Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip (Paleo, AIP)

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip (Paleo, AIP)

Let’s face it: dips are fun. Who doesn’t love dips? They make food fun, and delicious. The word “dip” might even be the reason you’re reading this post. Dips are so much fun that they even make spinach fun.  It’s true. Take this dip for example. Here I’ve paired spinach with avocados (another fun food, by the way) and added some fresh herbs to create a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory, power-packed and superfun dip. Serve this at your next gathering and you can’t go wrong. Unless you go fun-overboard, by dancing the Funky Chicken or something weird like that. Then you’ve taken it too far.

Health Benefits

Avocados are not only delicious, but are also packed with health benefits. Read more about the health benefits of avocados in this blog post. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, and the great thing about it is its versatility. Raw or cooked, stand alone or in a pesto, spinach makes for some very yummy and creative dishes. Eat more spinach. Here are a few of the health benefits of spinach to get you going:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • high in anti-oxidants
  • cancer-fighting
  • immunity-boosting
  • detoxifying
  • heart healthy
  • promotes bone health
  • high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip

We’ve been really into avocados lately, and have been big fans of spinach and fresh herbs for years. Smoothies, salads, dips and casseroles, no green dish is safe from us. With my renewed love of avocados, I have found that combining this superfruit with a superveggie like spinach is a match made in heaven. They are delicious together, and your body feels good eating them. Pay attention when you eat this dip – notice how your body responds. For this dip, I used a little fresh cilantro and basil for additional health benefit and of course flavor. And to me, no dip is complete without garlic. Enjoy this over chicken or hamburger, with plantain chips, or in a grain-free tortilla, the options are endless!

Ingredients

  • 6c raw organic spinach, washed
  • 2 organic hass avocados
  • 1c organic basil, washed
  • 1c organic cilantro, washed
  • 1/4 organic yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2T olive oil
  • juice of 1 organic lemon
  • 1/2tsp Himalayan sea salt

Directions

Throw all ingredients except olive oil into food processor and process. Drizzle olive oil into processor while its running. Process until creamy and smooth. Eat immediately or store in fridge for up to two days.

And don’t forget: eat more spinach!

6 Benefits of Live Online Personal Training

Much like our variety of classes and modalities, our virtual – or online – services were born based on the needs of our clients. Years ago when we moved to Philadelphia, many of our clients chose to continue working with us, through virtual private training. Some of our sessions were by phone, and others through Skype. We still work with many of the clients now, years later, at a lower frequency. Many of our current studio clients also opt for virtual sessions from time to time, as they may be traveling for business, feeling a little under the weather, or just want to enjoy a session from the comfort of their own home. We enjoy getting to travel the world virtually with our clients, and helping to keep them on track to their personal health and fitness goals, no matter where they are!

Our online personal training services are just like our in-person sessions, except online. That means you’ll be working live with an instructor during each session. You can ask questions, check in about your form, your measurements, your goals, and even do a workout with your trainer right there with you! Our sessions include individualized health consulting, assessment of metabolic functioning, and an individualized plan including workouts and breathing or meditation exercises and whole foods based nutrition.
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 6 Benefits of Live Online Personal Training

Have you tried online personal training? Here are 6 reasons why you may want to consider this option for optimizing your health:

  1. Convenience of Location. This is the number one reason most people opt for online personal training sessions. No worries about travel time, trudging through snow, or leaving the house while the chicken is cooking! You can do your session from home, from work, from the beaches in Mexico, or a hotel room in Japan – just log on.
  2. Ease. Having an online personal trainer is easy. As I said, just log on. The workouts, however, are not.
  3. Individualized Workout and Nutrition Advice. Your personal training session will be live and face-to-face (unless you choose a phone call, which will be more ear-to-ear). Your workouts and nutrition guidance will work around where you are and any situations that you may encounter. Don’t have access to a kettle bell? We’ll find a substitute. Have a business dinner in Taiwan? We’ll help give you tips on eating out. Feeling under the weather? We’ll modify your session and plan based on your needs.
  4. Flexibility. You can do your workouts where you want, when you want, and wearing whatever you want! With our online training services you will get weekly workouts, recipes, and tips sent straight to your inbox, for you to access and use at your convenience.
  5. Accountability. Since your sessions are live, you will be held accountable for your progress and in reaching your goals. Our online trainers will check in with your measurements and discuss challenges and successes as you progress.
  6. Access to an Expert. Choosing a personal trainer online gives you access to trainers anywhere in the world, that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. This means you can be a little pickier. Scan reviews and testimonials to find someone who is experienced, successful, and a good fit for you!
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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes (Paleo, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes (Paleo, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I’m from the south. While I haven’t lived in North Carolina for many years, its true that once a southerner, always a southerner. You don’t hear my accent much, but when I talk to my NC friends or family it all comes out. My husband says he doesn’t even understand everything I say when my accent kicks in – ha! “Whatchall doin'”, “crank the car”, and “I’m fixing’ ta…” are all fair game southern-speak. And my Tarheel blood runs blue and always will. Just like many other parts of the country – and world – as a Southerner, food is a big deal. The southern dishes and candies of my childhood are the inspiration for many of my recipes, and I find it both challenging and fun to bring these old traditions to life in a new, healthier way! I like to re-create these recipes not just for myself but also for my kids, to continue old and joyful traditions. It’s something special when you see your child enjoying something that you enjoyed so much as a child too.

The fruit of the buckeye tree, named because it resembles the eye of a buck deer

Buckeyes were made every year around the holidays in my family, and were and are a favorite! I think it was a recipe passed down from my grandmother, but ask any southerner and they will tell you they have a family recipe for too. Traditionally these are made with a load of confectioner’s sugar (a staple in every southern household), peanut butter, and of course butter. Being paleo, I had to significantly modify the traditional recipe to make these. But no worries – these buckeyes are unbelievably yummy (even yummier in my opinion)! The sunbutter works as a wonderful substitution for the inflammatory peanut butter, and the honey gives it a natural sweetness that’s not overwhelming like confectioner’s sugar. Learn more about the benefits of sunflower seeds here. I use a touch of coconut butter to add a little more structure and texture. These are also as easy to make as they are delicious, and can be whipped up in no time! Simply dip them in chocolate and you have a dessert that no one – southern or not – will resist!

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes

Sunbutter Balls

Chocolate Mixture

Throw all ball ingredients into food processor and process until a dough forms. Form dough into balls (1/2-inch to 1-inch) and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until they become firm. Melt chcocolate and coconut butter in double boiler. Once melted, dip sunbutter balls into the chocolate (using a toothpick), covering them about 3/4 of the way. Place buckeyes chocolate-side down on parchment paper. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, then store in airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week. Of course ours never last that long because they’re gone before I can even say “Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes”!

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4 Time-Saving Must-Have Kitchen Appliances

4 Time-Saving Must-Have Kitchen Appliances

One of the biggest challenges to eating healthy for our clients is finding the time to make healthy food. I get it. Eating out is so easy, and with the myriad of choices around us, you can satisfy any craving, any time. The convenience of eating out is definitely a draw, and with many places advertising “healthy” menu items, you can almost convince yourself that you’re doing a good thing for your body. But here’s the thing with eating out: you don’t always know what’s in the food. Additives, chemicals, sugars, gluten, even when something is marketed as “sugar free” or “gluten free” they aren’t always. For example, have you ever ordered a gluten free pepperoni pizza? In most cases, while the crust may be made without gluten, the pepperoni most likely has gluten in it. If you’re avoiding sugar, do you ever order bacon? In most cases bacon that you get at a restaurant or cafe will contain sugar. Okay, okay, I’m not saying never eat out – I’m just saying, don’t eat out every day, and be mindful. Pay attention to what you eat, and where it comes from. Because it matters.

Sounds good, you say, but how am I supposed to find the time to make and pack my own food each day? Well, lucky for you I’ve dedicated this post to 4 Time-Saving Must-Have Kitchen Appliances that will make your life easier and healthier. Yes, they will cost a little money. But take a moment and consider how much you are spending each month on eating out. Now multiply that by 12, and then by 5. Assuming each of these appliances last 5 years (usually longer actually), I’d be willing to bet that you’ll actually save quite a bit of money if you cut back on eating out and use these appliances instead.

4 Time-Saving Must-Have Kitchen Appliances

    1. Instant Pot.
      I’ve said it a million times, this is a MUST-HAVE. The Instant Pot can do everything from cook a pot roast in minutes to boil the perfect easy-peel eggs to make yogurt. And it. Is. So. Easy. *Time-saving tip: When short on time throw your ingredients for chicken soup or beef stew into this thing, set it (pressure cook or slow cook), and forget it. I’ve recommended this to family, friends, and clients who have all reported back that it is life-changing. And I agree. I own four.
    2. Vitamix.
      This one I was hesitant to buy. The price is steep, and I’d never really seen that much of a value in having a blender (except in my college days – then I definitely got every penny out of my blenders). But after consulting with several friends I decided to bite the bullet and get one, and I am thankful every day for this little kitchen wonder. We use it primarily for green smoothies, a super quick and easy way to get those greens in! I also use it for making everything from wine slushies to avocado pudding. *Time-saving tip: Make a few blender-fulls of smoothies on the weekend. Pour into reusable glass bottles and take them with you on-the-go and to work for the week. Here are some of the different vitamix models (and a Ninja), with great reviews. We use the Pro Series.
    3. Food Processor.
      There are a lot of good food processors on the market, but I use this one and love it. My food processor is another appliance that I use daily. I make homemade nut butters (another money-saver), pesto, banana ice cream, cookie dough, and all kinds of baked goods in this miracle worker. Not to mention the various attachments good for shredding and slicing veggies or cheese. It’s another huge time-saver, especially if you tend to bake, or if you eat veggies. Which you should, duh. *Time-saving tip: Make a huge batch of pesto at the beginning of the week and divide it out into small containers to go in your packed meals as a quick and yummy way to get your veggies in!
    4. CrockPot Lunch Crock.
      This is a great way to keep warm, healthy home-cooked food with you all day when you’re at work. Just keep the lunch crock at work, and pack the liners with food and carry them to and from work each day. Warm them up in your little crock for a few minutes and voila! A home-cooked meal every time. *Time-saving tip: buy several of the liners and pack enough to last you 2-3 days. This way you only have to spend time packing food twice a week!


Which one can you see yourself using the most? Start with that one, and pay attention to how it alters your life, and your health. I hope these 4 Time-Saving Must-Haves and tips help you in your journey to optimal health. Please contact us for health transformation consulting and more information on how to transform your kitchen and your life!

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Meatballs are fun. Fun to make, fun to eat, fun to talk about…everybody loves meatballs. Actually that should be the name of a book, or cookbook, or maybe it already is. Kids love meatballs too, especially making them, so anytime I make meatballs I enlist their help. I use the word “help” very loosely here! They love making the dough into balls, hearts, snakes, monsters, and anything else, and then of course getting to eat them when they’re ready. And I use the word “they” very loosely here, because I probably enjoy making monsters more than they do.

Let’s talk about yoga and meatballs for a second. I talk a lot about how to incorporate yoga into everyday life and situations, and this is a great example! Sound crazy? Read on. I may be a little weird, but I find it therapeutic to squish things together and make a yummy concoction. Taking a few minutes to use your senses (touch, smell, sight, and later taste) and be present with the dough can be a very yogic process. Squishing, kneading, and forming balls, using the physical body in conjunction with the calm, quiet mind can soothe the spirit. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the breath and to enjoy the mindfulness that cooking and preparing food promotes. Plus, you’re making something that is healthy, delicious, and good for your body, which makes the process that much more rewarding and fun. Try it, you’ll get it.
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Anyway, these Pumpkin Meatballs are yummy. A warm comfort food on a cool day, an easy snack for on-the-go, or, paired with some roasted veggies or maybe spaghetti squash, a perfect meal for an evening at home. The pumpkin and cinnamon add a little fall flavor, while the honey gives it a subtle sweetness to complement the savory aspect of a traditional meatball. They are super easy to make, which is always a plus in my book. I also love that you can freeze these to enjoy later, or as I do, pull them out when you forgot to make lunch for your husband to take to work!

Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 T organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 T yellow onion, minced
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1T raw local honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Get your hands in there and really mix, enjoy the therapeutic benefits! Once everything is well combined, form into 1-2” balls. Place balls on parchment paper lined baking sheet and put into the oven for 20-25 minutes (on the longer end if your meatballs are larger).

US Wellness Meats sells quality grassland meat products – Visit us Online!

Let me know if you try Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs, and how it goes for you!

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Pudding Recipe! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Mango Pudding! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

Let’s talk about avocados. You wouldn’t believe the amount of avocados we go through in our house. Seriously. We (and by “we” I mean even the kids) eat them by themselves, on top of salads, and on top of soups. We make recipes, using them in pesto, puddings, ice creams, and of course guacamole. Avocado oil is our oil of choice for most salad dressings and in much of our cooking. We love the creamy texture, the subtle flavor, and most of all how it makes us feel. Avocados provide healthy fat, which when paired with its high nutrient content (i.e. fiber, vitamins B, C, K, and E, potassium, and magnesium) makes them satiating and super-healthy.

Here are some Avocado products that we use and recommend:

18 Health Benefits of Avocados

The health benefits of avocados are numerous, and are backed by loads of scientific research. Here are 18 reasons why these little fruits are so great for us:

  1. They are very nutritious. As I mentioned, avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5 and B6, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, zinc, and more. They have a very low glycemic index and are low in saturated fat.
  2. They are high in fiber. Avocados are very high in fiber compared to most other foods, a quarter of which is soluble.
  3. They help lower cholesterol.
  4. They promote better nutrient absorption. Avocados actually increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from other plant foods.
  5. They promote eye health. Avocados are high in antioxidants that support eye health and lower the risk of eye problems such as degeneration.
  6. They promote weight loss. Avocados are often recommended when trying to lose weight, as they are high in fiber and healthy fat, thus more satiating.
  7. They are high in protein. Avocados, unlike most fruits, are high in protein and low in sugar.
  8. They promote healthy metabolic functioning. Avocados contain fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
  9. They are easy to eat. We all love foods that are quick to prepare and easy to eat. Avocados fit the bill. Just cut and scoop, and your snack is all set!
  10. They are beneficial in pregnancy. Due to their high levels of folic acids, vitamin K, and vitamin B, avocados are often recommended to women who are pregnant and post-partum.
  11. They promote healthy liver. Avocados help protect the liver in a number of ways.
  12. They are anti-inflammatory. Avocados contain vitamins K and E, which help reduce cellular inflammation.
  13. They provide dental care. Avocados contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties which have the ability to kill bad bacteria in the mouth.
  14. They promote longevity. These superfoods are associated with healthy aging due to a regenerating compound called xanthophyll.
  15. They promote bone health. Avocados are shown to help in lowering the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
  16. They heal dry skin. They help soothe chapped lips and cracked skin.
  17. They provide great skin care. Avocado oil is soothing and moisturizing for the skin. It can be used in natural homemade skin care such as body butters, face cream and lip balms. Also, the good fats can help protect the skin and prevent sun damage.
  18. They promote healthy mood and sleep.

As if that list isn’t enough, here is another reason to buy and consume avocados: a delicious and easy Avocado-Mango Pudding recipe! This is a favorite in our house. I can whip it up in under 5 minutes, and it hits the spot when craving something sweet and satiating. The light and fluffy texture makes it fun for the kids too!

Avocado-Mango Pudding Recipe

– 1 ripe organic haas avocado, peeled and pitted
– 1 10-oz bag frozen organic mango chunks
– 1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
– 2 T raw local honey (or more, to taste)

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and fluffy. Eat, and enjoy!

 

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Keeping the “Fun” in Functional Fitness

Keeping the “Fun” in Functional Fitness

If you’ve ever tried a functional fitness class, you’ve probably noticed that it is unlike most fitness classes that you’ve done before. I remember when I first tried a Crossfit class years ago and was immediately struck by two things: 1) How unique and weirdly fun the class was, and 2) How HARD this unique and weirdly fun class was. Like many, I was hooked. I continued taking classes, learning about the style as much as I could, and went on to become a Crossfit Level 2 certified trainer. When opening Water and Rock Studio, we made functional fitness one of the fundamental components of our studio. Why? Because we believe that whole body, multi-joint functional movements are integral to overall health and performance. Read this post to learn more about the benefits of multi-joint movements. We’ve seen the results, we’ve experienced the results, and we want to inspire others to join in the fun!
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The Water and Rock Studio Approach

Our philosophy for functional fitness is as unique as the movements we use. We’ve taken what we have learned – and continue learning – and have put our spin on it. We believe that working out should be

Accessible. First and foremost, we believe in making fitness accessible to everyone: every age and every fitness level.
Empowering. We provide you with the tools to make this an ongoing part of your lifestyle, not just a once a week trip to the gym, and not something that you need to dread. Functional fitness teaches us that we don’t need a lot of equipment, a large gym, or a lot of time to get in shape, reach our goals, and have fun doing it!
Varied. We use varied movements that work the whole body, rather than isolated muscle groups. Each class is different, and you will rarely do the same workout twice!
Integrative. We provide an integrative approach to all of our private sessions and classes. Functional fitness is no different. It’s not unusual for us to throw in striking or yoga postures throughout the workout, or to end with meditation.
Intense. Research shows that short, intense workouts can be more beneficial than an hour on the treadmill or elliptical. We encourage intensity, while also honoring each student’s personal level and threshold. We want you to work hard, to gain maximum health benefit, and within our safe and supportive environment.
Innovative. We strive to keep our functional fitness sessions and classes new, fresh, and outside the box (no pun intended, crossfitters). You never know when our classes may require flipping tires on the sidewalk, egg races, reverse burpees, or running to the nearest playground to, well, play!
Fun. This is key. As I said, this was one of the things that initially drew me to Crossfit, and one of the tenets of this style that I did not want to lose sight of. We have fun creating the classes, and we want to make sure our students have fun too. That’s not to say they lack intensity or integrity, rest assured.

Intrigued? Get rid of that repetitive elliptical, step outside of your treadmill box, and come see for yourself what it’s all about! Contact us  to try our online functional fitness services, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session.

3 Supplements That We Take and Why

3 Supplements That We Take and Why

It’s no secret that Japheth and I eat a healthy diet. We are big proponents of the Paleo diet, for ourselves, our kids, and our clients. What this means for us is that we eat a varied diet of whole, non-processed, organic foods, without refined sugar or grains. We order our produce and meats from local organic farms and avoid any unknown additives or chemicals. In addition we make and eat bone broth and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and coconut milk yogurt. So with all these nutrient-rich foods, why do we take supplements?

Why We Supplement

I love the idea of eating a clean whole foods diet and getting all of our body’s nutrients through that. After all, our bodies were made to survive and thrive on food from the ground and unmodified meats. Unfortunately in our modern environment, this is no longer possible. According to Chris Kresser, multiple environmental factors negatively influence the nutrient quality of foods, and how our bodies respond to them. Some of these factors include:

  • A decline in soil diversity and quality
  • Decreased diversity of plant species
  • Increased exposure to environmental toxins
  • Overuse of medications leading to gut and liver damage
  • Poor sleep quality and high levels of stress
  • Reduced connection with nature and social relationships
  • A society of sitting

Kresser notes that “supplementation is not necessarily a sign that your diet isn’t working. It’s a means of making it work better.” The supplements that we choose to take for maintaining our health are not meant to replace foods, but instead to compliment our natural diet.
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3 Supplements That We Take

Every body is unique and complex, and while certain supplements are needed by – and work well for – us, they may not work for everyone. If you suspect that you have nutrient deficiencies, please consult a knowledgeable professional before beginning supplementation. Here are the 3 supplements that we take daily as maintenance supplementation:

  1. Probiotic. Adding probiotic-rich foods such as fermented foods into your diet is essential. However, for some, a probiotic supplement may be beneficial as well. Probiotics promote a healthy immune system, improved digestion, increased energy, and overall gut health. They can also reduce symptoms of diarrhea, cold and flu. We take these probiotics daily, and sometimes double up when sick. It’s important to note that when trying probiotic supplements you may need to try a few different types and doses before finding one that is a good match. Generally you want between 10 and 30 different strains, and a probiotic number of 15-100 billion.
  2. Magnesium. An estimated 80% of adults are deficient in magnesium, and symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the level of deficiency and the duration. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency and what to do about it .  We take this magnesium daily, especially in times of high stress.
  3. Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO). Many healthcare professionals recommend taking Omega-3s in some form because of its many benefits to health, such as lowering inflammation and preserving brain health. FCLO is a particularly great source of vitamins A and D, and is anti-inflammatory. According to Dr. Josh Axe , FCLO can owner cholesterol and blood pressure, helps treat depression and prevent heart disease, and helps maintain bone health, among other benefits. We take this Fermented Cod Liver Oil  daily and find that it also helps boost energy.

Before supplementing, be sure to consult with a qualified professional. Contact us if you’d like more information about how to make sure you’re getting enough essential nutrients to optimize your health!

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Yoga and the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

Yoga and the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

Yoga is everywhere. Celebrities credit yoga for their svelte physiques, yoga studios are popping up on every corner, and yoga pants are the new jeans. I don’t even wear jeans anymore. “Yoga” is a buzzword for sure, and most often – in our culture – used to reference yoga postures, or asanas. I find that even seasoned yoga students sometimes have difficulty answering the “What is Yoga” question, and many students come to a yoga class originally for the physical benefits: flexibility, coordination, balance, etc. That’s what originally drew me to the practice, in fact. But, like many, I soon discovered that yoga encompasses so much more, and I haven’t stopped practicing since. So what IS yoga, what does it have to do with the mind and spirit, and what is the mind-body-spirit connection?

What is Yoga?

The word “yoga” means “to yoke” or “to unite”, as in to unite the body, mind and spirit. Yoga originated in ancient India as physical, mental and spiritual practices. Later, yoga was introduced to, and quickly gained popularity in, the western part of the world as primarily a physical practice. While yoga history and philosophy are becoming more known in our culture, the stigma of yoga being simply another form of physical exercise remains. However, growing bodies of research related to meditation and asana credit yoga with significant stress reduction, improving cardiovascular health, controlling diabetes, promoting healthy mood and self-concept, and even longevity. Students of mine have touted the benefits of yoga, ranging from healing hip and back pain, to making pregnancy and labor smooth and relaxed, to diminishing significant body tremors, to improving overall stress management. You may be wondering how yoga does all of this. The answer: through mind-body-spirit connection!

The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

As yoga teaches us, the mind, body and spirit are all connected; what we think effects our bodies and what our bodies do effects our minds. Yoga postures are just as important as other aspects of yoga, such as meditation, breathing, truth, or compassion, and all of these things lead to a deeper interconnection and unification the mind, body and spirit. To say it simply, a relaxed and healthy mind and spirit leads to a relaxed and healthy body, and vice versa.

Practicing the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection
Once you begin a yoga practice, you will pretty quickly begin to notice the benefits. Maybe physically at first, but if you are observant you will soon notice other aspects of your mind, your body, your life, starting to shift. Here are some examples of how the mind-body-spirit connection comes into play:

  • Physical Goals. When struggling physically, observe what the mind is doing. For example, if your goal is to improve physical balance, and you find that even holding tree pose for more than 5 seconds is challenging, you may want to observe what the mind is doing when you’re practicing tree pose. Maybe you feel anxious because you know balance is challenging for you, or frustrated with your body, or maybe you’re thinking about something else. Come out of the pose, take a few deep breaths to calm and quiet the mind, and then come back to the pose. Observe, without judgment, how your tree pose feels now.
  • Mental Health. When focusing on mental goals, pay attention to what the body is needing. For example, if stress-management is an issue for you, as it is for most, and you find it difficult to sit quietly to calm the mind, your body may need more. Try this: When feeling stressed or overwhelmed, stop, move through 5 or more sun salutations (adding in other poses if you like). Don’t forget to connect the breath to your movements. Then you may be ready to return to what you were doing, with a renewed energy and perspective.
  • Fulfillment. Check in with the spirit. For example, yoga teaches us to be kind and compassionate toward ourself, toward others, and toward our environment. If you feel disconnected somehow, or feel unfulfilled in some way, find a way to give back or to follow a passion. It can be something as simple as bringing a cup of coffee to your dry cleaner, shoveling snow for a neighbor, or enrolling in art classes. Or maybe a bigger project within the community, or sharing yoga with a local group. Fulfilling the spirit will lead to a healthy state of mind and body.
  • Lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle choices lead to healthy mind, body and spirit. Are you sleeping enough? Are you exercising? Are you eating real, whole foods, and eating mindfully? Have you eliminated most toxins from your environment? Being good and kind to your body will deepen your mind-body-spirit connection, and optimize your overall health.

At Water and Rock Studio, our private yoga sessions and small group classes help strengthen this mind-body-spirit connection through movement, meditation, breathing techniques, and other yoga teachings. Yoga is an integral part of our overall philosophy of integrating mind and body to optimize health, heal disease, and reach wellness goals. Contact us to try our online private yoga sessions or yoga classes, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session.
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10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water (And How to Know if You’re Drinking Enough)

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water (And How to Know if You’re Drinking Enough)

Drink more water. This is one of our most repeated, most basic, and most necessary pieces of advice for our clients. We have helped our clients cure and improve everything from debilitating headaches to metabolic functioning simply by increasing their water intake. Endurance athletes have noted feeling and performing better, others have reported increased mood. Water is critical to our survival, our health, and our ability to carry out basic functions.

So how much water do we need? This can depend on a number of personal and environmental factors. It can also depend on diet. A Paleo diet typically includes a lot of water-rich foods, for example. Most of us have heard the “eight by eight” rule: drink eight eight ounce glasses of water a day. This rule is actually not backed by scientific evidence, but it is easy to remember. We have a somewhat different approach, and recommend that our clients drink half their body weight in ounces of water daily. Regardless of level of activity, diet, or other factors, we find this to be a good, healthy rule of thumb for everyone, and also easy to remember! Also, drink plain water. No, drinking 100 ounces of Diet Coke a day is not equivalent to 100 ounces of water.

How do you know if you’re not getting enough water? Our bodies are very clever. They let us know when something is amiss; the problem is we don’t always listen or pay attention. When in doubt, drink more. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. Are you thirsty? Is your urine a deep yellow? Is your mouth dry? These are all signs that you need more water. Below are 10 more common symptoms of mild dehydration.

10 Symptoms of Inadequate Water Intake

1) Lethargy
2) Constipation
3) Dry skin/lips
4) Weakness
5) Headaches
6) Low blood pressure, resulting in dizziness
7) Decreased mental acuity
8) Mood changes
9) Difficulty losing weight
10) Muscle cramps

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water

And now, the health benefits. We’ve discussed what inadequate water intake can do to our bodies and how it can effect us cognitively, emotionally and physically, but what can a healthy intake of water do to our bodies (and therefore our quality of life)? LOTS!

1) Increased Energy and endurance
2) Aids digestion and maintains regularity
3) Keeps skin hydrated and healthy
4) Promotes healthy immune system functioning
5) Relieves and prevents headaches
6) Removes waste and toxins from the body
7) Helps with focus and concentration
8) Promotes healthy mood
9) Aids weight loss by improving metabolic functioning
10) Keeps joints lubricated and prevents muscle cramps

So now that you have the information, it’s just a matter of filling up that water bottle or glass and drinking it down. If you’re not accustomed to drinking large amounts of water you may not like the taste. It’s okay, you will get used to it. Feel free to add a little lemon, lime, or even cucumber slices to dress it up a bit! I personally love water, but for those who don’t, just remember that your body needs it. Better to drink an extra few glasses now than feel awful, or worse yet, pay medical bills, later. When you pick up that glass remember these 10 Health Benefits to Drinking Water and enjoy doing something good – no, great! – for your body.