black VR headset to get started. She tells me the virtual reality portion is only 7 to 8 minutes long and that I’ll enjoy a scalp and neck massage during the video and guided mediation that accompanies it. 

    I’ll do anything once, so, I say okay. I sit up to place them on my face properly (not feeling like a facial yet) and she guides me to lay back as I start seeing clouds appear in front of my face. A woman’s voice picks up volume in an in-room speaker and she welcomes me to my focused facial. 

    Let me just stop right here now and tell you that while the idea of a virtual reality facial is indeed a bit kooky, it’s also fucking AWESOME. I’ve never had a VR experience before, so doing so while simultaneously lying on my back, being massaged and listening to a soothing voice the Natura Bisse gals simply call “Her” gives me a feeling of melting away. The images on the screen range from different colors and shapes to ocean creatures floating by and sand dunes and white light and stars and electric, winding shapes. Sort of like the visuals in the Sahara Tent at Coachella but without the deafening base. I’m not high, but I feel like it, and it’s kind of lovely. Perhaps it’s the physical sensation of being on my back, allowing the VR experience and gravity to take over your senses that creates such an intoxicating experience, but now I totally understand the funny cartoons you see of people glued to their couches, trapped behind a VR headset. 

    During the VR-time, my mind shifts off of the multitude of “things” floating through my cranial atmosphere and slows down, just to focus on the party lights in front of my eyes. And that’s really the point – to allow the person receiving the facial, traditionally not the most relaxing spa experience compared to say, a 90 minute massage, to mellow out. And I do. The world is winding in front of my eyes, allowing me a sensory experience that could, under different circumstances, be classified as illegal.

    When the VR moment is over, I’m actually disappointed. Surprisingly so. Had Hannah been able to put collagen goo all over my face while also experiencing VR I’d give this facial 10/10 gold stars. Alas, the goggles are removed and we get into the actual skin treatment with a very gentle glycolic peel that doesn’t create redness or actual skin peeling a few days later. It’s a little tingly, as to be expected, and I get a nice massage of my pressure points while my face cooks. “Her” is still talking to me this whole time, mind you, reminding me to focus on my breathing and things of that nature.

    The collagen creams come next and we finish with a mask that is hooked around your ears and pressed gently down onto the face. I have no idea what was happening during that period of time, but it made me realize that all those cloth masks that are hot right now should totally have ear-hooks attached so they stay planted more firmly on the face. “Her” tells me to take 10 deep breaths, counting them as I go, and after an hour of listening to her soothing voice and being gently massaged and covered in creams, it’s time to hop back on the 6 and head downtown, back into my actual reality, the one I attempt to center every day.


    Want to try the Natura Bisse Virtual Reality Facial? Call over to Julien Farel and make an appointment, stat.

    Cartoon via CartoonaDay.com

  • Here Are My Fave Wellness Products That Cost Less Than $25

    Everyone is so into wellness these days. And I don’t even laugh at them. In fact, I’m a total CHAMPION of this movement. Why wouldn’t you want your mind and body to be at peak performance? 30 is the new 20, and 40 is the new 30. I know some serious BABES that are 40+, and how did they get to be that way? Well, good genes, but also the motivation to put health first.

    More and more companies are dedicating themselves to wellness and health. I even launched my own feminine wellness company (Love Wellness) last year after struggling with chronic infections and irritations for years, and the pharmacy goo just didn’t cut the mustard. It was only when I turned to high-quality ingredients and natural products that my problems went away and because of that I chose to share what my doctors and I worked on together with all of you.

    In general that has been my experience – turn to organic ingredients that come from the earth instead of a lab, and poof, yo problems dissipate into thin air. Not all of these on this list of $25 and under wellness grabs are for problems that need fixin’, but they do each hold a special place in my heart for what they ARE for. My picks span across different verticals – beauty to tummy troubles. Lets explore these affordable finds!

     

    Collagen ($17.25)

    So everyone has been drinking this brand of collagen drinks lately (the bottle is striped, dirty lemon I think it’s called) in an effort to plump their skin. Turns out you can just buy powdered collagen and skip the fancy drink scheme. Doin’ it yourself is way more cost-effective, plus you can add collagen to just about anything – smoothies, yogurt, water, a vodka martini, etc.

    Collagen is super great for filling out fine lines and wrinkles over time and improving skin elasticity. It’s high-time to add it to your list of supplements.

    Do It All Wipes ($24)

    Full disclosure, these feminine wipes come from my own line, Love Wellness, but they’ve made the top of so many “wipes” lists that I thought they were fair to include. My friends ask me for freebies of these so often I keep like 20 packages in my backpack all the time. I formulated these to be all natural, infused with coconut oil so they soothe sensitive skin down there, and the wipe itself is made from 100% cotton. The smell is really light and the packaging is petite and chic. These vag wipes really do it all – I even use them to get make-up off sometimes or clean something gooey off my hands. These wipes are sold in packs of 3 for $24.

    Aztec Secret Healing Clay Mask ($12.29)

    If you need to get goo out of your face, forget the crazy peeling masks you’ve been seeing all over Instagram. The true holy grail is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. It’s just a bottle of calcium bentonite clay powder, one that you mix up yourself into a mask. Just combine a bit of water with the powder and you have an almost endless supply of green clay to clear your skin out with.

    This stuff seriously WORKS to get rid of blackheads and other nasty stuff lying beneath the surface. Don’t use it everyday though – it’s simply too powerful and can dry out the skin.

    Activated Charcoal ($17.65)

    Upset tummy? Instead of Tums, go the natural route and try an activated charcoal pill instead. Charcoal is found everywhere these days – from facial cleansers to tooth whiteners and now, stomach soothers. Keep a few in your purse on a date to avoid anything uncomfortable that may happen afterwards. I won’t say anything else about these, just use your imagination, and know they have 5 stars on Amazon.

    Maca Powder ($18.99)

    A little PMS-y? Feck, girl, me too. Pretty much always. Or at least for like 10 days out of the month. How unfair is that? 

    The good thing is that once you bring maca powder into the rotation, expect your symptoms to subside a bit. I’ve been mixing maca into my smoothies for a month or so now and I noticed that this most recent cycle was quite as painfully emotional. Maca is a renowned Peruvian root that’s been used for hundreds of years to balance hormones.

    Turmeric Tea ($13.95)

    God, I love turmeric. Just last week I wrote a post about Golden Turmeric Milk and the health benefits of this powerful herb. This is just straight up tea (a little quicker to throw together) and just as tasty as the milk. This is more peppery and the ginger also adds a digestive aid and benefit to the drink. Turmeric is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and I can’t say enough great things about it. My doctor recommended I add turmeric into my supplement regime and since I have all my old aches and pains have definitely calmed down.

    Squeezable Omega 3 Packets ($22.99)

    Everyone knows that fish oil is pretty much disgusting, but, so nutritious that we should be consuming it anyway. Thank goodness for this brand CoroMega. They make high quality Omega 3 supplements that come in this squeezable flavor packets you can add to water, smoothies, or just straight into your mouth. This is a big squeeze packet instead of the smaller, individual ones they have for sale (it was under $25) so you simply squeeze and close it back up when you’re done.

    Omega 3s lower your risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. They also make your hair, skin, and nails lovely. This brand has managed to make a product that doesn’t taste that weird or fake, so I give them a thumbs up for what they’ve done.


    Tell me, pals – what are you favorite wellness goodies I should add to my list? If they’re not under $25 that’s okay – I gotta know anyway. 

    xx

    L

  • How to Get a Great Night’s Sleep Tonight

    I grew up with insomnia. Seriously! I’ve been a troubled sleeper since I was a kid. It would take me up to 90 minutes to fall asleep most nights, and that time gave my mind a wide berth to explore, be creative, and be afraid of the dark, too. I’d wake up around 2 or 3am and again take 90 minutes to fall back asleep. Once my mind turns on, boy, it’s hard to turn it back off.

    Once I entered adulthood, insomnia became more painful and actualized than it had when I was a child. Back then it was a nuisance, and my legs hurt with growing pains. The lack of sleep didn’t bother my young body and mind as much, before real life seemingly entered the picture. Now, surprisingly, I’m a pretty good sleeper 80% of the time, but it’s not because I suddenly had some natural, internal shift that came with age. No, it’s because I follow good sleep hygiene practices – ones that actually work.

    My doctor was the one who clued me into “sleep hygiene” a few years ago. Brushing your teeth does not fall on the list – it’s not that kind of hygiene. What we’re talking about is cell phone usage, steady bed times, and what to do before you get in between the sheets. All of the following things really help me, and because I know I have a lot of troubled sleepers out there reading da blog, I’m excited to share what has made a true difference in how quickly I zonk out, how long I stay asleep for, and the overall quality of sleep I’m getting. 

    Get Hot and Clean

    Taking a hot shower or bath before bedtime allows the body to relax before trying to get some ZZZsss. The body’s temperature naturally begins to fall a few hours before you go to sleep, and raising it in the bath, then allowing it to fall once you get out helps to force the body into that relaxation mode. Apart from the physiology behind it, I find that taking a soothing bath or shower helps to scrub my brain just as much as my body. The literal feeling of being clean also helps me for some reason.

    Get Rid of Blue Light

    We’ve all heard about the dreaded BLUE LIGHT by now. It comes from your cell phone and computer primarily, the tools we seem to have attached to us 24/7, even in bed. Blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s daytime, and makes it much more difficult for your brain to naturally transition into sleep mode. If you CAN’T shake the habit of bringing your laptop into bed with you, install f.lux – a  blue light reducing app that turns on around 7pm and turns off around 7am. It shields your eyes from the blue light your computer gives off by changing it to a warm, yellow color instead. You can adjust when it comes on and off, and how intense you want the protection to be.

    Additionally, iPhones these days have its own blue light shield built in called “Night Shift” installed into the software. You have to manually turn it on, but it works in the same way that f.lux does. It really helps to reduce the blue light tricking your brain into thinking it’s 2pm when actually it’s midnight and you’re stalking your ex on Instagram.

    …And Get Rid of Your Devices

    Now that the blue light has been eliminated from your comp and celly, let’s get rid of them from your bedroom altogether. Yes, altogether now! HAHAH, I know – right? Can you imagine NOT reading emails and scrolling through Buzzfeed stories right before bed? Well, if you can imagine what it’s doing to your brain you may consider putting. the. cell. phone. down. All you’re doing is makin’ your brain do a do-see-do up there by continuing to stimulate it with activity from your phone and computer. 

    Science has proven time and time again that our devices are keeping us up and in order to truly get a good night’s sleep you have to make the decision to stop using them an hour or two before you go to bed, and don’t check them again until morning or unless you need to call the fire department because your kitchen is ablaze. The absolute BEST way to give yourself something to do before bed is by reading a book – an actual, physical book, in low light before saying Z-YA-LATER to the world. I find that when I read a book it takes only minutes before my eyes begin to flutter.

    If you’re too lazy to turn off the light, get an Alexa from Amazon, get special outlets that connect to Alexa, and then tell Alexa to turn off your bedroom lights for you from bed. Ta – da!  Asleep!

    Don’t Check The Time

    Once you fall asleep, if you wake up in the middle of the night, do everything humanly possible not to check and see what time it is. If you check the time, you are officially MIND FUCKED. Just trust that it’s still dark outside, and you should be getting back to sleep.

    Breathe Deeply

    Taking deep breaths actually helps to calm the nervous system and body. Scientists just proved it in mice (it was in the New York Times) and they think it’s the real deal with humans too. As someone who does a lot of breathing exercises, I can say they really do help to chill out. We’re not talking like 1 minute of controlled breathing, however. More like 10 or 15 minutes. Whether you’re going to sleep or trying to get back there in the middle of the night, try my fave exercise. Simply count to 10 with your breaths over and over again. In – 1, out – 2, in – 3, you get the picture.

    Take Your Magenesium

    Forget spritzing your pillow with lavender. Do yourself a real favor and take 500mg of high-quality magnesium 30 minutes before you hit the sack. It decreases cortisol, the stress hormone and also allows your muscles to relax. If you’ve never taken it before, skip the Ambien and try this instead. I find that it helps knock me out cold til morning.


    What helps you fall asleep at night? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

    xx,’

    L

  • You Have to Taste Golden Turmeric Milk

    Hello, and Happy Friday. Fridays are officially holidays in my book now. The weekend is when my mind can really roam free and I feel the most comfortable, just like every other human on the planet. I’m currently sipping on a cup of overwhelmingly delicious “golden milk” aka milk with turmeric and spices in it. Like, damn, it’s good.

    Since speaking out about the mental health thingies I’ve been going through over the past months, I’ve been getting a lot of recommendations from friends on things to try out from different foods to meditation techniques. I already discovered the incredible healing properties of turmeric and if you don’t know how spectacular this bright yellow spice is, allow me to share what I’ve learned.

    Turmeric is a mainstay in Indian culture and diet, and is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet that can help to fight and reverse disease. Why? It’s an incredibly powerful antioxidant and just as good as acting as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body. Any kind of disease has its roots in inflammation – from depression in the brain to arthritis in your hands to celiac in the stomach. Disease = inflammation. Its most renowned healing compound is curcumin, and is also its main active ingredient. 

    One of the issues with turmeric is that curcumin is found in small quantities, so you have to eat it a lot (like in an Indian diet) or take a supplement that features curcumin for it to be really beneficial. I personally take a turmeric supplement called CircuminRich, but there are a lot of them available out there. Multiple doctors have told me that adding turmeric to any supplement regime is one of the most important things I can do for long-term health and wellness.

    So lets get back to this golden turmeric milk. I picked up a jar of a product called, literally, “Golden Milk” by Gaia Herbs, a blend a turmeric, dates, cardamom seed, ashwagandha root, vanilla bean, and black pepper (you need black pepper for turmeric to be absorbed properly in the body). A serving (1 teaspoon) is only 15 calories. As a turmeric lover, I was obviously interested in a product like this, especially because I don’t drink anything caffeinated but do enjoy a tasty, warm beverage.

    To make golden milk you simply combine the turmeric powder with a bit of melted ghee or coconut oil in a pan, add some milk, heat til almost boiling and bam, it’s ready! It tastes a lot like a chai latte to be honest with you, and this particular company recommends adding a bit of honey to the drink as well. 

    Golden Turmeric Milk

    • Cook Time: 5m
    • Total Time: 5m
    • Serves: 1
    • Yield: 1 Cup Golden Milk
    • Category:

    Ingredients

    • 1 teaspoon ghee, melted
    • 1 teaspoon golden milk powdered turmeric supplement
    • 1 cup milk (dairy, almond, etc)

    Instructions

    1. In a saucepan, melt ghee and add turmeric supplement. Cook briefly until you can smell the turmeric.
    2. Add milk and whisk until almost boiling.
    3. Pour into a mug and enjoy with a touch of honey.

    I’m intoxicated by the healing properties of turmeric, the taste, and the color. I don’t think I’m getting a huge supplemental benefit by drinking golden milk, but because it’s so tasty, I’ll be adding it to my list of “comfort foods” to help ease aches, pains, and daily stresses.

    Have you tried golden milk? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Tools You Can Use To Overcome Anxiety Right Now

    UPDATED April 13, 2017: new video at the bottom of the post!

    I’m an anxious person by nature. I recently suffered from a period of depression and anxiety that stemmed from serious vitamin deficiencies (you can read that article here), but anxiety is part of the framework of who I am. I’ve always worried about something bad happening to my loved ones when they leave the house, I can send obsessive text messages to make sure someone is okay, and facing my own day is a challenge in and of itself. I sometimes think of anxiety as different kinds of monsters that follow me around the house and down the street.

    Being paralyzed by fear, or the unknown, or a physical discomfort is so debilitating – it makes normal things, like taking a walk, or grabbing dinner with friends difficult at times. Not every day is bad, that’s for certain, but go through a period of stress, and the inflamed mind can take its own vacation into a land of discomfort, a place it knows very well.

    I’ve been learning and practicing different tools to help me overcome my moments of anxiety for a while now. The following list is certainly not extensive or complete, but simply my go-to toolbox when my mind starts to race and I’m feeling like I could use support beyond just a tight squeeze from my Mom. Some of these things are quite obvious, and some I’ve picked up in therapy.

    Stop “What IF-ing”

    My fabulous therapist told me a long time ago that I do a lot of “what if-ing”. Thinking about anything that is not the here and now is essentially that. Say the words “what if” out loud followed by some thoughts and you’re doing it. In essence, this is anxious worrying about things that have not materialized and are simply conceptual. It can apply to literally anything: finances, sleep, picking your kids up from school, relationship woes, etc. Instead of “what if-ing” all you have to do is replace the “if” with “is”. Say the words “what is” out loud now and follow them up with exactly the position you’re in. What is real, what is now, what is around you. For example, if I can’t sleep and my mind begins to wander into what my schedule looks like the next day, essentially turning on my brain power and putting sleepiness to the side, I try to get into the headspace of “what is” instead of “what if”. What is really happening right now is simple: I’m just laying in bed. The moment is now. Being present, and not worrying about the future or fantasies does something to stem the anxious thoughts that flood through a stressed-out mind.

    Create a Scheduling Pattern That Works For You

    Whether it’s by journaling, using a to-do list app like Evernote, or leaving a Post-It next to your bed, create a small to-do list for the next day. As someone who works from home and has a fairly open schedule, just tackling the day is one of the hardest things for me to do. It sounds really simple – just go be a human, but for someone with anxiety and free-time on their hands, it’s a problem. I’ve found that creating just a small list of things I’d like to accomplish the next day can be incredibly powerful in releasing your mind from thoughts about what’s to come (essentially “what if-ing”), allowing you instead to ease into a nice book, TV show, or the attention of your partner. 

    This list does not have to be stuck to. The exercise of getting your thoughts out, and providing yourself with some structure to follow, is what’s really helpful here. I’ve woken up plenty of mornings without a clear feeling on what to do with myself. It can be pretty painful to be honest. It should be easy to get up and get moving, but it isn’t for everyone.

    For me, taking my dog to the dog park for a morning romp, followed by exercise and a steam bath are how I like to start my days. Creating behavioral patterns helps me to get up and go like most people do. Knowing I have a responsibility to my pet to get out the door and face the day is a great way to avoid morning thoughts of discomfort.

    Do One Thing Every Day You Don’t Want To Do

    This exercise is new to me, but lets face it, there are of course things in our daily routines we don’t want to do. Recently the lightbulb went off in my mind, allowing me to see that the things that I don’t want to do are generally tied into some sort of social anxiety. I don’t love the idea of going to the gym, because being around a bunch of strangers I’m not brave enough to speak to can feel daunting. However, I recognize now that when I get that feeling of “no” I must, at least once a day, turn it into a feeling of “yes”. I don’t want to go out to the dinner with friends that’s been on the books for weeks? It would be easier to sit at home alone? Bingo, but I MUST do it. Getting into the habit of driving yourself through your discomfort to your destination, at least once a day, can provide relief on the other end. Being able to recognize that feeling of “no” as anxiety, instead of just sitting in it, can help lead you to make positive changes for positive change.

    Meditate

    Feeling anxious? Not feeling anxious? Cool, either way. Have you started meditating yet? I learned the practice of transcendental meditation 3 years ago, and though I don’t do it everyday, I certainly rely on it when times are tough. There are a few apps I like for guided meditation – my favorite being Headspace – that take the hard part out of focusing inward and releasing your body of stress. That’s what meditation does – the stress literally seeps out of your brain and your body, leaving you feeling much more aware, in control of your emotions, and in control of your thoughts. Meditation requires you to train your thoughts to a certain degree, so you can connect the dots with how it helps with anxiety as well.

     


    This is just a short list of things that help me. Do you have anxiety? What helps you when you’re feeling stressed out? Leaving your thoughts in the comments!

    xx

    L

    Image via CargoCollective

  • An Infrared Sauna Kicked My Panic Attack in the Ass

    Cut to Wednesday of this week. I was stresssssseeeedddd out and could feel that feeling of discomfort in my throat when I know that my brain is doing an uncomfortable dance of thoughts, round and round. I have a lot of shit going on right now, and I’m not totally in my Zen place. I went to yoga and that helped at least during the Vinyasa flow, but when class ended I felt agitated again.

    I had made a date with my friend Blair to try HigherDOSE, this new Infrared Sauna place that all the health nuts (me) have been raving about. A traditional sauna is one of those wooden rooms that’s heated – great for heart health – you basically sit quietly and sweat out your sins. I personally prefer a steam bath to a sauna, but I prefer baths in general so perhaps that’s why. You can find me in the steam room at any number of Equinox gyms most days of the week.

    So heat therapy of any nature is right up my alley – plus, I just read this article in Elle that says you can burn 600 calories if you take a super hot, hour long bath (shout out to beauty editor Julie Schott). How crazy is that? So, I guess I’ve been doing things right all along without even knowing it. I’m def going to eat a donut today.

    Anyway, lets get back to HigherDOSE (yes, that’s how the company has identified themselves – one word, DOSE in all caps). The one I went to was off of Bowery, and it’s not exactly easy to find. It’s in the basement level of this restaurant/health shop called The Alchemist’s Kitchen, and if the front door to the restaurant is open, you’ll definitely enter the wrong building and be directed by the nice door lady that you are in fact in the wrong place. SO! Enter The Alchemist’s Kitchen. Enjoy the people watching – lots of models in there, guys. LOTS. Lots of tinctures and potions with turmeric in them and quinoa salads. I absolutely loved this place. It does not feel like New York City upon entering.

    So you finally reach HigherDOSE downstairs. You check in like you would at a fitness studio and there are two small Infrared Saunas for use – reservations a MUST. You can either heat up for a 30 or 60 minute session, and the nice girls walk you through the process. They suggest you get naked, but there are towels for modesty (and sweat), along with a robe to cool off in after your session. There’s a funny shower situation next to the bathroom so you can rinse off after your sauna (funny in that you’re showering behind a plastic curtain in the middle of a restaurant – but hey, New York). Everyone is totally polite and totally into it, so I get into it too.

    She explains what Infrared is all about, saying that it’s a way to “workout without working out” and that it will totally “de-stress” you. I went with the goal of getting rid of my mounting anxiety, so I hope she is not telling me lies. They heat up the sauna with “infrared heat” instead of traditional heat and I still can’t quite figure out what that means.  Without any scientific proof (that I can find but feel free to prove me wrong in the comments), the claims HigherDOSE make on their site regarding Infrared Sauna also note that a 45 minute session is akin to a 7 day juice cleanse detox, burning as many calories as you would by running 3-4 miles, decreases cortisol and chills you out, and is great for anti-aging because infrared heat stimulates the skin and creates collagen. I’m game for all of this, so into the sauna I go.

    Once you’re in there you can choose which “LED light”color to sweat to. My friend and I choose blue, because it’s noted that blue is a mentally relaxing color. A lot of babes that go to HigherDOSE go between red light for anti-aging benefits and blue light for chill time. We plop down in the tiny sauna with our towels on, the heat set to a 157 F. It gets hot pretty quickly. I get so hot I have to leave to re-fill my water glass a few times (kindly provided by the service). We basically talk about our problems and love lives and start SWEATING. Mind you, I’ve already done hot yoga and maybe snuck into the steam room at Equinox so I’m pretty concerned about my water intake. I make sure to drink about 9 glasses of water.

    All of a sudden, there are 2 minutes left in our 30 minute session and I decide to pop out of the 157 F box a little early. We put on robes, grab our clothes and trudge over to the bathroom area/shower. After a quick rinse we’re ready to go, having had the full HigherDOSE experience in 45 minutes flat. And can I tell you something? My anxiety has been reduced.  The feeling in my throat slowly melted back in to my body. I feel calm, and exhausted.

    Perhaps it was the conversation with my friend, perhaps it was the intense sweating, perhaps it was the soft blue light – but something about the session allowed me to get out of my brain long enough to calm down my nerves and make me feel a little bit better. At least temporarily. 

    The HigherDOSE chicks recommend coming between 1-5 times a week if you’re going through the shit, as more sessions will become more helpful over time. I’m already a believer in saunas and steam baths being excellent for health, so I’m totally into what there doing there, LED lights and all. I will be back, and soon.

    You can check out HigherDOSE online and visit one of their 3 locations across NYC.

  • The Items You Need To Kick-Start a Diet

    Like most people, I aim to eat healthy, cook nutritious food, and make good food choices in general. There is a total food revolution happening, a lot of new research emerging about what’s good and bad for you, and so many good food options available at most grocery stores these days that it’s not as difficult to get on the right path.

    Since I went to culinary school and really learned how to cook, I’ve also been able to assess the types of food I’ve been eating and figure out how to make healthy dishes that still taste remarkably delicious and satisfying. It’s pretty easy to reduce salt and fat when you learn to replace those things with fresh herbs, lots of spices, and thoughtful cooking techniques. Don’t get me wrong – I still love a good piece of fried chicken cooked up in old fashioned Crisco, but imagine enjoying a piece of chicken that’s air-fried in bison tallow instead? Yes, bison tallow is a real thing – I get it from Thrive Market! And air-fryers are dope, man.

    With that being said, I’d like to share with you the discoveries I’ve made in the kitchen regarding specific foods and tools that have made eating healthy that make easier and more delicious. Onward ho!


    GHEE

    Oh, the joys of ghee. Really just clarified butter, ghee is what’s left after you remove the milk solids from liquified butter. I know you’re probably giving me the side eye right now because BUTTER, but hear me out. Ghee is a great source of Vitamins A, E, and K – very important when it comes to getting your nutrients in (I should know). It’s also heart-healthy, believe it or not, because it can lower your cholesterol.  Finally, ghee is full of antioxidants, and those antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body, making you healthier inside and out. Final benefit – it’s VERY tasty. Final, final benefit – it’s really easy to cook with. It comes soft in a glass or plastic jar and melts really easily into your pan. You can also make it yourself. Melt a stick of butter on very low heat and scoop off all the milk fat that comes to the top. Reserve the clarified butter in a glass, air-proof container and bam – homemade ghee.

     

    MANDOLIN

    A mandolin is one of my favorite kitchen tools. It makes taking down veggies an absolute fucking BREEZE so that you can do a big food prep when you get your groceries home, allowing yourself to simply go into the fridge for pre-sliced cucumbers or what have you whenever you want. I find that the prep is a huge obstacle for most people when it comes to eating healthy. If it’s already ready, you’ll eat it. If it’s not, it’s a mind over matter type of situation. Hello, pizza delivery.  Good for all kinds of veggies, it easily allows you to cut them down with the simple swipe of the wrist in about 15 second flat.

     

    THESE PLASTIC CONTAINERS

    I got turned on to this specific type of plastic container in culinary school and have been hooked every since. I love them. You can write on them, they’re easy to wash, and loads cheaper than Ziploc and other brands. Plus, because they’re tall you can really pack food into them without taking up too much space in your fridge.

     

    VITAMIX

    I’ve spoken about my absolute LOVE for the Vitamix, and while it’s definitely an investment piece, it’s the best utility tool I have in my kitchen. It’s not just for smoothies, no, no, no. You can put a piece of beef in there and end up with tar tar! Throw in beans and hummus comes out. Put in warm pieces of butternut squash and chicken stock and you’ll get butternut squash soup. Seriously, it’s amazing. I find that I use it for so, so, so many things beyond just a morning smoothie. Getting creative with food is the best way to keep things interesting when you’re trying to eat healthy. For me, that means taking food in it’s original form and literally turning it into something else. I’d marry my Vitamix if I could.

     

    AN OPEN MIND

    Probably the most important thing I bring with me into the kitchen is an open mind. Being willing to experiment, get my hands dirty, mess something up and start over again – all really important when creating healthy and balanced dishes. Never tried an ingredient before? Do it! Never shopped at an online health food store? Why not? I love Thrive Market – take a look around. Even more mainstream groceries stores are stocking their aisles with healthy options that before were really only available at your neighborhood co-op market. Trust that the choices you make will turn out delicious. 

    Good luck!

    X,

    chef lo

    Images via Earthbound Farm, Daily Health Post, Serious Eats, Williams Sonoma

     

     

     

  • How To Not Look Thirsty At The Gym (not, like, H20 Thirsty)

    Whether you’re discovering the miracles of exercise for the first time, are getting back into a workout routine (like me – I’ve been having lower back problems, ugg), or are a fitness freak, the right gear is a critical part of getting motivated, feeling comfortable, and looking your best. Let’s not deny that last part – everyone wants to look kinda sexy at the gym. Or, at least I do. But not thirsty, definitely not thirsty. 

    Instead of going for crazy, strappy sports bras that don’t actually provide support, and see-through, paneled leggings for your first week in a new routine, here are my personal selections for great activewear that will also make you look fly. There’s definitely a middle road between totally cray and totally boring.  That’s exactly where I like to live.  Let’s start from the feet and work our way up.

    Shoes

    Shoes, no matter your fitness level, can be totally fun, wild, and colorful (or not colorful in my case). They’re the exception to the “outrageous” rule we’re trying to avoid here. What’s most important is that they provide good support and that you choose the right shoe for the right activity. If you’re going to start running, choose running shoes, obvs.

    Pants

    All the pants here are not too crazy, beautiful colors, a lil’ jazzy when it comes to the design, and obviously quite supportive of the bum and tummy. I love a high and tight pant that flatters everything from the belly button down. I really like the high-waisted Nike ones in particular.

     

    Bras

    Sports bras have gone from totally lame to totally insane in the past two years. I prefer the ones that are stylish but still functional. I’m between a C and D cup so something supportive is important, and it’s also fun to let the girls look shapely and nice, too. I’m very much digging everything that’s a pseudo-crop top that’s also functional.

     

    Tops

    My favorite kind of top is a tank, one that can be tied up in the back if you want, thrown over your bike handles if you want, and loose/comfy. I’m not super into crazy colors or weird embellishments. Ugly tops can totally kill a gym look. 

     

    I hope you like my moderate, yet totally sexable choices. It’s easy to feel comfortable, feel supported, and look good all at the same time. Now all you have to do is say “HI” to that cute guy doing plank pose next to you in yoga. Go, go, go!!!!!!

    Image via @Bandier

  • The 100 Workout

    Hey, hey!

    Find a 100 dollar bill? Get 100% on a test? Both will make you extremely happy, correct?

    The number 100 is always linked to greatness, and that is why I wanted to create a workout based around the number. This workout will get your heart rate up and help you burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. Sounds amazing, right?

    Set your timer and see how long it takes you to complete the workout below. I then challenge you to beat your time the next time you complete the workout!

    Strong, stronger, strongest.

    Well, here it is:

    100 WORKOUT

    100 Jumping Jacks

    90 Squats

    80 High Knees

    70 Mountain Climbers

    60 Butt Kickers

    50 Russian Twists

    40 Plank Up/Downs

    30 Full Sit-Ups

    20 Lunge Jumps

    10 Burpees

    1 Minute Plank

    Go all out, and get down with the number 100.

    Peace & Love,
    Emily Burkhardt
    @thehealthyhustle

  • 2016: The Year Of My Great Depression

    the worst year ever.

    2016 wasn’t only just the worst year ever, it was also the year I turned 30, founded my own feminine wellness company, and brought an amazing puppy home. So not all bad. Light does find a way of shining through the darkness. And what is the darkness I’m referring to? Crippling anxiety and depression at the hands of a severe vitamin deficiency that went undiscovered for 16 months.

    Read More

  • How I Left My Dairy Life Behind (And How Doing So Did Wonders for My Skin)

    Hi, everyone. I’m Eliza and I used to be a self-proclaimed dairy addict. In fact, I always took my coffee, extra light, with cream. Whenever I could, I would season my meals with an overabundance of cheese. And, truth be told, I had this special bond with full-fat dairy yogurt. But, one day, I decided to leave that life behind in pursuit of a dairy-free diet. This is my story.

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  • March MABness Your 4-Week Journey to Rock-Hard Abs!

    Hi, Guys!

    I’m a few days late to the start of the month, but boy do I have a four-week AB challenge for you!

    To compliment March Madness, the showcasing of America’s strongest college basketball teams, I’ve come up with March MABness, a month-long exercise routine guaranteed to get you your strongest core!

    Here are the 6 moves you will use throughout my challenge. Get yourself familiar with them before you rock and roll!

    Read More

  • TheLoDown