Archive for April, 2016

The Practice of Meditation

Posted on: April 25th, 2016 by healthy1 No Comments

The lawyers I know have great stories of being overworked, stressed out and sleep deprived. Is it possible to reverse all of those effects with one simple activity? Making yourself more productive, less stressed and even sleeping more efficiently? Meditation may be your answer.

Meditation has proven health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, boosting immune health and even slowing aging! For me it was not an easy activity to accomplish. I would either sit and create a to-do list or fall asleep. I took classes with professionals and could never quite get it. Similar to my yoga practice – it took me at least four months of practicing 3-4 times per week until I could quiet my mind and focus on the yoga itself. Now on to mastering meditation.

Below are some of the researched benefits of meditating. If you are not feeling as healthy, happy and energetic as you should; this is an easy place to start. See our other blog posts for the best free resources for meditation ~ especially for beginners.

  • Mental Health: Meditation improves memory and attention, even increasing self control. The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine published a study documenting those effects in individuals with memory loss (honestly, I think we all could use a boost in the memory department). The benefits were attributed to improved blood flow to the brain – simply by meditating twelve minutes a day for eight weeks! We all can find twelve minutes a day to improve our health.
  • Emotional Health: The Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand published a study comparing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) pre and post meditation. They found that mindfulness meditation lowers the cortisol levels in the blood suggesting that it can lower stress and may decrease the risk of diseases that arise from stress such as psychiatric disorders (anxiety and depression), peptic ulcer and migraine.
  • Physical Health: decreases inflammation, and dependency on drugs and alcohol. A study conducted at the University of Vienna by Dr Hackl showed highly significant effects of Sahaja Yoga Meditation on drug consumption. The retrospective questionnaire showed that 97% of chronic drug consumers stopped taking drugs, most of them at the beginning of the Meditation practice, i.e. 42% after the first week of meditation, 32% after the first months (Hackl, 1995).

The Infographic below taken from Emma Seppala, phD outlines even more reasons to meditate.

Emma Seppala, PhD

Emma Seppala, PhD

The easiest way to start meditating is to set aside 2 minutes each morning. Find a quiet space, sit, close your eyes and count your breaths. It may be two minutes, it may be ten. Set an alarm if you need to. Allow your mind to wander but bring it back to the slow, deep breathing that you’re focusing on. When you master that first few minutes you can add more time, get more complex and start to master other facets of meditation.

Start with a healthy breakfast – think protein!

Posted on: April 18th, 2016 by healthy1 No Comments

I routinely run into clients who are not regularly eating breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Just like most of you my schedule is hectic and limited. At least two days a week I’m out of the house by 6:00am and do not return before 8:00pm. It’s imperative that I start with a healthy breakfast to keep me going on those 14 hour days. I often start the other 5 days with a 60-90 minute workout heavy on weight lifting. So how do I do it? How do I have time to make such a complete breakfast? What do I eat before/during/after workouts?  I often get asked by clients and friends alike what goes into my protein shake. So here are the answers.

Base: I keep it simple and easy and I start with water. Depending on the amount of frozen ingredients I’ll use between 4-6 oz of filtered water. If I’m making the shake for my husband or company I’ll sometimes substitute some of the water for coconut or almond milk – just to mix it up a bit.

Veggies: I like frozen broccoli, kale, and spinach as my go to. Honestly, you can throw almost anything into your shake (if you have a Vitamix like we do) and it will blend fully to make your shake crazy healthy. If you have veggies from last night’s dinner leftovers or ones that are about to turn bad throw them in as well! 

Fruit: Don’t get carried away here. I will add a 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries and 1/2 a banana at most to my shakes. If I’ve made a salad the night before and only used 1/2 an apple I might throw that in. I try not to add too much sugar here by limiting the amount of fruit.

Protein Shake Options

Protein shake options

Supplements: Here’s where it should be more personalized. For our protein shakes I use the following:

  • Pro-Active Power Greens: a powdered greens product loaded with energizing phyto-nutrients, certified organic wholefoods and plant extracts, including pure spirulina, chlorella, certified organic goji, certified organic banana, broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Pro-Active Probiotic Complete: hypoallergenic blend of 12 certified probiotic species offers the most complete spectrum of microorganisms for individuals seeking higher amounts of several types of probiotics.
  • Omega Superb: contains a stable combination of EPA and DHA as well as astaxanthin for added antioxidant support.
  • Immucare II: supports key systems in the body responsible for maintaining a healthy immune system, including the liver, digestive tract, endocrine glands and spleen.
  • Botanical Treasures: delivers broad spectrum antioxidant activity to quench free radicals, thereby normalizing gene behavior and supporting healthy aging.
  • Colostrum: Increases energy and stamina, lean muscle mass, activates fat metabolism, and returns our body to vibrant health.

Protein: I vary my protein intake between whey and vegan products. They both have their individual benefits. If you’re not opposed to animal protein sources I highly recommend having both on hand and alternating them each day.

When making your shake be sure to add the protein last. Make sure everything is well blended prior to adding the protein so as to not alter the structure of your protein powder by blending it too much.

Keep watching our other blog posts for what to look for when choosing a protein powder, why probiotics are beneficial and all the different uses for colostrum!