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Breaking it Down to the Basics: The Tough Love Approach to Dispelling the Myth of My “Expensive” Bland Diet

This past summer I went to visit some special people in my life who I will keep anonymous so as not to “out” them. They asked if I could help them overhaul their diet. We noticed that they were feeling drained: physically, emotionally, and mentally. I noticed that their daily meals consisted of a lot of meat, highly processed “bread” (I say “bread” because it’s really just all sugar), and SODA (!?!). While I was making green smoothies and feeling an abundance of energy, they were skipping breakfast saving up their appetites for their big meals later in the day. These special people in my life loved to poke fun at my “expensive” diet, and loved bringing home the giant French bread that was on sale for a dollar. They constantly told me that they could never eat the way I eat because it’s just way too expensive and way too bland. I told them that just for pennies more, I’d keep myself out of hospitals, off of medication,  keep my tastebuds more than satisfied, and happier than I ever thought I could be. Thus began my quest to help change the way they saw food.

Some of you may have seen my Studio 26 blog entry: Why I am a Gluten-Free Vegan and the blogs and documentaries that changed my life. I have since let fish into my life, so I now follow a pesca-vegan diet. This entry is an extension of my previous blog entry but it breaks my diet down to the very basics and is targeted towards those who may feel completely intimidated by a lifestyle overhaul or don’t even know where to begin when it comes to eating better.

I am posting here the tough love guide that I wrote for these special people in my life who didn’t know what “Vegan” meant before we had a chat one fateful summer night. I do not claim to be an expert. I have only performed extensive research for myself and eat in a way that allows me to feel my greatest—it may be different for you, so nothing I say here is gospel!

WATCH

On NETFLIX (and even on Youtube) Watch:

1) Hungry for Change* (Watch this immediately)

2) Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead*

3) Forks Over Knives*

4) Food Matters*

5) Vegucated

6) Food, Inc.*

7) Engine 2 Kitchen to the Rescue*

8) The Beautiful Truth

9) Farmageddon*

*My personal favorites

Watch these from Start to Finish

  • Stop Drinking Soda (SUGAR!)—replace it with water with lemon
  • Stop Eating a Bagel everyday (SUGAR!)—eat an apple instead
  • Stop Eating Chicken, Beef, Meat everyday. You should have meat once a week at most, Eat Fish instead.

 

CHECK OUT

Websites with Recipes (THEY HAVE SMOOTHIE AND JUICE RECIPES)

www.ohsheglows.com

www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com

Health (and the equation to losing weight) = 80% Nutrition 20% Exercise

Sugar (aka white bread, soda, white flour, high fructose corn syrup) is addictive and is a drug that is slowly killing you. It is something you crave because it is a drug, it’s abuse.

  • Dark, leafy greens are your friend
  • Read the recipes on the above websites, they make a vegan diet absolutely delicious. OhSheGlows.com is created by Angela Liddon who has an omnivore husband and her goal was to create vegan meals that satisfy meat eating appetites
  • At the market: Seitan, tempeh, mock duck, Dr. Praeggers…are your meat substitutes among many others if you are craving meat.
  • Just after 3 Days of eating primarily fruits and vegetables, you will feel amazing.

 

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD WANT TO EAT HEALTHY 

  • Eating good food will save your life, it cures cancer, diabetes, depression among many other disease.
  • Do not listen to labels that say “fat free, low fat, no fat.” It’s all bullsh-t and is just another way of saying “I am full of preservatives.
  • Read ingredient lists on what you are buying. If it is an entire list of chemicals, put it down and do NOT put it in your body—you are not eating food, your eating chemicals that are killing you and giving you cancer.
  • When you start to eat better, you will want to continue eating better and stop craving crap like bread, meat, and sugar (soda).
  • I take a B12 vitamin supplement.
  • I love you and I want you to be happy. Health=Happiness

 ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

  • If you are gonna eat meat, eat locally grown, organic, antibiotic free mee. This will be more expensive, but that’s because the regular meat you are buying is full of chemicals and harmful ingredients that are slowly killing you and the environment.
  • It’s best if you don’t eat meat, but if you need to, keep it to one time a week.
  • It’s not about what you can’t eat, it’s about what you can eat but do not want.
  • You will feel sexier if you listen to what I’m saying.

 

And that was it. I left if for them on their kitchen table. They asked for a tough love explanation and they got it. When you think about food within the context of it actually nourishing and prolonging and enhancing your life, you realize how much power you have over your health. For me the difference between good nutrition and bad nutrition has come down to life and death. And again, this is just what I’ve researched that works for me. And what works for you, may be completely different, but I do believe in this method of eating. It has been trial and error and I’m not a saint about eating clean 24/7 but I certainly believe in the power of it. Here’s to health, wellness, and happiness. More blogs to come on cheap vegan (some even raw) recipes and superfoods!
By Diana Oh

 

Sleep (No More) and Yoga

Studio 26 is excited to bring you the first blog from our newest team member Mariel! Enjoy!

After performing for two years, this June I said a bittersweet farewell to Sleep No More NYC, an Off-Broadway dance and theater production in Chelsea.  Though it was both a thrilling job and a wonderful challenge, performing the 3-hour show once or twice nightly became incredibly exhausting, and my immune system began to suffer.

Sleep No More is aptly named (for the performers at least), and as you can probably imagine, my performance schedule caused my sleep cycle to suffer. In attempt to preserve the healthy sleep habits I had practiced before joining the Sleep No More cast, I started digging around for tips and advice from some experts.

What I discovered was surprising. According to the latest count by Centers for Disease Control, approximately 50-70 million Americans suffer from insomnia.  And not only that, some 60 million prescriptions for sleep-aid medications were written in the past year.  However, like most medications, prescription sleep-aid medications come with their laundry list of potential side effects.  On the flip side, chronic sleep disorders come with their own list of potential side effects as well, including high blood pressure, type II diabetes, depression, cancer, and obesity.  Feeling slightly disheartened by this dead-end, I decided to try a more holistic rout.

As a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher, I began, (skeptically at first- I’ll admit), to do a short series of postures before bed each night.  I found that what they offered was two-fold. Physiologically speaking, the series incorporated postures that are calming to the nervous system.  Additionally, the practice of slowing down and breathing, something contradictory to our lifestyles in this bustling city, brought forth a mindfulness that helped me to address the underlying reasons I was having trouble sleeping in the first place.

Here’s the series that I’ve found most helpful along with a link to a description and demonstration by YogaJournal.com. It’s short and sweet, taking no more than 15 minutes, and they can all be done in bed.

1. Seated Lord of the Fishes Pose/Ardha Matsyendrasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/485

2. Seated forward fold/ Paschimottanasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/477

3.Childs Pose/Balasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/475

4. Reclining Big Toe Pose/Supta Pananggusthasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/483

5. Reclining Bound Angle Pose/Supta Baddha Konasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/663

6. Corpse Pose/ Savasana

http://www.yogajournal.com/poses/482

Wholemade by Jen

Several years ago, I experienced a knee injury that ended a successful theatre career.  I was dancing in The Phantom of the Opera at the time; I did rehab and limped my way through a couple more shows for a year or two before admitting I simply couldn’t put that strain on my body any more. I was devastated.  Who was I, if not a dancer?

When the time came for me to hang up my pointe shoes, I became certified at the Kane School in New York City and discovered I had a particular skill set to offer:  there were a lot of dancers and athletes out there, just like me, who had suffered from injuries and were trying to return to work.  I was able to take my years of dance experience, my excellent Pilates training, and my own journey through various painful injuries, and offer something valuable and unique to people who really needed it.

A door had closed, but a new one opened.

I experienced a new, fantastic career doing something I loved, finding a place to pour my passions and put all my knowledge and experience to good use.  After getting married and having two daughters, I found I had even more to bring to the Pilates table, though I wrestled with my new identity – Mom.  This  sudden job change meant our family found ourselves back in Dallas, Texas, where I’d grown up but hadn’t lived in years.

Can you say fish out of water?

I began teaching Pilates in Dallas, even as I became more confident in motherhood.  And as I raised my two girls, I suddenly had a lot of questions:  what’s in our food supply?  What’s in that diaper cream?  HOW much does that lotion cost, and how much of that money went to the people who actually made it?

My first experiments ended in a lot of failures as I sought natural, healthier ways to maintain my family’s health.  I dug deep into herbalism and essential oils, and completely overhauled my family’s medicine cabinet.  In fits and starts, we found ourselves living a healthier, cleaner day-to-day life.  I loved my creations so much I began giving them to friends:  scrubs for Christmas, a jar of lotion for a sunburn.  My daughter asked me if she could make lip balms to give her friends at her birthday party, and when people began coming back to me asking if they could pay me to make more, I knew I had something there.

A couple years later, I have a fast-growing business – Wholemade by Jen - that wouldn’t be here without lots of great friends to test recipes, design logos (I have really talented friends), and build databases (I have really smart friends).  I still teach Pilates and find that the work I do creating healthy, natural body-care products continues to inform my teaching.  I find myself fulfilled on so many fronts, and have come to realize that my identity is an ever-developing thing.  So I should stop trying to capture it in a box and neatly label it.

You know that saying, “When God shuts a door, He opens a window”?  I think that when a door is shut in your face, sometimes it’s so that you’ll look around the room and focus on what you’ve already got.  Have a career-ending injury?  Take what you’ve got and put it to even better use, helping more people.  Love your kids and want to keep them healthy?  Let’s grow that and reach more people than just your family.

In fact, I’ve come to recognize those seeming dead-ends for what they really are:  an agent of change that’s always – SOMEhow – for the better.  A necessary shoulder repair once left my arm in a sling for a month, and at first I couldn’t see how I’d get back to teaching.  Then one of my students – a young lad named Jared Kaplan – offered to be my “hands” while I taught, and I found my verbal cues blossomed, my sessions streamlined.  Teaching with my hands literally tied behind my back brought a whole new way of teaching to the forefront – and gave then-student Jared a chance to listen in on dozens of private sessions.

These dead ends have become a signal to me that “something really great and different is going to come out of this!”  Working on developing a new recipe can be incredibly frustrating, and many times I learn things the hard, expensive way as I waste ingredients that don’t combine well.  When an early lotion recipe led a friend to gently tell me it made her hands waaaay to greasy, I set aside my ego and worked to solve the problem.  The end result?  My Lotion Stick:  a hard lotion in a twist-up tube that leaves no mess, and is beloved by travelers who don’t have to declare it as a liquid at airport security.  It’s one of my best-sellers, all because I made a bad lotion recipe.

I think it comes down to sustainability.  Life is fluid and constantly changing – but what sustains you will always run through your days, like an undercurrent.  And you’ll find pieces of that rising up in various ways:  a hobby, a helping hand that only you are qualified to offer, a dream job coming available.  The question is, then, what sustains you?  What’s your passion?  And how does that passion fuel your daily life?

For me, I’m passionate about being a good steward of what I’ve got.  That means using my body of knowledge –from Pilates certification to in-the-field experience with heartbreaking injuries to an ever-deepening understanding of herbalism – for making people’s lives better.  It means taking the best care of my kids that I can, raising them to make informed choices.  It means environmental stewardship, and using as little of our natural resources as possible.  It means making sure my dollars go to companies that pay their employees fair wages, to farmers who ethically harvest their crops.  I absolutely adore being able to look back on my day and see all the different ways I made someone else’s life better: all the opportunities I had to help someone become more than they were the day before, whether it’s healthier, stronger, or more content with where they are.

That’s one of the things I love about Studio 26:  there’s no one-size-fits-all about them.  The undercurrent that runs through Studio 26 is full of passion and variety and ecological awareness.  Don’t even get me started on that plant wall; I can’t stand it, the thing is so cool.  You see Jared’s environmental concern come out all over the studio, but also can’t miss the fact that every client is an individual who will have his or her needs met in a unique and personal way.  Add that to the constant continuing education workshops being offered in a desire to always know more and never stop growing, and you can see Jared’s passion throughout the studio – it’s the undercurrent that sustains the place and makes it one-of-a-kind.

And here’s the thing:  you are going to run into dead ends every day.  You run into them constantly as you work out, right?  Your shoulder is acting funny, so your trainer works around that issue and comes up with a new and incredibly tortuous way to work your biceps without triggering your shoulder injury.  You curse him or her, but leave the session feeling stronger and more balanced than before, all because of a weakness of yours.  And I’ll let you in on a secret:  trainers like me, like the ones at Studio 26, absolutely ADORE the “dead ends” you bring in.  They force us to dig deep, get creative, and kick your ass a little more precisely.  We LOVE it.

You’re welcome.

My passion sustains me in its many forms.  How do you find sustainability in your life?  When you look around the room you’re in, door closed and all, what do you see that is waiting to come to the forefront?  Maybe it’s time to bring it out into the light.

 

Fun in the Sun: Free Outdoor Fitness in NYC!

After this harsh, long winter spent traversing street glaciers and shuddering with fear in the mornings, I declare, in the words of Beyoncé Knowles Carter, a little sweat never hurt nobody! Check out these awesome FREE fitness classes happening in the beautiful, sweltering outdoors of NYC this summer.

Sharpen your animal instincts! Shaolin Five Animal Kung Fu hosts free beginner martial arts classes 1pm-3pm every Saturday. Meet at the entrance to Riverside Park at 108th Street; come early to make sure you don’t miss the group after they enter the park.

And get free as a bird...with Pilates, cardio, toning and stretching classes every Friday morning at the Audubon Center at Prospect Park!

Return to the water, and kayak on the Hudson river.  Head to the Manhattan Community Boathouse this summer for free kayaking on Saturdays. The walk-up program is first-come, first-served and starts at 10 a.m. The boathouse is located at 72nd St. on the Hudson River.

Get your morning yogi on, every Thursday at 8.30am in Washington Square Park, with Yoga Vida!

Or show summer what's UP with CrossFit Bootcamp with Brick NY. North square of Union Square Park, also on Thursdays, 6pm.

Enjoy the sun while it lasts, and visit the amazing NYC parks website for countless more opportunities! Yay for free fun and fitness. You'll have a little extra cash for rooftop drinks too ;)

 

By Aya Sato

 

“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” – Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D

Everyone recognizes the inescapable fact that mental health is just as important as physical health, but how much time do you commit to each? For myself, I know that I am careful to allot time for keeping my physical body active with yoga, dance classes, and rehearsals, but I often find myself neglecting to set aside time for activities to improve my mental heath. Sometimes I struggle to find a balance. Today I ask myself, what can I do to prioritize my overall health?

After considering this question and researching different theories and practices, I came across an article about the health benefits of laughter, and then it all made sense! Laughter is the best medicine, for EVERYTHING. Mental, physical, and social benefits ensue from a good dose of the Patch Adams Method.

 

 

Some of the most fundamental social benefits include; -Promoting group bonding -Strengthening relationships -Attracting others to us -Enhancing teamwork -Diffusing conflict

(Surprising!) Physical Benefits of Laughter; -A boost of Immunity -A decrease in stress hormones -A decrease in pain -Relaxed muscles -Prevention of heart disease

Mental Health Benefits; -Adds Joy and zest to life -Eases anxiety and fear -Relieves Stress -Improves mood -Enhances resilience

Helpguide.org outlines some of the most basic but important benefits from laughing. This includes how it relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, and ultimately protects your heart (physically and emotionally).

If we approach tough situations with a perspective that allows room for a light heart and some humor, we not only benefit mentally but physically as well!

If you’re caught in a bind, Helpguide.org also provides a list of some creative opportunities to laugh-

-Watch a funny movie or TV show -Go to a comedy club -Read the funny pages -Seek out funny people -Share a good joke or funny story -Check out your bookstore’s humor section -Host game night with your friends -Play with a pet -Go to a “laughter yoga” class -Goof around with children -Do something silly -Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke)

Most importantly, find humor in yourself and find the ability to laugh and smile at yourself. If you approach your relationship with yourself with a light heart, you will find it helps your approach with others and hard situations.

By Shelby Terrell

http://www.helpguide.org/life/humor_laughter_health.htm

 

Living Green in NYC

It's undeniable that New York City is known for...its trash.  There's trash and junk everywhere. When I first moved to New York, I was really disturbed by the excess all around me. Not just the trash piled on the curb, but the constant use of resources: double-bagging for a pack of gum, take-out containers galore, free newspapers left and right, three menus and a message from a church under my door...  I slowly learned how to navigate the landscape of waste and find my own ways to be eco-friendly in a city that demands so much of the planet.  From always carrying a collapsible shopping bag in my purse to buying a reusable water bottle and ordering take-out as infrequently as possible, I found little ways to reduce my own trash. My next goal is composting in my apartment. One day, though, it occurred to me...is New York really hating on the planet all that much?  Sure, it's a relatively dirty city, but separating cleanliness from waste, I started realizing the everyday eco benefits that we take for granted.  Imagine if all 8 million people were given a car and re-allocated to the suburbs?!  The MTA is a necessary function of New York City, but also a huge planet-saver. And the trash...well, with recycling plans in place, when you look closer at the trash mountains (ok, don't get too close), half of it is sorted out as paper and bottles. There are large-scale practices in place that really support the health of the planet.

(Image courtesy of thevividedge.com)

That leaves us with individual initiative - what can we all do every day to support the planet in smaller ways, while still living a big-city lifestyle?  Buy tree-free paper products from Duane Reade? Go bagless at Whole Foods (for your 10 cent rebate!)? Bring your coffee from home in a travel mug?  Get what you can second-hand from one of the million thrift stores in Brooklyn? Always request an email receipt? Shop local instead of ordering from Amazon, skip Fresh Direct and go to the store instead (one less box, one less delivery via truck)? Adopt an animal from a local shelter (because animals have over-population/resource problems too!)? Clicking the "I'm Eco Friendly" box when ordering from Seamless (it's inevitable sometimes)? Returning your plastic bags to recycling locations (most grocery stores)? Try one of New York's world-class vegetarian restaurants?

People in NYC care about the planet after all, and it's encouraging to find businesses and organizations that promote an eco-friendly lifestyle and green practices.  Here is a list of fun and functional eco-minded businesses and organizations to support in the city. Feel free to chime in with any hidden eco-gems you come across!

...and most importantly, because New York loves to eat out...

Gyrokinesis

Relatively new to “the scene”, Gyrokinesis is quickly gaining popularity not only among dancers, but among athletes, people in need of rehabilitation from injuries, and the general population as well. Developed by Juliu Horvath, Gyrokinesis is based on a philosophy that the body has its own natural path of energy, and through direction, we can use our breath to open the pathways. This therapeutic practice focuses on rhythmic, fluid movements vs. rigorous stretching to encourage the muscles to release tension in their own time. Through three-dimensional movements encouraging spirals and circles, the exercises are designed to loosen the joints, create flexibility in the muscle fibers, and increase core strength.

Juliu Horvath was born and raised in Romania. While growing up he participated heavily in sports including rowing, swimming, and gymnastics. At the age of 19, he became interested in classical ballet, and by his 20th birthday he was performing principle rolls with the Romanian State Opera. In the early 1970’s, Horvath found himself in New York City. After doing everything in his power to survive, as well as still trying to dance and audition, he was finally noticed by someone in the New York City Opera and was hired right away. In 1977, while dancing for Houston Ballet, Horvath ruptured his Achilles tendon and damaged a spinal disc. These injuries brought his dancing career to an immediate halt.

After his injury, Juliu Horvath moved to the Virgin Islands and built himself a secluded home in the mountains, where he immersed himselfin an intense study of yoga. During this time, Horvath’s research led him to a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the body, and he designed a practice called “Yoga for Dancers”. This more advanced level of yoga that incorporates core-strengthening ideas from Pilates, flexibility, grace from dance, fluidity from swimming, and energy from Tai Chi is what has developed into Gyrokinesis.

In the early 1980’s, Horvath returned to New York City and began teaching “Yoga for Dancers” at “Steps on Broadway”. After he developed a considerable following, he opened “White Cloud Studio” in 1982. In just 30 years, studios offering Gyrokinesis or Gyrotonics have increased from 1 to over 2,000 in locations all over the world.

Gyrotonics is Gyrokinesis but performed on the Gyrotonic Expansion System or the Pulley Tower Equipment. The name evolved from the Greek terms “gyro“ meaning circling and “tonic“ meaning stretch. "I found two ball bearing plates from old swivel chairs in trash on the street, brought them back to my studio and immediately saw six exercises so clearly-and that was how the Gyrotonic Expansion System was born," he is quoted explaining the conception of the machine (“Head in the Clouds” by Andrea Shapiro). Goals of the machine are to intensify the Gyrokinesis exercises (which are done on the floor or a chair), to produce smooth and fluid movements, build strength, flexibility, coordination, and to elongate the spine. Also, due to the synchronization of the exercises with corresponding breath patterns, it enhances aerobic and cardiovascular stimulation throughout the body, improving neuro-muscular rejuvenation. It was also important to Horvath that the positions flow in and out of each other to eliminate a beginning and ending. To achieve these goals, the Pulley Tower System is made up of a bench with handle units for hands and feet, wheels, and a tower with pulley cables vs. spring based equipment. Other specialized parts of the machine include the jumping stretch board, the gyro toner, the ladder, and the leg extension unit. Any additional weight used is for assistance rather then weight training to encourage development of a more fluid and weightless experience- similar to being in water. It has also been described as “doing a modern dance class sitting down”. The machine is intended for everyone an is adjustable to ensure its usable for all body types. It is used by children and elderly people and is found in dance, Pilates, and yoga studios along with rehabilitation centers, and sports training facilities.

 

During the course of my research, I read two studies that I found particularly interesting in regards to Gyrotonics and health improvement. The first study was titled “Gyrotonic Expansion System Improves Core Stability and Pain Scores in Persons with Lower Back Pain”. The study was performed by Sandra L. Portal-Andreu MS, Monique Mokha PhD ATC, and Ann Gibson PhD, from the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. The main goal of the study was to track the effect of Gyrotonic training on core stability and pain levels in persons with low back pain. Six qualified individuals participated in an eight week Gyrotonic program and were compared to a control group of persons who also experienced low back pain. After the study, test results showed that the six individuals who participated in the Gyrotonic program showed ‘significant improvements in core stability’, and were experiencing less lower back pain. The conclusion of the study was that Gyrotonic training is a viable method in improving lower back pain and increasing core strength.

The second study was “A Clinical Study for Gyrotonic Expansion Program for the Treatment of Scoliosis”. It was performed by Sook Hyang Yoon from Myong Ji University in Korea. The study begins by explaining that scoliosis is an abnormality of the spine, a lateral curve and twist of the spine, making movement difficult and possibly life threatening due to the pressing down of organs and the heart. In Korea, equal emphasis is placed on early detection of scoliosis as the treatment of it. Yoon worked with five females ranging from the ages of 12-29 who were all diagnosed with scoliosis. At the beginning of the study, X-ray’s were taken as well as measurements of the curves in the spine caused by the scoliosis. The first, or primary curve is considered vertebrae T6-T12 and the secondary curve is T12-L4. For six months the five females had a specific 60-minute workout with the Gyrotonic Expansion System, and they could choose how often they executed the workout. At the end of the six months, another X-ray was taken with measurements of the primary and secondary curves, as well as how many times each participant did the workout. Results of the study showed that the Gyrotonic Expansion System was effective in the improvement of the five females scoliosis, however the researcher feels that it is necessary more studies are done in the future to track the long-term effects of continuous use of the Gyronotics Expansion System.

By Shelby Terrell

 

Photos from: ‪www.trainingstudiomadrid.com

www.movementbeyond.com

‪www.gyrotonicpacificheights.com

 

Sustainable Hygiene: Swing It For Spring! DIY Hair Masks.

Alright - so technically this might count more as beauty treatment than hygiene - but in the realm of keeping your bodies clean and healthy and connected to nature, this certainly enters in.

Spring. It is high time to draw back the hoods on your coats, swat off your winter hats and beanies, and let your mane embrace the sun. The problem with all that indoor heating, outdoor chill and cover-ups? Our hair and scalps can get dry, brittle, and neglected. These are some delicious combinations for your crown (taste tests are optional). I've tried the egg/milk/honey thing and that certainly packs a punch with shine, but I am ready to branch out into new territories. Come with me.

For Dry/Flaky Scalp and Hair: Banana, Honey, and Almond.

Mash together 1/2 a ripe banana and add two tablespoons of honey and a few drops of almond oil and allow it to set with a shower cap on for 20 minutes before rinsing. Bananas can increase the moisture of your hair, smooth frizz and soothe your itchy scalp and honey is both moisturizing and anti-bactieral. Is this breakfast?

For Oily Hair: Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon.

Combine 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with the grated peel of an entire lemon and allow it to set for 15 minutes to absorb the excess oil from your scalp, and then rinse in the shower. Apple cider vinegar will remove build up from styling products and conditioners and strengthen the hair shaft, leaving you with soft, shiny strands. It will also balance hair’s pH level, kill bacteria, and is a cure for dandruff. Perf!

For Dry Hair: Avocado, Olive Oil, and Honey.

Avocados have long been used in beauty treatments for their nourishing and hydrating properties. Mash one nice, ripe avocado (use it’s flesh only) and add one tablespoon of honey and two tablespoons of olive oil. Blend it all well and apply on your damaged tresses. Wrap a towel over your hair to leave it to work its magic - leave in 20 mins to one hour.

For that Shiny, Spring Hair: Strawberry and Coconut.

A handful of fresh strawberries, a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of honey, blended well. Apply the mixture to damp hair, roots through tips, leave for a few minutes and rinse well with warm water. Strawberries are citrusy fruits, loaded with vitamin C which is very nourishing for hair. They are great for scalp oil control and help  gently rinse away excess oil build-up. Another tropical hair cocktail please!

Now that you have the most fruitylicious, shiny, natural hair on the block, go for a spring stroll, and swing it!

 

By Aya Sato

 

 

Celebrate Your Planet! It's Earth Day 2014.

  First celebrated in 1970 in the US,  Earth Day is now an event held annually on April 22nd all around the world (in over 192 countries). It is a call to action and a demonstration of support for environmental protection. It has truly become a catalyst for ongoing education, action, and change.

Click here to read about what different countries around the world are doing for earth day, and to learn about the many ways you can participate, in person or online. Check out these inspiring projects I spied while scrolling: In Kyrgzstan, "a microfinance organization will hold the event Green Shoots of the Future. The idea of this campaign is to plant fruit seedlings in orphanages and kindergartens with regard that children will learn to take care about trees", or in New Zealand, an organization is planning  "an introduction to the history of Earth Day with a Maori earth blessing, an Eco-fashion show, the construction of a globe from recycled materials, a meal made from locally grown produce, and several other activities."

Here is New York, the non-profit organization Earth Day New York is holding court in Union Square and Grand Central Station. This, from Elizabeth Rogers of  EDNY: "The Union Square event is on April 22nd from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM in the Northern Plaza. This will feature exhibitions by local businesses, national environmental campaigns and many other projects. In addition to those we are also featuring a green vehicle runway show, a green travel exhibition and a children's activity area, as well as performances on our stage. The event at Grand Central is from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM on April 23rd and 24th."

Many businesses large and small are participating in Earth Day and putting on various events - take a peek at what is listed in connection to Earth Day on Eventbrite!

Go forth and love/activate/celebrate your planet!

 

Jack McGowan's Half-Marathon Running Guide

Running a half-marathon can seem quite daunting to anyone who hasn't run over 5 miles before. People constantly ask me, "Do you think I can run a marathon?" And I always say, "If you don't think you can run a marathon, then you should go watch one." You see people of every age, color, disability, etc. And if that still doesn't sway you, then you can just think of it as a long run. A little longer than your normal one.  The first basic bit of advice is add mileage. Start simple, and then gradually increase your mileage as you train. Be diligent about your running schedule and stick to it as BEST you can, and ALWAYS make time for full nights of sleep. The hard part isn't the actual running; it's the going for an 8-mile run, on a cold Saturday afternoon, when you'd rather be going to brunch. It's not going out the night before you have to wake up early to do a run. The actual running becomes fun, and the hard part is making the actual time. 8 weeks is PLENTY of time to train for a half-marathon (as long as you stick to the schedule). Everyone's fitness level varies, but here's a game plan that can work for most anyone:

Week 1: do 3 days of 3 mile runs, without stopping (on the treadmill or outside). 1 day of cross training (aerobics, swimming, weightlifting, cycling, etc.) 1 day of yoga/pilates or light recovery with active stretching. 2 days completely off

Week 2: two days of 3.5 mile runs, one day of 4.5 mile runs. one day of cross training. one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Week 3: two days of 4 mile runs, one day of 6 mile run. one day of cross training. one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Week 4: two days of 4 mile runs, one day of 6 mile run. one day of cross training. one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Week 5: two days of 4 mile runs, one day of 7 mile run. one day of cross training. one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Week 6: two days of 4 mile runs, one day of 8.5 mile run. one day of cross training. one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Week 7: two days of 4 mile runs, one day of 11 mile run. one day of cross training. one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Week 8: two days of 3 mile runs, one day of 6 mile run.  one day of active recovery or yoga. two days off.

Definitely take the two days off before the big race, so depending on the timeline make sure your days off fit in on the calendar.

You'll get into a rhythm on the first two weeks of what you can eat the night before a race and what you shouldn't. And then stick to that. NEVER eat something before a big race that you don't normally do. I personally don't eat pasta, in my daily life. So I would never eat it before a race. But it all comes down to what you do how you train. If you have to have coffee in the morning then have it. But treat your long runs like you would treat the race. And ALWAYS account for 25 mins of dynamic and myofascial stretching after your long runs. If you're new to this, buy a black foam roller and youtube your lower body stretches, if this is too easy buy a pair of yoga tune-up balls and get in deeper. IT band stretching on a foam roller will SAVE YOUR KNEES.

By Jack McGowan

Check out Whitney Tuckers blog post about "Turning Your Mind Into Your Favorite Running Companion" to accompany your training!

 

Turning Your Mind Into Your Favorite Running Companion

Do you feel like your mind is holding you back in distance running?  What if you could eradicate inefficient patterns of thought that keep you from achieving greater excellence in running? Here are a few ways to cure your unhelpful habits: ______________

Habit: Boredom and lack of focus

Cure: Set mental focus goals

One of the biggest challenges distance runners face is boredom. Some people listen to music or podcasts while running.  Others talk with a running buddy to break up what can be an otherwise monotonous or distracted experience. If you are someone who struggles with maintaining focus and drive during a run, try setting a short term mental goal for your run before beginning.This practice allows you to set the stage for the rest of the session and provides a specific mental focal point to hold onto when your mind starts to wander. For example, promise yourself not to think about the end until you arrive there, or aim to focus on each independent A few examples are: "I will not think about the end till I arrive there", "I aim work hard", and "I aim to focus on each breath and each footfall independently".

____________

Habit: Disliking discomfort

Cure: Know what you want before you want to give up.

Maybe the following is familiar: You realize that you won't make the time you aimed for or the distance you are expecting to reach during your run. With this knowledge, everything may suddenly feel more difficult, downright impossible or even pointless. A desperate voice, seemingly not you own, may materialize from within and speak directly to your physical sensations and discomfort, encouraging you to stop. You may be thinking, "There has to be easier an way to get this done", "How will I ever be able to run the (insert race of your choosing) if this lesser distance feels THIS hard?", "Other people don't feel this lame when they do this; strength/speed/endurance come easy to them.", or "When is this going to be over?"

 

Any person pushing themselves in training and aiming to improve constantly will likely be out of their comfort zone often.  Even elite runners experience moments that feel insurmountable. This can be particularly compromising if a person doesn't have a plan for such an instance.  Along with setting an intention, know in the beginning what will motivate you to continue when you feel like you want to back out.

A few that you might try are:

-This is not a surprise; What I am experiencing is normal.  Because of this, I am becoming a better runner.

-Imagine blowing defeatist thoughts away with your exhales, leaving them behind as you move forward.

-Remember that "this too shall pass"; What you are doing is hard but not impossible.

 

 

 Block: Setting unrealistic goals

Cure: Create a new relationship with your goals and achievements

Setting goals that are reachable while you aim for the impossible is a fine balance; If you set realistic goals, you are more likely to stay engaged throughout the process of reaching your end result. One way to set reachable goals is to focus on various aspects of your training. If you always aim to reach a certain distance in a certain time, maybe set the goal of trying a new route or running without music if you are accustomed headphones.  Also, consider setting goals that incorporate rest, stretching or hydration, which all support running.

Another way to create a new relationship with your goals is to give yourself some props!  Many people feel awkward celebrating their achievements.  When I was asked to reward myself for a recent achievement, I thought, "but isn't achieving the goal enough of a reward?".  I eventually realized I was missing a major aspect of successful goal-setting!  Rewarding oneself incentivizes a person to stay accountable to goals they've set as well as boosting confidence for future goal-setting.

Distance running requires discipline and particular choice-making, for some even altering their life choices.  Oftentimes, no one will notice what you've sacrificed or decisions you've made in order to support your running.  However, build in a reward for yourself that really feels like a true acknowledgement. If others notice and commend your hard work, great! It will be icing on the cake.

 

By Whitney Tucker

 

Keep an eye out for Jack McGowans guide for running a half marathon!

 

 

 

When Injuries Go to Your Head

No matter how hard we train, take care of ourselves, and listen to our bodies, injuries happen. Whether a nagging pain that sneaks up on you as you ride your bike to work every morning, or a fall that takes you by surprise while you rush down the stairs, we are not invincible. Our bodies are strong and made to self-repair for a reason; maybe we never exist in a perfect, pain-free, functioning state? Is that just part of being human? Our bodies' systems are constantly at work, and it's our job to trust in those daily reparations (and help them along as much as we can, from listening to your physical therapist to getting enough sleep, good food, and water). Sometimes, what marks true resilience is how we mentally process our injuries and view the healing process.

I've been a dancer my entire life, and like so many I started at an early age. As I grew into my body and intensified my training, even my malleable teenage knees and hips oftentimes screamed at me. The demands of ballet six days a week can hurt even the youngest bodies, so already as a teenager I started coping with injuries - both acute and chronic. When I first faced these obstacles to my dancing, it was nothing short of devastating (a teenager's propensity for drama plus trying to build a ballet career before you hit 18...whoa!), and that was the negative attitude I learned to turn on in the face of pain. At daily ballet class, teachers wouldn't necessarily address coping with mental barricades that are so easy to build up around injuries ("I can't, it hurts, I'll make it worse, I have to sit out"). And still, supposedly older and wiser, every day when I jump into a dance class, practice yoga, or run for the train, aches and pains are extremely discouraging and even disorienting ("wait, why won't my arm move like it did yesterday!?").

I recently started thinking about these mental blocks when I read this aptly-timed article about Olympic skier Steven Nyman using the power of his brain to move on from injuries. "You become intensely aware of exactly what could happen if you crash; wanting to avoid those devastating consequences, you slow down just a hair, well-founded fear trumping the craving to win," the author, Jeffrey Marlow, says. As a result, the US ski team added a new approach this year called "positive psychology," which is meant to "[prompt] the athlete to rebuild trust in his body, his intuition, and his mental construct of risk" through visualization, journaling, relaxation, and focus.

Cultivating mental adaptability and an awareness of your dynamic body is one thing that can be seriously overlooked in any kind of athletic training. Your body will change and feel different every day - sometimes that's because you broke your leg yesterday, and sometimes that's because you didn't eat breakfast. No matter how severe or trivial an issue, you have to listen to and process what your body is saying, use your intuition, and then keep going (even in a small way - apply ice?).  Not succumb to fear and frustration and defeat. How can we incorporate psychological support into our physical practices? Understanding that your body's got your back, even though you may never feel perfect? Trust?

 

Last year, I severely sprained my ankle (a nasty little thing to heal!), and as I draw closer to discharge from physical therapy this month, my last obstacle is my brain. As it gets stronger, I still have the memory of the fall that tore up that little joint. Last week at physical therapy I jumped for the first time in eight months and I started laughing at the absurdity of my hesitation. My brain was saying, "No, no, don't do that!! Remember what happened last time??" and I had to force myself to push off, trust myself, and take a risk. And you know what? I landed in one piece - because my body had done it's job and I didn't let my brain hold me back.

 

By Hayley Muth

 

Sustainable Hygiene: Making Your Own Deodorant

After I started making my own toothpaste (Sustainable Hygiene: How to make your own toothpaste) I was so invigorated by the effectiveness and easiness of the experience that I started looking for other hygiene products I could whip up at home. It turns out deodorant is just as absurdly simple as toothpaste! For me, it really works. To be completely upfront, it doesn't stop heavy sweating, but mark my words, it is really effective against odor. More so than any other deodorant I have used.

"But if it does't stop sweat, then what's the point?" you ask. Traditional deoderants, in particular antiperspirants, contain aluminum-based compounds that temporarily block sweat ducts. Some research reports that these compounds, once absorbed by the skin, can cause estrogen-like effects - and an overload of estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells. Yeah. Scary. Officially, there is no conclusive evidence of this, but the National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet reports "Research studies of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and breast cancer have been completed and provide conflicting results." For these conflicting results, please visit the page here. In any case, blocking off my body's natural systems is not something I choose to do, especially when, now that I've been using my homemade deodorant everyday since December, it's so much cheaper, sustainable, and better smelling!

Below is the recipe I use, and the most simple one I have found, but there are lots of different ones out there (some solid, some liquid) to peruse and experiment with. I can't say enough good things about coconut oil: anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, deeply moisturizing.

Homemade Deoderant

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)

5 tablespoons of coconut oil

About 10 drops of essential oil (I used lavender and orange)

Mix all ingredients together well in a small container with a lid (I used a mini mason jar) and melt the coconut oil a little beforehand if you need to.

Use a quarter teaspoon per pit for happy smelling! Just try it!

By Aya Sato

 

The Wonderful World of Water

These long winter months always seem to bring along a nasty slew of side effects: creaky joints, lack of motivation, and of course, dry, itchy skin, dehydration, and breakouts. In an attempt to combat at least a couple of these, I decided to conduct a little experiment with my water intake. I started carrying a large water bottle with me everywhere- something we all should do anyway- and made a point of filling it at least three times every day. Within two weeks, my face cleared up, flakey dry skin disappeared, and I was happy to find myself less lethargic, newly energized and invigorated. I found myself looking in greater depth at my own hydration habits, and learning how to adapt them to let water work its magic. Here are some of the things I discovered: I. Filtered Water vs. Tap- is there really that big of a difference?

The difference between filtered water and tap water comes down to personal preference. Living in New York, we are spoiled by clean, delicious tap water, and the nutritive difference between the two types of water is very slight. When water is filtered, you’re looking to extract chlorine, which is responsible for that slight chemical taste that runs through tap water. In rare cases, Chlorine has been linked to colon and bladder cancer when consumed in high dosages, however it has been deemed safe to drink, and the amount that exists in our water is low enough that it shouldn’t negatively affect your health. It acts as an agent to get rid of unwanted bacteria as tap water flows through various plumbing situations on its journey to populated areas. In fact, according to the Daily Californian at UC Berkley, “In many cases, there are actually fewer bacteria in tap water than in most bottled waters.”

Additionally, companies like Brita also advertise the removal of heavier metals like lead and copper, which can get swept into your water supply from the plumbing as well. While the taste of filtered water is milder and more refreshing, it is also very important to change your Brita filter often, as Brita water filters do not actually kill the microorganisms, they simply trap them. If you stop changing your filter, it will stop working and be rendered useless.

Read more: http://www.waterindustry.org/Water-Facts/filtered-1.htm

II. How much do you really need?

I gen erally prefer to approach this question with my own essentially inconclusive answer: drink as much water as you can. Upon further investigation, I have stumbled across some helpful answers that are less abstract. In his article for the health section of U.S. News, Yuri Elkaim (holistic nutritionist, high-performance fitness expert and former University soccer coach), outlines a system for putting a number on your water intake. He suggests that “the first thing you need to do is calculate how much water your body needs at rest. That's working at a desk, puttering around the house, reading and doing all of the other things you do throughout the day. This is your bare minimum water requirement – what your body needs to function. The basic equation for determining this is by dividing your body weight in half. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, you would need 100 ounces of water per day if you're not doing anything strenuous. If you're working out, hiking, at a high altitude or outdoors a great deal, you're going to need to add to those 100 ounces.”

III. Sparkling vs. Still- do you lose any hydration benefits by drinking sparkling water? What’s the difference, really? Should we throw away that SodaStream?

The answer, in short, is no. I developed a minor obsession with sparkling water last year when my roommate bought a SodaStream, so naturally I felt the need to convince myself that drinking carbonated water is just as productive as drinking still water. Upon further investigation, I thankfully concluded that my favorite hydrating beverage is just as nutritionally beneficial as its cousin. Literally the only difference is added carbonation, which comes with a side of myths that have less than substantial proof. In a health article from NY Daily News, writer Tracy Miller sought confirmation from various medical professionals. “Kristi King, MPH, RDN, a senior clinical dietitian at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, agreed. ‘There's a myth out there about [carbonation] leaching calcium from the bones, especially with sodas, but the research is just not there,’ King said. The same goes for eroding tooth enamel: ‘usually any tooth erosion comes from beverages that are sugar-sweetened in conjunction with carbonation, which tend to be highly acidic. Carbonated water is not going to be nearly as acidic,’ King said.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/sparkling-water-healthy-regular-water-article-1.1460179#ixzz2v0cYxCvR

So as you reach for that warm coffee this winter, try to balance it out with a few glasses of water- tap, filtered, sparkling- whatever your preference! Stay hydrated and keep your body running as efficiently and proficiently as possible. Cheers!

Photo 1 by Gwarf: http://weandthecolor.com/breathtaking-underwater-photography-by-gwarf/7445 Photo 2: Soma Water Filter. Photo 3: Glass Faucet Sculpture by Gary Guydosh. Photo 4: http://icewhiteuk.wordpress.com/

 

By Mallory Rosenthal

Unplugging, Unwinding, and Understanding.

“Somebody once said to me that a computer fits with anxiety like a lock in a key...and that’s exactly right. You have an anxious moment out in your life, or in your world, and you want a little hit, and your e-mail can do that.” The New York Times quotes Jill Soloway, an L.A. based television producer and writer on why she participates in National Day of Unplugging. Technology fits into the physical and emotional landscapes of our lives so seamlessly these days, we can begin to wonder what we did without it. But the facts remain, that despite its connective powers, technology appears to be washing our social skills, and expectations of each other, down the proverbial sink.

Starting tomorrow, Friday March 7th at sundown and ending on Saturday March 8th at sundown is the 2014 National Day of Unplugging. This is a 24 hour period to put down your smart phones and tablets, take your nose out of your laptop, and pluck the earplugs out of your ears, a day to live differently, and appreciate a world with less technology and more human connection.

NDU was initiated in 2002 by the Reboot, a network of tech-savvy, progressive Jewish professionals who produce projects and events, as a way of taking time to appreciate family, nature, and stillness. With an obvious connection to the traditional day of rest, the Sabbath, they created it as part of the Sabbath Manifesto, which is a movement that is described as being similar to Slow Food, with members taking action to put the breaks on the unrelenting speed of modern life, and carving out time to reflect. Of course, there is also the environmental aspect. Speed, which so often mirrors consumption, is halted, and as we are turning off our devices we are not relying on electricity for charge. In this dual shift, we are encouraged to feel a connection to our surroundings, and live sustainably in a number of ways.

The idea is that the time spent while unplugged is up to you, and the day is non-denominational and open to global participation. What kinds of things would you be doing if you didn't have a cell phone at all? Would you engage with people more? Would you keep to yourself, or read a book? How would you relax if not by watching your favorite series on Netflix? In theory, I find it easy enough to answer these questions. I love to read, I hate texting people, I would go to a yoga class, I would walk around, I would draw! And yet habit is so often an unyielding creature, and I identify with Jill Soloway's words so much more than I want to. I am comforted by refreshing my email, and I insist that if I didn't check social media daily, I might miss something, an event, an opportunity, something funny and uplifting. I am actually reluctant to admit how much I have missed in return for this devotion for checking data on a screen. I will unplug tomorrow at sunset to face my banal, low-level anxiety, and turn around, however slightly, what it means to me to have a fear of missing out. I will probably cook, sing to myself a lot, perhaps write a letter, and then ride my bike to work in the afternoon.

What might you do? So many possibilities in the world of the unplugged!

 

 

 

That Glow: Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

Still pondering on a gift or gesture for ever-perplexing Valentine's Day? Doing something to make you and/or your loved one feel healthy, relaxed and strong is a fantastic way to feel supported and loved. We've gathered a few health-minded ideas that are perfect for the special day! Give that glow, get that glow. Studio 26 trainer Tara Crichlow hosts an uplifting, intro-level pole dancing party for women only this Saturday evening. Spice up your life and energize your soul! Get your tickets here.

Thai Massage practitioner Sara Roer leads an accessible, couples AND non-couples introductory workshop called ValenThai. Combining body postures descended from Ayurvedic yoga with acupressure and gentle, passive stretching, Thai Massage is sure to melt your hearts and bodies. Click here for more info.

If you haven't tried rock climbing yet, this could be the perfect moment! Just you, your sweetheart and rivers of sweat. Jokes aside, this is a truly fun and challenging work out that, as well as being a bonding activity, will leave you high on endorphins and adrenaline (as opposed to the bloating and heartburn of an opulent dinner! Romance?). Check out the Valentine's Day offers available at Brooklyn Boulders or Chelsea Piers.

Valentine's Day yoga workshops are happening everywhere in NYC on Valentine's Day - with some offering bubbles and tasty treats too! Take a look at these at Yoga Maya, or Your Movement, get $5 off classes at Integral Yoga Institute, or get sexy on your own at Bold & Naked for their Friday intro session.

Mingle with singles and friends at this Tribeca singles cooking class with complimentary Cupid cocktails, while you whip up fennel, blood orange and beet salad. Yes please! The Color of Love.

Everyone at Studio 26 wishes you a Happy Valentine's Day! Of course, we are MORE than happy to arrange a massage session or an invigorating private training session with our dedicated wellness and fitness professionals for you, or your loved one, as a last-minute gift! Call us? ;)

Sustainable Grooming: How to make your own toothpaste

Growing up in coastal Australia, my relationship to the land and environment (even in the Sydney suburbs) was always quite the active one. There were strict household water restrictions in times of drought, and every few summers the air would be hazy with bushfire smoke. I was taught how to swim against rip tides in the ocean, how to proceed if a snake crossed my path, and how to treat blue bottle stings. Like thousands of other school children, I was encouraged not to waste natural resources and energy,  and taught that the land did not belong to us, that we were more often intruders in it. I understood the need to clean up after myself while in nature, but, interestingly, was never schooled on the many ways there are to limit my personal production of waste (I think even with her brilliant efforts in bushland conservation and composting, my mom's car trunk had the customary collection of perpetually folded "reduce, reuse, recycle" bags). Until last summer, I hadn't given it serious thought beyond owning a stainless steel water bottle. Inspired by Lauren Singer's blog Trash Is For Tossers and Studio 26 trainer Kristen Rubio's post on this blog about Permaculture, I began inquiries into how I could make the choices and changes necessary to create a little less waste in the world, and find different ways to uphold the lessons I learned growing up.

Household cleaning products, personal grooming products, and cosmetics, are all massively lucrative industries with zealous, grandiose marketing campaigns that attempt to convince us that they are necessary staples, not only in our daily lives, but also in confirming our status as civilized human beings. Making my own shampoo or countertop spray had always seemed to complicated and involved to undertake, something that people who lived in rural vistas with nothing but time on their hands did, and with so many chemical-free choices available in stores, I admit, I didn't attempt it. I was captured by those copy editors. Reading and thinking more about sustainability, I began to notice my rhythm of buying bottles of stuff in plastic bags, and a month later throwing them out and beginning again, and started viewing it as a rather sad and unnecessary cycle. Then, there are the ingredients - reading labels has always been a dizzying activity, even without the knowledge that what we are throwing down our drains is coming into sinister contact with aquatic life.

As soon as I embarked on my first DIY attempt at cleaning products, making my own toothpaste and deodorant, or using baking soda to clean my stove,  I was delighted and close to embarrassed at how easy, pure, and clean it felt. It was and remains a powerful daily lesson in how I actually don't need much at all to maintain health and hygiene, in fact, less is more . In this spirit, I wanted to pay forward what Kristen and Lauren did for me, and share some extremely easy directions on how to make no-waste toothpaste. My teeth feel much cleaner using this than normal out-of-a-tube varieties. I'm hooked.

Homemade No-Waste Toothpaste

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of sea salt*

15-20 drops of organic essential oil (I recommend peppermint, spearmint or clove)

Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar (e.g. mason jar or a used food jar). If the oil needs some softening, place the jar in a pan of hot water for a little bit while you stir.

Voila! Scoop a little out onto your toothbrush with a spoon, and you are good to go.

All the ingredients are not only completely natural, but super hard-working. Baking soda  helps to neutralize pH levels and odors, coconut oil destroys all manner of microbes and harmful bacteria while providing a smooth, pleasant odor and texture, peppermint oil eliminates bad odors and helps with headache, digestion, and respiratory problems, and clove oil has been used for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine to protect oral tissue against disease and infection, and rightly so, as it is both analgesic and antiseptic.

*Salt is optional, but also an exceptional way to clean your teeth and keep your gums healthy. Do not, however, used iodized salt, as it could corrode teeth with metal fillings/crowns etc.

 

 

 

 

Why I am a Gluten-Free Vegan and the blogs and documentaries that changed my life.

I love food documentaries. I’m obsessed with them. They are what I get hooked on on my Netflix. I watch them until 4 in the morning. They are my guilty pleasure. It’s through educating myself about the food industry that has turned my twenty something meat heavy diet into a mostly gluten-free veganish lifestyle.  This means I allow myself cheese, fish, and a bagel every once in a while but for the most part, I avoid them along with any other gluten or animal products. I’ve found that this is the diet that makes me feel the lightest, most energetic, and mentally and emotionally sound.

I season everything with yeast flakes (B12!), I drink a macro-greens mix everyday (http://www.macrolifenaturals.com/), I try to fit in a green juice anywhere I can. I eat constantly throughout the day because my portions are smaller. I get fuller with less food at each meal and then eat whenever I’m hungry. I love how I can eat a mostly plant-based diet and never live in fear of overeating. If I just need to eat a bagel, I find the healthiest version of it and ask if they have gluten-free, if they don't, then I ask if they have spelt, if they don't, and I just need to get my fix, then I go with a whole wheat everything flagel.  Then I order it with veggie tofu cream cheese and then I move on with my life. Often times it's what I prefer and sometimes it takes discipline but it’s truly a lifestyle I feel so grateful to have discovered.

I used to eat meat everyday. I loved burgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, barbecue, ribs, all of it. I tried to be a vegetarian once because I read an article about McDonald’s chicken mcnuggets that made me feel so nauseated anytime I looked at any form of edible meat. My first ventures into vegetarianism lasted only about a year because I ultimately craved the sensation of eating meat again, but it was after watching the documentaries Vegucated (http://www.getvegucated.com/) and Food Matters (http://www.foodmatters.tv/) that something clicked in me for good.  I received the calling and I haven’t turned back.    

There are enough meat, dairy (cashew ice cream!), and egg substitutes out there that they're easy to replace. My tastes buds have changed and there are facts I can’t erase from my mind. All because of a doting pastime of watching documentaries and reading blogs. Rather than spout the information to you, I wanted to share the documentaries and blogs that really speak to me and have changed the way I eat.

All streaming on Netflix!

1) Vegucated (extremely powerful)

2) Food Matters (also extremely powerful)

3) Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

4) Ted Talks: Food Matters

5) The Beautiful Truth

My favorite blogs!

1) This Rawsome Vegan Life: http://www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com/p/my-diet.html#.UuVcJPYo5jc

2) Betty Ming Liu: http://bettymingliu.com/food/

3) Elizabeth Rider: http://www.elizabethrider.com/21-days-clean-eating/

4) Simple Green Smoothies: http://simplegreensmoothies.com/

5) Thug Kitchen: http://thugkitchen.com/

6) Gluten Free Vegan Girl: http://www.gluten-free-vegan-girl.com/why-vegan

 

Blog by Diana Oh

For 2014, We resolve...

Oh, the resolution. Throughout December's holiday party season, the question surfaces often in small talk around a punch bowl. New Year's Resolution? My favorite responses are the ones that start with "This year, everything is going to be different." Everything?! Quite a resolution indeed. Upon the year's turning to a new number, and a supposed new order, hoards of literature becomes available, from advisements of tonics, balms and salves, to gyms, diets, and fashion trends. In truth, if one is able to weed through all of the advising and distill the passage of the year into one succinct point of resolve, I say well-done, already. My favorite (and admittedly most-effective) resolutions have been more themes than diets or retractions of former habits. For me, 2013 was for the bold. Boldness, whether positive or negative, definitely dominated the year, so in that way, I felt successful and fulfilled by my resolution's influence. My favorite New York Times chef, Mr. Mark Bittman, often finds the best ways to tell his readers to calm down already, and convince themselves that yes, coq au vin is possible for one and all and it won't take three hours, or rather that the best recipe is often simplicity. In Bittman's case, he's speaking about food, but his recipes often apply to other situations. I for one, have certainly found that cooking is an effective way to teach yourself how to multitask (Judkins Resolution circa 2007). It matters little whether your multiple tasks are related to the recipe. Sometimes the realization is simple; for me, it was understanding that roasting is a great way to make your main dish and sides at the same time. Forgive the near insulting metaphor, but one's life can be similar. Less effort on the main event is sometimes a good thing. In the case of resolutions, I find it undeniably so.

In his "Sustainable Resolutions for Your Diet," published in December 31'sts New York Times, Chef Bittman lays out strategies rather than die-hard changes, like cooking batches of grains weekly, and buying frozen fruits and vegetables to have on hand when they're out of season. He includes short recipes that implicate his suggestions and almost all of them are remarkably easy. All of this, I must say, does come with a dose of realism. While I don't know if I'm going to start making my own nut butter regularly, I can attest to the joy of learning a new skill or understanding that I can make something, easily, that I thought I had to buy. Who knows, in a month, I may be biting my tongue. 2014 could very well be the year of the nut butter. The point is that lasting change is often, in Bittman's words, incremental, and our willingness to adhere to pledges of devotion and self-reform are rooted best in rewarding behaviors. Eating well and with a sense of ownership hopefully aids in both increasing confidence and overall health. 2014's theme? 2014 is for the confident, I say.