Tag Archives: cardiovascular health

10 Non-Food Ways That We Use Coconut Oil in Our House

Coconut oil in our house is one of those items that we would have a hard time living without. We try to be pretty minimal when it comes to shopping, and products that are both healthy and multi-purpose are wins. There are a million and one uses for coconut oil, ranging from using it as a cleaner, to using it in your favorite brownie recipe. It’s well-known and revered in both the primal/paleo and the non-paleo world, as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and one of the most versatile products to own.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

The benefits of coconut oil have been proven in over a thousand research studies, and the list is endless. Here are a few commonly known benefits of this amazing fruit:

  • high in saturated fat, making it heart healthy
  • can heal urinary infections
  • high in antioxidants
  • can reduce inflammation
  • anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral
  • improves gut health
  • helps balance hormones
  • improves hair and skin conditions
  • prevents tooth decay and other dental problems
  • treats candida and yeast infections

10 Non-Food Ways That We Use Coconut Oil in Our House

In order to gain benefit from coconut oil, you can eat it as part of your regular diet. Grease your pans with it, cook your eggs in it, use it in baking recipes, melt it over your favorite veggies, etc. But don’t stop there! Coconut oil can be used in a myriad of ways that are non-food related! *Just as a note, I believe that anything that goes on your body should be safe enough to go in your body. After all, your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs anything that you put on it – if you wouldn’t eat certain chemicals and toxins, why would you put them on your skin? Here are 10 Non-Food Ways That We Use Coconut Oil in Our House:

  1. Skincare. We use coconut oil in our homemade body butters, lip balms, lotion bars, deodorants, and sunscreen. It has a natural SPF of 4, is an excellent moisturizer, and can heal skin conditions. Additionally, in a pinch we use plain coconut oil on our dry skin or lips – doesn’t get much easier than that!
  2. Haircare. We use coconut oil in our homemade hair pomades and conditioners. To condition hair, simple rub between your hands until soft, then rub on ends of hair and into scalp. Leave on for 1 hour or even overnight, then rinse. *Be careful not to use coconut oil in the shower or sink too frequently as we have found that it clogs the drain when used regularly!
  3. Detox Bath. We love detox baths, and while we don’t take them as often as we’d like, we definitely feel the benefits when we do. It’s great for kids too, and seems to instantly relax them. Here’s a simple recipe to try:
    – 1/2c Epsom salts or magnesium flakes,
    – 1/4c coconut oil
    – 2-3 drops of essential oils (such as lavender or eucalyptus)
    – Hot bath
  4. Dental Care. We oil pull. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique, used to draw out toxins from the mouth and body, and create a sort of anti-septic environment. It is said to prevent tooth decay, kill bad breath, and whiten teeth, among other oral hygiene benefits. How to do it: Swish about a tablespoon on coconut oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Spit into trash can. Do this daily for noticeable benefit.
  5. Cleaning. We even use coconut oil for cleaning purposes! It cleans crayon and other marks off of walls, a trick that I was very grateful to learn. We also use it to clean marks off of furniture!
  6. Petfood/Health. Did you know that coconut oil is also beneficial for pets? Makes sense, since it’s
    so beneficial for us, right? We give our cats food that contains coconut oil daily, and have noticed a huge difference in their digestion and fur since starting it.
  7. Carrier Oil for Use with Essential Oils. Coconut oil is one of our favorite carrier oils when using essential oils. We mix it with peppermint eo to help with headaches, eucalyptus eo for a chest rub when sick, tea tree eo when needing a powerful antibacterial (think warts or fungus), wintergreen eo for sore muscles, and many more.
  8. Candles. I’ve started making my own homemade candles from beeswax and coconut oil. It’s so easy, and a greta way to avoid the chemicals and toxins that many candles consist of. I can add my favorite essential oils for an amazing scent too!
  9. Cough Suppressant. We make our own cough drops and cough medicine using combinations of coconut oil, ginger, cinnamon, and honey, all immune-boosting superpowers.
  10. Itches. We sometimes use coconut oil plain, or more often blended with essential oils, for relieving the sting or itches of bug bites or rashes.

As you can see, coconut oil really is a go-to for us; so much so that our kids even request it when they have a minor ailment! Hopefully this list will inspire you, if you’re not already a coconut-oil fanatic! What are your favorite uses for coconut oil?

 

 

 

 

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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.

14 Health Benefits of Magnesium and How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough

14 Health Benefits of Magnesium and How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough

Magnesium is an essential mineral for our bodies, with endless benefits, yet it’s not something that we hear a lot about in the mainstream medical realm. When we bring this up to our clients, for example, we often get blank looks, or sometimes a vague sign of recognition. Despite the lack of awareness for this mineral, an estimated 80% of Americans are actually deficient in magnesium, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. We hope that after you read this post you will be armed with more knowledge and awareness about the importance of healthy magnesium levels, what to look for if you think you may be magnesium-deficient, and how to use diet and supplementation to compensate for any deficiency.

Signs of Magnesium Deficiency

Symptomology is the primary indicator of a magnesium deficiency. There is no lab test that can accurately and consistently diagnose a person as deficient in magnesium. While there are blood and urine tests that provide estimates of magnesium levels, most doctors Will likely look at the presenting symptoms as the primary indicators. So what symptoms should you be looking for? A magnesium deficiency, especially one that has been ongoing, can cause a number of symptoms. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Muscle weakness and cramps
  • Seizures
  • Hypertension and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Mood swings and behavioral disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Other nutrient deficiencies
  • Headache/migraines
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Significant loss of appetite

14 Health Benefits of Magnesium

Numerous studies have evaluated the benefits of magnesium, with staggering results. Here are 14 health benefits of magnesium:

  1. Relieves muscle aches, cramping, and spasms
  2. Aids digestion and relieves constipation
  3. Helps with sleep by quieting the mind and relaxing muscles
  4. Calms nerves
  5. Increases energy
  6. Helps prevent hypertension and promote heart health
  7. Helps relieve symptoms of PMS
  8. Helps prevent migraines
  9. Helps relieve pain of fibromyalgia
  10. Promotes healthy blood pressure levels
  11. Can boost exercise performance
  12. Helps regulate mood and reduce symptoms of depression
  13. Promotes bone health
  14. Strengthens tooth enamel

How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough

Magnesium-Rich Foods. If you suspect that you may be deficient in magnesium, it is always a good idea to evaluate your diet. Add in as many whole, organic, and varied foods as possible. Remember that plant foods are only as healthy as the soil they were grown in. Organic vegetables, for example, tend to have higher levels of magnesium than non-organic. Some foods naturally rich in magnesium include:

  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Banana
  • Figs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Salmon

Magnesium Supplements. Depending on your symptoms, it may be a good idea to use magnesium supplements. There are lots of different types of magnesium supplements, with the citrate, chelate, and chloride forms believed to have higher absorption rates. We use Davinci Labs Tri-Mag 300, which provides three chelates forms of magnesium. As with any supplementation, its important that you additionally adhere to a diet of varied, whole and organic foods. The paleo diet provides healthy levels of magnesium, as well as an optimal calcium to magnesium ratio.

Contact us at Water and Rock Studio for a free online or in-studio health consult today!


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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.

The Misunderstood Core

The Misunderstood Core

How many times have you heard a fitness or yoga instructor point to his or her abdominals and say “core”? As in “strengthen your core”, “activate your core”, or “this works your core”. To many clients that we see, “core” is synonymous with “abs”, which is not entirely accurate. The core, it seems, is grossly misunderstood.

What is the “core”?

The core is a group of muscles that includes, but is not limited to, the abdominals. The muscles of the core involve back, side and front muscles of the body, extending from the sternum all the way down through the gluten and hamstrings. The job of the core is to stabilize and support the spine. My guess is that the core was aptly named because it is at the core of every movement our body makes, and without it most physical movement would be challenging if not impossible.
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What types of exercises strengthen the core?

Having a strong core is imperative to a healthy fitness routine. Kettle bell swings require a great deal of core strength to stabilize the movement and support the spine effectively. When throwing a punch from fight stance, the core is working to prevent you from overtwisting or turning, and helps drive and power the strike. In yoga, the core muscles are engaged and working during every asana to assist with balance and stability, and to help keep other parts of the body stable as well.

Just as the core is misunderstood, so are core exercises. Isolation exercises targeting the abdominals such as crunches are good, but they are just that: isolated. Doing isolated movements only can actually lead to impaired performance outside of a gym. In order to improve performance our bodies must be viewed as more holistic, both in mind-body connection and in terms of muscular strength. Maximum performance comes from muscles learning to work together.

We recommend whole body, multi-joint exercises, done at a relatively high intensity, for maximum health benefit and core strength-building. These can be done with or without weights, and can be done anywhere, no gym needed! Some fundamental exercises to try are:

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Burpees
  • Thrusters
  • Sumo Deadlift Highpull
  • Kettle Bell Swings
  • Planks/Side Planks

Here Japheth demonstrates three fundamental exercises that help strengthen and engage the core. You can try these on your own at home:

Adding weighted movements can also help work the core muscles tremendously. Here is Japheth demonstrating a Sumo Deadlift High pull:

Working with a certified personal trainer can be a great way to get started on building and maintaining core strength, and learning more about how your core works. Contact us at Water and Rock Studio if you’d like to schedule a free virtual or in-studio consult!

 

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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.

How to Make Healthy Homemade Sunbutter (nut-free, sugar-free)

 

How to Make Healthy Homemade Sunbutter (nut-free, sugar-free)

I love nut butters, and with my paleo lifestyle, nuts were my not-so-guilty pleasure for a long time. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts, no nut was safe! I started making my own nut butters a couple of years ago, when I became more aware of what my habit was costing me, and also when I became more conscious of all of the unnecessary and often unhealthy ingredients that are added to most store-bought versions…oils, sugar, words I didn’t recognize. Making your own nut butter is not only super-easy, but also cost-efficient, especially when you buy your nuts in bulk. All you need is a food processor and a jar to store it in!

Now, onto sunbutter. I discovered sunbutter when I started realizing that my beloved nuts were actually causing me some digestive distress. They made me bloated and uncomfortable. For many people they can also be a barrier to weight loss. Like many, I found that seeds do not have the same effect on my body, and I find them to be just as delicious. I often sprinkle them over salads, use them as a substitute for nut butters when baking, and even eat sunbutter drenched in honey for a treat sometimes. This homemade sunbutter is not only healthy, but with the added sweetness of the coconut sugar (sunbutter alone can be a little bitter), it is yummy enough for your whole family to enjoy!

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are beneficial to your health for several reasons. They are a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. Because of these properties, these delicious seeds can help promote cardiovascular health, detoxification, healthy cholesterol levels, and a healthy mood. They also, of course, make a healthy and delicious snack, and even dessert!

How to Make Healthy Homemade Sunbutter
4c. Shelled sunflower seeds
1/3c coconut sugar
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spread sunflower seeds in thin layer on parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet (you may need 2 if you’re sheets are smaller like mine). Toast them in the oven until they are lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Be sure to stir them every few minutes to keep them from burning. **Toasting the seeds first makes it easier for them to release their natural oils, thus eliminating the need for added oil!

Once they are toasted, pour them into your food processor and start processing. This will take several minutes, so just turn it on, go do a load of laundry and come back. Don’t stare at the sunbutter. I do that, and it doesn’t go any faster. If you are staring at it, you’ll notice that the sunflower seeds first turn into a ground meal-like substance, and then a few minutes later will turn into more of a sticky ball, as the oils begin releasing. Don’t stop here! Keep going for a few more minutes and the butter will reach a creamy consistency. At this point you can add the coconut sugar and salt and continue to process to combine. It will look like this

Spoon into a jar of your choice and try not to eat it all at once. Or eat it all, we’ve all been there.

I hope you try this healthy homemade sunbutter recipe, and enjoy it as much as I do! What other nut butters have you made?

 

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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.